|Battle Cry||"He wills it!"|
|Strength||estimated at 130,000 at the start of the Heresy|
|Specialty||Counter-insurgency, psychological warfare, witch-hunting|
|Colours||White and Black|
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 Justiciars were a Traitor Space Marine Legion. Once considered the most loyal and trusted of the great Legions, they were consumed by the powers of Chaos and sided with Hektor Cincinnatus in the Hektor Heresy. Among the ranks of the Traitors, they are unusually renowned for their selflessness and courage - the same qualities that had made the 13th beloved servants of the Emperor.
The most difficult task any living being confronts is understanding their place in the galaxy.
- Uriel Salazar, Confessions
The story of the Justiciars is both irony and tragedy. The Emperor crafted their gene-sire Uriel Salazar as a great weapon against the dark powers of Chaos, and Uriel's gene-sons were well-equipped to carry on that mission against the Witch Kings and Sorcerers who plagued humanity at the end of the Age of Strife. Yet as the mission of the Legion evolved into a fight against the corrupting touch of Chaos within the young Imperium, they were drawn into the web of Tzeentch and turned against mankind.
The first recruits for the nascent Thirteenth Legion came from the children of the Emperor's defeated enemies in the Unification Wars. From those few who survived the gene-seed, the ten best were selected to make up the Thirteenth Squad the Sacred Band and fight in the Pacification of the Merican Hives under the command of Hektor Cincinnatus. Led by Aldous Cadigan, the Thirteenth Squad undertook reconnaissance and kill-team missions. They were rightly commended for slaying the Psysavant Cabal of San Angelus before the battle for that hive commenced, but the six survivors of the Thirteenth Squad refused to accept decorations and asked that the honours only be awarded to the fallen. For this reason, the names of slain Lo-Zho Lou, Zlatko Tolyan Blazić, Kamaraj Kohli, and Temur Oghruk are known to us, but of the survivors only Aldous Cadigan is remembered.
Despite impressing with their combat effectiveness and humility, Cadigan and his men played a limited role in the Unification Wars. New recruits were inducted into their number, now styled the Thirteenth Legion, but they held up no great battle honours. Circumstantial evidence suggests that the warriors of the Thirteenth carried out small operations against high-value targets, particularly enemy psykers, ahead of the more glorious battles fought by other Legionnaires. Certainly someone was doing this dirty work, for the chronicles of the Unification Wars often make reference to sorcerers serving Techno-Barbarian Warlords such as Nathaniel Dume, but hardly ever speak of these powerful figures intervening against the Emperor's armies after the Pacification of the Merican Hives.
Had it not been for problems with many of the Legions activated prior to the Thirteenth, it is possible that the gene-sons of Uriel Salazar might have remained a specialist force dedicated purely to the slaying of witches. But with the exception of Hektor's glorious First Legion, few of the Thirteenth's elder brothers were truly ready to leap forward into the stars around Sol. In His wisdom, the Emperor commanded that additional genetic resources be devoted to expanding the Thirteenth Legion and making them ready for the Great Crusade shortly after the Battle of Mount Ararat and the end of the Unification Wars. To furnish recruits to the expanding Legion, the officers of the Thirteenth Legion sent their agents into the vast subterranean prisons beneath Terra's hives, searching for children who had been born to a ruthless struggle for survival. In explaining the new course, Aldous Cadigan wrote to the War Council that the work of his Legion, "can only be done by saints and monsters, and we already recruit every saint we find."
Those who expected the Thirteenth's new men to commit terrible atrocities were disappointed. In the first campaigns of the Eleventh Expedition Fleet Cadigan's "saints" kept a careful watch over their charges and the careful, disciplined compliance actions of the Legion soon won them the nickname, Iron Angels. Even in the desperate fight against the sorcerous cohorts of the "God-Emperor" Bassal-Narassur the Undying at Messonia in 813.M30, the Iron Angels went into battle and laid down their own lives, rather than employ orbital bombardment and inflict civilian casualties. Bassal-Narassur was slain and Messonia brought into Compliance with the Imperial Truth, but the Thirteenth were so battered that their Expedition Fleet withdrew to the Sol System to rebuild.
It has been theorised that the sacrifice of the Thirteenth at Messonia was at the command of the Emperor, for just five years later the Legion would be meet with their Primarch and gain access to the vast manpower reserves of his home world Tiberia. Fresh genetic material from Uriel Salazar invigorated the Legion physically, but his moral presence was even more significant. Salazar's selfless dedication to the Imperium and its peoples, his great humility, and his tremendous self-discipline made him the embodiment of the Thirteenth's principles. More than just a leader or a father, he was his gene-sons' ideal. The Primarch's first command was to set aside the name "Iron Angels". Uriel explained to his men that such a moniker was boastful and unfitting for their mission. In place of that grand title, he styled the Thirteenth as "The humble fellow-soldiers of the Emperor and His justice", but they would be more commonly known as The Justiciars.
