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The Drakken Harbingers are a suspected Successor Chapter of the ancient and heroic Salamanders. This Chapter was created during the 4th Founding sometime in the fifth century of M32, in the wake of the disastrous conflict known as the War of the Beast. The military forces of the Imperium had sacrificed much, including severe losses suffered by several Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes. After several decades, the Adeptus Mechanicus had raised enough gene-seed to provide for the initial inception of several Space Marine Chapters of what would eventually become the the 4th Founding. With blessing of the High Lords of Terra, this new Founding took place, raising several newly created Chapters, including the Drakken Harbingers.
Quickly garnering a reputation as a bellicose Chapter, the Drakken Harbingers were highly active in seeking out the various foes of Mankind, most especially Chaos, in order to bring their righteous wrath down upon them. Due to their vindictive nature and drive to enact retribution against their foes they have never returned to full-strength numbers. The only time the chapter has had a full roster of a thousand active Astartes was at their conception. Since that bygone era, the Drakken Harbingers have been the source of major controversy. They have proven themselves worthy inheritors of Vulkan and stalwart defenders of the Imperium of Man time and again, but their exceptionally high exposure to the taint of Chaos and their recruiting practices have placed the keen eye of the Inquisition very closely upon them.
Since their inception, the Drakken Harbingers have been a Chapter that is highly active in the prosecution of the Emperor's wars, seemingly always appearing when the taint of Chaos is present. They seek out the Great Enemy in any way possible: rumors, distress signals and even visions of the Emperor (supposedly). These prognostications grants their Librarians captured plans of enemies, but their biggest source of targets comes directly from the Inquisition, more specifically - the Ordo Hereticus. A fleet-based Chapter, the Drakken Harbingers are a unique example of a Crusading Chapter, as their doctrines, traditions and organisation reflect a much more different approach to that role than most other fleet-based Chapters. Instead of dividing their fleet, the Chapter always travels in its full number, both through the empty void and on the battlefield when possible. When tactics deem it necessary for division into a variable number of self-contained and highly mobile units, they are quick to assemble and highly effective, due to the curiously high rate of individuality among the marines. That is mostly propagated through the fact that the Chapter still largely follows the spirit of autonomy and self-sufficiency laid down in the original tenets by their Primarch Vulkan.
The Drakken Harbingers are a fiery and zealous Chapter, forever seeking to take the fight to the enemies of Mankind. Much like the XVIII Legion of old, the blood of these warriors burns hot. No matter the odds, no matter the cost, they fight every campaign as though it were a war of attrition. Retreat is countenanced, only once defeat is inevitable and the preservation of the forces they need to protect and that of their own chapter is assured. The primarch's tempering influence and his teachings on the Promethean Cult, regarding his sons being the protectors of humanity, have mostly been omitted or warped. In the Chapter's mentality, Vulkan's fire isn't a kindling for mankind to gather around and fend off its attackers, but a blazing inferno, powered by the Emperor's greatest gift - hate, meant to seek out and burn away all of the enemies of man. This interpretation of their father's ideology has often put them at odds with their progenitors the Salamanders. While their willingness to ally with more questionable chapters, such as the Lamenters, and belief that so long as one fights the enemies of the Emperor with zeal, they are their brother in arms, has only added to the tension between the Chapter and the Inquisition. Some whisper that this nihilistic Chapter is destined towards self-annihilation. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Ash & Fire
- "I can scarcely imagine what inspired Horus to this madness. In truth, the very fact of it frightens me. For if even the best of us can falter, what does that mean for the rest? Lord Manus will lead us in. Seven Legions against his four. Horus will regret rebellion."
- — Vulkan, Primarch of the Salamanders Legion
Though extant records indicate that the Drakken Harbingers were originally created during the 4th Founding sometime during the middle centuries of the 32nd Millennium, their true origins can actually be traced back much further. The Chapter's lineage hearkens back to the Age of Darkness - during the galaxy-wide conflict known as the Horus Heresy - during the first decade of the 31st Millennium. The Chapter's earliest members were among the few exceptionally lucky survivors of the Dropsite Massacre.
