This is the Doctrine of the Revenants Chapter Astartes, so named because from the moment we become one with Gene Seed, we are the walking dead, with no home, no family, no purpose other than too serve the Imperium of Mankind. It is our most important tenet, second only to the codex Astartes of battle and the tenets of Imperial rule and faith. All Marines of the Chapter will adhere to its tenets utterly on pain of demotion or, for the worst offenders, exile.
1. The Scout Company is hereby relegated to training positions only. A Scout is nothing more than a child, a scout novice. To send such children into war is inhumane and cannot easily be accepted, even by the Angels of Death. Therefore, let it be that the Scouts are taught the art of war by their elders, and be judged ready by selfsame elders, only then to don power armour for the first time. When these recruits are ready, let them be assigned to more experienced squads of Marines, hardy soldiers who will take it upon themselves to make sure the new Marine is both ready for battle and kept alive in his inexperience, for from such Marines will the future heroes of the Chapter be chosen. This will require an additional battle company to make up the available men the Chapter may call upon.
(In times of great need, the Scout Company may be called upon to give support to the forces of the main Chapter. In such times, the full brothers must endeavour to protect their young charges at all times.)
2. War has never, will never and should never be considered a pleasure. Although others amongst the Adeptus Astartes may enjoy such horrendous activity, we are supposed to be civilised creatures; to be shown to enjoy slaughter is to show our enemies we are of no worth and thus worthy of extermination.
An exception to this is when dealing with the Tyranid horde; the Tyranids are monsters foul and destructive, and thus must be swept aside with all piety. When facing them, a Marine must exercise full prejudice, the zeal of a warrior, in order to utterly cleanse the filth from existence and safeguard the Imperium.
3. Despite this, a Marine of the Revenants must always be ready for battle; the people of the Imperium of Man depend on us to defend them from all evils. To fail them would be the worst of all failures. A Marine of the Revenants must always be at the height of physical prowess. We cannot, and will not fail
4. All of our enemies, even those of the foul legions of Chaos, deserve nothing more or less than our pity. We owe our fallen brothers, the civilised Eldar, even the foul Orks some measure of respect, if only for their Marshal prowess, and we must never resort to torture or cruelty, as such things are barberous in the extreme and worthy only of disgusting monsters.
Exceptions to this are the Tyranid horde, who are barbaric monsters, and the Necrontyr, whose motivation and providence are unknown, and whose threat is so great that any means necesarry to annihilate them are sanctioned.
Let this be the Doctrine of our Chapter even unto the ending of Mankind itself. Let civilisation be our herald. Let us be the example of what mankind is and can achieve. Ave Imperator.
He was a Space Marine of the Adeptus Astartes, a soldier, born and bred – or rather, genetically modified from a successful applicant. He was seven feet tall, armoured in mostly black power armour, save for the blue helm, shoulder pads and backpack, and the trim on the pads was livid green, matching the Imperial Eagle on his chest, and the eye lenses on his helm. Like most of his Chapter, he had no markings on his armour, save for a numeral denoting squad and lettering denoting company.
He was a Revenant.
Of all the Adeptus Astartes, the Revenants were the only ones who did not, at any point, enjoy warfare. Their home world was a small agri-world called Peace which had roughly eighty million inhabitants and only a small PDF – the defence of the planet was usually entrusted to the Revenants. They never failed.
Brother Captain Jared Severus, the Space Marine in question's Captain, was right in front of him, a tall, imposing figure, wearing green robes over his power armour and holding a power mace and plasma pistol in his hands, ready to slay the enemies of the Emperor. Severus was the recently promoted Captain of the fourth company, taking over from the late lamented Yan Rill. At the moment he was bare headed, showing off his dark hair and piercing blue eyes. At his left was Librarian Venefus, a shorter Marine armed with a Force sword and bolt pistol. Venefus' eyes were deafened slightly and his armour was livid blue, but apart from that there seemed little to set him apart. The Marine knew there was more to him than met the eye though. At Severus' right was Chaplain Marcus. Marcus was an older Marine, but still enjoyed the fires of battle wherever possible. His skull-helm was intimidating enough to any enemy. His crozius arcanium - or as the younger trainees tended to call them, "big holy hitting thing" (but never to a Chaplain's face) - was even more intimidating.
This particular campaign was on the planet Tires, where a significant Chaos presence had manifested, hundreds of Night Lords, Iron Warriors, and many other separate hostile legions had found themselves fighting to claim Tires. The Revenant's had come to stop them: no Imperial world deserved to become the playthings for monstrous Chaos traitors.
