- "If you can see us, we are dangerous indeed. But that is as nothing to the peril you face if you cannot see us, and all you can hear is our laughter."
- — White Scars proverb
Known and feared throughout the Imperium of Man for their highly mobile way of war, the White Scars are considered the masters of the lightning strike and hit-and-run attack and are particularly adapted to the use of the Astartes Assault Bike as their mechanical steeds and their forces contain an unusually large number of Bike Squads compared to other Chapters.
Bearing the ritual scars of bravery, these fierce warriors fight with all the tribal savagery that define the fierce steppe nomads of their homeworld Mundus Planus, known to them as Chogoris, bringing swift death to all of the enemies of the Imperium.
The fierce, honour-scarred Battle-Brothers of the White Scars Chapter are the inheritors of the Vth Space Marine Legion. Recruited from the most savage nomad tribes of the Feral World of Chogoris, the White Scars fight in the manner of the nomaid warriors of the steppes.
Mounting lightning assaults utilising the fastest of vehicles, the White Scars descend upon their foes in an unstoppable torrent, their hearts filled with savage joy and the battle cry "For the Emperor and the Khan!" on their lips.
The Primarch of the White Scars was the mighty Jaghatai Khan, the first and only warrior to have risen to such power that he could unite every one of the wild tribes of the Chogorian steppes into a single body. He achieved all this before the time when the Great Crusade reached Chogoris and the Primarch was re-united with his father.
The young Jaghatai rose quickly to command the tribe that had adopted him, and by the strength of his rhetoric as well as his arm, he united the clans against their murderous city-dwelling oppressors of the Palatine empire. The steppes are said to have run red with blood as warriors united under Jaghatai's black horsehair banner and avenged every wrong ever done to them.
The cities were destroyed and their armies set to the sword, until finally, all of Chogoris belonged to the tribes of the steppes. Mere solar months later, the Great Crusade reached Jaghatai's new-won kingdom, and upon setting eyes upon his father he knew that here was a man who shared his vision of human unity. Jaghatai understood that a far greater prize than any he could have imagined lay before him -- the reunification of the entirety of Mankind.
The ranks of the Vth Legion were swelled by the intake of warriors inducted from Jaghatai Khan's fierce army, the Legion inheriting the traditions of the Chogorian steppes nomads. Soon, the savagery of the tribes had bred itself into the Legion's gene-seed too, but it was tempered by the fierce sense of honour and justice embodied so perfectly by the Legion's Primarch.
The White Scars fought with valour and determination throughout the Great Crusade, though the years immediately preceding the Horus Heresy were spent mired in a campaign against an Ork Empire centred on the Chondax System.
It was at the climax of this gruelling war that word arrived of the Warmaster Horus' treachery, and Rogal Dorn bade his brother Jaghatai to join with the Space Wolves of Leman Russ and return to Terra in preparation for the Traitors' assault.
Anticipating such a move, the Warmaster despatched the Alpha Legion to engage the Space Wolves. Jaghatai was faced with the dilemma of aiding his brother Russ or answering Dorn's request.
Forced to choose between his duty to his brother and duty to the Imperium, Jaghatai chose the latter, though the choice was far from easily made.
The White Scars arrived at Terra in time to stand before the Traitors, though countless of their number gave their lives to thwart he who would undo the great work of the Master of Mankind.
History recorded little of the Great Khan's actions during the Siege of Terra, but it is known that his Legion ranged the once-proud thoroughfares of Terra engaging the Traitors in punishing hit-and-run strikes, and that when the end finally came, the White Scars emerged from the fires of the galactic civil war bloodied, but alive.
They must surely have been at the forefront of the Legions that pursued the defeated Traitors to the Eye of Terror during the Great Scouring that followed the Heresy, for to this day the White Scars rarely allow a defeated foe to slip away once their blood is up.
In the wake of the Long Night of the Age of Strife and the Unification Wars of Terra in the late 30th Millennium, the Emperor of Mankind sought to unite all of humanity under one banner and end inter-human conflict.
The Emperor hoped to ensure human domination of the Milky Way Galaxy, a conquest He judged necessary if Mankind was to survive the never-ending threats to its existence embodied by Chaos, the myriad hostile xenos races and its own fragile human nature.
In time, when the Emperor's eye first began to fall beyond Terra, He began to raise new armies to fight His Great Crusade. He drew these new troops in part from the forces that had already unified Terra during the Unification Wars of the late 30th Millennium.
To carry out the Great Crusade and reunite all the scattered colony worlds of Mankind beneath the single banner of the Imperium of Man, the Emperor created the genetically-enhanced superhuman warriors of the Space Marine Legions.
These forces would serve as the speartip of His Great Crusade that began in ca. 798.M30, bringing the light of the Imperial Truth and enforcing Imperial Compliance with the new regime on every human world encountered.
Lords of War
To each of His Legions, the Emperor bestowed a genetic legacy that would mould them into a set role, making each a matchless tool for the prosecution of that role.
The Vth Legion were the pathfinders of the Great Crusade, ever in uncharted territory and far from the borders of the expanding Imperium, and oft-forgotten by the chroniclers that followed in conquest's wake.
Organised into small, mobile units, the Vth Legion ran before the armies of the Emperor during the final conquests on Terra, and then across the stars, sowing confusion and death in their wake.
They were the swift blade that probed for weakness before a sudden and deadly strike, not the sledgehammer that some of their brother Legions had become. A subtle and deadly weapon in the hands of a master strategist, the Great Khan, Jaghatai, would come to forge these outcasts of the Legiones Astartes into a force that would overturn the scales of destiny itself.
As the dark days of the Horus Heresy unfolded, these unpredictable warriors were doubted by many, their loyalty questioned by those who should have been allies and assumed by those who would become enemies. Often the first Legion into the wilds at the edge of those few star charts to survive the Long Night of the Age of Strife, the White Scars had ever operated without the support of their brethren and rarely acted in concert with the other Legions.
Where their brother Legions built legacies of trust and accumulated interlinked webs of treaties and oaths of support between them, the White Scars remained separate. What had at first been a matter of strategy soon became a tradition, one that saw the Vth Legion become a solitary and reclusive force, renowned for their independence and wilful nature even among the Astartes.
Such was their reputation at the outset of the Horus Heresy, that those who sought to rule the Imperium, be they emperor or tyrant, eyed the Legion as a prize to be won and leashed to their ambitions, a fulcrum upon which to lever Mankind's civil war in their favour.
Terra's Forgotten Sons
As with much of the old lore regarding the Vth Legion, their earliest days and first campaigns are overlooked by many, obscured by time, blood and the reticence of the Legion itself. Yet in these beginnings can be seen the shadow of the Legion's future. Even from their inception, the Vth Legion were held apart from their brothers, rarely found in massed ranks among the assembled hosts of the Unification Wars, yet they were one of the first Legions to draw blood in the name of the Emperor.
Taken first from the technomadic tribes of the Thulean Basin, whose hardy stock had traversed those icy wastes in vast mechanised crawlers throughout the long years of the Age of Strife, and later from the wider stock of Terran recruits drawn from all racial and geographic origins, these would account for the minority of members by the time of the Ullanor Crusade on the cusp of the 31st Millennium.
The warriors of the Vth Legion were the Unification's eyes and ears. While some of the earliest Legions, such as the XVI Legion, were committed to the frontlines of the initial conquest alongside the Emperor's Thunder Warriors, the Vth Legion was granted the solitary duty of seeking out the hidden fastnesses of the many gene-wrought demagogues and warlords that ruled the war-ravaged face of Old Earth.
In those earliest days, the Legion numbered only a few hundred warriors, and often operated in small cadres ofless than a dozen. The operations to which they were assigned put the posthuman physique of the Emperor's Space Marines to test in a way quite unlike the battlefield hell that awaited their fellows.
Ever on the move, and far beyond the borders of the Emperor's ever-growing dominion, the Vth Legion endured the worst of the destruction wrought on Old Earth during the ravages of the Age of Strife, braving a landscape so twisted and broken by rad-phage, war and psy-plagues that mere humans could not have survived its touch.
Roving far and wide, it was these warriors of the Vth Legion who charted the course of the Emperor's rise, surviving where few others could have, running ahead of the massed armies of Unification and seeking out the enemies in its path.
Where they encountered mighty warlords and decadent empires that had stood against Old Night, they prowled the borders seeking the opportunity to strike, and where they encountered weakness, they left behind only corpses. By the time the main Legions of proto-Astartes and Thunder Warriors arrived, their foes were weakened and distracted by the work of the Vth Legion, made easy prey for the armies of Unification.
It was a task to which its early recruits were well-suited. The clansmen of the Thulean Basin had survived in the frozen salt-wastes of the north for centuries, fiercely independent and stoic but with a deep well of inventive cunning. Passing through the terror of Old Night by cutting themselves off amid the sub-zero wastelands of Thule in the far north, they well-understood the cruel dictates of survival. These were far more than superb killers, as their heritage as machine-smiths and expert survivors was carried across to the earliest Legion cadres.
Once bent to the Emperor's will, they proved fine stock for His pathfinders, though many noted their wilful nature, their commanders prone to ignoring any orders save those of the Emperor or another commander who had earned their respect. This is likely another example of the Emperor's grand plan in action, some element of His foresight identifying some need for that very trait, despite the protest it raised among certain of His generals and advisers.
Despite the ire caused by their insular nature, few could doubt the ability of these warriors, who soon gathered a measure of acceptance within the grand armies of Unification for their fortitude and shrewd intelligence.
Yet it was a task without glory. They operated for Terran years at a time far from the centre of the conflict. Once the Vth had finished their bloody work in drawing out the enemies of the Emperor, charting their strongholds and leaving them weak, the other Legions marched forth to bring them to battle and defeat while the Vth moved on.
Few battle honours from the wars of Unification record the sacrifice of the Vth Legion, and few now living know of the "Star Hunters," as the first of these companies was known, and the daring raid they launched on the Albian fortress of Dubris, paving the way for the initial invasions of that land, or the 83-day battle in the black catacombs of Kadiru, a key fortress in the Yndonesic domain of Ursh.
Such hidden heroics were forgotten in the face of the public conquests carried out by the other Legions. Few within the Vth Legion showed any sense of outrage at this subtle slight, even taking a quiet pride in the silent role they played, but it served to isolate them among the ranks of the Legiones Astartes. They became, by circumstance and by choice, outsiders among the Emperor's elite, more at home in the wilds, where they followed no dictate but their own than at the heart of battle, subject to the whims of generals for whom they felt little kinship.
As the Emperor consolidated His hold on Terra and the surrounding worlds, the Vth Legion was among the first of His hosts to depart the Sol System, shattered into a hundred companies, each a tiny Legion of its own. These Pioneer Companies were each dispatched to follow those Warp currents that flowed strongly in the aether about Sol, seeking out the lost worlds of Mankind and charting the strongholds of alien empires.
It was the Pioneer Company of Captain Kornelius Dure, following one of the few Warp currents known to the infrequent travellers that ventured out from Terra, that surveyed the Mining World of Cthonia, with his now infamous report that the world was "...a nest of serpents coiling in the dark that we would be better to destroy."
Horus was known to have later remarked upon this report on his homeworld with some humour, and indeed favoured Captain Dure and his company, often requesting their assignment as pathfinders for his fleet. Indeed, as with a number of other orphaned Legions, Horus, alone among the great generals of that age, made a particular point of recognising the Pioneer Companies of the Vth Legion and in return the Terran veterans of the Vth Legion treated Horus with a respect that they granted few others.
For over half a Terran century, the Vth Legion fought a lonely piecemeal crusade, each of its companies separated by such a distance that each fleet slowly began to lose any sense of unity with its brethren. Once again, their heroics beyond the borders of the Emperor's ever-expanding domain garnered little praise or attention amongst the lords of the Imperium.
Here, in these largely forgotten years, was the basis of the White Scars' mastery of hit and run warfare established by the necessity of their mission. They were rarely more than one thousand against the dark empires beyond the edge of the maps, the brave few standing against the terrors of the outer dark far from aid and succour.
They struck without warning, raiding and killing, drawing out the foe and testing its defences and tactics, always watching and learning -- broadcasting the knowledge won with the blood of their brothers so that the Expeditionary Fleets could bring the Emperor's wrath down upon the enemies of Mankind.
In those early days, the Legion lived by one credo: each new day is a victory. Survival against impossible odds was the challenge they faced, one they defeated with a cold pragmatism and willingness to sacrifice everything in the name of victory. Each battle cost them a little more, one more brother dead or one more war machine damaged beyond repair, and as they fought further into the outer reaches of the galaxy, they found fewer and fewer chances to recoup their losses.
Slowly and surely the Vth Legion was being eroded by the pressures of war and their own stubborn dedication to prosecuting it in their own way. To the warriors of the Vth, who had always been forced to struggle in the shadow of their brother Legions, the idea of asking for aid tasted worse than the ashes of their own demise.
To live and die in a manner of their own choosing seemed the better choice. Were it not for the sudden discovery of the lost Primarch of the Vth Legion, an event unlooked for after fifty Terran years of searching, the Legion might have fought on to extinction. Instead, they were transformed.
The Khan of Khans
Scattered across the galaxy through the Warp from the Emperor of Mankind's secret gene-laboratory beneath the Himalazian (Himalayan) Mountains of Terra along with the 19 other Primarchs by the machinations of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos, the gestation capsule of the special child later known as Jaghatai Khan was deposited on the vast steppe-lands of the fertile Feudal World sometimes listed on older Imperial star charts as Mundus Planus.
The inhabitants of Mundus Planus, who knew the world as "Chogoris" rather than by its official (and overly literal) High Gothic name, had managed to struggle back from the terrible destruction of the Age of Strife to a pre-industrial level of technology.
The dominant Chogorian culture was technologically analogous to that of the Renaissance period of the 2nd Millennium in ancient Terran history by the time of the Great Crusade in the late 30th Millennium, having just rediscovered how to incorporate gunpowder into the weapon systems of its armies. Most of Mundus Planus was under the rule of an organized feudal aristocracy, led by a monarch known as the Palatine.
Jaghatai was discovered just after his arrival on the world as an infant by Ong Khan, the chieftain or Khan of a small Chogorian nomadic tribe called the Talskars, who adopted the extraordinarily beautiful infant into his family, foreseeing that he would one day become a great warrior unlike any other the steppe-lands had ever known.
Jaghatai's adoptive father and his Keshig was later killed by another of the tribes inhabiting the Chogorian steppes, most often identified as the Kurayed. This was an act which in the nomad culture of Chogoris demanded retaliation. Already the greatest warrior in the Talskar tribe, despite his young age, Jaghatai led many Talskar warriors in vengeance against the Kurayed.
In years gone past, the son of a fallen Khan would have set out on his own murder-raid, slain some few of the rival clan's own warriors or driven off their prize horses, perpetuating the endless cycle of the feud. Jaghatai chose a different path and in a single night of blood and slaughter he put an end to both the feud and the Kurayed, leaving not one of that kindred alive. He razed the enemy village to the ground, killed every inhabitant, and took the Kurayed chieftain's head to mount above his own tent.
His reputation as a warrior of surpassing cruelty and skill, but little mercy, was born from this act, spreading across the "Empty Quarter," as the rugged and sparsely inhabited western plains were known.
Following this victory, Jaghatai was elected as the Khan of the Talskars, in the process swearing to unite the tribes of the steppes and bring an end to the internecine tribal warfare that dominated their lives.
The young Khan pursued a campaign of subjugation among his own people, attacking each tribe in turn and offering them a simple choice: death or life under his rule. Having heard of the ruin he had made of the Kurayed, there were few who chose to oppose him and, in his wisdom, Jaghatai treated those who submitted freely with honour, raising many up to his Keshig to fight at his side.
Each tribe Jaghatai and his warriors defeated had protions of its population integrated into the Talskar tribe. Jaghatai utilised his military talents and the sheer force of his superhumanly charismatic personality to win himself many followers. He made military service with his army mandatory among the Chogorian steppe tribes, and combined warriors of various tribes into mixed units, to break up previous associations and to create a common loyalty among them based in the foundation of their allegiance to him rather than their tribe.
In a similar fashion, the tribes themselves were consolidated, merged together or split apart in order to foster unity and end the feuds that had kept them at each other's throats for Terran centuries. Jaghatai's own Keshig and Talskar tribe he filled with men and women of talent from across the plains, promoting ability and loyalty to the whole over bloodlines and old rivalries, and within the span of a few short solar decades, the nomadic tribes were unified under his control, naming him the Khan of Khans or "Khagan."
Jaghatai's abilities enabled him to weld together a coalition of the steppe tribes to battle a Chaos Cult whose foul power was spreading throughout the main continent of Chogoris. In the final battle, he led 10,000 steppe warriors on horseback in a gallant charge against the cultists and their crude black powder cannons. Despite horrendous losses, the Chogorian tribes' charge smashed the enemy. The tribesmen pursued the cultists, butchering every one of them as they tried to flee.
Since before any elder of the nomadic tribes could remember, one empire had ruled much of Chogoris, an empire of tall cities and proud princes that lay far to the east of the Empty Quarter. The lands of the horse nomads, barren and inhospitable as they were, had always been beneath its notice, save as a hunting ground for bored nobles seeking to slake their bloodlust.
Ten Terran years later after uniting all the tribes of the Empty Quarter, Jaghatai was caught in an avalanche. He was discovered by the son of the Palatine, the ruling emperor of the eastern empire's nobility, who like many Chogorian nobles had taken to the sport of capturing an Empty Quarter tribesman and hunting him through the mountains.
The exact course of events is unknown, but it was said that only a single man of the hunting party returned, bearing the head of the Khagan's son along with a message for that ruler. "The people of the steppes are yours no longer."
The enraged Khagan gathered his army and marched west with his disciplined heavy infantry and armoured lancers, to engage the wild horse tribes of the Empty Quarter in combat, but was soundly defeated in a battle that lasted a day and a night.
Heavily armoured in mail and plate armour, and accustomed to engaging in decisive melee combat with other heavy cavalry and heavy infantry forces supported by light infantry arquebusiers, the Palatine's pike-and-shot army was no match for the light cavalry and relentless bowfire of Jaghatai's forces. The Khan of Khans met the Palatine with the full muster of the tribes and destroyed his army, making full use of the mobile tactics and speed he would later use to mould the White Scars.
The Palatine barely escaped capture, but was eventually killed as Jaghatai's army flowed into the lands once held by the Palatine's aristocracy, either conquering or destroying everything in their path. The victory over the Palatine was the first step along a path of conquest that would see Jaghatai crowned ruler of the entire world of Chogoris.
He prosecuted the same strategy that he had employed among the horse tribes, but on a grander scale. To each city and nation his undefeated armies encountered he offered his choice, to serve or to die, and with each victory and submission his power grew. With cruelty in one hand and generosity in the other, both held in plain sight for all his subjects to see, the Khagan overtook the world and bent it to his whims.
Jaghatai's power eventually encompassed the planet's lone continent, a global empire forged across the breadth of Chogoris in less than twenty standard years. As the ruler of his world, Jaghatai ended the wars that had wracked Chogoris, keeping the peace with the threat of utter ruin for those who transgressed his simple laws.
What the Khagan might have created in isolation from the embers of civilisation on Chogoris will never be known, for it was but a short while after his ascension to the throne that the Emperor of Mankind arrived to change his destiny forever.
Coming of the Emperor
Jaghatai's campaign of global conquest ended less than six solar months before the Emperor of Mankind came to Chogoris in 865.M30 as part of His Great Crusade. Ironically, despite their role as pathfinders and discoverers, it was not a Pioneer Company of the Vth Legion that would discover lost Chogoris, but instead a fleet of the XVIth Legion accompanied by both Horus and the Emperor.
On that long-isolated world, Jaghatai had prospered, binding together the fractured tribes of the hinterlands to conquer empires and subjugate the entire world to his will. It was an achievement to rival any of those of his brother-Primarchs in their foundling years, and the Emperor hailed him as a true son and inheritor of the legacy He had prepared for him.
The Great Khan, himself a builder of empires, was handed a destiny that saw him resigned to the role of servant and not master, bound to the ambitions of the Emperor. Such abasement did not come easily to such a conqueror as he, one who had slain kings and tyrants across the breadth of Chogoris, but still the Great Khan knelt before this Emperor.
Most historical accounts indicate that Jaghatai was overawed by the Emperor of Mankind and submitted without question, but his own journals and writings show a more pragmatic reasoning behind the submission. Jaghatai, who had struggled long with the disunity of his adopted people, saw clearly the benefits of the Imperium and the Emperor's secular doctrine of the Imperial Truth, and in the ranks of the Luna Wolves he saw the dire cost of opposition.
It was the same choice he himself had once offered to the tribes and cities of Chogoris, and even when it was cloaked in pomp and ceremony, the Khan of Khans understood what the Emperor's offer meant: to live as His vassal or perish as His rival. So the Khagan bargained for his loyalty and that of those he ruled, taking from the Emperor those guarantees he deemed fair regarding the treatment of the people of Chogoris and of his role in the future empire.
He would fight once again for unity and in secret revelled in the new challenge before him, at last able to slip the bonds of duty that had kept him busy with the mundane realities of governorship on Chogoris.
Despite having already mastered the strategies of conquest in his own war against the petty empires of Chogoris, Jaghatai Khan was unfamiliar with the advanced weapons and war engines of the Imperium. With fighting across the galaxy reaching a fevered intensity, the forces of the Emperor could ill spare any Primarch for lengthy training in the etiquette of the Terran Court or the intricacies of Imperial history.
All were needed upon the front lines as the expanding Imperium began to encounter more and more powerful xenos realms and fallen kingdoms of Mankind hidden in the dark void. The conquest of Chogoris was, in the eyes of the Emperor and many of the Primarchs, more than proof of Jaghatai's skill at war.
Indeed, of all of his new brother Primarchs, only Roboute Guilliman and Rogal Dorn objected to the all too brief period of induction that Jaghatai received. Both felt that to leave the new Primarch bereft of a true understanding of the Imperium's foundation and culture would leave him ill-prepared to integrate properly with its factions and politics.
Despite these objections, whose foresight was to prove unfortunate, the full authority of Legion Master of the Vth Legion was invested in Jaghatai, known among his brothers as "the Khan" and among his own as the Khagan, the Khan of Khans.
Star Hunters to White Scars
Such a title, Master of the Vth Legion, held little meaning at that time in history, for the Vth was scattered to the far corners of the galaxy, absorbed in a thousand separate wars. He was master of a Legion of vagabonds, a situation that might have sat less well with others of his brethren, but was a challenge well-suited to the Great Khan's talents and history.
Just as he had on the vast plains of Chogoris, the Great Khan sought to build a conquering army from insular nomadic bands, and he began in the same fashion. Recruiting from among those of his Chogorian comrades that were of an age to undergo the arduous transformative surgery and be reborn as Space Marines, the Great Khan formed a new core of warriors for his Legion. At the same time, he dispatched a grand summons, calling upon all of the disparate bands of the Vth Legion, the scattered Pioneer Companies that warred across the galaxy, to attend him.
Proclaimed by astropathic signal and courier ship, Jaghatai's call would take many years to reach the furthest of his warriors. After his discovery in 865.M30, the Khagan would wait for nearly a solar decade for the majority of the Pioneer Companies to assemble at Chogoris, the most isolated or heavily engaged still out of contact even as late as the start of the 31st Millennium.
The force that finally assembled in the skies above Chogoris in those early years of Jaghatai's command was not a unified Legion. Each company kept to their own, looking on those who should have been their brothers with suspicion and no little disdain, a gathering of strangers in a strange land.
When the Khagan brought them all together on the wide plains of the Empty Quarter, he beheld a thousand different heraldries on warriors of a hundred different worlds bound together only by the tenuous strands of their shared genetic legacy. The Khan of Khans wedded those genetic ties to the culture of Chogoris, making this the glue to unify his Legion. Through the rituals and traditions of the Chogorian hill tribes, they became the White Scars that day, their loyalty to the Khagan and each other secured by the trials of blood and pain they had undergone and the oaths they had sworn.
The gathering on Chogoris saw the first occurrence of a ritual that would grant the Vth Legion its new title, the White Scars, and seal its bond as a unified host. Adapted from the traditions of the Chogorian steppe tribes, "the Blooding," also known as "the Ascension," is a simple ritual, dispensing with much of the shamanistic pageantry of the original. It comprises but two parts, a cut and a name.
On the open fields of the Empty Quarter that day, more than 50,000 warriors took up blades in forms beyond count and cut a mark upon the flesh of their own faces, each gauging the depth and pattern of the wound to mark their loyalty. The scars inflicted as part of the ritual vary in size, shape and placement, and among the original tribesmen of Chogoris, this would serve to mark out different tribes and bloodlines, though among those not born of Chogoris, the significance was less important.
Among later generations of the Legion, certain patterns of scarring began to identify separate Brotherhoods within the Legion, but such patterns did not begin to emerge until the last few decades of the 30th Millennium.
The second part of the ritual, conducted on that first day with the blood of the scarring still bright on the first White Scars' skin, was to choose new names to represent their new lives as part of the Ordu of Jaghatai, as warriors of the White Scars, discarding the lives that had gone before. Such symbolism was fairly common among the various warrior societies that made up much of the early Imperium's vast armies, with many of the Space Marine Legions employing similar trials for their recruits.
Such ceremonies have been employed for centuries as tools to enforce solidarity and loyalty among the most brutal of warrior societies, those tasked with the most onerous of duties and the harshest of sacrifices. On Chogoris, such rituals had held the tribes together through centuries of murder-raids and slave hunts, and Jaghatai knew well its power to harden the soul and bind warriors together.
The names themselves were symbolic, and no strict pattern has ever been enforced on newly marked White Scars. That first generation on the fields of Chogoris named themselves for their deeds, while later levies of the Legion chose names from the world of Chogoris in honour of their Primarch.
The Khan of Khans gave them more than scars, encouraging the study of the "Noble Pursuits," as they were known on Chogoris -- such things as calligraphy, hunting and the telling of ancient tales. He made the ways of Chogoris the Truth of his Legion, a strange blend of practicality and superstition that was ill at ease with the strict tenets of the Imperial Truth which denied any and all brands of religion.
Jaghatai's refusal in later years to amend the practises of his Legion to more closely fit the Imperial Truth were yet another source of conflict between the Great Khan and some of his brothers, notably Lorgar and Roboute Guilliman.
Invasion of the Kolarne Circle
This was but the first part of the Khagan's strategy, for tradition alone would not suffice. In the wake of the games and ceremonies conducted on Chogoris, he led the combined ranks of the newly christened White Scars on campaign, the first battles they had fought as a unified host since leaving Terra.
The Khagan chose the lawless worlds of the Kolarne Circle for his initiation campaign. This region of space had been scouted several solar decades before by the 103rd Pioneer Company, the Soul Hunters, and was found to be teeming with wild outposts of renegade strains of Mankind and roaming xenos hosts.
On each of the dozens of feral and hellish worlds that made up the Circle, a long and vicious struggle awaited the White Scars, with few obvious gains in terms of strategic resource or value. However, the Khagan had chosen this battleground and his strategy with care.
He set his Legion against enemies that could not be overcome by any one company alone. Only by working as one Legion would they prevail. He dispersed the Keshig he had raised from Chogoris, the core of his new White Scars throughout the various companies, warriors whose names would only grow with the passing of years: Qin Xa, Targutai Yesugei, Hasik Noyan-Khan and others besides. These warriors he trusted to spread his teaching and to lead by example, to stand as his champions among the Vth Legion as it went to war in his name.
Of the 80,000 warriors that they led into the fighting, one in ten would perish in the five Terran years of struggle to cleanse the Circle, a baptism of fire and blood that sealed the bonds between the survivors stronger than any simple oath. The Orkish hordes of Sengr Mar and Vorgheist were cut to pieces in a series of hit and run campaigns that bore the tell-tale hallmarks of the Chogorian plains tribes' tactics.
Severely outnumbered by their foe, these tactics, intimately familiar to the Chogorian initiates of Jaghatai's inner circle, were best suited to make the most of the White Scars' native ferocity and war-honed skills.
Those companies assigned to the deepest systems of the Circle fought alone and unsupported for almost three Terran years before the remainder of the Legion secured the outer regions. Here the long-honed survival skills of the Pioneer Companies were put to the test, wedded to the Chogorian recruits' savagery and talent with a blade.
Where other Legions might have faltered or fallen back to regroup, losing the momentum of victory, these rugged warriors thrived, taking heart from the presence of their new lord.
In every battle in which he fought, Jaghatai led the assault. At first, the Legion simply followed him into the maelstrom but as tales of the Primarch's wild valour and consummate skill spread among the warriors of the Vth Legion, they soon began to compete to fight by his side.
It was his example that stood as their banner throughout the conflict and it was to the Khagan and each other whom they were bound, not to the distant dream of the Imperium or any one of its worlds, but only to the Khan of Khans and the savage joy he took in war and in life.
In those turbulent times, such things were considered of little note, for none would countenance the idea that a Primarch sworn to the Emperor would or could ever forsake his vows and, as such, absolute loyalty to the Khan was considered the same as absolute loyalty to the Imperium.
With the final battle for the Kolarne Circle fought and won upon the desolate ash-fields of Kolarne itself, the many inhabited worlds fell into the Great Khan's hands. Those worlds had served to bind his Legion together in blood and war, and now they would serve to rebuild it. From the wide plains of Chogoris, the rugged wastes of Kolarne and Old Earth's many recruitment camps, the Khagan replenished the ranks of the Legion and the White Scars emerged from the Kolarne Circle campaign a Legion reborn.
No longer were they a shadow that haunted the fringes of the Great Crusade -- the Great Khan had brought them into the light and he intended The First Blooding to stand at the forefront of the Emperor's Great Crusade, shoulder to shoulder with the other Legions.
The Laughing Killers
The Vth Legion returned to the Great Crusade not as the Pioneer Companies of old, but as the White Scars, united as a true Legion. This was the Great Crusade's apex of glory, the last century of the 30th Millennium. The nascent Imperium had pushed its borders to the very edges of the galaxy and thrown down the dragons that lurked at the margins of its ancient star charts. Now it grappled with those who would challenge its supremacy.
Many terrible hosts and fel empires sought to lay claim to what was the rightful domain of Mankind and the Emperor, and it fell to the Legiones Astartes to break them utterly. The White Scars were to number among the heroes of this age, spreading across the stars to bring war and death in the name of their new master. Though they lacked the numbers of some of their brother Legions, they were unmatched in the sheer impetuous fervour with which they made war.
These were heady days full of fire and conquest, the wild rush of unceasing war against enemies too numerous to count. Where other Legions sought to prosecute a war of stern discipline and careful planning, conquering with implacable might and securing those domains they seized, the White Scars descended upon the foe like a storm from clear skies.
Where the enemy was weak or exposed, they enveloped and overran its positions without mercy, using speed and fury to overwhelm any defence. Where it was strong or well-emplaced they harried the enemy where it was weak, leaving it vulnerable to the Legions that followed the trail of destruction they wrought. Many tales of their exploits speak equally of their ferocious skill-at-arms and the strategic insight of their commanders, different in style to that of other Legions, wilder and more direct, but no less effective.
Some considered them little more than barbaric reavers, akin to the wild butchers of Angron's World Eaters Legion or the executioners of Leman Russ' Space Wolves, but the records of their campaigns suggest otherwise. They were pathfinders in both a tactical and strategic sense, amongst the keenest and most proficient breed of the Legiones Astartes created by the Emperor. Exhaustive plans and interminable preparations were not their ways, often leaving them at odds with more deliberate warriors like the sons of Rogal Dorn or Roboute Guilliman.
Yet they valued learning and knowledge highly, many among them skilled as artificers, philosophers and artists. They gathered wisdom as other Legions gathered weapons, to be kept at the ready until the time came to unleash them upon the foe. They were the wind, everywhere and nowhere, insubstantial and yet forceful, and they took to the duty they were given with a passion, taking joy from the thrill of battle and the hunt across the stars. As Sanguinius is recorded to have once said of the reborn Vth Legion, "...they smile often and they laugh when they kill."
Unlike the brutal sons of Angron or the wild wolves of Fenris, the White Scars did not lack in discipline, and though they wore the cloak of the savage, they were not the same wild killers as those more infamous of their kin. Their nature was untamed, but still bound by the chains of duty and honour as defined by the Chogorian code. They were merciless and sometimes cruel on the attack and often seen as insolent or fractious, but such rumours were founded on misunderstanding.
When the White Scars granted no mercy to their foe, they did so not for the joy of simple slaughter, but in honour of the valour shown them, they held back nothing just as had a worthy foe. When they failed to respect the policies and plans of others, it was because their own ways served them better, rarely did they make counter-accusations of their own, allowing the results they garnered to speak for the rightness of their actions.
They valued courtesy and forthright honesty over protocol and rigid adherence to rules ill-suited for the battlefield, but did not fail to punish those who transgressed the rules they set themselves.
Yet, despite these qualities they were often seen as the least among their kin, followers and not lords, a fact that sat ill with warriors of such skill and dedication. For much of the Great Crusade they remained outsiders to most of their brethren, few among the other Primarchs sought the company of Jaghatai Khan and his sons, and Jaghatai did little to encourage them.
Some found the strategies by which his Legion fought to be flawed, especially the inflexible sons of Dorn and Guilliman, while others looked down upon the trapping of Chogorian tradition that bound the Legion together. The Khan of Khans did little to dispel his reputation as a crude barbarian and wanton killer, keeping his own counsel and the company of those who cared to see past the veil of rumour that hid the true character of his Legion.
Of all of his brothers, the Khagan found common cause with but a handful. Of these the closest was Magnus the Red of Prospero, for he was also an outcast in the small society of their peers and a man of integrity and brusque honesty. Those few records of the two often note this friendship between two otherwise isolated Primarchs. Horus, who appreciated talent above appearances, also showed some favour to the Khagan, as did Sanguinius who had ever been a statesman and diplomat among his often quarrelsome brothers.
Of the others there is little recorded, possibly as there were few occasions where the Primarchs gathered in numbers and fewer still where the Khagan was present.
Jaghatai Khan was ever to be found on the move, always where he was least expected and always at that critical locus that would decide the fate of battles and empires. Yet, as the Great Crusade moved into its final throes in the first years of the 31st Millennium, the White Scars found themselves called upon less and less. The Emperor's Great Crusade had eclipsed its major rivals and charted most of the fractured and changed galaxy. Where, at the beginning of the long war the maps had been blank and the enemies unknown and terrifying, they were now replete and Mankind's enemies largely known and cowed.
In these final years of the conquest there were fewer wild spaces for the White Scars to make war as they liked. They were becoming obsolete, unnecessary to the empire that was to be; the Khan of Khans knew it and it made him restless. The chance to run ahead of the storm, to exult in the unknown and the sheer joy of the destruction that follows was fading, leaving only the dull work of governance.
Things were becoming ordered and known -- the Imperium was winning, and in a final victory the White Scars would be undone. The Khan could sense that a choice was coming, a grand choice. They would be given the chance to be again what they had once been -- but in doing so they would need to betray all that they had fought for. The other choice, no less invidious, was to remain true to their oaths and bound to a slow diminishment.
The Emancipation of Drune
By the latter years of the 800s.M30, the Vth Legion had earned itself a reputation for the types of operation for which it would later become most well-known, but not all of its wars were fought in isolation. At Tarel III, Jakor-Tal and Terlaken B3, the Legion fought noted campaigns as part of combined Legiones Astartes Expeditionary forces, and at Arco took its place in the line with the Blood Angels, Ultramarines, Salamanders and Emperor's Children Legions. Indeed, the battle honour "Arco" would be borne on the banners of all five Legions, including the treacherous sons of Fulgrim, throughout the Horus Heresy and well into the latter age of the Great Scouring.
Another battle honour borne with pride long after the outbreak of the Horus Heresy by Loyalist and Traitor alike was that won at Drune in 881.M30, a lonely, arid world spinward of the Morpheus Rift. At Drune, the greater part of three entire Legions stood together, each headed by their Primarch.
The Imperial Compliance of a world that had once been a beacon of civilisation was to be a crowning glory to an otherwise fruitless expedition, and so the Primarchs of all three Legions present -- the Luna Wolves, the Death Guard and the White Scars -- determined to deliver the Imperial Truth in person. Three entire Legions made planetfall as one, but what transpired when they came to stand before the gates of the world's capital was quite unprecedented in the decades of the Great Crusade.
