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The Sons of Odin are a Loyalist Successor Chapter believed to have been created during the Third Founding in 001.M32. The Astartes of this Chapter are the proud scions of Roboute Guilliman. Though they share little in common with their forebears' culture and traditions, they have garnered a reputation for their unbreakable sense of honour and a history of unparalleled skill at arms. In battle, their ferocious mien has often seen them carry the day, when all odds have been stacked against them. The Sons of Odin are unafraid of battles of attrition or mutual destruction, relying on the abilities of their Battle-Brothers to overcome and endure anything the enemy can throw at them. At times this has proven to be a flaw, as the Chapter has a predilection to fight on once engaged where its better strategic judgment might have otherwise prevailed before its bloodlust was roused.
The Space Marine Chapter of the Sons of Odin is steeped in mystery. The circumstances surrounding the Founding of this obscure Chapter is largely unknown. Imperial scholars claim this Chapter's lineage is from the gene-seed stock of the Ultramarines, but this claim has not yet been able to be substantially verified. But when this Chapter is mentioned its battle record is exemplary. Over many millennia the Sons of Odin have proven themselves in countless campaigns to be the most loyal servants of the Emperor, though they remain somewhat mistrusted by their fellow Chapters, due to their strong ties with the Inquisition. The Sons of Odin are a mighty Chapter indeed, not afraid to bring the light of truth of the Emperor to the darkest corners of the galaxy. Nor are they afraid to bring the sword to their enemies; be they daemons, apostates, or xenos. It matters not, for all of the various enemies of Mankind have fallen to the bolter or the sword of this mighty Chapter.
The ancient Chapter of the Sons of Odin can trace its origin back to the bygone era of the Horus Heresy. This was a time of total war - a great schism rent across the Imperium in the wake of the Arch-Traitor Horus' folly. The Warmaster's treachery and deceit ensnared no less than half of the Space Marine Legions, whether by coercion, misdirection or corruption. When the Forces of Chaos invaded the Throneworld and laid siege to the Imperial Palace, they were finally laid low when the Emperor of Mankind boarded the Warmaster's flagship and slew his traitorous son. With the death of the Warmaster the Traitors paused in their assaults, realising that the Arch-Traitor had fallen. They then resumed fighting as they fell back to their transports and fled into orbit. The Armada Imperialis fleet, which been powerless to intervene while the traitors were within the Imperial Palace, gave chase.
In the wake of the Horus Heresy, the Imperium was a dismal, shattered thing. As the beauty and grandeur of the Imperial Palace had been burned black in the flames of betrayal, so great swathes of the Emperor's star-spanning realm had suffered a similar fate. The Master of Mankind was a broken husk, and his dream of unity erased forever. Yet for all this, the Imperium retained might enough to exact a bloody revenge upon its foes. There could be no forgiveness for the crimes of the Traitor Legions -- those who now ruled in the Emperor's name had neither the ability nor the desire to prevent a war of reciprocity. So began the time known in the histories of the Imperium as the Scouring. Before actually being confined for all time within the life support mechanisms of the Golden Throne, the Emperor had pronounced judgment on the Traitors: He declared them Excommunicate Traitoris, and determined that they were to be driven into the hellish region of the Warp rift called the Eye of Terror, which would hold them for all eternity. All records and memory of the Traitor Legions were to be expunged from the Imperial archives.
This was a period of monumental violence, of confusion and darkness. Though the newly founded Imperium fought to root out corruption and expose wrong-doers to the cold light of Imperial justice, the galaxy's scope and dark, shadowed reaches worked against them. With new betrayals and cries for vengeance emerging daily, a great many bloody-handed deeds went unseen. The ravaged Legiones Astartes were no exception to this, with many striving to cover up their own misdemeanours or exact their pound of flesh from those who wronged them. Legions such as the Dark Angels, Space Wolves, Iron Hands and even the Ultramarines, all followed their own agendas as the wars of the Great Scouring gathered pace. Fighting continued for another seven standard years after the Heresy had ended with Horus' death on the bridge of his great flagship, the Vengeful Spirit, before the Traitor forces were wholly destroyed or exiled into the Eye of Terror.
Freyan System IncursionEdit
During the seventh and final year of the Great Scouring in 021.M31, one of the pursuing Loyalist Retribution Fleets that pursued the Traitors (listed in official Imperial records as 'Task Force Bloody Maw') was being jointly conducted by a sizable contingent of comprised of warriors from both the Space Wolves and the Ultramarines Legions. This fleet fell under the overall command of the Space Wolves 19th Great Company (Nítján Company), and its Jarl Hakon Thørson. They were accompanied by the Ultramarines' elite void-trained veterans of the 1st Company, 20th Chapter (known as 'The Eagles'). They were commanded by Legate Bruticus Kratos, a bellicose and often headstrong commander, Legate Kratos was a veteran of the Calth Atrocity who took part in the brutal and oft-bloody void battles that ensued amongst Calth's orbital platforms after the Word Bearers revealed their perfidy. He yearned to extract his pound of flesh from the Traitors. Rendezvousing at the outer edge of the Sol System, the two forces found themselves of like mind, and so agreed to chase down the Traitors and destroy them together.
'Task Force Bloody Maw' helped cleanse many Chaos-corrupted star systems and was involved in multiple void engagements with fleeing Traitor fleets. Finally, the Retribution Fleet had made its way to far reaches of the Segmentum Obscurus. They caught a large group of Traitor Legionaries raiding an Imperial mining colony in the uncharted XBR-MU1009A2 system near the Eye of Terror. In the midst of the ferocious battle that followed, they were caught unawares by a tremendous Warp gale that engulfed the entire Loyalist fleet and disappeared from the material realm. Initially, both the Ultramarines and the Space Wolves kept vigil for their lost Legionaries, hoping that the Warp would give up its prize. But as the decades, and then centuries passed, no trace could be found of the Retribution Fleet. In a somber joint-ceremony the names of the missing Space Marines were added to the rosters of the fallen by their respective Legions. All were presumed 'lost to the warp''.
