"We are the scalpel, the weapon to remove the cancer. Let us be the cure that brings life anew, to remove the corrupted head."
|Battle Cry||"Lazarus Lives!" "For the Dark Gods!"|
|Colours||Grey and Green.|
This page details people, events, and organisations from the /tg/ Heresy, a fan re-working of the Warhammer 40,000 Universe. See the /tg/ Heresy Timeline and Galaxy pages for more information on the Alternate Universe.
The passionate and righteous Eternal Zealots fought at the forefront of the Great Crusade, the embodiment of the Emperor’s dream for a liberated humanity united by scientific truth. Through the dedication of their compassionate gene-father Aubrey Vokrii-Kendov, the Eternal Zealots were more than a conquering army, they were also the builders of a new future for humanity. However, the tolerance and understanding embodied by the legion would prove to be their ultimate downfall. In trying to bridge the gap between man and xenos, the Eternal Zealots and their primarch fell to the corruption of the Primordial Truth. Now fully aware of the cancerous blight that humanity had become, the Eternal Zealots would turn their fervour into reshaping the galaxy into the glorious future Aubrey once dreamed of.
- 1 History of the Eternal Zealots
- 2 Culture
- 3 Organisation and Doctrine
- 4 Gene-seed and Successors
History of the Eternal Zealots
The Eternal Zealots were once at the forefront of humanity’s Great Crusade, a fine scalpel to slice the throat of their enemies. Doomed by the mistakes of their primarch, the Zealots would be the first of the mighty Legiones Astartes to turn against mankind, ushering in a dark age of conflict and war.
The Rise of the XVIth Legion
The Sixteenth Squad of the Sacred Band
Under the command of Hektor Cincinnatus, the Sixteen Squad of the Sacred Band took part in the Pacification of the Merican Hives, leading the assault on Hive Flariad. Hive Flariad owed much of its defensibility to the surrounding wetlands, an artificial swamp that would deter any attempts to set up a protracted siege or mechanised assault. Aerial attacks were also ruled out due to the fearsome anti-aircraft defence matrix employed by the forces of Hive Flariad, resulting in the destruction of any aircraft within range. Imperial tacticians dubbed the swamp as the “Doomglade”, as any offensive that passed through the location was doomed to failure.
The warriors of the Sixteenth Squad pressed on despite the misgivings of their allies. They modified their armour, adding primitive jump packs that would allow them to dive and assault the hive from beyond the range of its anti-aircraft systems. Led by Varus Tithonus, these brave warriors plunged headfirst into battle, trusting in their manoeuvrability to dodge the flak that filled the skies. Upon breaching the outer levels of the hive, the warriors shredded the defences with astonishing ferocity, fuelled by excessive adrenaline that sent them into a state of battle-rage.
While the skies filled with Imperial aircraft that would form the brunt of the assault, the marines of the Sixteenth would continue to battle their way through the hive with reckless abandon. Carefully planned tactics and strategies were discarded in the heat of battle and soon the Sixteenth found themselves caught in ambushes and corralled into death zones. Casualties began to mount and soon the last five members of the Sixteenth Squad found themselves facing what was almost the entirety of the hive’s remaining defence forces, deep within the depths of the hive and separated from their Imperial allies.
It was Galle Nacht who first noticed the corrupted lightning bolt borne by the defenders of Hive Flariad. Hateful of the Emperor and fearful of his wrath, they had adopted twisted versions of his own icons as mockery, including a massive mural depicting the Emperor hanging from a noose. Enraged by the debasement of the enemy they faced, the Sixteenth Squad fought with unparalleled viciousness and frenzy. By the time Imperial forces reached the scene of the battle, it was thought that there were no survivors, such was the destruction wrought by the Sixteenth.
Five corpses were retrieved from the charnel house that was once Subsection 4A of Hive Flariad, space marines in shattered armour, their flesh almost turned to pulp from the sheer extent of injuries suffered. While preparations were being made to inform Hektor Cincinnatus of the total loss of the Sixteenth Squad, one of the “corpses” twitched. Slowly, double hearts began to beat and lungs took in fresh air. Against all the odds, the Sixteenth Squad was healing from the brink of death. Of the five who fell in Subsection 4A, Varus Tithonus, Galle Nacht and Fenrich Veiss were successfully resuscitated and another member of the Sixteenth, Ernst Gerd was later found to have also survived his injuries though left for dead in a prior ambush.
The Emerald Doom
The Sixteenth Legion had a task set unto it by the Emperor himself: to destroy all idols and houses of false faith, to be the sharp edge that would wipe out all opposition to the Imperial Truth. Through their zeal the Sixteenth would eliminate all superstition and ignorance, bringing about rationality and enlightenment instead. They took to this task with a zealousness that unnerved their friends and terrified their foes, being called barbarians and madmen. Driven ever further by their flawed gene-seed, the Astartes of the Sixteenth plunged deep into the enemy, neutralising heavy defences and enemy leadership in spite of the heavy casualties they suffered.
Time and again they struck like a furious wind, seeking out the people, places and items which spoke of the power of sorcery, false gods and the irrational and destroying them. While the other squads of the Scared Bands fought their fights to defeat foes and take ground, the Sixteenth Squad fought to destroy false belief and usher in the light of the Emperor’s truth, the only truth. It was they who demolished the mighty heads of the ancient God-Kings of Merica from the Black Mountains of Merica, they who destroyed the House of the Wind Talkers and who burned the fanes of the Emperyite, every time showing the inhabitants what it meant to oppose the new truth the Emperor was determined to bring forth.
It was during the earliest conquests beyond Sol in those stars whose light could be clearly seen from the skies of Terra that the Legion earned its first name. The Sixteenth, at the time barely three thousand Astartes strong, was unleashed upon the Theocrats of Campeche. The Astartes lacked the numbers to make a full-scale assault upon all the temple-cities, and so they painted their armour green to better blend into the dense jungles, and struck at temple after temple, burning each to ashes and slaughtering the guards before fading back into the foliage. The terrified locals began to refer to them as ‘the Emerald Doom’, after an ancient myth of their world, and the Legion soon took to referring themselves as such during their increasingly bloody assaults as they slowly tightened the noose. After six months, the largest Temple City was stormed and sacked and the planet was finally pacified, The Legion departed, but kept the name they had earned on that world, and from then on they were known as the Emerald Doom. The Legion was granted a right of tithe for Campeche and many thousands of Campechians would end up serving within the Legion in the years to come.
