|Broken Aquila / First Claw / Warband of the Exalted|
|Warband Leader||The Exalted, Talos Valcoran, Decimus|
|Base of Operations||Unknown|
|Strength||3 marines of the original warband ; potentially command of many more|
The Warband of the Broken Aquila, formerly the Night Lords 10th Company, is a warband of Chaos Space Marines, of the Night Lords Legion if we still had to point that out. They're the guys you see in Aaron Dembski-Bowden's Night Lords trilogy.
It was known as the Warband of the Exalted when it was headed by the Exalted/Vandred. Its name was changed informally to the Warband of the Broken Aquila when Talos took over, because his breastplate has an Aquila that was broken with a hammer to signify that they piss on their old ties to the Imperium. It was originally inspired when Talos took a bolt shell to the chest on Isstvan and his friend Cyrion said it looked good.
The warband is a comparitive new-comer to the 41st Millenium, being displaced in the warp from some point after the flight from Tsagualsa to a couple of centuries before the events of the books (ADB admited that the timings he described in the first and second books didn't quite make sense and added an errata to the third book). As a result, the Warband more closely resembles a Heresy era company than a 40k era Chaos Warband.
- Talos: The leader of First Claw and former apothecary. His main schtick is that he has part of the Night Haunter's precognition, which is occasionally useful, but is also breaking his body down. Is oddly principled for a traitor marine and spends a lot of his time looking for some purpose other than just terror murdering. He also makes a point of looking after his serfs well, provided they do what he tells them. A notable part of his character is that he isn't the most powerful or even the best fighter ; instead he's the best at keeping a cohesive squad together and focused, which considering how dysfunctional the Night Lords are is saying something. He's also notable for being the one who hunted down and killed Curze's assassin, although she got away with the relics first. Dies alongside most of the squad while taking down Jain Zar herself, although given that she's a Phoenix Lord she'll be back at some point in the future. It's never made clear exactly how his prophetic powers work - he's not described as a psyker or even psychically sensitive in any meaningful way and he differentiates his abilities from the farseeing of warp sorceres as being "pure". Then again, Curze's abilities were described as psychic in the Heresy novels, and Talos's abilities are inferred to be a genetic inheritance. Possibly due to this, he was one of the very few Night Lords that Curze genuinely liked (or at least didn't actively despise).
- Xarl: The beatstick of First Claw. Talos's childhood friend (less so now) and regarded as the best fighter in the company. He's used as a threat by Talos to make anyone trying to edge for command by murdering their superiors. Apart from being an abrasive snarker, there isn't a lot else to say about him. Dies after headbutting a loyalist marine champion to death through his HELMET - Xarl wasn't wearing one. Badass to the end.
- Cyrion: The snarky, witty one. The closest thing to a friend Talos has and would appear to the be most normal of the claw. Unknown to everyone, he has a Slaaneshi curse that lets him sense the fear of everyone around him. This would normally be considered an absolute chaos-godsend for a Night Lord but has the rather drastic drawback of not being able to turn it off and being horribly addictive, forcing him to go on secret serial-killing spree's of the ships crew. Luckily for Cyrion, he has an eminently suitable patsy in...
- Uzas: The one no likes but keeps around because he's useful. The most obviously corrupted member of the squad, openly worshipping Khorne and going into berserker furies. Whilst he usually targets crew serfs, he occasionally attacks his fellow Night Lords. Even Xarl has problems keeping him at bay during his rages. He's put on execution notice by Talos for his various transgression, though the sad part is that it's not entirely his fault - he doesn't remember anything he does when he loses control and Cyrion keeps getting him to take the fall for his own murder sprees. He's more than a bit tetchy when he finds out the truth. Towards the end, he starts taking skulls in Talos' name and First Claw instead of for Khorne, signifying... something.
- Mercutian: The closest thing to a normal member of the squad, being First Claw's heavy weapons guy. Not originally a member of 1st Claw (Talos' squad), he is adopted during the events of the first book. Unlike the others, who were typical gangsters on Nostromo, Mercutian was a spire-born aristo, something the others don't let him forget. Is a believer in the in-universe fan theory that Sevetar is still alive in the present, which given he was unaccounted for by the end of the Heresy, might have some credence.
- Variel: A Red Corsair who joins the Night Lords because they're more his style (and the Red Corsairs are pricks). Former Apothecary Secundus, neat-freak, and medic/torturer extraordinaire. Nicknamed "the Flayer" because he likes skinning peoples' faces and wearing them on his armor. Comes across as borderline autistic('borderline'? seriously? he's just the most autistic of all ADB's autistic characters, I mean he literally describes the Night Lords as 'staring in autistic silence'. Hell, Talos is non verbal at school.- sincerely, A. N. Autist); hates being touched and incapable of picking up on relevant social cues. Despite this, he and Talos have a bond of loyalty based on principle rather than friendship. Is the only member of the squad to survive the events of the books. After Talos dies, he takes his geneseed and pursues Octavia and Septimus through the stars, to recruit their child to the Legion. Considering the existence of Decimus, it seems he was successful.
