- "In the name of the Ruinous Powers, I sentence your world. Prepare for doom. Prepare for oblivion. Prepare for your people to be slaughtered and enslaved, and know that it is good! For we come and bring the judgement of the Warp with us! Yes, rejoice, for your salvation is here! [Insane Laughter]"
- —Khaane the Slaughterpriest, prior to a siege.
The Dreadhost is a Warband of Chaos Space Marines derived from the Word Bearers Legion. Originally known as the Black Comet Chapter, they are an organization that has been led by Azunar since the late Great Crusade.
Each of them are dedicated absolutely to giving oneself over, body and soul, to the all-consuming powers of the Warp. They have been consumed by the ideal that the Galaxy is full of blasphemy and must be cleansed in holy fire.
Their sole desire is to see the Immaterium overtake reality and transform the Galaxy into a endlessly boiling crucible of madness, mutation and chaos. They are crusaders and daemon-summoners supreme, and their unhinged fanaticism drives them from world to world on a tidal wave of mutation, madness and warp-spawned horror.
The Great Crusade
The Astartes now known as the Dreadhost were once a Chapter known as the Black Comet, named after an ancient Colchisian prophecy of a black comet bringing doom to unbelievers. This name was all too fitting, for the Black Comet drew it's recruits from the most fanatical and violent members of Colchis' civilization, and seemed more interested in burning worlds than building them. One of the first to be inducted into the newborn Chapter was a youth named Azunar, who, through many battles, would come to be both First Chaplain and Chapter Master of the Comet. Unknown to all, however, Azunar was a psyker, and mentally ill. His sermons would always be of fire and brimstone, and reek of self-loathing and a desire to purify himself and others through violent acts of faith.
After the burning of Monarchia, things would swiftly go downhill for the already violent Chapter. Azunar swiftly earned a vision of the Dark Gods of Chaos and, even before the Pilgrimage had reached it's end, he already knew of the Dark Powers. Filled with a desire to purify himself in the Warp, which he saw as a means of purification, he detonated the Gellar Field Generators of every ship in his Chapter Fleet, while all the forces under his command were in Warp Transit. Instantly, the Black Comet vanished into the Immaterium, and were thus consumed by it.
When the Black Comet emerged, they were forever changed. Where once they numbered 1,000 Space Marines, they now numbered only 450, and those that were still alive had been driven irreparably insane. The mortal crews of those ships had horrifically melded with the Ships themselves, and those that did were either devoured by Daemons or transformed into Chaos Spawn. The Black Comet had forsaken it's original name, and taken on a new one. The Dreadhost, Disciples of Desolation, were born.
Where they walked, death and destruction would follow, and those that did not die were brutally enslaved and exposed to the corrupting energies of the Warp. The Dreadhost was entirely merciless in their prosecution of war, cavorting and reveling in madness and terror. Even when they were defeated and driven back towards the Eye, they were unfazed, for they had earned a glimpse of the Divine Plan, and they would march into self-destruction unafraid if need be.
Through ancient daemonic pacts their leader and prophet, Azunar, earned the aid of the Forge of Souls when he designed a great Daemon Engine and mobile Fortress-Monastery: the Sanctified Desolation. This would serve as their mobile homeworld and base of operations, and would be the heart of their Crusade in the millennia to come.
The Dreadhost is ever more fanatical as time goes by. The worlds they conquer are transformed into depraved and maddened kingdoms, where the population is enslaved to the ruinous faith of Chaos Undivided and forced into back-breaking labor to erect ever more shrines, temples and places of worship. The crusaders do not wage the Long War to overthrow the Emperor or to claim vengeance for past grudges, although those things would be achieved as a byproduct of their true goal. The true purpose of their Crusade is to capsize Realspace in a localized swathe of annihilation and madness, to unleash the energies of the Warp upon reality and purify the Galaxy with those energies, that all may receive the cruel enlightenment they experienced in the Warp.