Uriel never officially rebased his Legion to Tiberia and always hailed Ancient Terra as the cradle of the Justiciars. However, in reality, the Thirteenth moved much of their recruiting and training infrastructure to the Primarch's homeworld very early on. The Eleventh Expedition Fleet officially rejoined the Great Crusade in 820.M30 under Uriel's command, but it would not embark on major campaigns again until 824.M30 when the first classes of Tiberian recruits joined the Legion. Other Expedition Fleets, at first commanded by Cadigan's veterans, soon followed in the footsteps of the Eleventh and the Justiciars won many splendid victories for the Imperium under their own banner. Almost as important were the many independent Compliance Groups that went to the aid of other Imperial forces confronted by Sorcerers. The skills of the Unification Wars had not been forgotten by the Thirteenth Legion, and they hunted witches all across the Milky Way. Their talents were also used in the fight against psychically-potent Xenos, such as the Eldar.
As the Great Crusade began to reach the fringes of the Astronomican's light, the Justiciar's mission slowly changed. The Space Marines were too few to hold the vast frontiers of the young Imperium on their own, let alone expand it. Human warriors of the enormous Imperial Army were committed to the spearheads of the Crusade in ever-increasing numbers. In addition, many officially compliant worlds harboured treasonous intent. Uprisings flared up across the Imperium, often led by psykers. To combat the threats within the Imperium, Uriel began to break up his Expedition Fleets into more Compliance Groups spread thinly throughout the Galaxy. Although their lack of concentration robbed the Justiciars of the laurels won by other Legion at the end of the Great Crusade, they gladly gave up honour for duty. Their small bands were indispensable to the merely mortal soldiers of the Imperial Army confronted by the terrors of the Warp.
Yet for every witch-led rebellion that the Justiciars put down, two more sprang up elsewhere. Uriel Salazar became obsessed with understanding the pattern of these revolts, believing that if he could discover a logic to such events he could better deploy his far-flung forces. For all the nobility of his purpose, Uriel's great project led him into darkness. The logic that he worked to understand was the unfathomable intelligence of the Chaos God Tzeentch, the Changer of Ways. Every new insight twisted the Primarch's great mind towards the paths of Chaos. When Aubrey The Grey came to claim the Thirteenth for the Traitors, Uriel willingly knelt before the Arch-Traitor and solemnly pledged his men to Hektor's cause with the words he had once used to affirm his loyalty to the Emperor:
He wills it.
Having his men scattered throughout the Imperium was at once help and hindrance to Uriel's new plans. The Justiciars loyal to him swiftly went into action sabotaging Imperial infrastructure, disabling astropathic relays, and securing supply depots for the Traitor Legions. However, some groups of the Thirteenth Legion refused to follow their Primarch into damnation. These "Iron Angels", as they called themselves, were few in number but particularly adept at slaying the corrupted Librarians in thrall of Chaos. Aside from dealing with their Loyalist brothers, Uriel's Justiciars were also called on to contain the warriors of the Eyes of the Emperor who had spurned the Council of Ten and rallied to Shakya Vardhana. If these two subtle Legions did not yet confront one another in great pitched battles, their countless skirmishes over six years of war still added up to a terrible toll in lives.
The Primarch's own Expedition Fleet laid a trap for Golgothos at Caria, baiting the Entombed into launching an attack on a position laced with a designer virus that attacked their gene-seed. Uriel Salazar was greatly moved by this demonstration of the power of the Ruinous Powers and gave himself fully to Tzeentch at this time. Though this transformation would later see the daemon-Primarch withdraw from the affairs of men, he still led his Legion throughout the remainder of the Heresy and into the cauldron of the Battle of Terra, where they would renew their rivalry with the Eyes of the Emperor.
Unlike many of the Legions that turned to Chaos, the Justiciars's character barely changed after their corruption. True, they became indifferent to the suffering of ordinary humans, but they still prized the virtues of humility and self-sacrifice. When in the Emperor's service, the highest honour for a Justiciar was to die for his Great Crusade and the same spirit animated their service to Tzeentch and the Chaos God's machinations.
For all of their dedication, the Justiciars were not humourless. It was common to hear a self-effacing joke even from a high-ranking Legionnaire, or Uriel Salazar himself. Such remarks occasionally scandalised dignitaries, but endeared the Legion to common soldiers and were the basis for many personal friendships between the sons of Uriel and the warriors of the notoriously suspicious Fifth Legion. The Thirteenth were also close to the Eyes of the Emperor and would often receive information from the Masters of the Council of Ten.
From their initial base at Tiberia, the Justiciars developed an extensive network of depots and chapter-houses. Their installations were typically small and based on Feudal or Feral Worlds, where they generally went unnoticed by the population.
