|Battle Cry||"For Hearth and Home!"|
|Successors of||Imperial Fists, distant descendant|
|Chapter Master||Ignatius McFaber|
|Colours||Brown and Tan|
The Conservators are a /tg/ custom chapter, based around the concept of a chapter of Astartes who must make do with the bare minimum of supplies, in a technologically primitive area of space. Humble and proud at the same time, the Conservators are the badly equipped defenders of a series of Agriworlds on the edge of Imperial space, making up for their cobbled together arsenal with a peerless dedication to the well being of the common man, willing to do anything to protect the average people of the Imperium, even if they must engage in practices other chapters would deem disgraceful.
Relevant threads can be found here: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Conservators
Also, they now have a codex that is a bit of a work in progress:http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Codex_-_Conservators
- 1 Origins, and fall from grace
- 2 The hard times
- 3 The time of rebuilding
- 4 Relations with the wider Imperium
- 5 Aid from the stars
- 6 Relations with House Mackyntire
- 7 Present state of affairs
- 8 Chapter Customs
- 9 Scavenger Marines
- 10 The Remembrance
- 11 Deeds of Legend
- 12 Chapter Relics
- 13 Force Organization
- 14 Chapter Allies
- 15 Writefaggotry
- 16 Gallery
Origins, and fall from grace
The Conservators began as part of a wide ranging plan to bring a number of worlds, known as the Asharn March, into the wider Imperium. The worlds of the March were loyal and obedient agriworlds with a roughly medieval technology level. While they understood a little about the Imperium as a whole, they just knew that they were the subjects of a greater kingdom. This kingdom taxed a portion of their crops, and nothing more. An ambitious plan was underway, however, to bring the worlds of the Asharn March into the Imperium proper, uplifting the tech levels of the worlds in question to produce more helpful tithes of men and material than corn and grain. This plan included the upgrading of a Mechanicum held world called Chiron IV to a true forge world, the establishment of trained PDF forces, and lastly the founding of a new Astartes chapter to act as the cornerstone of the March's defenses.
Created in the 20th founding, the Conservators' birth was a little rocky from the beginning. Created hastily, the force was initially equipped with arms and armor cast off from other chapters. The primary armor worn was the Mk VI Corvus pattern armor. These suits were mostly donated by various other chapters who had since replaced the suits with newer Aquila pattern armors. From the beginning the Conservators were built from the cast offs of a dozen other chapters. However they were Space Marines, and their armor was fine and sturdy, and nothing else mattered. The chapter was formed, and mobilized to the Asharn March to begin overseeing the construction of their fortress monastery. But the foundation had barely been laid when the first signs of disaster were seen.
The Asharn March, normally one of the more peaceful areas of the nearby Imperium, was torn asunder by the terrible fury of an Ork Waaagh!! Unprepared for such an attack so early into their deployment, the Conservators nonetheless rushed to defend the people of the Asharn March from the fury of the greenskin horde. Fighting valiantly, even when lacking in armored support, the Marines were able to hold the enemy at bay while a full task force of Imperial Guard were deployed to aid them. However, before the needed reinforcements came, the Conservators were faced with a terrible choice. They could defend the helpless agriworlds of the March, who's weapons were restricted to swords and bows, or they could divert forces to defend the forge world Chiron IV, securing their source of supplies but sacrificing several planets to the greenskins. The first Chapter Master of the Conservators then made a choice that would forever shape the future of his chapter.
Chiron IV was left to fight on its own while the Astartes defended the helpless farmers, saving as many lives as they could. While the Skitarii fought with bravery and skill, the full might of the Ork host was focused upon their one world. By the time the Conservators had cleared the agriworlds of greenskins and dispatched a force to aid the Mechanicus, the damage had been done. The forge world was a wasted wreck with most of its population slaughtered. However the Skitarii had dealt terrible damage to the xenos horde, and the vengeful marines slaughtered the weakened Orks in vast numbers, ending their threat to the March for the foreseeable future.
In the aftermath of the Waaagh, the plan to recolonize the March was abandoned, all support pulled out. While it would have been comparatively easy to uplift a number of thriving low tech worlds, those planets had now been burned by the Orks, and the forge world meant to supply them with advanced machinery lay in ruins. The Mechanicum in particular was irate over the loss of Chiron IV, losing such a facility after having just poured so much manpower and resources into upgrading it. All support from the Imperium proper was pulled out, leaving the medieval farmers to lick their wounds and regrow their crops on their own. At least, that was the plan.
The Conservators refused to abandon their mission of improving the worlds of the Asharn March, and chose instead to stay and continue to defend the otherwise helpless farmers who called the March home. They did this fully knowing the consequences of their actions, to be cut off and isolated from any proper support for the foreseeable future. The Mechanicum, seeing them as incompetent rookies directly responsible for the loss of a forge world, refused any form of aid towards the newborn chapter. The Conservators would receive no power armor, no weapons, no vehicles, no supplies. The Magos responsible for the embargo was explicitly clear, not so much as a single bolter round was to be delivered to the Conservators. If the marines had judged the lives of their fellow techpriests unimportant, then they would be treated in kind.
The hard times
Never fully equipped in the first place, the Conservators were now faced with a grim prospect, defending the worlds of the Asharn March with no supplies, no reinforcements, and only a fraction of the fighting force they had started with. Fighting for an extended period of time with little more than battle brothers and the weapons they carried had taken a terrible toll on the young chapter, leaving only about 200 of the roughly 700 founding members still alive. These few surviving marines quickly set about rebuilding their chapter as quickly as they could. While many suits of Corvus pattern armor had been lost, too badly damaged to be salvaged, or having to be left behind in Ork territory, the chapter apothecaries were able to save the vast majority of gene seeds from the fallen brothers to preserve for the next generation.
As such, the Conservators undertook an aggressive recruitment campaign, using what few ships they had to deposit small units on all March planets to test for gene seed compatibility. The ranks slowly began to swell again over the next several years as comparatively large numbers of recruits were inducted, the Conservators having somewhat loosened their entrance criteria in order to refill their lost numbers. However this presented a major problem, they were faced with having more marines than could be supplied with what they had left. The few spare suits of Mk VI armor they had quickly ran out and soon there simply was no more armor to go to the new recruits.
Lacking a vast fleet, these new marines often were stationed on the same planets they had been recruited from, their organ implants being carried out onboard chapter ships which carried the needed medical facilities, which made constant tours across the March to graduate the new marines as they completed their training. These marines were clad in simple plate armor forged by the most skilled of human blacksmiths, wielding blades the finest their planet had ever produced, and often carrying a bolt pistol, or a bolter if they were lucky. However despite their lack of Astartes gear, they were true marines at heart, and took the defense of their small territory with the utmost seriousness, battling against what Orks showed their faces. Thankfully though these were just the remnants or new births from the old Waaagh, and were few in number and armed with little more than stone axes and animal skins, and with their primitive gear were little match for the Astartes.
