Scythes of the Emperor

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Scythes of the Emperor
Battle Cry "For the Emperor! We are his Scythes!"
Founding Third (though they had been around longer)
Successors of Ultramarines (Odd because of how badass they are.)
Successor Chapters Unknown, likely none
Chapter Master Thracian
Primarch Roboute Guilliman(officially)
Homeworld Sotha (Scoured - Actively being restored by Cawl) Currently fleet-based.
Strength 1000 marines (>90% Primaris)
Specialty Anti-Tyranid Experts
Allegiance Imperium
Colours Black arms, legs and helmet. The rest yellow.

"It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war."

– Unknown

"Quite aside from the secret shame of Imperium Secundus, the existence of the Aegida company could be seen as proof of his wilful and deliberate flouting of Imperial decree - a decree that he and his surviving brothers only agreed upon after much conflict."

Ultramarine Chaplain Segas justifying the founding of the Scythes of the Emperor

"An army marches on its stomach."

– Unknown, often attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte, Frederick the Great of Prussia, or Claudius Galen, chief physician to the Roman army

The Scythes of the Emperor are a Codex-compliant chapter of Space Marines. Not a huge amount is known about them, except that their homeworld and original fortress monastery was omnomnommed by Hive Fleet Kraken. Their new monastery is also their flagship, the Heart of Cronus (an unsubtle name since the Greek Titan Cronus was associated with a scythe), making them a now fleet-based chapter. They also have a pretty kick-ass colour scheme. They are not to be confused with the Astartes Chapter, Emperor's Scythes, which have kickass purple armor and are even more mysterious than The Scythes of the Emperor.


Did someone say psychotic Tyranid-killers?

While not that much is known about the Scythes of the Emperor themselves, much of their early history can be extrapolated from the Horus Heresy:

Their homeworld of Sotha was a key world in Roboute Guilliman's Imperium Secundus, being the site of the Pharos, a Necron device that aided warp travel and communication. It operated in a fundamentally different way from the Astronomican; instead of illuminating the world like a lighthouse for all to navigate by, it acted more like a lantern that allowed travel to selected worlds within its range. Moreover, it had to be directed by its operator to an intended target, rather than act as a constant point of reference like the Astronomican. Though in some ways more limited than the Astronomican, being of Necron and indeed C'tan design, the Pharos was able to pierce through warp interference utterly. Something that apparently irritated daemons to no end.

The device was fortified by the Ultramarines 199th Aegida Company, along with a small contingent of Imperial Fists and loyalist Iron Warriors, although the level of fortification was kept discreet as to not attract attention to the importance of the precious artefact that was maintaining Guilliman's pocket empire. The rest of the planet was populated by farmers who were kept ignorant of Pharos' true purpose, ostensibly making Sotha an Agri-World of little significance.

Despite the best efforts of the Night Lords, (who in the absence of their primarch decided they wanted to pretend to be Iron Warriors and made the galaxy's shittiest siege attempt against the Pharos) the world clearly remained under Imperial control after the Horus Heresy, and after battle the 199th company garrisoned on Sotha were allowed to bear the crossed scythes icon to represent their duty of protecting farmers. Following the Second Founding, in an act of Double Heresy Roboute Guilliman allowed the Aegida company to remain on Sotha as an eleventh company of Ultramarines to ensure the secret of the Pharos was not revealed and with it the shame of Imperium Secundus.

Later, when the Third Founding was ordered by Rogal Dorn, the Ultramarines knew they would fall under intense scrutiny and offered Aegida Captain Oberdeii a choice: either leave Sotha and join the Ultramarine 5th company properly with the implied intention of allowing him to martyr himself and take the secrets of the past with him. OR quietly join the third founding as a new Chapter, but give up his status as an Ultramarine. His choice was to form the Scythes of the Emperor.

During the aforementioned struggle with the Night Lords, the Pharos was overloaded in an attempt to purge the traitors from the planet, a course of action which succeeded-- but that brief flash of energy was bright enough to seen from outside of the galaxy and caught the attention of the Tyranids, practically sealing the doom of the planet when they inevitably arrived ten thousand years later.

Last stand on Miral

Nearly 10,000 years later the chapter was devastated by their defeat on Sotha. Only about four hundred marines survived, though the bulk of the Chapter Fleet managed to escape, evacuating to the world of Miral which they hoped to make their new homeworld. Alas, Kraken caught up to them and they were forced to escape once more after losing 3/4th of their number, including their Chapter Master and First Company. Shortly after their escape, Captain Thracian of the 3rd company took the mantle of Chapter Master and immediately started launching hit and run attacks against the hive fleet. They kept this up until they learned that the Ultramarines had finally halted Kraken at Ichar IV and were greatly disappointed that they weren't present.

