Index Astartes: Iron Guard

 Index Astartes: Iron Guard


'What came of the actions on Gurro VII was a great moral victory for the humane and noble, but with it almost every reason to call the Imperium 'home' has disappeared. Now, brothers, we are but an iron ring made of wood.'

[//First Castellan Vaszoly Soos 'The Ironclad', Equerry of the Huscarls and Master of War+] 


Of the Chapters that would flock to the banner of the False Primarch, amongst the most tragic fate of all would be that of the Iron Guard Chapter. A tale of misfortune thus far unheard of within the Imperium, these 'men of iron' had forged and noble and proud dynasty amongst the stars. Alas, their end was not to be so bright.

[//Chapter icon+]

'Pity, brothers. the Reményans. We – they – who have suffered for the sins of the past and of the future! Pity, brothers, those within whom the temper of Remény flows! Pity, brothers, for that was our homeland, our life!' 
'We do not have another one, so by the Emperor; we will fight for her memory until the very end. We will never give up!'
[//Address at the Balór Confrontation: Török Balázs, 'The Stone Man', Huscarl of the Iron Guard Chapter's First Warhost.+]


Warcry  'Csak vass, semmi kevesebb' – less a warcry as a combat catechism, the phrase was habitually used as a greeting, ward – and occasional shibboleth, for the sibilant accent of Remény was distinctive. The phrase translated literally as 'Only iron, nothing less', but carried with it deep and complex cultural resonances of loss and pride.

Cognomen  The Iron Guard were occasionally referred to as the 'Sons of the Stars' within Steel of Heliopolis agitprop, but it was not a term used by the Chapter itself. If the cognomen was used in their presence, it was likely met with indifference or scorn. The term quickly fell out of use following the appearance of the Silver Stars, first as the populace of Heliopolis feared unintentionally associating the then-nominally Orthodox Chapter with the rebels, and subsequently to avoid confusion or conflation with the Silver Stars pseudolegion.

Founding  Third M32.010 – records in the Liber Ferrum, a grand tome of the Chapter's history, listed the esteemed Captain Demetrius Katafalque as their 'forebear', despite Imperial records noting him as the founder of the Excoriators. It is possible that the Iron Guard were successors of the Excoriators, rather than directly stemming from the Imperial Fists – though with the Chapter scored from that grim-faced Legion brotherhood's own histories, the truth is unclear. 

Geneseed  [+/VIIrogal_d/+]

Successors  None officially recorded, though the Seventeenth Founding Chapter currently recorded as 'Sons of Pertinax' includes a number of interesting parallels with Iron Guard combat doctrine. If they are a distant descendant, there must have been at least one intervening Chapter stemming from the between the Fourth–Sixth Foundings.

Chapter Master  Ljunge Blégos [//honorificval=TRUE: 'Lord Castellan'; 'The Blind Butcher'+]

Homeworld  Formerly the ocean world of Remény, which was hidden quietly in a corner of the Segmentum Pacificus to the galactic north of Heliopolis and Wegerer Space. The world was isolated, and bred a hardy, if superstitious, populace of sailors and armsmen, well-suited both genetically and culturally to transhuman elevation. 

[//ident: Remény | tithegrade=non-appropriate: Elusus+]

The planet fostered a creed and culture that strongly tied itself to the naval traditions of the world's children. After its destruction, the Chapter evacuated what they were able, and became a nomadic fleet-borne force.

Fortress Monastery  The Fortitude was a mobile and void-capable labyrinthine bastion, clad in purest basalt. Much of the structure was embedded on Remény after settlement, and the remnants were amongst the material salvaged by the Chapter following the death of their homeworld. The superstructure and key relics were integrated into the upper decks of an Ironclad-class Battle Barge that became known as Fortitude's Sin. It was from here that the Chapter would henceforth be directed.

Appearance  In an echo of their early character and philosophy, the Iron Guard's name and identity was ever a proud and straightforward declaration of intent and method. Their panoply was likewise straightforward: gunmetal riven with ebony. As though a hallmark to their progenitor's legacy, Company markings and honorifics were picked out in yellow, with occasional flashes of red and blue, giving the Brethren stark and straightforwardly eyecatching iconography.


