|This article, Ice Dragons, is currently under active construction. The author, Algrim Whitefang, apologizes for the inconvenience.|
- "Heretics die of cold, not of darkness..and we will be the ones to deliver them unto death's icy embrace."
- — Attr. Veteran Sergeant Shindrok Kal'tan, 1st Company, 2nd Talon
The Ice Dragons are an unconfirmed and unacknowledged Salamanders' Successor Chapter created during the tragic 21st Founding, also known as the 'Cursed Founding', which occurred in 991.M35, on the cusp of M36, shortly before the start of the Age of Apostasy. The focus of this particular Founding for the Adeptus Mechanicus to perfect and remove existing identified deficiencies in various Adeptus Astartes gene-seed. The ultimate goal was to produce new and improved Primarch-like Space Marines as part of what would come to be known as "Project Homo Sapiens Nova."
Though initially deemed successful, soon many Chapters were plagued by spontaneous random mutations or devolved into something no longer human or sane. Fortunately, the newly created Ice Dragons were spared such a fate. Initially, the Astartes of this Chapter only suffered cosmetic, physical changes such as distinct albinism. But soon they developed other unexpected, and much more serious, genetic idiosyncrasies - especially the peculiar mutation which necessitated the use of specially-modified power armour due to the Ice Dragons' inability to survive temperatures exceeding sub-zero.
The Ice Dragons' Chapter home world is the icy Death World of Crystallos, which lies near the Eastern Fringe of the Ultima Segmentum. Since their inception, the Ice Dragons have continued to maintain their vigil near the Eastern Fringe to defend mankind from any xenos incursions from beyond the frontiers of the Imperium's borders.
Nova Terra Interregnum
The origins of the Ice Dragons is believed to hearken back to the tumultuous era known as the Nova Terra Interregnum. During this troubled period the Imperium of Man fractured into warring factions for over nine centuries, when the rebellious Ur-Council of Nova Terra dismissed the authority of the High Lords of Terra and claimed separate rule over the Imperium's Segmentum Pacificus in mid-M34.
In 975.M35 the Ecclesiarchy attempted to rebind the sundered Imperium during the Nova Terra Interregnum, into a religious state that would transcend political differences. Unfortunately the Ur-Council of Nova Terra rejected the Ecclesiarchy's teachings, which resulted in a terrible new civil war being unleashed, the likes of which had not been seen since the Horus Heresy. This conflict would result in the death of billions dying in the religious wars that followed.
Five years later, the Imperium would be beset upon by the xenos menace known as the Hrud. Massive infestations erupted all across the Imperium at this time.
Following this lamentable period of history, the mysterious 21st Founding took place in 991.M35. Of all the Foundings of the Adeptus Astartes that have occurred in Imperial history, this particular Founding was marked by disaster, tragedy and dark tidings. Matters pertaining to the exact nature of this particular Founding have long since become shrouded in myth. The various dark ends that have befallen many of this Founding's Chapters have earned it the unfortunate moniker "Cursed Founding," and with good reason. Many now consider those Chapters created during this Founding to be tainted from their very birth.
The exact nature of the Ice Dragons' creation and the gene-seed used in their Founding still remains classified by the highest Imperial authority. It is most likely that it was the sponsorship and designs of one of the great Ordos of the Inquistion that may well have specified the Ice Dragons' creation, either as a grand experiment or for some singular purpose. During the 21st Founding, it was decided that the Magos Biologis would attempt to utilise and alter samples of the Salamanders' gene-seed in order to remove the limitations of their slower reflexes. Thinking that they had accomplished this task, the newly created Ice Dragons Chapter were formed under Salamanders Forge-Father Val'tan Bláinn. They were given the Imperial world of Crystallos as their Chapter home world, which lay on the Eastern Fringe near the furthest reaches of the Ultima Segmentum.
