Index Astartes: Jade Talons

Index Astartes: Jade Talons


'Lostside. Despite its mineral wealth, it was a backwater; had always been a backwater. I thought the Death Eagles were crazy to garrison it – and our generals crazier still to accept the posting. If they had intended to sit out the war safely on a planet far from the front, it was an idiot idea. Knotty jungle covered the damn place, and the insect life raised weals the size of fists. Life was miserable from the start.'

'When the Smiling Ones arrived, there was an odd sense of relief amongst the men as the interminable boredom gave way to that fizzing excitement that preceded danger. Two weeks later and with casualties mounting, any sense of relief was gone. 

'Why the hell did they come here?' we thought – until we realised that it wasn't minerals or strategic positioning that they sought. It wasn't even the prospect of outflanking the Eagles' position that they wanted.'

'They were after us.' 

[//Sergeant Vonto, last survivor of the Accadian Fourth; Lostside Garrison+]

[//Jade Talons Chapter Icon+]


Faithful to the Primarch, but not hamstrung by idealism, the Jade Talons were a staunch, reliable and uncomplaining force for the Partisans. The ferocious warriors of the Chapter embodied and refined the strengths of the complex web of their birth-cultures; and enjoyed the benefits of a rich and subtle Chapter Cult passed on only through oral tradition and their spiritually-invested recruitment and training practices 

Fierce and clear-sighted on the attack, the Jade Talons appeared to take satisfaction, even joy, from battling the Astartes of the Pentarchy. While they took part in few of the large set-piece battles, their understated – and often initially unnoticed – actions often proved to have large consequences. Notable for being the first Partisans to kill a Pentarchy Chapter Master, the Jade Talons proved to punch well above their weight, given their small number.

[//Members of the 2nd Kyndred+]


Warcry  The Jade Talons had no common Low Gothic warcry; their Hunts instead each having their own oaths in one of the many languages of the deathworld of Samsara. Complex and unique; the oaths were uttered only when a Hunt was adjudged soon to be determined, and with due ritual and solemnity. They were invariably uttered only in the individual Kyndred's distinctive Samsaran dialect.
Death always smiling
         Smile as we hunt
Death always find you
         Strike as storm's front
Death flies swift wings
        [We are] shadow [that] flies ahead
Death’s vice cannot [be] broken
        [We are]talons that grip [the] dead
[//Ritual and response {trans: approx}; Jade Talon catechism. extr. Homeworlds of the Astartes, Recollections of Jarod Ters, Ethnohistoricist, entitled +]

In common with the other Partisans, Jade Talons were known to use the common warcry of 'For the Primarch!', particularly when operating alongside or against non-Astartes troops.

Cognomen  Known as 'Hawk's Children' to many of the tribes of Samsara, the term gained common use amongst the Partisans when referring to the Chapter's actions – particularly those viewed with approbation. The Jade Talons' also became known to the worlds of Heliopolis by the sinister appellation of 'the Smiling Ones' owing to their distressing habit of displaying the skulls of defeated enemies with the mouths and mandibles decorated for emphasis. Whether this was a cultural tic or an intentional tactic of psychological warfare remained unclear.

Founding  Third [+//001.M32/+]

Gene-Seed  [+/Vjaghati/+]

Successor Chapters  The Jade Talons are believed to have sired at least three Chapters from errant hunts that were initially assumed lost, then granted leave to diverge and expand independently when they at last returned. Not being part of a standard founding, almost everything about them is questionable. 

Investigation is further complicated by the fact that at least one successor was also known as the Jade Talons, owing to common Low Gothic's inability to account for the subtleties clear in the Samsaran dialect from which it was translated. Having been long established in distant Segmentum Obscurus, the Chapter was adjudged incommunicado with their heretic forebears during the War of the False Primarch, and was  therefore uncontacted and unsanctioned by the Edict of Obliteration. The Chapter was attested as still operating in late M39 by Unfortunus Veck, Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos.