The Dreadhost is divided into four Grand Companies, each lead by the Possessed Champions and attendants of the Prophet Azunar, named Khaane, Tezen, Slanat, and Narag. Each of the Champions is named a Ruinpriest, and leads their company to battle. The four companies are each aligned with one of the Chaos Gods, but all the warriors worship Chaos Undivided, simply giving more praise to one God than the others. The four company leaders were also members of a fifth body within the Dreadhost, the Ruinous Circle, a clandestine cult at the Warband's heart composed of Aspiring Champions, Sorcerers and other powerful priests and demagogues. There are many lesser companies ruled by a champion and leader of their own, scattered among the host of murderers.
The Sanctified Desolation
The Sanctified Desolation is the Fortress Monastary and Flagship of the Dreadhost fleet. It resembles a extremely warp-tainted Starfort with eight segments extending from it's center, forming the eight-pointed star of Chaos. The Fortress is, besides the eight extensions, vaguely circular, it's primary structure being layer upon layer of shrines, temples and fortresses. The central structure of the fortress is referred to as the Grand Cathedral of the Primordial Annihilator, and is the largest and most imposing of the many shrines and monuments within the stellar fort. Within the fortress, countless seers and possessed babble incoherently in the language of the Warp, while scribes mindlessly scribble down their words and profane philosophers debate endlessly upon the meaning of those words. The Sanctified Desolation is the greatest edifice of the Warband, a weapon and fortress that brings terror and madness to whatever world it materializes over.
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The Gene-Seed of the Abyssal Sons is that of the Word Bearers Legion, derived from the Primarch Lorgar. Though they are far more mutated than their brethren.
Cult and Culture
- "The Galaxy is rife with Sin and Blasphemy. Xenos know nothing of the Warp's divine might, and the masses of Mankind worship the Great Enemy. The Galaxy is a disgusting cesspool that must be cleansed. We are the sword and the fire of the Gods. We shall be their vengeance upon the unworthy and the infidel."
The Dreadhost is a embodiment of the Warp's vengeance upon Mankind. Their crusade is to undermine reality, and to punish Humanity for it's sins against the Warp and the Dark Gods. The Imperium must be destroyed and Mankind must be butchered and broken, the survivors enslaved to the will of the Warp. That is the one divine command the Dark Gods gave the Dreadhost during their time imprisoned in the Realm of Chaos.
The Dreadhost do not have a specific homeworld and they draw recruits from the worlds they conquer. In the Eye of Terror, Screaming Vortex, Maelstrom and many other Warp Rifts throughout the Galaxy, the Daemon Worlds conquered by the Abyssal Sons and their mortal allies have great fortress-cathedrals upon them, where enforcers and members of the Dreadhost keep watch over the Mortal population. The most mutated, and those identified as Psykers, are brought into the Warband, but only after passing the 8 Blood Trials, the 9 Tests of Change, the 7 Plagued Paths, and the 6 Tempting Trysts. Only after honoring each of the Ruinous Powers and making clear ones utter devotion to the will of the Warp, the mortal is given the Geneseed implementation and brought to the final trial in which their prophet, Azunar, casts the chaotic psychic ability Mass Mutation on the initiate. Once that is done, they are inducted into the Warband. Which of the four Grand Companies they join depends on which of the sets of trials they were most at home with. If the daemon-seers of the Warband see the blessing of Chaos Undivided in the warrior, they are allowed to join one of the unaligned lesser companies.
- "Purify thyself in the Warp, that thy may purify all others."
- —The Dark Testament, 14:14
The Dreadhost is utterly obsessed with the concept of purification. Their belief that the Materium is a sinful lie, and the Warp is the true, divine reality, leads them to act in ways that further exposes them to the Warp's power. The Dreadhost makes regular pilgrimages to the centers of Warp Rifts, stripping off their armor when possible, and literally basking in the energies released by the rift. They actively seek Warp-spawned mutation and revel in warp-spawned insanity.
