The Azure Flames Space Marine Chapter
Up until recently in the history of the Imperuim of Man, the Space Marine Chapter known as the Salmanders had not had a successor founding. Recently, the brave exploits of this Chapter merited a new chapter made from the gene-seed of its Primarch, Vulkan. This is only the beginning of the story for the chapter that would later become known as the Azure Flames.
In almost every case of unusual happenstances in the Imperium of Man, an Inquisitor is not far behind. Inquisitor Eric Boucher of the Ordo Hereticus was a firm Amalathian, but a bit of an oddity to his colleagues (a polite way to describe someone as barking mad). To his dismay, he saw that the vast majority of Space Marine chapters were descended from the Ultramarines. While not discrediting the valor and heroic history of the Ultramarines, or their founder Roboute Gulliman, Boucher believed that Space Marine chapters were the tools of the Emperor's will. Savage Assaults called for the Blood Angels, drawn out sieges could be entrusted to the Imperial Fists, and general conflict could be handled by almost any Ultramarine successor. Boucher was researching Chapters, when he noticed the alarming number of known chapters from Gulliman. He set into motion his manipulative skills, and acquired permission for the Tech-priests of Mars to create a new Chapter from a neglected stock. After doing a simple survey of known chapters, the Tech-priests decided on the Salamanders, citing their cleansing of Mora Vll.
Approximately 55 years later, in c606m41, The Sons of the Salamander were sent to Nocturne, the homeworld of the Salamanders for training. It became obvious over the five years of indoctrination into the Promethean Cult that, while welcome, the Sons were being encouraged to go on a crusade to find their own homeworld, as successor chapters often do. In the years since the announcement of the successor Chapter, The Salamanders began work on a small fleet to carry the Sons in the inevitable crusade they were to undertake. By the time the chapter had been accepted into the Promethean Cult, and fully trained, a full fleet awaited them. The Sons took off in search of opposition, and soon found it. A local agri-world had been infiltrated by a chaos cult, and the Sons set out to burn it out of existence. Fortunately for the world, the cult was in its early stages, and was localized to the northern continent. Unsatisfied by this simple purging of chaos infestation, the Sons moved on.
The Sons wandered the systems near Nocturne, returning every decade or two for warriors that could not be supplied by the worlds they defended. After a brief trip to the Armageddon sector, the Sons responded to a distress call from an out of the way forge-world. It was suffering from a local uprising, and there were rumors of Chaos Space Marines involved. The chapter sent two full companies. The traitor Marines had made a brief invasion, stealing tanks and the like, and had fled when the Sons arrived at the scene. The companies returned to the fleet proper, after cleansing the chaotic remnants of the heretic chapter. It was decided that the crusade should be directed against the small chaos incursion in this area. The Sons soon received another call, from another agri-world. More attacks by the twisted Marines. The agri-world was Arus, which existed in an unstable warp region, so that noticeably more psykers were born on this planet. The chaos taint had attempted to invade before, and so an Imperial Garrison had been stationed there. Treachery was certainly involved, as the defenses were quickly overwhelmed by a handful of the traitors. As the chapter tore out of the warp, and back into reality, the chaos Marines of the Iron Warriors legion attacked by surprise. Several ships were damaged by the assault, but the traitors were driven away from the planet, stranding approximately one hundred of their twisted brethren scattered over the planet. Routing them out was an arduous task that took a much greater toll than expected. It is during this purge that a young boy named Atrus was incorporated into the ranks.
The Recruitment of Atrus
Atrus was identified as a psyker at age 12, and was segregated from society to await one of the Black Ships that collects psykers for the Golden Throne that arrive regularly to Arus every four years. Having recently been visited, Atrus spent three years in the concentration camp, slowly realizing his latent abilities. On the day that the Black Ship arrived, Atrus and his fellow psykers were herded to the starport. Before their very eyes, their transport vessel was obliterated by an orbital bombardment. In the confusion, Atrus fled to the nearby city. There, he hid in an abandoned warehouse, where he was safe. Safe, that is, until the battle carried over into the city.
