In the Warhammer 40,000 universe, the Ultramarines are considered one of the strongest and most powerful of all the Space Marine Chapters in the Imperium of Man, and were responsible for almost single-handedly holding the Imperium together after the Horus Heresy. Highly disciplined and courageous warriors, the Ultramarines have remained true to the teachings of their Primarch for ten thousand years.
The name "Ultramarines" is a nod to both their standing among Space Marine Chapters, as well as the overall colour scheme of the army; which also lends its name to one of the main paint colours sold by Games Workshop. They are loosely themed upon Ancient Rome, as exemplified in their names and their strict adherence to the Codex Astartes, and by their homeworld and method of recruitment.
The Ultramarines are unique in that, unlike their fellow Chapters, they control nine habitable worlds, rather than a single planet, star system or fleet. Collectively, these star systems are known as the Realm of Ultramar, 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-monastary.
Ultramar is located in the Galactic Southeast near the Galactic Rim. The Eldar Carftworld 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 remains strong.
The Realm of Ultramar
Macragge, the Ultramarines' homeworld, is just one of the eleven worlds in the Realm of Ultramar. The others are:
Konor: Adeptus Mechanicus Forge World
Calth: Cavern World
Espandor: Cardinal World
Iax: Garden World
Talassar: Ocean World
Talasa Prime: Inquisition Fortress World
Parmenio: Training World
The Primarch of the Ultramarines Legion, Roboute Guilliman, appeared without explanation on the planet Macragge, a rocky, inhospitable world in what would become known as the Eastern Fringe of the Imperium.
Guilliman’s arrival was a time of great portent for the people of Macragge. Konor, one of the two Battle Kings, received a vision of a mighty warrior fighting away the darkness. After leading an expedition to the site portrayed in the vision, Konor found a golden-haired child.
Naming the child Roboute, Konor adopted him, and was amazed at the speed at which the child learned. Roboute was put through the compulsory military training academies of the world; two years later he was considered the finest warrior on Macragge. Joining the military, he led a campaign to pacify the previously-unconquered Illyrium, the northern region of the planet. Within two months, he had both pacified and befriended the savage Illyrian tribesmen.
Returning from his successful campaign, he found his home city in a state of anarchy. Leading his troops to the Senate house, he organised details to bring the city back under control. Entering the building, and defeating a hundred soldiers in the pay of the rival Battle King, Gallan, he found his adoptive father had been assassinated.
With the assistance of the troops loyal to both him and his adoptive father, Roboute brought the city under control, captured and executed the leaders of the rebellion, and assumed the role of Battle King. As Macragge and the surrounding star systems flourished, the attention of the Emperor was attracted.
It was said that Roboute instantly recognised his true father, swearing loyalty to the Imperium and receiving command of the Ultramarines Legion in return.
The Great Crusade
Roboute Guilliman quickly assimilated the knowledge required for him to lead a Space Marine Legion, and took command of his Marines. His talents lay in the art of war, and he led his soldiers to victory after victory, liberating countless worlds from oppression by alien races and human tyrants ignorant of the light of the Emperor of Mankind, fighting in a way that caused minimal collateral damage, and winning over the hearts and minds of the people. Back on Macragge, the Ultramarines who had remained behind began construction of the Fortress of Hera, and oversaw the training and genetic modification of new recruits. The Ultramarines' efficiency and wide recruitment pool soon saw that the Ultramarines Legion swelled in size, becoming by far the largest of the twenty Space Marine Legions (while most Legions had around 10,000 members, the Ultramarines had in excess of 25,000). When the Emperor proclaimed Horus as Warmaster of the Imperium, Guilliman accepted the news without resentment, and Horus continued to seek his counsel. It is commented in False Gods, however, that Horus believed that Guilliman felt he deserved the honour of Warmaster just as much as Horus.
The Horus Heresy
When Warmaster Horus turned his back on the Imperium, swore his allegiance to the Ruinous Powers of Chaos and began the Horus Heresy, his first act was to lure away as many Loyalist Legions from Terra as possible. Horus ordered Guilliman to lead an expeditionary force to the Calth System, where, Horus claimed, an Ork Waaagh! was massing. On arrival Guilliman was puzzled: no Orks were present - the vessels in orbit were those belonging to the Word Bearers Legion. Unknown to Guilliman, this Legion had turned traitor, having gleefully accepted Horus' orders to close the trap on their hated rivals. The Word Bearers' sudden attack decimated Guilliman's fleet, and the Ultramarine ground troops quickly found themselves impossibly outnumbered by their former allies. The Word Bearers were slaying their Loyalist foes in droves and pushing them back over huge stretches of territory, and rejoiced. Unknown to them, Guilliman's starship, which had survived the initial attack, effected emergency repairs and regrouped with the other surviving Ultramarine ships in space. Having taken stock of his remaining forces, Guilliman sent an immediate distress call to Macragge.