Those gates remained barred, and no reaction to the massing of three Legions before them was forthcoming. His choler rising, Horus raised his mace as to strike the mighty gates, but before he could do so, a word of caution rung out from the throng of counsellors and attendants. The warning had been voiced by Kulek Senn, a senior Stormseer of the Vth Legion.
"The shadow hangs over this place. The shadow of domination. Only death will sever the strings."
Mortarion counselled Horus to press onwards, discounting the Stormseer's warning, and press onwards Horus did, striking the gates such a resounding blow with his mace that it caused them to buckle inwards and collapse with a billowing cloud of dust. Advancing within the city, a great mass of humanity pressed in from every quarter. The eyes of the occupants were unfocused and vacant, every mouth slack and drooling. Every body was unwashed and stinking and clad in shredded rags, as if the wearer had given no thought to their own bodily well-being for many solar months, perhaps even years.
Once more, Kulek Senn offered his master his warning as the party moved through the streets, this time with increasingly strident concern. Once more, Mortarion heard and sneered his derision of the psyker's arts, but this time the Great Khan interjected, insisting that his brother Horus heed the Stormseer's words.
This time, Horus did so. Whatever it was that the Stormseer had detected an echo of before the gates was now evident for all to see. In the heavens above, a churning vortex of unnatural energies was forming, its eye directly above the centre of the city. Aetheric gusts caught the Primarchs' personal banners and the massed bodies finally stirred, a deep, sonorous groan voiced simultaneously from 100,000 throats.
Fighting their way clear, the Primarchs reunited with their gene-sons outside of the city, and in council with the Great Khan's Stormseers they determined that the entire world was under some manner of xenos domination, one born not of physical reality, but of the other-realm of the Warp. Worse still, they counselled that this domination was being exerted upon the human population of Drune via a series of extradimensional portals, each centred upon one of the major mesa-top cities. Only by closing these portals, the Stormseers claimed, would the enslavement of Drune be ended.
And so the war to deliver Drune from the yoke of alien domination began. Jaghatai Khan was nominated by Horus as campaign commander. Such a thing was rare indeed, for even though the Emperor's gene-sons fought beneath the same banner and the sundering of their ranks was still many solar decades away, there existed a deep-seated rivalry between many.
The wisdom of the Lupercal's decision was plain to see, but the Primarch of the Death Guard Legion protested it nonetheless, for Mortarion detested the employment of psykers in any form, for any reason and against any foe. Thus the Death Guard served in the Drune campaign only nominally under the Great Khan's leadership, Mortarion ensuring they remained apart from the other two Legions.
The war for Drune would rage for almost six Terran months, the Great Khan utilizing each element of his command as best suited its nature. Jaghatai's own Legion ranged far and wide across the wastes of Drune, striking at concentrations of xenos power identified by his Stormseers. They encountered a range of horrifying creatures of barely definable form, though all had in common bloated bodies that floated on invisible aetheric tides, multiple eyes, thrashing tendrils and the ability to unleash fearsome blasts of Warp energy even as they directed wave after wave of sub-human mind-slaves at the Legionaries.
The Stormseers proved crucial not just in locating these abominable foes, but in combating them on the field of battle too, for they were able to deaden the psychic domination effect and thus allow their brother Legionaries to engage the xenos puppet-masters and defeat them, albeit not without loss.
At the last, the campaign reached its climax where it had began -- at the mesa-top city where the three Primarchs had first encountered the xenos dominators. The closer to the heart of the city the Primarchs advanced, the more potent the psionic waves assaulting them grew, and the more massive and hideous the xenos abominations they encountered.
Though a potent force indeed, none can say what harm might have befallen the Primarchs had the White Scars Stormseers not been close at hand to repel the worst of the aliens' psychic counterassaults. The air itself screamed in torture as the very stuff of reality was stretched to breaking point, the un-light of the Warp glimmering through a million cracks and rents.
Jaghatai, Horus and Mortarion knew that they had reached the centre of the xenos incursion when even they could proceed no further, so powerful were the psionic tides flooding out from the hideously pulsating wound in reality at the very centre of the city.
Overhead loomed an archway of the quivering, still-living flesh of what must surely have once been a man. Beneath the archway was a void pulsing with the raw power of the Warp, and from it was emerging a vast and bloated form, a distended central sac replete with thrashing pseudopods and dozens of too-knowing eyes.
Voicing an ancient Chogorian curse, the Great Khan swore the behemoth would not establish dominion in his gene-father's realm, and in answer, his brothers took their place on either side while what remained of his depleted Stormseer council formed a loose ring all about, every last iota of their power bent to the task of warding off the behemoth's vile kin.
Scholars of war might ponder what force might test the powers not just of one, but of three of the Emperor's gene-sons, and in the contest that ensued they might find one such possible answer. The behemoth brought to bear an array of weaponry, from whipping, diamond-sharp tentacles to the unrelenting power of its utterly alien will -- 10 Stormseers lay dead upon the ground in as many seconds, their minds torn apart by the behemoth's battering ram of psionic domination.
The Primarchs were sorely tested, for while such as they could scarcely know fear, each soon bore a dozen and more hurts. Even the mighty Horus felt the behemoth's mental whip, and though he repelled its will, the effort left blood gushing from his eyes in crimson rivers.
Mortarion too struggled against this vile foe, and while his scythe cut through its thrashing tentacles by the dozen, it strove to gain dominion over his mind and to become master of his flesh. As with Horus, the behemoth was unable to batter down Mortarion's defences, but resisting it drove the Death Lord to his very knees.
It was Jaghatai Khan who at the last put an end to the xenos beast. By the combined efforts of his last remaining Stormseers, the Great Khan was rendered unseen to the behemoth, so that even as it concentrated its assault upon Horus and Mortarion, Jaghatai was able to work his way around the creature's vast, bloated form and thereby locate a weak point upon its underside.
Many Imperial savants now wonder how different later ages might be had only Jaghatai stayed his final strike or but delayed it long enough for the behemoth to press its assault upon his brothers. Such ponderings are of course futile, and they ignore his essential nature. Jaghatai thrust upwards, spearing some essential node or organ in the behemoth's central mass. It died upon his blade, but the explosion of aetheric force unleashed was very nearly his end too.
It was Horus who saved Jaghatai from being sucked into the now collapsing vortex, Lupercal hauling his brother clear. And thus was the Emancipation of Drune achieved -- though not a single one of the world's populace would benefit from the defeat of their alien masters.
With the behemoth slain, and the Warp portals through which the aliens had exerted their domination sealed, hundreds of millions of meat-puppets collapsed wherever they were standing, never to rise again.
In truth, such a fate was a mercy for the people of Drune and for the Imperium, for one way or another, they could not have been allowed to live.
The Pale Emperor
The tale of the Pale Emperor is known to very few. No Remembrancers have spun its events into epic stanzas or captured it in lurid pict record, but many among the White Scars speak of it when outsiders make light of the Great Khan's prowess in battle or of the cruel streak that hides behind his smile. Its exact details are lost to the casual embellishment and adaption by the White Scars who still spin the tale, but a truth can be learned from the core of it, which remains a constant no matter which of the Brotherhoods recalls the story.
In the late years of the Great Crusade, most likely around 980.M30, a force consisting of approximately five Brotherhoods ventured into the wild space at the edges of the Mandragoran Sector. The exact Brotherhoods involved change with each telling, and the nature of the White Scars' record-keeping makes it difficult to establish which accounting is correct, but the one fact that never changes is that the Great Khan himself was at their head.
There, at the very edge of known space, where xenos threats lurked in the dark between the stars, the White Scars encountered a handful of worlds sparsely inhabited by a people of ancient Terran descent, though in the tales of the White Scars they are never named. The first of these worlds they encountered played host to several small cities, and unlike many other human colonies that had weathered the terrors of the Age of Strife, these appeared to have prospered at the edge of space.
It was a rare find, a realm of unsullied human genestock whose advanced technology was well-matched to that of the Imperium, but whose small size precluded any extended resistance to the Imperium's authority. Despite the offers of unity and peaceful integration transmitted by the Great Khan, he and his warriors were greeted not as long-lost kin or saviours, but as invaders, and their fleet came under swift attack.
Though Jaghatai, a statesman and empire-builder as much as a warrior, had hoped for a peaceful Compliance campaign, he was equally pleased to test his warriors against a worthy foe in honest battle.
The voidcraft that rose from low orbit to meet the sleek White Scars cruisers were sturdy vessels, no doubt hardened from centuries of warring against xenos raiders and corsairs, but they were too few to stand against the dozen Imperium warships that awaited them. Within the space of a few short exchanges of weapons fire they were left aflame and crippled, though in recognition of their bravery, the Great Khan gave orders to allow them to withdraw.
Having secured orbital space, Jaghatai proceeded with a combat drop, with several squadrons of gunships and landing craft descending onto the boreal plains that marked the edge of the world's inhabited zone. Here, several thousand White Scars engaged the enclave's defenders, several hundred warriors clad in huge and ponderous battle-plate, studded with heavybore cannon and beam arrays, each more like a small tank than a normal warrior.
Almost as if by silent mutual agreement, the two sides mustered outside of the clustered towers of the city, neither wishing to see it broken as they fought and, with but a brief pause, gave voice to the deep roar of cannon and the cacophony of clashing blades.
The cumbersome plate of his foes was proof against much of the White Scars' lighter weaponry, no doubt a relic of some lost technology of the by-gone Dark Age, but these forgotten cousins of Terra could not match the White Scars' speed. Where other Legions might have met them head-on, the White Scars vanguard, mounted on Scimitar Pattern Jetbikes, outflanked and harried their foe, marking weak points in armour joints and power transfer cables as they raced to and fro across the battlefield.
By contrast, their enemy advanced in lockstep, trying to maintain a tight formation while their cannon tracked the fleet Legiones Astartes warriors, blasting great craters into the ground in their wake. Manoeuvring in patterns that seemed almost random, the White Scars sought to disrupt their foes' formation and isolate them from the protection of their brethren. Following on the heels of the Jetbike-mounted vanguard, the remaining White Scars warriors deployed heavy weapons and armoured vehicles to cripple individual enemy war engines as they were isolated from the main body.
As their casualties began to mount, gaps opened up in the protective formation adopted by the hulking battle armour of the foe and the circling White Scars Jetbike squadrons were quick to pounce, switching suddenly from a whirling skirmish line to a concentrated wedge aimed at the heart of the enemy formation.
At the head of this assault was the Great Khan, the Primarch a match in size and power for these towering war machines and his blade far quicker than the sensor-augurs that guided their weapons. Spurred on by the example of their lord, the White Scars redoubled their efforts and, one by one, the enemy's war machines were isolated and cut down.
In the wake of his victory, the Khagan showed mercy to his foes and left their cities untouched. From among those of his warriors who had acquitted themselves well in the battle, Jaghatai Khan chose three to act as his ambassadors to the enclave's ruler, exemplars of the Primarch's Legion and fitting to carry his words, a symbol of both his respect for a worthy foe and of the strength which backed his pledge.
Through these champions he would make the offer he had made so many times before: serve the Emperor and prosper, oppose him and find only ruin. This was war waged as the Great Khan preferred it, the clash of warriors in open and fair battle quickly followed by an honourable surrender, not the prolonged slaughter and utter destruction advocated by some of his brothers. He had ever been more than a simple butcher and general, more a builder of empires than some among his kin.
Within a short span of time, the Great Khan's emissaries were returned to his camp in pieces, slaughtered by the guards of the Pale Emperor who ruled this small realm. His largesse had been repaid with scorn and blood, despite the obvious advantage held by the Legion, who had already proven themselves more than a match for the foe's warriors.
Such a callous gesture of foolish and doomed defiance set the Great Khan into a quiet rage, both for the deaths of his warriors and for the brutal acts he was now forced to undertake. That same night, his Legion razed the unnamed city to ruin. They burned and blasted its towers, and hunted down every last inhabitant and put them to the sword. They went from world to world and brought only death and destruction, scorching a path of ashes to the Pale Emperor's throneworld.
There, the White Scars took the field of battle against the finest warriors and war engines he could assemble and tore them apart. They smashed down the gilded gates of his palace and killed all within. All except one.
Cornered on the throne he had valued more than the lives of his subjects, the Pale Emperor was the only man left alive in the wake of the White Scars' vengeful assault. Jaghatai Khan confronted him there, armour slick with the blood of the slain and coated in the ashes of his empire.
He spoke but a few words to the fallen Emperor, "You chose this doom. You forced my hand for the sake of your own petty pride. I would like to kill you, to have your blood join that of all the others you have forced me to kill, but I will not. You will remain here and let others know of the price of pride, that we shall not have to sully our blades again."
There ends the tale as told by the White Scars, who see it as a testament to the dedication of their Legion and a warning to those who would underestimate their lord or his gene-sons. However, an alternative version is also known of, told only rarely and by those Brotherhoods whose ranks comprise the oldest Chogorian recruits.
These veterans recite a different end to the tale, a different declaration by Jaghatai Khan to his enemy, one that speaks of a wound long left untended in the Legion and its Primarch.
"You have chosen the doom I could not. You have chosen pride over servitude. I would like to kill you, for you remind me of my own choices, but I will not. You will remain here so that I will remember the price of pride and why we sully our blades with the slaughter of small emperors."
Relations with other Legions
Jaghatai's closest relationships with his brother Primarchs were with Horus Lupercal of the vaunted Luna Wolves Legion and Magnus the Red of the Thousand Sons. With Horus, the Khan shared a love of the rapid assault, as well as feeling understood and accepted by Horus.
This understanding was also only truly shared by Magnus, who, like the Khan, was as much an outsider to the other Primarchs as Jaghatai. The close relationship of the White Scars Primarch to these two brothers was matched, somewhat, by the relationships between their respective Legions.
Several White Scars Brotherhoods (companies) would often be seconded to fight alongside their cousins from the Luna Wolves. These Brotherhoods would utilise a mix of both Vth and XVIth Legion tactics, including the latter's more consolidatory approach to rapid warfare and the more standardised manner of the Luna Wolves' military hierarchy.
However, for some Chogorians these tactics could be difficult to understand. Similarly, the Thousand Sons were also known to be close to the Vth Legion for many reasons. The love of knowledge of the sons of Prospero, their enjoyment in the subtleties of the universe and each Legion's detachment from the rest of the Imperium would render a fruitful relationship between these two forces of Astartes.
In stark contrast, the Vth Legion seemed to have a very poor relationship with many of the other Space Marine Legions, most of all with the Death Guard and their equally mysterious Primarch Mortarion. It was also known that the White Scars did not get along well with the Space Wolves Legion. All Legions had reputations, and some of these overlapped. The Space Wolves were known to boast of theirs as the Emperor's executioners. When the White Scars fought alongside other Imperial forces they were often unfairly judged, due to their use of ritual tribal marks and scars.
People automatically assumed that they were savages, and were no better than the barbarous warriors of Leman Russ that hailed from the Death World of Fenris. The White Scars did not wish to be seen as savages, for they constantly strove to achieve the most noble of human pursuits. In addition, the comparison added salt to the wound of the Vth Legion's entrenched estrangement from the Imperium, suggesting how little others took to understand the Chogorians. Though the White Scars were not "executioners" like the Space Wolves or "world eaters" like Angron's berserk XIIth Legion's warriors or "the perfect" Astartes like Fulgrim's Emperor's Children, the White Scars were what they were.
They never demanded respect from anyone, and if the other Legions knew nothing of them, then that was their loss, because the White Scars knew about them. The Vth Legion was faster -- they moved faster and they killed faster. Secretly, the White Scars resented the outsiders' disregard greatly, and yet they refused to change their ways or Legion culture.
Many Space Marine Chapters have existed for millennia, with those of the First Founding having their roots in the original Legions created to prosecute the conquests of the Emperor's Great Crusade. With histories stretching back into the dawn of the Age of the Imperium, it is perhaps inevitable that Chapters should come to blows, both metaphorically and at times literally.
There are many instances of rivalries, and some of outright hostilities. The deep-rooted and mutual antagonism between the Space Wolves and the Dark Angels is well-known, but there are many more examples. One example of such rivalry can be found in the case of the Raven Guard and the White Scars, who have harboured a mutual mistrust dating back centuries.
In truth, there may be no single cause of the bad blood between the two present-day Chapters, but the mere mentioning of several battles are sure to raise the ire of Raven Guard and White Scar alike. The Assault on Hive Lin-Mei is one such conﬂict, as is the Last March on the Sapphire Worlds.
Most acrimonious of all is Operation Chronos, in which a venerated Raven Guard Chaplain fell to Enslaver domination in circumstances where a nearby White Scars force might have been able to intervene. The ill will created by these and numerous other incidents has led to the two Chapters even in the late 41st Millennium regarding one another with barely-contained loathing, a situation that none can see an end to any time soon.
A bolt of lightning in clear skies, a sudden gale from an unexpected quarter -- the White Scars Legion was war's sudden and merciless slaughter. Swift action and a joy for the rush of combat and clash of blades were the hallmarks of its battles, tempered by a quiet and hidden wisdom that few took the time to uncover.
The White Scars thrived in the chaotic heart of battle, anticipating its vicissitudes and flowing with them, always to be found where the foe was weakest, where they were least expected, and leaving only cold corpses in their wake.
They were the Great Crusade's pathfinders, the bleak wind that ran ahead of its serried armies culling the weak and harrying the strong that they might fall more easily to those who followed. There were many victories claimed by the Great Crusade that would not have been possible without the depredations caused by these warriors.
The lightning-fast style of mobile warfare that had served Jaghatai Khan so well on the steppes of his homeworld proved to be equally effective on the many different battlefields of the Great Crusade. The White Scars soon became involved in some of the bloodiest battles of the time after the rediscovery of their Primarch.
The White Scars most famously took part in the historic Ullanor Crusade, the vast Imperial assault on the Ork empire of the Overlord Urrlak Urruk. The White Scars and Ultramarines Space Marine Legions, supported by the Imperial Army, the forces of the Mechanicum and the Collegia Titanica, took part in the massive Imperial campaign against the largest concentration of Orks yet encountered by the burgeoning Imperium of Man.
In the aftermath of this monumental victory, the Great Khan watched with approval as Horus Lupercal, greatest of the Primarchs and most favoured son of the Emperor, took up his new office as Warmaster of all the Imperium's military forces. The two of them, Horus and the Khan, liked one another. Of all his brothers, the Khan had only ever been close to two, and Horus was the first. Then they had parted.
The grand gathering of Primarchs and commanders and Battleships and officials at the Triumph of Ullanor dispersed, setting course for a thousand destinations and making the Warp light up with the trails of their passage. The Great Crusade commenced again, though this time with a Warmaster at its apex, not an Emperor.
Council of Nikaea
Just before the White Scars were sent on another campaign to continue prosecuting the Great Crusade, a great Imperial conclave was called upon the world of Nikaea. This grand convocation, known to history as the Council of Nikaea, was called by the Emperor of Mankind Himself, and was intended to determine whether or not the use of psychic powers represented a boon or a grave danger to both Mankind and the nascent Imperium of Man.
There were three Primarchs who were primarily responsible for the creation of the Legiones Astartes Librarius. Two were quite well known within the official historical records; Magnus of the Thousand Sons and the angelic Sanguinius of the Blood Angels. Though Magnus was the figurehead, the most powerful and the most vocal in support of the use of psychic abilities, he was not the only voice. His brother Sanguinius was more subtle in his support.
On this, though, Jhagatai always argued the same way. The Khagan had drawn up most of the rules for and formalised the structure of the Legions' Librarius, even though his name was never entered into the official datacores. Jaghatai's contribution to the development of the Space Marines psychic arts was never known by the other Legions or the rest of the Imperium.
The citizens of the Imperium at large were taught that humanity had moved beyond religion and superstition. They believed this inherent Imperial Truth, just as they were meant to. There were no gods, they were told, and what looked like magic was just the growing power of the human mind. The Chogorians, on the other hand, never stopped believing. They understood, perhaps better than anyone, that the Warp could corrupt the finest -- the greater the strength, the greater the corruption.
On Chogoris, the ability to wield the power of the psyker was called the "Test of Heaven." The Chogorians had always known of the existence of the Warp and the dangerous entities of Chaos that lurked within. It was how their Stormseers had become so powerful.
Their cousins amongst the Space Wolves, the Rune Priests of Fenris, worked the same source for their elemental powers, though they would never openly admit it. The masses never learned about the Warp, and the vast majority did not even know of its existence.
The Emperor preferred to keep those truths hidden from the people of the Imperium, and for all anyone knew He had tried to stamp out those who still understood them. The Khan never agreed with this obfuscation of the truth, especially the Emperor's refusal to explain to His people the dangers of Chaos, and father and son had often argued over the matter.
This was the great question, the one they fell out over -- can you rest an empire on a lie? The Warp was not what the masses of humanity thought it was. It was alive and dangerous, and could be used. The Imperium was willfully blind, deliberately so. It had never wished to look at what held it together.
In the beginning, Magnus had not wanted the Librarius integrated into the Legions. He wanted every human psyker to unlock their full potential, to explore all they were safely capable of -- with no restraint, and no guidance. But his two brother Primarchs disagreed, for they felt that such potentially dangerous abilities needed to be curbed. So the Khan and the Angel agreed to create a strict structure for the use of psychic powers, a structure intended to limit what psykers were allowed to do.
As already noted, on Chogoris the use of such esoteric abilities was known as walking the Path of Heaven. Psykers, the zadyin arga, were taught that if they strayed from this path, the Warp would eat away at their very souls. The Chogorians had always known that utilising the powers of the Warp was inherently dangerous.
As the argument over the use of such abilities came to a head in the Imperium, there were those who understood that the survival of the Space Marine Legions' Librarius was balanced on a narrow ledge. But there were those who thought that Librarians were witches, ripe for burning, and those who thought they were still-forming gods. Neither side could be allowed to win their arguments if the Imperium was to prosper. But in the end, the witch-hunters largely carried the day.
When the Crimson King spoke in favour of the use of psykers and even psychic sorcery at the Council of Nikaea, as many proponents feared, he went too far. He never understood how much fear he caused. If he had managed to rein himself in, and acknowledge that his Legion needed to reform and that they understood that they needed to be more careful in their use of the Warp, then the outcome of the Council might have been very different.
But instead he preached about knowledge and power and gave the impression that he was some kind of prophet. Finally, at the end of the conclave, Stormseer Targutai Yesugei, at the time a junior Librarian of the White Scars Legion, presented the Council of Nikaea a third option in regards to the use of psychic abilities and the maintenance or abolition of the established Legions' Librarius.
He explained that there was nothing inherently evil about a psyker. If such a gifted individual was properly trained in order to obtain the greatest results, like any weapon, he or she could still be used, but with respect and not indiscriminately. Yesugei argued that human psykers should be trained rigorously to take advantage of their innate abilities in order to assist the Imperium in completing its galaxy-spanning conquest.
With such an elite cadre of trained psychic specialists utterly loyal to the Emperor, the galaxy could be brought into the Imperial fold with ease. Yesugei also argued that psychic sorcery should be strictly forbidden, since in dealing and bargaining with the entities of the Warp, the ever-present risk of corruption was simply too great to be avoided.
The Emperor's judgement at the Council of Nikaea proved severe, largely as a result of His anger at Magnus for delving into forbidden sorcery in contravention of the Emperor's explicit warnings to him decades before. The Emperor rejected the White Scars Librarians' compromise. With the exceptions of Navigators and Astropaths who were properly trained, controlled and sanctioned by the Imperium and were necessary to its continued existence, the Space Marine Legions were no longer to employ psykers within their ranks.
He commanded that the Primarchs were to close their Legions' Librarius departments forthwith and not to indulge the undoubted psychic talents of those Legionaries who possessed the gift. All existing Space Marine Librarians were likewise forbidden to make use of their abilities.
The Council's rulings also created a new position amongst the Space Marine Legions, the Space Marine Chaplain, to uphold the Imperial Truth and help maintain the purity of an Astartes Legion's dedication and fidelity to the Emperor's commands.
Afterwards, Jaghatai came to believe that the outcome of the Council of Nikaea should have never been left in the Crimson King's hands. The Khan should have been there, side-by-side with his two brothers, standing with the Angel and Magnus. No one could have accused him of being a sorcerer. It would have calmed the others, to see a warrior-Primarch making his case in support of the Librarius.
He did not attend because he was sent away to the Chondax System, just as the Council was preparing to meet at Nikaea. He spoke to Stormseer Yesugei and considered rejecting the Warmaster Horus' command to leave for Chondax, for he could have done so, but both White Scars warriors believed that the campaign on Chondax would be over in a matter of solar weeks. The enemy infesting that system were only Greenskins, remnants of the Ork empire destroyed on Ullanor, the last slivers of the Warlord Urrlak Urruk's horde.
Perhaps some of the Primarchs would have balked at being ordered to hunt down the xenos -- it was not prestigious work -- but the Khan was happy enough. It was hunting, and in a way that he understood: cavalry charges across open spaces, going up against prey that had no concept of capitulation or self-pity. He had never complained. Nearly all of his Legion went with him, ranked in their various Brotherhoods, eager for the hunt. Scores of white starships cut the void, each crammed with warriors of the ordu, all desperate to get back in the chase.
The Vth Legion's legend was to grow with the events of the Horus Heresy, when the White Scars fought on hundreds of worlds for over 7 Terran years against the Traitor Legions and the other Forces of Chaos. Unlike many of the other Primarchs, Jaghatai never even considered betraying the Emperor for the service of the Ruinous Powers.
Such a course would have been dishonourable in the extreme since the Emperor had done no wrong to His sons and also because Jaghatai so deeply believed in the Emperor's goal of reunifying the entire human race under a single ruler so that it might claim final dominance over the Milky Way Galaxy.
The White Scars Legion had already been engaged for several standard years on the orders of the Warmaster Horus in a surprisingly punishing campaign against the Orks of the Chondax System where Jaghatai had recalled his entire Legion when the Heresy began. It was at Chondax that they first received the news of the Space Wolves Legion's actions during the Burning of Prospero.
These reports said Russ had turned rebel, and driven by his hatred for Magnus, his Legion had utterly decimated the Thousand Sons Legion and their Primarch Magnus had died at the Wolf King's own hand. But due to the effects of the Ruinstorm, a monstrous Warp Storm unleashed by the Word Bearers during the Battle of Calth, astropathic communication was unreliable and vast tracts of the Imperium were made all but impassable. Furthermore, the White Scars' fleet Astropaths continued to interpret the astropathic messages they received in a contradictory manner.
Delay and Deception at Chondax
It had begun in the Chondax System, right towards the end of the long and brutal Chondax Campaign against the Greenskins -- the first inkling that all was not well in the wider Imperium. There had been no detail then, no authentication, just stray astropathic messages of dubious provenance. It should have been easy to dismiss, to put down to the warping power of the Empyrean.
But it had worn on the Khan, unravelling his sleep. He felt that Imperium was standing upon a precipice. There were also conflicting reports received from the Imperial Fists Legion's Primarch Rogal Dorn that urged the White Scars to return to Terra to help defend the Throneworld alongside Dorn and Leman Russ, supposedly now a Traitor, as soon as possible.
Everything had changed so quickly, garbled in a flurry of contradictory astropathy and secure comm-bursts: Russ of the Space Wolves had gone rogue; or the Warmaster had, taking several Legions with him; the White Scars were ordered to reinforce the Alpha Legion at the Alaxxes Nebula; Ferrus Manus had killed the peacock Fulgrim; Mars and the Mechanicum was in open revolt against the Emperor. Some of the Warp-translated messages bore chrono-marks from many solar months previously; some had been sent, it seemed, only solar hours previously.
Though the Warmaster had ordered the White Scars to bring judgement upon the Space Wolves, the Khan would not unleash his vengeance upon Leman Russ and his get until he had more detailed information. The Khan had the strength of the Vth Legion arrayed before him, his ordu assembled and ready to strike, yet none could tell the Primarch who was the true enemy of the Imperium and all he held dear.
Jaghatai was next contacted by Leman Russ himself, who had just returned from the Burning of Prospero and the assault against the Space Wolves' old rivals, the Thousand Sons Legion. The VIth Legion's fleet had mustered at the Alaxxes Nebula to lick its wounds after the recent campaign, when it was beset by the forces of the Alpha Legion. Horus had deployed the XXth Legion to launch a massive assault on Russ' battered and outnumbered Space Wolves.
The Alpha Legion and its twin Primarchs, Alpharius Omegon, had long harboured deep grudges against the Space Wolves, and Leman Russ in particular, for his criticism of their reliance upon trickery, manipulation and subterfuge to win battles rather than engaging in what the Space Wolves Primarch saw as honourable, open combat. The Alpha Legion relished the chance to prove their superiority against the arrogant Space Wolves of Fenris by delaying them long enough to keep them from contributing to the Imperial defence of Terra.
Although the Khan sympathised with the Space Wolves' predicament, he refused to get involved until he was able to sort out the conflicting and often contradictory astropathic messages he had received. Until he knew, beyond a shadow of doubt, who was ally and who was an enemy, who had truly betrayed the Emperor and who was still loyal, he refused to choose sides. Wishing his brother the best of luck, Jaghatai decided to seek his answers elsewhere.
As the White Scars fleet made preparations to depart the Chondax System, they encountered a massive Alpha Legion flotilla. The Alpha Legion were an unknown quantity to the White Scars. They did not respond to communication requests and had hung back on the edge of the system, quietly accumulating more warships across a wide sweep of local space.
There was no response from the XXth Legion's command despite all queries. All White Scars vessels were ordered not to escalate the situation and not to fire upon the interlopers unless fired upon. The warriors of the Vth Legion were to maintain perimeter integrity and not to permit Alpha Legion spacecraft to penetrate within range of the core White Scars fleet.
As the Khagan decided on his Legion's next move, the Alpha Legion cordon remained intact, its smooth unity broken only by minor adjustments to the twin defensive lines. Every move that the White Scars made was reflected by Alpha Legion warships in what had become a bizarre game of mirrors. Though the Alpha Legion had presented no threat, these were not the actions of a friend. This could not be denied, but despite that, the Khan still resisted giving the order to attack. Mere hours earlier, the shape of the reported rebellion within the Imperium had been simple: Russ and his savages had defied orders once more. Now it had become complex, far more complex.
Things were further complicated when the White Scars Astropathic Choir received official messages directly from Terra, from Rogal Dorn himself -- the White Scars were commanded to make the swiftest possible passage to the Throneworld where further instructions and further explanations would be given. The meaning was clear, its origin unambiguous.
The Vth Legion had been ordered to ignore all other claims on their fealty, in particular those of the Warmaster Horus, who had been declared Traitor to the Emperor along with any other Legion answering his summons. But the Khan was not moved by these demands.
He felt the old stirrings of resentment again, the chill anger of the unregarded son and the man who had bent the knee to avoid having domination forced upon him. A price always had to be paid for his inclination to freedom, for skirting along the edges of Imperial communication. The reality was that the White Scars were always the last to know what was happening in the wider galaxy.
The Khan now saw the larger strategic picture -- the Alpha Legion did not wish to fight the White Scars, nor did they want to join them. They wanted to cause doubt, keeping the White Scars in the Chondax System to tie them up in questions, because they knew the veil was slowly lifting and that messages were only now getting through the aether of the Warp.
The Sons of Alpharius were manipulators -- they wanted the White Scars to hear from Dorn. They had purposely kept the Vth Legion's fleet at Chondax until they could be sure the White Scars had picked up Dorn's message and call for aid.
The Alpha Legion, for some unknown reason, wanted the White Scars to return to Terra and aid in its defence from whomever the real Traitors were. But the Khan would not take direction from anyone, not even from a Throneworld that only now that its Legions were tearing one another to pieces, deigned to remember that it had his warriors at its service.
His White Scars were nobody's slaves. They were the ordu of Jaghatai Khan and they took orders from no one else. They would take no one's word for the truth, for they were on their own, just as they had always been, and if there was truth to be found in this, then they would find it for themselves before acting.
Jaghatai ordered his fleet to prepare for immediate departure from Chondax. All across the vast battlefront, White Scars Escort craft moved as one, sweeping towards the encircling Alpha Legion forces in a unified screen. Inter-fleet communications were shut down and incoming bursts blocked -- the enemy had had their chance to make themselves understood.
Anything that they said now would be disregarded. The White Scars coordinated to perform a standard zao (known in Low Gothic as "The Chisel") manoeuvre -- full-fleet, enacted on a single command from the Vth Legion's flagship Swordstorm.
Every starship in the service of the Imperium was different. The secrets hidden within their reactor hearts were jealously guarded by the lords of the Red Planet and shared with no one outside the privileged circles of the elect. Every Primarch asserted various preferences during construction: Corax had worked obsessively to make his vessels as stealthy as possible, Vulkan to make them durable and Fulgrim to make them beautiful.
Primarchs had ways of circumventing standard Imperial command structures -- they could bend rules, uncover hidden data-cores and suborn Mechanicum Magi to their desires. So it was, as the Great Crusade progressed, that each Legion fleet slowly took on the character of its master through an endless programme of refits, retrofits and base modifications. In the case of the White Scars, only one change had ever been requested of the Tech-priests and only one metric was ever improved upon -- speed.
The Vth Legion's Techmarines spent solar decades boosting reactor power-feeds and finding ways to hone manoeuvrability far beyond the tolerances that each standard starship class had been designed for. The endless pursuit of velocity came with its costs: gunnery captains had been heard to complain of reduced Lance range, and it was well known that a White Scars warship would not carry as many troops or dropships as the equivalent vessel in a standard fleet, but such factors carried little weight in a Legion drenched in the wild-riding tradition of the Chogorian plains.
Under standing orders from the Khagan, the Legion had never shown off its drives' modified capabilities outside of active warzones. Since so few of the other Legions had ever fought alongside the White Scars, this specialisation had not become widely known, except for a few speculative reports here and there of strangely elongated engine-housings, extravagant thruster formations and oversized fuel lines. It all made for a ferociously fast set of warships, from the largest behemoths to the most slender of system-runners.
As the White Scars' vessels began to move, the Alpha Legion reacted. They maintained the integrity of the cordon, warding the routes to the nearest suitable Mandeville jump-points and keeping the White Scars corralled within the vicinity of Chondax. As they had done ever since arriving, each ship of the blockade matched the movements of its White Scars counterpart, maintaining a gigantic mirror-image across space.
The gap between the fleets slowly closed. The Alpha Legion formation reacted just as a blockade ought to react, maintaining a rigid web across the widest area of space, each node backed up by a second rank of warships held in reserve. Their movements remained cagey, as if they wished to do nothing more than hold the impasse for as long as possible. As the two vanguards closed to within Lance-range, for the first time the White Scars noticed incoming Vox-requests from the enemy on the sensorium array, and ignored them. The Alpha Legion had already been given every chance to explain themselves.
It was then that the Alpha Legion opened fire on its former brothers. All along the front, White Scars ships probed the line and Alpha Legion ships resisted them. It was a classic containment pattern, designed to hem the Vth Legion formation in and prevent isolated warships from running the cordon.
The standard breakout response was a full-scale assault on the containment net, aiming to drive it back through a massed volume of concentrated ship-to-ship fire. Such an order was not taken lightly -- the result would be ruinous for both sides, and only hotheads like Leman Russ or Angron enjoyed taking such risks. The Alpha Legion clearly judged that the Khan was not so cavalier. In this, of course, they were entirely correct.
The White Scars' vanguard began to drift spinwards, pulling clear of their jump-point trajectory and dragging the centre of the engagement back towards Chondax's gravity well. It looked almost careless, as if aimless commanders had launched a half-hearted breakout without the commitment to see it through.
The drift became more pronounced as the intensity of the las-fire picked up. For all that, the individual engagements were muted, probing, restrained. No torpedoes were launched, no gunship wings were unleashed. The two walls of minor warships grappled in a bizarre half-embrace of limited ferocity.
All across the engagement zone, Vth Legion positions began to collapse, withering in the face of steady, professional pressure from the enemy. White Scars vessels dropped formation, protecting their own flanks and leaving holes in the offensive wall. As if fighting a strong headwind out on the Altak back on Chogoris, the vanguard's momentum faltered.
When the chronograph reached 0, the White Scars vessels moved, every one of them, all at the same time, into full attack speed. Everything quickly changed as the Vth Legion's fleet formation morphed in an instant, suddenly switching from an aimless drift-pattern into an arrowhead shock assault of astonishing precision. The White Scars vessels took on new trajectories and moved in perfect concert, suddenly leaping from semi-committed holding patterns into a single attack vector. The Alpha Legion most likely had never witnessed such ship mastery.
