The Realm of Ultramar, also known formally as Sub-sector Ultramar, is the feudal interstellar empire within the Imperium of Man's Segmentum Ultima that is governed by the Ultramarines Chapter of Space Marines and ruled directly by the Ultramarines' Chapter Master who holds the Imperial noble titles of Lord Macragge and Lord Defender of Greater Ultramar.
One aspect of the Ultramarines Legion that survived the Second Founding was the close relationship between those Astartes and the populations of the surrounding planets. During the Great Crusade the worlds around the XIII Legion's homeworld of Macragge provided young recruits for the Ultramarines. They also supplied raw materials, armaments and spacecraft. At that time, Ultramar was a vast stellar pocket empire comprising over five hundred worlds.
Although the need to recruit from these worlds diminished almost to the vanishing point with the reorganisation of the Imperium after the Horus Heresy when Ultramar was reduced to its present, far smaller size, the tradition continued. To this day, the Ultramarines recruit not from a single world, but from the whole sub-sector of their local space. This area around Macragge is called Ultramar, the stellar empire of the Ultramarines.
In the wake of the resurrection of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman during the Ultramar Campaign in 999.M41, one of his first acts was to declare the autonomy of many worlds that had once been a part of Ultramar but had broken away after the Horus Heresy to be null and void.
With his reclaimed authority as the Lord Macragge and Lord of Ultramar, Guilliman declared the restoration of what had been known during the time of the Great Crusade as the Five Hundred Worlds of Ultramar. When the Primarch left Macragge to pursue the Terran Crusade, he left Ultramarines Chapter Master Marneus Calgar behind on Macragge to serve as his regent and over the restoration of the full extent of his stellar empire.
After the Great Rift fractured the Imperium of Man in half following the 13th Black Crusade, Ultramar came under assault by the servants of Nurgle, the Plague God, who had decided to add the whole of Ultramar to his Garden in the Realm of Chaos. The worlds of Ultramar were attacked from within and without by Nurgle's forces, including an invasion led by the Daemon Primarch Mortarion and his Death Guard Traitor Legion. These so-called Plague Wars lasted for solar decades, until following the official conclusion of the Indomitus Crusade at the Battle of Raukos, Roboute Guilliman, now the ruling Lord Commander of the Imperium, finally arrived with reinforcements to aid his beleaguered home.
Arriving on Maccrage, Guilliman announced that he had made a grave mistake when he had allowed the official borders of Ultramar to shrink so drastically in the days after the Horus Heresy. Instead, he reestablished the ancient ruling Tetrarch Council for Ultramar, and tasked its newly-appointed Tetrarchs, including his Primaris Space Marine Equerry Captain Decimus Felix and the Ultramarines First Captain Severus Agemman, with beginning to expand the territories of Ultramar to include all of the star systems that had once comprised the Five Hundred Worlds.
The Primarch then launched a counterattack against the Chaos Space Marine and daemonic forces of Nurgle besieging the sub-sector. After cutting them off from their supply lines by retaking the Espandor System, Guilliman forced his brother, the Daemon Primarch Mortarion, to launch the bulk of his forces against Parmenio where the largest armoured clash in the Plague Wars took place.
Once the Ultramarines and their allies ultimately gained the upper hand there, Guilliman next struck at the final stronghold of Chaos in Ultramar, fighting his brother Mortarion to a draw on the "Hospital World" of Iax that had earlier been invaded by the daemonic legions of the Great Unclean One Ku'Gath the Plaguefather. In the wake of a titanic personal clash on the battlefield between the two Primarchs that left both wounded, Mortarion ordered a final withdrawal of the Chaos forces from Iax under the cover of a Virus Bomb assault that cleansed all life from that former Garden World to return to their base in the Scourge Stars.
Forged by the brilliant strategic mind of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman and the martial prowess of his XIIIth Legion, the Ultramarines, Ultramar was the jewel of the Imperium's border realms, over five hundred worlds torn from the grip of unspeakable xenos empires and the despots of Old Night.
Two centuries of disciplined and masterfully planned campaigning since the rediscovery of Roboute Guilliman had won the Ultramarines Legion an industrial base which rivalled any of the ancient strongholds at the Imperium's core, and this vast industrial complex supported one of the largest armies in the Imperial war machine, providing men and resources for the hundreds of regiments of the Excertus Imperialis raised across Ultramar, as well as the XIIIth Legion itself, one of the largest of all the Space Marine Legions.
Age of Strife
The world of Macragge is located in the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy. Macragge was a bleak but not inhospitable world, part of a decayed star empire of ages past that Mankind had inhabited for many centuries since the time of the Dark Age of Technology.
Its industries had survived the Age of Strife relatively intact, and its people had retained an authoritarian but cohesive society. It had remarkably preserved a number of antiquated short range warp-capable craft which could be utilised for near-stellar transit -- conditions permitting -- and its people had continued to build sub-light spacecraft even during the time of the most intense warp storms. This had allowed the people of Macragge to maintain contact with several neighbouring human-settled star systems, despite the storms' fury, and so retain a tenuous link to the rest of human space and the knowledge that it was not alone in the darkness.
After their mysterious expulsion from Terra, the twenty incubation capsules of the infant Primarchs came to rest on human-settled colony worlds throughout the galaxy-distant worlds that were inhabited by a wide variety of human cultures, and whether by fickle fate or cruel design, each world would provide a crucible which would temper the child into the Primarch they would become, be that hero or monster, tyrant or liberator.
