The Legio Praesagius, also known by their cognomen "The True Messengers", is a Loyalist Titan Legion of the Collegia Titanica. The Legion is foremost known for its venerable status, being amongst the most ancient Legions of the Collegia Titanica still in existence. Most of its god-engines that have participated in the Great Crusade seemed to have survived the terrors of the Age of Strife, and only very few Titans have been commissioned since its reunification with the Imperium.
The True Messengers are long-standing allies of the Ultramarines Legion with whom they have fought before. This naturally led to their nomination alongside the XIIIth Legion at the great muster at Calth, per the Warmaster's orders. This placed them in a vulnerable position when the Word Bearers Traitor Legion and their treacherous allies, the Legio Suturvora fired the first shot of the Battle of Calth. In the aftermath of Calth, a mere dozen Titans, with only three of these being Battle Titans bestowed on the Titan Legion at its founding, were all that remained of the once proud Legio Praesagius. It would take many decades to rebuild the True Messengers into a viable Titan Legion once again.
As one of many Titan Legions founded to serve as the vanguard of the Great Crusade as it left the Sol System, the towering war engines of the Legio Praesagius bore the scars of over two centuries of warfare from the red sands of Mars. Renowned for the fervour with which the Titan Legion accepted the doctrine of the Imperial Truth, and indeed for many of those who fought in the Great Crusade alongside it, the Titans of the Legio Praesagius, bedecked in all the secular finery of the Emperor's grand vision, remained its most enduring symbol. In contrast to many of its brother Titan Legions, the Legio Praesagius also garnered high praise from both the Officio Militaris and those alongside whom it fought for the precise application of firepower that became its hallmark in battle. The True Messengers did not deliver merely the burned and broken corpses of worlds into the Imperium, but functional realms, ready to contribute to the great empire they now served. In this they were considered by many superior to others of their like, who knew only the utter destruction of those they came to conquer. Sworn into the Emperor's service as avatars of His justice and of the Mechanicum's commitment to the Great Crusade, the Legio Praesagius has ever borne a far greater burden than any other of the Legio Titanicus. Where others of its kin served simply as engines of destruction, killers of cities and burners of worlds, the Legio Praesagius held itself to higher standards. Simple destruction was but one facet, and to many within the Titan Legion the least desirable one: their task was not to destroy Mankind, but to unite it as one empire.
To this end, the warriors of the Legio Praesagius sought by their actions, conduct and presence to champion the future of the Imperium. In war they fought as honourable warriors, following a code which forbade the indiscriminate deployment of ordnance in populated areas and encouraged a tradition of duelling with enemy Titan class war engines, and long range precision engagements. In peace they personified the technological achievement and pageantry of the Imperium that was being forged among the stars, serving as rallying points for those who pledged themselves to the future envisioned by the Emperor. It was at Tentrion, one of the earliest campaigns of the Great Crusade outside of the Sol System, that the Titan Legion was to win the most famous of its victories. A world of sprawling cities and manufactoria of prodigious output, a long-abandoned remnant of the glory days of the Age of Technology, Tentrion was a vital foothold for the forces of the Great Crusade, being closer to the various systems of the galactic core and prosperous enough to supply the Emperor's growing fleets with fresh soldiers, munitions and war machines rather than relying on distant Mars and Terra.
Yet Tentrion was unwilling to abandon its own dreams of hegemony and stood against the forces of the Emperor, rebuffing all attempts at diplomacy. Many among the Emperor's council argued for the utter destruction of Tentrion, despite its potential value, considering any siege of the world nigh unwinnable without unthinkable casualties and decades of exhausting siege warfare, but the Emperor's Great Crusade could not be allowed to stumble at such an early stage in His plans. So, the vast armies of Terra and Mars were unleashed upon Tentrion, only to be met by the massed levies and towering autonomous gun platforms of the Pontifex of Tentrion. It seemed that the cities of that world would be ground to dust in a war that neither side could back down from, leaving only ashes for the victor.
Tasked with breaking the armies of Tentrion, it was expected of the Legio Praesagius to blast the world's cities and slaughter the soldiers sent against them, to cow them with the sheer destructive force of their Titans. Instead, the First Grandmaster of the Legio Praesagius, Bohemond of Old Thyre, and the other Titans of his maniple took to the field alone, far from the populous cities, and challenged the finest of the Titan-analogues of Tentrion to stand against him. In a five day long gruelling series of titanic duels with the multi-legged gun platforms of the Tentrion Pontifex, the Legio Praesagius established the Imperium's supremacy on the field of battle and proved its noble intent, though Bohemond was later to perish from wounds received in the final confrontation.