The Legion moved from conquest to conquest, primarily engaged in the destruction of religiously motivated human empires, though countless Xenos races were also ground under by their fury. Though they were never close to their brother legions or highly respected by them, their task was a vital one and they gained numerous battle honours the equal of any other front-line Legion. The Emperor Himself commanded them on several occasions against foes that He decreed were deserving of destruction, and they were closely aligned with the Emperor and his own views on the future of the Imperium.
As brother Legion after brother Legion were reunited with their Primarchs, some wondered if the Primarch of the Emerald Doom had been lost, for they remained fatherless long after almost all their fellows had found their gene-sires. The Legion did not seem to take notice. They had a task appointed unto them by the hand of the Emperor, and Primarch or not they would fulfill it. Equally of concern to the Legion was the degradation of their genetic legacy. The enhanced healing factors of the Sixteenth allowed them to survive their suicidal assaults, but brought unintentional side-effects. Battle-brothers who relied heavily on their healing abilities found themselves afflicted with crippling tumours, a cancer within that was impossible to remove. Within the Progenoid Glands of the Sixteenth, over half were riddled with cysts and growths, crippling the legion’s ability to replace their heavy losses. Even the famed commanders of the Sixteenth, surviving members of the Sacred Band were forced to withdraw from active duty, their malignant cancers forcing them into stasis until a cure could be found.
The Legion’s aggressive drive against the foes of the Emperor was dooming them, and fears were voiced that the Legion would meet its end. Even the efforts of the famed Pallas Eugenesis amounted to little in the efforts to repair the geneseed of the Sixteenth. However, as the Legions reached the most distant shores of the Galaxy, on a lone world near the very edge of known space, a discovery was made that would change everything. It would save the Legion but ultimately spell the doom of the Emperor’s dream, the dream the Emerald Doom had fought so long for.
Their doctor had been found.
- Battle of the Black Mountains. The Sixteenth spearheaded the assault against the religious fanatics who worshipped the ancient God-Kings of Merica.
- The Submission of Agqumare. The Emerald Doom are severely tested in the unfamiliar waters of Agqumare. The unfamiliar conditions claim the lives of many legionaries of the Sixteenth before Agqumare is finally brought into Imperial compliance.
The Healer of Lazarus
The Primarch of the Sixteenth
Far from the reach of Imperial space, the world of Lazarus stood as the nexus of a fledgling interstellar empire. Its residents had begun delving into the intricacies of faster-than-light travel and colonisation efforts were being started on surrounding worlds. However, there was one major difference between Lazarus and the Imperium.
Lazarus did not belong to man.
The reptilian Lazarites of Lazarus were making rapid technological and societal progress. In the century following the Sixth Lazaran War, the Lazarites had united as a species and set their sights on expanding their empire through the vastness of space. Though limited by their primitive warp drive technology, trade had begun with other xenos and colonisation missions had spread beyond the Lazarus System itself.
It was at the boundary of Lazarite territory, on the world of Hyue, in the year 901.M30, that the young Lazarite Empire would meet the overwhelming force of humanity’s Great Crusade. In less than a day, the entire Lazarite colony on Hyue was dead, destroyed from orbit by the virus bombs of the 41st Expedition Fleet. Following Imperial protocol, the fleet prepared to continue with the purging of the xenos scourge from any and all occupied worlds, however the Lazarite counterattack would catch them by surprise.
A swarm of Lazarite ships emerged from the shadow of an asteroid field as the 41st prepared to conduct Exterminatus on the Lazarite world of Mucazar. Despite being outclassed in speed, weaponry and defences, the Lazarite destroyers moved with unerring precision, exploiting blind spots in Imperial firing positions and sacrificing hulls when exposed to Imperial counterattack. The Lazarite assault had only one purpose in mind, the disablement of the Imperial flagship Pionarium Imperialis.
Lazarite commandos braved the void to assault the bridge of the Pionarium Imperialis, swiftly disabling the command crew and taking control of the vessel. The human commanders of the 41st were shocked when the Lazarite leader removed his helmet and revealed himself to be a human, a tall warrior with an air of unstated nobility. With the appearance of Aubrey Vokrii-Kendov, the missing primarch of the Sixteenth legion, the 241st Expedition Fleet was forced into humiliating surrender.
The astropathic messages from the 241st sent Terra into a frenzy of activity. Hektor Cincinnatus himself made haste for the Lazaran system, arriving weeks later to find that Aubrey was already expecting him. Together with his Chrysaspides, Hektor boarded the Pionarium Imperialis, ready to confront his brother. What he found was beyond his expectations. In the weeks following the surrender of the 41st Expedition Fleet, Aubrey had been studying and learning, picking up the language of Gothic as well as understanding of the Imperial Truth. Hektor had expected to meet a feral brother, corrupted by Xenos but instead he found an equal, a true primarch with a mind sharper than a scalpel.
Hektor would soon come to find out that Aubrey rejected the idea that humanity alone would be dominant in the galaxy. He staunchly refused attempts to exterminate the Lazarites, arguing that they were his people as well. Unable to shake his brother’s conviction in a world where xenos and humans could co-exist, Hektor escorted Aubrey back to Terra to speak with their father, the Emperor of Mankind. Aubrey would grow close to Hektor on the journey back, impressed by the charisma and authority of the first primarch. Hektor would also come to respect Aubrey for his tactical acumen and unyielding conviction.
Aubrey’s reunion with the Emperor was a tense affair. While overjoyed at the return of yet another wayward son, the Emperor feared that his mind had been polluted by Xenos corruption. Standing his ground to the end, Aubrey would defend his belief in peaceful co-existence against the hardest psychic scouring of his father. After a full day of contemplation, the Emperor gave his final answer. The Lazarites would be spared, but quarantined to the Lazarus System. Never would the Lazarites get the opportunity to threaten the hegemony of human supremacy. The compromise was quietly accepted by Aubrey, however his heart continued to burn with the dream of a tolerant Imperium, where man and xenos could coexist in harmony.