When the Horus Heresy erupted and the Emperor's dream of the Great Crusade was forever shattered, the Master of Mankind ordered for the combined forces of seven Space Marine Legions to deploy to the Isstvan System, in response to the treachery of the Warmaster Horus and his betrayal of the Loyalist Astartes in the Sons of Horus, Emperor's Children, World Eaters and Death Guard Legions at Isstvan III. The Salamanders Legion were one of these Loyalist Legions granted the honour to bring their unfettered wrath down upon the Arch-Traitor and his co-conspirator Traitor Legions on the world of Isstvan V.
Falling under the supreme command of the Iron Hands' Primarch Ferrus Manus, the Loyalist Legions were to attack in two waves - the first being comprised of the Salamanders, Iron Hands and the Raven Guard. The second wave was comprised of the Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors, Night Lords, and a large contingent of Word Bearers. Unknown to the Loyalist first wave, the Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors, Night Lords and Word Bearers had all turned from the service to the Emperor and secretly pledged their allegiance to the Warmaster, and had been instructed to keep their new allegiance a secret.
At the height of the conflict, the Warmaster revealed the full extent of his treachery. When the Raven Guard and Salamanders withdrew towards the northern side of the Urgall Depression towards their drop sites to give the recently arrived reinforcements a chance to earn glory against the Traitors, their calls for assistance with their wounded was answered with the roar of ten thousand bolters. The weapons of their allies turned on the Salamanders and the Raven Guard with traitorous intent, crushing the Loyalists between the hammer of Horus' forces and the anvil of the fortified drop site. Enraged by their former allies' betrayal, Vulkan led his sons in a suicidal charge against the closest Traitors' defensive line. But as the majority of the Salamanders crested the first ridge, it was only then that they saw their inevitable doom, as rockets came down in the midst of the charging Salamanders, engulfing them in nucleonic fire.
In a single devastating strike, Primarch Perturabo of the Iron Warriors had crippled the XVIII Legion, severed its head and sent its body into convulsive spasms. Sustaining such severe losses, retreat became the only viable strategy remaining. Despite a heroic defense, the three Loyalist Legions who took part in the battle on Isstvan V were practically destroyed; all but a handful of Battle-Brothers fell on that fateful day, as well as the unthinkable - the death of Primarch Ferrus Manus. As to the fate of Vulkan, conflicting reports made it difficult to verify whether or not he had survived the apocalyptic battle.
Flight of the Drakes
A number of small groups of Salamanders amazingly survived the nuclear fire of the Iron Warriors' fierce missile barrage that obliterated a good portion of their Legion. The last thing the bloodied survivors saw, before their vision was engulfed in the missile's fire, was the very same flame swallowing their gene father. Somehow managing to break out of the encircling trap as soon it became clear all was lost, the few surviving Salamanders dragged away their fellow wounded Legionaries, among which were those who witnessed the supposed end of Vulkn, to awaiting gunships and other transports in an attempt to escape the brutal carnage. Only through sheer determination and little bit of luck, did the survivors from the surface somehow escape the brutal aerial barrage and make for their awaiting vessels in orbit. In the skies above Isstvan V, the war fleets of the Loyalists had also been betrayed and assaulted and there, although overmatched, the battle had not been such a one-sided affair as the Traitors would have liked, as some Loyalist vessels had been fully void-shielded and on battle alert as befitted being in a war zone. They managed to weather the sudden attack of their supposed allies, and despite suffering some damage, managed to respond in kind. One of these vessels was the Salmanders' strike cruiser Drake's Wrath. They were a late arrival to the Isstvan System and were caught in the firestorm of the titanic space battle that had erupted between the Loyalist and Traitor fleets.
Despite the chaos that now raged around them, the Drake's Wrath immediately took notice of several smaller transports and gunships fleeing from the surface of Isstvan V, the hounds of the enemy in dogged pursuit. Breaking away from the main battle, the Salamanders commander ordered his vessel to intercept the fleeing vessels in order to help facilitate their escape. Destroying several Traitor gunships, the Drake's Wrath recovered several vessels of wounded Isstvan V survivors, but was quickly driven off after sustaining massive damage from three Traitor vessels that had taken notice of the Loyalist's rescue attempt of their comrades. Facing imminent destruction, the commander of the Drake's Wrath ordered a hasty retreat and fled the system, dogged by the murderous pursuit of multiple Traitor vessels.
While the more stable Legionaries recuperated and prepared for redeployment, those who had weathered the nucleonic strike that had ended their Primarch were at their very limit and had to be placed in stasis for treatment, save they were to completely perish.