The capsule containing the developing form of one Primarch fell upon the world of Macragge. The Primarch's capsule was discovered by a group of noblemen out hunting in the forest. They broke the capsule's seal to reveal a striking child surrounded by a glowing nimbus of power. The amazing infant was brought before Konor, one of a pair of Consuls who governed the civilised part of Macragge. Konor adopted the child as his son and named him Roboute.
The young Primarch grew unnaturally quickly and as he did so, his unique physical and mental powers became obvious to all. It is recorded that by the time of his tenth birthday, Guilliman had mastered everything the wisest tutors of Macragge could teach him. His insight into matters of history, philosophy and science astonished his teachers, while his recall was absolute and his ability to extrapolate accurate conclusions from fragmentary information was said to border on the inexplicable. His greatest talent, however, lay in the art of war, which was itself treated as a high and lauded science in Macragge's culture.
As soon as he had attended his legal majority, Roboute's foster-father Konor immediately granted him command over an expeditionary force sent to pacify the far northern lands of Macragge, known as Illyrium. In his absence, Guilliman's co-consul, a man named Gallan, had unleashed a coup d'etat against Konor -- a development far from unknown historically, if in this instance a surprise. Gallan, it transpired, had long harboured designs on undiluted rulership and had conspired with those amongst the wealthy nobility of Macragge who were jealous of Konor's political power and popularity, and also increasingly afraid of his preternaturally precocious foster child's future.
As Roboute and his army approached Macragge City they saw the smoke from fires and hurried to investigate. From citizens fleeing from the city, Roboute learned that troops in the pay of Gallan had attacked the Senate House with Konor and his loyal bodyguard inside. The rebels surrounded the Senate, whilst drunken soldiers roamed the city looting and murdering at will. Roboute hurried to his father's rescue. Leaving his troops to deal with the drunken mob, he fought his way into the Senate House. There he found his father dying of wounds inflicted by an assassin in Gallan's employ. For three whole days the Consul had directed the defence of the building, even as surgeons fought for his life. With his dying breath Konor told his son of Gallan's treachery.
Roboute crushed the rebels and quickly restored order to the city. Thousands of citizens flocked to the Senate House and amidst a wave of popular acclaim Roboute assumed the mantle of sole and all-powerful Consul of Macragge. The new ruler acted swiftly to crush the old order. Gallan and his fellow conspirators were executed and their lands and family titles taken from them. In the new order, loyal soldiers and hardworking settlers were granted rights where the oppressive aristocracy had once held sway. With super-human energy and the singularity of vision only a Primarch was capable of executing, the new Consul reorganised the social order of Macragge, creating a ruthlessly enforced meritocracy where the hardworking prospered and the honourable received positions of high office, and those who shirked the law or worked against the good of the whole faced draconian, but faultlessly even-handed punishment. The stagnated and uneven economy was re-ordered, technology disseminated rather than hoarded by the elite, and the armed forces were transformed into a powerful and well-equipped force. Macragge flourished as never before -- one people and one order, united under the unchallengeable rule of Roboute Guilliman.
The Coming of the Emperor
Around the time that the young Roboute Guilliman waged war in Illyria, the Emperor's fleet had reached the planet of Espandor at the outer edge of the network of worlds with which Macragge had maintained tenebrous contact. From the Espandorians the Emperor learned of the existence of Macragge and the extraordinary son of the Consul Konor Guilliman, and from what he learned he knew that this child could be none other than a missing Primarch. There have been some who have suggested that the Emperor's arrival at Espandor and the isolated region so far from the frontline of the Great Crusade's main spur of progress was no accident, and that by some arts he had perceived or had foreknowledge of what he would find. Regardless, what followed was certainly not foreseen. As the Emperor's fleet quickly moved on to Macragge, it was almost immediately deflected by violent warp squalls which had risen up to separate Macragge and a handful of nearby systems from approach. Thwarted by a power even the Emperor could not readily ignore, it would be something in the region of five standard years before contact could be successfully attempted.
In the years that intervened, Macragge had undergone a striking transformation. It was now a world of uniformity and order, prosperous and productive. Its cities had been rebuilt in glittering marble and shining steel, and the serried ranks of its armies were well armed and well equipped, and outfitting themselves now for operations beyond their own world. For even before the Emperor's arrival, Roboute Guilliman, it is said, had dwelt much on the ancient histories contained in the great libraries that he had confiscated from his world's deposed aristocracy, and the fragments he found there telling of the ancient domains of Mankind, and he had begun to dream of new horizons and new worlds to conquer, of a domain "beyond the sea of night" or to use the ancient scholarly form found in the texts --"Ultramar". By his will, he made it so and within their warp-sealed enclave, vessels from Macragge now plied regular and well-patrolled trade routes with local star systems, bringing raw materials and people to the flourishing world, while against some of its neighbours, short, victorious conflicts had already been waged to pacify the strife they had found there.
It is said that when the Emperor saw what his lost son had wrought, he was indeed pleased, and that he met with Roboute Guilliman without the dissembling that had been needed with those Primarchs he had found of more savage timbre. It is furthermore recorded that once Guilliman learned the truth of his origins, he immediately swore his fealty to the Emperor, who he knew was his true father, for he had already theorised correctly the purpose for which he had not been born so much as deliberately created. It was immediately apparent to Imperial observers that Roboute Guilliman possessed a powerful analytical intelligence, even when compared to the superhuman cognitive abilities of his peers, as well as a talent for statecraft and macro-organisation of staggering potential. Yet few could then guess what such talents harnessed to the Great Crusade would go on to achieve.
