Index Astartes: Red Fish

Index Astartes: Red Fish

'Sword, Plough, Trowel, Quill'
[//Motto of the Red Fish+]

[//ident: Devastator squad Janahrta: Seo-jun Ranawat (centre) bears a relic las-cannon.+]


Warcry  The Marines Orcinus use a variety of warcries. Adapting to circumstance, these are tailored to the foe they are fighting, or to inspire those they fight alongside. The Chapter's motto, to which many of these cries make reference, is 'Sword, Plough, Trowel, Quill'.

Cognomen  The Chapter is more commonly known by their appellation 'Red Fish' than by their official title, the Marines Orcinus. Indeed, the official term is regarded as stuffy and old-fashioned even within the Administratum.

Founding  Third [+//001.M32/+]

Gene-Seed  Generune markers: [+/XIIIroboute_g/+]

Successor Chapters  None recorded

Chapter Master  Madu Iri-Abasza

Homeworld  Ishim, blue world of the Red Fish, capital of the Delphurnean League. A major agricultural world in the Pacificus Segmentum, Morqub Sector.

Fortress Monastery The Ring

Chapter Appearance  The Red Fish's chapter badge consists of an 'Axe-Jaw' Salmonid, with the hunchbacked silhouette typical of the spawning period of the life cycle, in white, on a field of burgundy. The Chapter's livery is halved horizontally, with the wine-red of their salmonid namesake above a bone white. 

Company affiliation is denoted by a coloured vertical stripe that runs from the top of the right pauldron to the back of the right gauntlet. Squad and Speciality designations vary in design from unit to unit, but are generally located on the right pauldron. Where present, chest decorations – formerly the Aquila; latterly the Caputmori or (more commonly) the Imperialis – are most commonly found in bone or silver.

[//Marine Mikha Levi. The arm band denotes Levi as a member of 6th Company; the glyph on his right pauldron (top inset) identifies him as a member of Devastator Squad Janarhta. The axe-jawed Salmonid of the Chapter Badge is displayed proudly atop a personal wreath honorific (lower inset). +]

Sergeants are picked out in near-codex fashion, with red helmets, but also red power packs; in theory, veteran sergeants can opt to wear a white stripe on their helmets and power packs, but there is typically little visual distinction between a 'veteran' and a normal sibling.

Owing to the long absence of the First between the Madyak Schism and the War of the Beast, many of the conventions associated with the Veteran or Command company were lost for a substantial time. During this absence, individual Marines with ten deployments occasionally marked the achievement by painting their helmets white or yellow, to denote their experience. This minor deviation was tolerated, but never became a widespread convention within the Chapter.

Other rank designations follow as per the Codex:
  • Chaplains wear their livery with black substituted for burgundy.
  • Apothecaries wear their livery with white substituted for burgundy.
  • Librarians officially wear their livery with blue substituted for burgundy, but uniform violations are common, and overlooked.
  • No official designate exists for the Haruspex; the pseudo-rank is marked on a more personal and idiosyncratic basis.
  • Weaponry is painted grey, across the entire Cousinry.
Owing to the chapter's habit to record service, a huge range of different tokens and badges were used by the Red Fish, recording campaigns, deployment markers, active drop medals and the like. Given the frequent shuffling between squads and companies, many Red Fish marines collect a broad number of different indicators. As a convention, badges and medals are worn on the backs of greaves, or power packs. Many squads maintain drop and deployment medals on back banners, or otherwise leave them in a sergeant's possession.

[//The bibelots and trinkets carried by Red Fish sergeants killed in action became much in demand on the black market; and scavenged drop-ikons and medallions were found the length and breadth of the Delphurnean League by the close of the war+]

[//First Company Veteran+]

The First company wears the original livery of the Marines Orcinus, black over silver, halved horizontally. A red band, nominal company identification, runs from the top of the right pauldron, to the back of the right gauntlet. Squad and Speciality designations vary in design from unit to unit, or are omitted entirely. If present, such devices are generally located on the right pauldron. Chest decorations, if displayed, are most commonly found in bone or silver. In another departure from the rest of the Chapter, First company weaponry is generally painted burgundy.

Rank and specialty markings otherwise follow Codex standards. As with officers and the remainder of the Chapter, uniform violations are common, and overlooked. 

The First company wears a slightly modified Chapter badge, with the sleek silhouette of the Axe-Jaw Salmonid's ocean-faring period of its life cycle. This is rendered in red on a field of black. It is not uncommon to find alternative iterations of the original chapter badge of the Marines Orcinus amongst the Veteran Company. Examples include the device styled as a death mask with an open, downturned mouth; or as a monstrous face with a gaping mouth. Colour variations are also occasionally seen in use. A typical example would depict the Chapter badge in silver on a black field.



Maximo Asperimanus Nethius was Captain of the Ultramarines 9th Company when he was entrusted with fulfilling one of the writs of succession the chapter was granted in advance of the Third Founding. A battlefield engineer and artillery officer of rare precision and focus, Nethius was a devoted student of Guilliman's vast library of writings and philosophies, with a particular focus on the aspirational ideals the Primarch had laid out in the decades before the Heresy. Central to Guilliman's Crusade-era texts was the end of war, and the expectation that Space Marines would still find purpose, to lead and to serve, in the centuries and millennia after the Emperor's great war of Unification was finally concluded.

Treachery defeated that broad vision, but Nethius grew to an old age in the Five Hunded Worlds, and lived in an echo of that idea: worlds wrought by Astartes hands, planned to the long view an Astartes could inhabit, protected by Space Marine warriors, and allowed to flourish under their mentorship. By the time Nethius landed on the pristine, blue world of Ishim, his own extensive writings – on leadership, on warfare, society, citizenship, agriculture, infrastructure, trade – filled countless tomes, and formed the bedrock on which the Marines Orcinus would be built.

