Index Astartes: Star Wardens

Index Astartes: Star Wardens


'How could we not serve him? You wouldn't know, Inquisitor. We are gene-forged. His presence makes our hearts sing.'

'Your question betrays your ignorance. We could deny our fealty to him with the same ease that you could deny the stars in the firmament, or the soil beneath your feet.'

[//Liber Cthoda+]

[//Star Wardens Chapter Icon+]



Bandits. Raiders. Warriors with little pretence of soldiery. Little more – and yet clearly seeking something further.

However poorly understood or expressed by the Wardens themselves, there existed a transformational urge within the Chapter's collective psyche, a desire to develop into something more than the black-armoured killers that the Orthodox Imperium found acceptable.

The Chapter had long hidden itself away, painfully aware of their own truncated and redacted history. To a Chapter that had been in unknowing search of meaning and revelation, the appearance of Volnoscere was like a window being opened on a dungeon. 

Throwing themselves into near-worship as a literal father-figure, the Star Wardens saw an all-too-brief flourishing before self-doubts, fuelled by the inconsistencies that riddled everything about the 'Primarch', began to tear them apart from within. This was a process hastened by their enemies, and slowed only by the undoubted talent and grit of their warriors.



Warcry  Ad mortem ti!”  [//trans.lit: ‘Unto your death!’/+]

Cognomen  Void-dwelling Imperial civilisations and nomad communities made occasional reference to the Wardens, likely due to such groups being the Chapter's primary recruitment pool. Beyond these, however, the Star Wardens' reputation was scanty within the Sector, even prior to imperial censor and historical-redaction. As a result, the Chapter bore no widely-recognised cognomenclature.

Founding  Third [+//001.M32/+]

Gene-Seed  [+INCERTO. prob./XIIIroboute_g/nominative; ABNOTE:generune inconsistencies+]

Successor Chapters  Blood Disciples [//dataruneval: suprressed//excommunicatus profugis+]

Chapter Master  Argo Jext’ar [//honorifval=TRUE: 'Lord-Harrower'+]

Homeworld  Fleet-based, the Star Wardens have no true planetary Fortress-Monastery, although they claim an extra-sectorial system of their own, spinwards of the Heliopolis Sector. Little more than a bolthole and gathering point for the Chapter, the system is a solar-blasted ruin. Here, ash-choked worlds bereft of human settlements orbit a sickly star. Many of the worlds are dwarf planets; of no consequential size, and all but lacking in moisture. These hellish worlds were claimed by the earliest elements of the chapter soon after their founding. With no official Imperial designation, the Qybura worlds are known only by the few who travelled there – predominantly officers of the Star Wardens and their respective cadres. This half-abandoned system was never completely charted and documented by Inquisitorial assets or other servants of the throne.

Fortress Monastery  The fractious and obsessive nature of Imperial rule long grated against the wayfaring creed of the Star Wardens, and thus the Star Wardens never laid deep roots in Imperial space. Their de-facto homeland is the Star Fortress Triage at Dawn.

The Triage is a monumental early-forged Ramilies-class Starfort, capable of firepower unrivalled by mobile Imperial Naval elements. The Chapter embraced the station as a surrogate homeworld early on in their history, extending deep cultural and symbolic roots into the black-iron skeleton of its body. A widely unremembered runic-alphabet is employed by the Wardens, and unread sagas in this script litter the Triage’s walls. The superstructure is adorned with serpentine and aquatic imagery – notably deep sea organisms such as eels, snakes, and ambiguous depictions of ancient Terran Cnidaria. 

Little outside of such descriptions would remain post-conflict, the Triage was destroyed in the waning days of the war, flash-immolating and scattering the scant remnants of the Star Wardens that remained upon their beloved vessel.

Appearance  Besides the Inheritors, the Star Wardens were one of the few Chapters to formally alter their heraldry in honour of the Primarch. Prior to the War of the False Primarch, the Chapter wore sable-glazed gunmetal armour, broken only by red on the gauntlets and forearms to the elbow. This basic scheme was frequently enlivened by occasional ivory, scarlet or gilt decoration; more rarely teal or sea-green accents; and with personal tokens and trophies, usually with details of the Star Wardens chthonic and mysterious script. 

