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- "Blood, blood defines an Astartes. In our bodies is the blessed blood stock of a Primarch, forged, designed, created by the Emperor himself, his genius in genetic form. We honor these gifts and their giver with the blood of his enemies. We defend man's domain and destiny with the blood of our fallen. No loyal child of the Imperium, let alone an Astartes is afraid of the spilling of their own blood for in our blood we are gifted with the Will of Iron, the will to shape and control the world around us, our destinies, the will to survive, to thrive. Ours is the Iron Will, passed on from battle brother to neophyte and so, ours is the Iron Blood."
- — A Chaplain of the Iron Blood Chapter.
The Iron Blood are a Loyalist Successor Chapter descended from the lineage of the stoic Iron Hands, one of the few bits of information still available to them about their past after near crippling defeats that nearly destroyed their Chapter. Created during an Unknown Founding, the Iron Bloods are not even certain if they are direct successors or spawned from another Successor Chapter, though evidence points to the latter. At present the chapter has recently returned to full strength and is eager to prove themselves and erase past shames of defeat. They are commonly called the 'Iron Blooded'.
Created during a now forgotten founding the Iron Blood chapter was based on the feral jungle world of Uvias, supposedly at the 'whispers of the Emperor', in a part of the Imperium that did not regularly see much fighting.
Whether by fate, or coincidence, this positioning proved a good choice as an Ork Warband, and even the odd Chaos Warbands began to hound the sector. While the Chapter has pushed back these incursions it did so with heavy losses, so heavy that it required time to recuperate and replenish its ranks.
At present, many Iron Blood Marines ere on the side of 'young', and are keen to reclaim much of the lost renown of their chapter.
Their somewhat speedy recovery was in part thanks to the appreciation of the Astra Telepathica, a 'thank you' for saving their local house during the Black Devourer's Dark Crusade and assistance during the war with the Gun Munchaz Ork Klan.
- Arvas Insurrection: The Iron Blood were called to help quell an insurrectionist Planetary Governor on the world of Arvas III. This is their earliest fully confirmed engagement in their history. While there is mention of much earlier battles and campaigns, they are incomplete or just damaged.
- Several crusades outside of the immediate sub sector, for various reasons.
- Gut Munchaz Waaagh: The Gut Munchaz enter the sector on a Waaagh, engaging Imperial Forces, and calling on the Iron Blood to quell the Xenos invaders.
- Gut Munchaz Second Waaagh: About a century later, the Gut Munchaz Klan returned after absorbing other Ork Tribes for another Waaagh.
- Gut Munchaz Xenocide Crusade: The Iron Blood Chapter spearheaded a crusade to the speculated homeworld(s) of the Gut Munchaz Klan. Despite heavy losses the planets are subjected to Exterminatus.
- Black Devourers' Black Crusade: Soon after the Xenocide Crusade the Black Devourers invade the Tabias sector, causing heavy casualties all around, and forcing exterminatus on the sector's throne world and name sake Tabias. The Black Devourers are believed to be most destroyed though marauding chaos marines bearing their like are occasionally seen as the Chapter rebuilds its ranks.
- Skirmishes with Chaos and Orks: Over the centuries, since the Black Crusade of the Devourers, the Iron Blood have warred against various attempts by small Chaos Warbands to invade the sector. None have been successful. There have also been the small Ork raiding parties that have come around the sector that barely warrant mentioning.
- Fourth War for the Tabias Sector:
The Iron Blood are believed to be the successors of the Iron Hands, the Founding Legion of the Primarch Ferrus Manus. What few records they have found implies that the Iron Blood were spawned from another successor chapter that may have had mutation problems. Their Gene-Seed was apparently altered to fix these mistakes, but they have not been totally successful. Fortunately, less than twenty percent of the inductees into the chapter are effected by this rather benign mutation. Due to a mutation in the Betcher's Gland, less than a quarter Iron Blood warriors have a deep echoing voice which actually comes in handy with fear tactics.
