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The Templars of Iron are a Successor Chapter of the Iron Hands. These scions of Ferrus Manus are noted for their stern demeanour and ruthless persecution of their foes. This Chapter, along with the Iron Gorgons and the Sanctors of Manus, make up a triumvirate of 2nd Founding Iron Hands' Successors, collectively known as the Frateris Firmitatis ("The Ironclad Brotherhood"). Since their inception, the Templars of Iron have amassed a substantial tally of glorious victories down the millennia. Like their Progenitors, they too, have a hatred of the flesh and share their predilection for replacing parts of their bodies with bionics and cybernetic enhancements. In battle, the Templars are noted for their stoic resolve and stubborn determination to succeed in the face of overwhelming odds, as they fight on without remorse for their foes, or even their own lives.
Most unusual for an Iron Hands Successor Chapter is that the Templars believe that their Primarch, Ferrus Manus, died on the killing fields of Isstvan V. They hold no illusions that he survived the massacre, and feel that such delusional solace is ludicrous at best, and exceptionally naive at worst. They look upon those who cling to the illusion that the Primarch will one day return, as an illogical belief that will never come to fruition. But when fighting alongside their fellow Successor Chapters, the Templars maintain a neutral stance on these personal beliefs, preferring to use their Primarch's death to stoke their bitterness and rage to be used as a implacable weapon against the foes of Mankind.
The Templars of Iron are an Iron Hands Successor Chapter that is notoriously bellicose and bitter. These implacable, conquering battle-brothers utilise the bitterness and rage in their hearts as a potent weapon against their enemies. Ttheir relentless drive and stubbornness in the face of overwhelming odds has garnered the Templars a reputation amongst their fellow Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes.
To understand the origins of the Templars of Iron, one must first know the history of the Iron Hands themselves. Their hidden vitriol stems from the one of the most callous betrayals of the Horus Heresy - the Drop Site Massacre of Isstvan V - which continues to eat at the Chapter's soul, even as they desperately strive to not repeat the failings of their lost Primarch and avoid his fate.
When Ferrus Manus fell upon the black sands of Isstvan V, many of the Iron Hands that witnessed their father's end were driven to stark madness. In their grief and rage, they threw themselves wholesale into the crucible of war, determined to absolve their failure with their own deaths. Yet, it is also well documented that a substantial number of Iron Hands Legionaries managed to extricate themselves from the massacre, and while few made it off the surface, many more had survived the calamitous void ambush of the Traitor Legions' fleet, breaking away and scattering across the stars. Some would form isolationist bands, fighting their own private wars against the Traitors, or refuse any master save their own will. Others, would form a series of ad-hoc, cell-structured forces that slowly cohered into a single loosely knit organisation; a shattered Legion army shot through with elements of other forces that had been wrecked by the base treachery at Isstvan. One of these surviving forces, were the Iron Hands Legionaries of Clan Borrgar. These particular Sons of the Gorgon were notorious even on Medusa for their ruthlessness and were noted for their single-minded elimination of their targets, down to the last man. Following the Horus Heresy, the Iron Hands were driven to despair as they returned to Medusa. This despair soon turned to righteous anger, which became a driving force for the Iron Hands to recover from the trauma of the Drop Site Massacre. With the loss of their Primarch, the Iron Council was established on Medusa to rule in the Primarch's stead. The ruling Iron Fathers established the doctrines and philosophies that would be utilised by the Iron Hands from henceforth, embracing steel over flesh, and purging themselves of emotion and embracing pure logic. This period of restructuring and doctrinal changes came to be known as the Tempering. In the wake of the Heresy and the decrees laid down during the Tempering, the Second Founding soon followed, and the First Founding Legions were divided into separate Chapters in accordance with the Codex Astartes, the seminal work of Ultramarines Primarch Roboute Guilliman.
Though nominally, the Iron Hands accepted the dictates of the Codex, they still held fiercely to certain Medusan traditions which logic alone could not account for. Amongst the most prominent of these was the organisation of the Chapter into clan companies, of which Clan Borrgar was but one. Following this reorganisation of the Chapter, the embittered brethren of Clan Borrgar were unleashed to enact their retribution against the Traitor Legions for their role in their Primarch's death. Their bitterness drove them ever onwards, to exact bloody vengeance upon the Imperium's many foes. There would be no forgiveness for the crimes of the traitors. Thus began the time known in Imperial history as the Scouring. The Iron Hands of Clan Borrgar were determined to extract their pound of flesh from those who had wronged them. But their resentment corroded them daily from within.
