Prometheus is the oversized moon that serves as the primary base of operations for the Salamanders Space Marine Chapter. It circles their volcanic Chapter homeworld of Nocturne in an erratic orbit whose shifting gravity causes massive tectonic stress. Due to the tidal stress placed on Nocturne's tectonic plates by Prometheus, it is afflicted by an event known as the Time of Trials, which occurs every Nocturnean year (15 Terran years). During this period, the tectonic stresses induced by the increased gravitational pull of Prometheus cause the planet's thousands of active volcanoes to erupt and its seas to rise up in vast tidal waves.
The Salamanders' fortress-monastery is based upon the moon of Prometheus and is known by the same name. Nocturne itself is too geologically and volcanically unstable a world to build a large, defensible structure upon. Its high gravity and other environmental issues like the constant volcanic eruptions also make training more problematic and dangerous than even Space Marines are able to handle.
But Prometheus is little more than a spaceport at which the Chapter's starships may dock and refuel. The fortress-monastery is the only construction built there and it possesses a great orbital dock were the Chapter's Strike Cruisers and Battle Barges can be maintained, refitted and repaired. However, many Salamanders live on this moon rather than on Nocturne itself when their duties require them to be away from their home clans and the planet's Sanctuary Cities.
During the Great Crusade, sometime in the late 30th Millennium when the Primarch Vulkan was reunified with his father the Emperor of Mankind, he was given command of the XVIII Legion, the nascent Space Marine Legion founded from his genetic template. With his Nocturnean and Terran forces brought together, Vulkan returned the Legion to Nocturne to where, under his auspices, a powerful stronghold, equal to any Legion fortress in the Imperium, was being constructed on Nocturne's moon of Prometheus to serve as the XVIII Legion's headquarters and armoury, just as Nocturne itself would now be the source of the majority of the Legion's new recruits. On Prometheus the Legion was reordered and re-armed and, most importantly, Vulkan set about giving it common purpose and common belief.
Upon Prometheus, in ancient times the Salamanders Legion maintained and manufactured a substantial armoury of heavy vehicles and other war engines equal in number and diversity to that of a far larger Legion. This armoury showed a bias towards tanks, armoured rams, gunships and mobile support weapons over static artillery, light skimmers and rapid attack vehicles, although it ensured the Legion did not lack for anything it might need.
The reason for this was that the Salamanders Legion, as it had developed, did not favour attritional warfare in its tactics, nor did it favour speed over survivability. Likewise, the Legion's void-going war fleet was not particularly large in number, but it was just as telling to the Legion's character that each ship, be it Frigate or Battle Barge, was itself a work of bellicose art, layered with sophisticated and masterwork weapons and systems that often overmatched similar vessels of their size.
Vulkan and his Legion also developed the asymmetrical warfare practiced early on by the XVIII Legion to an even greater degree. They developed a mastery of close-range fire-fights and Zone Mortalis operations, both through their discipline and relentless training and through the excellence of their wargear. This superiority manifested most visibly in the Legion's weapons, as under Vulkan's mastery, the Salamanders Legion became justly famed for its superior artifice in the creation of arms, from the Bolters carried by its rank and file to the savage implements of destruction carried by the Legion's Dreadnoughts. Each weapon was both a thing of lethal beauty and a masterwork of form and function.
In the late 41st Millennium, the Pantheon is an extension of the Salamanders' fortress-monastery on Prometheus. Though, in truth, this bastion of the Chapter is not much more than a simple spaceport linked to an orbital dock where the Chapter's modest armada of vessels can be refitted and repaired. Rank-and-file Battle-Brothers of the Chapter were restricted from entering the Pantheon. An attached Apothecarion saw to the outfitting of new recruits and their genetic enhancement as they became Battle-Brothers.
Trial arenas were sunk into the basement level. It was here in these pits that Initiate and Veteran together could undergo tests of endurance and self-reliance, as was in keeping with the tenets of the Promethean Cult. Walking across hot coals, lifting massive boiling cauldrons, enduring the searing pain of the Proving Rod or bearing red-hot iron bars were just some of the labours expected of the sons of Vulkan to show their faith and will.
There were dormitories and relic halls, too, though again relatively few in number. The most prestigious of these was the Hall of the Firedrakes, a vast and vaulted gallery hung with the pelts of the great salamanders slain by the warriors as a rite of passage, and from which the hall took its name.
The Firedrakes, of which Tu'Shan was captain as well as regent, were barracked on Prometheus along with the Chapter Master himself. These venerable warriors were almost a breed apart; the transition they made to the vaunted ranks of the 1st Company changed them in myriad ways as they embraced the full evolution of their genetic encoding.