The Dreadhost believe that Chaos is a supreme and eternal power. Gods may be derived from human emotion, and perhaps they even may starve without mortal life, but the Warp itself is eternal. This is based on the belief in a higher force/deity, the Primordial Creator, of which all Warp gods, are merely aspects of. Because of this, they worship all Chaos Gods, not just the main four but all minor ones as well. A god of importance among them is The Masked God, being an Undivided deity.
Twisted Pantheons: Strangely enough, the Dreadhost do not only worship all the Chaos Gods in existence, but also entities that refuse classification as Gods. In their mind, anything that embodies the madness of Chaos is worthy of supplication. It cannot be said how extensive their pantheon is, but Anthelion, the sentient black hole that seethes with daemonic power, is considered by them a god of redemption and purification.
The Dreadhost do pre-battle prayer like the Legion they are part of. When in battle they usually use a frontal assault tactic, charging forward like the mad crusaders they are, and bringing corruption and madness wherever they go.
- The Horror of Acrya: Azunar and his followers brought three Shrine Worlds, known as the Acrya Triad, to ruin. The final fate of the three world is unknown, though it is most likely that they were either transformed into Daemon Worlds or utterly annihilated by Chaos. It is believed by some Warp-Scholars that the destruction of the Acrya Triad was merely the beginning of a larger crusade.
- All Black Crusades: The Consecrated took part in all 13 Black Crusades of Warmaster Abaddon.
Relics of the Warband
The Helm of Oblivion
The helm worn by the Dark Prophet Azunar, the Helm of Oblivion acts as a focal point for channeling daemonic powers and sorcery.
The Dark Testament
A Tome penned by Azunar, this book reflects his teachings and beliefs based on the far more sacred Book of Lorgar. It is filled with Azunar's own rituals and knowledge of the 4 Realms of Chaos, as well as deep knowledge of the Formless Wastes. The tome upon which they build their lives, second in holiness only to the Book of Lorgar itself.
(Feel free to add your own)
The Abyssal Sons are the center around which the Dark Priesthood orbits. Both organizations were created and are led by Azunar, and both are dedicated to the same goal.
(Feel free to add your own)
The Murdering Sons are a particularly brutal Space Marine Chapter that has long harboured bitter hatred towards those who willingly follow the Ruinous Powers and spread their filth, and none so much as the notorious Chaos warband of fanatics known as the Dreadhost. When crimes such as insurrection, rebellion or heresy require not simply crushing the guilty, but to exact retribution, the High Lords of Terra deploy the Murdering Sons. As the Dreadhost are responsible for spreading their dark faith across the width and breadth of the Imperium sowing corruption, anarchy and insurrection wherever they go, they are rightly hated by the grim warriors of the Murdering Sons. No one knows exactly when these two diametrically opposed forces first crossed bolters and blades, but whenever they encounter one another, it is an unsubtle and often brutally vicious affair. On several occasions, these two factions have fought to near mutual annihilation, such is their bitter hatred for one another.
- "We are the Chosen of the Gods. Our Crusade has spanned the Stars and has seen untold worlds burn. None will stand in our way. The Urizen wills it."
- —Anonymous member of the Consecrated
- "Abyssus Vult!"
- —Common battlecry of the Consecrated
(Feel free to add your own)
- "Their faith is strong and pure, their bodies blessed with the gifts of the warp and their minds fused with the children of chaos... Yes... Yes these are brothers of mine, kin to me and my Kinsmen, true acolytes of the Primordial Truth!!"
- "Akhan Duus! It seems that Madness incarnate has arrived to taint the Emperor's subjects. We will stand strong and face these heretics. We will not retreat, we will not surrender to the taint. If need be, we will die on this planet, but not without a parting gift. To the heretics, I say this to you. You speak of seeking truth, but you live in a world full of lies. The false gods are only using you, but because you have all succumbed to their will, I shall not feel remorse when I slaughter your kind. COME AT THEE, HERETICS! WE ARE WAITING! (Laughter from distance)"
- —Laughing Skull Zuun Jorgen Cranius' broadcast during a Consecrated invasion.