The Steedsworn – again, confusingly duplicating terminology originally applied to the parent Chapter – were intercepted and destroyed by the Golden Hand and Orthodox Benedictors of the Annulus Umbra vow when they attempted to break into Heliopolis.

The third 'Chapter' attested in the Talons' own oral history revelled in the title of Scalpseekers. Little other evidence of this Chapter remains, and it is possible that the breakaway force was too small and unsupported to prove viable, having perished in one of the interminable wars of the thirty-fifth Millennium.

Given the Chapter's nature, it is entirely possible that other unsanctioned Chapters were created prior to the Jade Talons' destruction – though whether these are lost or merely forgotten is unclear.

[//Prior to the War of the False Primarch, the Jade Talons were mostly famed for their xenocidal campaigns beyond the pale of the Imperium, in Wegerer Space, Venture's End and the Tinctures. They frequently bore trophies borne of exotic species.+]

Chapter Master  Chapter Master Sah’Al-Zhar. {honorifVAL=true}'the Twice-Lived' 

Sah’Al-Zhar earned his honorific from the Chapter Ancients in honour of his improbable victory against a gargantuan ork warlord in single combat – followed by his even less probable recovery. He rides the relic grav-mount Silver Wyrm

As the apex of the chapter, Sah’Al-Zar eschews wearing the jade skull of the chapter symbol, choosing instead to embody the Chapter through deeds alone.

[//Sah’Al-Zhar the Twice-Lived atop Silver Wyrm, during the Nonesuch Rift Pursuits.+]

Homeworld  The planet of Samsara is verdant and tough, and mostly hot and humid. Though the majority of the surface is habitable, the world is subject to localised climate extremes known as totoctis that temporarily render regions inimical to human (and indeed most animal) life. The long year and short day cycle has given rise to plant life that is vigorous and opportunistic, growing with speed bordering on violence during the hot summers, and retreating into dormancy during the squalid darkness of the winters. To survive the extremes of totoctic zones, gathered water and nutrients are jealously and grudgingly used and reused by the plants over such long timescales that the inevitable result is hyper-intense biotoxins.

The resulting toxicity of both plantlife and soil can only reliably be processed by the local fauna. These creatures follow complex and continuously varying migration patterns to avoid the shifting totoctis. This has had the effect of slowly spreading the deadly plantlife across the planet, meaning that no region is free of some variety of it. Alas, rendering the vegetation non-toxic was apparently not replicable by the technology of the early settlers. While the date of settlement of the planet is unclear, being lost in the mists of Old Night, it is clear that the inhabitants regressed to a pre-industrial state many centuries – possibly millennia – earlier.

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

The other knock-on effect of the unpredictable migrations of the plant-eaters is that it has given rise to extremely capable hyperpredators, which can track, kill and process the still-deadly herbivorous megafauna across great tracts of hugely varied terrain. 

The modern human population is made up of tribal groups which specialise in hunting the local fauna unique to their part of the planet. Reliant on hunting the animals as their primary food source, the diet of the tribes is almost entirely carnivorous; with the most prized meat – in an inversion of most planets – the apex predators. Their meat is bitter and tough – but it carries the least toxins. While some smaller tribes practise  limited livestock farming (not agriculture) to supplement their diet, the majority of the tribes follow a nomadic way of life that follows their peripatetic animal prey – and stays ahead of the predatory and migratory plant life. 

The Samsara system lies rimwards of Pao Fung, in a largely empty region of the Callais Subsector in Morqub. It is isolated and – like Praedius, the Argent Heralds' homeworld – subject to the wax and wane of the Tinctures. With little in the way of natural resources, it is far from trade routes; and thus easily defensible.
Fortress Monastery  In common with the populace of their planet, the Jade Talons are largely migratory. As such, they have no permanent Fortress Monastery, but rather a great and mobile caravan that wends its way constantly over the surface of the planet. 

