Notable Military Force

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Transcription datum +++ Wed, 2017-06-07 09:18

The Kings Martial

Space Marine Chapter
Notable Military Force

Homeworld: Astalac
Lineage: Ultramarines – Primaris
Colloquial name: the Beggar Kings of Astalac
Battle-cry: “Our turn”

The first chapter of Primaris marines to be assigned to the Antona Australis sector, the Kings Martial have swiftly won a name for themselves for their methodical and exacting way of war. Shortly after its arrival, the chapter detected a distress signal from a Missionarus Galaxia expedition on the savagely beautiful world of Astalac. Following a brief but bloody purge to excise the malign influence of a pleasure-cult swollen to grotesque proportions and the defeat of the daemonic legion led by Par’sekrai, one of the Dark Prince’s most exalted Keeper of Secrets, the Kings Martial claimed Astalac as their prize by right of conquest and consolidated their victory by imposing harsh laws, remodelling the twin tribes’ society into one of Spartan discipline and simplicity.

In recognition of the disaster that nearly befell their adopted world, the Kings Martial swear an oath of poverty on their ascension to full battle-brothers. When they partake of mortal foodstuffs they reject anything richer than nutrient-laced gruel and wear sack-cloth vestments rather than the fine robes worn by other chapters when out of their holy plate. The purple that dominates their livery is made from the cheapest dye to be found on Astalac, which is refined from the plankton responsible for the hue of the planet’s violet seas.

Fighting the Kings Martial is like being in a vice. Every stratagem is remorselessly countered, every tactical option stripped away with crushing speed and thoroughness. Their battle doctrine focuses on removing an enemy’s ability to manoeuvre, provoking them to anger and exploiting tactical errors created by frustration.

Rather than the traditional Astartes shock-tactics, the Beggar Kings prefer devastating counterattacks launched immediately following the defeat of enemy offensives and other actions designed to erode the morale of enemy commanders, as part of their philosophy of war, known as Cromjavar  – ‘stealing the enemy’s soul’.

This approach extends even to their combat training – the martial art taught to all initiates, Savkhdan Na Rossk – ‘taking that which is given’ – stresses the use of crippling blocks and maximising the use of plate to break bones and blades alike. As a consequence, one of the most brutal tests used to sift through packs of adolescents for the rare few who possess the will and determination to become one of the Angels of Death, is for them to be made to attack an unarmoured battle-brother with their bare hands. Many give up after the first block breaks their arm. Only those that keep attacking until they can stand no more are offered the possibility of ascension, despite the weeks of convalescence that might follow such an ordeal.

As primaris marines, the Kings Martial are still establishing their own traditions. While they venerate the Emperor, their devotion to their Primarch is much less than many chapters. For them, he is a man of flesh and blood, not a lost ancestor-figure to revere. In their brief history, there have been several occasions where the Kings Martial have fought alongside Lord Guilliman and the Ultramarines and the battle-brothers still celebrate the Siege of Antioc, when the primarch appeared to them in their own purple and bone livery, leading the descent into the fell catacombs beneath that cursed city, the Emperor’s Sword lighting the way. The horrors that were faced that day are acid-etched into the chapter’s memory and part of the chapter’s sacred duty is to watch over those haunted worlds which might host similar nightmares from the half-forgotten days of the Dark Age of Technology.

Given that the veil between the realm of flesh and the realm of spirit is thin on Astalac, it is not surprising that the Beggar Kings have a significantly larger number of apothecaries and librarians than most other chapter. The former are needed to screen out genetic deviancy – there are whispers that part of their duties include the surgical removal or correction of mutations from their brothers. The librarians or Sar-Keth-Vandar – ‘they who walk the paths between worlds‘ as they are colloquially known are feared for the ease at which they wield their power.

Because of their methodical approach to war, the Kings Martial have won considerable renown for their successful participation in large-scale theatres, working in smooth conjunction with regiments of the Astra Militarum, often keeping their presence hidden until the enemy launches a major offensive. However, while the Chapter has won the respect and admiration of many a regiment, there are some that resent them for turning up and stealing all the glory, leaving the sacrifice of entire regiments forgotten in their wake.

Over the many occasions where the Kings Martial have had to fight alongside the Legio Kerberos, the two factions have developed an unhealthy dislike of each other. Part of the issue is that there is something about the Legio’s customs that reminds the Beggar Kings of the time before the coming of the God Emperor’s servants to Astalac and of the foulness that was only put to an end when the Chapter claimed the world as its home. The princeps, moderati and tech priests of Legio Kerberos on the other hand, typically find the Kings Martial to be painfully conservative company, all too focused on consolidating their positions when they could be rushing forward.