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- "No one will ever know of the Blood that runs in my veins. It is no secret of the Path I have chosen to follow. The Warrior's Path. Honour is what directs my actions."
- — Fenrir Ghostclaw, Great Wolf of the Crimson Prowlers
The Crimson Prowlers are Successor Chapter that hails from the lineage of the mighty and powerful Space Wolves, created during the recent Ultima Founding in 999.M41. They were created as one of the first of many Successors, a whole line of descendant Fenrisian Chapters - the 'Sons of Russ' - capable of carving out a star empire the size of Ultramar. This was the vision: to be powerful enough to encircle the Eye of Terror completely, to prevent the Traitor Legions from daring to leave it ever again. The Crimson Prowlers, along with several other Primaris Successor Chapters, were created to help protect the Imperial sectors surrounding the Eye, and supporting Imperial worlds and the Inquisition as needed.
- "The moon is my sun, the night is my day,
Blood is my life, and you are my prey."
- — A lokk of the Crimson Prowlers
The Crimson Prowlers are one of several Primaris Space Marine Chapters created from the lineage of the mighty and powerful Space Wolves, created as one of the first of many Successors. This whole line of descendant Fenrisian Chapters - collectively known as the 'Sons of Russ' - are capable of carving out a star empire the size of Ultramar. Following the end of the Horus Heresy, the Lord Commander of the Imperium, Ultramarines Primarch Roboute Guilliman, tasked Archmagos Belisarius Cawl to carry out his ultimate contingency plan - the Primaris Space Marines. Over the course of ten millennia, the rogue Archmagos continued his work uninterrupted, creating scions from the lineage of all nine Loyalist Space Marine Legions, including the feral Space Wolves. In the pursuit of his attempt to improve upon the original Space Marine template, Archmagos Cawl not only collected samples of the genomes of all twenty of the original Primarchs, including those deemed lost or as Traitors, but he also managed to refine the gene-sequence of several genetic lines, altering them to deliver the positive aspects without suffering from the genetic idiosyncrasies that plagued modern era Chapters.
From the VI Legion, Cawl was able to create a whole line of Primaris Successors from the lineage of Russ. The Crimson Prowlers were one such Chapter. Taking recruits from the feral Death World of Fenris, Cawl successfully implanted a large intake of Fenrisian Aspirants. After receiving the rest of their genetic zygotes and organs, including several newly created Primaris organs, these newly created transhuman warriors were placed in stasis within large cryo-stasis vaults far below the surface of Mars, where they remained until such time, as the Imperium faced the darkest age in it's history. When the newly resurrected Primarch Guilliman awoke in the late 41st Millennium, he ordered Cawl to go to Mars and carry out the final stages of his ultimate contingency plan.
Thus, the newly created Primaris Chapters of the Ultima Founding were unleashed, to take the fight to the Forces of Chaos. One of these Chapters were the newly awakened Crimson Prowlers, proud inheritors of the legacy of the powerful Leman Russ. They deployed alongside the ranks of the Unnumbered Sons - formations of Primaris Space Marines created from a mixture of all nine of the Loyalist Primarchs' gene-lines, including those created from the lineage of Russ. They took part in several campaigns, preferring to fight alongside those Scions of Russ from the as-yet unnamed Dawn's Wolves. Following the end of the Indomitus Crusade sometime in the second century of the 42nd Millennium, the Unnumbered Sons were finally broken down into new Chapters. With the creation of the Dawn's Wolves, the Crimson Prowlers extended an invitation to their newly created brother-Chapter, welcoming them into the ranks of the collective known as the 'Sons of Russ', which have continued to stand eternal vigil over the worlds of the Eye of Terror.
Chapter Home World
The Crimson Prowlers have eschewed the establishment of a Chapter home world, preferring to take to the stars in their mighty war fleet. Rather than constructing a single fortress-monastery as most Space Marine Chapters do, the Crimson Prowlers establish Chapter Holds upon each world they have conquered, the greatest of which is Æsirhold, upon the icy death world of Freya. This way, they are able to keep watch for encroaching Heretic Astartes activity, to stage future Crusades and to recruit new battle-brothers.
Leaving only a skeleton force to protect their fortress-monastery and local Planetary Defence Forces to protect their primary recruitment world, the majority of the Crimson Prowlers' substantial warfleet is often continuously deployed as part of a perpetual Imperial Crusade. Like wolves stalking their prey, the Chapter prefers to utilise the ancient 'Nomad-Predation' pattern of operations. This enables them to be an entirely self-contained force that can sustain itself almost indefinitely without any Imperial support whatsoever. Collaborating as a well organised pack, the Crimson Prowlers work together to take down prey much larger than any individual wolf; prey that might otherwise elude them. Utilising these tactics, the Crimson Prowlers have quickly garnered a reputation for excellence in out-hull void warfare and starship assaults without peer.