Atrus was eating breakfast salvaged from a destroyed restaurant when a Space Marine entered the warehouse where he had been hiding. As the Son of the Salamander informed his commander of the refugee he had discovered, an Iron Warrior fired an autocannon from a nearby building. The Marine took a shot to the chest, and slumped into a corner. As the Chaos Marine checked to see if his foe was truly dead, he was assaulted by a screaming youth wielding a plank of wood. The heretical Marine laughed off the pathetic boy attacking him, and as he turned his attentions to finish the whelp, a monomolecular knife severed his arm. Reeling in pain, he looked up just in time to see a bolter directly in his face. Atrus watched as the Son of the Salamander emptied his clip into the traitor's face, turning his head and upper torso into something the consistency of the nutri-paste he had been fed everyday at the camp.
Atrus returned to the fleet, and because of his bravery and psychic talents, was given a chance to join the Sons of the Salamander. Atrus accepted without hesitation.
Atrus quickly rose through the ranks of the Librarium, and was promoted to Lexicanum faster than any other Librarian in the Chapter’s recorded history. Atrus received several battlefield distinctions, including the kill of a Tyranid Carnifex in close combat, circa c755m41. During a raid in that same campaign, a Tyranid Warrior severed Atrus' left arm. Atrus was fitted with a bionic arm, and continued the campaign, ridding three worlds of the alien menace. Atrus served for several centuries before he was finally promoted to Epistolary. As a test of his abilities, he was put in charge of communications for the Fleet's second battle barge, His Anvil.
Disaster and Resurrection
During a routine response to a distress call by a world under siege, a fleet of Chaos cruisers ambushed the fleet. The Flagship, His Hammer, was crippled, and all of the command section that outranked Atrus were killed. Atrus, suddenly in command of the fleet, attacked the centerline of cruisers. The Chaos fleet was closely bunched, as they had concentrated on the flagship. Two of the larger ships were badly damaged, and their cores exploded, crippling several nearby ships. This gave the Sons' fleet time to disengage, and regroup later with several companies of the 21st Centurions, who had also responded to the distress call. His Hammer was salvaged, and towed to a nearby space dock, where the Gene-seed repository, and the Librarium, along with whatever wargear was viable was salvaged before the ship was rebuilt into His Hammer II. Those on board were entered into the Book of Honour, and given proper burial at space rites. While not a total loss, this was a terrible toll for the Sons.
Atrus, along with what remained of the Chaplains, Librarians, and command sections of the Sons of the Salamander convened. Atrus, in trying to meditate on what to do to help his injured chapter, fell into a deep trance where he had a vision. He shared this vision psychically with his fellow commanders, and after this they agreed it was a sign from the Emperor. In c762m41 the Sons of the Salamander were henceforth known as the Azure Flames, and spent several years rebuilding their fleet. The Azure Flames were greeted with skepticism on Nocturne, until it was proven that they were still deeply rooted in the Promethean Cult, and that their new appearance was meant to serve the Emperor, not to defy his teachings. The Salamanders acknowledge the Azure Flames as free of heresy as detailed in the document known as the Concord of Leonidas, named after the brazen, outspoken company champion that introduced it as a compromise.
Several campaigns later, the Azure Flames still did not choose a world they could call their own. Atrus was adamant that it had to not only simulate the harsh training conditions of Nocturne, but be accessible to the rest of the galaxy as well. This meant that several liberated worlds were passed over, for one reason or another. The Azure Flames crusaded throughout the galaxy, searching in futility for decades.
Responding to a Tyrannic invasion in c781m41, Atrus and a detachment of the first and third companies were badly outnumbered. Atrus was badly injured in the attack, but instead of asking for the Emperor's peace, he ordered himself interred in a Sarcophagus. The new commander of the detachment, Perseus, had no choice but to order the Apothecaries to carry out Atrus' orders. Atrus' psychic powers were reduced significantly, and Atrus became part of the first company's Dreadnought corps. Because of this, Atrus stepped down as Chapter Master, and resigned from the Librarium. Undaunted by the loss of his powers, Atrus enlisted the Techmarines of the Azure Flames. The Promethean Cult ensures that all Salamanders are proficient at technological repair and innovation, and the Azure Flames are no exception. To this end, Azure Flames Techmarines are among the finest in the galaxy, being the best of the best in the chapter. Atrus and the Techmarines set forth blueprints for a device that, while not expressly forbidden, was considered a bad idea. Psychic amplifiers, in the past, had only been used with the aid of healthy Librarians, and the amplification of their powers was disastrous. Atrus was convinced that an amplifier could strengthen his weakened powers to return him to full strength. Unfortunately, the Azure Flames lacked the proper materials to create such a wonder.