The plan for this current engagement was remarkably simple. A small group of Marines, including Brother-Captain Severus and Chaplain Marcus, were entering the capital city of Tires from the flank, while a main force of Marines, led by Venefus, assailed the front. The risks were apparent to the Space Marine, but he accepted his orders, if not without question, then without dissent.
Severus looked to the Marine and gestured him to take point. The Marine did so gladly.
The Marine's name was Battle Brother Magnus. He was a Tactical Space Marine on his first mission, and to say he was nervous would be a remarkable understatement: he wasn't nervous about fighting, but to be on his first mission made him feel unprepared, and he felt the irrational feeling that he was doomed to fail. Behind him, several battle brothers were placed to aid him in his learning experience.
"Be wary," the voice of Brother Sergeant Nathaniel in his helmet. "The enemy will fire on the Point Man first."
"Understood," Magnus replied. "Moving forward."
He raised his bolter as he led the squad down a little side road, aware of the eyes of nine veteran Marines at his back. As he walked, he looked around, taking careful note of every single thing he saw. Nothing to see. He didn't like Nothing. He knew from his days as a trainee that Nothing was a bad thing to be facing.
"I don't trust this," he said softly. "Stay alert."
"Understood," Nathaniel replied, not chastising the young Marine for ordering him around, but silently accepting his words. If Magnus was right, then they would do better to be ready. If Magnus was wrong... well, nobody ever got in trouble for being too cautious. "Squad," the Sergeant added, "get ready."
Two Marines ran ahead of Magnus, and kneeled on either side of the little road.
"Ready," one said.
Magnus narrowed his eyes, searching for targets. Then a hard cry came from one of his brothers;
"Enemy sighted! FIRE!"
Magnus crouched just as a group of be-robed, ugly humans appeared, their faces covered in tattoos and cuts.
"Cultists!" Nathaniel yelled. "Slaughter the wretches!"
"For Peace!" one Marine yelled, namechecking the Revenants' home world as he blasted the traitors. Coming up from behind the tactical squad, Captain Severus charged forward, his power mace activated and glowing with coruscating energies. He swung once, then again, and three cultists flew away from him, yelling as they died. Magnus meanwhile fell into a simple routine of aiming and firing, killing cultist after cultist.
Two minutes after the cultist attack had begun, it was over. The traitors lay slain all over the street, and not a single Marine had fallen.
"Misguided fools," Marcus said softly. "I pity them. Let whatever was left of their souls find peace."
"Your mercy does you credit Brother-Chaplain," Severus smiled. He checked on a few of his slightly injured men, before looking at Magnus. "You did well brother. I anticipate great things from you."
Magnus swelled with pride, and could only nod as his Captain moved on.
Severus moved on, leading the Space Marines further into the city. What most of his men didn't know was that the assault had a very specific purpose. Venefus had told the Captain and Chaplain that he sensed some kind of ritual being performed in the city. Although he could not be more specific, he did not need to be. Chaos rituals tended to be bad things worth stopping.
"How far to the rendezvous?" Severus asked his senior Sergeant. A grizzled veteran with half a skull missing named Varl.
"Not far," the Sergeant replied. "Estimated five minutes in the direction we're going in."
"Excellent," Severus grinned. "I was hoping to get this over with quickly." He motioned to his squad, and as they moved, he suddenly felt a curious sense of foreboding.
Ignoring it, he moved forward, eventually reaching the rendezvous point near a crossroads. A moment later, Venefus and his group reached them, with no apparent casualties.
"It is as I feared," Venefus said as soon as he reached his Captain. "No resistance but cultists. The Chaos Marines must be helping with the ceremony."
"Come then," Severus said with a smile. "Let us crash our erstwhile brother's party."
The small group of Marines - practically the entire company - moved forward with the solidarity of purpose Astartes were famed for. Apart from the Captain, there were six squads of Tactical Marines (including Magnus' and Varl's), two Devestator squads and two Assault squad. Even better was the surprise that Severus had waiting for the traitors: one he had kept from all but his two advisors.
Eventually they reached the location of the ritual: the city square. The massive Cathedral ahead looked to have been defaced by blasphemous symbols, and in the dead centre of the square was a sorcerer, chanting loudly - some kind of inane heretical babble that could not be discerned. Perhaps it was not meant to be.
"Ready brothers?" Severus said. The nods from his men gave him hope, and he nodded back at them. "Assault plan five-zero-one, then."