The Retribution Fleet had been caught within a Warp storm of terrific intensity and forced to endure the attacks of powerful Warp entities. Ship after ship was destroyed, including the flagship of Jarl Thørson. Soon only one craft, the Ultramarine's Battle Barge, Dominus Bellorum, remained. The remaining Space Marines had no idea how much time had passed since time flows differently in the Immaterium. Finally, Legate Kratos ordered the helmsman to execute a daring Warp-exit maneuver and the ship burst out of Warp-space into realspace near the far western fringes of the Eye of Terror. When they finally emerged, the ship's chronometer indicated that they had traveled the turbulent eddies of the Warp for nearly eight centuries. Despite their sojourn feeling like a matter of days, in reality, they had suffered serious time-displacement of nearly a millennium! With their warp engines damaged beyond repair, and the ship's systems quickly failing, Legate Kratos ordered for the ailing vessel to make a forced-landing on the nearest planet. Scanning the nearby system they found the second planet was closest to their position. Ordering the ship to make for the unnamed ice-world, the crew of the Dominus Bellorum prepared for an emergency landing. Their fate was now in the Emperor's hands.
Fate of the 'Lost Fleet'Edit
In the 998.M31, contact with the Imperium was reestablished. A deep space Adeptus Mechanicus Explorator team was conducting a planet-wide survey of the Freyan System. The second planet was icy and desolate with violent windstorms and only narrow belts of cultivatable land. The Explorator team was hoping to find rich ore deposits and STC on this unpopulated planet. Despite the inimical conditions the Explorator team was amazed to find that there was still life on this feral world. They found the indigenous population to be a semi-barbaric people from ancient Terran stock. Ministorum missionaries were immediately dispatched to spread the world of the Imperial Cult amongst the indigenous population. Despite being fierce and primitive, the missionaries were amazed to find that the Freyans still worshipped the Master of Mankind, albeit in a corrupted barbaric fashion. The people were probed for any sign of Chaos taint but were found to be unwavering in their faith and devoutly loyal to the Emperor.
When inquiries were made to the Freyans as to how they had survived all of these millennia without the Emperor's guiding light, they told an amazing tale of how over a hundred years before, ' Sky-Warriors' descended from the heavens. There was a great war between these 'Sky-Warriors' and the evil 'Wendól' (or 'Twisted Ones'). The 'Sky-Warriors' were adorned with strange armor that the Wendól could not penetrate with their weapons, and used mighty blades and weapons that spit the fire of their wrath upon the loathsome creatures. The 'Sky-Warriors' slew them with wrathful anger. Since that time, they saved the people of the planet from destruction many times over, and helped reestablish their faith in the Master of Mankind. The power and might displayed by these mysterious 'Sky Warriors' were found to be like that of ancient warrior spirits from ancient Terran legends. Forever after, the people began to call the 'Sky-Warriors', 'Einherjar' – warriors whom have been slain in battle and brought forth to the 'All-Father' (The Emperor) to fight forever by his side.
A great fortress-monastery known as Æsirhold was constructed by the grateful Freyans in the center of their world's largest continent. The great fortress was hewn into the cliff face of the tallest mountain within the highest peaks. The mysterious 'Sky-Warriors' found the hardy people not wanting and so, many of the tribe's finest warriors were taken from the battlefields to become Einherjar and sail the stars. Intrigued, the Explorator team immediately began a probe of the continent. When they came within ten leagues of the fortress-monastery's location, they were hailed by these mysterious 'Sky Warriors'. It was discovered that these so-called Einherjar, were in fact, Adeptus Astartes! When the Explorator team investigated the origins of these Space Marines what they found greatly disturbed them. They immediately contacted the Inquisition with their findings. An Inquisitor from the Ordo Malleus was immediately dispatched to discern the truth of these so-called 'Loyalists'.
Inquisitor Uziel Dredd met with the acting Commander of the errant Space Marines. The Astartes appeared to be a member of the Ultramarines Chapter, as he wore their panoply, but his ancient Mark IV battle-plate displayed many strange totems and fetishes. He introduced himself as Captain-Praetor Decius Pius. Carefully, he explained what had occurred over the last century and of how they came to be on this desolate world far from the Imperium of Man. Decius told the Inquisitor that they were survivors of the Loyalist fleet that had disappeared nearly millennia ago whilst giving chase to the Traitor Legions during the Great Scouring. Then he told them of the ensuing warp storm and of the attacks by the powerful Warp entities that had destroyed their fleet. After they made an emergency exit from the violent warp storm they realized that they had emerged nearly eight centuries later. With their warp engines damaged beyond repair and their vital systems failing, they were forced to crash land on this desolate ice-world.
The Ultramarines' commander was killed during the emergency landing. Fortunately a small contingent of Space Wolves were stationed aboard the Ultramarines' ship. Their Wolf Guard Pack Leader Odin Grimclaw took stock of the dire circumstances and immediately took command of the situation. Through his superb leadership he organized the survivors into a cohesive unit, ready for any threat to their survival. Their situation soon turned from bad to worse when a small force of Chaos scouts arrived in-system looking for suitable planets to conquer and despoil.
Grimclaw stripped the Ultramarines' vessel of all its weapons and usable materials and then had the Space Marines scuttle the ship. The Space Marines took to the surrounding mountains, where they were able to set up a temporary command center on the tallest mountain within the highest peaks (the current location of Æsirhold) to strike back at the Traitors. The Space Wolves scouts reported that the Chaos force was larger than expected. They were outnumbered nearly three-to-one. Pack Leader Grimclaw was gladdened by the news, 'More traitors to kill for the Emperor.' He mused, a savage grin splitting his face. The Ultramarines were taken aback by the Wolf Guard's assessment but they were reassured by their ranking battle-brother Sergeant Pius:
'Surely the Sons of Guilliman will be up for the challenge,' he goaded his men, 'For are we not the embodiment of noble warriors? We will fight hard and fight well! And bring swift death to the enemies of the Emperor! Vae victis!'
