+ Index Astartes: Firebreak +

Index Astartes: Firebreak

[//Second Enclave force move in support of the Riven Lords on Hever, Sector Heliopolis+]

"Yes, we used to have gardens. Each brother who passed the rites of initiation would plant a flower or a bud. It served to remind us both of our origins, and our purpose. It was an indulgence granted us; a form of permanence denied us elsewhere. 
"Your surprise, that the Adeptus Astartes, the Angels of Death, would plant and nurture, is understandable, but misplaced.

"That we are killers is a fact; neither pleasant nor surprising. For us to seed a garden; to see it grow and develop under our care; to witness in life and bloom the works of our forebears... that was an act of humility, a link that told us we were still human: proof that we were more than killers. The garden symbolised an existence that we could never live, but one that – perhaps – the rest of humanity could. 
"When Frith was reaped a second time by the Pentarchy and stole our future... That is when we truly died as a chapter."
[//Extract from the Disgraced Lion Testimony. Subject FL1-7-3+]


[//Emblem of the Firebreak.+]


Plagued by fate and burdened with duty, the Firebreak are a prime example of a chapter that was broken by the arrival of the Abomination. Despite the setbacks they suffered during the War of the Beasts, the Firebreak had always held true to the tenets set upon them by their predecessors.

Balanced and clear-sighted in all things, the Firebreak's declaration for Volnoscere was greeted with surprise little short of disbelief by the High Lords of Terra; distantly ignorant of their losses that drove the Chapter into the arms of their mercurial messiah. Anticipating this staunch and reserved Chapter to await direct word from Terra when confronted by either the Pentarchy or the Partisans, both sides were taken aback at the Chapter's decision to join the Partisans.

... or so the tale is told. Shrouded in doubletalk and mystery beyond even that of the others involved, the scanty records of the Firebreak include more contradiction and confusion in terms of timing and history than any save the Silver Stars themselves. 


Warcry “Salvation is at hand!”

Cognomen  Teras tou Potiri/wahsh alzujaj[//EpithetSOURCEVAL: local=Frith mythol. files appended+]; Thinbloods, [//appendnote derog. appelsource=Orthodox forces]

Founding  Third [+//001.M32/+]

Gene-Seed  [+/Ilion_el_j/+]

Successor Chapters  [//none on record+]

Chapter Master  Var Terez [//honorificval=TRUE: 'Seneschal'; 'The Disgraced Lion'+]

Homeworld  Ancient beyond reckoning, Frith has a solid claim to being the oldest inhabited planet in the Sector; possibly the Segmentum. Myths and legends from more than threescore nearby worlds mention a planet or settlement called Frith (or an etymological derivation or corruption thereof, such as FrythVirdd and the like), generally referring to it as the source of all life; the wellspring of existence itself.

Perhaps, long ago, it was.

Now little more than a wasteland, the World of Glass – so-called for the great plains of fused sand formed during exceptionally hot years – bears a thin population of toughened nomads and survivors, who eke out an existence spent travelling between ruined settlements of such age that they defy all chronodeterminant technologies known to the Imperium. Covered in shimmering and ever-mobile white sand, the deserts of Frith hides threats that range from the exotic – deadly semi-sentient molten thorns and the glittering  sandtigers – to the mundane but ever-present threats of starvation and death from thirst. 

[//ident: Frith | tithegrade=Aptus Non+]

The natives trace their ancestry back through half-dreamed, half-remembered eras of unchanging hardship are tough and wily. Nevertheless, they could not possibly survive the two suns that blast the surface, were it not for the ancient caverns and tunnels that worm through the bleached planet. During the periods of its elliptical orbit that carry it closer to both suns, Frith is utterly inimical to human habitation; and even at other times it is amongst the harshest – though simultaneously most beautiful – Deathworlds in the Sector.

Known to the Chapter as the twin siblings Dur Ante and Ser Gilus, the binary stars are hailed as guardians who protect the innocent and punish the guilty. As with Frith itself, variations on their names appear throughout – and beyond – the sector, further draping this ancient world in lost secrets. 