Chapter History

The Marines Orcinus were devoted to the idealistic goals of their progenitors, the Ultramarines, and their Primarch. Given watch over a hubward reach of Segmentum Pacificus, and entrusted with the maintenance of ancient supply and shipping lanes connecting the heart of the Imperium to the outer reaches of Humanity's Western endeavors, the Marines Orcinus would spend centuries building an empire-in-all-but-name, mirroring the early trajectory of the Five Hundred worlds of Ultramar.

Choosing the paradise of Ishim, with its mysterious, earth-like terraformation, and mighty orbital ports for a home, the Marines Orcinus began to remodel the architecture of the Ishimi culture and society to suit the Chapter Master's vision and lofty goals – even as the ancient peoples of that world, and the planet itself, shaped the chapter in their own image.
The dominant ethnic group on Ishim's largest continent, which would come to be the seat of the Marines Orcinus' entire domain, were the Kazhari. For this people, one symbol loomed large among all others, permeating every aspect of the culture: Tsekorisayoni Lampir, the 'Axe-Jawed' Salmonid, gene-trued ancestor of a fish from Terra's past. The 'Axe-Jaw' spawned deep inland, up the biggest rivers on two of the major continents, before following the waters out to sea, where it would grow to a coursing, globe-traveling predator, sometimes half the size of a man. After many years at sea, the adults would return to the riverbeds that bore them into the world, breed and die, beginning the cycle anew.
The powerful Axe-Jaw was a keystone species – it moved across all the waters of the world, devouring all manner of creatures and plants; it fed larger predators at sea and beside the rivers; and enriched the rivers and lands with its body as it died shortly after breeding. At each step, the salmonid – whose body warped and reformed in the river lands, changing from sleek silver to a dazzling, deep plum – took and gave, fed and fed upon, like a wheel churning the stuff of life. It was a staple of the diet for the most prosperous peoples on Kazahr, and adorned many heraldries and flags by the time the Marines Orcinus arrived.

As the chapter came to live among the Ishimi – for living together, being as one, was central to Nethius' vision for a sustainable, powerful empire – the astartes became more and more a lynchpin in the planet's fates. By the time the accord, first of many, was made with asteroid palatinate, Madyak, the Marines Orcinus had become a keystone for the people of Ishim, as intended: protectors, provider, builder, and mentor. As the mighty Ring fortress was closing around Ishim's equator, and Ishimi aspirants began the trials in earnest, the traditional image of the salmonid began to appear in the insignia of marines units, and companies; it took few years, by the watch of stars, before marines were cheered as they moved through the world, in the common tongue - 'Qizil Balik!'

The Red Fish.


Notable Campaigns

The Desperation of Asha [//076.M32+]  Asha was a system home to a cluster of habitable worlds, and one far-flung dead one; around which orbited the Shrine Moon of St Sheervaad. A frozen mausoleum, built around the ruins of a star cruiser that had crashed with the oracle and healer, St Sheervaad of Gwilior, aboard. Pilgrims from all across the Segmentum traveled to the Hostel Planets, from which Ecclesiarchy vessels launched stellar barges to take those lucky enough to fly by – and for those rich enough, to land upon and visit the holy site. Most, however, would never see the Shrine Moon; not indeed ever leave Asha after arriving; having spent years or decades, and having mortgaged everything they own, to reach it. 

In 076.M32, the largest planet, Asha Meadows-Falling-Requiescent, was invaded without warning by a war host of renegade guard, led by Traitor Marines in service to one of their fell deities. Being little more than a small kingdom of workhouses, refugee camps, and ad-hoc worshipping sites, the governing chapel of the Hostel planets, Asha, called for aid. The Marines Orcinus did not yet number ten companies, had not completed The Ring, nor possess anywhere near the full complement of arms and armour that a newly-founded chapter would receive in the opening decades of its life. Heedless of this, Chapter Master Nethius marshalled two companies to arms: a rag-tag collection of former Ultramarine veterans, newly-stamped Orcinus battle-brothers, and even aspirants, bodies still struggling under the burden of physiological changes. Alongside this force, he raised five thousand fighters from the civilian levies – now decades into training and organisation – and commandeered sectorial Navy vessels enough to transport them.

Horrors had already come to pass by the time the ad-hoc fleet broke into realspace on the edge of Asha. Though any individual pilgrim might have spent some time in the Guard, or learned to defend themselves on their long journey, most were old and tired. With no organised defence in place, Asha Meadows-Falling-Requiescent had been reduced to a burned and bloodied ruin in the months before the Marines Orcinus arrived. The Renegade warhost, a nameless army of lost souls churning under a red banner, had begun moving its bulk to Asha Sins-Scraping-Atavist, the next closest world.

Nethius' vanguard raced to the planet's surface, landing in strength on the outskirts of Eyes-Unburdened-Castigate, the planet's central shrine complex. Over the following weeks, the Chapter Master organised a defence of the eastern complex, affording an evacuation route for petitioners and pilgrims who had occupied the city, and tying the enemy army close to their drop sites. Outnumbered and under-equipped, the Marines Orcinus anchored a gruelling withdrawal, giving ground in organised waves, with veteran Astartes moving in small groups from crisis point to crisis point while their levies pitted their superior organisation and drilling against the Renegades' ferocity and experience. 

