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The Legio Atarus ("Firebrands") are a Loyalist Titan Legion of the Collegia Titanica, one of the military arms of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

Young by the standards of many other Titan Legions, the Firebrands were formed in the latter part of the Great Crusade on the remote world of Atar-Median by exiles from the Forge World of Phaeton.

Distrusted and looked down upon by many of their brethren in the Adeptus Titanicus, the Legio Atarus had to prove themselves time and again, gaining a reputation as being independent and headstrong.

Despite this reputation, the Firebrands would go on to prove their mettle where other, more lauded names, would ignominiously fall.

Years of war and headstrong commanders gave the Machine Spirits (artificial intelligences) of Firebrands Titans their own distinctive personalities. When the Machine Spirit takes control of the Titan, it is even more determined than ever to close the distance with its foes.

Many princeps cannot see beyond the ancient tactica doctrines laid down by the Collegia Titanica -- not so the Firebrands, who practise the theorems of adaptive warfare.

This is most evident in their flexible approach to the concept of the maniple, individual princeps often changing their tactics in the midst of combat.

Perhaps the Firebrands' most defining moment came during the Shedim Drifts campaign, when the Warmaster Horus callously sacrificed dozens of their Titans to attain victory -- a slight that the Legio would not soon forget, and which ultimately led the Legio to side with the Loyalists during the Horus Heresy.

Legion History

Legio Atarus colour scheme as displayed by the Warlord-class Titan Ex Noctia.

Origins

Before the dark treacheries of the Warmaster Horus plunged the entire galaxy into bloodshed, the Firebrands were considered by some to be a particularly fractious and ill-disposed Titan Legion.

Distrusted and looked down upon by their fellow Titan Legions, the Legio Atarus would go on to prove their loyalty and unswerving dedication to the Emperor.

The seeds of the Firebrands' ill-repute during the Great Crusade can be traced to the highly unusual circumstances of their inception. In the early years of the Great Crusade, one of the first tasks of Imperial expansion from Terra was to link up with a number of key domains within the Segmentum Solar identified as vital to the Great Crusade's success.

Critical among these were several Forge Worlds with whom the ancient Mechanicum of Mars had maintained some relationship throughout the tribulations of the later Age of Strife.

In many cases, these inclusions went without difficulty, such as with the world of Voss whose masters had bent the knee to Mars without qualm, but on others such as Phaeton, inclusion was the matter of some negotiation and difficulty, and the final acquiescence bought with considerably more autonomy than the fabricator-general of Mars would perhaps have preferred from a vassal-domain.

What began as a coldly cordial relationship quickly grew into one of veiled and open rivalry, with Phaeton's position being further strengthened by it quickly becoming perhaps the second most productive Forge World of the Great Crusade until the later discovery of mighty Anvilus.

Although never faltering in its commitment to the Great Crusade, machinations by the authorities of Mars brought matters close to outright conflict over religious doctrine and subtle accusations that Phaeton was building its military assets to threatening levels, and this began to have a corrosive effect on the Forge World's reputation -- to the point where the storm clouds of hostile censure and perhaps even armed retribution gathered.

At last, the revered-comptroller of Phaeton Prime, realising that his domain could not stand before such power, brokered a compromise, offering publicly to give up a full third of his world's god-engines, armed forces and chattels in the interests of equanimity with Mars.

This was quickly agreed, but as the fabricator-general, no doubt with some lust for the task, despatched an assayance taskforce to Phaeton, he discovered that he had been outmanoeuvred.

Rather than give up its lore and dominion to Mars, Phaeton had created a fleet of vast Explorator Arks, and into these were divided an equal third part of its priesthood, chattels and machineries, and even as the Martian emissaries looked on, despatched them into the void.

Conflict was averted, Phaeton diminished and its subservience to Mars was assured, but it and its allies gained a long-burning enmity towards the Red Planet and its masters.

After a long and perilous journey through the Warp, the Phaetonite Covenant alighted in the vicinity of the white super-giant star Atarath, on what was then the edge of known space.

Here they founded the fledgling Forge World of Atar-Median in its shadow, on one of the many rogue planets caught in the colossal star's gravitational pull.

With frightening swiftness the transplanted magi rose up from their domain of steel and fire, and using as its core ancient god-engines taken from Phaeton in the anarchy of Old Night, it founded the Legio Atarus as its shield and sword.

Counted then as one of the younger Titan Legions, the Legio Atarus were looked down upon by many among the more ancient Titan Orders, and distrusted for their origins by some with close ties to the fabricator-general's faction on Mars, where a bitter humour over Atar-Median's founding still lingered. The Legio Atarus therefore was always a force who had much to prove.

They responded to this status both by the eagerness and devotion which they displayed for the Great Crusade and its cause (over and above the fealty they owed to the Martian Mechanicum), and by displaying defiance and swift anger when they felt themselves slighted by any other Legio.

Their zealous impetuousness in battle and the open belligerence and pride in arms they displayed, combined with the symbol of the burning blade they had adopted as their heraldic device, quickly set the cognomen by which the common soldiery of the Imperium would know them -- the "Firebrands."

