|Battle Cry||The hunt is on!|
|Primarch||Balthasar Bornhold, known as Balthasar the Bloody|
|Specialty||Total planetary extermination, expert hunters|
This page is a work in progress, part of the Imperium Asunder project, a fan remake of the warhammer 40 000 history.
" I will chase you across the stars, my brother. There is no deep void where you can hide, and no fortified planet can save you. I will grind your empire to dust beneath my feet and set my hounds upon them in the streets of a thousand worlds. "
Balthasar the Bloody at the conjunction of Octarius
The Bloodhounds were the huntsmen of the Imperium. The Bloodhounds scoured the planets they invaded, hunting and killing everything they found. Worlds conquered by the Bloodhounds are burning wreckages where little survives. They prefer to fight up close with the enemy, tearing them limb from limb with their chain blades and feeding the pieces to their hunting dogs.
Summary of Legion I
Numeration: The Ist Legion
Primogenator: Balthasar Bornhold
Cognomen (Prior): The Bloodguard
Observed Strategic Tendencies: Close combat specialists, mass disorganized assaults with relentless force.
Noteworthy Domains: Chaos Marches
The Feudal world of Karach had a culture and technology level akin to that of Early-Modern period Britannia on old Terra. The aristocracy of the planet ruled with extreme decadence, allowing their peasantry to live in abject poverty while they themselves lived in beautiful estates and ate luxurious imports from the southern continents. The Aristocracy spent their time primarily with sport, particularly the sport of hunting. While most merely hunted the harmless but clever groundmink or the endearingly stupid Karntalope, the proud and the mighty hunted the great beasts of the south.
When the powers of chaos stole Balthasar from the Emperor of Mankind, his long journey through the warp came to an end on Karach. His small pod crashed into the estates of Lord Bornhold, most powerful of the aristocratic lords. Lord Bornhold, lacking a male heir, secretly claimed Balthasar as his own kin, grooming him for command and luxury. Balthasar quickly took to the hunting sports of his father, and became renowned among his peers as the greatest huntsman on the planet. Often on his expeditions on the southern continent, even his native guides would balk at his deep journeys into the jungle, and his tendency to use melee weapons rather than safer firearms or traps. Other Aristocrats alternately called Balthasar Bornhold brave, insane, terrifying, and dangerous. However, even his greatest detractors found him to be a jolly, friendly man whom it was exceedingly difficult to hate. In truth, Balthasar was an inherently violent man with an terrible bloodlust. Only through his hunts was he able to sate his dark desires, desires he was deeply ashamed of.
One day, as he traveled back to his father's estate from an afternoon's hunt in the woodlands, Balthasar came upon one of the peasant villages which owed fealty to his father. He had never visited such villages before, having been taught that peasants were dirty, feral, and barely human. On the contrary, he found the peasants to be welcoming and friendly, though he could see the exhaustion and fear hidden in their eyes. Over the next few weeks he met with the peasants in secret, and they told him many things which his father had kept from him. Coming to consider the peasants a truly noble underclass, it did not take long for Balthasar to see the oppression and injustice of aristocratic rule. Balthasar trained the peasants in the ways of war, and lead them in revolution against his father to seize the means of production. Originally planning to kill as little as nessecary, the revolution quickly reached a tipping point. Hunting parties scoured the cities, pulling pampered women and pompous men from their homes and killing them in the streets. The peasants even took scalps and pelts from their former overlords, wearing them as trophies. The revolution began eating itself the moment Balthasar gave the commoners power and he realized that in the end everyone simply wanted the oppurtunity to spill blood. Because of this, Balthasar realized that cruelty and violence are the only thing universal. Relieved to know he was not the only one to possess this bloodlust, he only became happier. He knew he was not alone. Eventually Balthasar killed his false father himself, skinning him alive.
The Emperor came to Karach soon afterword. The Emperor came under the guise of an envoy, offering to welcome Karach into Imperial compliance peacefully. Having just thrown off bourgeois oppression the people of Karach were hesitant. Balthasar's keen mind, however, saw to the truth of things: his people could never defeat the soldiers of the Emperor. He proposed a contest of skill. Balthasar and the Emperor would hunt the southern jungles for Jumaal, a shadowbeast which had eluded Balthasar all his life. For five weeks, the Emperor and Balthasar scoured the jungle for tracks, scents, and trailsigns. Finally, Balthasar found Jumaal in the highlands at the center of the continent. Jumaal was a catbeast with a pelt of dagger-like black quills, each one capable of spearing a man to death. Balthasar wrestled with the beast for ten days, until the Emperor came upon them. Seeing that his son was slowly losing to the beast's poison, the Emperor stepped in and struck down Jumaal. Balthasar was grateful, and the Emperor chose that moment to reveal to his son the truth of his nature and origins. A cloak was made from the quills of Jubaal, and the Primarch wears it even to this day.
