Index Apocrypha: Marines Mendicant

 Index Apocrypha: Marines Mendicant

An agency apart, answering to none save your conscience; trusting in those whom your intution tells you is correct. Hoʻomaʻamaʻa a lanakila will be your code. All of you; say it with me now.

[// attr. Canticle+]


Formation of the Marines Mendicant

Mendicant, derived from 'Mendax': deceptive, misleading, deceitful.  
It has a secondary meaning also. That is 'non-existent'.
[//Inquisitor Cho Sakoa, Ordo Lacunae+]

The Siege of Ul-Hiyar – and more pertinently, the events of Operation Starfall – saw the figure of the Primarch attacked. No matter that this was against the backdrop of planetary invasion; the bare facts were that the Pentarchy of Blood had attempted – and nearly succeeded – in a direct decapitation strike against the 'Primarch'.

The possibility of assassination attempts did not come as a surprise to the Partisans – indeed, the Red Fish had made strenuous efforts to keep the Primarch's presence on the planet secret for precisely this reason. Together with their allies, they had also established a huge web of security. It had not proven sufficient to ward the Partisan figurehead from attack. While Volnoscere was able to evacuate the planet unharmed, the Kapihe – his inner circle of advisors – made it clear in no uncertain terms that secrecy and reactive security were insufficient to ensure the Primarch's safety. To this end, Madu Iri-Abasza, Chapter Master of the Red Fish, proposed a pan-Partisan corps be formed to ensure the safety of the Primarch, wherever he roamed.

After these broadly agreed facts regarding the Marines Mendicant, Orthodox Imperial Intelligence descends into uncertainty and conjecture.

[//Mendicant of the Inheritors shown on left; operating in support of battleline Tactical Marine during the defence of the Delphurnean League planets. Theatre unknown. +]


Presence and composition

During the Sorrowful Years of the mid-war period, groups as large as two score Marines Mendicant, operating as distinct killteams, were tentatively or retrospectively identified in the field by Inquisitorial or Pentarchy elements. Prior to this point, Marines Mendicants were encountered operating in groups no larger than three, and more typically alone. 

[//Earliest known pict-capture of suspected Silver Stars-native Mendicant (centre); during the Hubris counter-invasion. Note non-standard four-dot designs on pauldrons and sub-Raptora Imperialis on kneepad. Possible identifying markers of Mendicant membership, or simple personal honorifics?+]

Initially taken to be honour guard of the Silver Stars pseudolegion or veteran warriors marked for particular actions or specialist duties, Marines Mendicants were seen either on sole counter-insurgency operations – in which guise they frequently came into conflict with Ordo agents – or in support of larger Partisan battlegroups, as advisors and force-multiplying specialist tacticians. It was only when related or similar devices were noted on individuals from other Partisan Chapters that a connection was made and Master Enoch ordered that an investigation be made into the group.

Despite their appearance, members of the group were revealed to be drawn from all the Partisan Chapters, with the proportions varying. Marines Mendicant with extensive or obvious Red Fish, Void BaronsArgent Heralds or Star Wardens markings and identifiers, for example, were nearly as common (a relative term for these rare agents) as those from the Silver Stars themselves, while the others were more unusual. 

All of the other Partisan Chapters were represented in at least some capacity; with more sceptical Chapters, such as the Riven Lords or Wormwood Sons; or those who declared for the Partisans later, such as the Storm Tyrants or Iron Guard, appearing comparatively less frequently. Following the sacking of Frith, a large proportion of the surviving Firebreak were sighted bearing iconography similar to that borne by the Marines Mendicant – though whether this indicated direct membership or some form of apotropaic warding is, by necessity, speculative. 

Surprisingly, perhaps, given their fanatical devotion to the figure of the 'Primarch', Inheritors made up a surprisingly small proportion of the Marines Mendicant, though later analysis suggests that this partially reflects the Chapter's later virtual absorption within the pseudolegion – in short, Inheritors marines were particularly difficult to identify within the Marines Mendicant simply because much of their Chapter had already adopted colours and markings analogous to the Silver Stars.

[//Brother-Exemplar Jovindar, Champion of the Riven Lords Second Company, during the Pakastin University evacuation – Bastion Theatre. Tentatively identified post-mortem as a Solum of the Marines Mendicant.+]


As with much associated with the Silver Stars, the intention behind and purpose of the Marines Mendicant is occluded; and the practices of its membership incoherent. Later analysis tended to focus on the Marines Mendicant as a mirror of sorts to the Ordo Astartes' Order Militant – the Vigilants – but such a comparison was largely unwarranted. Beyond scanty surface similarities – both groups specialised in clandestine operations in which agents tended to be fielded in detail – the two were markedly different organisations; if the Marines Mendicant even deserve such a label.