Following the Chapter's turn to the Partisans, the Star Wardens extended the gilding across the entirety of the left arm, gauntlet and usually onto the pauldron itself. As the war wore on, this alteration was later withdrawn by a number of battle brethren as they grew increasingly disillusioned with the Silver Stars and the Partisan movement. Such sceptics instead returned to the red forearms and gauntlets they had worn before their audience with Volnoscere.

[//Early in the Star Wardens' service, the Chapter seemed to strip away personal heraldry, perhaps in imitation of the Silver Stars' lack thereof+]

Their Chapter Icon was (ironically, given their fluid and mobile nature) a stylised castellated fortification. Reminiscent of a Regicide playing piece – the 'Rock' or 'Rook' – the symbol is borne on pauldron or chestpiece, which is otherwise usually undecorated.

[//Detail of the Chapter icon+]

Where fabrics, seals and the like were used, they tended to be a pallid sea-green, frequently decorated with the Chapter's idiosyncratic script. Weapon casings varied a great deal in colour, and were occasionally used to designate a warrior belonging to a particular Cadre. Crimson, ochre, black and gunmetal are all attested.

Indeed, the Star Wardens showed a great deal of variation between Cadres, according to the whim of the Headsmen and Harrowers that led it. While some favoured a sinister stripped-back appearance, others decorated the armour with skulls, bones and similar memento mori artefacts in order to intimidate their foes. This was fairly common across the Adeptus Astartes, but the Star Wardens added a particular horrible grandeur to the practice by contrasting it with the equally-common aesthetic of haloes, particularly after their alliance with the Silver Stars. Gore-dripping spiked haloes and Caputmori became particularly common in the Second Cadre, with nearly all members bearing one on their backpack.


Organisation and structure

The Star Wardens were members of the 'Steel of Heliopolis', an informal enclave of the Astartes in Sector Heliopolis. Given the venturesome, exploratory or simply aloof attitudes of the region's Chapter Masters,  however, the league's existence was more nominal than practical. The title 'Steel of Heliopolis' suggested an organisation of close-knit comrades-at-arms, forever lending help and support to one another. In truth, it was a label that served largely to throw unwarranted emphasis on joint ventures between its members. 

The actions of the Steel of Heliopolis Chapters were recorded and distributed for agitprop purposes within the largely wealthy and civilised Heliopolis Sector; pulp presses distributing pamphlets with 'tales of excitement and derring-do' in order to inspire and reassure the populace. In this way, the Imperium gave its citizens and serfs a distorted – and perhaps unwarranted – image of the Astartes as a single monolithic entity; both shield and sword for its vulnerable worlds.

The existence of the Steel of Heliopolis did have one unexpected benefit for the archaeo-histographer:  the office of Carto Iatopia, a small centralised bureau tasked with licensing and distributing the core tales of the actions of the Steel  of Heliopolis Chapters. Its output provides much of the root primary material presented here, which has allowed the Ordo Astartes to reconstruct some knowledge of the Star Wardens. 

[//Designate: Wicked Void; led by Headsman Aponius (right of centre)+]

Nevertheless, much of the information has been lost, unlikely ever to be recovered. Of the Chapters' early history, for example, nothing is known – although given the information here gathered, it is likely that the Chapter's origins were occluded even to its members.


As example of the material recovered from the Carto Iatopia's deadvault, the following is a codified house style for scribes making reference to the Star Wardens' fighting details.

[...]ted upon closer inspection of remaining Chapter datascreed upon a number of sub-cognomens used amongst the Chapter and its auxiliary forces; titles and rank, particular and divers; and also formations used and called among the Wardens most singular in their implications. Heed! Note! Mark!

