|This article, Brethren of Hel, was written by Algrim Whitefang. Please do not edit or 'acquire' this fiction without the writer's permission.|
|This article, Brethren of Hel, is currently under active construction. The author, Algrim Whitefang, apologizes for the inconvenience.|
- "The orthodoxy and dogmatic adherence to the false faith of the Cult Mechanicus has resulted in the long slow death of the 'Corpse God's' empire. Lack of innovation..lack of experimentation..a lack of independent thought and the foolish adherence to the strictures of the Crimson Accords has left mankind shackled in ignorance and darkness. Only by seeking out and embracing the lost technology of humanity's ancestors, will one rise in both stature and unlimited power."
- — Attr. Tech-Lord Malevos Gurges (Date Unknown)
The Brethren of Hel are a notorious Chaos Warband that is known for raiding multiple Imperial systems near the hellish Warp rift known as the Eye of Terror. Formerly known as the Iron Invictors, this one-time Loyalist Chapter was Founded as a Successor Chapter of the ancient and unforgiving Iron Hands Legion. This Chapter, along with the Iron Gorgons, Iron Harbingers and the Templars of Iron, formerly made up a quadrumvirate of 2nd Founding Iron Hands Successors, collectively known as the Frateris Firmitatis ("The Ironclad Brotherhood").
This Chapter was once counted amongst the most stalwart defenders of mankind. But like their Progenitors, the Invictors were obsessed with strength and the elimination of physical and mental weakness, which is subject to decay and temptation, and believed to have been a contributing factor to the failure of the Loyalist Legions during the Dropsite Massacre at Isstvan V. This led the Iron Hands to revere the machine and distrust the failings inherent in flesh. But the Iron Invictors' obsession with certain forbidden mysteries and nightmare sciences of the Dark Age of Technology eventually saw them being declared Excommunicate Traitoris, and cast out of the Imperium.
For millennia, the fleet-bound Brethren of Hel have periodically raided Forge Worlds and far-flung Adeptus Mechanicus outposts near the Eye of Terror - obsessed with obtaining rare standard template constructs and the secrets of archeo-technology forbidden by Imperial dictates and the edicts of the Martian Priesthood. They are relentlessly pursued by their erstwhile brethren, who will stop at nothing to eradicate this Chaos Warband of hereteks.
The Brethren of Hel are an infamous Chaos Warband that continuously seeks out forbidden tech-lore that defile the Omnissiah's gifts, imperil the soul, and taint the holy form of the Adeptus Astartes. They willingly perform the very crimes which nearly destroyed all of humanity and toppled human civilisation from the zenith of its power in the dim horrors of Imperial pre-history.
The Brethren of Hel Warband can trace their lineage back to the dark days of the Age of Darkness during the Horus Heresy, which began in the waning years of the Great Crusade in the latter 30th Millennium. During this turbulent time, they were still one of the Clan Companies of the stoic and unforgiving Iron Hands Legion. They were originally Legionaries of the outlaw Kaalibos Clan - a bellicose and brutal clan whose Legionaries were notorious even on Medusa for their sheer ruthlessness in battle. They were led by their ferocious commander, Iron-Lord Malevos Gurges, a predatory warrior who was darkly-famed for his exploits during his early years fighting in the Terran Unification Wars.
Alongside the other proto-Legions created during the latter days of the Unification Wars on Ancient Terra, the recruitment of Legionaries for the X Legion was relatively widespread, with elements drawn from all over Ancient Terra. In particular, the warlike culture and renowned brutality of the population of Old Albia, which supplied substantial numbers of recruits for the X Legion, had a great deal to do with the Legion's early character, lending them a fierce pride in a warrior ancestry that predated the Legion's founding. Malevos Gurges was a part of the X Legion's first induction of recruits, and is believed to hail from the region of Old Albia. His earliest recorded campaigns were those where the X Legion was utilised as part of larger Legion task forces in the closing stages of the battles on Ancient Terra itself.
