Chapter Organisation

Though born of the blood of Corvus Corax, the Shades of Adrasteia were raised beneath the gaze of Roboute Guilliman. In the fires of the Indomitus Crusade they swore oaths of brotherhood with warriors of the Ultramarines and Imperial Fists. As such, when the Shades of Adrasteia formed they did so in the stringent mould of the Codex Astartes.

However, those Greyshields sent to reinforce the Ashen Sentinels were few and were never intended to form a Chapter of their own. Combined with the loss of their Torchbearers, the loss of so many of the Ashen Sentinels recruiting worlds and the grinding attrition of warfare in Imperium Nihilus, the Shades of Adrasteia have never achieved full Chapter strength, typically being able to call on between 400 – 600 battle brothers.

Though divided into ten companies as the Codex instructs, in reality the chapter has only nine. They have never numbered enough warriors to warrant a second battleline reserve company and so though the Shades of Adrasteia record the existence of a 7th company, no Battle Brother has ever been a part of it.

For the same reasons each company remains below a hundred brothers. Despite this, each company maintains the regulation ten squads though they rarely number more than five Space Marines each.

The ranks of the Shades of Adrasteia are still dominated by the Terran born Greyshields who first founded the Chapter. The positions of Chapter Master, Chief Librarian, Master of Sanctity, Master of the Forge and Chief Apothecary are all held by Terran born Space Marines, as are six of nine company captains. The 1st Company, led by Captain Aku Soturi, the Sword of Adrasteia, comprises exclusively of Indomitus Crusade veterans, a status quo the captain will fight to maintain.

The second largest group is the recruits drawn from the tribal world of Jaegenheim. The highest ranking brother born on Jaegenheim is Olin Sharpeye, captain of the 2nd Company and Master of the Ambush. Sharpeye and Soturi are fierce rivals, for each is an exemplar of the chapter. Soturi, the crusading veteran, forged by the word of the Codex Astartes represents their past and their origins. Sharpeye, formed by the blood of Corax and his people’s legends of the Ashen Sentinels represents the Shades of Adrasteia’s likely future.

The third and smallest group are the recruits drawn from the hive world of Zanderex. Though Zanderex’s population is far greater than Jaegenheim, it’s environment produces far fewer viable candidates for ascension to the ranks of the Adeptus Astartes.

The Last Sentinel

When the Primaris Greyshields discovered a lone surviving Librarian in the depths of Adrasteia, close to death and rendered unconscious by his Sus-an Membrane, they rushed him to the Apothocarian upon their Strike Cruiser Ukko’s Chariot. There, the fallen warrior’s physical form was stabilised. However Greyshield librarians who were asked to attend the Ashen Sentinel reported sensing significant mental disturbance, as if the librarian were caught in the throes of his own personal warp storm. There were those among the Librarius, Reclusiam and Apothocarius who counselled that the Ashen Sentinel should be put out of his misery, that not to do so was too great a threat to the burgeoning chapter. Still crestfallen from the loss of the Ashen Sentinel chapter, Captain Orn refused to give the order. So the Ashen Sentinel librarian remained in the Apothocarian until constant guard.

In the time the Ashen Sentinel remained unconscious the Techmarines of the Shades of Adrasteia worked to restore the systems of the Fortress Monastery. At the same time the chapter’s Librarians and Chaplains studied the Ashen Sentinel’s physical records and what remained of their relics. Once the Techmarines had restored power to the main cogitators and appeased their traumatised machine spirits, the three groups together were able to identify the last survivor of the fallen chapter.

He was Chief Librarian Ballard Winterheart and the record of his deeds was long and glorious. Though a measure of the Ashen Sentinel’s history was recovered, no records remained of their final days. No clues as to their downfall. Winterheart remained comatose for many months, beyond the founding of the new chapter within his Fortress Monastery and beyond the Shades of Adrasteia’s reclamation of the recruiting worlds of Jaegenheim and Zanderex. When he did awaken he did so screaming.

Unassisted in his awakening Winterheart burst into consciousness with a single word upon his lips. Demadus. This he repeated maniacally, over and over. He tried to rise from his bed, showing no sign of understanding of where he was. Instruments, screens, even the eye lenses in power armour helmets cracked or shattered as he thrashed against the Space Marines who tried to restrain him until he was sedated by the efforts of the Apothecaries and a trio of Librarians. The first question anyone asked was, what is Demadus. An order was given to consult the Techmarines and the Ashen Sentinel’s records but before anyone could move the question was answered by the senior librarian, Epistolary Sakari Eskola.