  • Headsmen, See; Captain, or commander.
  • Harrower, See; Veteran, Sergeant, Vanguard.
  • Rampager, See; Breacher-Trooper, Assault-Trooper.
  • Bloodbrother, See; Battle-brother.
  • Nychterida, Unofficial officer lodge, formed around the Headsmen of Chapter-Cadres.
  • Cadre, Similar in function to Codex Astartes companies, Cadres however have a markedly fluid structure, having no set maximum or minimum strength.
  • Dread-Squad, See; Tactical Squad, Support Squad, Seeker Squad.


The extract highlights a number of unusual naming conventions within the Chapter. Other evidence, however, indicates the Chapter was broadly adherent to the Codex in structure. That statement must be borne with the proviso that the Star Wardens' structures included a number of attested eccentricities that rather strain Codex limits, including their officer lodge and peculiar Company-analogue structure; frequently quite beyond the nominal limit of 100 (either much smaller or larger). Headsman Vanek's Cadre, for example, was estimated at 300 strong during the conflict on Lark's Opus, while the Cadre to which Jericho belonged was enumerated at just 67 on Rybal.

The Star Wardens are noted as having an extensive Librarius, and their Chaplaincy – known with typical bombast as 'Dread-Chaplains' – were noted for their common presence in-field, too. Indeed, the reputation of High Chaplain Kruger was such that he often acted as de facto leader of the Chapter when Argo was indisposed. Ultimately, an investigator must make their own judgement on whether to treat the Star Wardens as a Codex Chapter or not.

[//Rohaan, the Erisor; Bringer of Discord and Strife; the Murder of Urkan-Mag, the Mourn-Caller of Hadrexes, Dread-Chaplain of the Star Wardens Vth Cadre+]

Perhaps as a result of their nomadic actions, the Wardens were noted as keen employers of aerial transport assets; Stormbirds, Thunderhawks, and javelin attack speeders. The use of these transports was a tried-and-tested method of deploying Star Warden 'Dread Squads' to the battlefield; and one that proved difficult for enemies to plan for or deploy countermeasures against. 

Contrasting this rapid deployment of their infantry, the Wardens were also known to use a variety of tanks in heavy support roles, moving them in subsequent to the a foothold being made. The use of rapid deployment of brutal melee and close-range skirmish units, quickly followed by the aerial deployment of ‘big gun’-configured armour made Warden tactics predictable in some theatres of war. 

Beyond this, the varied structure of each of the Chapter's ‘Cadres’, as well as their seemingly competitive nature makes identifying a distinctive Chapter Tactic difficult. Occasional references within the Iatopia's deadvault indicate that the Star Wardens' habitual informality of formation led to occasional difficulties in maintaining strategic consistency, battlefield communication, and battleline integrity – to the point that friendly fire between (and within) rival Cadres was not unheard of. 


Chapter culture

Although the Wardens excelled in many theatres of war, their wilful and ill-tempered tendencies outside of combat are quickly apparent to anyone willing to examine their combat records with any level of thoroughness.

[//Come, let our blades speak. Perhaps at the last one of us will know the truth…+]

Of all extent records, only two describe the Wardens as using anything other than total, brutal and decisive force to achieve their goals. Their service records – unfortunately truncated and largely lost – suggest the Star Wardens having a reputation as an efficient, humourless force, possessing the fanatical thoroughness of witch hunters, and with an unexpected streak of depraved cruelty. These attributes were not necessarily unwelcome in the Astartes, and Inquisitor Ganymede Ux, who lived to join the Partisans himself, noted that:

'[N]o finer tool than the weaponised and controlled cruelty of the Wardens could be found for the ever-mounting hordes of traitor, xeno, and mutant.'

[//Commentary of Ux, vol II+] 

All this is not, however, to suggest that the Wardens were blood-drunk berserkers. Indeed, just two years prior to the coming of the 'Primarch', the Wardens' officers were lauded in a surviving Steel of Heliopolis Gazette and Herald pamphlet for their ice-cold control over their warriors. As the journalist put it for his (doubtless wide-eyed) audience:

'Such danger, of course, the Star Wardens reserve for the enemies of mankind. Their discipline is rigorous, their officer corps clear-sighted and just. [...] The orgy of savage violence [the Headsman] had unleashed on the orks ceased at a second simple twitch of the Headsman’s hand [...]'

