Alexis Polux was the first Chapter Master of the Crimson Fists Chapter of Space Marines. Captain of the 405th Company of the Imperial Fists Legion during the Great Crusade in the 30th and early 31st Millennia, Polux was a warrior of unique promise both elevated to greatness and condemned to bear great sorrow by the events of the Horus Heresy. A tactical genius with a talent for void warfare, he was the protégée of the VIIth Legion's greatest fleet masters, although before the dark betrayal of the Warmaster Horus, he was yet to reach his full potential. Inwit-born, he was a physical giant even among his brothers of the Legion, and of a character as if cast in stone, emotionless and unyielding, whose reputation before the Battle of Phall rested as much on his strength in the bloody melee of close quarters combat as in command. When Primarch Rogal Dorn sent his Retribution Fleet to aid the beleaguered Loyalists on Istvaan III, Polux would likely still have had many years of proving ahead of him before he attained high command, but cruel chance and the death of his mentor saw such command thrust upon him, and with it the fate of much of his Legion lay in his hands. Polux went on to win Dorn's respect countless times during the dark days of the Great Betrayal. Following the events of the Heresy, the Space Marine Legions were broken down into smaller Chapters, and Polux was selected to lead the newly formed Crimson Fists Chapter. He went on to lead the Crimson Fists for the first 800 standard years of their existence. During this time, he did much to shape their interpretation of the Codex Astartes and their combat doctrines.
Alexis Polux was known for his massive physical size, as he stood taller than all his Battle-Brothers. Even without his Power Armour on, he still dwarfed most other Astartes warriors. Such was Polux's strength and focus of will, even for one of the Legiones Astartes, that he was able to deliver a single crushing blow with his Power Fist as easily as one of his brothers might have swung a sword. Besides his physical prowess, Alexis Polux was a highly skilled commander and a formidable tactician, particularly in the fields of void-borne combat and Zone Mortalis operations. Polux's rise through the ranks of the Imperial Fists was meteoric, as his superlative combat skills and potent tactical skills saw him raised to command other Space Marine Veterans with far more practical experience.
Trial of the Twins
Like his future Primarch, Alexis Polux was raised on the frigid Ice World of Inwit in the Inwit Cluster by a tribal ice-caste native to the Ice-Hives of that world. Shortly after the rediscovery of the Primarch Rogal Dorn by the Emperor of Mankind during the early years of the Great Crusade, Alexis and his twin brother Helias Polux underwent the rigorous Trials as Aspirants to become Space Marines of the Imperial Fists Legion. They had to cross the Splintered Lands, the night-soaked side of Inwit which had never seen the sun. A place where the cold is as constant as the night. The warriors of the ice caste normally only ventured there in metal-plated environmental suits, but those who wished to join the VII Legion had to cross that desolate place in rotting pelts and rags. It was a test, a journey through a midnight realm of agony, forcing the potential candidates to endure harsh weather, frostbite and the dangerous indigenous wildlife that stalked those frozen lands.
During the Polux brothers’ journey, Alexis was gravely wounded when one of his calves was punctured clean through by the razor sharp claws of an unidentified six-legged beast. Though he escaped the initial attack, he became separated from his twin. Alexis trailed red across the ice-dunes, trying to shut out the incessant pain, and trying to ignore the numbness so that he could keep moving. He felt that he would fail as the bone-numbing cold sapped his will to live, leaving the beast that continued to stalk him with what was left. Somehow, despite the deplorable weather conditions, Helias managed to locate his erstwhile brother and helped him to his feet. Helias offered Alexis words of encouragement, despite suffering from the severe frostbite on his own hands which left them swollen and black with frozen blood. Alexis felt that despite their close genetic bonds, they were twins in all ways except one; Helias was stronger than him, both physically and mentally. Alexis felt he would not have made it even this far without his twin. But Helias refused to let his brother give up hope.
