Space Marine Librarians
The Librarians of the Space Marine Chapters are mighty warrior-mystics, inspiring figures who wield incredible and devastating powers. They are an integral part of the Adeptus Astartes, outstanding warriors who utilise their psychically enhanced wisdom and knowledge to fulfil the role of oracles and psychic communication within the Space Marine Chapters. Such powers come at a price, however, and only those with the strongest willpower are capable of withstanding the constant pressures that come with psychic awareness. For every successful psyker, there are countless others whose lack of control threatens to doom them to an eternity of torment. Of those psykers whose strength of will enables them to control their powers, the most highly trained and potent are the Librarians of the Adeptus Astartes.
The growing number of psykers within the Imperium is seen by some as the next evolutionary step for Mankind. However, these are the very early, tentative stages, for such an advancement will take countless generations to fully evolve, and the powers of the psyker are not yet refined. Psychic ability is both the greatest boon to Mankind and its most dangerous threat. Without psykers, the entire system of interstellar communication and travel would cease to exist, consequently resulting in the fall of the Imperium. Lacking these powers, the Imperium would become nothing more than a series of scattered and isolated systems. Warp travel is only made possible for Humanity with the guiding light of the Astronomican, a psychic beam stretching 70,000 light years across space from its source on Terra. The pure psychic energy needed for this great undertaking is created by the combined 'voice' of ten thousand specially trained psykers, a soul draining labour that exhausts their life-force within months, leaving them little more than shrivelled husks. This 'voice' is focused and directed by the immortal Emperor, who projects the pure psychic energy into the galaxy. This beacon is vital to the specially trained and psychically attuned Navigators, who require it in order for them to have any possibility of steering a safe path through the turbulent and inconsistent non-reality of warp space.
Those of particular strength of mind, if discovered when young, may be nurtured so that their abilities can benefit Mankind in such ways. The psykers schooled by the Scholastica Psykana generally operate within a particular specialised area, whether it be as Astropaths, trained for interstellar communication within the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, or as Navigators within the Adeptus Astronomica. The Librarians of the Adeptus Astartes, however, fulfil a much more varied and combat oriented role, and as such they are chosen from amongst those of exceptional ability and skill.
Those with psychic ability draw their power from the turbulent realm of the warp, also known as the Ether, the Immaterium or the Empyrean, as recorded in the Scriptorum Arcanum. This alternate dimension is a twisted reflection of the known physical world, a horrific and constantly shifting domain that defies the accepted laws of the material universe, inhabited by malevolent and predatory astral creatures. When a psyker uses his power, he opens a gateway between the two realms, drawing energy from the warp into himself. If a psyker is unprepared or inexperienced he may inadvertently attract the attentions of daemons, drawing them to him like moths to a flame. According to the codices of the enigmatic, daemon-hunting Ordo Malleus, these warp-entities are capable of traversing the link the psyker has formed between the two dimensions, assaulting his mind, ripping the very soul from his body and dragging it screaming to an existence of eternal torture within the warp. As such, the twisted realm of the warp is sometimes referred to as the Sea of Souls. A particularly powerful daemon may attempt to force its way into the physical realm by overwhelming the body of the hapless psyker, and from there endeavour to inflict as much psychic and physical suffering as possible on the material world.
Those with a limited degree of psychic ability, but who lack the strength of will to fully control it, are one of the most dangerous forces threatening the Imperium, and they are hunted down without remorse by the Inquisition. As a matter of course, the number of minds considered dangerous far outweigh those that are embraced by the Imperium. Some of those condemned are transported to Terra aboard one of the Black Ships, where their sacrifice may benefit all of Mankind. It is said that their life-force is fed to the insatiable needs of the undying Emperor in order to sustain him, enabling his glorious light to remain indefinitely within the physical realm. Indeed, to be born with psychic ability is a terrible curse, and many attempt to hide their powers from detection. Without the correct training, a psyker teeters on the brink of eternal damnation. Entire planetary systems have been brought under daemonic dominion, creating hellish worlds of tortured slaves, due to a single psyker lacking the mental discipline to not use his gifts.
Space Marine Librarians are amongst the most potent of all Mankind's psykers, highly talented and trained to the highest levels. A highly trained Librarian can manipulate the energy of the warp in extraordinary ways, and with spectacular effect. The Librarians train their minds and bodies constantly to reinforce their willpower, for the danger involved is great. While the Chapter Apothecaries test the physical gene-structure of potential Space Marines, the Librarians are responsible for testing their psychic ability and willpower. They do this to seek out and nurture those who show talent, but more importantly to weed out those who possess some ability whose untrained minds would endanger the entire Chapter.
Those initiates displaying the required psychic talent and willpower are inducted into the Librarium, where they commence their intensive years of study and development in conjunction with the strict training of their brother Space Marines. These initiates are recruited from a variety of sources, depending on the means and position of the Space Marine home world or Chapter-Fortress. Some Chapters recruit their Librarians solely from amongst those chosen as potential Space Marines, while other Chapters select their number from amongst the most talented and disciplined of young Primaris Psykers of the Scholastica Psykana.