Such examples of mercy are rare, but were relatively well-documented of the Chapter. Indeed, the Red Talons' records of the War of the False Primarch include the peculiar events of Operation Elder's Fall,  where the sarcophagus of Brother-Ancient Bjothon was found by a Talons recovery team, surrounded by devotional tokens and ephemera. 

This lends a tantalising glimpse at the Star Wardens' ancestor worship, seemingly important to their Chapter cult – and likely one to which the figure of Volnoscere was easily introduced. That the mauled Star Wardens took the time to honour a fallen Dreadnought of a Chapter – rather than unceremoniously looting the walker and installing their own sarcophagus – speaks volumes of the Chapter.




“This is Captain Ausallus Phinnic, Thirty-First rearguard battalion, station eighteen, Tertiary moon of Principal Forgeworld Neo Jove. The Red Talons advanced further into Partisan territory this evening – they’re approximately ten clicks from our current position. We’ve yet to see any Partisan activity in our monitoring sector-.“


This is Headsman Aldon Curr, your Thirty-First are gone. Death unto the Pentarchy.” 



Geneseed anomalies


Datacombs of Octos Forge following the battles between the Death Eagles I and Riven Lords bore this curious sidenote on the Star Wardens:

'Initial findings suggest the geneseed bears no visible evidence of mutation, beyond the physical abnormality of their eyes and skin. [spec: <This became even>?] more prevalent with the introduction of the genetic material of the foul people from the void.'

[//Genetor-magos Stüllo, Octos Forge+]

Alas, the fragmentary nature of the record leaves little beyond this tantalising hint. Few other records mention anything extraordinary, or indeed unusual, about the Star Wardens 'eyes and skin'. The few extant pict-captures recovered from the deadvault have largely been manipulated (a common occurrence in order to airbrush out Imperial casualties or emphasise xenos loss), and are thus less than reliable. Consideration ought also to be given to the phenotype of Octos Forge, where the vast majority of the population was exceedingly dark-skinned and green-eyed (at birth, at least – in common with most Forgeworlds, bionic or augmetic alteration to physical characteristics renders such sweeping generalisations largely meaningless). 

Nevertheless, that Stüllo refers to the Wardens' skin and eyes as unusual perhaps indicates a failing in the melanchrome, a minor defect common in successors to the Raven Guard or Salamanders, and less markedly, the Dark Angels. From context and battlefield evidence we might suppose the Chapter bore unusually pale skin and dark eyes – but this must necessarily be a guess. Indeed, Stüllo's statement might be less a physical description as a metaphor for a particularly haunted look. 

If it were a phenotypic defect, however, it is worth noting that melanchromic override was vanishingly rare in those possessed of Ultramarines' geneseed – the Red Fish are a local example of an Ultramarine-derived Chapter whose members sport a broad range of phenotypes that are utterly unaffected by the melanchrome's normal operation. The peculiarity, therefore, might be no failing of the geneseed, but rather a result of the Chapter's recruitment practices. This theory is supported by Stüllo's note on the Wardens'  habit of recruiting from voidborn populations; commonly pallid-skinned and slight, owing to the habitual lack of sunlight aboard ship.

The Star Wardens themselves certainly recognised some form of variance or lack – indeed, it was held up as evidence by Argo that the Star Wardens had long been deceived: far from being scions of Guilliman, they were the sons of a lost and forgotten father: the Last True Son.


Dark in soul: spiritual flaws

Regardless of the physical variation demonstrated by the Star Wardens, the truly characteristic trait of the Wardens’ geneseed might be a psychological fault. Numerous records indicate a tendency for paranoia and self-destructive behaviour displayed by many amongst the Chapter. 

Their use of psychological warfare and fear tactics are also perhaps indicative of some form of instability – though the commonplace brutality of the Chapters Astartes should also be weighed against this. While the Star Wardens perhaps showed a marked preference for terror tactics, similar strategies were commonly used by other Chapters – not least those of the Pentarchy in the early days of the War of the False Primarch.

