Index Astartes - Fallen Praetorians Origins Homeworld Organization Beliefs Combat Doctrine Gene-seed Battle Cry Using a Fallen Praetorians Army
In the earliest dawn of the Emperor's glorious ascension, long before the Space Marines were but a bare thesis, the mighty savior of mankind gathered about him a number of fighting warlords. These lords served the young Emperor, helping him in the campaign to rid ancient Terra of anarchy and civil war.
This heroic epoch has now been almost completely lost and only remains in sparse fragments of myth and legend. Nevertheless, clues in ancient records have made it widely believed that in the initial conquest of Earth the Emperor formed his select warriors into special orders, or "Cohorts".
Led by great warlords, whose devotion had been pledged to the young Emperor, each one of the Cohorts served a specific role in the quest to unite Earth. Many of these heroes have been lost to antiquity and overshadowed in the greatness of names such as Russ, Gulliman, and Dorn. However, a handful of the old warrior's names have survived, remembered in rare tales of champions such as Calvin Ewald, leader of the Cohorts Venator and Anastasias commander of the Cohorts Draconis
Most famous, or rather infamous among the names on the ancient list of heroes is Cassius Longinius, nowadays a cursed name, known as a scion of perfidy and corruption. Thrice damned in the records of history, he was the first among the Emperor's old commanders and regrettably first of the faithful to dabble with the depraved augur of Chaos.
It is widely believed that Cassius Longinus was an old career soldier and at one time one of the great warlords that battled for supremacy across a divided Terra. His arrogant temper was notorious but his cunning tactics made him truly feared among ancient Earth's more powerful warlords.
In particular was Longinus's skill in carefully planned campaigns. His designs would often last for decades before the final objective was finally achieved in a brief and decisive action.
It is speculated that during the course of the Emperor's campaign to unite Terra, had the battle between Longinus and the Emperor taken place it would have been particularly fierce, long and hard. Ironically it was Longinus who immediately recognized the Emperor for who he was and being the first of Earth's old warriors to bow to his knee and offer his sword in his service, avoiding decades of conflict. For his loyalty he was among the first to be blessed with favour.
Upon declaring his allegiance, Longinus presented the Emperor a gift of a sacred talisman of his tribe, a spear said to bless the destiny of the holder. Longinus explained he had been proclaimed keeper until a worthy was found to hold it. That worthy was the savior of mankind. In return, command of the first newly created Cohort went to Longinus and he and his men were titled the Cohors Immortalis
For thousands of campaigns the Cohors Immortalis served the Emperor with distinction and were showered with many decorations, including a basis of genetic implants that would set them apart from normal men and pave the way as the antecedent to the Space Marines. Additionally the Cohors Immortalis served as a model to all the other subsequent Cohorts.
The Emperor's purpose in creating the Cohorts was to unite the rival warlords and see them work together as a potent tool for the unification and defense of all mankind. However, the Immortalis, the first and senior of the Cohorts, saw themselves as the instrument to ratify the Emperor's domination. Longinius went beyond setting an example, allowing his arrogance and high office to lead to open coercion of his brother warlords.
In cultivating this sense of superiority, Longinius in his self-importance slowly eroded away any alliances and estranged himself from his brother officers. Under this atmosphere of enmity, old rivalries flared and the Cohorts began to clash among themselves. Resentment and distrust inundated the Emperor's forces, but none became more loathed than the Emperor's chief praetorian, Cassius Longinus and his detested Cohors Immortalis.
Peace on Earth, after the glorious conquest served only to make matters worse. Being groomed to know nothing but war the men became stifled with inactivity. Bloodthirsty duels between the officers of the Cohorts were a rampant problem and the freedom to dabble into arcane sorcery was taken for granted.
Under this backdrop the impudence of the Immortalis became intolerable. Besides altercations with rival Cohorts, the Immortalis turned upon the people, obliging servants and commoners into humiliating fealty. The populace of Terra, policed by the Immortalis was rebuilding from the rubble of war. In contrast Longinus and his men lavished themselves in decadent orgies celebrating their own narcissistic pomposity.
Indifferent to the negative opinions of both the rival Cohorts and the populace, Longinus and his followers continued their ostentatious behavior giving themselves over to the pleasures of the imperial court.