The time of rebuilding
Many of the later traditions of the Conservators can be traced back to this time, when the chapter was forced to adopt radically unorthodox practices to survive. The new marines usually all stayed on the planets they had been recruited on, and lacking any specialized facilities continued to live with their families, or in their own homes and villages after their transformation into Astartes. This had an interesting affect on the planets of the March. When the wars began, they saw the Astartes as angels of fury descending from the heavens to battle terrible beasts from beyond the stars. As the Conservators settled into their new home however, this awe slowly faded away. The marines became another part of daily life, certainly to be respected, but they were not the distant figures they had once been. They lived in the same towns, ate the same food, drank at the same taverns as everyone else. The people saw the Conservators as part of their society, and the Conservators came to see themselves as simply physically enhanced humans, no more or less important or special than anyone else, at the end of the day they were all just people who lived together and did their jobs.
Over the following century the quality of life for the average citizen of the Asharn March improved markedly. The Conservators brought with them their techmarines, and some techpriests who chose to stay on with the chapter even after the Mechanicum cut all ties. While they did not have the infrastructure to replicate their advanced technology, their knowledge of chemistry, agriculture, architecture, medicine, and a number of other topics advanced technology in the March considerably. Windmills, fertilizer and basic mechanization greatly improved crop yields and extended the average lifespan. A sense of their importance and duty to the Imperium, and the presence of the Conservators on all the varying planets, bound the Asharn March together as it had never been before. Where once had been a scattered group of disparate planets was slowly emerging a cohesive civilization.
Technology advanced in general during this time, metallurgy in particular as better furnaces and forges were created to create stronger steel to armor and equip the marines with better armor and blades. What few marines remained on the most populous world, known to its people as Dekara, set about creating as much of a industrial base as they could. The techmarines and techpriests were hard at work building workshops with what supplies they had managed to recover from Chiron IV to attempt to supply the chapter with even the most basic of gear. Bolters could be recreated, though with painstaking care as they were slowly built, each one by hand by a techpriest and the most skilled blacksmiths on the planet working as his aides. Alchemists were gathered and trained to mix chemical propellants for bolter shells, distilleries to produce alcohol based fuel to feed what few vehicles the chapter had available. Thankfully beyond the occasional Ork resurgence which could be dealt with locally, no further threats plagued the March during this period of slow rebirth, the chapter and people they protected maintaining tenuous optimism as the situation developed.
Relations with the wider Imperium
The situation of the Asharn March had many members in the nearby Imperium a tad upset. Many planets there had intended to supply colonists to the region, the planetary governors seeing it in most cases as a way to extend their influence to other worlds by populating them with people loyal to themselves. As they were providing trade and technology to the primitive locals, it would be only natural that they would be looked to with adoration and obedience. So it was much to their consternation that they discovered the people of the March had been infused with a sudden new sense of nationalism for their little interplanetary kingdom. The presence of the Conservators on every world in the March had naturally brought with it interplanetary governance, with the people coming to understand that they were part of a multi-planet kingdom, a concept they embraced enthusiastically.
Causing some further annoyance was the fact that the Conservators had claimed the dozen plus planets as their own chapter territory, something that was well within their right to do, though it was somewhat audacious for a chapter to claim such a fiefdom when they had barely a dozen marines per planet. However the declaration was honored, mostly because the administratum couldn't be bothered much about such a backwater, and the territory of the March was exempted from the Imperial tithe and placed under Astartes dominion. The Conservators created a stewardship government style, with high ranking marines serving alongside normal humans on ruling councils, with the primary governing body located on Dekara to decide matters which affected the entire March.
Free from having to pay the tithe for no recompense, the people of the March began putting their crop output to more locally productive use, namely selling it off to the people who had once taken it for free. While the prices were low, anything was better than nothing, and some advanced services were bought, namely astropaths for each star system, binding them even closer to each other as the governments were able to communicate with each other much faster than before. The administratum in the end saw this as a fair trade. While they did lose the tithe from a few worlds, a few shipments of grain and corn was hardly going to unbalance the sector, and they avoided paying anything to repair the damage caused by the Waaagh, and the Conservators would at the very least serve as a speed bump for anyone trying to invade the sector. In the end, the quill pushers patted each other on the back and decided they'd gotten the better deal.
Aid from the stars
Roughly a century after the founding of the Conservators, did help from outside finally arrive, in a most unexpected fashion. Captain Brendan Mackyntire was a Rogue Trader from one of the more modest houses, at least as far as such a thing can apply to a rogue trader. He had caught wind of the sudden new market for cheap foodstuffs in the March and set out to exploit it, offering somewhat better rates than the more local imperial shipping groups and quickly earning the loyalty of the March's burgeoning tradesmen. He also discovered the situation of the Conservators. He made a quick profit selling them some bolters, mostly Naval surplus Ceres or used Locke pattern weapons, as well as a stock of ammo for them.
Happy to get their hands on some real bolters, even if they were the somewhat inferior 'civilian' versions of their traditional weapons, the Conservators were happy enough to leave it at that. However they were in for a true shock several years later when Mackyntire returned with news of great importance, and great risk. He had in his travels discovered an ancient, Heresy era supply ship carrying arms and armor for one of the space marine legions. It had been crippled in a warp storm, engines destroyed, but the cargo section was intact. However it had since been infested with dangerous xenos, and Mackyntire himself was unable to claim the ship.
"As I see it." Said the captain. "Those supplies are already yours by right, they were bound for the Astartes when the ship was wrecked, and their delivery has merely been delayed a few millennia. I will aid you in reclaiming what is rightly yours, if you agree to allow me to claim salvage from the rest of the ship. To you the weapons and armor that is your right as Astartes, and to me the material that is my trade as a voidsman."
The deal was a dangerous one, the old guard, survivors of the Waaagh would be needed to clear the ship, using their old arms and armor, the powerful Corvus suits irreplaceable treasures of the chapter. But they also knew that if they did not get proper armor for their marines they would be unable to act as true space marines, so it was with some trepidation that the fighting force was dispatched to clear the ship and reclaim the supplies. While there were some losses, in the end the ship was cleansed through the bravery of the Astartes and of Mackyntire's voidsmen, who fought alongside the marines in armored pressure suits, with lasguns.
In the end it was a mutually profitable endeavor, with the trader salvaging a number of ancient systems from the ship to be reused, and the Conservators claiming a vast stockpile of weapons. Aboard the ship were hundreds of suits of Mk V 'Heresy' armors, as well as a large armory of Umbra pattern and Phobos pattern bolters. These ancient weapons had been perfectly preserved in the vacuum of space for countless centuries. Though the ammunition stored aboard the ship was long since defunct, the weapons and armor were quickly refurbished and equipped, hundreds of marines shedding their old plate armor for the ancient suits of powered armor, and trading in their bows for millennia old bolters. At long last the Conservators were starting to look like a proper chapter.
Relations with House Mackyntire
The close relations between the Conservators and House Mackyntire did not end with that single deal. Being the head of one of the main merchant groups working within the March, it was only natural that Captain Mackyntire would continue to show up fairly regularly within that area of space. A long and intense series of negotiations between the rogue trader and the chapter's leadership led to an interesting alliance between the groups, a favorable export price, tax exempt, on a certain quantity of foodstuffs in return for Astartes class arms and ammunition. Part of the deal, as they simply did not have enough cash or crop to pay for this regular expenditure, was that a squad of Conservators be stationed aboard the captain's ship. They would serve as his personal honor guard, as well as lend their fighting skills to his forces should it prove needed.