The Templars of Iron are ultimately defined by their hatred of weakness of any kind, a hatred that extends to their own bodies, for they hold that all organic bodies, even those of a genetically-enhanced Space Marine, are ultimately frail and subject to the weaknesses brought on by age and disease. Like their forebears, the Templars of Iron are compulsively driven to replace their own biological flesh with cybernetic replacements, a practise that begins as soon as a Neophyte is initiated into the Chapter. This obsession manifests most notably in a distinct preference for high levels of cybernetic replacement among their Battle-Brothers. Those who have fought alongside the Chapter remark that they possess a frigid manner and seemingly emotionless responses, more akin to battle autmotata than living Astartes, though due to their affinity to technology and cybernetic augmentation, this might be taken by the Templars themselves, as a complement.
The Templars of Iron are one of the rare successor chapters to the Iron Hands. While there has never been a physical flaw found in their gene-seed, it is often debated as to whether their hatred of weakness is a product of their genetics or of chapter culture. Despite the God-Emperor-given perfection of their human form, the Templars willing mutilate themselves and replace their priceless gene-forged heritage with mechanical components. They feel some deep-seated pathological need to to shed themselves of what they perceive as weakness, in favour of the mechanical, aspiring to the state of machine-hood and achieving perfect union with the Omnissiah. It is believed by Imperial savants that the Templars do so because they fear their biological flesh, seeing it as something loathsome that needs to be shed, like a snake does it's own skin. As these Astartes age, their need to replace flesh with the machine gradually worsens over time. Only a very small minority of individual battle-brothers recognise this yearning for the mechanical as a deeply ingrained flaw within their gene-seed and their Chapter's psyche as a whole, while most do not. But eventually, this overriding compulsion claims them all.
These ruthless Astartes also show a propensity for being as cold and unforgiving as the steel of the unliving machine that they venerate. The Templars display little in the way of battle honours or accolades, for they believe such trivial accouterments beneath their notice. They believe they have been created by the Emperor to serve as living weapons to be imposed upon the myriad enemies of Mankind, for they understand this is their purpose and nothing more. The Chapter embraces their duty just as they embrace their unspeakable pain and anguish in resolute silence at the loss of their fallen Primarch, which makes they beyond relentless and merciless warriors.
Primarch's Curse: Iron over Flesh
When the Chapter's genetic curse manifests itself in an affected Battle-Brother, it comes on in three stages:
- Stage 1 - A Disdain for Flesh: The Battle-Brother perceives his own flesh as a hindrance. Scarring or punishing the biological portions of his body is the only way to soothe his anger.
- Stage 2 - Cold Fury: The ruthlessness of the Templars of Iron 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 - Zero Tolerance: All Templars of Iron abhor weakness, but the Battle-Brother has taken this attitude to an extreme. The Battle-Brother will seek to remove any perceived source of weakness, to the point of refusing to fight alongside allied forces such as the Astra Militarum - in extreme cases, even entering into open conflict with an allied but mortal force.
Nomadic Chapter Fleet
The scattered records of the Templars of Iron imply that the Chapter has no set home world. This is uncommon for a Space Marine Chapter to operate solely as a warfleet on a perpetual Crusade. However, The Templars of Iron 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 Templars of Iron has matured over the millennia when operating beyond the Imperium's boundaries for prolonged ages of time. The Nomad-Predation pattern has allowed the Templars of Iron 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 Templars of Irons' 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 Templars of Iron voyage indefinitely, tarrying only to identify and engage the foes of man. Once a target is selected, the fleet descends quickly, engaging and destroying potential threats. The fleet acquires resources from the annihilated foe before vanishing, safe from any potential retaliation.
Like their Progenitors, the Templars of Iron Chapter maintains a non-standard 'Clan' structure which overlays the more traditional patterns of Space Marine organization found within the Codex Astartes. This Chapter is comprised of ten 'Clan Companies', each a brotherhood one hundred warriors strong, and a formidable army in its own right. Each possesses its own unique qualities, and each has a different role within the Chapter. Though the cause of every Chapter of Adeptus Astartes is the same, their means and methods often differ. Any warrior joining a new company will discard his previous clan allegiances, being considered a member of his newly adoptive clan from that day onward until his death or promotion to a new company. Traditionally, each Clan Company maintains certain traits and characteristics unique to itself and its ancestors, though this is true of some more than others. The Clan Companies generally act as completely separate entities in their own right, and it is not unknown for minor skirmishes to break out between Clan Companies in certain circumstances. This is encouraged, so as to keep the Space Marines strong and vigilant in accord with the original beliefs of Ferrus Manus. Each Clan Company has its own hierarchy, and is responsible for the recruitment of new Space Marines in order to keep the Clan's numbers at the required level.