The Ultramarines raised their bolters in salute and responded in unison, 'Virtus et gloria! (Courage and honor!)' Emboldened by the young Sergeant's words the Ultramarines prepared to bring their unfettered wrath down upon the traitors.
Unlike his contemporaries, Sergeant Pius was a jovial and rather brash Legionary. He showed his superiors that he could be a flexible military commander, thinking outside the confines of the established dictates of military strategy. Through his daring and bold initiative he quickly rose through the ranks of the Ultramarines and soon found himself as a squad leader. With the death of the Legate Kratos, the burden of command of the remaining Ultramarines fell to him.
The impetuous Sergeant had quickly formed strong bonds with his Space Wolves cousins. He admired their free-spirit and unorthodox approach; to battle, the rules and to life in general. Sergeant Pius had even formed a strong bond with the venerable Pack Leader Grimclaw. During the early years of the Great Scouring when their two Legions had fought on numerous occasions, the dour old wolf had saved him a number of times whilst fighting the foul Traitor Legionaries. Decius had returned the favor an equal number of times. The two had formed a warrior-bond stronger than tempered plasteel, forged in heat of battle. Decius would follow the old Wolf Guard to the Eye itself if he so wished it.
Through Grimclaw's tenacious cunning, the surviving Loyalists harried the Traitor forces mercilessly every chance they could. Over the course of three months the hit-and-run counterattacks and small-scale skirmishes of the joint force of Ultramarines and Space Wolves effectively isolated the remaining Chaos forces. They were then annihilated to a man. No quarter asked, none given. The threat of Chaos had been averted. But Pack Leader Grimclaw cautioned the younger Decius that they had merely forestalled the inevitable – soon the bulk of the Chaos fleet would come. Grimclaw knew they had little time left before the Chaos onslaught began again, and this time, they might not emerge victorious.
- "When my day comes to die, I will not beg for mercy, nor will I weep. I have led a life filled with glory! My hope is that I leave this world with a smile on my face, and the courage to sing my own death song, and that I will be judged worthy to sit at the side of the Allfather."
- ― Purported last words of Wolf Guard Pack Leader Odin Grimclaw before the final Battle of Blackskull Peak
It soon began with scattered reports of razed villages and signs of ritual sacrifice from the far ranging Scout squads. Then a few skirmishes with raiders occurred during long range forages. Soon they were enmeshed in fighting an all-out protracted war for survival. Inch by inch, the Loyalists began losing ground – their forces severely depleted by the sheer number of Chaos forces. Grimclaw was soon faced with a choice few Space Marine Commanders ever have to make – leading the remnants of his decimated force in a vainglorious charge and succumbing to their enemy's overwhelming numbers, or, as he eventually chose, he could marshal his resources and deploy his remaining forces and fight like stalking wolves. He explained his bold plan to the remaining loyalists. The Ultramarines questioned such brash tactics. Surely they must sell themselves dearly, taking as many of their enemies with them as possible? It was the only possible way they could die honorably on the field of battle.
Pack Leader Grimclaw listened to his Ultramarine cousins' recriminations and outrage, then he calmly held up one of his gnarled, leathery hands to silence them. He continued to explain,
'When wolves hunt the great elk in a pack they do so with great cunning. The young wolves will howl and snarl drawing attention to themselves. Then they will charge straight towards the wall of elk bulls that face them. Such audacity would normally see the foolish young pups skewered upon their prey's razor sharp antlers. But taking advantage of the noisy distraction to infiltrate the herd's weakly guarded flanks comes the veteran hunters of the pack. Sowing confusion and panic in the defensive line, they scatter – enabling the young wolves to bring down the bulls at their leisure. That is how a wolf pack fights. That is how we will fight!'
Throughout the rest of the war, Pack Leader Grimclaw field his squads as infiltrators and guerrilla troops, attacking specific, high-value targets rather than spearheading massive assaults, as would a normal-sized Space Marine force in such a conflict. Soon the Loyalists isolated the Traitors into small pockets of resistance and then began to destroy them one by one. As time wore on the forces of the Traitors were at a fraction of their original fighting strength.
At the forefront of many of these guerrilla attacks was Sergeant Pius. His superb leadership came to the fore as he was able to adapt and improvise against the superior number of Traitor forces. The topography of the icy planet was ideally suited to the Ultramarine’s style of warfare. The phalanx was able to block narrow passes with ease, with no risk of their forces being outflanked. Whenever Pius and his men encountered the Traitors they would retreat, drawing them into a narrow pass. In the passes, the phalanx was very difficult to assault for the Traitor forces. Using the surrounding terrain the Chaos forces’ numbers counted for nothing. The Ultramarines would wage a furious battle against the limited number of Chaos forces who had entered the pass, thoroughly routing them. This type of tactic was virtually unheard of by the Traitors but not by the Ultramarines! Retreat was unthinkable to them and was only used as a means to lure the enemy into a false sense of victory, and then they would turn and crush the very spirit out of the heretics!
The struggle was a long and difficult one. Month by month, continent by continent, Odin and his forces pushed Chaos back. The Loyalists fought a hundred score battles and always emerged victorious – time and again snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Much of the credit went to the Ultramarines Scout Company's acting commander, Sergeant Pius. Through his tactical genius and daring exploits of his Scouts they managed to turn the tide. In a final confrontation with the Traitor forces at the Blackskull Peaks Odin slew their leader, the Daemon Prince, F'al Bárûk Baal'ágni'tarra, although he was mortally wounded in return. Pack Leader Grimclaw didn't rest until the last of the Chaos forces were put to the sword, only then, his duty finally done, did he allow himself to die. Finally, after nearly a year of almost ceaseless warfare, the loyalists had emerged triumphant.