This squad also served a more secret purpose, to keep an eye on the rogue trader himself. It was worried that he might use unscrupulous methods to acquire the material he was selling to the chapter, perhaps even stealing from other Astartes or raiding vital supply shipments. However such worries were unfounded as captain Brendan Mackyntire was one of the more honorable rogue traders to be found within the Imperium, and the goods he traded in were all legally acquired. Even after they were sure of his motives, the honor guard remained aboard and became tradition within the chapter. As the chapter grew in number, so too did the number of marines stationed on the trader ships. At present four squads are spread across several ships in House Mackyntire's fleet, acting as guards for the various captains, fighting on behalf of the crew, as well as scouting out potential resources for the chapter and making a good first impression with people they meet. Temporary service aboard one of the rogue trader's ships has become a much sought honor, as it is one of the few ways a Conservator will be able to travel far beyond their home territory, coming back with tales of adventure and heroism, as well as a nice supply of loot to donate to the chapter as a whole.
Present state of affairs
Almost two centuries after their rocky founding, the Conservators are now back in solid fighting shape. While still one of the weaker chapters in the Imperium they are nonetheless Adeptus Astartes and live up to the role as supersoldiers quite well. Their weapons are ancient in many cases, but very carefully maintained, and while Mk V armor was not the best even when it was new, it is still Astartes power armor and among the best protection to be found within the Imperium. The partnership with House Mackyntire has grown and flourished, with favorable trade in both directions between the people of the Asharn March and House Mackyntire. Lately there has been more cause for combat in the March, incursions by foreign Ork groups, as well as Tau and a Tyranid splinter fleet causing trouble, however the fighting force of the Conservators was enough to deal with the threat each time, with assistance from nearby Imperial Guard regiments.
At present the Conservators are still understrength for a chapter, in both numbers and materiel, lacking much of the armored power of other chapters and still not having quite as many full battle brothers. However they are still a well trained, well entrenched space marine chapter and at present have proven more than capable of defending their territory against everything that has thus far threatened it. While they have not ventured far beyond their own territory, they have answered calls for aid from several relatively nearby Imperial worlds, being carried to the battlezone by the more warlike vessels in House Mackyntire's fleet. While they have not engaged in any sector shaking conflicts thus far, they have earned a favorable reputation with the nearby worlds, though the long memory of the Mechanicus continues to haunt them, and they have yet to receive any official help from any forge world. The future of the Conservators seems promising, but as always it will be an uphill battle for the young chapter, as it has been since the day of their founding.
The Conservators have over time adopted a number of eccentric customs and beliefs during their time in the Asharn March.
All Debts Shall be Paid
This is the chapter motto of the Conservators, and is a very important component of their philosophy. Early during the rebuilding process, the chapter suffered from an identity crisis. So many new battle brothers being inducted to such a young chapter diluted what little tradition they already had. The Remembrance was a direct response to this, providing some core of history to build on, but for the majority of the chapter it was just stories of a bygone age being told to them by the grizzled survivors, not something that really affected their lives. The marines were instilled with a sense of honor and decency, but at the same time had to reconcile that with their need to loot and scavenge to survive, even if it meant taking things from their allies. This was a sad necessity, something done because the chapter was unable to provide for itself, and when they were strong again in the future they would ensure that all the debts they incurred when taking materiel from other imperial forces would be paid in full, that their debts of honor would be satisfied in the future.
From this the chapter motto came. All debts shall be paid. Often spoken as an oath before a battle, or as a promise to an ally. This mentality took root in the minds of the new marines and they carried it forward, shaping the young chapters traditions around that concept, to a certain extent. While they may have to take some things to survive, they can also give back with what they have. Imperial Guard regiments that fight beside them will find at the end of the campaign that the Conservators have arranged a massive feast in their honor, with all the troopers enjoying free food and drink at taverns and alehouses. If the force is large enough it can become a planetwide celebration of their victory with the officers given cloaks and capes, blades and portraits and great tapestries commemorating the battle. These are given in exchange for the various items that have been scavenged, flak armor and fallen lasguns and expended charge packs forgotten on the battlefield.
Most sacred of all is the gene debt, the debt of honor the chapter incurs when they harvest the gene seed from a fallen brother of another chapter in order to make yet more battle brothers of their own. In general they return the body, gene seed included, to the chapter, but if that is not feasible then they refuse to let it go to waste. To repay a gene debt is among the most serious of affairs, with chapter forces venturing far beyond their own territory to fight alongside the chapter to whom they owe the debt, who oftentimes are never told why the Conservators rushed to their aid. More than a few chapters have been left confused but grateful when several squads of tactical marines from an all but unheard of chapter arrive to fight at their side with little explanation.
This belief can also extend to individuals outside the Imperium, though the chapter is naturally very suspicious of such occasions. Most notably are the chapters interactions with a local Eldar faction who has often been seen on the battlefields of the Asharn March, helping to contain the ork threat without explanation. While contact between the humans and Eldar is rare, should the Conservators meet with the xenos following a battle they feel honor bound to offer the xenos a place by their fire and a share of food as is due to anyone who fights at their side. The Eldar have thus far almost universally refused such offers, if they even stay around long enough to be spoken to after the battle has ended.
Perhaps most notably is the living conditions of each Conservator. Rather than live in a central barracks or training facility, battle brothers instead live in their normal homes, with their unaugmented families and among normal humans in the various cities, towns and villages across their home planets. Oftentimes Conservators will not leave their homeworld for anything more than a training period on Dekara, or to serve in a battlegroup leaving the March to go to war. Usually the individual marines stay on their worlds of birth for the majority of their career, and as such form deep bonds with the humans who live there. Indeed, the Conservators in general see themselves not as the stewards or defenders of the March, but rather as the citizens of the March who take the expected steps to defend their homeland.
This of course has led to a much more relaxed view of the Astartes amongst citizens of the March. While in the early days they were seen as amazing figures from beyond the stars, almost two centuries of casual close contact have Conservators has all but entirely removed such sentiment. The Astartes are simply members of the community who have a special burden and responsibility to bear. They are to be respected and admired, but they are hardly looked upon with the fanatical devotion that other citizens might look at marines with. Being freshly formed when they took residence within the March, and primarily composed of native recruits due to the die off of initial members, this sentiment is shared by the Conservators, who are among the most humble of marines one might ever encounter. To a citizen of the March, there is nothing at all odd with seeing a hulking superhuman figure tending the bar at their favorite tavern, before he dons ancient power armor and embarks to fight aliens on a different planet. For them it's been a fact of life for generations.
Becoming a Conservator
When a Conservator is first inducted into service, he is issued with a set of plate armor and a steel recurve bow as a member of the scout corps. Should the scout actually be deployed off planet into a major war zone, he would be equipped with actual marine weapons, shotgun or bolter, but against the unarmored feral orks which still crop up on worlds across the Asharn March, the powerful bows and explosive tipped arrows are more than enough to deal with them in small numbers. For more substantial threats the bolters are broken out of the armory, but even with interplanetary trade, bolter rounds are still valuable enough to merit cautious rationing where possible.
