"As a protector of the Imperium's citizens, I shall never be cruel. As the last line of defence against the horrors of the galaxy, I shall never be cowardly. As a Space Marine and an instrument of the Emperor's will, I shall never give up. As a symbol of mankind's strength and will, I shall never give in."
― The Reclaimer's Oath
The Golden Reclaimers are an Imperial Fists successor chapter formed in the Twenty-Sixth Founding. A newer group of Space Marines, they have accomplished a great deal in their few centuries of existence and are known for their loyalty towards Mankind. They were created in 738.M41 in order to help seize a number of worlds that the Imperium had lost contact with over the years, hence their title as 'Reclaimers'. The Chapter would end up dealing with a number of foes during their early years and became particularly adept in the art of urban warfare as world after world was reclaimed in the name of the Emperor. When not campaigning against the Emperor's foes, they reside in the Golden Fortress, a massive Fortress-monastery on the agricultural world of Veren.
The Golden Reclaimers were formed as part of the Twenty-Sixth Founding alongside a number of other Space Marine Chapters. Taking gene-seed tithed from the Imperial Fists, several decades were spent creating this new generation of warriors and once it was ready, two dozen Space Marines were taken from the Fists to lead them. During this period, a mighty fortress-monastery was constructed on the agri-world of Veren, in the Segmentum Pacificus. Of these chosen Marines was Elgast Cotenue, a former Champion of the Fifth Company who had been picked to lead this new chapter. These veterans oversaw the training of the chapter's first neophytes, moulding them into an effective fighting force until the Reclaimers reached fighting strength. Most of their earliest recruits were plucked from dangerous hive worlds like Necromunda at the Chapter Master's request, believing that those who survived such places long enough to join the Astartes would make fine soldiers for urban warfare.
The Golden Reclaimers' first battle of great distinction came during one of their first deployments in 786.M41 after they utterly crushed a heretical rebellion taking place on Hulden II, a nearby hive world. There, they fought not only traitorous guardsmen and citizens, but numerous daemonic creatures their enemies had summoned. In under a week the Reclaimers had broken all resistance, and in a surprising display of mercy, had spared the few cities on the planet who had taken no part in the rebellion. However, the discovery by Chapter Master Cotenue that most of Hulden II's ruling class were also Chaos-worshippers led to the complete destruction of whatever leadership the planet had left. Now the conquerors of a near-lawless planet, the Golden Reclaimers remained long enough for the Imperium to dispatch reinforcements and spent time laying out plans for its reconstruction.
Seeing the need to ensure that conquered planets did not rebel later on, the decision was made by the Chapter's leadership to reform the Ninth Company, leading to the creation of a force known as the Janissaries. As the Chapter Master wished to devote most of the Reclaimers' resources to reclaiming worlds that had fallen out of contact with the Imperium of Man, they required a rearguard of sorts to quickly respond to threats while the majority of their Chapter fought elsewhere. With numerous planets in the Segmentum Pacificus cut off from the Imperium of Man in the wake of the Macharian Crusade centuries before, the Golden Reclaimers would strike out to seize these lost colonies, fighting traitors and Xenos all the way. Thus began the Great Reclamation.
Setting out from Veren as part of a larger fleet, the Golden Reclaimers began moving from system to system, battling traitors, heretics and aliens every step of the way. Though a fairly slow process, precautions had to be made so the Chapter did not stretch its resources too thinly as they advanced, so supply chains were set up to ensure their fleet could stock up on supplies, ammunition, and most importantly, replacement Space Marines. Following the doctrine set out by Chapter Master Cotenue, they attempted to ensure that the infrastructure of conquered worlds was kept relatively intact for Imperial recolonisation.
