Eternal Zealots General

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Eternal Zealots General

Post by Aubrey The Gray on Sat Jul 11, 2015 5:41 am

Origins: The Emerald Doom


Upon the creation of the XVI Legion, they were blessed with the name Sixteenth, born with a chainsword in one hand and a bolt pistol in the other.

the Sixteenth had a task set unto it by the Emperor himself: to destroy all idols and houses of false faith, to be the sharp edge that would wipe out all opposition to the Imperial Truth.

They took to this task with a zealousness that unnerved their friends and terrified their foes, being called barbarians and madmen.

Time and again they struck like a furious wind, seeking out the people, places and items which spoke of the power of sorcery, false gods and the irrational and destroying them. While the other squads of the Sacred Bands fought their fights to defeat foes and take ground, the Sixteenth Squad fought to destroy false belief and usher in the light of the Emperor’s truth, the only truth.
It was they who demolished the mighty heads of the ancient God-Kings from the Black Mountains of Merica, they who destroyed the House of the Wind Talkers and who burned the fanes of the Emperyite, every time showing the inhabitants what it meant to oppose the new truth the Emperor was determined to bring forth.

It was during the earliest conquests beyond Sol in those stars whose light could be clearly seen from the skies of Terra that the Legion earned its first name.
The Sixteenth, at the time barely three thousand Astartes strong, was unleashed upon the Theocrats of Campeche. The Astartes lacked the numbers to make a full scale assault upon all the temple-cities, and so they painted their armour green to better blend into the dense jungles, and struck at temple after temple, burning each to ashes and slaughtering the guards before fading back into the foliage.

The terrified locals began to refer to them as ‘the Emerald Doom’, after an ancient myth of their world, and the Legion soon took to referring themselves as such during their increasingly bloody assaults as they slowly tightened the noose.

After six months the the largest Temple City was stormed and sacked and the planet was finally pacified, The Legion departed, but kept the name they had earned on that world, and from then on they were known as the Emerald Doom. The Legion was granted a right of tithe for Campeche and many thousands of Campechians would end up serving within the Legion in the years to come.

The Legion moved from conquest to conquest, primarily engaged in the destruction of religiously motivated human empires, though countless Xeno races were also ground under by their fury.

Though they were never close to their brother legions or highly respected by them, their task was a vital one and they gained numerous battle honours the equal of any other front-line Legion. The Emperor Himself commanded them on several occasions against foes that He decreed were deserving of destruction, and they were closely aligned with the Emperor and His own views on the future of the Imperium.

As brother Legion after brother Legion were reunited with their Primarchs, some wondered if the Primarch of the Emerald Doom had been lost, for they remained fatherless long after almost all their fellows had found their gene-sires. The Legion did not seem to take notice. They had a task appointed unto them by the hand of the Emperor, and Primarch or no they would fulfill it.

However, this coincided with a sudden degradation in the Gene-Seed of the Emerald Doom which set the legion on a slow slide towards destruction. Cancerous growths within the Progenoid Glands made over half of them unusable. Though they continued to fight despite the ailments which beset them, every battle casualty was now difficult if not impossible to replace, and in a single campaign against the Ethernarchs of Unova a full quarter of the Legion was lost, with almost no way to recover those casualties.

The Legion’s aggressive drive against the foes of the Emperor was dooming them, and fears were voiced that the Legion would soon die.
Finally however, as the Legions reached the most distant shores of the Galaxy, on a lone world near the very edge of known space, a discovery was made that would change everything.
It would save the Legion but ultimately spell the doom of the Emperor’s dream, the dream the Emerald Doom had fought so long for.

Their doctor was found.

The Healing Warrior of Lazarus


Lazarus was an unremarkable world.
Countless others like it existed all across the Imperium.

It was a developing civilised world not that unlike Terra in the days when it still had green lands, blue oceans and a clear sky. It had a settled populace and links to other worlds across the stars. However there was one key and massive difference in those worlds.
Lazarus had been settled by a Xenos Race, the Tarellians.

It was on this world that the infant Aubrey had landed, and surprisingly he had not been killed out of hand, but rather brought up within this alien environment. He had come to manhood learning both the ways of the Healer and the warrior, fighting with his ‘brothers’ against Ork Pirates and Eldar raiders, duelling with those with whom he had disagreements and healing the sick and wounded. He rose through the ranks of the Xenos, putting down several rebellions against him in the process. For a long time he assumed himself alone and unique within the Galaxy. Events were to prove that wrong.

