Within the Drusus Marches sub-sector of the Calixis Sector lies the forbidding Forge World of Arachnus. It is named for the breed of arachnid-like megafauna that once walked the planet's surface, and were hunted to extinction by the Legio Venator. During the Great Crusade, those personnel of the Legio Venator that were assigned to expeditionary fleets swiftly developed a sense of pride in brotherhood and unity, values that proved at odds with the beliefs of those left behind on Arachnus.
When the Forge World fell into civil war during the galaxy-wide conflict known as the Horus Heresy, those that remained loyal to the Emperor retained their original name, striving to wash clean the sins of those who had turned against Him.
From Arachnus, as well as their later permanent posting within the Lathe System of the Calixis Sector on the dead moon of Lycosidae where they were said to maintain a hidden fortress, the Titan Legion stands vigil against any who threaten Imperial sovereignty in the region, and plays a critical role in maintaining order and stability throughout the sector.
Like the Forge World of Arachnus, upon which the Legio Venator was founded, the title of "Iron Spiders," the more common appellation given to this Titan Legion, originates from the gargantuan arachnid-like xenos species that once populated the world. It was as opposition to these creatures that the Legio Venator was originally created, and the earliest records of the Titan Legion detail at length the protracted campaign of extermination the Iron Spiders embarked upon.
The motive behind such an effort lay largely with the planet of Arachnus, for geological and mineral analysis revealed the abundant ore veins that promised lucrative industry for the Human settlers who had discovered the planet.
The prevalence and deadliness of the arachnoid mega-fauna once native to Arachnus prevented the Explorator arks dispatched from Mars from establishing a colony directly on the world and thus it was to be the planet's two moons, named Iktomia and Nizkara, that would see civilisation brought to them first. It was upon these two celestial bodies that the Legio Venator would be founded and set loose upon Arachnus, armed and armoured by the extensive array of manufactoria dedicated to war that soon sprang up across both moons.
The growth of Arachnus as a prominent Forge World of the ancient Mechanicum did not begin quickly, for the world was thrice larger in size than Terra and rife with dangers. The records of Arachnus note that it took nearly a standard century of protracted extermination, led by the god-engines of the Legio Venator, before a safe zone upon Arachnus could be established.
Even with such a gain, the Arachnian Mechanicum sent forth to colonise Arachnus proper found itself beset on all sides with only the guns of the Iron Spiders to protect them.
The loss of life amongst the ranks of the Arachnian Mechanicum is not noted within its own records, yet by extrapolating the annals of fallen god-engines dutifully recorded by the scribes of the Legio Venator, which report the crippling of nearly 100 Titans during the six-centuries long campaign to secure the surface of Arachnus, it stands to reason that vast numbers were lost to such harsh conditions.
Nevertheless, the Iron Spiders emerged victorious with their foe driven to extinction, leaving the world of Arachnus open to exploitation and full colonisation. What is more, the princeps and moderati of the Legio Venator had proved themselves within the fires of war and stood ready to expand the influence of Arachnus far beyond that of the world they had conquered.
So it was that when the Imperium expanded across the Segmentum Tempestus during the Great Crusade, its fleets came across Arachnus not as a singular planet, but as the centre of a robust and well-developed Forge Empire protected by the seasoned might of a Titan Legion of considerable skill and numbers.
It is perhaps unsurprising that, after millennia of struggles to establish itself as an independent entity, the Forge Empire of Arachnus proved unwilling to bow before the Imperium. Resistant as they were to the prospect of serving both the Emperor and their cousins among the Tech-priests of Mars, conflict between the two Human civilisations proved inevitable.
At the onset of this conflict the Iron Spiders stood, based upon their own records, as a Secundus-grade Titan Legion, presenting a significant obstacle to Imperial forces. In opposition, the newly recruited might of both the Legio Astraman and Legio Laniaskara were brought to battle, bringing devastation to over a dozen worlds in the half-decade-long war between Arachnus and the forces of the Great Crusade.
As the conflict drew to a close, over three-quarters of Arachnus' Forge Empire lay in the hands of the Imperium and with Imperial fleets rapidly closing on Arachnus itself the Forge World surrendered, swearing allegiance to Mars, accepting Imperial Compliance and the orthodoxies of the Martian Mechanicum, and rebuilding that which they had lost.
