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"Oh, sweet memory! Thou art mine Eden. The glories of my history all lost but by your fruits. Oh, how I seek thy flavored rememberance; for now all thy were is dust."
—The final testament of Lord-Tribune Lisvaspian of the Emperor's Children, known as the 'Shining Knight'. ca. 566006.M31 Istvaan III
Lead by the once famed Lord-Tribune Lisvaspian, the Silvered Bladesmen, as they would become known as in their later years, were an assault division within the III Legion Astartes during the late unification period and the Great Crusade. Though little is known of their actions during the early days their existence, a vast log of battle honours and deeds have been collected by the many legion scribes and audialators who immortalized, or so they would think, these once proud warriors of the Emperor's Children. And though sadly much of their history has been lost to time and trial, one fact can be known without a shadow of doubt; the Silvered Bladesmen as they were perished in the opening moments of the infamous Drop Site Massacre, to be reborn as the ever-cursed Void Sirens; spurned by both the Emperor of Mankind, and their own Primarch in equal measure.
"Pride is not a vice, but the first step toward true virtue. Our fellow legions see our quest for perfection as arrogance. But we know better. Our pride drives us to ever greater heights. Our pride makes us hold our heads high in the face of overwhelming odds. Our pride is the passion of our hearts, and the key to our eventual perfection. For only through imperfection may we fail in our duty."
—Lizvaspian Shining-Knight, addressing his new division on appointment as Tribune of III / I-IV
Clad in the regal purple and shining gold of the III Legion, the Silvered Bladesmen were known even amoung their brothers for the intricacy of their armour's metal work and the quality of their artifice. Taking the sigil of the Silvered Talon-Spur, the III/I-IV stood out from their follow division by the distinct silver-white that adorned their armour along with the Legion purple and gold.
As further distinction, the Silvered Bladesmen sported a disproportionate number of Legionaries with jet-black hair; a rarity within a Legion whose warriors more often than not had pale-blond or the silver-white hair of their Primarch. This indiscrepancy was seen as more of a mundane fluke of recruit placement more than an oman, but many in hindsight would swear that the recruits drafted into the III/I-IV were no more than average in appearance, and that the darkening happened after their initiation into the Silvered Bladesmen. This was mostly laughed away as rumour and superstition, but few within other divisions still reported a strange and unknowable feeling when in close proximity the warriors of the Shining-Knight.
"There is no Legion greater than the III. But their are those within the Legion who shine brighter than all the rest. Those of us who rise above the Line to become champions. We are the pride of the III, the exemplars of Fulgrim. We shall not be overcome."
—Calios Kottel, on the Battle for Murder
Diverging from the Standard Astartes Legion Template (SALT) in an aesthetically III Legion manner, the divisions of the Emperor's Children (one part of a Millennial, which is in turn part of the Legion as a whole) are ordered into three sections of three squads. After the finding of Primarch Fulgrim, the III Legion changed dramatically from the template becoming something all together more refined and elegant. From the lowest Line-Warrior to the mightiest Lord-Commander, each Astartes with in the Legion knew his place amoung the rigidly structured caste system of the Emperor's Children.
Notable Formations (Late Crusade)
Older by a century than any other members of the division, Lizvaspain Shining-Knight and Tyrema Coldstar stood side-by-side since the age of the Lightning Standard. Born to the Europan noble houses of Terra, these ancient crusade veterans were warriors of the highest caliber and though would have no doubt given even the most rakish of the Palatine Blades a run for their money, neither Lizvaspian nor Tyrema ever took part in the affairs of that proud warrior-lodge; believing that their advanced age and Terran birth set them above the "distracting pursuits" of the Palatine Blades. The third member of the III/I-IV Decuriot was by nature a striking contrast to his more senior division commanders. Born on Chemos and tutored in the arts of the Apothecary by none other than the legendary Cheif-Apothecary Fabius, Nathius was a young and imperuos Palatine who conducted himself more in the style of an over confident assault sergeant than one sworn to the noble duty of apothecarus.