Unfortunately fate intervened once again in a most unexpected fashion as the six-legged creature finally found its missing prey. The twins were effectively trapped, their backs towards a large crevasse and the creature in front of them. As the creature attempted to pounce on the wounded Alexis, he managed to dive to the side, but was too slow. The beast’s jaws closed on his trailing left arm. It turned as it landed, dragging Alexis across the ice. Teeth tore through flesh, causing joints to pop and sending searing pain up Alexis’ ravaged arm. The beast then slammed Alexis back to the ground, releasing his arm, and placed a clawed paw on his chest. Ribs cracked, and needle-sharp claws touched Alexis’ skin. Helias yelled, distracting the creature, his back towards the crevasse, his body poised, his arms spread like a wrestler. The beast coiled on its six legs and pounced towards Helias, its jaws wide. Moving at the last instant, Helias pivoted as his arms came up and gripped the beast’s neck. He then turned and the beast’s momentum spun it through the air towards the waiting crevasse. The beast managed to gain purchase by fastening to Helias' leg with its long hooked claws as they both tumbled together into the crevasse.
Despite his own agony, Alexis launched himself towards the crevasse and just barely reached his brother in time to grab him as he fell. The weight of him pulled Alexis off his feet. The beast’s claws came free and it vanished into the crevasse. Hanging from his brother’s hand, Alexis attempted to grip a ridge in the ice with his good arm as he held his brother in place with his other, badly mauled appendage. Alexis’ arm was a lacerated ruin, the flesh punctured and chewed in the beast’s jaws, and Helias’ weight pulled the wounds open. Despite his grievous injuries Alexis attempted to pull his brother up from the threshold of the black abyss below, but he was unable to lift him. Locking eyes for an instant, understanding quickly dawned on Alexis; Helias knew that his twin’s grip had already broken. It was his hand locked around Alexis’ that was holding him from falling into the black void below. Looking into his eyes, Helias made the fateful decision for them both and opened his hand, falling to his death. This tragic event deeply affected Alexis Polux and would continue to plague him for the rest of his life. But Polux survived the Trial and was accepted into the ranks of the Imperial Fists.
During the Great Crusade, Polux rose to the senior rank of Captain, commanding the VII Legion's 405th Company, and became one of Rogal Dorn's most senior officers after he gained a position on the Primarch’s advisory council. When Dorn had seen evidence of his brother Horus' treachery in the Istvaan System, he had wanted to go and confront Horus himself, to hear the Arch-Traitor’s confession and bring retribution with his own hands. But duty had held him back: duty to the Emperor of Mankind and the Imperium of Man that Horus now sought to destroy. He and his First Captain Sigismund had returned to Terra, but Dorn had sent his sons as emissaries of his anger. He had named their detachment a Retribution Fleet. Thirty thousand Imperial Fists Legionaries comprised of three hundred companies and over five hundred warships had struck out towards Istvaan III, a third of the VIIth Legion, a force great enough to subdue a hundred worlds, bearing a brother’s wrath. Captain Polux was attached to this force under the command of veteran Captain Yonnad, the Master of the Retribution Fleet.
When the Imperial Fists fleet had translated back into reality on the edge of the Istvaan System, the power of the Warp Storm now raging near the system as the result of the will of the Dark Gods caused Gellar Fields to fail as hulls sheared into fragments and burned in the fires of their own reactors. Some ships had reached safety, but many died, their corpses spat out of the Warp to freeze in the void. Two hundred warships were lost, their remains left spinning in the light of a forgotten star. They had found Captain Polux in the remains of one of those broken wrecks. He was one of the few survivors. Ten thousand Imperials Fists were gone, a staggering loss that was difficult to grasp. Now only three hundred and sixty-three warships remained -- a force that still represented a fifth of the VIIth Legion’s full strength. Yonnad had not survived, and since Polux had been designated as his successor, the right of command of the remaining Retribution Fleet fell to him. Though he was deeply honoured, he also felt completely alone. The truth was that he did not fear the responsibility of such a heavy burden, for Yonnad was the VIIth Legion’s finest fleet master and Captain Polux his best pupil. But the new Fleet Master had doubts that he was the best choice, for there were other men that had survived the wreck of the fleet that were more worthy; commanders with more campaign experience, higher in the rolls of honour, and more skilled at arms. But the Imperial Fists followed form and order to the letter, something not so easily set aside.