A Legion Restored
Following his discovery, the Sixteenth Primarch would then turn his attention to the salvation of his gene-sons, the dying Emerald Doom. Through his genetic material, the gene-seed of the Sixteenth Legion could be repaired, saving them from certain destruction. However, even his pure genetic material was not enough. The rampant mutations within the genetic material of his gene-sons would not be so easily cured.
Aubrey spent years researching the failure in the genetic material of the Sixteenth Legion. Working on Luna, with the finest genewrights known to man, he painstakingly redeveloped his legion’s gene-seed, seeking to eliminate the cancerous flaw that was consuming his legion. Still, the geneseed of the Sixteenth proved stubbornly resistant to change. External genetic material was rejected and the geneseed continued to mutate, ever changing its effects on the Astartes that carried it. In a final act of desperation, Aubrey reached out to his contacts within the Lazarite Empire, who told him of xenos traders that sold advanced gene-forging technology, technology that had the potential to exceed the limited human technology at work. For Aubrey, this was not a difficult decision. He would show that cooperation with Xenos could bring humanity to the next level.
At his private gene-lab on Lazarus, Aubrey refined the gene-forging process, restoring the Catalapsean Node and Omophagea of his legion. It was rumoured that Pallas Eugenesis herself travelled to Lazarus to provide guidance and help during the process, but nothing could be conclusively proven due to the secretive nature of Aubrey’s work. He would go on to develop advanced gene-therapy, intended to cure his existing sons of their scourge. Only when the process was perfected did Aubrey consent to see his gene-sons, the remaining five thousand Astartes of the Emerald Doom. Aubrey had kept the worst of the cancer at bay, but his sons would have to be ever vigilant against the sickness within their blood.
Aubrey wept upon seeing his afflicted legion, not a single Astartes was spared the ravages of their cancerous gene-seed. Still in their zeal they had continued fighting as true servants of the Emperor, dedicated to spreading his Imperial Truth. He would rename the legion into something more befitting of their righteous fury, the Sixteenth would become Eternal Zealots, surviving forever for the glory of the Emperor.
A legion of five thousand dying marines came to Lazarus in 908.M30. They left as renewed warriors, eternal zealots that would be at the forefront of mankind’s great crusade. Recruitment would begin in earnest, utilising the perfected gene-seed that Aubrey had toiled over. However, the compromises made by Aubrey to save his legion would come to haunt them down the line.
The Great Crusade
The Zealots and the Victory
As the Eternal Zealots prepared to take the stars on mankind’s Great Crusade, they received new orders, directly from Hektor himself. The 71st Expedition Fleet was deemed to be understrength and was ordered to conduct joint operations with the 25th Expedition Fleet, led by the famed primarch, Gaspard Lumey and his legion, the Winged Victory. Aubrey himself was tasked with learning from the astounding success of his brother primarch. This was done according to the will of the Emperor, who feared that Aubrey’s compassion for xenos would blind him to the dangers that humanity faced amongst the stars. He hoped that Aubrey would learn from his brother’s hatred of xenos, becoming the hardened primarch that was essential for prosecuting the Great Crusade.
The beginnings of the Joint Expedition Fleet were an uncomfortable time for both legions. The Eternal Zealots overcompensated for their lack of numbers by relentlessly charging their objectives, leaving their Winged Victory allies defensively compromised. Tensions ran high amongst squads and Aubrey himself had to intervene several times to pacify his wayward sons.
It was during this tumultuous period that Captain Zachery Irisus first made his mark. Unusually calm and collected for an Astartes of the XVIth legion, Captain Irisus would be instrumental in helping his genefather in developing tactical plans and formations that would use the Eternal Zealots in measured and effective ways. Slowly, the role of the Zealots changed to conducting surgical strikes, slicing through the heaviest defences to neutralise important enemy targets. Aubrey realised the importance of men like Captain Irisus and so created a new role with the Zealots, the Mentors. The Mentors would be accomplished battle-brothers that were able to inspire their fellow Astartes while maintaining squad cohesion. Gone were the days of the Emerald Doom where squads would scatter into a frenzy of destruction, the Mentors would lead their squads as a single unit, keeping even the most frenzied battle-brothers focused on the mission.
Now focused and cohesive, the Eternal Zealots worked hard to gain the respect of their honoured cousins. Many battles were won through fearless deep strikes from Eternal Zealot assault squads, channeling their destructive talents into the eradication of key enemy targets. In stark contrast to the vicious combat style of the Zealots, Aubrey focused heavily on protecting infrastructure and encouraging the surrender of enemies. His gene-sons would often spend time after battles assisting in the reconstruction process, or searching for trapped civilians. To his brother, Aubrey explained that it was his way of ensuring that his legion would not lose sight of the true purpose of the Great Crusade, that they were creators of a better future for humanity, not just butchers and destroyers.
By the end of 911.M30, the influx of new recruits to the Eternal Zealots meant that the legion was now strong enough to prosecute campaigns on their own. Many of the Eternal Zealots would leave with the addition of wings to their heraldry, a sign of the brotherhood with the Winged Victory. Likewise, the battle-brothers of the Vth legion would carry the standard of Aubrey as markings on their armour. Gaspard Lumey himself would briefly visit Lazarus before the two legions separated, penning several essays about Aubrey’s homeworld.
Unfortunately, even after numerous battles against hostile xenos, Aubrey’s views on cooperation with xenos could not be changed. He argued that not all xenos should be judged to be hostile, just as not all humans were judged as hostile. Gaspard Lumey eventually supported his brother in petitioning the Emperor for the formation of an Edict of Toleration. This would allow human trade with selected species of xenos deemed to be non-hostile, such as the Lazarites of Lazarus. This edict would come to be abused by the Eternal Zealots in the coming years of their crusade.
Following their separation from the 25th Expedition Fleet, the Eternal Zealots would go on to prosecute the Emperor’s Great Crusade with ferocious zeal. For over 60 years the expedition fleets of the XVIth legion claimed new worlds for mankind, with Aubrey’s 71st Expedition Fleet leading the way forward. The Eternal Zealots were famed for both their relentless aggression and their work in assisting the rebuilding of now-compliant worlds.
