|Battle Cry||"Primarch-Progenitor, to your glory and the glory of Him on earth!"|
|Successor Chapters||Astral Knights, Black Templars, Celestial Lions, Crimson Fists, Excoriators, Executioners, Exorcists (officially), Fists Exemplar, Hammers of Dorn, Hospitallers, Invaders, Iron Knights, Red Templars, Retributors, Sons of the Phoenix (Officially, anyway), Soul Drinkers (sort of, it's complicated), Subjugators, White Templars,|
|Chapter Master||Gregor Dessian (formerly Vorn Hagen)|
|Homeworld||Used to be Inwit, then Terra, now a giant space fortress called the Phalanx (though officially it's still Terra)|
|Strength||1000 Marines (to Dorn's displeasure)|
|Specialty||Defensive Siege Warfare/Urban Warfare/Extreme Masochism/Smashing face (named "Imperial Fists" for smashing enemy fortifications with concentrated force into a single point instead of performing offensive sieges)|
|Colours||Yellow and black, with Codex-standard trim on shoulders|
- – The usual response of an Imperial Fist to their hated rivals' "SIEGE!"
"The best offence is a good defence."
- – Imperial Fist combat doctrine.
"You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won't back down."
- – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, I Won't Back Down
"Maximmion Voss, Imperial Fist, Captain of the Third Company, Master of Doors. Think of the Banner Iconography. Glorious."
- – Siefer Zeed
The Imperial Fists are a First Founding chapter of Space Marines, descended from Rogal Dorn and characterized by their mastery of siege warfare and their extreme, often suicidal stoic bravery. They are the forefathers of the blue guys with red hands, as well as the in-game Angry Marines. Sometimes they get together with their successors and have a sword fighting tournament. They aren't as angry as the Angry Marines (close though), but they get the shit done. Unlike some people.
Basically they're the true Vanilla Marines, albeit the most badass vanilla marines ever. Probably best represented on the table top by IA: 10's Siege Assault Vanguard list, since it includes most codex space marine options, plus additional siege-y stuff.
They're well known for their fixation on physical and spiritual endurance, reinforced and tested through extreme trials and the use of a gadget called the "pain glove" - which is apparently a bodysuit that activates every pain nerve in a marine's body while hindering their pain suppressing organs, basically making you feel like your body has been dipped in molten steel. Older fluff kinda played this up as masochism, but more recent fluff, especially the Horus Heresy books, have shown these pain seeking tendencies as being a mechanism of focus and preparation, the idea being that if a Marine is already exposing himself to much greater pain than he could be exposed to on the battlefield, there's no injury or obstacle that could threaten them, because they've already done worse to themselves. They also use pain as a meditative and training aid, as Astartes biology is keyed to react to pain in useful ways, which can be helpful in training and mental preparation. They have a Germanic-Teutonic-Prussian-Crusader theme to their Legion and their chapter, and are badasses when it comes to swordfighting too.
They are known for being one of the Chapters who try to keep the Imperium together as the Emperor intended the most (perhaps this implies they make sure worlds they save are in Compliance/get rid of tyrants and shitty regimes), and defend Imperial soil with tenacity and stoic contempt. This harkens back to their Legion being one of the most Imperial in morals, and known as the "true Imperial Legion", beside the Blood Angels (although only outwards - Things weren't as well internally) and the Ultramarines. They recruit people from many different worlds of the Imperium, showing traits from Hive Worlds, Agri-Worlds, Death Worlds, Ocean Worlds, etc. They even recruit from Terra itself, making them to a degree Terra's marines and being known as the Defenders of Terra. Combining this with their standard reaction to pain ("This sucks... I'LL DEFEND IT EVEN MORE!!!") paints a picture of a stubborn Chapter which refuses to let go of the ideals that the Imperium was founded on, but unlike the Catholics aren't afraid of showing it, and aren't dicks about it, like the vikings. Just don't expect them to express much emotion, they tend to be as brutally honest and literal as the walls they build.
