Sunday, 16 December 2018
Swords of Dawn - building a history
First up today, I've got some fluff for you - in this current realm of chapter approved and FAQ's tweaking the balance of the game to make things as balanced for competitive play as they can be I find myself rebelling somewhat and wanting to play more narrative style games, creating cool moments and events rather than finding that extra 1% (who am I kidding, 10% is the minimum I'd need to start competing!) in the rules to help me hold my own in more competitive games. It's no surprise either that this changed approach follows on from me signing up to https://www.deploymentzone.tv/ and watching their more narrative approach to gaming, designing their own missions and playing in a narrative style (a particular highlight was watching a pair of Ork Generals squabbling amongst themselves and getting in each other's way on the tabletop on purpose whilst ostensibly joining forces to battle the Death Guard 'End of All Things').
So with that in mind, I needed to craft some more detailed background for my armies, especially as many of the Dusk Knights have now been sold, with a catastrophic event crippling the chapter and resulting in a fundamental change in their approach (told you I'd got lots to come).
The Synduran Deception
Ever since he gained access to the Webway, the heretical sorceror Ahriman has been searching for the Black Library. But the Webway is vast and the guardians of the Black Library are fiendishly clever. At every turn, Ahriman found his progress challenged, sometimes through ambush, sometimes the very Webway itself had been remade to slow his advance. With his resources finite, Ahriman found that he had to rely more and more on stealth and less on strength of arms and will.
After what seemed like an age, the Farseer Pohlengoldur finally led Ahriman into the trap he had been preparing for months. Slipping into a small conduit of the Webway to avoid detection, Ahriman found himself trapped, and Farseer Pohlengoldur took the drastic action of severing the tendril, re-stitching its immaterial fabric to a portal anchored on the Imperial world of Synduran. No matter which way he turned, Ahriman was led from the Webway back into real space. Then the real trap was sprung. Unknowingly, Ahriman led his forces to the surface of Synduran, located in the Archimedes cluster and the location of a meeting Pohlengoldur had spent much effort arranging. Waiting for him was the Chapter Master of the Swords of Dawn, a chapter of Primaris Adeptus Astartes formed as part of the Ultima founding. Chapter Master Sevrit had been enticed to the planet by the Farseer, who had then led the forces of Ahriman directly into their presence in the hopes that the two forces would destroy each other.
Sevrit and the Swords of Dawn began laying down heavy fire immediately upon the appearance of the Thousand Sons, but not even the farsight of Pohlengoldur could have predicted what would happen next. The Swords of Dawn advanced on their enemies, Ahriman himself coming under heavy fire but reality shifted, and the searingly bright form of Magnus the Red bestrode the battlefield. The Swords of Dawn re-focused their efforts, Chapter Master Sevrit bellowing order to take Ahriman's head as he fearlessly advanced towards the Daemon Primarch. Accompanied by his senior Librarian Hossan Kadjar, Sevrit charged forwards, even landing a telling blow on the luminous being, but Magnus was not to be denied, cutting down the valiant Chapter Master even as he swung a second time.
Since that day, the Swords of Dawn have re-grouped, and vowed revenge on both the Thousand Sons and the Eldar of Mael Dannan for leading them into that trap. Sabre Company's Captain Kaitana was elected to leadership of the Chapter, and has since led them to an impressive string of victories, crusading through Jericho's Reach whilst searching for signs of the Thousand Sons.
Lox Kaitana (Chapter Master)
The former Captain of Sabre Company, Lox Kaitana was elected Chapter Master upon his predecessor’s death at the hands of the Daemon Primarch Magnus. Sabre Company had been accompanying Chapter Master Sevrit on a mission to the Imperial world of Synduran, acting as his bodyguard during a supposed meeting with the Eldar of Craftworld Mael Dannan. Before the Eldar made planetfall however the forces of the Thousand Sons broke from a webway portal and laid siege to the Astartes lines. Sabre Company made a valiant defence, forcing the Sorcerer Ahriman to flee the field, but that victory was won at a terrible cost. Master Sevrit and the Chief Librarian Hossan Kadjar made a stand against the fallen Primarch Magnus, Sevrit dealing him a devastating blow before being impaled on the Blade of Magnus, its power immolating the Chapter Master as he died.