Membership of the Vigilants was a tour of duty; a secondment that saw them utilised in counter-Astartes combat as special assets. To become a Marine Mendicant, meanwhile, seems to have had no particular coding or reason behind it. Intercepted or captured members of the group gave contradictory reports, refused to speak, or – nonsensically, given their wearing of common badges – entirely denied knowledge of the group.

Psychic wipes of the corpses returned a similarly diverse range of responses. These commonly included incongruent or discordant mental impressions from the individuals, suggesting induced trauma, non-standard mental conditioning or dissociative identities. Others, meanwhile, read as entirely conventional, rendering an ability to draw consequential conclusions frustratingly difficult.


He gave the enemy sufficient reason to set an ambush, and had the cunning to have them place it where he desired it. Thus was our master free to walk unchallenged into the Charnel Guard's undefended camp.
[//attr. Vox Volnoscere+]

The Marines Mendicant, if such a group can meaningfully be said to have existed, seemed to be a secret society of sorts – though one in which the membership rarely interacted. Individuals tentatively identified as members varied hugely in their roles and deployment, making it difficult to understand any underpinning reason for their inclusion.

[//Pattern-standard Silver Star marine, recovered from Teo Sentimental – note forward-rotating pseudolegion charge. +]

Of course, misdirection and misinformation have long been weapons of war, and there was a sceptical group of Inquisitors who believed the Marines Mendicant to be nothing more than a gambit of the False Primarch; an intentionally cryptic and unsolvable puzzle created entirely to occupy the Analyticae and mask the Partisan's broader strategies. In short, by marking figures at random with obscurantist symbology, this group believed the Partisans hoped to induce an element of uncertainty and distraction in the Pentarchy and their allies.

The depth and complexity of the Shadow War between Inquisitorial agents on both the Partisan and Pentarchy sides of the broader conflict meant that accepting such a reductionist analysis would be potentially fatal. If true, the Orthodoxy would be wasting time chasing shadows; but if the conclusion were false, their actions would mean that the Marines Mendicant could operate unmolested and unmet.

The uncertain qualities of the Marines Mendicant proved an impossible situation for the Orthodoxy to respond to proportionally: a lose–lose situation in which either path might prove fatal.


The vast majority of reports on Marines Mendicants sightings and operations occurred during the three-year period known as the Sorrowful Years, likely owing to the much greater proportion of small-scale raids, sabotage assaults and the like rather than the full-scale warfare waged by the Pentarchy and Partisan Chapter prior to and following this fallow period. It was this period that made it clear that, whether they had begun as myth or not, their presence and danger they posed to Pentarchy's war-plans was now all but indisputable. Their aims, approach and leadership, however, remained as elusive as ever – even late into the War.

Most actions attributed to the Marines Mendicant by the Orthodoxy involved ten or fewer operatives  – and more typically between three and six – organised into small Killteams of specialist warriors. Reports suggest that these were drawn from across the Partisans. Some were clearly weighted by their parent Chapter's own operational space – Jade Talons Mendicants, for example, were largely confined to the spinwards reaches of Heliopolis, and usually fought alongside Mendicants from the Riven Lords, Marines Saturnine and Void Barons, well reflecting the fact that these Chapters were embroiled in this region  at the time. Red Fish Marines Mendicant, meanwhile, were far more prominent amongst the worlds of the Delphurnean League. 

Given the Ishimite Chapter's concern for their protectorate, this either suggests that Orthodox pressure meant membership was determined largely as a response to particular actions, and that the Marines Mendicant were drafted or inducted as the need arose, or that the mysterious 'Canticle' – the possibly mythical figure who supposedly directed the Marines Mendicant – deployed specialists familiar with particular local astrographical region. Perhaps Marines Mendicant were allowed some personal leeway in their operations? 

Such an approach was not be unprecedented in other special operational cells, though it was particularly concerning in stemming from the heretofore monolithic pseudolegion. If the Silver Stars had started the war inflexible and vulnerable, through the creation of the Marines Mendicant order, the 'Primarch' was demonstrating a frighteningly far-sighted approach to swiftly and actively adapting his forces to this weakness. The conclusion was obvious for Enoch and the Pentarchy – pressure must be applied to prevent the free movement of Mendicant forces from disseminating to the bulk of the Silver Stars the lessons they learned from allies and foes alike.