Birth Of The Beast
During their time in stasis, the Salamanders would continuously relive the brightest moments in their memory. Unfortunately for them, those included the betrayal of their cousins and the presumed death of Vulkan. Slowly, unknowingly, hate built up into their minds. Hatred for what their treasonous kin had done.
They would be awoken from their slumber millennia later, during the peak of the War of the Beast, the rapid development of events leading to them being forgotten up until that point. The released battle brothers numbered roughly two companies. They were told of what had happened since their interment into the stasis chambers, and they could not believe their ears at the detestable developments of events. Despite their excessive feelings, they had a duty to fulfill. Supporting a contingent of Blood Angels in the reclamation of a Forge World from the teeming Ork infestation were their orders. An unsettling silence had loomed over them, both due to their horrendous dreams taking to repetition in their minds, and not knowing how exactly to commune with their far younger cousins.
Once they arrived on the planet they found it liberated from Orkish occupation, but the Blood Angels were engaged in vicious combat against their treasonous kin that had turned to Chaos. The memory of Istvaan V still fresh in the Salamanders' mind lead them to fight on with unnatural viciousness. During the battle, a message came through, claiming that Vulkan was not only alive, but taking the fight directly to the Beast of Ulanor. The very thought of seeing their Primarch once more emboldened the marines in their zeal, as they doubled their efforts to stem the Chaos worshipers, so that they could return to their father's side. After several grueling days the traitors were routed and forced to flee the planet.
But before celebrations could be raised, the few remaining Blood Angels, unbeknownst to the Salamanders, had been taken over by the Black Rage. Screaming their claims of being their primogenitor Sanguinius, the sons of the angel lashed out at anything that was near them, including the sons of Vulkan. The feeling of betrayal they felt when their cousins first turned on them during the Dropsite Massacre was sparked in the Salamanders once more, and they mercilessly put down the lost marines. Incredibly confused, and lacking living prisoners to interrogate, they took to eating their kin's brain matter in order to learn of what had happened. It was then that they were exposed to the Black Rage themselves. The sensation took them over momentarily, but their inner flame somehow managed to temper it. Nothing remained in their minds but the thought, the need, to return to their father, and so they did. However, by the time they made it to the scene where he had reappeared, they only managed to see Vulkan ram the Beast into a reactor which exploded, obliterating the surrounding area. At that moment, a darkness filled their minds. A cold, writhing hatred for the brothers that had betrayed them and the forces of Chaos which had taken them over, washed over their minds. These Salamanders did not know it at the time, but their exceptionally volatile feelings of hatred and their own genes had mixed with the Black Rage, producing a brand new form of mutation that would define them and their descendants - the Abyssal Hate.
Having surrendered themselves to the desire to purge all of mankind's enemies, to purge those who had wrought such hatred into their hearts, these battle marines became more violent, more prone to outbursts of anger and had their views of their father's teachings become so much more different than those of their other brethren, that they could not successfully integrate into any of the Salamanders' successor chapters, nor back into their parent legion. Due to which, they, along with those battle brothers that agreed with their vision were carved out and formed into a brand new chapter, that could freely dedicate itself to its self destructive desire for vengeance against those who would oppose humanity.
A chapter that would be since known as the Drakken Harbingers.
Chapter Home World
Once they had formed, the Drakken Harbingers' furious zeal would drive them to hunt down the Great Enemy of mankind, constantly seeking out any and all Chaos invasions and other threats, never staying in once place. Thus they were gifted the space fairing fortress monastery - the Venganza, a vessel that could rival the famed home of the Fire Hawks in size, along with a small fleet with which to conduct their crusade. Thus, at present they are a self sustaining fleet based chapter.
The Chapter's Gene-Seed is fairly stable, being almost identical to that of normal Salamanders. The only difference is the fact that within their genes can also be find traces of the Blood Angels' Black Rage, which upon reacting with the Drakken's genetic stock and the hatred that each of them feel creates a state known through the Chapter, to the elements coexisting under the Chapter and the Inquisition as the Abyssal Hate.