With the clarity that hindsight offers, it is clear that the hostilities held by some upon Arachnus towards the Imperium persisted long after it bent the knee to Mars. Little evidence exists that Arachnus and its people actively plotted against the Imperium during the Great Crusade, for the Forge World benefited greatly under Imperial rule.
In addition to the returning of its vassal worlds, bar those few seized by Mars as a measure of chastisement for raising arms against the Imperium and the Omnissiah, Arachnus rapidly expanded its borders, seeking out many lesser, as yet undiscovered, Forge Worlds elsewhere in the region to bring under their sway.
Of even greater note is the arms which their manufactoria produced, for Arachnus soon became a favoured world of the Emperor's own transhuman bodyguard, the Legio Custodes, and the Forge World was noted for the skill with which they constructed the more esoteric weapons the Emperor's household troops often made use of.
Furthermore, a significant portion of the Legio Venator's strength was committed to the Great Crusade, nearly two-thirds of the Titan Legion separating into independent detachments and battlegroups deployed across the galaxy.
Nevertheless, there lay an undercurrent of resistance from Arachnus towards the growing might of the Imperium, with veiled attempts to establish itself as the prominent power within the region of minor Forge Worlds known as the "Belt of Iron" and a notable effort to gather seats within the Martian Mechanicum's Parliament to better influence policy towards the favour of Arachnus.
Never was this more perceivable than amongst those who served with elements of the Legio Venator that had amassed long standard years of service during the Great Crusade, and others of the Titan Legion who remained guarding the borders of Arachnus, called to war only in the most urgent of circumstances. Such individuals noted that those who stood as warders of Arachnus were bitter and melancholic, adverse to the notion of any not born of their world issuing commands to the Legio Venator.
In contrast, those who regularly served within the expeditionary fleets of the Great Crusade were praised for their devotion to the Imperial cause and lauded for the spirit of self-sacrifice that placed the good of Mankind before their own lives.
The ideological splits between the two disparate elements of the Legio Venator were to bring much strife to Arachnus come the Horus Heresy. When news of the Warmaster Horus' treachery reached Arachnus, there was much contention within the upper hierarchies of the Forge World as to which side in the developing conflict Arachnus should take.
In answer, the far-ranging elements of the Legio Venator were recalled to Arachnus and, after standard years of debate, those Iron Spiders that had spent great periods of time away from their founding world appeared to emerge victorious following the outbreak of warfare within the Belt of Iron.
In answer to calls for aid, the veterans of the Great Crusade were sent across the region, bringing war to the Warmaster's allies. In doing so, Arachnus was emptied of many who held ironclad loyalty to the Imperium, a circumstance that proved calculated in its arrangement.
Mere solar months after much of the Legio Venator swore renewed allegiance to the Emperor, Arachnus declared its own independence, purging the Forge World of those who still supported the Imperium and bequeathed the secessionist elements of the Legio Venator with a new name -- the Legio Tritonis, the "Dark Tide."
For the remainder of the Horus Heresy the Loyalist remnants of the Legio Venator utilised the forge-fortress of M'Khand, gifted to them during the Great Crusade, as their primary base of operations. From there, the Legio Venator ranged across the Belt of Iron in search of the support needed to reconquer Arachnus, the Titan Legion's number heavily depleted first by the treachery of the Dark Tide and then the endless attrition of war.
When the Legio Venator finally returned to Arachnus, wrestling it from the grip of those Traitors who had spat upon their oaths to the Imperium, the Forge World of their founding was but a shadow of its former glory, lesser than M'Khand and perhaps never to return to what it once was.
The Legio was glorious to behold as they relentlessly delivered utter annihilation to all who refused Imperial rule. Winning much glory and honour during the opening phases of the campaign, the Legio gained a fearsome reputation for completely decimating their opponents.
During the Bleak Years, the Legio fought with particular distinction against a massive Ork WAAAGH! that fell upon the crusaders with barbaric fury. A critical victory in the struggle came with the destruction of a massive Mega-Gargant, identified in the Ork's bestial tongue as Spine Smasha.
Following a coordinated orbital Lance strike, Princeps Senioris Angevelo Vsevolod of the Warlord Titan Valorus Ira, with support from a Warhound Centurion Pack, engaged the damaged Greenskin war engine.
