- "We are his emissaries sent out into the galaxy to bear the word of his coming. We must be bright, shining examples of all that is good and pure in the Imperium."
- —Attributed to the Primarch Lorgar
|Chapter of the Eternal Apocrypha|
XVII Legion (Colchis Compliance)
Base(s) of Operations
A specialized formation within the ranks of the XVII Legion, the Chapter of the Eternal Apocrypha once represented for the noble ideal of re-uniting humanity under a common culture of faith and knowledge. It's warriors were not only destroyers, but builders as well, charged with overseeing the integration of compliant worlds through the teachings of the Urizen and his divine father, the God-Emperor of Mankind. However, come the fateful Razing of Monarchia the Chapter would be harshly censured for it's spreading of "false faiths". Alongside their brethren they fell from the Emperor's light and into the grasp of the Ruinous Powers, taking up arms against their former allies throughout the Horus Heresy tasked with a new mission: to pave the way for the creation of an empire united under the power of Chaos.
Legacies of the Stars
The constellations of faith-steeped Colchis had always been a source of reverence for it's people, for it was said that the symbols of their gods were written in the heavens. The Coiled Lash, the Twisting Rune, the Exalted Gate, the Night's Chalice, all of these great star-symbols represented the many humors and powers of their faith, but only one represented their legacies. Positioned just above the planet's twin suns, a silvery belt of light formed uncannily neat rows of radiance in the nighttime sky. This was the constellation known as the Eternal Apocrypha.
The Eternal Apocrypha was said to be the very words of the Gods, their histories and triumphs transcribed into starlight. Generations of Colchisian scholar-priests had dedicated their entire lifetimes to ruminating over it's true meaning, but the common man the Eternal Apocrypha simply represented one's own legacy, the truly great deeds left behind in one's wake to be admired and venerated for all eternity. It was perhaps with this meaning in mind that the Primarch Lorgar authorized the creator of a Chapter bearing this most holy of stellar signs, for he to wished to leave behind a legacy that would last forevermore.
The Urizen was well-known as an advocate of cultural progress throughout the growing Imperium of Man, but while his brother-Primarchs such as Fulgrim and Roboute Gulliman sought to improve compliant worlds through arts and sciences, Lorgar held a vision of an Imperium united by faith in his own divine father; the "God-Emperor" of Mankind. Thus he organized the Chapter of the Eternal Apocrypha to serve as both iconoclasts and heralds, tearing down primitive beliefs and religions to make way for the enlightenment that was the Word Bearers' Imperial Cult.
Of course one Chapter alone could hardly complete such a monumental task on its own, giving rise to dozens of sister-Chapters, Chapters such as the Radiant Effigy, the Fount of Wisdom, and the Fivefold Carillon. But while they took up the same mission, the Eternal Apocrypha was forever honored as the first ordained to truly spread the Emperor's Word across the galaxy.
- "One could very well equate the burgeoning civilizations of the galaxy to willful children. They do not know better, and therefore, it is only natural that they resist."
- —Chaplain Gholash, prior to the Melkeji Salvation (M.30)
Shortly after the Primarch Lorgar was discovered on Colchis, beginning his own forays into the unknown with his newly-christened Word Bearers at his back, the first scattered accounts of the Eternal Apocrypha began to arise. Early in it's career, the Chapter was present during such infamous campaigns as the Melkeji Salvation, the Conquest of the Rimward Spiral, the Red Nights of Tenebar, and the Talos-Melida Subjugation, but rarely participated in active combat. Rather, the Chapter was always sent in the wake of the conflict, reportedly to ensure full compliance and stamp out any rebellious factions that might remain. What was kept from the those reports was the fact that the Eternal Apocrypha was also tasked with indoctrinating the local populace into the worship of the God-Emperor of Mankind, reorganizing entire civilizations into societies of the pious and faithful. The methods they undertook to achieve this varied, though their Chapter Chaplain was known to be a great advocate of unity through learning, and thus the Eternal Apocrypha oversaw the construction of many a great academic scholams.
None particularly disputed the existence of an Astartes formation that was essentially a mobile peacekeeping force, for most among the Imperium's upper echelons agreed that the main goal of the Great Crusade was to create a better galaxy for humanity to inhabit, and the Eternal Apocrypha's goals seemed to enforce this view. However, as the Imperium of Man began to expand further and further into the stars, Imperial High Command began to take issue with the Chapter's increasingly draconian anti-insurgency tactics.
[More to Follow]
The Chapter of the Eternal Apocrypha was based around a variant of the standard Astartes Legion organization, specifically the unique Chapter system utilized by the XVII Legion. A small, specialist force, the Chapter was made up of only three companies rather than the standard ten, though as was the norm each one was divided into ten squads led by a Captain. Overall authority over the Chapter was originally held by the current Chapter Master, though during the Horus Heresy leadership fell to one Amur Gholash, the ordained "Apostle" of the Eternal Apocrypha.