Fortunately, the newly created Chapter did not meet similar dark fates as many of their fellow Space Marine Chapters created during this Founding. The Ice Dragons were spared the spontaneous and extreme physical corruption exhibited by many of these Chapters. For the first few years following their inception, the genetic alteration of their gene-seed appeared to be successful, albeit, with some minor side affects. A minor mutation caused the Ice Dragons Astartes to develop albinism. Another notable side effect was that their capacity for emotion became even more diluted, causing them to be taciturn and sullen. Besides these idiosyncrasies, there was one major side effect that resulted from the genetic tampering of their altered gene-seed.
Not long after their creation, the Ice Dragons quickly discovered that they had developed a dependency on sub-zero temperatures to survive. In order to compensate for this genetic mutation, the Chapter's Techmarines specially modified their power armour to keep them in a state of constant freezing. When not on their icy homeworld, an Ice Dragons Astartes would never remove their battle-plate, as they were forced to wear their refrigerated battle-plate in order to survive temperatures above sub-zero. Their refusal to remove their armour in the presence of other Imperial forces quickly earned them a reputation as being haughty and somehow lacking in brotherhood. But nothing could be further from the truth. They simply did not remove their battle-plate since they required it to literally survive. It has been rumoured that an Ice Dragons' resilience to the extremes of cold temperatures are such, that they can even survive the vacuum of space for short periods of time, should their armour be compromised during void combat.
Despite these setbacks, and their undeserved reputation as an aloof Chapter that is somehow tainted, the Ice Dragons have continued to defend Mankind and serve the will of the Emperor down the long millennia, despite being unheralded and often unremembered.
- The Massacre of Alinstar (602.M37) - With the guidance of Heims (their mysterious patron deity of Chaos), Captain Erikhas, leader of the newly formed Chaos Warband, the Frost Wraiths, led his forces against the Craftworld Alinstar. Hidden by their Chaos God's power, even from the Farseers, the Chaos Warband launched a surprise attack the unsuspecting craftworld. The Frost Wraiths were able to breach a section of the craftworld and successfully deployed their Heretic Astartes in a drop pod assault. In the meantime, the Ice Dragons were enroute back to their homeworld of Crystallos after successfully putting down a rebellious Imperial world in a nearby system. The Chapter's Librarians, through their prognostications, detected the presence of Chaos upon the nearby craftworld. Despite their best efforts, the Ice Dragons were unable to reach Alinstar in time to prevent the planet-wide massacre. Utilising the eldritch power of their patron deity Heim, the Frost Wraiths were somehow able to freeze the entire Aeldari population. As a final insult, they took the last Farseer as a trophy by freezing him in Warp-infused ice, the first of many such trophies. The Ice Dragons launched a lightning assault against the Chaos Warband as they withdrew from the now-dead craftworld. Though they launched a furious assault the Chaos Space Marines were able to make a hasty withdrawal and fled the system, taunting the Ice Dragons for their failure. The Ice Dragons vowed to bring their unfettered wrath down upon these Heretic Astartes, should they ever encounter them again.
This icy death world is located in the isolated region of the Tantlin Sector in the Eastern Fringe, bordering near the Ghoul Stars. Though no records survive of its colonisation by humanity, local legends indicate that Crystallos was once a verdant world of great importance, for it provided rare mineral deposits utilised in the construction of various technologies during the Dark Age of Technology. But when the shadows of the Age of Strife fell upon the galaxy, Crystallos was beset by some natural disaster that all but wiped out most of its population. Following the end of Old Night, it was rediscovered by the Ultramarines Legion during the Great Crusade, but this lonely world was found to be inimical to human life and lacking any natural resources worth exploiting, therefore, it was disregarded as a choice for possible human colonisation.