In the subsequent decline in relations among all the Cohorts the Emperor failed to see the source of the corruption was Longinus' self-aggrandizing temper and continued to utilize his Immortalis in enforcing the doctrines of the fledgling Imperium. It was a recipe for catastrophic disaster.
In time, friend and Cohort leader Calvin Ewald broached the subject with the Emperor. In his wisdom he came to see the true source of rot in the ranks of his Cohort armies, especially his trusted Immortalis. With his dreams of taking his conquests to the stars, the Emperor knew that he could no longer trust his Cohorts to work alone. Reform was needed, as well as warriors with unremitting loyalty. Thus inspired by Ewald's advice, an idea formed to create the Space Marine legions and integrate into them his own gene seed arousing a sense of natural parental loyalty to the Emperor's vision.
The Cohorts welcomed the proclamation of the great crusade with jubilant cheers. The opportunity to take the battle to the stars and unite Humanity would see the old soldiers usefully employed in their proper sphere. The Emperor ordered all the Cohorts to prepare for the crusade and also announced that the ranks of the Cohorts would be supplemented by a new experiment of super warriors called the Space Marine Legions.
Longinus was instantly suspicious of the Emperor's intentions in creating the Space Marines and fiercely jealous of the secrecy which shrouded the his plans. Jealousy and suspicion led to Longinus becoming deeply indignant. He saw himself as the second in command and could not fathom why the Emperor was hiding the genesis of the Primarchs from him. Furthermore, he had witnessed his chief adversary, Ewald in discussions with the Emperor about the project. In his frustration Longinius turned more and more to forbidden oracles and became easy prey to the honeyed whispers of the warp.
In a series of arcane rituals, manipulated by the foul powers of Chaos, the Emperor's intentions were charted. Within these messianic projections Longinus was initiated into a higher state of powerful cosmic faculties. A mortal man may have been driven insane by the cosmic script laid out by the mysterious rituals, but Longinus had already lived out life through a tremendous vista of time and could easily understand when his Third-eye was opened completely and his etheric body fully expanded into the warp. With astonishing mediumistic powers, the spectacular events of the future were unveiled ending with his mind touching the heart of the future primarch Horus. At this very instant, all of Longinius' fears were confirmed and any confidence he had in the Emperor was shattered.
After witnessing the folly of the Emperor, Longinus was tenfold convinced that the Primarchs and their legions were a conspiracy to replace the Cohorts. Corrupted by this belief he declared that the Primarchs had to be destroyed. Immediately Longinus spread his conspiracy to his Immortalis who quickly agreed to the scheme to overthrow the Emperor's plans. However, just when the Immortalis were about to strike the nearly completed blueprints for the Primarchs, an unexpected event, took place that changed everything.
The Chaos Gods, unbeknownst to the Emperor, or Longinus had scattered the Primarchs to the distant corners of the galaxy. Longinus believed that it was his astral warnings that tipped off the Gods prompting them to act. It was also the first instance where Longinus considered the spirits of the forbidden warp to be a beneficial force.
Greatly relieved by the scattering, Longinus assumed the infant Primarchs would surely die in isolation and the Cohorts would continue to serve as the Earth's chosen. In his heart he forgave the Emperor, believing it was his hand and wisdom that was protecting the leader of Mankind. Even when the Emperor resolved to continue the creation of the Space Marine Legions, Longinus was unfazed and confident that he would assume an important role in the upcoming crusade across the galaxy.
Pleased with himself, Longinus took his place at in the forefront of the crusade and across hundreds of worlds he lead the Immortalis to victory. Throughout the campaign he was ever mindful to assiduously watch over the Emperor and monitor his judgement, continuing to turn to sorcery for guidance. Then one by one the Primarchs were rediscovered and Longinus realized that the threat of their existence had not been destroyed.
When the Emperor embraced each one of his lost sons Longinius grew evermore disgusted. Longinus sought to warn others of his initial visions and the Emperor's "preferences" and spread his revelations among the leaders of the other Cohorts. Both confusion and anger erupted from the warrior caste but Ewald who himself had helped the Emperor track down his nascent Primarchs, suspected villainy and warned the Emperor of Longinus seditious gossip and suspected practices in the dark arts.