The best Imperial naval officers could not have performed such a manoeuvre in less than five solar minutes, and it would have required hundreds of course-correction warnings and solar hours of preparation to bring off. The White Scars had done it, as one -– with no extraneous prompting -- in five seconds. The White Scars' deployment was now a single spearhead. Escorts shot out, pulling together into a single mass and punching a hole through the enemy cordon. Their sudden burst of speed and concentrated Lance-strikes wrong-footed the Alpha Legion vessels in their path, and three bronze-prowed Destroyers were overwhelmed almost immediately, lost amidst a whirlwind of plasma and exploding torpedo trails.
More White Scars Destroyers screamed through the wreckage, corkscrewing and diving like plunging pods of cetaceans. Everything was aimed at a single point: the flanks were discarded, surrendered to the enemy as every Vth Legion asset in the battlesphere shot into close formation and boomed up to top velocity.
The encircling Alpha Legion cordon was now compromised and fractured, its constituents struggling to respond to the lone column of ships that burned its way through their heart. Their capital ships were even slower, unable to take advantage of modified engines or the White Scars' almost preternaturally-skilled ship crews. The Swordstorm pulled up to the forefront of the Chisel formation, propelled by its monstrous, raging plasma engines and surrounded by a swarm of racing Escorts. Bulky vessels of the Alpha Legion's second rank tried to bar its path, sliding into a hurried defensive formation with what now looked like ponderous clumsiness.
All around their Legion flagship, other White Scars warships launched forward-facing barrages, vomiting las-beams and plasma bolts and torpedo salvoes in a vast, intense column of pure destruction. The Chisel had hammered its way through the Alpha Legion cordon, breaking it open at its weakest point. The entire formation -- tightly-knit, long and slender like a throwing javelin -- raced out into open space. The Alpha Legion struggled to regroup in its wake, pulling warships from the far-flung cordon formation like an octopus clutching its many limbs back to itself.
They had not lost critical numbers of ships, but the sudden attack run had blown their formation wide open and destroyed the cohesion that they had so painstakingly built. The White Scars' run did not slow. If anything, free of the need to maintain a barrage of las-fire, it accelerated.
As the orb of Chondax fell rapidly away aft, it was mediated by the glowing corpses of a dozen burned-out Alpha Legion warships. The starships of the White Scars fleet soon reached their Mandeville Points and translated without delay into Warpspace, their destination unknown.
The White Scars understood that fate was against them. Somehow the Warp Storms around Chondax had been orchestrated by some mysterious outside force. Though it took enormous power, or devices of ancient and unknown origins, it could be done.
To seek out the answers they sought, the Khagan ordered his Legion to head for the source, to find the architect of the chaos engulfing the Imperium. Yet, only one soul could see the Warp as it truly was, and that was Magnus the Red, the only one of his brothers that Jaghatai had ever truly trusted.
If Magnus yet lived then everything could be salvaged. If he was dead, then the Imperium was finished. The White Scars set course for Prospero. As the Swordstorm broke free of the Warp on the Prospero System's outer limits, the warship's systems were brought online and began to run forward Augur sweeps. The results were not encouraging -- no Vox signals were detected and there were no transports nor energy-trails. A major star system like Prospero ought to have had thousands of ship-spores hanging in the void, the chemical residue of void engine release, but the routes inbound from the Mandeville Warp point were sterile.
Soon the Thousand Sons' homeworld swam into extreme forward sensor range. Blurry pict-feeds flickered into life, clarifying rapidly as Servitors adjusted the image gain logic engines. The planet was entirely dark. Prospero had once been a jewel of a world, a pale-orb the colour of a Terran dawn, banded with lilac and under-lit by glistening ice caps. From space it had been pristine, untouched by the industrial hyper-sprawl that had turned the throneworld of Terra into a grey-tinged ball of rockcrete and iron.
Now it was mottled the colour of burned charcoal. Swirls of drifting cloud, as thick and dark as those that swept across Ullanor, covered the ravaged planet. As the White Scars fleet moved into orbit, the Khagan instructed the fleet to blockade, then prepare for planetfall. If his ships detected anything with a Fenrisian marker, they were ordered to kill it.
By the time Swordstorm reached geostationary orbit over the world's capital city of Tizca, there was no longer room for doubt. Atmospheric readings streamed in, adding to the visual evidence. There was substantial tectonic activity, atmospheric pollution levels were far in excess of mortal tolerances. These markers were indicators of a heavy bombardment consistent with mass drivers from orbit, followed by a secondary trauma. Toxins across a wide spectrum were present in lethal quantities, and extensive volcanism scarred the equatorial zone.
Something in the upper atmosphere -- an aetheric field, a truly massive one -- was preventing the White Scars from sending landers or Drop Pods. The world was rapidly dying and the phenomenon was still growing, perhaps as a result of what had happened there. One did not kill an entire planet without aftershocks.
Undeterred, the Khan opted to teleport to the surface. But it was made clear that the topographic interference might make it impossible for the flagship to extract the Primarch, or even make Vox-contact. Jaghatai and twelve of his Terminator-armoured bodyguard, the keshig, teleported down to the unstable surface of Prospero.
As the Primarch and his warriors explored the ruined capital city, they observed the scene of devastation stretching away under the darkened sky. The whole city reeked of burning metal. The Khan's armour sensors told him the surfaces around him were still warm from the afterglow of whatever apocalypse had overtaken Prospero.
Everything was simply gone -- all the libraries, the repositories, the arcana. If the Space Wolves had truly done this, then perhaps their power did match their boasts. The Khan instructed his warriors to search for the caves that he knew were under the city. They would begin their search for the Crimson King there.
Some amongst the Khan's command were a part of the Warrior Lodges, a closed fraternity of warriors that existed outside of the Space Marine Legions' formal structure. It was common knowledge that the Emperor frowned on such institutions, claiming they were dangerously close to the cults of ancient superstition. Despite this, the proliferation of these Warrior Lodges quickly spread amongst the other Legions -- even into the White Scars Legion.
Many of the Terran warriors of the Vth Legion as well as some of their erstwhile Chogorian brethren took part in the clandestine activities of the lodges. They felt that the Khagan was too slow in deciding which side the White Scars should choose in the coming conflict that had only begun to rage amongst the Legiones Astartes.
These lodges had already made their choice. The moment had finally come, and so, they moved as one, silently and efficiently. Led by the esteemed Hasik Noyan-Khan, the Warrior Lodge members declared their allegiance to Horus. They had remained secretly in contact with Horus' partisans through arcane means at least since the campaign at Chondax.
In the absence of the Khagan on the surface of Prospero, Hasik Noyan-Khan was in command of the flagship and, by extension, the Vth Legion's fleet. Personnel began to move between the warships as the lodge members began to move themselves into position for their coup d'etat. Discovering the clandestine activities of Hasik and his co-conspirators, Shiban Khan, commander of the Brotherhood of the Storm, attempted to bring to the attention of Jemulan Noyan-Khan, that his ordu commander Hasik was a part of this cancer at the heart of their Legion, and informed him of their intended plans.
Unable or unwilling to assist, Jemulan dismissed these accusations out of hand and ordered Shiban to return back to his ship until he had received further orders. It had been a slim hope -- Jemulan did not have quite the same reputation as Hasik and had not been with the Legion from the start.
As a result, he was not as close to the Primarch. Perhaps it had been too much to expect. Back aboard his ship, the Kaljian, Shiban Khan was unable to sit idly by. He ordered the entirety of his Brotherhood to muster and prepare for action. They would seize the initiative and oppose this madness before it could seize hold of their entire Legion.
A New Threat
On Prospero, it was difficult to witness what had become of Magnus' iridescent city of glass and crystal. The Khan made his way through the layers of grey-silver dust, watching heavy skies scud across the blackened shells of old structures. The lightning never ceased, flickering away on the northern horizon. The Khan's keshig of Terminators fanned out around him. They went as warily as he, and their bone-white armour made them look like ghosts in the dark. Jhagatai had not wanted to believe it, not truly.
His feelings about Leman Russ had always been mixed -- respect for the warrior; exasperation at the boasts, the self-appointed exceptionalism. It was another thing, though, to witness what he had done, to see the truth of the White Scars star-speakers' (astropaths) testimony.
The Khan found that the truth, now that it was before him, was a bitter draught indeed. As the small landing party of warriors made their way deeper into the ruins of the city, they found themselves near the cult temples. As the Khan investigated the immediate area he heard an unmistakable buzzing noise, like the drone of massed insect wings. Though there were no life signs detected, the Khan could not shake the feeling that he heard a distinct buzzing sound.
The Khan ordered his warriors to disable their auto-senses and to use their own eyes. Blink-dismissing the lattice of targeting reticules and environmental compensators hovering in their field of vision within their helmets, only then did the White Scars see them: shimmering in spectral blue-white, arthropodic, winged and massive. There were dozens, sliding up out of the ground like unquiet shades rising from the grave.
They were ruined things, twisted and hunched, though still twice the size of the Terminators before them. Once free of the broken earth they swayed through the air jerkily, lurching as though blind and famished. The Khan recognised the vile creatures immediately -- Psychneuein -- vile Warp entities drawn to the mental emanations of unprotected, badly-injured or nascent psykers whose minds they attack for the obscene purpose of gestating their progeny.
These creatures had been a blight on the otherwise benign world of Prospero for centuries, consuming the minds of mortals. The Thousand Sons had hunted them, driving them into the wilds and far from the glittering spires. Now, like everything else, they had been reduced to ghosts -- remnants of the living horrors they had been. Only, unlike all the other destroyed fauna, they had retained some vestige of their old wills.
The White Scars quickly found that their physical weapons had no effect on the spectral insects, their blades passing through their arthropedal forms harmlessly. Their only advantage was that the creatures were blind, yet they could still sense their prey. When the Psychneunin struck, they angled their swollen abdomens to sting. The glowing tips of their long proboscis passed through the Terminators' Ceramite with ease.
Howls of agony filled the air as lumpy matter was sucked up the creatures' translucent proboscis. Unable to fight such fell creatures, the Khagan ordered his warriors to fall back. As Jaghatai fought the hideous creatures, the ground beneath his feet gave way, the flagstones damaged by the Space Wolves' relentless orbital bombardment.
Falling for a long distance, the Primarch came to a sudden halt. Buried up to his chest in the fallen debris, the Khan attempted to contact his Keshig on the surface. He received nothing but static for his trouble. Pulling himself free from the pile of rubble, Jaghatai found himself in a strange underground world of sink-holes and chasms that might open up into something bigger. He had come looking for caves. And he had found them.
The Keshig master Qin Xa ordered his warriors to withdraw, for they could not fight this new threat. Staggering away from the creatures, the other warriors did not respond immediately. Despite their fearsome levels of discipline, leaving the site of the Khagan's fall was anathema. They surged back across the heaving terrain, lumbering away from the Psychneuein attacks as best they could, trying to reach the crumbling maw of the fissure that had swallowed their Primarch. It was a doomed attempt.
The Keshig pulled together and retreated towards a bombed-out terrace. The Psychneuein came after them. Soon the surviving Keshig found themselves trapped, and so they formed a broken line, determined to face the enemy. Then suddenly, they all felt the static build-up of enormous power. A second later the entire chamber was filled with light as flames leapt up from underneath the Psychneuein. Caught up in the maelstrom of blazing, purple-tinged fire, the creatures simply burst apart.
Turning to investigate the source of the flames, Qin Xa felt a fresh surge of power just behind him. His arms went rigid, locked by some mysterious force. A huge weight pressed against his twin heart, slowing him down and deadening his movements. A Bolter was pressed against his chest and a figure stood before him in crimson armour.
His faceplate was that of a suit of gold-crested Mark III Power Armour, archaic and festooned with Thousand Sons iconography. He introduced himself as Revuel Arvida, a Sergeant of the Thousand Sons Legion's 4th Fellowship and a member of its Corvidae Cult. He was the last surviving member of his squad. He led the Keshig away from the danger of the ravenous Warp-spawned insects.
Arvida led the surviving Keshig far through the empty city, until they found themselves within the ruins of a grand audience chamber. The White Scars inquired as to how the Thousand Sons Sergeant had come to be on Prospero and how long he had been there. Arvida informed them that he had arrived on Prospero after its destruction, and that he could give them no answers as to what had previously occurred. As for how long he had been there, he did not know, for his Power Armour's internal chronometre had been blown in battle.
He understood that the White Scars were trying to find their missing Primarch, but their efforts were futile. Their gene-sire could fight the Psychneuein, for he was made to fight them. They needed to get away from the benighted planet, and that when they did, to take him with them. Qin Xa explained that they would make one more final attempt to find their Primarch. Arvida acquiesced to their wishes, but requested that they wait for a short time until he had fully recovered from his last encounter with the vile Warp-entities. They would need his psychic abilities if they wanted to survive the coming conflict.
The Warhawk and the Crimson King
Jaghatai Khan made his way through the newly discovered tunnels. He had only been able to go down, despite several attempts to find a route back to the surface. The Psychneuein had not followed him down, but the absence of any movement beyond his own was chilling. Eventually he made his way to a large chamber. The space was immense, and the upper reaches soared away into the darkness.
The walls curved upwards steeply, terraced like an auditorium and striated with bands of metallic ore. Brass instruments lay about it, each one smashed or warped. There were bodies buried beneath the ash and metal: human bodies, mortal in stature. The keshig master had been right -- there was nothing left on Prospero. The Khan had been a fool to come, and a greater fool to come down to the surface in person.
As he stared grimly at the macabre surroundings around him, he suddenly felt a restless, gentle movement in the dust. A ghostly outline of a figure flickered, burning coldly. He stood a little taller than the Khan, just as he had done in life. His face was the same, though the expression was infinitely weary, and a little distracted. His lone eye did not focus -- in the past, its focus had been remorseless.
Holding his ground, the Khan stood speechless, still gripping his blade. His defensive posture was unnecessary. When the figure spoke, the voice dispelled any trace of doubt. It was an apparition of his missing brother, Magnus the Red, the Crimson King. At first the Khan did not believe the evidence of his senses for a long time. The shade explained that it was merely a remnant or psychic fragment of Magnus -- a dream of something destroyed. Though the Khan had doubts that it truly was his brother, the Magnus fragment explained that it was not the Crimson King -- at least not entirely -- but they did share a soul.
The shade explained to the Khan what had occurred recently on the devastated world, that it was their father's vengeance for his hubris, for daring to break the Emperor's edicts. Magnus confessed that Jaghatai had been right -- he should have restrained his sons in their explorations of the power of sorcery. However, Magnus added that the Khan had never had to make the bargains he had subscribed to, and the Vth Legion had never been compromised by the Warp as the Thousand Sons had been to ensure their survival against the threat of constant mutation.
But the truth of the matter was that everyone in the Imperium had been deceived. The Great Ocean was never benign, and it was conspiring against Mankind even as they stepped into its shallows. The greater the soul, the greater the jeopardy. Horus was the greatest soul of them all, and so his was the furthest fall. Horus had been eaten by the Warp. His body was bursting with it, corroding him, gnawing at him from the inside. There were others -- First Chaplain Erebus, their brother Lorgar of the Word Bearers -- but it was always every mortal's decision in the end whether to reject or embrace the corrupt promises of the Empyrean.
Magnus had tried to warn the Emperor. That was his crime, and the destruction of his Legion and his homeworld was his punishment. It was pride, that was all. Pride that had swallowed Horus, as well. The Ruinous Powers waited and they watched, and they realised what the Primarchs had not -- that only the Primarchs could destroy the Primarchs. Only they could bring down the eternal Imperium, because everything else had been annihilated.
That's what Lorgar called the Chaos Gods -- the Primordial Annihilator. Most of the Primarchs, without realising it, had already cast their lots in the great drama about to unfold, and only a few remained. They were being lined up, one by one, to tear at each other's throats. The Khan was one of the last. The Chaos Gods did not know which way the White Scars would go. None of them did, and that was why the White Scars had the eyes of the galaxy on them at last. Jaghatai Khan had never taken sides.
He would take everyone on if he had to. But the shade of Magnus explained that there were but two paths to chose from -- he could hunker down in what remained of their father's Imperium and try to keep Horus from beating down the door, or he could choose to remember how Horus had once been, and stand at his side as he brought terror to the complacent. The first would be the more loyal course, but the other had its merits.
When Jaghatai pressed Magnus for where his allegiances lay, the shade explained that his choices were constrained. He now knew more than anyone what awaited those on the other side. It turned out to be the ruin the Crimson King had worked for centuries to avoid, but their father was not the forgiving sort. Magnus had burned his bridges with the Emperor. They were burned when he had broke the wards over the Emperor's secret Webway project after he had projected his astral form into the dungeons of the Imperial Palace to bring his father the dire warning of the corruption of Horus and his intentions for insurrection.
Khan did not quite believe that the apparition that now stood before him was truly his brother. The Khagan had come to Proserpo to find a friend. Whatever else had happened, he thought he could come to Magnus for his counsel. Despite all this, Magnus still wanted to know whose side Jaghatai would choose. Jaghatai was ambiguous about his choice, for he believed that Horus was corrupted and that the Emperor was a tyrant. The Khan informed him that he could choose neither. But Magnus explained it did not work like this. Sooner or later, the Khan would have to choose between the two sides, and that the next time they met they would either be allies or enemies. Jaghatai still had a choice, and Magnus implored his brother to make the right one.
Jaghatai expressed his regret at not being there at the Council of Nikaea besides both Magnus and Sanguinius. The Khan explained that their brother Horus had purposely sent him away, for there were no accidents. But Magnus dismissed his misgiving, telling him instead to focus on the future. Jaghatai snapped at the aether-shade that there was no future. Khan and his brothers had all been working for something better than... this. Magnus countered that this was certainly true of Roboute Guilliman and perhaps Lorgar as well, in his own warped way.
But Jaghatai had not -- he had only been a part of the Great Crusade for the hunt. Jaghatai countered that the hunt had kept his Legion pure. Magnus argued that it had kept his brother away. He had been so easy to keep out of the conversation. The Crimson King had been there the whole time -- he just did not hear the words being sibilantly whispered by the powers of the Warp. The Magnus-apparition explained that it was glad that the Khan had come to see him -- they had always seen eye-to-eye.
Though he thought Jaghatai brittle, at least he always spoke the truth. When they finally concluded their conversation, the Khan informed Magnus that he had got what he had come for. He told Magnus that he had always been his friend. Magnus understood, and looked at the Khan for a moment. Jaghatai knew what he had to do. With a final parting word, Jaghatai swung his great bladed dao and struck Magnus' outline, and the ghost shell shattered, spilling a thousand pieces like broken glass.
The Khan remained still. He felt as though moving, even by a fraction, might break what remained. Around him, the Reflecting Caves sighed with emptiness, their majesty in tatters. The Khan bowed his head. At least, amidst all the numbness, the truth was now known. The choice could be made, for the Traitor had been unmasked. Duty could now be done, the call to war could be given. But, for all that, still he could not stir. The dream had died.
A Legion Divided
As Shiban Khan secretly prepared his Brotherhood to storm the Vth Legion's flagship, the Terran commander Torghun Khan warned Hasik Noyan-Khan that their plan to suborn Shiban's loyalty to their cause had failed. Torghun informed him that the Brotherhood of the Storm's khan had been to see Jemulan Noyan-Khan. Things were now moving very quickly. Hasik had the Swordstorm and Torghun Khan would take the Tchin-Zar.
As long as the Warrior Lodge brothers held onto the capital ships, the others would fall into line. When the Khagan returned he would see the wisdom of the actions of the lodge brothers. Horus and Jaghatai had always seen things the same way. What could the Khan do if his fleet was of one mind? He would recognise what they had done and see the justice in it.
Torghun, like many of his erstwhile lodge brothers, had made their choice a long time ago, years back when the first stirrings of the lodges had come to their ears. It was the chance to mould the White Scars Legion into what it should have been -- a shock-attack force to rival the vaunted speartip of the Sons of Horus, only shackled to a greater, more generous mind than that of the mighty Khan.
This was the destiny of the Vth Legion. All the lodges had done was help the process along. Suddenly, every Warrior Lodge member within the Vth Legion received a relayed Augur-reading from the Swordstorm. They rejoiced, for they had called, and Horus had answered. Looking at the signals, still on the edge of the system but already moving in close -- three, then four vessels allied to Horus were moving towards the Prospero System.
Meanwhile, Shiban Khan had his ship, the Kalijan, slide close to his Legion's flagship. When they were in position, he led his Brotherhood in a daring orbital assault by launching specially modified Sojutsu Pattern voidbikes. They were more like one-man fighters than Jetbikes, and an armour-sealed White Scars Legionary could use them for short bursts in the void just as other Legions used their Land Speeders for atmospheric work.
As Shiban and his men launched a lightning assault upon the massive flagship, the Swordstorm's weapon batteries buffeted them in a flurry of las-fire. As they pushed their bikes close to the flagship, scanning for an entry point, the Khan finally saw a single docking port, un-shielded and unbarred.
Leading the way, Shiban and his warriors tore through the oncoming las-fire, jerking and ducking to avoid the beams, sweeping past a whole row of angled torpedo launchers and streaking towards the signalled port. Kicking the retros at the last moment, the voidbikes skidded around in zero-gravity then powered into the Swordstorm's inertia bubble. Their bike's grav-plates whined instantly, adjusting to the rapidly moving environment, before locking on the docking bay floor and righting themselves.
The Brotherhood of the Storm followed their commander into the corridors beyond. Hasik Noyan-Khan and his co-conspirators had been blindsided by Shiban Khan's daring assault. Reports streamed in -- there was disorder on many vessels now as both factions vied for control of their respective vessels. Hasik ordered a Vox-link to be opened with the flotilla, and to prevent any of their vessels from opening fire on them.
This was their moment -- they would hold their position. Turning to the dozens of White Scars around him there were khans, captains, senior ship-officers and mortal commanders -- just a few of those who had been persuaded and who were now working to free the Legion from the hand of tyranny in service to Horus. They would remain resolute. They had no choice.
Suddenly, the bridge detected signs of a boarding party making their way towards the bridge. Hasik gave the order to repel boarders. A lone White Scars Brotherhood posed no real risk -- they had run the calculations. But still, he had hoped to avoid full-scale combat with his Battle-Brothers in persuading others to the honourable course. Perhaps that had always been a foolish hope. The Noyan-Khan did not understand why the flotilla of newly arrived Traitor vessels did not make contact. Why the silence? He assured his warriors that this was the test. This is what they had been working towards. It could not be halted now. For the sake of the Imperium, no backward step.
As Shiban led his Brotherhood further into the interior of the White Scars' flagship he encountered resistance from a rival Brotherhood commanded by his former comrade, the Terran commander Torghun Khan. Halfway up a staircase, on a colonnaded landing area, a line of White Scars waited. The Brotherhood of the Moon was well-established, already crouched in fire-positions and able to shelter behind the curve of the pillars around them. Beyond lay the approaches to the strategium and bridge.
Torghun attempted to reason with his erstwhile brothers. He informed Shiban and his men that the bridge was sealed. Shiban inquired as to the whereabouts of the Khagan. Torghun calmly replied that Hasik Noyan-Khan spoke for the Khagan. Shiban felt his blood run hot. No one, not even the Emperor Himself, spoke for the Great Khan. Undeterred, the Brotherhood of the Storm burst out of cover and surged up the stairway, charging into the incoming torrent of bolt-shells as the hall exploded with light, sound and fury.
The Loyalist Brotherhood of the Storm surged up against the hammering deluge, sprinting in loose formation. For every one knocked back, ten more gained ground. Brother locked blades with brother, and the echoing din of Bolter-fire was joined by the acrid snarl of energy weapons. The Loyalist White Scars fought in a flurry of vicious strokes, wrenching their blades deep into the flesh of their enemies.
If the enemy had been Greenskins, they would have kept going -- carving into the organs, making sure -- but these were their brothers. They had no wish to kill if it could be avoided -- they immobilized, shattered bones, throttled and bludgeoned, then moved on, sprinting further up through the throng of warriors. The fighting was bizarre -- close-packed, confused and brutal, but strangely detached. No fighters whooped or cried out in battle-cant. They fought with cold-discipline, going through the movements with consummate skill but taking no joy in it.
It was poor fighting, cramped and bitter. None of them let loose with the flamboyance that they were used to. Shiban urged his brothers onwards, trying to instill the virtues of greater speed, greater power. Torghun did the same -- exhorting those about him into a typically dogged defence. Neither side relished the carnage. Shiban's forces pushed up through the narrowing space, gaining ground with every surge. Many fell to the concentrated volleys of covering fire, their armour pulverised in the withering barrage, but their momentum was not halted.
Torghun's forces had lost too many warriors to hold the ground, and soon struggled to keep them back. Just as the arch of the observation deck soared away ahead of Shiban and his forces, Torghun had his forces fall back en masse. They all went quickly, decisively, as if the move had been long planned. Shiban's instinct was to charge after them, cutting them down as they broke. All around him his brothers did the same, sprinting ahead to run the enemy down. That was when Shiban realised they had been drawn into a trap.
Skidding to a halt, Shiban crouched down, just as the hurricane hit. From high up on the terraces on either side of the bridge, many metres up between the pillars and suspended platforms, massed Bolter-fire tore up the floor in a cloud of debris. Many of Shiban's warriors were caught in the conflagration and were ripped apart by the hail of Bolter-fire. The rest of them retreated to what cover they could.
Just as they did so, the wave of Bolter-fire ceased. Scanning ahead, Shiban observed that Torghun's warriors had hunkered down in a long line across the Servitor pits bisecting the hall. Dozens of sharp-shooters were stationed above them on the terraces, holding fire for now but still primed. Beyond that, he saw more heavy infantry holding position around the epicentre of the bridge itself -- the command throne. Hasik's own keshig were amongst them, hulking in Terminator battle-plate. Other defending White Scars occupied strategic points in the observation deck beyond. The bridge was covered, locked down, utterly secure.
Hasik Noyan-Khan stood stoically, addressing the crouching intruders, trying to get them to stand down. Meanwhile, the four incoming Traitor warships drifted closer, utterly incautious, prowling through local space as though they owned it. Up close, their fleet-markings were now easily identifiable -- they were XIVth Legion, the Death Guard, not warships from the Sons of Horus.
More Traitor starships soon entered the system. Two of them burned through the outer system at high speed. No markers, no idents marked them, just sub-Warp signatures and the telltale flicker of Void Shield activation. The White Scars fleet was paralysed. Their ships were not moving to counter either threat closing in on them.
The Legion had turned upon itself, as the hidden divisions were suddenly exposed everywhere at once. Hasik explained that the Khagan would return. He and his men were not Traitors -- it would all be resolved. The stakes were too high to leave things hanging unresolved -- the invaders were going to charge again. This time it would not stop, not until only one faction remained on the bridge, Traitor or Loyalist, whichever was which.
As Shiban ordered his men to prepare to engage the enemy, a deafening roar suddenly boomed through the entire bridge. The blinding iridescence of a teleportation beam burned brightly for a few moments. When it finally cleared, the scene on the bridge looked entirely different. Now a hundred more White Scars Legionaries stood arrayed in ranks across the outer circle of the bridge, all aiming their Bolters at the command throne.
Jemulan Noyan-Khan stood at the forefront in his master-crafted Terminator battle-plate, with his retinue of Veterans at his back. He ordered Hasik to stand down, as the attempt to alter the Vth Legion's path had failed. The tension hung heavily, like a thunderhead about to break.
A command was given, issued from the Vox-grill of one of the commanders. Shiban's elation at Jemulan's entrance had been short-lived. The forces were even now, each carrying devastating amounts of firepower. Every stage of the escalation had brought the ruin of the Vth Legion closer -- weapons that had been made to turn upon enemies were now opening up at one another.
Shiban leapt from cover and beckoned his warriors into the fray. Legionary fought Legionary, full-blooded and committed. The mortal crew of the flagship, unable to do anything in the face of such unleashed fury, cowered behind what defences they could find. All but one -- a grey-haired woman wearing a rumpled and torn Imperial Army general's uniform.
She ran straight towards Shiban as he charged the Servitor pits, her arms waving frantically. Something in her eyes stopped him -- she was not desperate to survive but to get his attention. She informed Shiban that she had the Khagan's locus. She ordered Shiban to get her to the teleport platform. The frail woman explained to him that it was she that had opened the docking bay doors. She had a positive lock on the missing Primarch, and if Shiban did not want to watch his Legion destroy itself, then he would get her to the teleporter controls.
The Death Lord
Qin Xa and the surviving Keshig made their way back towards the central part of the ruined city of Tizca where their Primarch had been swallowed up by the massive hole in the centre of a ruined square. As they approached their designated goal they could hear the first trace of buzzing. Psychneuein materialised over the Legionaries, coalescing instantly as if sucked from the atmosphere itself. The Keshig prepared to face the ghostly insects, knowing full well their weapons were useless against the Warp-spawned creatures.
Then the Thousand Sons Sergeant Arvida cried out, as he conjured lightning that slammed into the insectoid bodies of the creatures. The glowing exoskeleton of one of the creatures hardened, solidifying like freezing ice, allowing Qin Xa to strike the vile creature with his Power Sword. Positioned in the centre of the Keshig, Arvida continued to unleash bolts of Warp-fire into the foul insectoids. When the bolts hit, the half-corporeal creatures crystallised into physicality. Once in this state, the White Scars could take them on.
Soon more of the creatures materialised; first a few, then dozens. Ever stranger creatures emerged among them: giant scarabs, towering mantids and Vespid-like beasts. Arvida worked hard, throwing bolt after bolt at the emerging horrors. The White Scars kept fighting, hacking their way towards their intended goal. But the numbers began to tell. The spectres kept materialising, bursting into ghoulish life from all directions, spilling out of the air. Arvida worked frantically, lighting up the skies with his sorcery, but it was not quick enough. Still there was no signal -- no location reading for the Khan.
As the creatures began to overwhelm the Legionaries, pressing in from all sides, Qin Xa roared the Khan's name defiantly as he prepared to meet his death with both eyes open. Suddenly, one of the creatures blasted apart, spinning into a thousand fragments that sailed high across the ruins. A tall figure stood on the far side of the annihilated phantasms. His sword glowed with aetheric residue, as though dipped in molten iron.
For a second, lost in shock, Qin Xa just stared at the newcomer, breathing heavily. Then the armoured figure spoke, and all became clear. It was the Khagan! The Primarch of the White Scars strode forth after the retreating horrors, his long dao power blade shimmering. Killing the creatures was straightforward enough.
It was a matter of belief, as much as anything: attuning himself to the potential that existed within him, just as it did in all of his Primarch brothers. They were, every one of them, creatures of the Warp, whatever Malcador the Sigillite told the masses. The Warp ran through the minds of the Primarchs like blood in a vein.
Qin Xa and his surviving Keshig warriors gathered around the Khagan. He inquired whether they had a fix on the Swordstorm. The Keshig master replied that unfortunately they did not. The Khan turned back, and caught sight of the Thousand Sons Legionary among the others.
For a terrible moment he thought it was Ahriman -- for he wore the same crimson armour and bore the same arcane sigils. After Arvida introduced himself, the Khan regarded him closely. He could see the vigour of the psychic soul glowing inside the Thousand Son Astartes like a candle-flame.
His warriors inquired of their gene-sire whether or not he had found the answers he was looking for. Jaghatai thought for a moment on that, for he did not know what to say. He replied that he now knew more than he had before they came to Prospero, and that everything they had been told was the truth.
Prospero did indeed bear the kill-mark of Leman Russ, just as they had been told, but Magnus had already fallen, just as they were also told. Behind them all stood Horus, the Lord of Primarchs. They were all to blame -- there was no single Traitor -- there was only a web, stretching back in time, clutching at them all. And now it came for them.
As the clouds above them began to glow, a vibrant shard of light speared down from the smog, crackling as it hit the stone below. The Terminators turned to face it, powering up their weapons. Qin Xa stepped in front of the Khan. Jaghatai told his warriors he had felt this new arrival's presence following them for a long time. He had been on the Khan's heels since Ullanor. At long last he had finally caught up.
The Keshig moved into a loose semicircle, poised to strike. None of them would move before the order was given, though; they were the extension of the Khan's will. The Khan ordered his warriors to stand down, for the stranger was beyond all of them. How could he not be? For it was his brother -- Mortarion, the Death Lord, Primarch of the Death Guard Legion.
Watching the ash settle and the residual snags of aether-burn ripple into nothing, seven figures within the maelstrom emerged. Six of them were Legionaries. They were clad in pale, thick-slabbed Terminator Armour and carried huge Power Scythes known as Manreapers. Their pauldrons were olive-green and the links between the plates were cold iron. They were massive, heavier-set than Qin Xa's retinue, hunched at the shoulder and leaking pale green vapour from the last of the teleportation beams. These were members of Mortarion's elite bodyguard, the Deathshroud.
The seventh figure occupied a different order of power. He towered over his fellows, clad in battle plate of bare brass and corpse-white Ceramite. A long cloak of dark green hung down from high-rimmed shoulder guards. Skulls dangled from chains around his belt, some human, some xenos. A long pistol nestled among them -- drum-barrelled, and studded with bronze kill-markers. His eyes were amber, glinting from under the deep shadow of a tattered cowl.
An ornate rebreather covered the lower half of his face. Coils of oily gas spilled from the lining of his battle plate, dribbling down the skull-painted surfaces and hissing on contact with Prospero's death-dry soil. Mortarion planted the heel of his enormous scythe into the dust. The Khan looked up at the blade. It was known as Silence, the greatest of the XIVth Legion's infamous Manreapers.
Mortarion proceeded to explain the reason for his recent arrival; he told Jaghatai that he had sought him out, for things had changed. Jaghatai realised that his brother had come to persuade him to join the Traitors' cause. The Khan observed him guardedly, for Mortarion had always been hard to read. He left his blade unsheathed, holding it loosely at his side. Observing the physical changes in his brother, he noticed that Mortarion's power seemed to have grown.
Something burned in him, dark like old embers. His flesh was somehow bleaker, his stance a little more crabbed, and yet the aura of intimidation around him had been augmented. Back on Ullanor, even at the height of triumph, he had not possessed quite the same heft. Jaghatai commanded his brother to say what he had come to the ruins of Prospero to say. The Khan correctly surmised that Horus had not sent Mortarion, he had come of his own accord, with his own agenda.
Mortarion brushed off the Khan's reasoning, but Jaghatai pressed him. The Death Guard Primarch attempted to sway the Khan to Horus' cause, to imagine for himself a galaxy of warriors, of hunters, where the strong were given their freedom to act as they would, unbound by the Emperor's demands.
The Khan was no fool, and of course this new galaxy would be led by Horus. Mortarion merely shrugged -- Horus would be the start of the new order. He was the champion, the sacrificial king. He might burn himself out to get to Terra, he might not. Either way, there would be room for others to rise to power over the galaxy to come.
Mortarion told his brother that he should not have thrown in his lot with the Sanguinius, let alone Magnus. He hated to see the three of them getting dragged in deeper by the Emperor's hypocrisy. Their father had tried to pretend that it was not there, the Warp, as if He were not already up to his elbows in its soul-sucking filth. In Mortarion's opinion it should have been cordoned off, put away, forgotten about. But the Khan was not fooled by his brother's sincerity. He had seen what had happened.
The Death Lord had never hidden what he wanted. Jaghatai could see how his brother thought it would all play out; first hobble the sorcerers. Silence the witches. Drive them out, and rule would pass to the uncorrupted, the healthy. This was Mortarion's great project. He had even told the Khan on Ullanor. The Khan had thought back then that they were empty threats, but he should have known better. Mortarion did not make empty threats.
But it had all gone wrong. Though Mortarion had completed his great mission and the Emperor had handed down the Edicts of Nikaea forbidding the use of sorcery and the disbandment of the Legions' Librarius, there were now more sorcerers than ever amongst the ranks of the Traitors. Horus had sponsored them, and Lorgar had shown them new tricks. If Magnus had not already made up his mind on which side of the conflict he would be on, then he soon would, and then Mortarion would be surrounded. He had destroyed the Librarius of the Legions only to find witches were now untrammelled amongst the Traitors.
The Khan had seen the overall picture perfectly. Magnus had shown him. Jaghatai warned his brother that though his Legion might be free of the Warp's corruption for now, the change would come, for Mortarion had made his pacts with the masters of the Empyrean, and now they would come to collect.
But the Death Lord explained that this was why Mortarion had come to find Jaghatai. Mortarion had run out of friends. Who would stand with him against the aether-weavers now? Most assuredly not their brother Angron, nor the half-mad Konrad Curze.