Besides the known Partisan Chapters and the False Primarch's own forces, a number of troubling examples bore Chapter heraldry from beyond the region. Whether these were isolated warriors who had gravitated to the False Primarch, or were those simply present in the region, it did not escape notice that a number bore heraldry of those Chapters that had taken the Annulus Vow – in short, it is possible that the Marines Mendicant were specifically working against the High Lords’ attempts at quarantining the region.


Markings and equipment

'Hoʻomanaʻo i kāu mea i ʻike ai i kēia lā pū kekahi'

[//Solum Palani+]

[//This plate records an unidentified Silver Star, whose speculative membership of the Marines Mendicant was based solely on the presence of the 'Stellae Argyntae' heraldic charge on his chest: reversed and silver-plated.+]

While generalities of this secretive and obscurantist group should be made with caution, certain markings were picked out repeatedly from battlefield casualties during the Sorrowful Years, when Marines Mendicant operations were believed to have been at their apex. 

[//Marine Mendicant bearing split scheme of rose and turquoise.+]

Marines Mendicant typically bore an inverted or altered form of the Silver Stars standard scheme. This might be as complete as an individual bearing halved or quartered turquoise heraldry – as in Aulani, above – or as minor as a single kneeplate incorporating white, rose and turquoise. Of course, such a loose uniform made it entirely likely that such elements might be mistakenly or erroneously taken to indicate membership of the Mendicants. The three colours hardly served to usefully identify the group, after all, particularly given the freedom seemingly granted to other sects, groups and specialisms tentatively identified within the Silver Stars. These include the KapiheOki-hāmau and the so-called 'Empty-gloved' Company.

The pesudolegionary below is suspected of being one of the Marines Mendicant; owing as much to his unusual armament as uniform details. The boltgun is reckoned to be an M33 pattern – given the apparent antiquity of the rest of the Silver Stars' equipment, this may have been salvaged from the battlefield. Alternatively, it may simply represent the False Primarch's apparent desire for his forces to acquire contemporary firearms following the high casualties suffered by the pseudolegion in the early war period.


While the spiked shoulder pauldron (top right detail) and pteruges are non-standard, such additions fall well within the expected range of artificer or personlisation allowed with the Astartes (even taking into account the Silver Stars' unusually uniform appearance). The Stellae Argentye is, admittedly, rendered in white rather than the expected silver, but it is borne reversed. The armour is otherwise curiously devoid of painted personalisation, save for the 'bismuth' device on the knee, which seems to have no broader referent within Orthodox records.

Note also the additional circular place retrofitted to the pauldron (lower right detail). Such artefacts were occasionally retrieved from battlefields, and when the reinforcement was removed, it revealed a second set of the Silver Stars' mysterious identifying symbols. Whether such markings were permanent or temporary replacements was – as with so much to do with the Marines Mendicant – a subject of much Analyticae debate.

Use of stasis grenades, as the pictured pseudolegionary carries in his hand, however, was very much identified with Marines Mendicant deployments. In fact, specialist grenades, mines and deployable devices of all sorts were heavily indicative of Mendicant action in-theatre. Pentarchy, Vigilant and Inquisitorial counter-operatives repeatedly reported the extensive use of technology ranging from commonplace stummers and screamers to null-point devices, countermancy charges, psyquits and other, still more esoteric equipment. Where the Silver Stars acquired or were manufacturing this specialist equipment remained a mystery throughout the war. It was used by a number of Inquisitors to lend credence to  radical or sensational theories of an extra-galactic or even chrono-graphing origin for the equipment; and potentially the pseudolegion itself.

Stellae Argyntae

Marines Mendicant were unusual in bearing a metallic silver version of the Silver Stars' heraldic charge – a four-pointed, forward-rotating star – on at least one portion of their armour. Usage of metallics for the charge was seemingly restricted elsewhere in the Silver Stars; who more commonly used white to demarcate silver. Inquisitorial speculation on the reasons for this were limited to the vague and dissatisfying 'for cultural and/or ritual reasons'. The silvering was seemingly not restricted to the Marine Mendicant exclusively – a number of Kapihe bore the symbol too, for example – but was borne by all but a handful of those tentatively confirmed as belonging to the group.

This symbol, which came to be known as the Stellae Argyntae, proved to be a seemingly important totem or fetish for the Marines Mendicant. Besides its specifically silver coloration, the charge was also frequently otherwise distorted: reversed; canted at an angle, or with certain arms of the star longer, shorter, or even absent. For members outside of the Silver Stars, it was frequently combined with their own heraldry.