Ultramar was a blade at the throat of Warmaster Horus' rebellion. Left unopposed and given time to gather in strength, for the warriors of the XIIIth Legion and their oath-bound Imperial Army auxilia, Ultramar would form a bastion that could resist even the full might of Horus' dark hosts. Worse, with Ultramar intact and alerted to Horus' plans, any attempt by the Traitors to move against the core systems of the Imperium would see the forces of Guilliman sally forth to trap him between their defenders and their own vast numbers. Yet, if Horus could bring Ultramar to ruin and leave the warriors of the XIIIth Legion scattered or slain, there would have been no other Loyalist force capable of stopping the advance of his growing armies. That Lorgar found the breaking of his brother's realm to his liking is undoubted; the XVIIth Legion had suffered a humiliating rebuke at the hands of the Ultramarines years before at Monarchia, an insult that had apparently festered within the Legion and driven them willingly into heresy. Indeed, it is commonly believed that the plan adopted by the Traitors for the destruction of Ultramar originated in the twisted mind of the Word Bearers Primarch.
Battle of Calth
It is unlikely that the true architect of the Calth Atrocity will ever be known, and weighed against the innumerable sins committed by both Lorgar and Horus, the attribution of this one offence is inconsequential. What is known is that the earliest stages of the assault on Ultramar were laid down long before Horus arrived at the fateful worlds of Isstvan III, in the year 005.M31, with a series of orders issued under the seal of the Warmaster Horus despatching a number of Legions to campaigns in the furthest reaches of the Imperium. Of these, the Blood Angels were sent forth in their entirety to Signus, the Dark Angels to Tsagualsa and the Ultramarines received orders to muster alongside the Word Bearers at Calth, both Legions to be deployed against the Ork hold of Ghaslakh. Gathering at Saturn those of his Legion who had been embarked on Crusades in distant parts of the galaxy, Roboute Guilliman would depart the Sol System mere solar months before news of Horus' rebellion reached the Emperor's ears. The turbulent state of the Empyrean in those years would see the Ultramarines' main strength journey to Calth by a winding and obtuse trail which would also cloak them from all attempts by Terra to recall them or forewarn them of Horus' actions. The Word Bearers, delayed by the slaughter at Isstvan, would not arrive at Calth until the majority of the XIIIth Legion had already gathered, travelling a path of blood and ashes of their creation.
Though the Ultramarines would eventually prove victorious, they would not be afforded the luxury of reaping the fruits of their victory. In one final callous act, the Word Bearers somehow, and through inexplicable means, poisoned the solar winds emanating from the Veridia star. The surface of Calth, its atmosphere already grievously injured by the Word Bearers' bombardment, rapidly destabilising to the point that it soon became impossible for unprotected mortals to walk upon it. The majority of the population was evacuated into the vast subterranean arcologies in an effort to provide some shelter, however tenuous, from the fell light of the Veridia star. The second crisis brought to the Primarch's attention was at that time only partially understood, but already astrotelepathic messages were relaying desperate pleas for aid from all over the Five Hundred Worlds of Ultramar. The Traitors' assault on Calth was not an isolated event; other attacks were being reported across dozens of other star systems. In a moment of stark clarity, Guilliman saw what the Word Bearers had intended at Calth -- they had planned the extinction of the Ultramarines so that the Traitors could reave unopposed across those stars under his protection. In this they had failed, for while the Ultramarines had suffered unprecedented losses, the Legion had rallied and was yet a formidable force. Guilliman's vengeance would be terrible indeed, and well-earned. But here the Primarch's counsellors set their final piece of ill news before him. The Warp, which had been turbulent and capricious for the past standard year, now rose towards a storm of unprecedented fury. Worse, it closed in around the Veridian System and any vessels that did not leave within a few solar hours would be stranded there for standard years.
The losses inflicted upon the Ultramarines' fleet assets at Calth were crippling and hamstrung any effort to prosecute a war beyond the bounds of Ultramar. Such was the Ultramarines' desperation, missions to salvage the hulks drifting in orbit above Calth were quickly authorised despite the death toll such missions exacted in the deadly radiation of the altered Veridia star. Eventually, Guilliman took his leave of the once-bountiful world of Calth, the would-be jewel in the crown of Ultramar which had stood for so much that now could never be realised. Before the Primarch ordered the fleet to depart, the Warp closing in all about it, he swore to return to Calth and to deliver it from the Traitors. It would be many years and many battles, across five hundred worlds and more, before that promise could be delivered upon. But it would be delivered upon, for Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the XIIIth Legion and Master of the Five Hundred Worlds of Ultramar, had sworn it. Ultramar would endure.
With almost half of the Ultramarines Legion killed or put out of action after the Battle of Calth, and interstellar communications and travel disrupted by Lorgar's Ruinstorm, each planet was left to fend for itself. Some worlds were able to repel the invaders completely. On Astagar, a force led by Lucretius Corvo (later the founder of the Novamarines) managed to win the battle for the planet by destroying a daemonically possessed Warlord-class Titan belonging to the Word Bearers.
On other worlds, the Ultramarines destroyed the planet rather than let the enemy possess them. This occurred on Percepton, where an outnumbered Chapter of the Ultramarines subjected the planet to Phosphex bombardment, burning away both defenders and invaders who were unlucky enough not to evacuate in time.
The Furious Abyss
Kor Phaeron would put his own plan in motion to strike at the heart of Ultramar and destroy its core worlds while Lorgar and the Primarch Angron's World Eaters Legion tore through its outer rim. His Abyss-class Battleship, the Furious Abyss, was unleashed to destroy Maccrage, the homeworld of the Ultramarines, while the bulk of the XIIIth Legion was stationed at Calth. This mighty vessel would then join a smaller fleet of Word Bearers vessels in laying waste to the remaining core worlds of Ultramar. Fortunately, a small strike force of Ultramarines and Space Wolves boarded the Furious Abyss and were able to destroy it from within at the cost of their own lives. Without the support of the Furious Abyss, the Word Bearers attack on Maccrage and the core worlds of Ultramar ultimately failed.