The Loyalist Marines on Calth had been forced into a fighting retreat, but now occupied fortified positions. Many Ultramarines had been born on Calth, and proved more resolute than the Word Bearers anticipated. In space, Guilliman's vessels began hit-and-run attacks on their over-confident enemy. Guilliman assessed his ground troops' positions and broadcast clear, concise orders to each pocket of defence, coordinating them into a cohesive force. One Ultramarine force led by Captain Ventanus led a breakout and retook Calth's defence laser silos, aiding the sorely-pressed Ultramarine fleet. Guilliman's depleted forces slowed the Word Bearers down long enough for the remainder of the Ultramarines Legion to arrive and rout the traitors from the system. Bloodied but unbowed, the Ultramarines received Malcador the Sigilite's orders, and immediately set course for Terra.
Meanwhile, in orbit of Terra, Horus' allies delivered the fateful news. The Ultramarines, Dark Angels and Space Wolves Legions were only hours away from reinforcing the Emperor and his Loyalist defenders. Horus knew that his gamble had failed. What happened next is disputed, some believe Horus disabled his shields as he experienced one last moment of regret, and some believe it was a personal challenge to the Emperor. Nevertheless, Horus lowered the shields of his flagship The Vengeful Spirit, allowing the Emperor to teleport aboard and slay him, ending the Horus Heresy. The Emperor was mortally wounded in the exchange and interred in the Golden Throne later, leaving a dangerous void of power and authority in the Imperium. The Ultramarines did not arrive until after Horus' defeat, and they found Terra and the Imperium in ruins. Guilliman steadfastly refused to allow the Imperium to fall, and began dispatching his Legion to all corners of the galaxy to stem the tide of invasion and unrest as the other Loyalist forces recovered and rearmed. After a decade of intense fighting, stability was restored. To prevent a single commander having as many excellent soldiers at his command as Horus had, Guilliman reformulated the sizes of all Space Marine Legions to thousand-man Chapters, breaking apart First Founding Legions into the much smaller Second Founding Chapters. Never again would one man wield the power of an entire Space Marine Legion. The rationale and proper organization of Space Marine Chapters are the main topic in Guilliman's masterwork, the Codex Astartes.
After the Heresy
Roboute Guilliman continued to serve with the Ultramarines Chapter, leading them for a hundred years after the Second Founding. It was said that during those years, Guilliman led several incursions alongside his brother Primarchs against the remaining Chaos Space Marines. A source (Index Astartes) states that during one incursion, Guilliman faced Alpharius of the Alpha Legion and defeated him in single combat (though this may not have actually happened, as even the Ultramarines themselves do not support this story). The Ultramarines could not liberate the planet, as the Alpha Legion was adept at fighting independently, despite the apparent death of Alpharius; eventually the Ultramarines moved on. He was finally defeated by one of the Traitor Primarchs, Fulgrim of the Emperor's Children, who had become a Daemon Prince of Slaanesh.
Fatally poisoned by his one-time brother, Roboute was transported back to Macragge in a stasis field, and has remained entombed in the field for ten thousand years. Although physically impossible in a stasis field, it is believed that his wounds are healing, and one day he will awaken again.
The Tyrannic Wars
Some of the most notable events in the ten thousand year history of the Ultramarines are classified as the Tyrannic Wars, the Chapter's efforts against the extragalactic invasion of The Great Devourer, the Tyranids. During the latter half of the 41st Millennium, the incursions of the Tyranid Hive Fleets began to draw the attention of the Imperium.
Directly in the invasion path of the Hive Fleet codenamed Behemoth, the Chapter Master of the Ultramarines, Marneus Calgar, ordered the deployment of the entire Chapter's forces in an effort to stall Behemoth's progress. Facing defeat on all fronts, Calgar ordered the forces under his command to retreat for Macragge, to mass for one last stand.
Despite horrendous losses from the orbital and polar defence grids protecting the Ultramarines' homeworld, many Tyranid organisms were able to reach the surface of the planet. Intense fighting spread across the world, worst in the region of the northern polar defence installations, and while Calgar and the Ultramarines' fleet were able to destroy the Tyranid bioships, horrific casualties were suffered on the planet's surface and to the Chapter. In the end, the only survivors were Calgar, Cassius, Brother-Seargent Chronus and 12 tactical Space Marines of the 3rd Company. The entire elite First Company was wiped out to a man while defending the defence grids, and it took nearly two hundred and fifty years for the Ultramarines to rebuild the Company.