Great Crusade

For much of the latter third of the Great Crusade, it was common for the Firebrands to operate several separate demi-legios as was the common case with many Secundus-grade Titan Legions, and seldom came together en masse for battle.

It was commonly the case for one demi-legio to be rotated through deployment on Atar-Median for repair and refit between major engagements, with the bulk of the Legio deployed to different warzones as needed as part of the overall Imperium military reserve, and seldom stayed attached to a particular expeditionary fleet for long.

Particular campaigns which saw the notable actions of the Firebrands during this period included the Liberation of Vayber and the 2nd Gehenna Campaign, the great Ullanor Crusade and the Lament of Shedim.

In this last campaign, a notable incident occurred which was to have a later bearing on events of the Horus Heresy and accounted, in part, for the presence of Demi-legio Karkanos of the Firebrands at Isstvan V.

During the war in the Shedim Drifts against the Craftworld Aeldari, a mighty clash occurred on the arid world of Anark Zeta between the forces of the craftworld of Mór-ríoh'i and the Great Crusade.

The vast Imperial force raised to destroy the marauding craftworld included detachments from no fewer than four Titan Legions: the Legio Mortis (Death's Heads), the Legio Fureans (Tiger Eyes), the Legio Osedax (Cockatrices) and the Legio Atarus, and was under the overall direct strategic command of Horus Lupercal and his (then) Luna Wolves Space Marine Legion.

During the apocalyptic battle which raged on the planet's surface, the Legio Atarus was used as part of a probing attack against the Asuryani Warp Gates. This was successful in drawing forth the ash-grey and crimson Titans of the enemy in open battle.

Heavily engaged and outnumbered by the ghostly war machines of the xenos, the promised support of the Death's Heads did not materialise, while the Titans of the Tiger Eyes, holding the Firebrands' flank, crumbled under the Craftworld Aeldari assault and retreated, leaving a full demi-legio of the Firebrands to be encircled and all but destroyed, with only a single Warhound-class Scout Titan surviving the engagement still able to fight.

In the aftermath it was revealed that the attack had been a ruse, a distraction planned by the Lupercal to divert the strength of the enemy away from the direct defence of their craftworld while his Space Marine Legion undertook a surprise-assault against it.

The war of the Shedim Drifts was a great victory for Horus and all those of the Imperium who fought in the campaign gained glory because of it, but to attain that victory the Legio Atarus had been cruelly used without its foreknowledge or consent, and its losses worsened by the callous scorn held for it by the Legio Mortis and the Legio Fureans in their refusal to stand beside them in battle.

It was an injury the Firebrands would not forget when the fires of the Horus Heresy were unleashed.