[//Grav-weaponry was in high demand during the later part of the war, as it allowed for materiel to be retrieved without undue kinetic damage.+]

Nevertheless, there was clearly some peculiarity of their geneseed. The records of the Iron Guard include this intriguing note from a mid-war debrief between two Chapter officers, the one reporting to the other his experiences with the Star Wardens: 

[Those whose] ‘seed is strongest’ have undergone painful seizures in which they experience visions, usually oblique, of the near-future. I disregarded such chicanery  – until I witnessed those self-same Wardens demonstrate eerie abilities in combat to cheat death; swaying under killing blows, or jinking away from well-pl[aced gunf]ire.

In combination, these scraps of evidence have led Ordo Scriptor agents to propose a number of theories about the Star Wardens' nature. Rather than being of Ultramarines stock, as was recorded by their initial Ordo Astartes' analysis, the Star Wardens' geneseed has variously been attributed to Sanguinius (making them wayward brothers of the Flesh Eaters and Charnel Guard) Corvus Corax, Lion El Jonson, or even one of the Treacherlegion's Priamrchs. The 'evidence' behind these theories was varied, ranging from supposed strategic preferences to reported gene-rune markers. Many were fanciful, arguable, or often simply fatuous. 

Even the most wayward ideas fell short of suggesting that the geneseed was unusual because it was from an unknown and unrecorded source: a lost and forgotten Primarch.


Proposed as an intriguing alternative to these theories was one set out by the Scribator-sceptic Linnaeus: that the Star Wardens are an example of the chimaeric Chapters that formed part of the Second through Fifth foundings – that is, those Chapters which utilised substitute organelles from another lineage to repair or adapt that damaged, corrupted or lost by a parent geneseed. Examples include the Lords of Barren, a minor Raven Guard successor that integrated melanchrome organs stemmed from the Imperial Fists to replace their own lineage's defective versions, and the Bronze Bulls, that – unusually even for chimaeric Chapters – utilised Salamanders' geneseed as a base, but supposedly included replacement organs from four other unnamed Legion-seeds.

Such experiments were relatively common during the early great Foundings; though as scientific knowledge was lost, success and stability became less frequent. The practice was formally banned by an Edict of the High Lords when rumours circulated about the supposed use of proscribed or completely artificial geneseed – in effect, blank templates.

[//Star Warden with armour supplemented by fresh supplies from Coldforge.+]

An absent father

The truth, as with so much of the War of the False Primarch, will likely never now be known. For their part, the Star Wardens clearly recognised some unfulfilled or problematic aspects of their geneseed. While their idiomatic script-legend was only partially recovered prior to the destruction of the Triage at Dawn, HUD-logs taken from looted Star Warden armorial records provide a largely unfiltered view of the scrawlings and glyphic markings that covered the ship's internals. 

From this – admittedly tenuous – evidence, it is regarded as likely that the Star Wardens saw Volnoscere not merely as a great commander and heir to the Imperium, but their own returned genefather; one that would rectify the flaws in the Chapter. His failure – as they saw it – to engage with them prior to events catching up with him led to the Chapter's disillusionment and despair.


Disposition during the War of the False Primarch

[//Bloodbrother Yvain, showing the gilded left arm. Note that his right arm retains a traditional red tint – such variety within a cadre was far from unusual.+]


The Star Wardens openly declared for the Partisan cause immediately prior to the Sorrowful Years, following the Machinedeath – though in practical terms the Chapter had been working counter to the Orthodoxy for quite some time. 

As the Extinction Fleets arrived in-sector, the Steel of Heliopolis were – to be blunt – extremely reticent to lend assistance to the advancing and unwelcome Pentarchy, who in turn spent no time or energy on diplomacy as they made their advance into Morqub. In addition to relegating the in-sector Chapters to little more than bystanders – the approach being led both by Astartes pride and Enoch's desire to limit the number of Astartes Chapters involved – the Pentarchy went further and interrupted the supply lines of the Iron Guard and Storm Tyrants. 