Despite being rare, it is still something they have become known for among the local Guard Regiments, despite their best efforts to keep it hidden. Several of their brothers have at times fallen victim to a 'Blood Rage', similar, but not as all consuming, as the Black Rage of the Blood Angels and their successor chapters. Regardless this has called their lineage into question. As they do not feel the red thirst this is mostly treated as just a rumor. However, the Blood Rage is a major problem, as the Marines may find themselves with a brother, just as likely to kill them as the enemy if they are not careful. Brothers who have fallen into the blood rage before, have been shown to be able to induce that state at will, however the longer and more enemies they fight, the harder it is to control and the more likely it is they have to be put down. Brothers that survive multiple instances of this, are eligible to become Bearers of His Will (Company Champions) but never move higher than that. Due to this, and due to the affliction being somewhat rare, Company Champions are somewhat rare for the Chapter.
The Chapter also prefers to keep the affliction secret from outsiders, even other Chapters (especially other Iron Hand Successors), though they have shared this secret with the Caustic Cherubims, who, as Blood Angel Descendants, are familiar with dealing with a similar plight and may have advised them on dealing with it. However, even then, this secret was most likely only shared with the upper echelons with other members hearing about it through the grape vine, gossip and seeing it first hand during share campaigns. While it has made them welcomed by the Cherubs, the Iron Blood hold the Blood Rage as their greatest shame. To them it is a loss of perfection, that when mastered makes them perfect as Company Champions and no more.
The Iron Blood, are codex compliant, or at the very least, they are mostly compliant. The Chapter may be trained in all-around combat, but they lean towards stealth and siege due to their beliefs and hunting culture. This means the Tenth company has more than a few veterans within its ranks, while all other companies but the first are expected to be able to perform scouting duties.
Chaplains are also the ones in charge of training initial neophytes, taking the title 'Iron Fathers' from the Iron Hands, but they are less priest mechanics, as they are priest trainers with knowledge of mechanics. The title is also not the name of their chaplains in general but the name chaplains who train recruits.
The Iron Hands typically recruit from Uvias, though they have taken to orphanages on Hive Worlds when in need of recruits but 'out of season'. Typically their recruits endure an Exposure Trial, and are deposited in the harsh jungle, and are forced to make the long, several day journey, to the Fortress-Monastery on foot. Those that do not survive are not remembered.
The need for recruits has resulted in a temporary change to Blood Duels to gain a larger number of recruits with clear combat potential. It has also caused them to begin recruiting from not just Uvias.
Those that survive are taken and trained by Chaplains called Iron Fathers.
Over their long but forgotten history Aspirants are typically subjected to five major tests.
The Test of the Wilds: An Exposure Trial like the one spoken of above. Only now it is longer, and Neophytes are expected to work together.
The Test of Fury: A duel between Neophytes or against a trainer, or even a free for all, or team based match.
The Test of Elevation: An obstacle course type Exposure Trial
The Test of Shadows: Where neophytes are made to battle each other or a trainer, or even a jungle beast only in complete darkness
Test of Spirit: What this entails for a Neophyte is never explained and is generally their final test before becoming a full battle brother.
Until all of these tests are passed, an Aspirant, no matter how complete his transformation may be, is not considered a Space Marine, not even a scout.
Chapter Home World
Uvias is a feral world, where the Iron Blood have built their Fortress Monastery and once primarily recruited from. On this world, the chapter has mainly left the locals to themselves, along with their tribal warfare and combat against the dangers of the jungle.
Their Fortress Monastery, the Black Blade, dwells in/on a mountain in the middle of a jungle.
On their homeworld, they are seen as distant spirits or strange shamans clad in armor far stronger than what the locals know.
They do however train on their homeworld, where they hone their skills at stealth.
Due to their instances of near defeat, the Iron Blood Marines are known for being not only dour, but also reclusive, often preferring to be alone among their own kind. Iron Blood also do not look well among those ready and anxious to run head long into battle. This may stem from their history, when overconfidence nearly destroyed their chapter more than once.
The entirety of the beliefs can be summed up as 'The Will of Iron', a code that demands moxie, faith, patience, unyielding will in the face of their enemies and more than a little killer instinct.
As taken from their hunter background, they prefer to know their enemies, to plan around around their tactics and weaknesses, and strike their opponent with maximum devastation if possible at their moment/place of greatest weakness. This has translated in their siege warfare, as they often see the weakest point of defense on a fortress, and will usually end up devastating that point, just as they defend their otherwise most vulnerable spot when they are in said fortress.
