|This article, Wardens Metallicus, was written by Dreadwarden Phantom. Please do not edit or 'acquire' this fiction without the writer's permission.|
The Wardens Metallicus are an Ultima Founding Chapter, created from the proud lineage of Rogal Dorn, and comprised entirely of Primaris Space Marines, recently revealed towards the beginning of the Indomitus Crusade in 999.M41. The chapter has been tasked with reinforcing and defending a set of crucial imperial worlds based in the Alconeus System of the Alkonost sub-sector and it's three forge worlds. In order to accomplish this, the chapter has specialised in strong defensive warfare with the help of it's unusually large force of dreadnoughts.
The Wardens Metallicus were created during the Indomitus Crusade during 999.M41. Their sole orders were to reinforce the besieged forge worlds of the Alconeus System and ensure that they were defended from future attack. Upon arriving in-system it became apparent that reports of the attacks were out-of-date by several months and the worlds had only barely survived the onslaught.
Regardless, motivated by their orders the Wardens assisted the Adeptus Mechanicus of the forge worlds in rebuilding their production facilities and helped them get back on their feet. at the same time they had also renewed a strong imperial presence on the other worlds in the system, turning the world of Haskion into a heavily fortified Chapter homeworld that would serve as the base of their future operations.
After the Catigan Siege they have slowly rebuilt the Alconeus System as well as many of the other systems within the Alkonost Sub-Sector over the course of a century.
The Siege of Catiga
The Catigan Siege is an event that began on the dates 151.021.M42 after a the wardens had spent roughly a decade rebuilding the Alconeus System and several other worlds just beyond it.
This period of rebuilding lasted for a decade until the system found itself yet again under siege, this time from an Ork WAAAGH! that was determined to loot the forge world Catiga and claim their supplies for their own.
The Warden's Chapter Master, Argus Keirhardt, led a valiant defence of Catiga, losing over half the chapter against the seemingly never-ending green tide of the greenskins. After finally pushing them offworld and back into the dark reaches of the void, the Wardens found themselves vastly under-strength with hundreds dead and heavily wounded.
As a gift to the chapter for their unwavering defence of the world, the mechanicus of the sub-sector crafted a large number of Redemptor Dreadnoughts for the wounded. Originally intended to be split across nine of their companies, these dreadnoughts found themselves concentrated between the surviving four companies of astartes, cementing their reputation as the users of mechanised infantry in its most literal form.
- 011.M42 - Chapter creation occurs and objective of reinforcing and defending the Alkonost sub-sector established
- 011.M42 - Chapter arrives in the Alkonost sub-sector ,imperial forces and defences exhausted. core infrastructure and Astartes presence established. Work begins on restoring key defences and military installations
- 017.M42 – First Astra militarum regiment declared up to standard and ready to see combat, assigned to the defence of Haskion
- 151.021.M42 – Imperial agro world on the edge of controlled space attacked by ork raiding force several million strong, PDF overrun, 1st and 2nd companies deployed in response to demonstrate a show of strength
- 235.021.M42 – All companies now engaging ork raids and attacks across the sub-sector
- 254.021.M42 – Main Ork force spotted heading straight into the heart of Warden controlled space, designated WAAAGH! Steelymuncha.
- 256.021.M42 – Waaagh! Steelymuncha collides with the Sub-Sector’s prime forge world of Catiga. Skitarii forces attempt desperate scorched earth tactics to prevent Ork advance. All Warden companies ordered to finish dealing with remaining Ork forces and rally to Catiga with any available imperial militia.
- 275.021.M42 – 1st, 3rd and 7th companies arrive on Catiga to aid with the defence, Orks must not be allowed to enter the main forges.
- 285.021.M42 – All imperial military available now present, Wardens begin counterattacks
- 304.021.M42 – All remnants of WAAAGH! Steelymuncha either exterminated or forced to flee off world. Losses suffered by the chapter are severe with the 4th and 7th companies reduced down to a single squad each. Emperor Protect.
- 314.021.M42 – Exhausted Astartes and Skitarii forces begin hunting down and purging pockets of ork fungus growth and resistance, miles of the planet bombarded from orbit with nuclear ordinance and melta weapons to ensure the planet is cleansed.
- 078.M42 - Ork infestation of raided worlds deemed safe after efforts to obliterate infected areas from orbit with heavy weapons.
- 117.M42 – After extensive rebuilding and heavy fortification, Lord Defender Argus Keirhardt deems the Alkonost sub-sector ready for export to the greater imperium. Supply lines begin exporting arms and munitions
The Wardens believe that only the strongest of wills should be allowed to join their ranks and as such their recruitment tactics are harsh.
