"The beast, the bronze beast in the darkness, footsteps, it never tired, it just kept coming! We didn't stand a chance...wherever we turned, we could not escape, never escape!"
―Testimony of Hedrith Blaine, Sole Survivor, Jurah-17 Mining Colony, Larsha Tertius
The Minotaurs are a Space Marine Legion whose actual origins and Founding remain unknown. The Minotaurs possess a reputation for being unusually xenophobic Astartes, even for the Imperium, as well as often unreliable combatants who do not work well with other Imperial military units.
The origins of the Minotaurs Legion are shrouded in mystery, for the formation at large in the Imperium today appears to bear little resemblance to accounts of its past. Descriptions of the Minotaurs of old describe a force of berserkers that made war with savage abandon and eschewed all contact with other military forces. The Minotaurs of today have either mastered their former curse, or else they are a different body of warriors entirely, merely sharing the same name and similar heraldry. The truth may never be known, even at the highest levels, for all data relating to the Minotaurs’ origins and the current status of their gene-seed tithes is sealed by the highest possible authority.
The Legion is highly active in the prosecution of the Emperor’s wars, seemingly deployed according to the highest level pronouncements of the Senatorum Imperialis and rarely if ever answering calls to war from any other Imperial authority. Many of the operations in which the Minotaurs have been committed are notable in that they are against other Space Marine forces, often Renegades or isolated elements within an otherwise loyal Legion that refuses to suppress its own. It appears that the Minotaurs undertake such missions with relish, perhaps testing themselves against the most potent enemy they can find—other Space Marines. Furthermore, on the rare occasion of the Legion serving alongside brother Astartes, the Minotaurs have displayed such open contempt that all manner of recriminations have ensued, up to and including the fighting of duels and other low level hostilities. It is often reported that the Minotaurs are disdainful of all other subjects of the Imperium and that they radiate a malign intensity that makes even the boldest Imperial general fearful of approaching them.
One further detail marks the Legion as unusual. Minotaurs almost exclusively operate as a complete Legion. While most Legions spread their forces across multiple war zones, only coming together as a whole for the most momentous of conflicts, the Minotaurs rarely detach smaller forces away from the main body. This makes the Legion a blunt instrument, but one capable of ripping through almost any enemy that dares to stand against it. This reality, combined with what appears to be a program of rapid psycho and surgical indoctrination of Neophytes, means that the Legion is inevitably encountered as a single entity.
A Space Marine Legion of brutal repute within the Imperium of Man, the Minotaurs have long been the brunt of suspicion and acrimony by other Space Marine Legions. Furthermore, there are those within the Ordo Hereticus of the Inquisition who believe the Minotaurs possess unknown ties to the High Lords of Terra. While much of the Minotaurs' records going back over the last millennia has been ascertained through sifting through myriad battle archives from across the Imperium, much of their history before this point is not simply lost, but has been deliberately suppressed and sealed under binding edicts laid down by the High Lords of Terra that even the authority of the Inquisition cannot circumvent.
The Minotaurs rapidly gained a reputation as a force whose ferocity and fury on the battlefield were all but unmatched. As time progressed, their tendency to shun the command of others, and their erratic gene-seed tithe to the Magos Inviglia of the Adeptus Mechanicus raised much darker suspicions about the nature of the Minotaurs and the secrets they might be hiding. The few fragmentary records that remain show the Legion's gene-seed branded as "Chimeric." This, as blasphemous as it may now seem, may have indicated that the Minotaurs' genetic material was either procured from a prohibited source, mixed with a heretical genetic pool, adulterated or somehow tampered with during its creation. It is likely that the Minotaurs' barely-controlled battle fury and desire to shun those they should have called comrade was a result of some particular curse in their blood, but whether or not their affliction has mastered them or they have finally mastered it remains unknown. Regardless, from the middle of the 38thMillennium onwards, the Minotaurs all but slipped from the Imperium's records, their deeds and battle honours suppressed or expunged by a series of edicts and data purges.
When the Legion reappeared millennia later, it was noted they had a tendency to respond quickly and without question to a call to arms from the High Lords of Terra, even when the case was to castigate, apprehend or even destroy formerly Loyal Space Marines who had been declared Renegade or had accusations of suspected transgressions lodged against them. This gave the Minotaurs a fell reputation as a Legion. In particular, the Ultramarines are known to bear considerable ill will towards the Minotaurs and will not fight beside them.
Since its return to prominence, some Imperial scholars who have studied this reclusive Legion's actions have noted the discrepancies between the Minotaurs Legion of the present and that of the past, both in terms of structure and behaviour, and in matters of minutiae such as livery. This speculation also pertains towards the Minotaurs' gene-seed, of which tithes have been logged but remain classified at the highest level.