After completing his time as a scout, earning the augmentations that will make him a true marine, the scout will be sent to work alongside a master blacksmith. This smith could be a human or another Conservator, it matters not so long as their skills are sufficient. Working by firelight with the minimalistic technology available in the March, scout and smith will work together over the course of several days and nights to produce a sword of superior quality, worthy of being carried by a marine, and specially created to suit the fighting style of that Conservator. While a number of sizes and styles of sword are used, each one is of the highest quality possible, and while very well made are usually unadorned with decoration.
Upon completing the sword with which he will serve, the scout undergoes a public ceremony, similar to a knighting, in which he offers his blade to a full battle brother to inspect. Upon deeming the sword worthy, the elder brother will induct the scout fully into the ranks of the Conservators, while attendants clad him in the Mk V armor he will wear in the future. Handing the new marine his sword, the Conservator is now a full member of the chapter.
In keeping with their fairly relaxed worldview in general, the Conservators are not the most devout of chapters by any means. While often comforted by religious figures and services, the chapter makes little attempt to enforce religion upon its members or the people they live with. In the eyes of the chapter, faith is between you and the God Emperor, and nothing really needs to come in the way of that. Generally, the Conservators are dedicated more to the Imperium as a nation than specifically to the Emperor himself. Justifications for actions such as 'The Emperor willed it' or 'for the glory of Him On Earth' will not get very far at all with the chapter, who are very pragmatic in their reasons for doing much of anything. The defense of the people is the most important goal, the Conservators would happily let a cathedral burn while they rescued underclass factory workers.
Looting the battlefield
Following combat with some factions, the Conservators will thoroughly loot their fallen enemies for any useful gear. Orks are a frequent target of this as they often use captured Imperial gear, such as bolters if they can get their green hands on them. Reclaiming these weapons is often simply a matter of sending them to a techpriest to bless and soothe the enslaved machine spirit, properly cleaning and refurbishing them after their rough treatment at the hands of the greenskins, before being given to a battle brother to wield. More difficult, and controversial, is taking gear from fallen traitor marines. While they are loath to put such gear back into Imperial service, the traitor legions suits can be a source of desperately needed spare components. The reconsecration and use of any part or weapon taken from the hands of fallen chaos servants is a painstaking and careful process undertaken with the utmost security and care.
Perhaps just as controversial and upsetting is their tendency to take gear from fallen allies. While they are not often blatant about it, Imperial Guard regiments recovering a damaged Chimera might find its bolter emptied of rounds, or dropped lasgun power packs disappearing after a battle. Even more touchy is the recovery of material from fallen Astartes. In general, if it is possible to return the fallen body of a marine to his chapter, the Conservators will do so, sending along his armor and weapon, taking only his easily replaced ammunition. However if it is not reasonably possible to return the body, the marine will be given an honorable burial as if he was a member of the Conservators own battle brothers, before his armor and weapons are reclaimed for use.
The chapter even goes so far as to harvest his gene seed for later implantation into a new aspirant of their chapter, though as this may well outrage some other chapters it is something they usually do not speak of to outsiders, seeing it as the sad necessity they must perform if they are to grow their chapter to sufficient size to defend their homeland. One of the few events which will cause a force of Conservators to venture far from their homeland is to aid a chapter which has 'donated' gene seeds in this way, seeking to repay their debt of honor for utilizing that chapter's valuable progenoid glands to aid in their own growth, even if there was no way to return the harvested organs to their rightful owners.
Officially known as 'Reclamation Operations' scav runs are one of the more common high stakes missions a Conservator will likely undertake within the March. Carefully planned in advance, these missions usually deploy at least four squads of Conservators to the surface of the ruined forge world Chiron IV, where they act as guards for workers and tech priests who move to salvage any useful materiel from the planet's ruined manufactorums. Working day and night to strip production lines of machinery, or load weapons and ammunition from ruined armories, the scav runs are an integral part of retrieving supplies for the chapter. While they often turn up vitally important tools, industrial servitors or weapons and ammo stores, sometimes an expedition is lucky enough to discover intact military vehicles. The discovery of several tanks or APC's would be important enough to justify expanding the time frame of the run, or even sending more marines to secure the site.
These missions are dangerous, as the ruins of Chiron IV are still crawling with greenskins left over from the Waaagh which left it the ruined shell of a world it is today. While the greenskins in other parts of the March are the feral Orks who have but clubs and crude axes to wield, these orks have been looting and building in the ruins of the forge world and have all the usual firearms and armor one would expect from their starfaring kin. It is a constant concern of the chapter that the orks are secretly constructing space vessels to escape the planet, and keep what ships they can spare constantly stationed over the forge world, watching for anything trying to escape.
For a freshly founded chapter to lose over two thirds of its members within the first few years was a staggering, nigh on crushing loss. So many battle brothers, veterans of decades of combat, had simply vanished. For the few survivors, it was a sobering reality that they faced, having to forge ahead and create a new chapter, forge a new legacy, with so little left of what they had been. Faced with the prospect of replacing a huge portion of their number with fresh recruits, the surviving first generation of Conservators decided on a way to preserve their chapter's history for future generations. Thus was created The Remembrance.
Rather than a specific item, The Remembrance is a tradition. Each item a Conservator serves with is often handed down from the ones who came before him. Every boltgun has known many masters, served in many conflicts, and carrying that weapon is not only to carry an instrument of war, but to become a part of that ongoing, living story until you hand it off to another battle brother and the next chapter of that story begins. As such, each weapon, each suit of armor, has a Remembrance, a recording of who has used it, the deeds of note they carried out with it, and where and when they served with it. The chapter itself also has a Remembrance which records the members of the chapter, what they have done, who they were, so that each and every member of their ranks will never be forgotten by future generations.
Every marine is required to be familiar with the Remembrance of the various pieces of equipment they use in their duties, to understand the weight of the responsibility these ancient, often irreplaceable weapons carry. To understand that they each are a single chapter in a story that is still being written with each trigger pull, each armored step, each slash of the sword. In the case of gear recovered from another chapter, the Remembrance honors the deeds of the former owner with equal attention. If a fallen marine from a different chapter cannot be returned to their own chapter, then that Astartes is added to the chapter's Remembrance and his tales and deeds given equal glory and attention as that of any lifelong member, that marine declared an honorary Conservator in death. This is not to claim responsibility for the actions of that marine, but rather to pay him respect and honor, for his posthumous service to the chapter.
Deeds of Legend
As with any chapter of space marines, the Conservators have embarked on a number of heroic quests and participated in many a bloody battle. Some of the most daring and renowned tales are collected here, the tales and stories which are passed down generation to generation to inspire all who hear them, human or Astartes alike.
The Epic of Garanius the Seedbearer
It was roughly one hundred and thirty years after the Conservators took up residence in the Asharn March that the young chapter faced its most dire threat since the incursion of the Ork Waaagh which had first left them decimated and disgraced. A rampaging chaos warband tore into the March like a serrated knife, leaving misery and destruction in their wake. In the face of the dread foe the Conservators deployed their full battle strength. Predator tanks which had not seen the light of day in decades were fielded in force and the full might of the chapter was brought to bear. The battle was long and terrible, but the Astartes held their ground until help arrived in a most unexpected, but most welcome form.