With the pride of their armies broken but their populations left unscathed, the vast cities of Tentrion joined the Emperor's realm as willing subjects. The Titan Legion's actions in a war zone where others had called for the annihilation of Tentrion in order to avoid an unwinnable siege earned them the praise of the Emperor Himself. History records the words he spoke at the victory celebrations, naming the Legio Praesagius as the "truest messengers of his grand intent", a title they adopted for the remainder of their service.
Other hard-fought battles followed as the True Messengers found themselves assigned to the vanguard of a number of Expeditionary fleets, often fighting alongside the XVIIth and XIIIth Legiones Astartes (Word Bearers and Ultramarines, respectively). In many campaigns they found themselves summoned to battles others had dubbed impossible, called upon to champion the armies of the Great Crusade and to bolster flagging morale. Amidst the howling dust wastes of Akeron Cards and the towering cities of Benthur, they fought with stoic pride and utter devotion to the cause of the fledgling Imperium, and paid a high price in blood and the precious Battle Titans that were the soul of the Titan Legion to achieve victory.
On other worlds, where true victory required that the target, be it a single city or an entire world, be captured with a minimum of destruction, the renowned skill of the True Messengers' moderatii and the discipline of its princeps ensured time and again that the Imperium secured vital factory worlds nearly intact, a crucial objective were its far-flung fleets to remain supplied with the munitions of war they required. Their success inevitably stirred the envy of other Titan Legions, those who clung to a darker fame if no lesser a tally of victories. These Titan Legions saw the rewards reaped by the True Messengers earned by what they saw as a coward's choice to avoid the realities of war, and hungered to claim these unjust accolades for themselves.
Chief amongst their rivals were the Legio Suturvora and the Legio Mortis, both Titan Legions of unimpeachable standing, but whose records of battle were stained with rumours of unwarranted massacre and a disturbing taste for destruction. Through the auspices of these Titan Legions, and the magos on Mars and beyond who championed their cause, the Legio Praesagius found themselves increasingly pitched into the forefront of the most brutal conflicts of the Great Crusade with little support. While the True Messengers emerged victorious again and again, the toll on them was terrible.
By the dawning of the 31st Millennium the True Messengers had been crippled by the continuing pace of their deployment, reduced to a third by casualties and with many of their surviving Titans unable to take to the field due to damage. Though the reputation of the Titan Legion remained intact, it could ill afford to remain at the tip of the spear of men and machines that was the Great Crusade. In recognition of the Titan Legion's service and eager to add to the defences of his newly established realm, Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines, prevailed upon the magos of the newly founded Forge World of Gantz to offer a new home to the Legio Praesagius.
For seven years the bulk of the Legio Praesagius was to remain on Gantz, both as a sentinel force to protect the growing forges and to rebuild and repair their damaged god-machines. The True Messengers were not idle in this time however, for Ultramar yet remained a border realm, ever ready for attack and still expanding its reach. Though it could not yet muster in full force, it was rare for an Ultramarines task force to leave Ultramar on campaign without at least a maniple of the True Messengers in support, and many worlds of Guilliman's realm were to host demi-Legio forces during times of crisis. The worlds of Magniat and Orizus were both brought into Ultramar at the point of Legio Praesagius cannon, and the Hrud migrations which threatened Prandium in 005.M31 were only repulsed by the efforts of their Titans and veteran crews.
By mid 006.M31, the Legio Praesagius was once again at full strength, now fully entrenched as wardens of the growing and prosperous forges of Gantz and renowned throughout Ultramar for their valour. With news of the new Warmaster's call for a massive deployment of the Imperium's armed might to counter the growing Ork threat at Ghaslakh, the True Messengers assembled for their first full-Legio deployment since their arrival in Ultramar and departed for the world of Calth.
