If you’re into Warhammer 40,000 I heartily recommend the blog For Holy Terra. They recently had a cool little “Reverse Painting Contest,” and I thought I’d share my entry with you, since this week has been extremely busy and I have nothing else prepared.
++++++++++ CLASSIFIED INFORMATION FOLLOWS – EYES ONLY – PUNISHABLE BY DEATH ++++++++++
We were unprepared for the sheer amount of civilians turned by this cult. You have to understand, most of the men under General Corvinus’ command were career Guardsmen who’d chosen to settle on Serevar, raising families and establishing homes. To see those homes burned and familes and friends turned to mindless, screaming followers of some blaspehmous god was too much for some to bear.
Even the sight of the Chaos forces arriving through tears in the Warp didn’t shake some of them from their catatonic states. The laspistols of the Commissars were working overtime. I was worried that so many summary executions would leave us without adequate forces to defend ourselves. The cultists had taken out our orbital links. Help would not arrive in time. It looked more and more like my Kasrkin and myself would be the last line of defense between those stalwart enough to hold to their faith and the seething, stripping, screaming tide of human flesh craving their blood.
We’d taken our positions. Thoroughfare barriers made for poor fortifications against the traitors and their archaic plasma weapons and artillery, but it was all we had. We told people to stay in their homes. We checked and re-checked our hellguns. We listened as the command post was overrun, General Corvinus falling back to behind our line. And I lead my men in prayer.
When I heard the bike engines, I feared the worst.
I couldn’t see them, at first, but I could hear them. When I did catch a glimpse, it took precious seconds to register what I’d seen. It wasn’t the garish colors and deadly spikes of the enemy armor. It was gray, like slate or cold steel, blending into the ferracrete of the buildings. Other figures took positions on top of the buildings behind us. I heard the phut-phut-phut of sniper rifle fire, and former friends and family began dropping, perfect holes in their faces, trampled underfoot by the meaty shields pushed by the traitorous warriors.
The sight gave my men hope. We opened fire with our hellguns. We burned body after body as they hurtled towards us. I couldn’t count on our weapons being as effective on the ancient but powerful armor once worn by the Emperor’s finest warriors, but what choice did we have? Kasrkin don’t back down. Even when the traitors broke rank and charged us, raising vicious chainswords and opening fire with their bolters, we stood fast. We began to fall but we returned fire. I prayed I would live long enough to take at least a few of the blasphemous monsters with me.
And then the drop pods began to fall.
The one that landed directly behind us shook the ground, forcing us to our knees. By the time we recovered, between each one of us left standing was a Space Marine with a heavy weapon. In the field, the pods split open and gleaming warriors in the same grey armor I’d seen poured into the fray. One was sheathed in blue, the mark of the psykers they call Librarians. Was he the reason they’d arrived when they did? Had the path of the Chaos forces through the Warp gained their attention? Whatever the cause, the Space Marines destroyed the traitors and their heretic followers in short order.
General Corvinus came out to greet his saviors. I was too tired to protest. The Librarian met him, then stepped aside for an even taller warrior. He carried his helmet under one arm, his right hand resting on the bolt pistol holstered at his side. I heard Corvinus greet him as “High Commander”. They traded a few words before the High Commander drew his sidearm and shot General Corvinus in the head. The Space Marine then turned his attention to me.
“You will lead these men.”
With that, he and his battle-brothers left the field. My promotion was waiting for me when we returned to the garrison. We later learned Corvinus was engaged in heresey and Chaos worship himself, at least according to Inquisitorial sources. The agents who informed me of this also disclosed the Inquisitor who employs them is upset that the Space Marines arrived here before they could. That is, however, their opinion even if it is only one I share.
Repairs on the planet’s surface continue and members of the Ecclesiarchy minister to the survivors. All is well, for now.
General Abram Kadeen
Interim Commander, Callimar 41st, Callimar Proxima
Report Filed [date redacted]
++++ THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Educate men without faith and you but make them clever devils. ++++
The Imperial Wraiths were mustered out of the Imperial Fists during the Second Founding. The goal was for the Force Commander at the time, Titus Obscurus, to take initiates showing promise in infiltration and develop those skills along with standard combat training to carry out covert operations against the enemies of the Imperium. The Imperial Wraiths were ceded the second moon of Xellious VII in the Hawking Sector, with other planets in the sector serving as recruitment worlds.
However, not long after the chapter was established, tragedy struck. An excavation on Xellious IV unveiled an ancient artefact of unspeakable power. Before the Inquisition could intercede, the artefact was activated and Chaos energies swept over the planet. Aspects of every unclean god overthrew the minds and bodies of the population, and traitorous legions spewed forth from the Warp. Within a fortnight, the entire sector was in turmoil and the fortress-monestary on the second moon of the seventh planet was scoured by the fires of Tzeench.