Assigned to the 11th Chapter (nicknamed the 'Invictors', or the 'Unconquered'), this bellicose formation quickly garnered an infamous reputation for their calculated bloodlust and rage they would unleash upon their foes, often leaving a scorched wasteland in the wake of one of their brutal assaults, choked with bodies and broken war machines. Their penchant for bloodshed and heavy-handed tactics soon earned them the unofficial sobriquet, 'Iron Butchers' by their detractors they had fought alongside during several Imperial Compliances.
Even after their reunification with their Primarch Ferrus Manus and the subsequent reorganisation of the X Legion and imprinting of his will upon the newly renamed Iron Hands, the 11th Chapter, now known as Clan Kaalibos, maintained their obstinate behaviour towards authority, even to their newly discovered Primarch's rule, which would be a source of enmity between the newly raised Iron-Lord Malevos Gurges and the Gorgon. During the Great Crusade, both Gurges and his Clan were continuously noted for their single-mindedness when it came to the elimination of their targets, down to the last man. With no love lost between Gurges and his Primarch, his clan was often utilised in the capacity of assault or breacher squad roles. The Kaalibos Clan were also assigned the onerous duty of taking part in suicidal 'Zone Mortalis' campaigns or 'Forlorn Hope' objectives, a role in which the fearless legionaries of this brutal clan excelled at.
Despite the odds often being severely stacked against them, their ferocity, determination and stubbornness in the face of overwhelming odds, saw them emerge bloodied, but victorious. Like their unforgiving commander, the warriors of Clan Kaalibos utilised an array of bolters, volkites and various chain-weapons for melee combat. The Kaalibos Clan was censured on multiple occasions for their brutal assaults and bloody-handed ways, which often left nothing alive in their wake and caused unnecessary collateral damage to the infrastructure of a potential newly compliant world. Though their methods were extreme, often the slaughter they enacted left those few survivors almost childishly eager to accept the Emperor's servants and to willingly accept Imperial Compliance under any terms as long as they were spared the wrath of the 'Iron Butchers'.
The Horus Heresy
Clan Kaalibos would later take part in one of the most notorious campaigns during the opening years of the galaxy-wide conflict that would come to be known as the Horus Heresy. Enraged at Horus' treachery, Ferrus Manus and his warriors gratefully received the Emperor's orders through his brother Rogal Dorn. Together with the Raven Guard and Salamanders Legions, the Iron Hands were to confront Horus and his lieutenants on the world of Istvaan V and crush them utterly. A second wave, comprising the Night Lords, Iron Warriors, Alpha Legion and a contingent from the Word Bearers Legions, would follow them and support their initial attack.
After the initial assault, Corax and his Brother Primarch Vulkan led their forces back to the drop site to regroup and to allow the warriors of their recently arrived brother Primarchs of the second wave a measure of the glory in defeating Horus. But instead, they were met with the fire of betrayal roaring from the barrels of a thousand guns, as the second wave of Legionaries revealed where their true loyalties now lay. The Iron Hands were undone by their own hubris and the blade of the Traitor both, and paid a heavy price in the brutal slaying of their Primarch and the near-crippling of their Legion's strength. Though left a shattered Legion, the cold fury of the Iron Hands' bitter vengeance would afterwards be writ across the stars.
Of the hundreds of thousands of Legiones Astartes warriors committed to the initial drop, ten thousand more would be cut down in the brutal pursuit that followed and the titanic void battle that ensued between the Traitor and Loyalist fleets throughout the Istvaan System. In the solar days and weeks following the Dropsite Massacre, elements of the Iron Hands, Salamanders and Raven Guard were scattered far and wide across the northern Imperium, having been forced to make hastily plotted Warp jumps to escape the Traitors' ambush. Of these surviving forces, were Iron-Lord Gurges and several squads of Clan Kaalibos, who somehow managed to fight their way clear of the brutal crossfire in the Urgall Depression, avoiding the nucleonic artillery strike of the Iron Warriors, make their way to waiting Thunderhawks and Storm Eagle gunships and eventually fled into orbit.