At a tactical level, this Legion differs significantly in its general approach to warfare. The Minotaurs prefer to operate as a whole, or at least in as few divisions of its forces as possible in any given theater of war, concentrating and thereby maximising its destructive power. This strategy has allowed the Legion to excel at siegecraft and in combat against monstrous opponents, which they can overwhelm by sheer weight of numbers if need be. Unlike most Space Marine Legions, some of the Minotaurs' key tactics are partly dependent on the use of superior attrition within a confined area of engagement, the Legion's commanders perhaps less mindful of the fate of their Battle-Brothers than some, so long as victory is achieved. Two significant factors aid the Minotaurs in their chosen pattern of warfare; their excellent supplies of heavy arms and war machinery and a markedly rapid influx of new Neophytes to replace ongoing losses due to attrition. The exact source of their war material has remained unconfirmed, but they have been observed to operate using large and replenishing stockpiles of tanks and heavy armour (primarily Vindicators and Predators as tactical support vehicles).
Another unusual aspect of the Minotaurs is the methods in which they are able to replace losses in manpower so quickly. The speed of transition between Neophyte, Scout Marine and full Battle-Brother in the Legion is brief compared to that of many other Space Marine Chapters. This is explained by the use of extremely high levels of programmed psycho-indoctrination and neuro-cerebral surgery by the Legion. This program accelerates the recruits' progression and is continued during deployment as ongoing treatments to reinforce mental conditioning administered by the Legion's Apothecaries. These techniques, though not forbidden, have inherent dangers that could carry a greater risk of damaging the subject physically and mentally than those normally performed by other Legions. Most Space Marine Legions consider the more studied training and battlefield erudition of their Neophytes to be a key component in tempering the soul of a warrior rather than the dangerous artificial techniques employed by the Minotaurs to replace their often self-inflicted losses.
The ancient repute of the Minotaurs suggests that on the battlefield their Astartes often times eschewed any form of combat that did not allow them to rapidly get to grips with their enemies as fast as possible. This highly autonomous, almost berserk force was often announced in a war zone without preamble or even much by the way of reconnaissance. They would hurl themselves at the enemy without heed of loss or cost. Their fury spent, the Minotaurs would then withdraw as suddenly as they had arrived. This pattern made the Minotaurs too unpredictable and unreliable a force to be counted on by their fellow Imperial allies. The Minotaurs that emerged recently were quite different in regards to how they prosecuted a campaign. The Legion now preferred to deploy a vanguard to pin their enemies in combat, then use fast units to encircle them to ensure there can be no escape before bringing in the full weight of the Legion's firepower and heavy armour to crush the foe without mercy. Still highly autonomous, the Minotaurs go where they are willed by the needs of the Imperium but now seem far more content to operate within the structure and command of the Imperial war machine than the Legion's distant history suggests.
Lord Asterion Moloc, Master of the Minotaurs, Satrap of the Daedelos Krata, Bringer of Wrath - Asterion Moloc is the Legion Master of the fearsome and brutal Minotaurs Space Marine Legion. This paranoid and bloody-handed Astartes commander revels in his dark reputation and his name is a byword for death and mayhem carried out in the name of the benevolent Emperor of Mankind. Lord Asterion Moloc is a brutal tactician and enjoys the utter destruction of his foes, but has little patience for councils or strategic planning when forced by circumstance to work with other Imperial forces. Instead he chooses to remain aloof, as is his Legion's nature, often sending his Reclusiarch (High Chaplain) Ivanus Enkomi as his Legion's emissary and his personal representative in such matters. A veteran of hundreds of battles, his body has been heavily rebuilt with cybernetic augments and his sheer spite and malice is enough to allow him to shrug off wounds that would fell a lesser Space Marine. A brutal tactician, Moloc takes pleasure in the utter destruction of his foes, and is most often found in battle at the head of his Legion's Terminators slamming into the enemy line. He is also a diligent and disciplined logistician and strategist, and a master of siegecraft. Outside of battle he can be found on his brazen throne at the centre of the maze-like chambers of the heavy Assault Carrier Daedelos Krata, surrounded by datafeeds, tabulation Servitors and casualty reports, measuring the drops of blood spilt in pursuit of his Legion's strategic goals.
Reclusiarch Ivanus Enkomi, The Voice of the Legion - Ivanus Enkomi is the current Reclusiarch (High Chaplain) of the fearsome Minotaurs Space Marine Legion. A skilled tactical commander, he leads his forces from the front in battle, exhorting them to ever greater heights of hatred and destruction against the foes of the Emperor of Mankind.
