|Founding||Unknown (might as well be the 21st, given how hard they were dicked over)|
|Successors of||Ultramarines. You wouldn't know since they all managed to actually die.|
|Chapter Master||Elias Artegall|
|Strength||0. Completely annihilated|
|Allegiance||Imperium of Man|
|Colours||Cream and crimson|
|This article contains spoilers! You have been warned.|
So... the Crimson Consuls... where do we even begin with these poor bastards? Well, if you ever need a shining example of how the Alpha Legion can fuck over an entire Chapter of Space Marines with absolutely no evidence of their involvement until it's too late to do anything about it, look no further. Spoilers for Rob Sanders' "The Long Games at Carcharias" ahead.
The Crimson Consuls were an Ultramarines Successor Chapter of an unknown Founding. They were based on the ice-covered Hive World of Carcharias in the Fortress-Monastery known as the Slaughterhorn, which lay at the peak of the world's capital hive city of Niveous. If nothing else, the Crimson Consuls picked a fucking metal name for a crib. In the deep catacombs under the hive, the Crimson Consuls recruited savage young candidates from feral tribes, who lived on a level even below the squalor of hive-gangers. A trio of hive cities abandoned due to the raging weather of the planet were used as de-facto training grounds for Crimson Consuls Scouts. As befitting the majority of Ultramarines Successor Chapters, the Crimson Consuls firmly believed in the Codex Astartes as a trusted source of valuable wisdom and strategy. The Chapter was not a fiercely competitive or rash one; it carefully chose battles in which they would go out of their way to minimize their own casualties as much as possible. Unfortunately for them, such cautious tactics did not help them at all when they needed it the most.
The Descent Begins- Part 1
The first of the Crimson Consuls to fall was its entire 1st Company; all 100 were sent (along with all of the Chapter's priceless Terminator suits) to assault a gigantic Ork-infested Space Hulk designated Revenant Rex. The elite strike force was teleported to the conglomerate's main Enginarium to destroy its only functional Warp-Drive. But something had already compromised its core, causing the entire Warp-Drive to implode and drag the Space Hulk and its occupants (Ork or otherwise) into a long and painful end in the Immaterium. In one merciless act, the Crimson Consuls not only lost their most experienced and respected soldiers, but also every single one of their irreplaceable Terminator suits.
Before you inevitably start criticizing Chapter Master Artegall for basically losing a tenth of his Chapter in the span of seconds (along with all of the Chapter's Terminator armor), understand that A. there was no way he could have guessed that the Warp-Drive was already tinkered with, B. equipping everyone on a Space Hulk boarding mission with Terminator armor is standard procedure (it's a necessity, after all), and C. given the sheer size of the Revenant Rex, cleansing the whole thing of Orks would have definitely needed as many veteran warriors as possible.
Basically, the Crimson Consuls decided to
put teleport all of their special-snowflake eggs into one massive floating basket, and (much to their chagrin) that "basket" ended up being thrown straight into the Warp. But remember: this is just the beginning of the Chapter's death knell.
The Descent Begins- Part 2: Electric Boogaloo
While Chapter Master Artegall helplessly watched the cream of the Crimson Consuls crop vanish into the literal embodiment of a galactic Hell, two other Companies ended up suffering a similarly dire fate. After the Celebrants Space Marine Chapter were unable to fulfill all of their commitments to defending worlds, the Crimson Consuls were ordered to help their brothers out and set up a garrison on the Forge World of Phaethon IV. Unfortunately, in another completely unexpected fluke, Phaethon IV had the misfortune of bordering the Despot Stars and had long been coveted by Dregz Wuzghal, Arch-Mogul of Gunza Major. The Crimson Consuls soon found themselves placed in the way of the massive Ork WAAAGH! Wuzghal. While the Crimson Consuls nearly stopped the Greenskins' assault in their tracks, the fighting awakened the long-dormant Necrons who had lain slumbering beneath the surface of Phaethon IV for aeons. Just so the Crimson Consuls would be well and truly fucked, Phaethon IV turned out to be a fully-functional Necron Tomb World. The two highly-decorated companies of Crimson Consuls as well as the Orks were utterly raped by the undying horrors. This now brings up the killcount to three entire companies of Crimson Consuls. Of course, the unforgiving galaxy had even more in store for their metaphysical punching bag.
