The Shadow Vipers are a Renegade Chapter of Space Marines operating in Ultima Segmentum who are dedicated to the Chaos God Slaanesh. Their dedication to Slaanesh however isn't taken to the extremes other Slaaneshi warbands would go to as the Shadow Vipers desire to try and maintain the structure of their warband for maximum efficiency in combat situations. They are descended from the Imperial Fists and were declared traitors in M36 shortly after being corrupted by Slaaneshi forces from their battles with a warband of Emperor's Children who invaded the Heliosian sub-sector which held their homeworld Helios. The Shadow Vipers have a lust for war and conflict like no other and seek to cause it wherever they can.
The Shadow Vipers were founded during the 10th Founding and originate from the Imperial Fists Legion, the chapter was given the world of Helios located in the Heliosian sub-sector to be their homeworld. For much of their early history they spent the time defending the sector, and other sectors around it from xenos incursions. Their first large scale battles being with a warband of Emperor's Children that invaded Sub-Sector Helios, despite being victorious during the conflict the Shadow Vipers were corrupted by Slaanesh and turned traitor shortly after their conflict with the Emperor's Children.
The Heliosian Sector Conflict
During 131.M36 Sub-Sector Helios was invaded by a warband of Emperor's Children led by Damas Axalian who was captain of the 29th Company of Emperor's Children. The early battles of the conflict were in the Shadow Vipers favour as they managed to successfully push back the first assault groups of Emperor's Children. However the conflict took a turn for the worse when Axalian decided to attack Helios directly and managed to successfully summon a Keeper of Secrets to assist him in his assault of the Shadow Vipers homeworld.
Soon madness was running rampant in the PDF forces fighting alongside the Shadow Vipers and the Shadow Vipers themselves struggling to resist the temptations of the Keeper of Secrets. The Shadow Vipers would eventually managed to defeat the Keeper of Secrets and kill the Chaos Sorcerer responsible for summoning it alongside Axalian, the victory however would be short lived and at a terrible cost. The battle with the Greater Daemon would leave a lasting scar mentally on the Shadow Vipers Chapter Master Sorias and many of the Imperial forces involved in the battle.
With many of the PDF, high ranking civilians like the Governor, and the Imperial Guard sent to assist on Helios turning to Slaaneshi worship amid the aftermath of the battle with the Emperor's Children Sorias decided that the Shadow Vipers Chapter too would dedicate themselves to She Who Thirsts. The Inquisition having heard about the Emperor's Children excursion into the sector decided to dispatch forces to the sector after hearing rumors of Chaos influence having a lasting effect there. Sorias and his forces aware that the Inquisition was coming to investigate the sector decided to get together every resource and follower they could and abandon the Sector to the Inquisition.
An encounter with Orks
During the time the Shadow Vipers were fleeing from Imperial forces they came upon what appeared to be an abandoned Space Hulk. It was decided that the Space Hulk would be investigated to see if there was anything valuable on board. After several hours of salvaging the Shadow Vipers encountered and engaged Orks from an unknown Ork warband. Being against Orks the conflict quickly escalated and more and more joined the fray forcing the Shadow Vipers back. The Shadow Vipers decided it would be best to flee the Space Hulk with whatever they had acquired and move on to greener pastures.
Assault on Incaladion
The Assault on Incaladion took place in 307.M37 when the Shadow VIpers encountered and managed to form an alliance with a warband of Iron Warriors who were planning to attack and secure as many resorces as they could from the Forge World of Incaladion.
The objective of the assualt was to go in fast, sieze as much as they could, and then leave as quick as possible before having to deal with too many reinforcements. The Shadow Vipers dropped in and provided support for the attacking and looting Iron Warrior forces but weren't content to stay in the back, a large group of Shadow Vipers and their milita forces made a move on on of the Titan Manufactorums.