- The Battle of Calth (007.M31) - Ordered to assemble on the landing fields outside the city of Ithraca for subsequent deployment, Legio Praesagius began embarkation alongside their kin from Legio Infernus. Half of the Legio, the Legio's Princeps Maximus amongst them, were already on board their massive conveyor transport, the Aratran, when the Traitors revealed their hand. One of the first shots of the battle hit the Aratran, the mighty landing-ship falling from the skies and crashing in the centre of Ithraca. The transport however, failed to explode upon impact, thus leaving its precious cargo intact. Meanwhile the surviving True Messengers -- after having suffered initial casualties -- rallied around the almost unscathed Battlegroup Argentus of Princeps Senioris Mikal. The Fire Masters had superior advantage as they possessed almost three times their number and held the high-ground. The True Messengers Princeps Senioris ordered his Titans to withdraw into the city proper, where the high buildings would provide them some cover. The Battle for Ithraca, as it would be known afterwards, would quickly turn into a race between the two rival Titan Legions for the wrecked Aratran, both sides having learned that the Titans on board the landing-ship were still operational. With battle engaged nearly across the entire city and the Ultramarines otherwise occupied, it would fall to the Legio Praesagius to defend the crash site so that recuperation teams could open the cavernous holds of the Aratran and release its precious cargo. Mikal succeeded both in establishing a security-cordon around the downed ship and preventing the Traitors from destroying it. As the gathered might of Legio Suturvora was a mere four kilometres away, the doors of the Aratran finally opened and released Legio Praesagius' most powerful Titans and its most experienced fighters, amongst them the mighty Warmonger-class Titan, Immortalis Domitor, of their Princeps Maximus. Thanks to these fresh reinforcements and after a gruesome struggle, the Legio would ultimately free Ithraca and force the Word Bearers and their allies to retreat.
Scions of the venerable Legio Gryphonicus, warriors amongst the largest of Mars' Titan Legions, the Legio Praesagius were created not as wardens of some far flung realm of the Mechanicum, but to prosecute the battles of the Great Crusade. As such they were provided at their founding with a large complement of heavy Battle Titans -- Warlord, Carnivore and Mirage class god-engines that would stand strong in the fires of battle.
In these earliest days of its existence, the Legio Praesagius ranked as a Legio of the primaris grade, comprising over 300 god-engines of various classes and including Emperor Titans of both Warmonger and Nemesis classes amongst its ranks. After the last few cataclysmic battles within the confines of the Sol System, the Titan Legion was rarely assembled in its entirety, for few conflicts would require such a force for any end other than utter destruction, a task for which the True Messengers showed little enthusiasm. Instead, the Titan Legion was assigned in demi-Legio forces to a number of Great Crusade fleets, fighting in actions the length and breadth of the nascent Imperium.
The continued pattern of its deployment as demi-Legio battlegroups fostered a doctrine of dispersed command and individual initiative amongst the various princeps of the Titan Legion. Many of the veteran warriors of the True Messengers were called upon to take charge of detachments of their brethren whilst crusading alongside other arms of the vast Imperial military, developing their own unique styles of command as well as the confidence and experience necessary to quickly and efficiently marshal such a headstrong force as a Titan battle group while under heavy enemy fire.
On many occasions this style of leadership, as opposed to the more stratified and dictatorial models employed by many of their brethren, was to be the cornerstone of a great number of the Legio Praesagius' victories. During the fighting on Akeron Carcis, where Eldar pulsar fire had sliced apart the command Titan of the Legio Praesagius force, there was no panicked retreat, nor even a brief space of confusion. Command was immediately taken up by Princeps Trieste of the Auric Pegasus, a veteran warrior of the Titan Legion already well respected by her peers, and as the wraith-like Eldar war machines moved in to finish off what they expected to be a demoralised and broken foe, the True Messengers surged forward on the attack, swiftly enacting vengeance upon the xenos warriors for their losses.
During these battles, the princeps and moderatii of the Titan Legion displayed a distinct preference for precision weaponry. The indiscriminate destruction caused by such weapons as Void Missiles, Titan class Flame Cannon and Vulcan mega-bolters was eschewed as lazy and ill-befitting the avatars of the Emperor's dream of a united humanity. Instead, the True Messengers Titans relied on the precise firepower of Turbo lasers and Volcano Cannon, weapons which resonated with their preference for long range duelling on the battlefield. As the Great Crusade progressed and the fighting became ever more ferocious, some few of the Titan Legion's most renowned warriors were also noted for their prowess with the Chainfist and Power Gauntlet, skills which some amongst the old guard frowned upon.
This preference in both weaponry and tactics that left the Titan Legion at a disadvantage against hordes of properly equipped infantry had been seen by some as a weakness, leading to some among the more bloodthirsty Titan Legions to make mockery of the fact that on several occasions the True Messengers withdrew from the battlefield in the face of overwhelming numbers of enemy infantry though the warriors of the Legio Praesagius have always maintained that such actions were to avoid the wholesale slaughter of human soldiers who might later be made into allies.