The Ordo Malleus had taken note of their plight and a detachment of Grey Knights had been nearby by a happy coincidence. The Knights were dispatched and the battle was joined. With the holy warriors on their side the Conservators turned the tide of battle in their favor, overpowering and finally crushing their hated foe, those who stood and fought died to the last, only those who fled into the warp in shame and defeat lived to tell of their attempted invasion. When the smoke had cleared a celebration was held, the Conservators giving their holy brothers fine gifts to show their appreciation for the assistance. As they returned home the Grey Knights were adorned with white capes trimmed with cloth-of-gold, and had been given a large, finely crafted tapestry to return to the halls of titan, commemorating their victory together.
It was some while later that the body of a fallen Knight was found, frozen in ice on a frigid tundra. By a small miracle his gene seed was still intact. A debate arose over what to do with the remains. Traditionally such matters were handled by giving the fallen marine an honored burial in the Conservator's burial grounds, and putting his armor, wargear and gene seed to good use in the chapter. However this was done not from greed, but from the understanding that the Conservators needs were greater than that of the more well equipped chapter they were taking from, and in the future they would again fight at the side of the chapter to whom they owed the gene debt.
However it was unlikely that they would again fight beside the warriors of the Grey Knights, encountering them being such a rare event. Further, it was decided that the holiest warriors of the Imperium had a far greater need for their fallen brother's progenoid and wargear than the Conservators ever would. So it was decided that they would return the seed, intact, to the Knights of Titan, along with the body of their fallen warrior.
It was finally decided that Garanius, chief apothecary of the third company, would undertake this task. Taking four battle brothers as his escort, he performed surgery on himself to implant the Grey Knight gene seed into his own body to sustain it, using powerful drugs to avoid organ rejection. The apothecary and his small escort set out across the stars on a pilgrimage to Holy Terra itself to return the fallen paladin to his rightful resting place in the burial vaults of Titan.
The following voyage has become one of the chapters most celebrated tales, a legend of heroism and guile that saw the five marines, heroes all, trekking without proper supply or transport across the length and breadth of the Imperium, a journey of years. They bartered and pleaded passage in cargo bays and warships, fought through warzones and survived uprisings and rebellion. They learned much, saw much, and did battle with the enemies of mankind wherever they were seen. At long last they gazed upon the shining beacon of Terra itself, and returned the Knight to Titan's embrace that he might rest at last.
Amazed that such a small, struggling chapter had undertaken such a voyage to return a single fallen brother to his comrades, the Knights honored the Conservators as they had once been honored, with a fine gift to show thanks. While the five heroes did not remember much of their encounter with the Knights, they awoke aboard a fast Inquisitorial transport which carried them all the way home. In their possession was a slab of polished basalt, hewn from Titan's crust and blessed by a Grey Knight chaplain. It has since become the chapter's holiest relic. The tale of Garanius Seedbearer is among the most beloved tales of the chapter, told to all who join their ranks, and well loved by the people. One famous playwright in the March created an adapted play based on the epic tale, which has since gone on to popularity even outside the March itself.
To this day, the epic voyage remains one of the most impressive feats any Conservator has ever accomplished.
The Titan Stone
Received by Garanius the Seedbearer in recognition of his heroic voyage, the Titan Stone is the chapters most holy artifact. A simple rectangular slab of dark basalt stone, polished to a mirror sheen, the Stone resides in the central keep of Kworum, the seat of the chapter on Dekara. The stone bears no markings or writing, and its only feature is a single slot in the center where a sword may be placed. Every Conservator visits the stone at least once in their lifetimes, placing their sword in the stone and either meditating or praying as they see fit. Superstition says that if the marine is unworthy the sword will not be relinquished to them when they again attempt to draw it free, but this has never happened and is likely unfounded. It is not known if the blessed stone has any special properties, however it has been noted many times that the blades of the Conservators strike far more telling blows, and are far more durable than their simple steel construction should allow. The Stone has also drawn the attention of other Astartes chapters, and those who know about it may take some time from their other duties to divert to Dekara to visit the holy relic and meditate at it as well.
In order to cope with their situation, the Conservators developed specialized combat doctrines and organizations. While they do not face the utterly crippling shortages they once did, the chapter has adapted and refined these emergency compensations into fleshed out traditions and tactics.
While their gear may be obsolete, the organization of individual tactical marines is the closest any of the Conservators battle organization comes to the official Codex mandates. Organized into ten man squads, the tactical marines of the Conservators operate in much the same manner as the tacticals of any other chapter. It is of note that rather than combat knives all battle brothers carry their personal swords, giving them an edge over normal tactical marines in close combat. However as the chapter suffers from a lack of specialty weaponry they often suffer in other ways. While hardly totally lacking such weapons, it is a more significant drain on resources to deploy a lascannon, plasma weapons, heavy bolter, and other such weapons. However the relatively simple construction of missile launchers and their ordinance makes those weapons the most common support option for Conservator tactical squads. These missile launchers can take the form of locally made recreations of modern weapons, the original weapons issued to the chapter, or even ancient Heresy era weapons recovered from the supply ship.
Devastator squads, given the chapters scarcity of heavy weapons, are more rare and only take the field if dearly needed. Again, missile launchers are the most easily accessible weapons, however the other weapons are available, simply more rare and difficult to obtain, each one representing a nigh-irreplaceable chapter asset.
Most scarce of all are terminator suits, the chapter has access to only a handful of ancient Tartaros pattern suits. Recovered from ancient supply vaults at great risk, these suits languished in the chapter keep for years until a number of sympathetic techpriests were able to restore them to full functionality. Deployed sparingly, they have nonetheless proved to be a great asset.
Assault squads are also deployed, however they are more rare than in other chapters. This is due to the complex nature of the jump packs, which are difficult to maintain for the young chapter. The chapter does their best to mitigate this by providing tactical marines with their personal swords, giving them higher than average melee prowess.
A highly unique organization compared to other chapters, the Conservator scouts are highly unusual in their equipment and deployment. Sometimes taking the field completely on their own, the scouts of the Conservators wear high quality plate armor, and often wield Astartes bows instead of, or in addition to, their bolters. Proficient in both ranged and close combat, as well as the arts of stealth, Conservator scouts are a fighting force unto themselves, honing their skills by stalking and hunting the orks that infest almost every planet in the Asharn March.
As the Asharn March is 'blessed' with more than the usual number of psykers, the chapter has benefited directly from their existence. These psykers often do not inspire the same fear in their comrades that they might in a different fighting force, such as the regular Imperial Guard. This is due to their specialized training, giving them very limited capabilities, but at a high degree of safety, at least compared to their more widespread compatriots. Clad in rune-scribed plate armor beneath billowing robes, these brave mages take to the field alongside the armored Conservators, filling in the gaps left by the chapter's lack of specialty weapons. True, they may not have many plasma weapons, but they do have access to a fairly reliable cadre of psykers specialized in everything from blasts of fire to hurling lightening bolts from their staffs and hands.