The Freyan System is an Imeprial star system which is strategically located at the edge of both the Segmentum Pacificus and the Segmentum Obscurus. This region of space is part of the demesne of the Crimson Prowlers Chapter. The heart of the system is a white star named Odin's Eye. The Crimson Prowlers maintain the vigil over this system and watch over a hundred worlds in the immediate stellar region besides. Their demesne stretches across the scattered stars that girdle the Freyan System and all the way towards the eternal frigid night of the intergalactic void known as the Halo Stars. The deadly and bitterly cold death world of Freya lies at the heart of the Freyan System, and plays a vital role in the survival of the Crimson Prowlers, serving as the Chapter's primary recruitment ground. Thus, Freya maintains one of the primary bulwarks of the Imperium's defence against the Forces of Chaos.
The feral death world of Freya, the primary recruitment world of the Crimson Prowlers, is situated to the north-westernmost border of the Segmentum Pacificus, along the border of the Segmentum Obscurus and near the Halo Stars. The Freyan System is located to the galactic Northwest of the Eye. Freya is therefore at the forefront of the Imperium's defence against the foul denizens of Chaos.
Freya is a turbulent world of ice, dominated by extremes of climates that constantly change. When this isolated world was initially discovered by an Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade, it was deemed inimical to life, but despite the odds, descendants of the original human colonists not only managed to survive the harsh planetary ecosystem, but to thrive. The original colonists barely survived, holed up in their spacecraft against the the world's deadly elements and fauna. Only a small minority managed to learn the necessary skills to survive such a harsh and deadly world, skills that saw them through the horrors of Old Night for millennia. By the time of the Great Crusade, the surviving colonists had reverted to a feral state.
When this deadly world was rediscovered during the dawning of M31, Imperial observers found this frigid planet to be inhabited by native barbaric tribes. Their skills at surviving on Freya came to the notice of the the newly constituted Deparmtento Munitorum, whose purview was to maintain the Emperor's armies in perpetuity by unifying Imperial supply and recruitment structure for the Imperialis Auxilia. The logisticians of the Deparmtento Munitorum quickly realised the native Freyans were of hardy and strong stock, and would make excellent Imperial Army soldiers dedicated to service in some of the galaxy's most hostile planetary environments, particularly those that were sub-arctic in nature. Following the end of the Great Crusade and the Age of Darkness that followed, the majority of these regiments were wiped out due to high attrition rates. With the Imperium in shambles following the Horus Heresy, the Freyan System soon became forgotten, and the people of this backwater system were left to their own devices for ten millennia.
With the destruction of the fortress world of Cadia during the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41, a great tear in reality occurred, ripping a titanic warp rift known as the Great Rift across the width of the galaxy, which spread from the Eye of Terror to the Hadex Anomoly on the Eastern Fringe. This allowed the denizens of Chaos to overrun several Imperial systems located near the Eye of Terror, including the worlds of the Freyan System. Though travel and communications between many Imperial system were greatly affected by the formation of the Great Rift, all was not lost.
In response to the emerging Forces of Chaos throughout the galaxy, the recently resurrect Primarch Roboute Guilliman, launched his Indomitus Crusade. He revealed his ultimate contingency plan, unleashing the gene-crafted transhuman warriors known as the Primaris Space Marines, to help aid the beleaguered worlds of several Imperial systems. One such strike force was composed of the newly created Crimson Prowlers, a Space Wolves Successor Chapter comprised entirely of Primaris Space Marines. They helped aid the beleaguered worlds of the Freyan System, breaking sieges and sweeping away the Chaos invaders to bring hope back to the desperate Imperial defenders.
The Chapter found the people who inhabited the worlds of the Freyan System to be of incredibly strong and hardy stock, and had developed superior reflexes compared to baseline humans. Testing their minds and bodies in soul-destroying trials to determine if there was any evidence of corruption caused by their isolation from the rest of humanity, the Crimson Prowlers ultimately deemed them free of deviancy or Chaotic taint. Consolidating their gains, the Crimson Prowlers found the inhospitable terrain, weather and deadly creatures of the various worlds of this backwater system provided an ideal recruiting ground for future potential battle-brothers. Claimed the worlds of the Freyan System as their demesne by right of conquest, the Crimson Prowlers built Æsirhold, the mightiest and the first of many such Chapters Holds, upon the icy death world of Freya.
The Crimson Prowlers have no Chapter home world, and instead opt to live within their large Crusade fleets of Strike Cruisers, Battle Barges and Escorts. They are ever vigilant, and are always ready for battle which is why they have chosen to remain a highly mobile, fleet-based Chapter. The Crimson Prowlers do establish and garrison Chapter Holds on every world they conquer or reclaim, which provide a training base for new recruits for the Chapter and to act as staging points for further Crusade fleets. On the world of Freya, located at the center of the planet's largest continent, Niflheimr ('Abode of Mist'), the great citadel of Æsirhold (the 'Warriors Hould') is hewn into the cliff face of the tallest mountain, within Freya's highest peaks, known as the Blackskull Peaks.