Recruitment is often handled by the 4th company. While overseeing the training of the sub-sector’s guardsmen regiments, they primarily take the children of imperial citizens from across the sub-sector, sending them to small facilities on each world and begin training them as soon as they can stand. The strongest of these children are then shipped to Haskion when they come of age to receive further training and trials. These trials are punishing on the mental and physical limits of most recruits and many of them fail, the mortality rate is significantly higher than other chapters with less than 5% of recruits surviving the process. Recruits are sent to Haskion on a monthly basis in the hundreds, it is not uncommon for no recruits to survive the trials.
With success rates as low of these it is important for a large stock of recruits to be needed. Recruiting directly from the children of the imperial guard provides the chapter with hundreds of unwilling recruits from across the Alkonost sector.
Although training is primarily to ensure recruits are effective fighters, additional training and mental conditioning are put in place to ensure that marines that are granted active service have near unbreakable wills even for a space marine. This is to ensure the marines that are placed in dreadnought coffins are able to endure the immense strain that the redemptor frame puts on the mind. The downside of this is that many marines have cold and unfeeling attitudes towards combat and the loss of battle brothers. To many of them, the only thing of importance is upholding their sacred duty
- The Gauntlet – The bulk of recruits are divided into groups of even numbers and challenged to fight one another in a 1 on 1 tournament to the death with the victor being the last recruit left alive. This is done to “separate the wheat from the chaff”.
- The Long Watch – Recruits are instructed to stand on a section of the Haskion fortress walls overlooking the civilian population below. They are to stand there without food or water for a length of 5 days. They must not fall from exhaustion and they must not sleep. If the recruit is to fall or be caught sleeping they will be executed in front of the other recruits. This is designed to instill a sense of unwavering duty in the recruits as well as ensure their commitment to defend the realm.
- Test of The Body – Finally the recruit must fight an unarmed unarmoured member of the 4th company in a duel, the recruit is allowed a choice of arms and armaments. It is not uncommon for recruits to be beaten to death even in their bare unarmoured states. While it is extremely rare for recruits to best their opponents, normally the chapter will accept troops that simply survive or force a stalemate.
- Tests of Will – These trials are numerous and take place repeatedly during recruit selection, recruits will be subjected to librarian induced nightmares and visions. Often recruits will be faced with their worst fears and horrors that would break the minds of lesser men. Only the strongest of wills can overcome such visions, which is exactly the warden’s goal.
The Wardens organise themselves rather uniquely compared to other Codex-compliant chapters in that they almost don't utilise close support or fire support at all in their combat doctrine, with the exception of Reivers and Agressors. As the losses suffered by the chapter were so devastating during the Catiga conflict, a good percentage of the chapter are now dreadnoughts and Redemptors at that thanks to the assistance of the mechanicus. As well as this, to cope with heavy losses to their other companies, the chapter utilises only 4 Companies each ranging from 80 to 100 marines each.
With the exception of 4th Company, each of the three other companies are used based on the level of threat Alkonost Faces. The 2nd and 3rd companies are used to respond to all immediate threats to the sub-sector. Both companies are based out of strike cruisers, making them fast responders to any sudden attacks. 1st company serves as the company that deals with all manner of serious threats, be they massive sieges of the sub-sector or simply reinforcing another company if the situation there worsens.
4th company serves as the chapter's training and recruitment company, not only for new marines but also for the imperial guard that they are stationed with. On the 5 military worlds within Alkonost, Haskion serves as a headquarters for the chapter, as well as the Imperial Guard’s strongest fortress world in the sub-sector. It is here that 4th company are stationed primarily as well as regularly other worlds in the sub-sector to inspect defences and troops.
Haskion has their Imperial Guard regiment's training overseen by the chapter personally to maximise their effectiveness in combat. The training is brutal even by imperial guard standards as the drills are often live fire, sparring in hand to hand combat or duels to the death. The wardens care not for the difference in strength between marines and guardsmen as any who fall will serve as an example to the rest. The Marines instructing each regiment do so personally to ensure quality of troop as well as bolster the world’s defences in the event of an attack. The training administered by 4th company is gruelling and the vast majority of guardsmen that complete their training and move to active duty are holdfast and not easily broken in heavy combat, having already been through hell to get onto the battlefield.
