"We are the bearers of the New Imperial Aquila. There is not a greater badge, nor a greater honor! Brothers! Are we going to act as cowards and run? Never! As long as even one of us left standing, this ground shall be defended! We will bathe them in their own blood if we have to! Charge Aquila Knights!"
―Shield Lord Vordrick Yusef, prior to the Imperial Remnant's assault on Luna.
The Aquila Knights are a Reformist Chapter of Adeptus Astartes that was founded after the establishment of the New Imperium, in the year 555.M48. They are thought to be a chapter whose founding began before the New Imperial Revolution and it is rumored that the New Imperium secretly continued to build them after the Old Imperium was defeated. Their gene-seed comes directly from the Crimson Wardens and as a result, the Grey Knights themselves. It is also confirmed that they are the only successor chapter of the Crimson Wardens, primarily because the New Imperium wanted to use these Astartes created from the noble gene-seed of the Grey Knights and gain another ally. However, there is a dark curse that dwells within the chapter. There have been reports of Aquila Knights suddenly consumed by Lightless Fire. Only those who hold extreme mental focus and strength of will are accepted as members of the chapter, the rest are often left as hollow shells of themselves by the Chapter's strenous trials. Excella Company, the 1st Company of the Chapter is also equipped with Nemesis weapons and storm bolters.
While some worry that the Aquila Knights are in fact secret allies of the Imperial Remnant, they seem to hold true to the New Imperium's values, and many call them the Scions of the Emperor's will. Still, it is rumored more that some of these mutant Aquila Knights are in fact secretly kept, being tested for new methods of daemon slaying and possibly to see if this mutation can be cured.
Clad in Crystal Blue armor with a Red Shoulder pad referencing their Crimson Wardens origin, Veterans are fond of wearing silver white robes and a crimson red cape. A mutation in their Melanochrome Organ has caused their eyes to turn a Crimson Red, and their skin to become a phantasmal blue color.
The origins of this chapter appear to be shrouded in secrecy, all that IS certain was that the old Terran Inquisition secretly authorized creation of this chapter's Gene-seed, and that it's gene-seed was based off the Exorcists. Whatever the Inquisition had planned for this gene-seed would never be known, as the Imperial Civil war had begun in earnest, and the secret facility creating the Aquila Knights gene-seed was besieged by the Reformists. The loyalist forces were caught unaware, believing the facility to still be unknown to the reformists, and valiantly held out as long as they could. In the end though, the Reformists were victorious and held the facility, and made the decision to continue the experiment. Lieutenant Vordrick Yusef was among the first of the reformist volunteer soldiers to be transformed into Aquila Knights, and was designated as the commander of this nascent chapter, designated the Reformist Excella Project.
This would be proven especially true sometime after the New Imperium was formed, on a secret Gene Laboratorum located on Terra's moon, as an Imperial remnant commando team infiltrated the facility. Seeking Magos Biologis Hecknas Bomgaral's research to aid the Imperial Remnant, a secondary objective for them was to take the life of the Magos. However, the Reformist Excella Project was moved here, and Vordrick Yusef rallied his fellow Excella into defensive lines. Like the first space marines of old, the Reformist Excella were forged in the anvil of war, and the conflict instilled in these future veterans intricate knowledge of siege warfare. Their valiant defense ensured the safety of Magos Hecknas and his research, and for this they were awarded the right to bear the New Imperium's symbol proudly, Vordrick Yusef declared that he and his brothers would forever be the Knights of the New Imperium. Thus the Aquila Knights were born.
Alas, no space marine chapter is left unmarred, and this is especially so for the Aquila Knights. During their formation, Three thousand Aquila Knights (2,800 Neophytes, 200 Aquila Knights) were consumed in their Training Outpost on Terra's Moon, Their cries of intense agony were heard over the roaring inferno of a Pure Black Lightless Flame. And ever since has the Chapter felt a Nightmarish shadow in the warp stalk them, and it consumes the unwary of the chapter.
"From That day forth, The Flame That Casts No Light hunts us. Be Vigilant Brothers, for it is a tireless hunter who claims the unwary, and we must never tire."
Like it's parent chapter the Crimson Wardens, the Aquila Knights have an additional scout company to combat the the high mortality rate due to what some call the 'Flame That Casts No Light'. Their forces are organized to enable rapid adaptation in tactics, but with a preference for Defensive Tactics/Shock Assaults. Most Notable being the "Punishing Lightning Raid", wherein a protracted defense/siege is mounted on one area to distract the enemy, and a simultaneous shock assault is mounted on the weakpoints of the enemy Line/fortress.
The Aquila Knights maintains their own Librarium and conclave of uniquely trained Librarians called Guardians, all of whom exude an aura of stoicism and iron will due to the stringent training. Guardians are trained to raise a powerful mental barrier against corruption even more so then their brothers, and they direct this iron will into their unique psychic discipline called Warding:
Life Ward: The Guardian forms a sigil, charged with psychic energy, on himself or one of his comrades, improving the recipient's vitality.
Kine Ward: The Guardian forms a psychic barrier against incoming fire, but is incapable of fighting while doing this.
Psychic Seal: The Guardian uses his psychic power to seal away otherworldly forces, which allows the Guardian to deny enemy Psykers their power or to severely hamper daemons.
Binding Ward: The Guardian attempts to bind a Daemon to an area, rendering the Daemon incapable of acting.
Shield of the Emperor: The Guardian erects a protective barrier around a comrade, but is rendered incapable of acting due to the concentration needed.