- Chapter Command - First command of the Chapter of the Eternal Apocrypha went to Mard Heskel, a former child-soldier from the Colchisian Wars of Faith. Though an able tactician and fearsome warrior, Heskel was ultimately a young and brash commander, his recklessness tempered only by the cool wisdom of his subordinate, Chaplain Amur Gholash. However, Heskel was ultimately killed in battle only a few short years before the Massacre of Isstvan III, his position filled by replaced by the zealot Irchomai. The new Chapter Master proved to be a leader in title only come the Horus Heresy, reduced to little more than a fawning sycophant by the manipulations of Gholash, who would rise to be the true commander of the Chapter.
- Ashen Circle - An all-Terran detachment seconded to the ranks of the Chapter shortly after it's formation, the Ashen Circle Squad Bathsheba were the true iconoclasts of the Eternal Apocrypha, charged with destroying the false idols and fanes of their enemies with Rake-Axe and Hand Flamer, along with any who dared protect such travesties. Their role changed very little even after the fall of the Word Bearers. Most often they were sent into the fray alongside the Chapter's Destroyer Squads, to salt the earth in preparation for the creation of monuments to the Primordial Truth.
- 18th Assault-Company - As the name implies, the 18th Assault-Company were on the forefront of any offensive made by the Chapter of the Eternal Apocrypha, screaming down from the heavens on their Jump Packs or rushing forward with Chainswords in hand to utterly obliterate any enemies they faced. The self-proclaimed "Speartip of Lorgar", the 18th was led by Captain Azaziah, a Word Bearer of such notorious temperament it was said that his battle-rages rivaled that of the infamous World Eaters. Chaplain Gholash meanwhile likened him to a "blunt but easily directed instrument", naming him his Sub-Commander after his ascension to leadership of the Eternal Apocrypha.
- 32nd Tactical-Company - The Astartes of the 32nd Company were line-infantry through-and-through, making up the solid backbone of the Eternal Apocrypha's forces. In addition to their typical combat roles, the 32nd Company were well-versed in the arts of anti-insurgency tactics, brutally stamping out the rebellious elements of a thousand compliant worlds with ruthless efficiency.
- 89th Tactical-Company - The 89th Company had always been somewhat of an oddity, as it contained an unusually concentration of Legion Destroyer Squads, typically deployed in tandem with the elite Ashen Circle to demoralize the foe through the use of their terrifying rad-cannons, bio-munitions, and Phosphrex bombs. Their numbers became even more segregated from bulk of the Chapter following their Legion's corruption, playing host to a coven of Diabolists led by the Sorcerer Xemal Torr, who counseled the 89th in the arts of fell warp-craft to make their advances all the more devastating in nature.
- "This Great Crusade is more than simple revanchism! It is a war for the soul of humanity!"
- —Chapter Master Heskel (Date Unknown)
The Eternal Apocrypha were ardent believers in the teachings of Lecticio Divinitatus, for this faith defined the very existence of their Chapter. During the Great Crusade they were considered the most ardent of evangelists even amongst their zealous battle-brothers, outright demanding absolute reverence from those worlds they were tasked with indoctrinating into the Imperial fold. This unyielding zealotry unfortunately also fostered an extremely bipolar attitude towards the galaxy at large. Simply put, if you did share their beliefs then you were an unenlightened simpleton at best, and an a heretical enemy at worst. This biased viewpoint would only become all the more pronounced as the Great Crusade progressed, to the point where the Chapter had effectively segregated itself from the bulk of it's Legion, an radical and somewhat embarrassing faction that would have no doubt had caused a political nightmare were it allowed to interact with members of another Imperial organization.
Come the Razing of Monarchia the Chapter of the Eternal Apocrypha, along with all of it's similarly-inclined sister-Chapters, were all officially disbanded per the direct orders of Lorgar Aurelian. However unofficially, the Eternal Apocrypha lived on as the XVII Legion's secret weapon, a means of seeding the gospel of Chaos throughout a thousand "compliant" worlds in preparation for the civil war that would soon wrack the Imperium. Their faith had been broken and reshaped into something more subtle, more insidious, which made it all the easier to recruit the weak-minded and power-hungry into the fold. By the time the Word Bearers launched their surprising attack on the Worlds of Ultramar, the Eternal Apocrypha had become evangelists of a darker bent, cult-masters who gathered and organized the mortal devotees of Chaos to serve as fodder for the true warriors of the Primordial Truth.
Base of Operations
Since the moment of their inception to the final days of the Horus Heresy, the Eternal Apocrypha's main base of operations forever remained the voidship Catechism Aurelia. A venerable Desolator-Class Battleship, the Catechism was in essence the personification of the Chapter it ferried through the stars, an weapon of war turned instrument of Imperial compliance. To all others, it was little more than a flying cathedral in both appearance and function, albeit a heavily armed one, and this fact changed very little even after the XVII Legion's corruption.
When in transit or while engaged in void combat, the Catechism Aurelia was typically accompanied by a pair of escort craft known as the Azazel and the Sigil of Colchis. These sturdy and dependable Sword-Class Frigates would come to serve another purpose during the Heresy, providing transport for the Eternal Apocrypha's cultist auxiliaries while the Chapter traveled to the next battlefield.
Feel free to add
- "The Apocrypha Guard..... fellow faithful of Chaos, they are. The Urizen would be proud to see what they have wrought."
- The first quotation in this article is an actual piece of dialogue, taken from the Horus Heresy Novel A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeil.
- Many thanks, AmyTheStray, for the inspiration.