Since this time, the Ultramarines have become instrumental in the wars against other Hive Fleets. In response to the threat, and counter to the Codex Astartes, the 12 tactical survivors of the battle at Macragge were formed into elite, specially trained anti-Tyranid squads. These Tyrannic War Veterans make up the first and most powerful of the Chapter's reformed First Company, and are second to no other warriors of the Imperium because of their experience, training and upgraded Power Armour.
The Ultramarines Chapter follows the teachings of their Primarch and the Codex Astartes with a religious dedication. They follow the organisational format laid out during the Second Founding with strict devotion, only deviating from their Primarch's teachings when the situation leaves them no other choice (like the creation of the Tyrannic War Veterans).
Tyrannic War Veterans
During the first incursion of the Tyranid Hive Fleets, the Ultramarines were constantly fighting the extragalactic menace. The invasion of Hive Fleet Behemoth was halted at Macragge, in a series of battles that completely wiped out most of the Chapter.
Veterans of Tyranid conflicts are often grouped into elite units of Tyrannic War Veterans, also known as Tyranid Hunters. These units are specially trained to effectively fight the extragalactic menace. Currently, 12 members of the Ultramarines First Company are composed of Tyrannic War Veterans. Tyrannic War Veterans usually carry a bolter and a combat knife. Some carry close assault weapons like a multi-melta, flame thrower or a plasma gun. Sergeants carry chain swords and a bolter or a bolter and grenades.
Ultramarines Honour Guard
The Honour Guard are comprised of Ultramarines who guard the Chapter Banner. To become an Honour Guard, one must display courage that goes above and beyond the normal call in a given combat situation. They wear highly ornate suits of Power Armour and are each armed with an Axe of Ultramar, a powerful weapon forged by the Techmarines in the Chapter's Forge and constructed with rare ores excavated beneath the world of Prandium. Among those in the Honour Guard are two special individuals, the Chapter's Ancient (the bearer of the sacred Banner of Macragge) and the Chapter Champion (the mightiest Honour Guard who is armed with the Honour Blades, a matching set of master-crafted broadsword and poniard which he wields with deadly skill).
Like most Codex Astartes Chapters, the Ultramarines are divided into ten Companies of 100 Space Marines each. Each Company is led by a Hero of the Ultramarines, who - in addition to his Company command - is in charge of a particular aspect of the Chapter's logistics. The current Company commanders are as follows:
- First (Veteran) Company (white trim): Captain Agemman, Regent of Ultramar
- Second Company (gold): Captain Sicarius, Master of the Watch
- Third Company (red): Captain Ardias, Captain Fabian (temporary), Master of the Arsenal
- Fourth Company (green): Captain Idaeus (dec.), Captain Ventris, Master of the Fleet (title given to Lord Admiral Tiberius)
- Fifth Company (black): Captain Galenus, Master of the Marches
- Sixth Company (orange): Captain Epathus, Master of the Rites
- Seventh Company (purple): Captain Ixion, Chief Victualler
- Eighth Company (grey): Captain Numitor
- Ninth Company (blue): Captain Sinon
- Tenth (Scout) Company (no trim): Captain Antilochus, Master of Recruits
Note: Until 745.M41, Captain Ardias led the Third Company, but was seriously injured in battle by overwhelming Tau forces. Mikael Fabian was confirmed as the temporary successor captain before the Battle of Macragge against the Tyranids, and, with his Third Company, had success in the reconquest of the North Pole Fortress.
Note: Until 999.M41, Captain Lucius Idaeus led the Fourth Company, but died in battle on Thracia. Uriel Ventris was confirmed as the successor captain shortly after, but was exiled from the Ultramarines for failing to adhere to the Codex Astartes. He successfully completed his death oath and returned home.
Normally, Space Marines Chapters possess four or five battle barges but the Ultramarines can field ten as the Realm of Ultramar depended on them for sector naval protection rather than on a sector battle fleet of the Imperial Navy.
- 10 Battle Barges: Aeternus, Emperor Incarnatus, Adsidus, Seditio Opprimere, Lord Laomedon, Honours Fist, Faiths Pyre, Icon Of Faith, Imperator Rexelius, Infernus Iconus.