Notable Campaigns

  • Ullanor Crusade (ca. 000.M30) - The Ullanor Crusade was a vast Imperial assault on the Ork Empire of the Overlord Urrlak Urruk during the Great Crusade. Ullanor, the capital world of this empire, and the site of the final assault, lay in the Ullanor System of the galaxy's Ullanor Sector. The crusade included the deployment of 100,000 Space Marines, 8,000,000 Imperial Army troops, and thousands of Imperial starships and their support personnel. The main attack force dedicated to capturing the capital planet of the Ullanor System consisted of the entire Luna Wolves Legion, over 2 million Imperial Army soldiers, and one hundred Titans of the Collegia Titanica, including Titans from the Legio Atarus and the infamous Legio Mortis.
  • Lament of Shedim (Unknown Date.M31) - This was an Imperial Compliance action carried out against the Craftworld Aeldari upon the arid world of Anark Zeta between the forces of Craftworld Mór-ríoh'i and those of the Great Crusade, which included detachments from no fewer than four Titan Legions: the Legio Mortis, Legio Fureans, the Legio Osedax and the Legio Atarus. Overall command fell to Horus Lupercal, most-favoured son of the Emperor and primarch of the Luna Wolves Legion. During the apocalyptic battle, the elements of the Legio Atarus present were cruelly used, and without their foreknowledge they were sent to probe the enemy lines of the Aeldari and were subsequently destroyed. The grievous losses suffered by the Firebrands due to the Legio Mortis and the Legio Fureans refusal to fight alongside them due to internal Mechanicum politics, was a grievous injury not soon forgotten. That Horus allowed their Legio to be used in this way would go far to determining the Firebrands' continued loyalty to the Emperor when the Warmaster's rebellion began.
  • Drop Site Massacre of Isstvan V (566.006.M31) - War Maniple Red Naga, a demi-legio of the Legio Atarus was deployed in support of the Loyalist forces on Isstvan V. Demi-legio Red Naga was destroyed fighting against the treacherous Legio Mortis, after which it was considered to have martyred itself in the holy cause of the Omnissiah by the magi of Atar-Median. The unique designation and titles of the demi-legio's god-engines were afterwards recommissioned and kept in continuous service by the Legio Atarus.
  • Cataclysm of Iron (010.M31) - Across border sectors of the Segmentum Tempestus and the Segmentum Pacificus are located numerous lesser Forge Worlds known collectively as the "Belt of Iron." After the sundering of the Imperium, many declared for the Traitor cause at the engineering of the fabricator-general of Mars, while others remained loyal to Terra or sought to remain as aloof as possible from the conflict. Strife and tentative conflict between these once-aligned worlds erupted into full-scale war in 010.M31, pitching the Mars-aligned Forge Worlds of Incunabula, Urdesh, Valia-Maximal and Kalibrax against the forces of the Loyalist worlds of Graia, Arl'yeth and Atar-Median, while Arachnis and Jerulas Station both fell into civil war. The resulting conflict, that later becomes known as the "Cataclysm of Iron," saw the forge lords, their armies and allied Titan Legions and Knight Houses turn on each other in protracted warfare, with scores of Human-inhabited worlds in the region suffering as they become the battlegrounds upon which they fight.
    • Invasion of Ny'Drinah (302.010-552.010.M31) - Several hundred vessels, bearing the livery of both the Traitor Forge Worlds of Urdesh and Kalibrax, emerged from the Warp within the Paradonal'ny System, oblitering its defence stations with minimal losses and laying claim to the fleet anchorage. Soon after, astropaths across the Belt of Iron passed word of a widespread message, dispatched from unknown origins, calling for those worlds that had turned aside from the Omnissiah and His blessed representatives in favour of distant idols shrouded in falsehood. Acting upon preordained strategies, the Traitor Forge Worlds moved to lay claim to the valuable worlds of the Ny'Drinah sub-sector. The subsequent conquest of the sub-sector proved swift. Having secured a base of operations through their capture of the Paradonal'ny System, the Traitor fleet moved to seize their secondary targets. The core of the Traitor force consisted of Titans drawn from both the Legio Damicium and the Legio Kulisaetai, of which varying strength estimates placed between 25 and 70 Traitor god-engines committed to the conquest and whose considerable might far outstripped the defenders scattered across the Ny'Drinah sub-sector. Notably, the Traitor assault coincided with the commencement of the negotiation cycle during which the next solar decade of industrial supply was allocated amongst worlds within the Belt of Iron. This timing was no doubt meant to exploit laws which ensured that only a token force from each petitioning Forge World was allowed entry to the sub-sector, lest accusations of external pressure influencing the negotiations be levied against the process. In accordance with such an edict, less than a decad of Loyalist Titans, consisting of a mixture of Legio Atarus, Legio Venator, and Legio Astraman god-engines, stood within the sub-sector when the Traitors began their invasion and represented the sole force capable of besting an assault led by a Titan Legion. Facing a Traitor force capable of assaulting several worlds at once, the Loyalist Titans were quick to accept the inability of their numbers to defend the entire sub-sector and redeployed to the Xiloci'ny System, mustering to defend the sub-sector's capital world and await relief from allies further afield.
    • Relief of Xiloci II (924.010.M31) - In the solar weeks following the fall of the Paradonal'ny System, the Traitors secured their hold upon the Ny'Drinah sub-sector, seizing control of four further star systems before attempting to conquer the Hive World of Xiloci II. Here, the Traitor advance stalled, their Titan Legions contested by the considerable defences of the hive cities and the valiant resistance of the vastly outnumbered Loyalist Titans. In an effort to break the developing stalemate, those worlds captured by the Traitors were turned towards fuelling the conquest of Xiloci II; the flow of supplies from conquered Mining Worlds was funnelled inwards, increasing the construction of materiel to the Traitor fleets within the sub-sector, while those population centres deemed "non-essential" to the continued operation of the war effort were processed into vast legions of mindless warriors augmented by profane technology which were thrown against the Loyalist defences to sap morale and drain resources. By 552.010.M31, only the Xiloci'ny and Uridoci'ny Systems remained defiant in the face of invasion, with their worlds dispatching frequent calls for aid.