Appearance  Over a base of bone white, the Jade Talons bear a maroon left shoulder to provide a field for the Jade Skull chapter icon. The maroon is echoed on the chest eagle. The right shoulder bears a green bar down the middle with kyndred numerals , rather than the squad number typical of Codex Chapters. 
[//Typical Jade Talon, bearing the boltgun and chainsword armament common throughout the kyndreds. Combining ranged and close-in threat, each warrior is expected to act principally in the role of a hunter rather than a fighter.+]


Chapter history 

Even prior to the War of the False Primarch, the Jade Talons' history was complex, fragmentary and occasionally contradictory. The pre-ascension tribes have few shared tongues. Although a form of Low Gothic is occasionally used as a common language for barter, this is less a dialect and more a pidgin with little use beyond practicalities. The Jade Talons' likewise put little faith in the tongues of men; and their  own written/spoken language records are therefore blunt and without nuance. 

Indeed, the entire office of the Librarium is absent from the Chapter, with a stump entity instead forming part of the duties of the highly-honoured apothecaries. The Apothecarion office is made up largely of psychic officers, though their practices – tersely denounced as 'shamanic and shambolic' by the Iron Guard – do not strictly require psychic capabilities; nor do the Jade Talons practise recognised forms of battlefield psychic warfare. 

These librarian-medics (for there is no readily-translatable Gothic equivalent beyond Oneironologist – or 'dreamreader') lead and facilitate the oral history of the Chapter by creating a group-shared experience of the memories of the Chapter Ancients. As a result, cultural drift is swift, rendering their few records almost unintelligible without firsthand assistance from the librarian-medics. 

“We hunt the hunters”
[//Nemesis cadre motto+]

Equally, however, as the Jade Talons are beholden to no records; their peculiar method of passing on their culture from warrior to warrior means that the core tenets of their history are surprisingly constant. Where a text-based culture almost inevitably finds meanings and semiotics drift imperceptibly – and thus unintentionally end up quite distanced from their original task or core purpose – the Jade Talons' culture is continually being reviewed, renewed and refreshed; rather in the manner that a blade used every day is ritually honed.

The elements that are in Imperial records make one thing clear. The Jade Talons are direct White Scars successors; and analysts point that the Jade Talons embody the 'joy of fighting' that is so familiar to the Sons of the Khan. Although each Chapter's modus operandi is quite distinct on the surface, the underlying teachings of Jaghati are apparent in the Talons to any who are familiar with the Scars. It is the peculiar nature of each homeworld that has moulded the respective Chapter, with the dense and deadly jungle of Samsara encouraging ambush over pursuit, and personal adaptability over dictate.

[//With no formal Scout company, each warrior in a kyndred is empowered to make use of lighter Scout armour for operations. This is frequently hybridised with Power amour, allowing Hunts equipped in such a way to gain some of the benefits of both Power and Scout armour, while minimising their respective drawbacks.+]


Chapter cult

The philosophy of the Jade Talons places a definite focus on the warriors primarily as hunters, rather than line-fighters. Within a broad, complex and deeply nuanced approach to warfare, the Jade Talons' key lesson is that there is a tool or technique applicable to all prey. They are thus willing to use unconventional and non-Codex methods in their way of war, making heavy use of psychology, terror tactics, assassination, subterfuge in combat with sapient or sentient species – while never becoming reliant upon them. 

'I was honoured to fight in support of the Jade Talons on no fewer than three occasions. The first, in my youth, saw us in combat with greenskins. The Jade Talons made heavy use of headtaking; created charnel pits to dismay the enemy; and – on two memorable occasions – took to wearing ork bones on their armour for night assaults. These were daubed with local bioluminescent lichens, creating an effect as chilling to their allies as the orks.'

'The second was against the strange warriors of the Undine. We were never quite sure whether they could think, or merely react, but the Jade Talons fought straightforwardly and effectively here, anchoring our lines admirably and heartening our soldiers.'