The Assault squads acknowledged with a nod, and leapt into a nearby building, their jump packs taking them as high as they needed to go. Meanwhile, the Devestator squads took up covered positions to snipe from, lascannons setting up and heavy bolters being aimed. The Tactical squads took up position to attack, Marcus and Venefus with them. On Severus' order, they would charge.
He hesitated for a moment, making certain that this was the right plan. Then at a gesture from his hand, his men moved.
There were twenty cultists in a circle, surrounding the Chaos sorcerer. Around this circle was a bodyguard of thirty Chaos Marines, in the colours of the Black Legion. Finally, there was a single Chaos champion in Terminator armour.
The Revenants knew exactly what to do.
The first shots were a hail of lascannon and heavy bolter fire from the Devestators, which tore through the traitors, killing a third of the power armoured ones. Next, the Assault marines swooped down from above, using their chainswords to cut down a good six or seven more, before the traitors could react. Finally, the Tactical squads charged, taking down more traitors and giving the Librarian a chance to attack the cultists, who were defenceless against his fury.
While Venefus killed cultists, Severus unveiled his "surprise". As the Terminator Champion started killing Assault Marines, Severus dropped a teleport homer that he had been carrying secreted on his person. A moment later, six Terminators teleported in; tall, powerful warriors armed and armoured with the very finest the Imperium of Man could provide for them. They charged into their fallen foe, and attacked. The traitor Terminator managed to crush the head of one of the Terminators but the remainder tore him to pieces.
The battle was theirs.
Twenty seven men had fallen - one Terminator, seven of the Assault Marines, one Devestator whose plasma gun had overloaded and eighteen Tactical Marines across the squads, including four from Varl's squad. Severus sighed and ordered an apothecary to see to the bodies.
"Well old friend?" he said to Venefus, walking up to the Librarian. "Did we stop whatever blasphemy these poor fools were trying to achieve?"
He bad been expecting the question to merely be a formality; after all, they had slain the sorcerer, whose rent body lay near Venefus' feet. However when Venefus looked at Severus, his face was filled with concern.
"I do not think we stopped it, Jared," he said, softly. "I don't know what they were trying to achieve, but they set it off successfully. It's continuing in a chain reaction."
"How long?" Severus asked, suddenly worried.
"I cannot tell," the Librarian said softly, "but I doubt it will be..."
Before he could finish, the centre of the square flashed once. Both Marines looked at the flash in abject horror, both knowing it probably meant some kind of portal.
"Marines!" Severus yelled, "ready yourselves!"
There was probably going to be an army of Dæmons charging out of the portal, as there usually was, that was what Severus thought. He knew his little company was probably not going to be up to the task of defeating them, but as a Space Marine he and his men had to try.
"Controlled ammunition bursts," Varl called to the Marines. "Make every shot count, men."
"The Emperor stands with us!" Chaplain Marcus called. "He is our shield and our sword! With Him at our side we cannot fail!"
"It has been an honour," Severus called, his voice rising above the din as the portal formed. "For Peace and the Emperor!"
The cry was echoed from every Marine. They were prepared to sell their lives dearly, all of them.
As it turned out, they wouldn't have to.
The portal flashed, and every single Marine was blinded by it's light...
When his visor cleared, Severus found himself staring down the barrel of a Bolter. He blinked once and tried to stand.
"Slowly," a Space Marine voice said.
He complied, standing up slowly. He found himself staring at a great hall of some kind, that looked as though it had been built to hold an entire Chapter of Space Marines. Looking around, he saw his brothers surrounding him, each faced with the same sight - a Space Marine bolter aimed at their head, by Space Marines of a Chapter unfamiliar to Severus. The Captain looked around, and noticed with a start that the bolters were all of a much older design, as was the armour - mainly Maximus and Crusade armour. Infinitely older models. What was this?
"Identify yourself," one of the new Space Marines said.
"Captain Jared Severus of the Revenants Chapter Astartes," Severus said immediately.
"No such legion exists," the Space Marine questioner replied instantly. Severus was about to retort that obviously it did when the word his captor had used hit him. Legion.
"I identified myself," he said, softly. "Now you."
"You are not in a position to give orders," the Space Marine holding the bolter said, a snarl in his voice.
"But," a new voice, calm and ordered, said, "it is courtesy to answer the Captain's question. And we are courteous."
Severus looked to see who was the origin of the voice, and was shocked and awed to see the speaker; tall, armoured in the same livery as his warriors, with long white hair and piercing eyes, and a soft smile.
"I am Fulgrim, Primarch of the Emperor's Children," the warrior said. "And in the name of the Emperor, I want to know who you are and why you're here."
Fulgrim. Emperor's Children.
Severus's life had just gotten a lot harder.