|This article, Storm Sons, was written by Algrim Whitefang. Please do not edit or 'acquire' this fiction without the writer's permission.|
- "We are the sword of Jaghatai. Had you not created great sins, the Emperor would not have sent a punishment like us upon you."
- ― Attributed to Oyuun Shah-Khan
The Storm Sons are a rare Successor Chapter of the venerable, highly mobile and feared White Scars Chapter. Created sometime during the 24th Founding in the 39th Millennium, the Storm Sons, like their forebears, enact swift and brutal justice against those who transgress against the Emperor and his Imperium of Man.
+++ CLEARANCE Carmine
+++ DATE 8332921.M41
+++ REF NN.160784-1
+++ BY Scribe Arnault Thebes, First Class, Adeptus Anthropologii
+++ SUBJECT Adeptus Astartes - STORM SONS
Honoured Lords of the hallowed Inquisition,
I have attached all current information on the Adeptus Astartes Chapter designation STORM SONS. There is more to be appended (cross reference ++BAA/433.22.Ca.++) but our cogitators have yet to translate sections of base Khorchin. The following summary is merely intended as an overview pending a further investigation.
You will note a number of deviations from Codex Astartes approved doctrine that make for disturbing reading.
Praise be to the Immortal God-Emperor!
I am ever your faithful servant,
Arnault Thebes, Scribe, First Class, Adeptus Anthropologii
Born in the turmoil of apostasy, for over two thousand years the mystic warriors of the Storm Sons have exacted swift and relentless vengeance against the enemies of the Emperor over the entire breadth of the known galaxy.
From its fortress-monastery on the Forbidden World of Nakaris, the Chapter sends forth its kill-teams throughout the Imperium and beyond, serving as outriders for the Explorator fleets of the Adeptus Mechanicus on the edges of Imperial space, or crushing insurrection on worlds whose loyalty to the Golden Throne is found wanting.
The Storm Sons are a small but highly adaptable fighting force, clad in studded and spiked armour that evokes the noble savagery of antiquity, armed with tulwars and chain-axes to frighten the enemy before the fight has even begun. Led by battle hardened Khans and the mysterious Stormseers, the kill-teams of the Storm Sons conduct coordinated, precise attacks on strategic targets designed to annihilate and overwhelm their foes, supported by veteran hunter scouts who cut off lines of retreat, before unleashing the terrifying Sagyar Mazan shock troops to extinguish any form of coordinated resistance.
The Utrar KhanatesEdit
he Utrar Khanates are a cluster of half a dozen systems in the Ultima Segmentum settled during the Great Crusade, united by a shared common heritage and root language, base Khorchin. Its estimated 42 billion strong population are directly descended from Chogorian and Terran colonists installed by the Vth Legion, White Scars, during the Great Crusade to enforce Imperial compliance after the 40th Expeditionary Fleet's xenos eradication pogroms.
The Divine PurgingEdit
Despite a prosperous beginning rooted in the dawn of human unity, the demands of the Great Crusade and the events of the Heresy eroded at the Terran authority installed by the Vth Legion. Imperial Governors through generations of nepotism and mismanagement were recast into self-styled emperors and dynasties, resulting in eight millennia of poor administration, petty squabbling and the inexorable technological and cultural decline that followed.
As the Khanates slowly fragmented into thousands of petty kingdoms, empires and vassal states competing for dominance, the lack of Imperial guidance eventually took a much darker turn: one by one, the outer systems slipped from the Imperial fold entirely when the Empress of the Qhwarazheen Dynasty, the largest Khanate empire of its time, fell sway to the Eternal Foe towards the end of M.38 and overthrew the last of the pro-Imperial confederacies.
The Imperial response was absolute: a purge action led by the Ordo Hereticus with three regiments of out-system Astra Militarum, supported by an Ecclesiarchy militia. In the third year of hostilities as the conflict spread throughout the sector, an instrumental ally came from an unexpected quarter: an Adeptus Astartes strike force comprising of the White Scars and their successor chapter Storm Lords, a total of 48 Space Marines.
Within days, the combined White Scars force led the assault on the Qhwarazheen palace compound. Once the Empress had been deposed, no less than two planets within the sector were sanctioned extremis to contain the influence of the Chaos. The Qhwarazheen Dynasty and their vassal states were eventually annihilated, a moon utterly destroyed, and more than a third of the entire sector's sixty billion strong population perished in the conflict or executed thereafter by Imperial forces during the subsequent purging.