Crstallos became all but forgotten, until it's eventual rediscovery by the Ice Dragons Chapter in early M36. Following their creation and rapid destabilisation of their gene-seed which caused them to depend upon sub-zero temperatures in order to survive, the Ice Dragons were desperate to find a world that would sustain their existence. Crystallos was found to be cold and silent as the grave. Though a dreary and bitterly cold place of ice and thin air, the Chapter found this perpetually gloomy and icy death world would adequately suit their needs. Much to their surprise, they found that humans actually thrived within the extremely harsh domains of this deadly planet.
The exact origins of the human presence on Crystallos is uncertain, though they are believed to be stranded remnants of star-wrecks and pre-Navigator sleeper ships launched by mankind during the Age of Strife. Confronted with the harsh and near unlivable conditions created by the planet's harsh climate and lack of native flora and fauna, these survivors quickly devolved into nomadic techno-barbaric savages. Forming themselves into mobile, semi-tribal clans, they took to living upon massive fortified land-crawlers which had been created from cannibilised mining and harvesting engines discovered by the survivors. Becoming mobile hunter-gatherers, these various clans lived a constant cycle of raiding, foraging and ceaseless war to claim the few meagre resources they could find. They became savage and unforgiving people - deadly killers to whom the unrelenting struggle for survival was unrelenting - in which only the strongest survived.
The Ice Dragons found the people of Crystallos to be incredibly strong and of hardy stock, and after being tested in body and mind in soul-crushing rituals, they were determined to be free of any evidence of corruption caused by their long isolation from the rest of humanity, and therefore, wee deemed ideal recruiting stock to be moulded into potential Astartes. Declaring the world not belonged to the Imperium by the right of conquest, the Ice Dragons had found themselves a permanent home.
(See also Main Article: Crystallos)
- "Nothing burns like the cold."
- — Common Crystallosian saying
Glacies Mors or "Ice Death", is the formidable fortress-monastery of the Ice Dragons Chapter. It is carved into the ice between the world's two tallest peaks of the Wintergloam Mountains, located within the deadly region known as Frostfell. Areas of the Frostfell are colder, more extreme versions of normal peaks. Marrow-chilling conditions, deadly hazards, and other dangers threaten those whom are foolhardy (or suicidal) enough to venture forth and dare threaten the Ice Dragons' domain. Deadly traps line the path towards the Chapter's citadel high in the Wintergloam Mountains. These traps include deadfalls of snow, falling icicles, patches of quicksnow, pits filled with thick ice spikes and deadly slippery ramps. Whether traveling through polar regions and frozen mountaintops to ice-glazed mountainous paths covered in everfrost, a wintry grave awaits those who would dare assail Glacies Mors.
The Ice Dragons' fortress-monastery was hewn from the stone of the Wintergloam Mountains themselves and reinforced over the years with adamantium to make it exceptionally strong. The walls are quite smooth and coated with ice. The doors are carved from blue ice, since metal doors become too brittle in the intense cold. The entire citadel is bitterly cold, more so than is comfortable for baseline humans, for the Ice Dragons themselves rely on the sub-zero temperatures in order to survive. The temperature hovers around a constant -80 °F, filling the entire fortress-monastery with unearthly cold. This requires the Chapter's serfs to wear heated, cold weather protective gear and breathing apparatus, in order to survive in this frigid environment. Ceiling height in most rooms averages at 20 feet, and continually burning pale blue coloured coldfire illuminates most chambers.
Surprisingly, the Ice Dragons do receive guests at Glacies Mors. Though not a common occurrence, the Chapter has taken into account the needs of regular humans, and so, have converted the majority of the curtain wall's interior into several suites of guest rooms. Each of these chambers are spartanly furnished, containing a bed, writing desk and chair, and several soft cushions. Although the floors and walls are made of blue ice, these chambers are not subject to the supernatural cold of the rest of the fortress-monastery; only the natural cold of the environment exists here. Therefore, a visiting guest would still have to ensure they wore appropriate protective clothing in order to avoid possible hypothermia from prolonged exposure to the cold.
