It was not unusual for those of the nascent Imperial Creed to pray to the divine God-Emperor before battle. They would often decorate their battle stations with icons of religious significance, such as warding tokens and other icons, like the double-headed eagle known as the Aquila.
For the most part, their prayers only functioned to irritate their brethren, though sometimes their faith in the Emperor could manifest in miracles when the circumstances were right...
Little is known about the early history of the Legio Defensor, save that it was most likely founded during the bygone era known as the Age of Strife. By the time of the Great Crusade, however, the Legio Defensor proved to be a stalwart and dedicated Titan Legion that served honourably during many Imperial Compliance actions to reunite the disparate worlds of humanity under the rightful rule of the Emperor of Mankind and His burgeoning Imperium of Man.
In the waning days of the Great Crusade and the first years of the Horus Heresy, the teachings of the Lectitio Divinitatus began to take root within the armies of the Imperium. Of all of the Titan Legions, the Legio Defensor, or Nova Guard, contained large numbers of those sworn to the nascent Imperial Creed, and its Princeps were well-known for their righteous wrath.
Many Legio Defensor Princeps felt rage rise within them when battle was joined against a Traitor force. Transmitted through the MIU, this hatred reaches down into their Titan's plasma reactors, and the burning heart of the god-machine increasing the Titan's power output.
The Legio Defensor had a well-deserved reputation for standing their ground, no matter the odds. These qualities were among those that drew the praise of the Emperor Himself, and earned them many honours during the Great Crusade. Utterly devoted to the Emperor, the Nova Guard rarely gave ground in the face of Traitors, preferring to martyr themselves than fail their master.
Often during the Horus Heresy, when a Nova Guard Princeps recognised the heraldry of a particularly hated foe, they would ignore all other enemies in their sights and unleash a torrent of weapons fire against their chosen adversary, pushing their Titan hard to score the first hit.
Many Warlord Titans of the Nova Guard often marched into battle fitted with devotional war sirens. These blaring speakers issued forth Lectitio Divinitatus devotional chants and sermons on the divine glory of the Emperor, filling their brothers with renewed hope and purpose.
- Battle of Beta-Garmon, the "Titandeath" (006-013.M31) - The Legio Defensor 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, the "Titandeath."
- The Tarren Suppression (011.M31) - During the Horus Heresy, the world of Tarren IV declared for Horus, its rulers having fallen for the honeyed words of the Warmaster's emissaries. A Loyalist retribution fleet moved quickly to crush the treachery, occupying Tarren IV's capital city of Brandstat and stamping out anti-Imperium sentiment in a mirror of the Traitor's so-called "Dark Compliance" of conquered worlds. Key to the suppression were the Titans of the Legio Defensor, who bestrode the surface of Tarren IV, the mournful dirge of their war sirens demanding submission to Terra and making examples of cities that refused to do so by blasting them to flaming ruins. As if to mock the natural order of things still further, later on, it was an allied Traitor force of the Emperor's Children Legion, the Legio Cybernetica and the Legio Mortis (Death's Heads) that conducted a heavy planetary landing and "liberated" the world from the Loyalists during the Relief of Brandstat.
- Hive War on Beta-Garmon III (643.012.M31) - While Beta-Garmon II has all but fallen to the Traitors, Beta-Garmon III remains loyal to the Imperium, though its hive cities are under constant assault by Sons of Horus and Iron Warriors siege battalions. Nova Guard Titans muster around its hives, defending against ground assault, while other Legions patrol the storm-covered wastes repelling battle groups sent across the void from Beta-Garmon II. On the shores of the Chymist's Sea, Legio Solaria Titans oppose landings by neuro-slave armies of captured Garmonite soldiers, the Loyalists forced to annihilate their former allies and drive their formations into the caustic ocean.
- War for the Outer Worlds (859.012.M31) - Fresh Traitor forces continued to pour into the star cluster, while the astropathic choirs of the Cathega Telepathica send out an almost constant cry to the Emperor's armies for aid. Across the outer systems of the cluster, the Loyalists abandon any pretence at strategy and hurl their reinforcements into the fray as they arrive. Heavily damaged Titans of the Legio Defensor, Legio Astorum and a dozen smaller Titan Legions continue to hold the line on Alpha-Garmon IX around the last remaining Mechanicum citadels, their exhausted crews facing the Legio Krytos over barricades built from fallen god-machines.
- A Hole in the Sky (559.013.M31) - While the war on Beta-Garmon II unfolds, the Warmaster launches his fleets and reserve Titan Legions against Beta Garmon III. Detonating a vortex warhead in the upper atmosphere, the Traitors create a hole in the caustic storms surrounding Caldrea Primus, and for the first time in millennia the sun touches its spires. Without the constant toxic storm assailing it, the hive city's ancient and esoteric void shields fall dormant. In the vacuum created by the warhead, the Legio Defensor and Legio Krytos Titans fight for the fate of the hive as the boiling storm closes back in around them.