He looked to the Codiciers beside him, Soro and Vesik. ‘It is a world. I saw it, as he did,’ he said solemnly. His fellow psykers nodded their agreement. All had shared the vision from within Winterheart’s tortured mind. ‘We must go there at once.’

Though not all had returned from the expeditions to the recruitment worlds, Chapter Master Orn did not hesitate to act upon Eskola’s counsel. He deployed the recently returned 3rd Company under Captain Karvonen along with Eskola and all the support the Chapter could muster, to Demadus. The journey was arduous but it was upon Demadus that the Shades of Adrasteia earned their first great victory.

Demadus had once been a world of great cities but those times were millennia past. Now is was a barren world where the sands still worked to reclaim the last artefacts of civilisation. Upon arrival Eskola and Karvonen found an army of the Ruinous Powers, traitors of the Astra Militarum spearheaded by Heretic Astartes of the Black Legion. The Strike Cruiser Pale Watcher advanced stealthily into the system, approaching Demadus from behind its unnamed moon. Catching the Black Legionaries off guard, the Shades of Adrasteia’s opening assault devastated the heretic forces and scattered them across the planet’s surface. Still outnumbered and with Pale Watcher driven out of orbit by the Chaos fleet, Karvonen and Eskola led the Shades of Adrasteia on a six month guerilla campaign where they systematically isolated each enemy battle group and neutralised them through precision ambushes and assassinations. With each victory the Primaris Space Marines learned more of the motives of their enemy. From terrified mortals pleading for their lives they learned that the Black Legionnaires were led by a trio of sorcerers. From psychically interrogated Heretic Astartes they learned that the enemy were searching for rumoured repositories of warp lore. Following the successful assassination of the first of the enemy sorcerers, Eskola and the other librarians shared visions of an outpost buried within the nearest city. The Shades of Adrasteia sought it out immediately. Days later they found it. The entrance was sealed by locks both psychic and biometric. The librarians opened the psychic locks and, to their surprise, the biometric locks yielded to the blood of Corvus Corax. Inside was a library. Many of the books appeared to have been written by members of the Ashen Sentinels, their leather bindings marked with the chapter’s insignia. Others had been written much earlier, their bindings of many and varied materials marked with symbols unknown to sane men. Among the many strange things found within the outpost one stood out as strangest of all. An audio recording of an unknown speaker. It said:

‘At the closing of the thousand fold he comes again and where he has known loss he will know victory. The bastion of ages will fall and galaxy shall be rent in twain. All will know darkness and all will know death.’

To the ears of the Shades of Adrasteia it seemed to speak of the opening of the Great Rift. Yet its time stamp placed the recording at 899.M41, a hundred years before the fall of the Cadian Gate. Unsure how to proceed, Karvonen and Eskola sealed the outpost. They would continue to prosecute their campaign against the Black Legion on Demadus, slaying the second of the enemy sorcerer’s before the last lead what remained of his army off world. With Pale Watcher able to once more enter orbit, the Shades of Adrasteia returned to the outpost and collected its contents before beginning the long journey home.

Since his first guidance to the world of Demadus Winterheart’s mind has settled but he is still lost to reality as sane men know it. He remains bound in comfortable chambers adjoining those of Chapter Master Orn’s own, where he is attended regularly by the Chapter’s apothecaries, librarians and chaplains who seek to maintain his body, calm his mind and discern meaning from his words. Much that he says evades the chapter but in the many years since his reawakening he has also guided the chapter to dozens of victories, the sights of his tortured mind directing them through Imperium Nihilus where all traditional means are lost.

What this truly means, the Shades of Adrasteia have chosen not to question.

Reclaiming the Homeworlds

Though Imperial records list the Ashen Sentinels homeworld as their star fort Adrasteia, once the  Shades of Adrasteia were able to restore the fortress’s cogitators they found record of five worlds their predecessors bore recruitment rights to. Once adequate repairs had been made to the Fortress Monastery, and some of the Ashen Sentinel’s stricken fleet had been brought back to serviceable use, expeditions were sent to re-establish contact with these worlds.