Due to their relentless crusade, the Eternal Zealots would often find themselves with precariously thin supply lines, short of the necessary manpower and materials needed. This problem was only exacerbated by Aubrey’s insistence to leave resources for planetary redevelopment with every system reclaimed. While advised to adopt a more conservative strategy in his conquest, Aubrey believed that his Zealots were capable of the challenge and constantly pushed them forward, spreading the light of the the Imperium of Man to the darkest corners of the galaxy.
To resolve this strategic flaw, Aubrey turned to an unexpected source – the Rogue Traders. Secretive deals were struck with the Rogue Trader Hober Isaacs and his Isaacs Consortium, to strengthen Eternal Zealot supply chains and provide manpower is the form of mercenaries. While initially the mercenaries were humans recruited off backwater planets, by 942.M30 reports began to arise regarding the presence of Lazarite warships accompanying Eternal Zealot Expedition Fleets. Mostly isolated from their brother legions and protected by the Edict of Toleration, the Imperium would turn a blind eye towards the usage of Lazarite auxiliaries by the Eternal Zealots, a mistake that would come to have devastating consequences.
Aubrey was also keen to extend the branch of peace to minor xenos races that were deemed non-threatening to the Imperium. Through the Edict of Toleration, entire star systems were allowed to remain under xenos control, sometimes even with human support, so long as they respected the laws of Humanity and stayed peaceful. Through the actions of the Zealots, the cancer of the xenos begun to fester within the Imperium.
- The Compliance of Massalia. In a rare occurrence for the Zealots, the forge world of Massalia is brought back into Imperial compliance through peaceful discussion and negotiation.
- The Cleman Decapitation. The compliance actions of the Eternal Zealots end with the death of over 92% of the ruling priests of Hive World Cleman. The populace turns to worship of the Astartes, forming the Cleman Enduring to serve as the Imperial Army unit for the Compliance Fleets of the Zealots. Aubrey allows this practice in the hope that the Imperial Truth can be gradually introduced over generations to the people of Cleman.
- Vermillion II. The name of a former human world brought back into compliance by the Eternal Zealots. The people of Vermillion fought aggressively against attempted Imperial assaults, to the point that Aubrey requested a cease-fire. The meeting took place in a holy site with Vermillion's highest cleric upon the delegation, after negotiations soured the cleric cursed Aubreys name and invoked the "Black Guardians of the Underworld to take him as they had taken all other would be conquerors". The Zealots hadn't been the first legion to make first contact with the species that would be called "Necrons.", but they were the first to meet them in combat outside of their supposed territory. After a swift retreat the Legion decided to liberate the planet from their puppet masters, The Necron tomb was destroyed by Varus Tithonus with assistance from an Eldar farseer.
- The Paros Devastation. Nine hundred and ninety-nine Astartes of the Eternal Zealots' Third Order are killed over heavy fighting in the rad-fields of Paros, with only Aubrey himself left standing at the end of the battle. Commander Fenrich Veiss is permanently interred into a dreadnought following the battle, and Aubrey painstakingly rebuilds the Third Order over the next decade. The faces of the men lost during the campaign were immortalised, death masks being placed upon the helms of the legionaries who replaced them, thus giving the third order the title of; "The Immortals."
- The Fall of Valshada.
The Fall of the Zealots
The Lazarus Rebellion
For over six decades the Lazarites remained quarantined from the rest of Imperial space by the Emperor’s edict. Living conditions in the Lazarus system rapidly deteriorated as the Lazarites ran short on habitable and farmable land to accommodate their growing population. The bitterness of the Lazarites at their enslavement was further compounded by the experiences of Lazarite mercenaries who had served with the Eternal Zealots. They told of dozens of star systems conquered in the name of the human Emperor, left empty for future human colonisation. Lazarus appeared to be a forgotten corner of the vast Imperium, left to rot and die. Even Aubrey had not returned to his homeworld in over a decade.
The hardened veterans who returned to Lazarus began to formulate a rebellion against the despised Imperium. In battle, they had witnessed Imperial tactics and formations, knowledge that was now used to plan countermeasures and attacks. Contracts were struck with their previous employer – the Isaacs Consortium, to supply weapons and war materiel. If the Rogue Traders suspected anything amiss, nothing was ever mentioned. The rebellion forces took the name Tezuel’s Chosen, named after the Lazarite’s god of life and freedom.
In the year 975.M30, Lazarus would declare its independence from the Imperium. A hidden fleet of Lazarite warships, armed with exotic weaponry took the Lazarus Quarantine Fleet by surprise, resulting in a resounding victory for the Lazarites in the Second Battle for Lazarus. On the fringes of humanity’s Great Crusade, the Lazarite auxiliaries so favoured by the Eternal Zealots abruptly abandoned them, leaving Aubrey’s Compliance Fleets dangerously under-strength. It was a testament to the respect Aubrey commanded amongst the Lazarites that his fleets were not sabotaged or fired upon, merely abandoned to fight losing battles on hundreds of worlds. Elsewhere, the Tezuel’s Chosen rapidly spread beyond the Lazarus sector, retaking planets and star systems in the name of Lazarus.
The Imperial response to the xenos threat within their borders was swift and absolute. Gaspard Lumey, Aubrey’s brother primarch who once tutored him in the art of war, was dispatched to crush the rebellion at all costs. By the edict of the War Council, the Lazarites were deemed to have broken the Edict of Tolerance, showing the untrustworthiness and perfidy of the xenos. Aubrey was reassigned to the 25th Expedition Fleet in an observational position, forced to watch as the Winged Victory made war against his homeworld. Elsewhere, Eternal Zealots fleets were ordered to stand down, as preparations were made to purge the xenos whom they had spared during their crusade.