- 15 Strike Cruisers: Vae Victus, Iter Splendere, Fidelis, Internecio, Accipiter, Valin's Revenge, Garra de Macragge (Macragge's Claw) [The rest are currently unknown for namesake]
- 20 Rapid Strike Cruisers
- 75 Thunderhawks
The Codex Astartes holds the basis for Imperial cities, giving blueprints for certain buildings and road systems, and also issuing a standard outline for defences; the Codex also gives guidelines for keeping Imperial populations in line, prescribing social structures and PDF (Planetary Defence Force) recruitment techniques. Within the book is also the command structure for the armies of the Imperial Guard. Because of the Codex, armies can colonise entire systems and get to the stage of thriving cities with lightning fast precision and speed.
"Courage and Honor!"
The Ultramarines typically paint their Power Armour and vehicles a medium (Ultramarine) blue, and their symbol is an inverted white Omega. The Ultramarines also utilise black-and-yellow chevrons, usually on weapons such as power fists. They also incorporate the double-headed Aquila (the Imperial Eagle - especially seen in command and elite squads) in their armoury. They also have a gold (shining gold) trim on their Aquila. Their shoulder armour trim colour varies depending on the Company the Marine belongs to, with the First Company being White, Second; Gold, etc.
Apothecaries of the Ultramarines keep the blue armour but have their hands, shoulder guards and backpacks painted white. They have a white vertical stripe painted down the centre of the helmet. Warhammer 40000 Compendium (1989) pg 31 indicates that some Apothecaries have their armour white throughout with a blue shoulder pad (white trim).
- Marneus Calgar - Ultramarines Chapter Master during the 41st Millennium. He wields the Gauntlets of Ultramar, the weapons that the Ultramarines Primarch Roboute Guilliman had taken from a Chaos Warrior he slew.
- Chief Librarian Tigurius - Believed to have survived contact with the Tyranid Hive Mind and believed to be the strongest psyker in the Imperium, with the possible exception of Mephiston, the Lord of Death of the Blood Angels, Njal Stormcaller of the Space Wolves, and of course the Emperor of Mankind.
- Chaplain Cassius - Ultramarines Master of Sanctity, he is one of the oldest Ultramarines not contained in an armoured Dreadnought sarcophagus. He is the founder and mentor of the Tyrannic War Veterans.
- Captain Invictus - Former First Company captain. Led the combined Ultramarine, Imperial Guard and Titan Legion forces at the Battle for Macragge.
- Captain Agemman - First Company captain
- Captain Kruger - Force Commander of the Ultramarines during the events of Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate.
- Captain Sicarius - 2nd Company captain and Master of the Watch. Also led the Imperial forces on Medusa V. He is getting a special model for the 5th Edition Codex.
- Captain Fabian - 3rd Company captain, Master of the Arsenal
- Captain Uriel Ventris - featured in the novels Nightbringer, Warriors of Ultramar, Dead Sky, Black Sun, The Killing Ground, and Courage and Honour. Captain of the Ultramarines 4th Company. He is armed with the Sword of Ideaus, Lucius Ideaus being his predecessor and mentor. He was exiled from the Chapter for not adhering to the Codex Astartes after leading an Inquisitorial Ordo Xenos Kill Team into a Tyranid fleet to kill the Norn Queen. After destroying the daemonculaba on the planet Medrengard, home of the Iron Warriors, he and his veteran Sergeant Pasanius have now returned to Ultramar. After returning to Ultramar, Pasanius and Ventris had to undergo tests for their purity, and since then Ventris has regained command of the Fourth Company. His first mission upon his return was to head back to Pavonis and ensure that they were moving along correctly, when they engaged the Tau unexpectedly. The Ultramarines ultimately won, with Ventris adhering to the Codex Astartes for every engagement.
- Captain Galenus - 5th Company captain, Master of the Marches
- Captain Epathus - 6th Company captain, Master of the Rites
- Captain Ixion - 7th Company captain, Chief Victualler
- Captain Antilochus - 10th Company captain, Master of Recruits
- Chaplain Varnus - In the PC game Dawn of War: Winter Assault, Varnus is the Chaplain who leads the Ultramarine force to escort the Titan Recovery team. After the Imperial Guard come to his aid when his Thunderhawk transport crashes, he witnesses the summoning of a Blood Thirster, which mutilates one of his Marines. Enraged, Varnus charges out of his defenses and confronts the Greater Daemon in close combat, single-handedly defeating it. He later helps hold the line against the Necrons as the Titan is brought online.
- Captain Lysimachus Cestus - Captain of the 7th Company during The Horus Heresy, (Dec.) Was instrumental in the halting of the Word Bearers from all but destroying the Ultramarines Legion.