When Lazarus was found by the 219th Expeditionary Fleet in mid-901, halfway through the Great Crusade, plans were laid to take the world, slaughter the Xenos and then open it up to human colonisation as had happened thousands of times before. However when the first ships landed and the 499th Solar Auxilia Cohort landed they found themselves facing an army of Tarellians led by a massive, unmistakably human figure, who led a charge which routed the human invaders. In the wake of this incident orders were sent out inquiring what to do next.

Aubrey meanwhile was in turmoil. He’d finally found ones like him, and they were his enemies. He did not know what to do, or what this meant, but he was determined to stand with the people who had given him a home and a purpose, even if that meant fighting those beings from the stars who looked like him.

After several months a massive Warfleet entered the system bearing the Icon of the Warriors of Dawn and led by the Bucephalus itself, the mighty flagship of Hektor, the first Primarch and beloved of the Emperor. He had heard the news and guessed correctly that it was a Primarch, one of his lost Brothers who was on this world.

Sending a message to those below, he along with a chosen squad of the Heliotaroi, his bodyguards and a company of the Emerald Doom that had been supporting the Warriors in the northern Ultima Marches landed on the planet before the awed Aubrey. Though Aubrey couldn’t speak Gothic, he understood the link between him and Hektor and knew that finally he was no longer alone.
Hektor took Aubrey under his wing, mentoring him in the ways of the Imperium and preparing him for the next step. Several months later, another fleet emerged over Lazarus, this one led by a massive barge greater than any other ship in the Imperium.

It was the Imperator Somnium, a void-born colossus of gold and marble.

The flagship of the Emperor Himself.


The Emperor met His son and debated him, seeking to see whether his time among the Xenos had corrupted him or not. Aubrey astutely belayed that supposition, showing a firm grasp of Imperial Methods, the Imperial Truth and the Emperor’s plans for humanity. But on the position of Xenos Aubrey would never budge. The Tarellians were just as much his people as the humans, and he would not abandon them. Following the advice of Hektor, the Emperor granted a dispensation for the Tarellians of Lazarus, that they were to be allowed all the freedoms of humans within the Imperium, so long as they remained quarantined within the Lazarus Sector. With that decided, Aubrey was granted the command of the Sixteenth Legion based on his Gene-Seed.

The Legion was mustered on Lazarus, though it could only muster a mere five thousand Astartes, a mere fraction of its former strength.

Seeing the battered but unbowed remnants of his Legion before him moved Aubrey, and he vowed that he would restore them.
He spoke proudly of their battle honours and the task the Emperor had set them.

‘We are the Emperor’s Zealots, proudly bearing His message, and if we have to wage war eternally to spread it, then so be it.’

With that, the Emerald Doom was no more and the Legion became the Eternal Zealots.

Now that they were reunited with their Primarch, they could create new gene-seed using Aubrey's genome as a template. But that alone would not be enough to stop the decline.

At this time Aubrey met with the surviving leaders of his Legion, though they disapproved of their Primarch’s links with Xenos. Aubrey challenged the Legion Master to a Duel over this, which he won handily.

Upon this he instituted several changes, most notably massively expanding the apothecarion to better prevent gene-seed issues in the future, as well as instituting a ‘mentor’ ranked Consul to ensure the natural zealotry of his legion was directed in the proper way.

So after the future plans of organisation was laid out, Aubrey began an exhaustive effort to find and cure the flaws in his Legion’s Gene-Seed. After a long process using all his skills merged with the new knowledge he had gained from the Genewrights of Luna and the Magis Biologis of the Mechanicum, Aubrey finally corrected the flaw.

Now his Legion began a massive recruitment drive from Terra, Campeche and the hundreds of other worlds brought into compliance when the Legion was the Emerald Doom.

The Hidden Tumor


After the success of the Vermillion II campaign, the Emperor deemed the Legion large enough and proven enough to support more than one expeditionary fleet. So he granted the 71st through 76th Expeditionary Fleets to the Eternal Zealots. Aubrey swiftly set to work, each fleet being rebuilt around a core of Eternal Zealots with the commanders both Astartes and human hand-chosen by him, with the 71st becoming his own fleet and under his own command. A vetting process of the Imperial Army forces and supporting Mechanicum detachments for these fleets was instituted, with those forces who failed the test detached for second line garrison duties. For a full six months Aubrey prepared the Expeditonary forces that would bear his forces and spread his word to the outer darkness.

