Index Astartes: Marines Saturnine

 Index Astartes: Marines Saturnine


'Long have we known we would die at Pacificus. We knew this long before the vaunted High Lords rallied their armies, long before the Primarch returned. We have always known our Doomsday, Brother, so what makes you think you can stop us before then?'
[//Brother Nam-Lugal+]



Outwardly a fierce, independent and prideful Chapter, the Marines Saturnine harboured more than their fair share of damning secrets. Drawing both spiritual succour and strategic advantage from their unusual Oracular Order, the guidance and foreknowledge it provided them made for an utterly fearless and fatalistic brotherhood. Their iron-hard beliefs in the prognostications of the Oracular Order, however, would ultimately prove a double-edged sword as the Chapter's long-predicted demise drew near.

The Marines Saturnine became firmly rooted in Partisan ideology early in the war, forming a staunch and reliable stanchion for the followers of the Silver Star. Despite this, their martial presence was shadowy and unclear to the Orthodoxy until the mid-war period, owing to the Marines Saturnine's early arrival to the  region, and their deliberately cagey deployment.

That the Marines Saturnine bore a sincere belief in a pre-ordained fate to fight and die in the region is clear; but whether that sincerity extended to their belief in the figure of the 'Primarch' himself is more doubtful. 

'Not by our hidden thoughts and intentions, but by our deeds are we adjudged.'

[//attr. Kapihe Riverhead, Silver Stars+]


Warcry  'For the Aegis, the Oracle and the Lamassu!'

Cognomen  Dirge-dwellers; Saturn's Sons; Soothsayers

Founding  Second [+//021.M31/]

Gene-Seed  [+/XIIIroboute_g/+] 

Successor Chapters  [//None recognised+]

Chapter Master  Enlil-Anu [//epithetval=TRUE: 'The Aegis'//]

[//Enlil-Anu the Aegis, directing fire during the Retreat from Ishim+]

Homeworld  During the War of the False Primarch, the Marines Saturnine used the worlds of the Tannbach Cluster as their base of operations. Prior to this, they were predominantly a fleet-based Chapter. 

Located spin- and rimwards of Pythinia Sub, itself at the spinwards reaches of Sector Heliopolis, the Tannbach-Cluster was a coalition of integrated systems headed by the Armoury world Tannbach-Principal and its subsidiaries; the Agriworlds, Civilised worlds and minor Forgeworlds that fed the cluster and traded with nearby regions. In particular, the cluster provided equipment and materiel to the Primary Forgeworld Neo Jove, and the Caldras system. 

[//ident: Tannbach-Principal| tithegrade=Solutio Particular+]

Fortress Monastery  Operational headquarters upon the Ancient Tiamat Class Destroyer Resolute-in-the-Face-of-Certain-Demise.

Appearance  The Chapter symbol is an hourglass, presented upright and completely filled with sand. At first sight, the alabaster of the Chapter's heraldry bears all the hallmarks of unpainted ceramite. Likewise, trim is rendered to resemble bare adamantium – or, depending on the hue, may indeed be untreated. The livery of the Marines Saturnine thus pointedly reflects their nihilistic outlook; signifying their belief that their time serving the Imperium is fleeting. To the Marines Saturnine, to decorate oneself with gaudy colours is unnecessary and ostentatious. 

The Marines Saturnine deviate extensively from Codex markings, instead using sexagesimal glyphs to denote the Sataba (their equivalent to Company) to which the Marine belongs; and entirely disregard squad insignia. 

[//Brother Sin-Magir's power armour is extensively chipped, discoloured and marred and chipping. Like many amongst the Chapter, he places little stock in maintaining the scheme; as long as the armour itself functioned optimally+]

Noted to be alarmingly well-equipped by the Officio Analyticae, they boasted a higher quality and variety of equipment than many of their Partisan peers. The small yet brutally powerful ‘Sparabara’ Stormbolters and the curved chain ‘Akinaka’ were but two weapons almost entirely unique to the Marines Saturnine, and proved to be just the tip of the iceberg. Whether they had a private sponsor high in the Imperium, or had curried favour with a extra-sectorial Forgeworld is impossible to say. 

Most notable of their substantial quantity of esoteric items from the Imperium's glorious past is the quantity of Saturnine-pattern Tactical Dreadnought armour. This ancient mark of armour is almost as old as the Imperium, and yet the Marines Saturnine fielded dozens of these relics from a bygone era in the actions of the War of the False Primarch. Similarly, the profusion and variety of plasma weaponry in their armament further indicates influence in high places. 

+[mood:concern]The Marines Saturnine repeatedly demonstrate a propensity to utilise – and overcharge – plasmatic weapon-forms, despite the inherent dangers associated with provoking their notoriously volatile machine-spirits. It is as though their supposed foreknowledge of their deaths has removed any concern for mandated usage...+
[//Mago-Secondary Gill, Neo-Jovian Orthodox Tacticae liaison+]


In terms of battlefield recognition, the Marines Saturnine often supplement their armour with additional ablative armour in the form of armoured kilts, sashes or more rarely, full gambesons of Adamantium lamellar scale or chainmail. This additional armour is designed to further improve the Astartes’ durability, without compromising their movement, harkening back to the ancient legends of the long-lost Kataphractoii of Old Terra.