These new recruits are taken from the mortal clans of various feral and death worlds that the Templars of Iron Chapter fleet frequents, and who embrace their new Clan Company and the Chapter as a whole. The Clan Companies are nomadic, much like the clans they are recruited from. They travel the galaxy, following their continuing crusade against weakness and corruption. Unlike in standard Chapters, the squads which make up each Clan Company are referred to as claves. Additionally, officers of the Templars of Iron who hold the rank of Captain are generally referred to as 'Iron Captains'.
The Clan Companies
Like their Progenitors, the Templars of Iron are nominally a Codex Astartes-compliant Chapter, comprising ten Clan Companies, one hundred battle-brothers strong. Each is considered a formidable force in their own right. These Clan Companies posses their own unique qualities, serving a different role within the Chapter hierarchy. Though they are all Scions of Ferrus Manus, each utilises different methods in order to achieve their objectives. Those that are promoted and join a new Clan Company will discard their previous clan allegiances. They will consider their new clan their adoptive clan from that day forth, until they die in battle or are promoted to a different Clan Company. Like their fellow Iron Hands Successor Chapters, these clans traditionally maintain certain differences and characteristics that makes them distinctive or unique, though some are more traditional than others. Often these Clan Companies can act as independent separate entities for extended periods of time, though this is only true in regards to some clans, rather than a general rule. Each Clan Company maintains their own hierarchy and are responsible for recruiting and maintaining the required number of battle-brothers to ensure their battle-worthiness. Competitiveness and rivalries often occur between Clan Companies, as they seek to bring their unfettered wrath down upon the foes of the Emperor, and earn glorious victories to be told in the clan sagas maintained by their Chapter's Librarium. It is not unknown for some of these rivalries to turn hostile, and sometimes minor skirmishes will break out between clans. This is highly encouraged by the Iron Fathers of the Chapter, in order to keep the Templars brethren both strong and vigilant in accordance to their Primarch's teachings.
As the Clan Companies are nomadic, they recruit potential Neophytes from the mortal clans of various feral and death worlds of sectors they most frequent whilst out on campaign to stamp out corruption and put potential enemies to the sword. Unlike standard Codex-oriented Chapters, the Templars of Iron utilise 'claves' instead of standard squads. Additionally, their Clan Company Captains are generally referred to as "Iron Lords."
Known Clan Companies
Ten Clan Companies are known to comprise the present-day Templars of Iron Chapter, one of which is confirmed to date back to the time of the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. Each of these Clan Companies maintains the name of an Templars of Iron Chapter Clan that dates back to the time of their Chapter's inception. Some of these clans no longer exist in the modern 41st Millennium, either dying out through attrition or being lost while on campaign or traveling within the Immaterium. The surviving members are then absorbed by the remaining Clans, until such time, when a new Clan can be raised. The known clans include:
- Clan Kratos - Clan Kratos was a Clan Company of the ancient Iron Hands Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. Many managed to survive the horrific events of the Drop Site Massacre and eventually became the core group of founding Astartes that made up the initial intake of battle-brothers during the Templars of Iron's inception in the early 32nd Millennium. Since that time, they have continued to serve as the Chapter's elite warriors who tolerate no weakness within their ranks. Significant cybernetic augmentation is quite common in this clan. The Kratos Clan's symbol is a skull at it's center with a cross within the forehead, within a cog. The skull that is half white and half black symbolizes the Clan's vigilance elite of the Templars of Iron and the past heroes of Clan Kratos.
- Clan Thierax - The formerly extinct Clan Thierax has been recently reconstituted thanks to the influx of the newly created Primaris Space Marines from the gene-stock of the Iron Hands. Their clan symbol is a flame emblem centered in a simple cog.
- Clan Kurgan - Clan Kurgan is one of the ten clan Companies of the Templars of Iron. Their clan symbol is a white skull with a sword throw it centered in a simple cog.
- Clan Marrtok - Clan Marrtok had been wiped out during the 13th Black Crusade, but has been recently reconstituted thanks to the influx of the newly created Primaris Space Marines from the gene-stock of the Iron Hands. The Marrtok Clan's symbol is three crossed swords with a cog within it and it is centered in a simple cog.