The True Messengers instead relied on the support of the Excertus Imperialis and allied Mechanicum cohorts to engage such foes, and were amongst the most skilled of the Titan Legions in the close support of infantry actions. Many regiments of the Imperial Army tell of the pinpoint accuracy of the True Messengers' cannon and the stalwart devotion of their princeps to the lowly infantry who fought beside them. In the latter years of the Great Crusade, after the Titan Legion was settled on Gantz, its power had waned from so many of its god-engines having fallen in battle, and it could only muster less than a hundred engines. These surviving war machines were almost exclusively of the Warlord or Reaver classes, with only a few remaining Emperor and Warhound class machines, and their crews were veterans, seasoned by the fires of the Great Crusade's wars. Indeed, the Titan Legion retained more trained personnel than it did operational Titans at the time of its ceremonial grounding on Gantz.
Some among the True Messengers feared that the "prize" they had been granted as the new wardens of the Forge World of Gantz might be the death knell of the Legio Praesagius of old, the systematic destruction of the old crusading traditions of the True Messengers and the slow remoulding of their beleaguered force. These fears were to be proved unfounded, as the Legio Praesagius was to remain active as a core component of Guilliman's wars to expand Ultramar.
The magos of Gantz would slowly rebuild the Legio until, by the time of the call to arms at Calth, the True Messengers were ranked as a Titan Legion of the secundus grade and were to pledge 112 Titans of various classes to the Ghaslakh Crusade. Unlike the Legio Praesagius of old, this force was more varied in composition as many Warhound and Reaver class Titans that bore the hallmarks of the Gantz magos' unique forge craft now walked beside the Ancient Terran Warlords and the last few Emperor class Titans. The Ghaslakh Crusade battlegroup that left Gantz in 007.M31 was at the time the majority of the Legio's complement. Only a handful of god-engines remained at Gantz for the defence of the great forges that burned at the heart of that world, mainly those in dire need of repair or whose construction and dedication had yet to be fully completed.
In the aftermath of Calth these few warriors, a mere dozen Titans, with only three of these being Battle Titans bestowed on the Titan Legion at its founding, were all that remained of the once proud Legio Praesagius.
- Immortalis Domitor (Warmonger-class Titan) - Warmonger-class Titan and mount of the Legio's Princeps Maximus Aruthis.
- Evocatus (Warlord-class Titan) - Warlord-class Titan, equipped with twin carapace-mounted Gatling Cannons. Evocatus would prove a superb tool of destruction against enemy infantry formations trying to hide out in Ithraca's ruined buildings. Sadly, Evocatus would perish there due to the long-range fire from the Nemesis-class Titan, Revoka, of the Legio Suturvora.
- Gyrfalcon (Reaver-class Titan) - Reaver-class Titan of War Maniple Honouris, present at the Battle for Ithraca.
- Inculcator (Reaver-class Titan) - Reaver-class Titan, Battlegroup Argentus, present at the Battle for Ithraca. Destroyed at Demesnus Parklands, just before the seventh hour and the lowering of the Aratran's assault doors.
- Invigilator (Reaver-class Titan) - By the time of the Battle for Hive Ithraca where the Legio Praesagius faced the Traitors of the Legio Infernus, Invigilator had only been recently commissioned, being the sole newborn Titan of Battlegroup Argentus. Its other god-machines all predated the launch of the Great Crusade. Invigilator was the command Titan of Princeps Senioris Mikal, who would distinguish himself in the fight for the city with confirmed kills of the Fire Master god-engines Revoka and Denola.
- Kaskardus Killstroke (Reaver-class Titan) - Reaver-class Titan, present at the Battle for Ithraca.
- Suilis Vestra (Reaver-class Titan) - A Reaver-class Titan of War Maniple Honouris, commanded by Princeps Owaine Breulin. Suilis Vestra served as the lead Titan of War Maniple Honouris. It fought alongside a pair of Warhound Scout Titans, The Argent Courser and Misericorde. Its role was to follow in the wake of the Legion's heavier Battle Titans, reducing enemy formations designated secondary threats by the towering Warlord and Imperator-class Titans and finishing off wounded enemy Titan-analogues.
- The Burning Cloud (Reaver-class Titan)
- Deathrunner (Warhound-class Titan) - Deathrunner was a Warhound-class Scout Titan of Battlegroup Argentus equipped with paired Mega-Bolters that was present at the Battle for Ithraca. It was destroyed by the Nemesis-class Titan Revoka of the Legio Suturvora, alongside Evocatus.
- Firewolf (Warhound-class Titan) - A Warhound-class Scout Titan of the Battlegroup Argentus that was present at the Battle for Ithraca. It was destroyed at Demesnus Parklands, just before the seventh hour of the battle and the lowering of the Aratran's assault doors.
- Lacardio (Warhound-class Titan) - A Warhound-class Scout Titan present at the Battle of Ithraca. Its transmissions cut out whilst it was being despatched into the smoking wasteland of the industrial zone, and of the Lacardio, no further report was ever made.