Composition: The Marines Saturnine do not adhere to the Codex Astartes as strictly as their progenitors, instead preferring to adopt Tactical squad-equivalent groupings from likeminded individuals prior to deployment, regardless of the Sataba from which the individuals originate. Objectively speaking, this would seem to present numerous logistical difficulties, but the Marines Saturnine are somehow able to cope with little, if any, detriment to overall efficiency. Indeed, providing the squads are still broadly equipped to maintain their purpose within their commander's overall strategy, it is actively encouraged as part of the Chapter's culture. Should their goals and ideologies align, it is not uncommon to see Devastator and Assault Marines intermingling within Tactical squads, providing the Marines Saturnine with the ability to deploy some of the most tactically flexible – if relatively undisciplined – squads available to the Partisan bloc.

The only exception to this organisational scheme is the Chapter's 1st Sataba, the Immortals.  Each warrior of the 1st Sataba is, where possible, hand-selected by the Chapter Master at his inauguration. Tradition dictates that those selected for the Immortals must forgo their previous identities for the duration of their tenure in the 1st Sataba, instead adopting the identity of a now-vacated position. In this way, the Immortals are seemingly just that; Immortal. There is no distinction between any that came before them, and any that will come after. Should an Immortal be replaced with the inauguration of a new Chapter Master, they will simply return to whatever position they held prior to their selection. 

It is a great honour to be chosen for the Immortals, and invariably the Chapter Master will select the Battle Brothers with whom he has a personal connection, as well as those whose martial style matches his own. It is therefore unsurprising to see rapid changes in how they operate between Chapter Masters. A particularly aggressive Chapter Master may have a tendency to choose equally aggressive marines for his Immortals, leading to the 1st Sataba being largely composed of close-quarters specialists. Equally, a Chapter Master who prefers ranged warfare may affect the Immortals in a similar way. The current Chapter Master of the Marines Saturnine, Enlil-Anu the Aegis, desires durability over all else, and as such the current Immortals have a tendency to be seen in Terminator armour, and equipped with great shields of unfamiliar origin.

The Marines Saturnine also differ from other chapters in the unusual absence of a Psychic choir of Librarians. This is not due to intolerance, but rather a unique quirk within the chapter’s composition. In truth, the Marines Saturnine have their own Psychic choir that fulfils a similar role the Librarius would. This Oracular Order are limited in their battlefield capability, being non-astartes, yet excel in other areas, and are integral to the chapter’s culture and initiation of new Astartes. To have merely human Psykers fulfilling such a vital role within a chapter of Astartes would be cause for revulsion and investigation should the extent of their influence be revealed, as and such, much of the work they do for the Marines Saturnine is done behind closed doors. It has been noticed however, that in many dealings with the Astartes of the Marines Saturnine, a member of the Oracular Order has always been present, and some of the more diligent members of the Ordo Astartes have begun investigations into who truly is in charge of who.


Origins and beliefs

Malignancies of the form must be excised lest they corrupt the body. Deviancies of thought must likewise be corrected lest it corrupts the soul.

[//Arch-Cardinal Verashyon of the Scrutoria+]

[//Boarding action; Fourth Sataba+]

The Marines Saturnine would likely have been considered an exemplary founding, were it not for their morbid predisposition towards melancholy, and a fascination with death that bordered on the heretical. Besides a minor rejection of their Omophagea, the Chapter bore notably stable geneseed – a legacy of their progenitors, the Ultramarines. Despite this purity, the Ordo Astartes repeatedly reported that the Chapter's brethren were plagued with 'unusual predispositions and quirks' that ran counter to the stability of their seed. Indeed, so marked and immediate were these tendencies that the Chapter's intended title – the 'Marines Equites' – was never formally enshrined, the sobriquet 'Saturnine' being adopted by their First Chapter Master; perhaps part in jest, part in defiance. Chapter tradition has it that the altered nomenclature merely demonstrates the unalterable vicissitudes of fate; and that their 'true name' was ever pre-ordained.

Perhaps most striking and concerning for their battlefield efficacity was the brethren's tendency to struggle with control over their emotions. Post-implantation, nearly all Marines Saturnine become predisposed to  uncontrollable melancholy and pessimism. The famous Inquisitor Kollo attributed this trait to the peculiarities of their initiation rituals and the overall culture of the chapter, though noted that their inability to control their emotions speaks of some unforeseen defect with their Catalepsean Node. His hypothesis was never tested; the Chapter rejecting the Magi Biologis and Analyticae's approaches. 

At first, the Chapter attempted to amend the perceived imbalance of humours through the Chaplaincy and ritual; but later adopted it as part of their genetic heritage, building it into the Chapter's fatalistic belief system. Regular philosophical discourse was encouraged, whilst their Reclusiarch kept an ever-watchful eye on the mental state of those under his charge. Through such practices, individual brethren of the Marines Saturnine were able to leaven the Chapter's morose predispositions by means of compensatory bravado and pride, or else through adoption of a nihilistic and cruel attitude to others. Many swung violently and unexpectedly between these poles.