The battle was close and ferocious, and it was only after the Warhound Titan Celerus Moria sacrificed itself through drawing the Mega-Gargant's fire that the Valorus Ira was able to target the enemy's internal core with its Volcano Cannon. The resulting meltdown decimated the Ork hordes, and the sight of their idol's destruction robbed them of their will to fight.
The Legio Venator encountered a particularly massive and atrocious Yu'Vath Warp construct leading the opening attack of one such offensive. Dripping with ethereal energy, the monstrous creation propelled itself forward on five twisted legs, and wielded inexplicable weapons that drew on the power of the Warp itself in three misshapen arms.
Four Titans fell to the abomination before the Desidius Rae, heavily damaged and venting plasma from its ruptured core, challenged the beast in close combat.
The embattled princeps diverted all available power to his Titan's Arioch Power Fist, which caused his first strike to overload the already weakened core containment field. The Titan's ensuing fiery death ensured the complete and utter destruction of its Warp-spawned foe.
Following the arrival of Archmagos Mat Aleph Xenon and the conclusion of the Angevin Crusade, the Legio Venator attained the right to requisition one of the newly-settled Adeptus Mechanicus colonies known as the Lathe Worlds as its own.
However, before the process of selecting a world could begin, the Legio Venator joined other Titan Legions in the glorious and historic Macharian Crusade.
The remaining Legio forces within the newly formed Calixis Sector instead set to work establishing fortresses within the Lathes themselves, including one on the dead moon of Lycosidae. Upon the completion of the Macharian Conquests, the Titan battle groups returned with fresh tales of heroism as well as regret at the loss of Macharius himself.
In recognition of his glory and the Legio's participation in this crusade, the Lathe Covenant designated a Forge World within the Drusus Marches sub-sector "Opus Macharius," and ceded it to the Titan Legion as its new homeworld.
Calixis Sector Operations
Over a thousand Terran years later, the Legio Venator was one of the forces to heed the call to arms against the self-proclaimed "Emperor of Brass." The Titan god-engines were invaluable in breaking the rebellions bordering the Gelmiro Cluster, ruthlessly cleansing any worlds that rebelled against their Imperial masters. During the final assault on the remaining hive city clusters within the system, the Legio Venator came face to face with a new and terrible enemy: Chaos Titans.
What followed was a four-day-long conflict in which the massive war engines on both sides relentlessly stalked their foes through ruined spires and destroyed hab blocks. Several of the Legio Venator's damaged Titans even volunteered to act as bait to lure the Chaos Titans into ambushes, occasionally sacrificing themselves to destroy their targets.
The eventual arrival of two Imperator-class Titans signalled the end of the fighting, as the remaining Chaos forces were unable to stand up to the might of these awe-inspiring machines. Entire swathes of ruined cityscape vanished beneath the power of their mighty armaments, as the Chaos god-engines that did not escape offworld fell to the overwhelming onslaught.
The battle groups then turned their efforts towards supporting the remaining Loyalist forces, and the entire star cluster was eventually left a smoking ruin, though the cost in lives had been high. However, the escaped Chaos forces would return to face the Legio again, under the banner of the Forsaken Reavers Chaos warband.
When the Meritech Wars erupted across Imperial space almost five hundred standard years later, the Legio Venator dispatched forces to help quell the massive uprising. These included the Ignis Inferorum, an ancient Imperator Titan dating back to the Age of Technology, which strode the battlefield like an avatar of wrath, its twin Plasma Annihilators belching fiery retribution. The defenders found themselves hopelessly outmatched and, in the end, not a single living creature survived.
Following the conclusion of the Meritech Wars, the Legio Venator focused on rebuilding and strengthening its holdings in the sector, occasionally dispatching battle groups to honour treaties and obligations from the distant past.
In the 41st Millennium, the Legio currently has forces operating in both the costly Margin Crusade and the on-going Achilus Crusade. Here they have encountered the deadly Bio-Titans of the Tyranid hive fleets, and many priceless god-engines have fallen to these ferocious monstrosities.
As a result, Princeps Majoris Maxilohv has decreed that no additional battle groups are to leave the Calixis Sector, except to fulfil the Legio's current obligations, until the destroyed Titans are replaced. Such an undertaking is expected to require many standard centuries.
- Accatran Compliance (Unknown Date.M30) - After the events of the campaign to bring Accatran into Imperial Compliance, the Legio Venator could no longer be trusted to fight alongside the Legio Mortis without the threat of internecine conflict between the two rival Titan Legions.