Each fleet also received a single ship of decidedly non-human origin, and upon sighting them the reason for Aubrey’s secrecy and carefully selected commanders became clear. Each fleet would now have a corps of Tarellian Auxiliaries from Lazarus operating under the Legions direct command. They would use those who Aubrey had grown up with as an additional arm in their struggle against the heathens, the false superstitions and unclean truths of the void.

The Legion now drove forward with relentless momentum. Civilisations were either razed or forced to kneel, countless faiths and belief systems were uprooted and a trail of conquest and compliance spread out behind the fleets of the Legion as they pushed ever onwards, as if trying to outrun and outperform the fleets of larger and older Legions in their haste to spread the Emperor’s truth and grow the Imperium. The Legion lived up to its name in their zealotry in the Emperor’s name.

However numerous races, enclaves and even entire petty empires of Xenos were spared the Legion’s wrath. Aubrey spared those Xenos who would take up the olive branch rather than the firearm and sued for peace when his forces arrived, letting them live under the Emperor’s protection, so long as they obeyed the Emperor’s laws, upheld the Imperial Truth and refrained from violence against Humans. So soon a growing number of Xeno Races were living within what was ostensibly Imperial Territory, cancers deep within the body of the Imperium.

Eventually the growing bureaucracy of the Imperium finally brought the Eternal Zealot’s wrongs to light, as the aexector tributi administrators sent out by Malcador to take census and determine tithe levels for the growing Imperium stumbled upon several of those Xenos races that Aubrey had let live. Violence swiftly flared up and several Expeditionary fleets had to be diverted to prosecute the enemies that lay deep within Imperial Territory, especially when one race, the Ayurath, began a series of counter raids on human-inhabited worlds which led to a general war which saw most of a sector fall to them before a Chapter of the Void Angels en-route to re-joining their parent Legion was diverted to destroy them. And the evidence was clear when captured Xenos were interrogated and stellar charts of conquest were consulted: all the Xeno races were in territories taken by the Eternal Zealots.

Once the truth was revealed, it was only a matter of time before the Emperor would be moved to censure the Eternal Zealots. They had endangered the very course of the Great Crusade by their actions, and they had to be brought to heel. However as the Emperor laid his plans and consulted with a chosen few of his sons, events on Aubrey’s home world of Lazarus took over and the Emperor’s hand was forced.

The Betrayal


Aubrey’s ‘rule’ on Lazarus had never been absolute, and there had been several rebellions against him before the arrival of the Emperor. After his arrival a massive Fortress-monastery was established to cement his position and a standard Defence Network of orbital weapons platforms, space docks and fortified barrack-complexes built for the Legion. Human Serfs were established on-world, which swiftly drew the anger of the native Tarellians, many of whom thought that the Humans were taking over the planet and driving them out. As the human population grew, and more and more Tarellians were drawn out to join the Legion’s auxiliary forces, resentment grew that Aubrey was sacrificing the Tarellians for his own desires and that he had abandoned them. The ancient towns and cities of the Xenos were replaced with arcology complexes to support the Fortress Monastery and the native Tarellians were forced to work “quotas” in large industrial complexes while the human settlers were perceived as living the high life. The Imperium was now a curse to the people of Lazarus, they were completely destroying their way of life, their culture and traditions being ground up as the Imperium continued to develop the world.

This official policy of brutalist colonization and colonial exploitation finally drew a response, and a tight resistance network among the Tarellians came into being. This resistance grew, soon having connections within the auxiliary components of all the major Expeditionary Fleets, including the newly raised 77th through 80th that had been recently granted to Aubrey as a reward for his conquests. They spread the tales of the conditions on Lazarus, of the rumours of Aubrey’s motivations and his abandonment of the Tarellian peoples who had raised him and given him the life he now lived. Slowly but surely the Auxiliaries were poisoned against their benefactor, and plans were drawn to take revenge.