Background and Character
The backstory of the Ultramarines Legion takes many elements from the ancient Greek (particularly Spartan) and Roman societies, namely in terms of military organisation. They are portrayed as the pre-eminent, stereotypical Space Marines army, as they do not require any additional rules or supplements beyond the Codex. This portrayal has resulted in many players believing that the Ultramarines have no real 'character', an opinion recent changes have attempted to rectify, for example by introducing the concepts of "Honour Guards" and "Tyrannic War Veterans".
As the Ultramarines are one of the armies included with the boxed set of the game, there is a high proportion of new players amongst those fielding Ultramarine armies.
The Ultramarines dominion over the star systems of Ultramar gives these Astartes unparalleled contact with Imperial citizenry. Many sources (such as the Warriors of Ultramar series) suggest that this administrative role, and Ultramarine recruits coming from all across Ultramar, has led to an unusual level of affinity for the common citizenry. The Ultramarines regard themselves as protectors of the innocent, and not simply the Imperium's best warriors. This indicates the Ultramarines may be considered one of the noblest of Space Marine Chapters, fighting for not merely honour and martial pride, but to protect the lives of their own. In addition, they are willing to work with aliens from time to time, and even hold some respect for the Tau Empire and not stabbing them in the back after working together. (Examples: "Fire Warrior" Malbede, etc.)
The Ultramarines are a byword for courage and honour, and their warriors are justly held in the highest regard throughout the Imperium. Unlike many other Chapters, who control a single planet or fortress-monastery, the Ultramarines control no fewer than eight star systems from their homeworld of Macragge, the stellar realm known as Ultramar. It is from these worlds that the Ultramarines recruit their newest members, administer Imperial Justice and rule Ultramar with a just and disciplined hand. The Ultramarines' fortress-monastery – known as the Fortress of Hera – is situated in the highest peaks of Macragge, and it is here that the best and bravest of the children selected from the many training academies throughout Ultramar are brought to begin their training as Space Marines. Here, they will become the most feared fighting warriors of the Imperium – the Angels of Death, the Adeptus Astartes.
Roboute Guilliman, the Primarch of the Ultramarines, set down the foundations of the Imperium’s fighting forces ten thousand years ago in a mighty tome known and revered as the Codex Astartes. This holy work embodied all the Primarch’s military genius and set out precise guidelines for virtually every single aspect of war imaginable, everything from the correct conduct while marching to the precise execution of a planetary assault. But perhaps its most significant edict was the breaking-up of the First Founding Space Marine Legions into the smaller Chapters that exist today. No longer would one man control a force as powerful as an entire Space Marine Legion. Each Chapter would be broken up into a force of ten companies, roughly a thousand warriors strong in total. The Ultramarines have followed Guilliman's teachings since those days and are strict adherents to the words of their Primarch’s tome, and the organisation and combat doctrines of the Ultramarines of today are the same as those followed by the Ultramarines of ten thousand years ago. These tenets of belief have passed to the Imperial citizens of Ultramar and this stellar realm is as close to the ideal of a human Utopia as is imaginable in a galaxy defined by war.
Defenders of Ultramar
The Fourth Company of the Ultramarines has a long and glorious history, stretching back to the dark days of the Horus Heresy when brother Space Marines fell into the bloodiest civil war ever to tear at the Emperor’s realm. They have fought and triumphed against traitors, heretics, fallen Space Marines and vile xeno creatures, bringing honour and glory to their Chapter. In most recent times, the Company has faced some of its greatest challenges and met some of the most powerful enemies. All of which its warriors have fought and defeated with courage and honour.
The Fourth Company is known as the ‘Defenders of Ultramar’ – an accolade won in the Chapter’s earliest history, when Chaos Space Marines from the Word Bearers Legion attacked the Ultramarines towards the end of the Horus Heresy and drove them back to the very heart of Ultramar. It was upon the world of Calth that the final battle would take place. Famed for its orbital shipyards, Calth was a typical world of Ultramar. Its inhabitants were wealthy and generous, knowing little in the ways of want or fear. In many ways, theirs was a paradise, and as such it was not to last.