It was at this point that the Star Warden’s arrived en-masse in the Sector – largely considered a coincidence. The Chapter had arrived in Sector Heliopolis to put a xeno-spawned subhuman race to the torch, in the unattested Umathron system within the Heliopolitan Wastes. Several planets were culled, the population hung, impaled, crucified, and butchered wholesale. On the conclusion of these murder-campaigns the Lord-Harrower Argo Jext’ar ordered his forces to resupply. As they long had, they moved towards the Myrean League, where they were accustomed to benefitting from the supplies shipped to Interlude Quay.

[//The Star Wardens' typically operated far beyond the Heliopolitan Void, beyond the Sector proper. Their arrival prior to the war brought them in on the Corewards extent of the Abraxas Subsector.+]

Alas, the Quay was swarming with Pentarchy forces, and had been all-but stripped. On demanding to speak with their officers, the Star Warden's First Headsman was insultingly rebuffed. As the Star Wardens moved off, they send communiqués to the Storm Tyrants, Iron Guard and Spacewolves, in hope of succour. Although they received no answer from Lucan, the Storm Tyrants and Iron Guard reported similar happenings in their domain.

A scrappy, bitter cold war in Heliopolis therefore smouldered while Morqub burned. The Red Talons in particular seemed to relish baiting the Steel of Heliopolis through frustrating their supply lines, and a number of limited skirmishes occurred as the Star Wardens and their sometime allies ran out guns in order to claim scanty supplies.



Ordo Pacificus interrogations of the ill-fated Librarian Alrand revealed that Argo declared to the Chapter that he had 'entered a deep trance', and 'communed with the chapter’s lost primogenitor; Volnoscere' prior to the Umathron campaign – and that it was this that had caused him to gather the Chapter. Whether this was true, or an example of Argo's mendacity, cannot now be ascertained.

Regardless, at some point during the Sorrowful Years, Volnoscere appears to have made a personal visit to the Star Wardens – not on the Triage at Dawn, but on a smaller cruiser-displacement vessel, somewhere in the Mourn Expanse. Here he and his party was met with hushed reverence by nearly seven hundred of the Chapter, crammed into the dark docking bay of the craft.

The perception of Volnoscere as 'returned forefather' seems to stem from this meeting – though it has no precedent nor antecedent in Volnoscere's actions: previously those that met him were few and far between. What differentiated the Star Wardens, or caused him to single them out, is frustratingly opaque. During the meeting, the Chapter swore itself to Volnoscere’s cause, a feverish – and, with hindsight, fanatical – loyalty gripping the chapter as a whole. 

[//The golden Capturmori was borne aloft by the Star Wardens proudly+]


Hennox and the Gilded Hand

No greater example of this feverish loyalty could be found than the ‘Gilded Hand’ Cadre, led by a lesser-known Headsman, Hennox. His obsession with Volnoscere led to the formation of a distinct subculture within the chapter. Adherents removed virtually all trophies adorning their armour, and stripped the trademark red gauntlets or ‘Red Mark’ in favour of gilding a Blood-brother's left arm. The gold arm quickly spread beyond Hennox's Cadre to the majority of the Chapter; though many beyond his Cadre continued to bear the Red Mark on their ungilded right gauntlet.


War of Broken Bones

It was with this adapted heraldry that the Chapter fought their first large-scale battles in support of the Partisans – an abortive assault on key Forgeworld Neo-Jove. In an attempt to ward off re-deployment of the Orthodox Legions in support of the Pentarchy, Volnoscere tasked the Star Wardens and Wormwood Sons with scuttling the Orthodoxy's Titan Legions – Legios Punica and Validus – on Neo Jove before they could be awakened.

Alas, the Wormwood Sons were critically delayed, as reported here, by the Death Eagles I, and the Star Wardens and Silver Stars support found themselves in what appeared to be an unwinnable war against a massively expanded Red Talons presence and the might of a Principal Forgeworld. The month-long war and subsequent retreat left nearly four hundred and seventy Star Wardens out of action – and worse for the Gilded Hand, the Chapter's newly-granted Caputmori banner, symbol of Volnoscere's favour, had been lost on the surface.