This continued advance into the Segmentum Pacificus would prove to be quite the success for the Reclaimers, though they lacked the numbers to make the kind of impact that the Macharian Crusade had many years before. After well over a century of battle, their Chapter's actions had gone largely from pacifying and reclaiming 'lost' Human worlds to fighting off mankind's foes on multiple other fronts. In 903.M41, they faced a crisis as the 6th Company was decimated in a large-scale ambush by a massive Chaos cult led by members of the Iron Warriors Chapter. While reinforcements arrived in the shape of the 1st, 2nd and 5th Companies that rescued the survivors, a spate of small-scale attacks and sabotage attempts across the Reclaimers' fleet in the aftermath brought fears that they had been infiltrated by Chaos cultists. As a result, their campaign was momentarily stalled as the Reclaimers were forced to search and purge their entire fleet.
While they were successful in this endeavour, the Golden Reclaimers found themselves plagued by intermittent attacks by the Iron Warriors and their followers over the next few years, even while on campaigns fighting non-human opponents. In 920.M41, their supply fleet was ambushed when a group of enemy ships exited the Warp and swiftly captured them before retreating, costing the Reclaimers valuable resources. Unwilling to risk losing momentum in their campaign, Chapter Master Cotenue had their supplies redirected to an outpost on a desolate planet named Yuen IX under the pretence of establishing a permanent fortress there mid-way between their fleet and Veren and moved a good portion of the 1st, 5th and 8th Companies to the surface before sending their fleet out of the system. Sure enough, the Iron Warriors launched yet another attack just as the supply ships moved into Yuen IX's orbit, this time dropping in troops to capture and raze the fortress.
As the Chaos Marines met little resistance from local PDF members and chapter serfs, their overconfidence carried them straight into the Reclaimers' trap. The area around the planetary fortress had been turned into a killzone, dotted with landmines, Tarantulas and Marine-filled bunkers. As such, the usually well-prepared Iron Warriors found themselves caught as their dropships were blown out of the sky and landing parties torn to pieces, while those who landed within the base directly found themselves facing numerous Terminators, let by Captain Rufus Hume himself. The Chaos Marines were badly outnumbered and quickly routed as they tried to fleet the planet, forcing their cultist servants to act as a rearguard while they tried to rejoin their ships in orbit. It was then that the Reclaimers' Battle Barge, the Vae Victis, arrived near the planet alongside their fleet.
Having accurately predicted that their foe would focus their efforts almost entirely on the planet, the Space Marine fleet had made a short warp jump away from the system and immediately plotted a course back towards Yuen IX the moment news arrived of fighting there. Launching a wave of boarding torpedoes, members of the 2nd Company attacked the Iron Warriors' flagship and began a furious battle against the Chaos Marines for control of the vessel. Upon planting a Teleport homer, they were joined by the remaining Terminator Squads of the 1st Company and in the second wave of boarders, Elgast Cotenue himself. Fighting their way to the bridge, the Reclaimers encountered the enemy leader, a Warsmith named Nunro. In the following engagement, Elgast brutalised and almost killed the Iron Warrior in single combat, who was barely able to escape death after teleporting away to another ship.
Only a single Chaos Strike Cruiser was able to escape the engagement while the Reclaimers slaughtered their surviving forces and scuttled their vessels. Having utterly humiliated their foe - a group known for their prowess with assault and siegebreaking - the Golden Reclaimers declared victory and were able to successfully re-establish their supply lines back to Veren and continue their campaigns elsewhere.
In the centuries spend reclaiming worlds for the Imperium, the Golden Reclaimers have become adept at capturing cities and strongholds in rapid assaults designed to break through enemy lines quickly. While many Chapters will only deploy small contingents of Space Marines to engagements, the Reclaimers often operate with almost half of their Chapter's strength in any one battle, deploying hundreds of Marines at a time. Though this makes them incredibly effective shock troops, this also displays a clear weakness as a significant defeat could possibly leave them badly undermanned, necessitating the need for a decisive victory on the battlefield. Smaller engagements generally warrant the deployment of only a few squads with the intention of bringing victory as swiftly as possible.