The first planet reached was the agri-world of Dianosia. Pale Watcher, led by Captain Karvonen of the 3rd Company, found the world under the control of a warhost of Heretic Astartes later identified as The Unbroken Axe. Overwhelmingly outnumbered, the expedition force withdrew from the system; the Shades of Adrasteia have sworn to return and liberate Dianosia by any means.

An expeditionary fleet, commanded by Captain Hakala of the 4th Company, were unable to reach the hive-world Arestar. As their strike cruiser approached, preparing to exit the warp, it was assailed by a psychic scream so powerful that all but one of the ship’s astropaths was slain. The Librarian Mikael Myrsky reported the sound of rage, pain and anguish on a planet wide scale, amplified beyond his comprehension. He credits the ships navigator for being able to safely lead the expedition out of the system. Since the fleet’s departure, warp storms have cut Arestar off from any further contact attempts.

Captain Krigare of the 1st Company took the Etsiya’s Bow in search of the hive-world of Udichi. However, as they closed in on its recorded location, a sombre truth became clear. Udichi and the entire Lisilia System now laid wholly within the bounds of the Great Rift. Udichi and all of its estimated 30 billion inhabitants have been declared lost.

The Shades of Adrasteia met their first success when Captain Jalo of the 2nd Company reached the Feral World of Jaegenheim. There the Space Marines had expected to find brutish primitive savages, instead they found a population of noble minded hunters who lived by their skill with bow and knife. They lived in large tribal groups, mostly within the vast expanses of temperate forest that covered most of the planet’s northern hemisphere, but also spread further into the frozen north and the desert lands around the equator. Captain Jalo sent emissaries to all of the major tribal groups. The emissaries reported differences in customs and cultures between tribes, but each shared one collective belief: that their world was protected by an order of warriors in grey armour who they knew as the Sky Hunters. At first, meetings with the population were tense. The Sky Hunters, who would usually arrive each year to claim tribute from the tribe’s young, had not been seen in decades, and none of the tribesmen trusted these newcomers who were giants compared to the Sky Hunters. Things began to change when Jalo ordered all of his warriors on the planet to remove their helms. Upon seeing the pale skin and dark eyes of the newcomers, Jaegenheim’s elders recognised kindred of the Sky Hunters. Jalo and his chaplains spoke with the chief of the Kallio tribe for many hours. When all was said and done, Jaegenheim had been returned to the fold. The first tributes to the world’s new guardians were taken soon after.

Captain Soturi of the 5th Company also saw success when he reached the hive-world Zanderex. Upon arrival, Soturi and his ship Grey Hammer were targeted by Zanderex’s orbital weapons platforms and surrounded by its defence fleet. The meeting almost ended in disaster. The bull-headed Soturi refused to allow his ship to be boarded for inspection while the defenders would not allow the unknown warship to approach their world. Fortunately the matter was resolved before shots were fired when, unknown to Soturi, his astropaths communed with those among the defence fleet. Grey Hammer was eventually permitted to enter Zanderex’ orbit under heavy escort. Soturi and his retinue immediately made planetfall and met with the Planetary Governor. Soturi took no time to declare the Chapter’s right to recruitment and to claim tithes from the worlds manufactorum. At first, Governor Vellius was reluctant. His world had stood firm and alone for many years now. They no longer needed the pay tribute to distant Adeptus Astartes. As such, Soturi had his Librarian, Leskinen touch the governor’s mind. He showed him the merest hint of the horrors that lay beyond the bounds of his system in the new Imperium Nihilus. Then Soturi turned to leave. As he did so, Governor Vellius begged him to stay, offering anything the Chapter asked in exchange for their protection. So it was that Zanderex too was brought into the fold. Governor Vellius committed suicide the following day. His son has served the Chapter’s needs flawlessly since.

Shades of Adrasteia: Origins

The story of the Shades of Adrasteia, like that of any Chapter of the Ultima Founding is a brief one. It is a story of a brotherhood lost and of a destiny unfulfilled.

Origins

The Primaris Space Marines who would one day become the Shades of Adrasteia were baptised in battle fighting as members of Roboute Guilliman’s Unnumbered Sons during the Indomitus Crusade. For a century they fought beside the famed Chapters of the Ultramarines and the Imperial Fists as well as their relative successors. Their greatest glory came in fighting alongside the risen Primarch himself when the crusade crossed the Great Rift into Imperium Nihilus to relieve the Blood Angel home-world of Baal.