Battle of Nuceria
Lorgar and Angron's main force did manage to conquer or destroy over 100 planets, including the world of Armatura which had been the Ultramarines' training world during the Great Crusade. Accompanying this force were the two other Abyss-class Battleships in existence as well as the Word Bearers and World Eaters Gloriana-class flagships. This campaign came to its climax on the world of Nuceria, Angron's homeworld, which saw the final major battle of the so-called Shadow Crusade. Guilliman and his motley fleet of 40 Escort and Cruiser class warships, patched together with whatever he could muster after the Battle of Calth, threw itself at the combined spearhead of the Word Bearers and the World Eaters.
Though the XIIIth Legion lost 12 of these vessels, they managed to destroy Lorgar's flagship, the Fidelitas Lex, by swarming it with their numerically superior fleet. The World Eater's flagship, by contrast, was subjected to an intense boarding action.
On the surface of Nuceria, the Ultramarines were pushed back and forced to retreat under the unrelenting pressure of two Traitor Legions commanded by their Primarchs. Although the XIIIth Legion ultimately withdrew from the battle, this marked the end of the Shadow Crusade. Lorgar considered the Ruinstorm to have been sufficiantly powered by the deaths of the Shadow Crusade and redirected his forces, along with those of Angron, towards the ultimate invasion of Terra.
Several of the other Traitor Legions invade Ultramaran space during the Heresy. The 25,000-Astartes-strong force of Night Lords that were one of the six splinter fleets escaping the Dark Angels following the Thramas Crusade attacked Sotha. Due to the superb strategic defence put in place by the Loyalist Iron WarriorsWarsmith Barabas Dantioch, the Imperial Fists Captain Alexis Polux, and the thousand-strong Ultramarines Aegida Company, this ended up being one of the most lopsided battles of the Horus Heresy.
The invaders suffered near-total losses and were forced to retreat as they learned that Guilliman himself was leading a retribution fleet to Sotha. Though the victory was only made possible due to the tragic sacrifices of Warsmith Dantioch and the Aegida Company, its survivors would later go on to become the Scythes of the Emperor Chapter after the Heresy.
In the outer reaches of Ultramar, the Death Guard would also launch probing attacks on the relatively undefended border worlds. Late in the conflict, the Salamanders Strike Cruiser Charybdis would find the corpse of another Abyss-class vessel in the extreme outer edges of Ultramaran space. It seemed to have been attacked by a large Ultramarines fleet and destroyed after it had been boarded and its Warp-Drive detonated by the intruders.
During the Horus Heresy, 120,000 Ultramarines died at the Battle of Calth. The losses for the Ultramar Auxilia were even more devastating, with its units suffering 500,000 dead at Calth alone.
The confusion and disorder following the Horus Heresy left the Imperium of Man weak and vulnerable. Many worlds remained in the grip of Chaos. Into this breach stepped Roboute Guilliman and the Ultramarines. Always the largest of the Space Marine Legions, the Ultramarines found themselves divided and despatched all over the Imperium in a desperate effort to stem the tide of invasion and unrest that followed the Heresy. Guilliman and the Ultramarines successfully held the Imperium together during a time of great danger.
Macragge was able to supply new recruits at such a rate that, before long, the Ultramarines alone accounted for more than half the total number of Space Marines in the galaxy, and few were the star systems where their heroism went unnoticed. Within a solar decade, order was restored to the Imperium following the campaigns of the Great Scouring. Even as the Ultramarines restored order, a new theory of warfare was emerging. Under the guidance of the Ultramarines' Primarch, the Codex Astartes, Guilliman's superbly written treatise on Astartes strategy, organisation and tactics, was taking shape. Its doctrines reshaped the future of the Space Marines and dictated the foundation for the Imperium's military strength and the ultimate survival of Mankind for the next 10,000 standard years.
In the wake of the Heresy, believing that Space Marines should no longer rule directly over large swathes of Mankind, Guilliman allowed hundreds of worlds in the Realm of Ultramar to declare their autonomy, until only a small core of 11 planets remained officially a part of what had become an Imperial sub-sector. At some point during this time, the Tetrarchy of Ultramar was disbanded, and after Guilliman's mortal wounding by the Daemon Primarch Fulgrim during the Battle of Thessala in 121.M31 and interment in a stasis field within the Temple of Correction on Macragge, the Realm of Ultramar came under the rule of the current Chapter Master of the Ultramarines Chapter. Thus would things stand for the next 10,000 standard years until Guilliman's resurrection in 999.M41 during the Ultramar Campaign after the fall of Cadia in the 13th Black Crusade.
The Plague Wars
After the birth of the Great Rift at the climax of the 13th Black Crusade fractured the Imperium of Man in half, Ultramar came under assault by the servants of the Plague God Nurgle, who had decided to add the whole of Ultramar to his Garden in the Realm of Chaos. Three star systems to the galactic north of Ultramar, the so-called Scourge Stars, were corrupted by the influence of Nurgle and its planets were transformed into staging grounds for the invasion of Guilliman's stellar empire.
The worlds of Ultramar were attacked from within and without by Nurgle's forces, including an invasion led by the Daemon Primarch Mortarion and his Death Guard Traitor Legion and the daemonic legions of Ku'Gath, a Great Unclean One. These so-called Plague Wars lasted for solar decades, until following the official conclusion of the Indomitus Crusade at the Battle of Raukos in 111.M42, Roboute Guilliman, now the ruling Lord Commander of the Imperium, finally arrived with reinforcements to aid his beleaguered home.