[NB: For a full account of the Qhwarazheen Dynasty's crimes against the Imperium and subsequent military action, reference file ++CF-W12332-5433++]
Noting the Astartes merciless punishment of their distant gene-cousins, the Inquisition's support for the formation of an Astartes presence to guard and enforce Imperial interests in the region was expediently ratified by the High Lords of Terra. Stable gene-seed derived from the Storm Lords was entrusted to Storm Lords commander Torgha Khan and formalised as a Chapter, drawn from the remnants of the combined Astartes strike force.
For two thousand years since its formation in a period named by Imperial scholars as Pax Chogoria, the Storm Sons have guarded the Utrar Khanates against corruption, re-moulding its culture into a model Imperial vassal sub sector, lest the populace faces the wrath of the Khagan once again. Under their jurisdiction, the Khanates have been moulded into a diverse and potent recruitment pool for the Astra Militarum, and to date have raised several decorated regiments such as the XXIInd Utrar Mhukals and the vaunted outriders of the Ordu Zolhotaya.
Nakaris and The SoulfourgeEdit
The Ikh KhorigEdit
In subsequent decades following The Divine Purging, the Qhwarazheen home system, once the jewel of the the Khanates, is now closed to all but the pre-industrial settlers re-populated by the chapter and the Storm Sons themselves. An asteroid belt created from the remnants of a moon destroyed during The Divine Purging forms a cordon known as the Ikh Khorig (the 'Great Taboo'), maintained and enforced by the Storm Sons from the rest of the Utrar Khanates. Based in the former Qhwarazheen dynasty's core, the planet was re-named Nakaris (lit. "Nest of Hell") and re-classified by the Administratum as a Forbidden World, all traces of the former dynasty systematically erased from Imperial history.
Once famed for its lush jungles and garden cities, Nakaris is a shadow of its former self following the destruction wreaked by Imperial forces during The Divine Purging. Now subject to frequent volcanic and seismic instability, Nakaris is now a planet of unending plains of ash and bladed grass, supporting a fragile eco-system on which its nomadic warrior tribes eke out an existence.
Sünsitai: The SoulforgeEdit
The shamans of the tribes of the Sungha, Uirats and Dhawas amongst hundreds of others speak of the legendary Sūnsitai - the Soulforge - in the heartlands of Nakaris, guarded by the metal warriors of the Eternal Emperor. In the two thousand years since The Divine Purging, an extreme punishment awaits those who violate the sacred law of the Yassa: deemed too damned to be judged by men, the guilty must instead be adjudicated by the Eternal Emperor’s mystic warriors by sailing the Sea of Souls to the Nest of Hell. None who sail are ever seen again.
Such are the legends of humanity that contain a kernel of truth, for the Soulforge lies deep within the mass of the highest mountain ranges on the Death World of Nakaris. Every day cycle, the penal ships convey hundreds of potentially useful servants (and occasionally recruits) for the war forges of the Storm Sons. These unfortunates, along with thieves, the diseased and other outcasts of the pre-industrial nomadic clans who now inhabit Nakaris, are left to fend for themselves at base of the Sūnsitai, and often perish in the extreme weather and topography; or be savaged by the beasts that dwell within the mountain range.
Only death awaits those who fail the Trial of the Mountain, for it is the ultimate test of survival, initiative and will. The hundreds of millions that have perished have have their material possessions scavenged, their bones bleached against the black volcanic landscape. From above, a ring of bone hundreds of kilometres in circumference around Sūnsitai can be seen from low orbit, a macabre landmark that marks the chapter’s only visible presence on Nakaris.
The few who survive, locating one of the numerous entrances to Sünsitai and enter through its thresholds are fortunate indeed, taken into the Soulforge by the Storm Sons to await judgment by the Zadyin Argas. No one who has survived the Trial is wasted. If they are of age, male teenagers begin the aspirant trials for their eventual transformation into Adeptus Astartes, whereas females and adults of both sexes become useful additions to the Storm Sons as indentured chapter serfs. Particularly promising young females, especially those with nascent psychic talents, are tested for suitability for service in the Holy Ordos.
Thousands of miles of chambers, vaults and tombs snake through the mountains of the Sitai range and deep into the planet’s crust, where the magma generated by tectonic activity provide suitable heat for the war forges of the Storm Swords, with ore mined from Nakaris and its surrounding moons. The Soulforge acts as a base of operations for the Storm Swords' fleets, supplying the materiel for the chapter's deep space voyages, who often do not return to the Khanates for decades.