The Conservator vehicle pool is very limited in many ways, but also more open in others. Flyers are almost nonexistent, even if they had them the chapter is all but incapable of providing them with proper maintenance. Ground vehicles are more accessible, though more rare. While the chapter was issued with a number of standard Space Marine vehicles upon their founding, many of those vehicles were destroyed or lost in the initial fighting. However constant scavenging runs on the wastes of Chiron IV have seen some vehicles recovered, or enough parts found to repair existing ones. So for major conflicts Rhino APCs and Predator tanks are within their grasp. But more advanced or powerful specialty vehicles are more expensive or simply not available.
However, their scavenging nature has expanded their arsenal in other ways. The ruined forge world was also meant to supply imperial guard forces that were to be created in the Asharn March, and many of those vehicles built for these hypothetical regiments still languish, in whole or in pieces, in the ruined manufactorums of Chiron. Many of these have been recovered, as well as some machines needed to maintain them, so the chapter also has access to Chimeras, Leman Russ tanks, and Earthshaker artillery pieces, both mobile and fixed. These vehicles are crewed by chapter serfs or members of the fledgeling PDF forces found across the march, and provide indispensable assistance to the chapters marines.
Order of the Argent Dawn
After the March's initial recovery, an Ordo Hereticus investigation team visited the Conservator's worlds to inspect its populace for any signs of heresy or treason. What they found exceeded their hopes, a series of peaceful and loyal worlds who were devout despite their unusually relaxed view of religion and faith. While the people of the March were often quiet and reserved about their faith, they had it, and were very loyal to the Imperium through the Conservators. A few decades after this inspection, the Conservators received an interesting proposal from Canoness Elisa of the Adepta Sororitas. The canoness wished to settle a mission of battle sisters within the March to bolster its defenses, having fallen somewhat in love with the image of the March and its quiet, reserved faith in comparison to other worlds of massive cathedrals and screaming demagogues.
Founded both to aid the March's people and strengthen its defenses, the mission is highly militant for its size, boasting some two and a half thousand sisters of battle, as well as a number of support staff such as hospitalers and spiritual leaders. The Conservators welcomed this new ally, as the Argent Dawn provides much needed numbers and since their arrival ork numbers have steadily diminished due to the increased pressure. The order is based on the world of Isador, thought they maintain a standing force on many worlds in the March.
Many would be surprised to find a fighting force as revered and powerful as an Imperial Knight house, despite the Astartes presence. House Agrippa is an ancient house hailing from another series of agriworlds some distance from the March. The Conservators engaged in a defensive action there against a Tyranid splinter fleet which crashed upon it, fighting long and hard to defend the helpless people there, and fighting alongside the brave Knights. Sadly the worlds were eventually rendered uninhabitable due to the hive fleet's culling and heavy toxin levels released during the fighting, but a large number of refugees managed to escape. The Conservators opened their borders to these unfortunates, allowing them to resettle within the March, which was similar in technology and culture to their home worlds. house Agrippa came with them, establishing keeps on several worlds within the marines domain. Ever since then, Agrippa has been a staunch ally of the Conservators and the March, their mighty walkers doing much to offset the lack of vehicular strength of their Astartes hosts.
Forge World Hephaestus-IV
The latest and most unexpected of all the Conservators allies came in the form of Archmagos Alphaeus Gearhardt of the forge world Hephaestus-IV. Being somewhat removed from the March by distance, the archmagos was not involved in the initial decision to place an embargo on the march. While he could not convince the more local techpriests to lift their stranglehold, he did approach the Conservator leadership and offered a deal, supplies in exchange for a military alliance. He would station one of his own factory ships in the March and place it at the Conservator's disposal to produce and deliver any needed supplies it could provide. In exchange, a force of fifty marines would be sent to the space near the Cadian Gate, where Alphaeus and his allies had several manufacturing centers which suffered from constant attack and required a more permanent defensive force than they had thus far received. In addition to this, the marines would serve with the Cybernetica detachments in battle.
Deliberating for some time on the implications of such an offer, the Conservators eventually agreed and a force of volunteers were quickly called out from the first three companies on Dekara, as time was of the essence. Accompanying these fifty elite marines were thousands from the Auxiliary, several Knights from house Agrippa and roughly one hundred and fifty Sisters of Battle from the Argent Dawn. All in all, the force comprised something more akin to a full company than a simple task force. While the members of this force would be rotated out over time to others, the legends of that unit continue to grow with time, and being asked to join that elite company is a true honor, and a heavy burden. Both because of the heavy fighting, and because that service is what continues to ensure that the chapter recovers through the service of the orbiting factory ship.
While the Asharn March largely has access to only primitive weaponry, it thankfully does not take much to be able to recharge a lasgun charge pack. Clad in whatever armor is available and wielding mismatched lasguns, these human troops are available to go into battle alongside the Conservators themselves. Often trained with the intent of serving as part of a joint fighting force, the PDF troops of the March lend their fighting prowess and numbers to the fight, letting the heavily armored Conservators draw the majority of the fire while they sink volleys of lasfire into the enemy ranks.
Since the alliance with Hephaestus, the Auxiliary has become much better equipped. Their wargear is custom designed and produced within the march, original pattern gear for their fighting forces. Their armor, while composed of modern flak material, is structural similar to the plate armor traditionally worn within the March for centuries, and their wooden stocked lasguns trade rate of fire and charge capacity for range and stopping power, favoring skilled marksmen fighting at range. The Auxiliary also fields a number of armored forces, including the ubiquitous Leman Russ tanks, as well as superheavy designs. These heavy tanks are all older model vehicles bartered from other worlds, who had since replaced them with other designs. The superheavy tanks of the Asharn March are composed of Macharius and Malcador vehicles, though the pact with archmagos Alphaeus has some in the March wondering if the fabled Baneblade could be an option someday.
“See boys, the thing is we barely have enough armor even for our Full Brothers.” The scout squad marched in something approaching silence, though their armor didn't help. “The supply Mackentire found is just enough along with what we have reclaimed over the years. Though funny thing about standard scout wear---” The group slowed to ford a small river. “---stuff is just not as sturdy in the long term, breaks down you know." "Too much organic material right?" "Reason we're in plate.” Their armor clanked softly with each step, deadened slightly by the cloth strategically placed between layers. “Blacksmiths can make some damn good steel here, and with an ablative finish it is just as good. Loud as hell though.”
The squad reached their position. They took a minute to check their arms, praying that they would at least get a little surprise this time. Bows were strung, arrows checked, blades made free in their sheaths. “Ready boys, they're supposed to be here any minute... Now.”
Into the small clearing, across a gentle brook, the first of the boyz stepped out of the forest. A big beast, though only carrying a wooden club. An arrow took it in the neck, before the explosive tip exploded, beheading the Greenskin. With a cry of "WAGGGHHH!" Orks poured into the clearing, making towards the brook. More fell to the explosive arrows, but there were always others. Finally bows fell, and swords were drawn. Battle was joined on the far side of the water from the orcs, forcing them onto uncomfortable footing. Still, sheer numbers let them keep pressing. The Conservators' blades hued through their foes. Their armor was enough to fend off the majority of blows, but still, a brother fell to a particularly nasty blow to the head.
The brothers began to gather the orc corpses to burn them. “Still, one thing standard scout armor lacks that we get.” The Sergeant said as he shook the groaning fallen scout awake. “Helmets.”