The Khan gazed at Mortarion disdainfully as he made his complaints. His brother had tasted the fruits of treachery and found them bitter. The Khan did not wish to be dragged into his brother's ruin -- Mortarion was on his own.
Struggling to contain his anger at this response, Mortarion warned the Khan that he had come to give his brother a choice -- half of the White Scars Legion had already declared for Horus, and the others would follow wherever the Khagan ordered them. Their father's time was over -- the Khan could either be a part of the new order that replaced him or be swept aside in its wake.
The Khan merely smiled in retort -- a cold smile, imperious in its contempt. He would not countenance a new Emperor -- neither himself or his brother. Jaghatai explained that the reason neither one of them would ever rule the galaxy is that both of them were never the empire-builders. They were the outriders. Mortarion had chafed at this role, while the Khan had embraced it.
Enraged, Mortarion backed away, Silence crackled into life, sparking with green-tinged energy. The Deathshroud lowered their scythes in a combat posture. Behind the Khan, the Keshig readied their blades. The Khan prepared to settle their argument once and for all.
The two Primarchs circled one another, prepared to finally engage in a deadly duel that would decide one another's fate -- speed against implacability. An interesting contest. Though the Khan was blindingly fast, Mortarion's raw strength was phenomenal. Facing it full-on, Jaghatai doubted that any of his brothers, save perhaps Ferrus Manus, could have matched it.
The Death Lord absorbed every strike that connected, sucking the power out of the Khan's blows like a leech, taking the hits and coming back for more. The tenacity of the Death Guard was legendary, as was their ability to absorb punishment and just keep coming. The silent Deathshroud were just as implacable as their master, as they fought the White Scars Keshig amidst the wreckage.
Warriors of both sides had already fallen, their bodies caked in the drifting dust, but the fighting continued around them, bitter and unyielding. As the Primarchs continued to fight, the Khan actually felt himself begin to tire. Never in uncounted years of combat had he felt more than trivial stirrings of fatigue. He had never felt the bone-deep drag that Mortarion inspired. But the Khan knew that his brother suffered as well -- blood flecked his sallow cheeks and forehead, and his rebreather rattled as he hauled in thick breaths.
Mortarion barrelled into the Khan, using his scythe like a halberd and smashing the hilt into the Khan's midriff. The Khan lurched away, stumbling, and Mortarion lumbered after him. More blows came in -- hard, heavy, earth-shaking blows. The Khan was driven further, only barely able to weather the explosion of fury directed at him. When they slammed together again the impact was bone-jarring. They tore into one another, each strike powered by raw defiance.
Fragments of armour flew like shrapnel. Gas exploded from Mortarion's store of vials as the glass shattered, nearly blinding them both. Blood flew in straggling splatters, trailing across both combatants and staining their armour. As they hacked and countered, neither giving up so much as a centimetre of ground, it mingled upon the blades' edges, as rich and dark as wine.
Summoning up one last burst of energy, the Khan held position, panting hard, trying to drag up energy for the final clash. He held his dao poised, waiting for his enemy to move. One thrust, one perfect thrust, angled precisely -- he had the strength for that. But Mortarion did not move. He stood, rigid, as though suddenly listening for something. His scythe fell into guard. A thin coughing broke from his mask, which the Khan realised was an exhausted kind of chortle. "So the choice has been made."
Mortarion informed Jaghatai that their respective starships were at war. This was not what they had been promised by the White Scars Warrior Lodge brothers, but the Death Lord refused to lose a fleet for this fight. Feeling the dust stir around his feet, coils of marsh-green teleportation energy rippled down. He saluted the Khan mockingly, and spears of hard-edged light suddenly lanced down from above, bursting through the cloud cover and crashing through the heart of the ruined Tizca pyramid they had been fighting within.
The Khan sprang forward, seeing too late what was happening. In an instant, the Death Lord and his retinue were snatched away, sucked into the vortex of the Warp. The world's wind howled in their empty wake, the ash stirred, the lightning forked. Jaghatai, carried by the momentum of his final thrust, staggered though the empty space where his enemy had been.
Qin Xa faced him, unblooded but for his blades. The Thousand Sons Legionary was still there, as were five of his Keshig. The Khan was enraged -- the hunt had not been concluded, the kill had been ripped away. Qin Xa lowered his weapons. For a moment he said nothing, but faint clicks from his helm gave away the attempts he was making to contact the White Scars warships in orbit. The Khan turned to Arvida and ordered him to get him off of Prospero.
Arvida warned them that it would be difficult. He could only manage the use of his powers for a short while, and hoped that someone would be watching carefully. Collecting himself, Arvida summoned silvery witch-light from his hands, the light blazing so intently that it was hard to look at. Then he extended his hands heavenwards, and released a column of coruscating luminescence, electric-white and searing hot. It shot out vertically, leaping up and bursting into the skies above. The Khan looked upwards, over to where Arvida's released energy still shot into the turbulent skies, and hoped someone saw their signal.
A Primarch's Wrath
Caught up in the maelstrom of the two opposing factions of White Scars aboard the bridge of their Legion's flagship, Shiban Khan had to make a decision -- fight and most likely die alongside his brothers or listen to the pleas of a mortal woman. The young Khan's first reaction was to shove her aside and get to the enemy. But the desperation in her eyes stopped him. Shiban glanced at the teleportation platform, and then looked back at the pleading grey-haired woman in the tattered Imperial Army uniform.
Coming to a decision, he quickly scooped her up in his arms and sprinted towards the teleportation mechanism as fast as he could. As he ran across the bridge he was shot multiple times by stray bolt rounds. He kept going, gritting his teeth through the agony. As the platform's columns rose above them, he pushed the mortal clear before his falling body could crush her. The woman crawled free, darting into the relative safety of the chamber's inner mechanisms. As more bolts exploded against the circlet of columns, she frantically punched in a series of codes, and the apparatus began to hum with building power.
A second later, the space between Shiban and the mortal woman exploded with light. A hard bang shot out, radiating across the entire bridge. For a moment no one could see anything within the seething mass of energy. Then figures clarified within it -- White Scars in Terminator Armour, and a Space Marine Legionary in red armour on his knees from exhaustion. Before them stood a greater silhouette, massive in ornate armour, his cloak shredded to ribbons, his face an armoured mask of burns and heavy cuts. Jaghatai strode out of the failing storm of light and cast a baleful gaze across the bridge.
The hall was still in torment, with Battle-Brothers at each other's throats, lost in a maddened world of battle-cries and muzzle-flares. The Khan strode down from the platform, his Keshig following him closely. Ahead of him, the command hall remained swamped in combat. Many of those close enough to the teleportation flare to hear it over the clamour of the fighting broke off in sudden confusion, but others remained committed, locked in the storm of bolt-shells that crisscrossed the entire space.
Witnessing in that terrible moment warriors of his own Legion at each other's throats, Mortarion's words rang in his head, as mocking as his final salute -- "Half your Legion has already declared for Horus." He scanned over to the command throne, where the fighting was heaviest. With a lurch of recognition, he saw Hasik Noyan-Khan occupying the dais, fighting hard to repel a surge from Jemulan's warriors. The Khan's battered body carried him to the heart of the storm. His dao felt heavy in his grasp, still slick with Mortarion's blood.
The Keshig came with him, forming a protective cordon around their Primarch. As he swept through the heart of it, some of the fighting broke down. Warriors looked up from their duels, seeing the ravaged armour of their Primarch again as he strode up to the throne, as if realising only then the depths to which they had sunk in his absence. The echoing cacophony of Bolter-fire abated.
Hasik was waiting for him. The bridge fell silent. Warriors remained in position, their weapons still poised. Every eye was fixed upon the command dais. The Khan asked the Noyan-Khan what madness he had unleashed. Hasik replied that what he had done was for the good of the White Scars Legion. The Khan coldly noted that Hasik had been aware that he would return when he launched his coup. Or did he also plan to keep the Khagan away until the fleet was secure in his hands? The Noyan-Khan replied that he had only wished for his Primarch and Horus to be reunited once more. That was his only hope. That the whispers of the faithless could not be allowed to prevail.
The Khan was incredulous at this statement. How could Hasik call those who opposed him faithless, when it was he who had caused such madness and betrayed his Primarch? Hasik admitted that mistakes had been made, but nonetheless he and his Warrior Lodge brothers saw the truth. The Warmaster had called, and the White Scars must follow, for that had always been the way. The Khan informed Hasik that they had all been lied to by Horus.
As the Noyan-Khan tried to explain the reasons for his actions the Khan roared in anger at his commander's treachery. As he did so, he raised his blade. Perhaps unconsciously, perhaps without meaning to, or perhaps through some misguided belief that his cause lent him the power to do so, Hasik lifted his own in response.
The Khan pounced, sweeping his dao hard and locking edges with Hasik's tulwar. With a twist, he wrenched the sword from the Noyan-Khan's gauntlet, then switched back and plunged the dao's point deep into Hasik's midriff. The strike was aimed with perfect precision, lancing through the Terminator battle-plate with a hard crack of disruptor field discharge. Hasik went rigid, impaled just below his hearts, unable to respond as searing energies rippled across his body and locked him in paralysis.
Slowly, grindingly, Jaghatai Khan hefted Hasik off the ground one-handed, pulling him upwards until their faces were level. His blade kept Hasik in position, bearing his full weight and preventing him from responding. With every ounce of his posthuman strength, the Khan reached for Hasik's helm with his free hand and wrenched it from his head, casting it to the ground in contempt. For a moment they stared into one another's eyes -- one face white with shock, the other rigid with anger.
The Khan told Hasik that he knew nothing of the truth. If he had done as commanded, Jaghatai would be telling him of it now. Instead he would only tell him this -- the Vth Legion was the ordu of Jaghatai, and none bore their blades in it save by his word. Thus it had been since they first fought together on the Altak, and no power of the universe, be it Horus or the Emperor, would ever change that.
The Noyan-Khan had been given freedom that no other lord of a Space Marine Legion would countenance. But this was how Hasik repaid the Khan, with betrayal and fire, and so the impertinent warrior would be struck down for his hubris. The Khan flung Hasik's body aside. It flew free of the great power blade and crashed into the warship's command throne, cracking it lengthways, before rolling down the steps of the dais. Qin Xa strode over to him, his own weapons drawn, but Hasik did not get up.
Turning away, rage still pulsed through the Khan's veins, laced with the heavy grief of betrayal. For an instant his mind was filled with visions of lashing out further, of bringing punishment down on the entirety of his errant gene-progeny like some vengeful god of the forgotten past. But in the end, his eyes were drawn up to the observation arch, out through the enormous real-view portals towards Prospero's orbital space.
Far out into the void, silent bursts of light flashed out. Mortarion had spoken the truth about that, at least -- warships had engaged, Lances were being fired, shields were buckling. There was no time. A reckoning would come, the Khan cried, addressing the hundreds who waited for guidance. But for now, battle called.
He ordered the crew to Vox the rest of the White Scars' fleet. They would engage the Death Guard, guang-cha formation, full burn. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Death Guard formation quickly fell back into a defensive cordon. The White Scars went after them, harrying, strafing, hurling all their pent-up fury in a maelstrom of Lance-energy.
Second Battle of Prospero
The Second Battle of Prospero did not match the horror of the first, for the Death Guard had come to hopefully oversee the incorporation of an ally, not embark upon a protracted void conflict. The two fleets grappled together as they pulled away from Prospero, locked in a web of broadsides and attack runs.
Under Mortarion's leadership, the smaller XIVth Legion forces rallied enough to withdraw from the system intact, but they could match neither the speed nor the firepower of the reunited White Scars. The battle moved steadily out of the system until Mortarion finally gave the order to disengage and make for the Mandeville jump-points.
Leaving a trail of fire and plasma in their wake, the Death Guard entered the Warp, abandoning local space to the control of Jaghatai Khan. With the enemy driven from Prospero, the Vth Legion halted its pursuit. The fleet mustered once more, holding position in loose formation, just as it had done at Chondax. Some ships still ran with dissension, and the process of restoring order was neither quick nor without violence. The Khan visited every Battleship in person, stamping out the last traces of rebellion where he found them.
Blood had been shed on many vessels, and some had been commandeered entirely by White Scars Warrior Lodge members still hoping to sway the Legion to the cause of Horus. Some took their own lives rather than endure the shame of surrender, though most recognised the authority of the Khagan and offered up their blades in contrition.
A few smaller vessels never made it to the muster, either destroyed by the Death Guard during the engagement or disappearing quietly, presumed unwilling to accept the rejection of their planned accord with the Traitors. The seeds planted by the lodge were set deep, and not all of their growths were capable of being removed.
The wounded Hasik Noyan-Khan remained on the Swordstorm throughout the engagement. Only when Mortarion had been banished did Qin Xa come for him, removing his weapons and armour and escorting him to the confinement chambers. Hasik did not resist.
His face gave away the soul of a man destroyed. Others went with him into confinement, among them Goghal, Hibou and Torghun Khan. There they awaited judgement, guarded by the Khagan's own retinue. No precedent existed in the Vth Legion for their actions, though under the old law of the Altak steppes on Chogoris, the crime of treachery and betrayal had only one punishment -- death.
The Thousand Sons Astartes Arvida remained with the White Scars Legion and was given quarters on board the Swordstorm. His health had been ravaged by the long sojourn on a dying world, and it took solar days for him to recover enough to speak of what he had seen. The Stormseer, Yesugei Targetei, had fought his way halfway across the galaxy aboard the frigate Sickle Moon in order to reunite with the Khan, and both the zadyin arga and Arvida spent many hours together after that, though what they discussed was not revealed to any but the Khan.
It was known Yesugei asked after the fate of his friend Ahzek Ahriman, whom he had hoped to see again, but Arvida could give him no guidance. The Stormseer was forced to conclude that either Ahriman had been killed by the Space Wolves or had escaped into the Warp along with his master Magnus. In either case it seemed most likely that they would never meet again. Of the many links that had once existed between the White Scars and the Thousand Sons, only Arvida remained.
As for the Khan himself, once the violence of restoration had ebbed, he retreated to his chambers on the flagship and took counsel on the Legion's next move. Only Qin Xa and Yesugei stayed with him during that time, though it was known that a kurultai -- a summit of the Legion's khans -- would be convened to purge any remaining bad blood. It became quickly evident that the Warrior Lodge faction of the Vth Legion had not truly understood what they had been working towards, for the Horus they venerated no longer existed.
The knowledge gleaned from Magnus needed to be propagated swiftly, ending the long period of uncertainty that had blighted the White Scars Legion. Such was the way of the old plains: grievances would be heard, penance would be meted, bonds restored. No time was set for the gathering, but all the Brotherhood khans knew it would be soon.
Now that the true shape of the treachery against the Imperium was known, it would not be long before the Brotherhoods were ordered to war, unified once more and thirsting for vengeance. Until then, there was nothing to do but prepare, restore, and hope that the wounds of the Legion would heal before they faced the Traitors once more.
Flight from the Traitors
As Arvida spent his time recovering from his ordeal on Prospero, he befriended the Stormseer Targutai Yesugei. As the Thousand Son slowly regained his strength and precognitive powers, Yesugei repeatedly attempted to convince Arvida to become a member of the V Legion, since the Thousand Sons were now considered Excommunicate Traitoris by the Imperium.
He even went so far as to commission his Legion's Artificers to created a hybrid pauldron, incorporating the iconography of both Legions, to replace the one of Arvida's that had been severely damaged during the fighting against the Death Guard.
Though Arvida seriously contemplated becoming a part of a Legion once more, he eventually refused -- he would would remain, always and forever, a Son of Magnus and a loyal servant of the Emperor.
Arvida was determined to follow his fate, for he believed that his destiny was somehow connected to the image of the raven associated with the Corvidae Cult's sigil that he had foreseen while he was stranded on Prospero. During this time, Arvida had also begun to experience the mutational effects of his Legion's gene-curse, known as the "Flesh-Change."
The Path of Heaven
Nearly four Terran years later, the White Scars had successfully waged a guerrilla war of hit-and-run attrition attacks against the Traitors' supply lines deep in the void. Though their attacks were devastating initially, over time, the Traitors adapted to blunt the effectiveness of this campaign.
At the same time, the White Scars' numbers were slowly being whittled down to near-critical levels, and 20 percent of the Legion had already been lost in the fighting even as the Traitors continued to close on the routes to Terra.
Following a particularly devastating ambush by the Iron Warriors at Iluvuin, the Khagan was determined to make his way to the Imperial Throneworld, to stand by the Emperor's side when the Warmaster and the Traitors would inevitably invade the Sol System and lay siege to Terra.
But they were hindered at every turn -- trapped by the Ruinstorm, the massive Warp Storm conjured by the Word Bearers Traitor Legion during the Calth Atrocity, that blocked off large portions of the Milky Way Galaxy to both interstellar travel and communications.
They were also constantly being stalked and harangued by Traitor warships from a combined Traitor taskforce comprised of both the Death Guard and the Emperor's Children, led by Lord Commander Eidolon himself.
An opportunity soon presented itself when the White Scars discovered the Kalium Gate, an ancient Warp Gate that dated back to the Dark Age of Technology and had long been abandoned since the Age of Strife. Unfortunately, the White Scars were not able to make use of this Warp Gate, as their tactics and patterns had become predictable to the Traitors, and Lord Commander Eidolon correctly deduced that the White Scars would attempt to utilise the Kalium Gate to reach Terra.
By the time the White Scars arrived, they found the Warp Gate was in ruins and that it was teeming with the forces of the enemy. A vicious battle ensued between the two opposing forces. In the ensuing conflict, it appeared that the Khagan had been mortally wounded when he faced the much-changed Lord Commander in battle. But this was merely a feint, as it was actually Keshig Master Qin Xa, wearing the Khagan's armour. Fleeing their attackers aboard the White Scars' flagship Lance of Heaven, Qin Xa would eventually succumb to his wounds.
During this time, Arvida could barely hold back back the ravages of the Thousand Sons' mutational Flesh-Change, and each time he utilised his innate psychic abilities, his genetic curse threatened to overwhelm him completely. But before his friend Qin Xa died, he told Arvida to do everything in his power to find a cure for the Flesh-Change. Arvida vowed that he would.
It was later revealed that the White Scars presence at the Kalium Gate was merely another diversion, as they had no intention of utilising the Warp Gate, for the Khagan's true purpose was to find the notorious senior Navigator, Novator Pieter Achelieux. Once Novator Achelieux had been found, he led the White Scars to the Catallus Warp rift, where hidden amongst its turbulent Warp eddies was a long, crystalline void station.
Within its edifice was an ancient and powerful device known as the Dark Glass, a relic archeotech device from the Age of Technology. Discovered early on by Rogue Traders during the Great Crusade as they opened up new regions of the galaxy for the Imperium, this device was believed to have been used in ancient times to test the technology that would later result in the construction of the Golden Throne. The Dark Glass, like its counterpart on Terra, could access the Webway through the use of a central throne controlled by a psyker of enormous power to operate.
Still pursued by the forces of the Death Guard and the Emperor's Children, the White Scars discovered the location of the Dark Glass and intended to use it to instantaneously travel to the Sol System. However, a rogue agent of the Navis Nobilite named Veil, who had accompanied the White Scars, was secretly tasked with the destruction of this archaic device, for it could spell the end of the Navis Nobilite if the technology was widely disseminated across the Imperium.
Targutai Yesugai led a small strike force onto the crystalline space station, desperate to make use of the Dark Glass. With the enemy closing in, and the station collapsing all around him due to explosions of Vortex Charges set by Veil, Stormseer Yesugai sacrificed himself by inserting himself into the Dark Glass' command throne and then opened a portal through the Webway to Terra, which allowed the White Scars fleet to swiftly flee through and escape the Traitors' clutches.
Before he died, Yesugai's astral form imparted a final message for his friend Arvida -- he asked him to utilise his vast psychic abilities to guide the White Scars' fleet to the Throneworld. As the White Scars' fleet passed through the Immaterium, it was assaulted by hordes of daemons.
After he managed to guide the White Scars' fleet closer to Terra, Arvida finally succumbed to the effects of the Flesh-Change and was rendered unconscious. Khalid Hassan, Captain of the Imperial Army's 4th Clandestine Orta and an agent of Malcador the Sigillite, the Regent of Terra, arrived aboard the Lance of Heaven. He promised the White Scars that his master would do everything in his power to treat Arvida's condition, for the Sigillite had long been awaiting his arrival at Terra.
In an attempt to save Arvida's life, he was transformed in an arcane ritual conducted by Malcador the Sigillite into an amalgam of Arvida's own psyche and a psychic fragment of the personality of the Primarch Magnus the Red which had been left on the Throneworld after his ritual incursion into the Imperial extension of the Webway. The new hybrid being chose to call himself Ianius, later known to history as Janus, who would go on after the Heresy to become the first Supreme Grand Master of the Grey Knights.
Siege of Terra
Once they had finally reached the Throneworld of the Imperium, the White Scars added a vital tactical and strategic dimension to Rogal Dorn's defence of Terra. Their hit-and-run style of warfare complemented the Imperial Fists' renowned capabilities in holding ground.
Such was the ferocity of the attack by the forces of Chaos that the besiegers forced the Imperial defenders back to the walls of the Imperial Palace, where thousands died slowing the assault.
The White Scars brotherhoods' desire and ability to strike hard and fast before slipping away at speed allowed them to harass and frustrate enemy forces and constantly threaten their flanks
When the beleaguered forces faced a breach in the Palace's walls and a potential collapse of the Imperial defences, Jaghatai decided on a change of plan. Rather than assaulting the almost-invincible flanks of the Chaos army, he redirected his highly mobile ordu and the surviving Loyalist tank divisions of the Imperial Army to the Lion's Gate Spaceport. At dawn, Jaghatai's lightning raid caught the Traitor garrison at the spaceport completely by surprise, and reclaimed the spaceport for the Emperor.
The Khan ordered his troops to reactivate the spaceport's Defence Lasers to prevent the Traitor fleet from bringing down any more troops and equipment and form a defensive perimeter to hold their newly reconquered territory. Khan's troops repelled several frenzied counterattacks from the Traitors, and began firing on Horus' unprotected dropships.
The Khan's plan worked perfectly: the flow of the Traitors' men and machines to the Imperial Palace had been cut in half at a single stroke. Inspired by this success, the Loyalists also tried to seize the Eternity Wall Spaceport, but were driven back by the Chaos forces without difficulty, as they had reinforced their garrison following the loss of the Lion's Gate.
History recorded little else of the Great Khan's actions during the Siege of Terra, but it is known that his Legion ranged the once-proud thoroughfares of Terra during the campaign, engaging the Traitors in punishing hit-and-run strikes. When the end finally came, when Horus died at the hands of the Emperor aboard his Battle Barge Vengeful Spirit in orbit above Mankind's homeworld, the White Scars emerged from the fires of galactic civil war bloodied, but alive.
It was said that Jaghatai and his warriors fought many of the Chaos Space Marines that tried to retreat to Terra's spaceports and flee. The White Scars launched several highly-successful hit-and-run assaults against the Traitor forces and together with remnants of the Imperial Army's 1st Terran Tank Division and several infantry regiments they successfully harassed the enemy supply lines as the Chaos armies fled to the Eternity Wall Spaceport to get off-world and escape Imperial vengeance.
The White Scars Legion must surely have been at the forefront of the Legions that pursued the defeated Traitors to the Eye of Terror during the Great Scouring, for the White Scars rarely allowed a defeated foe to slip away once their blood was up.
Disappearance of Jaghatai Khan
- "My sons, it is more than seventy years since we cast the Traitors from the walls of the Imperial Palace and began the restoration of our home. We stand on the bring of victory, one that your every sacrifce has counted towards. Today we cleanse the galaxy of those who crossed our boundaries, violated our home and took our people. They will be crushed beneath our treads, disembowelled by our blades and left shattered by our guns. I will have their heads on spikes, lining the roads of Chogoris. I will see their foul structures torn to the ground and turned to dust. Of their leader...on that monster I shall inflict a hundredfold the pain it has caused my people. My sons, you shall each do the same."
- —Fragments of Jaghatai Khan's address to his sons ahead of the Battle of Corusil V
Though Jaghatai Khan survived the tumultuous battles of the Horus Heresy, like so many of his brother Primarchs he was cruelly taken from the service of Mankind in the years that followed.
An event ten thousand years past, the disappearance of Jaghatai Khan is shrouded in countless legends, many embellished beyond all credibility. The White Scars retain their own accounts, considered by some apocryphal, others historical. One thing is certain: the sons of the Warhawk believe that their gene-sire hunts still, and one day will rejoin them on Chogoris.
In order to contain the outlaws, Renegades and aliens that dwelled within the Maelstrom Warp rift and had taken advantage of the disruptions caused by the Heresy to run amok in the Ultima Segmentum, Roboute Guilliman, now the Lord Commander of the Imperium, ordered the surrounding star systems to be reinforced. The White Scars were tasked with the main responsibility for securing the area from their homeworld.
Following the calamitous events of the Horus Heresy, Jaghatai Khan led the White Scars for seventy more Terran years, cleansing the Imperium of Traitors and those aliens who sought to take advantage of Humanity's time of weakness.
Many worlds once peaceful and loyal had either fallen or were contested, and the Great Khan took to reclaiming them during the Great Scouring with the same zeal he demonstrated whilst prosecuting the Great Crusade.
The Imperium had been torn in two by Horus' rebellion, and no part of Imperial space had escaped its ravages. The Yasan Sector was no exception. It was there that the White Scars' homeworld of Chogoris lay, but when the Great Khan returned to rebuild his Legion's strength after the devastating Siege of Terra, he found only misery.
Not all of the Yasan Sector's scores of worlds had remained loyal, and in the anarchy of rebellion, the insidious Drukhari, the so-called "Dark Eldar," had seized the opportunity to raid and take slaves with wanton abandon. Thousands were cut down, and thousands more enslaved, carried off through the secret passages of the Webway to meet a fate no mortal human can imagine.
Many of those Imperial citizens still loyal to Terra were on the verge of despair.
It was only thanks to the garrison left by Jaghatai that Chogoris and some of its key production and recruitment worlds had fared better than the rest of the sector, but these forces had not been entirely adequate. The Drukhari had been able to seize Chogorian tribespeople as slaves.
Some of the Great Khan's senior officers argued that had the garrison stayed on Chogoris, and not sent detachments to defend some of the worlds of the Yasan Sector, the Chogorians would not have been lost.
Jaghatai waved away these claims, applauding the garrison's warlike and independent spirit. But hatred for those who had taken his people burned in his heart. Replenishing his ranks, the Great Khan took the fight to the enemy, his campaign now one of vengeance.
With the Khagan at its head, the effort to reclaim the Yasan Sector met with early successes. Thanks to the foresight of Chogoris' garrison, the Yasan Campaign's momentum was maintained with a steady supply of munitions, vehicles and fresh warriors.
It was at this point that the White Scars learned of the Codex Astartes, in which Roboute Guilliman stated that all of the Space Marine Legions should break their forces into 1,000-warrior Chapters. Jaghatai, who had long allowed his khans to operate semi-independently, was in favour of the reforms.
The Codex would, for the most part, simply formalise the way in which the White Scars had operated since their inception, and the Khan of Khans saw only virtue in extending even greater freedom to his sons.
After the Codex reforms were implemented, Jaghatai asked only one thing from his successors: that they fight the Yasan Campaign to the end. He trusted them to do so without further supervision, and in whatever fashion best suited their strengths. They agreed unanimously.
Though it saddened him to see so many of his sons' armour no longer painted in his colours, the Khagan knew that this was only for the better.
Their movements would be harder to track and predict, and a completely decentralised structure would allow the Great Khan to pursue his own agenda more fully.
The Yasan Campaign was a time of renewed vigour for the Khagan, or so it is said. His hunting grounds of old were filled with the remnants of those who had turned against the Imperium during the Horus Heresy, and he was once again able to indulge in the visceral thrill of new conquests and glorious victories, albeit tainted by the knowledge of the damage done by Horus' treachery.
He led the White Scars on battlefield after battlefield, sweeping Ceobos clear of depraved Emperor's Children, uprooting the [[Dark Mechanicum]] clinging to Aenope and quelling the mutant uprising on Eoclite. But the Drukhari remained elusive, their attacks impossible for even the Chapter's Stormseers to predict.
After much deliberation, Jaghatai discovered a pattern, so elaborate that only a Primarch's genius, and the Great Khan's skill at the hunt, could find it. Calling for reinforcements from the Destroyers, Rampagers and Storm Lords, Jaghatai set his fleet on course for the world of Corusil V in 084.M31.
The Drukhari, like all Aeldari, are a species of great and ancient intellect, and it appears that it was their intention that the Khan discover their plans as a part of a wider scheme to capture and subject Jaghatai and his sons to twisted experimentation.
The tales of the Stormseers say that Jaghatai saw this for what it was and led the assault nonetheless, determined to attack with such speed and ferocity that no manner of preparation would withstand it.
The source of the Drukhari raids was a large Webway portal located in the depths of a dark, foreboding forest, too dense for the White Scars and their allies to fight from their metal steeds. This did not phase Jaghatai. Revenge would be had -- honour demanded it.
The Khagan and his 1st Brotherhood held the centre of his battle line, driving straight towards the portal. The rest of his forces secured the flanks, wary for potential ambush and ready to encircle the Drukhari's eldritch device. The White Scars and their allies were as a stick to a nest of stinging insects, and their attack's ferocity was met by a deadly ambush of dozens of bands of warriors, pain engines and all manner of hideous Drukhari creations.
Many poured from hideaways concealed by eldritch energy, and the Space Marines were beset on all sides. Scores of the Great Khan's sons died horrific, painful deaths. Others were captured, doomed to a worse fate in the arenas of the Dark City of Commorragh. But the Warhawk kept on, determined to reach his quarry.
The Drukhari Archon stood before the portal itself, directing his warriors with flicks of his sword. He was laughing, savouring every ounce of pain being inflicted and suffered across the battlefield. The smile did not leave his face even as he observed the Khagan racing towards him. Without any loss of composure, he simply directed more of his forces in Jaghatai's direction, slowing Jaghatai down and driving him to even greater anger.
The Great Khan could not be halted, however. He pushed onwards, his 1st Brotherhood at his side, cutting down foe after foe with his sword. It is said that with his forces failing, the Archon moved to flee into the Webway portal.
It cannot be known whether or not the xenos desired to close it before Jaghatai Khan raced through with the entirety of his brotherhood. All that can be known is that as soon as the last White Scar crossed the threshold, the shimmering gateway collapsed.
The battle raged on for solar hours after, the remaining White Scars slaughtering without mercy those Drukhari abandoned by their lord, even as they were filled with horror at the apparent loss of their Primarch.
For solar days they scoured the battlefield, for solar weeks the rest of the system. The Stormseers searched the Warp for any clue to the Great Khan's whereabouts, but none was ever found.
It has been said by some White Scars that perhaps pursuit was not Jaghatai's only goal in following the Drukhari overlord into whatever lay beyond the portal, that perhaps there the Khagan saw an opportunity for freedom without limit and an endless plain to explore and make war in.
Those few who express this view can find themselves shunned by their brothers, but the seed of doubt now is long planted. Only the Khan of Khans knows the truth, and the White Scars continue to live in the belief that he will some day return to take his rightful place at their head.
Thus it is that the White Scars harbour a special hatred for the Drukhari, even their legendary discipline and judgement slipping occasionally when facing these vile foes in battle. None can say what befell the Primarch, or if he still hunts his prey through the labyrinthine tunnels of the Webway of the Aeldari and the nightmare sub-realities in which their dark kin lurk.
The White Scars thus continue to fight in Jaghatai's name, destroying the enemies of the Emperor in preparation for the day when the Great Khan completes his consummate hunt and returns to once again lead his chosen warriors and begin the next Great Crusade to unify the galaxy.
Ever since the Great Khan's final hunt, it has passed into Chapter tradition that one Battle-Brother should be declared "Master of the Hunt," and charged with tracking down those enemies of the Chapter who have somehow escaped its retribution. Every quarter century, the Chaplains preside over the Rites of Howling, where the names and deeds of each nemesis of the White Scars are recounted.
The Chapter Master then announces which of these foes shall be punished next. The Master of the Hunt may be the captain of a Brotherhood, and in addition to his normal tasks he must make every effort to bring the object of the hunt to heel, to claim his head, and to return it to Chogoris.
There, the skull is flensed and masked in silver. Accompanied by much feasting, the grim trophy is set upon a stake along the road that leads through the Khum Karta mountains towards the Palace of Quan Zhou, the mighty, marble-walled fortress-monastery of the proud and savage White Scars Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes.
Hunt for the Shatterling Prince
From their first days as tribal huntsmen upon the plains of Chogoris, the warriors destined to become White Scars learn the art of the hunt. Those skills are only enhanced by a tribesman's advancement into the ranks of the White Scars Chapter.
Natural hunting ability is wedded to transhuman reflexes and senses, and to the accumulated strategic psycho-indoctrinal inloads and relentless training that is every White Scar's inheritance.
No wonder, then, that the sons of the Great Khan are considered some of the Imperium's foremost hunters and trackers.
Even those outside of the Chapter's ranks know of the Master of the Hunt, and his quests across the stars to run down the Great Khan's chosen quarry. Yet while these hunts are perhaps the most storied and celebrated of the White Scars' venatorial exploits, the Master of the Hunt is but one warrior in a Chapter of over a thousand.
Even as Kor'sarro Khan and his predecessors have discharged the ritual duties of their office, across the millennia the White Scars as a whole have tracked down and slain countless enemies of the Imperium. The elusive, the bestial and the unforgivable, all have fallen beneath the White Scars' blades, their last moments filled with the roar of engines and the guttural howl of Korchin war cries.
Such a campaign was the hunt for the foul Drukhari torturer known as the Shatterling Prince.
It was during the early 41st Millennium that a full two brotherhoods of the White Scars -- the 3rd and the 5th Brotherhoods, supported by elements of both the 8th and the 9th -- engaged in a system-wide hunt for the Drukhari Haemonculus who named himself the Shatterling Prince.
This vile creature had secreted himself like an unseen parasite into the Asmari System. His ghoulish raiding parties preyed upon the vital breadbasket of Asmari's Agri-worlds, seeding biomutagenic phages into food supplies bound for multiple Imperial war fronts and snatching up local garrisons as slaves for the barter-pits of Commorragh.
Khajaten Khan, then Captain of the 3rd Brotherhood and overall Force Commander of the White Scars forces, was a canny huntsman. Rather than storming in and offering his quarry a chance to ambush his warriors or -- worse still -- slip away into the Webway and escape vengeance, he concealed the majority of his forces in deep space beyond the system's Mandeville Point.
The khan then sent out small bands of warriors, travelling aboard commandeered civilian bulk haulers and charged to observe and assess the Drukhari threat. Once his own scouts were well positioned across the system, Khajaten Khan feigned heedless aggression and led a portion of his brethren to the aid of the worst beset world, Asmari Tertius.
Khajaten's strike force made planetfall directly into the midst of the fierce fighting that raged through the world's primary agriplex. Multiple Haemonculus Covenite raiding bands had sundered the Imperial fortifications and were making sport of pursuing and tormenting the surviving defence garrison regiments when the White Scars struck like a thunderbolt.
Roused to wrath by the horrors that had been inflicted upon the planet's people, Khajaten Khan drove the panicked Drukhari before him and scattered them into the volcanic swamplands beyond the agriplex. The xenos response was not long in coming, and was precisely as the khan had hoped.
Driven, the White Scars assumed, by arrogant outrage, the Shatterling Prince hurled a sizeable army through hidden webway portals onto the surface of Asmari Tertius. They swirled down like a dark storm upon Khajaten Khan and his brave warriors, the skies welling with barb-hulled raiders and whip-fast combat skimmers as the Haemonculus Covenites came to claim the White Scars leader as a plaything for their master.
At the same time, no doubt assuming that the Imperial response was limited to Asmari Tertius, smaller raiding parties crept like bloated spiders from the Webway to fall upon the population centres of Asmari Secundus, Quartus and Sextus. The moment the foe revealed themselves, the White Scars struck.
Summoned by the psychic cry of several Stormseers, the main White Scars fleet roared into the system with its drives at full burn. Flights of gunships and waves of Drop Pods thundered down upon every world, reinforcements guided in by the runic beacons of their comrades' armour. In some locations, strike forces arrived too late to relieve their Battle-Brothers, the brave scouting parties giving their lives to the last in order to keep the Drukhari engaged and out in the open.