The Pain Keeps Coming, and it Doesn't Stop Coming
By this time, Chapter Master Elias Artegall realised that the Chapter was coming under some form of assault, in one way or another. He lost contact with the High Chaplain Enobarbus, a close friend who was training a squad of Sniper Scouts in the abandoned hives. The 3rd and 5th Companies of the Chapter were too far away to assist him; they were busy fighting in the Damocles Gulf Crusade against the Tau Empire. Also, the Crimson Consuls' 8th Company was slaughtered to a man while hunting a warband of Black Legion Chaos Marines near Carcharias in the Sarcus Reaches. He ordered the Slaughterhorn to be secured and fortified for an outside assault. But within moments of the order being given, the Crimson Consuls' remaining Battle-Brothers unexpectedly turned their Bolters upon one another. Artegall and his remaining officers, unaffected by their fellow Astartes' strange, trance-like killing frenzy, fought their way through the chaos of the internecine battles to reach the Slaughterhorn's heart, its Tactical Chancellorium. There, the endgame would be discovered.
The End of a Chapter
To the creeping dread of the Crimson Consuls officers, they discovered the Chancellorium was already occupied by a contingent of Chaos Space Marines from the Black Legion, who were led by an Alpha Legion officer who claimed to be none other than the Primarch Alpharius. "Alpharius" explained that in the fashion of the Alpha Legion, he had worked for decades to lay a series of traps and intrigues intended to destroy the Crimson Consuls so that he might hand over their precious gene-seed stores to Abaddon the Despoiler and his Black Legion so that their ranks might be replenished before the unleashing of the 13th Black Crusade. "Alpharius" revealed that he had gotten the Crimson Consuls to turn upon one another by psycho-indoctrinating all of the Chapter's recruits before they were ever even Aspirants by lacing the walls of the underhives of Charcharias' hive cities with psycho-sensitive graffiti. These carefully-crafted phrases slowly over time transformed the Crimson Consuls' recruits into walking psychotics who only required a single command word to be detonated as living weapons. Since the Crimson Consuls only recruited their new Astartes from the gangers of the underhives on Carcharias, every Aspirant they chose was already corrupted before the first gene-seed organ was even implanted. Only the officers, many of whom had been with the Chapter for many centuries, had been recruited before the Alpha Legion's insidious trap had been laid. As it turns out, High Chaplain Enobarbus was an unfortunate firsthand witness to this when he was shot to pieces by his trainees and tossed down the tall, cold heights of the hives. And in one of the most deliciously vile moments in Warhammer 40K history, "Alpharius" detailed in excruciating detail how he pulled off one of the most intricate deceptions this side of The Dick, Cegorach, and the Deceiver:
In a twist that surprised no one but the Crimson Consuls, it was the Alpha Legion who sabotaged the Warp-Drive that dragged 100 Marines and hundreds of thousands of Orks to their doom. It was also the Alpha Legion that actually gave the orders to redeploy two Companies to Phaethon IV, masquerading as Imperial Segmentum Command. They were the ones who diverted the Celebrants away from the planet, so the garrison of Crimson Consuls were left to fend for themselves against their inevitable demise. In perhaps the only instance of the Alpha Legion taking up arms, they quickly and efficiently dispatched the 8th Company of the Crimson Consuls, preventing the Chapter from discovering the full scale of the whole operation. And finally, with relish, "Alpharius" told Artegall not to expect any last-minute intervention from the 3rd and 5th Companies; they were long-gone, eradicated by Commander Farsight's forces more than a decade ago; the Alpha Legion arranged for falsified astropathic reports to be continually sent to their Chapter homeworld of Carcharias so that the Crimson Consuls would not learn of the loss.