'The third was during the war on Cmit Black, where a squad of the Talons were deployed to counteract the Death Eagles prowling ahead of the Orthodox assaults. That... that time I wish never to remember.'

[//Throngturong Hao of Pao Fung+]

The Jade Talons treat their adversaries with respect. They are unusually willing to learn about their enemies so as to better hunt them – in stark contrast to the blinkered zealotry or close-mindedness of other  regional Chapters. 

The Chapter are also prolific trophy takers; to an extent considerably beyond anything that could be attributed to intentional psychological warfare, and is likely deeply rooted in the Samsaran psyche. Such trophy-taking appears almost a compulsion – to the extent that the Inheritors formally requested an investigation of the Chapter cult for 'discrepancies'; a request ignored by Vox Volnoscere at High Command. Such trophies are usually skulls, decorated with pigment to signify the nature of the kill and/or prestige – and it is near-certain that this is why the chapter symbol is a human skull.



The Chapter is divided into kyndreds; the number of which is fluid, and balanced largely by the ability of an Emir – the  title give to each of the kyndred's senior commanders – to channel the abiltities of his lieutenants. Success in a subordinate's command is seen as bringing great benefit to the Chapter, and a successful underling will be granted the right to form his own kyndred, splitting off alongside his closest friends and allies and competing with the other Emirs for access to the limited pool of aspirants Samsara offers. Such divisions are few and far between, and most amount to little more than honour-positions, with the subordinate kyndred fighting as a Hunt within the parent kyndred – often being reabsorbed when the officer perishes.

[//Chaplain during the war on Pao Fung+]

Not an especially numerous chapter – there are rarely more than eight kyndreds at a battle-ready state at any time – the Jade Talons usually fight in small groups, and have become accustomed to facing opponents who outnumber them. Battle Kyndreds are rarely more than eighty strong, and more commonly number three or four dozen, split across five or six Hunts – the Chapter's equivalent to Codex squad specialisations. The nature of the Hunts is hugely varied, but the vast majority fall within one of the following six groupings. The terminology is approximate, and Codex equivalents are indicated in brackets:
  • Mounted (Bikes)
  • Tree top ambush (no direct equivalent – jump pack assault are the closest, though boltguns and heavy weapons are frequently used by such Hunts)
  • Stealth (Scout)
  • Endurance/pack (No direct equivalent)
  • Brute force/aggression into landscape traps (Assault marines)
  • Long range (Devastators)
[//Pre-war Jade Talon, displaying trophy skulls –human and ork – of honoured enemies +]

Despite the intentional drawing together of different tribal traditions within the kyndreds, there is perhaps inevitably some unconscious preference shown by the Emir of a kyndred 'adopting' aspirants that evince familiar traits. As a result, there is a certain amount of mirroring of tribal practises within the various kyndreds of the Chapter; informed by its' leaders own prejudices. While a kyndred is usually able to mount at least a limited number of each of the following 'Hunts'– it is not unknown for kyndreds to develop a particular focus favoured by its commander.



A still night. A cold one too. Nothing wanted to move when it was that cold, not even the rats. Sounds carried further and Jin could hear the listless chatter of automatic hard rounds coming from the front. He huddled down in his rough winter smock and tried to keep his eyes open. This far back in the formation it didn’t actually matter if he kept a lookout, but the general’s tent was nearby and appearances were the only thing keeping him from being sent forwards.

He slowly became aware of another sound. Softer than the clatter of guns. It was almost... musical. He tried to place it but couldn’t. It was organic though. Rhythmic. He had an image of rattling bones he couldn’t get rid of. His heart rate increased in sympathy and he tried to rouse himself. His mind felt as sluggish as the frozen sludge he and his Regiment had been standing in since deployment to this Throne-forsaken place. 