In others, including upon Asmari Tertius, the white-armoured reinforcements arrived in the nick of time. They sustained brutal losses in their own right as their deadly prey fought back with eldritch weaponry, but ultimately they cut off the Drukhari war parties from their Webway portals and crushed them as if they were within a vast ceramite fist.
The portals themselves could be neither damaged nor sealed by any artifice that the White Scars possessed; instead, a standing garrison of Chogorian warriors was left in the Asmari System, charged with patrolling from one world to the next and keeping watch lest the Covenites return to exact revenge.
The only true fault in Khajaten Khan's plan was his failure to locate and eliminate the Shatterling Prince himself. The Haemonculus never emerged from the labyrinth dimension, and -- mindful of the tales of his Primarch's disappearance -- the khan refused his warriors permission to enter the portals and hunt down their quarry in his lair.
The decision likely preserved many White Scars lives, but it was to cost Khajaten himself dearly. Less than a standard year later, the khan was found dead in his meditation cell in the White Scars fortress-monastery of Quan Zhou, expression twisted in horror, throat slit ear-to-ear and blood frozen in a macabre waterfall down his chest.
No assailant was ever detected, but every mirror and window within three levels of the Khajaten's chamber shattered upon the moment of his death. The message was clear, and a fresh hunt has since been launched to at last bring the foul Shatterling Prince to justice. The White Scars will not rest until their murdered khan has been avenged.
Against the Hydra
The White Scars are proud, but rarely are they arrogant. The sons of the Great Khan recognise the galaxy always has another lesson to teach, and they have adapted and refined their hunting techniques over the millennia in response to defeats and new threats.
Never has there been a more deadly or unpredictable quarry than the Tyranid hive fleets; the White Scars have been forced to learn and adapt faster than ever before in the face of this onrushing xenos threat, often at a cost in blood.
Upon the world of Haadekh in the late 41st Millennium, a strike force of 2nd Brotherhood warriors under the command of Chaplain Subdakhar lost this contest of hunter and prey when the swarms of Hive Fleet Hydra overran them utterly. The defeat was costly and gruesome, and could not go unavenged.
Yet Khajog, the Khan of the 2nd Brotherhood, recognised that new hunting tactics would be required if this deadly prey were to be defeated and another massacre prevented. Drawing upon the wealth of strategic lore he had amassed in the libraries of Quan Zhou, and consulting for long solar days with the Chapter's Stormseers, Khajog Khan at last settled upon a stratagem.
The White Scars met the Hydra once again upon the unstable volcanic world of Horatian Utukh, a planet Khajog Khan believed the perfect hunting ground. Drawn by the biomass within the planet's bore hives, the Tyranids were already attacking when the White Scars arrived; chitinous bodies piled against the cities' walls like living ramparts.
Khajog Khan sent in a strike force armed with every Flamer weapon that could be amassed, from man-portable firearms to Incendium Cannons. Deploying to the Tyranids' rear at Hive Lakhvor, the 2nd Brotherhood unleashed a firestorm that ravaged the massed broods and burned away xenos flesh quicker than it could regenerate.
The Tyranids turned upon this fresh prey, their psychic screams through the Hive Mind drawing down waves of brood-spores from orbit. Immediately the White Scars fell back, plunging into the unstable lavafields and drawing the Tyranids after them.
Battle-brothers were lost as racing transports were overtaken by the surging tidal wave of Tyranids. Yet the White Scars knew that victory could not come without cost, and plunged on, deeper into the shuddering landscape of cracked basalt plates and roiling lava. Still they fired into the Tyranid masses, their aircraft crisscrossing in savage attack runs that slew ever-more leader beasts.
In their death throes, these monsters summoned yet more bio-spawn into the lava fields until at last, the critical mass of living organisms was too much for the fragile ground. Upon Khajog Khan's signal, gunships and tank transporters executed screaming dives into the rupturing lava fields, swooping up the surviving White Scars even as the ground shattered and molten rock surged hungrily upwards. Hundreds of thousands of Tyranid bioforms were annihilated in a matter of solar minutes.
Khajog Khan and his warriors soared like Chogorian berkut back to their waiting Strike Cruisers to re-arm, reinforce, and repeat their cunning ruse. It was only the first victory of a long and gruelling campaign against the Hydra, but it was the beginnings of vengeance.
Third War for Armageddon
When the Ork Warlord Ghazghkull Thraka launched his second WAAAGH! against the ash-choked Hive World of Armageddon, over twenty Space Marine Chapters answered the call for aid. The White Scars were among them, with the strength of three brotherhoods to drive the Orkoid menace from the invaluable world.
Millions of greenskins swept across the planet, burning, destroying, killing and looting. But their attacks were not random. The Kults of Speed assaulted the Deadlands in Armageddon's south, a frozen wasteland but nevertheless the site of vital infrastructure that the Imperium could not afford to lose.
Chapter Master Jubal Khan's White Scars were deployed entirely to the Deadlands as part of the wider Imperial war effort. Suboden Khan, Jubal's second, commanded a separate strike force and was responsible for securing the promethium and water processing stations.
Jubal took his remaining forces to the northern coast, where orbital reconnaissance had detected Orks at work building huge structures. The greenskins could not be allowed to continue unimpeded.
By the time Jubal Khan and his forces arrived, the Orks had built up a sprawling complex of factories along the coastline. His Scout Marines reported a maze of debris-strewn yards and vast numbers of Orks. Most importantly, they discovered that this ever-growing facility was a shipyard, and that dozens of huge, ramshackle vessels were being prepared. For what purpose, none could say.
All knew, however, that the submersibles could cause terrible damage and could not be allowed to be brought to completion. Jubal Khan had no choice but to attack.
Initially, his strategy was to draw out the Orks, tempting them with battle and luring them away from their labours. With the Orks distracted, White Scars Kill-teams raided the shipyard, destroying as many structures as possible before the greenskins could respond.
Despite these efforts, construction continued apace. The Orks were building faster than the White Scars raids could destroy, and hulking Ork Nobz bullied their charges into maintaining production even when the prospect of battle was so near. Jubal decided it was time to take the fight to them.
Amidst the shipyard's confines, the White Scars made slow progress. They fought from rusted building to rusted building, in savage close-quarters combat. They met Orkish roars with Korchin battle cries.
Each day they pressed further, fighting amidst burning metal, treading over the corpses of Orks and dead brothers alike. Their Vox grilles and Bolters were choked with ash and grime, and still they fought. But it was not enough.
When the White Scars saw flotillas of massive submersibles and Ork ships akin to floating shanty-towns lurching out into the Tempest Ocean, they knew they had failed. Determined to make up for this, Jubal made it his crusade to destroy the remaining facilities and stop the Orks from building fresh waves of invasion craft.
Elsewhere, from the outset of the conflict, Suboden Khan was aware that his forces lacked the numbers to secure much of the Deadlands' vital infrastructure. With this in mind, he sought to deny the foe their prize, draw them into a single concentration and then comprehensively crush them.
He ordered the Valdez Gamma and Yarrick Point pumping stations destroyed. This high-risk strategy would inevitably result in the Orks focusing on Dante's Canyon, the only remaining promethium drilling station for leagues around.
Bordered by sheer cliffs of ice and packed snow, Dante's Canyon was the perfect place to channel the Orks into kill zones. Suboden Khan's Scouts laid explosives capable of causing avalanches and weakening the ice. Only a small detachment of Battle-Brothers guarded the station itself, making it appear tempting to the Orks.
A second, larger detachment of the khan's forces would ride out, goad the greenskins and lead them into the explosive-rigged terrain. Suboden would lead the final detachment, comprised of Assault Marines. Their aim was to engage the leader of the Ork horde and claim his head.
The squads defending the station were attacked from above by waves of Stormboyz. Thanks to deadly-accurate Bolter fire, many of the Orks were shot out of the sky, their bodies landing all over the station's rigging with fleshy crunches. Those who successfully landed were met with tulwars and combat blades, though the Stormboyz' superior numbers began to show. The fighting grew desperate.
Meanwhile, the second detachment of White Scars whooped and laughed as they engaged the Orks in a chaotic, swirling melee. The air was filled with the roars of engines and the stench of smoke, spilled fuel and charred corpses. Having gained the greenskins' attention, the White Scars withdrew.
Leaving the bodies of lost brothers behind, they sped on to Dante's Canyon, the greenskins chasing them. They led their pursuers exactly where intended, and the rigged explosives detonated on cue, sending torrents of snow and broken ice onto the Orks below. Thousands were crushed by the avalanches while others plunged through holes in the weakened ice, drowning in the freezing depths. More than one White Scar perished in the onslaught, but the bulk of the greenskins were slain.
Still the Ork Warboss and his elites ploughed on toward the hardpressed drilling station. Now, Suboden's detachment struck.
In the ensuing fighting, the Ork chieftain cut down many White Scars, roaring like a wounded beast as he fought. Suboden darted around the Warboss like a bloodwasp, stinging with his blade before retreating, driving the beast to rage.
As the vicious duel escalated, the Orks' leader grabbed Suboden Khan's Jump Pack and crushed it in his Power Klaw; even as it looked like the wounded khan would be crushed in turn, he managed to land a last, killing blow and struck off the Warboss' head.
With casualties spiralling and their leader slain, the remaining Orks fled and were run down. It had been a costly victory, yet it was victory nonetheless, and one achieved against overwhelming numbers.
White Scars Air Operations
During the fierce fighting around the Ork shipyards, the White Scars' aerial forces came into their own. Hordes of greenskins continually charged Jubal Khan's warriors. Artillery pounded them from afar. Many buildings had to be cleared time and again. Corridors and passageways were only made inaccessible to the Orks when they were completely choked by the corpses of the greenskins' own dead.
In the face of this overwhelming tide of enemies, Jubal resorted to desperate tactics. He ordered that his strike force's entire aircraft contingent be deployed to his war zone, and called in air strikes practically on top of his own warriors' positions in order to stymie the Orks' onslaught.
With deadly accurate missile fire, Stormtalons and Stormhawk Interceptors destroyed Ork artillery, the guns erupting in flame and incinerating their crews. White-armoured gunships strafed the artillery until their ammunition ran dry and their weapons' barrels glowed white-hot. Transports delivered much needed supplies and evacuated the wounded.
Ork vehicles, ships and buildings were reduced to slag by laser and Multi-Melta fire, their occupants cooked alive. Finally, Jubal Khan's ground forces were able to reclaim the initiative.
Stormtalon Squadron Arashei had been fighting with Jubal since before his call for reinforcements, pushing their aircraft beyond their limits in every sortie to bring death to the foe. They intercepted Ork Warbikes attempting to outflank White Scars positions. They duelled greenskin fighters, bringing down many with torrents of fire as they performed great feats of aerobatics.
They destroyed an Ork sea vessel whilst it was being loaded with warriors and weapons, the huge detonation incinerating thousands of greenskins and sending dozens of smaller, nearby craft into the Tempest Ocean's freezing depths. When they finally received reinforcements, the pilots of Squadron Arashei fought with even greater vigour, determined to not let up their attacks until total victory was theirs.
This time of aerial dominance ended when Ork air forces were brought to bear against the White Scars en masse. Crudely built jets and bombers swarmed the skies like insects over a swamp. The White Scars pilots were eager to fight them wherever they appeared, hungry for the true dogfighting battles they had largely been denied up to this point.
Working in perfect unison, Arashei's pilots engaged enemy formations many times their own number. When a brother squadron was badly mauled, the pilots of Arashei plunged into skies thick with foes to buy the survivors time to break free. They successfully intercepted greenskin aircraft on a suicide run headed directly to Jubal Khan's position, and they launched such a furious hail of firepower at Zarbog's infamous Blitza-Bommer squadron that they detonated the Orks' bombs, blowing apart the craft in midair.
By the end of the Third Armageddon Campaign, the name Arashei had become legend, and was used to inspire all of the White Scars who had fought there to great feats of heroism.
Battle of Chogoris
It was during the dread time immediately preceding the emergence of the Great Rift in ca. 999.M41 that the Yasan Sector came under renewed attack by Huron Blackheart, Chaos Space Marine warlord and pirate king.
With Jubal Khan leading the fighting in War Zone Armageddon, it fell to Barutai Khan, Captain of the 2nd Brotherhood, to marshal the defence of Chogoris.
Huron Blackheart's fleet of Red Corsairs burst from the Maelstrom in a three-pronged formation. It was a barbed trident aimed at the heart of the Yasan Sector, and it drove home with speed and ferocity.
The worlds of Gartuli and Thaxis fell to the invading Chaos forces, their defenders butchered in bloody campaigns and their frantic refugees streaming through the void towards Chogoris.
Precious few ships made it into Chogoris' orbit, for the Warp roiled and churned. The fickle tides of the empyrean pitched Imperial craft into fanged whirlpools of madness even as they hastened the Traitor warships on their way; by the time out-system servitor probes warned of Traitor forces translating into Chogoris' local space, Barutai Khan already knew that this conflict would not be won in space.
He stood upon the ramparts of Quan Zhou and watched as fire lit the skies, and pronounced that this conflict would be settled blade-to-blade upon the soil of Chogoris itself.
Much of the White Scars Chapter was abroad amongst the stars when Huron Blackheart attacked. At the first dark omens of danger, Astropaths had hurled distress cries into the Warp commanding that all sons of the Warhawk be recalled to defend the Chapter planet.
Yet Barutai Khan could not count on such reinforcements arriving in time, or indeed at all; his forces were vastly outnumbered by the heretical drop-ships now descending on the world, and would have to fight with all their hunters' cunning if they were to prevail.
The White Scars had two advantages. Firstly, they knew their home intimately, and could read its ferocious weather patterns and navigate its every hidden canyon.
Where the enemy foundered amidst salt marshes or fell foul of devastating storm fronts, the White Scars used these to their advantage. Many were the Heretic Astartes warbands ambushed from within raging tempests, caught by swift-striking White Scars bikers while navigating treacherous defiles or mauled by super-predators lured into their midst by squads of Infiltrators.
Secondly, the White Scars fought as a unified force, while their foes broke into dozens of raiding parties whose champions vied for the favour of the Dark Gods. The invaders wasted precious weeks hunting the steppe tribes of the Empty Quarter, who themselves fought back with every weapon at their disposal.
Yet for all this, the battle was a desperate one. The White Scars harried and harassed, hit-and-ran time and again, but still the vastly superior Chaos forces pushed onwards. One nomad camp after another burned. White Scars fortifications toppled in blazing ruin. Strike forces were whittled down in battle with the Traitor forces, and wherever Huron Blackheart bestrode the battlefield, the invaders were unstoppable.
Even when Jubal Khan returned from Armageddon with the survivors of his strike force, their onslaught did little but slow the heretic tide. Worse followed when the skies darkened then tore, and a wave of madness and terror swept the planet; the Cicatrix Maledictum yawned wide and the Maelstrom expanded to consume the fringes of the Yasan Sector whole. Upon Chogoris, legions of foul daemons spilled forth to march at Blackheart's side.
The Chogorian tribes fled these new assailants in terror, hundreds of thousands of the planet's populace exterminated in a matter of solar days. Seeing that the tribes from which the White Scars recruited were at risk of wholesale annihilation, Jubal Khan had his warriors strike recklessly at the Chaos forces, goading as many as possible into following them back to the fortress-monastery of Quan Zhou itself.
So it was that, solar months after the first Heretic forces made planetfall, the final fate of the White Scars was decided in a bloody siege of the Khum Karta mountain range, and of the White Scars fortress-monastery in its midst.
It was at this desperate hour that Kor'sarro Khan, the Master of the Hunt, and his 3rd Brotherhood finally reached Chogoris. They had braved storms of insanity and the terrifying darkness of the Noctis Aeterna to reach their homeworld, and the journey had cost them dearly.
Still they wasted no time in marshalling White Scars forces scattered throughout the Empty Quarter, along with a great militia of all those tribes still possessed of the will to fight. At the head of this mighty hunting party, Kor'sarro Khan launched a spear-thrust into the rear lines of the besieging Chaos forces.
His Stormseers harnessed a great Chogorian tempest to veil the attack, and by the time Huron Blackheart realised his peril, his forces were assailed from the front and from behind. After three solar days of bloody battle, Kor'sarro's warriors broke through to Quan Zhou and forced Blackheart into a calculated withdrawal.
Still the Traitor forces might have carried the day, for their reserves poured in from all across Chogoris in answer to this fresh challenge. Yet it was in this darkest hour that the Noctis Aeterna lifted over Chogoris, and with it the energies of the Warp temporarily receded. Many of Blackheart's daemonic allies flickered and faded and, seeing that he faced a far less certain battle than he had expected, the Tyrant of Badab elected to withdraw.
Leaving Renegade warbands rampaging across Chogoris, Blackheart and his elite Red Corsairs fell back to conquered strongholds elsewhere in the Yasan Sector; the galaxy was rent, the age of Chaos was nigh, and Huron Blackheart knew he had ample time to draw out the conquest of the Warhawk's homeworld. The White Scars, meanwhile, were left to win back their burned and bloodied world, and to gather themselves for whatever horrors were sure to follow.
However, they would do so buoyed by reinforcements. Not long after the Red Corsairs' retreat, Battle Group Delphi II of the Indomitus Crusade's Fleet Tertius managed to navigate the Warp Storms tearing at the galaxy to arrive in the system, delivering the White Scars' Primaris Marine brethren to join the fight.
With Chapter's brotherhoods reinforced, the fightback began in earnest, while recruitment started from Chogoris' surviving vengeful tribes for new Neophytes to be transformed into Primaris Astartes.
Since the days of the First Founding, when they were still known as the Vth Legion, the White Scars have amassed a lengthy roll call of triumphs across the galaxy. Few enemies can escape their wrath -- the spiked walls of the Quan Zhou fortress monastery are lined with the silver-dipped skulls of those champions of disorder who have earned the ire of the White Scars huntmasters.
Dawn of the Imperium, M30-M31
- X173 Plural Xenocide (Unknown Date.M30) - This was an Imperial Compliance campaign of the Great Crusade that was carried out jointly between the White Scars Legion and the 40th Expeditionary Fleet's Imperial Army component made up of the genetically-enhanced soldiers of the G9K Division Kill upon the world designated X173 Plural. This campaign against unknown xenos was fought over a period of six solar months, in which the troops of the G9K came to admire the focus, dedication and mercilessness of the White Scars.
- Destruction of WAAAGH Mashogg (ca. Mid-800s.M30) - This was a joint Imperial Compliance campaign against the massive Ork empire of WAAAGH! Mashogg conducted by multiple Legiones Astartes, including the White Scars, Iron Warriors and Space Wolves alongside regiments of the Imperialis Auxilia and various Mechanicum assets. Legends record that it was the Primarchs Jaghatai Khan and Leman Russ who routed the Orks of Overdog Mashogg's WAAAGH!, while Perturabo was featured only as the "comrade" who calculated the optimum way to bypass Mashogg's low orbit defences.
- Compliance of the Araaki Spiral (ca. Mid-800s.M30) - This was a joint Imperial Compliance campaign conducted by multiple Legiones Astartes, including the White Scars, Dark Angels, Iron Warriors and Imperial Fists in a region of space known as the Araaki Spiral. The Araakites were well-versed in the art of building fortresses, and their strongholds were dug deep around narrow passes, remote hilltops and natural barriers in the landscape. Once again, the Iron Warriors were sent to a resistant star system to conduct brutal siege-warfare against formidable fortress-builders. The Araakites knew their craft well and the campaign to take their world for the Imperium proved both bitter and hostile.
- Compliance of Molech (869.M30) - The White Scars took part in the massive Imperial Compliance campaign on the newly discovered Knight World of Molech, which was led by the Emperor Himself, and included multiple Legiones Astartes, including the Luna Wolves, Dark Angels and the Emperor's Children, as well as thousands of troops of the Imperialis Auxilia and assets from the Mechanicum and Legio Titanicus. After achieving victory, Cyprian Devine of House Devine was named Planetary Governor of Molech. In the presence of several of His Primarch sons, the Emperor led them to a Warp portal hidden underground, where He proceeded to enter into the Realm of Chaos to parley with the Ruinous Powers. When He finally returned, the Emperor appeared aged, but much more powerful. He then suppressed His sons' memories of Molech and stationed a large garrison force comprised of nearly 100 Imperialis Auxilia regiments, three Legio Titanicus cohorts, and detachments from two Space Marine Legions to protect the secrets of the Warp portal on Molech.
- Tyrade System Compliance (998.M30) - A White Scars detachment served alongside the Luna Wolves Legion during the Imperial Compliance action in the Tyrade System. This action occurred seven standard years before the Battle of Istvaan III and the start of the Horus Heresy.
- Ullanor Crusade (999.M30-000.M31) - The Ullanor Crusade marked the high point of the Great Crusade's vast effort to reunite the scattered colony worlds of humanity. This vast Imperial campaign took place within the Ork empire of the notorious Ork Overlord Urrlak Urruk during the Great Crusade in the first year of the 31st Millennium. Ullanor, the capital world of this empire, and the site of the final assault, lay in the Ullanor System of the galaxy's Ullanor Sector. Horus employed the use of the now famous "Speartip" tactic to destroy the Ork Empire by removing its head. The White Scars and Ultramarines Space Marine Legions, supported by the Imperial Army and other forces such as the Titans of the Mechanicum, attacked the outer planets of the Ullanor System. This offensive was a decoy, though it proved quite effective. Many of the Orks' starships rushed to prevent the attacks on the outer planets, leaving the central world dangerously vulnerable and exposed to the waiting main body of the Imperial forces, led by the Astartes of the Luna Wolves Legion. The Luna Wolves' Legion fleet headed straight for this central world and more specifically for Urlakk's fortress-palace. At the height of the campaign, Horus and his Terminator-armoured elite Justaerin successfully confronted the Overlord and his retinue of Nobz. With the death of its leader, the Ork forces collapsed into infighting as was their wont and the battle for Ullanor soon became a massacre. The remainder of the Ullanor Sector was subdued by the forces of the Crusade and returned to Imperial rule within the year, as the Ork empire had completely fragmented upon hearing of its master's death once the various Nobz declared themselves the new Warlords and fought each other for control. With Urg's termination, the nascent Ork empire self-destructed, and the xenos that were not hounded into the mud of Ullanor's vast battlegrounds would be hunted down across hundreds of star systems, all the way to Chondax, the Kayvas Belt and beyond. Following this monumental victory, the Triumph of Ullanor was held, a massive Imperial gathering that payed homage to the monumental victory achieved by its commander Horus Lupercal. Here the favoured son of the Emperor was invested with the newly created title of Imperial Warmaster, supreme commander of all the Imperium's military forces. The Emperor also announced that He would be stepping down as the Great Crusade's direct military commander and returning to Terra to undertake an important project. He passed on the mantle of leadership of His military forces to the newly invested Warmaster. When the Great Crusade commenced again, it now had a Warmaster at its apex, not an Emperor.
- Chondax Campaign (000-007.M31) - Shortly after the Triumph of Ullanor, Jaghatai Khan and his Vth Legion were next sent to the worlds of the Chondax System. The system was comprised of the planets Epihelikon, Teras, Honderal, Laerteax and Phemus IV, the furthest of the outlying worlds. The culmination of this campaign took place upon the world of Chondax, labeled Chondax Primus EX5, 776 NC-X-S by Imperial cartographers, but named "The White World" by the White Scars due to its salt-like earth. The White World was the crucible of the whole campaign, the heart of those Greenskin forces that had chosen to go to ground in the system. The Khan was ordered by the newly-promoted Warmaster Horus to hunt the remnants of the Ork empire destroyed on Ullanor, the last slivers of the Warlord Urlakk Urruk's Greenskins. Perhaps some would have balked at such a campaign, for it was not prestigious work, but the Khan was happy enough. It was hunting, and in a way that he understood: cavalry charges across open spaces, going up against prey that had no concept of capitulation or self-pity. He had never complained. Nearly all of his Legion went with him, ranked in their various Brotherhoods, eager for the hunt. Scores of white starships cut the void, each crammed with warriors of the ordu, all desperate to get back in the chase. The brutal campaign lasted six long standard years as the White Scars hunted the remaining Greenskin forces to extinction. It was at Chondax that the White Scars would first learn of the outbreak of the Horus Heresy and the betrayal of Horus Lupercal. Delayed by the arrival of the fleet of the Alpha Legion, the White Scars would break-out from the Traitors' cordon and begin the long journey back to Terra in search of answers -- leaving multiple Alpha Legion warships as flaming wreckage in the bargain. The White Scars soon learned of the Warmaster's heresy when they established contact with Leman Russ in the aftermath of the Space Wolves' destruction of Prospero. Faced with the dilemma of aiding the weakened Space Wolves against a powerful force of Alpha Legion attackers, or returning to Terra as ordered by Rogal Dorn, Jaghatai Khan choose to go to Prospero to seek out the truth of the Heresy for himself. Satisfied, he eventually did his duty and returns to Terra.
- Siege of Terra (014.M31) - The White Scars were one of only three Loyalist Space Marine Legions present at the Battle of Terra during the defence of the Emperor's Imperial Palace, alongside the Blood Angels and the Imperial Fists. Before the final defence of the Imperial Palace began, the White Scars launched a counterattack to break through the encircling siege of the Traitor Legions of Horus. As part of this counteroffensive, the White Scars undertook a daring lightning raid to seize the Lion's Gate Spaceport from the enemy's hands. This enabled the Loyalists defending the Palace to receive fresh troops and supplies from orbit and boosted the morale of the Palace's defenders. A similar Loyalist assault on the second major starport near the Palace failed, largely due to the lack of the White Scars' expertise in mobile warfare. However, the White Scars did not participate in the Emperor of Mankind's final teleport assault upon Horus' flagship, the Battle Barge Vengeful Spirit.
Age of Renewal, M31-M33
- Great Scouring (ca. 014-021.M31) - During the battles of the Great Scouring, the White Scars are tasked with securing the Yasan Sector -- the star systems that surround their homeworld of Chogoris. Many of the populated planets in the sector had rebelled against the Emperor during the Horus Heresy, and all -- Loyalist and Traitor alike -- had been subjected to xenos attacks, especially by Drukhari raiders. It is during these campaigns that the White Scars Legion is broken into Chapters.
- Disappearance of Jaghatai Khan (ca. 084.M31) - The White Scars' Primarch Jaghatai Khan disappeared whilst fighting several Kabals of the Drukhari on the world of Corusil V, near the Warp rift called the Maelstrom. Presumably, Jaghatai pursued a Drukhari Archon through an alien portal that led into a portion of the Aeldari Webway occupied by the Drukhari, perhaps even reaching their Dark City of Commorragh itself. His fate is unknown. When Jaghatai Khan does not re-emerge into realspace, a Great Hunt is declared. The White Scars and their Successor Chapters scour the Yasan Sector and beyond for signs of their Primarch, attacking all Aeldari of any faction without warning or mercy. No signs are found.
The Time of Two Emperors, M34-M35
- Battles of the Scorched System (Unknown Date.M34 or M35) - With so many forces of the Imperium depleted during the fighting of the Nova Terra Interregnum, it falls on the White Scars to lead the assault on the Dhanhabb System. Also known as the Scorched System, due to the unusual number of its suns, the Dhanhabb is an Ork infested, deadly cauldron threatening to boil over. Across the sun-baked deserts of the system’s vast planets -- each one many dozens of times the size of Chogoris -- the White Scars take full advantage of their exceptional mobility, leading the vastly superior foe in circles. Although the Battlewagon convoys and Kults of Speed rival the White Scars in speed, they are easily led into ambushes, or tricked into expending their fuel and ammunition foolishly. The entire Chapter is deployed for a dozen Terran years before the Orks are finally destroyed. The final battles -- the Death Ride through the Valley of Gargants and the Slalom around the Rain of Roks -- live on as tales that will be told and retold around the tribal fires of White Scars rituals for as long as there are warriors to tell them.
- Sabbat Worlds Crusades (35th Millennium) and (754-775.M41) - The White Scars fought in both Imperial Crusades unleashed in the Sabbat Worlds Sector, first at the side of Saint Sabbat who led the Crusade that brought the sector into the Imperium of Man in the 35th Millennium, and later with the forces of the Imperial Warmasters Slaydo and Macaroth to retake the Sabbat Worlds from control by the Forces of Chaos. The White Scars also fought alongside four fellow Astartes Chapters which included the Iron Snakes, the Raven Guard, and the Silver Guard. The White Scars were present on many of the battlefields of both Sabbat Worlds Crusades. During the first Crusade when they fought alongside Saint Sabbat, an honour guard of 8 White Scars Space Marines were the ones who carried Saint Sabbat's fallen body back to her homeworld of Hagia and her final resting place. The Shrine of Saint Sabbat contains 8 ritual niches each filled with a life sized holographic projection of a White Scars Astartes in memory of the Chapter's service. Around the year 600.M41, the Sabbat Worlds Sector began to suffer once more from such large, sustained incursions of Chaotic forces that by the year 740.M41 the situation had become untenable, with the entire sector essentially having been lost to Imperial rule. The Imperium could not suffer the existence of such a large expanse of openly Chaotic space existing within its territory, acting as a staging ground from which to spread Chaotic corruption to the surrounding Imperial sectors. As such, the Administratum ordered the start of the second Sabbat Worlds Crusade to retake the sector for the Emperor. Overall operational command was given to Warmaster Slaydo who was charged with the liberation of the Sabbat Worlds. Slaydo developed an intense passion for the cause of Saint Sabbat, the original liberator of the Sabbat Worlds. He personally believed it to be a crime against the Imperium that her hard-won territories could be so callously discarded and left in the blasphemous hands of the servants of the Ruinous Powers.
The Age of Redemption, M37-M40
- The Cursed Year (Unknown Date) - With its brotherhoods spread across the Ultima Segmentum, the White Scars suffer a series of disasters, beginning with the loss of three Khans -- each new successor dying in his inaugural campaign. Taking the misfortune as a sign that they have displeased the venerable spirit of their Primarch, the Stormseers recall the entire Chapter to Chogoris, where the Brotherhoods meet for a solar month of feasting and fierce competitions, each Battle-Brother rededicating himself through rituals of blood. In the solar decades that follow, the White Scars accumulate more victories and successful hunts than in any period since the Great Crusade.
The Time of Ending and Era Indomitus, M41-M42
- Macharian Crusade (392-399.M41) - Although only one Brotherhood joins the Macharian Crusade, their deeds and skill at reconnaissance reaffirms to the wider Imperium that the White Scars are peerless in such endeavours.
- Lycanthos Drift Campaign (780.M41) - In the aftermath of the long-running and infamous Fourth Quadrant Rebellion, the White Scars answered a general call to arms among the Astartes of the region and despatched a powerful force in 780.M41, to undertake the Lycanthos Drift Campaign against one of the last major stronghold systems of the revolt located to the galactic south of the Maelstrom Zone. Astral Claws Chapter Master Lufgt Huron was elected battle leader of a number of Astartes contingents by common consent, comprising companies from the Astral Claws, Fire Hawks, Celestial Guard and White Scars Chapters, backed by the Death Korps of Krieg and Cal-Sec Imperial Guard regiments and the Titans of Legio Venator. The Fire Hawks' Chapter Master Stibor Lazaerek was noticeably bitter that he was not given command of the campaign, and is known to have born a grudge against the Astral Claws from this time forward. Under Huron's inspired command, the taskforce ruthlessly purged the heavily fortified star system of Traitor and Chaos forces in under a year, cementing his reputation as a masterful strategist amongst Space Marine commanders.
- Escape from Cano'var (813.M41) - At Nemesor Zahndrekh's instruction, the Necron armies of the Tomb World of Gidrim invade the Tau world of Cano'var, routing the planetary defenders after two standard weeks of campaigning. The Necron victory was short-lived however. A demi-company of White Scars, led by Kor'sarro Khan, arrived on Cano'var, pursuing a now-obsolete punitive mission against the previous Tau inhabitants. Overwhelming volley of Gauss fire destroyed the White Scars' Thunderhawks moments after their landing, leaving Khan and his Battle-Brothers to fight a bold, but doomed, series of hit-and-run battles. Almost all of the White Scars were slain on Uzme Plateau, but Zahndrekh commandws that Kor'sarro Khan be spared and imprisoned. So did Khan begin a peculiar period of captivity beneath the surface of Cano'var. Zahndrekh treated him with honour, though few of the other Necron Lords even acknowledged his presence. At a bizarre feast, where food was placed before Zahndrekh and his court but went uneaten, Khan learned that he was but one of a dozen prisoners. With the desire for freedom outweighing any ranklement or rivalry, Khan and the other captives conspired to escape. The Necrons were slow to react and so the breakout went well at first. Only when Vargard Obyron took command did things go badly for the escapees. Several of the fugitives were slain by Obyron's Warscythe, leaving only Kor'sarro and an Eldar Ranger by the name of Illic Nightspear to fight on, and the latter swiftly received a blow that send him sprawling from the fight. Thus did the battle devolve into a duel atop bleeding bodies and broken machines. Khan's sword was quicker and guided by a desperate fury, but Obyron's undying machine body repaired any damage within only moments. Little by little, Khan tired, and the sweeping Warscythe came closer to connecting with each swing. Finally, one of the Vargard's blows was too swift for Khan to evade -- the Warscythe sliced through his armour and deep into his flesh. Before Obyron could finish his foe, there was an intervention from an unexpected source. Unknown to either combatants, Zahndrekh had been watching the fight from afar and, impressed by Khan's skill and bravery, ordered Obyron to stand aside and let him leave. Dragging the crippled Nightspear behind, Khan finally escaped to the surface, found a still-functioning Tau spacecraft and left Cano'var far behind. Khan and Nightspear parted ways shortly after, the Eldar to his Craftworld and the White Scar to Chogoris. Shortly after Khan's return to his Chapter Planet, Nemesor Zahndrekh and Vargard Obyron were added to the Scrolls of Venegance, their names to be put forward as possible quarry for the next Great Hunt of the White Scars Chapter.
- The Diata Purge (858.M41) - Great Khan (Chapter Master) Kyublai Khan leads the combined might of the White Scars and the Marauders Chapters against a fell host of Chaos Space Marine Renegades.
- Assault on Zoran (859.M41) - The forces of the insidious Alpha Legion incited an uprising against the Imperium on the Ice World of Zoran. The Blood Angels' Captain Metraen led elements from that Chapter's 3rd and 8th Companies to that frigid planet to eliminate the rebellion and drive the Traitor Legion from the world. Metraen's bold tactical choice at first seemed to drive the enemy back but the assault stalls when the Alpha Legion's base of operations on the world was determined to be an ancient and long-lost Imperator-class Battle Titan left from the days of the Horus Heresy. Though still half-buried in the ice of Zoran, the monstrous war engine's Void Shield generators and weapons batteries proved to be operational with devastating consequences for the servants of the Emperor. Many Blood Angels Astartes fell in the first assault against the Titan and Captain Metraen feared that the only course open to him to end the threat would be an outright Exterminatus order against Zoran and its people. Fortunately for the innocents of that Ice World, aid arrived in the form of Kor'sarro Khan and the 3rd Brotherhood of the White Scars Chapter. Sent to claim the head of the Alpha Legion's infamous Daemon Prince Voldorius, the Khan joined his forces to the remains of the Blood Angels Astartes on the planet. As the White Scars launched their own attack on the Alpha Legion's bastion from below, the Blood Angels used their Stormravens to initiate a series of drop assaults against the secondary plasma reactors that powered the Titan's weapons. Metraen's Astartes neutralised the Titan's defences and the White Scars swarmed into the massive war machine's lower levels. Though Voldorius ultimately escaped once more, his followers were exterminated to the last Chaos Cultist and Alpha Legionary. Though Kor'sarro Khan was obliged to continue his hunt for the Daemon Prince, Zoran had been restored to the Emperor's light and the recovery of a battered but fully repairable Imperator Titan is no mean feat. Metraen eventually brought the Titan back to Baal, from which it was sent on to Mars, where Lord Commander Dante hoped that such a priceless gift might finally smooth over the conflicts between the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Blood Angels.
