The forces of Chaos, a twisting and malignant force of unholy power permeating everything. Just like the twisting serpent below the waters of gods, the Jormungandr lie in wait beneath the galactic plane, writhing below the surface only to rise up. Their venomous fangs, thrashing coils and all seeing eyes are an ever present terror the Imperium.
A warband of murderers, schemers, rogues and savages from many Chapters and origins. The Jormungandr are commanded by the greatest abominations of them all, in a council of butchers and masterminds. At the head, Aster Savahl of the Night Lords Atramaentar.
Notorious for their calculated and horrifyingly bloodthirsty raids, appearing as if from the shadows in every corner. In their wake, desiccated corpses and ruined buildings.
The earliest conceptions of the Jormungandr can be traced to the defection of the Shining Blades, a proud and illustrious Chapter hailing from the honoured lineage of the Ultramarines. The Shining Blades were renowned for their strategic genius, conducting many campaigns with utter control over any situation. A level of perfection and mastery was required from every member of the Chapter, in areas from martial prowess to maintenance of their wargear. Their pride would be instrumental in their downfall.
During the reign of Grand Master Geln Marandeer, the Shining Blades took upon themselves the task of clearing the swamp word of Nivay 4 from the hands of an unknown Xenos race. Proud and independent, the Shining Blades stormed through the planet without assistance. For three long, gruelling years the Blades fought, bled and died on a world far from home. Eight Companies entered that hellish bog, Four companies exited, with armour charred and covered in the green-blue residue left by constant exposure to the toxic swamp. Around their arms and atop their pauldrons were the remains of the snakes that'd filled their hearts with poison.
From that black day, the earliest inception of the Jormungandr rose.
The first action of this new dark force would be to strike at its own. Returning to the titles of heroes, lauded and honoured forever. Instead, in one swift and devastating move, the Shining Blades were destroyed utterly by their own homeward brothers. The massacre was ruthless to a point, leaving naught but seven Astartes of the 200 remaining. Virus bombs fell on that day with a fervour not seen since the Great Crusades. The planet Matorus is now barren, a dead night world inhabited only by ghosts and the whispers of a thousand doomed men.
It was then the Shining Blades truly shattered their last shackles, free from the petty obligations attached to a loyal Space Marine Chapter. Unusually, at this point the Chapter made its way to the Dead World of Proctor Minor, in some form of pilgrimage. Appearing in real-space sporadically along their way, the Shining Blades plundered and reaved a bounty of bloodied worlds. No matter how far a traitor flees however, the Imperium's wrath is never far behind. The Shining Blades clashed with a number of Chapters, but always seemed to elude destruction. Finally, when the Shining Blades arrived at their destination, they were greeted by the firepower of three Chapters, each who had tracked them of their own volition. The Shining Blades were decimated, their heinous master Marandeer cut down and their forces scattered. Astartes split into various factions, fleeing into the deepest depths of the void.
The Blades and the Gorgons:
With Grand Master Marandeer dead and the unity of the Shining Blades completely shattered, the majority of the Chapter banded together under the guide of Codicier Barak Janus. The only remaining senior Librarian, Janus used his psychic might to steer his remaining brothers to safety. The dark minded Librarian commanded his men to the warp, to find a refuge to rebuild their battered army. Janus first ordered his Asartes to repaint their armour, staining it with crimson to match their stained pride.
The newly named Crimson Blades took to the Eastern Fringe, devolving to pirates and scum under the watch of Janus. Their newfound purpose brought them into conflict with several powers in the East, among which were the Tau, Ultramarines and the Chaos warband known as the Gorgons. While the Tau and Ultramarines would only engage in light skirmishes with the Crimson Blades, the feud between the Gorgons and Janus' warband escalated into a number of vicious confrontations. The Gorgons themselves were a band of Night Lords and World Eaters, notorious among the Veiled Region and Eastern Fringe. Commanding them was a former Night Lords Atramaentar by the name of Aster Savhal and a World Eaters bezerker Ireth Loth.
While the two factions of renegades could never truly destroy one another, a fateful confrontation between the Crimson Blades fleet and the voidships of the Gorgons would forever alter the course of the warband. Clashing in deep space over the possession of a derelict but powerful star fort, the Crimson Blades and an Imperial Naval force were both ambushed by the Gorgons. Caught in the deadly crossfire, the Imperial Navy was soon decimated. However both warbands would be loathe to give up their prize, and the two swiftly turned their guns on each other. With this new threat constricting the Blades in a slowly tightening noose, Janus ordered all firepower to concentrate on a single ship. With that, the ramshackle cruiser The Flayed Man was torn asunder in a hail of firepower. Scattering and engaging the Gorgons one by one, the battle was joined between the ancient titans and their rash opponents.