Balthasar's revolution had thrown the nations of Karach into disarray. By the time of the Emperor's arrival, he was attempting to maintain some semblance of control over the proletariat uprising. By this time, he was cracking down with the same bloody measures used by the aristocrats before and the violence seemed never ending. After swearing fealty to his father, Balthasar was brought to Terra to be taught the ways of the Imperium. The first legion, now renamed the Bloodhounds, forcefully brought the Pax Imperialis to Karach.
The Bloodhounds make great use of melee infantry with high mobility. Jump packs, bikes, and occasionally even cavalry. Most fearsome of all are their land raider mechanized berserker units. Together these units can form powerful convoys of death, with columns of land raiders supported by faster units and scouts.
Bloodhounds hunt in packs, and men advance in station by earning battle trophies. A trophy of battle must be confirmed by one of the Primarch's own warpack, who are typically theatre commanders. The worth of a trophy matters far more than the number, but the Bloodhounds do not hunt the largest monsters as the Negators do. The Bloodhounds seek prey of galactic significance. They seek to shape the universe through blood.
At the height of the great crusade, the Bloodhounds Legion consisted of 16 great companies, each lead by a captain, and the first lead by Great-Captain Cullen Blackburn, who was Master of the Legion in the years before Balthasar's discovery.
Before the discovery of Balthasar the Bornhold, Legio I were loud, boisterous, and often even jolly. They organized themselves in warrior lodges, where each man was free to drink and be merry with his brothers. Balthasar and his Karachian culture brought regimented order to the legion.
Fresh from the purgation of the Warp Raiders, the Bloodhounds set a trap for the Void Lords on the Ork world of Octarius. After that ambush, the Bloodhounds harry the Void Lords all the way east to the territory of the Angels of Light.
The Great Hunt
Conjunction at Octarius
Captain Gaspar Armistead stood on the embarcation deck of the Executioner, flagship of the 46th expeditionary fleet, and personal vessel to Balthasar the Bloody. The Gloriana class ship floated elegantly in high anchor above the planet 46-8. 46 because of the fleet which discovered it, and 8 because it was the 8th world discovered by that fleet. Armistead's men had taken to calling the planet Octarius, and now that the Remembrancers had heard it, the name was likely to stick. Armistead himself stood on a gantry overlooking the rows of Thunderhawk dropships filling the deck. His armor was the deep red of wet blood. Speckles of dried blood, deliberately left uncleaned, made a camoflage pattern across the red plate. He wore no helm, instead favoring a black cloak and tabard over his armor, with a hood drawn over his head. On his equipment belt were two blades, one crimson, and one black. The crimson blade was a sawtoothed beast, with a three feet long chainblade which could tear an Ork apart in seconds. The black blade, in contrast, was a simple thing. Its blade apparently of knapped flint, and its hilt of unpolished gold. It did not seem a dangerous thing, but in truth it was by far the more deadly weapon.
Armistead came to this gantry every time a ship launched, or near enough. He liked to marvel at the sheer audacity of it all. Their ship, and thousands of support vessels, had been parked above 46-8 for six years, and showed no signs of leaving. The planet below was an unending mountain range, with each peak climbing higher than the last. In the steep valleys between the mountains, however, lived billions of brutal Ork xenos, green monstrosities the size of an Astartes with an insane lust for war. In that way, Armistead supposed, the Bloodhounds and the Orks were alike. Thunderbirds deployed down to the surface of the world in squadrons, dropping off companies of marines on their three week hunting expeditions. When they returned, they would bring back trophies of the hunt: Ork teeth strung along wires, weapons of the enemy, and even, if the marine were boastful enough, the decapitated heads of the foe. Armistead had seen and liberated dozens of worlds which the foul greenskins had torn asunder, terrorizing the human populace for centuries. But here, on this crinkled ball of a world, the Bloodhounds hunted them for sport.
The voxcasters lining the walls of the deck crackled to life, jostling Captain Armistead out of his ruminations. The mechanical voices of a thousand speakers all spoke in unison, "A fleet has entered the system. All hands, all hands, a fleet has entered the system. Await orders as the fleet enters auspex range." The marines below stood in bemusement, unsure if they should continue boarding. The Captain, however, acted with knife-like certainty. "Disembark and muster on decks. Whether they are friend or foe, they will board us, and we must be prepared for it. Gear-check all chainswords and get your breacher shields." A holo-display on Armistead's eyepiece informed him he was summoned to the bridge. "I am summoned to the Hunting Lodge, brothers, see to your orders."