When the Word Bearers launched their attack against the Ultramarines, the strike against Calth was led by one of the Word Bearers’ greatest champions, the former Master of the Faith, Kor Phaeron. This mighty Chaos Champion swore to utterly destroy the planet, and was very nearly successful. From his personal battle barge, he directed a full-scale invasion of the Calth System. Calth's three sister planets were all destroyed, massive geo-nuclear strikes ripping them apart at the core. Calth's once gentle sun was laced with deadly metals and substances that increased the star's radiation output tenfold. (Within a century after the battle’s end, the final elements of Calth's atmosphere were burned off by its sun and the world left airless, its populace now dwelling in gigantic underground caverns.) Upon its surface, the Fourth Company fought the Word Bearers to a standstill. The Traitor Marines held superiority in numbers, weaponry, and brutality, but the Ultramarines would never give in. As driven as the warriors of Lord Kor Phaeron were, they could not dislodge the Ultramarines, many of whom had once called the planet home.
The war upon Calth was devastating and horrific. Ancient codes of warfare and martial conduct were broken and set aside by the Word Bearers as all manner of death and destruction was unleashed. The Ultramarines were stunned by the millions of Chaos Cultists the Word Bearers used as human shields and cannon fodder. The Word Bearers, in turn, had underestimated the tenacity and resolve of their hated foe. In the end, Lord Kor Phaeron was defeated when reinforcements from Macragge drove the Word Bearers from the surface of Calth. Kor Phaeron retreated all the way to the Maelstrom, a turbulent region of the galaxy where the Immaterium of Chaos seeps through into the material realm of the universe. The Ultramarines were victorious, and the leader of the Fourth Company, Brother Captain Ventanus, would one day set foot upon the shattered homeworld of the Word Bearers, symbolically capturing the abandoned homeworld of the Legion that had once threatened to enslave Ultramar.
Guardians of the Eastern Fringe
The Ultramarines have always held the eastern fringes of the galaxy against the forces of darkness that threaten the Imperium from beyond the Halo Stars, and the Fourth Company have an especial hatred for the alien invaders known as the Tyranids. Rapacious, extra-galactic predators, these relentless alien killers consume all before them in their quest for bio-matter to feed the ever-hungry biological factories of their hive queens. The first Tyranid Hive Fleet, code-named Behemoth, smashed into Imperial space in 745.M41 and descended upon Macragge in a flurry of talon and claw. Forewarned of the coming xenos danger by Inquisitor Kryptman, the Chapter Master of the Ultramarines, Marneus Calgar, stood ready to face the deadly aliens, but nothing could prepare his warriors for the sheer horror of what was to come. Commanded at this time by Captain Idaeus, the Fourth Company fought at the forefront of the invasion and were instrumental in the destruction of several of the larger Tyranid vessels. At last the invasion of Hive Fleet Behemoth was repulsed, but at terrible cost; the entirety of the First Company was wiped out defending the northern polar defences and many great heroes met their end. The Ultramarines had won the First Tyrannic War, but Kryptman assured Calgar that the Tyranids would be back.
With the destruction of Behemoth, the Ultramarines set about consolidating their hold on Ultramar. Many of their best and bravest warriors had fallen to the Tyranids, and with their strength thus depleted, many other alien and piratical raiders took advantage of this lapse in security and launched their own raids throughout Ultramar to sack worlds previously unassailable. Thus it was that the Fourth Company – which had been at full strength when the Tyranid fleet attacked – had come through the war with the fewest casualties, and were thus the first called upon to help liberate Vorhn’s World, a shrine world of the Ecclesiarchy in a neighbouring sub-sector.
The Ork Warlord known as the Arch Maniac of Cabela had seized the world, enslaving its population and defiling the holy temples of the Emperor. Such barbarity could not be countenanced on such a holy world and thus the Fourth Company was tasked with its liberation. Idaeus once more led his warriors into battle, using a combination of rigid adherence to the words of the Codex Astartes and an uncanny ability to adapt to rapidly changing battlefield conditions to circumvent many of the Ork strongpoints and destroy many vital elements of their defences. With much of their energies spent hunting down the Space Marine raiders in their midst, the Orks were unable to repulse the massed tank companies and regiments of the Imperial Guard's Jovian Hussars who overran the greenskins with a staggeringly low casualty rate. It was during the cleansing of Vorhn’s World that a young Space Marine named Uriel Ventris came to Idaeus’s attention. Descended from the legendary Lucian Ventris, who had died fighting the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Behemoth beneath the polar defence fortress one hundred and eighty years before, Uriel displayed an exemplary courage, even amongst warriors for whom heroic feats of bravery were the norm. Taking command of his squad when his sergeant was killed by an Ork warlord, Uriel displayed the qualities that would one day lead him to command the Fourth Company itself.