While the act of placing an Adeptus Astartes chapter in almost direct control of regiments of the imperial guard may very well be seen as a breach of the codex Astartes as well as solid grounds for suspicion. The Wardens see this as part of their duty to ensure the safety of the sub-sector. There can be no weakness when defending the emperor’s will. The few inquisitorial visits that do wash up in Alkonost do take note of the chapter’s potential abuse of power but cannot deny that based on the exports of munitions and troops, the work they do is necessary for the survival of the sub-sector.
Due to the fact so many marines are based in dreadnoughts, the decision was made to form dreadnought squads of five dreadnoughts each. Each squad is commanded by an appointed dreadnought sergeant and all Dreadnought Squads are closely monitored by one of the company Lieutenants to ensure each of the giant warriors is capable of operating in such an arrangement.
The dreadwarden is the classification given to a specialised 5 marine unit created specifically to work as a support unit for dreadnought squads. The units perform tasks such as clearing areas in dreadnought’s blind spots, performing rear-guard or even acting as combat engineers as 1 of the 5 marines are techmarines.
The Wardens will very rarely engage in large scale offensive operations outside of Alkonost as their duty is to defend the realm, because of this they normally have the home advantage of fighting on familiar ground. The majority of their fortifications are built in a tiered fashion with the attackers having to funnel themselves through narrow choke points between each level and emerge into vast open flat terrain that holds no cover whatsoever, littered in mines. This gives the defending troops ample opportunity to tear apart attackers left out in the open with heavy bolter fire and Dreadnought mounted assault guns.
When it comes to fighting in closer quarters combat, dreadnoughts are utilised as heavy weapons squads. Intercessor squads take point clearing cover while provided overwatch from dreadnought squads. Dreadwarden units follow closely behind, covering the rears of the dreadnoughts and providing aid for dreadnought squads that suffer damage. Reiver Squads are also highly utilised amongst the 2nd and 3rd companies in urban combat often deploying into ruined city blocks under the cover of heavy smoke barrages and wiping out key enemy defences before the enemy has time to react.
- Chapter Master Argus Keirhardt – 1st Company commander and current Chapter Master of the Wardens, Argus Keirhardt was well known for leading the defence of Catiga as well as implementing the doctrines and strategies the chapter now uses today. Believing that it is his sacred duty to defend the sector, he routinely inspects defences and military forces across the sector to ensure they are ready when their home is threatened. In combat he wields the fearsome Catigan Doomglaive, a reliquary power glaive gifted to him by the mechanicus of Catiga in recognition of his efforts during the defence.
- Haberos the Doomhammer – Former Captain of the Wardens 2nd Company during the defence of Catiga. Haberos let a squad of intercessor marines and a supporting force of tech-priests and techmarines to the battle ravaged titan legion district where they found a lone warlord half built in it’s hangar. The marines were able to power up the titan’s primary cannon and use it to fire upon the ork lines on a battlefield that was raging just a few miles away. The cannon was fired continuously until it malfunctioned and exploded. Haberos was one of few who survived the blast and along with his surviving battle brothers he was placed in a redemptor pattern dreadnought and now leads the elite Doomhammer Dreadnought Squad in the chapter’s 1st company.
The Wardens Metallicus primarily wears bare unpainted power armour with the exceptions of the shoulder pauldron trim, couters (elbow guards), groin guard, poleyns (knee guards), greaves (shin armour) and sabatons (boots), which are dark grey in colour. The Aquila or Imperialis on the plastron (chestguard) is black in colour. The squad specialty symbol on the right shoulder pauldron indicates what role an individual battle-brother is assigned to (Tactical, Devastator, Assault & Veteran). It is not known how the Chapter designates company number.
In terms of decoration the wardens pay little focus upon how they look with the primary focus of their battle brothers being the defence of the realm. As such the wardens keep their armor maintained to a degree where it can protect the user to its best, if this means it is littered with scratches and scrapes this is acceptable.
The Wardens Metallicus Chapter badge is a black coloured tower which represents strength, pride and honour, and is inseparably connected with fortifications. An appropriate symbol, for like their genetic forebears, the Wardens Metallicus are master castellans and experts in siege warfare. This symbols is surrounded by a laurel, an ancient symbol representing strength of victory and honour. Both symbols are centered on a field of white.
- Mailed Fist (Battle Barge)
- Intimidator (Battle Barge)
- Unbreakable (Strike Cruiser)
- Herald of Steel (Strike Cruiser)
- Voidstalker (Strike Cruiser)
- Dreadwarden (Strike Cruiser)
The Wardens also possess five other unnamed line vessels.