Seconded to the Silvered Bladesmen from the regal ranks of the Primarch Bodyguard, Maroux Thorn and Tendrin Grey-Veil stood in vigil over the warriors of the III/I-IV. Charged with the protection of Lizvaspian Shining-Knight, this pair of peerless warriors never failed in their duty to their Tribune; or that was until a fateful encounter on the hot cinders of Istvaan III, and the death of all that they held dear.
There has always been something odd about the Silvered Bladesmen, and in the Lodge members it could be seen clearly. Though nothing untoward ever happened between the III/I-IV and their fellow Palatine Blades from other divisions, it was always felt that during the ceremony of the Duel of Rite the warriors of the Silvered Bladesmen shone with not the shining light of the III Legion, but a grim shadow of excessive pride that overshadowed even the puritanical ideals of the Emperor's Children. Regardless of this, the Silvered Bladesmen Palatines, who were of a century old order of great renown, were mostly seen just to be striving to uphold the name of their Division and Founder.
The first squad of the Silvered Bladesmen comprised of some of the egotistically skilled warriors within the Line of the III Legion. Lead by Calios Kottel, an uncompromisingly proud duelist whose skill with a blade was only equaled by his pride and self belief, squad Lynasais formed the screaming center of the Second Cut of the Silvered Bladesmen's battle line. Young (By Astartes standards) and unreasonably impetuous, the Lynsias were in entirety Chemosi born Palatine Lodge members who were all to often reprimanded by their Decuriot for unacceptable conduct and tactical self endangerment; though the warriors of Lynsais never seemed to learn from their censure.
To face the III Legion in battle was to face the Sun Killers. An elite cadre of heavy weapon specialists who trained exclusively in the art of the Las Cannon. Once named the "Bringers of the midnight dawn" by none other than Primarch Russ, the Wolf of Fenris himself, the Sun Killers lived up to their name in countless battles during the the Great Crusade. The Warriors of Chemosias (the name itself being an honourable title) were no different. Acting in the role of "armour snipers", and ceremonial honourguard, the Chemosias, the Jewel Star, became some of the most decorated members of the III-I/IV, and golden heroes of the Driftwood Wars.
Sergeant Nasia, known bitterly as the "Almost-Famed" was a warrior of ill repute among the Silvered Bladesmen. Leading the line unit Retiam for the greater part of the later crusade, Nasia was thought by many to be cursed with madness long before the the events of Istivaan III that would claim his life and sunder the III-I/IV beyond repair.
"The length one will go to reach perfection is measured not in deeds of the physical, but those of the heart."
III / I-IV Europa
What little is known of the origins of the Silvered Bladesmen can be traced back a warrior within the new born third legion known as Hallen, "the striking silver", captain of the III-I-IV Company.
Gifted as blood-tithe for their families resistance, the flower of the Europic youth became the first of a new legion created by the Emperor of Mankind - the Third, who became in time to be known as the Emperor's Children. Born of noble blood and already trained in the complex art of sabre-dueling, these warriors became shining exemplars of the Emperor's reign, in stark contrast to the resistance of their ancestors. From the ashes of one particular noble family, whose name is now lost to the ages came a young knight of unsurpassed talent and pride. Wielding a relic sword crafted from ancient silver and forgotten technology, Hallen rose in short order to a position of prestige withing the infant, but expanding third legion. From the fields of Laurys where the ash filled air burnt as hot as its slag furnaces, to the chill-valleys of Nadarin where the third and the Bronze Host won a hollow victory over the techno brigades or Rol, Hallen Striking Silver lead his company grind-and-upward beneath their proud, rad-soaked banners.