- Hunt for Voldorius (855-865.M41) - The Hunt for Voldorius was the search by Kor'sarro Khan, Captain of the 3rd Brotherhood of the White Scars, for the Daemon Prince Kernax Voldorius, the warleader of a particularly insidious Alpha Legion Chaos Space Marines warband. In 865.M41 Kor'sarro Khan drove Voldorius from his foremost stronghold on the Hive World of Modanna. By 871.M41, Kor'sarro Khan tracked Kernax Voldorius to the planet Quintus. The White Scars discovered no mere warband, but a whole planet of Traitors and Renegades ready to stand against them, but Kor'sarro was not deterred. Upon making planetfall, Kor'sarro Khan found unexpected allies in the form of Shadow Captain Kayvaan Shrike and the Raven Guard's 3rd Company. Despite the millennia-old rivalry that exists between their two Chapters, the White Scars and Raven Guard put aside their differences and joined forces to defeat Voldorius' armies; Shrike and Kor'sarro slew the Daemon Prince in the streets of the planetary-capital of Mankarra. With the defeat of the Chaos forces and Voldorius dead by his hands, Kor'sarro Khan announced his sixteenth Great Hunt to be at an end. Claiming Voldorius' head as a gloried prize, Kor'sarro Khan left Quintus and returned to a hero's welcome at the White Scars' Fortress-Monastery on Chogoris where it was set on a pike on the road to the White Scars' fortress, so that all might know that no foe of the Chapter ever truly escapes the Emperor's justice.
- Battle for Grase Mesa (869.M41) - The Eldar Windrider Host of Yme-Loc Craftworld is all but annihilated at Grase Mesa when White Scars Bike and Land Speeder squadrons encircle their xenos foe and launch a devastating enfilade on their flanks.
- The Blackfist Scalping (882.M41) - The White Scars join forces with two of their Successor Chapters -- the Storm Lords and Solar Hawks -- to combat WAAAGH! Blackfist on the Agri-World of Lycelle. Competition between the three Chapters was fierce, with each trying to outdo the battlefield deeds of the others in the name of Jaghatai Khan.
- Quan Zhou's Wrath (890.M41) - A Necron Cairn-class Tombship enters orbit over Chogoris and begins the focussed bombardment of an unpopulated area on the planet's surface. The Battle Barge Jaghatai's Pride pierced the ship's shields even as the White Scars' Fortress-Monastery fired its massive Defence Laser, the Khan's Fury, destroying the Tombship in a single Lance strike.
- Battle for Fyre (898.M41) - Great Khan Kyublai joins forces with six other Space Marine Chapters to purge the Daemon World of Fyre of the daemonic legions of Mal'laf'mak the Bloodbringer. The daemon warlord was banished when Kyublai led a bold Drop Pod assault against Gorespire and Mal'laf'mak was caught between Kyublai's Honour Guard and the Chapter's Sternguard Veterans in a merciless cross-fire. The White Scars took heavy casualties escaping Gorespire before it, and all within, were dragged back into the Warp.
- Battle for Cardrim (926.M41) - Whilst combating the Ork WAAAGH! Skullkrumpa on the world of Cardrim, Joghaten Khan and the White Scars' 4th Brotherhood awaken the Necron forces of Overlord Tarekh. Isolated from reinforcements, the White Scars prosecuted a gruelling hit-and-run campaign lasting several standard years. Their lightning raids hamstrung much of the enemy's forces, and the last xenos were finally slain during the attack on Fellstorm Airfield.
- The Bloodswarm Crusade (936.M41) - The Bloodswarm Crusade is brought to a successful conclusion by the White Scars and Iron Hawks Chapters.
- A Lost Hero (943.M41) - The Kabal of the Bloodied Talon prey upon the people of Chogoris. Great Khan Kyublai Khan immediately set off after the attackers, but mysteriously vanished soon after and was presumed slain by the Drukhari. Jubal Khan was appointed as Great Khan of the White Scars following a lengthy ritual and immediately declared a Great Hunt to avenge his predecessor. In 945.M41, Kor'sarro Khan returned to Chogoris not only with the head of Archon Kirareq of the Kabal of the Bloodied Talon, but also those of one thousand of his Dark Eldar warriors.
- The Bloodskar Hunt (964.M41) - The White Scars' 5th Brotherhood reinforces the Imperial Guard's Cadian Shock Troops regiments in their ongoing struggle against the Ork WAAAGH! Bloodskar in the Lonnas System.
- Third War for Armageddon (998.M41) - During the Third War for Armageddon against the largest Ork WAAAGH! seen since the War of the Beast, the White Scars despatched several brotherhoods alongside warriors from twenty other Chapters. The White Scars forces deployed onto the freezing wastes of the Hive World of Armageddon known as the Deadlands. Their highly mobile style of warfare proved perfect for lightning fast responses to attacks launched by the Ork Speed Kults in that region. The Battle of Dante's Canyon in the Deadlands region, fought in the opening days of the war, excellently displayed the power and style of combat favoured by the White Scars. The White Lightning Speed Kult, having learnt from its previous debacle, attacked again, this time using "kustomised" Warbikes and Wartrakks on skis. However, the Astartes defenders were ready for the Greenskins. The White Scars Tulwar Brotherhood, led by Suboden Khan, launched a counterattack on the Orks. Lightly armoured Bike Squadrons and Attack Bikes surged from a local drilling station being used as a forward command post and met the Orks halfway. A swirling, mounted melee of speeding vehicles skidding around the ice raged for many solar hours into the night. The following morning Ork Stormboyz dropped from the cliffs above the drilling station, only to be met by the determined and disciplined fire of White Scar Tactical Squads. Charges laid on the ice during the night were detonated, plunging yet more Orks under the frigid surface. At the same time, Orks attempting to cut the cables securing the drilling station to the canyon walls were attacked in the rear by Assault Squads led by Suboden Khan. The leader of this group of Orks was beheaded by Suboden and his broken body thrown from the cliffs. The remaining Orks were driven over the cliffs and their bodies swept below the freezing waters of the Tempest Ocean. The White Scars did not suffer a single casualty during the engagement.
- 13th Black Crusade (999.M41) - During the 13th Black Crusade the first of the White Scars Brotherhoods to reach the Cadian Gate was the Brotherhood of Khajog Khan, a hero of Armageddon and many other campaigns. Khajog set about launching a series of devastatingly successful hit-and-run attacks across the bleak moors of Cadia. The attacks were so successful that the White Scars soon became a significant threat to Abaddon the Despoiler's plans and the sieges of Kasr Myrak, Soliq and Rantik were lifted as the Chaotic forces of the Great Despoiler redeployed to hunt down the elusive White Scars. Khajog's Brotherhood proved literally too effective, as their actions earned the direct attention of Abaddon, who ordered the Brotherhood immediately hunted down and exterminated by a full force deployment of the Chaos Space Marines under his command. Dispatching no less than the elite 1st Company of the Black Legion along with massive hordes of Chaos Cultists and slaves, Abaddon began the hunt through the bleak moors. Unknown to Khajog, Abaddon's chief Chaos Sorcerer Zaraphiston located the White Scars through his divinations, and Khajog's forces were ambushed as they attempted to assault a slave train west of Lake Terror. The first 4 White Scars Bike Squads that hit the slave train found themselves charging directly into the guns of Abaddon's Chosen. Realising that they were beaten, the White Scars continued their charge nonetheless, selling their lives as dearly as possible to give their brethren in the rest of the White Scars force time to break away. Reluctantly, Khajog retreated with the rest of his brotherhood to regroup, swearing to return and wreak vengeance on Abaddon's forces. However, that was not to be. Khajog did not get an opportunity to return in the manner of his choosing, for every exit was blocked by the uncountable hordes of the Chaotic forces. Instead of trying to retreat further, Khajog determined to make his last stand at the base of a Cadian Pylon on the shores of the Caducades Sea. The White Scars crashed into the innumerable ranks of the Traitor forces, dragged from their Assault Bikes one by one until at last only Khajog remained. Khajog Khan was the last of the White Scars to fall that day, finally dragged down by the sheer weight of numbers arrayed against him. The Stormseers of the Chapter say that to this day, Khajog's spirit still roams the bleak moors of Cadia, unwilling to return until vengeance is meted out to those who slew him.
- The Maelstrom Threat (999.M41) - A vast Chaos Space Marine fleet under the command of Huron Blackheart emerges from the Maelstrom and besieges the Chogoris, Kaelas and Sessec Systems in the Yasan Sector. Rumours report Huron's force is as large as the Space Marine Legions of old, and several Chapters are tasked with its destruction. Splitting into reaving fleets, borne swiftly upon unnatural Warp currents that aid the invaders even as they confound the Loyalist ships hastening to intercept, the invasion fleets fall upon the worlds of the Yasan Sector with gleeful ferocity. Recognising the scale of the peril, and with his Stormseers reading dire prophecies in every omen, Chapter Master Jubal Khan orders the recall of all White Scars forces to Chogoris. On Armageddon and across a dozen other war fronts, Astropaths vomit forth the distress cries of the White Scars' Chapter planet, and the Great Khan's sons among their successors answer. Yet with new Warp Storms boiling into being across the galaxy, their arrival becomes ever-more doubtful. The White Scars withdraw from their operations on Armageddon to meet this dire threat to their homeworld. They summon brotherhoods from as far away as the Damocles Gulf in order to meet this dire threat.
- The Battle of Chogoris (Unknown Date.M42) - The opening of the Great Rift and the coming of the Noctis Aeterna occurs while the White Scars defend Chogoris from attack. The entire Yasan Sector falls to Huron Blackheart's attack, and when daemons manifest from the growing darkness, it seems the sons of Jaghatai Khan will be making their last stand. But one more fleet arrives before the stars go black. Arriving late from their war against the T'au in the Eastern Fringe, Kor'sarro Khan leads his brotherhood and reinforcements from the White Scars' successors in an unexpected charge that breaks the blockade of the Khum Karta mountain range that surrounds Quan Zhou, the fortress-monastery of the White Scars, even as its ramparts are burning. With the return of the Master of the Hunt, the planet's defenders fight back with renewed hope, and the combined efforts of the Chapter's Stormseers drives back the malefic energies surrounding Chogoris, causing Huron Blackheart's daemonic allies to lose their physical form. The Heretics withdraw, falling back to strongholds elsewhere in the Yasan Sector and leaving Chogoris broken but unbowed.
- Indomitus (Unknown Date.M42) - With the Brotherhoods depleted and the Yasan Sub-sector overrun by foes, the White Scars begin to regroup and plan their counterattacks. It is then that Battle Group Delphi II of the Indomitus Crusade's Fleet Tertius arrives in the system, delivering the White Scars' Primaris Marine brethren to join the fight. With the brotherhoods reinforced, the fightback begins in earnest, while recruitment begins from Chogoris' vengeful tribes for new Neophytes to be elevated into Primaris Battle-Brothers.
- The Fall of the Great Khan (Unknown Date.M42) - Seeking revenge for the severe damage inflicted on Chogoris, the Great Khan, Jubal, leads a daring attack upon Seethnar -- the vast space station seized by Huron Blackheart as a main dockyard for his piratical war fleets. In a swift naval attack, Seethnar is boarded from multiple locations, each war party racing into the station and planting Melta Bomb charges. After brutal fighting, Jubal Khan and his Honour Guard reach Seethnar 's heart and cause catastrophic damage to its Plasma Reactors, but become trapped by collapsing corridors. The fate of the Great Khan is unknown for some time.
- A Bleak Return (Unknown Date.M42) - Solar weeks after the White Scars' attack on Seethnar, the White Scars ambush the warship on which Jubal Khan is imprisoned. They liberate their lord but find him tortured close to death. Jubal Khan is returned to Chogoris and installed into a life-preserving Apothecarion cradle in his inner sanctum. Jubal Khan lives, and thanks to his indomitable spirit remains capable of serving as his Chapter's lord and grand strategist; prognoses for his physical recovery are dire, however, and many whisper that it might have been kinder for their Great Khan to die in battle than to face a future trammelled within his strategium, unable to lift a blade or sit a saddle.
As has been noted, the Vth Legion has never adhered closely to the strictures of the Principia Belicosa, that great military treatise written by the Emperor that informed the basis of most of the early Space Marine Legions' organisation and structure. Lacking in the numbers that allowed many of the other Legions to operate as fully-fledged war hosts, the Vth Legion was originally organised into small Pioneer Companies, each operating as a separate and independent force.
This independence of operation and command was both a necessity due to the size and mission of the early Vth Legion and a legacy of the fierce spirit of its original recruits. Each Pioneer Company operated as an augmented line company, comprising perhaps 1,000 Legionaries and a varying array of specialist detachments, with each unique in its exact configuration and total fighting strength.
Over the first century of the Great Crusade, these companies continued to deviate from the standard organisational pattern of the Principia Belicosa, in part due to the iccreasing difficulty of resupplying them. The rediscovery of Jaghatai Khan on Chogoris brought an end to this era of independent operations and saw the Legion go through a complete re-organisation.
By 865.M30, there were approximately 70,000 warriors in the Vth Legion, which would later increase to around 95,000 at the peak of the Legion's strength shortly before 007.M31. The Great Khan reformed these warriors into a number of "Hordes," a formation that stood above the Brotherhood in the Legion's structure.
In creating his new Legion, the Great Khan was careful to split up the old Pioneer Companies, mixing warriors of differing origins together with new recruits from his homeworld of Chogoris to constitute the new Hordes. Most documents dating to that time place the number of original Hordes at five, although some accounts place the number as high as seven.
The exact number is difficult to ascertain due to the irregular size of these formations, as both the original Hordes and those that would follow varied wildly in size, with the smallest numbering little more than 5,000 warriors and the largest as many as 20,000. The difference in size did not appear to indicate any tactical or strategic speciality, but rather was tied to the will of the Horde's commander, known in the newly re-organised White Scars as a "Noyan-khan."
Indeed, the various Hordes often fluctuated wildly in size during the transition from one Noyan-khan to another, with warriors transferring between Hordes, or even splitting off to form new Hordes at the whims of either the Noyan-khan or Jaghatai himself. This process seems to have been intended to allow each individual commander to operate efficiently within the bounds of their ability and strategic preferences, rather than enforcing a strict organisational system upon them.
Whether this is the spectre of the old Pioneer Companies and their independent spirit, or part of the Great Khan's Chogorian heritage is unknown, but its effectiveness when combined with the free-spirited nature of the Vth Legion has been demonstrated in battles beyond count. It did, however, cause a number of difficulties with both their brother Legions and with the logistics and command echelons of the Divisio Militaris.
A number of Great Crusade operations encountered problems properly classifying White Scars detachments, both for purposes of resupply and of properly gauging the threat level of opposing forces. On Algeron VII, where two Hordes of White Scars were deployed for harrowing operations against Renegade human enclaves, Great Crusade Divisio Logisticus supplied munitions and supplies for two standard Legiones Astartes units of Chapter-strength, only to find this insufficient for the two over-sized Hordes sent by the White Scars.
On Therona Secundus, an Ultramarines grand task force besieging a Fra'al stronghold requested reinforcement by a similar-sized force of the Legiones Astartes, only for Divisio Strategists to mistakenly assign a nearby White Scars Horde to the conflict. The Horde, numbering only half the strength of the Ultramarines force, fought bravely as a part of the assault force, but its relatively low strength forced the Ultramarines to endure higher casualties than their strict protocols would allow.
The warriors of Ultramar, always dubious of those who chose to disregard the logic of the Principia Bellicosa, saw this as a failure of the White Scars, one among a number of one-sided grudges -- for the White Scars marked the Therona conflict as a great victory against adversity, and spoke highly of the Ultramarines' fortitude.
The only other main organisational unit within the White Scars was the Brotherhood, a unit roughly equivalent to the standard company. Just like the larger Hordes, each Brotherhood varied in size quite widely, with some being formed of less than a few hundred warriors and others up to several thousand. Again, this disparity was rarely directly linked to the tactical role of the Brotherhood but rather the preferences and charisma of the Khan, as the White Scars called the officer known in other Legions as a Captain, who led it.
That being true, many Brotherhoods also tended to favour a specific mode of engagement, with the majority being outfitted and trained to operate as skirmish forces and rapid strike units. These most typical Brotherhoods were almost always mechanised units, in that the entire force of the Brotherhood was either mounted on Jet Bikes or supplied with other forms of rapid transport.
Brotherhoods specialising in either long range combat or siege work were in a distinct minority and often among the smallest of these formations. This left the White Scars at something of a disadvantage in some combat theatres, forcing them to either rely on their own innate versatility to make do or to draft auxillia units into their line of battle to cope with specialised combat situations.
Within each Brotherhood the exact roster of units varied considerably and rarely adhered to standard company structures seen within the other Legions. Though each Brotherhood was a unique formation, most were formed of a core of Jetbike-mounted troops, although these were sometimes known to fight dismounted in the style of more standard tactical units.
In addition to this core of highly mobile strike troops was a number of more specialised units, of which the exact nature is highly variable. Most common among the various Brotherhoods were reconnaissance cadres or close assault specialists, roles which held particular value within the Chogorian traditions that sat at the heart of the White Scars doctrines.
The inclusion of units that fall outside of these preferences, most especially static heavy weapons support units, was rarer but farfrom unknown. Indeed, some Brotherhoods were composed almost entirely of such units. Such specialised Brotherhoods were not pariahs among their swifter brethren, but often honoured for their role in the Legion's victories and their willingness to sacrifice the thrill of the hunt for victory.
Most Brotherhoods also included what the White Scars referred to as a "Keshig," which indicated a body of troops somewhere between an honour guard for the Khan and an elite reserve of veterans intended to bolster both the fighting spirit and tactical firepower of line troops. Given the aggressive nature of most White Scars tactics, these units often formed the forefront of any assault, and most often contained the most skilled and experienced warriors within the Brotherhood.
Among the more extreme deviations from standard practise within the White Scars Legion were their so-called "weather-witches." These were the Librarian-adepts fielded by the Legion during the earliest days of the Librarius experiment, their training and role dictated as much by the superstitions of the Chogorian tribesmen as by the standardised training coda of the fledgling Astartes Librarius.
They quickly came to fill the role of mystics and advisers to the Khans, more akin to primitive shamans to outside eyes than to the ideal of the warrior-scholar of the more orthodox Legions.
Yet beneath the veneer of their shamanistic heritage lay a surprisingly complex position, serving their brethren as counsellors and mediators as well as shields against aetheric menace, and with a deep understanding of the Warp rooted in both Chogorian mysticism and the scientific studies of the Imperium's greatest scholars.
In many ways, the studied respect these early adepts displayed for Warp phenomena showed a wiser approach than that of more secular scholars whose approach was rooted in science and often dismissive of the real threat concealed within the aether. In battle, these "Stormseers" stirred the Warp to aid their brethren, preferring more subtle applications of psychic power than crude bolts of energy.
They obscured the advance of the White Scars with fog, wind and rain, and impeded the foe with relentless flurries of hail or foul monsoons. Many of the Vth Legion's victories were founded on the cunning application of both the Stormseers' psychic power and their sage advice. Despite their abilities, the Stormseers were most often judged on their appearance, which to the more stringent adherents of the Imperial Truth harkened back to the dark days of Old Night on Terra and superstitions of religion which the Emperor Himself had condemned.
Among their most vocal opponents was Mortarion, whose innate hatred of the psyker was only exacerbated by the positions of influence the Stormseers held within their Legion, but he was not alone in questioning their loyalty to the core tenants of the Imperial Truth and the Great Crusade itself.
Among the various specialised units common within Legiones Astartes ranks, there were some rarely seen among the White Scars. Most prominent amongst these were the assault troops known as Destroyers, dedicated to the deployment of proscribed weaponry and the utter annihilation of the foe. The tactics employed by these cadres in other Legions were considered anathema by the White Scars, whose joy in open combat and reverence for the unspoiled wilderness of many Frontier Worlds was ill at ease with such wanton destruction.
Destroyer cadres did exist within the Legion, but in limited numbers. Known as the Karaoghlanlar, or the "Dark Sons of Death," their armour was painted a dull black and festooned with Chogorian shamanic charms to ward off the evil spirits that followed in their wake. These grim warriors, often considered deranged and as omens of evil tidings by their fellows, did not serve with any single Brotherhood but were instead placed under the direct supervision of the Stormseer Council, only deployed when both Khan and seer agreed they be set loose.
This apparently pagan superstition appeared to serve simply as a tool to vilify the use of the extreme measures represented by the Destroyers, a choice known to have originated with the Great Khan himself, who held little respect for those who resorted to such extreme measures too frequently.
Another notable exception within the ranks of the White Scars was the almost complete lack of any kind of position dedicated to the enforcement of military law. The White Scars never operated any kind of disciplinary corps, the officers known as consul-opsequiri in the Principia Belicosa.
Despite this, they also recorded one of the lowest rates of internal dispute and other infractions under the Imperium's Divisio Militaris military law. Some claim that this record is due to the White Scars' insular nature and unwillingness to properly report their activities, while others note that the White Scars maintain a complex code of honour, with several units that might be described as penal units by outsiders.
Of these, the most well-known was the Kharash, a temporary body of warriors filled by volunteers whenever the need for diversionary or shock assault tactics occurred. Though assigned duties considered near-suicidal by many observers, the Kharash never lacked for volunteers, with those seeking to expunge some perceived sin equally matched by those seeking advancement through the honour attached to serving with the Kharash and surviving.
Of all of the Legions, the White Scars maintained the most decentralised command structure, rivalled only by that of the Alpha Legion. While Jaghatai Khan remained the ultimate authority, the various Noyan-khans, the commanders of the large units called Hordes that made up the bulk of the Legion, exercised a remarkable amount of personal authority and most often operated independently of the Great Khan.
Unlike many Legions of the Great Crusade, it was rare for the White Scars to assemble in forces numbering more than one or two Hordes -- indeed, it was far more common for forces as small as one or more Brotherhoods to operate alone within any given war zone. Far more common was the attachment of smaller White Scars forces to the fleets of other Legions, though even in these situations the Khans of those gathered Brotherhoods retained independent command of their forces.
As a consequence of this style of leadership, the White Scars Legion had relatively few formal titles of rank in use. Authorityflowed from the Great Khan, whose official title in the Legion was Khagan or "Khan of Khans," to the Noyan-khans that commanded the Hordes and from there to the individual Khans of each Brotherhood, with these three ranks forming the core of the Legion's command structure on the battlefield.
In actuality, each Khan, regardless of his rank, was surrounded by a web of advisers and lieutenants to whom a measure of authority was invested, for the officers retained their posts due to the respect held for them by their followers as much as due to any official appointment.
Among this circle of advisers, the chief position was often taken by one of the infamous Stormseers, upon whose prognostication much weight was placed by both the Khan and his warriors.
Most Khans also nominated one among their Brotherhood as first officer, and heir to command should he fall. A position technically titled "Kavkhan," though this was only rarely used in the field, the counsel of this first officer also weighed heavily in the command of the Brotherhood.
Other officers of more specialised nature, such as the "Tenrikhan" that captained many of the voidcraft of the White Scars fleet or the "Gan-khan" that presided over the Legion's armouries, as well as veterans of established skill and honour, also held much sway with a wise Khan, and when included as a part of his Brotherhood or larger force, would be key to shaping his decisions.
The White Scars were never considered to be among the larger of the Legiones Astartes, partly due to the tendency of its separate detachments to operate individually and the relatively low level of recruitment conducted by the Legion. In its early years, before the rediscovery of Jaghatai Khan, the Legion numbered around 80,000 warriors. By the later years of the Great Crusade, after the return of Jaghatai Khan, this number had risen to around 95,000 warriors.
This left the Legion as one of the smallest of the Legiones Astartes, although slightly larger than Corax's Raven Guard and Vulkan's Salamanders, as well as one of the most widely spread on a strategic level. Of all of the Legions, only the Iron Warriors had more of its number attached to fleets and garrison posts than the White Scars.
During the Great Crusade, and for much of the Horus Heresy, the exact size of the Vth Legion was often difficult to ascertain, due to the lax attitude many of its commanders held towards the filing of accurate and regular reports with the Divisio Militaris.
Those numbers available in these latter years are mainly drawn from the personal journals of various Khans and other officers of the Legion, and were not generally known in those last few years before Horus declared war on his father. As such, many of the Imperium's commanders often believed the White Scars to be a much larger force than it actually was, a fiction mostly attributed to the tendency of the Legion's various detachments to move from war zone to war zone as they willed, and the often confusing heraldry used by many of the Brotherhoods.
During the final stages of the Great Crusade, in the years just before the Istvaan massacres, the White Scars were spread across the galaxy in several dozen war zones, often in detachments of only a few Brotherhoods. During the Ullanor Crusade, Horus called upon the Great Khan and his warriors, gathering several full Hordes of the Vth Legion and their Primarch to his side -- the largest concentration of the Legion at a single war zone since the Kolarne Circle campaign.
Following the fighting at Ullanor, those Hordes that had been present, along with several others previously assigned to fighting in the southern fringes of the Great Crusade, were committed to the Chondax Campaign and were later involved in the Alpha Legion's treacherous assault against the White Scars. This left at least three Hordes unaccounted for in the first years of the Horus Heresy, most assigned to fleets along the northeastern edge of the Great Crusade and far removed from contact with their Primarch.
It appears that most of the Traitor detachments in this region were under orders to avoid engaging remnant White Scars forces, and in at least one incident, a Legiones Astartes force in White Scars colours is known to have fought alongside a Sons of Horus battle force in campaigns targeting Blood Angels' and Ultramarines' holdouts along the Eastern Fringe.
Following the Chondax Engagement, there are few concrete facts regarding the main body of the White Scars and their movements are little known to Imperial savants in the years that preceded the Battle of Terra save as recorded above.
In its earliest incarnation, the Vth Legion was not the singular body that many of the other proto-Legions formed. It was a Space Marine Legion in name only. Instead, it was organised into autonomous companies, each of which had few links to any of their brethren and operated entirely independently.
Indeed, prior to the recall that was sent after the discovery of Jaghatai Khan, many of the Pioneer Companies had no contact with any other body of the Vth Legion and developed a set of traditions and rituals unique to that company. This was especially true as the Great Crusade progressed, with each company often forced to pursue recruitment as they travelled because supply and reinforcement convoys were rarely able to keep up with their rate of advance.
Oddly, this brought several of the Pioneer Companies closer to the other Legions, especially where they fought in close proximity, as the Vth Legion warriors, still lacking a Primarch to rally around, began to adopt elements of the other Legions' practises.
These distinct sub-cultures would endure beyond the integration of Jaghatai's new order, with many of them being subsumed into the pre-existing Chogorian obsession with small superstitions and others among the Warrior Lodges that permeated the Terran branches of the White Scars.
These Pioneer Companies were composed of as few as 500 and as many as 3,000 Legionaries; with records listing perhaps 800 known companies by the year 800.M30. The sum total of the entire Vth Legion is estimated to have been around 80,000 at this point in the Great Crusade, but is rarely known to have gathered in strengths of greater than a few thousand, barring such exceptional incidents as the Battle for Thapsus in late 744.M30.
Though spread thin, the Vth Legion remained a sizable force, mostly due to the opportunistic recruitment patterns practised by many of the companies of the Legion to offset the relative scarcity of reinforcements received from Terra. This practise caused no little friction between the Legions, as the warriors of the Vth had on a number of occasions encroached upon territory ceded to the more established Legions.
In particular, both Ferrus Manus and Leman Russ are known to have made issue of the Legion recruiting from worlds whose populations were pledged to them, and only the direct intervention of Horus Lupercal is known to have prevented the censure of the Vth's errant warriors.
Within each Pioneer Company there was to be found a tremendous diversity of sub-divisions and heraldry, the most common being the old Terran standard of the Unification Wars armies which sub-divided the larger company into groups of 100 warriors, each commanded by a Captain and one among that number acting as overall commander, a First Captain.
Heraldry among the early Vth Legion was just as varied. Most Pioneer Companies maintained the numeral that marked the Legion designation granted them by the Emperor, but also adopted a number of unofficial insignia of their own, marking the various titles granted them by both the Imperial forces they served and the enemies they hunted.
A sample of these titles and heraldic devices, displayed above as found in the Liber Armorum Terranicus edition of 756.M30, shows a growing lack of unity between the Legion's far flung sons in the years just before the discovery of their Primarch.
731st Pioneer Company
An example of a Pioneer Company was the the 731st Pioneer Company, known informally as the "Grey Ghosts." The 731st primarily saw service as outriders and forward scout elements for the 98th Expeditionary Fleet, alongside the warriors of Primarch Rogal Dorn's Imperial Fists Legion. They were tasked with identifying potential targets ahead of the fleet's main advance and assessing the threat of each, either withdrawing in the face of overwhelming opposition or staging a campaign of disruption and subtle murder where they discovered weakness.
They served to arrange the grand battles and campaigns which the Imperial Fists prosecuted, moving on when the warriors of Dorn arrived in orbit to secure the victory with pomp and fanfare. The Cold Shroud and Sorrow Vector, the two cruisers attached to the 731st Pioneer Company, were ever on the move, perpetually steered from one desolate war zone to another by the advance of the Great Crusade.
Legionary Alekh Daumas illustrated above fought as one of the so-called "Stalker" cadres for which the Grey Ghosts were renowned. Armed with old pattern anti-materiel rifles converted for use as sniper weapons and a sophisticated catalogue of camouflage techniques, these Stalkers marked priority targets for the invasion force that followed on their heels and perpetrated pinpoint strikes on those deemed vulnerable by the Pioneer Company's commanders.
Legionary Daumas rose to prominence during the initial foray on Altus-coriola, where he and his cadre were responsible for destroying 34 grounded fighter craft, ensuring minimal losses in the later Imperial Fists drop assault. Later fully initiated into the reborn White Scars Legion, Daumas took the name Munokhoi to show his loyalty to the Great Khan.
The Uhaan Solban
Many outsiders have made the claim that the White Scars of the Great Crusade era did not use Dreadnoughts. This is not true. Those they maintained were rarely seen in battle and were few in number, but they did exist and held a strange position within the Legion.
As a warrior society uniquely bound to the fierce joys of battle and the simple pleasures of a physical existence, the eternity of silence and separation endured by those incarcerated within a Dreadnought chassis held a particular horror for the White Scars. Despite this revulsion, to be assigned to live on in a Dreadnought shell is seen as neither punishment, nor as an honour, but rather somewhere in between.
Dreadnoughts among the White Scars were known as the Uhaan Solban, the "Guardians of the Morning and Evening Stars" in the Chogorian tongue. This poetic title is typical of the Legion's tendencies, and hid a rather more practical purpose. The Uhaan Solban served as guardians of the Legion's gene-seed repositories on Chogoris and Terra, eternal wardens that served in place of their lesser brethren.
They shouldered the burden of an endless watch so that their brothers that still walked fully in the realm of the living might hunt the stars alongside the Great Khan, a sacrifice that saw them treated with equal parts awe and fear by the rest of the Legion. They remained a cruel reminder of the true cost of duty, avoided by most who had reason to enter the silent repository halls where they rest, and were honoured from afar with propitiatory rites.
It is only the Akoghlanlar, the Apothecaries, and the "Iron Khans" (Techmarines) of the armoury who sought them out, both to perform maintenance and for ritual reasons tied to their own obscure creeds.
On rare occasions, one of the Uhaan Solban would take to the field of battle alongside the rest of the Legion, drawn to battle by the fragmented memories and urges that still lived in their half-dreams. They made such demands only rarely, and only where they felt that their presence was required by those omens observed in the feverish dreams of the near-death they endured during their watch, interpreted for them by Stormseers, and there were few Khans who would deny the request of one of these ill-omened heroes to stalk the battlefield once more.
Those battles to which the Uhaan Solban felt drawn were almost always bound to live in infamy, dire challenges that saw the Legion pitted against near-insurmountable odds or hidden tragedy. Here the Uhaan Solban sought their final demise, to stand as a bulwark against defeat and to laugh bitterly in death's face one last time.
The Chondax Campaign was to see an unprecedented number of the Uhaan Solban return to the field of battle, an ill-omen that would not be realised until the end of the fighting and the arrival of the Alpha Legion.
Several bodies of White Scars warriors existed outside of the Brotherhood structure into which the vast majority of the Legion was organised. Some of these orders reported directly to the Great Khan, while others were truly independent and operated according to the whims of their commanders in support of other Brotherhoods or Hordes.
Given the decentralised natire of the White Scars' military organisation and the emphasis they placed on individual initiative, many of these Orders operated without direct oversight by the Great Khan, and were to an extent laws unto themselves. A brief list of the more prominent of these organisations is presented here.
- The Karaoghlanlar - The "Dark Sons of Death," these warriors fulfilled the role of Destroyers within the White Scars and answered directly to the Council of Seers. They were deployed in combat when the utter annihilation of the enemy was required, as well as for certain ritual roles in the wake of key campaigns.
- The Burgediin Sarhvu - The "Falcon's Claws" in the Chogorian tongue, this small Order was composed of veteran warriors who had undergone certain initiatory rites on Chogoris. On the battlefield, they served as hunters and forward scouts, experts in survival and the quiet elimination of enemy commanders, while outside of combat they acted as the keepers of those servo-raptors maintained by many Brotherhoods as both symbols of their ancient heritage and battlefield reconnaissance assets.
- The Kharash - Less a formal Order and more a temporary assembly, the Kharash was assembled whenever the need for a diversionary or shock assault force rose. Formed only on volunteers, these units were both a punishment and an honour, as those who survived assignment to the Kharash were often considered to be both lucky and skilled by their comrades. The Kharash were also one of the few White Scars units to make routine use of Tactical Dreadnought Armour.
- The Uhaan Solban - This Order comprised almost every one of the limited number of Dreadnoughts of any pattern in service with the White Scars. Concerned primarily with guarding the gene-seed repositories of the Legion on Chogoris and Terra, these dour, half-dead warriors were rarely seen on the field of battle with the Legion.
- The Akoghlanlar (Apothecaries) - Composed entirely of those personnel inducted into the medicae corps of the Vth Legion, the Akoghlanlar were the ritual opposites of the Legion's Destroyers, dedicated to the preservation of their brothers and the legacy of Jaghatai. Unlike most of the other Orders represented above, these warriors were spread across the various Brotherhoods, serving individually rather than as a single entity. It was only on rare occasions that the entire Order gathered, often in service of one of Chogoris' obscure rituals.
The predominant unit of social organisation among the nomadic people of the steppes of Chogoris is the tribe, a fact reflected in the organisation of the present-day, post-Heresy White Scars Chapter. Once a young warrior is selected from the feuding tribes of the steppes, loyalty to his tribe is replaced by loyalty to the Chapter and the Emperor of Mankind.
As their Primarch did during his campaign to unite the steppes, recruits from different tribes are mixed together in the White Scars' squads. Each squad of White Scars Astartes becomes part of a "brotherhood," a type of unit that is roughly equivalent to a standard, 100-Astartes company.
Each brotherhood is led by an officer known as a "Khan," who is essentially the White Scars' version of a standard Space Marine company captain.
At the time of the Great Crusade in the late 30th Millennium, the White Scars did not make use of standard Astartes rank designations, or ordered companies, and instead differentiated their companies as "brotherhoods", such as the "Brotherhood of the Hawk" or "Brotherhood of the Spear." However, those White Scars Space Marines who were Terran-born often had a tendency to utilise the more common standard company designations.
For example, the 64th Company (made up of Terran White Scars Legionaries) was also known by its Chogorian designation -- the Brotherhood of the Moon. The White Scars still utilise these Chogorian designations for their companies in the late 41st Millennium, though they always refer to their companies as brotherhoods.
The White Scars have a propensity to maintain a disproportionate number of Bike Squads and Land Speeder squadrons within their order of battle. This highly mobile lightning-attack fighting style means the White Scars do not make use of as many heavy weapons as other Chapters.
Due to their reliance on fast-moving fire support, most of the tanks used by the Chapter have had their armour stripped down so that they are able to keep up with the majority of the fast-moving White Scars forces.
Dreadnoughts are also rarely employed by the present-day White Scars just like their ancient Legionary brethren, as the cold, metal sarcophagi of these mighty cyborgs evoke a horror of eternal confinement and induce a feeling of extreme claustrophobia that is a result of the White Scars' cultural foundation as nomads who wander the open plains of Chogoris' steppelands.
Order of Battle, 999.M41
Though the White Scars maintain a different order of battle than most Codex Astartes-compliant Chapters, due to the style of warfare favoured by the Chapter which deemphasises the use of heavy armour in favour of light, fast-moving mechanised and airborne infantry formations.
|Armoury||Reclusium||Apothecarion||Zadyin Arga (Librarius)|
|Veteran Company||Battle Companies|
|1st Company||2nd Company||3rd Company||4th Company||5th Company|
|Reserve Companies||Scout Company|
|6st Company||7nd Company||8rd Company||9th Company||10th Company|
Order of Battle, Era Indomitus
Despite their savage appearance and their penchant for specialised hunting tactics, the White Scars still organise themselves according to the tenets of the revised Codex Astartes. It is by the word of that sacred text that their warriors are arrayed into companies and strike forces, and take to the stars to hunt down the enemies of Mankind.
