|This article, Blades of Morkai, was written by Brentticorn. Please do not edit or 'acquire' this fiction without the writer's permission.|
The Blades of Morkai are a successor Chapter of the Space Wolves. They serve as the chamber militant for the Ordo Mercador, a minor Ordo of the Inquisition charged with being one of the few forms of oversight into the actions of Rogue Traders. Due to the demands of their charge, they are a fleet based Chapter that specializes in void combat. The relatively small size of the Ordo Mercador and the vast amount of space their jurisdiction covers leaves the Ordo perpetually overextended, so Chapter Masters of the Blades of Morkai are also considered Ordo Mercador Inquisitors themselves in an effort to alleviate this.
While they are officially considered an Ultima Founding Chapter, as they are composed almost entirely of Primaris Space Marines, they were actually active long before then. The original founders of the Chapter were among Belisarius Cawl's first experiments in his Primaris project. These early proto-Primaris must be made from already existing Space Marines and are just barely still small enough to use standard armor patterns (most notably Terminator Armor), but have such an abysmally high rejection and mortality rate that continuing to make more of them proved unsustainable in the long term.
Roughly 1,000 years before the Fall of Cadia, Belisarius Cawl secretly released the first batch of what would later be referred to as proto-Primaris Marines. Those derived from Leman Russ organized themselves under Sven Frostfang, who served as a Jarl (Captain) in the Space Wolf Legion's 8th (For-twa) Company ('The Slaughter-fire Heralds') during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. These forces joined whatever conflicts they could while keeping their existences a secret from the Imperium as a way to test Cawl's Primaris project. Despite their attempts to operate under the radar, their bold tactics and unwillingness to let other citizens of the Imperium die unless absolutely necessary drew too much attention, and they were noticed by a Lord Inquisitor of the Ordo Mercador. This Inquisitor presented them with an offer they couldn't refuse--continued secrecy in exchange for becoming the Chamber Militant of their Ordo.
Once Guilliman returned to take control of the Imperium and Cawl was willing to go public with his now-finished Primaris Project, Sven decided now was the opportune moment to bring their Chapter out of the shadows. After some wheeling and dealing among the Inquisition and Administratum, they were quickly permitted to form one of the earliest Chapters of the Ultima Founding.
Damocles Gulf Ambush (742-745.M41)
A few centuries before the 13th Black Crusade, the Blades of Morkai were operating on the fringes of Tau space, chasing reports of Rogue Traders falling to the Greater Good. However, they were ambushed as they entered the system by the Knights of Laeran. While the Blades of course fought valiantly, their ships were coming out of the Warp only a handful at a time, and they weren't able to bring the full might of their fleet against the Slaaneshi warband. The Blades were forced to retreat, with a stain upon their honor that they wouldn't be able to remove until after the Cicatrix Maledictum formed.
The Airtha Crusade (Unknown Date.M42)
The participation of the Blades of Morkai was slight, but significant. Sven Frostfang himself personally accompanied Inquisitor Tuplov, along with 50 of his Huskarls. For the most part they mostly acted as bodyguards for the duration of the conflict, though they did take whatever opportunities they could while there to gather intelligence on where the Knights of Laeran may have taken their ships.
Defense of Ashimar (Unknown Date.M42)
When the Khornate warband known as the Promise of War Unending invaded the Ashimar system, two Chapters answered their call for aid--the Angels of Calth and the Blades of Morkai. As soon as they realized the warband they were fighting was derived from the Word Bearers, the Angels of Calth attempted to wipe out the entire system from orbit via Exterminatus. The Blades of Morkai refused to let this happen, however, and engaged the Angels of Calth in void combat while deploying their Marines to the surface to save Ashimar. Despite fighting on two fronts, the Blades were fighting in their element on both fronts, and were able to defeat both enemies with the aid of the Ashimar Nova Guard and Battlefleet Ashimar.
Laeran Retribution (Unknown Date.M42)
Centuries after the initial ambush that saw them lose half their fleet, the Blades of Morkai were finally able to locate where the Knights of Laeran were keeping their stolen ships, thanks to a tip from an Alpha Legionnaire by the name of Carius. The Blades of Morkai went in expecting to destroy most of the stolen ships, as they had been in Chaotic hands for centuries at this point and were likely corrupted. To their surprise, significantly more of these ships were recovered than expected, although the majority of them were still destroyed. The battle was a resounding success, though it came at a terrible price--while Sven Frostfang defeated Daemon Prince Gaius in personal combat, the wound he suffered in the process was so grievous that he had to be interred into a dreadnought.
The Blades of Morkai make no attempts to even pay lip service to the Codex Astartes, although given both their origins and their heritage this is hardly surprising. Instead, the Blades of Morkai operate in three Fleets. These fleets are each made up of three Companies, two active and one reserve, plus their own dedicated Command Staff.