++inload: sourceref=trialsubj.orion {sub.Redactionist evidence prosec.//]

Learned reader, I invite your consideration of beliefs most peculiar and diverting of the 'Marines Saturnine'; an Astartes Chapter that I was honoured enough to accompany during their travails from my home on Ghest's World in Segmentum Tempestus en route to the mysterious west: Pacificus – a region I never dreamed of reaching.  Such biographical notes are by-the-by, and given only to elucidate and highlight the sheer delight I enjoyed on hearing I was to be part of a great voyage to vistas beyond. A true childhood dream! How I imagine even now how my descendants will thrill at the thought that their grandfather Orion once sailed the stars alongside the Angels; how will they picture the [...]

[...]teaches that the Brotherhood is held aloft by three pillars: the Aegis, the Oracle, and the Lamassu. Each represents an integral aspect of their fatalistic Chapter Cult, and between them they shape the future of this most pessimistic Chapter. Whilst the Aegis of the Marines Saturnine is ostensibly considered the de facto ‘leader,’ it strikes me that it would be more accurate to describe the leadership of the chapter to be split between the three pillars. And whilst the Aegis will always have the final say in matters involving the Marines Saturnine proper, the decision will almost always be informed by the advice given by the Oracle and the Lamassu.

[...]Upon ascension, each Chapter Master is given the honorific title 'Aegis', 'Bulwark', 'Wall' or other similar epithets, as they become the embodiment of resistance to an ignominious end for the [...] 

[...]recent Master, Enlil-Anu, has taken this term most literally, as he strives to shield his Chapter from the inevitable and fast-approaching [...]rines Saturnine is said to be selected not only for his exemplary skills, leadership and tactical acumen, but also the manner of his death. A worthy death after a long service to the Marines Saturnine is always favoured, and it is due to this that the pedigree and lineage of former Chapter Masters is always exemplary – as the Chapter's Histories in their excellent Librarium, to which I was surprised to be offered admittance, attest. [...]the warrior who will lead the Chapter for a hundred years, than the warrior who falls in battle mere months after taking the mantle. With Chapter death perceived to be a certainty for the Marines Saturnine, every decision the Aegis makes could shape their limited future, and the legacy that they leave behind. Invariably, the Aegis does not simply bear the weight of their own deaths in their mind, but also those of every Astartes under their command. But they do not bear this weight alone. 

At his side stands the High Oracle, and the second pillar of the Marines Saturnine. She leads the enigmatic Oracular Order, and helps guide the Marines Satur[...] [SPEC.][As head o]f the Oracular Order, she is responsible for conducting the Ordeal (of which I have been told naught but rumours by the serfs, for none of the Brethren will speak of it, open though they have otherwise been with me) for new initiates, advising the Aegis on when and where is best to wage war, as well as liaise and assist with giving spiritual aid to those Marines whose end is fast-approaching. Her gentle touch to the chest of an Astartes on the eve of their pre-ordained death is often, I am told, as resolving as the fiery rhetoric of the chapter's Chaplai[...]

[...] gh Oracle is also responsible for the maintenance of the Oracular Order. The Astartes of the Marines Saturnine coexist with, but do not meddle with, the Oracular Order, so it often comes down to the High Oracle to ensure that there is no corruption within the ranks of her prognosticators. Such is her standing within the Chapter, that I have witnessed her speak on the Chapter's behalf, in times where the Aegis is otherwise indisposed. As such, it strikes me that the High Oracle must be counted amongst the most influential figures in the Imperium, for an entire Chapter stands at her beck and call, should her needs require it. 

[...]rtunately for the continued existence of the Oracular Order, none of the previous High Oracles have been so blasé with their influence, and as such, the Order has continued to exist mostly uninhibited for much of the Chapter's[...]

The third pillar of the Marines Saturnine is known as The Lamassu. +++REDACTED A semi-mythical figure within the Chapter, The Lamassu represents more of an ideal rather than a flesh and blood being. [...]nly the Aegis or the High Oracle have reg[...] tact with the Lamassu [...]only said to appear in battle should the need be absolu[...] dir[..]. The Lamassu, however, I attest to be very much real, and its existence, I am told, poses an incredible risk to the Chapter merely for harbouring it[...]said the Lamassu has endured for uncounted aeons, and has forgotten more about war than most will ever learn. It is said it has not just seen [...], but conversed with Him. It is said the Emperor bestowed upon it its true name, and that they fought side by side. REDACTED+++ How much of this is true and how much is just conjecture is impossible to ascertain, for even amongst the brotherhood is the Lamassu rarely seen, and rarer still conversed with. 

The Lamassu does inspire a certain brutality amongst the more aggressive members of the Marines Saturnine, and there is a cult venerating the Lamassu and its way of war in a similar way that [...]arrior lodges [...] [SPEC.][The Cult of the Lama]ssu trains in the art of shock warfare, emulating the excessive brutality of Leg[...]ataegi[...] f old. Of the three pillars, the Lamassu causes the most consternation and prevarication amongst Battle Brothers of the Marines Saturnine when questioned. [...] It is an enduring mystery; to which the Ordo Astartes desire the trut[...]ey have come to accept that this cult worship of the Lamassu is 'likely venerating an aspect of the Emperor.' 

