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The Charnel Brethren are an Astartes Chapter of Flesh Tearers' descent, and through them, the Blood Angels, of an unknown Founding. They are a slowly dying Chapter whose numbers have believed to have fallen below 300 Astartes. Though they are very loyal to the Emperor of Mankind their heavy affliction with the twin Flaws of their Primarch Sanguinius has led to their investigation on charges of heresy by the Inquisition. They have been cleared of suspicion at present, but many believe that that it is only a matter of time before they cease to exist. Like their Progenitors, the Charnel Brethren are known for their bloodthirsty nature in battle, bad temper and feared for the Flaws - the Black Rage and the Red Thirst - that they carry within their gene-seed. The Charnel Brethren follow the tactical organisation pioneered by the Blood Angels, favouring close combat over ranged warfare.

History

The Charnel Brethren were created sometime in the 32nd Millennium in either the 3rd or 4th Founding from the gene-seed of the Flesh Tearers. The choice of gene-seed from the notoriously violent Flesh Tearers might now seem a very suspect choice, but at the time the Flaws were not known to the wider Imperium, and so, the Charnel Brethren were created and unleashed upon the galaxy. Since that time they have gained a reputation for savagery and bloodthirstiness beyond what is expected of even a Blood Angels Successor Chapter, so divorced from the rest of humanity have the Charnel Brethren become, that they are shunned by the rest of the Imperium, and only in the very direst of circumstances is their help accepted as the  danger of fighting alongside these near-crazed Astartes is often too much for most Imperial Guard commanders to accept.

Like their Progenitors, the Charnel Brethren are also known to fall prey to the Black Rage and Red Thirst more often than other Sons of Sanguinuis. These twin-flaws are killing the Chapter as more and more of their Battle-Brothers fall to their ravenous effects. Those that do, are taken into the depths of the Fortress of the Blood where they are chained and bound, until such time they are needed, when they armoured and armed and unleashed upon the enemy.

Notable Campaigns

  • The Centurion War (931-954.M41)- This was a brutal campaign launched by the several Adeptus Astartes Chapters to eradicate secessionist forces located in the Centurion Sector of the Segmentum Ultima. The secessionist forces included (sadly) two Renegade Astartes Chapters. The war would later be determined to have been the work of Chaos. The Charnel Brethren and the other Space Marine Chapters eventually pushed the Forces of Chaos to Iterium VI, and broke them in a cataclysmic final battle. One of the Astartes Chapters would be nearly destroyed while the other would fall to Chaos and become known as the Bringers of Change.
  • The Teutoburg Campaign (999.M41) - When a massive Ork invasion struck the Teutoburg System, the Adepta Sororitas Order of the Emperor Resplendent responded in kind. They sent seven whole companies of Battle-Sisters to assist the beleaguered sector. In one notable incident during the brutal campaign, the Order found themselves fighting alongside the Militia of Gaius City on Teutoburg VI as well as the notorious Death Ravens Space Marine Chapter, who had appeared and joined the war. They deployed their 6th and 7th companies. Also serving were the Charnel Brethren, Skull Reapers and Corvus Legion Chapters. Chapter Master Uric Draf denied Canoness Anastasia any tactical counsel whatsoever and even refused to meet with her. Talks between the two Imnperial forces was conducted by the Captain of the 6th Company, Shadow Captain Allokan. Many Sisters doubted whether Uric Draf was even present, but several reports indicated a giant Space Marine leading the Astartes forces. After nearly a century in leading her Sisters to war, occasionally alongside Space Marine Chapters, this treatment came as no surprise. But the Order's main grievance was with the way the notorious Chapter conducted themselves during the ensuing battle. The Battle-Sisters struck Warlord Nazgrubba's army as it changed positions from shelling the main Defences of Gaius City, to occupying the settlement. Battered by three days' bombardment, the population of Gaius City had dug underground and, under the careful ministrations of the Order's Sisters Superior, were determined to form an ad hoc militia to defend their homes. The Death Ravens and Charnel Brethren launched their attack on the Ork column when it was approximately one Imperial mile from Gaius City and, hitting the Orks in the rear and flanks, they drove the disorganised enemy into the Battle-Sister's waiting guns. Caught between Battle-Sisters and Space Marines, many Orks were slaughtered, with the survivors mounting their vehicles to escape with all haste. The Sisters first noticed something was very wrong when three mobs of Orks, deserted by their cowardly leaders, formed up and assaulted their front line, choosing to engage the Gaius City militia, rather than the Sisters' deadly accurate bolt guns. The Death Ravens and Charnel Brethren, apparently driven mad by some kind of battle frenzy, crashed into the Ork's rear ranks just as the first Orks reached the militia. The crazed Marines fell upon the Orks in an orgy of blood letting. Many Marines removed their helmets and, eschewing the use of pistols and other ranged weapons, set about the Orks with chainsword, chainaxe and knife and tooth. Canoness Anastasia witnessed in mute horror, Marines ripping out the throats of Orks with their bared teeth. The raw fury and love of carnage she saw in their faces as they literally tore the enemy apart made her shudder in fear. The Orks were annihilated within seconds of the Marines' attack, but the small number of the enemy were simply not enough for the Death Ravens and Charnel Brethren who by now seemed to have been driven into a fever pitch of absolute blood lust. With no more Orks for them to butcher, they scrambled over the barricades on the perimeter of Gaius City and smashed into the thin line of militia. Properly driven into a true battle frenzy now, the Death Ravens and Charnel Brethren performed acts of the most debauched nature in the name of violence. Men, women and youths, all fell beneath their blades. The old, the infirm, none were spared the Marines crazed attack. The Canoness later reported that she had personally witnessed cannibalistic acts committed by the frenzied Marines. She ordered a hasty withdrawal of her Sisters from the Death Ravens and Charnel Brethren with all haste, before they reached their positions. The Canoness later reported the incident to the Inquisition. Her report stated that both the Death Ravens and Charnel Brethren were unstable beyond redemption and that they were not fit for duty anywhere within their mighty Imperium. The Canononess firmly believed that it was evident that the Death Ravens and Charnel Brethren had devolved far beyond any point reached by a loyalist Chapter and requested their immediate destruction. The Corvus Legion and Skull Reapers were spared a request for their destruction. The last known sighting of these four Space Marine Chapters was made by an Explorator augury-beacon, which marked them tacking course through the Warp towards the Eastern Fringe. The current whereabouts and operational activities of the Death Ravens remain unknown.

