Story:The Shape Of The Nightmare To Come 50k section07

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Section 07: The Crusade of Insanity: The Templars on the Rampage[edit]

The Templars, easily the most pious of the Adeptus Astartes, second only to the Red Hunters in their religious fervour, became something far worse, as their Imperium fell into factionalised and monstrous realms, petty kingdoms and protectorates. 

The Templars, always distrustful of degenerate Navigators and Astropaths, seemed justified in their hatred, as the fall of the Astronomicon drove these psykers into destruction. Across the galaxy, the Templars, at a stroke, were hacked into hundreds of separate crusades. Again, this affected the fanatics little, as they were always a divided chapter, and all that changed was that they were forced to remain divided.

However, it was the psychological effect upon the Templars, following this calamity, that was far more profound. The various smaller crusades, devoid of their central mission, simply resorted to what they always did. They fought, in the name of the Emperor and Dorn. They suicidally attacked worlds and petty Imperiums, regardless of alliances or real/imagined heresies. This gained them no friends, as they attacked whoever they could. These isolated crusader forces were, for the most part, ambushed, overwhelmed, or otherwise destroyed, by vengeful and cruel local power magnates.

However, the largest force of Templars, one thousand strong, cut a bloody swathe against their foes. This was the central Templar fleet, led by High Marshal Dorstros, from his flagship the Eternal Crusader. 

The Templars travelled from world to world, desperately seeking righteousness. What they saw, on every world, sickened them. Heresy, laxity and impiety were rife, as every human world and Imperium sought to follow their own destinies amongst the callous stars. The grand ideals of the Imperium were forgotten by all. Save, of course, the Templars. The more they saw, the more their own insane ideologies seemed to make sense, and the more warped their world view became.

Dorstros moved from world to world, travelling by short warp jumps, in an increasingly un-mappable galaxy. His Templars would offer two options to human colonies: re-convert to the Imperial faith, or be totally destroyed. To xenos, no option was given, and they were massacred wherever the Templars found them. Thus, the Black Templars invaded world after world, recruiting those insane or desperate enough, and putting the rest to the flame and the sword. Cities were torched, or cleansed by nuclear fire. Sword Brethren and wild-eyed initiates moved amongst the fearful enemy, singing delirious hymns, all the while crying with glee, as they maimed and crushed and burned, all in the Emperor's name.

As they moved slowly across the already war torn and brutalised galaxy, the zealous and insane detritus of human society. Gibbering priests, flagellating cultists and rogue clergy attached themselves to the Templars' rapidly expanding rag tag fleet. As more and more religious fanatics merged with the fleets, chanting their devotional hymns throughout he fleet, the Templars began to move more and more to believing the Emperor was indeed God-made-manifest, and the loss of the Astronomicon was merely the final sign, the rallying call of the Templars. They were to purge the galaxy clean, and only then, in His mercy, the Emperor could return.

Some of the Sisters of Battle, stranded on remote worlds, were incorporated into this crusade, and found themselves caught up in the self-perpetuating religious psychosis the rest of the Crusade found itself in.

Hundreds of rogue marines from various free companies tagged alongside the rambling, murderous Crusade, along with plenty of former pirates and rogues, and their attendant private armies. While openly they gibbered praises to the Emperor like everyone else in the crusade, these malcontents and deceitful mercenaries and murderers all secretly knew why they fought: just for the sheer murderous joy of it, and the simple fact that they could. Some of the Marines were even actually traitors, who just used the religious motives of the Crusade to justify their joining in. For instance, it was noted that several marines within the crusade may have, in fact, been Night Lord Chaos Space Marines (though this couldn't be confirmed), fighting with the Templars simply because the two forces had similar motives in mind: destruction and fear.

The Crusade swelled to almost two thousand Astartes, millions of raving human fanatics and semi-elite soldiery, as well as thousands of vessels. It was the second greatest concentration of Marines in the galaxy during this period. Despite this, the Crusade could never reunite the Imperium, or try to bring order to the relentless anarchy. No, because the Templars had believed their own rhetoric. They were not on a Crusade of redemption, but one of punishment, and pain. They blundered from system to system, near aimlessly, attacking and brutalising whoever they came across. Planets were ransacked, their people put to death or simply beaten until they could fight no more.

This relentless process of murder and prayer would have continued indefinitely, one would assume, as the Templars' Crusade grew in numbers every time a world was ransacked. This was to change when they encountered, high in the galactic North, the Eastern Chaos Imperium, led by the legendary Huron Blackheart.


The Shape of the Nightmare to Come: Section Navigation[edit]

  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 07: The Crusade of Insanity: The Templars on the Rampage

Continued in Warhammer 60K: Age of Dusk