How close to the truth they are.




[//Marines Saturnine during the fighting on Alwicc Liminal. Note prominent presence of the Caputmori device in place of the Aquila on the chest +]

The Marines Saturnine are reminiscent of a once great architectural marvel, left to erode and spoil without maintenance, though their choice to slowly waste away seems to be entirely elective.
[//Cassar Illiatariu, Rememberancier Documantist Minoris+]

Historically, the Marines Saturnine always had a variable degree of success in general recruitment. As with most Ultramarines successors of the Second Founding, the majority of their neophytes survived the process. However, in the three centuries preceding the War of the False Primarch, their drive to replenish losses all but disappeared. 

By 780.M33, the Marines Saturnine had not tithed for recruits for decades, and as a result the Tenth Sataba had all but dwindled away. By the outbreak of the war, due to natural attrition and their refusal to create new Astartes, Imperial analysts estimated the Chapter numbered between six and eight hundred active battle brothers. 

A notable absence within the brotherhood ranks of the Chapter was their lack of psychically-talented individuals. Whether this was a result of selective recruitment, or a quirk within their genetic makeup is unclear. The Marines Saturnine practised numerous ways to overcome the lack of a formal psychic Librarium, including the extension of record-keeping duties to each Sataba's Lieutenant-equivalent; employment of an unusually high number of astroptelepathic staff and, of course, through their Oracular Order.


The Ordeal


“I have plotted out the pre-ordained deaths of a thousand Astartes over the next Millenia. I have checked, rechecked, and triple-checked all available data in our annals. What I have discovered, Sister, is a cataclysmic trend. Not one of our Brothers survives past 860.M33, and every subsequent initiate to undergo The Ordeal further cements this hypothesis. Over a period of one hundred years, all lives are ended, and all hope of rebuilding is extinguished. It seems Our Marines Saturnine are to undergo a great calamity, one which we cannot steer them from. May the Emperor and the Oracle prove me wrong, but I fear that all hope is gone.”

[//Attr. Pythia, Former High Oracle of the Marines Saturnine, circa late M32+]

Chapters that forgo or lack psychic personnel needs must adapt. The Marines Saturnine utilise a separate populace of non-astartes psykers to fulfil their needs. Collectively they are known as the Oracular Order, and their influence runs deep within the Chapter. More than just a psychic deterrent, the Oracular Order play a central role within the Chapter Cult, and have come to define the Marines Saturnine and their traditions.

Upon the eve on an Astartes’ successful initiation into the chapter, immediately following the final implantation of the geneseed organs, the now fully-fledged Astartes is taken to the Oracular Order’s central chambers within the fleet's Command Barge, the Resolute-in-the-Face-of-Certain-Demise. Hidden behind heavy drapes within intoxicatingly incense-filled halls, they are subjected to a psychic ritual, known within the Chapter as Oab-kiab – 'the Ordeal'. The Ordeal has long been a curiosity to those not intimate with the ways of the Marines Saturnine, and there have even been several instances where Inquisitorial investigation or action has led to the practice being banned – though it has always endured in some form or another, more or less deeply hidden, throughout the Chapter's history. 

The Ordeal forever changes those who are subjected to it. It is said that only through the psycho-conditioning that Astartes receive as part of their transformation can the Ordeal be withstood; as untrained and unaltered minds would simply break. The Ordeal shows much, but the greatest and most terrible secret it reveals is oblivion. Each Astartes will witness their own death during the Ordeal, with an unassailable certainty that cannot be dissuaded, ignored or suppressed. This knowledge is undoubtedly detrimental to the Astartes' already fluctuating psyche, yet it has been a formative part of the Chapter Cult since the early days of the Chapter's history.


Such a terrible truth could easily cripple even an Astartes. Much of the purpose of the Oracular Order and Marines Saturnine's Chaplaincy is geared towards turning the self-destructive urges that seize those who undergo the ordeal outwards. The aim is to build this into a battlefield strength: each Marine who undergoes the Ordeal and survives knows when their end is coming. Therefore, they have an utterly immovable belief that they are able to serve the Imperium and the Chapter to the best of their abilities with the perceived knowledge that they cannot die until their pre-ordained time.

How much of this is indeed true or drug-fuelled mysticism is difficult to ascertain, though the frequency in which Astartes of the Marines Saturnine survived seemingly certain death simply because ‘it was not their time’ cannot be ignored. There are whispers by those within the Imperium that the Ordeal is far more sinister in purpose. No other Chapter of Imperial Space Marines is known to be so heavily intertwined with and influenced by a non-Astartes order, and the Oracular Order have clearly benefitted greatly from their symbiosis with the Marines Saturnine. It would not be beyond the bounds of logic to infer that the Ordeal could be a way of having a measure of control over an entire chapter of Astartes. Such suggestions were certainly voiced within the Brotherhood and beyond, with a number of more senior members of the Ordo Astartes pondering – occasionally publicly – the question: who truly leads the chapter, the High Oracle or the Chapter Master?