Soon after Grimclaw's death, Sergeant Pius was unanimously elected as their acting commander. Under Decius' direction he had the Techmarines erect an obelisk on the spot where the old Wolf fell, both as a monument to the battle and as a deterrent against Chaos from using the nexus to open a Chaos Warp Gate on the planet's surface. The newly elected Captain christened their new found world, Freya (after the Fenrisian Goddess of Winter). Life on the planet began to return to normal. Pius however, was not content to rest. He immediately began plans to rebuild his remaining forces, planning one day to help continue the Great Scouring – first freeing Freya's system then, eventually, the surrounding systems.
After an encounter with Chaos, the Inquisition – per standard protocol – would sanitize the system and ensure that there was no surviving taint. The remaining Space Marines were to be mind-wiped and then sent back to their respective Chapters. Captain Pius refused to allow this to happen. He would not let the people of this world face such a fate. The Inquisitor was adamant about what must be done, but eventually came to a compromise – he would contact the Ultramarines and the Space Wolves and let their respective Chapter Masters decide their fate. Decius would only relent if the Inquisitor agreed that they were to be tried in a joint council made up of both Chapters. Inquisitor Dredd agreed to the Astartes commander's terms and notified their parent Chapters.
Within a couple of months two separate fleets arrived in-system. These fleets were composed of the Ultramarines and the Space Wolves. Both Chapter Master Agnathio and Great Wolf Harek Eireik "Ironhelm" Eireiksson came to an accord - they would conduct a joint trial. Initially when they had received the news they had both been overjoyed that one of their lost fleets had been returned to them. But they both feared that their lost warriors' ordeal might have left them tainted. For three months, Captain-Praetor Pius and his men stoically bore an exhaustive investigation in which every fragment of their bodies, minds and soul sorely tested. The Chapters' Apothecaries and Librarians exerted every technique at their command, but no trace of corruption, physical or spiritual, could be found.
Not once during the inquest did Decius' testimony ever waver or vary. In fact, he corrected several errors made in the transcripts, which he reviewed at night in his cell. The testimonies of his men corroborated his relation of the facts. After nearly a year, the Council sequestered to decide the fate of Decius and his men. They reviewed the facts and made the only decision they thought possible. At the end of the thirteenth hour of deliberation, Decius and his men were brought before the Council for the verdict to be read. The entire episode was pronounced 'Factum Irritus'; all records of the trial were to be destroyed.
Chapter Master Agnathio pronounced Captain-Praetor Pius' guilt of breaching the Codex Astartes (their Chapter's holiest of tomes, penned by Primarch Guilliman himself) but Great Wolf Ironhelm had convinced him that sometimes the necessity of the situation called for improvisation. Decius and his men had acquitted themselves well despite their dire circumstances. Therefore, for their breach of doctrine of the Codex, Decius was to be exiled. Any of his men wishing to join their commander were not held at fault for their actions for they were only following orders. They could return to their parent Chapter, without censure, or continue to remain. It is a testament to the loyalty of Captain Pius' men, that they all chose to remain. Pius did not dispute the verdict, waiving his rights to defend himself so as to prevent his example from being followed by others, and accepted the judgment of his Chapter Master.
Next, the Great Wolf stood in place of the Ultramarines Chapter Master and pronounced his judgment. He offered the surviving Space Wolves two options – return to Fenris to rejoin their battle-brothers or, they could remain with their current commander whom had led them from the jaws of defeat and attained glorious victory. The senior-most Space Wolf informed the Great Wolf that they would remain where they were – to honor their blood-debt to their forsworn commander. The Great Wolf nodded his assent and gave his former battle-brothers his blessing.
Before the Space Marines were dismissed, Inquisitor Dredd strode forth before the throng to the podium. He wished to speak the assembled Astartes. The Inquisitor explained to the Chapter Masters that they knew what standard protocol was after an encounter with Chaos. They both grimly nodded their understanding. But the Inquisitor went on to explain how Captain Pius refused to allow this to happen. He was willing to defend his men unto death and with his impassioned oratory, had convinced the Inquisitor that they should be spared in order for them to be judged by their peers. The Chapters Masters were greatly impressed by Decius' fierce devotion to his men.
Inquisitor Dredd went on to explained that he had not been idle during these long months as he had recently been in contact with his superiors within the Inquisition and had petitioned them to have Decius and his men be a part of a newly formed Chapter – with the proviso that all members of this new Chapter were to be sworn to the utmost secrecy concerning the existence of daemons and Chaos. Violation of this oath by any Space Marine member would result in death for the individual and their Chapter would be deemed Excommunicate Traitoris. Unofficially, this new Chapter would be subject to the Ordo Malleus' scrutiny and would have an Inquisitor permanently assigned to their Chapter; until such time that they were deemed worthy to perform as a fully functioning Chapter. The first such Inquisitor to be assigned to the Chapter would be Inquisitor Dredd, himself. He would be charged with assisting in organizing and equipping the new Chapter and to assist their new Chapter Master in fighting the forces of Chaos.
All they needed was a name. After quickly deliberating with his men, Captain Pius had an answer. In recognition of their former commander whose superb leadership, great personal valor and courageous initiative saw them through their arduous ordeal they unanimously chose to name their newly formed Chapter the Sons of Odin in honor of Wolf Guard Pack Leader Odin Grimclaw. With the Emperor's blessing, the High Lords of Terra granted the formation of the Sons of Odin Space Marine Chapter in 001.M32, during the Third Founding. Within one month of his return from Terra, Inquisitor Dredd was raised to High Lord Inquisitor of the Ordo Malleus, in which he served with distinction in this position for over two centuries.