'Whilst the chapter's gunmetal armour suits its dour heritage, it is often surprising to outsiders that battle-brothers also adorn their armour with colourful heraldry and markings. This tradition harks back to the chapter's now-destroyed homeworld and the ritualistic adoption of neophytes into one of the historic clans.'
[//Tactica Imperialis: Partisan Identification+]


History of the Chapter

'Anagy hal mogoszi a kis halat' 
'Men are like fish. The great ones devour the small.'
[//Relict proverb; orig. spec. Reményan +]

The Iron Guard's fate was a microcosm of the broader War of the False Primarch; dark, bloody and largely lost to myth. Along with the rest of the 'Steel of Heliopolis', and the Partisan followers of Volnoscere more generally, their name is now reviled; the tattered remnants of their ideology and methods scattered, sealed and forgotten. Readers contemporaneous with their early history would know the Iron Guard's reputation as paragons of the Imperial ideal, and righteous bearers of the lineage of the VII Legion. Scant centuries later would find the Iron Guard extinct, destroyed by virtue of falling on the wrong side of a conflict. As the Imperial adage has it: 'There is no innocence; merely degrees of guilt.'

From their earliest days, the Iron Guard prided themselves upon a legacy of duty, their brotherhood founded upon a determination never to sully their name, and to bleed their last drop to see through their every duty. Beyond this, however, the culture and traditions of the Iron Guard were far removed from the Imperial Fists, and the Chapter's culture shared little with their forebears beyond a mulish adherence to duty. Shaped by the tides, waters and naval traditions of Remény, the early Iron Guard formed a combat doctrine that erred strongly towards void warfare; favouring boarding actions against orbital fortifications, low gravity warfare and drop invasions of enemy-held worlds.

A millennium of service had seen the Iron Guard build an enviable record for themselves. In the image of their Primarch, they had carved the steel of the Imperium into the north-east of the galaxy, waging their crusades in echo of their forebears.

The Antixes Death ca. 751.M32

Across the edge of Wegerer Space, to the galactic north of Sector Heliopolis, the entire Iron Guard Chapter mobilises in response to the threat posted by the xenos Thraxes Coalition. Responding aggressively to the subjugation of a string of frontier systems, the Iron Guard bombard and annihilate a series of Coalition flotillas. Tracking a limping vessel back to their home of Antixes, the Iron Guard commence Vashalál – the Iron Death. Fire and ruin descend on upon the spires and mosaic cityscapes of the Thraxes,as Lord Castellan Ljunge leads the Huscarls in a decapitation strike on the Coalition. Slain by the Lord Castellan's own hand, the head of the xenos Overlord was paraded in triumph and mounted to the pillar-wall of the Ferric Catacomb.



In cruel twist of fate, the closing years of the 32nd Millennium – the date was recorded as 957.M32 – brought disaster. The sun that the Chapter's homeworld orbited had long been dying, but an unknown agency – or mere mischance – saw it go unexpectedly supernova. The cataclysm saw a shockwave roll over Remény and all but instantly scour it of all life, blasting its atmosphere away and boiling its seas. As her people died and surface cracked in the hours following, the Fortitude was partially remobilised and detached; an escape pod from a dead world. The disbelieving screams of the Reményans were the only parting memories for the Iron Guard of their homeworld.

The Great Loss ca. 957.M32

Fatefully heralded by the Void-Scream of 894, the sun Ero implodes, the resulting shockwave tearing the Chapter's homeworld apart. As her surface cracks and tears, the Iron Guard initiate firefall protocol to unwillingly abandon their home. Henceforth, the Chapter becomes fleet-based, their Fortress Monastery bound to a warship, and adopting the territory .


As the 33rd Millennium dawned, the now fleet-bound Chapter drifted onwards. Their fleet – bleak and foreboding, gunmetal-flanked – lurked amidst the darkness between the stars, clustered grey predators, wounded and in search of prey. Gathering around the newly-renamed Fortitude's Sin, the Chapter waited for its errant Companies to return, there informing them of the loss, to various reactions: grief, denial, anger.

In one of the few remaining records of the Iron Guard in general circulation, the Imperial scholar Austintateous Brevel drew a correlation between the 'passing of their home' with:
[A] sudden regression in the character, as though a shred of themselves had been lost alongside Remény. Gone was the precision and efficiency of their warfare, replaced with a cold and uncalculated brutality, one that tore through any that stood in their way. 
Across the 33rd [millennium, the] Iron Guard pursued a furious and tireless crusade borne of fury, tragedy and loss. The protohuman Remyans [sic.] of the Guard saw red, and with it, Mankind's enemies bled. Their rage was unheard-of and their aggression led to the deaths of many.
[//Important Remarks, Austintateous Brevel+]