They appear in the Ultramarines movie, ostensibly to teach aforementioned smurfs how to get the shit done, or probably steal the movie from the smurfs and make the Theater explode due to epicness and faithful Imperium subjects yelling as many literal one liners of 40k when they see the motherfucking Imperial Fists. Also, John Hurt plays an IF chaplain in said film. Sadly, due to the amount of Smurf Fanboyism in said film, all but two of them die, their Chaplain gets shot by SPOILER a daemon in disguise, and some scrawny Ultramarine recruit saves the day instead. Normally we'd say this is fucking stupid, but the Fists die holding the line and fight to the last, both on-screen and off (and at the very least, one of the Fists survives the movie, one of only two-ish characters to do AT ALL).
The Imperial Fists were masters of siege warfare and construction, like the Iron Warriors. But while the Warriors were shoehorned into that role by their asshole dad and/or grandad (with unfortunate consequences), the Imperial Fists were literally designed for the task. This is perhaps best demonstrated in their methods of siege. The Iron Warriors laid siege in the same way as the Death Korps of Krieg. The Imperial Fists simply used whatever was best and shooty and blew a hole in the enemy defenses. Then, they stormed in and “fisted” the enemy to death. Rinse, repeat. No grind. No PTSD. No stress. Just blam and done. A lot like their boarding tactics in naval warfare, come to think of it.
Since ALL First Founding Legions originally recruited from Terra, their first homeworld was officially Rogal Dorn's planet of Inwit, which is exactly what it sounds like on the tin: a frozen planet of low-tech Inuit people, though Dorn was such an impressive dude he managed to turn the feral worlders and their ice caves into a sprawling interplanetary empire (beat THAT Girly-pants!).
Rogal Dorn was the only Primarch (aside from Magnus the Red) to actively seek out the Emperor rather than be discovered by him, so when he showed up with the Phalanx, big Emps was like "oh Hai... erm... I wasn't expecting you yet... Dorn? was it? okay here's your Legion." Dorn didn't say a word as the Imperial Fists knelt and pledged their loyalty, but after he had witnessed them in battle, he met with the Space Marine who was the place-holder Primarch (Legion Master Matthias) and simply said "Cheers dude, you're in command of Inwit now, make me thirty more regiments of you guys, I'm off on a crusade" (seriously, that's pretty much how it went).
It wasn't all Noblebright crusades though; they were described as zealous as the Ultramarines or Word Bearers when it came to conquering worlds and drawing recruits. On one feral world they recruited EVERY SINGLE male child old enough to hold a spear, whilst on one hive world they went down into the underhives and walked away with half of the male population. This was perhaps not the best way to get results, and most of the potential recruits would end up dead, though one can guess that the ones that survived would be guaranteed to be the best of the crop, probably in a similar way to how the Space Wolves whittle out the weaklings from the strong.
They did so well at crusading during the Great Crusade (go figure) that the Emperor lavished more honours on them than anyone else and fought alongside them more often than any other legion. One might wonder why Dorn wasn't named Warmaster, but this was probably more to do with Horus being a) already well established and crusading on his own, b) presumably a better all-round general than Dorn and c) Dorn was notably lacking in the interpersonal skills necessary to keep the other primarchs in line. Despite this, the Imperial Fists were considered by many to be the bedrock of the Imperium, and they were the legion most associated with the Emperor, thus midway through the Great Crusade when big Emps retired to his dungeons to play with warp trinkets, they got the job of guarding Terra and the surrounding solar system (but not guarding the Emperor himself since the Custodians already had that job), and fortifying the Imperial Palace and so they became the most publicly visible loyalist Astartes during the time of the Horus Heresy. Not only that, their Primarch, along with the Khan personally carried the Emperor's fucked up body all the way to the Golden Throne.
Dorn's rejection of the Codex was primarily based on his legion being the crusading legion. They defined themselves by their identity as Legionaries, and regarded Guilliman's codex as being a betrayal of the Emperor's mandate for the Space Marines. Indeed, Big E wanted the Legions to expand the Imperium aggressively and Guilliman wanted to turn them into a bunch of small High Threat Response teams, each protecting their own little corner of the Imperium. When Guilliman rolled up and asked Dorn if he was done with the codex, Dorn blew him off by saying there were Traitors to hunt down and exterminate and ran off to enact the Scouring with his sons. (And, to be fair, Guilliman and everyone else joined in the Scouring as well because it was actually a good idea.)