- Clan Dusaan - Clan Dusaan was formerly a Clan Company of the ancient Iron Hands Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. Many managed to survive the calamitous events of Isstvan V and eventually became the core group of veterans of the newly created Chapter during the Templars of Iron's inception in the early 32nd Millennium. The Dusaan Clan's symbol is a Crux Terminatus, an ancient symbol awarded only to those Astartes who have proven their battlefield skills as accomplished veterans - a cog symbol centred within. The battle-brothers of Dussan proudly bear their Clan's icon, in recognition of their long list of glorious deeds since the earliest days of their Progenitor's inception.
- Clan Charos - The Charos Clan is one of the ten clan Companies of the Templars of Iron. The Clan Company's badge is a cog within a cog with a diamond centered within.
- Clan Hespros - Clan Hespros is one of the ten clan Companies of the Templars of Iron. The clan symbol is a sunburst with a cog centered within it with a cog.
- Clan Tartaros - Clan Tartaros is one of the ten clan Companies of the Templars of Iron. Their clan symbol is a trident centered within a cog.
- Clan Helvetii - The Helvetii Clan is one the ten clan Companies of the Templars of Iron. Their clan symbol is a harp with four circles within a cog.
- Clan Amarth - As with all other Codex-adherent Chapters, the Templars of Irons' 10th Company consists of its new recruits. Taught during psycho-indoctrination and dogmatic sermons to revile the weakness of their own flesh, the Scouts of Clan Company Amarth must prove themselves capable of acting without weakness under any conditions. Clan Amarth's symbol is three triangles locked together centered with a cog.
Order of Battle
The following is the disposition of the Templars of Iron Chapter organization as it stands in 999.M41:
|Technicarum (Armoury)||Reclusium||Apothecarion||Librarius||Council of Iron|
|Veteran Company||Battle Companies|
|1st Clan Company||2st Clan Company||3rd Clan Company||4th Clan Company||5th Clan Company|
|Reserve Companies||Scout Company|
|6st Clan Company||7st Clan Company||8rd Clan Company||9th Clan Company||10th Clan Company|
The common form of recruitment utilised by the Templars of Iron given to their preferential mode of operation is to cull potential initiates from the young of the survivors of their assaults where practical, provided those survivors are human and free of the corrupting influence of the Warp. The young males are then forced to fight to the death to prove their worth. Those initiates who survive are then subjected to intensive hypno-conditioning and other harsh procedures designed to strip away any past loyalty, and replacing it with the will and attitudes of the Templars of Iron.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
Like their Progenitors, the Templars of Iron combat doctrine is marked by their hatred for weakness in any form. This extends to their physical body despite their augmented physiques.It is not uncommon for Astartes of the Iron to further enhance himself through biomechanical and cybernetic means. No matter the odds, the Templars of Iron always advance forward, devastating the enemy who defy the will of the Imperium. In battle, the Templars do not fight as individuals, instead they fight almost as one single body of one unified mind, as if directed by some mysterious gestalt consciousness. In battle, they are able to constantly change position and move their lines to counter their foes, and where one of the enemies move to strike a blow against one Templar of Iron, his Iron Brothers to either side will move to defend him.
The Templars' preference for close range, brutal engagements, where their relentless firepower can be brought to its fullest effect, is exemplified by a tactic that has become known as the the "Gorgon's Wrath". This is where they bring the foe to battle, holding them in place and allowing them to smash itself to pieces against the body of the Chapter's forces, while reserve forces of mechanicsed armour and aerial gunships encircle them, before closing in to create a withering crossfire that eviscerates the heart of the foe's resistance.
The Templars of Iron have been committing Battle-Brothers to the Deathwatch for millennia. In most cases however, the Space Marine has stood but a single vigil before returning to his parent Chapter. It is whispered by some that the Chapter only ever allows its brethren to stand the Long Watch if and when it suits them.
Notable Templars of Iron
The Templars of Iron have existed as a fleet-based Chapter designed to operate solely as a warfleet on a perpetual Crusade. However, The Templars of Iron 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 Templars of Iron has matured over the millennia when operating beyond the Imperium's boundaries for prolonged ages of time. The Nomad-Predation pattern has allowed the Templars of Iron to be an entirely sovereign force that could sustain itself without any support whatsoever.The Templars are ever vigilant, and are always ready for battle which is why they have chosen to remain a highly mobile, fleet-based Chapter.