Chapter Master Thracian later set about to rebuilding the chapter and avenging his fallen brothers. Low on Astartes as well as equipment, the chapter could not completely follow the Codex Astartes while they were regaining their strength. At one point they only had four suits of Terminator armour left, one of which was only partial.

In the Space Marines: The Omnibus story Orphans of the Kraken, the Scythes of the Emperor are shown working in so-called Saviour Squads, which board Tyranid hive ships to search for battle-brothers (dead and alive) and equipment to bring back to the Chapter, as well as using the opportunity to train recruits. While some in the Chapter understandably think that doing this is retarded, it is revealed that Thrasius was actually using the information brought back from the expeditions to construct a hive ship simulator on one of their ships, so that they can train recruits without risking their lives.

Overall, they are kind of like an Ultramarine equivalent to the Crimson Fists.

Current status & Future[edit]

In M42, their luck seems to have finally improved. When Guilliman returned from his Indomitus Crusade, he announced his intention for the Scythes of the Emperor to be one of the 10 Ultramarine successors pledged to guard Ultramar. The Primarch brought thousands of Primaris Space Marines to form 8 new Primaris-only chapters and fully reinforce the Ultramarines and Scythes several times over. Although equipment and fleet losses take longer to replace, they now have a Chapter nearly full of Primaris Marines who brought with them brand new armor and weapons - and more importantly, the ability to produce more Primaris Marines.

In a rare case in the grimdarkness of 40k, the Scythes of the Emperor seem to have gotten a pretty good reward for all their hard work... if you consider dropping your entire army for a brand new Primaris one to be a good reward. Look, it beats being the Lamenters.

Their Secret Shame[edit]

Turns out that the reason why things went so badly for them at the hands of the Tyranids was because they’d let a Genestealer Cult infiltrate Sotha so badly that it ended up compromising their chapter serfs and, to some extent, the chapter itself. Their original gene-seed stocks tainted, their beloved planet and serfs either nommed or purged, and the original, non-Primaris part of the chapter reduced to about a dozen, the survivors decided to fade into history and let the Primaris take over the chapter name with a clean slate. Cawl allowed the remaining regular marines to make planetfall on their old home and die to kill the genestealer Patriarch that was responsible for their secret shame, thus allowing them some degree of final redemption.

With the Pharos (the secret of which the chapter was formed to protect) destroyed and all the old marines annihilated (along with their potentially tainted gene-stock), the new Scythes are basically a whole new Primaris chapter that just exists to guard a remote flank of Ultramar. But on the plus side, Cawl promised their old chapter master they would refit their space station and re-terraform the rockball that used to be their homeworld, which should only take a century or two.

Significant Engagements[edit]

  • The Corinth Crusade (698.M41 to 705.M41) - The Scythes fought alongside several other chapters, among who were the Ultramarines, Lamenters and Marines Errant as well as over fifty regiments of Guardsmen, against the Orks of Waaagh! Skargor. The Imperial forces defeated the Orks and delayed further attacks for over three decades.
  • Damocles Gulf Crusade (745.M41) - The chapter led the first landing in Tau territory. The chapter later deployed alongside the Ultramarines and Iron Hands and participated in several spearhead assaults. They also maintained constant night patrols to defend against Tau infiltrators. At the end of the crusade they withdrew together with the rest of the Imperial forces to help defend against Hive Fleet Behemoth.
  • Second Tyrannic War (992.M41) - The Scythes of the Emperor didn't partake in the Second Tyrannic War until Hive Fleet Kraken came home to them and politely asked for a cup of tea (read: eat your face). Even though planets with fortress monasteries are some of the most heavily defended in the Imperium, the Scythes were soon defeated and were dangerously low on both manpower and equipment. About a company's worth of marines and a small amount of support managed to escape on the chapters flagship Heart of Cronus, which now serves as their new fortress-monastery.
  • Battle of Hamagora(M42) - Reformed and re-stocked with Primaris Marines, the 2nd Company of the new Scythes of the Emperor battled against the forces of Nurgle on the Hive World of Hamagora. Assailed by an endless swarm of Nurgle daemons their casualties began to mount before a Grey Knight strike team bailed them out by sending the Great Unclean One leading the chaos invasion screaming into the warp.

Notable Characters[edit]