    • Assault upon Findari Prime (012.M31) - The Cataclysm of Iron entered a new phase following the ousting of Traitor forces from the Ny'Drinah sub-sector. Forced onto the backfoot, the Traitors began to reinforce their own holdings in anticipation of Loyalist incursions while unleashing specialised fleets, each containing only a handful of vessels, to ravage worlds across the Belt of Iron in an effort to fragment and delay the Loyalist forces. These fleets embarked upon a scorched earth campaign, trawling the Belt of Iron in search of weak points to exploit, often targeting those worlds who had but recently sided with Graia and Atar-Median. On the planet of Findari Prime, a barren world contained within the borders of the Findari Spoil, the tread of Traitors was seen once more when an assault, spearheaded by the warriors of House Vextrix, made landfall upon the planet. After several solar weeks of running battles, during which House Vextrix managed to fell three Firebrands Titans amongst the World Spine Crags, the warriors of House Col'Khak achieved their goal, capturing a Tech-priest left behind as the Traitors enacted a hasty evacuation of the planet's surface. Hourly interrogation logs transmitted back to Atar-Median tell only of a Tech-priest seemingly driven mad by corrupted code infesting their algorithms. The final log, transmitted as the Traitor fleet reached the edge of the Findari Spoil System, was abruptly cut off, its final seconds recording nothing but harrowing laughter interlaced with bursts of scrap code. Moments later, auger stations deployed across the Findari Spoil reported signals consistent with the detonation of cyclonic warheads beneath the surface of Findari Prime shortly before the world itself was shattered into pieces, taking tens of thousands of Atar-Median warriors, including a decad of Firebrands Titans, with it. Following the destruction of Findari Prime, retrieval fleets from Atar-Median entered the system to scavenge anything of value and it was there they encountered a single Traitor vessel. Opening communications, the Traitor vessel issued a mocking warning, declaring that the fate of Findari Prime awaited any who continued to oppose the fabricator-general of Mars before retreating in the face of Imperial reprisal.
    • Conquest of Ny'Drinah (049.012.M31) - Following the loss of Arachnus to the newborn Traitor Legio Tritonis, the Loyalist Legio Venator were vocal in their desire to recapture their homeworld from the Renegades of their own Legio, making several unsuccessful assaults upon the holdings of Arachnus. It quickly became apparent that their efforts would achieve little without aid from their allies, all of which viewed the securing of the Ny'Drinah sub-sector as a target of higher priority than Arachnus. Princeps Maxima Procolus, the acting grand master of the Legio Venator, desiring aid in his efforts to secure his homeworld, committed the Iron Spiders' full strength to the sub-sector, forming an agreement with Atar-Median that after the full conquest of Ny'Drinah, the Legio Atarus would commit a measure of their forces to war against Arachnus. Though the Loyalists' numbers within the sub-sector were lessened by the redeployment of many Legio Astraman Titans to the eastern front of war, the 60 god-engines brought by the Legio Venator quickly turned the tide, with a series of rapid assaults driving out the Legio Damicium from the Yanazar'ny System and retrieving the fallen god-engines of the Legio Venator from the ravaged planet of Yanazar IV, its mining operation deemed inoperable due to the level of damage inflicted upon it. Similarly, the Loyalists assailed the Paradonal'ny System, committing 50 Titans, of both the Legio Atarus and the Legio Venator, to besiege the Traitors entrenched around the orbital elevator upon Paradonal I linked to the fleet anchorage in orbit. The subsequent siege, which saw 18 Titans fall, ended when the Traitors turned their guns upon the orbital tether itself, severing the link between the fleet anchorage and the planet. The resulting debris fell upon the Traitors' position, claiming the life of Magos Dominus Xixos and nine Loyalist Titans along with the few remaining Traitor Titans while causing catastrophic damage to the planet's biosphere. This final act of spite, committed as the remaining Traitors withdrew, left the Loyalists in control of a ravaged sub-sector, its industry and populace severely reduced when compared to its pre-invasion status; censuses taken two solar decades after the invasion of the sub-sector report a 64% decrease in population, and 76% decrease in industrial output, relative to the numbers recorded before the Horus Heresy began. Though no longer capable of supplying the Loyalist Forge Worlds as it once had, the sub-sector still proved strategically viable, not least because it awarded the Loyalists a stronghold from which they could assault the Traitor Forge Worlds directly. Importantly, victory within the sub-sector also served to shore up the morale of the Loyalist forces, prompting many across the Belt of Iron whose allegiance had previously been undetermined to announce their support for the Emperor, undermining the Traitors' attempts to find new allies.
    • Battle of Paradonal'ny (012.M31)
    • Second Invasion of the Findari Spoil (012.M31) - Within the Findari Spoil, a barren region of space in close proximity to the Loyalist Forge World of Atar-Median, those aligned with the Warmaster Horus toiled. Kalibrax, a planet notable for its considerable ties to the fabricator-general of Mars, worked in secret to construct a series of fortifications across the asteroid belts and single planet within the Findari Spoil. The efforts of Kalibrax did not go unnoticed and the forces of Atar-Median fell upon the system when news reached them of Iron Warriors allies moving to aid the construction efforts of Kalibrax. The battle within the Findari Spoil proved to be the catalyst for all-out war across the Belt of Iron.