Their mighty Chapter fleet is led by the flagship Iron Will, a mighty relic Unknown Class Battleship. This formidable vessel of ancient provenance was gifted to the Templars by their progenitors at their inception. Constructed some time after the Horus Hersey and has a long and glorious history. It holds thousands of crew, battle-brothers and hundreds of war machines as well as swarms of smaller attack craft and transports.
The Chapter fleet of the Templars of Iron is known to contain the following starships:
- Iron Will (Unknown Class Battleship) - It is the personal flagship of the Templars of Iron and serves essentially as the Chapter's mobile Fortress-Monastery.
- Anvil of Faith (Unknown Class Battleship) -
- Bane of Ferrum (Battle Barge) -
- Baleful of Flame (Battle Barge) -
- Argentum Pugnus Battle Barge) -
- Inferno of Iron (Battle Barge)
- Godwine Wrath (Battle Barge)
- Crimson Inferno (Battle Barge) -
- Vitali (Strike Cruiser)
- Aurora of Bellum (Strike Cruiser)
- Crucesignatis of Mortem (Strike Cruiser)
- Iustitia (Strike Cruiser)
- Slayer Of Judgement (Strike Cruiser)
- Maximus Imperial (Strike Cruiser)
- Gloriosum Ferro (Strike Cruiser)
- Bellum Machina (Strike Cruiser)
- Temperamento Ferrum (Strike Cruiser)
- Shield of Fire (Strike Cruiser)
- Hammer of Domination (Strike Cruiser)
- Sinister Vengeance (Strike Cruiser)
- Blade of Ferro (Strike Cruiser)
- Nigrum Ggryphem (Strike Cruiser)
- Metallicus (Forge Ship) - Serves as the primary Armouries for the whole of the Crusade Chapter Fleets.
- Gravis Metallum (Forge Ship) - Serves as Armouries for the Crusade Chapter Fleets.
- Silent Dreadnought (Destroyer)
- Ocelot Of Iron (Destroyer)
- Defiant (Destroyer)
- 20 Escorts
- 50 Thunderhawk gunships
The appearance of the Templars of Iron's Power Armour is painted black with the Chapter icon on the left shoulder plate. Each Clan Company has an individual symbol, which is worn on the right shoulder plate. The white-coloured squad specialty symbol (Tactical, Assault, Devastator, or Veteran) is indicated on the left knee plate while the squad number is designated by a Gothic numeral stenciled on the right knee plate. Apothecaries of the Templars of Iron have the entire right arm, including the shoulder guard, painted white as well as the backpack. A white stripe is also painted vertically down the front of the helmet.
The Templars of Iron's Chapter badge is a stylised iron gauntlet clenching a pair of crossed forge hammers.
Since early M32, the collective known as the Ironclad Brotherhood has remained an inviolable and resolute in their eternal quest to wage an eternal war against the Traitor Legions and those who would make truck with the Ruinous Powers. But in M34, this brotherhood was shattered when the Iron Invictors let their obsessions with certain forbidden mysteries and nightmare sciences saw them excommunicated and declared as Traitors to the Imperium. Since that time, the three remaining Chapters - the Templars of Iron, alongside the Iron Gorgons and the Sanctors of Manus, have continued to fight in common cause or come to one another's aid during times of crisis, achieving great victories in the name of the Emperor and their gene-sire, Ferrus Manus. Yet their secondary goal continues to remain elusive, as the Brotherhood continue to seek out their erstwhile former brethren, now known as the notorious Chaos Warband - the Brethren of Hel - to finally eradicate this stain upon their brotherhood's honour once and for all.
The Iron Avengers are a 5th Founding Successor Chapter descended from the bitter Iron Hands. In temperament, this grim and ruthless Space Marine Chapter is very similar to their elder cousins, the Templars of Iron. Both Chapters share similar core beliefs - both have long since accepted the fact that their Primarch was most likely slain during the Dropsite Massacre on Isstvan V, and will never return. These two Chapters have honed their grief, bitterness and their loathing into potent tools that allows them to become a tempest of fury on the battlefield, and once unleashed against their foes, are like a cold and methodical juggernaut - impossible to halt, once they have unleashed their cold and calculated savagery against the enemies of Mankind. On multiple occasions, these two Chapters have shared common cause and have fought alongside one another down the millennia, decimating their foes in a hail of bolter and blade, ensuring their foes die in agony and fear.