Within the upper levels of the fortress-monastery is the location of the Chapter's Librarium. This large chamber is nearly clogged with icy bookshelves. The books on these shelves are numerous but quite focused on two subjects: the lore of Chaos and the powers of cryomancy.
During the inception of the Ice Dragons Chapter, Adeptus Mechanicus genetors extensively modified their gene-seed in order to create Space Marines of exceptional durability and toughness. Therefore, they utilised the limited gene-stocks of the Salamanders, one of the First Founding Chapters, whose Astartes were well-known for their measurable superiority to the already superhuman Space Marine norms in relation to extreme temperature tolerance, radiological resistance and cellular repair. However, when they attempted to modify the gene-seed to remove some of the more undesirable traits, they proved far less skilled in the genetic sciences than the Emperor Himself. This resulted in some unexpected idiosyncrasies in the Ice Dragons' gene-seed.
One of these mutations has caused some unusual outward effects, the first of which effects the Melanchromic Organ (Which controls the amount of melanin in an Astartes' skin tone and adjusts to variable levels of solar radiation). This organ does not function properly, therefore the skin of an Ice Dragons Astartes cannot adjust properly to high levels of solar radiation or sunlight when exposed. The skin of an Ice Dragons Astartes also has a tendency for the pigment to permanently lighten to the point that they develop albinism, regardless of its original hue. In fact, prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause painful blistering and burns due to the sensitivity of their chalk-like skin. Eventually, as the Space Marine ages, his skin and hair will continue to lighten until it becomes completely snow white. Like their supposed progenitors, the eyes of an Ice Dragons Astartes also possesses a much-remarked 'ember-like' bioluminescence that glows with a red or pinkish hue. This combination of effects, coupled with their physical might, makes for a particularly frightening appearance for the Chapter's rank and file, and has often earned them the fear and superstitious apprehension on first contact with regular humans.
The modifications made to their gene-seed has also caused certain genetically-engineered organs normally implanted in a Space Marine to no longer function properly after implantation. The Ice Dragons no longer possess the Mucranoid organ which allows a Space Marine to survive extremes of heat by secreting a waxy protein substance, similar to mucus, through their pores to seal their skin. Space Marines are cocooned in this way before they enter suspended animation, and the process can even protect them from the harshness of the vacuum and other extremes of temperature, particularly deeply frigid environments. Despite the loss of this organ, most unusual is the Ice Dragons' resilience to extremes of cold. Unlike their genetic forebears, who are known to endure temperatures of the utmost extreme, the Ice Dragons are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum.
One noteworthy aspect of their gene-seed is that the Ice Dragons did inherit the strength of constitution displayed by their supposed progenitors. As a result, their capacity to process and resist toxins is said to exceed even the Salamanders' gene-type. The physiology of an Ice Dragons Astartes has been seemingly engineered to be resilient to the deadliest pathogens or toxin, more so than the average Astartes. This unique immunity makes them immune to the most virulent toxins, bacteria and viruses. The Ice Dragons are often called upon to deploy into Zone-Mortalis warzones, where abominable and lethal conditions - be they bacteriological, chemical or atomic in nature - are present, and in which they tend to excel. Due to their legendary resilience, the Ice Dragons are often seen at the forefront of the fighting in the most hellish war-zones imaginable.