Despite sustaining severe damage to their transports, they somehow managed to miraculously limp back to their vessel, the Gorgon's Wrath, and fought their way clear of the system, dogged by murderous pursuit. Comprised of mixed elements of multiple Legions, Gurges began his own war, fought beyond the sight and the staying hand of the newly created Iron Council, the ruling body that oversaw command of remnants of the X Legion following the supposed 'death' of their Primarch. With his indomitable will, Gurges was able to meld the forces under his command into a coherent whole. He successfully prosecuted a deadly guerrilla war, carving a swathe of blood and ash across the void in memory of a dream which had turned to nightmare with the Warmaster Horus' betrayal at Istvaan.
The Keys of Hel
- "What are the Keys of Hel? They are the fires taken from the mountain. They are what should not and must not be. Only in the last days of humanity, when law has no meaning, should any think to break the locks placed upon them. These are those days."
- — The Ghola ('Revenant') Crius, Iron Father and Lord of Clan Kadoran, formerly of the Crusader Host, during the Horus Heresy
Those few Iron Hands of Clan Kaalibos that remained had seen betrayal, atrocity and unthinkable carnage on an unimaginable scale. They had all become hardened veterans who had survived against all odds and now trusted only in the warrior next to him in the line of battle. For their fellow battle-brothers they would fight and die and strive to see another dawn, but for great cause or distant and uncaring masters, they had nothing but scorn. Iron-Lord Gurges and his warriors were determined to have their pound of flesh, and were willing to resort to any means necessary in order to achieve their goals. Thus, they turned to the use of technologies forbidden by the writ of their Primarch's own hand - the so-called Keys of Hel - the seals which had been placed upon the principles and forbidden knowledge that was deemed heretical or too dangerous.
Throughout the Great Crusade, the X Legion had encountered such elements of forbidden technology or lore, and recognised it for what they were. They were seized and suppressed by the Primarch's express order and withheld, it was rumoured, even from the Mechanicum. Few outside the X legion knew of the ban placed by the Gorgon on such forbidden technology. Even amongst his own sons, few knew more than the name of such forbidden tech and, of those who did know, most grasped only shadows of dark possibility.
Cyber-resurrection was one of the rites of cybermancy. The application of this forbidden technology was one of the forbidden nightmare technologies from the Dark Age of Technology. Following the death of their Primarch Ferrus Manus on Istvaan V, some of the Iron Hands Iron Fathers became desperate enough to turn the Keys of Hel, and resorted to the use of such forbidden rites. With it, they were able to resurrect their fallen brothers to a semblance of life. Known as 'Ghola' or 'Revenants', these resurrected Legionaries still retained their memories and were even capable of speech. When not awake, they were kept within a cryogenic state at sub-life support temperatures until they were needed for battle. But over time, these revenants gradually became slower and slower the longer they spent away from their cryo-stasis chambers.
The ghola were death and life bound by field, woven by metal and sung by axioms of the unknown. They were the evolution their gene-sire had placed beyond their reach, the lock upon a gate to a denied realm. They had walked through those gates, and now stepped between stolen moments amongst the living. They walked with fire, pain and hatred for all that had brought them there, and for all that had been lost.
Through the use of such forbidden techniques, repeated resurrection was possible even after a Revenant was "killed" again. Some Iron Fathers, such as Malevos Gurges, who utilised cybernetic resurrection, modified the standard operating protocols of their own cryo-stasis vault to protect it against catastrophic shut-down by utilising neuromorphic sub-routines which bordered on Abominable Intelligence.
