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"We are the Priesthood. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect Us."
—The Proverb that haunts the dreams of the Imperium

The Dark Priesthood is a massive Conglomerate of Mortal followers of Chaos, created by their Dark Prophet, Azunar, to facilitate the Grand Design of the Aeon of Ruin.

Azunar, Dark Apostle of the Word Bearers and Lord of Chaos, created the Dark Priesthood as a mechanism with which to liberate mortal men and women from the yoke of the Imperium and, simultaneously, from the unenlightened slavery other Warbands would enforce upon them. The masses of Humanity must awaken to their true nature, and the Priesthood is the tool with which to see it done.

The Dark Priesthood is a twisted mirror image of the Ecclesiarchy, functioning with a very similar hierarchy and organization. Where the Ecclesiarchy seeks to convert the masses to the worship of the Emperor and to maintain that religious control, the Priesthood seeks to awaken Mankind to the Truth and liberate their minds from the lies they are fed since birth. They hold the Book of Lorgar as their greatest and most sacred writing, whilst seeking to inspire individual spiritual practice and development, hoping to 'awaken' more souls to the voice of Ruin. It fulfills it's purpose through open warfare, and to the Inquisition's horror, by playing the game of the Alpha Legion: Seeding Daemon Cults and painstakingly cultivating the seeds of Heresy.

The Dark Priesthood is constantly at work in it's attempts to awaken Mankind to the truth. Ever diligent in their task to disintegrate the reign of the Golden Throne, the Priesthood will stop at nothing to bring about what they view as the salvation of humanity. They are everywhere, and they will never stop.

With the coming of the Great Rift, they have made a permanent abode for themselves within the Nether Coil.

Astartes Cells/Allies

(Needs Content. Feel free to add. Specify if your faction is an ally or a cell of the organization, and how it came to join.)

These are the Warbands who have pledged allegiance to the Covenant of Ruin or have at least acted as allies.

The Hellkin of Valkyura Warpschild:

The Chaos Sorceress Valkyura Warpschild and her small band of Possessed Chaos Space marines or, "Kinsmen" as they are referred to by Valkyura, have agreed to aid Azunar and his Warband in their goal of converting humanity to the will of chaos. Valkyura is mildly more extremist than Azunar, whom she refers to as "Brother", as she believes that the only true disciples of Chaos are those like herself and her Kinsmen, mortals who have allowed a spirit of the warp to possess their body. Her human origins, however inspire many non-astartes to flock to her banner, and her small band of possessed are oft accompanied by large hordes of Cultists, who treat her as a dark saint of Chaos. Valkyura agreed to ally with Azunar and the Dark priesthood after meeting with the Dark Apostle and ascertaining their goals to be the same, the complete and utter conversion of the galaxy to the will of Chaos.

Mortal Cults or Allies

(Needs Content. Feel free to add. Specify if your faction is an ally or a cell of the organization, and how it came to join.)

The Priesthood, while it's own body, is also composed of many different cults spread throughout the Galaxy. The following Cults are either part of the Priesthood, or simply aligned/aided by them.

The Eightfold Regiment (Cult Cell)

The Eightfold Regiment is the main military power of the mortal aspect of the Dark Priesthood. It is, essentially, a Regiment of Traitor Guardsman divided into eight groups, to form a many-faceted army. They are ruled by Gideon Argus, a Traitor Commisar and a faithful follower of the Priesthood's Creed.

The Menagerie (Allies)

The Menagerie, a shadowy Chaos Cult dedicated to spreading the "Truth of the Universe" to all willing to "Come and see", form a perfect ally of the Priesthood. Though most Warp-Dabblers and heretics fear the Menagerie for it's nightmarish reputation of absorbing and destroying other cults, The Priesthood has puts it's support behind the Menagerie, supplying whatever they may need to spread the Truth. The Priesthood and the Menagerie have been reported working side by side in many acts of carnage across the Calixis Sector

Sons of Flesh (Cult Cell)

A Necrophagic Cult, the Sons of Flesh are a Cult that, strangely, strives for Spawnhood. They engage in cannibalism, ritual sacrifice and other actions of sadistic abandon.

The Nights Blade (Cult Cell)

The Nights Blade are arguably the most insidious cell of the Priesthood, for the very reason that they draw recruits solely from either the Inquisition or Officio Assassinorum. Through the Nights Blade, many investigations by the Inquisition have been sabotaged and brought to ruin, as the disciples of the Truthbringer continue their holy work of cultivating the souls of Mankind.

Organization and Hierarchy

This is the Organization of the Priesthood from top to bottom.

The Dark Cardinals

The Dark Cardinals are the most powerful members of the Priesthood. Each is a Mortal Chaos Lord with deep knowledge of the ways of daemons and the malefic powers of the warp. They serve a role similar to Ecclesiarchial Cardinals. There are four Dark Cardinals currently:

  • Asgor Vandire, The Arch-Preacher of the Faith
  • Thaddius Ultan, Chosen of Sicarus
  • Xero, Witch-King of the Black Throng
  • Acra, Mistress of Q'sal

Infernal Confessors

Beneath the Dark Cardinals are the Infernal Confessors. Devotees of the Dark Creed, they travel across the Galaxy seeking to spread the Gospel. They are usually accompanied by heretical Preachers, witches and other allies.

Preachers

These serve the same role of Ecclesiarchial preachers. They travel the Galaxy, either alone or accompanying more powerful figures, seeding Heresy everywhere they go.