Battle of Phall
The Imperial Fists’ warfleet established a base of operations in the Phall System. The two habitable planets of Phall were unremarkable agrarian worlds, lightly populated and of no great strategic importance. For reasons they could not ascertain, the Warp was calm in this region and the Imperial Fists found that they could navigate to and from the system with some surety. With their Astropaths blind, the Legion’s commanders grew increasingly frustrated as time wore on. Though a few amongst the senior captains and battlegroup commanders might chafe at Polux’s orders, the majority of the fleet’s commanders could not fault the young fleet master. The fleet was vulnerable, and an attack was likely. In such a position one needed to create a solid defence and conserve fighting strength. Polux’s deployment addressed all of these needs with a direct elegance. The Retribution Fleet formed a sphere close to the Ocean World of Phall II. Each commander in the fleet led a battlegroup of smaller vessels. Every battlegroup moved on a precise looped course around the watery planet. Together the whole resembled a cage spun from the tails of comets.
Captain Polux quickly established a routine. While regular scouting missions were launched into the Warp, the Legion's astropaths busied themselves with trying to break through the Warp Storms and make contact with Terra, in particular the Loyalists trapped on Istvaan III. The fleet was kept at full battle-stations and Polux relentlessly drilled his shield-equipped Breacher Squads, honing their skills at war like a blade edge made sharp only by harsh practice. They wanted to be prepared in case of any inevitable boarding actions. When an enemy came, the Imperial Fists needed to be ready. The opinions of others, whether they agreed with Polux or not, were of no consequence -- strength required obedience, not thought.
The Traitors' attack, led by Perturabo and his Iron Warriors, was sudden and overwhelming. From his flagship the Gloriana-class Battleship Iron Blood, the Iron Warriors' primarch commanded the first one hundred ships that burst into reality at the same moment. The Iron Warriors vessels brought their weapons to bear, firing as one upon the Imperial Fists vessel Hammer of Terra. The doomed warship exploded spectacularly as the enemy salvo set off a chain reaction in the ship’s plasma engines. Within seconds of the death of the Hammer of Terra, twelve of its sisters followed, consumed by Nova Shell explosions and torpedo spreads. The Imperial Fists' Grand Cruiser Sulla fired a single salvo before enemy Macro Cannon fire stripped its shields and its hull became molten slag. The six destroyers clustered around it were destroyed in the explosion of the larger vessel's plasma reactor. The Crusader and Legate lasted scant seconds longer. They and their escorts were hit by a trio of Vortex Warheads and vanished into the hungering dark. Twenty-four Grand Cruisers and Battle Barges made up the tip of the Iron Warriors' fleet. In close formation around the capital ship Contrador they moved as one. They rammed through the debris of their kills, fire and molten metal smearing their prows. Around the Iron Blood hundreds of Traitor warships followed in close formation. Behind them, hundreds more emerged from the Warp to add to the Iron Warriors' fleet.
Initially, the Imperial Fists' fleet fragmented under the attack. Flame-wreathed Battle Barges pulled back, trying to outpace the guns of the Iron Warriors. Heavy Cruisers staggered their flight, first one taking fire, then the next, while faster Strike Cruisers tried to cover the heavier warships as they pulled away. As the golden Imperial Fists fleet broke into pieces, the Iron Warriors continued to press forwards. Smaller ships crippled targets, and then larger ships delivered the killing blows. It was methodical and merciless, like a siege drill eating through rock. Plunging his fleet into the midst of the Loyalist fleet, Pertuabo’s strategy was to scatter the Imperial Fists’ fleet formation and then to destroy it piecemeal. His plan was dependent upon the Loyalist warships not being able to fight back quickly enough to break the momentum of his thrust. However, Captain Polux and his fleet commanders quickly recovered from the shock and suddenness of Perturabo’s attack and fought back. Despite their long sojourn at Phall, they had been kept in a state of constant battle-readiness. This policy paid off for the Imperial Fists as they began to concentrate their fire on the leading ships of Perturabo’s fleet.