- Battle of Beta-Garmon, "The Titandeath" (006-013.M31) - The Legio Venator 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's 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. During the Battle of Beta-Garmon, the Legio Venator was supported by the Knights of House Hyperion.
- Cataclysm of Iron (010-015.M31) - In the region of minor Forge Worlds known as the Belt of Iron, the Horus Heresy brought many long-held grudges to the surface. Realising how crucial the Forge Worlds in the area were to both sides in the conflict, the Loyalists deployed several Titan Legions, including the Iron Spiders.
- 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 have 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 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 Venator, Legio Atarus, 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.
- Conquest of Xiloci II (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.
- Devastation of Yanazar IV (706.010.M31) - The first sign of relief for the defenders of the Ny'Drinah sub-sector was seen when a probing fleet from Atar-Median entered the Yanazar'ny System intent upon securing a beachhead within the sub-sector. With them came two maniples of Legio Venator Titans dispatched from Arachnus, these reinforcements sent as a sign of good faith to the Imperium. Such an act was no doubt motivated by missives of the Imperial Household having expressed concern towards the Forge World's cessation of weapon production intended for the Legio Custodes. Official reports note the dwindling shipments dispatched from the Forge World in the years following the events at the Isstvan System, no doubt hampered by the escalating tension amongst the political factions of Arachnus. This complement of Legio Venator Titans was to be the first of several Iron Spider maniples committed to the unfolding conflict within the sub-sector. The first target of the Loyalists' ire was the Mining World of Yanazar IV, a frigid planet notable for possessing significant concentrations of monazite and bastnäsite deposits beneath the surface, garrisoned by a detachment of Legio Laniaskara Titans dispatched from Valia-Maximal. Under the cover of an orbital bombardment, the Iron Spiders, led by Sub-princeps Jandolla Altreax, descended to the surface and marched upon the entrenched Impalers Titans who guarded the sole strip of mining quarries that had survived the first invasion. As battle was joined, the Iron Spiders upon the ground were alerted of a Traitor fleet having entered the system and moved to engage the Loyalist fleet. Outnumbered in orbit, the Loyalist fleet was quickly driven off and denied the means to extract their allies on the surface. The final reports note that the initial assault by the Iron Spiders proved successful, with the Loyalists regaining control of the quarries before finding themselves trapped upon the planet and faced with a new wave of landers, bearing the livery of the Legio Damicium, descending upon Yanazar IV.
- Dark Tide (010-218.011.M31) - In the years following the events in the Isstvan System, the loyalty of the Forge Empire of Arachnus became suspect. Within the borders of Arachnus, two warring ideological sects fought a political battle that would determine the allegiance of the Forge Empire. Those that had spent solar decades serving in the Great Crusade held great respect for the Imperium and its values and advocated for standing against the Warmaster Horus in aid of the Emperor, while others claimed the unfolding civil conflict served as the perfect backdrop against which Arachnus could once more seize control of their own independence. This disagreement appeared settled following repeated expressions of concern from the wider Imperium, interlaced with implicit threats from the Imperial Household itself, that bade the Forge World resume shipments of aid and supplies to worlds both within the Belt of Iron and further afield. In answer, the rulers of Arachnus dispatched several fleets, and several dozen Legio Venator god-engines, to aid the Loyalist push into the Ny'Drinah sub-sector. It fell to those who had served widely during the Great Crusade to lead the war efforts of the Legio Arachnus within the Belt of Iron, while other elements were given the task of guarding the borders of Arachnus. Close observation of deployment records show that the distribution of military strength outside the borders of the Forge Empire of Arachnus largely consisted of those who refused to support the idea of independence, placing them far removed from the Forge World. The first reports of conflict upon Arachnus itself came in the closing days of 010.M31, with data indicating the discharge of weapons fire within the principal Legio stronghold upon the Forge World. Having committed many of the dissenting elements of the Legio Venator to far-flung conflicts, the Titan Legion of Arachnus eliminated those who still resisted rebelling against the Imperium before moving to purge the Forge World of other dissenting opinions. In what would come to be known as "Trident's Purge," conflict engulfed Arachnus and its two moons, Iktomia and Nizkara, with later estimates placing the death toll at several million and 37 Titans recorded as having fallen. Following three solar days of extended conflict, the rebellious elements of Arachnus had uncontested control of both the Forge World and Iktomia, though battles still raged upon the surface of Nizkara due to fierce resistance led by a handful of Loyalist Legio Venator Titans. In a message to all within the Belt of Iron, Arachnus pronounced itself as an independent state, declaring punishment for any who defied them. In recognition of this new state of affairs, the traitorous faction of the Legio Venator was renamed the Legio Tritonis in homage to the three celestial bodies, Arachnus and its two moons, from which the Titan Legion hailed. Others knew them by another name, calling them the "Dark Tide" for the widespread destruction they brought down upon any who opposed them.
