When Lilacs Last in the. The Torch. Dooryard Bloom'd. O Star of France. O Captain! An Old Man's Thought.
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Weapons of Legacy 3.5e D&D
Years of the Modern. Ashes of Soldiers. A Thought. Pensive and Faltering. Song at Sunset. Thou Mother with thy. As at thy Portals also. Equal Brood. My Legacy. The Blood Angels' doctrine of aerial assault culminates in savage close combat. Whether they are delivered into battle by Thunderhawk or Stormraven gunship, or in the troop bay of an armoured transport such as a Rhino , Razorback or Land Raider , the Blood Angels are all but peerless in their mastery of close assault.
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This is in part because the gene-seed of Sanguinius grants his sons an incredibly long life span even for Space Marines, during which endless solar hours of practise and countless battles hone their skills to perfection. Yet, the Blood Angels are not driven towards the fury of close assault by tactical necessity or battlefield doctrine alone. The Chapter's reliance on blood and the need to cleanse it to keep the Flaw at bay exerts a strange and all but irresistible hold on the Blood Angels. In battle, the Blood Angels are drawn to spill the blood of their foes, and their ordinarily noble countenance can occasionally transform into twisted, rage-fuelled masks of savagery.
This is referred to as the Red Thirst, and it is something that every Blood Angel experiences. For many, the Red Thirst is prelude to the ultimate expression of the Flaw, the Black Rage, in which the state becomes permanent and all-consuming. For most Chapters, service begins as a Neophyte , with the Initiate becoming ever more senior the more battles he survives until the few that remain are granted command of a company, become a specialist such as a Chaplain , or even become Master of the Chapter itself.
The Blood Angels experience an entirely different journey, though few outside of their ranks ever learn of it. The Blood Angels possess an almost supernaturally noble, almost saintly countenance, their features handsome and pure. This is all the more amazing because the Chapter recruits from the short and stunted men of the tribes of Baal , riddled with stigmata, lesions, and carcinoma caused by radiation poisoning.
Their dramatic transformation into the saintly Neophytes is only made possible by arcane bloodrites.
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Over a lifespan far longer than that of the average Astartes, the Blood Angel hones his skills, yet with each battle he experiences something more of the Flaw, the urge to spill the hot, steaming blood of his foes growing ever stronger. As it does so, the Battle-Brother is driven to spend longer periods of time purging his own bloodstream within the crimson embrace of his transfusion casket. After several standard centuries of service he must spend long solar hours within it, having every drop of his own blood scrubbed clean. At some point, the Blood Angel is likely to feel the stirrings of something deeper, the rage descending not at the culmination of battle but before it.
These are the first echoes of the Black Rage, and while most Blood Angels fall in combat long before succumbing to it, those who cannot hold it at bay are forced to enter the infamous Death Company.
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Fate is a cruel master, for no matter how much his prey might twist or turn, no matter what triumphs they might rise to or what trials they overcome, he will still drag them down. The Blood Angels struggled against the fate written into their very genes, defied the role the Emperor chose for them and dared to believe they could transcend the darkness that followed them. They took the worst of Mankind and made of it something bright and true, they rose above what they had once been and stood astride the fledgling Imperium like the guardian angels for which they were named.
Yet, nurtured in their successes were the seeds of their fall, in the jealousy of the fallen Warmaster Horus who saw in them everything he himself had thrown away. The opening stroke of the Horus Heresy brought the Blood Angels to their knees, and the tragedies that were to follow would shatter their resolve and leave them broken. Such is the nature of the IX th Legion that they did not surrender to despair nor surrender to darkness, but rose again and again.
What might have Sanguinius and his sons achieved were it not for the dark fate brought upon them by treachery and genetics? What brilliant flower might have bloomed from the carnage and blood of their origins? That unknown future is yet another casualty of Horus' civil war, the Blood Angels left to endure the slow degeneration of their noble line with the stubborn pride that is their hallmark.
There are many noble legends of the Unification Wars , of the battles where the Emperor's newborn Space Marine Legions swept aside all who opposed Him before them. Among these tales there are none to be found that mention the IX th Legion, only grim rumours and half-heard whispers. Where the first companies of the other proto-Legions were blooded in Albia, Yndonesia and Franc alongside the massed ranks of the Thunder Warriors , the IX th Legion was absent, granted a role as vital as it was unsightly.
A Blood Angels Infiltrator ; the right knee guard icon indicates squad number. The old IX th Legion served the Emperor as an inferno serves a general upon the battlefield; they did not conquer but instead ravaged, growing and growing as they went, a weapon that could not be directed or controlled, only endured.
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Few in number, the early Space Marine Legions fought as mere vanguards to larger forces, a sharp dagger alongside the blunt sledgehammer of the armies of Unification. They were the fulcrum upon which battles turned, the point of control, waging small scale battles by precision strike and audacious raids. The IX th Legion was made in a different image.
Even in their earliest days they were among the largest of the proto-Legions and when they made war it was like the sudden arrival of a tsunami, sweeping away the opposition in a flurry of brutal assaults. They found themselves deployed to the most dangerous war zones of Terra, to those accursed regions ravaged by the rad-phages and chem strains of Old Night , places where only the most twisted and debased breeds of Mankind still lived.
In the wastelands that existed outside of history's spotlight they held the line, alone and unnoticed while the Emperor drove home His grand conquests. This grim fate was no accident, no arbitrary choice made by a distant general, for each of the Legions had been granted genetic tools to fit the roles for them by the Emperor, and the IX th Legion was no exception. Where other Legions took only the best recruits, princes and champions among the conquered techno-barbarian nations of Old Earth, and produced but few Initiates, the IX th Legion took in the hordes of dispossessed and broken, and made of them an army of angels.
Scarred by so many long generations mired in the rad-zones and sunken fortresses of Terra's poisoned wilds, these creatures were no longer entirely human, but horribly mutated beasts that the tyrants of Old Earth had driven out and hunted. Yet, from such base materials emerged a breed of Legiones Astartes uniformly tall and fair, their features sculpted in stern elegance. The unique genetic template of the IX th Legion's as-yet unknown sire seemed to favour the twisted and warped, though the pain it inflicted on those inducted into the Legion was more than most could bear.
As those weakened by years of exposure to the most horrific rad-zones and poisons rarely survived such an ordeal, the number of recruits that endured to become Astartes of the IX th Legion were few.
Yet, unlike the other Legions, the IX th cast their net wide, and claimed entire tribes of wastelanders, prisoners of war and the long train of hopefuls that always followed in their wake seeking the miracle of transformation.
Related The Black Casket Legacy: Crimson Tears
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