Incensed by the charges, Longinius was ordered before the Emperor to account for himself. Ewald was sent to fetch him but in his pride and arrogance, Longinus refused and challenged Ewald to a duel. Swords were drawn and a legendary battled ensued.
To the common Imperium in the present day the popular saga of Longinus and his eventual disgrace typically commences with his illegal yet renowned duel with Calvin Ewald. Over the span of time the legend of the great duel has captured the imaginations of men and formed the basis of one of the Imperium's most popular romantic sagas. To confound matters, there are many differing conclusions to the story, some in which Longinus is defeated and some in where both antagonists are evenly matched.
Whatever the outcome, angered by his conduct the Emperor declared Longinius and his men Cohors Excommunicae! He gave Longinus a choice. Both repent his folly and embark immediately on a penitent crusade to the distant galactic north west or die.
Longinus had little choice but to comply and ordered his men to paint their armor black in preparation for the penitence bestowed by their father Emperor. Longinius spent the last few days before his crusade in an Imperial Chapel in alleged contemplation of his seditous deeds and wicked arrogance. Despite his newfound piety, there were those who were not convinced by Longinus' and continued to petition the Emperor that the treachery of the Immortalis should be punished with unforgiving death.
Before the swords of Ewald and Longinius could clash again, the Cohors Excommunicae, were quickly hastened without ceremony and barely prepared to the distant world of Drachen, a doomed world that a number of the Emperor's finest legions had failed to subdue.
Everything about the mission was cursed from the start and even the voyage to Drachen saw the Legio Immortal struggling against vicious warp storms, insidious monsters, and enemy fleets lying in ambush. Many of Longinus' ships perished in the effort and when his small army arrived at Drachen they were severely under-strength to even dare an assault on the planet. Undaunted, Longinus desired to prove to the Emperor that once and for all the Cohorts were the better soldiers and proceeded to plan his attack.
That was the last anyone heard of the Immortalis, as shortly after their arrival, a warp storm erupted that cut off Drachen from the Emperor's light and presumably sealed the doom of Longinus and his army.
It would be ages before Longinius was seen or heard of again and in the interlude, the prophecy he had glimpsed in esoteric visions would come to pass. The Heresey would enfulf the Imperium in civil war, the Emperor would fall to Horus.
Forgotten to only those who recorded history, No one suspected the Immortalis to return. It was therefore a great surprise when centuries later a massive battle fleet was observed emerging from the warp tempest from the Drachen system.
Imperial Navy monitors from patrol fleet Hydrapur attempted to hail the strange black ships, but received nothing but ominous silence. Forgotten warp charts were pulled form ancient libraries to determine from where might the mysterious fleet have originated. Navigators poured over warp signatures while Scribes studied charts and histories associated the forsaken world of Drachen. In their hasty research they finally found references, to the long forgotten legend of Longinus and realized the danger they were facing.
Still unsure of Longinus's loyalties the cautious patrol fleet Hydrapur sent a flotilla of scouts to intercept. The scouts ordered the mysterious black ships to halt and declare their intent but were greeted by a warning from a Legion who called themselves the "Fallen Praetorians".
"Fallen Praetorians", had become a moniker the ancient scribes had associated with Longinus and his men after their fall. It was a name the former Cohort was proud to adopt in contempt for the Imperium's denunciation.
Again the scout fleet ordered the Praetorians to halt but this time were greeted with a destructive broadside. Not one Imperial scout survived and without delay patrol fleet Hydrapur was put on the highest alert.
Desperately under strength the rest of the patrol fleet dared not confront the treacherous ships and could only shadow their movements while they awaited reinforcements. In due course, Space Marines from the Raven Guard chapter answered the distress call and dispatched a full battle fleet to apprehend the mysterious Fallen Praetorians.
However, as the Imperial and Space Marine fleets were about to descend upon the traitor fleet they were frustrated as the Fallen Praetorians escaped into the warp. Fortunately, the Astropaths of the Navy determined from the enemy signatures the final destination and calculated that the Fallen Praetorians were indeed on course to arrive in the distant twin worlds of Emmerich and Tarleton.