[//pict-date unclear: Asha campaign Levy deployment+]

In this way, Astartes were freed to move around the battles while the levies held off their mortal counterparts, and Ishimi fighters were saved from being overwhelmed by post-human, and sometimes demonic, adversaries. On the thirty-fourth day of the conflict, the bloody Imperial holding pattern bore fruit. Sector Morqub Navy elements arrived, en masse, and in a swift action, scoured the orbiting enemy fleet. Then, at Nethius' expert instruction, it broke the horde from orbit with precision naval strikes.

Though losses were severe, and costly for a young chapter, the short war served as a proof of concept for Nethius' vision of citizens army working in unison with Space Marine units. The survivors of the Ishimi levies, fewer than twelve hundred souls, would return home as instructors and leaders of the growing planetary defense force. It would become common practice both for Orcinus aspirants to serve under mortal commands for portions of their earliest service, and for regular mixed arms deployments of mortal regiments around astartes forces.


The Madyak Schism [//246.M32-252.M32+]  Widespread Eldar pirate activity stretching between the Laanah Rifts all the way to the Heliopolis sector demands increased vigilance and activity by Imperial Navy groups and multiple chapters. Far to the West of Morqub, the Madyak system, a vast field of asteroids around a harsh white sun, was the focus for dozens of clans of miners, operating under Imperial writ for generations. Late in 248.M32 Aeldari raiders were spotted with increasing frequency in system, and by the start of the next year, had begun a consistent and horrifying series assaults on the clan-holds and mining fleets

The Morqub sector fleet dispatched a picket fleet of frigates and support craft, which quelled attacks on the mining fleets – for a time. Later that year, two Imperial frigates were scuttled after engaging with what proved to be multiple Aeldari light cruisers. Morqub Fleet command responded with the Jaram'Sizi, a Mercury-Class Battlecruiser with a long, bitter history of contact with eldar warships, and a full escort flotilla. Escalation followed. Inside of six months the first Aeldari Battleship made its presence known, razing the hydroponic support moon of No Damn Luck, along with all the civilian vessels in orbit at the time.

Chapter Master Nethius committed the heart of the Orcinus fleet to Morqub fleet command: the monumental Starjammer, the Queen of Angels. Crewed by the bulk of the first company, and accompanied by three strike cruisers, it represented nearly the whole of the chapter's veterans – not just the aging Ultramarines that had followed Nethius to his new charge, but the survivors of the brutal action on Asha, graduated from aspirant to full astartes. Requests for additional aid were answered by the strike cruiser, Boyevo'Kon, from the Inheritors Chapter, and several regiments of the 309th Boundary Result Rifles from Alwicc Liminal.
The Aeldari presence had swollen by the end of 251.M32. They were now consistently present in the ring fields closer to Madyak's baleful center, called Jamanana. Imperial intelligence concluded that Madyak had once been home to multiple large planetary bodies – long-destroyed, they were likely what now composed its stunning asteroid planes – and also that the Aeldari were looking for something amidst the spinning debris. When the Queen of Angels translated to real space, there was little consideration afforded by her Master, and the First Company's Captain, Marwa Chudasama, of simply letting them search.

The Imperial fleet, forming on the Marines Orcinus, spent two months manoeuvering for a conclusive encounter with the Aeldari, whose numbers hadn't altered their usual cagey nature. Inconclusive lance exchanges along with nets that failed to close reduced actual fighting and casualties to almost nothing. It was not until an Imperial escort happened upon an Aeldari outpost, hidden on an asteroid deep in the seering aurora of Jamanana, that the winds seemed to change. That Navy corvette was eradicated in the moments after alerting the fleet: with the result that Naval command felt confident that the fulcrum of the contest had been found.
Captain's Logs, recovered much later, told a limited slice of the action that followed. Chudasama drove the Queen of Angels down the gravity well, and onto the eldar outpost like a boot. She sought to either deny them their prize or to draw the strength of the Aeldari fleet in to defend it. As waves of torpedoes and lance strikes from the Imperial fleet began stripping the rock of the planetoid, the Aeldari slid into view, and battle. The following hours saw all the tension of the preceding weeks shatter, giving way to a furious, hull-shuddering brawl in the flat, shrieking light of Madyak's sun.

Faster, more insidiously armed, the Aeldari sacrificed much of their advantage in putting their bigger ships between the Navy and the asteroid. Sheathed in an ocean of void shields, and wearing a small moon's worth of admanatium on her frame, the Queen of Angels closed what distance remained with a dog's ardour. Two ancient and elegant Aeldari battleships, like alien reefs grown from moon glow, converged on her – to no avail. Shedding streams of witchfire and novablasts, Chudasama broke the first Void Stalker with torpedos enough to crack a planet, and then drove through its crumbling prow at full burn. The tremendous maw of the forward hangar bay overflowed with burning wraithbone as the Queen pressed through the detonating hulk and on towards the asteroid.
The other Aeldari battleship wheeled to intercept, but could not prevent the Starjammer from bringing its weapons to bear. Though many times larger than any warship, the asteroid cracked, fragmented and broke apart under the close application of the Queen of Angels' bombardment. Ploughing through a bow-wave of rock and crust, wraithbone minarets and lance barrels still slipping from its ragged jaws, Chudasama brought the Astartes warship around.

Whatever held the Aeldari to that point seemingly destroyed, the eldar ships disengaged from the torturous melee at speed, burning with usual fleetness across the sun's belly and away. Chudasama commanded the marine vessels into full pursuit, while the Navy flotilla split: half to follow, and half to secure the site of the conflict and prevent returning Aeldari vessels from harassing the remaining mining clans.