By the time the majority of the Traitors had been either purged with extreme prejudice or driven into the Eye of Terror, however, Guilliman came around with his Codex idea again. Again, Dorn told Guilliman to leave his Legion alone, but this time Guilliman wouldn't take no for an answer, and it became increasingly apparent that it was going to become a thing whether Dorn liked it or not. Dorn's Legion was going to be broken up. His father was dead. His best friends were dead. Deep down, he felt that he'd failed the Emperor and the Great Crusade; if only he'd fortified Terra a little more or been at the Emperor's and Sanguinius' side to confront Horus, they wouldn't be mired in this complete and utter clusterfuck. The Emperor was dead, the Great Crusade was over, and the Imperium fractured. There was no more need for an Emperor's Praetorian or an Imperial Crusader in this new galaxy where they could only cling on grimly to what they'd so laboriously managed to seize.
Luckily, in this moment of quiet despair in Dorn's life, Perturabo dropped the challenge for Dorn to come and break into his mightiest fortress. Dorn saw this as the perfect solution to his problem, rose seemingly blindingly to the obvious bait and took his sons to what he knew was a trap. He went in with no help, with no reinforcements, even without expectations or a battle plan. He'd moved on from self-injury and fury to suicidal bravery. He didn't expect to survive the Iron Cage. He went there with his sons so they could die holding up the ideals they'd believed in and that defined the Imperial Fists. When Guilliman arrived uninvited to 'save' the Imperial Fists, Dorn's legion was physically mauled, but spiritually intact once again. Dorn and his sons never exactly got over their guilt, but they were no longer defined by it. Dorn finally could accept the new reality of the Imperium, but made sure the Fists and their successors would continue to fight for the Emperor's original vision. Far from the kneeling submission of a broken man to Guilliman, this act was Dorn's way of staying true to the Imperium that had gone before without tearing apart the Imperium that was still standing.
An alternate and less generous interpretation is that Dorn temporarily went fucking nuts after Dad's death and got most of his legion killed. By enacting this roundabout "vengeance" upon his own legion, he was not cleansing the sin from the hearts and loins of the Imperial Fists, but simply failing his men and failing to do his job of winning fights to aid the Imperium. This underscores his tenacity, and how a strong personality trait can sometimes be a significant disadvantage. Typical of both the Emperor and his sons. This didn't end in a total failure in the long run though, since he split his legion into the ever raging Black Templars which remains the largest and busiest Chapter to date, and the reasonable Crimson Fists who actually have brains and don't throw themselves wastefully into wars for the sake of glory or honour. That's not to say both takes are completely mutually exclusive, but well, there you go.
The Beast Arises series entry, I am Slaughter (written by Dan Abnett) revealed that, while Dorn grudgingly accepted the Codex, he still wasn't totally on board with the whole "let's divvy up our legions" thing (but then again, neither were Leman Russ and Lion El'Jonson), and so Dorn secretly created what amounted to a panic box that said "break glass in case of 2nd siege of terra", known as 'The Last Wall': if Terra were ever to come under direct threat again, then the Imperial Fists and their successor chapters would reunite as a full Legion in its defense, with the Feast of Blades serving to keep them sharp and prepared. This turned out to be a good idea, as the Fists got their shit completely wrecked by some Orks at the beginning of the war (as in, there was exactly one survivor from the entire chapter). This sole survivor, Captain Slaughter Koorland, fortunately proved to be a complete badass and rounded up all the Fists' successor chapters to go and knock greenskin heads together, becoming Lord Commander of the Imperium and founding the Deathwatch along the way.
Sadly, he eventually got killed by the Beast himself on Ullanor, rendering the OG Fists extinct. They were covertly reconstituted by members of other Imperial Fists second founding chapters later on, though, so it's all good. Plus he most likely had a bunch of gene-seed and who knows what, so the original Fists were probably revived anyway, though to see the details on the Chapter that constituted the majority of the refounded chapter, see the Fists Exemplar. It's also worth noting that, with the introduction of Primaris Marines, there most certainly are OG Imperial Fists again: for his material, Cawl used warriors from Terra from the days of the Great Crusade. A few of the Primaris Marines therefore have memories of seeing Rogal Dorn himself. The link between Imperial Fists Legion and Chapter that was severed during the War of the Beast was thereby restored by the Indomitus Crusade. Through the Last Wall protocol, the Imperial Fists were "re-fortified".