The Iron Fleet

'An adage, once thought wise on Reményan, stated 'Something must be left to chance, for nothing is sure in a sea-fight.' Consider its honeyed words well, Brother, for out here it is untrue. We command chance, we command surety, the Iron Fleet commands dominance.' 
[//Csatár Juhâsz, 'The Mute', Castellan of the 2nd Warhost and Master of the Fleet.+]

[//Shipmaster Vass 'the Broken', Castellan of the Fourth Warhost. Iron Guard, ca. M33+]

Haunting the waves of the Segmentum Pacificus, the Iron Fleet, as it became known, was a byword for space-borne destruction. Previous operating in a largely divided manner, after the death of Ero, the fleet of the Iron Guard Chapter gathered together. Suspicious and on a near-constant war-footing, it drifted and lurked amidst the void, laser batteries and macro-cannons permanently primed for action.

Whilst not accurately representing the sheer depth and breadth of the Iron Fleet, the following illustrates a small, hand-picked number of some of their most essential starships. [+appendnoteedit{: infomation recorded below is recorded post-Achilles Heel and the loss of the Indomitable and Foo's Ruin Battle Barges.
  • Fortitude's Sin – Ironclad-class Battle Barge, Chapter Barque and Fortress Monastery
  • Severance – Legate-class Battle Barge
  • Argent Valour – Vanguard-class MkIII Strike Cruiser
  • Revenant – Vanguard-class MkIII Strike Cruiser
  • Catechism – Warspite-class Battle Barge
  • Iron Harvest – Legate-class Battle Barge
Following the Great Loss, one of the Chapter's most offensive – in multiple senses of the word – was their action as a fleet-based Chapter saw the dismantling of the Starspear. A vast-space-borne complex mounted to a planetary body, the Starspear threatened to destroy the worlds of the Oimia system, some way Rimwards of the Morqub Sector, and on the border of the Tinctures. 

[//The area of Wilderness Space known as the Tinctures are pictured on the Rimward edge of Morqub+]

A decisive strike by the 2nd, 4th and 5th Warhosts, supported by the 7th, allowed the Iron Guard to quickly degrade the exterior defences and boarded the station. The resulting fight was swift, grim and one-sided as the brotherhood of the Iron Guard slaughtered their way through the crew of the colossal world-craft before placing Kadathian übermelta charges on the craft's strange gunnery cores. 

The resulting implosion rocked the system itself, the death of the Starspear causing a domino effect on a great series of other planetary bodies and forming what came to be known as the Achillean Belt. The overkill on the Starspear certainly rendered it unable to threaten further Imperial worlds, but indirectly caused the near-total depopulation of the Oimia system itself – a price chillingly recorded as 'satisafctory' by Castellan Juhász of the 2nd Warhost.


Broken Iron

Such a shift inevitably affected the Chapter's cult and outlook. The division that had been seeping through the Chapter's soul only gradually became apparent; undermining their drive like water through foundations. eventually, this came to a head in 346.M33. For four years, brother fought brother as hostilities became rife across the Warhosts. As Austentatious Brevel put it:
[S]uch tensions never died down from within, a deep-seated bitterness and grit consumed them and overcame all sense. A fact which I, and other Imperial scholars, have taken particular care in recording as the intricacies of such hostilities had not been observed between Astartes since the tumultuous days of the Great Scouring.  
Deeper and deeper they sank into [their] heart of blackness. As they descended, they chipped another dent in their proverbial armour. Thick was the tar that covered their once-gleaming heart, all that remained was a pulped mess of bitterness wrapped in a relic of bygone days.

[//Important Remarks, Austintateous Brevel+]  

Eventually, the voices of the Huscarls of the First Warhost gave the dissenting voices cause to pause, and the Chapter convened council within the Ferric Catcomb aboard the Fortitude's Sin, for a much-overdue reckoning with the Chapter's collective conscience. The long-suppressed animosity between the Warhosts became clear to a saddened Lord Castellan as he watched his kin snap at one another, tensions running high. An unsavoury moment, and much to the chagrin of the hopeful, the Liber Ferrum noted 350.M33 as the date of the vote that set their path and cemented the Iron Guard's downfall in character. 

The second half of the 33rd Millennium was marked by a self-imposed penitentiary campaign, grandiloquently recorded as the 'Age of Iron' in Brevel's remarks, he reported 'a wave of ferric doom giving way to persecution. The Iron Guard swept through the Segmentum Pacificus, some say in aggravation of prior events whilst others say such action was dictated by mournful sorrow. The Chapter had lost their true selves. From this point, this schism, the Iron Fleet drifted – and wherever it moored, death followed.'

