The Fate of Old Andrukah
Of all the thousand and more Space Marine Chapters, it is the blue-clad Ultramarines that, in the mind of the countless billions of the Emperor’s subjects, personify everything that the Adeptus Astartes stands for. The Ultramarines and their many successor Chapters have stood at the very forefront of the war against the traitor, the alien, and the fiend since the very foundation of the Imperium. Across the domains of the Emperor, the Ultramarines are celebrated as heroic, virtuous, and noble defenders of Humanity, their deeds celebrated in devotional works the length and breadth of the galaxy.
Even amongst the Space Marine Chapters themselves, the Ultramarines occupy a position of special honour. The gene-seed from which the original Ultramarines Legion was founded is considered the purest, and it is estimated that some two-thirds of Chapters share their inheritance, being either direct successors or created from tithed Ultramarines genetic material. This shared inheritance often ensures that when the Ultramarines go to war, they are supported by many other Chapters, and that when Space Marine commanders gather to consider common strategy, the counsel of the Ultramarines isgreatlyvalued.Often,the presence of even a small number of Ultramarines units in a larger military undertaking will ensure the participation of many more Chapters, so highly are the sons of Roboute Guilliman held in their brothers’ esteem.
When Hive Fleet Behemoth struck the Eastern Fringe, it was the Ultramarines Chapter that turned the tide, even at the cost of the entire First Company. At the Chapter’s home world of Macragge, one of the largest battles seen in centuries was fought, with the Ultramarines, led by their Master Marneus Calgar, at the very forefront. In addition to the great honour won by the Chapter in that titanic struggle, the Ultramarines gained invaluable experince in fighting these vile xenos, which they have passed on, often via service in the Deathwatch, to many other Chapters. When the Horus Heresy struck, Guilliman was leading his mighty Legion in a massive campaign in the galactic south. So successful was the campaign that the Legion had been carried far from the Imperium’s heart, so that by the time Guilliman received word of the Warmaster’s treachery, the siege of Terra was underway. The Ultramarines fought their way towards Terra, and although they defeated a massive Traitor space fleet, were unable to intervene in the final battle.
It is Guilliman’s actions subsequent to the Horus Heresy that made him the figure of adoration that he would become. With the traitors scattered and the Emperor to all intents and purposes lost to Humanity, the Imperium stood at the precipice. It was the genius and leadership of Roboute Guilliman that saw the Imperium through its first century, as he kept invaders at bay and saved the scattered worlds from collapsing into anarchy.
Roboute Guilliman fell at the hands of his erstwhile brother, Primarch Fulgrim of the Emperor’s Children Traitor Legion. Poisoned unto death, Guilliman’s barely living body was placed in a stasis field, and later enthroned in the Ultramarine’s fortress-monastery. There it remains to this day, and some say that within the timeless aura of the stasis field, his body heals, and he may one day be returned to defend the Imperium he strove so hard to build.
The Realm of Ultramar
Situated deep in the galactic southeast in Ultima Segmentum, Ultramar is unique amongst all of the Chapter headquarters of Space Marines, in that while most Chapters operate from the asteroid bases, lonely fortress-monasteries, and isolated worlds, the Ultramarines control no fewer than eight star systems near their home world of Macragge. Each of these worlds has its own government, armed forces, and individual cultures, but all are utterly loyal to the Ultramarines Chapter. The worlds surrounding Macragge are largely industrialised, thoughduetotheorganisational skills and far-sightedness of the Chapter’s primarch, they are not the polluted wastelands of similar worlds across the Imperium. The worlds of Ultramar do not pay a tithe to the Imperium or provide regiments to the Imperial Guard. Instead, their every effort is devoted to the service of the Ultramarines, the ultimate reward for which is selection of a scion for service in the Chapter. Those families with an ancestor who joined the ranks of the Ultramarines are greatly honoured, and revere his name for all time.
Macragge itself is mostly bleak and rocky, with more than three-quarters of its land mass formed from mountainous terrain nearly entirely devoid of life. The planet is encircled by vast, nigh impregnable orbital defenses, as well as mighty fortresses at either pole. The polar fortresses bore the brunt of the he Tyranids’ attacks during the Battle for Macragge, where, thanks to the sacrifices of the First Company, the back of the galactic invasion was broken and Hive Fleet Behemoth defeated.
Duty and Honour
The Ultramarines are rightly held as exemplars of all that a Space Marine can and should be. They are noble and virtuous, self-sacrificing and stoic, and truthful and just in thought and deed. Unlike the Battle-Brothers of some other Chapters, they are not arrogant in their dealings with the common man, and have served and died alongside warriors of every other military force in the Imperium.
This attitude is instilled in the Ultramarines from a very young age, long before consideration is given to recruitment into the Chapter. The people of Macragge in particular, and of Ultramar as a whole, are raised in a culture of discipline and service. On Macragge, it is common for a young man to leave his family whilst still a child to learn the ways of the warrior in one of the many martial communities of the world. In these schools, the youngster learns of honour and duty, practising and studying so that his arm is strong and his mind keen. It is from these communities that many of the Ultramarine aspirants are drawn, for they are well versed in the arts of war and ideal candidates for recruitment into the Chapter.
As befits the Chapter of Roboute Guilliman, the Ultramarines adhere rigidly to the tenets laid down in the Codex Astartes. For ten thousand years they have fought in the manner described in its holy pages. Other Chapters may freely interpret the words of Guilliman, but to the Ultramarines such deviation is unthinkable. The Codex Astartes is a work of divine wisdom, sanctified by the Emperor himself, and the Ultramarines see no reason to deviate from it. The life- long lessons of discipline and self-reliance that are instilled in the people of Ultramar from birth give them the strength of character to hold true to teachings over ten thousand years old.
For any given tactical situation, the Codex offers hundreds of pages devoted to how it may be met and overcome. Each warrior of the Chapter is required to memorise whole sections of the Codex so that within a company there exists an entire record of the Codex’s tenets. The wisdom of thousands of the Imperiums’s warriors has contributed to the Codex, and details on everything from unit markings to launching a full-scale planetary assault are contained within its pages.
This is not to say that the Ultramarines are hidebound or unimaginative in their thinking, for it must not be forgotten that Primarch Roboute Guilliman is regarded as one of the most imaginative and innovative military thinkers of all time. It is rather a deep-seated belief that every problem can be solved with recourse to the Codex Astartes, that there is no need to reinvent solutions to dilemmas solved long ago. By their strict adherence to the Codex, the Ultramarines are in fact freed by it. The success of this doctrine is self-evident in the countless thousands of battle honours the Chapter has
earned over ten millennia of loyal service to the Imperium.