Knighted, Part 1: The Forge
Scout Marcus Killian breathed deeply of the forest air as he traveled along, the clip clopping of his steed's hooves on the dirt road the only sound besides birdsong and the wind in the trees as he made his way along the path. To his right of him stretched a great green field, cattle grazing here and there. To his left lay a great green wood, a thick and untamed forest of tall oaks, teeming with life. He turned his gaze to the road ahead, thinking on the long path which had lead him here.
It had been twenty years ago that he had been first inducted into the ranks of the scouts of the Conservators. This followed four years of training and education at the hands of more senior battle brothers, and their approved aides. He learned the art of sword and bow, of stealth and infiltration, of dramatic assaults and mounted combat. He learned mathematics, philosophy, metalworking, weapons maintenance, medicine, a host of skills which would aid him in his long life to come.
He had yet to leave his homeworld of Gallorn, or Gallorn III as it was officially known. He chuckled, in his great grandfather's time nobody would ever have thought that, because the idea of leaving one's world simply would never occur to anyone. So much had changed over the past two hundred years.
It had been almost two centuries ago that the Conservators first came to the world of the Asharn March, a young chapter looking forwards to a glorious history of service in the Imperium's name. Unfortunately a series of disasters robbed them of that destiny before they had even set the foundations for their fortress monastery. The Ork Waaagh, the embargo of the Mechanicus, the total cutoff of all supplies and support beyond direct military intervention from other chapters or the Imperial Guard, all of it had left the young chapter destitute.
But as much had been lost, much had since been rebuilt. New members had been inducted, remaining weapons had been cared for with utmost care, even replicated where possible by tech priests and skilled artisans working with hand tools by firelight. Now, almost two hundred years later, the Conservators were a true fighting force to be reckoned with.
Marcus had spent two decades in the service of the chapter, as a scout marine. He had received all of the implants successfully, making him in body a full Astartes, a superhuman beyond the ken of ordinary men. Clad in masterfully crafted steel plate, sword at his side and bow in hand he had spent years fighting the feral greenskins who still sometimes arose to plague his world's beautiful green fields and peaceful folk.
It had been an eventful twenty years. He had built a home with his own hands, inherited his father's tavern, taken a wife who was currently with child. And now he was about to take the greatest step of his life, to becoming a full battle brother. He turned his horse down a cobbled path deeper into the woods, towards the sound of rushing water.
Before the mounted marine sat a solid wooden building with a stone chimney gently issuing smoke. It sat beside a coursing river which turned a large waterwheel connected to he structure, which looked to be both home and workshop. Marcus dismounted, walking his horse to the stable and penning her there, patting the animal before he walked back to the building. It seemed he had been noticed, as a stout man in an apron was waiting for him, his arms crossed over his chest. "So, you are the latest scout they have sent to me, Killian was it?" He asked.
The marine nodded. "Yes sir, Marcus Killian." He said politely, standing before the man. Despite how the marine towered over the human, the smaller mortal was in no way intimidated. The Conservators had long since become part of the general population of the worlds they oversaw. While there were still few of them, seeing one about the village in their daily life was nothing too extraordinary. Almost two centuries of constant casual contact had worn out any awe left at the sight of the superhumans. Marcus could tell when someone in his tavern was new by the moment of surprise in their eyes when they saw an Astartes serving mead at the bar, everyone in town had known him for years.
"Very well, scout Killian, come with me and let us begin." The man said, leading the Astartes into the building behind his solid little home. Inside it was clearly a smith's forge, large stone furnace set up in the back wall, the waterwheel cranking a small generator, neat wires hanging from wooden rafters as they powered some of the more exotic devices in the smithy. "Tell me, marine, what blade do you envision yourself wielding?" He asked, leaning slightly against a large table.
The Astartes nodded, having thought long and hard on this subject, testing various blades out in the chapter armory in the nearby city. "A hand and a half sword, small enough to wield one handed but with a large grip for two handed fighting, sharpened on both edges and with a straight blade until the point." He said, picturing it clearly.
"Draw it." The smith said, putting out a piece of charcoal and pointing to a hide on the table. The marine nodded, taking the stylus and marking out the image he saw in his head, a simple, sturdy two sided blade, sized for his armored hands. The smith nodded. "Elegant but powerful, versatile and strong. I approve." He said, thinking over the image for a few moments. "Then let us not waste time, I have the forge prepared already." He said, going over to a set of shelves. He got out a strange looking device, some form of exoskeleton which he fit over his right arm, powered by cables dangling from the rafters.
He pointed to the forge. "You work the bellows." He instructed, getting a steel bar and working some arcane looking controls on the side of the forge. The marine worked the bellows as the forge as they heated the metal. When it was red hot the smith removed it, setting it upon the great anvil and swinging his servo assisted arm, the deafening crash of hammer on glowing steel echoing around the forge.
Time faded away as the two worked the forge, hours and days ceased to matter when time was measured by the pounding of hammer on steel, the fiery breath of the bellows and brief moments caught in breaks when food and drink was shared between smith and marine. The steel was heated, beaten, folded upon itself and hammered flat again. Twisted and turned, folded and bent, slowly the sword took shape over days and nights of constant working.
Steam rose from the quenching bucket as the blade was plunged into it, tempered as it cooled. The smith smiled as he drew out the cold blade, laying it down as he took a cloth to polish it. "Almost done." He said with satisfaction. Marcus was impressed, his enhanced body had carried the exertions easily enough, but the smith was an unaugmented human, yet somehow he had been able to shoulder the burden of such an intensive labor with little rest.
The sword blade was polished until it shone, and sharpened until each side carried a deadly edge. It was fitted with a solid cross guard and a slightly pointed pommel that could shatter a skull easily enough. The hilt was wrapped in rich brown leather, thick enough to withstand the wear of power armored fingers for some time before needing to be replaced.
At long last the smith and marine looked at the sword laying on the table. "It is finished, and a fine blade it is." The master craftsman said with pride. Marcus nodded.
"I will be honored to carry it forth, you have my thanks master smith, I only wish that I could have your skills." He said truthfully, never having been one for forging.
The man nodded. "Aye, we each have our talents that's for sure." He said, sheathing the blade and handing the sword to Marcus, resting in its sturdy leather scabbard. He longed to draw the sword, but knew he could not, hanging it on his swordbelt.
"My thanks again, I should be returning home now, it has been a privilege." He said with a bow of his head.
"Fare thee well marine." The smith said with a bow of his own head. "That is a fine blade you have helped to forge. I am honored to know you will carry it forward, beyond this world to your battles amongst the stars."
Marcus smiled, the prospect was as exciting to him as it was to the man before him. Giving his thanks once more, Marcus mounted his horse and rode back down the path towards his home.
Knighted, Part 2: A Fine Sword
Three days later, the hour of ascension was nearly upon him. He stood before a full length mirror, looking himself over. He wore his steel plate armor, his scout gear, polished until it shone like a mirror. He looked himself over, checking every bit of his armor and adjusting it slightly, trying to make sure that everything was perfect.
"Oh stop your fidgeting, you look perfect." A voice beside him said.
He looked over, seeing his wife standing there, a brown haired beauty who had stolen his heart one day. He had returned home, fresh from a scouting expedition in which he had slain a number of greenskins in the high fells, back to tending his tavern when in she had walked, into his bar and into his life.