This was what the long months of planning had been for, the hundreds of hours of training. The Retribution Fleet was ready to resist an attack, but they faced an enemy far greater than Polux had ever planned to face. The Iron Warriors had taken losses, but their strength remained. If the Imperial Fists had broken in the first moments of the battle, they would have died. If they had attempted to fight the Iron Warriors head on, they would have been slaughtered. The Iron Warriors knew their foes' weaknesses, the Imperial Fists theirs. The Iron Warriors had hoped to find the Loyalists unprepared, but they had not cracked after the first attack. The Imperial Fists' defence had snapped back into place like the cogs of a clockwork mechanism. The Loyalist fleet presented an unfixed fortress made of moving strike groups, fading resistance and punishing counter-attacks to their foes. Slower Battleships drew fire, pulling Iron Warriors ships out of formation, while on the edge of the battle sphere fast strike groups looped around and through the margins of the Iron Warriors' fleet. They struck again and again, crippling, destroying, trimming warships from the edge of the enemy fleet like fat carved from meat. The Iron Warriors fleet was pulling itself apart as it tried to engage the Imperial Fists, and it bled at every turn. The Imperial Fists rallied and began inflicting significant casualties. The Iron Warriors still had greater numbers, but that margin quickly diminished.
The Imperial Fists concentrated their fire at the leading ships of Perturabo’s fleet. The impact of this was devastating to the Traitors as their lead ships were torn apart in the firestorm. As the lead ships were battered, the remainder of Perturabo’s fleet broke off their attack to regroup. This gave the Loyalists the chance to go on the offensive, but before they did so, the Loyalist fleet’s Astropaths relayed a critical message to their commanders. The Imperial Fists' Astropaths had succeeded in making contact with Terra and the VIIth Legion had urgent orders to return there, by the will of their Primarch Rogal Dorn. These orders came with the highest priority. The Imperial Fists of the Retribution Fleet were not to let anything delay them. Coincidentally, a passage seemed to have somehow opened up in the Warp Storms, though the Imperial Fists were not sure how long it would last. If they were to obey their Primarch’s orders, they had to withdraw from Phall while there was a chance of making it through the storms. Embattled against the Traitors of Perturabo and his Iron Warriors Legion, the Loyalists had an opportunity to force the issue and launch a counterattack against Perturabo’s fleet, perhaps dealing a wound to the enemy so severe that the Iron Warriors might never recover. But they had their orders; it was the will of Rogal Dorn that they return to Terra post-haste. And so, sustaining horrific losses, Captain Polux ordered the Imperial Fists' Retribution Fleet to withdraw from the massive void conflict and made good their escape.
Polux would never reach Terra as his vessels were sucked into the Ruinstorm created by Kor Phaeron, and were scattered around by the gargantuan Warp Storm. Eventually, his Navigator discovered the beckoning light of the beacon of Sotha, which Primarch Roboute Guilliman had ordered Warsmith Dantioch of the Iron Warriors to employ in creating a navigational reference point. Captain Polux arrived on the capital world of Macragge. Once he was debriefed by Primarch Guilliman of current events, Polux employed his immense skill at defensive planning and void war skills in upgrading Ultramar's massive defense fleets and surface sensor webs of Magna Macragge Civitas, Guilliman's capital.
Horribly injured in the Battle of Phall, Polux spent little time actually fighting, save for one terrible night. Night Lords Primarch Konrad Curze assaulted Macragge in secret after escaping from the justice of the Dark Angels aboard the Ist Legion's Gloriana-class flagship, the Invincible Reason. At the time, Polux was assisting Dantioch on far-off Sotha via the strange properties of Sotha's empathic field projector, when Curze assaulted him. Though Dantioch, immune to direct harm half a Segmentum away, was able to assist Polux, Alexis simply couldn't kill Curze alone. Dantioch was able to save Polux by utilising the power of the strange xenos beacon, allowing Polux to stall Curze long enough for Guilliman and his brother Priamrch Lion El'Jonson to arrive and duel their evil brother.
After Curze's failed attempt to kill his brothers, Polux stayed on Sotha for a time, assisting Dantioch, until the Ruinstorm abated when Horus was ready to initiate his final move on Terra.