Since the White Scars are a Codex-compliant Chapter, they are formed into ten companies. These so-called "brotherhoods" are each led by a Captain, who bears the ceremonial title of "Khan." The Chapter is led by the Chapter Master or "Great Khan," whocan call upon the specialist warriors of the Apothecarion, Reclusiam and Librarius at need. Armoured support is provided by the Armoury, and by the mighty warships of the Chapter's battlefleet.
The 1st Company of the White Scars, the "Spearpoint Brotherhood," is formed entirely of the Chapter's Veterans. Each has been promoted from their former company in recognition of acts of valour, bravery or skill that mark them out as a true champion of the Warhawk's sons. When deployed in force, the Spearpoint Brotherhood are a devastating formation, reaping any who stand against them like a whirlwind of blades.
More often, squads of these Veterans are attached to White Scars strike forces drawn from the Battle Companies, where their wealth of experience -- and their consummate combat prowess -- can be employed to the greatest effect.
Fighting alongside such paragons of the Chapter lends strength to the arms of their brothers, enabling the 1st Company to guide the sons of Jaghatai to victory in a dozen war zones at once.
The 2nd through 5th Companies are the Chapter's Battle Companies. These warriors are the cutting edge of the White Scars' many offensives, and it is from their ranks that strike forces typically draw their warriors. Mobility is all-important to the commanders of these forces. Every squad has a dedicated transport vehicle of some kind, and many in the White Scars' Battle Companies ride to war on Assault Bikes.
While not unheard of, it is rare for more than one company to be deployed to a single conflict -- the combined might of one hundred Space Marines is more than enough to destroy most enemies of the Imperium.
At the time when the Indomitus Crusade reached Chogoris during the Era Indomitus, the numbers of the White Scars' Battle Companies in particular had been depleted by the rapacious attack of the Red Corsairs. Much of the Chapter's strength had been recalled to their homeworld when the size of Huron Blackheart's invading army was made clear, though some – such as Kor'sarro Khan's Eagle Brotherhood -- did not arrive until the assault was already underway.
Other White Scars contingents, including a strike force made up of elements of the 5th Company, were unable to return to the Yasan Sub-sector because of the roiling Warp Storms that spilled from the Great Rift. As well as being denied the opportunity to protect their homeworld, these detachments were unable to receive reinforcements -- in some cases, for several Terran years.
The 6th to 9th Companies of any Codex-adherent Chapter are its Reserve Companies. It is their duty to reinforce the Battle Companies as casualties are suffered. In practical terms, this typically means that the warriors of the Reserve Companies must be attached to White Scars strike forces when they are first despatched to their ascribed war zones -- the difficulties of Warp travel mean that any hope of requesting reinforcement from companies stationed on Chogoris, or at war in another theatre, would be an uncertain one.
By deploying alongside main Battle Company contingents, the Battle-Brothers of the reserves can plug gaps as soon as they appear, or lend direct support to an overwhelming attack. The Khans must be able to respond rapidly to the threats they face, and the Reserve Companies have a key part to play in this.
The 6th and 7th Companies of Reserve both consist of ten squads of battleline Space Marines, providing the White Scars with a body of mainstay warriors ready to bolster forces of every kind. While serving in the 7th Company -- the "Plainstalker Brotherhood" -- each Battle-Brother learns to pilot support craft such as Land Speeders.
In the 6th Company, the "Hawkseye Brotherhood," they will train as a crew member in a mainstay battle tank, such as a Predator or Repulsor Executioner. All of these vehicles lend a fearsome punch to a strike force, without compromising its crucial manoeuvrability.
The 8th and 9th Companies consist respectively of ten squads of close support Battle-Brothers and ten squads of fire support Battle-Brothers. Every warrior is trained to fight in a variety of combat roles while serving in each of these companies. During his time in the 9th Company, the "Stormbolt Brotherhood," an initiate may serve as, for example, an Eliminator or Hellblaster. In the 8th Company, the "Bloodrider Brotherhood," they will hone their skills in close-quarters combat and be trained to fight from the saddle of a Space Marine bike.
They swiftly become proficient enough to earn the honour of serving alongside a Battle Company, where they gain a wealth of combat experience. There is a robust rivalry between the White Scars brotherhoods, so new recruits must fight well to earn the respect of their more seasoned kin.
The Chapter's 10th Company is made up of Neophyte Battle-Brothers and Vanguard Space Marines. The Neophytes are trained in the crucible of battle, and all the warriors of the 10th Company specialise in stealth rather than frontal assaults.
They reconnoitre terrain ahead of White Scars strike forces, and assault outlying enemy positions. They train under the watchful tutelage of experienced Sergeants, led by the brotherhood's Master of Recruits.
The following represents the order of battle of the White Scars Chapter as it stood after the Indomitus Crusade reached Chogoris:
|Armoury||Reclusium||Apothecarion||Zadyin Arga (Librarius)|
|Veteran Company||Battle Companies|
|1st Company||2nd Company||3rd Company||4th Company||5th Company|
- Khagan - In the Chogorian language known as Khorchin, Khagan literally means "Khan of Khans", a sacred title and rank solely reserved for and bestowed upon the White Scars Primarch, Jaghatai Khan.
- Noyan-Khan - A bygone rank within the White Scars Legion of old, these senior commanders were in charge of separate ordu; divisional-size formations known as "hordes" within the ancient White Scars Legion, sometimes comprised of up to twenty brotherhoods (companies). The Noyan-Khans had several Khans subordinate to their overall command, each of whom commanded the individual brotherhoods of a given ordu. Each Noyan-Khan was charged with the command and control of these ordu, and like their genetic forebear, were allowed certain freedoms and the command autonomy required to conduct campaigns as they saw fit.
- Great Khan - In the present day late 41st Millennium, the title of Great Khan is the formal title given to the Chapter Master of the White Scars. He is chosen from amongst the commanding Khans of the Chapter's Brotherhoods by a secret process of physical, mental and spiritual trials overseen by the Chapter's Storm Seers.
- Khan - A Khan is the Space Marine officer who commands an entire White Scars Brotherhood (company), and is essentially the Chapter's version of a standard Space Marines company Captain. Like the Great Khan, the Chapter's Khans are chosen by its Stormseers, who oversee a series of physical, mental and spiritual trials when a vacancy opens to determine which of the White Scars' Battle-Brothers is worthy of being elevated to command the fellows of his Brotherhood.
- Master of the Hunt - The Master of the Hunt is an honourific title unique to the White Scars Chapter. The current Master of the Hunt is Kor'sarro Khan, Captain of the White Scars' 3rd Brotherhood and the 51st individual to hold the title. The Master of the Hunt is charged with tracking down those rare enemies of the Chapter who have managed to evade destruction at the hands of the White Scars. No enemy is allowed to escape and live and so the Master of the Hunt is charged with hunting those foes and bringing their heads back to the White Scars lands on their homeworld of Chogoris. The High Chaplain then brands the eyes from the head and it is masked in silver and stuck on a spear along the road to the White Scars' Fortress-Monastery. The White Scars are patient and while some enemies may elude death for centuries they will all eventually be hunted down and their heads brought back to Chogoris. Kor'sarro Khan has already proven himself quite proficient and has tracked down such foes as the Daemon Prince Kernax Voldorius and the Eldar pirate lord Varaliel. The Master of the Hunt incorporates ancient but potent symbols of his office; Moondrakkan and Moonfang. Moondrakkan is a master-crafted Assault Bike originally commissioned by the 4th Master of the Hunt, and has been lovingly maintained down through the centuries. The other item granted to the Master of the Hunt by the Chapter is the ancient Power Sword called Moonfang. This relic of the White Scars Chapter is currently wielded by Kor'sarro Khan and has slain the most terrible of foes no matter how mighty they may be.
- Keshig - The personal Honour Guard of the Great Khan and his subordinate commanders during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras was known as the Keshig. The Keshig were an elite cadre of warriors made up of the most veteran and skilled Legionaries to be found in the Vth Legion who all served as the Legion's elite Terminators. The Keshig was once described as "a whole phalanx of giants in bone-white Terminator plate".
- Stormseers - The Zadyin Arga or "Stormseers" of the White Scars perform the same functions as other Chapters' cadre of Librarians, though the Stormseers emerge from the deeply-ingrained mystical traditions of the tribal shamans and holy men who rode the plains of Chogoris with their Primarch Jaghatai Khan before the coming of the Emperor to Chogoris. Since the time before their Chapter's inception, when they were the shamans who first named Jaghatai Khan the Great Khan of the nomadic tribes, the Storm Seers have been called upon to continue to induct Neophytes and newly elevated Khans of their Chapter. Every 10 summers, the Storm Seers venture down into the steppes to observe the tribes and their battles, picking only the best and bravest warriors and returning them to Quan Zhou to become Space Marines. When a Great Khan is lost on the field of battle, it are the Storm Seers who are called upon to decide who his successor will be to lead the Chapter. The Storm Seers will then retreat to the caves of the steep peaks of the Khum Katra Mountains of Chogoris. There, Brotherhood Khans present themselves to be tested and scrutinised by the Storm Seers. The process and trials used by the Storm Seers to test and approve who the next Great Khan will be is unknown. Few candidates survive the arduous process, and those that do to become the next Great Khan will never speak of the trials they endured. The other responsibilities of the Storm Seer include teaching Aspirants the core beliefs of their Chapter. They firmly believe it is the manifest duty of the White Scars to destroy the enemies of the Imperium, awaiting the day that that Emperor will rise again, signaling the return of their lost Primarch and the beginning of the next Great Crusade to unify all of humanity. The Storm Seers believe that their powers are connected to the animistic spirits of the land and the air, and that as long as these natural forces fight alongside them, the White Scars will always be victorious. These elemental, animistic beliefs and the highly stylized Force Staffs used by Storm Seers tie these warrior-mystics to their shamanistic past on the steppes of Chogoris.
- Emchi - Emchi is the name given by the White Scars in the Chogorian dialect to their Chapter's Apoethecaries.
- Sagyar Mazan - The people of Chogoris are possessed of great wisdom and capable of deep compassion, but these characteristics are tempered by a fierce and uncompromising sense of justice that can lead them to acts of catastrophic failure which are rewarded with death, delivered by the hand of a warrior's superior. Occasionally, however, this punishment might be commuted to exile by a merciful leader sympathetic of mitigating circumstances. Those exiled from their brotherhood are known as "penitents," or the Sagyar Mazan, and it is their fate to seek out an honourable death and in so doing, wash away any stain of dishonour.
Scarblade Strike Force
Like the spear hurled from a hunter's hand, the White Scars punch through the enemy's defences to pierce the heart and deliver a deathblow. For all their lethality and speed, however, the sons of Chogoris on Prefectia faced a challenge more deadly than any they had known before -- an entire world of traps set to ensnare, confuse and destroy.
Mounted upon their mechanical steeds, the White Scars roar into battle. The snarl of their bikes' engines is like the growling of hunting beasts, while the hammer of their Bolters rings the death knell for foes beyond number. Drawn from the nomadic horse-tribes of their homeworld, Chogoris, the White Scars are the finest bike-mounted warriors in all the Imperium. They use every iota of their skill as plains hunters to stalk and encircle their quarry before making a killing strike.
The White Scars do not simply mount headlong charges against the odds; though they might appear tribal and barbaric to outsiders, every Space Marine in the White Scars Chapter possesses a deep-rooted pragmatism and a predator's cunning. When they strike, the White Scars are like the storm, their speed that of the howling wind, their strength that of the skyshattering thunderbolt. Yet they always strive to ensure that the enemy have been scouted, their strength gauged and their measure taken before battle begins.
It was a strike force centred around the warriors of the White Scars' 3rd Company that came to make war upon the T'au during the Prefectia Campaign of 999.M41. These huntsmen had already had ample opportunity to learn the strengths and weaknesses of their prey. Led by the noble Kor'sarro Khan, this Great Hunt comprised warriors who had fought in several major engagements around the Damocles Gulf.
When Commander Shadowsun led her mighty coalition of Tau Septs against the hives of Agrellan, the Khan and his warriors had been there, fighting up until the very last moment against the invading xenos. Following that crushing defeat, the Imperium turned the tables upon O'Shaserra and caught her forces in a trap upon Voltoris: there too had fought the Khan and his men.
Prefectia would the be the third world upon which Kor'sarro's hunt had battled the Tau, and the third upon which his vow to take the head of the xenos commander would be tested. Though the White Scars won a decisive victory upon Voltoris, Kor'sarro Khan still had a warrior oath to fulfil. This fact did not sit well with the fiery-tempered White Scar, and he would not allow Shadowsun to slip through his fingers again.
Another concern chafed at the White Scars as they deployed onto the dust-choked surface of Prefectia. Far away, across the vast gulfs of space, their homeworld faced attack from an overwhelming force of Chaos Renegades as the 13th Black Crusade of Abaddon the Despoiler unfolded. Word had reached the Khan's fellow captains of this fight for survival, and many of the White Scars were desperate to discharge their oaths of duty in the Damocles war zone so that they might make haste back to Chogoris. They wished to lend their strength to the defence of their homeworld, or to avenge their brothers should the unthinkable have come to pass.
Thus, all of the White Scars' frustration and anger was directed at the T'au upon Prefectia, and especially against their leader, Commander Shadowsun. Here was a foe who had lived far beyond her deserving span, despite the best efforts of the Khan and his warriors. In doing so, she kept them from the defence of their homeworld, trapping them in a faraway war for much longer than any could have believed possible. The prey's stubborn tenacity and evasive cunning had goaded the White Scars to new heights of fury, and so they rode out from their first engagement on Prefectia with a righteous fire burning in their breasts. They would run their prey to ground at last, and return her head to Chogoris in triumph.
Lightning speed and punishing strength characterised the White Scars army that fought on Prefectia. Under the command of the mighty Kor'sarro Khan himself, this Scarblade Strike Force consisted primarily of warriors from the proud and noble 3rd Company. At their side fought supporting elements of the 1st and 10th Companies, while aerial support was lent from the Chapter's Armoury. The Khan's force, built to hunt dangerous prey, was skilled at running a foe to ground and striking hard and fast when the quarry was cornered.
Being warriors of the Adeptus Astartes, the Khan's strike force could swiftly tum their hands to whatever task was required; in battles such as Paragus Canyon or the fight for the Andrachon Line during the Battle of Agrellan, they had fought defensive actions with all the determination and tenacity expected of the Emperor's finest. However, these warriors were huntsmen through and through, and their greatest skill lay in the swift and deadly pursuit of the foe.
At the core of this Great Hunt stood a Stormlance Battle Demi-company, made up of 3rd Company Battle-Brothers who had fought beneath the Khan's banner on countless worlds beyond the Damocles Gulf. Seasoned veterans of battling the T'au, every warrior amongst them knew to expect cunning, evasion and overwhelming enemy firepower. Yet they stood undaunted, more determined than ever before to strike down the xenos menace that bedevilled this part of the Emperor's realm.
At their head stood Chaplain Jaikhos, a clenched fist of a warrior who, rumour had it, had never shown doubt or uncertainty. Normally sparing with his words, Jaikhos became a bellowing terror in battle, an inspirational firebrand whose transformation was so complete that many amongst the 3rd Company claimed the spirits of war possessed the Chaplain at such times. Beneath Jaikhos' command were three Tactical Squads, proudly displaying the iconography of the White Scars Chapter and the 3rd Company. Each squad rode to war in a Rhino APC to ensure their ability to keep pace with the Khan's rapid way of war, and each bore deadly weaponry, in the form of Bolters and Flamers, with which to hunt their prey.
Alongside this mighty core of superhuman waniors stood the Battle-Brothers of Devastator Squad Sahak, who raced to the front line aboard their Razorback, Vicious Knife. This small band of expert marksmen brought their potent firepower to their brothers' aid, providing the Stormlance Battle Demicompany with tactical versatility and the much-needed ability to eliminate Tau Battlesuits and gunships from extreme range.
The final element of the demi-company, the Land Speeder, Pale Claw, was deftly piloted by a pair of Battle-Brothers who served as advance scouts for their formation and lent their craft's armaments to the fight.
The inclusion of a Storm Wing provided essential aerial support in a theatre of war with constantly shifting air superiority. Comprised of the Stormraven, Khan's Fury, and two Stormtalon escorts, Firebolt Unbound and Cloudsword, the gunships' speed and firepower allowed them to serve in roles as varied as aerial interdiction, ground attack, long-ranged reconnaissance and tank hunting. Here was the perfect instrument with which to strike a mortal blow against any exposed prey.
Finally, Kor'sarro's Speartip Strike formation provided the lightning-fast huntsmen for which his Chapter was famed. Consisting of Land Speeders, several bands of Battle-Brothers mounted upon Assault Bikes, and a detachment of Scout Bikers from the 10th Company, this force possessed sufficient speed and firepower to engage any foe. These warriors could outflank the enemy, encircle their forces, punch through battle lines or eliminate support elements, all the while supporting the resilience and firepower of the rest of the strike force.
The leader of this Great Hunt, Kor'sarro Khan himself, stood amongst the most lauded heroes of the Imperium. As direct and unyielding as a well-forged blade, the Khan is a warrior of violent determination with no time for the niceties of diplomacy or courtly manners. He is a master huntsman whose every thought is bent toward decapitating his oath-sworn prey.
Whether mounted upon his famed Assault Bike, Moondrakkan, or hurtling into battle in the armoured hold of a Rhino or Stormraven gunship, the Khan runs his prey to ground with the unfailing tenacity of a born killer. When battle is inevitably joined, his revered blade, Moonfang, whistles out in a silver arc to claim the head of his prey with unerring lethality.
Yet the Khan's barbaric exterior hides a deep spirituality and strategic acumen that makes him a far deadlier opponent than he might at first seem, for he is also an inspiring leader and cunning tactician. Kor'sarro Khan personifies the tip of the hunter's spear, the hardened point of the blade, and his warriors follow him with a devotion bordering upon worship.
According to ancient White Scars records, the Terrans who at first made up the Vth Legion, originally nicknamed the "Star Hunters," possessed diverse origins, with "some having flesh the colour of charred firewood, for others it was as pale as our armour."
By the time of the Great Crusade, Terran Aspirants for the Legion were brought to the training centres of Imamdo on Terra. Here they underwent the selection process, and if chosen, the physical conditioning necessary to determine whether or not they were fit to become Space Marine Legionaries.
Each cadre was chosen by a prospective Space Marine Legion. If an Aspirant showed extreme promise they were often selected by the vaunted XVIth Legion (the Luna Wolves), but more often than not they would be reassigned to a Space Marine Legion based on the individual Legion's needs because of the ongoing Great Crusade.
Those Aspirants who were reassigned would be transported to a training facility on Luna, where they would continue their training and study for another solar decade, until they were deemed worthy of becoming a fully-fledged Battle-Brother of their newly assigned Legion. Once transported to their new Legion, they would continue undergoing gene-therapy, psycho-conditioning, and then, finally, the gene-seed implants that would make them one with their new Legion.
In the days after the rediscovery of the White Scars Primarch Jaghatai Khan on the world of Chogoris and his decision to rename the Legion, Aspirants to service in the Vth Legion still began their initial orientation in the Sol System. Then they would be moved out with the others to various off-world training facilities such as a decommissioned Imperial Battleship over Vhomarl, a Jetbike squadron billeted temporarily on the lead-hard plains of Yyem, specialist combat units deployed on the Ocean World of Kail IX or the gas giant Revelet Taredes.
For those who performed well throughout, the Chogorian instructors were fulsome in their praise, unlike the grudging hard-men of the Luna Wolves who conducted their Space Marine Initiates' training back on Terra. The physical changes the Aspirants underwent were hard, and the surgeries often painful. For those selected to join the mystic savages of the Vth Legion the cultural ways of the barbarians of Chogoris were too different to be absorbed readily.
These Aspirants had to learn Khorchin, the strange language of Chogoris. This alone tested many Aspirants -- despite their improved recall and mental agility, getting their tongue around such alien sounds remained a challenge. It was not just a matter of vocabulary and grammar; Khorchin had inflections and subtleties not shared by any Terran language.
Their tutors had developed their own theory on the origin of the differences; the Chogorians were a poetic people. Their homeworld was an empty place. It loosened their imagination, so they filled their minds with words. They were prolix, and they did not learn Imperial Gothic well, hence all the fuss of learning their native language.
The Aspirants eventually mastered the speech in the end, just like all the other Terrans who had been inducted into the Legion. The inductees studied together, poring over curved character-clusters and diacritics, rolling their eyes at the complexities and cementing friendships in the face of adversity.
Though initially most Legions took prospective Aspirants from the various geographic origins on Terra or other worlds, by the time the Great Crusade was in full-swing, many of the Aspirants of the Vth Legion were taken solely from the Asiatic hive clusters on Terra.
Those Aspirants of various other stocks disapproved of this practice. After Unity was achieved on Terra, the Imperium was meant to have moved beyond racial and ethnic stereotyping, so the fact that the Vth Legion remained mired in the physiognomic traits of the peoples found on their backwater world was an irritant to the other Legions.
Much else about them was an irritant: their archaic customs, their introversion, their exceptionalism. They placed enormous importance on speed -- on being the first into combat, on being the first out, on movement, on shams and counterfeits. This was counter-intuitive to the mantra drilled into Space Marine Aspirants' heads on Terra, "No backward step."
The Chogorian instructors instead drilled into them "Withdraw, then return" over and over again. When at last Ascension arrived, and the Aspirants were deemed worthy to become fully-fledged Battle-Brothers of the Vth Legion, their old life was no more. They would give up their old names and choose a new one from the Chogorian Talskar tribe's mythology or from one of the many Khorchin almanacs and lexicons.
The White Scars gene-seed is known to be relatively stable, and the Vth Legion sired a number of Successors when it was split into Chapters. Most sources agree that these Chapters are the Rampagers, Marauders, Destroyers and Storm Lords, all of whom share the qualities of the ancient Vth Legion and adhere to the teachings of the Great Khan.
Some have observed the occasional tendency to exceed the wild ferocity of Chogorian heritage and to cross the line into outright bloodlust. The teachings of Jaghatai Khan state that each warrior must face this trial at some point in his service, and learn to master the savagery within. Only when he has done so can a warrior truly know himself, and do his duty. What has been observed by some as a precursor to genetic instability is regarded by others as a positive trait, and one vital to the White Scars' countless battle honours.
The present-day Chapter utilises a variety of trials to select Neophytes, many of which are intrinsic to the way of life of the warrior nomads of the steppes of Chogoris. The constant warring between tribes ensures that the bloodline remains strong, and the leaders of the various Chogorian nomad communities know that every generation one of the mighty ones descends from the mountains to observe their battles.
Although the White Scars remain apart from the tribes of Chogoris, they do not hide their presence when observing a battle, for it inspires the combatants to fight all the harder in the knowledge that the living legends of their world are looking on and judging their conduct.
Upon the completion of a battle, one or sometimes several warriors are led away by silent, grim-faced White Scars, never to be seen again unless they too one day return to witness the fight and choose the next generation of Space Marines.
The White Scars draw their recruits from amongst the nomadic steppe tribes of Chogoris, many of whom are engaged in fierce internecine blood feuds that date back countless generations. While psycho-conditioning during the gene-seed implantation process could be used to wipe such feuds from the Neophyte's mind, to do so would risk diluting much of what makes him a desirable candidate in the first place.
In order to overcome the feuding, the White Scars ensure that Battle-Brothers from the same tribe serve in different squads, making each unit a product of many different tribes. Intermingled in such a manner, old feuds become largely irrelevant, and without squad mates from the same tribe to reinforce an ancient grudge, such matters are quickly forgotten.
Nonetheless, the folk-memories of the tribes of Chogoris are long indeed, and occasionally some slight thought set aside long ago flares up and Battle-Brothers clash. While unruliness and brawling is unheard of amongst the White Scars, the Chapter's traditions make allowance for genuine instances of bad blood, and the aggrieved must submit their grievance to their Brotherhood's Khan, or if sufficiently dire, to the Chapter Master himself.
So strong is their discipline and loyalty to the Khan that his word of judgement is invariably final. The nature of that judgement depends on circumstances, and may result in one or both brethren being punished in some way or, in the most extreme of cases, ordered to fight one another in ritual combat to settle the matter once and for all.
The White Scars often refer to their companies as "Brotherhoods", each of which is slightly smaller than the Codex Astartes dictates. Each Brotherhood maintains a large stock of vehicles, in particular transports and bikes, and every Battle-Brother is cross-trained in the operation of them all.
It is said that the nomads of Chogoris are born in the saddle, and the White Scars are certainly most at ease fighting on, in, or from a mount of some kind. In the time of their Primarch, the Brotherhoods strove for the honour of being declared "First" in the attack, competing in every manner to lead the assault.
This practise largely disappeared when the Codex Astartes was applied to the Chapter's organisation and the Vth Legion broken up into separate Chapters, but it does still resurface when several Brotherhoods fight together. In such instances, the Chapter Master declares which Brotherhood is called "First", as well as the order of attack of the rest of the force.
The Brotherhoods keep tally of each battle in which they have been declared "First", for the Battle-Brothers know that their deeds will be recounted for all time and their names never forgotten. To be "First" is such an honour that all tribal feuds are forgotten, the bonds of Astartes brotherhood far stronger than those of mortal tribes.
White Scars Librarians
Like their fellow Astartes Chapters, the White Scars also maintain a Librarium of potent psykers who are highly talented and trained to master the power of the Warp at the highest levels, though they refer to these warriors as "Stormseers" according to the ancient Chogorian shamanistic tradition.
Each Chapter selects its Librarians in its own way, either from seed worlds or the Chapter homeworld, as it does with the bulk of its Initiates, or from the ranks of gifted psykers brought to the Chapter by the Scholastica Psykana. Most Chapters train and test chosen psykers following the ancient ways laid out in the Codex Astartes.
Librarians of the White Scars are chosen from those Initiates who display an aptitude for learning the Arts of Heaven. White Scars Stormseers have a number of unique psychic abilities only used by the psykers of their Chapter:
- Heart of the Khan - The Stormseer reaches deep into the legacy of Jaghatai Khan, and brings forth the legendary swiftness and ferocity of the White Scars' Primarch in himself and his Battle-Brothers.
- Spirit of the Steppes - The Stormseer calls upon the spirits of the land, air, and the souls of long-dead warriors to bring some fragment of the climate of the harsh steppes of Chogoris to the battlefield he walks upon, forcing the foe to contend with more difficult environmental conditions. It is said that so long as these forces of nature fight alongside them, the White Scars will always be victorious.
- Stormlance - The Stormseer calls upon the lightning that embodies his Chapter's way of war, and brings it to bear against his enemies. When he summons this ability he hurls a bolt of lightning in a straight line out to its maximum range, striking everything in its path.
- The Howling Wind - The Stormseer gathers the powerful winds of the Chogorian steppes, driving them forwards to cast aside the enemy.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
The achievements of the White Scars have often gone unnoticed by others, their battles originally fought on the far edges of the Great Crusade where few have lingered to observe the heroism they displayed in the name of the Emperor. On the back of their quiet and hidden battle honours was the Great Crusade built, for where other Legions and armies ventured, it is likely that they followed the trails left by the White Scars.
These battles were often of a different breed to those lauded by other Legions and then Chapters, lightning raids and campaigns of hit-and-run warfare designed to sap the strength of a foe so that others might strike the final blow. Jaghatai Khan and his sons have for many millennia often been accused of lacking the heavy ordnance required of a true Astartes force, but the White Scars embraced this quirk of their organisation and sought to turn what others saw as a flaw into advantage.
Speed and strategic manoeuvrability are the cardinal virtues of their campaigns, and flexibility and the ability to adapt to circumstances swiftly are the hallmarks of their finest strategists. They meet brute force with emptiness, flowing around the foe to strike at his weakest points before falling back to strike again.
Some see them as unreliable, for they are wont to avoid battle save on ground of their own choosing, but time and time again they have been disregarded and ignored only for their foes and allies alike to find them suddenly present at the heart of the battle, ready to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, always laughing as they kill.
The combat doctrines of the White Scars Chapter have been honed through over ten millennia of battle and bloodshed, but they still reflect those of the original Chogorian nomadic warrior-tribes. Though wild and savage, the warrior-nomads of the Chogorian steppes are highly intelligent tacticians and masters of field craft.
Each Battle-Brother draws on the savagery of the steppes not as a mindless berserker, but as a finely-crafted hunting spear delivered with the focussed precision of a master predator. They specialise in hitting their enemy with a peerless impact and frightening speed, but they are never reckless.
Time spent on preparations is vital to their strategy, as they reconnoitre each target in depth and formulate detailed plans and contingencies, coordinating their strike to ensure that maximum damage is done.
Such methods have seen the White Scars emerge victorious from many of the bloodiest battles in the Imperium's history, including the Siege of Terra itself. In their many millennia of service since, they have hunted the Emperor's foes from one end of the galaxy to the other, meeting every threat with blades in their hands and battle cries on their lips, defeating rebellions and invasions unnumbered in the name of the Emperor and of the Great Khan.
Each Brotherhood of the White Scars was a highly mobile task force unto itself, endowed with the means to transport its complement of Legiones Astartes warriors to the battlefield with a speed that was the hallmark of their Legion. As such, the White Scars were known to favour the use of aerial and contragravity vehicles of all kinds, with a noted preference for smaller craft due to the lowering maintenance requirements and greater manoeuvrability of such vehicles.
Their usage of massed squadrons of Scimitar, Shamshir and Falcata Pattern Jetbikes is well-known and documented, but the various Brotherhoods also made use of large numbers of Land Speeders, Fire Raptor gunships and even armoured vehicles of certain patterns. Indeed, some Brotherhoods were even known to specialise in the use of mobile artillery, experts at the rapid displacement of batteries after the completion of a fire mission, and at providing close range support bombardments.
Among all of the Emperor's Legions, the White Scars were the most enthusiastic adopters of the newer Thunderhawk pattern gunships, smaller mass-produced replacements for the ancient and vast Stormbird pattern dropships that had served the earliest incarnations of the Legiones Astartes since their departure from Terra itself.
These vehicles, while less powerful and imposing than the huge Stormbirds, were more easily customised by the Gan-khan of the armoury to suit the needs of the White Scars, and far more easily maintained and supplied on the long, solitary campaigns favoured by the Vth Legion. By the time of the Chondax Campaign, most of the larger Brotherhoods of the Vth Legion had been assigned at least a single Thunderhawk, with some fielding enough to transport their entire complement into battle without recourse to more cumbersome landing craft.
Integral as they were to the mobile style of warfare and operation favoured by the White Scars, these vehicles were the focus of many of the small rituals within the Brotherhoods. Upon their armoured flanks they bore the marks of those who lived and died as warriors of the ordu of Jaghatai, serving as the shrines for the dead and fortresses for the living.
Each bore a name and history the equal of any other Veteran of the Legion, and many enjoyed a fame more widespread among the Legion than the warriors who crewed them.
The method of war taught to the steppe tribes of Chogoris by Jaghatai Khan has served the White Scars well in the millennia that followed. Their modus operandi consists of lightning-fast hit-and-run attacks conducted by highly mobile forces, destroying the enemy piece by piece and never allowing the enemy to force a decisive or static engagement.
Evoking the mounted warriors of their heritage, each Brotherhood maintains a high proportion of Assault Bikes, Attack Bikes and Land Speeders, and their infantry squads are almost always borne to battle by fast moving vehicles or gunships. Indeed, it is often said that the White Scars are born in the saddle and are not at ease unless fighting on, in or from an armoured mount of some kind.
They also make use of Jump Pack-equipped Assault Squads to harass the enemy, and then hit the foe with a full assault when they are at their weakest and most frazzled. The Chapter's combat doctrine is to deliver their forces to the battlefield in a single swift blow; thus, when Drop Pods are employed, the entire force of the Chapter committed to the assault deploys in them in order to avoid the possibility of parts of the force arriving in reserve.
Although preferring to keep the foe at arms-length, the White Scars are fully capable of engaging in bloody close assaults, and are rightly feared by the enemies of the Imperium. In contrast, few White Scars Space Marines have ever entered service as a Dreadnought, and only in the direst of circumstances.
To the White Scars, the thought of spending an eternity sealed within the ceramite sarcophagus at the heart of a Dreadnought, of never again feeling the rush of the air whilst hurtling towards the foe with blade in hand, is a truly horrifying notion.
Also, the majority of heavy weapons normally used by Space Marine forces such as the Heavy Bolter, Missile Launcher, Plasma Gun or Heavy Flamer are frowned upon by the Chapter, and any main battle tank that cannot keep up with the rest of the army is avoided in the order of battle.
For instance, the White Scars have no Devastator Squads, and their few Predator tanks may not carry sponson weapons. The White Scars also almost never field any Dreadnoughts, not only because of the slowness of those cyborgs, but also because every White Scars Astartes does not want to be crippled to the point that they must be entombed in a Dreadnought's cybernetic sarcophagus. Far better to die and allow their spirits to pass into the afterlife where they may roam freely.
Overall, the White Scars are considered a powerful and effective Chapter when undertaking direct, rapid assaults or carrying out surgical strikes intended to achieve specific operational objectives.
However, their lack of units with a great deal of resilience or staying power such as heavy weapons-equipped Tactical Marines, Devastator Marines, Dreadnoughts or the heavier Astartes main battle tanks means that their detachments are more fragile if not used at a tactically appropriate moment or if forced to face prolonged, static combat, particularly against well-defended enemy strongholds and heavily-fortified positions. The White Scars are not a Chapter that would fare well undertaking sieges, for example.
Mundus Planus, better known to its people as Chogoris, is a fertile Feudal World of the Imperium that still exists in a semi-feudal, pre-industrial state. When Jaghatai Khan departed on the Great Crusade, the unified empire he had carved from the nomadic peoples of his world dissolved back into the feuding tribes of horsemen that had existed before his arrival.
This was believed by some in the White Scars Legion to be the intention of the Primarch, as the restoration of conflict between the steppe tribes ensured that his Legion would have a supply of highly-skilled Neophytes to draw from the warring tribes in the future. The White Scars are every bit the product of the wild steppes of their Chogoris. As with many Space Marine homeworlds, the people there remain in the state that made them such a perfect recruitment source, and the warring tribes have never been properly united since the time of the Great Khan.
The tribes live exactly as they have for countless generations, roaming the steppes following great herds of gargantuan grazers as dictated by the cycle of the seasons. Prior to the coming of Jhagatai Khan, the Chogorians were a divided people, the planet subject to the oppressive rule of the city-dwellers of the Palatine. Though these were conquered by the young Primarch, he saw that to establish his people in those same cities would ultimately lead to the end of all that made them what they were.
Instead, only one city was left standing -- Quan Zhou -- a glittering palace of marble high atop the Khum Karta mountains. This city-sized Fortress-Monastery, the ancient palace of the Khagan himself, is the abode of the White Scars, and it is said that within its towering walls is an entire forest teeming with game.
The winding valley pass that leads to the fortress-monastery's great adamantium gates is lined with the severed heads of countless defeated foes, and the feasting halls within its marbled walls are heavily hung with a great wealth of trophies taken by the White Scars' heroes from a thousand battlefields. Quan Zhou is the spiritual home of the White Scars Chapter, and it is truly a formidable and magnificent sight to behold.
Like all fortress-monasteries, Quan Zhou is armoured and void-shielded to withstand any siege or bombardment that might befall it. Armed to repel attackers from land, air or space, its walls bristle with enough heavy ordnance to flatten a hive city. Every aerial approach to the Fortress-Monastery is overlooked by Icarus Pattern Lascannons, and a Macro-laser known to the White Scars as Khan's Fury stands like a spear of vengeance to lance space-borne enemies from the heavens.
The fortress-monastery's Librarius is a lightning-wracked spire where the Chapter's Librarians, often referred to as Stormseers, study their lore and chronicle the deeds of the Khans. They also preside over the Chapter's Astropaths as they relay psychic messages throughout the void, communing with the greater Imperium and those White Scars Brotherhoods hunting across the galaxy.
The White Scars live apart from their people, descending down to the steppes only once a decade to observe the wars between the tribes and to choose potential recruits for the Chapter. The constant warring ensures that the people remain strong, though the White Scars have to be vigilant that such feuds are not retained as Aspirants become Neophytes and Neophytes Initiates.
Another manner in which Aspirants are chosen is by way of the tradition of youngsters entering the mountains to pay homage at the tomb of a fallen White Scar. Such pilgrimages are perilous in the extreme, and simply surviving one is a great deed in itself that may, if the pilgrim is deemed worthy, grant a place in the ranks of the Chapter's Aspirants.