Like their supposed genetic forebears, the Ice Dragons also follow the tenets and doctrines of the Codex Astartes, but their doctrines are also strongly influenced by their home world's Ice Creed of Crystallos, an unorthodox variant of the Imperial Cult that strains the tolerance of the Adeptus Ministorum. Similar in many regards to the Salamanders' Promethean Cult, the Ice Creed preaches self-reliance, sacrifice, honour and loyalty to each Brood-Brother as well as the Emperor Himself. The Ice Dragons also differ from most Codex-oriented Chapter in that each company is larger than the Codex-proscribed 100 battle-brothers, standing at around 120-130 Space Marines (which continually fluctuates due to battlefield losses) maximum, to as little as 75-90 battle-brothers at their lowest point. Additionally, instead of maintaining 10 companies, the Ice Dragons instead only field six company of full Astartes as well as one additional smaller company of around 60-80 Broodlings (Scout Marines). The fighting style of each company favours stalwart fortitude and hardiness over speed and manoeuvrability. The following represents the order of battle of the Ice Dragons Chapter following the introduction of their Primaris Space Marine brethren in 999.M41:
Order of Battle
Drakeward (Chapter Master), Lord of Crystallos
|2nd Company||3rd Company||4th Company|
|Reserve Companies||Scout Company|
|5th Company||6th Company||7th Company|
- Drakeward (Chapter Master)
- Master Warder (Relusirach)
- Ice Warder (Chaplain)
- High Winter Priest (Chief Apothecary)
- Winter Priest (Apothecary)
- Frost Keeper (Chief Librarian)
- Cryomancer (Librarian)
- Forge Wright (Master of the Forge)
- Forge Priest (Techmarine)
- Frost Slayer (Company Champion)
- Talon (Veteran Marine)
- Overseer (Sergeant)
- Bondmate (Battle-Brother)
- Broodling (Scout Marine)
- Hatchling (Aspirant)
- Scale (Tactical or Battleline Squad)
- Fang (Assault or Close Support Squad)
- Drakefire (Devastator or Fire Support Squad)
- Wing (Aerial Squad)
- Brood (Scout Squad)
- Clutch (Aspirant Squad)
Powerful psychic warriors of the Chapter, Crymancers are able to sense the energies and spirits within the element of ice and harness them with their powerful, innate psychic abilities. They dedicate their whole lives to the practice of ice manipulation, and are known to push themselves to their utmost limits by encasing their enemies in hardened glacial ice to summoning daunting constructs of ice or powerful wintery gails. On the field of battle, they are a formidable force to be reckoned with.
Ice Dragons Librarians have a number of unique psychic abilities only used by the psykers of their Chapter:
- Arctic Haze -
- Coldfire -
- Freezing Death -
- Frostburn -
- Heartfreeze -
- Ice Storm - The Cryomancer summons razor sharp icicles, manifesting from the air itself in the form of a massive swirling pillar of sharpened ice, and casts it forth towards the enemy like a small tornado that consumes all in its path, stripping both armour and flesh from bone in a matter of seconds.
- Rimefire -
The Ice Dragons operate largely as a Codex-oriented Chapter, however, they have a few notable preferences. They tend to focus on close-ranged firefights, and use a greater number of plasma and melta weapons to burn their foes, blasting through the enemy and frying whole swaths of infantry. The Ice Dragons are also known to make use of a specialised weapon class known as 'Hoarfrost Weapons'. Powered by rare crystals found only in the deepest caverns on their icy homeworld, these deadly direct energy weapons fire a focussed beam of sub-zero energy that instantly encases an enemy in a block of ice.
Also the emphasis on craftsmanship on Crystallos means the Ice Dragons can create and maintain a significant number of advanced technologies and the Chapter has access to a great many suits of Terminator and Artificer Armor, Thunder Hammers and Master-Crafted weapons, made possible by their skill at artifice and their rich mineral resources, and it is this capability that gives the Ice Dragons a great deal of trading power with the Adeptus Mechanicus.
- Drakeward Val'tan Bláinn - First Chapter Master of the Ice Dragons.
- Cloak of the White Wind - A shimmering white cloak made of the toughened scales of an ancient Frost Drake who dwelled in the darkest depths of Crystallos' mountainous caverns. This cloak provides protection against all flame weapons as well as a measure of protection from shrapnel, bolter weapons and blades.
- Hammer of Hoarg -
- Icesplinter - An ancient, master-crafted artificer Power Mace.