This mighty citadel is nearly the size of a regular fortress-monastery, and can harbour the entire Chapter when the need arises. With only a tiny fraction of the bulk of this vast peak, the faint glow of lights can be seen from afar, piercing the gathering dark of the dwindling atmosphere. The Freyan tribesmen mark this dire place with trepidation, for they believe it to be the realm of the Einherjar - the 'Sky Warriors' - as the abode of the demigods. In Freyan mythology these 'Sky Warriors' are those who have died in battle and now serve at the right hand of the All-Father Himself. This mighty peak is known as Jǫtunnheim, the 'Giant One', which is surrounded by lesser summits clustered around it. Full of precipitous drops and deep crevasses, only those who have trod their secret ways between the peaks as Aspirants, know how to safely traverse towards the Chapter's formidable citadel. The Crimson Prowlers have cunningly built some hunt-ways out of solid stone, while others are merely bridges of ice that will collapse at the slightest application of weight. Some of these ways lead true, taking a hunter from the clefts in the shadow of the summits down towards the plains far below, where their prey dwell. Others are false, leading an interloper to their doom, as they lead into the darkness of several caves inhabited by the deadly creatures of Freya, and are riddled with ice-gnawed bones, despair and their inevitable doom.
Clad in armour of immense thickness and strength Æsirhold and is cloaked by powerful void shields comparable to the mightiest Imperial Navy warship. All along the peak are concealed potent defence lasers and automated servitor gun emplacements cut into cliff face of the mountain itself. These ancient weapons are capable of blasting apart blasting apart even the most heavily armoured spacecraft from orbit. Those foolish enough to attempt a ground assault would be considered suicidal at best, as Æsirhold possesses two external gates, known as the Árvakr Gate ('Early Riser' Gate) and the Drengr Gate ('Warrior' Gate), built high up on the sheer sides of the mountain. These two gates connect at opposite ends of the internal region of the fortress known as the Svellborough ('Stronghold of Ice'). These two gates were built to overlook entirely bare approaches, made up of huge causeways of stone, each kilometres wide and worn smooth by the endless gnawing of stone by the Blackskull Peaks' high winds.
Should an enemy attempt to undertake a massed advance upon these approaches, they would provoke a massacre. Even if by some miracle an enemy was somehow able to reach one of these gates, which in themselves are formidable and colossal structures constructed of granite, adamantium and ceramite, which bristle with all manner of deadly weaponry including - twin-linked bolters turrets, static plasma cannons and missile launchers. Over its short existence, Æsirhold has stood inviolable while the Forces of Chaos have dashed themselves against it.
The Crimson Prowlers recruit from Freya and the worlds of the other systems occupied during 'The Ordeal'. Most of the colonists brought to these systems after the Inquisitions' purge and sanitation came from Novaya Zemlya and Niflheimr. On Freya and the other worlds in the surrounding systems, strangers clad in armor as black as shadow, stalk the lands. In the Jarl's long halls, tales are told of these strangers known as the Choosers of the Slain – whom watch silently from the hills overlooking the battlefield, choosing those whom show true valor and commit the most insane acts of courage. These warriors, though mortally wounded, are taken by the ebon-armored Sky Warriors to join the ranks of the Einherjar, never to be seen again. These mysterious strangers are the Chaplains of the Crimson Prowlers. The youths they pick are tested to the extreme, to see if they are worthy to have the legacy of Russ implanted into their bodies, and eventually become one of his chosen sons.
Those selected as potential Space Marines must undergo several initiation rights, the first of which is 'The Ordeal'. The individual is dropped naked on the shores of the southern continent armed with only a combat knife. He must make his way through the mountains of the Barrier Range to the continent’s central desert plateau. He must then find the Obelisk at the southern pole. Most candidates arrive exhausted and dehydrated – most do not arrive at all.
When the candidate reaches the stone monolith he must than place a hand on its jet-black surface. The stone functions something like an armor plate window, denying access yet permitting observation. All are allowed to glimpse the entities of the warp and feel their malevolent hatred for humanity. More than one candidate has been driven mad by the experience; however, the careful selection process ensures that most are able to endure. Those who survive with their sanity intact are instilled with a deep hatred of Chaos. The Rune Priests of the Chapter are aware of the contact with the Obelisk and a recovery team is dispatched to recover the initiate, usually before he regains consciousness from the visions.
The neophyte is sedated and the initial implants are made. The neophyte awakes lying on a bed in the Scout barracks, which is conveniently located near the kitchens. The 'Ordeal' and subsequent implants induce a ravenous hunger in the young Aspirant. Having fed, the initiates are met by the Senior Instructor and their 'Preparation' begins. Once an initiate has completed his training he undergoes a period of ritualistic washing and fasting lasting several days at the end of which he is presented to the 'Council'.
The last phase of the Aspirants initiation is the ‘Trial,’ is a series of written, oral, and performance evaluations lasting 13 days, 13 hours and 13 minutes. At the end of The Trial the initiate is brought to a darkened chamber and made to stand in a single circle of light. The initiate must stand resolute before the ‘Council’ as they hurl insults and recriminations. Finally, their verdict is rendered, the sentence which is always ‘death’. The initiate must stand resolute, even in this face of death. If he proves his bravery and his worth, he is then accepted as a brother marine and chooses a new name.