    • Burning of Malhanr (012.M31) - After the fall of the Ny'Drinah sub-sector to the Loyalists, the Traitors found themselves on the defensive, deprived of a centre of industry and isolated from their allies by Loyalist forces. In an effort to regain the initiative, the Traitors unleashed a series of fleets designed for the sole purpose of wanton destruction. Dozens of worlds suffered under their wrath, forcing the Loyalists to choose between dividing their forces to defend as much territory as possible or securing those worlds deemed invaluable and leaving others to their fate. As the Traitors' trail of destruction grew, many worlds surrendered to Horus' forces, accepting subjugation over a brutal death. One such world was Malhanr. Though the Agri-world had so far avoided the Cataclysm of Iron, it soon felt the tread of the Legio Atarus and Legio Laniaskara god-engines, as both Titan Legions moved to claim the world for themselves. As the two forces battled upon the surface of the world, their orbiting fleets faced a new threat, with xenos raiders, now unhindered by Imperial patrol fleets, falling upon the two sides, caring nothing for the distinction between Loyalist and Traitor. The destruction of both fleets left the god-engines of Legio Laniaskara and Legio Atarus trapped upon Malhanr, effectively nullifying their ability to capture the agri-world and requisition its supplies for the wider war effort. This fact did nothing to discourage the two sides from engaging in battle, for both wished for nothing more than the total annihilation of the other.
    • Battle of Arachnus (145.013-015.M31) - With the loss of the Traitor Forge World of Urdesh, both the cohesion and morale of the Traitor forces were damaged, rallying the Loyalist forces across the Belt of Iron. While several lesser Forge Worlds such as Tridolii threw themselves on the mercy of the Imperium, others, such as Narunbax, had fallen too far and were in turn crushed by the Legio Atarus and Legio Venator as the two Titan Legions marched on Arachnus, intent upon recapturing the world in the name of the Emperor. Arachnus eventually felt the wrath of the Loyalists. The worlds of the Forge Empire of Arachnus were the first to be reconquered as the Loyalist vanguard carved straight to Arachnus, falling upon its two moons before the wayward elements of the Legio Tritonis could be recalled to defend the planet. On Nizkara, the invading Loyalists found the world heavily contested by those still loyal to the Imperium, the beleaguered defenders having weathered a siege since Arachnus first fell into civil war. Legio Atarus moved to relieve the moon's defenders, breaking open the Traitor lines and forcing Legio Tritonis from its surface. On Iktomia, a similar fate befell the Traitors defending it, the full wrath of the Legio Venator brought down upon those who had renounced their oaths and stolen their homeworld. Following the successful conquest of Arachnus' two moons, the Loyalists turned their gaze upon the Forge World proper. With the agreement of those who had been forced into exile from the world, the guns of the two moons were unleashed upon the Forge World, tearing great craters in the planet's surface in order to clear the way for an invading force. Those of the Legio Venator that had defended Nizkara in the Emperor's name were given the honour of being first to stride upon the surface of Arachnus and bring His justice to the Traitors. True conquest was not achieved until after the fall of Horus and the great war that followed, dozens of Titans falling upon Arachnus before the Legio Venator once more reclaimed their home.
  • Battle of Tallarn (010-011.M31) - The Titans of the Legio Atarus supported a unit of Salamanders Space Marines in battle against a force of Word Bearers Chaos Space Marines and the Fire Masters Traitor Titan Legion during the Battle of Tallarn.
  • Second Battle of Paramar V (011.M31) - Approximately in 008.M31, the strategic Mechanicum provender world of Paramar V fell to the Warmaster Horus' hosts led by the Alpha Legion and the Dark Mechanicum in one of the opening moves of the Horus Heresy. Several Terran years later, in 011.M31, a mixed force of Loyalists consisting of the Legio Atarus, Legio Ignatum and Legio Solaria, with ground assault units from the Blood Angels and White Scars Legions, clashed with the defending Traitors. The Loyalists conducted a series of diversionary attacks across the Paramar System in order to draw troops away from their true target, before conducting a full scale planetstrike against Paramar V's primary spaceport, the Paramar Nexus. They captured it intact and then pressed outwards to begin the destruction of the mass-provender silos containing wargear and vehicles that sprawled across the plateau beyond. It was soon revealed, however, that the Traitors had seen through the ploy and prepared a huge counterattack force. Though they inflicted heavy damage on the provender silos before the Traitor counterattack hit home, the vast majority of the Loyalist invasion forces was surrounded and destroyed without mercy.
  • Battle of Ice World Tralsak (011.M31) - The shallow, frozen oceans of Tralsak are flash-boiled to steam by the fury of engine-war as Loyalist Titans of the Legio Atarus and Legio Agravides clash with the Traitors of the Legio Magna and Legio Victorum as the Loyalist Shattered Legions and Traitor World Eaters fight across the disintegrating landscape of ice floes. Ultimately, outright victory eludes both sides, and each uses the cover of the world-enveloping fog thrown up by the destruction to extricate their forces and redeploy them elsewhere. Nevertheless, numerous supporting Knights of both sides remain to fight a war in which neither will concede defeat.
  • Battle of Yarant (012.M31) - The Battle of Yarant took place in the Yarant System upon the world of Yarant III, when the Raven Guard Legion, supported by elements from the Space Wolves and Titans of the Legio Atarus launched a counterattack against a combined, invading Traitor force comprised of the Sons of Horus, Alpha Legion, World Eaters, and Thousand Sons led by Sons of Horus First Captain Ezekyle Abaddon. They were also accompanied by regiments of Traitor Imperial Army. During the intense fighting, the Raven Guard Primarch Corvus Corax led a final desperate charge against the Traitor lines, however, he quickly came to the conlusion his efforts were being dictated by vanity and arrogance, rather than any practical reason. He understood that Horus was still marching on Terra and that he still wanted to face his brother in battle. Convincing his reluctant Space Wolves allies, he ordered a tactical withdrawal of all Imperial forces from the planet's surface.