The new Fists spent the next nine millennia or so generally getting shit done and beating the stuffing out of anyone who tried to mess with the Imperium. Highlights include helping to take out Drakan Vangorich after The Beheading, being forced to lay siege to the Imperial Palace because of Space Caligula, and repeatedly trying to kill one particularly crazy Warsmith by the name of Shon'tu. They would also supplement the Codex's combat philosophy with that of the Book of the Five Spheres.
During the 13th Black Crusade, said Warsmith and Daemon Prince Be'lakor invaded the Phalanx, hoping to use it to blow up the Imperial Palace and thereby make Failbaddon look stupid(er) by comparison. The only Fists present to stop them were the 3rd Company, which was rebuilding after getting mangled in a recent battle, and a few 1st Company veterans. Things weren't going so well for the boys in yellow, so the Fists captain decided to send the Phalanx into the warp to prevent the Chaos forces from carrying out their plan. He also wound up using the Phalanx's guns to shoot off all the daemon-infested parts of the station, destroying a tenth of its total mass. Fortunately for them, the Legion of the Damned showed up to help them fight off the invaders, and Shon'tu finally got properly killed. With that clusterfuck over, the Phalanx set course for Cadia, because if you've just won one impossible battle, you might as well go get involved in another one. They arrived just in time to nuke a chunk of the Black Fleet, along with a Blackstone Fortress, and then assist the Imperial fleet in evacuating the system after the planet finally broke. Later some of the other Fists showed up in the nick of time to back up Girlyman and his forces on Luna during their scrap with Magnus and his boys.
As of 8th edition, the Fists have gotten back to doing what they do best: crusading and killing traitors. They re-earned their title as the Defenders of Terra by helping to defeat a Khornate invasion of the planet caused by the eruption of the Cicatrix Maledictum. After that, they joined up with the Indomitus Crusade for a while, during which they earned much praise from Guilliman himself. They also at some point decided to go smash the shit out of an Iron Warriors fortress world, the creatively named Ironhold, and invited a bunch of Cadian shock troopers and some Knight houses to give them a hand. Some of them are currently fighting in the War of Beasts on Vigilus. Now that they are reinforced with Primaris, Guilliman ordered the reforming of the Huscarls to help organize defense of the Imperial worlds. The Custodes decided that they didn't want to see the phalanx get taken over by more chaos worshipers, so in return for placing a permanent guard of custodes aboard the ship, they would restore some functions of the vessel with help from their stash of secret archeotech under the palace.
If you still doubt that the Imperial Fists are awesome, then look at this guy, First Captain Darnath Lysander. You see Lysander was a Terminator, he and almost the entire first company teleported down on a planet, all regular business, but the Chaos Cultists used the warp to send most of the company into a mountain (Good excuse for not loading the P-code into their GPS!). Just as planned. No one knows how that worked since exiting teleportation destroys all matter around the exit point, but whatever, just roll with it. Lysander found the Company Captain dying, but before he died he gave him the relic thunder hammer named Fist of Dorn. After that, Lysander was named 1st Company Captain and went on to do so much crazy shit most people thought he was insane, but he was just awesome. Lysander led a force of Fists into a warp stormed planet, hey not his best move but nobody is perfect. Many thought Lysander and all those with him died, but they re-emerged out of the Warp in a hijacked Iron Warrior ship. You see, Lysander and his force were taken prisoner by the Iron Warriors. Eventually Lysander, without weapons or armor, escaped and fought his way out to freedom. When he returned to the Imperial Fists Chapter, several centuries had passed in the material universe. After they made sure he wasn't corrupted by the centuries he spent in that god forsaken place, Lysander returned to his position as Captain of the 1st Company. Lysander then led a force to fuck up the Iron Warriors, and killed them all. Not forgetting he likes to hunt Titans on foot, getting his Titanhammer squads to reduce them to extra parts for use in the TV show "Scrapyard Wars". Also, he's technically older than even Commander Dante, with only Bjorn being an older living SM, since he was a sergeant (~approx 150yrs) in 567.m40, making him roughly 1600yrs old. No mention is ever made of what happened to the guy who was already leading the first company when Lysander returned. (Actually, he was named Chapter Champion and accepted it, presumably while giving Lysander a brofist of badassery)
In short, Lysander is badass, but he's not perfect (ironically, he's even less of a Mary Sue in the Matt-Ward written supplement for the Imperial Fists - as it turns out, he was demoted to 3rd Company Captain after a bout of stubbornness considered suicidal even by Imperial Fist standards led to the near-destruction of the 3rd Company), he's no smurf, but he is still awesome, and don't believe me, check Lexicanum out; http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Lysander. And he's tough as shit: 4 wounds @ 2+/3++ with eternal warrior to boot. And his hammer is arguably one of the best anti-tank weapons in the game. Nope, nothin' wrong here. If he doesn't get the Primaris treatment like many other main characters are having (and come through the other side of the Rubicon Primaris without issue because let's be honest, it probably hurts a lot less than what he's dealt with before, and, you know, Imperial Fist)...