Triumph followed triumph and the foreseen day of unification seeming ever nearer in their minds, the warriors of the third marching steadily onward into the waiting darkness with proud unbroken strides, taking grim Terra for the Emperor with every passing day. But, for all their might the Astartes were not invincible. The glories of unification were written not only in fire, but also blood, and for each battle the roles of honours were matched by the roles of the dead. And oh, a day would come when even high heroes fell, and it was on the anomalous moors of Old Stocos the great Hallen did march to meet his fate.
The following is a fragment of a second hand account of the Battle of Riskosson, better known as the "Lai of Falling Silver", penned by an unknown hand. Accounts taken from collected reports of the warriors and civilians who survived the day; though the fifth and sixth stanzas are now lost to time -
(Read by column)
Peace, a dying memory
Unto the persecution of a past age
Tyranny, built as an echo of its long dead nobility,
Shackled and bound
Oh, my heart
I see a summers vision
To the disburden of this world
A prince of starlight, the thousand-born son
Shall call to us his fury,
As the storms wake calls the soil
War, a long-lived terror
Steeped in wretched ancient harm
The present with my eyes is witnessed,
Dark and cold
Oh, but glory
I behold a shining nimbus
By the bladesmen silver is marked their name
Lordly marchers of proud old houses
Cast like titans, away our chains,
As a heralds trumpet calls the dawn
Without the remaining pieces of the story, which seems to hold credibility despite having no remaining sources that can be considered reliable, and only very few other of records detailing the event existing even in fragmented states, it is still widely believed that the following oral account of the battle and the resaulting after events are true, and only possibly exaggerated for poetical reasons to a small degree.
"We marched in from the south, from a place called Narfall. The line, which numbered roughly three-hundred strong spread out across the rad-fields from the base of the valley by the trench, to the remains of a ruined building on the northern hills. We guessed it to the bombed husk of some sorry fane. The captain called the advance across the open ground. No cover, no support, and no clear sight of our enemy. Just blackened rocks and glow-dust. But we marched on order, as always. It didn't take long for the shells to start falling. One at a time, seemingly at random. No clear guess could be made for their target. Mostly they fell onto empty ground, causing sparks and dust to flare. But others hit their targets. I suppose we lost maybe five men in the first march, maybe more. But that was just the preliminaries, and in short order the enemy showed themselves. They were Clankers, walkers of the most vile sort. Their engines wheezing and puffing smoggy bursts of rad vapor. The battle lasted only twenty minutes or so, but we lost over half the company to the taint guns of our foe. My squad was sent across a sludge heap to take the high ground, which we took without blood. But from those heights I could see the battle wasn't going as well for my brothers. Whole units massacred. The Captain's own squad were all dead, with he looking not so far away from death himself. But then I saw it. There was a bright flash followed by the sound of breaking glass. Where the Captain stood was then suddenly bear ground. His sword, that ancient blade, had only a moment before pierced the heart-core of the leading machine; and the machine too, was gone. There was silence. Stunned as I was, I moved with my squad down toward the once-battle. I saw several warriors from other units following suit. And it seemed somehow, that all our foes lay dead in place where they had been fighting the moment before. As I approached I felt a sudden chill, as if the winter had come to the field, but it wasn't snow that was falling but tiny specks of liquid silver which fell like dawns light onto our armour turning it from it's once dull grey, to a heavenly silver of shifting colour. It was only after that we discovered what happened. In some miraculous sort of magic, Hallen had not only slain our foes leader, but all those who shared his blood. The enemy had died in an instant, along with their leader, and ours. It wasn't long before word had spread and we were forever afterward known by a new name; the Silvered Bladesmen."
—Mihkell Ronsu, Sargeant II Section
Nothing else is known of the Silvered Bladesmen's activities for the remainder of the Unification Wars, though as the name "Lynos" appears on the division's standard it is surmised that during this time they took part in the compliance of the Lynosi confederations, and the Drift Wood wars.