To stay ahead of the Seasons of Fire brought by their bleak and swollen twin suns, the nomadic peoples of Frith are forced to travel the sandy seas, watching the dunes for threat while they move between settlements so aged and degraded that the scant few Imperial augurs who arrived to assay the world debated whether they were constructions at all. Many believed their age implied a geological  – or at least xenos – origin, rather than construction.

The arrival of the Firebreak chapter some millennium before the events of the War of the Primarch heralded little change for the nomads. Rumours arose of boys, yet of age, stolen away during the night; of boys found wandering in the deserts, driftless and unsure of what happened to them. Tribesmen whispered that those who remained lost were taken away for a darker purpose and turned into monsters. Beyond this, the Chapter and the world's populace have little to do with one another. 

Pared down by necessity, Frith's aboriginal cultures nevertheless have rich and complex histories, each riddled through with layers of metaphor, obscurantist references and idiomatic aphorism that make myth and fact impossible to disentangle by outsiders. In short, little can be ascertained of the Chapter through contact with the nomads. Life on Frith is hard: if the tribes register any additional strain placed on them by the Imperium or the Firebreak's recruitment methods, it is certainly not central to their existence or culture.

Fortress Monastery  Nestled within a remote range of perilous mountains, the Peaks of Urisel cradle a citadel hidden deep, strong and secure. Held to be haunted by deadly spirits by the local tribes, its position and reputation suited the chapter perfectly. Where some chapters chose to reign over the world and made their position clear to the locals, the Firebreak instead decided to leave the populace undisturbed and uninformed – save for those who would be stolen away to join their ranks.

Of particular note is an area known as the Garden of Serenity, an installation said to hold the only known surface plant life on Frith. The Garden is a sanctified place of rememberance. Holding the ashes of fallen brothers who have perished on the frontlines, it is a haven of temperance, peace and retreat; a meditative and inspirational retreat to instil duty and responsibility to newly-forged recruits and ready them for whatever may face them.

Appearance  Their shoulder pads broken up in green and red, in allusion to their genefathers, the Firebreak are otherwise clad in gleaming silver. Adhering closely to the Codex Astartes, their right shoulder pad bears tactical markings, alongside a numeric to denote their Enclave. Indicative of the Chapter's veneration of service, consideration and level-headedness, their armour is typically spare, with few flourishes and decorations allowed on their sand-scoured plate. 

Typical of this asceticism is the bare torso: only those who had dedicated service to the chapter for an extended period of time were granted the right to bear an Aquila on their torso. During the War of the False Primarch, the Aquila was struck off and replaced with the Caputmori, or – more unusually – the twin-faced head device of Volnoscere.

[//Battle Brother Deir Wyn shows the standard tactical markings of his Enclave. Note the absence of a torso decoration, marking him as inexperienced – though this is, of course, relative. Deir Wyn had over seventy years of warfare to his name, having fought against a dizzying variety of enemies prior to his death on Null.+

Common markings include the Flames of Dur Ante. Said to be symbolic of the sacrifice expected of all Firebreak Astartes, the rising flames are permitted to those who have completed terms of service or one of the infamous Frith Pilgrimages. The longer or more notably has the bearer served, the higher the markings are permitted to be applied. The flames signify the sorrowful destruction of territory in order to deny it to the enemy – or so, at least, is the usual explanation given to outsiders for the Chapter's unusual name.


The Chapter's sigil is a flame cupped with a pair of wings; the three elements pointedly separate. The split between the wings demarcates the Uncrossable Gap; a cultural touchstone familiar to all those born of Frith. It indicates all aspects of loss and sorrow, ranging from the mundane, such as a lost belonging; to the profound, such as the existential paralysis of a population in the face of extinction. 

The flame sitting above the Uncrossable Gap represents the active efforts of the Firebreak to keep the Other separate from humanity; a symbol of their willingness to destroy territory, knowledge and lives in an effort to keep the Imperium pure.


Use of service shields

Notable by their conspicuous presence across all levels of the Chapter, service shields are borne as campaign badges, serving to identify which officer the bearer fights beneath. Many incorporate ancient and ill-understood glyphs and signs of the Frith tribes; while others are the novel design of a particular Force Commander or Enclave. The former is more usually the case should the Firebreak be leading the campaign or fighting alone; while the latter is more usual for those fighting under or besides outsiders. 