With the liberation of Vorhn’s World, the task was now to secure the borders of Ultramar, and upon their return from the victorious campaign against the Orks, Idaeus’s company joined their Battle-Brothers in securing the borders of Ultramar against further attack. For the next five years, the company patrolled the northern borders of their realm, running interdiction attacks and boarding actions against any and all raiders they encountered. Aboard the Vae Victus, an honourable strike cruiser commanded by Captain Lazlo Tiberius, himself a scarred veteran of the Tyrannic Wars, the Fourth Company destroyed over three hundred vessels and achieved the highest number of kills to add to the banner in their company chapel.
Over the next few years, between occasional returns to Macragge for obeisances at the Temple of Correction, where the stasis-sealed, mortally wounded form of Roboute Guilliman watches over his Chapter, the Fourth Company regained its strength and inducted many new members. Returned to full combat readiness, the company was once again fit for duties beyond the borders of Ultramar and in the Mereneas Core, the company was to earn the gratitude of the Adeptus Mechanicus when they boarded and destroyed the space hulk Flame of Iniquity, an agglomerated structure of scores of derelict spaceships that threatened a number of their Forge Worlds, giant, factory planets where much of the armed might of the Imperium is produced.
Following this success, the determination and courage of the Fourth Company came to the attention of Inquisitor Markhov, who was in need of warriors of such great skill. He petitioned Marneus Calgar for the Ultramarines' assistance in a matter of grave urgency. Calgar consented to allow the Fourth Company to be seconded to the Inquisitor’s service and Idaeus’ company was despatched to the world of Epsilon Regalis – a world later to be made infamous by the Witch Hunter Tyrus. Precisely what occurred on this world has never been made known, the events subsequent to the Ultramarines deployment on Epsilon Regalis having been sealed by the Ordo Hereticus. Immediately following this mysterious mission, the Fourth Company were involved in the eradication of several indigenous life-forms on the world of Horranveth to allow colonisation by an Adeptus Mechanicus Explorator team. Many among the Ultramarines felt that this was beneath them, but none dared defy their Chapter Master’s decree.
Following the purgation of Horranveth, the company was recalled to take part in the Balur Crusade, a mixed Chapter-force led by Marneus Calgar himself. A strong coalition of xeno creatures (identified as Tau, Kroot and Tarellian) had launched an attack into Imperial-held space and demanded that the inhabitants of the captured worlds swear allegiance to their blasphemous empire. Naturally, such naked aggression could not go unanswered and together with warriors of his own Ultramarines and from the Blood Angels, Marines Malevolent and the taciturn remnants of the Scythes of the Emperor Chapter, Calgar led the combined Space Marines army to swift victory, destroying the nascent xenos colonies and re-establishing Imperial rule.
Return of the Tyranids
The Fourth Company were to fight the Tyranids again on the world of Ichar IV when the Tyranids returned with yet another Hive Fleet, this time known as Kraken. Far from the battering ram of Behemoth, it appeared that the Tyranids had somehow learned from their defeat centuries before and attacked in a series of smaller, yet no less lethal splinter fleets – attacking across a much wider front. Many of these fleets were destroyed, driving the aliens to consolidate their attack on the industrial world of Ichar IV. Again, the Tyranid threat was met with courage and steel, the men of the Ultramarines fighting alongside hundreds of Imperial Guard Regiments and seven other Space Marine Chapters. The Fourth Company were again in the forefront of the fighting, with Idaeus and Uriel both awarded the Imperial Laurel for their heroism. Once more the aliens were repulsed, though the threat of Hive Fleet Kraken remained strong. The Tyranid fleet broke into a number of smaller fleets as it retreated from Ichar IV and it is known that many of these splinter fleets penetrated deep into the galactic core. Some even reached as far as Segmentum Solar though the massed guns of the Imperial fleet destroyed these without mercy. However, whether every one of these Kraken splinter fleets has been destroyed remains unclear.
Following the defeat of the Tyranids at Ichar IV, the Fourth Company was dispatched to the world of Thracia, where the rumoured involvement of the Night Lords Chaos Space Marines necessitated a force capable of meeting them blade-to-blade. Regiments of Imperial Guard pushed towards the planetary capital, meeting stiff resistance, but crushing all before it. As the campaign progressed, the Imperial lines became lengthy and strung out – all too easy to attack and destroy from the flank. Realizing this, the Fourth Company attacked the bridges that would allow such an attack, but in the process Captain Idaeus was lost, heroically sacrificing his own life to destroy the last bridge. Mourning his loss, the Fourth Company returned to Macragge, whereupon Veteran Sergeant Uriel Ventris was elevated to the rank of Captain.