In a heated raid on an Eldar battlegroup, which had attacked an Imperial world, Atrus saw to the capture of an Eldar Fire Prism. Under Atrus' guidance, his Dreadnought was modified, to add the Fire Prism’s crystal, which had been re-tuned psychically by the entire Librarium. The giant crystal now served to augment Atrus' weakened powers, and make him the equal of the other members of the Librarium. Atrus oversaw further modifications, creating the first Dreadnought Psychic Hood, and Dreadnought Force Weapon. These breakthroughs heralded Atrus' reinstatement into the Librarium, and his replacement of Perseus as Chapter Master. Perseus gladly stepped aside, as he believed in the sacred mission Atrus foresaw, and his installment as Chapter Master was more of a matter of necessity than what he wished.
Victor Kalan, the Saga of the Sword, and The Chasma Spica
In the late 800s, m41, Inquisitor Victor Kalan, Ordo Malleus, acquired the Daemonsword Ba'arzunipal and the mysterious artifact known as the Heart of Zaral. With these potent artifacts, he commanded an alliance of Chaos Space Marines, Orks, Tyranids, Necrons, and Eldar against the Imperium. Although he was later slain by his brother, Saint Angmar Kalan, the Sword and Heart passed to several different owners afterwards, each of which brought terror to a different part of the Imperium. The Azure Flames fought in each crusade to stop Kalan and his successors, suffering heavy losses each time. Both artifacts found their way into the hands of Esharaddon, leader of a Word Bearers sect known as the Sicarii.
In c912m41, Atrus had another vision. This led the entire chapter of the Azure Flames to a region of the Segmentum Tempestus known as the Chasma Spica, so called because it is in the general direction of the star Spica as seen from Holy Terra. The Chasma Spica was a warp storm encompassing roughly eleven star systems, which had existed since the Horus Heresy. An Adeptus Mechanicus cruiser was the first to enter, and was immediately attacked by Chaos forces. They were rescued by the Azure Flames Fleet, and Inquisitor Voltman Kalmsan, Ordo Malleus, was brought aboard the Battle Barge His Hammer II to share in the visions Atrus had. After a sojourn to the surface of Iperin, the central planet in the Chasma Spica, Kalmsan called for an Imperial invasion of the Chasma Spica. Imperial forces were aided by Eldar, and Orks and Tyranids arrived to assist Chaos at the behest of the Heart of Zaral. The warp storm returned, trapping the Imperials in the Chasma Spica. War wracked the sector for months, and came to a head at the battle of Daskros on Iperin. Atrus bravely faced down Esharaddon, but was killed by the daemonsword Ba'arzunipal. In this final act of selflessness, Atrus channeled all the power the Psychic Amplifier could muster and shattered the Daemonsword and the Heart of Zaral, killing himself in the process. Without control of the Orks and Tyranids, Chaos forces retreated from the Chasma Spica.
The Azure Flames claimed Iperin as their new homeworld by Right of Conquest. The Adeptus Mechanicus lodged a protest, but every Space Marine chapter in the Chasma Spica including the legendary Blood Angels and Space Wolves supported the Azure Flames’ claim on Iperin. The Mechanicus was eventually bribed into dropping the complaint in exchange for being able to examine and dismantle the xeno tech on Iperin. However, the Eldar had deactivated it, and made it useless. Over seventy years later, the Azure Flames Fortress-Monastery in the rebuilt capitol city of Releeshahn was completed.
In the battles of the Chasma Spica, a heroic young Marine named Antonius rose to prominence; being promoted several times during the campaign and eventually becoming Captain of the 4th Company. It was later revealed that Antonius was created using the Gene-seed harvested from Atrus when he was interred in the Sarcophagus.
The Omega War
Despite building a Fortress-Monastery and cleansing errant feral Orks from their new homeworld, the Azure Flames were not idle in the years following the Chasma Spica conflict. They hunted the participants in the Alliance across the galaxy, most notably the Word Bearers sect known as the Sicarii and their master, Esharradon.
