- "The icy touch of fear holds nothing to the chill of the grave"
- —Unknown Battle Brother
The Winter Knights are a 17th founding chapter of the Imperial Fists decent, and as such they are generally more determined than most other Chapters in the prosecution of their duties. While fiercly devoted to the Imperium and the Emperor, they are generally more occupied with their own innevitable death than those Chapters of Dorn. This means they shun the self-flagelation that is so common amongst their brothers, but they fight without anything held back, unworried by their imminent death.
The Winter Knights exploits are largely obscured, and have often served as back-up forces for the more distinguished chapters like the Black Templars, Imperial Fists, Blood Angels and Ultramarines. There are few records of heroic deeds the Winter Knights have undertaken, but they have in no way been lax in their duties.
Gothic War (143.M41)
The Winter Knights Swan Company partook in the Gothic War and took heavy casualties, the chapters last Battle Barge being destroyed by the Chaos Warfleet and the Company returned with less than 60 marines, even fewer whom did not need emergency aid
Third War for Armageddon (998.M41)
The Winter Knights arrived late during the Third War of Armageddon, but the whole battlefleet of the Knights worked during the remainder of the war to dismantle the massive Ork fleet. The Cold Indifference proved vital to the Imperial Relief forces. To this day, when there is time, the Winter Knights send forces to aid in the purging of the Xenos on Armageddon that still fight on.
13th Black Crusade (999.M41)
The Winter Knights engaged the Chaos forces of Abaddon with furious zeal and though they did not score any major victory, they bled the Chaos forces dearly for every battle they partook in.
The planet Noskira is a cold but not inhospitable Feudal World split between four nations: The central Sveia, the northern Noriga, the western Danra and the eastern Findilia. From these nations are the recruits of the Winter Knights drawn, and they are inducted into one of the four different Companies. Though the rivalry between the nations is allowed to exist in the Knights ranks, it is overseen by the Chaplains that it stays on a friendly level so as not to endanger the battle brothers.
The Winter Knights do not follow the Codex Astartes and have their own structures and combat doctrines.
The Four Companies
The Winter Knights are formed into four independant companies, answerable only to their Company Champion, or Captain in normal chapters, and the current Electas Rex. The left shoulderpad is covered in the mark of the company the Battle Brother belong too. The companies draw their recruits from one of the four nations of Noskira, and the standard number for each is 250 battle brothers with auxilary forces present to protect forward bases.
The Lynx Company wear red tabards with blue-dyed fur trimming from a Lynx native to Noskira. Their pauldrons trim are often adorned with adamantium claws, giving them a very spiked and frightening apperance. The collar of veteran battle-brothers is often shaped into a bronze lynx head enveloping their helmets in a masterful mix of artificier craftsmanship and art
The Wolf Company wear blue tabards with yellow-dyed fur trimming from a Wolf native to Noskira. Their pauldrons are often adorned with adamantium fangs, outlining the chapter and company badge like an invisible paw. The collar of veteran battle-brothers is often shaped into a golden wolf head enveloping their helmets in a masterful mix of artificier craftsmanship and art
The Swan Company wear yellow tabards with blue-dyed feather trimming from the swans occupying the lakes of Noskira. Their pauldrons are often adorned with white coloured swan wings, and the helmets of the veteran battle-brothers are often fitted with wings of white gold. The Swan Company took heavy losses during the Gothic War and have yet to fully replenish their forces.
The Bear Company wear white tabards with blue-dyed fur trimming from the Polar Bears native to the northernmost parts of Noskira. Their pauldrons badges are often rimmed by adamantium dipped bear jaws. The collar of veteran battle-brothers is often shaped into a silver bear head enveloping their helmets in a masterful mix of artificier craftsmanship and art
The Chapter Master of the Winter Knights is voted forward from the entire chapter, the four companies Champions all elect a potential successor and make ready to be elected the ultimate leader of the Chapter. The Electas Rex must forgoe any and all forms of brotherhood to his company, and as such his armor is a plain white, his tabard made from golden weave. Upon election to the rank of Electas Rex, the battle-brother shuns his old name, replacing it with his title. He shall forever be Electas Rex, and he will have live forever in those who come after him.
The Champion is the Captain of one of the four Companies, taking the title of Champion of the Lynx, Wolf, Swan or Bear. The Champion is so called for there is none who can compare in any quality to the skills of the Champion, and as such none can be his Champion, for he is expected to face any and all foes with equal defiance. The four Champions are all armed with large, golden-edged relic blades taking the form of bastard swords, easily the size of a normal man, each depicting the animal they lead by coloured in the way of their tabards.
The Winter Knights do not maintain normal Librarians like normal codex compliant chapters, rather they have specialised chaplains trained in expunging Daemons. The powers of a Santiarch take the form of golden waves of inspirational powers, reinvigorating the battle-brothers, or large, golden lances of faith driven into the heart of the enemy.
Powers of the Santiarchs
- Arrow of Faith: The Santiarch holds his right arm infront of him, and pulls back the left in a pulling motion. Soon, golden energy forms a triangular shape crossing through his arms, and as he releases his left hand, the energy collapses togethor in a large golden arrow, striking and evaporating the foe struck by it.
- Litany of Righteous Fury: The Santiarch recites the litanies of his chapter, his voice amplified and drowning out all other sound, rallying his brothers to fight harder and with more zeal and fury than before.