Since the disaster that occurred at Istvaan V and their subsequent battle for survival during the remainder of the Horus Heresy, the surviving members of the Kaalibos Clan willing turned the Keys of Hel - breaking the seals upon forbidden technological knowledge placed by the hands of the Gorgon himself - and utilised the forbidden rites of cybermancy. Using this dark and forbidden strain of technological lore, this corrupted science was first used upon their own dead, to resurrect their fallen brothers to a semblance of life. Known as 'Ghola' or 'Revenants', these resurrected Legionaries still retained their memories and were even capable of speech. Through the use of such forbidden techniques, repeated resurrection was possible even after these Revenants were 'killed' again and again.
Following the Second Founding and the formation of the Iron Invictors Chapter, the pursuit and use of such forbidden knowledge was kept a closely guarded secret amongst the senior-most members of the newly created Chapter, and was kept hidden even from their genetic forebears and fellow Successors. But the knowledge and use of such forbidden arcana were blasphemous acts that ate away at the souls of those who acquired and wielded such dark arts. Nevertheless, the powers of Malatek Incarna and heretekal lore was a potent weapon wielded by the Chapter against the manifold threats faced by the Imperium, and so it was wielded by the Iron Invictors, who knew that they were damning themselves but were willing to sacrifice their souls in the defence of humanity.
Over time, the Chapter developed a well-known lust for hidden knowledge, leading many a campaign against fanes of the Dark Mechanicus, besieged Forge Worlds or Adeptus Mechanicus outposts in pursuit of secrets both academic and technological - the price for their assistance in the eradication and expulsion of Dark Mechanicus forces. But over time, the Iron Invictors' goals became slowly corrupted by their insatiable lust for the obtainment of forbidden technologies and lore. Over the next millennium, the Iron Invictors began to embrace the heretical concepts of innovation, experimentation and free will, straying from the path ordained by the teachings of the Cult Mechanicus as well as defying the ironclad mandates of the Crimson Accords. The consequences of their forced self-reliance following the Dropsite Massacre and subsequent isolationism from the main body of their former Legion led many within the Kaalibos Clan to affirm the Omnissiah's faith. But over time, their personal ambitions and obsessive quest for power and knowledge allowed them no respite, and would eventually lead the Chapter to increasingly rail against the narrow-mindedness of the Cult Mechanicus' orthodoxy.
Secrecy became vital for the Iron Invictors' continued pursuits into tech-heresy, as for any outsiders, the knowledge and actions of the Chapter would condemn them in the eyes of their brother Chapters and the wider Imperium. Discovery would lead to sanction and destruction by the power of their fellow Ironclad Chapters. This lead to a slow distancing of the Iron Invictors from their fellows in the Ironclad Brotherhood over several centuries. Their choice to willingly fall into tech-heresy saw the Iron Invictors turn their backs on the sacred doctrines of the Omnissiah. Breaking from the engramitically reinforced strictures and cortical routines of obedience to the dictates of the Cult Mechanicus was a profoundly disturbing experience for the Astartes of the Chapter. As a result, the Iron Invictors rapidly gained a merciless and suspicious streak centred on their own self-preservation, increasingly favouring implanting heretical weaponry and defensive systems into their own bodies, vehicles and vessels, and they would stop at nothing in the service of their quest for knowledge.
From this point on, the Iron Invictors knew that they risked censure and destruction by their fellow Scions of the Gorgon if their heresies were discovered, and while they continued to assist their fellow Ironclad brethren in achieving several notable victories on behalf of the Imperium, earning praise far and wide, they were forever more false of heart and were forced to remain eternally vigilant.
- "You have broken the decrees of our father. You have passed beyond. You have turned your back on the Gorgon. You are not of the Iron Hands. You are its shame."
- — Proclamation made by the Iron Council during the Trial of Iron
Warband Home World
- "This was always the way. The old Medusan way. He made the wrong choice, the weak choice, the choice of flesh and sentiment, not iron. If he was stronger I would not have been able to kill him. Death is the consequence of weakness."
- — Attr. to newly promoted War Leader Thorios Kray'tr, after the death of his squad's former War Leader, following an honour duel.