Mortarion's already large invasion force, bolstered by mutants and Chaos Cultists from the Scourge Stars, was accompanied by Typhus and his Plague Fleet alongside a Great Unclean One named Ku'Gath who led a host of 7 Greater Daemons of Nurgle called the "Plague Guard". Their strategy concentrated on taking and holding a few of Ultramar's major worlds such as Iax, Espandor and Konor. The Nurglites only launched smaller raids on the more minor worlds of the sub-sector, always withdrawing before any Ultramarines Astartes were deployed.
The Espandor System was the first to come under siege. All the worlds in the system other than Espandor itself fell to the Forces of Chaos; the Ultramarines bitterly contested Espandor Prime until they were later relieved. One of the Greater Daemons of the Plague Guard, Qaramas, lead this attack, and his partial conquest of the Espandor System prepared the way for the rest of the Nurglite invasion fleet to surge into Ultramar.
Iax was overrun by the daemons of Nurgle led by Ku'Gath as the bulk of the invasion force came to bear upon it. It had been converted into a so-called "Hospital World" earlier in the conflict to deal with the spread of Nurgle's pathogenic "gifts" across the sub-sector and was therefore susceptible to infiltration by the heralds of Nurgle despite its stringent quarantine measures. Iax would serve as the base of operations for the Nurglite conquest of Ultramar as Mortarion, the Death Guard and the rest of the Plague Guard ultimately concentrated their forces there late in the conflict.
Macragge suffered from bouts of Chaos-induced unrest as Mortarion led probing attacks on the Ultramarines homeworld. While this did not lead to any widespread destruction or damage to critical facilities, these incidents caused a drop in civilian morale and forced the Ultramarines Chapter Master Marneus Calgar to waste precious time and resources on peacekeeping missions and displays of force to shore up the morale and confidence of Maccrage's suffering civilians.
Typhus and his Plague Fleet overran and captured one of Ultramar's star forts. He was later directed by Mortarion to attack the Ultramarines training world of Parmenio.
Konor came under assault by the forces of the Death Guard, their objective to conquer the crucial system and use it as a springboard for a final attack on Macragge itself.
At the end of the Indomitus Crusade, Guilliman announced his intention to return to his home realm with thousands of Primaris Space Marine reinforcements and drive back the Chaos assault. First, he cleansed the Hive World of Ardium in the Maccrage System of its Death Guard occupiers. In the course of that operation he learned that Mortarion was using the ancient artefact known as the Hand of Darkness to craft Plague Engines that were re-animating the dead and turning them into Plague Zombies. Guilliman destroyed the Plague Engine on Ardium and freed the world from the influence of Nurgle.
His next destination was Maccrage itself, his ancient homeworld. He and his Astartes reinforcements, including the Primaris Marines, brought much-needed relief to the weary populace and defenders. After taking stock of the dire situation, Guilliman reorganised the Ultramarines and their mortal auxilia and launched a large-scale counterattack against the invaders. Several Ultramarines Successor Chapters also joined the fight at their Primarch's behest, their Chapter fleets engaging the Death Guard and doing their best to keep Ultramar's shipping lanes and supply lines to the broader Imperium safe and secure.
Guilliman first set his eyes on the Espandor System as part of what he named his "Spear of Espandor" campaign, because it served as the main supply line for the Death Guard invasion from the Scourge Stars. He retook each of the lost worlds in the system and destroyed the Plague Engines that were raising the endless tide of Plague Zombies on each of its worlds. After a ferocious battle in which the Ultramarines Chapter found itself fighting side-by-side with their Primaris Astartes brethren for the first time, the forces of Nurgle were routed from Espandor. Guilliman decisively ended the battle by slaying the Great Unclean One Qaramas with the Emperor's Sword and destroying the last Plague Engine in the system. The Espandor System had been cleansed of the taint of the Plague God and the forces of Nurgle were now cut off from their base in the Scourge Stars.
With their supply lines to the Scourge Stars cut, their Plague Engines disappearing and slowly eliminating the constant tide of undead reinforcements, and new Imperial reinforcements pouring into Ultramar with each passing solar day, Mortarion found himself on the wrong side of what had become a war of attrition. Guilliman had successfully cut the Death Guard off from resupply and would now proceed to cut their forces to pieces, one system at a time. With this in mind, Mortarion decided to throw all his remaining forces at a single target in the hopes of reversing the tide.
Maccrage was still too heavily defended for the forces of Nurgle to carry out a successful assault, so Mortarion decided that the Plague God's servants would target the Ultramarines training world of Parmenio. This battle saw the biggest armoured clash between the Chaos and Imperial forces during the war. The largest star fort in Ultramar, Galatan, attempted to provide support but was engaged by Typhus' Plague Fleet and was boarded by a contingent of Traitor Marines, leading to the death of the Novamarines' Chapter Master Bardan Dovaro in the vicious fighting. On the surface of Parmenio, however, the Ultramarines slowly gained the upper hand. Guilliman killed Ku'Gath's lieutenant, Septicus, and shattered his daemonic Plague Guard, an action that finally gave the Emperor's servants the upper hand in the conflict. With the campaign at last in hand, Guilliman turned to the hunt for his traitorous brother.
Guilliman then finally led a relief force to benighted Iax. Having not discovered Mortarion leading his forces on either Parmenio or Espandor, the Lord Commander of the Imperium was determined to hunt down his traitorous brother once and for all.