Following the battle, and with the psychic disruption of the Great Rift behind them, the astropaths of the Indomitus Crusade began to receive the distress calls of a thousand worlds cut off from support by the smothering of the Astronomican. Among these distress calls, the astropaths were able to discern those of the Ashen Sentinels chapter of the Adeptus Astartes.

Imperial records listed the Ashen Sentinels as a Raven Guard successor chapter charged with oversight of the Duzakh Sector in the Ultima Segmentum. The Ashen Sentinel’s distress calls were fractured and strained but one thing was clear, they were on the brink of annihilation. Before the Indomitus Crusade returned to Imperium Sanctus, Guilliman dispatched Primaris Space Marines to the aid of dozens of beleaguered chapters, the Ashen Sentinel’s included.

The army sent to reinforce the Ashen Sentinels was led by Captain Henrik Orn, a lauded leader and a committed follower of Lord Guilliman’s teachings. Behind him was a force five companies strong. On the eve of their departure from the crusade, Guilliman gifted Captain Orn with a finely wrought weapon named the Spear of Brotherhood. Guilliman bade that once Orn had joined with the Ashen Sentinels he was to gift the relic to their Chapter Master as a token of the Lord Commander’s praise for their stoic resilience and as a symbol of his authority, that Orn and the Greyshields were their brothers and should be welcomed into the Chapter accordingly.

The Greyshield’s journey was difficult. Navigation was challenging and long jumps through the warp were impossible. Several times their Strike Cruiser Ukko’s Chariot was attacked by bands of heretical corsairs and hosts of daemons empowered by their proximity to the Cicatrix Maledictum. After months of travel they arrived at the Ashen Sentinel’s Fortress Monastery, an ancient star fort named Adrasteia. However, upon arriving in system, it soon became clear that something was wrong. All attempts to contact Adrasteia were met with silence and when Ukko’s Chariot approached the Fortress Monastery it found it heavily damaged, barely operational, surrounded by a debris field made up of the sundered hulls of the Ashen Sentinel’s fleet. It was when the Greyshields docked with Adrasteia that the true extent of the devastation became clear.

The Fortress Monastery had been the site of a ferocious battle. Throughout its halls, under flickering red emergency lighting, were littered the bodies of the Ashen Sentinels. Their armour, as well as the Fortress bulkheads, was rent open as if by claws or blades. But, aside the destruction they had wrought, there was no sign of the Ashen Sentinel’s enemies, not one body nor fallen weapon or drop of blood. The Greyshields searched Adrasteia and found none alive, until they reached a chamber deep in the Fortress Monastery’s core. Its door had been inscribed with hundreds of eldritch runes. They had been torn open.

Inside, as with the outer doors, the chamber the walls were covered in runes. Here the Greyshields found the Ashen Sentinel’s Librarius. They were dead, torn apart like their brothers throughout Adrasteia, except for one. In the centre of the chamber, atop a raised platform was a body, unconscious, but still living, his sus-an membrane activated. The warrior was rushed to the Apothocarian aboard Ukko’s Chariot. There he was stabilised but remained unconscious.

In the following months, while extensive repairs were carried out on Adrasteia, concerted efforts were made to contact any surviving Ashen Sentinels. None were found. Finally, Captain Orn was forced to accept that they had arrived far too late and the Ashen Sentinels were gone. This acceptance in turn raised the question of the Greyshields own future. Orn gathered the leaders amongst his brothers to seek their counsel.

The matter was debated for a day and a night. Some, led by the Chaplain Urho Valla believed the Greyshields should do as Guilliman had bade them and become Ashen Sentinels, replacing the lost chapter. Others, spearheaded by Aku Soturi, youngest and most bombastic of the Greyshield captains, argued that they no longer had a purpose and should seek a good death, hunting their enemies to the very last. An argument was made by the techmarine Rikhard Taja that they should seek to return to the Indomitus Crusade and receive new orders. In the end, the agreed upon action, proposed by Orn himself, was to replace the Ashen Sentinels in duty but not in name. Instead, the Greyshields would seek to honour their lost brothers. They would style themselves as the vengeful ghosts of the fallen chapter. They would become the Shades of Adrasteia.