Specialist Ranks & Formations
- Great Wolf - The Great Wolf is the Crimson Prowlers' equivalent of a Chapter Master. The Great Wolf is chosen by acclamation from amongst the Chapter's Wolf Lords upon the death of his forebear, and he will remain the Great Wolf until his own death.
- Wolf Lords - A Wolf Lord ('Jarl') is the Crimson Prowlers' officer who is the equivalent of a standard Space Marine Captain and who commands one of the 12 Great Companies that comprise the full Crimson Prowlers' military force. A Wolf Lord is always protected by a contingent of Varagyr (the 'Lordsbane') specifically loyal to him. The Chapter's Great Companies are led by the 12 current Wolf Lords, a number that includes the current Great Wolf Fenrir Ghostclaw. Much of the time the attrition rate for Wolf Lords is fairly significant because of the Chapter's preference for close combat. However, some Wolf Lords have managed to see their thousandth year pass in service to the Emperor.
- Pack Leader - A Pack Leader ('Thegn') is the Crimson Prowlers' equivalent to a standard Primaris Marine Lieutenant. They often act as the right hand of the Wolf Lords by providing flexibility and helping to direct their battle-brothers in engagements. They will often lead part of a Great Company when it is divided into two 'Packs' (Battle Demi-Companies) in order to spread their forces across multiple combat zones.
- Claw Leader - A Claw Leader is the Crimson Prowlers' equivalent to a standard Space Marine Sergeant, who leads a 'Claw' (Squad).
- Úlfr Goði - Úlfr Goði (translated in Low Gothic as 'Wolf Priest') are a unique officer class within the Chapter. A combination of the roles of Chaplain and Apothecary found other Chapters, the Úlfr Goði administer to the physical and mental well-being of the Chapter's warriors and also choose the Aspirants for the Chapter from among the feral barbarian tribes of Freya.
- Rune Keeper - The Crimson Prowlers do not possess Librarians as such because of their great abhorrence of psychic abilities, which they equate with foul sorcery; instead the Chapter maintains a number of Rune Keepers (known also as a 'Keeper of Runes') -- potent psykers who examine the minds of all Aspirants to the Chapter for any sign of Chaotic taint or treachery. Armed and equipped differently from Librarians, Rune Keepers do not wear psychic hoods and do not always carry force weapons, what the Crimson Prowlers prefer to call Runic Weapons. The Rune Keepers, however, are actually quite potent psykers in their own right and as fierce warriors as any man born of Freya.
- Iron Thane - The Iron Thanes are the Chapter's equivalent of Techmarines. Sent off for training at Mars with the Adeptus Mechanicus like all Techmarines, the Iron Thanes maintain the Chapter's equipment and forge all necessary replacement wargear. These 'Priests of Iron' are traditionally attached to the Great Wolf's Company and re-assigned to other fighting forces on a situational basis. Iron Thanes also have a place in the transformation and initiation of new recruits.
- Sons of Ymir - The Dreadnoughts of the Crimson Prowlers are generally ancient and wise warriors, who spend a great deal of time in dreamless sleep beneath Æsirhold. These were the first Terran and Fenrisian Aspirants of initial candidates who were inducted into the Primaris Project and eventually became the first Primaris Space Marines. Many of them can still recall when Russ still walked amongst men and of his powerful presence when they first boarded the transports that ferried them to the flesh labs beneath the surface of Mars. These venerable brothers are only awakened from their deep slumber in times of great need. These Dreadnoughts sometimes even lead forces of their fellow Astartes into battle in the absence of another capable war leader, or sometimes in deference to their ancient wisdom and extensive tactical experience.
Like their genetic forebears, the Crimson Prowlers utilise small tactical formations known as Wolf Packs which are comprised of specialised units and formations. They are often made up of a single squad of warriors or a small combined taskforce. The Crimson Prowlers have four primary types of Packs in the Chapter, including; the Wolf Claws, Pale Hunters, Gnarled Fangs, and the Lordsbane. There are also Wolf Scouts, who are an oddity amongst the Adeptus Astartes.
- Varagyr - The Varagyr ('Lordsbane') are the chosen warriors of the Great Wolf, hand-picked from his own Great Company to form his personal Honour Guard and close companions in war and council. In battle they are a terrible sight to behold, a tide of Terminator Armour-clad hulks with beast skins draping their massive battle-plate, propelled by their transhuman strength and animalistic ferocity. Crashing into the battle-lines of their foes, they crush and kill their enemies before even drawing their fearsome blades to strike, anointing themselves in the blood of the vanquished.