- The Needle Breaks (788.013.M31) - The tipping point of the Beta Garmon campaign comes in the shadow of the Carthega Telepathica on Beta-Garmon III, its Astropaths still screaming out for aid from Terra. Having pinned 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 Defensor, Legio Astorum, Legio Atarus and Legio Solaria -- some reduced to a single maniple of undamaged war machines. Unbroken by solar months of fighting, the Legio Mortis leads a massive host of Traitor Titan Legions against the tower's defences, the Titans and Renegade Knights marching up through the toxic storms to battle on the mountain top, and ultimately bring the spire down. As it falls, a psychic scream reaches out across the cluster and beyond, spreading dismay and horror to all Loyalists it reaches. Though the fighting at Beta-Garmon will continue until Horus stands at the gates of Terra, and long after, history will record 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.
- Vengeful Scion (Warlord-class Titan)- Vengeful Scion went on to survive the horrors of Beta Garmon and joined the final defence of Terra against the Warmaster during the epic Siege of Terra. That this Warlord endured, when so many of its brethren did not, became just another sign to the believers within the Legion that the Emperor was watching over them. The Vengeful Scion was to become a relic of those dark days, and centuries later, its hull resplendent in the icons of the faith, it continued to wage war for the Emperor as He sat upon His Golden Throne.
- Horns of Satyraes (Reaver-class Titan) - Horns of Satyraes fought on Beta Garmon III during the Horus Heresy. It was one of several Titans sent to hunt down Sons of Horus and Iron Warriors siege battalions, the Titan's heavy weaponry powerful enough to target Termite breeching vehicles beneath the earth. For days, the Titan and its maniple hunted these interlopers, some defending against overland assault, others using their potent auspexes to track the ghostly shadows of companies tunneling beneath their feet.
- Beast Lord (Warhound-class Titan) - True to the teachings of the Collegia Titanica, in battle doctrine at least, the Nova Guard favoured the Axiom Maniple configuration for its versatility and resilience. Beast Lord was typical of the Warhounds of these maniples, armed with Turbo-Laser Destructor and Plasma Blastgun to engage the most common enemy of the Axiom -- another Titan maniple. In this capacity, the Beast Lord preyed upon the weak and damaged among their adversaries. Unlike other Legions, however, the Nova Guard readily embraced the virtues of sacrifice, Titans like the Beast Lord regularly shielding their Princeps Seniores from harm with their hulls.
- Alacrity of Thought - A Rapier-class Scout Titan of the Legio Defensor that was destroyed on Beta-Garmon III during the Horus Heresy.
- Guillame Ferré - Guillame Ferré was the commanding Princeps Majoris of the Legio Defensor 3rd Maniple that fought on Beta-Garmon III during the Horus Heresy.
The colours of the Nova Guard are white, black and green with gold highlights.
Originally, the Legion's livery was the twin sunburst motif, which depicted the twin suns of their homeworld of Satyraes XII which would later become the Emperor's divine crown of light after their incorporation within the Imperial forces.
Despite the rise in popularity of the Lectitio Divinitatus among the ranks of the Legio Defensor, the prominent displaying of its religious iconography was still strictly prohibited by the Collegia Titanica at the time of the Great Crusade.
During the battles of the Beta Garmon campaign in the Horus Heresy, the Legion bore the symbols of their homeworld Satyraes XII. Central to the Legion's heraldry of Satyraes is the stag, its skull lit by the Forge World's two suns.
Legends among the Legion tell of a time when the people of Satyraes worshipped their great forest stags as gods, now believed by the Satyrii to be a forerunner manifestation of the Emperor.
Beneath these icons of old Satyraes, skulls indicate the Titan's battlefield victories, while the signum nobilis details its maniple and rank laid out in the form of axe blade icons.
The 1st Edition-era Nova Guard's badge was depicted as a red sunburst, centred on top of an orange sun. Below the red sunburst was a letter "D" (possibly a reference to the Roman numeral for the number 500).
Below these was a vertical line of three skulls. The background field was halved, with green on the left and a lighter greenish-brown on the right.
- Adeptus Titanicus - The Horus Heresy: Rulebook (Specialty Game), pp. 7, 17, 50-51, 76-77, 89
- Adeptus Titanicus - The Horus Heresy: Titandeath (Specialty Game), pp. 14-17, 24-28, 72-73, 78-79, 91-95
- White Dwarf 108 (UK), "Eavy Metal", pg. 76
- Titandeath (Novel) by Guy Haley, Chs. 14, 16