IMPORTANT NOTE: While many say that the Imperial Fists do not follow the Codex Astartes, this is in fact incorrect. While they do not follow it as obsessively as the Smurfs, the very reason why Dorn participated in the Iron Cage was not only to atone for the sin of letting the Emprah die, but also to create a force of hardened warriors ready to follow the Codex. If you read the unofficial 40 wiki (http://warhammer40k.wikia.com/wiki/Imperial_Fists), you'll see that their adherence to it is second only to the Smurfs (at least until the appearance of these guys). A key difference however, is that the Fists combine the formidable wisdom contained in the Codex with actual brains and thus win more battles than the smurfs. Basically, their organization is the same as the Ultramarines, but they view the Codex the same way Captain Titus does: as a useful set of guidelines and advice rather than a set of rules.
In fact, thanks to the existence of the Ultramarines' non-Codex Tyrannic War Veterans, the Imperial Fists are - in organizational terms - more Codex-adherent than the Ultramarines.
If this still doesn't convince you, then consider the following.
What it means to be an Imperial Fist
You are an Imperial Fist, a member of the VII Legion, you are charged with the defense of Terra, the seat of Imperial Power. When the news came to you that Horus had betrayed Mankind, it felt as if someone had placed a knife in your heart and left it there after twisting it and turning it. Horus, greatest of the Primarchs, had turned from the Emperor. This is impossible, he is either ill or deranged. The very core of your beliefs is rocked; if one such as he could turn, what about you? You steel yourself to do what must be done, trusting in your Primarch, who would never lead you astray. You slowly begin to tear down the Imperial Palace and in its place build a monstrosity of fire lanes, choke points, barricades, battlements, and gun pits. Razorwire replaces rose gardens; trenches replace esplanades, all by your hand. The Emperor is close but never seen; this makes you happy to know that He doesn’t see the horrors you commit to this edifice of His glory. You continue on for years until finally, the forces of the Warmaster are on the approach. Smashing aside all resistance, they fight their way to Terra and make orbit above the cradle of Mankind. You take your post, readying your mind to kill whatever comes, warriors whom you might know or have even shared a similar battlement with. The warriors of the Blood Angels and White Scars lend their aid, but in your heart you know it isn’t enough. You know you will not give in to your fear, for you are fear. The skies darken in an unnatural storm, the drop ships of the traitors speed towards the planet. Fiery comets of malice come not to conquer, but to destroy. What spills from the bellies of the Stormbirds and Thunderhawks are not the noble warriors of the Legions you once knew, but twisted and corrupted mockeries of Space Marines. Spikes and kill trophies of loyalists hang from their backs in a grisly spectacle. You hold the line, you fire magazine after magazine into them. Decaying members of the Death Guard plod towards you, soaking up every round you fire and shambling forward as if against a light breeze. World Eaters throw themselves into your fire zone, bodies piling one on top of another, having no more effect than to slow their traitorous brethren. Creatures from nightmares assail you from all angles, battlements being no more tangible to them than wind to your armored gauntlet. Your efforts are not enough and slowly, inch-by-inch, they gain on you until you have to retreat deeper and deeper into the palace. Now, you really feel the pressure, your enhanced psyche is pushed to its limits. Warp-spawned abominations do battle with your brothers, reaping terrible rents in your defenses, the great cannons of your hated rivals, the Iron Warriors, pound night and day without cease.