- Kingsguard - Each Wolf Lord maintains a cadre of elite Hearth Guard, comprising the very finest of the warriors under his command. Fenrir Ghostclaw is no exception, and maintains perhaps the largest Varagyr of all the Wolf Lords, counting among its number many of the greatest warriors in the entire Legion. Ghostclaw's Varagyr is so large that it is split into several smaller Packs, many of which have earned great renown for their deeds, yet when they gather for war at the Great Wolf's side they are collectively known as the Kingsguard. These Champions of Freya, the "Bloody Wolves of Ghostclaw," are always at the Great Wolf's call, accompanying him into every battle and commanding his armies when the needs of war call him away. Ghostclaw's Kingsguard defend him with their lives, and slay without mercy those who would raise blades against the master of the Crimson Prowlers. They are the shield and sword of the Great Wolf, fending off enemy attacks before landing the killing blow. To face the Kingsguard of Freya in battle is to face death itself.
- Gnarled Fangs - Gnarled Fangs are those few Primaris that have seen centuries of service in the Allfather's name. Proud and wise, hoary with age, they are endowed with lengthened canines that continuously grow as they age. Amongst their younger peers they command both awe and respect and are held in high esteem, even amongst the senior ranks of the Chapter. There are relatively few Gnarled Fangs within the Chapter as Crimson Prowlers often die in battle before reaching their first century of service, due to the violent nature of their existence. These stalwart warriors are known to stand fast in the face of overwhelming odds even after all others have fled or been slain.
- Pale Hunters - If a Wolf Claw survives the brutality of endless conflicts long enough, they eventually mature into seasoned Astartes and promoted to the ranks of the Pale Hunters. These are Veteran Astartes are the equivalent to a Chapter's Tactical Marines. The Pale Hunter packs form the bulk of the Chapter's warriors. These packs function as compact individual warbands that are largely exempt from the reliance on direct commands from higher. They are expected to deal with myriad challenges on their own if needs be, and above all to close with the enemy on their own terms - to seek and destroy. Like their genetic forebears, the Pale Hunters are deadly hunters who favour bloody, relentless wearing down of a foe, much as their namesake of Terran lore. In battle, no quarter or honour is offered to their prey, for their fate is one of remorseless cruelty after which death seems as a blessing to many.
- Wolf Claws - Wolf Claws are those newly inducted Astartes of the Crimson Prowlers Chapter and the equivlent to a Chapter's Neophytes or Scout Marines. Notoriously savage and fiercely aggressive, these young Astartes still struggle with the spirit of the wolf within. Hot-headed and impetuous, they bay for the blood of their foes, and are eager to get to grips in blood-soaked close-quarters combat in order to prove themselves in the eyes of their older brethren. The Wolf Claws serve as the Chapter's shock troops and spearhead the majority of their assaults. If they manage to overcome their bloodlust and survive the rigours of endless conflict, they eventually mature and become capable warriors, and are eventually raised to the veteran ranks of the Pale Hunters.
- Bloodied Hunters - A subset of the Wolf Claws, this specialist unit is made up those Wolf Claws who are culled to become part of swift, hard-hitting, lightning assault force comprised of bike squads or land speeders. Well-suited to this role, Bloodied Hunters are tasked with relentless pursuit of tracking down and slaying particularly dangerous prey. Often, Bloodied Hunters will act as the eyes and ears of their Chapter in the field. They are also utilised for scouting missions and hit-and-run attacks deep behind enemy lines. The opportunity to sow massive amounts of destruction is too good of an opportunity for a Wolf Claw to pass up, therefore, they perform their duties with particular relish when granted the opportunity to do so.
- Void Claws - The Void Claws are another subset of Wolf Claws. This specialist unit is composed of those troublemakers from each Wolf Claw pack whose stubborness and headstrong character have earned them the dubious 'honour' of being rewarded by reassignment to a Void Claw Assault Pack. These jump pack-equipped heavy assault units perform the duties of a typical Primaris Inceptor Squad. Void Claws are granted the use of Mark X Gravis variant, void-hardened battle plate and equipped with a specialised heavy jump pack design which features duel cylindrical main thrusters and lateral manoeuvring jets. Armed with a pair of formidable Assault Bolters, the Void Claws operate primarily in the most hazardous and desperate spheres of warfare such as boarding actions amid the cold void of space and the forlorn hope of the first wave of attackers into a breached fortress. Such hazardous duty often proves lethal beyond endurance, even for warriors of the Primaris Space Marines. Despite the risks and the inherent danger associated with being a Void Claw, this offers a young warrior with the opportunity to indulge in their desire to charge headlong into the thick of battle. Bound and determined to prove themselves in the eyes of their elder brethren, Void Claws are unafraid and uncaring, soaring fearlessly into the skies or the freezing void of space, taking great joy in plunging into the enemy's midst and watching them crumble beneath their relentless tornado of firepower.
- Landayvan - The Landayvan (''Layers of Waste'') are the equivalent to the standard Primaris Space Marine Aggressors and Hellblasters. They are heavy combat support specialists tasked with long-range fire support and are outfitted with modified suits of Mark X Gravis Pattern battle-plate, refitted to carry shoulder-mounted missile launchers that can be automatically reloaded from internal stores within their battle-plate. They also wield Flame Gauntlets that unleash blazing streams of promethium upon any foes foolish enough to face them in close-quarters. The Landayvan wade into oncoming enemies, able to mow a bloody path through even the largest of hordes. These deadly battle-brothers are often concentrated within the Chapter's siege warfare and artillery assets of a Great Company. Other Landayvan are armed with Mark III Belisarius pattern Plasma Incinerators, and serve a similar combat function as the ancient Legion Tactical Support Squads of the ancient Legiones Astartes. They provide relentless covering fire to their battleline and close support brethren. This could be in the form of assassination of prime targets, counter-battery volleys, or the destruction of enemy armour. Through target selection, marksmanship, and the timely application of firepower, the Landayvan have often turned the tide of battle and snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.