  • Imperial Muster at Beta-Garmon (012-013.M31) - For reasons only understood later in the war, the Ruinstorm that had been invoked by Lorgar, primarch of the Word Bearers, several standard years earlier during the Battle of Calth, began to abate across vast swathes of the galaxy. Loyalist high commanders were able to utilise the potent astropathic relay at Beta-Garmon to contact and recall formerly lost or stranded forces from across the war-torn reaches of the northern Imperium. The Imperial Muster at Beta-Garmon rapidly escalated into the largest gathering of Loyalist might since the early years of the war, a concentration of forces so mighty that the Traitors had to respond in kind. The resulting clash of arms would become known as the Great Slaughter, a theatre of war of such scale that it would encompass the "Titandeath" and the Sea of Fire campaigns, each major campaigns in their own right. By its end, both sides were so badly bled that their only remaining option for ultimate victory was to force a final, decisive confrontation. As history related, the final battle would be fought at Terra, but only after the weighty butcher's bill of the Great Slaughter was paid in full.
  • Battle of Beta-Garmon, "The Titandeath" (006-013.M31) - The Legio Atarus took part in the long and savage Beta-Garmon campaign, which included hundreds of war zones across dozens of worlds. Even before the greater armies of the Warmaster Horus reached the star cluster, the battle lines had long since been drawn, and fighting had been going on for many Terran years. It was a cauldron of battle that would consume millions of lives before its end and see the demise of entire Titan Legions, earning this campaign the dire moniker of the "Titandeath." The Beta-Garmon Cluster, also known as the gateway to the throneworld of Terra, was the last hurdle that the Warmaster Horus' forces had to overcome before they reached the Imperium's capital world. Heavily fortified by the Loyalists, Beta-Garmon would become one of the greatest and bloodiest battles of the Horus Heresy, as well as one of the longest-lasting.
    • Beneath a Blood Red Star (012.M31) - The Legio Krytos come to Alpha-Garmon IX with orders to level the world and rob the star cluster of its harvested energy. Anticipating the arrival of the Traitor Titans, the planet's Martian Domini called out to the Legio Atarus and Legio Astorum for aid, while amassing their own regiments of Mechanicum Knight houses. The resulting conflict turned the black plains of Alpha-Garmon IX to glass with the fury of the battle, while Dark Mechanicum war-servitor clades and mutant levies clashed in the tunnels below with the defenders. During the battle, many of the world's tesla-spines are felled -- their kilometres-long spires crashing down among the fighting Titans.
    • Among the Omega Dead (705.012.M31) - On a special directive from the Warmaster Horus, a maniple of Legio Mortis Titans are sent to Omega-Garmon at the head of an army. There they find Legio Atarus Warhound Scout Titans waiting for them among the ruins of a dead planet. Few records remain of the confrontation, and those Legio Atarus Princeps to survive swear oaths of silence, vowing to never speak of events on the graveyard world.
    • On the Edge of the Void (286.013.M31) - A Loyalist fleet attacks the orbital shipyards at Theta-Garmon V, the Firebrands Legion leading the ground assault. Titans fight across the skin of the orbital shipyards as ships battle above their heads. Though the initial Loyalist assault captures key fortress docks, the Dark Mechanicum trigger a solar event that bombards the gas giant and blinds the unprepared Loyalist Titans and voidcraft. Legio Fureans Titans inflict a heavy toll upon the Legio Atarus and their allies, though the blinded Titans fight on bravely to the end.
    • The Titandeath (356.013.M31) - More than twenty Legions and hundreds of Titans converge on Beta-Garmon II as the Loyalists seeks to strike a decisive blow to reclaim Nycron City and clear the system of Traitors. Shoulder to shoulder, the Loyalists meet their enemies in battle like infantry formations facing off, only on a much grander scale, Knight banners racing around their feet like hunting hounds. Many Titan Legions are extinguished forever in the day of battle that follow, and even legendary formations such as the Legio Astorum and Legio Fureans are reduced to a fraction of their initial size. By the time the Loyalists reach the shattered walls of Nycron, both sides are staggering over fields of fallen god-machines, while the light from Beta-Garmon II's burning hive cities is visible in space.
    • The Needle Breaks (788.013.M31) - The tipping point of the Beta-Garmon campaign comes in the shadow of the Cathega Telepathica on Beta-Garmon III, its astropaths still screaming out for aid from Terra. Having deployed the bulk of the Loyalist forces against the defences of Caldera Hive, only a handful of Loyalist Titans drawn from different Legions defend the Diviner's Needle along with their Knight allies, among them the Legio Atarus, Legio Defensor, Legio Astorum and Legio Solaria -- some reduced to a single maniple of undamaged war machines. Unbroken by solar months of fighting, the Legio Mortis led a massive host of Traitor Legions against the tower's defences, the Titans and Renegade Knights marching up through the toxic storm to battle on the mountain top, and ultimately bring the spire down. As it fell, a psychic scream reached out across the cluster and beyond, spreading dismay and horror to all Loyalists it reached. Though the fighting at Beta-Garmon would continue until Horus stood at the gates of Terra, and long after, history recorded this as the point when the fate of the cluster was sealed, and the Warmaster's armies began their final march toward the heart of the Imperium.
  • Siege of Terra (014.M31) - The Siege of Terra was the final battle of the Horus Heresy waged upon the surface of the Imperial Throneworld itself against the overwhelming forces of the Warmaster Horus. The Legio Atarus were one of several Titan Legions that took part in the intense fighting that determined the fate of the Imperium of Man and all of Humanity.
  • Great Scouring (014-Unknown Date.M31) - In the wake of the Horus Heresy, the Imperium was a dismal, shattered thing. As the beauty and grandeur of the Imperial Palace had been burned black in the flames of betrayal, so great swathes of the Emperor's star-spanning realm had suffered a similar fate. Yet for all this, the Imperium retained might enough to exact a bloody revenge upon its foes. There could be no forgiveness for the crimes of the Traitor Legions -- those who now ruled in the Emperor's name had neither the ability nor the desire to prevent a war of reciprocity. So began the time known in the histories of the Imperium as "the Scouring." This was a period of monumental violence, of confusion and darkness. Though the newly founded Imperium fought to root out corruption and expose wrong-doers to the cold light of Imperial justice, the galaxy's scope and dark, shadowed reaches worked against them. With new betrayals and cries for vengeance emerging daily, a great many bloody-handed deeds went unseen.
    • Scouring of Entessian
    • Scouring of Tallarn
    • Battle of Threnos