The Huskarls are essentially the veterans of the Blades of Morkai, and serve as the Chapter Master's personal force. These veterans are almost all made up veterans of the Horus Heresy who submitted to Cawl's early proto-Primaris experiments. As such, they are just barely small enough to fit inside customized suits of Terminator Armor.
Similar to their parent Chapter, the Scouts of the Blades of Morkai are made up not of initiates, but those who lack the usual sociability and pack mentality of the rest of the Chapter. Unlike the Space Wolves, however, their fleet based organization makes the isolation these souls seek more difficult to come by. As such, they are given two options, which they may switch between any time at will--service within the Recon Fleet, or joining the personal retinue of an Inquisitor of their choice. The former they do as independent agents rather than an organized Scout Company, and the latter understandably greatly favor Ordo Mercador Inquisitors, though they may still join the rare Inquisitor of another Ordo that has sufficiently impressed them. On rare occasion, they might even take up Deathwatch service for a time.
Uniquely among the Adeptus Astartes, the Blades of Morkai are almost entirely devoted to void combat. They use the advantage granted by their black carapace's direct interface with their vehicles in order to make their fighter and bomber pilots among the best in the Imperium and second only to the Hawk Lords among the Astartes. This, combined with combat training specifically geared towards engaging in and defending from boarding actions, make them one of the most terrifying forces to fight in space. When forced to fight on the surface of a planet, the Blades prefer to engage in close combat shock and awe tactics while their kearls provide them with heavy artillery fire support.
Like their parent Chapter, the Blades of Morkai still use the legendary Fenrisian Wolves, but somewhat differently. They almost exclusively utilize the Common and Cyberwolf varieties, as Thunderwolf Cavalry is almost impossible to fit into narrow ship corridors. In addition, these wolves are often used to search ships they are inspecting while on Ordo Mercador business. As a result, the Blades have had to breed wolves that are both smarter and less aggressive than the typical Fenrisian Wolf, and are less likely to roam the halls of their ships hunting the crew.
The Blades of Morkai are almost indistinguishable genetically from their parent Chapter, the Space Wolves. However, as their founding members were part of Belisarius Cawl's earliest experiments in Primaris Space Marines, most of their leadership are a less stable proto-Primaris type of being. Unfortunately these proto-Primaris aren't able to reliably pass on their gene-seed due to an unacceptably high organ rejection rate, but the vast majority of the Chapter is made up of actual, fully fledged Primaris Space Marines made from the genetic material of Leman Russ.
Recruitment and Chapter Serfs
As a fleet based Chapter, the Blades of Morkai recruit primarily from the crew of their ships. This crew, called "kearls" by the Blades, serve as their equivalent to Chapter Serfs. They were originally drawn from the population of Fenris, but the Blades conscript additional crew from just about every Death World they come across to ensure a healthy degree of genetic diversity. Because the genetic legacy of Leman Russ requires particularly strong individuals, and because of this relatively limited recruitment pool, these mortals are organized very differently compared to other Chapters.
Due to the males making up the Astartes recruitment pool, the actual naval crew of Blades of Morkai ships are entirely female. All women born aboard their ships are given intense naval training, and are expected to fight alongside their Astartes brothers whenever they deploy onto a planet. Every non-Astartes that might be in any position that could risk one's life, be it fighting as a rating or operating in a section of the ship likely to be singled out by enemy fire, is a woman. These women are expected to train and fight every bit as intensely as an Astartes every moment of their lives unless pregnant.
Mortal males, meanwhile, are relatively rare among the Blades of Morkai crew. The vast majority are thrown into recruitment trials, which very few survive. A select number of males genetically compatible with their gene-seed are set aside from each recruitment pool to breed the next generation. These males are kept in low-risk, non-vital roles on their respective ships, both to reduce the risk of losing them and so they can be freely exchanged between ships to prevent inbreeding, and are expected to spend the majority of their lives siring the next generation of kearls. These males are often referred to (derogatorily) as "breeders" by both Astartes and female crew, and are often looked down upon for the lives of relative ease they lead, though actually abusing them is punishable by death.
- Sven Frostfang: Original Chapter Master and Founder of the Chapter, currently interred into a Dreadnaught. Currently interred in a Dreadnaught. In addition to founding the Chapter, Sven was also known for believing that women are more competent and reliable than men when it comes to baseline humans, an attitude which is believed to be the true origins of how the Chapter's kearls are organized.
- Chapter Master Jon Silvertongue: Also referred to as "Clubfoot." Current Chapter Master, and thus is also considered an Ordo Mercador Inquisitor.