- Aldous Cadigan. Born on Terra at roughly the time the Emperor began his conquest. Aldous Cadigan was the son of Obaius the Savage, a sadistic warlord who reigned over Sud'Nuk Hive. When the Emperor demanded Obaius' submission, the tyrant proposed talks and a banquet. In a monstrous ploy to shame the lord of mankind, Aldous' elder brother was slain, his flesh cooked and served before the Emperor. Obaius' cruel game was immediately seen through and repaid with swift and deadly justice. Barely knowing and never mourning his vile sire, Sasian grew up as a ward of the Emperor and was brought up alongside the orphaned children of the Emperor's fallen bodyguards. Excelling under the fine tuition afforded him in the Imperial Palace, Aldous Cadigan was an obvious choice for the Adeptus Astartes. As a youth he was inducted into the Sacred Band of Hektor Cincinnatus and came to know and love the First of the Primarchs. During the fierce campaigns of the Pacification of the Merican Hives, Aldous led the Thirteenth Squad with great aplomb and became the first Master of the Legion and leader of the Eleventh Expedition Fleet. He died in 813.M30 on Messonia, struck down by the sorcerer Bassal-Narassur. According to the legends of the Thirteenth, Cadigan's last words were their battle-cry He wills it!
- Artyem Bezhryukov. Despite being Terran-born, Bezhryukov became a favourite of Uriel Salazar and was appointed as the Primarch's Equerry sometime during the second century of the Great Crusade. Due to his introverted nature, he soon became known as Uriel's Shadow. This epithet would take a darker tone during the Hektor Heresy, when Bezhryukov orchestrated head-hunting operations against loyalist leaders. After the Primarch withdrew from the affairs of men, Bezhryukov became the public leader of the Justiciars.
- Raziel Búho became the Legion's Chief Librarian sometime between the Olmer Tribunal and the Siege of Terra. It is known that his predecessor, Arkady Balotin, deserted the Justiciars during this time and would later resurface as one of the Marines who tutored the Grey Knights, but Búho's crimes outweigh even this great service. The gifts of Tzeentch greatly empowered the Librarian, making him one of the strongest telepaths among the Traitor ranks. This psychic might allows Búho to dominate the minds of others, but he prefers to manipulate the puppets in his dark schemes.
Recruitment and Training
The Rites of Becoming governing the transformation from a young man into one of Uriel Salazar's gene-sons were a closely-guarded secret. It was known as a certainty that Aspirants to the Legion had to undertake the Endura, a lengthy fast, in preparation for other elements of the Aspirant Trial.
Organisation and Doctrine
The historical image of the Thirteenth is often distorted by how often small detachments of the Legion are reported in the dispatches of other Imperial forces. Such a wealth of information on elite teams of Stalkers dedicated to the destruction of witches leads unworthy sages to present the sons of Uriel Salazar as nothing but specialists. But the truth is quite far from this romantic image. The Justiciars were just as much a conquering army as the famous Heralds of Hektor, Steel Marshals, and Winged Victory. Their Expedition Fleets were balanced forces, though the Legion's commanders detested collateral damage and emphasised the use of stealth and surprise to minimise civilian losses.
- The Hand of Fate was born in the struggle against the sorcerer-kings who bedevilled Uriel Salazar's homeworld, Tiberia V. When the Primarch met with his Legion, he insisted that the warriors who had shed their blood with him should join the Thirteenth, despite warnings about the hazard to adults taking the gene-seed. The strength of body and will exhibited by the Hand of Fate was demonstrated by the high number who survived the gene-seed - perhaps as many as one in one hundred - to become Space Marines. These chosen few became Uriel Salazar's bodyguard in his early campaigns and their numbers were slowly increased with new recruits.
- Stalker Squads. Ironically, these stealthy warriors became the face of the Thirteenth Legion due to their frequent collaborations with other Legions. The Stalkers were chosen from among the ranks of ordinary battle brothers for their strength of will, intelligence, and stealth skills, and were recognised as an elite formation the equal of any other in the Space Marine Legions. However, the Stalkers' formidable talents were best employed in small bands tasked with the elimination of witches. Due to their special training and equipment, these Legionnaires became peculiarly resistant to the works of psykers and they were particularly feared by the Eldar.
Although the Thirteeth Legion once possessed many powerful battle barges, by the end of the Great Crusade most these mighty ships had been traded to Auxilia forces under their command in return for cruisers. This shift in void forces coincided with the general transition of the Legion from a conquering army concentrated into Expedition Fleets to a specialist force dispersed across the Imperium.
To the dismay of Terran and Selenar genetors, the Thirteenth Legion's gene-seed always harboured a tendency towards mutation. Even after stabilisation with Uriel Salazar's genetic material, the bodies of initiates would sometimes become wildly misshapen during the implantation process. As the cause of mutation was not readily understood, the genetors simply culled the mutants and hoped for the best.
After the fall of the Legion, the Justiciars came to see mutation as part of Tzeentch's great plans for their brotherhood. Even marines who fully degenerate into Chaos Spawn are calmly referred to by their old names, although the Thirteenth are not quite so foolish as to look to an officer-turned-Spawn for orders and generally restrain such "blessed" individuals for use against their enemies. According to the investigations of Inquisitor Camarus El'Ranar, such respect for degenerated Marines is no eccentricity. The Thirteenth stave off the complete corruption of their ranks by channelling the corrosive power of the Lord of Change into a chosen few.
|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