Ten hours into an engine mauling pursuit of the Aeldari fleet, the Queen of Angels and her escorts, the Orcinus Strike Cruisers Qirimidiliq, and Riverstone, disappeared from view and all sensor contact, along with the entirety of the eldar presence. The remaining Strike Cruiser, Common Blood, and the Inheritors' Boyevo'Kon, found themselves entirely alone above the limitless plane of shifting rock. Weeks of searching revealed no trace of enemy or ally.

Only fifteen members of the First Company, serving aboard the Common Blood, returned to Ishim.

Vana Tallinn Offensive [//278.M32–279.M32+]  A demi-company of marines and two regiments of Kazahri Rough Riders deploy in support of Urdeshi shock troops against a revolt on Agriworld Vana Tallinn, one of the many worlds tasked with feeding Urdesh's astonishing work force.

Subverted by a cult in service to the ruinous powers, the Tallinni Labor party's militia throws down its arms in confusion when Lt Nawang Lo-Marion, having penetrated the traitor's base of operations with a squad of assault marines from the 4th Company, cut down the militia's leader, and subsequently 'banished' the entity that emerged from the body with a belt of primed krak grenades.

A brisk engagement with minimal cost, Vana Tallinn was memorable for being the first deployment made under new Chapter Master, Wahijd Oja-Lestari, a native Ishimi, and with heraldry and insignia updated to match the chapter's cognomen: The Red Fish.

[//Araav Baqri, Recon Marine, Red Fish Second Company. KIA Ishim+]


The War Of The Beast [//544.M32–546.M32+]  As the massive ork Waaagh! erupted over the Imperium, no quarter of humanity's claims went untested. With many sibling chapters called to direct action in support of Segmentum Solar, The Red Fish (by which name they had become universally known at this time) found themselves charged with defence of not only the young Delphurnean League worlds, but of countless other Imperial holdings. Many of the tight bonds and ready friendships that existed between the Morqub sector fleet and the Ishimi were forged in this time, as Ishim once again saw itself nursing countless warships and transports in its skies. This period saw Ulto, the sister world, rise to prominence, too, as multiple forgeworlds moved workers and magi to its hives to support the war movement 0 with many never having cause to leave.

Though Ishim, perhaps owing to the fantastic array of warships that frequented its heavens for much of the conflict, went unharassed, the Red Fish found themselves extended and entrenched across multiple fronts. None were so taxing as on the Knight worlds of Keterang. All across those teeming worlds, once part of the Imperial frontier, orkoid monstrosities dueled with ancient Mechanicus armour. Leading a coalition of Knights and Imperial Guard armoured forces, the Red Fish's 8th company was killed to the last Astartes, spearheading the destruction of what was later understood to be a very small Attack Moon. 

The battle for Keternang alone consumed nearly a hundred thousand of the Ishimi Regular Army, fifty thousand Delphurnean League levies, two Macroclades from Forgeworld Hastaratrix, and nearly another company's worth of Red Fish besides the 8th. It was in the waning frame of that conflict, in a sky choked with Ork hulks, that a massive imperial warship of unrecorded design, blasting the call sign Utaratara, joined the Morqub Sector Fleet's attack.
The Utaratara had beed pulled into realspace in the gravity throes of an Attack Moon's arrival in the skies over a mostly dead world called Parsimmon, in the far west of the Segmentum Solar. As the Orks descended onto the sundered world, the survivors of the Marines Orcinus First company plotted a course for their home. Decades before, the Queen of Angels had unknowingly followed her quarry into the Webway, the hazy, indistinct paths below the Empyrean. There they dueled with the Eldar fleet for weeks, before the Queen, alone of all combatants, limped away from the fight and found herself stranded in a void with no direction or means of navigation.
By their count, the First Company spent the next four hundred years moving through the mists of the Webway, twice as long as had past in realspace; the Utaratara was the second ship they would call home after the Queen of Angels was spent in battle, a derelict warship from some era before the Great Crusade, left lingering in a pocket of nothing. Of the Eighty marines that had composed Chudasama's command, only thirty lived when they joined the battle over Keternang, and the Captain herself was no more. Their impossible journey, more wandering than war, would define much of the character and practise of the First Company in the years to come: their isolation, independence, and uncharacteristic demeanour.

Elsewhere during the war, fleet battles all across Segmentum Pacificum saw the Burgundy and Bone of Red Fish cruisers, and many from the League worlds would participate in the disastrous Proletarian Crusade; efforts closer to home were more successful, if no less costly. By the time the limping 'victory' was declared, more than half of the Chapter was dead, and perhaps two generations of fighters from the Delphurnean League worlds were gone. However, no league worlds had perished, and in conjunction with allies all over the vastness of the Segmentum Pacificus, no grand crusade was needed to reclaim humanity's hold. It would be decades before the Chapter fought again at full strength; and while only in the shadow of the war's cost to the broader species could the Red Fish's sacrifices be considered a success, victory was nevertheless apparent. 


Chapter organisation

Broadly Codex-compliant, the chapter's first Master, Maximo Asperimanus Nethius, viewed his Primarch's seminal work as a living document – for a student of Guilliman's endless writings, over so many centuries, the idea that the Ultramarines' own master could have resisted evolving and expanding on the ideas within, seemed impossible. And while he would never have accepted being able to improve on those central tenets, Nethius nevertheless believed in tailoring the Codex's lessons and concepts to the circumstances of his present, and the goals of the chapter's future. Nethius' own logs and histories made clear his distaste for dogma, and his passion for integration, synthesis, and adaptation.