- Jormandr's Dragonbane -
- Winter's Agony -
- Hoarfrost Weapons - Similar technologically and in function to the Space Wolves' Helfrost Weapons, these weapons are powered by rare Frostbrand Crystals, which are only found on the Chapter's icy homeworld of Crystallos. Harvesting such rare crystals is highly dangerous as they are only found within the deepest caverns beneath the tallest peaks of the Wintergloam Mountains. These caverns are often the lair of Frost Drakes - large and dangerous saurians - which can grow as large as a Land Raider in size, although there have been reports of some of these chthonic creatures being even larger. The Forge Priests of the Chapter have long mastered the construction of directed energy weapons that use these precious crystals unique to Crstallos as specialised focussing lenses. When fired, a focussed dispersed beam of sub-zero freezing cold energy emits from the barrel, and any object or person touched by a Hoarfrost beam is immediately frozen solid and made extremely brittle and can then be shattered by the lightest touch, exploding into thousands of shards of crstallised flesh.
- Ice Warding Shield -
The ice dragons primarily wear teal blue coloured battle-plate. Often, they will paint frozen, icicle-like iconography upon the tops of their armorials, gauntlets and greaves. Sometimes, they will apply this iconography around one or both eye lense or on top of their helmets. They are also known to apply this frozen iconography on their weapons and vehicles as well. A white coloured Roman numeral stenciled upon the left poleyn (knee guard) indicates company assignment. A unique, white coloured stylised squad specialty symbol painted on the right armourial (Tactical, Devastator, Assault or Veteran) indicates squad specialty. A white coloured Roman numeral stenciled upon the inset of the right armorial indicates squad assignment. The left armorial has gold coloured shoulder trim, with the Chapter's iconography proudly displayed on the inset.
The Ice Dragons Chapter badge is a stylised white-coloured totemic symbol of a dragon centered on a field of ice blue. This symbol is the Chapter's totem animal which represents the warrior spirit of the God-Emperor.
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By the Ice Dragons
- "My contempt for heretics is almost colder than my heart."
- — Attr. Val'tan Bláinn, first Drakeward (Chapter Master) of the Ice Dragons
- "You seek to hide from retribution? To hide from the cold embrace of death? Foolish mortals. It's not outside..it's winter inside - cold as death - and it has come for you!"
- — Attr. Unknown Ice Dragons Bondmate (Battle-Brother) to renegade Imperial Guard soldiers
- "It grows colder by the hour, more dead with every breath."
- — Ice Dragons Overseer (Sergeant) Ry'kell Mar'shak remarking to an Astra Militarum Commissar about the inevitable doom of the traitor Harkon 66th Imperial Guard Regiment and their Chaos cultist allies during the Xenon Uprising, ca. 875.M30
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About the Ice Dragons
- "If there ever were Space Marines colder than ice, then surely the Ice Dragons are them. If there ever were fellow Space Marines I wanted to kill, it would be the Marines Malevolent. Perhaps the Sharks and the Dragons could find common ground in this?"
- — Kamea Makala, Chapter Master of the Astral Sharks
- "Aside from our own brethren and cousins, fellow sons of Dorn, if I am made to stand to the last in a place of sure death with another chapter not of our own bloodline, I would stand with no other brothers than they. Cold as they may be. Nothing in this universe can melt their determination and loyalty to the Emperor."
- — Unknown Silver Knights Captain, recorded M38
- "Strange that two such similar chapters should be created from the 13th and 21st Founding. I wonder if our brethren will be joining us, here in the frozen corpse of this craftworld. It would be nice to have some new brethren who also enjoy these icy wonders."
- — Personal musings of Erikhas the Wintersmith, leader of the renegade Frost Wraiths
- "Perhaps we won't be so few in number forever. Come cousin, there is plenty of room on the Craftworld for you and your Brothers."
- — Chaplain Markus Once-King, Voice of Heims, Chaos Lord of the "Chosen of Heims" Company, of the renegade Frost Wraiths Chapter, taunting the Ice Dragons as they withdraw from the devastated Craftworld of Alinstar.