- "...what can be said about the sons of the Storm? I know many of my peers would think twice about accepting the aid of what they'd call unsophisticated savages. That is their loss and none of my concern. They could be described as taciturn in temperament, dour perhaps; but they show discipline like I have never seen with an unmatched sense of honour despite their strange customs."
- ― General Lisbeth Berman, XXVIIIth Royal Parthans
The decree of the Yassa, the sacred law of the Utrar Khanates is founded on three central tenets: obedience to the Eternal Emperor of Mankind, the binding of kin, and the merciless punishment of wrong-doing. The Storm Sons have successfully enforced the Yassa since their formation, and on occasion have come into conflict in other parts of the Imperium where adherence to the Yassa is found wanting in the eyes of the Storm Sons, adding to their reputation for brutality. Beyond these three tenets however, Imperial observers have recorded little in what can be understood as a 'chapter culture' in their dealings with the Imperium at large. It has been suggested that by absorbing the most effective combat doctrines from the breadth of the Imperium, the culture - or rather lack of a culture to impose beyond the Yassa - is one of the Storm Sons' most abiding qualities as pragmatists.
Sulde: The Spirit TrapEdit
The Nakarene are closely tied to the winds, a driving force that urges its warriors to total victory. The sulde, or spirit trap, is an important concept that has been enshrined in chapter tradition. The sulde itself is a bronze cylinder, twice the width of a large hand interwoven with psychically imbued hair from the largest aduu on Nakaris. The sulde is then attached to a battle brothers helm (forming a top knot) or a prized weapon, where it is believed the wind would carry the Emperor's divine energy through the sulde and into the battle brother.
When a son of the Storm passes through the veil, his essence would be bound to his spirit trap, and lives on through it. In effect, the sulde acts a psychic record of a warrior's experience and achievements, giving it a status akin to extracting a battle-brother's progenoid gland. Since the chapter leaves the physical bodies of its brothers to the elements, the sulde would be kept by the chapter as a relic to inspire future generations.
The colour of the sulde's hair holds great significance to the Storm Sons. Once aspirants are inducted to the chapter at the Feast of Names, they are each presented with their sulde, woven with the naturally black aduu hair. Length of service to the chapter is denoted by the bleaching of a warrior's sulde; Khans (veterans) are recognised by their bleached ivory coloured sulde. The Shah-Khan's own sulde is of pure white aduu hair, symbolising length of service to the chapter and the purity of the Vth Legion.
The Storm Sons actively assimilate the diaspora of aspirants, cultures, weapons, tactics and philosophies of those they encounter in order to become a more adaptable and effective fighting force. They are best known for sending their specialist kill-teams to other Imperial forces and the Explorator fleets of Mars, and even in the ranks of Rogue Traders depending on where their skills are most needed, which is reflected in their unique chapter organisation.
The Ordu: The Seat of PowerEdit
The Storm Sons operate an unusual chapter organisation that directly serves the needs of the campaigns it fights throughout the entire breadth of the galaxy, eschewing the Codex convention of Battle Companies altogether.
The chapter is organised into battle formations known as Ordus, made up of anywhere between three to twenty five-man kill-teams based on the needs of a particular campaign, making the largest Ordus the equivalent of a Codex Battle Company. When an Ordu is raised, it is composed of a mix of new and experienced kill-teams of battle-brothers called a bond.
These combat squads are led by a cohort of chapter veterans known as Khans, whose wide experience and guidance allows every Ordu to fulfil all the requirements of any Codex adherent chapter. The Ordu is a unique composition based on the requirements of the undertaking, but its stock is not drawn from existing companies as in other chapters. Rather, the Ordu simultaneously fulfils the role of both Battle Company and Strike Force, and unlike Battle Companies whose losses are replaced, the Ordu naturally diminishes and fragments over time, in keeping with the Storm Sons martial tradition of fluid and adaptive warfare.
If a campaign is successful, intact kill-teams are inducted into another Ordu for a new campaign, allowing battle hardened warriors to pass on their skills to newer bonds with less combat experience. In less desirable circumstances the battle leader, the Uir-Khan, may decide how to allocate its remaining fighting capability, often sending whatever remaining kill-teams or lone operatives are left to bolster other Astra Militarum or Adeptus Mechanicus forces. In the rare instance where two Ordus are below effective fighting strength in the same campaign, a new Ordu may be raised, combining the remnants of the former forces together.