Basic Codex company structures remained in place: ten companies, with roughly one hundred marines each at full strength. Four were flexible Battle Companies; four more specialised Support companies; and a further company respectively of Aspirants and Veterans. Nethius had been the de facto leader of the First Company when it disappeared during The Madyak Schism, though Captain Chudasama had been in direct command at the time. Unwilling to replace the first company, or accept its demise – a position that would prove prophetic decades later – Nethius simply held the designation open. The Second Company took the role of Command, and absorbed the few remaining survivors of the First, many of whom would go on to leadership positions within the Chapter. For two hundred years, the First Company was simply listed as 'in action' – a level of optimistic sentiment that would be amiss in many Imperial outfits, but made no stir among the Marines Orcinus.

When the First Company returned during the War of the Beast, its surviving members were ancient, and they were changed – but they were also the best, most resourceful, and dangerous marines the chapter could claim, especially following the terrible losses of the war. Having operated alone for such an incredible period of time, Chapter Master Oja-Lestari opted to re-arm them, replenish their numbers and then charge them to serve the Emperor in the way they best thought they could; whether that was on Ishim, or away. Thus was the First Company returned, but also set to roaming, tasked with bringing its fury to all corners of the Segmentum Pacific – but now always remaining in contact, and willing to serve at the chapter's requirement.

The Red Fish prized flexibility and versatility in equal measure. Few if any marines would spend their service with one company, or even one squad. Over a long enough period of service, any individual Red Fish could expect to serve with a bolter in their hand, but also see time at the vanguard, or working in support as a Devastator, or pilot. Take a holopict, and the Chapter would appear fully codex compliant – and was. Beneath the insignia, however, the personnel of most companies and squads changed frequently when not on campaign.

This was true for all companies, at least, but the First. From their return onwards, the First company was not composed simply of veterans, but rather those marines who temperaments were better suited to the First's modus operandi – killing. Neither empire builders not soothsayers, the First were warriors and killers; those who were more bellicose, colder, or crueller – less conflicted by 'finer human feelings' – than their siblings. Such soldiers were more suited to the void, so to the void they would go – part of the coursing predator ships of the Red Fish's wandering fleet.


Chapter recruitment

The peoples of Ishim and the Delphurnean League are so intertwined with Astartes leadership that, with few exceptions, all are raised from birth with the understanding that they will, at the least, serve on the field besides Astartes. The prospect of elevation to a transhuman warrior of the Qizil Balik is a topic that stretches the vast distance between folklore and politics, touching each human struggle in between – but the League worlds are home to tens of billions of people; while the Chapter is comprised of one thousand soldiers, each of whom may live for hundreds and hundreds of years. The opportunities are extremely limited.
[//Citizen-soldiers from the 7th Sheervaad Ashakari supporting Red Fish operations on [REDACTED]+]
Cognisant of seeing the process co-opted by extra-state groups and organisations, for the prestige and honour having one's family give rise to a Space Marine, the chapter handles the vast majority of its scouting through the Scholam system, and through the various camps all Delphurnean children are mandated to exhaustive programmes, starting as young as seven or eight years of age. These lay the groundwork of survival, fitness, and manual know-how that citizens are expected to pursue; lessons which are not intrinsic to the curricula of the Imperium's scholam.

This puts a great deal of information in the hands of the Chapter, which prizes character and cunning above all other traits for prospective aspirants. While the testing a hopeful prospect goes through is brutal – indeed deadly, and demanding certain physical gifts for participation – the chapter views transhuman elevation as the gift of strength and endurance it can provide to those worthy of using them in service. As the Tenth Company itself teaches: 'The body can be built, skills taught, theoreticals posed, and practicals worked through – but character, temperament, disposition, and empathy, are the hardest qualities to forge in a young marine.' Such qualities are also regarded as the most impactful in the earliest years, so the Red Fish seek them out.

The Trials changed from place to place inside the league worlds, and from task to task, with recruits continually being presented with situations to which to adjust, and a competing team of recruits with whom to meet. Unlike the trials of some chapters, while deaths did occur, it was not so common a result as to define the process. For those who do not succeed in achieving consideration for service in the Astartes, a life of service still awaits those deemed to be the best prospective soldiers; be that a career in the Regular Army, or simply levy service.

Those who made the cut, and who are ultimately chosen for implantation, can expect many years of service beside those with whom they underwent the trials. Red Fish aspirants train and fight with citizen levies for long periods – learning not simply how to fight, but how to defer, how to support, to apply their tremendous and growing gifts, and how to work in concert with mortal soldiers. While many citizens will never fight beside an Astartes of the Red Fish, all Red Fish have shared dozens of battlefields with mortal warriors of the Imperium, giving them rare insight into how normal humans make and react to war, and the limits of sacrifice and cost that the regular army of humanity is willing to bear.

Many forces and experiences compose the forge from which a warrior of the Adeptus Astartes is made – but growing to power in and among mortal citizens of the Imperium, many of whom share a language and a nation with the marine, gives a context to their mission and capacity that much informs the demeanour and spirit, the champion heart, of the Red Fish.



Chapter combat doctrine

The Red Fish prize no thing in war as they do versatility. Nominally adapting a combined arms approach to combat, the only constant in the chapter's approach to battle is that it changes to suit not just the adversary or the field, but the moment. Communication in battle is paramount – marines endlessly relay positions and conditions to their officers who synthesise the stakes and change tack in a relentless pursuit of advantage – and ultimately victory. Trained endlessly on theory, on formation, on how to react to circumstance and situation, the Red Fish strive for a fluidity to assault and defence that, when fully realized, identifies that action or reaction which their opponents cannot address, and then offers that to them. They fight without pride, retreating and advancing with equal confidence as demanded by the moment, endeavouring to remain composed and mindful even as their bolters thunder.