In less than six months, the Lazarites were thoroughly defeated, the forces of Gaspard Lumey using information on Lazarite biology and tactics previously gleaned from Aubrey against them. Only Lazarus, the jewel of the Lazarite Empire remained, all other worlds had been completely cleansed of xenos taint. Despite Aubrey’s protests for clemency, the Fifth Legion descended onto Lazarus and burned it to ash. Following the destruction of Lazarus, Aubrey challenged Gaspard to an honour duel, brother versus brother against the backdrop of a dying world. To Aubrey, Lazarus would be avenged, even at the cost of his own life. Gaspard was having none of Aubrey's romanticised tomfoolery. He took Cintamani, the blade whom Aubrey had offered to him, and broke it across his knee. To Gaspard, the idea of the Lazarite honour duel had died with the planet itself. The primarch of the Vth legion then left his brother to grieve over his homeworld amongst the shattered remnants of his blade.
Today we cure the galaxy of the cancers that have brought it to apoplexy. The Eternal Zealots will cleanse the stars of its corruption and usher in a greater Imperium, for all.
- Aubrey the Grey, following his visit to Pax
Following the Burning of Lazarus, there was talk amongst the War Council of disbanding the expedition fleets of the Eternal Zealots. However, such an undertaking would be a terrible waste of Imperial resources, resources that were required at the height of the Great Crusade. Instead, the fleets of the Eternal Zealots would be separated and scattered amongst the forces of Aubrey’s brothers. Only Aubrey’s own 71st Expedition Fleet would be spared such punishment, but had additional constraints imposed upon it. Firstly, the fleet would be stripped of all external support, separated from any allies and rogue trader support. Secondly, any and all xenos encountered by the fleet was to treated as Xenos Horrificus, hostiles that were to be immediately exterminated. Thirdly, a single observer ship containing representatives from the Heralds of Hektor would be tasked with shadowing the fleet, ensuring that the Zealots continued to enforce the Emperor’s bidding and respected the restrictions set by the War Council.
The 71st Expedition Fleet continued their duties to the Emperor without glory and celebration, followed by the Acheon, a scout ship from the Heralds of Hektor. Now commanded by Aubrey's equerry, the honoured Captain Corvin Prozt, the fleet would be sent to the furthest reaches of the galaxy, washing away their shame with success. In the first year since the scattering of his legion, Aubrey’s forces reclaimed a hundred worlds for the Imperium and crushed over a dozen growing xenos races. It was a far cry from the thousands previously claimed in the name of the Eternal Zealots, but it was sufficient to meet the requirements of the War Council.
The Burning of Lazarus had broken Aubrey, leaving him in a deep depression. He had been stripped of his homeworld, his sons and his purpose in the crusade. Aubrey no longer commanded the Eternal Zealots from the front, or played any significant part in the operations of the 71st Expedition Fleet. It was only at the ruins of the planet designated as Paskal III that Aubrey was stirred to action. The planet bore signs of once being inhabited by an advanced xenos civilisation, but had been reduced to ruins. However, the ruins held an important message for Aubrey and his Zealots. When viewed from orbital scans, sections of destroyed landmarks formed what was unmistakeably Lazarite script. The message went unnoticed by the escorts in the Acheon, but was sufficient to stir Aubrey back into action, for it spoke of the one thing that he desired so ardently – Home.
With Aubrey back to his full strength, bringing his skill and tactical acumen to the battlefield, the Zealots flourished once more. The Eternal Zealots followed the trail of the mysterious lost civilisation, combing through dozens of sectors and hundreds of worlds. Transmissions back to the War Council by the Acheon described Aubrey as coming out of his fugue state, newly reinvigorated with the fire to prosecute the Emperor’s will. In reality, Aubrey and the Zealots were searching for their elusive xenos race, a search which took them to a small planet on the fringe of the galaxy, a planet named Pax.
Upon approaching Pax, Aubrey’s flagship the Emperor’s Guillotine was hailed on secure vox-codes usually only used the Astartes of the XVIth legion. Enclosed was a message for Aubrey to descend to the surface, alone. Against the advice of his commanders, Aubrey agreed. The Emperor’s Guillotine faked distress over the seemingly uninhabited Pax, and orders were sent out for the rest of the expedition fleet to continue to the next planet, including the Acheon. Aubrey personally piloted a Stormhawk down to the surface, completely empty but for a teleport homer for his elite Laceria Terminators to come to his aid in any emergency.
Aubrey landed on Pax at a natural formation of stone which had formed into spires reminiscent of Lazarite architecture. Surprisingly, he was met by a human emissary, a Rogue Trader who had gone missing over a decade ago. The man explained that he had found a higher calling, that he served greater powers than the Imperium now. Aubrey was taken to a concealed city, buried deep beneath the surface of Pax. It was there that he discovered a world of many xenos, as well as humans, living together in harmony and peace. That was also Aubrey’s first encounter with the xenos race known as the Hezeyar, the custodians and guardians of Pax.
Aubrey was given a unique opportunity to speak with the Hezeyar emissary known as the Prime. The Prime spoke of his race the Hezeyar, psychically gifted xenos that once ruled the stars now being claimed by humanity. The Prime explained to Aubrey how the Hezeyar owed their existence to power greater than mortals, that they drank of the primordial essence of the warp instead. The Hezeyar had been uplifted by the primordial powers and now sought to uplift other species to true equality in the eyes of the Primordial Truth.
Aubrey remained quiet through the exchange, not objecting to the blasphemous speech of the Hezeyar emissary. The Prime described the plans of the human Emperor, his father, as a tumour upon the galaxy. Humanity was spreading like a malignant growth, suffocating all that stood in their way. The Lazarites were an example of a species the Hezeyar had sought to uplift; before they were brutally crushed under the might of the Imperium. Aubrey remained impassive through the entire exchange, but he had privately reached a decision. His father’s Imperium was decayed and diseased, and he would be the surgeon to cure it.
Aubrey returned to the Emperor’s Guillotine with the Hezeyar emissary in tow. Despite some consternation amongst his Zealots, resistance to his violation of the War Council’s edict was minimal. However, Aubrey’s Legion Grand Mentor, Zachery Irisus, stood against Aubrey and his heresy. Grand Mentor Irisus had tolerated his primarch’s transgressions for many months, but could no longer ignore the corruption that Aubrey had invited into the midst of the Zealots. As by legion tradition, Aubrey and his Grand Mentor faced off in a duel to the death, a battle of honour. The fight was mercifully short, the primarch forcing his son down to his knees before decapitating him. With the last opposition to his plans silenced, and the first blood of the Heresy drawn, the lord of the XVIth legion spoke to his sons, heralding a new age that would shake the Imperium to its core.