- The Conquest of Ny'Drinah (049.012.M31) - Following the loss of Arachnus to the newborn Traitor Legio Tritonis, the Loyalist Iron Spiders were vocal in their desire to recapture their homeworld, 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.
- Reckoning (145.013-015.M31) - The loss of Urdesh damaged both the cohesion and morale of the Traitor forces, becoming a symbol of the ascendency of 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 Venator and the Legio Atarus as the two Titan Legions marched on Arachnus, intent upon recapturing the world in the name of the Emperor. Kalibrax, recognising that the attention of the Loyalists was held elsewhere, retreated inwards, abandoning its allies in an attempt to fortify its holdings. In doing so, the worlds they had conquered were deprived of the presence of the Legio Kulisaetai and with their oppressors removed many of their number rose up once more, casting down those Traitors that remained. Having freed themselves of Traitor rule, many amongst them wished not to stand idle after their long standard years of suffering and gathered in small numbers, seizing control of what ships they could. Together, a vast flotilla of mismatched starships was formed, hundreds in number and eclectic in design. This fleet, lacking a purpose beyond vengeance, fell upon Kalibrax. Millions died against the superior guns of the Forge World yet, as is oft the case in war, numbers proved superior and the fleet seized control of Kalibrax's orbit. Lacking any means of conquering the planet, the Loyalist flotilla vowed to blockade the Forge World until greater forces came to scour the world clean, trapping the Traitors on their planet to do little but await their fate. Arachnus too felt the wrath of the Loyalists. Since announcing their succession, the empire of Arachnus had grown, the name Dark Tide proving apt for their conquests were brutal and swift, and turned upon worlds without a means to defend themselves. These worlds 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. The Legio Atarus moved to relieve the moon's defenders, breaking open the Traitor lines and forcing the 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 the Warmaster Horus and the great war that followed, dozens of Titans falling upon Arachnus before the Legio Venator once more reclaimed their home.
- 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.
- Angevin Crusade (322-384.M39) - The Legio Venator is known to have supported the Angevin Crusade which resulted in the creation of the Calixis Sector and the grant of the Lathe System along with several other worlds as the perpetual domains of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
- War of Brass (738-741.M40) - Led by the charismatic leader known as the "Emperor of Brass," the population of the Hive Worlds of the Gelmiro Cluster began worshipping the Ruinous Powers and fell into sedition. Controlling the heavily militarised planets of the cluster, the Renegades were able to quickly sponsor and arm rebel groups on nearby worlds. When the Imperial counterattack came, it quickly revealed the hand of dark forces from the Eye of Terror at work in stirring up the rebellion. The so-called "War of Brass" that followed was brief and bloody, drawing forces from across the sector, involving the Adeptus Astartes and the Titans of the Legio Venator. The war turned the once-thriving worlds of Gelmiro into blasted, rubble-strewn charnel houses. Classified by the Administratum as War Worlds and haunted by murderous mutants and Renegades ever since, the Gelmiro System is a shunned no-man's land to this day.
- Lycanthos Drift Campaign (780.M41) - In the aftermath of the long-running and infamous Fourth Quadrant Rebellion, the Astral Claws Chapter answered a general call to arms among the Astartes of the region and despatched a powerful force under the direct personal command of Lufgt Huron in 780.M41, undertaking the Lycanthos Drift Campaign against one of the last major stronghold systems of the revolt located to the galactic south of the Maelstrom Zone. Lufgt Huron was elected battle leader of a number of Astartes contingents by common consent, comprising companies from the Astral Claws, Fire Hawks, White Scars and Celestial Guard Chapters, backed by Death Korps of Krieg and Cal-Sec Astra Militarum regiments and the Titans of the Legio Venator. The Fire Hawks' Chapter Master Stibor Lazaerek was bitter that he was not given command of the campaign, and is known to have born a grudge against the Astral Claws from this time forward. Under Huron's inspired command the taskforce ruthlessly purged the heavily fortified system of Traitor and Chaos forces in under a Terran year. This conflict confirmed Lufgt Huron's reputation as a masterful strategist amongst Space Marine commanders.