Apparently Longinus had not forgotten the wounds of the great duel between himself and Calvin Ewald and aided by an agent of the Daemon Prince Morpheus Vrool planned an attack to satisfy his craving for retribution against Ewald and his progeny, the Green Hunters Space Marine chapter.
As the fleet of the Fallen Praetorians gathered above the twin worlds, Longinus sent down threatening message. Prior to the Emperor's death at the hands of Horus he had bestowed upon Ewald the magical spear talisman that had been given to the Emperor by Longinius' own hand. The Emperor's orders were to keep the talisman safe, especially from it's former keeper. However, the keeper had returned and now demanded the "Spear of Destiny" be returned to it's lawful protector.
Naturally the Green Hunter's refused and a bitter battle ensued over the twin planets. It was a battle so ferocious that in the end the victorious Fallen Praetorians had laid waste to both planets and reclaimed the prize of the Emperor's sacred spear. Fleeing the desolation in their fleet, the Green Hunters exacted Exterminatus on their own homeworlds in an angry declaration to never cease the hunt for the Fallen Praetorians until their stolen prize had been recovered.
For centuries the Green Hunter's armada pursued the Fallen Praetorians in a long and embittered campaign across the stars. In this extension of the original duel between Ewald and Longinus the Green Hunters abandoned their attempt to retrieve the sacred relics as their gene seed had become dangerously exhausted from the grueling hunt after their detested foes.
The Fallen Praetorians did not seem to suffer form the centuries of warfare and appeared to draw vigor from some unknown and corrupt power. However in time they too disappeared. The warping effects seen on the Praetorians suggest they may have retreated to the Eye of Terror to rebuild their forces. Since then the fallen chapter has appeared throughout the North Eastern fringes, in particular around the Agrippa Sector where blood cults thrive in potency. In each case their numbers seem to swell suggesting that the Fallen Praetorians is building up for a larger and more terrifying assault on behalf of the insidious forces of Chaos.
What exactly happened to Longinus and his men during the long exile will never be known, but among the traitors an event known simply as "The Great Seduction" is often cited as the moment that the corrupt whispers of darkness captured their full interest. Even before the banishment, Longinus had already courted the favor of dark powers but his arrogance and pride was principally harmonized to the adulation of an entity known simply as the "Vrool".
The Fallen Praetorian homeworld of Drachen was a cursed planet, and the same entrancing allure that had seized the cults that Longinus was sent to subdue seems to have eventually lured the outcast immortals to their eternal damnation. Angered by the Emperor's disregard of the Immortalis and the partiality paid to the weakling Primarchs, Longinus was a ripe victim to the envenomed promises of Chaos.
Many believe that it was the Daemon Vroola who had engineered Longinius into the direct path of temptation and legends grew that upon conquering the world, the Fallen Praetorians took control of the planet.
Whatever the case may be, exploration by Imperial fleets have reported sighting a dark world presumed to be the mythical planet of Drachen, the home base of the Fallen Praetorians. Additionally, folklore suggest the Praetorians have built up great cities of self-indulgence, with millions enslaved in great harems to serve the chapter's own narcissistic whims. To confuse matters, the same planet, has been spotted throughout the North Eastern fringes in various locations, suggesting that the wicked corruption of the former Cohort was so widespread that the cursed world has become partly wedged between the reality of realspace and the dark distortion of the warp, appearing randomly in various locations throughout the galaxy, often a prelude to fresh assault against the Imperium of Man.
To the bane of the Imperium, Longinus the Immortal still lives and there is no doubt his life has been extended by blessings from dark powers. As leader of the Fallen Praetorians he and his chapter form the elite fighting forces for a campaign of evil conquest.
The Fallen Praetorians are formed into a highly organized body that reflects it's ancient Cohort origins. Utilizing combined arms the Traitor Legion prizes above all else, cunning tactics and applies them with an intelligence that should never be underestimated.
Also common among the Fallen Praetorians are strange spears with blades that coruscate with dark energy. No one knows what these spears signify or what depraved honours the bearer of such a weapon possesses. In battle the spears are not only formidable weapons in close combat but lash out with bolts of dark energy that can kill a mortal man and penetrate the strongest armour.