Kaitana drew the remaining forces of the bodyguard together, falling back from the field of battle and leaving the forces of the pursing Eldar to hunt down the remaining Thousand Sons. Upon their return to Khazant and the Fortress of Blades, Kaitana was unanimously voted by his fellow Captains as the most worthy replacement for Chapter Master Sevrit. With the Reliquary of the Swords of Dawn to call upon, he chose as his weapons the Gauntlet of Defiance and the Revenant’s Bite, a boltstorm gauntlet and power sword of ancient provenance, gifted to the Swords of Dawn by the Raven Guard, their Primogenitor Chapter. As a newly titled Master of the Chapter, Kaitana still leads his warriors from the front, with Sabre Company his preferred bodyguard as he provides guidance and counsel to the newly elevated Captain Janus Darke.
When Captain of the 5th, Lox Kaitana’s closest confidant was one of his fellow company captains, Nero Vanderling of Scimitar (4th) Company. Vanderling is almost unique within the known ranks of the Adeptus Astartes as a commanding officer who is also still a serving apothecary and as such he still wears the white armour of his calling alongside the usual company iconography. Vanderling and Kaitana were the only two candidates selected from their recruitment batch during the creation of the chapter and as is common in such situations, formed a close bond. Chapter Master Sevrit noted their skills and ensured they had every chance to progress to positions of rank within the Chapter. Whilst Kaitana displayed exceptional tactical understanding and flair, by contrast Vanderling was a charismatic leader who achieved results through sheer determination, but also showed considerable ability in the healer’s arts. Sevrit took the unusual step of promoting him into the dual role, exercising the traditional autonomy due to a Chapter Master of the Adeptus Astartes. Since his elevation to Chapter Master, Kaitana has often been accompanied by Vanderling into the field, and it is considered to be only a matter of time before the 4th Captain is granted overall responsibility for the Chapter Apothecarion.
Hossan Kadjar (Librarian)
Marked from birth on the hive world of Vanity as different to his fellows, Hossan Kadjar was marked for retrieval by the Black Ships of the Inquisition. Fortunately for the child Vanity, one of the closest planets of the Reach to the Chapter Homeworld of Khazant, was visited by a recruitment ship from the Swords of Dawn shortly after their founding. Librarian Enzo, one of the commanders of the expedition sensed the potential within the child and sought him out, immediately recognising that if he could be trained, Kadjar had the raw power to be one of the greatest Librarians of the Astartes. Many years of trials, testing and training followed, before Kadjar was accepted into the Librarius of the Swords of Dawn. In the comparatively short decade since that time, his capability has, and continues to, grow beyond his tutors and he is currently the most potent battlefield psyker the Swords of Dawn possess.
Most recently, Hossan Kadjar had accompanied Chapter Master Sevrit in his ill-fated mission to Synduran, matching wills with the Daemon Primarch Magnus and managing to break through his psychic defences just long enough for Sevrit to strike a blow against the abomination. Whereas Sevrit paid the ultimate price for the strike, Kadjar escaped relatively unscathed, albeit rendered insensible by the psychic backlash as Magnus’ defences re-established themselves. Kadjar had always been known as a driven soul, strong in his ability to wield devastating psychic powers, but his greatest weakness was seen to be a lack of sensitivity to the more esoteric psychic arts such as divination and telepathy, and a lack of will to develop his skills in more defensive practices. Since his injury, Kadjar has been driven to address this weakness, seeing his failure to protect Sevrit as a warning from the Emperor himself that not only are the Space Marines a powerful destructive force, but they are also responsible for protecting those around them.
In battle, Kadjar wields his powers in conjunction with the firepower of his brothers, smashing aside defences and rending armour with terrifying ease. He also wields the Blade of the Thirsting Void, a force sword fashioned by his mentor Enzo to focus his power, drawing the very life essence of his enemies into an psychic reservoir in the hilt of the blade, a reservoir that Kadjar can psychically tap into to fuel his mind, or unleash through the weapon to utterly destroy his foes.