Decius Pius was made the Sons of Odin Chapter's first Chapter Master, with Pack Leader Grimclaw beatified as the Chapter's founding Patriarch. He decided it would be to his newly formed Chapter's interest to move away from the unique organization of the Space Wolves and adopt a structure closer to that of the orthodox Ultramarines. Only the Veteran Company would deviate significantly from the Codex Astartes.
Chapter Home WorldEdit
The feral world of Freya, homeworld of the Sons of Odin, is situated along the Cygnus Arm of the Milky Way, running through the Segmentum Obscurus near the Eye of Terror. The Freyan system is located to the galactic Northwest of the Eye. Freya is therefore at the forefront of the Imperium's defence against the foul denizens of Chaos.
Freya is a turbulent world of ice, dominated by extremes of climates that constantly change. Most would deem it inimical to life, but as always, the early human settlers of this frozen outpost found a way not only to survive, but to thrive. Before Old Night, this world was originally settled as a mining colony. The world of Freya was rich in many of the ores used in the construction of space faring vessels and technology used at the time. But with the advent of the horrendous warps storms and the Age of Strife, the stranded settlers were cut off from the outside world and were barely able to survive the harsh environment. Only the hardiest survived.
Over the following millennia, the forgotten technology of that era was irrevocably lost and the world became overrun by the denizens of Chaos. The survivors reverted to a barbaric state. This was the state of the world when the predecessors of the Sons of Odin found the world of Freya when they became trapped by a prodigious warp storm for a quarter of a century near the end of the 31st Millennium. Of that original mixed Imperial fleet of Ultramarines and Space Wolves, it was the Sons of Fenris who quickly adapted to the similar environs of the frigid world of Freya, the easiest. Though the new world was but a dim reflection of their savage homeworld of Fenris, they soon grew very fond of their new world.
The native tribes of Freya prefer to live in the frigid, arctic lands with glaciers and heavy snowfall. Living in a very hostile and isolated region, the Freyan warrior tribes are forced to rely on their resourcefulness and their unwavering courage to survive. They survive the harsh and unforgiving ‘hell-winters by hunting amongst the icy tundra of the Frozen Wastes. They mostly eat meat, which they can hunt or kill for themselves. During the long, cruel winter months the days are short and the nights are unbearably long and snowy. Game becomes scarce, making the Freyan hunter’s task of foraging for food a race for survival. But during the long summer months when the snow caps melt and the fjords are free of ice, the Freyan tribes take to their longboats and raid other settlements, plundering them for sustenance and wealth.
Despite their savage reputation the Freyans also survive by farming and herding, spreading to colonize faraway lands as opportunities present themselves. Where their intuitive natures and wanderlust takes them, they engage in trade; when other tribes encroach into their territories, they exact tribute. For centuries the Freyans have dominated the sea lanes and the few lands that possess forests, where wild game is plentiful.
At the center of the planet's largest continent, Niflheimr ('Abode of Mist'), the great citadel of Æsirhold (the 'Warriors Hould'), hewn into the cliff face of the tallest mountain, within Freya's highest peaks, known as the Blackskull Peaks. Against the gathering dark of the dwindling atmosphere, tiny lights shine at the distant summit. The Freyan tribes mark this habitation of the Einherjar - the 'Sky-Warriors' - as the abode of the demigods, itself a tiny fraction of the bulk of that vast peak. Lesser summits are clustered around the formidable citadel in the shadow of the mighty peak, Jǫtunnheim, the 'Giant One'. The ways between the peaks are treacherous and known only to those who have trodden its paths as Aspirants. All are scarred with precipitous drops and deep crevasses. Some hunt-ways were built on solid stone, whereas others are on bridges of ice that will crumble to nothing with the first application of weight. Some lead true, taking the hunter from the clefts in the shadow of the summits down to the plains where their prey dwell; others lead nowhere but into darkness, to the caves that riddle the bowels of the ancient landscape, full of nothing but ice-gnawed bones and despair.
Over the long history of its existence, many times has Æsirhold stood inviolable while the Forces of Chaos have dashed themselves against it. Æsirhold is clad in armour of immense thickness and strength and is cloaked by void shields more powerful than those found on even the most mighty of the Imperialis Armada's warships. The mountainside conceals potent defence lasers hidden within miles of dark shafts cut into the mountain itself. These ancient weapons, powered by geothermal reactors within the citadel's core, are capable of blasting apart even the most heavily armoured spacecraft from orbit. Even a ground assault would be considered suicidal, as Æsirhold possesses two external gates, known as the Árvakr Gate ('Early Riser' Gate) and the Drengr Gate ('Warrior' Gate), built high up on the sheer sides of the mountain. These two gates connect at opposite ends of the internal region of the fortress known as the Svellborough ('Stronghold of Ice'). The two gates were built to overlook entirely bare approaches, made up of huge causeways of stone, each kilometres wide and worn smooth by the endless gnawing of stone by the Blackskull Peaks' high winds. If a massed advance upon these approaches was undertaken, they would provoke a slaughter. Even if an enemy were, by some miracle, able to reach one of the gates, which in themselves, are colossal structures comprised of adamantium, granite and ceramite, they bristle with all manner of deadly weaponry - twin-linked bolters turrets, static plasma cannons and missile launchers.
The Sons of Odin revere the Emperor through Odin – with Odin acting as his Advocate or Avatar. This disturbs the orthodox Ecclesiarchy but as effective and loyal servants of the Ordo Malleus, the Sons of Odin are immune to any reprisals or retributions. As a result Adeptus Ministorum squads will not ally with the Sons of Odin unless an Inquisitor is present. This Chapter doesn't venerate one Primarch over the other, but they do acknowledge their shared heritage from both.