"You know me, I have to make sure everything is perfect, today of all days." He said, adjusting his swordbelt, the blade he had helped to forge hanging from it in its scabbard.
She shook her head, reaching up to make some minor adjustments. "Hush now, this is just a ceremony, to think that someone who slays orks by the dozen would be nervous over a little public display like this." She tisked at him. He tried to find something to object at, but her adjustments seemed to have made his armor truly perfect. He nodded.
"I have been working towards this day for the pasty twenty four years, I think I'm entitled to a bit of nerves." He said, making her chuckle.
He looked at himself in the mirror, armored bulk dwarfing the woman next to him. "My love... do you have any regrets?" He asked, looking to her. "About us... I truly have been blessed to have you in my life but... I do worry that a Conservator may not make the best husband. My duties to the Imperium may well take me far from home for Emperor alone knows how long. I may leave for years at a time, or simply never return. I fear that my duty to my Imperium will prevent me from doing my duty to my wife." He said, holding her hand gently in his armored gauntlet.
She smiled. "My only regret, is that you did not give me this child sooner." she said, placing his massive hand on her swollen belly. "So that our son could see his father on his knighting day."
"Son?" He asked, nervously.
She nodded. "The medicae confirmed it." She said with a smile.
The corners of Marcus' mouth quirked up in a somewhat goofy grin. "That's... that's nice to know." He said, holding her close. A few moments later he heard the trumpet outside. "Time to go." He said, his wife nodding before she slipped away out of the room. A few minutes later a second horn sounded. Marcus nodded to his reflection one last time, before he stepped out of the door.
Before him was a cobbled street, packed on each side with people. He was in the city of Arcarun, capitol of Gallorn and naturally the seat of power for the Conservators on the planet. The crowds were quiet, only excited murmurs heard on either side of him. He walked alone down the street, colorful banners flying from rooftops and off of walls, flower petals strewn on the street before him.
He walked up to the temple at the end of the street, a great majestic building of stone. On the front steps stood seven hulking figures, battle brothers in full power armor. Six stood upon the steps, three to a side, clad head to toe in Mk V armor, their impassive helmets betraying nothing. At the top of the steps stood an elder brother in his Mk VI armor, his helmet off to show his weathered features.
The crowd grew totally silent as he slowly ascended the steps of the temple, passing the unmoving battle brothers on each side. He reached the top and stood before the elder marine. The sergeant looked him over.
"Scout Marcus, you stand before us today a marine who has proven your worth. In the service of your world you have shown bravery, in the service of your Imperium you have shown duty, in the service of your Emperor you have shown loyalty. For all of these you have been noted, and for all of them you have been judged." He said, reaching out his hand. "Give me your sword." He said.
Marcus unclipped the blade from his belt and handed the sheathed sword to the veteran marine, who drew it from its scabbard, examining it.
The sergeant examined the sword, setting the scabbard down and taking it in both hands, moving it around his body in a fluid form, feeling the weight, watching the steel shimmer in the summer sunlight. "This is a fine sword." He said, holding it up so the crowd could see. "It has been forged with skill and patience. The proper time and tools were used to forge it. So too is a marine forged, with time and care and skill." He said, as he began to pace, Marcus standing in place.
"Training, dedication, experience. Over decades is a marine forged into a weapon which can be taken into battle. And over the decades and centuries to come he is honed and sharpened and refined into a blade which can pierce any defense, fell any foe." He looked to the sword again. "This is a fine sword." He repeated. "It is simple, and it is plain. It is not weighed down with decoration or adornment. No unneeded pieces mar its perfect lines, nothing upon it keeps it from performing its task to the utmost."
"So too must a marine avoid the trappings of glory, the distractions of medals and honors. It is not for these things he fights, it is for the people of the Imperium, for his battle brothers, for the cause in which he has dedicated his life. He must not allow himself to become weighed down with desire for glory and renown, it is humility and service which make a marine great, not the trappings of fame."
"This is a fine sword." He said again, holding the tip in his gauntleted hand. He flexed it, making the steel bend. "It knows how to bend, to change, to let the forces of the world move about it without compromising what it is. Where a more brittle blade would snap, it can change, and return to what it must be to perform its duty." He said, releasing the blade so it snapped back to its original shape. "So too must a marine know how to bed, how to adapt to the changing world around him. Where others are set in their ways, he must know how to change. It is not blind obedience to ancient custom which shows his worth, but the ability to perform his duty under any circumstance. While the ocean may part around a great stone, that stone is worn down over centuries. It is the leaf on the wind, which can flow and move with the world around it, that soars unimpeded." He said, walking back to where Marcus stood.
"This... is a fine sword." He said for the final time. "It is worthy of a fine marine to carry it forward. Tell me, Marcus Killian of Gallorn, are you worthy of this sword?" He asked with an expectant gaze.
Marcus thought. "Brother sergeant." He said after some thought. "I do not know."
The marine thought for a long moment, nodding his head. "An honest answer." He said, looking to the sword again. "Strive to be worthy with all your heart and soul, and you will be. Now, kneel." He said, raising the sword to the sky. Marcus went down on one knee, bowing his head. "By that authority which hath been entrusted in me, by the chapter master, by the Imperium, by the Emperor himself by the action of his servants, do I induct thee, Marcus Killian, into the orders of the Conservators." He said, placing the sword tip on Marcus' shoulder. "Arise, battle brother."
He allowed himself a small swell of pride as he rose to his feet, the crowd bursting into noise and energy as he rose. Several more figures emerged from the temple, artisans in their work clothes overseen by a wizened tech priest in his rust red robes. A small curtain was set up around the new battle brother as his plate armor was stripped off and neatly stacked to the side. The artisans helped him into his undersuit for power armor, and then began affixing the armor around him. Piece by piece the suit was built about his body, until at last the helmet lowered onto his head, the marine blinking as he looked at the HUD for the first time.
The ancient suit of armor felt like it had been made for him, the Mk V suit, made during the Horus Heresy itself, lost for centuries and rediscovered in the chapter's hour of greatest need, and now his to wield. He stood tall and proud on the steps of the temple as the brother sergeant held out his sword, hilt first.
Marcus reached out, and grasped the blade, holding it unsheathed for the first time. The sword gleamed before him as he took it in both hands, turning to the assembled crowd. He held the bastard sword before him, the crowd cheering as the temple bells rang. Behind his impassive helm, Marcus allowed himself a private smile. At long last he was truly one of the Astartes. Soon he would leave his world behind for the first time in his life, he would feel the heat of distant stars upon his skin, walk the surface of alien worlds.
He searched the crowd, after a moment his eyes falling on his wife's face, one hand on her pregnant belly. He gave her a little nod to let her know he saw her. No matter how far from home his duty took him, no matter what wonders or horrors he saw, he knew that one small corner of the universe would always hold a meaning for him that none other could.
But such thoughts could wait. Today he was a newly inducted battle brother. Today he had his whole life ahead of him, and the stars awaited his arrival. Today, life was good.
- Conservator third company.png
The battle standard of the third company, following the voyage of Garanius and the recovery of the titan stone. The inscription reads "What is broken can be reforged."