Index Astartes: Death Eagles

Index Astartes: Death Eagles

[+//alex_l/noctuscornix/ et //mike_f/biohazardmodels/+]

If His will is that the Astartes should know no defeat, then it is our duty to ensure that the records show this. That battles or worlds are lost and warriors killed is immaterial to that principle. The truth will serve the will of the Senatorum Imperialis, or it shall be substituted with one that does. Such is the will of the Emperor, such is the will of the High Lords.

[+//Kolumno, High Lord+]



No Chapter better exemplifies the doublethink and bureaucracy that both sustains and degrades the Imperium than the Death Eagles. Much has been made of the redaction and censorship of records and information from the War of the False Primarch, but the Chapter's character – indeed, its very existence – demonstrates the scale and difficulty that faces anyone who seeks to understand the Imperium.



The primary task of every Space Marine Chapter's Librarius – far more central than their psychic battlefield potential – is to record the actions and histories of their brethren, and send such missives to the Sectorial Chamber of the Administratum. From here such records are duplicated and sent to the Segmentum Chamber, and thence to Terra itself, where the records of the deeds of the Space Marines are kept for ready access, in a repository called the Librarium Magna Bodleia

At least, such is the legend. In practice, the staff of the Librarium Magna Bodleia is hopelessly overwhelmed with interpretation and organisation of a thousand thousand reports, each received piecemeal via the uncertain and interpretative nature of astrotelepathy. Such muddled receipts are rendered still less useable by the haphazard and conflicting cataloguing demanded by rival overseers, with gangs of scribes battling amidst tottering piles of dusty documents and chronicles.

That any records are retrievable is testament to the strength of will and memory of the Terran scribes; and it is thus of no surprise that many tomes are lost entirely, only to be excavated and refiled by the numberless factota of the Adeptus Administratum.

Flurries of requests for information from various offices occasionally cause mem-stack cascadefail across chambers or even whole wings of the Librarium Magna Bodleia, and while much can be salvaged, it often proves impossible to tell what, if anything, is missing from such areas. 

The histories of the Death Eagles were one such victim. Some century or so prior to the events of the War of the False Primarch, records of the Death Eagles were lost. What little could be recovered were found to be recent desperate pleas for support – and a final battle report that mentioned the surviving Astartes had taken a fell oath of victory or death

[//The Death Eagles' cult markings were the sole surviving records of the Chapter's heraldry+]


Death – and resurrection

Under standing orders to report the destruction of any Astartes Chapter, the reports were used to justify the creation of a highly classified 'Capitulus cuculus' – a replacement Chapter, that used the original force's heraldry. The third founding saw more than eighteen destroyed Chapters, including the Libators, Lions Sable and Obsidian Glaives, surreptitiously replaced this way. Identifying names were struck out from records such as the Apocrypha of Davios, and carefully forged or replaced, frequently being listed as participating in the so-called Forgotten Wars.

The second Death Eagles were thus formed, bearing the black and white oath-heraldry recorded in the last missives of their forebears – the only extant pict-captures. Their geneseed was drawn from the Martian stores of the Raven Guard, rather than the Death Eagles' own reserves – this owing to the direct intervention of the Inquisitorial Representative High Lord, for undisclosed reasons.

The Chapter went on to serve with distinction, gaining some limited recognition during the so-called 'Vengeance from the Void' during M32; and were swift to answer the High Lords' call to Terra in the lead-up to the War of the False Primarch.


Death Eagles I


Warcry  The Chapter has no known Warcry, preferring to work in silence as they prosecute their wars. However, a common promise that is passed along from the Castellans of the Chapter to their enemies is the simple phrase: No-one will know you when the pale dawn rises.

Cognomen  The Chapter is recorded to have received a number of epithets from their enemies, such as ‘The Tragedy of Eastmarch’, or the ‘Monarchs of Ashes’. During the War of the False Primarch, when brutality and terror become potent weapons for the Pentarchy, however, they revelled in a name they earned after the brutal compliance of the Coronoid Deeps: ‘Murder’.

Founding  Second [+//021.M31/+]

Gene-Seed  Conflated Generune markers: [+/XIXcorvus_c/+];[+//occultatum tertius//]

Successor Chapters  Ablators, Marines Castellan

Chapter Master  Lord Castellan Tywin Dimmerlock, Lord of Carrion

Homeworld  Once a recruitment ground for the Imperial Army, the Death World of Lethe in the far reaches of the Coronid Deeps was chosen as the primary recruitment ground for the Chapter. However, within mere decades of their original founding, the world had been all but abandoned by its former masters as the Chapter took to the void as a crusading host. The World of Lethe and its Fortress Monastery would be adopted by the second Death Eagles, before eventually being reallocated to the doomed Flame Falcons Chapter as part of the 21st founding.


Fortress Monastery  The Chapter’s former Fortress Monastery of the 'Aerie Convocation’ on Lethe was abandoned not long after the Chapter’s founding, left to rot as the Chapter disappeared into the black sea. When the Death Eagles arrived in the Sol System to answer the High Lords’ call, the monstrous flagship of unknown design, designated as The Unkindness, was listed to be the Chapter’s new Fortress Monastery.

Appearance  Bearing alternate white/purple tincture, the Chapter's plate is highly distinctive. Unusually, the nominal Chapter badge is usually subsumed entirely by a moulded Palaiologoi, a double-headed gold Eagle that each member of the Chapter wears on their left pauldron. What the original ikon was remains unrecorded; but the presence of the Palaiologoi makes it clear that the Death Eagles regard loyalty to the High Lords and the Imperium as taking precedent over all else.


Death Eagles II


Warcry  'Vür Hai!' Of obscure derivation, for none of the extant tribes of Lethe recognise the words, this cry appears to simply mean 'strike'.