Since the XVI legion’s earliest days as the Emerald Doom, they have been fanatically devoted to the Imperial Truth. The Sixteenth Squad of the Sacred Band served as the Emperor’s falling hammer, destroying all false religions and superstition that would hold humanity back. This practice continued with the discovery of their primarch Aubrey the Grey. Aubrey saw the Imperial Truth as a logical extension of his dreams of a united galaxy and pushed his legion to further embody those ideals. Under the able guidance of Aubrey, the fangs of the Emerald Doom were tempered. The Eternal Zealots were surgical and precise, excising the cancers of corruption from the heart of the Imperium.
In spite of their viciousness in prosecuting campaigns, the Eternal Zealots often showcased a more humanitarian side after the cessation of combat. The Zealots would selflessly provide newly pacified worlds with men and material, to assist in the rebuilding process. Particular care was taken to ensure that the new worlds of the Imperium were well-versed in science, medicine and humanities.
Following their fall to Chaos, the Eternal Zealots regressed to their days of barbarism and violence. Now in service to the Ruinous Powers, they prosecuted their campaigns with no less zeal, but now heralded worship of the Primordial Truth. All opposition to the Zealots would be violently crushed, their enemies beheaded to serve as warnings for those who would not submit. They were no longer guardians of humanity, but consorted with daemons and heretics and xenos, bringing the vileness of the warp into reality.
- Lazarus. Lazarus was a warm world of great deserts, sweltering jungles and open savannahs lapped by sun-kissed seas. The emerging Lazarite civilisation took great pride in their architecture, constructing beautiful crystal spires as part of their planetary communication network. Surrounding Lazarus was a thin planetary ring, the remnant of several ancient moons colliding together in the distant past. It was often used as cover by raiders approaching the planet, and later several star-forts of the Legion were secreted within the Ring to defend the planet, though they would be overrun during the Lazarus Rebellion and turned on the forces of the Imperium. Serpents were highly important to Lazarite beliefs, considered symbols of immortality and warrior prowess. The greatest Lazarite commanders hunted the great Snakes to prove their prowess, and those that killed one would wear its skin as a cloak as a symbol of their skill and authority.
- Campeche. A lush, jungle world on the outer borders of the Sol Segmentum, Campeche became one of the most important of the Emerald Doom's conquests, and would eventually supply over a fifth of the Legion's numbers by the apex of the Great Crusade.
- Agqumare. A planet where over 90 percent of the surface was covered by water, Agqumare was home to great ship-cities that sailed the eternal seas, harvesting food from the depths. While a challenging world for the Eternal Zealots to conquer, the planet would prove to provide hardy recruits, especially skilled in void warfare.
//Data below is unfinished. Please mind the gap.
Zachery Irisus "Emerald Storm, The Doombringer" was one of the very first Terrans inducted into the Legion after the Sacred Band, and was a proven and fearless commander who was always at the very point of the spear, wielding a massive two-handed Chainsword. Though he was a proven commander, he shunned high command and resisted promotion, so when the Primarch was found he was merely a line-captain. The Primarch could see much potential in him and inducted him into the ranks of the Mentors, the new breed of inspiring officers who would act as his will amongst the Legion. Irisus would end up rising to the rank of Legion Grand Mentor, one of the Primarch's inner circle along with the Praetor of the First Chapter and the Primarch's equerry. However Irisus was a child of Terra, and he was distrustful of the Cyfectii. He would end up refusing to obey his Primarch's commands, and in a ritual duel died at his Primarch's hand.
Varus Tithonus "Lance of the Primarch" Varus (Lazarus) Tithonus was another one of the initial Terran recruits and was one of the two highest-ranking commanders of the Emerald Doom during the few decades of decline before they were saved by the Primarch. Though he was bold, always seizing the initative and forcing his foes to react to his moves, he was also hot-blooded and harsh in the punishment of rebels and those who failed his command, which led to several Imperial Army formations requesting to leave his command after public and highly humiliating rebukes from him. Praetor of the Second Chapter, he preferred not to rise further, and turned down the chance to become First Chapter Master several times. He was instrumental in the destruction of Valshada, slaying their Farseer Ylima in single combat. A fanatical servant of his Primarch, he willingly followed him into damnation. However after the Rebellion's failure and the Legion's retreat into the Eye, Varus came to be disillusioned with the sorry state of the Legion and the fact that the war with the Imperium appeared to have been forgotten. He abandoned the Legion (losing an arm in the process) and went on to found the Warp Riders Warband that continues to plague the Imperium to this day.
Azra Zachariah "Shepherd of the Damned, First of Khorne, The Blood Priest" Born into the Gladiator Pits of Kustrinda, Zachariah grew up as a warrior, a master of single combat. His Homeworld resisted the coming of the Zealots, but were swiftly brought to heel with much of the planet left in ruins. An orphan of war, Zachariah was considered a perfect candidate for the Legion due to his youth and combat skills. He saw the Legion as his new home and Aubrey as a willing master to serve. Always self-conscious of his position as an outsider and a recruit from a bitter enemy, he demanded much respect within the Legion even if he had to fight for it in the gladiatorial arena, much like his youth. This combination of martial skill and earned respect would see him placed into the Mentors, though it was rumoured that was a deliberate ploy to remove him from the normal chain of command. As a Mentor, Zachariah preached the wisdom of his adoptive father, often adding a more grounded, realistic and cynical touch. Though not as gifted an orator as Siyuren Sil, his skill on the battlefield was worth a dozen speeches, and could reach the twin hearts of many legionaries to such a degree that he needn't utter a word on the battlefield.
Xan Khorsah "Thunderfist, the Infernal Reaver" One of the initiates from Campeche, Khorsah was fanatically loyal to the Legion which had pacified his homeworld and a proud student of Zachariah. Promoted to Praetor of the Third Chapter of the Zealots, he would willingly follow his Primarch down the road to damnation and carve out a brutal reputation for himself during the Battle of Dolsene and the Burning Crusade.