Despite their fall to Chaos, the Brethren of Hel have not totally forgotten their roots as former Legiones Astartes. Surprisingly, they have still managed to maintain their former genetic forebear's organised compartmentalisation. They are deliberately composed from a series of interlocking components, each with its own specialisation, duties and chain of command, beholden only to itself and its immediate superiors. Each of these components often come together, first as companies, but eventually come together as a larger grouping with its own independent command, support and logistical network, armoury and voidships created for a particular campaign or battle. These larger formations are referred to as Orders and were superficially equivalent to a specialised battalion, but far more concrete in makeup and isolated in operation.
- Akhyls - 1st Clan Company.
- Keres - 2nd Clan Company.
- Nosoi - 3rd Clan Company.
- Letum - 4th Clan Company.
- Lyta - 5th Clan Company.
- Furor - 6th Clan Company.
- Deimos - 7th Clan Company.
- Phobos - 8th Clan Company.
- Metus - 9th Clan Company.
- Formido - 10th Clan Company.
- Pavor - 11th Clan Company.
- Adicia - 12th Clan Company.
- Koros - 13th Clan Company.
- Tech-Lord - Chaos Lord equivalent.
- Helsmith - Warpsmith/Chaplain equivalent.
- Strategios - Field commander of the warband's maniples of Chaos-corrupted Battle-Automata.
- Medicus - Corrupted Apothecary equivalent, all Medicus are members of the Order Akhos, 'Order of Pain'. They are responsible for the recovery of gene-seed of their slain brethren in battle and standing eternal vigil over the Brethren's genetic legacy. Working in conjunction with the Chapter's Helsmiths, they also conduct vile, and often experimental, biomedical research upon captured slaves. They also oversee the conversion and raising of undead Ghola.
- Forge Seer - Corrupted Librarian equivalent. These are the powerful Chaos-corrupted Librarians of the Brethren of Hel. All Forge Seers are members of the Order Mnêmosynê, the 'Order of Remembrance', charged with preserving, cataloguing and guarding the Brethren's ill-gotten technological lore and ancient archeo-tech.
- Impietus - Chaos-corrupted Chaplains. Responsible for preaching the corrupted doctrine of the Dark Mechanicus' Cult Malatek.
- War Leader - Sergeant equivalent.
- Hel-Brother - Battle-Brother equivalent.
Gōlem Breacher Assault Squads
- "The Dark Age of Technology cast its echoes across time. Though ancient, it is foul yet and still quite powerful. Power flows from the hand and that grasped therein. One must only have the courage to grasp it, even at the cost of one's life and service to Chaos. Praise be the unhallowed machine!"
- — Helsmith Zephostus Mor'rik
Named after the legend of ancient Terran myth that speaks of a clay creature that has been magically brought to life, the namesake of this terrifying formation is an apt description. These resurrected warriors, known as 'Ghola' or 'Revenants' are built rather than made. First, a Helsmith selects a freshly killed Astartes. It matters not, whether they are of Imperial stock or a Heretic Astartes, although the creation of a Ghola seems easier to accomplish upon a body and soul that has already felt the touch of Chaos, which is likely to yield the best results. The potential Ghola is then subjected to a series of nightmarish occult rituals and a series of extensive cybernetic and bionic implants. The killing powers of the resurrected Astartes will be profoundly transformed, their killing abilities drastically augmented and they will possess a daemon's taste for wanton carnage and destruction. The Ghola's augmetics are twisted mockeries of those gifted to the Machine Cult's priesthood, attuned and powered by the malefic energies of the warp, which suffuse the Ghola's body with unnatural vigour. Once let loose, an active Ghola is an unrestrained and unstoppable killing machine of destruction.