Like their progenitors, the Ultramarines, they are generalists; both as a Chapter, and as individual soldiers. While one might serve in the cockpit of Xiphon for some time, the same marine could comfortably land that fighter in an enemy bay, pick up a boarding shield and las-cutter, breach the bulkhead to the interior, and then fairly acquit themselves battling to the bridge. Following this, the marine would be expected to be capable of crewing a station of that ship were it to be captured – and to do so while moving and fighting with any other Red Fish; be that fellow squad members, strangers from different companies; all supported by, or in support of, mortal soldiers.

This level of facility comes with a cost; not merely in the broad sense that it is difficult for a generalist to overcome a specialist if circumstance pits them against one another on the specialist's terms. Over time, the demands of recruitment play out in the body of the force. Not every Red Fish is the biggest, fiercest, or most imposing warrior; not every child who took easily to selflessness and adaptation proved to be the fastest, or the toughest, later in life. While the differences might prove impossible for a mortal warrior to spot or take advantage of, there are challenges in the galaxy against which a marine might be measured, where simply being very good at everything might not be enough to overcome. The Chapter philosophy insists, and is often proven correct, that versatility, synergy, coalition, and heart will overcome what the galaxy demands of the Red Fish marine – but there are foes of terrifying quality that pit themselves against the Imperium, and it is possible for even the Astartes to be found wanting. 
In the whisper-thin lines of survival and death offered in the inter-Astartes warfare of the War of the False Primarch, such an edge is everything.

These tenets are not embraced by the Red Fish's First Company. Direct, and without remorse, the First Company are paramount void fighters; adept both in crewing their overlarge predator fleet, and in the claustrophobic grinding of ship to ship combat. The First stalks its prey, waits for moments of weakness or confusion, and then kills it.


Chapter Beliefs

The Red Fish are fiercely loyal to the Imperium, the Emperor, and their Primarch – and if pressed, likely in that order. The goal of a unified, uplifted humanity sits at the centre of the Chapter's ideals; purpose; and struggle, and all things are taken in relation to that goal. This brings them into conflict with much of the Imperial machine, from time to time. The Ecclesiarchy, in particular, is not quiet about how little space they are afforded on League soil, compared to what they assume to be their right. No faith is prevented the people of the League, but neither are any of them endorsed or afforded sponsorship from afar. In that context, many religions exist on Ishim and the league worlds, but few thrive. It is a society that seeks to balance the needs of the heart, with the needs of the mind, with varying degrees of success – for some seek study, others seek mysticism. Others still find purpose through labour, or art; and all through service. The Red Fish's chapter cult itself does not deny the Emperor's Divinity, but rather accepts it, as a fact. It is significant, but not unanswerably mysterious. The universe, the eddies of possibility, the paths that one might take – those are the stuff of fascination for the Ishimi and their protectors.

The area of greatest departure from the Codex, and indeed from Nethius' own designs, would take many centuries to pervade the chapter: Divination. While, strictly speaking, Ishim is a world that embraced the Imperial Creed, its implementation was not as brutally enforced as with other populations returned to humanity from the Age of Darkness. Perhaps it was how much of the interest in Ishim came to focus on its orbital facilities, and the role they could play in facilitating exploration and war - perhaps it was simply the stubborn nature of the Ishimi, but the Creed never overwrote the habits of people.

All manner of prognostication is interwoven with Ishimi society, and the Delphurnean League at large, though few regions know those practices so commonly or intensely as on Kazahr, Ishim's largest continent, and seat of the global capital, Ul-Hiyar. Augury is a trusted and respected profession, and even in the coastal cities that demonstrate the greatest orthodox Imperial influence, ichthyomancy pervades high society and rural communes, and tarot decks are considerably more common than any version of the Lectitio Divinatus.

[//Rayed Temajuon, Sixth Company Haruspex; pictured performing an icthyomantic rite prior to the Siege of Ul-Hiyar+]

Among the warriors of the Red Fish, haruspicy – the reading of portents and omens through the inspection of entrails – holds particular favour. No company is without a dedicated Haruspex, and the most fortunate can claim many. Common Astartes of varying ranks, Haruspeces walk a path that stays close to, but rarely parallels, the service of their siblings. The most storied units are judged by the reputations of their seers, and guided to victory by their insights. 

For a chapter as invested in the observation and consideration of phenomena besides that which the naked eye is drawn to, it should be not surprise that the Red Fish's Librarium, enclave of a space marine chapter's psychic might, plays an outsized role in the Chapter's operations, and organization. The Savaghelyer (an archaic term akin to 'Witnesses') refers to the institution within the chapter that selects and trains prospective Librarians, the vast physical record keeping apparatus that constitutes the Chapter's memory, and a council of seers who inform on decisions made by the Chapter Master, the planet Ishim, and the Delphurnean League, via its seats, independent of the rest of the Chapter, on the Senate.
'No true psychic phenomena has been reported in conjunction with the practices of the Haruspex, but all of those are sourced from Savaghelyar, the Red Fish's own Librarium – a situation that aroused some small complaint from the Ordo Astartes, though never sufficiently to warrant an open investigation beyond V* sƒ0ough never en <to push investig ‚ past²chapter±bje%6Ts and assurances. WhatT!:8verisimilitude -Preading… e58 lean heavily oúe guidYNHa)ˆ draw ôthem,óbattle, out. *'[//SCRAPSHUUTNERRORABORT+]

[//Partial pagerecovery – Ghot Hieronym; Notes+]

Warrior, Builder, Seer

Possessed of considerable influence and authority, the Savaghelyer takes seriously their role of advisors; both out of respect for the systems they inform, and the structures of command that underpin them. The observance of their limitations is another key consideration – divination is not a science. Indeed, meditations and treaties upon the nature of divination itself comprise half the works authored by the Red Fish's Librarium, and is a matter of no small interest to the many scholars and ecclesiasts of Segmentum Pacificus. After all, the making of war, and making society bend to its reflections, is a delicate task for considerate minds.