After months of this you still hold, you are still alive, you still are invigorated when the Primarch commands you. They will never take him from you, your rock and shelter. The Primarch will see you through this, he has never failed before, why should you now, at his greatest test, see him break. One day, you are swept up into a mob of your brothers. Horus has lowered his shields! The Emperor is leading a counter thrust! You grab whatever you can and continue in the fumbling ecstasy; this is your chance for revenge. This could end it all and the Great Crusade could begin again! Mankind will see even greater growth with the Emperor at its head, and you will live to see it; you must. Blood Angels, White Scars, Imperial Fists, Custodes, and even Imperial Soldiers fill the vast teleporter arrays. A green light fills your vision and when you are brought back to your senses the ship you once knew as the Vengeful Spirit lies before you. It has become a foul reflection of the ship you once walked through with your brothers from the Luna Wolves. You are alone, and for the first time in your life, physically scared. This is unlike anything you have ever seen or known. Monsters lay into you, the very material of the ship is anathema to you. In a great chamber you manage to link up with more loyalists. What luck! One of them knows where your group is located, and better yet the way to the last known rendezvous, Lupercal’s Court. Running through the corridors, you no longer take any notice of the battle around you, your combat reflexes take over and you fight on autopilot. You must get to the Primarch, he will know what to do. When you finally meet back up with him, it is not what you expect, it is what you feared. The Primarch lies weeping over the Emperor’s body, his ear pressed to the barely moving lips of the broken form of the Man at whose word worlds moved and stars died. First Captain Sigismund, his black and white heraldry gore-spattered and his armor rent from dozens of weapons, is being restrained by Captain Polux. Members of the Huscarls kneel around the Primarch, sharing tear-filled glances. The Primarch wordlessly lifts the Emperor’s body and signals for the remaining Imperials to be teleported back to the surface.
The Primarch is a broken man. Having donned the black armor of mourning, he waits for Guilliman and his Ultramarines, Jonson and his Angels, and Russ and his Wolves. When they arrive it is not the homecoming they want. How dare they come here after what you have been through and demand status updates and military courtesies? What have they done? Who have they lost? You were there when the Emperor fell; where were the Ultramarines, and the Dark Angels, and the Space Wolves? Everyone you know is dead, everyone. You are the only remaining member of your company, of the three companies that made up the great company. The Legion went from being a glorious manifestation of the Emperor's power, to a ghost of its former glory. Only those ruined at Istvaan could know this pain. The Space Wolves are insufferable. They camp on the sites where you lost everything. You even see one sneer at a trench where you fought tooth and nail with a dark champion of the World Eaters, curse them. The Dark Angels are morbid, aloof, quiet. After time, though, you can suffer that. You even begrudge them a recounting of the Emperor’s fall. You feel ashamed as you do it. It is wrong to even think about that horrible scene ever again. You decide that you won't tell it again. The Blood Angels have long since left, what can a Legion do without its Primarch? Doomed to a slow death, you hope that you may fight alongside them again before the end. Lord Dorn quickly relinquishes command of Terra to Guilliman. You and the rest of the Imperial Fists board the Phalanx, and the Scouring begins.
On worlds that you once fought to conquer in the name of the Emperor, you now fight to liberate again, although this time you fight those who fought alongside you the first time. The Scouring takes years. More of your brothers live and die, especially die. You no longer joke with your friends after battles, because you have no friends remaining; and why would you make new ones when they will all be killed eventually? But not you, no you will live forever in this endless cycle of death, you will endure, for you are an Imperial Fist and sacrifice is your nature. The High Lords have decreed that the Legions will be broken up, so that treason of this magnitude can never happen again. Dorn will not bow to these councilors and mortals who had no part in the War. These men are more concerned with reacquiring the taxes and tithes of the worlds lost to the traitors and xenos than returning the Imperium to its former glory. It comes to a head when Guilliman declares Dorn no better than the traitors and accuses him of power-mongering. In your wisdom, you can see Guilliman’s point: Lord Dorn has been on Crusade since the Siege, he has sat out the most important meeting and forfeited his vote on the matters at hand. Though he conceals it deep down, you can see the disdain Guilliman has for your Legion, he no doubt thinks that if it had been him, the Emperor and Sanguinius would still be alive. You hate him for that. He would have fared no better, what right has he to judge you! You, who fought day and night with no rest, no respite! You, who watched the same patch of ground for weeks, ever vigilant! You, who was there to see the Emperor’s greatest mistake.
