The Fate of Old Andrukah
TheStormWardensarestoicdefendersoftenfoundupon the very borders of the Imperium. Up until recently, these Space Marines focused their attention upon the great warp storms that trouble the Halo Stars region on the galaxy’s western edge. There, they protect frontier worlds from the predations of xenos threats, Chaos renegades, and heretical recidivists. They are often unknown and unsung heroes to those planets they defend, for the Storm Wardens are highly insular, and there are only a relative handful of monuments and records that celebrate their long list of battle honours. A bizarre twist of fate occurred in the depths of the 36th Millennium, during the Age of Apostasy—an event that many hold responsible for the Chapter’s aloof nature.
The Storm Wardens lost many of the records of their founding during what later became known as the Nemesis Incident in roughly 945.M36. This event began during an ill- omened joint operation involving elements of the Inquisition against the Enslaver infestation of the Steropes Cluster. It is unknown exactly what transpired amongst Steropes’ cyclopean ruins, but the aftermath of this campaign forever altered the destiny of the Storm Wardens Chapter.
Upon the conclusion of the Nemesis Incident, the serving Storm Warden’s Chapter Master, Owin Glendwyr, consulted with an Inquisitor Lord of the Ordo Xenos upon a most dire decision. The Chapter Master sealed many sections of the Stor Wardens’ fortress-monastery by the authority of the Lords of Terra. All traces of their history and even the proud legacy of their heritage to one of the primarchs were destroyed or hidden away. The Storm Warden’s home world of Sacris was forbidden to have greater contact with the Imperium at large.
The only sanctioned record of that time, the Liber Tempest, claims that many Storm Wardens were placed in hidden statis vaults, including the Chapter Master and the entire veteran First Company. The Chapter’s Dreadnoughts are the guardians of these hidden Chambers, and each has taken a vow of silence, standin asmute sentinels over these forbidden places.
After the Nemesis Incident, the Chapter re-built its First Company. These honoured Battle-Brothers know themselves as the “The Inheritors”, custodians of the Chapter’s honour until the day their ancestors rise from their timeless slumber.
Ever since this time, the Storm Wardens have redoubled their diligence, and their fortress-monastery mounts sophisticated scanning technology placed reluctantly by the Adeptus Mechanicus as payment for an ancient pact. Currently, the Chapter is led by Lorgath Maclir, a cunning strategist who constantly challenges his captains with tactical exercises and obsessively studies the Tactica Imperialis. Some rumours claim that Lorgath has managed to memorise these precepts of war, an impressive feat even for a Space Marine’s enhanced memory.
The World of Storms
Located in the Calixis Sector of the Segmentum Obscurus, the planet known as Sacris is classified as Forbidden by the Adeptus Terra. Sacris is a remote, feudal world of highland moors and dark, oppressive swampland. It is inhabited by primitive human tribes of warriors who gather around charismatic warlords and continually struggle for dominance in the murky swamps. The tribes of Sacris have a fierce code ofhonourandholdthataman’swordishisbond.Thetribes worship the Emperor as a stern father-figure who judges all men’s souls by the strength of their arms and the purity of their honour. The culture of Sacris has a strong impact on the Storm Wardens, and it is not uncommon to see Storm Warden’s Scouts with woad-painted faces like those of the native tribes. Humans are not the only inhabitants of Sacris; a sizeable colony of abhuman ogryns survive on the rocky southern continent, possibly the result of an ancient oath sworn by the Storm Wardens prior to the Nemesis Incident. Whatever the truth may be, the Storm Wardens have no particular distaste for abhumans and have fought beside Imperial Guard regiments including ogryns and ratlings in the past. Currently, automated beacons surround Sacris’ orbit, declaring the world forbidden and spreading rumours of virulent plague. The reason for this deception is unknown, save for the fact that it was Owin Glendwyr’s fifinal command as Chapter Master. Chapter Masters have since dutifully carried on with this oath-bound quarantine, although they know not its
The Storm Wardens maintain their fortress-monastery on Highcastle, the single brilliant ivory moon that orbits Sacris. Crenelated towers surmounted by watchful gargoyle-servitors mark the presence of this immense and ancient keep. Inhabited by the Storm Wardens, it contains massive chambers where the Chapter’s vehicles and wargear are maintained. The fortress-monastery’s grey halls bear many blank banners and deep, irreparable scars left behind from the effects of the Nemesis Incident. Highcastle’s lower halls extend deep below the moon’s surface and contain ancient automated furnaces to provide the raw materials and conditions necessary to craft new weapons and vehicles for the Chapter’s use, overseen by the Master of the Forge. Deeper still are the stasis chambers, though none but the Chapter’s Dreadnoughts know of their exact location. Highcastle is a nigh-impregnable fortress, although many significant portions remain inaccessible and silent. The age of Highcastle is difficult to determine, but the fragmentary records remaining to the Storm Wardens indicate that Highcastle was present in the region before the Angevin Crusade and the formal foundation of the Calixis Sector.