Annihilism and Endurants

The practise of internal debate and discussion within the Marines Saturnine has led to the rise and development of numerous schools of thought within the Chapter over the centuries. Historically, the Chapter has been dominated by a philosophy called Annihilism, which argues that the Chapter's doom at an unavoidable and fixed point in time is preordained and predestined, and that to fight against it is to fight against the impossible. An apocalyptic school, Annihilism drew increasing support in the decades  immediately prior to the War of the False Primarch, owing to the fact that an increasing number of their kind believed themselves doomed to die during a one hundred year span of the thirty-fourth millennium. The Annihilists drew particular attention to the 'evidence' that no Astartes that underwent the Ordeal foresaw their death past M33 – apparent confirmation of their long-held belief. 

This philosophy was also fostered by the Oracular Order, who themselves proved unable to see anything past M33, much to their personal distress. As 780.M33 drew closer with a ponderous inevitability, a new faction arose within the Marines Saturnine. Initially composed of a cabal of bellicose and argumentative members of the Chapter, the Agonist School drew support from those that disagreed with the neglect and atrophy of the Tenth Sataba. Believing that refreshing the ranks of their other companies with new recruits remained important, whatever the truth of the coming doom, the Agonists argued that the passive acceptance taught by Annihilism was a self-fulfilling prophecy, rather than fated. 

[//Captain of the Marines Saturnine' Third Sataba; bearing personal honorific on a tilt shield. The purity seals denote actions taken alongside the Argent Heralds. Note extensive armour reinforcement and Artificer-enhanced helm+]

More extreme than the Agonists were those few who fully rejected Annihilism, believing that if any are able to alter the course of their future, it is a chapter of Adeptus Astartes. This extreme but influential group of the Marines Saturnine came to be known as ‘Endurants’, for they strove for their Chapter to endure  – in some form or other – through M33. Just because the Oracular Order cannot see past M33, does not mean that this spells doom for the chapter. They cite examples where the visions gifted by the Ordeal of the Oracles have not come to pass, proving the fallibility of the Order.

The Endurants were a vocal minority, though they developed a particular following within the younger  and more vigorous members of the Chapter. They argued that, despite the Oracular Order's visions to the contrary, if the chapter were simply not to travel en masse to Segmentum Pacificus, they could avoid what was coming. After all, no order had been given to them to travel there, not calls for aid received. To the Endurants, the Chapter's translation to Sector Heliopolis was a self-destructive and unnecessary migration towards an avoidable fate. 

Unfortunately for the Endurants' support, those few vessels that did not heed the call to gather in the Tannbach Cluster all suffered bizarre misfortunes – two being lost with all hands, and a third, the Woeful Duty, inadvertently warp jumping closer to Pacificus despite attempts to the contrary. Suspicions arose within the Endurants that the Oracles themselves were somehow responsible, though these 'blasphemies' were carefully worded so as not to cause strife within the Chapter. 


Silence of the grave

Perhaps the most common of these ‘blips’ in the Oracular Order’s premonitions were the Dreadnoughts of the Marines Saturnine. They posed a philosophical quandary within the Chapter, particularly between  adherents of Annihilism and Endurantism, and frequently formed the crux of hotly-debated arguments within the halls of the Chapter during periods of rest and respite. Many interred within the sacred sarcophagi of the Dreadnought did indeed meet the ends seen for them during The Ordeal, and yet continued to serve past their ‘demise.’ As those of the Technomantist school argued: how can the Ordeal's vision be considered final if the Dreadnoughts were ‘living’ proof that one's destruction could be averted or bypassed?

To muddy the waters further, those who would be able to have made meaningful commentary on the subject – the Dreadnoughts themselves – were mute. In a chilling example of the extensive influence the Oracular Order had within the Marines Saturnine, the Dreadnoughts were deliberately silenced. As part of the transference into the sarcophagus, the Astartes' vocal cords were ritually severed, and the language centres of the brain excised, rendering the incumbent unable to meaningfully communicate. Even beyond this, Dreadnoughts of the Marines Saturnine were kept apart from the rest of the Chapter when not in battle, often in stasis. Whether this was due to some obscure tradition or an assertive choice to stop those who could disrupt the Oracular Order's narrative is hard to say, though this unusual treatment of the honoured dead of the Chapter cannot be ignored.

Harder to silence, however, were those Astartes that avoided their preordained demise. Though exceptionally rare, those few who lived through the death foreseen for them during the Ordeal lent hope and credibility to the Endurant philosophy that the doom of the Chapter could likewise be avoided. Captain Nirgali the Thrice-Dead was one such problematic figure for those ascribed to the Annihilst philosophy. Nirgali somehow survived the death foreseen for him by the Ordeal. He was compelled to face the Ordeal again; and once more avoided his supposed annihilation. Each subsequent survival caused greater disruption within the chapter, and the Oracular Order have no answers that have yet been able to dissuade the swelling ranks of those of the Endurant philosophy.