The warriors of the Sons of Odin have inherited much of their beliefs from their home world's native culture. Much of their martial traditions are still maintained by the Sons of Odin, even after their induction into the ranks of the Chapter. Sons of Odin Astartes constantly vie with one another, yearning to achieve the most victories or the highest kill tallies, in order to impress the Chapter's more venerable members, constantly striving to earn a place within the Chapter's sagas. Like the feral tribesmen they recruit from, the Sons of Odin value personal honour and physical strength at arms over all. Many Sons of Odin prefer to challenge enemy commanders to single combat in order to test themselves against the mightiest of enemies. Sons of Odin often seek out single combat with a foe they consider worthy of the honour, although more than a few Veteran Marines and commanders have fallen against particularly dangerous opponents this way.
Thus, the Battle-Brothers of the Sons of Odin Chapter are known to exhibit a fierce resolve in the face of overwhelming odds and display an unstoppable drive to test themselves against all who would stand before them. Perhaps this feature of their character is a result of the beliefs instilled in each before he has even joined the Chapter, for the warrior tribes of Freya are fearsome and resolute indeed. The Sons of Odin feel an inherent need to punish the former Astartes of the Traitor Legions, and to earn redemption in the eyes of the All-Father and His people, who suffered unimaginably during the galaxy-wide civil war known as the Horus Heresy.
For millennia, the image of the Freyan warrior has engraved itself in the minds of those whom have come in contact with this feral society; the image of the bloodthirsty barbarian with axe, sword and hide-covered armor. They are the epitome of savage fighters and terrifying raiders, sweeping across the continents of their frigid world and the water lanes of the turbulent seas. Although they are considered uncultured and primitive, these fierce people have developed a highly ritualistic and distinctive culture.
The Freyan people resembles vikings from ancient Terran history. According to ancient legends, Freya’s original space-faring ancestors mixed their blood with that of the Frost Giants, thereby producing a robust and hearty race of humans who possess a near immunity to the cold and an affinity for battle. Though the veracity of these tales are disputed by Imperial scholars as to the identity of this mysterious race of 'giants', the Freyans males builds are robust; somewhat sinewy and very muscular. They have well defined and rough-hewn features due to the constant exposure to the extreme elements of the harsh Freyan winters. Most of the males possess long unkempt hair (sometimes worn braided), and they grow long, course beards. Freyan males also have somewhat pale skin like those of their distant Frost Giant cousins. The Freyan females builds are somewhat smaller; athletic and well proportioned. They possess a frontier beauty that can only be found amongst such a hardy race of women. Their beautiful locks of hair are often worn in long, braided tresses.
Freyans can generally live to 100 years of age or older, although Freyan males generally have shorter life spans than their female counterparts. If they are lucky they may survive to the ripe age of fifty years old if they are fortunate enough not to be killed in battle, by wild beasts, or the notoriously foul weather of their homeworld. It is a rare thing indeed to meet a Freyan male of venerable age. An elder Freyan is a warrior without peer, who has literally survived hundreds of battles and decades of Freyan ‘hell-winters’ due to their strength, cunning and intelligence. It is these venerable warriors who become a tribe’s chieftain or Jarl.
Freyans are robust and outspoken, unafraid to speak or act on impulse. They are somewhat boastful and known to be braggarts, but they will back up their words with either their fists or with the sharpened edges of their battle-axes. To a Freyan, action literally speaks louder than words. Honor is another concept that the Freyans have a high regard for. Whether it is on the field of battle, or defending one's pride when someone sullies their family name, honor must be maintained.
To prove one's worth as a warrior to the other members of their tribe, a Freyan warrior must constantly meet any challenge bestowed upon them by the venerable elders and senior warriors within their tribe. A young warrior must prove their battle prowess by acquiring numerous war trophies and battle scars if they are to be judged worthy. Some warriors are so dedicated to achieving this goal that they strive for nothing less than the chance to be immortalized forever in the form of a Freyan epic saga. Years after their death, they will be remembered when the sagas are recited by the old shamans of their tribes during the 'The Feast of The Great Hunt', held every twenty years during the rising of the Hunter's Moon.
When a Freyan has proved his worth or is slain in glorious battle they believe that they will earn a place amongst the honored ranks of the Einherjar. These are the fell-spirits of the warriors whom died in glorious battle and were raised from the dead; chosen to continue fighting by the side of the Emperor, (whom Freyans refer to as the 'All-Father') against the enemies of Mankind. According to the ancient Freyan sagas the 'All-Father' will face Hel (Chaos Undivided), the Goddess of Death and the underworld, and her other four aspects (lust, wrath, plague and transformation) and her daemonic hordes during the final days of all of creation, known as the Ragnarøkkr ('End-Times'). It is every Freyan’s fondest wish to be judged worthy enough to join their God-Emperor in eternal battle. These fanatically devout warriors are constantly trying to prove their worth in battle through insane acts of bravery or by slaying the most enemies.
The gene-legacy of Guilliman is proudly borne by the Sons of Odin. It seems the legacy of Guilliman's genetic material has no known aberrations in its genetic structure. However, their gene stock appears to be stable and displays some interesting qualities. However, with the introduction of the genetic material from the Freyan warriors, the genome seems to have inherited their savagery and thirst for war as well as their more positive traits of steadfast loyalty.
Following the break-up of their original fleet, the Sons of Odin were broken down into a single Chapter composed of those Ultramarines and Space Wolves whom elected to remain on Freya. New initiates were granted were granted the gene legacy of Guilliman. Some within the Inquisition did not look favorably on this mixed Chapter. To assuage any fears and to reinforce the loyalty of the Chapter, the first Chapter Master, Decius Pius swore his Chapter to strict adherence to the Codex Astartes. The Sons of Odin are split into ten companies, each a hundred Space Marines strong and led by a Captain. The 1st Company is composed of battle-hardened veterans and is the most powerful. It is also the only Company that fields warriors clad in Tactical Dreadnought Armor.