- Wolf Scouts - There are those amongst the Crimson Prowlers who are wanting of brotherhood and instead prefer working in small elite cadres. These Primaris Space Marines are selected to become part of a Great Company's Wolf Scout forces. These combat specialists are utilised in the role of Reiver Squads, and are tasked with reconnaissance, infiltration and lightning assaults. Specially trained and equipped to launch brutally effective and unexpected assaults, it is their primary role to identify and take out an enemy's command structure, its warlords, officers, priests, demagogues, or whatever form an enemy's commanders take, and slay them with a well-placed bolt round or their deadly, sharpened combat knives or power swords in close combat, while the chaos of battle rages around them. Unlike other Chapters who utilise raw Neophytes in this role, Wolf Scouts of the Crimson Prowlers are already veteran warriors. Each member of these Wolf Scout squads are outfitted in Mark X Reiver Power Armour. The suit's lighter-weight ceramite and streamlined design allow for greater mobility, and its servo-motors are engineered to be completely silent. Above all else, Wolf Scouts depend on stealth and secrecy to accomplish their missions, something that is normally anathema to the Sons of Russ, but whose function has been deemed a necessary evil, and has often times proven to be a highly effective tool of war.
- Deathsworn - Over time, as a Crimson Prowlers Pack takes casualties and gain experience, they pass through the ranks, and eventually the last few survivors make it into the vaunted ranks of the Varagyr. However, sometimes a Pack will suffer particularly harsh casualties, leaving a lone survivor who has not yet earned a place amongst the Lordsbane. These lone warriors are known to possess an air of vengeance and doom, for the horrors of witnessing their kin being cut down in the heat of battle causes many of them to become something hollow and murderous beyond reason. As vengeance incarnate, these so-called 'Deathsworn' are possessed with an all-consuming impulse to kill and kill again, and will stop at nothing to avenge their fallen kinsmen. Consumed by a strange blood-soaked ennui, they are driven to hurl themselves into suicidal assaults against the most monstrous foes or worthy enemies, intent on either earning great glory on behalf of their slain packmates, or earning a magnificent death in glorious battle. Only through their deeds of incredible heroism or sacrifice can such warriors atone for the 'sin' of survival and restore honour for his dead kindred. A small minority of those who succeed in their suicidal quests for atonement and survive are accepted into the Varagyr, while the rest have at least earned an honourable death in combat like their fallen packmates.
The gene-legacy of Russ is proudly borne by the Crimson Prowlers. However, their gene stock appears to be stable and displays some interesting qualities. With the introduction of the genetic material from the Freyan warriors, the genome seems to have inherited their savagery and thirst for war as well as their more positive traits of steadfast loyalty.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
- "Strength is Life."
"For the Strong have the right to rule."
"Honour is life."
"For with no honour one may as well be dead."
"Loyalty is life."
"For without one's pack one has no purpose."
"Death is life."
"One should die as they have lived."
- — Crimson Prowlers Rite of Battle
- "Fear not death, for the hour of your doom is set, and none will escape it."
- — Freyan Proverb
Although some considered the Crimson Prowlers of being comprised of nothing more than a bunch of uncouth and uncultured barbarians, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. These fierce Astartes proudly carry on the traditions of Freya's highly ritualistic and distinctive culture. Much of their martial traditions are still maintained by the Crimson Prowlers, even after their induction into the ranks of the Chapter. Crimson Prowlers' Astartes constantly vie with one another, yearning to achieve the most victories or the highest kill tallies, in order to impress the Chapter's more venerable members, constantly striving to earn a place within the Chapter's sagas. Like the feral tribesmen they recruit from, the Crimson Prowlers value personal honour and physical strength at arms over all. Many Crimson Prowlers prefer to challenge enemy commanders to single combat in order to test themselves against the mightiest of enemies. Crimson Prowlers often seek out single combat with a foe they consider worthy of the honour, although more than a few Veteran Marines and commanders have fallen against particularly dangerous opponents this way.
Thus, the Battle-Brothers of the Crimson Prowlers Chapter are known to exhibit a fierce resolve in the face of overwhelming odds and display an unstoppable drive to test themselves against all who would stand before them. Perhaps this feature of their character is a result of the beliefs instilled in each before he has even joined the Chapter, for the warrior tribes of Freya are fearsome and resolute indeed. The Crimson Prowlers feel an inherent need to punish the former Astartes of the Traitor Legions.