After the Horus Heresy played out to its inevitable tragic conclusion, Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines Legion, penned the Codex Astartes. With its creation, the Primarch demanded that his brothers accept his example by dividing their own Legions into 1,000-member Space Marine Chapters. Initially, Rogal Dorn opposed such a notion. He felt strongly that it was even more crucial for his Space Marines to remain consolidated so that they could continue to work closely together and protect the Imperium from the remnants of the Traitor Legions. The issue became an increasingly critical point of conflict between the two Primarchs, as their arguments grew in intensity. Ultimately, Dorn decided that it was more important to concede to Guilliman’s demands and divide his Legion than to run the risk of another Imperial civil war. After he accepted the decision, Dorn divided his Legion into multiple Successor Chapters. Two of the Chapters formed from the Imperial Fists Legion were the Black Templars and the Crimson Fists. The Crimson Fists Chapter's members were selected by Dorn from those Astartes who had been most recently initiated into the VIIth Legion, with the exception of its officers, who were all Veterans. While these Battle-Brothers were thoroughly trained and loyal men, they were among the VIIth Legion’s most levelheaded members. Because of this, the new Chapter Master would be able to more effectively implement the teachings and new traditions of the Codex Astartes. Alexis Polux was selected by Dorn to be the newly Founded Crimson Fists Chapter's first Chapter Master. Remembered as the Great Father, Polux would go on to lead the Crimson Fists for the first 800 standard years of their existence. During this time, he did much to shape their interpretation of the Codex Astartes and their combat doctrines.
Chapter Master Polux reorganised his Battle-Brothers in a format that followed closely with the structure prescribed by the Codex Astartes. However, he continued to follow many of the tactics and traditions that he had learned at the hand of the Primarch as a member of the Imperial Fists. For this reason, the Crimson Fists remained expert at defensive actions, just like their progenitors. The Chapter maintained the tradition of permitting a single warrior to assume the heraldry and status of the Emperor's Champion prior to entering a major conflict, but this practice was only invoked upon rare occasions. Similarly, the Crimson Fists are one of the twelve Successor Chapters of the VIIth Legion that participate in the Feast of Blades, alongside the Imperial Fists. Through the centuries, as the Chapter continued to develop and build its own traditions, the Crimson Fists began to maintain a series of sacred days within each year. These were devoted to honouring and commemorating, but not worshiping, the Emperor, their Primarch, and the Great Father Polux. The Chapter has come to embrace the Codex Astartes, including much of its core philosophy as regards preparation for battles. Their use of oral history as a reminder of their ancestors' actions, their ability to adapt to battle against hundreds of different races of xenos, and their aptitude for all phases of warfare all leave the Crimson Fists as a Chapter that is capable of defeating a broad range of opponents -- a lesson that they had to learn through the course of their extended Crusades.
Alexis Polux fell eight Terran centuries after the Founding of the Crimson Fists during the battle for an unnamed system, codified as HR8518. The system was occupied by a previously unknown alien race, which came to be referred to as the Scythians. These deviant xenos warrior monks made battle using terrible venom-based weapons, and it was such a poisoned projectile that struck the Chapter Master in the temple and brought about his death. It is said he fought the deadly poison for many days before his superhuman physiology was finally overcome. After his death, his forces enacted his final plans, and the aliens were repulsed from the star system after a short but extremely bloody campaign of xenocide from which the Scythians learned the true power of the Imperium. The xenos have since rarely engaged Imperial forces in open battle, preferring instead to mount stealthy raids and assassinations where their deviant, underhanded and dishonourable ways can prevail.
- Void Hardened Power Armour
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
- Iron Halo
- Master-crafted Power Fist
- Vigil Pattern Storm Shield
- Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter (RPG), pp. 58-60
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions, pp. 342-343
- The Horus Heresy - Book Three: Extermination, by Alan Bligh, pp. 47-51, 271
- White Dwarf 288 (US), "Index Astartes – Crimson Fists"
- The Flight of the Eisenstein (Novel) by James Swallow, pg. 272
- Shadows of Treachery (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn and Nick Kyme, "The Crimson Fist" by John French, pp. 7-56
- Unremembered Empire (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Forge World - Alexis Polux, 405th Captain of the Imperial Fists