The Dust Lords are simultaneously a renegade chapter of Space Marines and Chaos Space Marine warband. During their time serving the Emperor they were known, much like their parent chapter, for their ambush tactics and proficiency in the use of Jump Packs. A lesser known tendency of the Dust Lords was the use of bird-like mounts to traverse desert terrain (which would have been otherwise difficult due to their sheer size and weight). Their riding to war on these avian mounts was, out of necessity, kept secret from the majority of the Imperium. Witnesses of this eccentricity tended to also observe the rare gallantry of the Dust Lords and adhere to an unspoken code of silence, those who informed on them tended to be disregarded as liars or, at worst, heretics (such was their modest, but consistently positive reputation).
Now they have been declared Excommunicate Traitoris by order of the Ordo Hereticus for reasons the Inquisition are not willing to openly disclose. Most assume they are just another chapter gone rogue, but the truth is far more complex. Sometime in the near future the Dust Lords, now traitors, entered the warp to be spat out not only before they entered (a rare but entirely possible phenomenon), but before they had even turned to Chaos. These dark counterparts now seek to orchestrate their own fall to Chaos as it was once orchestrated for them. So far they have been unsuccessful, only achieving excommunication. But whether the Dust Lords are resisting their fate, or unintentionally succumbing to it, remains to be seen.
The Dust Lords’ excommunication is not a matter of open Imperial record. They were a codex compliant chapter boasting a moderate degree of success in their many campaigns. For the most part they followed in the Raven Guard’s footsteps tactically, they were essentially a normal chapter with few idiosyncrasies. One exception to this rule was the use of avian mounts, originally used to aid in the navigation of their desert homeworld the Dust Lords eventually rode them to war when Imperial oversight was limited. What’s more, the Dust Lords’ loyalty to the Imperium was beyond reproach. That was until a single, unfortunate event sent them spiraling out of control.
In early M41 a planetary outpost on the edge of Ultima Segmentum, near the Ghoul Stars, went dark. But not before a single message had been received by nearby Asylus: “All… is Dust”. It was assumed that a Thousand Sons warband had destroyed the outpost. Subsequently, the Dust Lords 1st, 2nd, 5th and 7th companies, all of which were participating in the war effort against Tau expansion, were tasked with tracking down and neutralizing the warband.
Upon reaching the planet they found what they were expecting: ruins and PDF corpses. However, the damage was oddly localized to means of interplanetary communication. Confused, the Dust Lords scoured the outpost. They found no trace of the elusive Thousand Sons warband. Instead, what they found were a few hundred, tightly packed, armed civilian survivors hiding in a great hall. The Dust Lords were not welcomed as saviors. The civilians frantically opened fire. Whilst the autogun fire clinked ineffectually off the hardened armour of the Dust Lords, the civilians were not so lucky. The Dust Lords, led by 5th Captain Elias Pral, assumed heresy and returned fire. Man, woman and child were massacred in minutes. It was only afterwards the Dust Lords realized their mistake. The civilians showed no clear signs of warp taint. Additionally, the control panel for the door through which the Dust Lords entered had been destroyed so it would be impossible for the civilians to leave – they had been trapped in the building. But why were they armed? Why had they opened fire? They were about to receive their answer – an answer they could not have foreseen.
At the far end of the hall within which lay the civilian corpses, a message played on repeat: “When we return, we will take away everything you hold dear, everything. You can try to fight us, but you will fail. You will fall. It is predetermined.” The voice was that of 5th Captain Elias Pral. Yet, Captain Pral had been with the Dust Lords all the way from Tau space. It was impossible for this imposter to actually be him. Captain Pral rushed to the device playing the message, which subsequently recognized him and played a second message: “Hah! These fools actually thought that the message was for them! No. It was a warning. A warning for me… well... you. Your Imperium has abandoned you, brother. I am what you will become. It is predetermined.” The message made made little sense to Elias. That is, until he realized that the device he now held was transmitting. Soon thereafter the Imperium was made aware of their actions and the Dust Lords were declared excommunicate traitoris. Their homeworld was besieged by the Rhinos and destroyed along with what brothers they left behind.
Now renegades, the Dust Lords scour the stars for a means of defying their fall from grace. Whether they are doing so or simply spiraling out of control towards their fall, it is impossible to tell.
The Dark Counterparts
The Imperium is, for the most part, unaware of the existence of the Dust Lords' dark counterparts and so most of their actions are incorrectly attributed to the Dust Lords themselves. It does not help that the Ordo Chronos have gone missing, since such an anomaly would fall under their jurisdiction. What's worse, the Dust Lords themselves are little more than aware of the existence of their dark counterparts. This is probably intentional. They have, in every case, been one step behind their future selves - as you would expect.
The composition of their dark counterparts is a matter of some speculation. Most of the Dust Lords assume that they are up against a 400 strong force - much like themselves. However, time anomalies do not necessarily work that way. It is very possible that the paradox within which the Dust Lords find themselves has resulted in a larger force as the dark counterparts are essentially recruiting themselves. This would, theoretically, allow for an infinite number of each member of the Dust Lords. For example, unbeknownst to Elias Pral, he is actually one of five versions of himself. One of which is now the leader of the dark counterparts. Fortunately, the 1st and 2nd companies appear to be lost by the time the warp anomaly that allowed the dark counterparts to travel back occurred. That and the anomaly is incredibly rare, occurring only once, later in the timeline. Additionally, the most times a Marine can traverse such an anomaly is five, and only at great risk and heavy mutation. Any more result in guaranteed spawnhood, a fate the dark counterparts would rather avoid. Unfortunately, several copies of each member of the 5th and 7th Company (each at different stages of mutation) successfully pass through the anomaly each time it occurs and so what the Dust Lords actually face is closer to a full chapter.
Space Hulk "Forsaken Fate"
The space hulk "Forsaken Fate" is where the Dust Lords currently make their home. It is not clear whether the dark counterparts were on the "Forsaken Fate" when they were taken back in time. It is likely given that space hulks frequently enter and exit the warp, one of these journeys could have been when the fateful anomaly occurred. In any case, it is entirely possible that there exists two "Forsaken Fate" space hulks drifting gradually deeper into the ghoul stars.
Other users are welcome to leave quotes about the Dust Lords by characters of their own devising. However, please keep in mind that very few people outside of the Dust Lords themselves are aware of their dark counterparts.
- "When we return we will take away everything you hold dear, everything. You can try to fight us, but you will fail. You will fall. It is predetermined"
- —Elias Pral, 5th Captain of the Dust Lords (3rd Incarnation)
- "Our chapter icon was originally intended to represent our snake-ridden, desert homeworld. Within a binary star system our days were perpetual and so the ouroboros seemed appropriate. Now it has taken on a new meaning. Time has abandoned us. All we can do is resist our forsaken fate."
- —Elias Pral, 5th Captain of the Dust Lords (Current Incarnation)
- "As we broke down the doors to their fortress-monastery we found no evidence of Chaos taint. Yet the Inquisitor at our backs insisted the Dust Lords had slaughtered innocents for some foul ritual on a planet out near the Ghoul Stars. ... We'd fought alongside the Dust Lords before. They were nothing special, but they were loyal to a fault. To reach such a Chapter the taint of Chaos must indeed be insidious."
- —Ekene Folami, Captain of the Rhinos 1st Company
- "Time travel bites."
- "In blame myself for many things. I and my fellows could have saved the Dust Lords; but I also know I dammed them. "