[//This marine bears a temporary shield in the colours of Forge World Avarice; part of this device might become a permanent part of his heraldry+]

Service shields are also used to demonstrate Chapter specialism; such as the Techwrights, whose shields always incorporate the red of Mars split with symbolic reference to their service to their homeworld. Librarians and Apothecaries likewise bear similar split heraldries on shields.

[//Firebreak Techwright during the War on Kadath+]

The Sable Judges – the name given to the Chapter's Chaplains – are an exception to the conceit. Borne in the jet black in compliance to the Codex Astartes, it is said the chaplain's armour itself acts as their shield, showing their devotion to the Emperor. While some still bear the Crozius Arcanum, most instead bear the Securis Mortem, an axe intended for the death of traitors; and symbolic of the cutting of lines of memory. It would prove to be a twist of fate that the Firebreak would live to themselves counted amongst those they had fought against so faithfully and for so long.

[//One of the Firebreak's Sable Judges, bearing a Securis Mortem as his badge of rank.+]



“I walked for seven months; crossing a continent. After the third I had grown despondent; after the fifth I feared I had grown mad. By the sixth month, I was found, raving and near-death, by a caravan on one of the native's peculiar and ill-starred peregrinations. 
"Pure chance. 
"I left in the night, some three days later – for those of Frith will never harm a guest 'til he wears thin his welcome.

"A further month passed, and it was only then that I espied one of the Firebreak. He was himself on a Pilgrimage. Robed and armoured he appeared, shimmering in the distance. Feverishly, I ran to catch him. I thought then that I had died; and in retrospect, wish that perhaps I had."
[//Testimony of the Anchorite, Kine+]

Founded at the request of the nascent Ordo Propter, the Firebreak's stated aim was to 'stabilise and make goode all borders of the Seguement Pacific herewithin; to stake the Pale of Imperium and ensure none intrude upon it, nor distortte its aweful fabric.'

That elements of a Dark Angels successor Chapter formed the kernel of this Third Founding brotherhood is certainly true; though their precise identity is either lost or secured in a vault on distant Terra. This hardly need raise suspicions – the so-called Unforgiven Chapters have, by long tradition, been extended a long leash as regards their preference for secrecy – as long as their gene-tithe is forthcoming. Thus the Firebreak's unknown forebears are hardly remarkable. 

Granted new heraldry, a fleet and the extensive armoury that is common to most scions of the Dark Angels, the Chapter claimed the renowned Deathworld of Frith as their nominal base of operations and recruitment. For five centuries, the Chapter executed its aims admirably, quietly and effectively; maintaining polite – if distant – political ties within the sector. Unusually for a Chapter that stemmed from the Dark Angels, the Chapter never made contact with their gene-brethren. 

Secrets and self-deception

In retrospect, we might attribute the lack of contact with the Dark Angels to the close observation that was kept upon the Chapter by the Inquisition – though as detailed below, certain records suggest that the lack of contact with their forebears is likely to have been planned by the Unforgiven. 

[//The Griffon of Sedition, Sable Judge after giving the Rite of Solemnity; selectively resurfacing the battle brother's knowledge of the Fallen.+]

Partial and highly-redacted documents dated to late M38 detail an inquisitorial interrogation  of a 'black-armoured and temporally-displaced Astartes'. While the records of the interrogation must be viewed through the lens of its rather dubious source, the Astartes made a number of sensational claims regarding the Dark Angels Chapter and its offshoots. Chief amongst them was the claim that the current Dark Angels Chapter is enacting a continued hidden campaign against rebel elements – something unproven but long suspected by the Inquisition. Alongside this were a number of rambling claims about specific Successor Chapters of the Dark Angels – including references to the 'Pyrebreak'. The original document noted such a Chapter was non-existent, and the conclave concluded that the claim could be used as partial proof of the subject's unreliability; and thus justification for his execution by – in a fitting twist – burning upon a pyre.


For those investigating the War of the False Primarch, and privy to the thin gruel of our knowledge thereon, however, it is possible to draw a connection between the 'Pyrebreak' and Firebreak. The partial records suggest that the Firebreak were an attempt to create a Chapter in which all members were aware of the posited civil war; a dangerous and potentially corrosive secret supposedly hidden from the bulk of the collective Chapters' brethren. 