  • Chapter Master Thorcyra - Chapter Master before Kraken attacked Sotha. He was killed on the death world of Miral in the aftermath of the attack.
  • Chapter Master Thracian - Current Chapter Master. Promoted after Thorcyra fell and determined to rebuild the chapter. Had his own suspicions about Hadrios' true identity and motives, the revelation that most of his Chapter's serfs and geneseed had been tainted by Genestealers shook him hard. By Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work he is determined to expunge his Chapter's great shame by destroying the Patriarch that caused all of this, whereby allowing the Primaris Scythes to start on a clean slate.
  • Lieutenant Hadrios - Thracian's mysterious benefactor. No one remembers who he was, nevermind the battle-brothers who defended the Fortress-Monastery at Mount Sotha. He claims he's part of a contingent tasked by the Chaplains to root out Genestealer taint in the Chapter and their followers, but in the end is unable to prove his innocence, as he gets ganked by a hybrid before the Chapter is reinforced by Primaris marines.
  • Forge Master Sebastion - Promoted to Master of the Forge as he was the highest ranking Techmarine still alive in the chapter. Responsible for the training of new Techmarines and is also working on restoring and acquiring Terminator armour.
  • Captain Vosok Dall - At some point turned renegade and swore allegiance to Khorne. He was slain on New Badab by Honsou.
  • Commander Cassios - An officer in the fifth company who survived for three years aboard a Tyranid Hive ship. He was later killed when he returned to the same Hive ship.
  • Battle Brother Eesall - A Battle Brother known for riding a Tyranid Harridan bareback in the Black Library audio drama Daedalus.


See Also[edit]

Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes
First Founding
Blood Angels - Dark Angels - Imperial Fists
Iron Hands - Raven Guard - Salamanders
Space Wolves - Ultramarines - White Scars
Second Founding
Angels of Absolution - Angels Encarmine - Angels Porphyr
Angels of Redemption - Angels Sanguine - Angels of Vengeance
Angels Vermillion - Aurora Chapter - Black Consuls
Black Guard - Black Templars - Blood Drinkers
Brazen Claws - Crimson Fists - Destroyers
Doom Eagles - Eagle Warriors - Excoriators
Fists Exemplar - Flesh Tearers - Genesis Chapter
Inceptors - Iron Snakes - Libators
Lions Sable - Marauders - Mortifactors
Nemesis - Novamarines - Obsidian Glaives
Patriarchs of Ulixis - Purple Stars - Praetors of Orpheus
Rampagers - Raptors - Red Talons
Revilers - Silver Eagles - Silver Skulls
Soul Drinkers - Storm Lords - White Consuls
Wolf Brothers
Third to
Twelfth Founding
Astral Claws - Angels Revenant - Charnel Guard
Dark Paladins - Executioners - Flesh Eaters
Halo Brethren - Howling Griffons - Iron Knights
Mantis Warriors - Marines Malevolent - Night Swords
Sable Swords (initial) - Scythes of the Emperor - Space Sharks
Sons of Guilliman
Thirteenth Founding
Death Spectres - Exorcists
Fourteenth to
Twentieth Founding:
Angels of Fire - Avenging Sons - Celebrants
Twenty-First Founding
Black Dragons - Blood Gorgons - Fire Hawks
Flame Falcons - Lamenters - Minotaurs
Sons of Antaeus - Tiger Claws
Twenty-Second to
Twenty-Sixth Founding
Angels of Vigilance - Celestial Lions - Dark Hunters
Disciples of Caliban - Emperor's Spears - Fire Angels
Imperial Harbingers - Iron Lords - Knights of the Raven
Marines Errant - Mentors - Fire Claws/Relictors
Star Phantoms - Subjugators
Ultima Founding
Angels of Defiance - Black Vipers - Blades of Vengeance
Castellans of the Rift - Covenant of Fire - Dark Krakens
Fulminators - Knights Cerulean - Knights of the Chalice - Knights of Thunder
Necropolis Hawks - Nemesors - Praetors of Ultramar
Rift Stalkers - Silver Drakes - Silver Templars - Sons of the Phoenix
Storm Reapers - Umbral Knights - Unnumbered Sons
Valiant Blades - Void Tridents - Wolfspear
Unknown Founding: Absolvers - Accipiters - Adulators
Angel Guard - Angels Eradicant - Angels of Retribution
Astral Knights - Blood Ravens - Blood Swords
Brazen Drakes - Brothers Penitent - Crimson Castellans
Crimson Consuls - Crimson Scythes - Dark Hands
Dark Sons - Death Eagles - Emperor's Shadows
Fire Lords - Guardians of the Covenant - Graven Spectres
Hammers of Dorn - Harbingers - Hawk Lords
Invaders - Iron Crusaders - Iron Talons
Jade Dragons - Knights of Blood - Knights Unyielding
Marines Exemplar - The Nameless - Night Watch
Rainbow Warriors - Reclaimers - Red Hunters
Red Scorpions - Red Seraphs - Red Templars
Retributors - Sable Swords (refounded) - Shadow Wolves
Solar Hawks - Sons of Orar - Star Dragons
Stormwatchers - Storm Giants - Storm Wardens
Valedictors - Viper Legion - Vorpal Swords
White Templars - Storm Wings
Unsanctioned Founding: Consecrators (founding unknown, but likely after 2nd Founding)
Sons of Medusa (separated from parent Chapters, ratified by edict)
Steel Confessors (de facto 22nd Founding, de jure ratified by edict)
Others: Astartes Praeses - Deathwatch - Grey Knights