Another fate

[//Enlil-Anu, the Aegis+]

If Captain Nirgali represented a blip within the Marines Saturnine culture, their Chapter Master, Enlil-Anu, represented a catastrophic upheaval. At Enlil-Anu's ascension to command mere decades prior to the fateful War of the False Primarch, he was widely referred to as the 'final Chapter Master', for his reign in command begun with the widely-held expectation of the Chapter's imminent annihilation. A polarizing figure within the Chapter even prior to his promotion, Enlil-Anu's short reign saw him raging against the foreshadowed end of the chapter supposedly destined to occur during his tenure. A champion of the Endurant philosophy, Enlil-Anu was known for frequently and publicly contradicting or acting against the wishes of the High Oracle and her Oracular Order.

It was, however, neither his actions nor his personal philosophies that caused such turmoil to the Chapter's culturally-ingrained certainty of their demise. Rather, it was the manner of his foreseen death – or rather, the lack of one. Despite undergoing the Ordeal for an unprecedented nine days and nights, the Oracular Order, for all their power, were still unable to ascertain how and when he would die, instead emerging exhausted and utterly defeated. Not even the High Oracle was able to see anything of his future beyond an intangible static of the mind, an occurrence for which there has been no precedent. It is this inexplicable fact that has caused much intra-Chapter conflict. The Annihilists fear that Enlil-Anu is the precursor for a much greater doom than ‘simply’ chapter death. The intangibility, or non-existence of his death has been interpreted, by the more extremist Annihilsts, as a representation of what will happen to the Chapter, and that they will be lost or forgotten to the ages. The Endurants cite the opposite, believing that the infallibility of the Oracular Order is called into question by the mystery surrounding Enlil-Anu, and that if they can no longer ascertain how a singular Astartes will die, then how can they be sure that the whole chapter are destined to death as well?



[//Ordo Astartes report: Tactical preferences and modus operandi of the Chapter Astartes: Marines Saturnine+]

[//Authval: Inquisitor Pagnati+]

The Marines Saturnine are Subjugation specialists. Rather than ply their trade on the fringes of the galaxy, fighting the xenos and the heretic, the Marines Saturnine act within the established parameters of Imperial space itself – reassuring for our colleagues in the Ordo Propter, no doubt. Theirs is not a glamorous duty, yet ultimately necessary for the continued existence of the Imperium.  Though it is not common knowledge , access to this loadcast implies you will be privy to the fact that across the vastness of the Imperium, dozens of planets find themselves temporarily or more permanently beyond the guiding light of the Astronomicon for any number of reasons, and it is falls to Reclamation Fleets such as those of the Marines Saturnine to reassert Imperial rule on these beleaguered worlds. Everything from unpaid tithes to outright rebellion falls under the purview of the Reclamation Fleets. While the former usually requires only the presence of an envoy – and the implication of Imperial vessels in low orbit – to redirect the errant planet back onto the right path; in the case of the latter and other situations where words and sanctions fail, the Marines Saturnine will surely succeed in drawing the errant back into the bounds of acceptability.

To some it might seem wasteful to utilise an entire chapter of Astartes for the purpose of reminding planets of their position in the Imperium; and to those doubters I remind them that the Imperium has not always been such a dominant force in the galaxy. Certainly in the years following the Great Heresy, the Imperium was on high alert for any signs of dissonance; and Astartes enforcement was a common sight. Today, having a chapter moving from sector to sector, ensuring the full and continued compliance of the Imperium, is not as wild a concept as it many may believe, and the Marines Saturnine are certainly not the only chapter to be tasked with this duty.

Their way of war reflects the purpose that they were given; rapid and brutalist assault upon those who resist, and a rapid subjugation of those who do not. When reclaiming a planet for the Imperium, the Marines Saturnine usually begin by bringing their Fleet into low orbit in order to provoke an attack from the planet's defences. In the eyes of the Astartes, this is the last chance an errant planet gets to surrender to Imperial rule peacefully. If the Marines Saturnine are not engaged in any way, despite such a blatant threat in their own skies, it is proof enough to the Astartes that the planet may yet be saved from itself. In this case, the Marines Saturnine will engage in a far less violent form of Subjugation, often only taking a fraction of the tithe they would otherwise deal out upon the planet's populace. Should, however, the planet engage the Marines Saturnine as they come into orbit – well, allow an indecent dip into the vernacular and say merely that 'all bets are off'.

Large-scale planetfall by drop pods will be preceded by heavy orbital bombardment, with preferential aim upon command structures and heavily-defended structures. Despite its known inefficiencies, pounding heavily-occupied fortresses, cracking Hive Walls, or pulping trench networks into ruin goes to great lengths to help break the spirit of the planet's defenders, a tactic much favoured by the Marines Saturnine; and by which they claim to be preeminent. Before the dust settles, the sky is once again set ablaze, though this time by a storm of drop pods and Thunderhawks that aim quickly to overwhelm the planet's command structures before they have time to recover.

Whilst rapid insertion warfare is by no means unique to the Marines Saturnine, it is noted that they tend to have a high level of success enacting such measures, as if the inherent dangers of landing a drop pod deep in enemy lines does not concern them in any way. In the noted scholarly piece entitled Treatise on the mythos of the Marines Saturnine, it is posited that this blasé attitude is guided by the Chapter's idiosyncratic views of death – such is their strength of  conviction that, if a member of the Marines Saturnine believes that he is fated to die elsewhere, it supersedes for him any concerns over the dangers inherent with utilising their equipment in such an aggressive, even reckless, manner. 