After pitched combat with these forces, the Imperium managed to reclaim the sector. It seemed, however, that the Imperial Wraiths had been lost. Decades passed before evidence to the contrary emerged. On the other side of the Imperium, before any other Space Marines could respond to a planetary distress call, a massive cathedral-dreadnought dating back to the Horus Heresy emerged from the Warp. Drop pods in shades of grey rained from the sky, producing Space Marines with grim determination and heavy weaponry. They bore iconography that was a pale reflection of their previous symbols and called themselves the Tenebrous Wraiths.
Rumors are that it was one of the Wraith’s own Librarians who oversaw the excavation of the artefact that nearly destroyed the chapter and they have chosen to remain apart from their battle brothers out of shame. An even more insidious contention is that they are in the throes of a Chaos god, a tool of deception to lull mankind into a false sense of security. While no injunction has been issued forbidding them from approaching Holy Terra as yet, the Dies Irae Veniendum Est invokes as much dread as it does relief when it appears in orbit around a world. Their unpredictable movements, taciturn behavior and nihilistic prayers make others uneasy, but in combat they are every bit as implacable and righteous as their more boisterous battle brothers.
In an attempt to allay some fears amongst the Inquisition, High Commander Brutus Obscurus submitted a general report on chapter strength to the Ordo Hereticus. His first contention was that at no time has the chapter deviated from the Codex Astartes, despite tumultuous periods in which the chapter astropaths struggled to navigate their massive home successfully through the Warp. He claimed the cathedral-dreadnought is home to four battle companies, each consisting of three tactical squads, three devastator squads and two assault squads, as well as a dedicated recruit company and a command company of five librarians, six chaplains, four squads of veteran space marines. The report contains a total mustered strength of just under four hundred battle brothers.
The only individuals permitted to ascend to the Dies Irae Veniendum Est are recruits. Dignitaries, regional commanders and other Space Marines are always met elsewhere. This makes it difficult to gauge the exact nature and capabilities of this vessel, which is slightly larger than a battle barge but appears to carry fewer weapons. The Chapter does not maintain any other battle barges, only a handful of strike cruisers to escort their final bastion. Manufactorium parts and raw materials are either acquired in the field of battle or ‘requisitioned’ from planetary governments. Still, the Techmarines of the Tenebrous Wraiths appear to be up to date on current pattens of Imperial wargear, and no Space Marine of the chapter bears any appearance of Chaos influence.
Recently the Tenebrous Wraiths acquired the means to produce Terminator armour from the forges aboard the cathedral-dreadnought, but the Techpriests of Mars insist that such manufacture is time-consuming and costly in raw materials. Nevertheless, the chapter’s armored strength remains diminished, with only six Land Raider variants, eight Predators and two Vindicators. They have no Whirlwinds or Land Speeders to speak of. They do, however, have a great number of Rhinos, Razorbacks and bikes, and it appears that the Dies Irae Veniendum Est was retrofitted in such a way that most of its planetary bombardment capabilities have been replaced with increased Drop Pod capacity.
The cloaked spectre of the Imperial Wraiths is gone, replaced with the stark skull-and-scythe iconongraphy the chapter now bears.
Previously, the colors of the chapter were white with yellow trim, in honor of Dorn’s Imperial Fists. After their disgrace and absence, they opted for a gray pallate with brass trim that harkens back to the glory days before the Horus Heresey. The left pauldron always bears the icon of the chapter, while the right is colored to match one’s squad: white for scout, green for tactical, orange for devastator, red for assault and silver for veterans.
The Wraiths often dispatch a Thunderhawk with scouts on bikes before making their main assault. These scouts report on enemy positions and strength. Once the field is mapped, drop pods rain from the sky. Against entrenched enemies, armored units may be dispatched, but in those cases the task of the armor is to breach the enemy defenses to allow rapid transports to surge into the enemy and dispense death by bolter and chainsword.
++++ THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: It is better to die for the Emperor than to live for yourself. ++++
“Let it be known we choose to stand in shadow.
We who have seen Man’s heroes become villains.
We who remember the best of us falling to the worst.
We who seek to cleanse our Galaxy of our weaknesses.
Let it be known we protect the light of the Empire,
and in its shadow we stand eternal and vengeful.
We are the Wraiths. We shall not forget.
From the Shadows! To OBLIVION!” – Pre-battle benediction of the Tenebrous Wraiths