As mentioned before they have a hunter mentality, and carry this to battle. They value patience, moxie and the killer instinct. It also results in a somewhat shamanistic wisdom as they refer to the jungle as a teacher. They treat their Primarch as the ultimate example given to them by the Emperor to follow, and seem to vary between seeing the Emperor as the finest example of mankind, to an outright god.
Beyond this, they also highly revere their Primarch, Ferrus Manus, being one of the few bits of knowledge of their past to survive their setbacks and whose memory they are trying to live up to. Being a successor of the Iron Hands, the Iron Blood are also more likely than the average space marine to have cybernetics. Although, they do not hold the same fascination with cybernetics as the parent and sibling chapters and are more likely only to receive them after an injury, as a badge of honor. Despite this, or because of this, when a cybernetic enhancement is gained to replace a lost limb, it is typically done under ceremony with the Apothecary and a Chaplain, usually the Iron Father who trained said Marine.
Their opinion on normal humans is somewhat neutral. While they will try to defend them should the need arise, they do not feel altruistic especially when there are greater priorities. They may even use them as bait, or treat them as a hindrance when altruism is tactically bothersome. They are slightly warmer towards Imperial Guardsmen and other warriors. In short their respect towards someone is often dependent on whether they are a warrior or not.
One of the most curious bits of belief is the legend passed in their Chapter, of the 'Waiting', previously fallen brothers who will return in the chapter's time of need. Where this legend came from is not known, what is known is that they do not mean Dreadnoughts.
The Chapter holds its gene-seed as sacred as any other chapter, as such, their genetic flaws are something of an annoyance to them. Though rare, there are two main flaws which affect around a quarter of their battle-brothers - deep frightening voices and the 'Blood Rage'.
Their strange voices are, at worst, seen as a quirk, as they are often rather useful for scare tactics. It is the Blood Rage that bothers them the most. For those who succumb to this genetic flaw is seen as a failing. This genetic quirk results in a loss of control and of their inherent 'Iron Will' which is supplanted by a primal, savage, beastly and more specifically 'inhuman' strength, that turns battle-brother against battle-brother. Those that have succumbed to it are treated with suspicion and more or less kept apart, even placed in their own squads. They are marked by red gauntlets. Those that undergo the process three times and manage to control themselves, are made a type of Company Champion, called Bearers of his Will. Despite the title, and position of unofficial leadership, they are still treated somewhat as outcasts, as the Chapter is keen to be quiet about this issue.
Chapter's Curse: Iron and Blood
When the Chapter's genetic curse manifests itself in an affected Battle-Brother, it comes on in three stages:
- Stage 1 - Disturbing Voice: Due to a malfunction in or related to the function of the Betcher's gland, a Battle-Brother will start to exhibit unusual vocal characteristics. Some cannot speak above a sibilant whisper for example, while others have deep, booming voices or speak with an otherworldly cant. Allies might find the effect disturbing, while enemies are likely to find it truly terrifying.
- Stage 2 - Cold Fury: The ruthlessness of the Iron Blood manifests more strongly in the Battle-Brother, making him prone to aggression. The Battle-Brother must summon forth all his considerable willpower when confronted by an enemy or by something he considers "weak;" failure means that the Battle-Brother's fury is released in some way, most likely causing a feud, confrontation, or escalating into open violence.
- Stage 3 - Blood Rage: The Iron Blood constantly thirsts for battle and longs to see blood spilled.. The Battle-Brother engages foes in close combat if possible, either making melee attacks against them or shooting point blank with pistols so that their blood spills at his feet. When he downs a foe, he must resist the urge to hack or blast the foe's corpse apart. If the Battle-Brother is attacked by a new foe while he is in this state while hacking at another foe, he will turn his attention to his new attacker instead.
The Iron Blood are a somehwat strange bag of combat proficiencies. As most hale from Uvias, a jungle world, many were raised hunters and are thus almost all skilled in some degree of stealth, such moving across the battlefield without attracting as much attention as most other astartes are or stealing into facilities. However, they are officially a siege oriented chapter goal oriented around breaking into fortifications and shattering entrenched enemies.