The defenders distracted by the bulk of the Shadow Vipers force failed to notice a smaller group flanking around them and breach the Manufactorum through a side route. Unfortunately the inside of the Manufactorum was heavily defended as well forcing the Shadow Vipers to have to slug their way through it, support came later on when the rest of the Shadow Vipers had begun transferring from assisting the Iron Warriors in the main battle to their new objective of attempting to secure at least one of the Titans. Warband Apothecarys worked hard at extracting the Gene-Seed of many fallen Shadow Vipers while the battle waged on against a well entrenched foe. After much heavy resistance the Shadow Vipers managed to breach the main chamber which held their prize, two Warhound Scout Titans and one Reaver Class Titan. Fighting took place on the walkways as well as down on the ground around the Titans, the Shadow Vipers having to work quick as Imperial reinforcements were reported to be heading towards the system having managed to active a distress beacon.
After much bloody fighting the Shadow Vipers managed to secure the three Titans and moved to defend the Manufactorum while they waited for them to be extracted by their fleet. The Iron Warriors having successfully acquired what they wanted were beging to pull their forces out to evade the incoming Imperial forces. The Shadow Vipers on the other hand much to their chagrin were stuck behind to defend the Manufactorum until the Titan extraction was complete. The Shadow Vipers managed to extract and flee the system suffering moderate losses, due to the fact they had captured many slaves the losses were eventually replaced. They also gained an alliance with the Dark Mechanicus and a fraction of the Dark Mechanicus forces with the Iron Warriors transferred over to serve the Shadow Vipers.
Into the Warp
After their assault on Incaladion with the Iron Warriors the Shadow Vipers fled with their prizes into the Warp where they remained within it for an indefinite amount of time. During their time in the Warp the Shadow Vipers engaged in piracy against numerous foes including fellow Chaos forces, most notably they launched hit and run raids against the Alpha Legion. While there were no major battles between the Alpha Legion and Shadow Vipers they did begin to become a nuisance to the Alpha Legion.
- Iron Warriors - The Shadow Wolves managed to become an ally of the Iron Warriors when they assisted a warband of Iron Warriors who were launching an assault on the Forge World Incaladion to secure more resources. The Shadow Wolves proved themselves vital to the assault as they held off many of the incoming Imperial reinforcements while the Iron Warriors worked on breaking their way through the Forge World defenses.
- Dark Mechanicus - The Shadow Wolves managed to form ties to the Dark Mechanicus through the Iron Warriors as there was a detachment of Dark Mechanicus forces with the Iron Warriors who assaulted the Forge World Incaladion.
- Emperor's Children - After the Heliosian conflict a strong hatred of the Emperor's Children remained in the hearts of the Shadow Vipers, the chapter vows to kill more Emperor's Children to prove they are the superior followers of Slaanesh and gain revenge over their lost homeworld.
- Imperium of Man - The Imperium of Man is considered a major threat and an incredibly valid target of the Warband after the Inquisition's attempt at chasing down the Shadow Vipers from their homeworld of Helios. The Warband often raids Imperial supply lines under the command of Captain Varis of the 2nd Company Shadow Vipers.
- Alpha Legion - The Alpha Legion were favoured targets for the Shadow Vipers acts of piracy during their long stints in the Warp. The Shadow Vipers believe the Alpha Legion to not be true followers of Chaos and as such engage in hostilities with them.
- Eldar - The Eldar are a prime target for the Shadow Vipers as they wish to completely eradicate them so they can provide their soul stones to Slaanesh.
- Infernix Sorias - Sorias is the Shadow Vipers warband leader, previously the chapter master and captain of the 1st Company. It is due to his leadership that the Shadow Vipers managed to evade the Inquisition and escape them.
- Captain Varis - Varis is the captain of the 2nd Company of Shadow Vipers as well as a champion of Slaanesh. He is also considered the second in command of the warband and leads most of its offensive operations.
- Malik - Malik is one of the warbands Chaos Sorcerer's, he is usually found as part of Varis's retinue.
- Darius - Darius is the Chief Apothecary of the Shadow Vipers
- General Kain - Kain is the current General of the Heliosian Guard who were responsible for assisting the Shadow Vipers defend the Heliosian sub-sector and have been expanding under the Shadow Vipers ever since.
- Vera - Vera is a Heretek of the Darh Mechanicus and joined the Shadow Vipers along with those under her command after the assault on Incaladion to assist with the logistical and technological side of the warband.