Legion Wargear

  • Infernus Missiles - Legio Atarus Titans make extensive use of incendiary missiles, weapons that are produced in vast numbers on Atar-Median and supplied almost exclusively to the Firebrands, and that are highly effective against supporting units and terrain.

Notable Titans

  • Immaculata Athartus (Nemesis-class Titan) - The Immaculata Athartus was a Nemesis-class Titan of the Legio Atarus, which served both as the god-engine of the Legion's Grand Master Everard Mazarin, and defender of the Forge World of Atar-Median.
  • Ex Noctia (Warlord-class Titan) - The Ex Noctia was a Warlord-class Titan that took part in the savage and bloody Beta-Garmon conflict during the Horus Heresy. Utilising paired Belicosa Pattern Volcano Cannons, these deadly weapons proved both popular and effective anti-Titan weapons during this conflict. Over the years of the Great Crusade, few enemies of the Emperor could hope to face the firepower of a Battle Titan, and the excessive brutality of the Volcano Cannon was often wasted on xenos hordes and rebel fortifications. Against other Titans, however, such a weapon stood amongst one of the few things that could reliably punch through the hull of such a war machine.
  • Exultant (Warlord-class Titan) - The Exultant was a Warlord-class Titan that took part in the Battle of Beta-Garmon and was eventually destroyed by the Legio Vulpa Titan Nuntio Dolores.
  • War Wrought (Nightgaunt-class Titan) - The War Wrought was a Nightgaunt-class Titan that took part in the Battle of Beta-Garmon and was eventually destroyed by the Legio Vulpa Titan Nuntio Dolores.
  • Aurora Ignis (Reaver-class Titan) - A Reaver-class Titan of the Legio Atarus that served as part of a Janissary Battleline Maniple during the savage fighting of the Beta-Garmon campaign.
  • Bellum Sacrum(Reaver-class Titan) - A Reaver-class Titan of the Legio Atarus which took part in the Drop Site Massacre.
  • Incendrium Rex (Reaver-class Titan) - The Incendrium Rex was a lauded Reaver-class Battle Titan that took part in several campaigns of the Horus Heresy, including the Battle of Beta-Garmon.
  • Liber Bellum (Reaver-class Titan) - A Reaver-class Titan of the Legio Atarus that served as part of a Janissary Battleline Maniple during the savage fighting of the Beta-Garmon campaign. Titans of a Janissary Maniple were often seen in support of Knight Houses, much in the same manner as Questoris Banners gathered in the shadow of Titan Legions. The Liber Bellum spent much of the war for Beta-Garmon as part of a Janissary Maniple fighting alongside the House Arakon Banners. These formations of Imperial Knights largely fought against massed infantry and armour formations, but were always thankful for the commanding presence of a Reaver Battle Titan in their midst.
  • Red Naga (Reaver-class Titan) - The Red Naga is a Reaver-class Titan of the Legio Atarus which took part in the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V .
  • Dae Canum (Warhound-class Titan) - A Warhound-class Titan of the Legio Atarus that served as part of a Janissary Battleline Maniple during the savage fighting of the Beta-Garmon campaign.
  • Enervatus (Warhound-class Titan) - A Warhound-class Titan of the Legio Atarus which took part in the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V.
  • Fortis Caldreian (Warhound-class Titan) - A Warhound-class Titan of the Legio Atarus that served as the Legion's eyes and ears during the savage fighting of the Beta-Garmon campaign during the Horus Heresy. On Beta-Garmon III, amid the thick toxic clouds where visibility was restricted to only a few hundred metres, the Legio Atarus relied on its Warhound Scouts to find threats or hunt down prey. The reduced height of the Warhound, relative to the Reaver or Warlord, also lent itself to this task, their Princeps closer to the earth and the foes who might hide from the Legion's gaze.
  • Furor Solis (Warhound-class Titan) - A Warhound-class Titan of the Legio Atarus that served as part of a Janissary Battleline Maniple during the savage fighting of the Beta-Garmon campaign.
  • Iron Hunger (Warhound-class Titan) - A Warhound-class Titan of the Legio Atarus which took part in the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V.
  • Mandragorax (Warhound-class Titan) - A Warhound-class Titan of the Legio Atarus which took part in the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V.
  • Pater Infurium (Warhound-class Titan) - A Warhound-class Titan of the Legio Atarus that served as part of a Janissary Battleline Maniple during the savage fighting of the Beta-Garmon campaign.