- Victorix (Warhound-class Titan) - The Victorix was a Warhound-class Scout Titan of the Battlegroup Argentus that was present at the Battle for Ithraca. It was destroyed at Demesnus Parklands, just before the seventh hour of the battle and the lowering of the Aratran's assault doors.
- Splendour of Palaris
- Knossos (Reaver-class Titan) - The Knossos was a Reaver-class Battle Titan crushed in a coiling embrace by a gaseous malignancy like a great dark storm cloud writhing with blind serpents, each hundreds of metres long.
- The Argent Courser (Warhound-class Titan) - The Argent Courser was a Warhound-class Scout Titan of War Maniple Honouris that was present at the Battle for Ithraca.
- Misericorde (Warhound-class Titan) - Misericorde was a Warhound-class Scout Titan of War Maniple Honouris that was present at the Battle for Ithraca.
The Glorious Dead
The fallen Titans of Legio Praesagius, known to the annals of the Collegia Titanica as the Nine Paragons of Ithraca (all Warlord-class Battle Titans):
- The Auric Pegaus - Princeps Rhiko Trieste
- Sabris Regnum
- The Lion of Mars
- The Silver Thorn
- Reason's Thunder
- The Will of Adamant
- The Triumph of Accatran
- Chrysaor's Wake
- Bohemond of Old Thyre - Bohemond was the first Grand Master of the Legio Praesagius and took part in the Imperial Compliance of the world of Tentrion. He later perished from wounds received in the final confrontation with the multi-legged gun platforms of the Tentrion Pontifex.
- Princeps Maximus Aruthis - Maximus Aruthis was the Grand Master of the Legio Praesagius at the time of the Battle of Calth, and the Princeps of the command Warmonger-class Titan Immortalis Domitor.
- Princeps Senioris Mikal - The esteemed and battle-hardened Princeps Senioris of the Legio Praesagius was the leader of Battlegroup Argentum at the Battle for Ithraca. In command of his personal Reaver-class Battle Titan, Invigilator, he would lead the retreat of his Battlegroup and successfully escape the ambush at the Ithraca Landing Fields. Assuming his Princeps Maximus had died, Princeps Senioris Mikal would take command of the remaining Legio Praesagius Titans and seek shelter in the city of Ithraca to better resist the advance of the Traitor Titans. After learning of his Princeps' survival, Mikal would quickly formulate a plan to hold back the Fire Masters, which eventually slowed down the Legio Infernus-Titans long enough for the Immortalis Domitor to enter the fray and turn the battle in the Loyalists' favour.
- Princeps Owaine Breulin - Princeps of the Reaver Battle Titan Suilis Vestra, Breulin commanded War Maniple Honouris. At Ithraca on Calth, the Titans of War Maniple Honouris were forced into the front line, giving a fearsome account of their fighting prowess in the close confines of Ithraca City, claiming four god-engine kills before the last of their Titans, the Misericorde, was destroyed.
- Princeps Rhiko Trieste - Princeps of the Warlord-class Battle Titan Auric Pegasus, a veteran warrior of the Titan Legion who was respected by her peers, Trieste took command during the fighting on Akeron Carcis, when Aeldari pulsar fire sliced apart the command Titan of the Legio Praesagius force. She led the remaining True Messengers in a bold counter-thrust that wiped out the upstart Aeldari war-machines. She later took field command of the Legio's forces during the Battle of Ithraca on Calth. She issued the ordered nine Warlord Titans, including her own, to charge into the Fire Masters' line, whilst some thirty-three god-engines immediately fell back into Ithraca City. These Titans became known as the "Nine Paragons of Ithraca.: The Auric Pegasus was the last of the nine to fall, the severed head of an enemy Reaver Titan clutched in the Warlord 's giant, Titan-sized Power Fist.
- Moderati Skallan Lockhandt - Moderati of Princeps Senioris Mikal on board the Invigilator.
Perhaps as an outward sign of the longstanding alliance between the Ultramarines and the Legio, the True Messengers' colour scheme is noted as being blue, white and gold.
The iconography of the Legio Praesagius is a golden Pegasus, a mythical winged horse, standing rampant in front of a blue starburst on a field of white.
- The Horus Heresy - Book Five: Tempest (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 51, 55-57, 59-65, 116-121, 126-127, 147, 174
- Legacies of Betrayal (Anthology), "Honour to the Dead," by Gav Thorpe, pp. 212-246
- Adeptus Titanicus: The Horus Heresy Rulebook (Specialty Game), pp. 15, 70-71