Legion Specific Wargear
- Blind Launchers - The Legio Venator makes use of one-shot launchers that can unleash a burst of smoke which interferes with conventional vision and auspexes.
Legion Combat Doctrine
Within the Legio Venator, it is the duty of all moderati to defend the princeps against death itself, regardless of the cost. The princeps of the Legio Venator maniples train together extensively, learning to work in near-perfect concert until they can anticipate each other's actions nearly as well as their own.
Following the loss of Arachnus during the Horus Heresy, the Legio Venator found itself deprived of large numbers of heavier Battle Titans, adapting their tactics to accomodate larger numbers of lighter god-engines.
The princeps of this Legio are known to seethe with an intense hatred of all Traitors, raging at their abandonment of the true order and determined that all such Renegades should fall before them, whatever the cost.
The princeps of the Legio Venator spent long solar decades fighting within the Great Crusade's expeditionary fleets, and were able to control their god-engines with seemingly preternatural skill.
The princeps of this Legio are well-practiced in commanding Titans in battle, and are capable of drawing up intricate plans with built-in redundancies.
- Lupus Ira (Warlord-class Titan) - Despite some misgivings about the loyalty of the Legio Venator and their Forge World of Arachnus, following their Compliance and subsequent integration into the Imperium, the Legio Venator Titans were given long-term assignments to the Great Crusade's expeditionary fleets. Titans such as the Lupus Ira, depicted above, would go on to prove their loyalty across innumerable battlefields, quickly developing a great devotion to those they served alongside. The respect they held for the forces of the Great Crusade drove many of the Legio Venator to turn against their former masters when Arachnus attempted to secede from the Imperium during the Horus Heresy.
- Lupus Tempestus (Reaver-class Titan) - Lupus Tempestus is a renowned war machine, a veteran Titan of the Legio Venator. In the Achilus Crusade it cut its teeth fighting T'au in the Canis Salient. Lupus and its princeps, Terrach Vex, used their mobility to full effect and employed the T'au's Hunter Cadres' own tactics of lightning strikes and hit and run attacks against them. More than one T'au thrust headed from the front found itself engaged from an unexpected quarter and robbed of momentum by the Lupus Tempestus, before being destroyed by a concerted Imperial counterattack. Although the T'au do not use Titan-like constructs as a rule, Vex has brought down two of their super-heavy flyers, the Mantas.
- Theridionx (Warhound-class Titan) - The Theridionx was a Warhound-class Titan that took part in many of the conflicts of the Cataclysm of Iron campaign during the Horus Heresy. Warhound-class Scout Titans, such as the Theridionx, pictured above during the assembly at M'Khand following the fall of Arachnus to the Traitors, became integral to the continued operation of the Titan Legion after many of its oldest princeps defected to the nascent Legio Tritonis. The existence of the Dark Tide was a great stain upon the honour of the Legio Venator and the princeps of its Warhounds believed it their task to exterminate all who wore the colours of their traitorous kin.
- Princeps Senioris Lenodius von Maxilohv - Princeps Senioris Lenodius von Maxilohv is the current commanding princeps majoris of the Legio Venator and is over 250 standard years old. His body is permanently confined to his command throne, an ornate brass device that contains the necessary life-support systems and tox-scrubbers to keep him alive and allow him to interface with his Titan's Machine Spirit (artificial intelligence). He retains only his head, right arm, and half of his torso, following a stand-off with Titans of the Forsaken Reavers Chaos warband. During a clash against these foul raiders, Maxilohv intercepted orbital surveillance that five of the fallen god-engines were attempting to flank the Imperial assault through a canyon south of the battle. As the rest of his command could not abandon this critical phase of the attack, Maxilohv disengaged his god-engine Imperialis Potestus from the battle and challenged the enemy Titans alone. The canyon's rock walls reportedly echoed with the twisted scrapcode of the lead Chaos Warlord Titan when the lone Imperial god-engine encountered them, while the meaning of Maxilohv's brief reply burst is lost to history. While the servants of Chaos could not all bring their weapons to bear on him at once, neither could they miss. Maxilohv's Titan sustained massive damage from the withering enemy fire, including a direct hit to his command bridge. Maintaining control of his Titan through sheer force of will, Maxilohv continued to engage the enemy despite his terrible injuries. Upon seeing the final Chaos Titan fall, Maxilohv finally lost consciousness, and his Titan ground to a halt. Following the battle, he was placed within the cybernetic command throne he currently occupies. After repairing his Titan, tech-rites added the new honour to its glorious annals.