The Captain climbed up the many passageways of the ship to it's command center, the Hunting Lodge. It was a massive circular chamber with a hololithic windowed dome, through which one could see the surface of 46-8. On the walls of the chamber were arrayed thousands of trophies of war. Rows of ork heads, monstrous talons of the megarachnids, and countless trophies of the myriad beasts of a thousand worlds. Arranged against the many taxedermied trophies hung thousands of weapons taken from the many worlds who had surrendered before the might of Balthasar's Bloodhounds. In the center of the chamber stood seven Astartes, armored like Armistead. They were his brother captains of the Warpack, highest and greatest officers of the First Legion. Each of Armistead's brothers were armed as he was, with crimson chainsword and black flint blade. Two among their number weren't present, fighting with the Primarch on the planet's surface.
Forming two concentric circles around the captains were navigation consoles, data readouts, and auspex stations. In the inner circle sat Commodore Frost and his command crew, in the outer circle sat support staff and auspex readers. All of their stations were set deep into the ground so that no one's view of their Lord's trophies would be occluded. Occasionally Servitor Helots would skitter into the chamber, report to one of the staffers, deliver or receive some message, and then scamper back out again. The Lodge had always made Armistead think of a massive ampitheatre, except the audience was facing the wrong way.
Gaspar turned to his brother captains and spoke, "Have we identified the fleet yet, comrades?" Captain Abrams gave a gruff shake of the head, his rough black drakespelt gyrating from the movement. Abrams spoke in reply, "The Warmaster could have sent anyone, brother. They have only just made translation to realspace."
Gaspar watched as the hololithic displays began to render their long range scans. "That can't be right..." Gaspar said, his eyes memorizing every detail. If the scale of the display was correct, the ship entering the system was absolutely massive. On Terra Gaspar had once seen REDACTED's warship, The All-Seeing-Eye, hang like a jealous brother next to the moon. That vessel had been more space station than ship, and even it would be dwarfed in comparison to the Space Hulk entering the system.
One of the servitors in the outer ring begane to tone ident codes for all to hear, "Expeditionary designation 666, command designation Legio VIII, Cognomen Void Lords." Captain Wyght's hackles rose, his slate grey eyes widening in anticipation, "The Void Lords are cunning warriors, the Warmaster has blessed us!" Captain Gaspar grinned in reply, "Yes, comrades, together we will purge these greenskins with the terrors of the void." Something about what Gaspar had said unsettled his brother captains, a visible awkwardness spreading among them. Before Gaspar could inquire, he heard the Hunting Lodge's portcullis blast doors begin to open.
Through the great bronze doorway came Balthasar Bornhold, Primarch of the Bloodhounds. Every inch of the primarch's skin was covered in a thick red mane of fur, ranging from the bright red of a hot brand, to the dull brown of dried blood. He wore bronze banded armor, twisted with iconography of screaming faces, snarling hounds, and dark riders. His vambraces and gauntlets were matte black ceramite, gouged with a thousand scrapes. His right gauntlet ended in a power talon, fueled by glowing red power cables like arteries. In his left hand he bore a long bastard's sword made of black flint. Shards had been visibly broken from the blade, turning it into a cruel, jagged thing.
Flanking the Red Lord were General Captain Cullen, Master of the Legion, and Lord Overseer Lazaar, the Mouth of the Warmaster. Captain Cullen's armor was bright and ostentatious, decorated with rubies. Overseer Lazaar wore no visible armor, covering himself with an oily black cowl. The black robes seemed to drip and flow like resinous pitch, and underneath Lazaar's cowl floated two bronze stars and a bright white smile like a crescent moon.
Balthasar and his retinue approached the command platform. As they reached the center, the Primarch spoke to his captains, "Brothers in blood, the hunt begins in earnest. My brother Graha'nak has come at the Warmaster's call, and the butcher's bill is due. Come dawn, this world must run red with blood." Gaspar and his brother-captains knelt, and Captain Cullen approached them. He handed each man a soft vellum scroll with a name etched in blood. The name was written in the harsh runes of Karach, made with a stylus and inked with blood drawn directly from a source. Each captain took his scroll and drew his athame blade, etching the runes into the surface of the black flint swords. As they did this, they recited the names on the scrolls. General Captain Cullen spoke once more, "Each of you has your quarry, let not the blades be sheathed until their thirst is quenched."