Finally trapping Esharradon in an extended series of fleet actions, the Sicarii lord was aided by Gorath, The Black King of Viridian, Lord of the Iron Warriors. During this, the Battle Barge His Anvil was crippled. Gorath and Esharradon escaped, leaving Antonius and several other Captains to pick up the pieces of Gorath's treachery.
Decades earlier, during the conflict with Victor Kalan, Gorath discovered the plans for a super-weapon built by the Imperium as a response to Abbadon the Despoiler's 12th Black Crusade. During this Crusade, Abbadon destroyed several worlds and even an entire star system, spreading terror throughout the galaxy.
As a response, The High Lords of Terra commissioned the construction of a moon-sized space station capable of annihilating an entire planetary body. This station would not only be warp-capable, it would be guarded by a fleet of ships drawn from mothballed or disused cruisers from across the Imperial Navy called the Black Fleet. Psychic scans were instituted to prevent the infiltration of the station by Chaos forces.
However, Gorath sought out other agents to infiltrate the station. He enlisted the services of the Church of the Eternal Dawn, a Genestealer Cult led by a monstrous childlike Magos named Cha Dawn. Several cultists were planted within the Omega Station's security. They concealed live genestealers and spread their influence through the station.
Gorath also uncovered the location of several Necron Tomb Worlds, and used their location to bribe Sekhef, Overlord of the Sautekh Dynasty. The Necrons provided additional troops and devices called Virus Nodes that were custom-made to override the computer systems of the Omega Station.
At last, the Omega Station was put under siege by Chaos, Cultist, Tyranid, and Necron forces. The Imperial forces were aided by an odd melange of Craftworld, Corsair, Drukhari, and Ynnari Eldar.
Imperial and Eldar forces held the central command tower as a ruse. With Alliance Forces over-committed, the Azure Flames and Angels Sacrosanct launched a surprise attack on the Omega Station's Engine Complex. They rigged the station to fire its engines on a course to impact a nearby dwarf planet. Such a collision would destroy both bodies.
Simultaneous to this attack, Inquisitor Voltman Kalmsan directed an assassination of the child-Magos Cha Dawn. Azure Flames Chief Librarian Ory-Hara slew Cha Dawn with a powerful surge of psychic energy designed to disrupt the telepathic communications of Tyranid lifeforms.
With the Omega Station on course for the planetoid, and his allies dwindling, Gorath fired the main weapon of the Omega Station, blasting the target to bits. However, without precise aim, the dwarf planet was shattered into large fragments, one of which was still on course, and large enough to destroy the Omega Station. Imperial and Eldar forces fought desperate battles of retreat against Tyranid forces that had recently recovered from the psychic reverberations of Cha Dawn's death.
In the end, The Omega Station was destroyed, and Gorath's alliance scattered. The remains of the Black Fleet under Admiral Jann Kolten entered the services of the Inquisition.
The Azure Flames suffered terrible losses during this battle, including more than 90% of the 4th Company.
After the opening of the Cicatrix Maledictum, Iperin was subject to the horrors of the Psychic Awakening. Psykers ramapged throught the newly built neighborhoods of Releeshan every day. The entire Chapter of the Azure Flames had to be recalled to pacify the new Homeworld.
The unrest was finally quenched with the arrival of Lord Gulliman and the Indominus Crusade. A large contingent of Primaris Astartes were added to the Azure Flames 4th Company. To lead them, Antonius crossed the Rubicon Primaris along with the twelve remaining members of the 4th Company and Chief Librarian Ory-Hara. Amazingly, each and every one of them survived despite the limitations of the Rubicon procedure and its high death rates.
To better indoctrinate and integrate the new Primaris 4th Company into the ranks of the Azure Flames, Antonius led them to the world of his birth, Altea. There they trained among the cities and forests of the lush Agri-world. However, the presence of these advanced warriors drew the attention of local Orks who were greedy for trophies taken from the new Primaris Marines. Their attack drew the attention of a WAAAAGH rampaging through a nearby sector. With the promise of a good fight against the new Marines, several Warbosses descended on Altea.
Antonius took command of the planetary defenses. With a daring raid, he decapitated Warboss Gobfista just as several Ork camps were mustering to assault the Capitol. With this Ork camp in disarray, several other Warbosses scuffled with each other for control of Gobfista's boys and for overall control.