To establish control, early Iron Invictors hereteks crafted Ghola Keys, devices designed to communicate crude sigils of instruction and castigate disobedience by disruption of mind-pathways. A punished revenant gives every appearance of torment—thrashing and writhing in silence, and then moved to sullen obedience or careful misinterpretation of sigils. Such is the nature of the dark arcana of Cybertheurgy, however, that it is not without its risk, as what is awakened may slip the leash of its master's control with disastrous consequences. A ghola newly raised from cryo stasis is malevolent in aspect, pausing to weigh obedience to sigil-instructions against an attempt to slaughter its masters and destroy its key.
Stygos Destroyer Squads
Named for the ancient Grecian goddess of the underworld who was also the personification of hatred, the Stygos Destroyer Squads are aptly named, for they are both hated and abhorrent for their use of illicit and long-forgotten weaponry, including certain weapons of mass destruction like chemical, and tactical nuclear weapons. This also includes the use of horrying rad-based weaponry, which makes use of bio-alchemical munitions and the burning horror of phosphex. Marked by their fire-blackened and chem-scalded armour these Heretic Astartes are even shunned by many within their own Chapter.
Notable Brotherhood of Hel
- Tech-Lord Malevos Gurges - Malevos Gurges is the dark-hearted Chaos Lord that leads the infamous Brethren of Hel Renegade Chapter. Malevos is an ancient and malevolent soul, born of hubris and hatred upon ancient Terra in the land of Ursh. He was chosen as part of the first induction of potential Neophytes for the early X Legion and fought in the Terran Wars of Unification. A predatory warrior, he earned a darkly-famed reputation for his exploits during this conflict. Despite his well-known reputation as a vicious and brutal warrior, he also displayed an innate aptitude for scientific and technical pursuits and was raised up by the X Legion's commander, Lord Commander Amadeus DuCaine, and sent for training on Mars during the early years of the Great Crusade. He proved himself a highly competent and cunning individual who showed a dogged perseverance and real gift for leadership. He served with distinction and quickly rose through the ranks, and was raised up to the position of Iron Lord of the 11th Chapter (Clan Kaalibos) by the time the X Legion discovered their long lost Primarch on the isolated world of Medusa. Gurges' continued obstinate behaviour towards authority, even to the Legion's newly discovered Primarch's rule, would continue to be a source of enmity between the newly raised Iron-Lord and Ferrus Manus. During the Great Crusade, Gurges would imprint his will and demeanour upon the warriors serving under his command, and on several occasions, Clan Kaalibos would be censured for their merciless ways and savage tactics, even against those who had already surrendered. As punishment, Ferrus Manus often deployed these bloody-handed Astartes in the role of breacher siege assault squads in Zone Mortalis operations or in 'Forlorn Hope' Objective Assaults. Despite the near-suicidal rates of performing such highly dangerous roles, this brutal clan seemed to excel under such extreme and harsh conditions.
When the Brethren of Hel were still known as the Iron Invictors, they primarily wore steel gray coloured power armour, with the exception of the insets of their shoulder pauldrons, which were black in colour. The Chapter iconography was proudly displayed on their left shoulder pauldron, while each individual Clan Company icon was displayed on the right shoulder pauldron. A white coloured squad specialty symbol (Tactical, Assault, Devastator and Veteran) was indicated on the chest guard or worn on one of their greaves, which indicated an individual battle-brother's combat role. A white colored lozenge (diamond symbol) on the left poleyn (knee guard), with a black coloured Gothic numeral stenciled upon it, indicated squad number. Sometimes the Chapter's livery was also displayed on the right poleyn. Red binaric language engraved upon various parts of a battle-brother's power armour was believed to be a visual representation of Lingua-technis, the holy language of the Omnissiah. Imperial scholars also believed this cryptic language referred to the mysterious inner orders of the Chapter, and was also an indication of veteran status.