During the compliance of Seventy-One Twenty-Four the Tarellians sprang their trap. Those corrupted elements turned on their benefactors, which turned an offensive into a bloody shambles. In the midst of this the Primarch went missing and the Captain of the 1st Company was wounded, and as he escaped he ordered a message sent to Lazarus, and a second to the nearest Astropathic Waystation to be relayed to the Core Imperium. A Terran Veteran who had always sat ill at ease with his Primarch’s Xenophilia, he trusted that his message would arrive where it could do the most good.

Near simultaneously on Lazarus large elements of the native population rose up in revolt. They seized a number of industrial complexes and barrack-complexes, and even took over an entire wing of the Fortress Monastery. However that drew a swift response from those Zealots stationed on-world. Several chapters of the Legion were present on Lazarus for rebuilding and rearming along with training new recruits taken from worlds across the Imperium to fuel the newest additions to the Legion’s power, and they were the first to respond to the crisis. But there was less than five thousand Astartes on Lazarus, and the rebel Tarellians were well armed with Bolters and other Legion weaponry and well entrenched. So they dug in, sent distress calls to the Legion and waited for reinforcements.

When the Emperor received that message, he knew the time to act was now. The stage was perfect for the message he wished to deliver, and the chastisement that he was to give to Aubrey. He called to him Bohemnond of the Knights of Justice/Storm Bringers, lord of the First Legion and a paragon of what a Legion and a Primarch should be. This was to show Aubrey both what he was not, and what he should be, to show that even after censure the Legion would have a future, and that what they had done was a mere quirk that had to be set right so the Legion could continue with its appointed task.

So the Emperor ordered a task force composed of a significant portion of the Storm Bringers Legion and accompanied by a force of his elite personal bodyguards, the Legio Custodes and the Imperial Regent, Malcador the Sigillite, to Lazarus. There they would deal with the Tarellians and then show Aubrey the error of his ways.

By the time the Storm Bringers arrived though, the Rebellion was almost crushed. Reinforcements had arrived and the Legion had taken all but the section of the Fortress Monastery still held by the Rebels. The Zealots were surprised when the Storm Bringer fleet entered orbit and a full hundred thousand Astartes of the Storm Bringers landed on the planet. Tense communications went between the two forces as the Zealots tried to ascertain what the Storm Bringers were there for. The Storm Bringers declared they would storm the Monastery and finish the rebels, but surprisingly the Zealots refused. It was an internal matter, they declared, not one that outsiders needed to be involved in.
A stand off quickly grew, until a surprise attack by several rebel Tarellians and Storm Bringer counter-attacks against any of the Xenos nearby set both sides off against one another.
The Eternal Zealot forces numbered 15,000, far too few to hold out against nearly 100,000 Storm Bringers. But still they managed not only to hold on but to hurt their attackers. For over a week the Eternal Zealots on Lazarus fought against the Storm Bringers despite how unnatural it was for Astartes to be fighting with other Astartes.

Finally after eight days of conflict the Warp tore open and the 71st Fleet appeared over Lazarus, led by Aubrey Himself. Burning with anger at his brother’s ‘betrayal’, Aubrey’s fleet faced off against Bohemonds in the skies over Lazarus. Aubrey was livid, for much of his homeworld had been laid waste and thousands of his Astartes had been killed. He prepared to attack the Storm Bringers fleet, when for the second time the mighty ‘Imperator Somnium’ appeared in the skies over Lazarus, and Aubrey was commanded to come over and meet the Emperor.

Aubrey met with the Emperor and Malcador, and there the Emperor made his judgement. He berated Aubrey for allowing rebellion to come to his Homeworld, alone among all the Primarchs. He reminded him of what he had said the day he arrived to Lazarus; that Xenos were never to be trusted, for they were treacherous, selfish beings that wanted naught but their own advancement. They cared not for Aubrey, nor his ambitions. And how the evidence of that was clear before him, in the ruins of Lazarus.
Finally the Emperor passed judgement. He had already ordered his own Custodians to join the Storm Bringers in purging the planet clean of all Tarellian life, and furthermore declared the planet under the sentence of Exterminatus. Before Aubrey’s eyes the Storm Bringers and Custodes evacuated the world, before with a single blinding volley from the mighty world cracking guns of the Somnium the Planet’s atmosphere was set aflame and the planet reduced to a dead cinder.
Finally the Emperor departed, leaving a Legion humbled and a Primarch chastened. In that moment the fates changed and the doom of the Imperium was set forth.
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Aubrey The Gray

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