[//Jovindar of the Riven Lords+]

Exemplar Jovindar [ref: above+] was tentatively confirmed through the reversed Stellae Argyntae device on his shield. As armament, however, it is entirely possible that it was salvaged from a fallen ally, rather than personal equipment. Note the combination of the Caputmori (skull-headed eagle symbol of the Partisan cause) in combination with the Stellae Argyntae.

[++downloading security pict.file//Defense.of.Hive.Kurrogan/Pao.Fung.PICT++]

The image above is a pict-capture reference recovered from a skirmish between the Inheritors and Death Eagles (I), during the broader Pao Fung campaign. Demonstrating the difficulty in providing certainty on the appearance and operations of the Marines Mendicant – particularly where the Inheritors are concerned – the central figure has been tentatively identified as the officer in charge of Squad Karampal. 

His armour bears none of the marks normally associated with the Marines Mendicant, but the heraldic tile shield, quartered in turquoise and rose, and bearing the legend 'XI' bears clear associations with the group. Further confusing the picture is the squad's broader use of Silver Stars pseudolegion markings – the rose bar and knee-pad symbols are not recorded as part of the Inheritors' standard markings, but are common to the Silver Stars. Does this indicate that the squad as a whole were seconded to, associated with, or part of the Marines Mendicant; or does it instead simply reflect the Inheritors' increasing drift towards emulating the pseudolegion's markings and way of making war?



The helmet of Brother Salvatore, the Angels Sanguine member of Killteam Starfall who had managed to strike at Volnoscere in combat, was incorporated into many Marines' Mendicant's individual heraldry – posited by Master Enoch to be a reminder of the group’s core goal: the physical protection of the False Primarch. It might equally have been intended as a taunt to their opponents. Numerous other theories spring up through the course of the war, and beyond. 

Perhaps the most compelling of all were the Bascaville papers, named after the infamous double agent who returned to the Orthodoxy after the Machinedeath, and from whom emerged some of the most salacious and revealing details of the Silver Stars and the being known as Volnoscere. 

[//Brother Salvatore+]

What remains of the papers hinted – albeit cryptically – that the use of the helm as an icon was not simply a token or symbol of defiance; but rather a symptom of the Silver Stars’ rich and  complex relationship with their lord and master. To bear the helm was to simultaneously attract and ward away his direct attention (for what reason this was deemed necessary or desirable was absent from the papers; though implicitly – and frustratingly – of critical importance to a full understanding); and to subsume the wearer’s personality within that of their deceased enemy. In a sense that was clearly familiar to the Silver Stars, but quite alien to the Orthodoxy, the bearer of the helm symbol ‘became’ Salvatore.

To what purpose is unclear, as alas; the documents were corrupted during a strike by the Marines Mendicant on the Orthodox high command structures on Moreaumunda. Of note, however, was the practise of detailing the underside of the helm’s forepiece with the Silver Stars’ obscure glyphs. This was universal in every Marines Mendicant body recovered – if they bore the red helm, it was marked beneath the chin, as close to the throat as possible. As an icon, it was always accompanied by a glyph immediately beneath it.


[//Paradigm: Designate – Solum Aulani+]

The declaration of abstracts such as 'loss' or 'victory' are temporary and subjective interpretations of results. Forget such definitives. The continued application of his ongoing will marks your purpose now. 
[attr.// Canticle+]

[//identCONFIRMVAL=true: Aulani+]

Post-mortem study of Tuo Aulani's mind and body was conducted on Helipolian, and the report remains one of the key pieces of evidence for the existence of a structured organisation variously termed the 'Mendicant Order of the Silver Stars,' or 'Marines Mendicant.' Along with the rest of the cell designated 'Prism-Pursuit' – a Kill Team made up seemingly of two Silver Stars, a Void Baron, one of the supposedly extinct Spacewolves, and two Riven Lords – the individual was captured during sabotage operations on the Forgeworld.

While he was to perish during interrogation, Inquisitorial operatives exprinted a number of key mnemosigns that bore similarities with other enigmatic data-screeds gathered previously from suspected members of the cult or group. If taken to be true, these indicated that the Marines Mendicant were a substantially-sized group, primarily made up of Astartes of the Silver Stars pseudolegion and allied Partisan Chapters.


From weakness, strength

Details extracted from the armour, in combination with mnemoscrubs gave unprecedented insight into the history of the group – sensational history that provided the Orthodoxy with key weapons to use against their strange foes.