- Numerous Freeblade associations
The strength and grade of the Legio Venator fluctuated greatly during its time in service to the Imperium. Upon its rediscovery during the Great Crusade, when Arachnus first opposed the Imperium, the Iron Spiders were noted to stand at an estimated 134 god-engines, including two Imperator-class Titans.
Of these, only 54 god-engines, and a singular Imperator, were to survive Arachnus' conflict with the Imperium. Great efforts were made to replenish the strength of Legio Venator in the first solar decade of its service to the Emperor and by the onset of the Horus Heresy, the Titan Legion's numbers had been restored to its former glory, marking it as a Secundus-grade Legio in the records of the Collegia Titanica.
By mid-011.M31, following the breaking of the Legio Venator into the Iron Spiders and the Traitor Dark Tide, the Legio Venator held a strength of 67 god-engines still loyal to the Imperium, the remainder having assumed the mantle of the Legio Tritonis or fallen opposing the rise of Arachnus as an independent power. Of these, most were Reaver and Warhound-class Titans, with the Legio Venator possessing only a handful of greater Battle Titans.
The forges of M'Khand worked tirelessly to construct additional god-engines, yet the forge-fortress' capabilities were far below that of a true Forge World.
In truth, the greater number of new god-engines added to the ranks of the Legio Venator were those captured during the Cataclysm of Iron, fallen machines of foes and Traitors repurposed in the Emperor's name.
The Legio Venator's colours are primarily a light grey with a bluish hue, with secondary colours of white outlined in black.
Following the dissolution of their Titan Legion with the secession of their Forge World of Arachnus from the Imperium during the Horus Heresy, many of the Loyalist Titans of the Legio Venator began an unofficial, yet widely adhered to, practice during the Cataclysm of Iron.
Existing kill-markings on Iron Spiders Warhound Titan honour banners were daubed in white for each Legio Tritonis god-engine they claimed; the greater the number of Traitors slain, the more lauded the princeps.
The existence of the Legio Tritonis ("Dark Tide") was a great stain upon the honour of the Legio Venator and the princeps of the Legio's Warhounds believed it their task to exterminate all who wore the colours of their traitorous kin.
The Legio Venator's badge is a massive black arachnid, reminiscent of the megafauna that used to roam the surface of their home Forge World of Arachnus, centred within a cog symbol, symbolising the Adeptus Mechanicus, and surrounded by a large octagon outline.
This symbol is centred upon a field of orange.
The home Forge World of the Legio Venator has changed on multiple occasions.
Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard (2nd Edition) states that the homeworld of the Legio Venator is the Forge World M'khand of the Segmentum Pacificus, while Dark Heresy: The Lathe Worlds (RPG) states that Forge World Opus Macharia of the Segmentum Obscurus is the homeworld of the Iron Spiders.
- Adeptus Titanicus - The Horus Heresy: Loyalist Legios (Specialty Game), pp. 89, 150-155
- Adeptus Titanicus - The Horus Heresy: Crucible of Retribution (Specialty Game), pp. 6, 14, 22-23, 26-27, 30, 42-43, 53
- Adeptus Titanicus - The Horus Heresy: Titandeath (Specialty Game), pg. 93
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 57, 59
- Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard (2nd Edition), "Principal Forge Worlds of the Adeptus Mechanicus," pg. 10
- Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook (RPG), pg. 133
- Dark Heresy: The Lathe Worlds (RPG), pp. 109-111
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pg. 186
- The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pg. 139
- Dark Heresy Timeline by Alan Bligh, pp. 2, 5
- Warhammer Community - Crucible of Retribution: The Story (23 Oct 2020)
- Warhammer Community - Titanic Tactics (22 Oct 2020)
- Warhammer Community - Coming Soon: Crucible of Retribution (29 Sept 2020)