It is noted that the Marines Saturnine preferentially target command and control personnel and facilities – again in order to break the spirit of their opponents; and also to reduce the likelihood of a protracted war. In such cases that they are bogged down in a long-term conflict, the Marines Saturnine will engage their opponents according to the tactics prescribed in the Codex Astartes.

[//Typical Sataba Warrior+]

Whilst not particularly fond of personalisation of arms and armour with trinkets, viewing such embellishments as needlessly ostentatious, the Marines Saturnine often claim the hands of the defeated following combat. What the Astartes do with such grisly trophies depends on the individual Astartes. Commonly such trophies are nailed them to their armour until they rot off – as seemingly grotesque echoes or parodies of their purity seals – or they simply pile them in great mounds. The significance of dismembered hands to the Marines Saturnine is unclear, though I posit that it is a throwback to a cultural or ritual practise of the Chapter's seed-planet. Whatever the case, the Marines Saturnine will enact this horrendous practice not merely on the enemy dead, but on the defeated and subjugated too. 

In the case of a subjugated planet, the severity of this dismemberment tithe depends entirely upon the planet's conduct in battle with the Marines Saturnine. If they immediately relinquished control to the Astartes, only a token tithe is taken, often only from the highest echelons of society or from the key conspirators involved in the planets wrongdoing , whilst the general populace is left unmaimed. In cases of extreme rebellion, the tithe is often far more wide-ranging. In the case of the planet Hetabeum Tertius, a commerce planet of significant means, the war to subjugate the planet was hard fought and bitter, and the subsequent tithe was so severe that it was said that no man, woman or child upon that planet retained their hands by the time the Marines Saturnine were through. It is said that Hetabeum Tertius’s seven Hives were twinned by equally tall mountains of dismembered hands, though the truth of this is up for debate.


Disposition during the War of the False Primarch

[//Marines Saturnine ambassadors consult with Partisan Guard forces during the preparation for the Dardanus Invasion+]

'I understand your concerns, cousins, and would allay them if I can. I have seen into the heart of Enlil-Anu. Where his own Oracle sees only absence and annihilation; I see tabula rasa – a blank slate. He will write his own history; one in which his Chapter defies those voices that say they must lie down and accept an ignominious end. In this, he is like unto our lord and master. Not all who are forgotten are lost.'

[//Vox Volnoscere, in conference with Julijos Toth of the Riven Lords+] 

The Marines Saturnine demonstrated uncanny farsight in their deployment to the region. Native to a Sector some distance away in Segmentum Tempestus, the Chapter had moved en masse to Sector Heliopolis some two years prior to the events on Hong Qi, when word of a Returned Primarch was thin in Morqub and utterly unknown in Heliopolis.

More perplexingly at the time, fragmentary records indicate that while the bulk of the Chapter's fleet anchored in the wilderness area of Wegerer Space, Enlil-Anu took at least two Companies in a further colossal warp jump to Broddiwelt in Sector Morqub. With hindsight, we can assume that he was moving to make contact with the False Primarch – but given that our best analysis indicates that the 'Primarch' and his Silver Stars were approaching from the galactic rim, the move to Broddiwelt seems counter-intuitive.

[//Sector Morqub map – Broddiwelt marks the Corewards extent of the Callais Subsector+]

Only later, when the Delphurnean War erupted, and Ishim was invaded for the first time, would we see the sense of Enlil-Anu's movements. It placed a substantial force of the Marines Saturnine at the False Primarch's disposal in the antispinwards reaches (that is, the map-south) of Morqub, ready to respond to Pentarchy approaches from this position. The confirmed presence of high-ranking Marines Saturnine upon Ishim therefore makes it likely that Enlil-Anu had petitioned or pledged the Chapter to the 'Primarch's' service prior to the onset of hostilities in Morqub.

This is one of the more perplexing mysteries of the War; for the Marines Saturnine had built up a staunch reputation in their home Segmentum, and were well-regarded locally as the Iron Fist of Imperial Rule. They were known for reprimanding those who disobeyed the Imperial Creed with a ruthless efficiency that bordered on the pathological. Why had they moved so suddenly and decisively to a little-known and isolated Sector in a distant Segmentum? Moreover, why had they joined with the separatist and partisan movement headed by a heretical 'Primarch'?


The Tannbach Cluster

'The Marines Saturnine are a chapter in decline. Tactica Centralis reports that throughout the Segmentum, and with inexorable momentum, dozens of frigates bearing the markings of the prostrated and the hourglass have begun to converge. The Saturnine flagship Resolute-in-the-Face-of-Certain-Demise is on course to take a commanding position in low orbit around Tannbach Prime, and soon the skies above every planet in the cluster will be dotted with the ships of the Marines Saturnine. They have come for war. They have come to die.'

