Battlefleet Victorum has guarded the worlds of the Victorum Sector since the time of the Great Crusade. It is the Imperium's shield, the first line of defense against the dangers of the galactic dark. The influence of its high officers spans the sector, from feudal worlds where kings give up their children to the Navy's most menial positions to gilded hive cities where Navigators vie for distant postings that will seal their House’s fate.
Despite its power and wealth, Battlefleet Victorum is hard-pressed to answer the threats now encroaching upon the Victorum Sector. The bulk of its strength was found in escorts and light cruisers, classes much desired to shepherd the vast fleet of tradeships that are the generators of Victorum's wealth. While this mix of ships is well-suited to the warp patrols and pirate hunting operations that typify the Segmentum Tempestus, the losses of The Tyrannic War led Segmentum Command to strip Battlefleet Victorum of many heavier warships and escort squadrons, sending them to sectors whose ships had been lost in the Battle of Macragge. These losses have left the fleet less able to meet recent challenges to its dominance, particularly on the fringes of the sector.
A Brief History
Battlefleet Victorum was once a by-word for honour, tenacity, and skill. But it fell from such lofty heights long ago, and the reputation of its betrayals has haunted it ever since. 'Twas the Age of Apostasy brought this storied establishment low; torn between faith and heresy, power and responsibility, Battlefleet Victorum went to war, first against the adherents and followers of Battlefleet Bakka, then against itself.
The hallowed service sprang from the union of three precursor traditions: The Imperial Navy task force which prosecuted the Seventh Tempestus Crusade, the indigenous naval forces assembled by Saint Castor, and the descendants of the Imperial Army which survived the interregnum that followed the Horus Heresy. In this way, a battle-forged legacy of carrier deployment and commerce raiding would form the nucleus of the tactical and strategic thinking of Battlefleet Victorum.
Like many sectors of the Segmentum Tempestus, Battlefleet Victorum's primary foes were not enemy battlefleets but pirates and raiders. Suppressing piracy, escorting convoys, and strengthening the grasp of the Imperium upon the sector would be the primary challenges faced by the fleet in its early days. Shaped by the experiences of crusading against ramshackle void fleets and hunting down lone marauders, the strategies and theories developed thereby were broadly indicative, though unique in detail, of the evolving corpus of Segmentum Tempestus naval strategy. This collection of theories would eventually be dubbed the "Insular School," for it was invariably championed by officers whose primary experiences were limited to the Segmentum Tempestus. In time, the sector naval base of Gareox would emerge as the locus of the Insular's School's political and material influence, blessed by its proximity to the Segmentum Solar and Holy Terra.
Though sidelined by their lack of influence in the Terran court, Victorum remained a powerful voice for the Insular School within the Segmentum itself. Far-ranging squadrons led spearheads for Rogue Trader expeditions, while ingenious captains won fame and acclaim throughout the stars for their skill in ship-to-ship duels against xenos raiders of the outer dark. The ideas and principles maintained by the fleet became a subject of study and admiration among Imperial tacticians.
The Reign of Blood
During the disastrous reign of Goge Vandire, the Segmentum Tempestus was thrown into multiple concurrent civil wars, all of which touched the Victorum Sector and Battlefleet Victorum in particular.
Fleet of Hulks
|Aliases||The Black Doe, Seedsplitter, The Plaguemother|
|Alignment||True Neutral (Neutral Evil tendencies)|
|Divine Rank||Lesser Goddess|
|Portfolio||Diseases, Poison, Cairys Swamp|
|Domains||Blightbringer, Healing, Pestilence|
|Home Plane||Prime Material Plane|
|Worshippers||The sick, swampdwellers, healers|
|Favoured Weapon||Dagger (Plague's Touch)|
Like any organization in the Imperium, Battlefleet Victorum has its share of factions and infighting. Whether they seek fame, fortune, or freedom, each faction represents both an opportunity for rich patronage and dangerous censure.
|The Noble Chancers|
When every morning brought a noble chance
And every chance brought out a noble knight
Part social club, part dueling society, the Noble Chancers see it as their purpose to promote brotherhood and foster frank discussion amongst the leading officers of the battlefleet. Highly selective in their membership, and discerning in their tastes regarding food, wine, and company, they have striven mightily to remain aloof from naval politics since their founding nearly 8,000 years ago. That is not to say they don't know how to play the game. Many of its members are also supporters of one faction or another, and talk of sector politics, politely divorced from battlefleet politics, is a common theme of discussion around the feasting table. However, no brother officer would risk the convivial fraternity of The Noble Chancers for short-sighted gains; such a person would not have been invited in the first place.
Originally established by the surviving captains of Saint Castor's crusade, the Noble Chancers are an officer's club of high repute, a support organization for retirees, and an informal body for the sponsorship of promising young officers.
A pillar of tradition and orthodoxy, the Rosellan Optimates are a viper's nest of ambitious admirals, prideful princelings, and resentful would-be revolutionaries steeped in the suppressed lore of the Gareox Prerogative.
If any officer wants to get anywhere in Battlefleet Victorum, they must be on the good side of the Rosellan Optimates. Far from an informal grouping of like-minded officers, and nothing like a fraternal society, the Rosellan Optimates are full-fledged ideological party within the structure of the Imperial Navy, with rank and structure to match. Sprouting from the philosophical union of Victorum naval officers and Imperial tacticians, the Rosellan Optimates grew to fill a long-standing void left by the fall of the Garox Prerogative.
|The Spinward Society|
Spinward Societies were originally social clubs that brought together naval officers, Rogue Traders, and Chartist captains. In time, they came to personify a school of thought found most prominently among graduates of the Poseidon Naval Academy. Shaped by the history and experiences of the Poseidon Run, the Anchorites are notable for their emphasis on the importance of logistical preparations and maintaining void-ward vigilance that borders on paranoia.
Much of the focus of the Anchorites is devoted to expanding its influence with the Departmento Munitorum, the better to complete their far-ranging plans for deep-space void stations, squadrons of long-range escorts, and colonization of promising frontier worlds. This has naturally brought them into competition with the Rosellan Optimates, who remain fixated on the tactical and strategic teachings of the suppressed Gareox Prerogative.
|The Right and Valorous Crusaders|
Now-defunct, this small band of reform-minded officers were allies of the Rostrum Conclave, a body of Inquisitors associated with the Recongregator doctrine. They were key players in Qatasoum's War and were slain with their warships and crews.
A combative and active faction, the Right and Valorous Crusaders considered themselves the future of Battlefleet Victorum. They would be a shining torch guiding the young officers of Avalonus to a new era, an era of far-flung crusades conquering the untouched stars of the distant void by the power and authority of their planet-killing guns. Born of a mix of disgust towards the intrigues of the Rosellan Optimates and resentment at the second-class position of Battlefleet Victorum within the segmentum naval hierarchy, the Valorites distinguished themselves in facing and conquering challenges to the fleet's supremacy in the sector: pirate fleets operating out of the Wolf's Head, Eldar corsairs raiding the Castor Stem, and, most famously, destroying a pair of Fra'al battlecruisers. This last triumph forged a bond between the Valorites and certain Inquisitors, as ambitious and reform-minded as they. It was a bond that would lead to their downfall.