The climactic battle of the conflict took place on Iax, where Guilliman and Mortarion personally fought each other to a brutal stalemate amongst the ruins of the Hospital World. In the wake of this battle, as the Nurglite forces in Ultramar continued to lose ground on every front, Mortarion and the Death Guard were summoned back to the Scourge Stars, for Nurgle's outpost in realspace had come under assault from the forces of Khorne in what would become the War in the Rift, another campaign in the endless Great Game between the Ruinous Powers as they maneuvered for advantage against each other. The Death Guard withdrew from Iax under the cover of a Virus Bomb attack on the Imperial forces and Nurgle's remaining servants ultimately retreated from Ultramar, but the threat of a renewed attack from the Scourge Stars was now a persistent threat.
Ultramar at Present
Ultramar is unique amongst the demesnes of the Space Marines. Where other Chapters rule over a single planet, asteroid or, in some cases, a mobile Chapter fleet or orbital fortress, the Ultramarines have a far larger feudal demesne. Before the Horus Heresy, the Realm of Ultramar consisted of more than five hundred worlds, and was commonly referred to as "The Five Hundred Worlds of Ultramar" or the somewhat heretical "New Empire." These 500 worlds were all themselves divided into fiefdoms. The largest was the Ultramarines' homeworld of Macragge, with the fiefdoms of the worlds of Saramanth, Konor, Occluda, and Iax all varying in size. Before the Word Bearers' surprise assault on the world of Calth during the Heresy, there was talk of Calth gaining its own fiefdom due to its industrial output nearly rivalling that of Macragge before the Traitors destroyed its biosphere.
The fiefdoms of Ultramar were ruled by officials called Tetrarchs, similar in function and precedence to later Imperial Sector Governors, each an Ultramarines Captain or Chapter Master chosen for this position by Roboute Guilliman, the Primarch of the Ultramarines Legion. The Tetrarch would then choose both a military governor, an Emperor's Champion and his Honour Guard for his region of the realm. After the Horus Heresy, when the Space Marine Legions were broken down into smaller 1,000-man Chapters, the 500 Worlds of Ultramar were divided up and given over to the many Successor Chapters of the Ultramarines or simply allowed to become autonomous, as Guilliman found himself uneasy in the wake of the Heresy with the idea that Space Marines should rule over mortals as a type of governing caste. The Ultramarines Chapter kept control of the original political and economic centre of Ultramar, consisting of no fewer than 11 local star systems, each with its own worlds and governments loyal to the Chapter. All the worlds that once comprised the larger Realm of Ultramar in the region still share a common cultural heritage with Macragge, so it is not surprising that their styles of architecture, government, and societal traditions are similar.
For ten thousand standard years, this was the structure of Ultramar. Then, in 111.M42, after his return to Maccrage during the Plague Wars, Guilliman announced that he had made a grave mistake when he had allowed the official borders of Ultramar to shrink so drastically in the days after the Horus Heresy. Instead, he reestablished the ancient ruling Tetrarch Council for Ultramar, and tasked its newly-appointed Tetrarchs, including his Primaris Space Marine Equerry Captain Decimus Felix and the Ultramarines First Captain Severus Agemman, with beginning to expand the territories of Ultramar to include all of the star systems that had once contained the Five Hundred Worlds. This is a mission which has become even more crucial in the wake of the Plague Wars, as Ultramar now faces a continuing threat from the nearby Scourge Stars.
After the Horus Heresy all 11 worlds benefited from the Imperial reforms enacted by Roboute Guilliman and Ultramar's citizens remain disciplined, productive and loyal. As a result, Ultramar is a wealthy stellar empire within the larger Imperium that knows little unrest and no rebellion or heresy -- a somewhat unique distinction in the increasingly desperate days of the late 41st Millennium. The population lives in sprawling cities, but these cities are surrounded by extensive farmlands and seas that teem with fish.
Each of Ultramar's worlds are self-sufficient in raw materials and food. Trade between the planets is active, and each planet has its specialties and delicacies. Each world is balanced as a society and also as an ecosystem - although composed of primarily industrial worlds, Ultramar has none of the nightmarish toxic wastelands that are common phenomena throughout the human-settled galaxy. It is therefore little wonder that many system governors and planetary lords across the Imperium regard Ultramar with an envious eye.
Even without the presence of the Ultramarines, Ultramar was one of the most heavily defended sectors in the Imperium of the late 41st Millennium. Each world is protected by a nigh-impenetrable network of orbital defences and battle stations. The Ultramar Defence Fleet stands ever vigilant against pirate raids and enemy invasion. Meanwhile no fewer than six massive star fortresses -- with Galatan being the largest -- stand sentinel over shipping lanes and critical strategic positions, each a formidable bastion protected by Void Shields and possessed of enough firepower to destroy a moon.
Due to repeated Chaos invasions that began in 999.M41 such as the Invasion of Ultramar, the Ultramar Campaign of the 13th Black Crusade and the Plague Wars, as well as the ever-present threat of the Scourge Stars, Guilliman further bolstered the defences of his personal empire. Eight Primaris Space Marine Chapters created from the gene-seed of the Ultramarines' Primarch during the Ultima Founding were permanently stationed in the region at the conclusion of the Plague Wars, a new Chapter homeworld provided for each of them. Along with the Scythes of the Emperor and the Ultramarines themselves, there is now a force of 10,000 Sons of Guilliman ready to defend the Realm of Ultramar at all times.