Rule of the Storm Sons falls to the Chapter Master, known by his title of Shah-Khan and his war council. As the vast majority of its ordus operate across the galaxy and are governed independently by its Uir-Khan, Nakaris primarily concerns itself with training new recruits and raising ordus to continually serve the Imperium, seeking counsel through the collected wisdom of the Chapter in the Soulhearth.
- Shah-Khan - A formal title given to the Chapter Master of the Storm Sons, equivalent to a Great Khan. To date there have been six Shah-Khans who have led the Chapter in its two thousand year history.
- Zadyin Arga - Like all of the White Scars and their successors, the Storm Sons employ the talents of the Stormseers, highly disciplined practitioners of the Gifts of Heaven. The Stormseers are seen as the spiritual guides of the Chapter, offering counsel to the Khans and brothers alike, before lending their devastating warp-born talents on the battlefield, serving the roles of both Chaplain and Librarian. On Nakaris, a cadre of Stormseers are responsible for maintaining the chapter's repository of suldes.
- Khan - A title given to any of the Chapter's veterans, their status marked by the appearance of a bleached blonde sulde. A Khan is responsible for training new aspirants and forming bonds, but may also choose to serve in a newly raised ordu. In this instance, the veteran cohort nominates one of their own to lead the ordu, and the remaining Khans oversee the bonds or serve in a Keshig, equivalent to a Sternguard Codex-formation.
- Uir-Khan - Equivalent to a Battle-Captain, the Uir-Khan is chosen by other veterans when a new ordu is formed and rules it along with his war council.
- Emchi - The Chapter's Apothecaries, responsible for the physical well-being of its warriors and maintenance of gene-seed.
- Sitai-Ezen - The forge lords represent the Chapter's Techmarine cadre, responsible for maintaining the Storm Sons' vehicles and other materiel. The forge lords enjoy a cordial relationship with the Adeptus Mechanicus, giving the Storm Sons a propensity to accompany its Explorator fleets at the edge of Imperial space and beyond; sharing technological findings in exchange for a well received Astartes presence.
Chāyā: Path of the ShadowEdit
- "You'll have no companion other than your shadow."
- ― Ancient Utrar idiom
In the natural course of service to the Emperor, bonds diminish as brothers meet death in battle, leaving just a single battle-brother to bring vengeance to the enemies of the Emperor. When this inevitability occurs, the lone warrior undertakes the chāyā - "the path of the shadow" - acting as a one man army. According to the esoteric philosophies of the Khüü Arga, the chāyā is designed to allow battle-brothers to reflect on the importance of kinship in the face of a prolonged solitary existence and forge new ties with the wider Imperium as part of a warrior's spiritual and combat development.
Often this lone operative serves in a scouting role for the ordu, or may find himself in special deployments such as the Deathwatch or other Imperial forces. Chapter tradition states that a chāyā should be no less than forty years Terran standard, a decade for each lost member of the bond, before returning to Nakaris to train aspirants, should they survive their trials and pass on their extensive battle-lore. When a battle-brother embarks upon the chāyā, his sulde is dyed blue to denote his solitary status.
Sagyar Mazan: Bringers of VengeanceEdit
Some Storm Sons give into their baser instincts and lose mastery over their own savagery, driven by a desire for vengeance at the loss of their sworn kin. This is a source of great shame to all the sons of Jaghatai, as it is contrary to the teachings of the Khagan who emphasised the need for the mastery of the self in order to best carry out one's duties. Viewed as outcasts from the chapter, there is only one recourse for those who cross the line: entry into the Sagyar Mazan, a specialised jump-pack enabled assault formation; forming an often suicidal vanguard for Imperial offensives, easily recognised by their blood stained suldes.
Observers have noted the highly visible presence of the Sagyar Mazan gives the Storm Sons at best a reputation for barbarism and brutality, at worst a gene-seed instability. Despite this, the chapter reluctantly allows the Sagyar Mazan to exist so the lost can meet a dignified death in service to the Emperor, and on a more pragmatic note, utilise their sheer destructive power.