Following their corruption by the Ruinous Powers, the Brethren of Hel Warband took on a darker aspect - bearing armour as black as their souls. The insets of both shoulder pauldrons as well as both greaves are now coloured bright red. They still adorn various parts of their battle-plate with red-coloured binaric language, except now, it is believed to represent the corrupted language of the Dark Mechanicus as well as praising the Dark Gods. Their armour is often adorned with spikes, chains and the bones of their slain foes as well as the usual various blasphemous sigils and various iconography of Chaos.
As the Iron Invictors, they proudly bore a stylised representation of the Opus Machnina, which took the form of a hyrbid symbol comprised of a half human and a cybernetic skull, which represented the divine fusion of human flesh with the holy machine. This ancient symbol was also used to represent both their ties to the Adeptus Mechanicus and their religious faith, the Cult Mechanicus. This symbol was centered within a large white cog icon.
Following their corruption to the ruinous powers, the Brethren of Hels' warband icon took on a more corrupted form, reminiscent of their Dark Mechanicus allies as well as their allegiance to the Ruinous Powers.
The Brethren of Hel have a strong alliance with the traitorous hereteks and fallen tech-priests of the Dark Mechanicus, for they both choose to follow the path of tech-heresy - for both are enthralled to the power of the warp and the never-ending search for forbidden, heretical technologies. The Brethren of Hel maintain ties with several Hell-Forges - fallen Forge Worlds dedicated wholly to the Dark Gods and controlled by the Dark Mechanicus. These infernal forges of the the fallen heretek scions of the Cult Mechanicus are wholly given over to daemon-machines and infernal industries, where mills grind flesh and suffering is the currency used to make the insane visions of their nightmarish masters real. The Brethren of Hel often trade their ill-gotten, ancient technology and lost Standard Template Constructs for these powerful infernal daemon engines, vehicles and arms and equipment, in order to continue their eternal quest to obtain coveted technology and to prosecute their eternal war against their former brethren of the Ironclad Brotherhood.
Following the death of their gene-sire and betrayal on Isstvan V, the seed of heresy was planted within the souls of the surviving warriors of the X Legion's 11th Chapter, who would come to make up Second Founding Iron Invictors Chapter. Struggling to merely survive during the desperate days, following the disaster in the Isstvan System, these surviving Iron Hands warriors willingly turned to the use of ancient and blasphemous technology, forbidden by the edicts of their own Primarch. But with his death, there were those who were willing to use any means at their disposal, to wreak terrible vengeance against the forces of the Warmaster, no matter the cost.
Following the Second Founding and the sundering of the Legiones Astartes, the 11st Chapter formed the basis for the newly created Iron Invictors Chapter. Finding themselves of like-mind and temperament, alongside such Chapters as the Iron Gorgons, Iron Harbingers and Templars of Iron, they formed a coalition known as the Frateris Firmitatis or 'Ironclad Brotherhood. The Iron Invictors were counted amongst the most stalwart defenders of mankind. But like their Progenitors, the Invictors were obsessed with strength and the elimination of physical and mental weakness, which is subject to decay and temptation, and believed to have been a contributing factor to the failure of the Loyalist Legions during the Dropsite Massacre at Isstvan V. This led the Iron Hands to revere the machine and distrust the failings inherent in flesh. But the Iron Invictors' pathological obsession with certain forbidden mysteries and nightmare sciences of the Dark Age of Technology eventually saw them being declared Excommunicate Traitoris and cast out of the Imperium.
Despite their outcast status, the newly renamed Brethren of Hel managed to eke out a brutal existence amongst the swirling eddies and unknown tides of the outer regions along the massive warp rift known as the Eye of Terror. For millennia, the fleet-bound Brethren of Hel has continued to periodically raid Forge Worlds and far-flung Adeptus Mechanicus outposts near the Eye of Terror - obsessed with obtaining rare standard template constructs and the secrets of archaeo-technology - forbidden by Imperial dictates and the edicts of the Martian Priesthood. They are relentlessly pursued by their erstwhile brethren from the Ironclad Brotherhood, who will stop at nothing to eradicate this Chaos Warband of hereteks.