Despite the cold he felt a flash of heat in his veins as a lone figure resolved in the mist at the edge of camp. It was pale, wrongly proportioned for a baseline human. Too symmetrical for an ogryn. He tried to focus on it, but it stubbornly refused to resolve under his scrutiny. 

The sound had stopped. 

Everything seemed to have stopped. 

All Jin's awareness seemed to drop away, until his entire existence was a straight line between himself and the ghost at the edge of his vision. It walked towards him, deliberate, projecting confidence. Nothing made sense. Why hadn’t the perimeter alarm tripped? Why couldn’t anyone else see it? 
In fact... where was everyone? It was all suddenly too quiet. The distant front had receded to nothing. His mind was stuck on the fact it wasn’t making a noise. Over and over. Why isn’t it making a noise? The silence was suffocating him, crushing him into paralysis. 
His eyes locked on the distantly approaching figure, he was unprepared for the sudden and extreme pressure that gripped him. A pale gauntlet, as hard as stone, held his face from behind and pulled him backwards and up off his feet. A voice that sounded like the hiss of sand in an hourglass spoke. “You will only hear us when we want you to. To see us is death.”


Readers of dreams: recruitment

The Jade Talons ' recruitment involves identifying, stalking and capturing promising young tribesmen. Initiates are referred to as the 'unfound', and become part of a floating pool that accompanies the mobile caravan of the Chapter. 

To avoid and account for the tendency of officers to favour aspirants from their own pre-ascent region or tribe, each of the unfound is indoctrinated into the Chapter with a 'dream walk'; a state induced through a combination of psychoactive agents and psykana by the psychic officers of the apothecarion. 

The aim is to help place the aspirant in an appropriate kyndred. Far from a straight mirror of their pre-ascent tribes, each dream walk allows the apothecaries to make a judgement on the unfound individual's fundamental essence or nature. It is a harrowing experience which few survive, but which – if successful – creates a bridge that gives the Jade Talon aspirant access to the Chapter's history, and an understanding of the Chapter's teachings which would otherwise be all-but impossible, given the blunt and imprecise nature of Samsaran speech. 

[//The peculiarities of the Chapter's 'Hunt' organisation means that tactical data on duties is difficult to ascertain.+]


The Weave

As with all translations from the maddeningly difficult Samsaran language-complex, the name Jade Talons is, at best, an approximation. The term – which in truth varies from tribe to tribe (and indeed from speaker to speaker, depending upon their relative social status and birth-rank) – is one of the few cultural commonplaces. It is ultimately drawn from the mythos of the Jade Hawk, a bird that the Samsarans believe claims the dead worthy of progression to the next cycle of life and rebirth. Not all are worthy!

The Chapter cult is heavily influenced by the beliefs and prejudices of the planet's varied tribal cultures and traditions; but beyond being a synthesis of these, it also has its own distinct nature.

Central to the Chapter cult is the belief that those who are inducted into the brotherhood come from many tribes, but are drawn into an interlinking brotherhood determined by their past and future deeds – hence the term 'kyndreds'. More than simply Company analogues, the kyndreds are as much spiritual as military or practical placings. While all Jade Talons receive all-round training equivalent to that found in other Chapters, once an aspirant is invited to ascend to a place in a particular kyndred, they do not rotate through in the normal Codex Astartes fashion. Transfers are rare and advancement out of the kyndred is exclusively to other non-kyndred specialisations, such as veteran cadres like the Nemesis Elite. Space Marines do not return from these duties to their kyndred: as all Samsarans know, it is better to die than to fail.

[//Captain of the Sixth Kyndred, whose choice of wargear reflects the close-in nature of war of Molotov – and the need even for Space Marines to take special measures against the Carcharadons and Flesheaters+]

Inclusion into a kyndred is marked and illustrated by ritual weaving – sometimes of plant fabric or vine, but more commonly by the sinews or strips of hide of the powerful Samsaran hyperpredators. These woven fabrics are begun by an aspirant, and expanded over the course of the Astartes' life. The resulting designs are varied and complex, though common themes often emerge. 