Freyan beliefs hold that when a warrior of Freya has proved his worth or is slain in glorious battle that they will earn a place amongst the honoured ranks of the Einherjar - the fell-spirits of the warriors who died in glorious battle and were raised from the dead; chosen to continue fighting by the side of the Emperor, (whom Freyans refer to as the 'All-Father') against the enemies of Mankind. According to the ancient Freyan sagas the 'All-Father' will face Hel (Chaos Undivided), the Goddess of Death and the underworld, and her other four aspects (lust, wrath, plague and transformation) and her daemonic hordes during the final days of all of creation, known as Ragnarök ('End-Times'). It is every Freyan's fondest wish to be judged worthy enough to join their God-Emperor in eternal battle.
Notable Crimson Prowlers
Current records show that the Crimson Prowlers exist as a fleet-based Chapter. This decision was made early on during their inception.
The scattered records of the Crimson Prowlers imply that the Chapter has no set home world. This is not uncommon for a Space Marine Chapter to operate solely as a warfleet on a perpetual Crusade. However, The Crimson Prowlers do not follow the standard Crusade pattern of operation when it comes to a Fleet based Chapter. The Chapter functions exclusively on a much rarer operational strategy for its warfleet known as the 'Nomad-Predation' pattern. This pattern utilised by the Crimson Prowlers has matured within a short period when operating beyond the Imperium's boundaries for prolonged time.
The Nomad-Predation pattern has allowed the Crimson Prowlers to be an entirely sovereign force that could sustain itself without any support whatsoever. Their Chapter fleet contains as many support vessels as true warships, and is said to also contain a number of voidships capable of both combat and maintenance/repairs. Given the bellicose Crimson Prowlers' propensity for combat, it seems unlikely they would tolerate vessels in their fleet's ranks that could not hold their own on the battle line. As a Nomad-Predation fleet, the Crimson Prowlers voyage indefinitely, tarrying only to identify and engage the foes of man. Once a target is selected as prey, the fleet descends quickly, engaging and destroying potential threats. The fleet acquires resources from the annihilated foe before vanishing, safe from any potential retaliation.
The Chapter fleet of the Crimson Prowlers is known to contain the following starships:
- Red Shroud (Apocalypse-Class Battleship) - The Red Shroud is the Crimson Prowlers notorious flagship and serves as the Chapter's mobile fortress-monastery.
The Crimson Prowlers' Chapter badge is a crimson coloured sigil of the 'Void Wolf', an ancient symbol utilised by the Space Wolves Legion of old, which was associated with Breacher troops and ship-to-ship specialists. This symbol is centered upon a crescent moon, a single blood drop dripping from the top point, and centered on a field of sable. The ancient and foreboding totem of the Void Wolf, also known as the 'Spirit Wolf', is considered a sign of ill-omen in Fenrisian mythology. For the Crimson Prowlers, at least, this choice of totem has proven to be not just well-omened, but prophetic. Throughout their tenure, this Chapter has become renowned for attacking from an unseen quarter, swift and terrifying like blood-soaked spectres, then just as quickly, fading away into the darkness of the void, searching for new prey.
- Blóð Móðr - A Freyan term that means 'blood rage', this is when a warrior enters an enhanced state, and stirs themselves up to such rage and madness that they will boldly attack any foe without being hampered by thoughts of their own or others' safety. This term is used by the Crimson Prowlers when referring to those Astartes (Úlfheðinn) who are overcome by the blóð móðr, especially when fighting against the Forces of Chaos.
- Drakkar - A longship smaller than a knorr, usually used for raiding or piracy.
- Einherjar - In Freyan myth, the spirits of the slain warriors who reside within the long-hall of the All-Father, awaiting the day they will fight at Ragnarøkkr. This term is commonly used to refer to those who are selected to join the 'Sky-Warriors'.
- Einvigi - Unlimited personal combat, a duel to the death with no restrictions.
- Goði - The closest Freyan equivalent to a jarl. Goði have certain rights and responsibilities in Freya's southern continent, acting as patrons to smallholders, but are not nobles as the wider Imperium would understand them.
- Hel - In Freyan culture, Hel is the Goddess of Death and the underworld. She is epitomises the aspect of evil itself (Chaos Undivided), and often appears in one of her four aspects (lust, wrath, plague and transformation). This term is utilised by the Crimson Prowlers when referring the Chaos or Chaos Undivided.
- Hirð - The boon-companions of a lord. They eat at his table, sleep in his hall, take his gifts of weapons, armor and wealth, and derive their positions from hi1n. So long as he can feast and gift them, they must stand beside hi1n to the death, both on and off the field of battle. A term commonly used amongst the Crimson Prowlers when referring to members of their Chapter's elite veterans.
- Holmgang - A highly stylized ritual that can be described as either a duel or a trial by combat, depending on your point of view. Combatants exchange sword or axe blows until one is unable to continue.
- Huskarl - A member of the hirð, a warrior who makes the bargain of mead and glory for loyal service to a lord. Amongst the elite members of the Wolf Guard, this term is used when referring to a Veteran Sergeant.