Though a young Chapter by the standards of the triumvirate Chapters that make up the Ironclad Brotherhood, the Sons of Iron have nevertheless continued to proudly carry on the traditions of their genetic forebears. Like their elder brethren, the Sons of Iron loathe heretics and traitors, and go to great lengths to mercilessly eradicate their foul presence from the galaxy wherever they encounter them. Like their elder brethren, this Chapter also displays the propensity for replacing the organic with bionic components, which they believe helps expunges the weakness of the flesh. This is in keeping with core beliefs of most Chapters who hail from the lineage of Ferrus Manus.
Although there is no official records of any of the Chapters of the Ironclad Brotherhood having operated alongside the Sons of Iron, mainly due to their crusading nature as they often operate on the fringes of Imperial space, the young Chapter has compensated for their lack of helping their elder brethren directly. They have opened, at all times, secret and well-protected communications, warning the Ironclad Brotherhood of any sightings from the hated Chaos Warband, known as the Brethren of Hel, that they may discover, either during the Chapter's missions or when a Battle-Brother undergoes his Vigil. Even if the beliefs of their home world of Suami sometimes clashes with the core beliefs of the Templars of Iron, the young Chapter truly wishes to supplement as best it can the strength of these ancient Chapters.
Although an aloof Chapter and one that prefers to lead a solitary existence, the Warmachines have crossed paths and have collaborate with the Templars of Iron on many occasions. In general, the Warmachines distrust most outsiders, but the Templars have proven to be as cold and calculating in their destruction of the enemies of Mankind. Down the millennia, a strong bond of kinship has formed between these two resolute Chapters of Manus. They have ended the lives of many heretics, apostates and xenos that have made the unfortunate mistake of crossing their paths.
The Brethren of Hel are a notorious Renegade Space Marine Chapter that is known for raiding multiple Imperial systems near the hellish Warp rift known as the Eye of Terror. Formerly known as the Iron Invictors this Chapter, along with the Iron Gorgons, Sanctors of Manus and the Templars of Iron, formerly made up a quadrumvirate of 3rd Founding Iron Hands Successors, collectively known as the Frateris Firmitatis ("The Ironclad Brotherhood"). This Chapter was once counted amongst the most stalwart defenders of mankind. But like their Progenitors, the Invictors were obsessed with strength and the elimination of physical and mental weakness, which is subject to decay and temptation, and believed to have been a contributing factor to the failure of the Loyalist Legions during the Dropsite Massacre at Isstvan V. This led the Iron Hands to revere the machine and distrust the failings inherent in flesh. But the Iron Invictors' obsession with certain forbidden mysteries and nightmare sciences of the Dark Age of Technology eventually saw them being declared Excommunicate Traitoris, and cast out of the Imperium. For millennia, the fleet-bound Brethren of Hel periodically raids Forge Worlds and far-flung Adeptus Mechanicus outposts near the Eye of Terror - obsessed with obtaining rare standard template constructs and the secrets of archaeo-technology forbidden by Imperial dictates and the edicts of the Martian Priesthood. They are relentlessly pursued by their erstwhile brethren, who will stop at nothing to eradicate this Renegade Chapter of hereteks.
The Skull Reapers are a supposed Successor Chapter from the lineage of Ferrus Manus, possibly created during the mysterious 21st 'Cursed' Founding. As many of these Chapters later developed strange and uncommon idiosyncrasies that strained the tolerance of both the Inquisition and many of their fellow Adeptus Astartes Chapters, they have often been looked upon as being untrustworthy or somehow tainted. The Skull Reapers are no exception, as they claim lineage from the Iron Hands, but their detractors often point out their robustness and resilience appears quite similar to the Death Guard Traitor Legion. To compound matters, it doesn't help their cause that they are very similar in both appearance and combat doctrine, often carrying power scythes into battle and utilising many archaic patterns of power armour that were once used exclusively by the formerly Loyalist XIV Legion. Despite allaying their detractors' fears by offering up their gene-seed for intense scrutiny and examinations on multiple occasions, the Skull Reapers have somehow managed to pass every test conducted by the Inquisition and the Magos Biologis of the Adeptus Mechanicus. But despite these results, this has done nothing to alleviate the tensions between the Skull Reapers and their more zealous brethren, such as the Templars of Iron, who view them as being somehow sullied, and at worst, treat them with outright hostility. Often times, the Templars of Iron have refuse to fight alongside the Skull Reapers should both Chapters appear in the same war zone.