Galle Nacht "Hell's Apothecary" Squad Sergeant of the Sixteenth Sacred Band and a recruit from Albia, Galle Nacht was a brave and resourceful officer who was tipped for higher command but chose to become an Apothecary, and was one of the very first batch who trained under Lyster Larrey. He would be personally affected by the Gene-Seed crisis and go to extreme lengths to try and stabilize and secure the Gene-Seed of his Legion.
Siyuren Sil "Voice of the Damned, The Butcher of Cattegirn" recruited from the ocean world of Agqumare just as the Legion was being rebuilt under Aubrey, Sil was a highly charismatic leader and a master orator who was swiftly inducted into the ranks of the Mentors, where he excelled. His pre-battle speeches became legend, as did his courage under fire and his willingness to risk himself to inspire his men. He took the destruction of Lazarus hard and was briefly removed from Legion service. When he returned, he was a fanatical convert to Aubrey's new way and with his oratory helped spread it throughout the Legion. His loyal service continued throughout the Rebellion and even beyond as he became one of the highest ranking members of the Zealot's inner circle. He often was attached to Legion Warbands under direct orders from the Primarch, and he was part of the massive Legion assault force that brought fire and death to the famous Knight World of Cattegirn in M37.
Organisation and Doctrine
The organisation of the Legions as laid down in the Principa Belicosa remained the principal organisation basics for the Eternal Zealots throughout their History up until after the Rebellion. The loss of most of the Sacred Band in the early battles of the Crusade due to the aggressive zeal of the Legion and its habit of commanders always leading from the front meant that it became unusually common for a Commander to take commander of multiple Chapters. Upon taking command, Aubrey had the Legion's organisation modified to better his fit surgeon philosophy of combat: the aggressive and swift advance of warriors in force to decapitate the enemy and then pull apart and destroy the leaderless enemy armies swiftly and completely.
Aggressive tactics were reflected in how the Legion was organised. The Battalion became the chief building block of a tactical force, each Battalion comprising specialized companies designated as assault companies, line breaker companies, heavy support companies and so on, with the overall goal of making each battalion able to take on any foe in any condition. When a Chapter was deployed to a planet, each Battalion was assigned a specific target and all would act simultaneously to crush resistance with a single, combined and well-executed blow.
Assault companies were the most common, with every Chapter having at least one. They were the spearhead of most assaults against the enemy. Only veteran Marines were assigned to them, for the mortality rate of Marines in assault companies was inevitably high. Newly initiated Marines were most commonly deployed to the heavy support companies and as they progressed they moved closer and closer to the front lines and the brutality of close-quarters fighting.
The prevalence for close combat was shown in the tactical makeup of squads. Despoiler Squads with Bolt Pistols and Chainswords were often deployed on a one to one ratio with bolter armed squads, advancing under the cover of their ranged brothers to deliver a final and brutal killing blow. The sheer shock and bloody nature of close combat sent a clear message, especially to those foes who were adverse to hand to hand combat, that to resist meant death.
The headhunting tactics of the Legion were reflected in their use of Bikes, Jetbikes and jump-pack assault squads to slip around the enemy flanks and strike at their command centres, lines of communication and supply and especially their tactical and strategic leaders. The most skilled of these became members of the ‘Decapitators’, an elite force of Assault Marines drawn from the most hardened veterans of the Legion.
Commanders were kept in check by their Mentors, who would take the burden of frontline command upon themselves to prevent the breakdowns of command that had existed within the Legion before the coming of Aubrey. The Mentors would ensure that Captains and Praetors would not unduly risk their lives, and could better focus on directing the flow of battle.
Decapitators The Decapitators were a special formation of Assault Troops trained in taking out enemy leaders, diving onto them from above and cutting them and their bodyguards down before disengaging and speeding away before retribution could come. Armed with envenomed blades that would debilitate a commander if they didn't kill him outright and sirens that gave out an unearthly scream in the seconds before landing, few who ever heard that sound survived to tell the tale.
Eunectes Terminators Brutal and sinister, the Eunectes were the heavy destroyers of the Legion, taken from the most veteran Destroyer Marines who had survived the longest. Teleporting into the middle of enemy Temples, Fanes, Libraries and command centres, they would proceed to unleash a storm of fire from their deadly Chem-Flamer weapons, reducing everything to smoking ash while their heavy armour kept the flames from them. For those targets too hardened for normal fire, they also carried the lethal Phosphex for absolute destruction of the foe.
Aphizft Abominations Once the Zealots had turned to the Primordial Truth, they were instructed by the Cyfecti in how to fuse Daemons with mortals, and began to create a cadre of men who had willingly agreed to fuse themselves with one of the Daemons of the Warp. Though very few survived, those that did became deadly monsters, fast and lethal with unnatural speed and ferocity and blessed with wings of varying type so they could swoop and dive into the ranks of the enemy. Called the Aphizft, after a Snake-Demon myth of dead Lazarus, they were hidden from the Imperium until the outbreak of the Rebellion, where they were first revealed in all their dark glory so bring carnage to the Emperor's loyal warriors.
The support formations of the Eternal Zealots differed considerably from those of their fellow Legions, in large part due to the differing mindset of the Legion. Aubrey's own reluctance to rely on humans unless absolutely necessary saw the Legion have one of the smallest contingents of serfs of any Legion.
When Aubrey took command of his Legion, one of his first acts was to create a new corps of officers that would act as his eyes and ears within the Legion. Not tied to any company or Chapter, they would be inspiring leaders and directors who would advise the commanding officers and help them to direct their men to best effect. They would also spread the Imperial Truth on those planets they conquered, showing the masses the importance of science and shirking the binds that superstition and deities cause upon society. Inside and outside of combat the Mentors were charged with the training and leading of the Legion's new recruits, showing them how the Imperial Truth should be spread to the ignorant and how to become a true Astartes in the art of war.
The Mentors were a rank apart, answering only to the Grand Mentor and beyond him to the Primarch. They would remove an officer, even a Praetor from command if they believed it necessary. They inspired their men both by their deeds, and by the knowledge that they were watching and judging their fellow Zealots. The Mentors had a grim reputation, and were both loved and feared in equal measure.