Notable Personnel

  • Grand Master Erwin Malky - Erwin Malky served as the Grand Master of the Firebrands Legion.
  • Grand Master Everard Mazarin - Everard Mazarin served as the Grand Master of the Firebrands Legion during the Horus Heresy.
  • Princeps Marakaru - Commander of War Maniple Red Naga, which fought at the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V.

Legion Allies

Vassal Knight Houses

Knight Houses

Space Marines

Legion Strength

Demi-Legio Red Naga

Counted by the assessors of the Divisio Militaris as a fully operational Titan Legion of the second rank, the Legio Atarus was estimated to have between 100-130 god-machines in active service at the time of the outbreak of the Horus Heresy.

It was also known to possess a highly respected armoured support battalion and Skitarii Auxilia Legion as part of its retainer forces (known collectively as the "Brotherhood of Axxos.")

Like many Secundus-grade rated Titan Legions, the Legio Atarus' principal strength in number ranged across the mid-classes of Titan, with Reaver, Nightgaunt and Carnivore-classes making up the majority of its ranks, with sizable contingents of the Warlord and Warhound-classes constituting the balance of their Titan forces.

It is believed the Legio Atarus possessed a single Nemesis-class Titan, the Immaculata Athartus, which served as the god-engine of the Legion's Grand Master Everard Mazarin, and the primary defender of the Forge World of Atar-Median.

In times of war or when the Forge World itself came under threat, the Legion could also call upon its allies of the Col'Khak Collective, a Knight House established on the nearby planet of Atar-Planitia. During the Battle of Beta-Garmon, the Legio Atarus was supported by House Arakon and House Vornherr.

Legion Appearance

Legion Colours

The colours of the Firebrands are red, white, black and gold. As each Battle Titan is a sacred weapon of the Adeptus Mechanicus, each is revered by its crew and served by an army of attendant Tech-priests.

A Battle Titan's primary armaments carried to war bear the seal of the Adeptus Titanicus, a holy mark professing the sanctity of the weapons.

These purity seals are intended to keep the weapons functioning in battle and bear prayers to the Omnissiah, the victories of the Legio, and the names of the magi and Tech-priests who have attended the god-machine.

Legion Badge

Upstarts and rebels in the eyes of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the heraldry of the Legio Atarus nonetheless attests to their loyalty to the Emperor with the iconography of the Imperium.

Their primary symbol is a burning brand centered within the Opus Machina, the symbol which earned the Legio Atarus their more common moniker -- the "Firebrands."

The cog within a cog speaks to the division between Phaeton and Mars, a dispute many within the Firebrands still considers an unnecessary act of submission, even of it did ultimately lead to the creation of their Legio and the founding of Atar-Median.

Few Legions have had to fight as hard as the Firebrands to earn their place among their fellow Titan Legions, and every Legion banner contains a long list of campaign honours, each a victory for the Legion and shared by all members of the Firebrands.

Sources

  • Adeptus Titanicus - The Horus Heresy: Crucible of Retribution (Specialty Game), pp. 22, 27-28, 30, 74-75
  • Adeptus Titanicus - The Horus Heresy: Titandeath (Specialty Game), pp. 16-17, 29-33, 62-63, 74-75, 80-81, 93
  • Adeptus Titanicus - The Horus Heresy: Rulebook (Specialty Game), pp. 14, 16-17, 62-63, 74-75, 89
  • Codex Titanicus (2nd Edition), "Imperium", pg. 8
  • The Horus Heresy - Book Two: Massacre (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 21-43, 156-159
  • The Horus Heresy - Book Four: Conquest (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 98-99
  • The Horus Heresy - Book Six: Retribution (Forge World Series) "Age of Betrayal," pg. 31
  • White Dwarf 109 (UK), "Adeptus Titanicus", pp. 14-15, 22
  • White Dwarf 110 (UK), "Adeptus Titanicus", pg. 41
  • White Dwarf 111 (UK), " 'Eavy Metal", pp. 77-78
  • White Dwarf 112 (UK), "Conqueror!" pg. 71
  • White Dwarf 115 (UK), "Space Marine", pg. 47
  • Titandeath (Novel) by Guy Haley, Ch. 20
  • Mortis (Novel) by John French
  • Noble Knight Games - Online Webstore: Tranfer Sheets - Legio Atarus
  • Warhammer Community - Crucible of Retribution: The Story (23 Oct 2020)
  • Warhammer Community - Coming Soon: Crucible of Retribution (29 Sept 2020)

Gallery

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