The actions taken to recapture the banner are rightly treated as one of the high points of cunning and daring in the entire war, and are recorded elsewhere. 

[//Battered and damaged following the Neo-Jove campaign, the Star Wardens were swift to get back into action, keen to fight besides their adopted gene-father+]

Void warfare was a speciality of the Star Wardens, and together with the Jade Talons and Void Barons, the Chapter proved highly successful at harrying raids on the Red Talons and Orthodox forces while they rebuilt their strength. Rumours at this point of the Silver Stars sending their own inductees to the Chapter  to help them recover the losses of Neo Jove were widely reported, but little evidence has ever been forthcoming.

Heroes of Coldforge

Despite this setback, the Star Wardens demonstrated great magnanimity in their actions following Neo Jove, and appeared to have lost no faith in the Silver Stars and Partisan allies. They continued to act in a positive and aggressive manner, clearly keen to demonstrate their worth to the Primarch. They were to fight repeatedly alongside the Void Barons – a pairing that proved to highly effective against their Death Eagles II and Red Talons opponents in the Moreau Subsector – and became unlikely heroes in claiming Coldforge for the Partisans.

[//Example of a Gilded Hand Star Warden from beyond Hennox's Cadre following the first Coldforge campaign. Note that he has stripped his Red Mark; perhaps in devotion, on both sides; although personal decoration has crept back in by this point in the war.+]

This Forgeworld is credited with single-handedly extending the War for more than ten years, as its Manufactoria and Magi were tasked with producing armour to replace the Partisans' declining and degrading equipment. Coldforge was phenomenal in its output, providing more than seventeen thousand Mark VI suits of armour for the Partisan cause over the course of the seventeen years it remained in Partisan hands. Indeed, by the end of the War, this armour mark was the most common to be seen amongst the survivors on both sides.

[//Second defence of Coldforge+]


Breakout and breakdown

Towards the end of the middle period of the War, the Star Wardens were tasked with a critical role; one that Hennox and his supporters took to indicate their efforts had been worthwhile. As it became clear that the Annulus Umbra – the great quarantine on the twin sectors – was tightening, Volnoscere entrusted the Star Wardens with breaking through. Their efforts on this front were second-to-none, though even by this point doubts had appeared in the Chapter. That they ended up fighting not merely the swollen Pentarchy but fresh Chapters – the Blood Kin, Centaurs and many others – likely hastened a process already unfolding within the Chapter.


Loyalty remained nominally towards Argo, and through him, Volnoscere – although interrogation, mole-records, and intercepted communications suggest a handful of officers within the Star Wardens held an attitude of incredulity towards their ancient Chapter Master. The Cadres under these officers became haunted by a brotherhood that at first secretly worked against the Gilded Hand, Much later in the war, the Red Marked would begin quietly purging those bearing a golden arm – and latterly those whose ideology simply stood against their own. 

To their Partisan allies, many of whom had only witnessed the Star Wardens after their dedication to the 'Primarch', this distemper appeared a fresh and concerning development. In truth, however, it was a predilection with a long pedigree in the Chapter. The Star Wardens were frequently internally competitive – even to the point of treachery – and this had spilled over into mutinous behaviour on a number of occasions. For the moment, the Chapter remained of one purpose; but those days were surely numbered from the moment the Red Marked began their hidden purge.


“Serf, Set this message to repeat. The Red Fleet is emerging from transit. Ident.Cogitators have been engaged, report spooling.
| Lamentus | Grand Iconoclast | Intemperate Divinity | Abyssal Choir | Obfuscator | Silent Disregard |

Throne, how many ships? We were made aware of the Warden’s presence here, but this? Attention, Helepolian vanguard fleet – Lord Autek Mor – Our outerlines are woefully thin, we must re-

Power to shields, warm dorsal cannons! Feth- She’s coming alongside us! Brac-