Even so, the warp-fuelled might of the Savaghelyer's sight is relied upon for many important decisions, chief amongst them the selection of the Chapter's leadership. In a move that most Astartes might mistake for madness, when Chapter Master Maximo Asperimanus Nethius was nearing his five hundredth year of service, he stepped down from his position as leader. Citing the demands of (and his focus on) the growing League, his need to train successors to hundreds of posts, and his philosophical investment in the idea that war might some day have an end, he abdicated the mantle, accepted a commendation as a Lieutenant in the 9th Company, and took a permanent seat in the League Senate. 

Nethius gathered all the Company commanders, the Chaplainry, mortal delegates from the League Senate, and put them in conference with the Librarium's most powerful augurs. There he told them their task was to decide what sort of leader the chapter would next need, and then to find that soul. To facilitate consideration, he offered a framework he had borrowed and adapted from writings about The Emperor himself – an archetypal triumvirate of leadership styles, whose individual aptitudes would steward the Chapter going forward.

Nethius himself, he said, was a Builder. It was his nature to consolidate, to construct, to make what was needed. The counterparts would be the Warrior – the conquering arm wielding the League at large as a weapon, who nature was to destroy or defend, to act – and the Seer; a visionary whose nature was to plan, to predict, to identify what needs would arise. Circumstance would decide their ascendancy, and the time of their replacement. Builder, Warrior, Seer. It was intended as a rubric to aid in the decision making process, but over time became an important and lasting ideal in Red Fish chapter leadership, just as the Selection Council – whose membership grew to include representatives from various Forge Worlds and the occasional officers of the Imperial Navy – would from time to time be reconvened in concept (if not membership) in order to consider the future.

It was deemed that a Builder would succeed Nethius, and Wahijd Oja-Lestari, a Veteran-Sergeant of the 5th Company, Ishimi-born, and a highly respected void-captain, was chosen for the role. Oja-Lestari would serve with distinction for more than a hundred years, and then step down following the ravages of the War of the Beast, to focus on rebuilding the League Worlds - abdication was the standard that was set for Chapter Masters of the Red Fish, and the majority meet that expectation, and usually of their own accord.


Disposition during the War of the False Primarch

The Red Fish were in the fortunate position of being at near full-strength at the outset of the conflict, with the Delphurnean League enjoying a period of stability and growth under their protectors. With the scars of the War of the Beast receding or healed, the Chapter's popularity with the worlds under their protection – and by their regional Astartes allies – were high. Their high political standing in the region made them an invaluable tool for Volnoscere in the early to mid years of the war. 

It was this powerbase that fatefully led Volnoscere to seek an audience with Chapter Master Madu Iri-Abasza on Ishim; leading in turn to the Siege of Ul-Hiyar, Operation Starfall, and the brief ceding of the planet to the Death Eagles as the Chapter reluctantly staged a fighting retreat to spare their population from the horrors unleashed so unexpectedly upon them. 

Warzone: Ishim – the Siege of Ul-Hiyar

Supported by the sector fleet under the command of Leong-Cassar, a huge proportion of the Pentarchy  forces – the Flesh Eaters, Charnel Guard and Death Eagles (I) carried out what was intended to be a killing strike on Ishim; the aim being to demonstrate the folly of the Red Fish in following the False Primarch, and in so doing, to break the Delphurnean League resistance. Long-laid treachery saw the orbital fortress, The Ring, suffer a continent-sized collapse – leaving a huge facing of the planet open to attack by the Death Eagles force. Under cover of Pentarchy and Orthodox Navy ships, Legio Validus landed titans on the northern portion of Kazahr. Here at the foot of the northernmost mountain range sat Ul-Hiyar, capital of Ishim and the Delphurnean League, and lately host to the returned Primarch, Volnoscere. 

As the war raged on, casualties on both sides began to mount. Over the next few days, word of greater than expected resistance elsewhere in the Delphurnean League worlds – along with requests for aid from  the Extinction Feets assaulting the Delphurnean League – reduced the Pentarchy's appetite for control of Ishim. It was clear the League could not practically be beheaded. Some four days after landfall, Velghor of the Flesh Eaters reluctantly withdrew, leading his and the Charnel Guard forces to the galactic north, there to stymie the sudden appearance of what appeared to be a Legion-sized force of Silver Stars. 

Ordering the remaining forces to press on, the Death Eagles (I), Legio Validus and their Guard support continued the grinding war. Badly-equipped to deal with the titans of Legio Validus, the Red Fish and Ishimi PDF were forced back to the walls of Ul-Hiyar over the course of the next month. It was at this point that Volnoscere quit the city, making his escape thanks to the pre-coordinated efforts of Naval fleet elements loyal to Ishim – led by Admiral Yevzhek – in providing cover to orbit and out of system.