The subject claimed that the 'Pyrebreak' restricted the potentially dangerous knowledge of a civil war not through the hierarchical approach of Circles and Inner Circles used to guard such knowledge in other Unforgiven Chapters (including the Dark Angels themselves); but through hypnoindoctrination. Through a modification of the Rites of the Hibernator – the process common to most Space Marine Chapter by which suspended animation can be induced or activated – certain memories could be hidden and revealed repeatedly in a form of reversible mindwiping. This seems to have cost the Firebreak their ability to use the sus-an membrance as intended, as well as taxing the catalepsean node through some poorly-understood mechanism. Neverthless, the implications are interesting for Inquisitorial consideration; and it is regrettable that such suppositions are now never to be demonstrated as true or false – for the knowledge of the modified rites, as well as any other processes involved, were lost with the Obliteration of the Chapter.


The Eye of the Inquisition

The Ordo Propter's sponsorship at their inception, together with the active and muscular actions of a number of Ordo Astartes Inquisitors, meant that the Firebreak were rarely, if ever, free of Inquisitorial scrutiny. They certainly gave no sign of chafing under such a regime, and while their Chapter Cult began to show some eccentricities, these were adjudged to be well within permitted bounds. Indeed, if the Firebreak's character was notable in any way at this point, it was as peculiarly calm, patient and cool-natured towards those few outsiders who chanced upon them.

In the five centuries that passed between their founding and the War of the Beast, the Chapter came to embrace the shifting and fluid – but ultimately unchanging – nature of their adopted homeworld. Far-seeing and slow to anger by nature, and specialised in operating in the frontier with little to no support, the Chapter's members honed their warfare to be a peculiar mix of sparing and unwasteful where operating within the bounds of the Imperium and flamboyantly excessive without: burning down worlds using weapons and technology found only in the armouries of the Unforgiven. This was attributed by Ordo Astartes and Propter agents to be entirely fitting; addressing the extra-sectorial threats the Firebreak would encounter in a suitably apocalyptic way, in order to ensure that they would never threaten the Imperium. 

[//Tor Dagon, Second Enclave; veteran of the Firebreak. Having mastered the lazy blade, he was entitled to bear the title 'Blademaster'. The black flames upon his robe mirror those on this armour beneath, marking him as having completed a Pilgrimage on Frith – those undertaken beyond the Chapter's homeworld were instead marked in the same deep green as the pauldrons. +

The character of the planet inevitably influenced the Chapter's cult and modus operandi; leading to  development of practises such as 'lazy blade' fighting; a punishingly complex twin-sword fighting technique that used tight and deceptively slow loops and spirals of the handle and tip to create a frighteningly effective close combat form useful on both attack and defence.

It was during this period that the Chapter adopted the practise of Pilgrimages – a term that varied in scope from individual ascetic Astartes wandering the surface of Frith during the Seasons of Fire, to military-pilgrimages in which entire Enclaves shipped out to beyond the Sector. The practice of 'Empty Mind' became key to the Chapter's psyche; the physical hardship bringing spiritual focus, and leading to legends and rumours of wandering monks – who were equally likely to prove deadly as to dispense wisdom to their discoverer – amongst the tribes of Frith. 

The object of Pilgrimages varied hugely. Sometimes clear and specific – the completion of a task or retrieval of an object – and sometimes seemingly vacuous and metaphorical; Marines would occasionally be struck by visions that led to a Pilgrimage; while others were tasked by the Sable Judges or Librarians. 

[//Typical Flames of Dur Ante markings.+]

Courting few political allies, the Firebreak nevertheless inevitably had cause to war alongside other Sectorial and extra-regional military entities, and established cordial – if respectfully distant – relationships with the Inheritors, Marines Saturnine and Argent Heralds, operating alongside them in a number of key xenocidal or socially repressive campaigns. They were noted in the Inheritors' extensive and beautifully-organised records of the Yanlan Xenocidal Crusade as fielding notably large amounts of archeotech and ancient patterns of weaponry.