[//Iron Guard in Morqub; deployed against Orthodox abhuman scratch-companies.+] 

For more than a century the Chapter ran itself ragged, fighting anything and everything they came across, and at risk of self-immolation. Eventually, Kozma Soma, Honoured One and High-Father of the Reculsiam, decreed that the Iron Guard's regression in character had offended the spirit of their Primarch-Progenitor, Rogal Dorn. He decreed that the act of scrimshaw be observed by his kin and demands the Chapter's Hall of the Dead be unsealed to allow for such action. 

An uncharacteristically unanimous response was voted for by the Council, and a gratified Lord Castellan Blégos instated 'the Penitence', a dedicated annual cycle during which the Chapter Fleet was  stilled, and the hallowed dead cannibalised in order that totems and charms might be carved from their remains. Hope, it seemed, remained for the Iron Guard to pull themselves back from the precipice.


Isolating themselves, little is known of the centuries between the Chapter's bitter schism and the arrival of the False Primarch, though folk-records of a number of worlds within the Tinctures make it likely that the Iron Guard may have spent quite some time here. All that can be discerned from the scattered notes recovered in the wake of the war was the incomplete nature of the Guard's return from their deep cultural regression. 

It was presumably during this period that the Chapter became associated as part of the 'Steel of Heliopolis'; though in truth their inclusion was likely owing to little more than their presence on the outskirts of Rimwards reaches of Helipolis. Intriguing mention is made of a 'compact with Coldforge', indicating that the Chapter had some sort of recruitment base within Heliopolis; though given that the same source mentions the 'Spacewolves' and 'Wardenstars' alongside the 'Ironguard', it is entirely possible this is little more than hearsay.

A series of missives between Inquisitor Jai-Mei of the Ordo Pacificus and Master Enoch highlight the tragedy of the Iron Guard's fall. A staunch defender of the Chapter – for reasons known to none beside herself – Jai-Mei argued vociferously, and at no little threat to her own safety, that the Iron Guard did not willingly walk into the arms of a secessionist cause. Rather, she argued, their decision was the result of their intent to redeem themselves through renewed contacts with Imperial agencies.


Disposition during the War of the False Primarch

[//pictcording of vanguard veteran Árpoly– a Huscarl of the 1st Company – alongside veteran-sergeant Magor and battle-brother Jakab of the 4th Warhost. By the middle of the War of the False Primarch, Árpoly had risen to command and defend The Tural by blood-oath. Eschewing the jump pack worn by many vanguard veterans, Árpoly wore a modified suit of Mark III and wielded a combat shield to better protect himself when called upon to defend the venerable battle barge. Magor and Jakab, both members of the 4th company's second squad, were posted aboard Fene's Hunger, a swift strike cruiser whose intervention at Sanctram saved the life of Morgetheon.+]

The Achilles Heel

In 650.M33, the last confirmed record of the Iron Guard's actions prior to the onset of the war, the Achilles Heel occurred. Deep within the spiralling asteroids of the Achillean Belt lay a series of warped and twisted space stations – the lairs of pirates (notable including elements of Dain-Mir eldar), renegades and traitors built largely from the ruins of the Starspear – and thus regarded by the Iron Guard as their responsibility. The piratical presence had long been rumoured in Morqub; and their existence rankled with the Iron Guard. Eventually, their other duties in Helipolis discharged, the Iron Fleet gathered and mobilised en masseThe Iron Guard considered this region theirs to cleanse and purge, and the entire Chapter was pressed into duty to do so – as though to exorcise their previous excesses.

What unfolded is unrecorded in the later history of the Iron Guard, except for the destruction of the Indomitable and Fate's Ruin Battle Barges. Their joint explosion seems to have somehow shifted the gravitational pull of the belt and killed hundreds of the Chapter's finest. The trauma of the loss evidently scarred Lord Castellan Blégos both physically and spiritually. Were it not for the intervention of the Argent Heralds, the Chapter would likely have perished in the years that followed, reduced below that critical recovery point. 

It was seemingly pure chance that saw the Argent Heralds intervene and – to some extent – shield and evacuate the reeling Iron Guard from the tormented region. The Lord Castellan would later mark his gratitude by passing the relic-blade Severance – sign of his office and position as Lord Castellan, and a memorial of a bygone era when Primarchs made the earth tremble – to Chapter Master Cassus of the Argent Heralds. 