Because the tribes from which the White Scars recruit are so attuned to the land and the seasons of their world, the Chapter's Battle-Brothers have an intrinsic empathy with their environment. Wherever they go, they are able to read the soil beneath their feet and the air in their lungs and gain an instant understanding of how best to fight in such places. Though Chogoris is a land of wide-open steppes punctuated by mighty forests and towering mountains, the enhanced physiology of the Adeptus Astartes multiplies the Chogorians' deep-seated understanding of the land and turns it into an all but preternatural awareness.
As a result, the White Scars can use every element of any natural environment as an ally, whether speeding over a sparse desert expanse or tracking a foe through the vine-choked glades of an alien Death World. It has been observed that many White Scars are ill at ease amongst entirely manufactured environments such as hive cities and space stations, yearning to breathe natural air and feel earth beneath their feet, but as Space Marines, this is simply a matter of preference and no detriment to their fearsome battlefield capabilities.
The White Scars share the beliefs of their Primarch, venerating the Emperor as the Ultimate Uniter of Mankind, but not as a God and so they do not hold the Imperial Creed as their faith and have little regard for the Ecclesiarchy. It is the White Scars' belief that it is their duty to destroy the enemies of the Emperor in preparation for the day when He will rise from the Golden Throne to begin a new Great Crusade to unify the galaxy. On that day, Jaghatai Khan will return from the void to lead the Chapter once more.
To the White Scars, the lightning bolt that serves as their Chapter badge is a potent and important symbol, representing both their style of warfare and echoing the warrior Honour Scars that they bear on their faces. It also represents the powers of the Storm Seers. The Chapter believes that as long as the elemental, animistic powers of air and land heed the call of the Storm Seers the White Scars will never falter on the field of battle. All White Scars bear the long, ritual facial scar that is called an Honour Scar and is the mark they receive when they are fully accepted into the Chapter as Neophytes.
As noted above, the White Scars refuse to deploy Dreadnoughts within their ranks as the thought of being entombed within the mighty cybernetic construction is anathema to the White Scars' beliefs that when a warrior dies, his soul should be free to travel to the afterlife and not be confined where it cannot freely roam the plains of the netherworld.
- "They are our brothers from the arch of heaven. We love them, and they fight for us, but they will never truly be Talskar. Not like we are Talskar. Observe the sear. It knows which flesh is of Chogoris."
- — Zadyin Arga Radja Beijin
Facial markings are widespread among the nomadic tribes of Chogoris, less so amongst the settled populations (the Khilan, Huanjan, etc.). It is said by some that the facial scars that give the White Scars their name are self-inflicted on initiation into the Chapter, a rite carried over from the days when the Talskar roamed the seas of grass on Chogoris. The Talskar tribe of nomads is given to extensive modifications, reflective of warrior prowess, achievement, and ritual events.
The Talskar pattern of scarification is now endemic to many of the plains' nomad tribes of Chogoris and have been much emulated by other nations (especially the Haelun, Szechjiak, and High-Zuar) since the conquests of Jaghatai. Typical scarification patterns include those reminiscent of hunting fauna, in particular the native apex raptors (berkul). Permanent resin-based dyes have been added to prominent figures, producing hybrid scars and tattoo forms. Vivid results have been noted, yet their chemical composition is not yet fully understood by Imperial savants.
A distinctive local variation of the left cheek zig-zag pattern has also been noted. This pattern of scars is made with ritual daggers under the supervision of the tribal zadyin arga (translated loosely to Low Gothic as "seer of storms"). Scars run from under the left eye socket to the chin. Ash is then used to raise tissue and whiten the residual ridge (hence the term "white scar"). Shortly after being reunited with their Primarch during the Great Crusade, the Terran-born members of the Vth Legion quickly adopted the customs of the Chogorian natives who joined the Legion, though their results proved less pronounced. This was because these scarification techniques were most efficacious on the young, prior to the implantation of the Space Marine Progenoid Glands and the development of the basic Astartes bias towards rapid dermatological regeneration.
The gene-seed of the White Scars appears to be stable and initially displayed no aberrations or mutation. However, with the introduction of genetic material form the steppes tribesmen, the genome seems to have inherited their wild savagery and thirst for war. Despite the teachings of the Khans and Stormseers, it is not unheard of for tribal feuds to flare up between fellow squad members.
In addition to this, there have been several recorded instances where White Scars Brotherhoods have bloodily exceeded their mission objectives, such as the infamous "Red Highway Massacre". Whether such incidents are as a result of some inherent flaw in the White Scars' genetic material or came about after the integration of the tribesmen is unknown, but the Adeptus Mechanicus is eager to know which. The White Scars Successor Chapters are all equally ferocious and fine examples of the combat teachings of Jaghatai Khan.
Primarch's Curse: Chogorian Savagery
It is unknown whether the controlled savagery of the White Scars came originally from Jaghatai Khan, or from the wild and fierce people of Chogoris themselves, or even some combination of the two, but whatever the cause, there is a ferocity within their hearts and their blood that grants them great power, but which also threatens to consume all that they are and damn them.
All White Scars are watchful for this necessary yet insidious savagery, and it is only with great discipline, humble introspection and often the watchfulness of their Battle-Brothers that they can hope to master themselves. All White Scars are watchful for this necessary yet insidious savagery, and it is only with great discipline, humble introspection and often the watchfulness of their Battle-Brothers that they can hope to master themselves. When the Chapter's genetic curse manifests itself in an affected Battle-Brother, it comes on in two stages:
- Stage 1 - A Moment Unrestrained: The Battle-Brother's discipline begins to slip and falter, allowing brief moments of untamed ferocity to emerge in the heat of battle. Often, the Battle-Brother will not even know that he is succumbing to this savagery, and it requires the presence of his Brothers to warn him of his failure.
- Stage 2 - Suppressed Rage: Within the darkest reaches of the Battle-Brother's mind lurks the shadow of his rage and fury, seeking any opportunity to emerge, and causing the Battle-Brother to become belligerent and quick to anger.
Notable White Scars
Heresy Era Personnel
- Jaghatai Khan - Primarch of the White Scars. Jaghatai fought alongside his sons of the White Scars for another 70 standard years following the end of the Horus Heresy, eventually disappearing into a region of space known as the Maelstrom, a large Warp rift in the Ultima Segmentum that is a somewhat smaller counterpart of the Eye of Terror. Jaghatai is believed to have been in pursuit of the Dark Eldar who had savaged Chogoris following the Battle of Corusil V with his 1st Brotherhood when he went through a Warp Gate into the Dark Eldar portion of the Webway, ultimately vanishing forever. Jaghatai had been in pursuit of a mighty Dark Eldar lord, likely the Archon of the Kabal that had attacked Corusil V and perhaps even Chogoris itself. Jaghatai Khan has not been seen since, though the White Scars believe he is still alive somewhere within the Webway and will one day return to the Chapter in a time of great need. As a result of their Primarch's disappearance, the White Scars hold a particularly savage grudge against the Dark Eldar and will gladly seek out any opportunity to make war upon those savage and terrifying xenos.
- Hasik Noyan-Khan - A Chogoris-born warrior, Hasik fought alongside Jaghatai Khan in his youth and was one of the first to be inducted into the newly renamed White Scars Legion after the Emperor was reunited with His long-lost son. A senior member of the Great Khan's command staff, Hasik was granted the honour of being a Noyan-Khan, commanding one of the largest ordus (divisions) of the Legion that consisted of 20 Brotherhoods during the Great Crusade and opening days of the Horus Heresy. Hasik was later to be revealed to be a secret member of the Warrior Lodges that permeated the entirety of the White Scars Legion, and played an instrumental role in seizing the Legion's flagship in order to sway the Primarch to join Horus' cause during the opening days of the Horus Heresy. Enraged at Hasik's betrayal, the Khagan drew his dao Power Sword and rammed it through Hasik's midsection, impaling him upon his blade and seriously wounding the commander. Afterwards Hasik was taken into confinement until the Khagan could determine a suitable punishment for the Noyan-Khan's perfidy. Hasik's ultimate fate is not known.
- Jemulan Noyan-Khan - A Terran-born White Scar, Jemulan had darker skin than most Terrans, the legacy of his roots in the Palatine's old domains of the Empty Quarter. He was a senior commander charged with leading one of the White Scars' ordus (divisions) known as the Horde of the Earth, which consisted of many Brotherhoods during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. When Shiban Khan of the Brotherhood of the Storm first discovered the cancer of the Warrior Lodges at the heart of the Vth Legion, he brought this to the attention of Jemulan, who either was unwilling or unable to do anything about it, and dismissed the younger Khan's accusations out of hand. During the planned takeover of the Legion's fleet at Prospero, Jemulan and his Terminator-armoured keshig bodyguard teleported aboard the bridge of the Legion's flagship during a pivotal moment of the insurrection, and played an instrumental role in restoring order within the ranks. Jemulan's ultimate fate is not known.
- Goghal Khan - Goghal was a commander of Hasik Noyan-Khan's keshig bodyguard during the Great Crusade and the opening days of the Horus Heresy. Goghal was also a secret member of the traitorous Warrior Lodges within the White Scars Legion. He took part in the insurrection to take control of the Legion's vessels while Jaghatai Khan was searching for the whereabouts of his missing brother Magnus upon the recently devastated world of Prospero. When the Great Khan was returned to his flagship and his commander was struck down, Goghal willingly surrendered and went into confinement to await his deserved fate for the role he played in the internecine conflict. Goghal's ultimate fate is unknown.
- Hibou Khan - Hibou was a commander of an unnamed Brotherhood of the White Scars Legion during the Great Crusade and the opening days of the Horus Heresy. Hibou was also secretly a member of the Warrior Lodges within the White Scars Legion. He took part in the insurrection to take control of the Legion's vessels while the Great Khan was searching for the whereabouts of his missing brother Magnus upon the recently devastated world of Prospero. When the Great Khan returned to his flagship and his commander was struck down, Hibou willingly went into confinement to await the Great Khan's judgement and his deserved fate for the role he played in the internecine conflict. Hibou's ultimate fate is unknown.
- Jubal Khan - Jubal was a notable Khan of an unnamed Brotherhood of the White Scars Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. He was known as the "Lord of Summer Lightning" and the "Death That Comes with Summer Laughter."
- Shang Khan - Shang Khan was the commander of the White Scars' 7th Chapter during the latter days of the Great Crusade. Shang Khan transferred stewardship of the world of Sarosh to the Dark Angels Legion shortly before the onset of the Horus Heresy.
- Shiban Khan - Shiban was the Chogoris-born Khan (Captain) of the Brotherhood of the Storm company during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. He is known to have served during the famous Chondax Campaign against the remnants of the notorious Ork Overlord Urrlak Urruk. During the opening days of the Horus Heresy, Shiban discovered a plot amongst the Warrior Lodge members within the Legion to take over the White Scars' fleet and ally themselves with cause of the traitorous Warmaster Horus. Shiban led his Brotherhood in the boarding action of their Legion's flagship and played an instrumental role in rescuing their Primarch Jaghatai Khan from the surface of the devastated world of Prospero during a pivotal point in the internecine fighting.
- Torghun Khan - Torghun was a Terran-born Khan (Captain) of the Brotherhood of the Moon company during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras, Torghun was known to have fought during the famous Chondax Campaign against the remnants of the notorious Ork Overlord Urrlak Urruk. His company fought alongside the Brotherhood of the Storm, commanded by Shiban Khan. The two Khans formed a bond of friendship in the heat of battle, both learning from one another's opposing styles of leadership. Torghun was known to be a secret member of the Warrior Lodges that permeated the entirety of the White Scars Legion. He was a co-conspirator in the plot to take control of the Legion's fleet and steer their Primarch towards their viewpoint that they should ally themselves with the Warmaster Horus and his cause. During the ensuing internecine conflict, Torghun surrendered when the Khagan was teleported back aboard his flagship and ended the infighting amongst his gene-progeny. He willingly went into confinement with his commander Hasik Noyan-Khan and his co-conspirators Hibou and Goghal Khan to await the judgement of the Great Khan. Torghun's ultimate fate is unknown.
- Targutai Yesugei - Yesugei was the chief of the White Scars Stormseers (Zadyin Arga) during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. Yesugei had fought alongside the Primarch in his youth upon the world of Chogoris. Yesugei was a junior Stormseer of the White Scars Legion when he presented the Council of Nikaea with a third option in regards to the use of psychic abilities and the maintenance or abolition of the established Space Marine Legions' Libraria. He explained that there was nothing inherently evil about a Librarian. If such a gifted individual was properly trained in order to obtain the greatest results, like any weapon, he could be still be used, but with respect and not indiscriminately. Yesugei argued that human psykers should be trained rigorously to take advantage of their innate abilities in order to assist the Imperium in completing its galaxy-wide spanning conquest. With such an elite cadre of trained psychic specialists utterly loyal to the Emperor, the galaxy could be brought back into the Imperial fold with ease. Yesugei also argued that psychic sorcery should be strictly forbidden, since in dealing with the entities of the Warp, the ever-present risk of corruption was simply too great to be avoided. This position would later be vindicated in the wake of the Horus Heresy and would become the default policy of the Imperium towards psykers during the later Age of the Imperium.
- Qin Xa - Qin Xa was a senior warrior of the White Scars and commander of the Primarch's personal elite Honour Guard of Terminators known as the Keshig. Qin Xa had fought alongside the Primarch in his youth on Chogoris. He was one of the first members to be inducted from Chogoris into the newly renamed White Scars Legion after Jaghatai Khan was reunited with the Vth Legion and his father the Emperor of Mankind.
Post-Heresy Era Personnel
- Jubal Khan (Great Khan) - Jubal Khan is the current Great Khan of the White Scars Chapter following the disappearance of Kyublai in 943.M41.
- Kyublai Khan (Great Khan) - Great Khan Kyublai, Jubal's predecessor, vanished while fighting against the Eldar xenos in 943.M41.
- Drago Khan - Drago Khan is one of the current Khans of the White Scars in the late 41st Millennium, though his Brotherhood command is unknown.
- Jurga Khan - Jurga Khan is the commander of an unnamed Brotherhood that participated in the liberation of the world of Tephra VII.
- Khajog Khan - Khajog Khan is the commander of the Brotherhood dispatched to Cadia during the 13th Black Crusade. Khajog proved such a pesky and dangerous opponent that Abaddon the Despoiler was forced to dispatch a significant number of his best troops to deal with the White Scars, and though Khajog and his men were eventually cornered and slaughtered, they undoubtedly bought the Cadians time and kept the forces of the Black Legion quite busy hunting them down before they were finally defeated. Nevertheless the Storm Seers say that Khajog's spirit still wanders the wastes of Cadia, unable to join the Emperor's side in the afterlife until his death is avenged.
- Kor'sarro Khan - Khan of the 3rd Brotherhood and the current Master of the Hunt for the Chapter. Kor'sarro's first hunt was completed on the third moon of the gas giant Mai IX. The Khan of the 3rd Brotherhood has faced many daunting foes and great challenges including facing an Alpha Level psyker on Delta Arbuthnot where the entire planet's population of Ratling agri-serfs was mind-controlled and forced to raise arms against the Imperial landowners, using shovels against guards with autoguns. Another such battle was for the 3rd Moon of Woebetide where, as a Scout Marine many decades previously, Kor'sarro fought the Warp entities called Enslavers. Ten thousand mind-controlled Cadians were psychically forced to march across a minefield 100 kilometres wide under fire from the White Scars, Red Hunters and Celestial Lions Chapters. Kor'Sarro Khan was responsible for successfully bringing the Hunt for Voldorius to its conclusion.
- Jamuka Khan - Jamuka Khan was the predecessor and mentor of Kor'sarro Khan as the Khan of the 3rd Brotherhood and the skull of a vicious tusk drake that currently adorns the marble throne of Kor'sarro Khan was slain by his mentor Jamuka.
- Subodai Khan - Subodai was killed during the battle to retake Rynn's World from the Orks of WAAAGH! Snagrod.
- Suboden Khan - Suboden Khan was the commander of the Tulwar Brotherhood who fought to defend the water purification at St. Capilene and the Phaedra River.
- Hibou Khan - Hibou Khan was a member of a White Scars Kill-team sent to kill high-ranking members of the Sons of Horus on the planet Dwell during the Horus Heresy.
- Qan'karro - A Storm Seer and the senior psychic adept attached to Kor'sarro Khan's task force during the Hunt for Voldorius, Qan'karro is a renowned Veteran of the Chapter as well as a close adviser to the Master of the Hunt.
- Xia'ghan - Senior Chaplain attached to the 3rd Brotherhood during the Hunt for Voldorius.
- Subedei - Chaplain Subedei fought in the Tempestora Warzone during the Third War for Armageddon.
- Goju - Goju is a Techmarine attached to the Brotherhood of Jurga Khan.
- Sarik - Sarik is a Veteran Sergeant and the Force Commander of the White Scars detachment that served in the Damocles Gulf Crusade and the second-in-command of that Crusade's Astartes forces.
- Sar Af - White Scars Battle-Brother attached to the Imperial Guard regiment known as the Tanith First and Only during the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, along with two other Astartes from the Iron Snakes and Silver Guard, during the Imperial raid on Salvation's Reach.
- Balat - Balat is a venerable Scout Sergeant of the White Scars with over four centuries of service to the Chapter and the commander of a Scout Biker Squadron on Tephra VII.
- Ultas Kholka - A highly skilled veteran warrior, Scout Sergeant Kholka was one of the Chapter's best. A veteran of the celebrated "422" Patrol, Kholka even survived stalking the extremely deadly Tyranid Lictors over the cobalt reefs of Ayria-12-Tsunami and survived extended operations on the Death World of Canak. Brother Kholka sacrificed himself to give Kor'sarro Khan the opening to face and defeat the dreaded Daemon Prince Voldorius, using a Flamer to destroy the last of the Blood Tide nanytes, engulfing himself in the process.
- The Banner of the Eagle - As a First Founding Chapter, the White Scars can trace their history back to the birth of the Imperium. The oldest relics of the Chapter date back to that ancient time, and the Banner of the Eagle is one such artefact. It is incredibly rare for this venerable standard to be brought forth into the crucible of war, though any wily commander knows the inspirational effect that such a sacred banner can have on those that fight in its fluttering shadow. At the crown of the banner sits the glorious adamantium eagle -- the symbol of the White Scars' bloody victory on Golgotha, from which the Banner of the Eagle takes its name.
- Chieftain Trophy Rack - Like the great khans of Chogoris of old, the White Scars of the Achilus Crusade took to wearing trophy racks to display their triumphs and prowess in battle. Like the more common back banners used by Astartes commanders, a trophy rack identifies a Battle-Brother as a leader and Captain of the Chapter.
- Duelling Tulwar - Reputed to have its origins among the mountain tribes of Chogoris, the Duelling Tulwar is a White Scars ritual weapon. Its short, curved blade makes it ideal for quick, short cuts, allowing the wielder greater speed in combat, switching between defensive and offensive stances with a flick of his wrist. Ritual duels between comrades are common between Chogorian tribesmen, and while the feuds that inspire many such duels are rare amongst the White Scars, the practice of duelling to resolve personal disputes, to hone skills, or even simply for the love of a challenge, remains strong. Many White Scars have special curved blades, patterned upon the Tulwars used by the Chogorian people, created for duelling and battle alike, carrying them in anticipation of the inevitable close combat that many battles culminate in. The particular shape and balance of these weapons allows them to be wielded swiftly and deftly, moving from defence to attack at lightning speed. They are carried either in addition to, or in lieu of, a Combat Knife, depending on the individual's preferences.
- The Glaive of Vengeance - The White Scars discovered this ancient relic during their conquest of the Bale-star Cluster, far beyond the Eastern Fringe. The Glaive of Vengeance was the very weapon once wielded by the great Kyublai Khan, before the Chapter Master was murdered by the Dark Eldar of the Bloodied Talon. A crackling energy field surrounds the fearsome curved blade that extends from the weapon's adamantium haft, enabling it to cut through any armour. Some among the White Scars claim that the spirit of Kyublai Khan still clings to the glaive, and that his endless thirst for revenge upon his killers is what makes this weapon seem to lunge at the foe with a will of its own.
- Guan Dao (Power Lance) - A signature weapon of the White Scars, the Guan Dao is a Chogorian glaive, a Power Lance. Considered blessed weapons, Guan Dao possess a two-metre long metal shaft with a single-edged, curved blade which is primarily used by White Scars Astartes to extend their reach or to increase angular momentum, and thus striking power, when the weapon is swung. This makes the Guan Dao ideal for charging from the back of vehicles or striking at foes while beyond the reach of their weapons. When used in close combat on foot, its purpose is more to disarm an opponent and deflect their strikes.
- Honour Gift - The ancient traditions of fealty and honour amongst the people of Chogoris are many and complex, woven as they are between many tribes once unified under the Great Khan. Amongst these many traditions is that of honour gifts, where the spoils of a glorious hunt or battle are given to a trusted comrade to make stronger the ties that unite them, a ritual that dates back to the Khan's days when tribes fought as one against their oppressors. These gifts take many forms, from pelts taken from the great plains-dwelling beasts of Chogoris, to shards of shattered armour taken from enemy vehicles or combatants, to tusks, fangs and claws from beasts or monstrous xenos foes. Several examples are given below:
- Torandor Pelt - The Torandor is a massive, hardy breed of plains-dwelling herbivore, often the target of great hunts that last for days, as individual beasts are singled out and brought down by hundreds of spears and arrows. To triumph in such a hunt is the work of an entire tribe, or a few Astartes, and requires great patience and endurance. Clumped and matted tufts of Torandor hair are divided amongst the triumphant hunters, who gift them to deserving comrades, whose fortitude matches that of these great beasts.
- Fragment of Foes Defeated - As befits warriors of their legendary prowess and accomplishments, many battles the White Scars fight result in the shattered detritus of enemy forces, the broken pieces of armour and vehicles that litter the battlefield. Proud White Scars may be inclined to take fragments that signify their kills, gifting them to their brothers that they might remember the glories of that conflict.
- Savage Totems - Monstrous foes like the Orks and Tyranids, and bloodthirsty predators on many worlds, are common enemies for the White Scars, and just as they may claim scraps of armour from technologically-advanced foes, the talons and fangs of such creatures are common trophies taken from battles and hunts alike, and passed along to comrades who are as ferocious as the beasts they were taken from.
- The Hunter's Eye - The tribes of Chogoris are famed throughout the Imperium for the consummate skill of their horse archers. It is written in the Scrolls of the Plains that the Hunter's Eye -- an ingeniously constructed bionic eye of great age and unrivalled quality -- was created in honour of this aspect of the White Scars' heritage. This device picks out augur-assessed weak spots in the quarry's defences, enabling its wearer to strike with uncanny accuracy, or to relay this information via dataghost to any other friendly forces engaging the target. The data gathered by this device allows the wearer even to see behind cover and makes sure that no prey escapes the hunter.
- The Mantle of the Stormseers - The ancient psychic hood known as the Mantle of the Stormseers crackles with barely contained elemental energies. None know who crafted this relic, but it is gifted to whichever Librarian demonstrates the greatest skill at communing with the spirits of the storm. Said to channel these entities, the mantle not only wreathes its wearer in a shroud of counter-psychic force, but allows him to wield the wrath of the storm itself. At such times the Stormseer's eyes glow with a harsh light, and corposant crawls across his armour as the enemies are plucked from the ground and hurled to their deaths by howling psychic gales.
- Moondrakkan - The Assault Bike Moondrakkan was originally commissioned for the Chapter's 4th Master of the Hunt. This ancient Astartes bike is a relic of the White Scars Chapter and has served as a versatile mechanical steed for numerous Masters of the Hunt over many millennia. Fitted with powerful engines, bulletproof tires and a formidable armament, Moondrakkan has been lovingly maintained by the Chapter's Techmarines and has served the Masters of the Hunt well in their never-ending quests to chase down their quarry in the midst of a hunt.
- Moonfang - This is an ancient Power Sword and revered relic of the White Scars Chapter. This formidable blade has spilled much blood and the ichor of numerous Apostates, Heretics and xenos since its forging. Currently, Kor'sarro Khan wields Moonfang.
- Scimitar of the Great Khan - One of the favoured weapons of the tribes of Chogoris is the scimitar -- a light, curved blade well-suited to their mounted style of warfare. It is to little surprise that the armouries of the White Scars contain many power swords forged in the style of traditional Chogorian scimitars. Of these finely wrought weapons, the most singular and storied weapon is the masterwork blade known as the Scimitar of the Great Khan. Intricate filigree runs along the length of its blade, depicting many of the White Scars' greatest victories. Chapter lore holds that this weapon was blessed by the Great Khan himself during the purging of Daikeos. Soon after, his champion Ghorotei struck the head from the Ironwyrm King in single combat.
- Totem of Subetai - The Stormseers are the Librarians of the White Scars -- powerful figures within the Chapter who advise its commanders and keep its lore. Across the Jericho Reach, many Stormseers are held in veneration for their heroic acts and the vaults of Watch Fortress Erioch are filled with artefacts from countless Stormseers that have served the Deathwatch in aeons past. One such artefact is the Totem of Subetai -- a long staff adorned with a beast skull and a knot of course hair. No records still remain of Subetai or his accomplishments, but his staff has served other Stormseers through the millennia. The staff helps Stormseers in focusing their powers, channeling ancient spirits and casting their auguries for the great Khans.
- Wrath of the Heavens - The Space Marine bike known as Wrath of the Heavens was constructed to possess the speed of the storm itself, upon the orders of the former Master of the Hunt, Khantak Khan. Fitted with diatremite cylinder arrays and a short-burn grav impeller, Wrath of the Heavens can not only put on a turn of speed that would shame a Land Speeder, but can also perform jaw-dropping gravitic hops over the battlefield. Thus, a skilled rider can vault wrecked tanks and ferrocrete barricades at will, and even hurtle over the heads of the foe to strike him from behind.
The White Scars are known to have possessed the following vessels within their Legion fleet during the great Crusade and the Horus Heresy and as part of their Chapter fleet after the Second Founding:
- Swordstorm (Gloriana-class Battleship) - Flagship of the White Scars during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Lance of Heaven (Dictatus-class Battleship) - A mighty capital class warship that served in the White Scars Legion's fleet during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Bloodline (Unknown Class) - Capital ship of the White Scar Legion at the Battle for the Kalium Gate.
- Celestial (Unknown Class) - The Celestial did not always belong to the White Scars, but was initial bound in service to the XVIIIth Legion, the Word Bearers, before being captured in the first years of the Horus Heresy.
- Fate’s Arrow (Unknown Class) - A capital class ship, veteran of the Great Crusade.
- Khamanog (Unknown Class) - At the time of the Horus Heresy, the Khamanog was one of the oldest ships of the Vth Legion’s fleet, having always belonged to the White Scars since their departure from the Sol-system at the beginning of the Great Crusade.
- Namaan (Unknown Class) - The Namaan was a venerable capital class ship still in service within the Legion’s fleet since its foundation in the 30th Millennium.
- Qo-ama (Unknown Class) - A line-vessel of the Vth Legion, the Qo-ama was present at the disastruous Batte for the Kalium Gate.
- Qo-Fian (Unknown Class) - A mighty capital class vessel that served in the White Scars Legion's fleet during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Tchin-Zar (Unknown Class) - A mighty capital class vessel that served in the White Scars Legion's fleet during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Umaal (Unknown Class) - This vessel initially bore the name Tenacious and originally belonged to the Death Guard Legion before being boarded and captured by the White Scars. Renamed, it quickly became part of the White Scars main battleline.
- Constantius (Battle Barge) - Flagship of the White Scars Chapter fleet.
- Silent Horseman (Battle Barge) - Renamed from the Plainsmaster to honour the stealth running techniques developed by the Chapter during the Third War for Armageddon.
- Jaghatai's Pride (Battle Barge) - In 890.M41, a Necron Cairn-class Tombship entered orbit over Chogoris and began the focussed bombardment of an unpopulated area on the planet's surface. The Battle Barge Jaghatai's Pride pierced the xenos ship's shields even as the White Scars' Fortress-Monastery fired its massive Defence Laser, the Khan's Fury, destroying the Tombship in a single Lance strike.
- Soulspear (Battle Barge) - A vessel of the White Scars Legion that served during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Hawkstar (Strike Cruiser) - A vessel that served in the White Scars Legion fleet during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy era.
- Lord of Heavens (Strike Cruiser) - Warship of Kor'sarro Khan's 3rd Brotherhood during the Hunt for Voldorius.
- Swift Horseman (Strike Cruiser) - Originally part of the White Scars Legion's 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade, the Swift Horseman was later replaced by a Dark Angels fleet as the Swift Horseman was needed elsewhere.
- Uzan (Strike Cruiser) - A vessel that served in the White Scars Legion's fleet during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Warrior of the Plains (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser of Jurga Khan's Brotherhood.
- Xo-Jia (Strike Cruiser) - A vessel that served in the White Scars Legion's fleet during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Amujin (Frigate) - A fast attack vessel of the Vth Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy-eras. The Amujin was destroyed during the attack of the Memnos convoy.
- Kaljian (Frigate) - The original vessel to bear that name, the Kaljian was a fast attack frigate that matched the White Scar’s void tactics. The Kaljian was the preferred vessel of the great Shiban Khan further known as "The Restorer".
- Melak Karta (Frigate) - Since the times of the Great Crusade, the Melak Karta belonged to the Brotherhood of the Pennant Spear under Algu Khan. Unfortunately, the Melak Karta was boarded by Death Guard forces during the Horus Heresy. It's current status is unknwon.
- Nomad (Frigate) - A small ship but a crafty and daring one, Sergeant Sarik commanded the Nomad with great success during the Damocles Gulf Crusade.
- Sickle Moon (Frigate) - A vessel that served in the White Scars Legion's fleet during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Xia Xia (Gun-corvette) - Picket-ship during the great muster of the Vth Legion in the Aerelion-system before their voyage to Terra.
The White Scars' Power Armour is predominantly white, with red trim. This has only varied slightly since the Pre-Heresy days of the Vth Legion.
Apothecaries of the White Scars have their entire armour painted red save for the backpack, right shoulder and the helmet which are all white and have a red vertical stripe painted down the centre of the helmet.
The White Scars base their Chapter iconography on the imagery used by the tribes from which they are recruited. This usually takes the form of jagged lightning bolt designs painted onto their armour and helmets, echoing ritual scarification applied to the flesh beneath.
In addition, the White Scars display their company and squad markings on their knees or greaves as opposed to showing them on their shoulder guards.
The red-coloured squad specialty symbol -- battleline, close support, fire support, Veteran or command, is indicated on the right shoulder guard while the Chapter iconography is painted on the left shoulder guard.
Squad markings are displayed on the left knee plate. In each company there are, at any time, ten squads of up to ten warriors apiece, that may then be reinforced with up to ten squads from the Reserve Companies.
The designators for which squad each Battle-Brother belongs to are displayed upon the left knee plate of their armour.
In a complete departure from Codex Astartes-standard systems of company markings, the brotherhoods (companies) of the White Scars Chapter are denoted by vivid red lightning-bolt designs worn upon the squad Sergeant's right leg armour.
White Scars Bikers' helmets usually display Chogorian tribal markings.
A red helm with a skull symbol denotes the rank of Sergeant.
An unadorned red helm and the crux symbol on the right shoulder guard denotes Veteran status.
A red helm with skull stud and white stripe shows the rank of Veteran Sergeant.
White Scars Lieutenants wear a white helm with a skull-stud and red band.
Captains, called "Khans," wear a white, skull-stud helm and a winged skull on their right pauldron.
The White Scars' Chapter badge is a stylised red thunderbolt with a horizontal yellow bar behind it, exemplifying their style of combat and echoing the facial Honour Scars all members of this Chapter bear.
Members of the White Scars' Scout Marines Brotherhood are permitted to wear the thunderbolt on their shoulder plates, but an obscure piece of Chapter law states they may not have the horizontal bar, an honour only given to full Initiates.
The White Scars' tactics and history are inspired by the real-life military tactics used by the Mongols during the creation of their continent-spanning medieval empire in the 13th Century AD and by the organisation and order of battle used by the Mongol army.
Jaghatai Khan is inspired by the actual historical character of Genghis Khan (Temüjin) and some Turkic-Hunnic legends. The name Jaghatai means "white one" and "energetic one" in Mongolian and Turkish, and this name is still popular in Turkic-speaking countries in Central Asia.
Rather than the Western portrayal of the Mongol Great Khan as a bloodthirsty conqueror, Jaghatai as portrayed in Warhammer 40,000 is more in line with how Genghis is still seen in his homeland of Mongolia -- a benevolent leader and masterful tactician.
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Space Marines (8th Edition), pp. 32-35
- Codex: Armageddon (3rd Edition), pg. 32
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pg. 15
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition), pg. 25
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pg. 7
- Codex: Space Marines (8th Edition) (Revised Codex), pp. 36-39
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 8, 19, 34-39, 64, 73, 77, 111, 142-143
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 8, 28, 30, 42-43, 47, 49, 94
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition)
- Codex: Space Marines (3rd Edition)
- Codex Supplement: White Scars (8th Edition), pp. 6-11, 22-34, 58-59, 62, 64
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 27-34
- Flames of Damnation (Comic Anthology), "The Pilgrim" by James Peaty & artwork by Shaun Thomas
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions (Artbook Series), pp. 344-345
- Jaghatai Khan: Warhawk of Chogoris (Novel) by Chris Wraight
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Forces of the Inquisition & the Space Marines
- Imperial Armour Volume Two, Second Edition - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pg. 51
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 17, 108
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pg. 64
- Index Astartes I, "Lightning Attack - The White Scars Space Marines Chapter," pp. 40-47
- Rogue Trader Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (1st Edition), pp. 156, 168
- The Horus Heresy Book Eight: Malevolence (Forge World Series) by Neil Wylie and Anuj Malhotra, pp. 137-157
- The Sabbat Worlds Crusade (Background Book)
- Warhammer 40,000 Compendium (1st Edition), pp. 31, 79
- White Scars 390 (US), "Army Project: White Scars vs. Orks", Steve Bowman and Duncan Rhodes, pg. 52-57
- White Dwarf 312 (US), "Silent Menace: Space Marine Scouts"
- White Dwarf 311 (US), "Index Astartes: Silent Menace" & "Behind Enemy Lines", pp. 84-88
- White Dwarf 300 (US), "Legends of the Space Marines", p. 118
- White Dwarf 286 (US), "The Eye of the Storm: Space Marine Chapters fighting in the Eye of Terror"
- White Dwarf 283 (US), "Eye of Terror Campaign"
- White Dwarf 257 (UK), "Index Astartes I: Index Astartes - Lightning Attack - The White Scars Space Marine Chapter"
- White Dwarf 256 (US), "Index Astartes I: Index Astartes - Lightning Attack - The White Scars Space Marine Chapter"
- White Dwarf 251 (US), "The Final Days of Armageddon", pp. 6-27
- White Dwarf 249 (US), "Emperor's Shield: Space Marine Chapters of the Armageddon War"
- White Dwarf 248 (US), "The Third War for Armageddon"
- White Dwarf 93 (UK), "Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader Edition Preview", pp. 33-44
- Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Age of Darkness (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, "Little Horus" by Dan Abnett
- Brotherhood of the Storm (Audio Drama) by Chris Wraight
- Descent of Angels (Novel) by Mitchel Scanlon
- Scars (Collector's Edition Novel) by Chris Wraight
- The Path of Heaven (Novel) by Chris Wraight
- Brotherhood of the Moon (Novella) by Chris Wraight
- Grey Hunt (Audio) by Chris Wraight
- Hunt for Voldorius (Novel) by Andy Hoare
- Legends of the Space Marines (Anthology), "Cover of Darkness" by Mitchel Scanlon pg. 77
- Let the Galaxy Burn (Compilation), "Into the Maelstrom" by Chris Pramas
- Rogue Star (Rogue Trader Novel Series) by Andy Hoare
- Salvation's Reach (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Savage Scars (Novel) by Andy Hoare
- Star of Damocles (Novel) by Andy Hoare
- The Saint (Omnibus) by Dan Abnett
- Warriors of Ultramar (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- War Zone Damocles - Kauyon (8th Edition), pp. 17-22
- Templar (Audio Book) by John French
- Epic Armageddon Resources, "Epic White Scars", Games Workshop Website
- Third War for Armageddon Worldwide Campaign - Forces Disposition, Imperial Forces: White Scars