Unlike their fellow Battle-Brothers, the Firedrakes were seldom seen on the surface of Nocturne where the other Salamanders would readily cohabit with the human populace, albeit often as part of a solitary lifestyle. Their rites were ancient and clandestine, conducted by the Chapter Master himself. Only those who had undergone the most heinous of trials and endured hardship beyond imagining could ever hope to aspire to become a Firedrake.
Akin to that sacred and revered order, access to the Pantheon was also restricted. Many Salamanders Astartes had never even seen the Pantheon, though they all knew that at its centre was a small, circular deliberation chamber located deep within the subterranean heart of Prometheus. Only matters of dire import or of profound spiritual significance to the Chapter were ever discussed in the Pantheon. The chamber possessed eighteen seats, which represented the Salamanders' original status as the XVIII Legion of Space Marines. The Chapter had retained this numerical designation after the Second Founding broke up the original Space Marine Legions into their Successor Chapters, an event in which the Salamanders had been unable to participate because of their heavy losses during the Drop Site Massacre and their status as one of the Shattered Legions.
The head seat of the Pantheon was reserved for the Chapter Master, an honour that had been Tu'Shan's for nearly fifty standard years by the end of the 41st Millennium. Thirteen were for the other officers of the Chapter: six to the captains of the remaining companies; one each for the Apothecarion, Librarius, Chaplaincy and Fleet; with a further three devoted to the Armoury and the Masters of the Forge, an unusual triumvirate but necessary given the Salamanders' predilection for weaponscraft.
Three of the seats were for honoured guests sequestered by the Chapter Master and with the agreement of the rest of the council. Praetor, the Firedrakes' most senior sergeant, often assumed one of these seats. The Librarian Pyriel occupied another. The last position had remained empty for many Terran years, since before Tu'Shan had even assumed the mantle of the Regent of Prometheus.
It was in the Pantheon that the Masters of the Salamanders would sit to consult the Tome of Fire. This artefact of the Chapter had been written by the hand of the Primarch Vulkan in ages past. Though many within the Chapter had never seen it, let alone perused its pages, they knew that it was full of riddles and prophecies. Rumours held that the words themselves were inked partly in Vulkan's blood and shimmered like captured fire if brought up to the light.
The Tome of Fire was not merely one volume, as the name suggested, but rather dozens arrayed in the stacks around the circular walls of the Pantheon. Deciphering the script of the Tome of Fire was not easy. There were secrets within, left by the Primarch for his sons to unlock. The volumes foretold of great events and upheavals for those with the wit to perceive them. But perhaps most pointedly, the Tome contained the history, form and location of the nine artefacts Vulkan had hidden throughout the galaxy for the Salamanders to unearth.
Five of these sacred relics had been discovered over the centuries through the travails of the Chapter's Forgefathers; the locations of the remaining four were embedded cryptically within the Tome 's arcane pages. Chapter Master Tu'Shan and those masters still on Prometheus would regularly convene and pore over the Tome of Fire in the hope of unearthing some clue that would unlock the location of one of these ancient artefacts.
Access to Prometheus is facilitated by numerous teleportation points situated all across Nocturne's surface. When a Battle-Brother is summoned from Nocturne by the Pantheon, they can be teleported directly to the Chapter's fortress-monastery to one of its ten translation points within the teleportarium. With Nocturne's stable teleporter array the process is smooth. Though the process to make it happen is extensive and difficult, each translation point is capable of supporting a full squad of Firedrakes arrayed in their Terminator Armour. The whole 1st Company can be deployed to Nocturne via teleportation.
Hall of Relics
As the Chapter's focal point, Prometheus is also home to the Hall of Relics. Honours and memories of heroes long-past filled the austere gallery of black marble. The hue of the rock, its smoothness and density, promoted a sombre mood, one entirely apt given the reverence felt for this hallowed place. There were shrines to Xavier, Kesare, and even ancient Tkell, chambered in anterooms or deep alcoves regressed into the rock.
Artefacts of the Chapter, too precious to be burned, too venerated to be bequeathed, rested within them along with purity seals, medals and other tributes to their legacies. Reliquaries were made of the leg bones Brother Amadeus had lost in the Siege of Cluth'nir. If the mighty warrior should ever fall, they would be burned to ash with what was left animated within his Dreadnought sarcophagus and offered to Mount Deathfire.
Along with the Chapter's fleet, one of the Chapter's greatest relics, The Chalice of Fire, is a vast forge-ship of Vulkan's design. Moored at the fortress-monastery on Prometheus, this mighty vessel currently provides the Salamanders Chapter with the majority of its armament. Another of Vulkan's relics, the Eye of Vulkan, is an array of space-bound Defence Lasers that orbits Prometheus, protecting it from voidship attack.
- The Horus Heresy - Book Two: Massacre (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 116, 118, 120, 253
- Salamander (Novel) by Nick Kyme