As a fairly new Chapter, the Golden Reclaimers does not possess a particularly large fleet, with a single Battle Barge, the Vae Victis, and a dozen Strike Cruisers. With their Chapter Master usually aboard the aforementioned Battle Barge, it operates as a mobile command centre for the Golden Reclaimers, who often operate far away from their homeworld of Veren. The fleet is usually supported by numerous vessels of the Imperial Navy on larger campaigns, and will usually move in to support friendly vessels once the battle has begun and sites for Space Marine deployment have been located on the ground.
While the Golden Reclaimers are a Codex-adherent chapter for the most part, their Ninth Company was reorganised in 792.M41 into a force known as the 'Janissaries'. Due to the chapter's habit of helping to organise the reconstruction and repopulation of conquered planets after taking them, Chapter Master Cotenue decreed that this company would act as a quick-response force within the Reclaimers' territory should any news of possible dissent or heresy reach them, and as a rearguard of sorts for other companies during the Great Reclamation. Though the Adeptus Arbites are responsible for keeping order on Imperial worlds, fear of the Janissaries' intervention keeps the civilian populace in line on multiple worlds in their subsector. While they do not see as much combat as their brethren, the 9th Company often assists the 10th Scouting Company in the training and gathering of new recruits in addition to their other duties. While most members of the 9th Company are no different from any other Marine in the chapter, the Janissaries are known for having a near-fanatical devotion to the God-Emperor that eclipses that of their battle-brothers in other companies, making them an effective group to enforce the Emperor's will on the local populace and battle any potential heretics.
The Janissaries are easily marked by their distinctive red robes, and in spite of their duty to crush potential rebellions are generally well-loved by the civilian populace for their constant presence in the subector. Though some look down on the 9th Company for its peacekeeping duties, the Janissaries are still combat-ready and are just as effective as any of the chapter's other companies. When their sector was threatened by Waaagh! Gankilt in 934.M41, it was the Janissaries that were the first to respond, successfully repelling the Ork invasion of a local Hive World long enough for reinforcements to arrive and assist them. It was during this engagement that their Captain, Volonaro Rull, led an assault that smashed through the Ork lines and ended in the Warboss' demise. While half the company were slain during the prolonged assault, they successfully limited the damage that the Waaagh! could have caused to the sector and were commended as a result.
Like many other Chapters, the Golden Reclaimers recruit from dangerous worlds across the Imperium, seeking those skilled or hardy enough to possess Space Marine potential. Hive cities in particular are regarded as prime recruiting grounds for the Reclaimers, influenced by their own preference for urban warfare and Chapter Master Cotenue's own origins on Necromunda. While this was the standard during the Reclaimers' initial decades of existence as hundreds were brought in to form the Chapter's first generation of Space Marines, they have since expanded recruitment zones to various worlds conquered during the Great Reclamation.
All neophytes are trained within the Golden Fortress on Veren, kept deep underground within the Fortress-Monastery's lower chambers for months on end as they undergo various tests, both physical and mental. Those who make it through the initial stages of training are then put through a rigorous trial within the deepest levels of the Golden Fortress; a test designed to push the neophyte's pain resistance to the very limit. Modelled after the Imperial Fists' infamous 'tunnel of terror', recruits are expected to survive extreme temperatures, simulated injuries and sensory deprivation over the course of several hours. Only then do they undergo the indoctrination and extensive surgery required to transform them from regular Human into a superhuman Space Marine. Eventually these recruits undergo an initiation ceremony, and are brought up from the lower levels to the surface. Exiting the Fortress-Monastery just before dawn, they are allowed outside for the first time in many months and recite the Reclaimer's Oath as the sun rises, formally being sworn into the Chapter.
By 989.M41, only Elgast Cotenue, Malen Praxas, Volonaro Rull and Rufus Hume remain of the former Imperial Fist members who helped found the Golden Reclaimers.