The Azure Flames 4th Company fought to preserve the civilian population and to curtail the Orks, hoping to hold out until Imperial aid arrived. The Saratogan 58th relieved the beleaguered Azure Flames forces, but were not enough to stem the green tide.
Finally, in a last desperate battle against a reunited horde, the remainder of the Azure Flames fell from the sky in Drop Pods. With the chapter's fleet repelling the Orks in the system, and the Azure Flames in full chapter strength, the WAAAAGH was finally ended.
Afterwards, new recruits for the Azure Flames underwent the Primaris ascension process, and Primaris marines were added to all other companies.
Iperin was a world founded by the Primarch Vulkan during the Great Crusade. After the heresy, an artifact below the small city of Daskros was somehow activated, creating the Warp Storm that sealed off the Chasma Spica. This Warp Storm was deactivated and reactivated during the course of the battle, until the warp storm generator below Daskros was finally destroyed by Eldar. After the battle, the Azure Flames built up the ruined capitol of Iperin, called Releeshahn. They built their fortress-monastery there, and took in refugees from war-torn areas of the galaxy such as Ifan III.
As of c999m41, the planet of Iperin was scarcely populated with just over two million souls, half of which are located in the city of Releeshahn. However, the population swells with refugees from the terrors of the Psychic Awakening, and so in this new millennium, the planetary population is approaching one billion. These people have been brought as refugees from all over the Imperium, and so have a wide variety of cultures, skin colors, and mannerisms. Manufaturing and agriculture are the primary endeavors of the civilian population. The climate of Iperin is temperate, with warm summers and freezing winters. It is very Earthlike with a g of .92 and an axial tilt of 21 degrees on average.
Learning from the Salamanders on Nocturne, the Azure Flames have similar doctrines to the Salamanders. The Azure Flames, like the Salamanders, refuse to give up, even in the most hopeless situations. Technical prowess is stressed. Each Azure Flame sergeant could be competent enough to be a Techrnarine in another chapter, and the Techmarines of the Azure Flames are among the greatest artificers the galaxy has seen since the dark age of technology. The Terminator Armour compliment of the Azure Flames is the envy of almost any chapter that cares to compare.
The Azure Flames, though a Vulkan chapter, follow the Codex Astartes more completely than the Salamanders. They have the standard ten company arrangement. Due to the devotion of the Techmarines to Atrus’ vision, they wear the standard blue of the Azure Flames instead of the red of Mars. This “putting off the red” was the source of controversy within the Adeptus Mechanicus, but was explained as devotion to the vision of Atrus, not an insult to the Mechanicus. To show reverence to their parent chapter, and to show that the change to the Azure Flames colors is not heretical, Company Champions wear the old colors of the Sons of the Salamander, dark green with white details.
Due to a depletion during the Omega War, the 4th Company is now composed entirely of Primaris Astartes. All other companies are a mix of Primaris and Firstborn.
The Azure Flames follow the Promethean Cult. This harsh regimen can involve burning/scarring through hot iron, among other practices. This used to include the Grand Quest to stop Atrus’ vision of a dark power destroying Holy Terra, but because that prophecy has been annihilated utterly, the Azure Flames are much less different than they were when they wandered the stars. The adherence to the Promethean Cult, while still around, has become ceremonial. While technological prowess is still extolled, piety is more generalized towards standard Imperial beliefs, including the Promethean Cult where applicable.
The Azure Flames have the distinction of being the first official successor chapter to inherit Vulkan's Gene-Seed. This has led to some uncomfortable questions. It is rumored that the Salamanders have jet black skin and glowing red eyes. It is quite obvious that this is not the case with the Azure Flames, as they exhibit a remarkable range of skin, hair, and eye colors. Perhaps the Azure Flames have a mutated Gene Seed which reacts to radiation differently, or perhaps the seeds for the appropriate organelles were taken from a different Primarch. Whatever the reason, the Techpriests of Mars and the Apothecaries of the Azure Flames do not speak of it.
After the Revelation of Atrus, the battlecry of the newly remade Azure Flames was "For the Emperor!" Following Atrus' death and the founding of their homeworld on Iperin, it was changed to "For the Emperor and Atrus!" This has been adopted as both battlecry and a statement of determination, often spoken in hushed tones in private as often as shouted when rushing into combat.