The 2th, 3th, 4th and 5th Companies fight as the main Battle Companies and are composed of Tactical, Assault and Devastator squads. Each Battle Company is self-sufficient, capable of meeting any threat and defeating it. These Companies form the backbone of the Chapter. The 6th through 9thCompanies are the Reserve Companies, each comprised of squads of one particular type. Companies 6th and 7th are Tactical Companies, the 8th is the Assault Company and the 9th is the Devastator Company. The 10th Company is composed of Scout squads made up from the ranks of the Chapter's newest inductees.
The Sons of Odin fight according to the doctrines of the Ultramarines and the dictates of the Codex Astartes. As befits a predecessor of Guilliman's legacy, the Chapter has found that by fighting in the manner prescribed in this holiest of tomes, they do not deviate significantly from its wisdom.
The Veteran Company is the only one that deviates significantly from the Codex. The members of this esteemed Company of the most battle-hardened veterans continue to fight in the style of their Space Wolves forebears, preferring close combat to ranged warfare. This is represented by the fact that when not fighting in Tactical Dreadnought Armor, they prefer to fight in Assault rather than Tactical Squads. This is emphasized by the fanaticism of the Sons of Odin battle brothers, whose righteous anger makes them impatient and headstrong. They will drive towards their foes relentlessly, with axe and bolt pistol in hand.
However, not all of the Companies can be relied upon to fight in the structured and disciplined ways of the Codex, for their genome seems to have inherited the Freyan culture’s savagery and thirst for war. This can turn even the most taciturn veteran into a berserker, wishing only to release their calculated brutality and savagery upon their foes. When this occurs, these berserk warriors are placed within the ranks of the 8th Assault Company. Whilst in the throes of a berserk frenzy these battle brothers seeks nothing more in battle than to rush into close quarters with the enemy and tear them apart in a hail of blood. Those who have actually witnessed their bloodthirstiness in action report that they have never seen such barbaric displays of charnel violence.
The Chapter most often finds itself fighting the foul forces of Chaos, being relatively close to the Eye of Terror as well as Orks. The Sons of Odin have become very adept at combating these opponents. The Chapter vigilantly patrols the regions in the Cygnus Arm close to the Eye, always maintaining a vigilant watch for another Chaos incursion. Whereas their Space Wolves predecessors fight in the vein of feral barbarians, the Sons of Odin fight in a similarly ferocious matter but are more disciplined like their Ultramarine forebears. The Sons of Odin are most frequently used to carry out orders that are particularly brutal, destructive, or having to deal with politically sensitive individuals that other units might be sympathetic to; for the Space Marines of this Chapter are loyal unto to death to the "All-Father" and those that rule in his stead.
The Sons of Odin recruit from Freya and the worlds of the other systems occupied during 'The Ordeal'. Most of the colonists brought to these systems after the Inquisitions' purge and sanitation came from Novaya Zemlya and Niflheimr. On Freya and the other worlds in the surrounding systems, strangers clad in armor as black as shadow, stalk the lands. In the Jarl's long halls, tales are told of these strangers known as the Choosers of the Slain – whom watch silently from the hills overlooking the battlefield, choosing those whom show true valor and commit the most insane acts of courage. These warriors, though mortally wounded, are taken by the ebon-armored Sky Warriors to join the ranks of the Einherjar, never to be seen again. These mysterious strangers are the Chaplains of the Sons of Odin. The youths they pick are tested to the extreme, to see if they are worthy to have the legacy of Odin Grimclaw implanted into their bodies, and eventually become one of his chosen sons.
Those selected as potential Space Marines must undergo several initiation rights, the first of which is 'The Ordeal'. The individual is dropped naked on the shores of the southern continent armed with only a combat knife. He must make his way through the mountains of the Barrier Range to the continent’s central desert plateau. He must then find the Obelisk at the southern pole. Most candidates arrive exhausted and dehydrated – most do not arrive at all.
When the candidate reaches the stone monolith he must than place a hand on its jet-black surface. The stone functions something like an armor plate window, denying access yet permitting observation. What each candidate sees is different; most see some or the entirety of Odin's 'Ordeal'. All are allowed to glimpse the entities of the warp and feel their malevolent hatred for humanity. More than one candidate has been driven mad by the experience; however, the careful selection process ensures that most are able to endure. Those who survive with their sanity intact are instilled with a deep hatred of Chaos. The Librarians of the Chapter are aware of the contact with the Obelisk and a recovery team is dispatched to recover the initiate, usually before he regains consciousness from the visions.
The neophyte is sedated and the initial implants are made. The neophyte awakes lying on a bed in the Scout barracks, which is conveniently located near the kitchens. The 'Ordeal' and subsequent implants induce a ravenous hunger in the young Aspirant. Having fed, the initiates are met by the Senior Instructor and their 'Preparation' begins. Once an initiate has completed his training he undergoes a period of ritualistic washing and fasting lasting several days at the end of which he is presented to the 'Council'.
The last phase of the Aspirants initiation is the ‘Trial,’ is a series of written, oral, and performance evaluations lasting 13 days, 13 hours and 13 minutes. At the end of The Trial the initiate is brought to a darkened chamber and made to stand in a single circle of light. The initiate must stand resolute before the ‘Council’ as they hurl insults and recriminations. Finally, their verdict is rendered, the sentence which is always ‘death’. The initiate must stand resolute, even in this face of death. If he proves his bravery and his worth, he is then accepted as a brother marine and chooses a new name.