While the Crimson Blades fought in the void with a furious skill, they were both outgunned and outnumbered by this much larger force. Realising his fleet was doomed, Janus made a bold decision. With the most ruthless and skilled of his brothers, the Librarian teleported directly onto the star fort, in hopes of manning its weapons and turning them on the Gorgons.
Unfortunately for Janus, the Gorgons were already aboard. Their leader sat upon the throne in the middle of the bridge, smiling as his Raptors dropped from the ceiling to fall upon the arrogant Blades. Only Janus was left, his eyes glowing with furious power. How dare this fool challenge the Blades? Janus rushed the power armoured marine, but slashed nothing but air. The Night Lord dodged every furious blow the Librarian swung, moving like quicksilver without any strain. Eventually, the Force Sword flew from Janus' grip, spun in that of the Night Lords and buried itself in the Librarian's stomach.
The remaining Crimson Blades were given two choices, submit and join the Gorgons, or die. Over half the Blades chose their pride and perished. The survivors, including the last Librarian Severin Rai, joined the Gorgons.
The Serpent Rises
Aster ruled his warband with a paranoid and brutal iron fist. Ever conscious of the scheming ways of his brothers and the immense resentment of the Crimson Blades, Aster used strength and fear to control his army of murderers and cravens. Raiding and reaving through the southern end of the Imperium, the Gorgons eventually carved themselves a small empire in the unexplored regions of the south. At some unknown point, the Gorgons came into contact with a splinter cell of the Alpha Legion in deep space under the command of Harrowmaster Ahkus Faltrol. While what transpired exactly is unknown, both warbands appeared to merge under the banner of the Jormungandr. The warband itself swelled in number and was divided into splinters, under the joint overarching command of Ahkus, Ireth, Severin and Aster.
The fear-mongers became a nefarious, malignant force of power in the blackest regions of space and time.
The Jormungandr spread quickly under the command of the four Astartes. Dividing across the expanses of the galaxy, applying the same rapid tactics of the Night Lords mixed with the constricting multi headed strikes of the Alpha Legion. The warband would go to attract many treacherous souls, Space Marines and men alike. Bloody handed psychopaths to scheming masterminds flocked to the Jormungandr with a frequency unknown to most warbands. Eventually their council of madmen grew, becoming alike to the Kytoptera of the old Night Lords. At the top of this council was Aster, ruling through strength, fear and influence over the most powerful of the warband.
While outwardly the Jormungandr do not appear to conform to any real organisation, the warband in fact is split into a number of divisions and sub forces. The warband overall is divided into multiple "Coils", numbering slightly above the size of a Space Marine company. The name Coil is interchangable with Talon, Chain or Splinter. Each Coil often carries its own honorary title and trappings of prideful reputation, with names such as the Stygian Third, Poison Terror and Blood Reavers. These formations are by no means set, and Coils are often formed and dissolved to suit a specific scenario. The autonomous units that make up these coils are referred to as Fangs. These Fangs also bear their own titles and have no set task on the field. Each Fang can contain numbers anywhere between five and twenty, depending on the size of the attached Coil. These formations are skewed towards high adaptability in combat, as such fulfilling multiple tactical roles. This byzantine complexity masks a level of fluid efficiency that allows for ad hoc formations formed at the whim of the commanding officer.
While Aster holds the position of the Smiling King of his warband, draped in a pall of fearful loyalty. Around him Aster held a council of his most useful lieutenants, the Eyes of the warband. These Eyes transcended rank and were drawn from the more senior Astartes. Each had their own qualities that Aster found useful, even if that was simple cruelty or brutality. This ruling elite each commanded their own Coil, with force deposition drawn from any available forces. The Eyes often adorned themselves with similar titles to the Coils and Fangs, such as the Cleaved, Ghost Eater and Blademaster. Some were no doubt calculated insults that either stuck or were adopted by their bearers out of perverse humour.
Aster's iron fist, the Flayed Guard is made up of the elite of the Warband. A sub company force armed with the finest of their weapons and answered directly to the Smiling King. Enforcers of order and bloody handed executioners who's cold ruthlessness lives in infamy. Their authority seems to trump that of the Eyes, with some occasions of Eyes being executed by the Guard.