First Reaping: War of the Beast


Frith, and the Firebreak, underwent a dramatic change during the War of the Beast. The planet came upon heavy bombardment from a colossal ork invasion, turning the world from a planet of sand to a planet of glass and metal. Some tunnels collapsed while others gave way to new caves, previously lost or seemingly purposely hidden. The mountains themselves became reforged into spires of burning wreckage. 

Isolated, the Chapter fought the invasion alone, their holdings ruined and the Chapter itself winnowed to fewer than two hundred. Fifteen years of warfare were required before the chance arrival of an Inheritors' craft, which was able to relay the Firebreak's plight to the Inheritors' command. Swiftly reinforced by seven Companies of Inheritors, the Firebreak and their deliverers were able to liberate Frith and declare triumph – though the scars on both Chapter and planet were permanent. Some whisper that orks still plague the world to this day.

Bombardment, invasion and months of tunnel-fighting had turned the fortress-monastery into a warren of half-collapsed corridors and cells; a maze of debris and loss with irreplaceable artefacts, history and supplies irretrievably scattered. Dirty atomics and chem-warfare used by both sides had irretrievably polluted much of the Chapter's domain, rendering much of their armoury fatally damaged or compromised.

As the survivors picked their way back from the desert to reclaim the Peaks of Urisel, it became clear that continued isolation would be impossible. With much of their infrastructure and forges lost or destroyed, fatal degradation was inevitable. There was, however, a gleam of light amidst the dismay. After weeks of tunnelling, the Chapter's hallowed Garden of Serenity was uncovered; near miraculously untouched. Taking this as a sign of hope, the surviving Sable Judges and command staff began their own short Pilgrimage, in search of guidance. The decision was made to abandon recruitment from the planet's perilously scanty population, until such time as they could recover.

[//Apothecaries are jealously protected during warfare+]

In the wake of the War of the Beast, Frith was to be left as a lesson for the Chapter that there is always a bigger threat on the horizon. Recruits were now brought to the planet and put through the trials to prove their worthiness; an anvil upon which humility and honour are hammered into them.

Such a colossal shift in structure inevitably caused internal strife. The Chapter's acting-Seneschal refused outright to request aid from nearby Forgeworlds; regarding pleading for succour as a source of humiliation that the Chapter's pride could ill-afford.

The final extant records indicate that a coup d'état was launched by an unknown Enclave Captain against the Seneschal – after this point, no further word reached Terra prior to the events of the War of the False Primarch.


Disposition during the War of the False Primarch

The testimony of Primate Treveg – one of the 'Hated Few' who revealed themselves as part of the Fifth Columnists seeded with the Guardians of Celeres, late in the war – was a key part of the Execratio Damnatum at the eventual trial of the False Primarch on Hydraphur. Unable to speak unaided, Treveg was able to provide the following 'evidence' via silverfoil trans-scrit.
  • Ypon heraldding the arrival of traytors hyte 'Silver Stars' and their Abbominations, Firebrake ysse wary but sends an envoy to meet and assay her worth. It is anne accurset belief commonn to the naughtie and fate-poxed brethren that they will be able to reform theyselfs in the eyes of the God-Emperors’ surviving dottir.
  • Firebrake forces on syte are warriors recovering from their horrid wars 'gainst the holy fyf; and beliket ytte that meny be sore injuredde – and yet kene and waiting to be redeployed with haiste, Ytte ys also, by my oath, Captin Vur Zharal who ytte ysse that overseeth defence of world and gatherings of new warriors at this tyme.
  • Fire Brake would fane rely on lightning assaults/ambushes in order to fight; forthwith my Gardians of Celery alsso adopteth thysse style of warrfair.
  • Owyng alsso to their lack of numbers; the Chapterre perforce upon a lot of supporting other allied forces relied, meaning ties were built amongst regyments of ye gard, peedee effs, and c. and c.
  • With the chapter decimated, thysse event changed the chapter irrevocably. And they were forced therforre then to rely on alms and charritie from Forger World Avarice. This in return has led to Life Debts being owed wherefore marines are seconded to a force in order to repay their debt most grave; for Avarice is keen to see advantage in their generositie.
While the value of the testimony of a man so fanatical in their urge for the destruction of the False Primarch's reputation can generously be called questionable, the broad strokes of his claims are mostly borne out by the scanty evidence sourced elsewhere. In the wake of the ambush of Battlefleet Morqub, the Chapter's first recorded action during the war, the Firebreak became a byword for lightning assaults amongst fearful Orthodox worlds in Sectors Morqub and Heliopolis alike. It was a starkly different method of war to that the Chapter had previously exhibited; one that brought confusion to local PDFs and Guard regiments alike – throwing off their response and limiting the initial mobilization of Pentarchy forces against a Chapter believed all but destroyed in the opening years of the war. 