Lord Dorn relents, but only on one condition: that Guilliman allow him to fight the thrice-cursed Perturabo, alone, at his Eternal Fortress. The last charge of the Imperial Fists Legion. The chance to cleanse yourself through sacrifice. The battle is more bitter than the Siege, it is the explosion of hatred held by both Legions. At first, it seemed as if the battle would be fought in noble virtue, with steel and fire. But Perturabo has different plans for you. First comes the explosions, trapping you on the planet, then the ambushes from well-concealed tunnels. You reap a bloody toll upon the traitors but their spite knows no bounds. They slowly and surely break you apart, until again you are all alone, surrounded by the piled bodies of your brothers and foes. Night and day you fight alone, crawling on your belly through the no-mans-land, trying to find anyone, friend or foe. The shelling is constant, the Iron Warriors have no lack of ammunition. The ground becomes an ever-changing bog, the blood mixing with the rain, eventually covering every part of your armor until the gold of the Legion is completely covered. The days blur together and you no longer know how long you have been crawling, until fate intervenes and again you find yourself in the presence of the Primarch. He is not as you remember. His black armor is pitted and scarred, the mud covers most of it. The rest of the first company shares the harrowed appearance of the Primarch. The once proud Templars of Sigismund, who used to wear the finest tabards of rich cream, their company heraldry displayed by devotion markings now show their devotion in scars and burns. Their bolters have long since been discarded and they now use bits of chain and razorwire to keep their swords fastened to their arms. Sigismund is no longer the Champion you remember hurling back the traitors single-handed, but a relentless whirlwind of destruction. All caution thrown to the wind, the First Company charges the traitors at every opportunity, their losses only driving them to greater heights of rage. The Iron Warriors fall before them like long grass to a scythe, the traitors' only recourse is to shell their own positions. The fighting continues as such for what seems like years, every firefight seems like a lifetime. All military objectives have long been abandoned, the only mission is to find Perturabo and destroy him. The senior captains call for a breakout, but the Primarch will not relent, he will kill Perturabo. You continue on day and night until, one day, the tide turns. The Ultramarines have come. Their Thunderhawks bombard the traitor positions, their Battle Barges fire volley after volley into the central keep. Lord Dorn is incensed; when Guilliman makes landfall at your position you half expect the Primarch to strike him down, but it does not happen. As the last of your brothers board the Thunderhawk, Dorn takes one last look at the battlefield, and steps aboard wordlessly.
You leave over four hundred brothers un-recovered on the battlefield. That figure does not include the dead that have been brought back. The Legion is no more, it was able to end with its honor intact. The successors are formed, Lord Dorn gives Sigismund the first of the successors and commands him to keep true to the original virtues of the Astartes. The First Captain leads those still thirsty for vengeance on an Eternal Crusade, forever carrying the Legion's memory as a torch. Master Polux is given the other successor and takes the newest members of the Legion on Crusade as well, but not with the zeal of Sigismund’s Black Templars. Polux uses the bloodied fist as a metaphor for the Chapter. It symbolizes your tradition of sacrifice in the Emperor's name. The new Chapters take to the field in your Chapter's stead, winning much honor for the Primarch. You rebuild. It is a sombre process, few remain who fought at the Cage and fewer still who fought at the Siege. You see faces that might have been at there, but you aren’t sure. The Chapter slowly takes shape, with the Codex at its heart. You endure, ever more.