- Admiral Niesti: When not in combat, Admiral Niesti is aggressive and blunt to the point of almost seeming rude to outsiders (though the actual Astartes among the fleet generally find her attitude endearing.) Once a naval engagement begins, however, she becomes calmer than the most hardened Astartes veteran and a better mathematician than a monotasked servitor. There are rumors that her fiery attitude once continued into battle back when she served as a rank-and-file Rating, but age and the weight of command appear to have disciplined her significantly.
The Blades of Morkai primarily wear tan colored power armor. The shoulder pauldron insets are painted red with black trim. The Aquila or Imperialis on the chest guard is also black in color. Like their genetic forebears, the Blades of Morkai also show disregard for authority and the dictates of the Codex Astartes, keeping to the time honored tradition of displaying their individual pack markings (Blood Claw, Grey Hunter, Long Fang or Wolf Guard) emblazoned on their right poleyn (knee guard). The armored vehicles of the Blades of Morkai bear much of the same ritualized iconography as the warriors themselves. Transports share the pack marking of their passengers, while battle tanks and support vehicles often bear the pack symbols of their crewmen. Individual honor markings are displayed on various parts of their battle-plate.
The Blades of Morkai's Chapter badge is a modified symbol of Morkai - the twin-headed lupine guardian of the Fenrisian underworld. A stylized skull centered upon a pair of downward blades, is centered upon the twin wolf heads. This ornate version of the Chapter's iconography is often utilized by the Chapter's officers and displayed on banners. A simplified version of the Chapter's iconography, consisting of the stylized skull and blades, is often utilized in lieu of the more formal iconography.
As a fleet-based Chapter specializing in void warfare, the Blades of Morkai fleet is understandably significantly larger than a traditional Chapter's. Even more strangely, the majority of their ships are composed of classes more commonly seen among the Imperial Navy than the Adeptus Astartes. After losing a large number of their ships in an ambush by the Knights of Laeran, Chapter Master Frostfang exercised his authority as an Inquisitor to "requisition" ships from a number of Battlefleets that owed debts of honor to the Blades of Morkai.
While these ships are vastly superior in void combat to traditional Astartes craft, those Space Marines serving aboard such vessels are also unable to deploy onto planets or in boarding actions quite as quickly. Thus, the traditionally Navy-aligned ships in their armada typically only house a small number of Astartes, usually only a handful of Blood Claw packs not yet considered full members of the Chapter, who are primarily only there to fight off enemy boarding actions. The vast majority of actual Marines are typically all in the actual Astartes Battlebarges and Strike Cruisers so they can be deployed quickly--though this does mean these ships are forced to cram in more than double the number of normal Astartes into a smaller number of ships, when compared to a Codex compliant Chapter. The daily lives of a Blades of Morkai battle-brother are thus even less comfortable than even a typical Chapter's, but this does make enemy boarding actions on these ships virtually suicidal.
- Flagship: The White Wolf (Apocalypse Class Battleship/Venerable Battle Barge)
- 2 Victory Class Battleships
- 3 Mercury Class Battlecruisers
- 4 Dominator Class Cruisers
- 2 Astartes Strike Cruisers
- 30 Escort Squads
First War Fleet
- Flagship: Lady Sif (Astartes Battle Barge)
- 2 Retribution Class Battleships
- 3 Overlord Class Battlecruisers
- 4 Lunar Class Cruisers
- 2 Astartes Strike Cruisers
- 30 Escort Squads
Second War Fleet
- Flagship: Watcher of the Abyss (Astartes Battle Barge)
- 2 Retribution Class Battleships
- 3 Overlord Class Battlecruisers
- 4 Lunar Class Cruisers
- 2 Strike Cruisers
- 30 Escort Squads
- Flagship: Stalker of the Stars (Emperor Class Battleship)
- 3 Dauntless Class Light Cruisers
- 10 Escort Squads
By the Blades of Morkai
- "Why did the Emperor only use men to create the Legiones Astartes? Simple--men are worse than useless without Astartes enhancements. Women didn't need the help."
- — Sven Frostfang
- "May your false gods grant you protection from our wrath, for the Blades will never rest until we have your head!"
- —Last words of Sven Frostfang, Chapter Master of the Blades of Morkai during an engagement with Lord Gaius of the Knights of Laeran
About the Blades of Morkai
- "On one hand, the service the Blades of Morkai provide is vital, and I am grateful for it, censuring those usually beyond censure, but on the other hand, had they and the Inquisition performed their role better, I would have more brothers to stand by me, and fewer tombs over which to mourn."
- —Unknown Dragons Amaranthine Marine
- "Rogue Traders sometimes request docking and safe harbour at Volgenstraad. The Blades of Morkai exist for exactly the reason, we always refuse them, no matter the offer."
- —Kaegre Lurtzrgen, Lord Mechanica of the Warmachines