The need for vigilance is never treated lightly, and the Librarians of every Chapter routinely engage the minds of its Space Marines in order to ensure their purity. They are meticulous in their record keeping, chronicling any discovered deviancy for future reference. Space Marines who have been exposed to particular psychic strain and trauma, such as through contact with alien horrors or the warping influence of Chaos, must undergo a series of strict screening and cleansing rituals conducted by the Librarians in order to confirm the integrity of the precious gene-seed. For the Space Marines, gene-seed is the Chapter's life-blood, the most invaluable of possessions, and must be kept pure at all costs. Any trace of perversion or corruption within the gene-seed must be eradicated utterly if the Chapter is to survive.
The Librarium of the Chapter is typically an ancient and immense structure, housing the collective knowledge that the Chapter has acquired over the millennia. Scribes work ceaselessly within its walls, labouring to duplicate the older texts as they are gradually destroyed by time. The Librarians of the Chapter are charged with the upkeep of the Librarium, and it is their responsibility to maintain its integrity. Only they know the full wonders and horrors that are contained within the ancient vellum pages, deeds both heroic and heinous.
Thousand year-old tomes, bound in cracked and faded leather, sit side by side with newer works in an immense and ever expanding collection. Indeed, the Librarium is often enlarged as time passes in order for it to be able to house the perpetually increasing number of volumes held within. Imperial envoys tell fantastical stories of the rare and ancient arcane technologies that reside within a Librarium's hallowed walls, great humming data repositories that store unfathomable amounts of information. The Librarium will often include an archaic catalogue containing countless data crystals, each crystal holding a lifetime of accumulated wisdom. Many Librariums contain a smaller inner Librarius, where the most dangerous and heretical texts are kept. This area is accessible to only a select few of the Chapter's Chief Librarians, as befits the dangerous and blasphemous nature of the texts. Merely glancing at the twisted pages of these dangerous volumes would send most men spiralling deep into insanity, and they can only be viewed under the most controlled conditions and with careful preparations of the mind.
The various official ranks within the Librarians' order serve to describe the particular functions that they perform within the Chapter and within the Librarium itself. The lowest of the battlefield ranks is the Lexicanium, whose job it is to act as record keepers, creating the initial reports that are to be added to the Librarium. These summary accounts chronicle the history of the Chapter, varying in nature from campaign and battle details to the beliefs and philosophies of the Chapter. The next rank of Librarian is that of Codicier, awarded to the older, more experienced Space Marines who critically evaluate the reports of the Lexicaniums, finalising their form for inclusion in the Librarium. The Epistolary stands a level higher still, and is one of those typically turned to when the need arises for psychic communication. This power can be used to project the mind of the Librarian across warp space itself if necessary. This is a similar ability to that used by the Astropaths of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, who are relatively common throughout the Imperium. However, such is the strength of will of the Librarians that they have no need to undertake the tortuous ritual of Soul Binding that the Astropaths must endure. More commonly, the Epistolary is used to communicate over shorter distances, coordinating attacks and relaying battle orders.
The Chief Librarians are the highest ranking members of their order, and their mastery and control of the mystic arts is awesome to behold. The Chapter and its commanders rely heavily on the council of these most powerful of psykers and, acting within their role as advisors, the Librarians have countless centuries of experience at their disposal. Through a combination of wisdom and considerable psychic powers of premonition, the advice of the Chief Librarians is greatly respected within the Chapter. On the battlefield, however, is where their abilities truly come to the fore, as their overwhelming psychic powers devastate the armies and defences of their enemies, rending them apart with pure force of will.
The tactical worth of the Librarians is tremendous. The psychic shockwave and turbulence that is created as a ship moves in and out of warp space can be felt by them, and so the actions of an enemy can be effectively anticipated and countered. They are the equal in battlefield prowess of any other Space Marine, and the devastating psychic powers that they wield will often tip the balance in the Chapter's favour in a close fought conflict. The psychic abilities of the Librarians are utilised in various forms on the battlefield. Most directly, the Librarian can channel the power of the warp through his body, striking at the enemy with devastating blasts of concentrated energy. With their powers of prescience, they can sense and predict the movements of the enemy, providing a distinct tactical advantage. Messages and communications can be relayed using the Librarian's considerable psychic powers, and these types of communications have the advantage over more physical forms, such as comm-links, of being completely undetectable to all but the most powerful of psykers.
There is a myriad array of equipment that the Librarians of the Adeptus Astartes make use of to amplify and focus their already considerable psychic powers. The variety of these arcane items is so great that it makes a general classification of them impossible, and their use varies amongst the different Chapters, as well as being dependent on the personal preferences of individual Librarians. Some favour the use of the Emperor's Tarot in predicting the twisting paths of the future, a tool used for divination throughout the Imperium. The psychic hood is an intricately designed helmet, fitted with an array of psychically conductive wires and crystals, which is often used by a Chapter's Librarians. This helmet serves to amplify the psyker's abilities, enabling him to disrupt the flow and manipulation of the warp by others. As such, it is an effective counter to the psychic abilities of rogue and alien psykers. Ritually purified force weapons are utilised by the majority of Librarians. They come in a variety of forms, most generally appearing as swords and axes. Psychically attuned to the mind of its wielder, the force weapon is a potent armament that the psyker uses as a conduit through which his power is channelled. Coiling psychic energy flows around the crystalline matrices etched into the weapon, released on impact in an explosive display of power. The weapons have a colossal force when utilised against creatures of the warp, which are particularly vulnerable to attacks made with the same form of energy that makes up their own warp-spawned forms.