The warband tries to maintain an organized structure in its ranks like its loyalist counterparts. Being around 800 marines of the warband alive they are split into 8 companies. Each still led by their respective captains. Each company has their own fleet, around 100 marines give or take with traitor guardsmen, Cultists, Heretics, slaves, armored divisions, and depending on the skill of the Sorcerers with them, some Daemons. For most part the warband keeps together but some of the warbands company's like the 2nd tend to go off and operate more out in the field by themselves, sometimes accompanied by another Shadow Vipers company.
Specialist Ranks and Formations
- 2nd Company - The 2nd Company Shadow Vipers led by Captain Varis is considered the most active company of the Shadow Vipers and is responsible for leading the majority of the warbands offensive operations, frequently teaming up with other Shadow Wolves companies to engage in assaults and resource plundering. The company has been responsible for several large hauls of resources for the warband and bringing in many new recruits to the warband.
- Heliosian Guard - Currently led by General Kain the Heliosian guard made up of traitor guardsmen and PDFs have been with the Shadow Vipers ever since their flight from Helios. While obviously not as powerful as the Shadow Vipers Astartes they are the elite of the standard Human forces operating with the Shadow Wolves.
- Legio Vipera - A spoil of war from their assault on Incaladion with the Iron Warriors, the Shadow Wolves managed to make off with 2 Warhound Scout Titans and 1 Reaver Class Titan with the help of the Dark Machanicus. They are currently kept with Sorias and his 1st company aboard his ship and it is believed he is planning to make use of them for when the warband attempts to retake its homeworld of Helios.
- Noise Marines - Within the Shadow Vipers warband there exists a small Noise Marine Cult for those warriors of the Warband who are more dedicated to Slaanesh. While small in number the Noise Marines provide vital suppression support against enemies for their fellow Shadow Viper Astartes.
Cult and Culture
The Shadow Vipers are followers of Slaanesh and like all followers of Slaanesh seek perfection and pleasure wherever possible, however they do not take it to the extremes other that other Slaaneshi warbands do as the Shadow Vipers like to try and maintain the warbands structure for efficiency in combat. It would likely be more accurate to say that the warband is a follower of Chaos Undivided that happens to lean heavily in favour of Slaanesh while still managing to maintain some form of organization and unity.
The warband has a firm and solid belief in that war is glorious and is the most pleasurable action to them as they see the beauty of destruction, they seek to instigate war and conflict wherever they can. They also seek to spread Lady Slaanesh's influence with them wherever they go on their campaigns and acquire as many slaves as possible. The Shadow Vipers also have a keen interest in weapons technology and keep their equipment as well maintained as possible and acquire whatever tech they can from fallen foes seeking to always improve their arsenal.
The warband for most part prefers to do its fighting from range, relying on heavy weaponry and support to take down enemies and other key targets. They also like to employ ambush tactics where possible taking their foes unawares and are masters at defending at range too. The warband also likes to use its Sorcerers to summon Daemons to assist them on the battlefield and generally try to use them as cannon fodder to keep their enemies occupied in close quarters while the Shadow Vipers kill them at range.
Another note is the Shadow Vipers are known to actually train their Cultists and Heretics to actually fight properly alongside the traitor Heliosian guardsmen so that can do a better job of assisting the Astartes in defeating their enemies.
The bulk of the Shadow Vipers warband came from those who fled Helios and the sub-sector with them. Newer recruits often come from captured prisoners and slaves acquired from successful warband operations. The most notable influx of recruits came as one of the spoils of war from the assault on the the Forge World Incaladion where they also managed to gain their current Dark Mechanicus allies.
Helios is an Imperial Hive world that was given to the Shadow Vipers as their chapter homeworld. It is the capitol of sub-sector Helios, its climate is stormy and would be considered undesirable to live on due to the constant storms, wind and rain. The Shadow Vipers had to abandon Helios shortly after their battle with the Emperor's Children as the Inquisition were coming to investigate them for corruption. The Shadow Vipers of course had been corrupted by the forces of Chaos and had turned to Slaaneshi worship, when they heard the Inquisition was coming to investigate them the Chapter Master Sorias decided to gather all the resources the chapter could and abandon Helios to the Imperium so the chapter would avoid being destroyed. To this day one of the main goals of the warband is to take back Helios from Imperial hands and reclaim it for themselves once again.