Some of the Jade Talons' brethren create pragmatic tools – ropes, webbing, capes or blankets – while others aim for purely decorative work; particularly tabards or banners, which are borne by the warrior, their kyndred, or – after their death – immortalised on the Chapter's caravan-monastery. 

The latter form of Weave is marked as the purest form of the art, for all Samsarans are by habit practical-minded – their deathworld home rewards the absent-minded and injudicious alike with death – and thus the ability to boast that one has intentionally created something with no practical purpose is viewed as having moved a step beyond the limits of the birthworld and towards the concerns of the Realm, where the cycle of life and death occurs.


Disposition during the War of the False Primarch

For the reasons outlined above, extant primary records of the Jade Talons are few and far between; limited to scanty briefing notes apparently sent by the Talons to the office of the False Primarch, and a mention that a 'Captain Dharas of the Second Company' [sic] arrived in support to the Riven Lords; citing that they were indebted to the Chaper following the events of the Methuselan Affair. This, however, conflicts with other accounts that state that the highly secretive affair occurred later in the war.

Early War – Heroes of the Helepolian Void

That the Jade Talons prove difficult to pin down is in part due to their preference for highly dispersed warfare. The Talons consider fleet warfare as important an aspect of hunting as ground combat, and thus much of their work was witnessed only by their enemies. Jade Talons ships are frequently fast and well-armed but not durable. Their preference in void warfare was to chip away at the weakest in a fleet and work a crack into the enemy's defence rather than a head-on fight – hence, perhaps, their poor showing when forced into line alongside the Silver Stars during the Methuselan Affair.

The Jade Talons' most notable action in the early war was the First Helepolian Void War (838.M33). The largest void conflict recorded prior to the arrival of Master Enoch and the Extinction Fleets, this was a key battle that acted to announce the strength and intention of the 'Primarch' – although so successful was the Partisans' destruction of resistance that it was not for many months that it became clear how badly the Imperial Navy had fared. 

An after-action report given by Admiral Barat ten Gidd, Master and Commander of the Naval Port of Interlude Quay, mentioned:
'The majority of the enemy were older designs, familiar to our techpriests as derivative of ancient Jovan design, but two stood out. Broadcasting no carrier signal, we were tentatively able to identify these strange, pendulous craft as the Nostoi and Tithonus only by visual confirmation of hull markings. Besides these, the largest displacement belonged to our allies flagship, that of the Jade Talons; and thus I ordered it to hove towards[...]'
During the battle, the Firebreak and Jade Talons – then part of the Orthodox forces operating counter to the Partisans – revealed themselves to be supporters of Volnoscere. In the confusion, they were able to gut a significant section of Battlefleet Morqub. The shock defeat of the combined Battlefleets would later prompt questions amongst the High Lords, and it was largely owing to the Jade Talons' naval speed and skill that so many of the Imperial Naval fleet was captured rather than destroyed – an action that near-instantly doubled the Partisans' naval strength.


Besides this famous victory broadcast repeatedly by Partisan sympathisers and pro-Primarch theorists, little is clear about the Jade Talons' subsequent actions in the early war. It is almost certain that the Jade Talons were counted amongst those that lent their aid to the beleaguered worlds of the Red Fish's domain following the war on Ishim, and it is also likely that their Chapter Master, Sah’Al-Zhar, was amongst those present in the Partisan conclave that followed the invasion of Ishim.


Perhaps it was owing to a better understanding of his follower's strengths and weaknesses that the False Primarch made the decision to send the Jade Talons and Void Barons together to invade Heliopolis ahead of the Sorrowful Years. While the bulk of the Chapter did follow Sah'Al-Zhar, it seems that the canny and adaptable Chapter also left a number of counter-operative killteams operating in Morqub. Alongside smaller garrisons of Silver Stars, the Jade Talons' specialisation, adaptability and familiarity with the worlds of the region made them instrumental in holding and counteracting Pentarchy probing attacks and raids during the early war, most notably was the Second Kyndred's actions across the Callais Subsector. 