The Storm Wardens descend from Sacris’ moon to the foggy moors and teeming tribes below to hold a series of games and ritual combats to select only the fiercest and most cunning warriors to join their ranks as aspirants.
Often, aspirants must struggle against the fen-trolls and other highly dangerous native fauna of Sacris during the trials, battling their way up and down the shifting moors in a combination skirmish and marathon race. The aspirants must navigate past pockets of deadly swamp gas, through regions infested with swarm leeches, across quicksand-laden plains, and find their way to the Storm Warden’s landing site. Those who survive that far then compete in games that pit aspirants against each other in contests of strength and skill at arms. Simply to compete in these trials elevates a man in the eyes of the tribes of Sacris; succeed or fail, he has tested himself against the greatest warriors on the planet, and that is worthy of great respect. After passing the trials, many Aspirants take with them the Sacris claymore, an heirloom weapon cherished by the tribesmen. It is also common that, when a Storm Warden dies, his claymore is ritually returned to his homeworld, and many blades have earned great honour for their tribe in this manner.
The Way of Honour
The Storm Wardens, like the feral tribesman they recruit from, value personal honour and strength at arms. It is said that many Storm Wardens prefer to challenge enemy commanders to personal combat in order to test themselves against the best that the foe has to offer. Many Storm Wardens have a predilection for single combat with a foe they consider worthy of such a distinction, although more than a few veteran sergeants and captains have fallen in battle against particularly dangerous opponents in this way.
The Storm Wardens are highly insular, and rarely visit other worlds. In fact, the Calixis Sector is largely unaware of their very presence, with the exception of several high- ranking Inquisitors and Lord Sector Hax. Much of the Chapter’s aloof nature has to do with the high value that the Storm Wardens place on personal honour, and some speculate that these Space Marines prefer not to associate with many of the disreputable worlds that surround them.
Despite their generally remote and detached nature, Storm Wardens rarely cause friction with the Imperium’s various organisations, having assisted both the Inquisition and the Imperial Guard in numerous campaigns and actions throughout their history. Many Imperial frontier worlds under dire threat have witnessed the sight of Storm Warden’s drop pods entering the atmosphere, each containing a squad of Space Marines intent on repelling any attack upon the Imperium’s borders.
The traditions of the Chapter mirror those of the tribes of Sacris, with a strong emphasis on close combat, testing themselves against the strongest of foes upon the field of battle.
Like most Codex Chapters, the Storm Wardens perform well at all forms of combat, but there is one strategy they have refined with devastating effect. Using heavy armour, their assaults feature numerous Predator tanks and Land Raiders. The enemy is subjected to a savage but brief bombardment, either from a Strike Cruiser in close orbit or a Thunderhawk gunship strafe. This pins the enemy in place for an armoured assault by the Chapter’s Predators and Land Raiders, supported by Rhinos and Razorbacks carrying Tactical and Sternguard squads into the thick of battle.
It is this armoured assault which has its roots in the Chapter’s recruiting world of Sacris. Many Storm Wardens use their armoured vehicles as a steed to carry them into the thick of the battle, where they may launch savage assaults against the enemy and fight by the tenets of the Way of Honour. Their preference for fighting in tandem with the heavy firepower and mobility of their armoured units has led to many stunning tactical feats, and also evens the balance so they may fight their enemy face-to-face on even and honourable terms.
It is no surprise, therefore, that the Chapter currently counts a high number of Techmarines amongst its number, and there has been some speculation that the Storm Wardens have a closer relationship with the Adeptus Mechanicus than other Space Marine Chapters.