The Worlds of Ultramar
Ultramar is the feudal realm of the Ultramarines within the greater realm of humanity that is the Imperium of Man. Its worlds do not pay the Imperium's tithes. Instead they contribute directly towards the upkeep of the Ultramarines Chapter. The rulers of the individual worlds of Ultramar are feudal lords of the Chapter Master of the Ultramarines. This is why the Ultramarines leader is also the Lord of Ultramar as well as the Lord Macragge, with all the rights and responsibilities that such titles entail. Just like other worlds in the Imperium, each world of Ultramar raises regiments for its own defence. Most worlds in the Imperium are obliged to provide regiments for the Imperial Guard when required, but Space Marine homeworlds are an exception. In the case of Ultramar, however, the Ultramarines rule so efficiently and are so prosperous that they maintain several hundred regiments ready and willing to join the Imperial Guard when the need arises. As a result, regiments from Ultramar have fought all over the galaxy, often in campaigns alongside the Ultramarines themselves. Each world of Ultramar also provides Space Marine recruits for the Ultramarines Chapter itself. Throughout Ultramar, proud citizens point to public statues of famous Ultramarines who were born to local families. Amongst the older aristocratic dynasties it is a matter of considerable esteem to send recruits to the Ultramarines. For a family to have provided a renowned hero, perhaps even an actual Master of the Chapter, is a great honour that brings considerable fame and status for many generations.
Ultramar is currently divided into five regions called Tetrarchs (north, south, east, west and center). Four of these regions are ruled by a Tetrarch appointed by Guilliman himself. Every region has a capital world where the Tetrarch resides, although each world considers itself under the rule of Maccrage. Each Tetrarch has been tasked with expanding Ultramar in the galactic direction that he governs.
- The northern region is based around the world of Konor. Its Tetrarch is Severus Agemman, First Captain of the Ultramarines.
- The southern sector is based around the world of Andermung. Its Tetrarch is Captain Portan of the Genesis Chapter's 2nd Company.
- The western region is based around the world of Protos. Its Tetrarch is Captain Balthus of the Doom Eagles Chapter.
- The eastern region is based around the world of Vespator. It had been previously ruled by a political entity known as the Sotharan League, but since the world of Sotha was destroyed by Hive Fleet Kraken Guilliman re-constituted what was left of the league around Vespator. Its Tetrarch is Decimus Felix, a Primaris Ultramarine recently promoted to serve as the Eleventh Captain of the Ultramarines and the former Equerry to Roboute Guilliman.
- The central region falls under the direct rule of Macragge and its regent, the Ultramarines Chapter Master Marneus Calgar. It encompasses all of the star systems in the heart of Ultramar with the exception of Konor, Veridia and Espandor, which fall under the remit of the northern Tetrarch.
The Ultramarines are unique in that, unlike their fellow Astartes Chapters, for ten millennia they controlled nine major habitable worlds, rather than a single Chapter planet, star system or fleet. Collectively, these thirteen star systems and the recent additions made to the realm by the command of Roboute Guilliman in the wake of the Plague Wars are known as the Realm of Ultramar, a sub-infeudated autonomous region of the Imperium of Man, with Macragge as the capital world. Macragge is a cold and rocky world with large, inhospitable polar regions, though certainly capable of sustaining human life. It is home to the Fortress of Hera, the Ultramarines' fortress-monastery. Ultramar is located in the galactic Southeast of the Eastern Fringes near the galactic Rim. The Eldar Craftworld Iyanden has been sighted in this sector and the expanding Tau Empire] is also nearby. Twice Ultramar has stood in the path of a Tyranid Hive Fleet and the Tyranid threat in the Eastern Fringes remains strong. The core worlds of the Realm of Ultramar in the early 42nd Millennium include:
- Andermung - Capital world of the southern Tetrarch.
- Calth (Cavern World / Civilised World) - Calth is an airless Civilised World whose inhabitants live in underground cities where the deadly light of Calth's blue sun cannot reach them. The caverns of Calth are constructed on such a huge scale, and with such grandeur, that they are as light and airy as any city of Macragge. Of all the local worlds, Calth is the most specialised, for although its people grow vast quantities of food in nutrient vats, they prefer to import most of what they eat from the neighbouring system of Iax. Calth is famous for its orbital shipyards, which provide the spacecraft used by the Ultramarines as well as civil and military craft for wider use in the Imperium. Calth was the site of a major battle during the Horus Heresy, in which the Word Bearers Traitor Legion attempted to destroy the Ultramarines to prevent them from reaching Terra in time to aid the defence of the Imperial Palace from the Forces of Chaos.
- Espandor (Cardinal World) - Most distant from Macragge is the world of Espandor, a planet of extensive forests whose major cities are confined to the westernmost of its two continents. Espandor is a secondary settlement whose people are the descendants of explorers from Macragge and hold considerable pride in their rugged existence. Tradition has it that Espandor was settled during the Age of Strife by traders blown off-course and subsequently stranded by Warp Storms. It is the least densely populated of all the worlds of Ultramar.
- Gantz (Forge World) - Gantz is the moon of Konor and an ancient Forge World that produced much of the Ultramarines Chapter's equipment. It was also the home of their allied Titan Legion, the Legio Praesagius, which had been devastated by the Traitor Legions during the Battle of Calth.
- Iax (Agri-World) - Iax is sometimes described as the Garden of Ultramar. Its climate and fertility have made it one of the most naturally productive worlds in the Imperium. The inhabitants have harnessed the planet's inherent verdancy, covering its surface with well-ordered farms and cultivated woodlands. There are no large cities on Iax, but many small towns dotted over the landscape, connected together by an efficient system of fast hydroways. The oldest and most urbanised area of Iax is the ancient city of First Landing, whose citadel has withstood the barrages of invaders over the centuries. Legend has it that Guilliman came to Iax many times, and that he treasured the world almost as much as his beloved Macragge. Iax served as a "Hospital World" for Ultramar during the Plague Wars, but was eventually overwhelmed by a daemonic invasion led by the Great Unclean One Ku'gath. Following the final battle of the Plague Wars between Guilliman and the Daemon Primarch Mortarion, Iax has been reduced to little more than a ruin in the wake of the Death Guard's use of a Virus Bomb to cover their withdrawal off-world.