The 'Huntsworn', as the Kyndred were known, had been tracked as moving in a peculiar manner across the region for many years. This would likely have been one of the enduring minor mysteries of the war, were it not for Chapter serfs of the White Scars, went to recover the trappings of Veteran Qaidu Khan, killed during Operation Starfall.  

[//Qaidu Khan+]

Almost in passing, they identified the pattern as mirroring that of the 'headhunters' mission of the White Scars' own Second Company. Led by Dharas, it appears that the kyndred were pursuing some similar aim, perhaps predating the official arrival of the False Primarch in the region. This raises the intriguing possibility that, like the Riven Lords, the Jade Talons were perhaps contacted ahead of the other Partisans by the Silver Stars – though to what purpose is unknown.

[//Dharas of the Second Kyndred during the Pao Fung Campaigns+]

Mid War

As the mid war began, the Jade Talons were moving across the reaches of Heliopolis in pursuit of the Death Eagles II – and it was prior to the Years of Sorrow that the Jade Talons claimed the notable scalp of Knyaz-Martial Broso, Chapter Master of the Death Eagles II. 

Reports of this action are patchy, but from a combination of intercepted messages, it appeared that the Jade Talons were engaged in some form of propaganda campaign against the Death Eagles II – though whether this was a genuine attempt to sway the Children of Lethe to the Partisan cause, or merely an example of the Jade Talons' honed predatory instincts is not apparent. 

Regardless, if the missives are true, it reveals that the Jade Talons joined the False Primarch in the belief that he was the 'soul of Jaghatai' rediscovered – a theory added to the countless others on the nature of Volnoscere. While the specifics of this belief are obviously questionable owing to their use in agitprop messages, it lends credence to the sincerity of the Jade Talons' support for the Partisan cause more generally. Certainly, as the Jade Talons' philosophy was largely agnostic of the Imperial faith, it proved easy for them to eschew loyalty to the High Lords; as they placed their loyalty primarily in their Primarch. Nevertheless, unlike their comrades in the Iron Guard and Wormwood Sons, who harrowed the Ecclesiarchy to a massive extent, they were not openly antagonistic to the Cardinal Worlds as they passed through.

There was a notable exception to this, and that was Sah'Al Zhar's deployment of his elite Nemesis Cadre to the Cardinal Worlds campaign. An corollary of the kyndred system, the Nemesis Cadre were an elite unit hand-selected by the Chapter Master, and sent with the simple task of 'bringing woe' to the region.

[//Jade Talon of the Nemesis Cadre. Note the Cardinal's cassock strung as a trophy.+]
Unmatched as terror troops within the Chapter, the Nemesis warriors fought without fear or favour with their distinctive green-tinged lightning claws, offering no quarter and giving none. They became infamous amongst the Ecclesiarchy defenders, and so embedded did they become in the psyche of the region that the common view of the Jade Talons was armoured in black, rather then the tincture of the major
[//The Nemesis Cadre almost exclusively bore specialised Lightning Claws into battle – the so-named Jade Talons.+]

The remainder of the Mid War period saw the Jade Talons engaged in raids across a dozen worlds in the Cambyses Subector. Divided, their small numbers were gradually whittled down. By the opening of Operation Gauntlet, the Chapter was drawn out and over-extended, bleeding from a hundred wounds suffered at the hands of increasingly stern resistance from the Death Eagles, Red Talons and – increasingly – the Carcharadons, whose forces were pressing urgently behind them...


'If he is Jaghatai returned to us, rejoice! If his brother, we rejoice anew! And should he fail in his efforts, he will have proven himself false: I will kill him myself – and rejoice!' 
[Laughter and cheering] 
[//Sah’Al-Zahr the Twice-Lived+]