- Jarl - A noble of unspecified holdings, usually between those of a landed knight and a baron or earl. Unlike a huskarl, a jarl does not derive his position fro1n his lord, but from his hereditary holdings. While there were formal differences, the mark of a jarl was the ability to keep a hall and men, and the line between jarl and freeholder was often blurry. This term is used by the Crimson Prowlers when referring to anyone of a leadership position, usually an officer (Space Marine Captain equivalent rank).
- Knorr - A longship larger than a drakkar, usually used for trade.
- Ragnarök - The 'End-Times' or the 'Fate of the All-Father', when a long foretold series of future events, including a great battle between the Forces of Order against the Forces of Chaos, foretold to ultimately result in the death of the universe.
- Skjaldmær - Known as 'Shieldmaidens', these fierce female warriors fight alongside the men in battle with shield, sword, axe and spear.
- Thegn - The lesser partner in the Freyan equivalent of a feudal contract. A king's jarls are his thegns.
- Thing - (Pronounced ting), a thing was a local assembly of district, known as a thingstead, the thing manages affairs of justice and various other issues of local interest.
- Úlfheðinn - A Freyan term when referring to those warriors who fight in an uncontrollable, trance-like fury, who fight without their mailcoats and are as mad as hounds or wolves. They are known to spit and froth at the mouths and bite their shields, slaying men by the score. It is said that neither fire nor iron has any effect upon them. This term is used by the Crimson Prowlers when referring to those Astartes who are overcome by the blóð móðr (or 'blood rage') and enter an enhanced state, stirring themselves up to such rage and madness that they will boldly attack any foe with suck bloodthirstiness and savagery without being hampered by thoughts of their own or others' safety.
- Útlægr - Known as 'The Outlawed', these criminals are beyond the law. A punishment for certain serious crimes. A útlægr has no right to wergild if slain, and his killer need not announce the deed.
- Vargr - Freyan for 'wolf', this term is often used when referring to outlaws and bandits, as well as more mundane wolves. This term is used by the Crimson Prowlers when referring to corsairs or pirates.
- Wendól - The Wendól or 'Twisted Ones' are evil spirits given physical form. This is a term utilised by the Crimson Prowlers when referring to the Daemonic servants of Chaos.
- Wergild - The amount of compensation paid by a person committing an offense to the injured party or, in case of death, to his family.
The Dusk Howlers, known also as the Vlka Hrímherjar ('Wolves of Hrímgard'), are a formidable Primaris Space Marine Chapter created from the lineage of the mighty Leman Russ. Created shortly after the end of the Horus Heresy, the Dusk Howlers were one of several Primaris Chapters that were awakened from stasis from the cryo-stasis crypts beneath the surface of Mars, to take the fight to the Forces of Chaos, following the destruction of Cadia and the formation of the massive galaxy-wide tear known as the Great Rift. The Dusk Howlers were created as a shock-assault force to take back those worlds lost to the Traitor Legions, which ran amok across countless Imperial worlds, as the massive tear in reality unleashed the vile denizens of the Immaterium upon the Imperium of Man.
The Dusk Howlers quickly garnered a reputation as tireless pursuers and peerless hunter-killers of those enemies of Mankind who attempted to flee the Emperor's wrath. Since their inception, the Dusk Howlers have remained a Chapter apart from its fellows, content to prosecute the Imperium's wars on their own. Though unexpectedly violent and unsubtle, their campaigns are brutally swift.
In the latter years of the M41, such brutal and bloody-handed Space Marine Chapters are all that stand as a bulwark between the numerous enemies of Mankind and total ruination. This Chapter is one of four Space Wolves Successor Chapters, that make up the unofficial collective known as the 'Sons of Russ', which are charged with standing eternal vigil over the hellish realms of the Eye of Terror.
By the Crimson Prowlers
- "Careful pup! I am old for a good reason."
- — An anonymous Gnarled Fang's warning to a young Wolf Claw attempting to play an ill-advised practical joke on his elder batttle-brother
- "Better to fight and fall then to live without hope"
- — Rune Keeper Steingrim Stoneheart
About the Crimson Prowlers
- "They are the aggressors, and we the defenders. They are the axe, we are the shield. While they strike against the Emperor's foes, we safeguard the Emperor's people. Which is the more holy task? Only the Emperor knows."
- — First Smith Lord Delkor Va'Shan of the Dragons Amaranthine
- "A Goddess of death with her four lieutenants? Such a quaint superstition. I may be a Goddess of death to you, Space Marine, but I assure, you, I serve the Gods, and they are magnanimous masters."
- "Follow the Prowlers in and obey all their transmitted orders. We may walk without fear on the ground, up here, we are in their domain. Maintain formation and prepare batteries for supporting fire."
- — Lophess Ovair, First Captain of the Obsidian Blades
- "If you ever need warriors to assault starships when you fight on the planet below, looks no further than to the Crimson Prowlers... But don't stay with them after the battle, their boasts would kill you!"
- — Bit of advice from a Dawn Fangs to a new recruit of the Dawn's Wolves about their Brothers in Crimson.