Analysis on the Fallen Praetorians suggests there are companies that serve a variety of combat roles in both shooting and assault, resulting in an extremely well balanced force, capable of adapting to any adversary. As servants of the "Vrool" the Fallen Praetorians have no qualms in smiting the enemy with any type of specialist cults. Outside the core, elite specialist units such as the Terminator "Malice Guard" and Longinus' select "chosen" companies back up the regular companies.
Well before his descent, Longinus and his men were said to be pride-ridden lovers of decadence and luxury. As chosen guardsmen in the Emperor's entourage Longinus instilled in his men a sense of superiority and conceit above normal men. As a result each warrior fancied himself a great lord of Humanity who were unafraid to exploit the weak, denounce Imperial moralists and scorn the pious edicts of mankind's new Empire among the stars. Many felt such men, (being among the Emperor's most notable warriors) were a dangerous lot and few were surprised to learn of the contracts Longinus freely entered into well before his banishment.
Recently in an Essay prepared for Inquisitional Operation OPAL, Savant Interrogator Salazar Cantemir put it bluntly. He states that each immortal of the Fallen Praetorians is effectively a Vampire or a being with Vampiric qualities proof that the Cohort embraced the twisted doctrines of Morpheon Vrool as their patron. As a result each battlebrother is cursed in the need to replenish their Gene Seed or at the very least, life essence with living blood. The act or ritual taking of this blood is also known as a "The Great Seduction" and it appears the strange spear weapons are created out of a particular ritual where the blood of a sacrifice is required.
The worship of lord Vrool allows the legion to honour each of the Chaos powers in turn which is translated by the Fallen Praetorians in to a system that values sharp-witted strategy and elegant bravado in equal measure. It's as if the entire chapter treats war as an art form and strives to be faultless in its presentation, even in defeat. Their armour is always kept polished and painted, their battlefield drill falls nothing short of perfection and their relentless pride instills a sense of arrogance in the entire Cohort. They have a penchant for bright gold encrusted weapons of fine craftsmanship and marching into battle under colourful banners with trumpets and drums that are embroidered with the ominous whispers of their cult.
The most noteworthy difference between the Fallen Praetorians and other powers of Chaos is a driving desire for subjugation over the enemy rather than outright wanton destruction. Where other Chaos Legions will ravage entire worlds for pure pleasure and no motive, the Legio Infernus prefers to weave mini empires under the brutal overlordship of Longinus and his Fallen Praetorians. This seems to be due to Longinus' personal aspiration for power and a need for constant living resources to provide the Fallen Praetorians in their own debauched pursuits.
This desire to conquer rather than destroy translates on the battlefield as judicious tacticians. The Fallen Praetorians always picks their fights carefully and will spend decades testing the weaknesses of their enemies before launching their "grand design".
When the final assault comes it is usually swift, terrible and brutal. Initial trifling raids and small incursions lull the enemy into a false sense of security that allows the final thrust to be a thundering tempest utilizing most of the Fallen Praetorians resources. Often the process can take hundreds of years making it difficult for Imperial investigations to pinpoint their motives or predict when they will next strike. Although the Inquisition can often spot the dark clouds of a storm approaching they have yet to calculate when and where the lightening of the Fallen Praetorians hits.
This long carefully planned method of subjugating the enemy has earned the Fallen Praetorians scorn and derision from other Chaos powers who have little use for lasting power or understand the value of dominance that has seduced Longinus in an endless quest to rule over the weakness of the Imperium.
There is no known existence of the Fallen Praetorian's Gene-seed thus lending credibility to the notion that they were never created from Space Marine stock.
However, in appearance the Fallen Praetorians operates like a fallen Space Marine legion with both vehicles and weapons common among the warriors of the Astartes. Likewise, the Fallen Praetorians are dangerous foes who have proven on more than one occasion that they can best the finest of the Emperor's warriors.
Despite there being no official Gene-seed the Fallen Praetorians has inherited a number of unique physical traits. Most notable is their aversion to sunlight and their need to consume the essence of the living. Although there are two chief deities whom the Fallen Praetorians worship, there are also a number of symbolic idols. Above all of them, the Fallen Praetorians seek the embrace of "Mother Night!"
Arrogantia, Avartia, Ambitio, Admiratio