The formation of the Marines Mendicant post-dated the first invasion of Ishim, and was set against grim news for the Partisan cause. The Silver Stars' battles in the early war were known to have fared badly, with casualty ratings running at nearly 1:2 against Pentarchy opponents. This can partially be attributed to their extensive use of outdated equipment. Their distinctive antiquated patterns of their armour and weaponry, even though clearly well-maintained and utilised, ran at roughly eighty per cent effectiveness when compared with the Orthodox forces' Corvus and Aquila suits and modern boltgun rounds. 

More concerning for the Partisan's operations than the Silver Stars' equipment, however, was their strategic rigidity and unimaginative tactical application. In the early war, a number of Silver Stars forces simply demonstrated fractional hesitation and indecisiveness in engaging other Astartes – a disadvantage the Flesh Eaters, Death Eagles (I) and Charnel Guard did not share. Even the other Partisans were well-versed or directly experienced in combatting traitor Astartes, which saw them in good stead when combatting their opposite numbers.

This gulf in operational effectiveness was clearly causing horrendous losses amongst the pseudolegion; losses that the 'Primarch' was unwilling to bear. The results were revealed after the first invasion of Ishim, with the creation of a corps of elite warriors formed from the veterans of that conflict – though whether their unveiling was as a direct result of the attempt on the life of Volnoscere, or the product of a process already underway prior to Operation Starfall is uncertain. 

[//Note Stellae Argyntae device on pauldron. Facing rearward, it's also borne on the right pauldron – an unusual device, but typical of the Mendicants' seemingly contrary or confounding iconograhpy.+

Full spectrum warrior

Drawing on the experience of their Red Fish hosts, along with consultation and training from the Marines Saturnine's and Void Barons' tacticae, this new corps was drawn from Silver Star and Quadrargenta veterans, trained to act in a non-standard manner to adapt to and overcome any challenge presented by Astartes opponents. As the war ground on, the Marines Mendicant absorbed and integrated lessons from both allies and enemies, quickly becoming highly effective shock-assault and small operations specialists.

Still bearing their original Chapter colours, but with a new heraldic device over a deep blue-purple pauldron, they were heralded as 'full spectrum warriors' across Partisan territory in a short-lived propaganda campaign designed to boost support and spread word of the Primarch. Scant weeks after this had begun, however, a direct order from a mysterious figure known that became known as Canticle quickly cut short any publicity on the group. 

The barred spectrum, or one combined with a lightning flash or arrow, that had been used as their temporary icon, remained in occasional use, but was superseded by the Stellae Argyntae.


Bearing the unfamiliar title of 'Solum' – seemingly shared by others in the Kill Team designated Prism-Pursuit, deployed to Helipolian Forge – Aulani is pictured alongside a Partisan sympathising techpriest; perhaps receiving intelligence or passing on orders. Bearing little more than a combat blade and boltgun, he demonstrates that while the Marines Mendicant were frequently armed with unusual or specialist equipment, they were equally at home with more familiar and reliable armament. Ease of resupply was frequently a major concern for these long-ranging cells.


The 'tau' logogram was a device commonly used by the Marines Mendicant, both inverted and erect. Aulani  bears it here on his pauldron in place of a weapon badge, and also on his chest; where it is surmounted by two mirrored glyphs of unfamiliar or obscure meaning.


The legs of his suit bear a number of similarly obscure devices; a combination of common Imperial chequering and the idiosyncraticly cryptic iconography of the Silver Stars. While by no means standard amongst the Marines Mendicant as a whole, the legs of the members of  Prism-Pursuit were all heavily decorated in distinctive and individual manners.


A holstered boltpistol, embroidered with the curving decoration common to the Carcharadons, is perhaps a piece of battlefield loot; or – equally likely – an intentional obfuscation, intended to give the impression of a turncoat traitor from within Pentarchy ranks. Note also the key relic. This was a device common to the Firebreak – suggesting that perhaps Aulani had alliances with or served alongside the devastated Chapter in some capacity. 


Chequering in a number of forms was a common decorative element used by the Partisans; the particular style shown on Aulani's pauldron usually indicating the bearer to be a veteran of the Delphurnean League campaigns – though this straightforward interpretation ought perhaps to be taken at less than face value in context. 


I reject the impulse to learn about the enemy. To understand the traitor is the first step on the road to damnation. Better to instead blinker oneself. 
I will not waste the Imperium's resources, nor imperil the souls of myself and my coterie, in seeking to grasp the wind.  It is enough to know that whatever colours they bear, wherever they stand, and whatever lies they seek to spead, every Astartes that follows the Abomination  must be destroyed.
[attr.// Inquisitor Uhoristan, Ordo Astartes+]