The world called Sacris by its inhabitants is classified as a Forbidden World by the Adeptus Terra and is located in the Drusus Marches Sub-sector of the Calixis Sector of the Segmentum Obscurus of the Imperium of Man. It is the homeworld of the Storm Wardens Chapter of Space Marines and is also home to a population of pre-industrial humans who hold a great similarity to the culture of the people of Old Earth known as the Highland Scots. Its geography is overwhemingly dominated by fog-enshrouded highland moors and dismal swamps.
Sacris is a Feral World of highland moors and dark, gloomy swampland. It is inhabited by primitive human tribes of warriors who gather around charismatic clan warlords and continually battle for supremacy in the planet's shadowy swamps. The tribes of Sacris have a fierce code of honour and deeply believe that a man's word is his bond. The tribes worship the Emperor of Mankind as a stern divine father who judges the souls of all men by their strength at arms and the purity of their honour.
The culture of Sacris has had a strong impact upon the Storm Wardens, as many of the Chapter's Neophytes come from the tribes. It is not uncommon to see Storm Warden Scout Marines with woad-painted faces like those of the native tribes. Humans are not the only inhabitants of Sacris, however; a sizeable colony of the Abhuman Ogryns survived on the planet's rocky southern continent, possibly the descendants of Ogryns owed a debt of honour as the result of an ancient oath sworn by the Storm Wardens before the Nemesis Incident. Whatever the truth of their origins, the Storm Wardens do not show the usual Imperial distaste for Abhumans and have fought beside many Imperial Guard Regiments in the past that included units of Ogryns and Ratlings.
At the present, automated Imperial orbital beacons encircle Sacris, declaring the world forbidden to all traffic and communion with the wider Imperium and spreading rumours that the planet is home to a deadly plague. The reason for this deception is unknown, save for the fact that it was Owin Glendwyr's final command as Chapter Master. Later Chapter Masters have continued this false quarantine, though they do not know the purpose for it or what danger Sacris might present to the rest of Mankind.
The Storm Wardens maintain their fortress-monastery on Highcastle, the single, ivory-coloured moon that orbits above Sacris. Crenelated Gothic towers surmounted by Gargoyle-Servitors define this great stronghold. Inhabited by all the Storm Wardens, it holds massive chambers where the Chapter's many vehicles and wargear are maintained. The fortress-monastery's halls bear many blank banners and deep scars left behind by the Nemesis Incident.
Highcastle's lower halls (the term refers to the fortress-monastery as well as the moon of Sacris) extend deep below the moon's surface and contain the automated nanofurnaces that provide the raw materials and physical conditions necessary to craft new weapons and vehicles for the Chapter, overseen by the Master of the Forge. Deeper still are the stasis chambers, though none but the Storm Wardens' Dreadnoughts know their true location.
Highcastle is a seemingly impregnable citadel, although much of the fortress remains inaccessible and unknown, even to the Storm Wardens. The age of Highcastle is difficult to determine accurately, but the fragmentary records remaining to the Chapter from before the Nemesis Incident reveal that Highcastle was present in this part of the galaxy even before the Angevin Crusade and the resulting formal incorporation of the Calixis Sector into the Imperium of Man.
The Nemesis Incident
In 945.M36 the Storm Wardens aided the Inquisition in operations against an infestation of Enslavers, psychic entities from the Warp, in the Steropes Cluster. What came to pass in the alien Steropes' cyclopean ruins is unknown but shortly after the Storm Wardens return to Sacris, something endangered the Chapter and potentially the Imperium itself.
At the conclusion of the Nemesis Incident, the Storm Wardens' Chapter Master Owin Glendwyr discussed with an Inquisitor Lord of the Ordo Xenos what needed to be done. A dire decision was made. By the authority of the High Lords of Terra, Glendwyr had much of the Storm Wardens' fortress-monastery on their homeworld of Sacris' moon of Highcastle sealed. All records of their history, the Primarch from which they descended and the Chapter's Founding were destroyed or hidden away.
Furthermore, the Storm Wardens' homeworld of Sacris in the Calixis Sector was forbidden to have contact with the Imperium at large. Following this, according to the only record of this time that exists, the sacred history of the Chapter called the Liber Tempest, many Storm Wardens, including the entire Veteran 1st Company and Chapter Master Owin Glendwyr himself, were placed in hidden stasis vaults. The Chapter's Veteran Dreadnoughts have taken vows of silence and stand guard over these hidden chambers.
The Way of Honour
The Storm Wardens, like the feral tribesmen they recruit from, value personal honour and physical strength at arms over all. It is said that many Storm Warden Astartes prefer to challenge enemy commanders to single combat in order to test themselves against the mightiest of enemies. Storm Wardens often seek out single combat with a foe they consider worthy of the honour, although more than a few Veteran Sergeants and Captains have fallen against particularly dangerous opponents this way.
As noted, the Storm Wardens are an unusually insular Chapter and rarely visit other worlds in the Imperium. In fact, the Calixis Sector is largely unaware that it is even home to an Astartes Chapter, with the exception of certain Inquisitors and the Sector Governor Lord Hax of Scintilla. Much of the Chapter's standoffish culture results from the Storm Wardens' deep sense of personal honour. Some Imperial analysts believe that these Space Marines prefer not to stain themselves through association with so many of the disreputable worlds of the sector that surrounds them.
Despite their remote natures, the Storm Wardens rarely clash with the Imperium's other power centres as Space Marine Chapters often do, having assisted both the Inquisition and the Imperial Guard in numerous campaigns and battles throughout the Imperium's history. Many Imperial frontier planets under dire threat from xenos or Chaos have witnessed the incredible sight of the Storm Wardens' Drop Pods entering their atmosphere, each containing a squad of ten Astartes who will defeat the foes of the Emperor and defend Mankind. This is the true Way of Honour.
The Storm Wardens descend from Sacris' moon of Highcastle to the foggy moors and feral tribes below to hold a series of games and ritual combats to select only the fiercest and most intelligent warriors to join the ranks of the Adeptus Astartes. Often, potential recruits must struggle against the fen-trolls and other dangerous native animal life of Sacris during these trials, facing combat in the mist-covered moors in what is actually a combination of a running skirmish with a marathon race.
The recruits must navigate past pockets of toxic swamp gas, through infestations of swarm leeches, across the quicksand-filled plains and then reach the Storm Wardens' landing site. Those recruits who survive that far then compete in the games that pit potential recruits against each other in contests of raw physical strength and skill at arms. Simply to be able to compete in these trials elevates the status of a man among the feral tribes of Sacris. Whether he succeeds or fails, he has tested himself against the greatest warriors on a harsh world and thus earned great respect.
After passing the trials, many of these potential recruits, called Aspirants, take with them the Sacris claymore, an heirloom weapon given by the Storm Wardens to Aspirants as a reward for their tenacity that is cherished by the tribesmen. It is also common that when a Storm Warden dies, his claymore is ritually returned to the homeworld. Many blades have earned great fame and a place in legend for their tribe in this way.
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 50-51
- Deathwatch: The Nemesis Incident (RPG), pp. 3-4