[//Prior to replenishment from Coldforge, the Chapter favoured Mark II or III suits, making these Mark VII patterns unusual. In the traditions of the Chapter, Battle-brothers Kapolc and Dudas, here pictured, were said to have been yet to 'earn the iron'.+]

Little was he (or his dissenting council) to know, but owing such a Chapter such a debt of blood would be their ultimate ruin, for as recorded elsewhere, the Heralds would turn to the banner of Volnoscere – and in so doing, consign the Iron Guard to their fate.

[//Iron Guard forces were not mere siegebreakers. During the early war, they demonstrated keen forward-thinking and secrecy, engaging and sowing the seeds of dissent amongst the inhabitants of Morqub and Helipolis alike.+]


Early War

Their recent choleric humour notwithstanding, the Iron Guard retained their earlier reputation as a straightforward and dutiful Chapter. They were, therefore, regarded by the Pentarchy and Orthodox Extinction Fleets as nominally neutral; even potential allies of convenience. In fact, the Iron Guard were likely amongst the earliest Partisan converts; taking the skull-headed Eagle (Caputmori) banner of Volnoscere covertly, likely contemporaneously with the Argent Heralds.

In a short time, the two Chapters had forged an enduring bond. Even as the Tinctures engulfed Praedius, Captain Crassus of the Argent Heralds' Ninth Company was serving alongside the Iron Guard in a war against the xenoform of Cantine.

The Argent Heralds records imply that the Iron Guard followed the Heralds into the War, but a number of intriguing records supposedly authored by Jai-Mei raise the intriguing possibility that in fact it was the Iron Guard that led the Heralds into the arms of Volnoscere, rather than the other way around.

While not openly bearing arms against the Pentarchy, during this period, the Iron Guard demonstrated a perhaps surprising amount of subtlety that belied their straightforward appearance. If it is true, they were already secretly reinforcing and preparing the rimwards regions of Helipolis for secession into the cause of the False Primarch; though their actions could equally well have been sincerely pro-Orthodox.

[//Fourth Warhost Battle-brothers engaged with invading Orthodox armoured fist squads on the Civilised world of Sheervaad, one of the few conflicts in which the Iron Guard fought alongside the Red Fish.+] 


That they were gifted an army of some size by Morgetheon during this period is clear  and that this army was led into Morqub to reinforce and replenish the region during the Sorrowful Years is equally verifiable. What is unclear is whether the Iron Guard were already pledged to Volnoscere, vacillating in their loyalty, or simply stubbornly independent at this point.

Iron Guard forces were notably seen fighting both for and against Orthodox forces, though predominantly away from warzones with other Astartes. It was at this period that they were also reported engaging in limited skirmishes alongside the Star Wardens and Storm Tyrants against the Death Eagles and Red Talons  though given these Chapters' own independence and secrecy, such reports must be treated with scepticism.

[//Warriors of the Fourth Warhost. Note the excision of the Orthodox Aquila from the chest; a common device of the Iron Guard that followed the Argent Heralds' example.+] 

As the war ground on, Master Enoch is said to have appealed to the Iron Guard directly, in the Council of Otranto, in which the 'master' attempted to contract the Chapter into being his personal 'trump card'. Dismissed out of hand, it was shortly afterwards that the Masters of the Chapter officially declared themselves Partisan; and the Chapter began to openly display the Caputmori.

As Operation Gauntlet commenced, the Iron Guard were revealed to have seriously undermined the Pentarchy's holdings, having infiltrated or commandeered a number of their recruitment worlds  which understandably led to their being a priority target of the Pentarchy...

[//During Operation Gauntlet, the Iron Guard saw substantial deployment in the Cardinal Worlds; sustaining (and causing) dreadful casualties.+]


The Machinedeath on Null looms large at this point, for the Iron Guard were notably present on the Partisan side, despite nominally being neutral. They are believed to have lost a substantial portion of their armoured reserves here, but the strength of the Iron Fleet in preventing the evacuation of Legios Validus and Punica is regarded as a turning point for the Primarch, turning a narrow defeat into a slim victory for the Partisan cause. Indeed, though the Chapter lost its Chapter Master and two Captains in the effort, they rejoiced ever after in the title of 'Shield of the Primarch'.

[//Iron Guard remnants engage on Coldforge+]


'Give no quarter; ask for none. In such a manner is the simplest and most effective battleline drawn.'
[//Castellan Vass, Coldforge Campaign+]