With the withdrawal of the Charnel Guard and Flesh Eaters; and with their expected Extinction Fleet support apparently indefinitely delayed, the attacking fleet began to falter. Flexible as their namesake, the Red Fish paused their evacuation of the Ishimi populace – a long-prepared failsafe plan – and returned in fury scant weeks later, headed by their First Company. With the support of a substantial force of both the Silver Stars, Marines Saturnine and elements of the Argent Heralds, the Red Fish counter-invaded, eager to reclaim Ul-Hiyar and re-establish their hold of the planet.

Over the course of a week or so ugly fighting, a sizable part of which was spent evacuating Legio Validus titans, the Death Eagles were driven off. In turn, Yevzhek secured the orbital space, and the recovery of the damaged Ring enabled the Ishimi to control their own airspace again. 

It was success, but of the most blighted kind. Retributive strikes, titan advances, and the general horror of war, left Kazahr blighted, and astonishing damage done to the biosphere. Billion and billions had perished in the orbital attacks against the polar hives, and detritus of the boiling oceans choked the sky.


After the Siege

In the wake of the Siege of Ul-Hiyar, the Red Fish sent out calls for assistance to all their allies in the sector. This call – or more precisely, the cause for it – stirred the infamous Wormwood Sons into action. With the evacuation part-complete, the Red Fish made use of their famed adaptability in diverting the evacuation craft to nearby worlds in the League, calling up civilian soldiers, and attempting to make sense of what had been a largely unexpected strike from the Orthodox Imperium – why had the return of a Primarch not been heralded with jubilation?

With their homeworld reclaimed and rebuilding, the Red Fish spent the remainder of the early stages of the war acting as mobile support; moving from planet to planet in support of League allies, fighting off Orthodox probes and granting precious time for pressured engineers and builders to re-establish fortifications and sorely-needed medical camps for the billions of refugees and partisan fighters displaced by the war. 

The Chapter's example in turning defeat back on itself and reclaiming the anchor world prevented retreats across the Delphurnean League from becoming routs. In the months following the the reclamation of Ishim, the frequent presence of Red Fish details amongst populations of the region saw support for the Primarch buoyed further. The Inquisition attributed the Chapter's influence as amongst the most corrosive to Orthodox support; leading to numerous Vigilant Killteams being deployed. On worlds where the Red Fish trod, support for the Partisans – and the Primarch – was swelled.

Such strength was necessary; and doubly so after the first invasion of Ishim. As the Pentarchy attacked the broader Delphurnean League, the Red Fish found themselves conflicted. Honour-bound to the region, the Savaghelyer warned that the Chapter's Cousinry risked become too heavily diluted, spread as they were across dozens of fortifications and holdings. As rumours of plans for a second invasion of Ishim mounted, the Chapter Master reluctantly conceded that – temporarily at least – it would fall to the Red Fish's long-standing allies the Inheritors, and to the nebulous Silver Stars, to hold the line while his forces gathered on Ishim in advance of the expected assault.

As they sought to find an explanation of the larger picture, the conflicts befalling the InheritorsRiven Lords and other Partisans became clear. The Red Fish offered the Delphurnean League worlds as a place to organise and recuperate; even offering up the population of the worlds to be selected as Aspirants by their allies – a decision that would later prove fateful. From this point on, the League worlds would form a bloc in Morqub from which Volnoscere's offensive pushes could be supported or launched.


Despite his duties to the League, however, Iri-Abasza was nevertheless determined that the Red Fish would enact some measure of vengeance against the attackers; and as the Partisans turned the tide in the middle stages of the war, the Chapter Master was proud to be able to send his forces abroad once more.


Demi-companies of Red Fish were sighted deep within Orthodox territory by the later stages of the war, making good on the gains of their allies, and bringing a vital sense of hope, order and restraint to the worlds of the Heliopolis sector. As they were exemplars in Morqub, so such strikeforces frequently became de facto ambassadors for the Partisan cause. Indeed, it was the staunch and faithful reputation of the Red Fish that would draw many dozens of worlds to the Primarch's cause. The outrage and traumas of nearly losing their home and protectorate, however, rankled.

Throughout the war, the Red Fish retained their appearance of being dutiful, stern opponents to the Orthodoxy, and ready allies to the Partisan cause, long after they might have recanted. Indeed, from the earliest days, the Marines Orcinus were counted amongst the most dedicated to the Partisan cause; champions of the Silver Stars and the New Imperium. 

That their charges suffered so heavily in the opening stages of the war, however, was a cause of great grief and soul-searching within the Chapter. It is testament to the strength of the concept that the League withstood the initial invasion of the early war. Bowed but unbroken by the inimitable might of the Pentarchy and the more existential threat of the Extinction Armada, Ishim's survival and reclamation proved the measure of their first Master's wisdom and far-sightedness. Throughout the war, the worlds and peoples of the Delphurnean League likewise demonstrated the resilience of the human spirit; and the strength offered by the mutual support exemplified by their battle-worn protectors, the Red Fish.

Many of its worlds suffered horrendously as key systems repeatedly changed hands from Partisan to Orthodox control, becoming war-ravaged wastelands peopled by determined guerilla resistance fighters. It is a fitting testament to the enduring legacy of this sorely-lost Chapter that the League held until the return of the Pentarchy to Ishim; in the crushing final extinction of the planet and its noble defenders in the dying stages of the war.


'Do we lament the passing of traitors? Nay. Public sorrow is an indulgence unenjoyed by the God-Emperor; and thus such events must be borne in emulation of his example. Nevertheless, while the Great Bell of Lost Souls tolled not their loss, it remains a fact that – as for those lost amongst our Pentarchy – He-On-His-Throne doubtless shed his own, very private, tears for the loss of such paragons.'
[//High Lord Umbwald Oreangelo, Chancellor of the Estate Imperium+]