The Jormungandr do not field Cultists or Guardsmen in their forces, considering them a waste of resources and manpower. Instead the twisted Apothecaries of the Warband, known as the Bloodletters, take any too old to be inducted into proper Astartes and transform them into "Half Marines'. Using gene mutation, bionic implants and strange dark rituals, this army marches alongside their pureblooded brethren. However the bulk of the Jormungandr despise their auxiliary of enhanced men, seeing them as inferior mockeries of themselves.
|Title||Commander||Iconography||Common Modus Operandi||Patron Diety|
|The Flayed Guard||Aster Savahl||The winged skull of the Night Lords with a serpent below||Spearhead Assaults, Terror Tactics, Rapid Offensives||Chaos Undivided|
|1st Coil, The Pythian Raiders||Ahkus Faltrol||A knotted serpent in the jaws of a skull.||Multi-Vector Assaults, Infiltration, Asymmetric Warfare||Tzeetch, Chaos Undivided|
|2nd Chain, The Blood Reavers||Ireth Loth||The fanged maw of the World Eaters, a half crushed serpine skull inside.||Shock Assault, Decimation, Punitive Actions.||Khorne, Chaos Undivided|
|3rd Chain, The Stygian Third||Severin Rai||a serpent skull with a broken sword through the base.||Adaptive Warfare, Combined Arms Operations||Chaos Undivided|
|4th Talon, The Sightless Wraiths||Artrice Urizhen||A winged serpine skull||Terror Assaults, Psychological Tactics, Decapitation Strikes||Unknown|
|5th Coil, The Poison Terror||Betril Faltrol||A skeletal serpent coiled around a spear||Combined Arms Operations, High Intensity Warfare.||Chaos Undivided|
|6th Chain, the Unbreaking||Decius the Blademaster||An Iron Warriors skull with a cracked dome||Mechanised Assault, Siege Warfare||Unknown|
|7th Coil, The Vile||Dracon the Cleaved||A winged serpine skill dripping poison||Chemical Warfare, Zone Mortalis, Punitive Actions||Nurgle|
|8th Talon, the Lone Star||Murdoch Ghost-Eater||A clawed hand with a black sun in its centre||Adaptive Warfare, Rapid Assault.||Unknown/None|
|9th Coil, the Ravagers||Razas the Angel||A winged sword with a serpent around the blade||Targeted Decimation, Defensive Actions||Chaos Undivided|
|10th Chain, The Warpborn||Lokiel Xerinan||A fanged skull inside a vortex||Sorcery, Possessed Assaults||Chaos Undivided, Tzeetch|
|11th Talon, The Harrowed||Cryzel Martius||A skeletal hydra||Ship to Ship combat, Unconventional warfare.||Chaos Undivided|
|12th Talon, The Butchers of All||Nidhiki the Exalted||A daemon skull with an intertwined serpent.||Close Quarters Assault, Spectacle Warfare||Slaanesh|
|13th Coil, The Doomed||Vricon the Sentenced||N/A, all members bear blood red gauntlets.||Unknown||Unknown|
All Auxiliary platoons are attached to Coils in numbers depending on the situation, usually with around 400 at minimum serving. Members of the Flayed Guard serve as bodyguards and enforcers to their attached Coil, reporting directly to Aster if the need arises.
Adaptability and extreme violence are key to any conflict the Jormungandr enter. In some ways, they are the savage reflection of all aspects of their purist brothers. Each Coil operates as it's own miniature army, as such each uses it's own preferred tactical and strategic method. At the same time, every Coil has it's part to play and carefully link together in a winding myriad of murderous death. Unpredictability is always key to the success of the Jormungandr, with stratagems commonly changed mid battle to confound and destroy an enemy.
While Sevahl is the overarching leader of the warband, he is not the lone strategic thinker. During a conflict, the Night Lord would act as operational command. Meanwhile each of the Eye's would have tactical command of their Coil, overseen by the Flayed Guard. By having each Coil serve as an individual splinter, the Smiling King can orchestrate his battles with masterful skill with or without his presence.
Strangely, no matter the background of the Astartes, ever Coil and Fang of the Jormungandr can mesh near flawlessly together in the heat of battle. Bezerkers will charge into the frontlines supported by heavy vehicles, Sorcerers will pin down their foes with witchfire while Plague infested marines march relentlessly into their ranks, Possessed marines will launch themselves into the fray, to be joined with infiltrators inside enemy ranks and shelling from long range artillery. Somehow almost any blend of tactics is manageable in the right circumstances. However, this level of organisation is not always present. As such, the warband is not invincible. The various factions within the Jormungandr are not consistent in their unity, and several vicious rivalries can be noted.
Warband Culture and Beliefs
The Jormungandr are an oddity among the ranks of the Chaos Space Marines, as while they have supporters of the entire pantheon in it's various forms, they rarely come into conflict. Rivalries are still common, but are mitigated by the constant presence of the Eye's and the Flayed Guards. In fact, these rivalries are carefully controlled to encourage high performance on the field of battle. The strict control over each Coil is what binds the force together, and without the Eyes everything would collapse. This tenuous unity has been exploited in numerous campaigns, with members of command being assassinated and the remaining forces vying for control. Martial prowess is commonly the deciding factor of who takes the place of command, although master cunning and strategy can also be a major factor.