Mentors were recognizable by the black and green gilded robes they wore to signify their position. In the higher ranking Mentors, that robe was often made out of Snakeskin harvested from the many serpents of Lazarus. These robes were commonly considered to give the Mentors an almost priestly appearance, something that never ceased to amuse the supposed "Priests of the Imperial Truth."
When the word of the Gods came from the mouth of their Primarch, the Mentors were the most resistant to the touch of Chaos. Grand Mentor Zachery Irisus even tried to fight the Primarch, though Aubrey cut him down with ease. However as the Cyfecti began to display the true blessings of the Gods and summoned Daemons to speak with the Mentors, most became intoxicated at the thought of actual gods, rather than the false promises they had faced before. The "Priests of the Imperial Truth" give themselves over to the true power of the gods, their rage at the Imperium and the shattering of their long-held belief that there were no gods blinding them to the corruption that their Cyfecti allies brought with them. The newly crowned Dark Mentors became the focal points for Chaos worship and took upon themselves the duty to spread the word of Chaos, as well as to defile and besmirch any place of worship, of any deity, that would dare claim themselves above the gods of Chaos.
The Apothecarion of the Legion was given the greatest overhaul of any formation when Aubrey took command, becoming the second most powerful Apothecarion in all the Legions, only beat by that of the Life Bringers. The Gene-Seed crisis left a permanent mark on the Legion and the Apothecarion became the safeguard for the Legion. The number of Apothecaries in the Legion rose considerably, with Primus Medicae officers becoming equal with the Mentors as a powerful bloc within the Legion. Regular Squad Sergeants were given basic Medicae instruction and along with their other duties were tasked with making routine checks on their men to ensure that the Gene-Seed degradation was not returning. The Apothecarion Corps also created a mobile formation within their own ranks known as the Rhino Apothecarion, which comprised a number of Rhinos converted into mobile Ambulances and Healing Stations that would provide more advanced care then the regular Apothecaries on the field. It should be noted that during the Betrayal Aubrey the Grey was saved by the intervention of a Rhino Apothecarium crew, using the mobile operating room to stabilize him after he was struck by a Lazarite poison.
The Legion had a relatively small number of Techmarines due to the Legion's reluctance to rely on the Lords of Mars, though thanks to the Lords of Jecreon and Massalia they did not lack for Mechanicum support to build and maintain their wargear.
Aubrey had never put his trust in Fortifications due to their lack of effectiveness in keeping raiders out during the years of war in the Lazarus system, but the new Imperial-made defences of Lazarus were entrusted to the Legion's Castra. However these new defences would not be enough to save Lazarus, and the Castra fell into disrepute afterwards and became effectively defunct.
The Emerald Doom, having seen the power that Psykers could have on the weak-willed, were quick to adopt a Librarius for those who were Psychically talented. The Eternal Zealots maintained that Librarius, though it was a poor third to the Mentors and the Apothecarion.
Allies and Auxilia
Rarely among the Legions, the Eternal Zealots did not have a major human Auxilia force bonded to them. This was due to the fact that Aubrey was unwilling to put his trust in mere human Auxiliaries, who he felt could not be relied upon. Instead, that task was handed over to Lazarite Auxiliaries from his homeworld. The Lazarite Auxiliaries were fast and lethal and principally used as reconnaissance and sabotage troops, staking out enemy positions, eliminating key defensive structures and armoured support.
Aubrey did however have considerable support by non-Imperial Army formations. The Eternal Zealots were blessed with the attachment of a major Household Detachment of the The Knights of Accolon, seconded by their King after she left the Legion following a decade of mutual service after the Legion became independent. The Detachment - comprising nine Knights led by Thegn Maleagant - would remain under Aubrey's command for nearly fifty years until the fall of Lazarus, when they were ordered back by the Emperor. They would end up facing Aubrey during the Burning Crusade, when he would bring down Maleagant in single combat and wear his Knight's faceplate on his armour as a trophy.
Aubrey could also call on the Mechanicum to support his Legion. There were plenty within the Mechanicum who wished to study Xenotech in violation of standard Mechanicum Doctrine, and Aubrey co-opted many of them and brought them into his service in return for his patronage and protection. Most notable of all Aubrey's Mechanicum allies was the Forgeworld of Jecreon, a forge that due to their proximity to several petty Xenos empires developed a liberal approach to Xenotech. This made them a strong supporter of the Eternal Zealots, producing equipment not only for the Marines, but also for the Lazarites as well. Most of the Legion was equipped and supplied from Jecreon's forces, and the Jecreon Eviscerator, used by many within the Legion. Jecreon would be purged by the Fabricator General for Tech-Heresy just after the fall of Lazarus, a disaster which deprived the Zealots of much of their supply.
The Zealots were not well known for their Fleet. It was among the smaller fleets of all the Legions, with barely a hundred mainline warships to their name.
Gene-seed and Successors
The gene-seed of the Eternal Zealots was considered pure at its inception, but the sudden and unexpected degradation of it in the latter half of the first century of the Crusade threw this into doubt. It was only the discovery of Aubrey and his subsequent efforts that were able to correct and stabilize it. After that, it was considered to be pure and unusually stable, though the powerful Apothecarion of the Eternal Zealots were constantly monitoring the Gene-Seed in case of another disaster.
The gene-seed of the Zealots gave them a marked tendency towards a dangerous combination of absolute zeal in their beliefs and a furious aggression against those who did not share their beliefs. This made them supremely loyal soldiers and deadly against their foes, but when turned against the Imperium made them even more deadly foes.
Mutation is not common amoungst the Zealots, but for those who are marked by it, it is a blessing of Chaos and one which is held in high regard.
|The Space Marine Legions of the /tg/ Heresy|
|Loyalist:||The Entombed - Eyes of the Emperor - Scale Bearers - Silver Cataphracts |
Steel Marshals - Stone Men - Thunder Kings - Void Angels - War Scribes
|Traitor:||Black Augurs - The Justiciars - Eternal Zealots - Heralds of Hektor |
Iron Rangers - Life Bringers - Lions Rampant - Mastodontii - Sons of Fire