The Eightfold Regiment

The main Military Power of the Priesthood, the Eightfold Regiment is a Traitor Regiment divided into eight subfactions. Each has it's own specialty:

  • The Nightstalkers (Stealth, infiltration and hit-and-run warfare)
  • The Ironbound Brotherhood (Siege Warfare, Artillery, heavy weapons)
  • The Martyrs (Footmen and Infantry, and Suicide Bombers)
  • The Bloodhost (Khornate army)
  • The Sons of Change (Tzeentchian army)
  • The Rotsons (Nurglite army)
  • The Song of War (Slaaneshi Host)
  • The Black Throng: An army of Mutants, rogue psykers and other that have been heavily warp-tainted

Religious Cult and Culture

The Dark Priesthood, or at least their non-Astartes aspect, follows the Word of Lorgar to a letter, through the lens of Empyrealist theology. They worship their founder, Azunar, as a Herald of the Gods, and worship any and all Chaos Gods, major and minor, as different faces and aspects of Malkuth, the Empyrean, which is a flawed remnant of the Aeon of Ruin, the fall of which is what created the Materium.

Servitude to Madness

The Dark Priesthood is eternally subservient to Azunar, for they have sworn to the Eternal Pact, a daemonic rite that binds those who invoke it to Azunar and his followers for all eternity. Thus, the main strongholds of the Priesthood are the worlds the Host use as Recruiting Worlds.

Symbology

The primary insignia of the Priesthood is the Eternal Star, a version of the Mark of Chaos Undivided. It has eight added, smaller points jutting out of it, signifying the reach of the Priesthood and the eternal power of Chaos.

The circle surrounding the Eye at the center represents the council of Dark Cardinals, the Inner Circle of the Priesthood. The Eye itself represents the Gods that watch over them. The Pupil of the Eye, a tiny, eight-pointed star, represents how Chaos is eternal and is not only an all-encompassing force, but also one that exists within, as they see each Soul as a slumbering shard of Ruin in need of awakening.

(More to be added later)

A Twin Threat

The Priesthood simultaneously exists as two distinct threats to the Imperium:

Horrid Crusaders

The Priesthood is, first and foremost, a priesthood. The populations of Daemon Worlds, hordes of the Lost and the Damned, other mortals who have sided with Chaos, all make up the ranks of the Dark Priesthood. They defend Daemon Worlds from Imperial assault, and lead crusades against Imperial Space in open war.

Ever-Present Doom

The Priesthood's far more dangerous form is as a cellular cult, a secret society capable of infiltrating every layer of Imperial society. In this form, the Priesthood is most active in the Segmentum Obscurus, the Koronus Expanse, the Jericho Reach, and other places currently under the sway of Chaos or at least besieged by it. In this form, the Priesthood works tirelessly to spread corruption and the teachings of Chaos, hoping to spread anarchy and terror across the Imperium.

Relics of Importance

The Icon of Eternity

The Icon of Eternity is a banner made from the skin of Ecclesiarchal priests. It is said that Azunar had it bolted to the back of his armor in a climactic battle against the Black Templars. The Priesthood believes that those who wield it are granted a glimpse of Azunar's power.

Notable Events/Battles

(MORE TO BE ADDED LATER)

Defence of Khalladim Delta

Imperial Forces laid siege to Khalladim Delta, a daemonic Shrine World. Alongside Valkyura Warpschild, they fought fiercely and drove the loyalists back.

Horror of Acrya

The Dark Priesthood was a part of Azunar's assemblage of the Forces of Chaos to conquer the Acrya Triad.

The End and The Beginning

The tearing open of the Great Rift was a moment of awakening for the Priesthood, as it's leadership spasmed with ecstatic visions of the Aeon Reborn, the Material Universe finally vanquished. From countless daemon worlds and chaos-ruled realms throughout the Galaxy, the members of the Priesthood now gather in the Nether Coil, the Warp Storms at the center of the Galaxy becoming residence to legions of cultists, mutants and monsters. The worlds in closest proximity to the supermassive black hole at the galaxy's heart are crowned by Gehemahnet towers, each focusing the tides of the warp into a single current that flows directly into the Singularity itself. At the heart of the Galaxy a massive ritual is in place, one that, if completed, will end all things.

Quotes

By

(TO BE ADDED LATER)

About

(Feel free to add your own)

"Faithful servants of the dark gods! Hear me now! The cattle of the Corpse Emperor seek to tear down our idols! Desecrate our places of worship! And silence our screams of devotion! Cast them out! Show them the truth of Chaos! SHOW THEM THE STRENGTH OF OUR FAITH!"
Valkyura Warpschild fighting alongside the Dark Priesthood during the defence of Khalladim Delta.
"One of the most horrific enemies of Mankind. They're everywhere, I tell you, everywhere! They're probably listening to me talk right now. No one believes me. They ask 'How can a threat that great even exist!? You must be a fool, or a Heretic trying to incite fear!' They never listen. None of my colleagues listen, but they'll find out. By the Emperor, I hope they realize what's happening."
—Anonymous member of the Ordo Malleus, executed the next day for spreading lies.
"I hear the way to calculate the intelligence of a mob is to take the IQ of the dumbest member and divide by the number of participants. How many people did you say were in this 'Priesthood' of yours?"
Erikhas the Winter Smith doing his best to get Azunar to accept a challenge to 1 on 1 combat

Sources

http://warhammer40k.wikia.com/wiki/Chaos_Cult#The_Primordial_Annihilator