The reasons for such departure are unknown; with competing theories appearing amongst the Ordo Astartes and Analyticae Orders of the Administratum. Some claimed that the damage caused by the orks had forced the Chapter to adapt to a more limited way of war; others that the Chapter had become indebted to a third party; others still that a change in leadership had coincided with a perfectly standard alteration in operating procedures, supported by the Codex Astartes.

[//Adept-brother Hild Brandt, Fourth Conclave. Note prominent Caputmori torso decoration.+]

Amongst the more outlandish theories for the change was that of Inquisitor Angustiae – later to prove a turncoat who joined the Partisan cause. Angustiae attempted to publish a treatise laying out his theory that the Firebreak had become functionally extinct some decades before the war; and that Volnoscere had used his own Silver Star forces to resurrect the chapter in a ghoulish attempt to sway more forces to his cause. 

Lending some credence to this outlandish story is the evidence of the broken and ransacked geneseed vaults – still only partially recovered by the time of the so-called Second Reaping – though the Partisans and sympathetic elements of the Inquisition and Ecclesiarchy blame the vault-robbery on the perpetrators of the Outrage on Frith: the Carcharadons. 

The following extract, purportedly of a contemporary Recordist, gives a good overview of the Chapter's likely disposition; but it is important to take note of the chronological asynchrony with other records when assessing its value as evidence:

[...]concerning case of Partisan cause, echoes of censorship and rewriting history can twist and bend and muddle truth. Such is case of Firebreak, a prime subject for theorycraft. Any information found and neatly secured away behind Imperial bureaucracy can be ascertained from desolate planet Frith and other fringe worlds within sector Morqub.

Taking records from Inheritors' librarium – recovery of which is adventure of its own – alongside other allied forces paint Chapter as being dutiful, resolute and dismissive of rewards that did not give immediate practical aid to war they waged. Some opined this persona fits reputation of Unforgiven – but examination of geneseed shows only a desperate past. See dissection reports 27-pc.7a and 34-pc.9c.

Sources I consider reliable confirm that Chapter had suffered greatly during War of Beast, pushing them towards damnation. Were it not for intervention of aforementioned Inheritors, Firebreak could very well have disappeared into history with their honour intact. Instead, they struggled with loss of supplies and manpower, and eventually capitulated to becoming indebted to allies in shame. Herein lies predicament.

Imperial rubricists that tried to pin down what prevailed upon chapter before their resurgence shortly before War of False Primarch. Some believe that Silver Stars found broken chapter and took their name, killing any survivors to sway loyal subjects to Abomination. Others claim that renegades and outlaws swarmed them instead, harvesting their geneseed and using their colours to bully nearby systems.

Whether chapter was still loyal sons they claimed to be, or wolves hiding in sheep's clothing, Firebreak would earn a name during war for launching lightning assaults and operations considered ‘dirty’ by more honourable chapters, including assassination attempts on high value targets: including Master Enoch of the Ordo Astartes and Chapter Master Jan Velghor of the Flesh Eaters[...].

[//auth=Barabbas on behalf Inq. Angustiae, Ordo Luminae+]


An opposing view is found in fragmentary frontline reports attributed to the Eighty-eighth Army upon Artex. Deep in the Cambyses Subsector in the middle of the war, this intelligence report describes in surprising detail and plain terms the Chapter's appearance. It is notable for being quite stripped of any suggestion that the Chapter was in any way unusual beyond what one might expect of an understrength Chapter. In this lack of drama and detail, additional credence should perhaps be accredited to this source.