Because of their background, the Iron Blood squads are known for being rather stealthy, being able to navigate terrain while avoiding fire, planning ambushes, and setting traps. Their favored tactic is striking the enemy where they are most vulnerable with often times overwhelming force.
In squad combat, they are known for their 'controlled savagery', almost always going for the 'sweet spot'. This controlled savagery is not always 'controlled' however and some brothers have been known to slip into a berserker fury. This is not confirmed as either a product of their home, or a mutation in their Gene-Seed. However brothers that fall into this often have to be restrained and snapped out of it.
At present the Iron Blood have mostly standard Astartes equipment, however, they are often missing tanks for their reserves which are used to replenish their active companies, and have much less Terminator armors than prescribed.
They have rather few Dreadnoughts, and their Devastator squads are typically armed with Heavy Bolters, Lascannons or the odd the metla gun.
Most Tactical Marines are armed with a bolter Rifle, as standard, but many are likely to switch for a bolter pistol and combat knife. They are also typically armed with Frag grenades
- Karaz Voliac: A Chaplain, who unexpectedly took control of the chapter after the fall of the prior Chapter Master, Karaz fought of a Chaos Warband, who had previously devastated the chapter, and slew their leader a Daemon Prince. He later succumbed to his wounds and was made a Dreadnought, and later fell for good against an Ork Gargent. Much of the modern chapter's identity and saying are traced to him, both accurately and inaccurately.
- Hekatole Corbas: Current Chapter Master and the one noted for rebuilding the Chapter after its near fatal campaign against the Orks. He is the second chapter master after Karaz fell, and has served for near three hundred years.
- Captain Tamask: Captain of the 1st Company, the often taciturn commander rarely speaks unless needed.
- Urias Iron Hide: Company Champion of the 1st Company. Unlike many other Company Champions he has not felt the Blood Rage, and is instead known for his resilience.
- Karael Ulos: Captain of the 2nd Company. A grim man, who often disagrees with his Company Champion, due to him being a Will Bearer.
- Mazdas Carvus: Bearer of His Will (Company Champion), 2nd Company. A somewhat proud and noble Astartes despite having to bear the stress of controlling his Blood Rage. He is somewhat an outlier in that he makes jokes and seems rather friendly.
- Hris Shadow-Killer: Captain of the 3rd Company and twin brother of its Company Champion. The two have a relationship of mutual concern and disdain for each other.
- Thuther Rageshield: Bearer of his Will, 3rd Company. Another will bearer, this one is more rage driven that Mazdus, and yet acts as his captain's bodyguard most of the time.
- Captain Torak Shadow Blade: A young warrior and main character of the Iron Blood story.
- 2 Battle Barges:
- 10 Strike Cruisers:
- Uncounted Frigates and Support Craft.
- Karaz's Fury: The Bolter used by Karax Voliac, it was supposedly used against a Daemon Prince. It can be identified by the small animal skulls wrapped around, holy seals and Iron Blood Insignia on its side.
- Crozius Arcanum of Karaz: The legendary weapon of Karaz, it is passed down to each head chaplain. It is noted for the tribal wrappings around the handle and claw mark on the head of the object.
- The Shadow Master's Pelt: The skin and skull of the saber tooth great cat that prowls the jungles of Uvias, these cats are revered and respected by the Chapter as an example of powerful and noble predators. The cloak in question is similar to those worn by many other veteran brothers, however this one is connected to an Iron Halo and worn typically by the Chapter Master as a symbol of office. It was believed lost until recovered in recent times.
- Blades of His Will: Power Swords held by the Company Champions, called the Bearers of His Will. These blades are considered very important, and the loss of them is practically unacceptable, so much so that for a long time there were no official Company Champions until they were recovered, or more were acquired.
- Gut Munchas Klan: The Orks that rampaged through the Sub-Sector and cost the Iron Blooded a great deal of lives. It ended with the death of their warboss, Ded Strangla, slain by the Second Company Captain, who later became Chapter master. Since then, they have shown up periodically to harass them.