You continue on, true to the Emperor that was. When word reaches you of a Black Crusade driving into the heart of the Imperium, a chance for vengeance is at hand. The Primarch takes three hundred warriors to hold the forces of chaos back until the rest of the Chapter can join him. But, it does not happen. The Primarch is laid low, and you fight to recover his remains. It is the saddest moment of your life, the Primarch is gone, the Emperor is gone, and the Legion is gone. You bear his remains back to the Phalanx where they will rest for eternity. You endure. You relive your nightmares when Vandire causes a second Imperial Civil War, and you fight through the same corridors you once defended. The Tau menace is thwarted by you and the Ultramarines, fighting alongside each other once more. On Miral the horror of the Great Devourer is thrown back by your hand. You are there when First Captain Lysander returns in time to stop the Traitors from ruining the Imperium during the 13th Black Crusade. You fight across the bleak moors of Cadia, against the sons of the monster who crippled your Master so long ago; it is a wound that still drives so much of your being so many years later. You sacrifice and you believe. You will fight the enemies of the Emperor for all eternity, you endure, you sacrifice, you do not relent. That is what it is to be a Son of Dorn.
3:00 - Reveille: The Imperial Fists are roused from their iron slabs and spiked beds to start the day. Morning Prayer is still an hour away, but it takes that long just to get past the locks and barricades they put up the night before.
4:00 - Morning Prayer: The Imperial Fists assemble for a sermon by the Chaplains. The poses of fealty they maintain are specifically designed to be the most physically uncomfortable possible.
5:00 - Morning Firing Rites: The Imperial Fists assemble to practice their firing drills. You can imagine everyone's surprise when the Chapter serfs learn that the Fists have built up fortifications around their firing ranges.
6:00 - Battle Practice: The Imperial Fists descend into the battle cages for practice in close combat and moving targets. Frequently the Imperial Fists will forgo medical attention for injuries. Bare-fisted combat is encouraged.
9:55 - Milkshake and Cookies break: Nutrient-fortified.
10:00 - Pain Stimulation: The Imperial Fists undergo pain stimulation and endurance tests. Such tests range from the Pain Glove to sitting naked in rooms where the temperature is designed to simulate the night-side of Inwit during winter.
11:00 - Free hour in the Constructatorium: The ancient Terran game “Lego” is provided for the Sons of Dorn from a local forge world by the metric tonne. Many battle brothers, use this “Lego” to construct miniature replicas of titans, or Thunderhawks or The Phalanx. Finding great enjoyment in constructing tiny battlefields from the chapters past, any battle brother who opts to build “barbie's dream castle” or “Perturabo’s tormentor” will find himself spending an evening in the pain glove. Unfortunately, they never bother to clean it up after themselves and reports of battle brothers deliberately walking on lego are unsubstantiated rumors at best. Though it doesn’t explain why every Imperial Fist wanders around the constructatorium in his bare feet or socks.
12:00 - Midday meal: A light meal is prepared by the Chapter serfs. Showing pleasure at the taste earns you an hour in the Pain Glove. Rumors that Imperial Fists deliberately say they enjoyed the meal to get into the Pain Glove have never been proven.
12:30 - Tactical Indoctrination: The Imperial Fists undergo tactical indoctrination on what sort of enemies they can expect to be crusading against in the near future, how to best design fortifications to stop them, and what sort of pain contact with their weapons causes.
16:00 - Evening Firing rites: The Imperial Fists engage in evening firing drills.
20:00 - Evening Prayer: The Imperial Fists assemble for a sermon by the Chaplains. The uncomfortable poses of fealty are no longer required now, though many still maintain them. Sermons are often short and to the point, consisting of the shouted word "FIST" echoed by those present.
21:00 - Evening Meal: A feast is prepared for the Imperial Fists by the Chapter serfs. The Chapter Serfs finally tend to any significant injuries, though many refuse aid.
22:00 - Evening Fortifications: The Imperial Fists set up fortifications in their cells to make sure no one can get into their room and surprise them while sleeping.
23:00 - Rest: The Imperial Fists retire to their iron slabs or spiked beds for the evening.
- Their theme, done by HMKids. Fucking Awesome!
- And the remix done by Stringstorm of If the Emperor had a Text-to-Speech Device fame!
- "The Beast Arises: I am Slaughter", by Dan Abnett
- "Space Marine", by Ian Watson.
- Imperial Fist legionary and chapter serf demonstrate proper use of a pain glove
Marcius Flavius, the first (and only) space marine assigned to a Federation starship in the historic Federation-Imperium officer exchange program.