Hecaton Aiakos - Known as the Guardian of the Daedelos Krata, and the "Terror of Bifrost," Hecaton Aiakos is a Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought of the Minotaurs. As with much that surround this fearsome Legion, the history and perhaps even the true name of the being entombed within this ornate Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought is shrouded in mystery. He was at the forefront of the slaughter of the "Traitor 2-19th" during the Bifrost Uprising. In this last battle Aiakos gained notoriety beyond his Legion when a detachment of Bifrost Huscarl infantry mistakenly fired on the battle-damaged and gore-drenched Minotaurs Dreadnought. So provoked, Aiakos rampaged through the Imperial lines, killing thirty-seven Huscarls in his fury, and ripped open a supporting Leman Russ Tank which had tried to stop him, before obeying a countermand Vox order issued from orbit by his Legion Master Asterion Moloc to stay his hand. Despite his power and battlefield record, as with many of the Dreadnoughts who operate in the ranks of the Minotaurs Legion, outsiders have noted Aiakos is treated without the due reverence that other Space Marine Legions display toward their Dreadnoughts. Instead, cold indifference is displayed to him by his fellow Battle-Brothers for reasons unknown.
Terminator Veteran Sergeant Ixthalion - Sergeant Ixthalion was the commander of Squad Ixthalion, designated Tartaros Pattern Tactical Dreadnought Armour Assault Force "Dead Hand." Ixthalion's Terminator squad died during the void battle phase of the Battle of Amarah Prime, when they conducted the assault on the Tomb Ship Dead Hand, fighting the way to the main control vault of the massive Necron warship. Their presence allowed the control vault to be targeted for a precision teleport strike by the Minotaurs' Legion Master Asterion Moloc and his Honour Guard.
The Black Spear - A deadly relic-weapon of unknown provenance, the Black Spear is similar in some regards to the sacred arms of the Legio Custodes. The spear is a Power Weapon of remarkable potency, able to pierce even Terminator battle plate. It also incorporates a single-shot laser weapon sufficiently potent enough to be used as an anti-tank weapon if needed. The Black Spear is currently wielded by Legion Master Asterion Moloc.
Unmaker's Touch - In many Legions, the mighty Chainfist is a weapon that sees use only in the direst of conflicts, as the armour of most Battle-Brothers is insufficient to bear the weight and supply the power of such a weapon. The Minotaur’s great stock of Terminator Armour means that they are able to bring forth such weapons more easily than most. Of the terrible weapons so mounted, few are more feared than the Chainfist called Unmaker’s Touch. Its potent power field makes a mockery of armour and vehicles, and has also served admirably against the creations of Hereteks and other unliving foes.
The Minotaurs possess a mighty fleet composed of no less than 120 Strike Cruisers and at least ten Battle Barges.
Daedelos Krata (Heavy Assault Carrier) - The Daedlos Krata serves as the flagship of the Minotaurs' large and powerful Legion Fleet.
Fedelitas Lambda (Battle Barge) - The Minotaurs' Battle Barge Fedelitas Lambda sacrificed itself by ramming the Necron flagship, a Cairn-class Tomb Ship called the Dead Hand, during the climax of the Orphean War, causing substantial damage to the flagship and driving it away. The flight of the damaged Necron flagship led to the rout of the Maynarkh Dynasty's fleet, marking the end of the battle for Amarah Prime.
Stymphalos (Strike Cruiser) - The Stymphalos was one of the warships of the Minotaurs' Legion fleet that took part in the orbital phase of the Battle of Amarah Prime during the Orphean War and emerged with a surprisingly small amount of battle damage from that massive void battle.
Since their reemergence, some Imperial commanders have gone on record as finding the Space Marines of the Minotaurs Legion to be brooding and malign warriors, far from the epitome of honour and righteousness. The Legion's individuals hold about them an aura of barely restrained spite and malice that breeds fear and apprehension in all but the strongest heart. The Power Armour worn by the Battle-Brothers of this Legion typically bears syncretic iconography, denoting rank and battlefield record. Many of these symbols have meanings hidden from outsiders to the Legion, though it is believed that the numeration and colouration of the "lamda" Helikan-glyph markings common to Minotaurs heraldry refer to attested "kills" against worthy opponents in single combat, likely in increasing order of magnitude.
The Minotaurs Legion's original colour scheme was yellow, with red decorations (usually warning markings). The Minotaurs contemporary colour scheme is that of bronze armour with some darker red on the shoulder plates at times.
The Chapter's original badge is a blue bull's head on a yellow background. The contemporary Chapter badge is a red bull's head with black horns on a bronze background. Members of the elite 1st Company wear a variant of the Chapter badge; a bronze bull's head on a dark red background.