- Litany of Zealous Liberation: The Santiarch recites the litanies of his chapter, the amplified voice removing any restraint from his brothers as they are cast into a holy frenzy, fighting with nothing held back.
- Litany of Holy Reinvigoration: The Santiarch recites the litanies of his chapter, the amplified voice restoring his brothers energy reserves, allowing them to fight on through the most horrendous wounds.
The Winter Knights take their recruits from the warring factions of Norskia, usually from the survivors of a battle. They take five at a time, and the neophytes are put under the overwatch of a Veteran battle brother. As such, many veterans are accompanied into battle by five carapace armored post-humans soon to be Astartes, who cover him and learn to understand war.
The Winter Knights have a very direct way of war, shunning the use of any subtlety, in fact having a quote from one of the first Champion of the Bear upon the subject. They deploy their fleets in orbit and bombard the targets into submission if possible. If submission is impossible, or if the fleet cannot bombard at all, the forces are released on the ground. The Winter Knights go to war in close combat, carving their way through foes as they are backed up by Razorbacks, Rhinos, Predators and Vindicators, levelling whole city blocks and leaving nothing standing. Truly, when the Knights are released, nothing remains of the foe when they have swept through, and collateral damage is something that is always dismissed as "unimportant"
On the defensive, the Winter Knights do not pause, but engage their foes head on in a counter-charge of massive proportions, letting the tanks and neophytes stay behind to man gunstations.
The Winter Knights shun the use of marks to designate what ones role in battle is, for it is obvious indeed: It is to kill the foe anyway one can. As such, where there would be a mark designating the rank of the marine is instead a masterfully rendered etching of the company one belongs, each power armour having one which is the work of two days of continious works by the master of the forge's acolytes.
On the right shoulderpad is the Chapter Badge, a snowflake made of swords.
The Winter Knights was once in possesion of a mighty fleet, but now they are left with no Battle Barges and only fleets of escorts to accompany their few Strike Cruisers. But though they lack the Barges of other chapters, there are few who would be so foolish so as to engage their Fortress Monastery and Flagship Cold Indifference
Cold Indifference: The mighty Ramiles Star Fortress of the Winter Knights is the most venerable thing the Knights have ever possessed and ever will posses. It was reclaimed over three weeks of constant fighting of xenos after it had been overrun by Genestealers, the Companies of the Lynx, Wolf and Bear all uniting to clear it out. When they were done, they claimed it as their own.
Glacialis Tempestas: The last Battle Barge of the Chapter, the Glacialis Tempestas was destroyed when it rammed a massive ship of unknown class in an attempt to destroy it. If it succeded or not is not know, but it is generally accepted as fact admits the proud Knights, that it was in fact the Planet Killer, though those few others who knew of the Planet Killer has no memory of a Battle Barge ramming it.
Tempest: The Tempest was one of the last chapter Battle Barges, belonging to the Bear Company under the command of Champion of the Bear Argustas. It partook in and reaped a high tally during the Battle for K'pyin at the outset of the Ca'tu campaign, meeting a glorious end as it rammed into one of the Necron Cairn-class Tombships.
Notable Winter Knights
Chief Santiarch Maltildus
Maltildus is one of the senior members of the Winter Knights and an honoured veteran of the battle for K'pyin, leading half the Bear Company in a counter-boarding action. Maltildus suffered grievous injuries that day, most notably the skin and flesh on his right-hand face was flayed off by a glancing hit from a Necron Gauss blast. Rather than recieve a death-mask, Maltildus chose to openly show his deformed face, proof that no suffering is too much when one serves the Emperor. He was made Chief Santiarch when his mentor Maran fell to a Dark Eldar Wyche cult.
Champion of the Bear Argustas Avenon
Argustas was the Champion of the Bear responsible for defeating the Necron Overlord Karr'an'sho, a glorious feat of resilience and no small amount of luck due to, as Maltildus has stated, the Emperor's intervention as they fought long in a one-on-one battle. He was mortally wounded and interred in a Venerable Dreadnought after facing off against an Ork Warboss. Now, even interred in his cybernetic sarcophagus, he refuses to remain dormant for long and deploys wherever is possible. Through the years, he still harbors an incredible hatred against the Necrons.
The Winter Knights and the Black Templars are the very epitome of the crusader ideals the Astartes are recorded as, both fighting in honourable, open combat as close to the foe as they can. When the Black Templars call, the Winter Knights answer with bolter and blade.
The Winter Knights have a strong bond with their gene-progenitors, and when the rare occasions come that the Fists require aid, the Knights will be there with at least two of their companies.
The Winter Knights snarl upon the cowardice tactics employed by the Raven Guard, prefering to engage in open combat rather than to sabotage the foes forces.
- "There is beauty in a siege. The perfect mathematics and planning put behind lines and rows of trenches meeting the unpredictability of war makes for something that is just as much science as art."
- —Electas Rex
- "We are not subtle. Heresy is subtle. It worms its way into the hearts of those who are not clear of mind and pure of heart. Subtlty is heresy and we are no heretics."
- —Champion of the Lynx Jaharon
- "Draw your blade, heathen, I would see if you can back up your claims of a true faith with strength of your "gods""
- —Champion of the Wolf Vigilatus
- "A fragile crystaline snowflake seems like an odd choice of sigil for a Space Marine Chapter. I can attest there is nothing fragile or crystaline about the Winters."
- —St. Athaliah the Flame[src]