The report estimated the Firebreak to number little above three hundred marines spread across five makeshift Enclaves; themselves split and spread thin. The fragments describe how the Firebreak came to favour low-risk lightning strikes, but otherwise broadly appearing to follow the Codex Astartes closely; with each of their ad-hoc Enclaves being led by a Captain. Where they differed notably was the increasingly splintered nature of the Chapter and the limited strike forces by which they became most identifiable. 

[//Captain Vur Zharal, Master of the Keep: Member of the Fifty. Some records note Zharal as a recruitment officer of sorts; others as a de facto Chapter Master.+]

The reports continue: 

'Where once the Captain was considered a front-line fighter that would lead the Enclave to victory, the role became more concerned with support or guidance.'
While they would still very much be willing to face death head-on, the surviving Captains of the Firebreak worked hard to be the glue that held their much-abused Chapter together. Their experience was considered vital to the survival of the chapter, leading to the position of Voted-Commander being formed within the Chapter as an unfortunate but necessary consequence of their limited numbers. A temporary brevet rank given to veterans and sergeants alike, the Voted-Commander would be given a specific task to complete. Familiar to the elders of the Chapter as a form of Pilgrimage, this duty ranged from stabilising a world from insurrection to taking the head of a powerful enemy. A Voted Commander would be honour-bound to fulfil the task or come back with their honour in question. Such tasks were issued and assessed by the Sable Judges attached to the force and, should circumstances allow it, the Chapter Council.

The Firebreak's limited numbers meant that they were largely unable to mount independent sustained campaigns after the Outrage on Frith, but their character and aspect proved a propaganda coup to the 'False Primarch' and his forces. That their forces were so frequently accompanied by substantial (5+ companies) Silver Star support is perhaps a mark of the False Primarch's trust.

The strike force a Voted Commander would lead would be pulled together from whatever the nearby Enclaves could offer, leading to groups consisting of as little as single squad of marines to full Enclaves, should the threat be considered dangerous – or critical – enough to the False Primarch's aims. This would lead to each strike force acting on their own initiative, depending on the Voted Commander's personal beliefs. Small forces would be seen assisting and using local forces to their advantage while bigger forces would act more independently. 

Conversely, lone marines were occasionally all that could be spared, and the peerless survival skills of the Firebreak's champions, along with their isolated deployment ensured that they were frequently noted by grateful locals; as outlined in the redacted text below:

Purported private records of Deacon Chrost

[...]oken as a frontline force relatively early on in the war, their brethren continued to appear throughout this period, both supporting other Partisan forces and launching assaults of their own. The appearance of lone defiant robe-clad Astartes held a peculiar mystique – even dread – amongst the Pentarchy, with lone 'Pilgrims' reportedly appearing at will. 

Much of this can be attributed to Partisan-sympathising locals' folkmyth and propaganda. The lone swordsman-in-the-rain; wandering ronin or unmoveable holy warrior is a common trope across much of the Imperium – but that these warriors were commonly and consistently identified with flames and stoic demeanour; seeking no reward for their service... all are grimly familiar to any who served besides the Firebreak prior to the execrations worked upon their world by the greenski[...]

[...]ile such events had seeded the internal divisions that would plague the chapter – some survivors thankful for the Inheritors' rescue; whilst others lapsed into guilt for needing to be saved in the first place – the character and behaviour of the ruthless and unsentimental individual battle-brothers was seemingly unaffected. In any case, such internal conflicts, not to be resolved before the fell reports of the Outrage on Frith, were clearly distant from the minds of the ranging warriors of the Firebreak tasked with defending a world single-handedly.

[...]se, but such is by-the-by; and we turn inste[...]

[...]rdsmen were reported as cold, withdrawn, or actively dismissive of thanks from those they protected, such Pilgrims became folk heroes to many isolated settlemen[...]


Whatever the truth and origin of the warriors that fought on the Partisan side in the name of the False Primarch, the Firebreak proved a tragic lesson in the vagaries of fate. Battered and broken repeatedly, not even the staunchest Chapter could have stood against the eventual betrayal from within their own ranks.



“Because of thee, no thought, no thing//
Abides for me undesecrate//
Delight untortured by desire// 
Some things best left forgotten are.”

[//Hypnogogic audiocue+]