CCCI Expeditionary Fleet
"Moral aboard the 31st Expedition is failing by the day. The XII want blood, as always, and the army is getting restless sitting in the dark day by day. I'm not sure how long the fleet can survive with it's ships being gambled away incrementally by bored, partly drunk soldiers."
—Saht Malle, Captain of the Fulminata, flagship of the CCCI Expedition.
Once the unification of Terra, and the greater Sol System was complete the Silvered Bladesmen voyaged with their legion for many years before being assigned to the 301st Expedition, a minor fleet comprised of the III-I/IV, the 7th and 9th Companies of the XII Legion's 3rd Assault Battalion, and a grand company of the Imperial Army's Archite Palatines set to range north-westward into the wild lands of the Northern Dead Space.Though it was believed that such an sparse region of space would yield few if any human colonies or findings of any worth, the 301st strove deep into the darkness in search of life.
The early part of the expedition was marked by difficulty, as the turbulent terrain and absolute lack of habited worlds left the 301st bouncing from one empty star system to the next without any sights or sounds to report. After only a few short months the atmosphere on board the 301st fleet became ever more agitated. The fleet command, which comprised almost solely of young, aggressive XII Legion line captains insisted on abandoning the expedition in favour of returning to their legion in the west. Captain Nabrin, the most charismatic of his savage kin demanded an end to the 301st's "useless voyage", claiming that it was a waste of his warriors talents using them as "treasure hunters" while the rest of the War Hound's Legion shed the blood of their enemies at the forefront of the Great Crusade. It was only through the measured words of the Silvered Bladesmen's Commander Tertia, known as "Sun-and-Star" that the fleet remained any of its cohesion.
The following is an account of a meeting between the CIII high command -
The Fulminata drifted in the darkness, noiseless and impatient. The corona of the system's sun, dubbed "Thesseunon" by the fleet archivists for it's labyrinthine surroundings, was visible behind the shattered, void-beaten lumps of monolithic space debris that tumbled in cosmically slow circles along the river-like stretch of space that outlined the region. The deck, as the void outside the view ports, was silent and still; all eyes fixed up on the phantasmic vision that coiled across the sky, seemingly unable to process that which was being witnessed.
"It looks like," the War Hound craned his neck skyward as far as his Mark II plate would allow, "It looks like a mouth." The gathering murmurer quietly in agreement, waiting for the Fleet Master's word on what was to be done next.
"All vessels will come about," the Master Saht said at last, the decks shallow silence broken by the buzzing and clicking of coms. "the fleet will muster at the southern side of the asteroid field and await further instruction."The deck cleared as the gathering returned to their duties, filling out the huge plasisteel doors at either end of the viewing room. Soon only two remained, the creaking of the ceremite wall plating announcing the would-be silent closing of the dome fourty meters above, bathing them in gloom. Only when the room was completely dark did the waiting pair acknowledged one another.
"And I had thought I had seen it all." Captain Nabrin's voice grated heavily though the stale air, echoing darkly across the circular room. The legionary of the Third did not respond. "Regardless, I stand by what I said last meeting. We should turn back. There is no sign of life anywhere, no matter what the path finder said." At this the legionary snickered, a short scrape of air through his helmets mouth piece.
"And here I though the mighty War Hounds had more resolve than that." Leaning closer to Captain Nabrin the legionary offered a course whisper, "The Rouge Trader is right, I can feel it. There is something here." Nabrin scowled at his companions sarchastic gesture toward the roof. "Something..."
"I don't care. This is work for the Mechanicum, wandering the void uncaring of what you find. There is no fight here, no place for Astartes. We are warriors, not treasure hunters."
Lizvaspian's legion rank is officially "Lord-Tribune", as he is a part of the Decuriot Tribunal, but is known as "Division-Tribune" by those under his Command. The title of "Division-Tribune" is given to all those who lead a Division, regardless of rank, and is often temporarily assigned to other officers in situations where the Divisions actual commander is absent.