Sydonian Dragoons are tried and tested Skitarii warriors of the Adeptus Mechanicus who are given the honour of riding to war atop venerated, stilt-legged Ironstrider Engines. When these mighty contraptions burst from their shrouding fogs, they strike like a spear cast by the Machine God Himself. These fearless cavaliers thunder through enemy fire to plunge lance-first into the thick of the enemy's ranks, the pent-up energies of their taser weaponry blasting the foe back in a blazing storm of sparks. Those foolish enough to mount a counter-assault are kicked across the battlefield or stamped unceremoniously into the dirt by the Ironstrider Engine the Dragoon rides to war. Shouting praise to the Omnissiah, the mechanical knight kicks away the blackened corpses of his victims, already wheeling his steed in search of fresh prey.
Sydonian Dragoons stride battlefields like graven idols given life, charging from clouds of sacred incense to slam crackling Taser Lances into scattering foes. In their wake they leave ragged trails of corpses that stretch to the horizon and beyond. Mounted on the marvel of science that is the Ironstrider Engine, Sydonian Dragoons know not the concepts of doubt nor rest. Theirs is the power of endless motion put to the purpose of death.
The first Sydonians settled a vast cratered area of Mars swathed in dense acidic mist. In the schisms that haunted Mars' past, those with stilt-augmetics could stalk these mists and yet live, their elevation allowing them to escape the worst effects of the acidic fog whilst remaining hidden from the enemy. The Sydonian Dragoons echo the tactics of these past warrior-explorers. Using incense exhausts, they march through an ochre cloud redolent of ancient Sydonia. Many a foe has been confounded by this mist long enough for the Dragoons to mount a deadly charge.
Though the monotask Servitor that steers each Ironstrider Engine towards the foe is all but mindless, its rider is a tried and tested Skitarii warrior. Once the Dragoon has spotted his quarry, he will mark it with a bullet from his Phosphor Serpenta or Radium Jezzail. The glow from the impact guides his unit's next charge even in the fog of war. Within moments, one so marked is assailed by a stampede of titanium-hard feet and high-yield taser weaponry.
The Ironstrider Engine
Taking his inspiration from the stilt-legged seekers of the Sydonian Mask, the Tech-priest Aldebrac Vingh perfected the Ironstrider Engine in the early 33rd Millennium. His achievement was profound indeed. The strange bipedal apparatus he invented is as close to a perpetual motion machine as the Adeptus Mechanicus have ever seen, its efficiency near to perfection. Acting as a dynamo as the Ironstrider walks, the miraculous design essentially powers itself. There are prototype models still circumnavigating the equator of Mars today. Sadly Vingh, never the most politically astute of his Tech-priest kin, was all but ostracised by his jealous colleagues, and never reaped any reward for his breakthrough invention.
After his mysterious death the design secrets behind the Ironstrider Engine were lost, and the concept of perpetual motion was abandoned. So it is that the Ironstriders of today are never switched off, lest their relentless Machine Spirit fade away forever. Thousands are put to use as mounts in the Skitarii cohorts, their riders lowered into the saddles of ever-circling 'striders by articulated cranes that overlook the Iron Stables. Others are guided onto industrial treadmills and cog-steps where they pound away in their hundreds, used to power inefficient but far deadlier machineries of destruction. Such is the way of the Tech-priest; to turn a work of genius into a weapon, to forge from an exquisite design something that is no longer understood, yet can be replicated and put to use in the Mechanicus' never-ending war effort.
- Ironstrider Cavalier - A Skitarii Legion's Ironstriders will often be mindlinked to to one another, their slave-servitor crewmen instinctively bound together in the manner of stallions in a galloping herd. Their purpose is not like that of traditional cavalry, whose thunderous charges can roll over an enemy's flank or turn the tide of a battle with a determined forward assault. Instead, Ironstrider Cavaliers are implanted with the identity of a specific individual, usually a commander, psyker or other such leader figure, and driven to slay their target no matter the cost. Such is the density of their mental link that the Cavalier formation's Sydonian Dragoons will stalk around each other even in the midst of combat to allow their Ballistarii brethren a clear shot. Glory is of no concern -- only the utter destruction of the foe they have been sent to slay. An Ironstrider Cavalier formation typically consists of two units of Sydonian Dragoons working in conjunction with a single unit of Ironstrider Ballistarii.
- 1-6 Sydonian Dragoons
As standard, all Sydnonian Dragoons are armed with:
- Taser Lance - Powered by hyperdynamo capacitors, Taser Weapons store an incredible amount of potential energy. A solid impact will cause this energy to be discharged in a scorching blast, only to be harnessed once more by the electrothief prongs at the weapon's tip.
- Broad Spectrum Data-Tether - Seen as the mouthpieces of the Tech-Priests, who in turn are the prophets of the Machine God himself, those honoured with bearing data-tethers are obeyed without hesitation by their reverent Skitarii comrades. The vehicle-mounted Broad Spectrum version projects a Tech-Priest's binaric bursts with such clarity that it seems he is amongst the ranks of the Skitarii himself. Imperatives delivered via such information relays are more potent and reliable than any other.
- Searchlight - Searchlights are often fitted to vehicles so that the foe cannot use darkness as an ally.
Any Sydnonian Dragoon can replace their Taser Lance with:
- Radium Jezzail - Radium Weapons are so volatile that they eventually kill their wielders. Their baroque beauty belies a singularly vile function -- not only to strike, but to render the battlefield as deadly as the rad-wastes of Mars. Each weapon's bullet cylinder is so thoroughly bathed in radium that a volley can cause a localised rad-storm. Those inside such a storm soon find their flesh blackening and sloughing away.
Any Sydonian Dragoon may be additionally armed with:
- Phosphor Serpenta - Though the crawling horror of ancient Phosphex Weaponry is all but forgotten in the Imperium, the blinding white fire of Phosphor Weaponry is still utilised by Skitarii to mark out high-priority targets amongst the battlefield murk. If those struck by the burning spheres fired by these weapons are not killed by the initial trauma, they are soon felled by the light-guided volleys that follow.
- Codex: Adeptus Mechanicus (8th Edition), pp. 52, 81
- Codex Adeptus Mechancius - Skitarii (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 30, 33, 36, 61, 67