Due to the ever diminishing strength of the ordu and its vast operational area, it is impossible to conjecture the full strength of the chapter, though current estimates put the Storm Sons' strength at around 800 warriors. Records of a recent founding provided by the chapter shed a little light into the composition of an ordu, designated 'Ripclaw', roughly the size of a demi-company:
Like most Chapters, the process of recruitment is laborious as the inherent qualities that are required for a recruit to successfully ascend into their ranks are incredibly rare. Whilst the Utrar Khanates possesses a diverse recruitment pool, the real strength of the chapter in keeping with their pragmatic nature is to simply test potential recruits from the entire span of the Imperium. Whilst it isn't known exactly how or why the Storm Sons pick certain candidates, Imperial observers have noted cryo-stasis chambers on board every chapter ship – or mobile variants of – for transportation on other Imperial vessels. Based on these observations, one conclusion is that the Storm Sons operate in a similar way to the Inquisition's very own Black Ships, transporting promising candidates to Nakaris for further assessment.
Derived from the ancient traditions of the White Scars, the Feast of Names is an important ceremony where the aspirants are presented with their suldes and are formally recognised by the Chapter. The Stormseers have judged the hearts and minds of the aspirants and bestow upon them a ward name, so that the denizens of the warp may not learn of a warrior's truename and use it against them.
A ward name is not a deed name like the Wolves of Fenris or self-aggrandising epithets of other Chapters. Traditionally, the ward name chosen by the Stormseers is reflective of an aspirant's character or some other ability they possess, such as Gantulga ('Steel Hearth'), Khiinsitai ('Forgeborn') or Jelserekh ('Windwalker'). Just as an auspicious ward name is thought to bring the Emperor's attention upon its bearer, another curious naming convention exists for new aspirants in the form of an avoidance ward name, designed to further mislead and divert attention of its bearer from the warp. Examples of avoidance names include Nergüi ('No Name'), Enebish ('Not This One') or Terbish ('Not That One').
The ward names of the Storm Sons are only known to themselves, a crude rendering in Low Gothic serves when dealing with others outside the chapter, thus protecting the bearer’s truename through yet another level of abstraction.
The bond is the distillation of the Storm Sons’ combat doctrine, a reflection of the chapter’s operational preference to fight across the entire breadth of the galaxy in even smaller numbers than other chapters, so as to increase the combat effectiveness of every warrior the chapter can spare.
The kill teams of the Storm Sons are compact armies in their own right, emphasising stealth and unorthodox tactics in order to eliminate high priority strategic targets and sow discord as swiftly as possible. In other cases, bonds are also utilised to extinguish the last resistance of enemies defeated by Imperial forces. Unsurprisingly, warriors of the Khuu Arga can be found in service to the Deathwatch across all four Segmentums.
Though nominally led by one of their number as an autonomous unit, inexperienced bonds may be led by a Khan, denoted by the bleached bone colour of his topknot, to increase operational effectiveness by drawing on the veteran warrior’s experience.
A Khan can also serve in an Uir-Khan’s Keshig as a bodyguard, not unlike the Wolfguard of the Space Wolves, or find equally themselves in equally demanding service to one of the chapter’s Stormseers if attached to an Ordu.
- Soulforged (Strike Cruiser)
- Fortress of the Winds (Strike Cruiser)
- The Bladed Sea (Hunter-class Destroyer)
- Swordsong (Hunter-class Destroyer)
- Spear of Nakaris (Hunter-class Destroyer)
Armour & WeaponsEdit
To the casual observer, a Storm Sons Space Marine appears to be the embodiment of brutality; a wrathful daemon sent to punish wrong-doers who stray from the Emperor's light. Some Imperial commanders have even made aesthetic comparisons to the Traitor Legions, though never within ear-shot of any of its warriors. There is conjecture that perhaps the Storm Sons have crafted their savage appearance intentionally, as if to confirm the fears and stereotypes for psychological effect; a knight of the Great Crusade, studded, spiked, wielding savage tulwars and chain-axes to frighten the enemy before the fight has even begun.
The Storm Sons' power armour is bronze. Due to the chemical composition of the various alloys electro-plated to the ceramite, and the age of the armour as it is passed down through the chapter, there appears to be no uniformity in its colour. As such, the armour may range in hue from near black to a deep brown, or even a golden yellow.
There appears to be little in the way of conventional Codex-approved markings save the chapter's stylised lightning sigil on the left pauldron; Khans are commonly identified by their near-white topknot and blackened armour covered in verdigris.
The most congruent and recognisable item on a Storm Son is their chapter badge: a stylised thunderbolt sigil surrounded by a sixteen point corona - a representative map of Sünsitai.