The Abyssal Hate
The Abyssal Hate is a mutative state unique to the Drakken Harbingers, but tolerated by the Inquisition under close supervision. The state is caused due to the presence of the Blood Angels' Black Rage within and reacting with their genes and the excessive amounts of hatred the individual marines experience. The state can be observed in two forms. The first is a constantly present passive form, which gives the individual marine an exceptionally high resistance to Warp energy and an almost complete immunity to any form of mental manipulation. The second is far more active, which is triggered in certain situations or due to different catalysts for each individual marine, most often when they encounter their personal object of highest contempt, known as the true Abyssal Hate. When triggered, the active form retains the effects of the passive, while also filling the mind of the marine with a cold dark hate, causing them to shut out any outside stimuli and enter a form of hyper tunnel vision towards killing the thing which had sparked the reaction initially. Unlike the Black Rage, the marines are not sent into a mindless rage, but a cold calculated indifference to almost everything around them, driven by the desire to end their personal object of contempt.
There exist very rare occasions when some fall to the pure Black Rage as it is present within the Blood Angels, but they are exclusive to the aspirants that receive their very first augmentation.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
Despite being a fleet based Chapter, the Drakken Harbingers are not specialized in void combat, instead relegating the command of their naval forces to the Inquisitorial presence that watches over them. Their specialty is grinding combat, combating against vast hordes of enemies. Their most favored tactic is deploying as many of their devastators, artillery and other means of dealing wide spread damage in safe allied formations that are about to be assaulted by a vast enemy horse, then have the rest of the chapter deploy via drop pods right on top of the first lines of the enemy horde, halting the tide like a wall and beginning to slowly march against them, while supported by their allies and previously deployed elements.
The Chapter has grown to venerate the Emperor as a godly figure, the one true God whose will is for the corrosive taint that had taken the traitors to be purged from existence.
They still follow Vulkan's creed and tenants, but they view them in a considerably more different manner than their parent Chapter and other Salamanders successors. While they respect the Salamanders as their progenitors, they view their interpretation that Vulkan's fire is a kindle for mankind to gather around to fend off the terrors of the void as abhorrently pacifistic. In their mind's eye it is a burning hatred, the Emperor's greatest gift to humanity, which must wash over the galaxy and burn away all who would dare to endanger humanity.
In addition to the Emperor and Vulkan, the Drakken Harbingers also venerate the Primarch of the Blood Angels - Sanguinius, referring to him as 'The Truth Bringer', as it was the blood of his sons, who attacked the founders of the Drakken, that "revealed" to them their purpose and created the Abyssal Hate.
Notable Drakken Harbingers
Krir Dragonmantle -
Orakon Dovhartd -
Viktor Drakketear -
- Venganza (Star Fort, Fortress Monastery class) - Gifted to the Drakken upon their formation as a Chapter.
- Drakken's Wrath - Ancient Battlebarge that had saved the founders of the chapter from the Dropsite Massacre
- Truth's Touch - Master crafted power fist, symbol of the Chapter Master's authority, passed down from Chapter Master to Chapter Master
- Wyrm's Bane - Master crafted Thunder hammer, gifted to the fourth Chapter Master of the Drakken Harbingers - Krir Dragonmantle, by his closest battle brother, which he used to slay the Leviathan from which his cape was made.
- The Dragonmantle - A cape made out of the scales of a Nocturne Leviathan, initially created for the Drakken's fourth Chapter Master - Krir Dragonmantle, upon him killing the Chaos Lord leading an invasion and the Lord's Leviathan, but later passed down as a badge for accomplishing great feats of heroism among the battle brothers of the Chapter.
The Chapter's colors are Black and Fiery Orange, symbolizing the blazing fire of Vulkan that runs in their blood and their guiding power - the Abyssal Hate.
Their badge is a fiery orange dragon breathing flames on a black background, depicting the aesthetical personification of a battle brother who has entered the state of the Abyssal Hate.
By the Drakken Harbingers
"No matter your origin, so long as you fight the Great Enemy in the name of the Emperor, you are both allies and brothers to the Drakken." - Krir Dragonmantle to the Chapter Master of the Knights Celestial at the end of the Victoria Pyrrhi campaign.
About the Drakken Harbingers
"Sigh. Our poor younger brothers. They mean well, they do. But their Hatred and blind form of fanaticism is grossly undermining their role as a champion of the Imperium. Do not feel animosity towards them as we do other hate-consumed forces within the galaxy, instead pity them." - High Lord Bulrelius Pulvis, Chapter master of the Ashen Knights