As the ritual ended, Overseer Lazaar stepped forward. The man reached up and pulled back his cowl, revealing his coal-black face. "I am the mouth of the Warmaster, I speak with his voice to the many forces of the perpetual crusade. Let it be known among all present that this conjunction at Octarius is to be the commencement of a great crusade across the segmentum. Our enemies are cunning, beasts of great guile and terror. Do not fear, for the Warmaster's eyes are upon you, and his Mouth shall sing your battle chants." At that, Balthasar stirred. He rose like a great red behemoth, and went to the trophy racks of the hunting lodge. From the wall he pulled a great brass horn, like the trummets of old Terra. He approached the hololothic display, gazed upon the miniature space hulk, and blew on the horn. "LET THE HUNT BEGIN. WE SHALL SHOW OUR BROTHERS THE MEANING OF TERROR."
Gaspar and his men sat in their thunderhawk dropship as it rumbled through the high atmosphere. Each man was locked into place with his jump pack secured behind him. Mechanicus helots blessed the machine spirits of their equipment, but Gaspar turned them away when they reached for his Athame. As they began to aerobrake, the ship rumbled about, and the serivors locked themselves into place. Abruptly the ship turned, and the deployment bay doors swung open. Gaspar and his men lept out of the bay and engaged their jump packs, their jets easing their descent to the surface.
Below sat a rusted Ork fortress, nested around the peak of granite dome. The greenskins turned their dakkacannons upward, but Gaspar and his pack descended with boarding shields drawn. The Bloodhounds crashed down and engaged the orks blade to blade. The brutish fiends were no match for the well trained bloodhounds, and soon their dark red blood was staining the grey granite.
Gaspar's hair began to prickle, and he could smell ozone and burnt brimstone. A loud thunderclap echoed across the mountains, and from nowhere appeared the Void Lords. Teleporting among the orks, the beasts of the Void began wreaking havoc among the greenskins. Gaspar and his men lept in to join their brothers, fighting through to join their comrades. The Void Lords' armor was a deep midnight blue, with red totemic ornaments. The Void Lords' Ceramite armor was wet with warp residue from their teleportation, giving it an organic appearance. Gaspar landed a jump next to one of the Void Lords, crushing an ork slugga with his boots. "I am Gaspar Armistead, Third great captain of the Bloodhounds, who do I fight beside?"
The Void Lord did not speak. It stood in a low stance, with a hulking chainfist in one hand and a pounding storm bolter in the other. He rammed his chanfist into the ramshackle wall of one of the Ork structures, and swung his arm to cut a hole. He then turned his storm holter toward the hole and opened fire. Pulpy smacks and cracks could be heard within as orks were blown to bits. Turning from the wreckage, the Void Lord regarded Gaspar, and finally spoke, "I am Voidseeker Vark'ash, here to scourge Octarius. These Orks must learn to fear the beasts who come from the void.
At Gaspar's side, his athame began to humm. The runes etched into its blade began to resonate, and the next thing he knew, the blade was in his hand. His shield lay on the scorched floor below him, and in his other hand he held the chainsword. He felt a rhythmic pulse from the athame blade, like a beating war drum. "KILL!" the drumbeat shouted, "MAIM! BURN!" Gaspar Armisted turned to Vark'ash. The drum beat faster and the voice spoke louder. "BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!" shouted the Bloodcaptain, as he jammed the blade into the Voidseeker's heart.
The Bloodhounds turned on the other void lords in ambush, their chainswords tearing through ceramite. Captain Armistead had his men gather the corpses of the Void Lords, cutting them out of their armor. They were gathered in a great heap of flesh, with Voidseeker Vark'ash crucified above them. Gaspar stood atop the corpses, and with his athame blade he drew blood from the beating heart of Vark'ash. The blood ran down the blade, trickling onto Gaspar's black gauntlets and staining them red.
The heap of corpses began to churn, and the bodies twisted into new forms. Great bronze horns grew from their skulls and elbows. Their flesh had been flayed off by the bloodhounds, and their bare muscle burned with unholy cinders. Their heads became elongated like wolves, and from their muscular flesh grew black poison quills. Their eyes burned, revealing a malicious intent toward all life. The daemonspawned beasts walked on all fours, loping about in great bounds.
Suddenly, explosions rocked a nearby peak, drawing the eyes of Gaspar's men and their hellhounds. On a nearby spire they could see a Void Lords party being ambushed by another bloodhound dropship. "BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!" chanted Captain Armistead, "SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!" He and his men engaged their jump packs, flying toward the spire. Their daemonhounds leapt along on wings of flame.