[//Master Aramis Enoch+]

The Tannbach Cluster was amongst the first in the region to be struck by the Pentarchy. Indeed, prior to the formal declaration of war by Master Enoch, the planet Tarentus (the third planet of the system; and hence termed Tannbach-Tertiary) was attacked by the Carcharadons as a punitive strike for fostering support for the False Primarch – at this stage a mere rumour in Heliopolis. A report can be inloaded via this restricted docket [//Warzone: Tannbach+]. It was a short and brutal campaign, and the Carcharadons swiftly moved on – slipping spinwards out of the Sector entirely, and bypassing all likely detection by moving through the Nonesuch Rift into Morqub.

Relatively wealthy and complacent, much of the cluster's governments were thoroughly cowed by the  demonstration of the High Lords might. Indeed, so fervent were they in ensuring supplies fed through to the Pythinia subsector and Orthodox forces in the region (notably the Death Eagles II), that the region was left with a skeletal garrison as the Death Eagles (II) were moved to protect the spinwards front of the Sector and anchor the Pentarchy of Blood's attack on the Delphurnean League in the Corewards front of Morqub.

This made the Tannbach Cluster ripe for conversion. Already having demonstrated the popular will to support the Primarch, the brutal suppression of a largely liberal populace had sowed the seeds that the Marines Saturnine were to gather. Even as Enlil-Anu prosecuted the 'Primarch's' war in Morqub, leading the defence of Crow's World and Somnos from raiding Orthodox forces, the High Oracle had ordered the remaining Marines Saturnine fleet into the Tannbach-Cluster. Initially hailed fearfully by a populace wary of Astartes intervention, they were able to foster that dissent to form a staunchly – and secretly – Partisan stronghold.

As with the studiedly neutral regional Chapters – the Iron Guard and Storm Tyrants – the Marines Saturnine were treated indifferently by the Pentarchy of Blood, who merely sent missives to remind them of their duty to uphold the High Lords will. Subterfuge and politics came easily to the High Oracle, who masterfully reassured the Chapter Masters of the Pentarchy of their willingness to ensure vital supplies continued flowing from the Cluster.



Suspicion and excuplation

Such was the Marines Satunine's perceived loyalty to the High Lords on Terra that, in the opening days of the war, representatives from amongst the Quadrargenta counselled the Primarch's Kapihe – his inner circle of advisors – against accepting the overtures of Enlil-Anu and his Marines Saturnine. Members of the near-fanatically devoted Riven Lords and Inheritors had surreptitiously researched this mysterious immigrant Chapter, calling in ancient favours and far-flung contacts. They had come to believe that these solemn warriors posed a fifth-column threat to the Primarch, based upon their reputation as enforcers of Terra's will.

Redacted history indicates that Orthodox analysis on this was divided. Some claimed that the 'Primarch' was desperate to receive any support, even potentially seditious, at this stage. Others point to the massive boost that the Marines Saturnine gave to the Partisan forces advancing across the spinwards reaches of Heliopolis at the height of the war. 

As outlined above, the Marines Saturnine who had remained in the Tannbach Cluster had not been idle during the Delphurnean War. While not actively pursuing conflict, they had inculcated support for the Partisans across the whole Cluster – and beyond, with Killteams and sleeper cells of Marines Saturnine-sponsored agents infiltrating dozens of worlds across Heliopolis. The Cluster had continued to send reassurances along with dwindling amounts of war materiel to the Orthodox key system of Neo Jove, all while stockpiling and arming a colossal force of Partisan soldiery and fortifications.

The Tannbach Cluster's declaration of Partisan support during the Sorrowful Years was therefore a major success for the Primarch, and proof – if such were needed – of the Marines Saturnine's loyalty to the Partisan cause. At a critical stage and in a single stroke, it placed a Partisan stronghold in the heart of Heliopolis; starved the Red Talons and Death Eagles (II) of power armour and ammunition when they needed it most; and provided a safe port for the rampaging Jade Talons, Void Barons and Riven Lords that the Primarch had sent as his vanguard.



Once Tannbach had declared for the False Primarch, the Marines Saturnine were officially designated for Sanction. Divided, their Chapter fought courageously and staunchly besides those of the other Partisans, in the region and became particularly admired by those worlds on the Morqub antispinwards reaches and by those Chapters – the Jade Talons, Star Wardens and Void Barons – that relied upon their succour as they drove further into Heliopolis.

Even this did not dispel the suspicions that hung around the Chapter within certain circles of the Quadrargenta. While the Marines Saturnine outwardly – and vociferously – professed their loyalty to the Primarch, it was noted by the more personally devoted Partisans that the Marines Saturnine rarely professed or proselytised on the nature of Volnoscere, the Returned Primarch, himself.

Should that cast doubt on the Chapter's sincerity? It ought to be noted that the Marines Saturnine's belief system was notoriously opaque and complex; and doubtless debate and discussion on whether Volnoscere was a true son of the Emperor – and what the implications would be if we were or not – were heated and extensive within the Chapter. Whether they were acting in good faith or not throughout the conflict remains occluded and up for debate.

[//Shadow War on Hubris+]


'Faith is developed within, but demonstrated on the field. What lies within a person's animus is forfeit and unknowable upon their death. Support and alliance through the feeblest bodily presence, therefore, is preferable to the nebulous intentions of the greatest mind.'
[//The Sage Fo+]