- Black Devourers: A Chaos Space Marine Warband, they have caused the most damage to the Iron Blood chapter, during their personal black crusade into the sector. Known for their scorch earth tactics and chemical warfare, they have destroyed many worlds and even sported a Daemon Prince, before finally being stopped by Karaz Voliac's actions. After being driven into retreat by the resurgent Imperial Forces, they disappeared. However, it is rumored they have taken refuge on one of the now devastated worlds in the sector plotting their return.
- Caustic Cherubim: It is not certain when their partnership began, but for some reason these sons of Sanguinius are ready allies to the Iron Blood. It may possibly be due to their relatively close location and similar issues with rage.
- Imperial Navy: The Iron Blood have a somewhat functional relationship with the Imperial Navy garrisoned in the Tabias Sector.
- Azrya PDF: The Azrya PDF are always glad to have the Iron Blood arrive to help them, even if some of them have learned the hard way to give them their space.
The chapter colors are black with dark purple legs and hands. It is unknown if this was before hand, or in response to the fact that they commonly fight Orks.
Their sigil is a silver halo, on a dark background with a red blood drop beneath.
By the Iron Blood
- "The will of iron flows in our blood, a steely will that has allowed us to withstand all the enemies of the Emperor may send our way. To return from the brink of oblivion. Yet you have forgotten our lessons, the lessons we learned in the shadows of the jungle as we searched for the light. We once threw ourselves wildly and without thought at our enemies, expecting the strength in our blood to be enough. But that was not strength we fought with, just arrogance. The price of an Imperium free of heresy and corruption is the blood of heretic and loyalist alike, but the price of victory is this and knowledge. You may remember Karaz's victory, but it seems you need to learn his lessons 'boy'."
- — Iron Blood Chaplain to Neophyte
- "Do not just see your opponent's weakness, feel it, sense it, know it, then strike it! That is our way!"
- —Iron Father to Recruits
- "There will come a time when you will step out of the shadows, indeed most of your battles will be done in groups, on the open field. But all warfare is based on deception and first and simplest deception on the battle field is the location of your forces. For that reason do we learn to use the shadows, but not just the literal ones. If you think that is cowardly then you forget, we 'must' eventually come out of the shadows, we 'must' face our opponents and see them die. You must be swift, be certain, be true in your strike. The 'shadow' is just another shield, like our armor, our vehicles, our Fortress, but this one is not given, it is learned."
- —Iron Father to Recruits
- "The flesh has failed, this is not a shame, simply fact, flesh has failed, it has failed to live up to the standards of our Iron Will, and so it is lost. In its place now is a limb truly forged of Iron Strength, and man's design at the blessing of the Emperor, of the Omnissiah. Were once you were a boy, you were reforged into an Astartes. Now Astartes you are reforged once again. Arise brother."
- —Iron Father at a Marine's first cybernetic limb attachment.
- "How sad, how truly shameful...that such suffering to my sector, such ruin to my chapter...was done by cowards too afraid to die with dignity."
- —Karaz, in response to Vias Karnil of the Black Devourers
About the Iron Blood
- "Oi, iz dat a humie, oh an Ork in de wrong armah?!"
- —An Ork in response to the roar of an Iron Blood Veteran
- "Iron blood...I thought that name was a reference to their demeanor, their cold indifference, their augments, but now I know better. That metal in their veins is a cage, a cage for a beast that is all to often let out. I've seen one of these astartes take on a group of Orks alone. It was masterful, it was brutal, it was savage, the greenskins barely knew what hit them. Then the Orks were done, it was him and us. I lost three fellow guardsmen before the others came and held him down and snapped him out of it. Listen to me, give those boys their space, they aren't keeping their distance, cause they think they are better than us, they do because they know we're in danger."
- — Anonymous Guardsmen about the Iron Blood
- Will of Iron:
- The Bloody Path: Torak's' first outing as a Battle Brother.
- The Hunter's Eye: The Fourth Great War for the Tabias Sector Begins and Torak finds himself on the front lines.
- The Price of Heresy: The Enemy has nearly gain what they have searched for and the secret of the chapter threatens to be laid bare.
- The colors of the Iron Blood Chapter, black and Purple were chosen due to them being an Iron Hands successor and because they are big on stealth and they often fight orks.
- A thank you to Algrim Whitefang for the Infobox image and the Chapter symbol.