Organization

The Charnel Brethren were originally organised exactly like the Blood Angels but in the years since their founding the constant battle and the Flaws have reduced them to a fraction of their original number. The Charnel Brethrern are now organised into 3 Battle Companies, each expected to be able to fight on their own if needed, and each self-contained, maintaining their own Power Armour and fleet assets as well as their own Terminator Squads. Each Company Chaplain has the unenviable task of watching over his fellow brethren looking for the telltale signs of the Flaws and acting accordingly.

Homeworld

Initially the Charnel Brethren were a Crusading Chapter until they discovered the World of Sanguinuis Light in M.35, taking the world's name as an omen, they claimed the world for themselves and constructed their massive fortress-monastry in the wastes of the northern polar region. The worlds' inhabitants were of pre-blackpowder era, and were found to be perfect Astartes recruits. Once every generation the youths are rounded up in their thousands and for those that survive their transformation into an Astartes, hundreds of years of service await. 

Their homeworld's exact location is unknown in currant Imperial records, but it may be located in the Segmentum Ultima as the Blood Angels were known to have captured a world known as Sanguinius Light during the Great Crusade ten millennia earlier, but whether their Chapter planet is one and the same, is unknown.

Chapter Gene-Seed

Descended as they are from Sanguinius they bear all the hallmarks of their Progenitors, suffering greatly from the Flaws, but unlike some other Chapters who feel its touch at a lesser rate, the Charnel Brethren constantly teeter on the edge of insanity. All the Battle-Brothers of the Chapter know that it is only a matter of time before the madness takes them too. At first their fall is subtle, but once it has taken hold it will rapidly take over every aspect of their being until they are ultimately lost.

Notable Charnel Brethren

  • Lord Michaelus - Chapter Master of the Charnel Brethren for over 600 Years, unknown to any outside the Chapter and their Blood Angels brethren, he is afflicted by the Flaws but has somehow managed to keep it in check. Whether he can continue to contain it, remains unknown.

Fleet

The Charnel Brethrens Fleet is comprised of the following vessels:

  • Blood of Baal (Battle-Barge)
  • Unknown (Strike Cruiser)
  • Unknown (Strike Cruiser)
  • Unknown (Strike Cruiser)
  • Unknown (Strike Cruiser)
  • Unknown (Strike Cruiser)
  • Unknown (Strike Cruiser)
  • Blood Chalice (Strike Cruiser)
  • 12 Escorts (Type Unknown)

Chapter Appearance

Colour Scheme

The Charnel Brethren wear black and crimson coloured Power Armour. Like most Blood Angels Successor Chapters they field both a Death Company and Sanguinary Guard, both whom wear bone-white Power Armour, whilst the Sanguinary Guard wear black wings on their jump packs.

Chapter Badge

The Charnel Brethren utilise the same Chapter badge as their Progenitor's - the so-called 'winged drop' or as it is known in High Gothic, the alatus cadere - which consists of a pair of ebon-coloured angelic wings framing a droplet of precious vitae, centered on a field of crimson.

Gallery

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