With the sounds of battle dying outside, and with his comrades being executed by the Black Legionnaires, Chapter Master Artegall realized that he was, quite literally, the last of the Crimson Consuls. Formerly the leader of a thousand proud superhuman soldiers, he now led no one but himself.
Desperate, Artegall managed to break free from his captors and flee to his personal Armoury, but was shot in the leg and crippled right before he sealed the door. To his pleasant surprise, he discovered that he was not alone after all; his master-crafted Bolter had been taken by Baldwin, his Chamber Castellan and a loyal Chapter Serf. But his relief quickly turned to shock, as Baldwin, who was recruited from the underhives, slowly turned the Bolter to face his old master. As Elias Artegall, last of the Crimson Consuls, accepted his fate with quiet resignation, his closest companion calmly shot him directly through the skull. And thus was the destruction of an entire Chapter of the Emperor's Finest completed.
Just As fucking Planned.
Why This Whole Thing Matters
The end of the Crimson Consuls is equal parts tragic and awesome. Here, the Alpha Legion are shown to be just as utterly ruthless and effective as we have been apt to believe; this is them in their full, terrifying prime. However, that doesn't mean that the Crimson Consuls went down without a fight. A very poignant moment is when Artegall is shown trying to put up a fight at the very end; even when he is the last person left out of his entire Chapter, he refused to simply give up while he still had a Bolter to grab. If only he had gotten to it first...
- Important note: the “Alpharius” in the story reveals to Artegall that he is in fact an Alpha Legion Captain known as Quetzal Carthach. The Captain in his title may say more about how his force is organized than he lets on. Quetzal would later reappear in the book Sons of the Hydra where he was busy fucking over more Ultramarines for shits and giggles. Apparently he claims that he was on Eskrador when Alpharius died (this is doubted by the novel’s main character, another Alpha Legionnaire from a separate warband). Notably both the Long Games at Carcharias and Sons of the Hydra were written by Rob Sanders. In the end Quetzal was devoured by warp beasts after being outplayed by Occam, the aforementioned Legionnaire whom he tried to betray. No, Occam does not have a razor.
- It says a lot about how sneaky the Alpha Legion is that they were able to sneak past the veritable fuckton of Orks on the Revenant Rex to screw around with the Warp-Drive. Maybe they also teleported to that exact Enginarium just as the ill-fated Crimson Consuls 1st Company did.
- Who knew that the Alpha Legion was into painting graffiti?
- These poor sods are not to be confused with the Red Consuls, who are coincidentally another barely-known literature-only Ultramarines Successor Chapter with a shade of red and "Consuls" in their name. Unlike the Crimson Consuls, the Red Consuls are still very much alive (for the most part at least), and they were among the forces who took part in the assault on the Necron World Engine.
Notable (Probably/Definitely dead) Characters
- Chapter Master Elias Artegall - The last Chapter Master of the Crimson Consuls. KIA
- High Chaplain Enobarbus - The last High Chaplain and Reclusiarch of the Crimson Consuls. KIA
- Lord Apothecary Fabian - The last Lord Apothecary of the Crimson Consuls. KIA
- Chief Librarian Navarre - The last Chief Librarian of the Crimson Consuls. KIA
- Master of the Fleet Hecton Lambert - The last Crimson Consuls' Master of the Fleet. KIA
- Master of the Forge Maximagne Ferro - The last Crimson Consuls' Master of the Forge. KIA
- Master of Ordnance Talbot Fauks - The last Crimson Consuls' Master of Ordnance. KIA
- Captain Bolinvar - The last Captain of the 1st Company of the Crimson Consuls. KIA
- Chapter Serf Baldwin - The last Chamber Castellan of the Crimson Consuls. Either KIA or corrupted into an Alpha Legion cultist
- Techmarine Hereward - Techmarine of the 1st Company. KIA
- Scout-Sergeant Caradoc - Scout-Sergeant of the 10th Company. KIA