Notable Crimson ProwlersEdit
The Sons of Odin panoply consists of dark prussian blue - the colour of a winter storm, with white and gold details. The Space Marines ceremonially apply runic tattoos of protection and power upon entering the Chapter. These tattoos usually cover the arms and sometimes the face of the Astartes, reinforcing their fearsome Freyan warrior heritage. The Sons of Odin Space Marines also take great pride in their heraldry, using the arts and styles of the Freyan Runemasters. Their armor is most often engraved with Freyan runic script or magical runes. The Freyan people are a superstitious lot; their pagan beliefs state that through the use of powerful magic runes, it might help one to fulfill a person's innermost needs, wants, and wishes. This tradition has carried over to the Sons of Odin. They believe that by incorporating these runes as well as the potent Dire Wolves talismans on their armor, that they will evoke protection and strength against all their enemies.
A few Astartes within the Chapter are honored enough to inherit the power armor of a great warrior and continue on their legacy. Veterans in particular wear ornate battle-plate immersed in centuries worth of talismans and etched symbols, accumulated from great heroes over the ages. Scouts are the only elements of the force that don't decorate their armor extensively, preferring to maintain their anonymity when performing their dangerous reconnaissance missions. The adaptation of traditional Freyan symbols has also spread to some of their traditional Astartes insignia. Patterned specialization designations follow the Freyan warriors' artistic style and are painted in gold on the right shoulder pauldron. Classical Imperial icons are rarely seen on a Sons of Odin Astartes' armor. The Chapter is also known to incorporate the use of many ancient patterns of power armour, handed down over the millennia from one Astartes to another.
The Sons of Odin Chapter badge is a large white coloured skull centered upon a sable coloured shield and placed in front of a pair of crossed great-axes.
- Blóð Móðr - A Freyan term that means 'blood rage', this is when a warrior enters an enhanced state, and stirs themselves up to such rage and madness that they will boldly attack any foe without being hampered by thoughts of their own or others' safety. This term is used by the Sons of Odin when referring to those Astartes (Úlfheðinn) who are overcome by the blóð móðr, especially when fighting against the Forces of Chaos.
- Drakkar - A longship smaller than a knorr, usually used for raiding or piracy.
- Einherjar - In Freyan myth, the spirits of the slain warriors who reside within the long-hall of the All-Father, awaiting the day they will fight at Ragnarøkkr. This term is commonly used to refer to those who are selected to join the 'Sky-Warriors', to fight on behalf of the All-Father.
- Einvigi - Unlimited personal combat, a duel to the death with no restrictions.
- Goði - The closest Freyan equivalent to a jarl. Goði have certain rights and responsibilities in Freya's southern continent, acting as patrons to smallholders, but are not nobles as the wider Imperium would understand them.
- Hel - In Freyan culture, Hel is the Goddess of Death and the underworld. She epitomises the aspect of evil itself (Chaos Undivided), and often appears in one of her four aspects (lust, wrath, plague and transformation). This term is utilised by the Sons of Odin when referring the Chaos or Chaos Undivided.
- Hirð - The boon-companions of a lord. They eat at his table, sleep in his hall, take his gifts of weapons, armor and wealth, and derive their positions from hi1n. So long as he can feast and gift them, they must stand beside hi1n to the death, both on and off the field of battle. A term commonly used amongst the Sons of Odin when referring to members of their Chapter's elite veterans.
- Holmgang - A highly stylized ritual that can be described as either a duel or a trial by combat, depending on your point of view. Combatants exchange sword or axe blows until one is unable to continue.
- Huskarl - A member of the hirð, a warrior who makes the bargain of mead and glory for loyal service to a lord. Amongst the elite members of the Wolf Guard, this term is used when referring to a Veteran Sergeant.
- Jarl - A noble of unspecified holdings, usually between those of a landed knight and a baron or earl. Unlike a huskarl, a jarl does not derive his position fro1n his lord, but from his hereditary holdings. While there were formal differences, the mark of a jarl was the ability to keep a hall and men, and the line between jarl and freeholder was often blurry. This term is used by the Sons of Odin when referring to anyone of a leadership position, usually an officer (Space Marine Captain equivalent rank).
- Knorr - A longship larger than a drakkar, usually used for trade.
- Ragnarøkkr - The 'End-Times' or the 'Fate of the All-Father', when a long foretold series of future events, including a great battle between the Forces of Order against the Forces of Chaos, foretold to ultimately result in the death of the universe.
- Skjaldmær - Known as 'Shieldmaidens', these fierce female warriors fight alongside the men in battle with shield, sword, axe and spear.
- Thegn - The lesser partner in the Freyan equivalent of a feudal contract. A king's jarls are his thegns.
- Thing - (Pronounced ting), a thing was a local assembly of district, known as a thingstead, the thing manages affairs of justice and various other issues of local interest.
- Úlfheðinn - A Freyan term when referring to those warriors who fight in an uncontrollable, trance-like fury, who fight without their mailcoats and are as mad as hounds or wolves. They are known to spit and froth at the mouths and bite their shields, slaying men by the score. It is said that neither fire nor iron has any effect upon them. This term is used by the Sons of Odin when referring to those Astartes who are overcome by the blóð móðr (or 'blood rage') and enter an enhanced state, stirring themselves up to such rage and madness that they will boldly attack any foe with suck bloodthirstiness and savagery without being hampered by thoughts of their own or others' safety.
- Útlægr - Known as 'The Outlawed', these criminals are beyond the law. A punishment for certain serious crimes. A útlægr has no right to wergild if slain, and his killer need not announce the deed.
- Vargr - Freyan for 'wolf', this term is often used when referring to outlaws and bandits, as well as more mundane wolves. This term is used by the Sons of Odin when referring to corsairs or pirates.
- Wendól - The Wendól or 'Twisted Ones' are evil spirits given physical form. This is a term utilised by the Sons of Odin when referring to the Daemonic servants of Chaos.
- Wergild - The amount of compensation paid by a person committing an offense to the injured party or, in case of death, to his family.
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By the Sons of OdinEdit
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