- Lucoryphus: The leader of the Bleeding Eyes raptor cult (which his in fact do, somehow through his helmet) and all round creepy bastard. Is sufficiently mutated that he finds walking on all fours easier. Is also decaying alive under his armor, and eats people to keep it under control. Has no sense of personal space and gives off the impression of being ready to betray his commander at a moment's notice. He doesn't, however - in fact, he remains absolutely loyal to everyone of his commanders. He's not a great leader himself as he gets most of his cult killed by taking on a group of Salamander terminators in the cramped confines of a space hulk but makes up for it by having lightning claws for feet and realising that an overcharged melta gun is a very effective tool for dungeon bypassing.
- Ruven: The one EVERYONE doesn't like, not just the Night Lords. Former librarian, sorcerer, and all-round prick. Ditches the Night Lords to join the Black Legion but is quickly ditched by them when his plans don't work. Joins the Red Corsairs but fucks up again, and is chained up in a room with no food or water and really powerful spotlights shining in his eyes, which is a very effective method of torturing a Night Lord. Is allowed to rejoin the warband for probably the most elaborately stupid heist to steal a strike cruiser back (by attacking a loyalist fortress monastery as a distraction). Is so unpopular that two baseline humans, a navigator, and a blind mutant with a sawn-off basically tell him to fuck off and succeed. Stupidly decides that betraying the only people who took him back in was a good idea, but Talos was sensible enough to cut him in half before he could even try. Continues to haunt Talos after his death...somehow.
- Malcharion: The War-Sage and former Captain of the 10th company before he was interred in a Dreadnought. Due to the difficulty of reactivating him, he was left in the care of 10th Company's resident tech priest, who mostly just let him sleep. Was reawakened on Talos' orders when a leadership dispute threatened what little cohesion the Warband of the Exalted had. His first action was to turn an assault terminator who had been sent to stop his awakening into Swiss cheese with his autocannon. Can be described as Talos' cool grandpa. Was "killed" again taking down the Blood Angel's equivalent of Bjorn the Fell-Handed... for the second time, the two of them having first dueled as regular Astartes during the Siege of Terra. Unknown to the rest of the crew, his casket was saved and he was reactivated for the events of Void Stalker. Takes down a large number of Ulthwe Eldar in the crypts of Tsagualsa whereafter he falls asleep for the last time.
- Vandred/The Exalted: Leader of the warband before Talos took over. Is in the slow process of possession by a Tzeentch demon, who keeps Vandred's soul bottled down. Is a genius at naval warfare but only whilst it can draw on Vandred's memories - it starts panicking when it can't do this. It has a love/hate relationship with Talos, seeing him as a threat to its authority but acknowledging his influence and precognitive gifts. Vandred's soul plays a veeery long game of patience with it, saving enough willpower over the centuries to take control back at the right moment, save the rest of the warband, and then relinquishing control back so the demon would be destroyed in his body.
- Septimus/Coreth: A human serf of Talos, the 7th if the name wasn't a giveaway. A former Imperial shuttle pilot, he became Talos' artificer after being captured on a raid, which makes him rather invaluable to the crew in general. Loyal to 10th company rather than Chaos or traitor forces in general. Also survives the events of the series, with a slim vestige of a happy ending (WHAT?! IN MY 40k!).
- Octavia/Eurydice Mervallion: Talos' 8th serf and a Navigator. Quite young and unmutated for a member of the Nobilite (explained by her family being a weak one genetically and not very powerful on Earth). Got snatched from a 4th-rate rogue trader and suddenly became the Navigator of an Astartes warship. Reality ensues when her inexperience and lack of power make this a very difficult job to perform. Gets knocked up by Septimus, earning the latter a pretty big beating from Talos when he hears her fetus' heartbeat. Has an odd relationship with Talos, hating his guts for enslaving her and betraying the Imperium but kind of resigned to it. Also escapes the end of the books with a potentially happy ending.
- Nonus: Talos's 9th serf, taken on a raid on a munitions station. Technically adept but really really horrified by all the things he sees during his short time with the Night Lords. Is killed protecting Octavia by a deamonically possessed Red Corsair, although he got a few shots off first.
- Deltrian: The Tech-Priest assigned to 10th Company and the Warband(s). Looks like a taller, thinner version of a terminator in a robe (the metal skeleton, not the armor), partly as a move to inspire the same kind of fear his masters have. Creates a stealth device by broadcasting the tortured screams of a Warhound princeps and converting it into a jamming signal. The other Night Lords were impressed by this practical application of their usual MO. Also survives the events of the books.
- Decimus: He is the guy that appears in the epilogue of Void Stalker, and being mentored by Variel and Lucoryphus. Implied to be the son of Septimus and Octavia, which might explain his name (or as a refernce to the 10th Company he owes much of his image to). When the Night Lord warbands ask him who he is and why he is standing in Talos's place; he says: "My name is Decimus. I am the prophet of VIIIth Legion." Pure badassery. His geneseed originally belonged to Talos, and he wears different parts of First Claw's armour. Unlike Talos, his prophetic powers don't seem to be breaking his body down and he's able to use them without going into fits and fugues. If he is Octavia’s child then his Navigator lineage would make this reasonable.