Together with the newly appointed Captain Ventris, the Fourth Company set off on their latest mission; to escort Adept Barzano of the Administratum to the troubled world of Pavonis. On the eastern fringes, Pavonis had been plagued by piratical raiders and civil insurrection and upon the Ultramarines’ arrival, the planet was very nearly plunged into a bloody civil war between its competing industrial cartels. Captain Ventris and Adept Barzano (now revealed as an Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos) went on to discover that the planet’s troubles were at the instigation of a madman named Kasimir de Valtos who desired the release of an ancient and powerful C'tan Star God imprisoned beneath the surface of Pavonis for millions of years. De Valtos was thwarted, though the ancient being known as the Nightbringer was freed from its aeons-long slumber and set loose amongst the stars. Only time will tell whether its escape will cost the Ultramarines and the galaxy dear.
With peace and Imperial rule restored to Pavonis, the Fourth Company journeyed to the northern reaches of Segmentum Tempestus to the world of Tarsis Ultra – a world liberated by Roboute Guilliman during the early days of the Great Crusade and with a proud history of upholding the traditions of the Ultramarines. Ancient oaths of brotherhood bound the fate of Tarsis Ultra to the Ultramarines and when a gargantuan space hulk drifted in-system, Captain Ventris led his men deep into its haunted depths to destroy it from within. Buried deep within its structure, the Ultramarines discovered nests of frenzied Orks. And something much worse: Genestealers. The fighting within the hulk was amongst the fiercest encountered by the Fourth Company, but its warriors were able to fight their way clear of the hulk and watch its destruction from the bridge of the Vae Victus. But the victory was tinged with dread, for the ship’s Astropaths detected the forward edge of a bow wave of Warp interference – a phenomenon known as the Shadow in the Warp – which could mean only one thing. The Tyranids were approaching once more.
The Defence of Tarsis Ultra
With warning of the approaching Tyranid fleet given, the Imperial response was unusually swift. The Ultramarines contacted a brother Chapter of Space Marines, the Mortifactors, though they had diverged considerably from the ideals of Roboute Guilliman – embracing a culture of death worship. A fleet led by Admiral Bregant de Corte aboard the Argus was assembled, including many ancient and noble ships of war; the Sword of Retribution, and the Kharloss Vincennes to name but two. Imperial Guard soldiers from the Death Korps of Krieg and the Logres Regiments were shipped in and the local planetary defence forces trained by Sergeant Learchus using the methods of the Ultramarine training barracks. Inquisitor Lord Kryptman once again lent his expertise to the commanders of Tarsis Ultra as well as bringing an elite Deathwatch Space Marines kill team led by the justly famous Captain Bannon. As far as any world could be defended, Tarsis Ultra was as secure as it could be made given the time available to its defenders.
Battle was joined in the system’s outer reaches and though the world of Barbarus Prime was lost to the Tyranids, the first elements of their fleet were defeated. The advance of the Hive Fleet could not be stopped and Kryptman was forced to sacrifice the world of Chordelis – ordering the Mortifactors to virus bomb it from orbit before the Tyranids could assimilate its biomass. Despite fractures appearing in the Imperial alliance, the Tyranid threat was met with courage and honour on the surface of Tarsis Ultra, though the defenders were hard pressed to stave off the relentless attacks of the aliens.
Though many thousands of lives were lost, and a huge proportion of the Fourth Company slain, the Tyranids were once more defeated when Captain Ventris cast off the teachings of the Codex Astartes and took command of the Deathwatch Kill Team. He led them on a last, desperate mission to deliver a lethal gene-poison to the heart of the last remaining Hiveship. Having once served with the Deathwatch, Captain Ventris knew that this was where he could do the most good, and despite the grim warning from Veteran Sergeant Learchus that Marneus Calgar would hear of his flouting of the Codex, he set off on his mission. Through alien terrors and biological horror, the Deathwatch Marines and Captain Ventris were successful and the gene poison was administered to the Tyranid Norn Queen. Driven into spasms of uncontrolled mutation, the Norn Queen died and her death throes drove the slave organisms connected to it via the gestalt psychic consciousness of the Tyranid Hive Mind into paroxysms of self-destruction. The Tyranids were defeated, but like Ichar IV before it, the taint of the alien invasion would forever be impossible to remove.
With Tarsis Ultra secured, the Fourth Company gathered its dead and returned to Macragge, the hearts of its warriors heavy as they contemplated the cost of honouring their ancient debt. But something worse was awaiting the Fourth Company upon their return to their homeworld. Allegations of heresy awaited its captain and with it, the potential to strip the company of its honour…
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