- Konor (Research Station) - Konor is one of the founding worlds of the Realm of Ultramar and has long played host to a large population of the Adepts of the Machine Cult. It is currently the capital world of the northern Tetrarch. It was formerly an officially chartered Forge World of the Adeptus Mechanicus but now bears only the designation of Research Station due to internal Mechanicus politics. Its moon of Gantz is still officially recognised as a true Forge World. Konor shares a common culture with the rest of Ultramar, but technically is independent of the Lord of Ultramar's rule as it owes allegiance instead to the Fabricator-General of Mars. However, Konor often relies upon the Ultramarines for its defence and the products of its manufactoria are mostly intended for use by the Chapter.
- Macragge (Civilised World) - Macragge serves as the Chapter homeworld of the Ultramarines Chapter of Space Marines and the capital of the Ultramarines' Realm of Ultramar. Macragge itself is mostly bleak and rocky, with more than three-quarters of its land mass formed from mountainous upland almost entirely devoid of life. Macragge is famous as the site of the invasion of the Tyranid Hive Fleet Behemoth, which was repelled by the might of the Ultramarines at the Battle of Macragge. Macragge, the Ultramarines' homeworld and location of their fortress-monastery, the Fortress of Hera, and the great planetary capital Macragge Civitas, is just one of the 11 original worlds in the Realm of Ultramar. Macragge itself is mostly bleak and rocky, with more than three-quarters of its land mass formed from mountainous upland almost entirely devoid of life. The people of Macragge do not live in this inhospitable region, but the fortress-monastery of the Ultramarines is built here upon a craggy peak surrounded by impenetrable mountains. Within this mighty fortress, inside the vast Temple of Corrections, is the shrine of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman himself. This is where his body once sat before his resurrection in 999.M41 upon a huge throne of ornately-carved marble. He was preserved near death by a stasis field impervious to the decaying effects of time. This was once one of the holiest places in the Imperium, and thousands came from all over the galaxy to look upon the face of the ancient Primarch.
- Parmenio (Training World) - Parmenio is an Ultramarines Training World used largely for the recruitment of the Chapter's Neophytes.
- Prandium (Dead World) - Prandium once teemed with life. Settlers from Macragge established a colony on the planet after the Horus Heresy. Thanks to a mild climate and fertile virgin environment, the people of Prandium prospered. The planet soon become the most beautiful jewel of Ultramar, a planet of remarkable prosperity and an incredibly rich native fauna. Prandium was destroyed by Hive Fleet Behemoth in the First Tyrannic War. The lifeless planet is now reduced to bedrock, its atmosphere blown into space by the ferocity of the Tyranid attack.
- Protos- Capital world of the western Tetrarch.
- Talasa Prime (Fortress World) - Talasa Prime is the domain of the Inquisition's Ordo Xenos and serves as an Inquisitorial Fortress World. Talasa Prime is most notable for housing the headquarters of the xenos-hunting Deathwatch, the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Xenos. It is here that Space Marines are recruited from all different Chapters, trained and equipped as Deathwatch Kill-teams for service against the various alien menaces that lurk throughout the galaxy. The lords of Talasa Prime's Deathwatch keep their own counsel, though their wars against the Tyranid Hive Fleets and the Tau race have proved critical. The Watch Fortress also recruits, trains and equips Kill-teams composed from the Ultramarines, Scythes of the Emperor and Lamenters Chapters for service against the Tyranids.
- Talassar (Ocean World) - Talassar is a planet of storm-tossed seas and rocky islands whose single continent is known as Glaudor, which was the site of a major battle between the Ultramarines and invading Orks immediately after the Horus Heresy. This is the homeworld of the famed Ultramarines hero Cato Sicarius, commander of the Ultramarines 2nd Company.
- The Triple Worlds (Quintarn, Tarentus and Masali) (Agri-Worlds) - These small planets of the Masali System form a triple world combination orbiting around a common centre of gravity much like Terra and Luna. Gigantic horticultural cities cover hundreds of square miles, capturing precious water in wind traps and storing it in massive underground tanks. The cities of the Three Planets are enclosed by gigantic domes under which flourish forests and gardens as lush as any in Ultramar.
- Vespator - Capital world of the eastern Tetrarch.
- Chapter Approved (2003), "Using Deathwatch Kill Teams in Warhammer 40,000," pg. 75
- Codex: Space Marines (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 21
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 12-15
- Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition), pp. 11-15
- Dark Imperium (Novel) by Guy Haley, Chs. 3, 10, 17, 20
- Gathering Storm - Part Three - Rise of the Primarch (7th Edition), pp. 4-47
- The Horus Heresy - Book Five: Tempest (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 10-11, 15-17, 75-79, 145
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (5th Edition), pg. 117
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (8th Edition), pp. 154-159, 167
- White Dwarf 306 (UK), "Chapter Approved: Deathwatch Kill-Teams," by Graham McNeill, pg. 30
- Know No Fear (Novel) by Dan Abnett, pp. 24-24, 65-66
- Unremembered Empire (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Deathfire (Novel) by Nick Kyme
- The Chapter's Due (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- The Citadel Journal 41, pg. 29
- The Laurel of Defiance (Short Story) by Guy Haley
- Defenders of Ultramar (Graphic Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Eye of Vengeance (Audio)
- War Zone Ultramar
- Regimental Standard - The Five Wonders of Ultramar