Cognomen  Sons of the River

Founding  Third [+//001.M32/+]

Gene-Seed  [+/XIXcorvus_c/+]

Successor Chapters  Inheritors

Chapter Master  Knyaz-Martial Broso, Master of Lethe [post Acylus: Gaius Gnæius Titanus]

Homeworld  Lethe [+/astartes chapter world: tithegrade//aptus non+]

Fortress Monastery  The Aerie Convocation 

Appearance  The Death Eagles' Chapter badge is a white, avian skull of a raven surrounded by ebon feathered wings (elevated and displayed), centred upon a field of white. Together with the pauldrons, the helm is white; all else is tinctured ebon. Standard markings are Codex compliant; squad designation on the right pauldron, company designated on the right knee.



Disposition during the War of the False Primarch


Imagine the High Lords' consternation when two Chapters responded to the order for the Death Eagles return to roost. Scant days after the arrival en-masse of the black and bone-armoured warriors of the third-founding Chapter, a fleet bearing bold magenta and white motley heraldry hoved into the Sol System, claiming to be the Death Eagles.

Open confrontation was averted more by the proximity of Holy Terra than anything else – particularly when the purple-and-white Chapter angrily claimed the others were desecrating the memories of their own fallen by wearing  the hallowed bone and ebon colours of sacrifice – but an intervention by the direct order of High Lord Casca Methuselan cooled immediate tensions. A hurried series of parleys were organised under the auspices of Inquisitor Lord Mashev Leong-Casser, during which the two Chapter Masters were able to meet. Tensions rapidly cooled as the confusion was explained.

[//Death Eagle I battle brother, during the skimishes on Forbearance against the Inheritors+]

Taking advantage of the situation, the High Lords elected not to officially reinstate the supposedly-lost first Chapter, and elected instead to adopt them as a pocket force, granting them rights to recruit as necessary from Sol itself; and in return ceding any claim to Lethe, long-since granted to the second Death Eagles. 

As mark of their independence, both Chapters were inducted into the Pentarchy under the auspices of Master Enoch, leaving the Extinction Armada being preceded by a six Chapter-strong fleet, rather than the nominal five.


Early War 

Deciding to use the opportunity for misdirection, Master Velghor of the Flesh Eaters elected to deploy the bulk of the Death Eagles II Chapter to reinforce and establish a web of fortresses and keeps across the rimwards worlds of Heliopolis, while retaining three Companies worth to begin harrying the Corewards reaches of Sector Morqub alongside their purple-and-gold cousins. 

Indeed, it was the swollen number of Death Eagles that allowed Velghor to stage the daring Delphurnan War, a major staging point of the greater conflict that culminated in the invasion of Ishim and the infamous Siege of Ul-Hiyar. Believing that intelligence was already being passed from Heliopolis to his enemies in Morqub via one or more of the resident Chapters – the Iron GuardStorm Tyrants or Star Wardens – Velghor deliberately antagonised them by ordering the Red Talons and Death Eagles II to patrol their regions in particular. He hoped that this appearance of consolidation, rather than aggression, would put the False Primarch's forces at ease.

[//Veteran Sergeant Kelson Vex, seen here in a hololith taken during Siege of Ul-Hiyar.+]

It proved a wise gamble. The Delphurnan War was a crucial conflict that threatened to end the greater War in one fell stroke – and the twin Death Eagles Chapters were front and centre of this invasion of the Red Fish homeworld, a fact that earned the twin Eagles the Chapter's ongoing emnity. 

The aftermath of the war saw the reeling Partisans driven back from several crucial worlds in the Oblitus subsector, with the Flesh Eaters and Death Eagles sending forces to occupy systems from Strabo's Star to Broddiwelt. The Death Eagles clashed with numerous armies led by the Silver Stars and the Quadrargenta forces.

With the broader Extinction Fleets moving slowly to support the Astartes advance, fierce fighting erupted all the way along the Oblitus front as the Pentarchy and Vigilants elements strove to make good their initial attacks. The Silver Stars, together with the Void Barons and Riven Lords, were able to stymie any further advance. Once buoyed by the Wormwood Sons and Marines Saturnine, who declared for the Partisan cause as a direct result of the invasion of Ishim, the Partisans began to drive Corewards, slipping increasingly large fleets past  the Pentarchy's pickets, despite heavy resistance from the embattled Death Eagles and Flesh Eaters. 


Mid War

After the First Helipolian Void War, the conflict escalated into savage invasions and counter-invasions as the divide between Orthodoxy and Partisans deepened. The Death Eagles were involved in a number of key battles in the Oblitus Subsector, notably laying a vicious ambush on the Riven Lords, and clashing with the Inheritors on both Broddiwelt and Forbearance; the latter with tragic results.

[//Broddiwelt campaign veteran+]

The Death Eagles II, meanwhile, had their hands full as relations with the Iron Guard, Storm Tyrants and Star Wardens became increasingly tense. Together with the Red Talons, a number of limited armed conflicts occurred, notably at Morgant and Banish.

[//Death Eagles pictured during the Shadow War on Banish+]


Their dual nature may have been key to the Pentarchy's early victories, but it was the ongoing heroism and dedication of both Chapters that made the Death Eagles famed across the region. Their fateful relationship with the Inheritors was one of the great tragedies of the conflict; one that in recorded in a separate mem-file.

The dual Chapters, so different in character, would nevertheless be remembered foremost as fierce and dutiful – if, of course, some things were not best left forgotten.


The waters of Lethe wash away sorrow; let us commend that fate to all involved in this most unfortunate affair.

– attr. Inquisitor Lord Leong-Cassar, in his acclaimed – and redacted – After the War.