The Aurora Chapter

Founded in the wake of great triumph, the Aurora Chapter carries the spirit and tradition of Robute Gulliman into the depths of the 41st milennium. Wherever the enemies of the Emperor strike, the Aurora Chapter can be found defending the people of the Imperium from the galaxy’s most terrible threats.

The dark days of the Horus Heresy nearly destroyed the fledgling Imperium before it was truly born. As the legendary battles of the Heresy raged, vast regions of space reclaimed during the Great Crusade were left defenseless and alone. Many worlds fell to anarchy and ruin, as those that avoided the opportunistic advances of alien races fell under assault from an ambitious enemy within. The Imperium’s eventual triumph is a testament to the will of mankind, and to those who would defend the Emperor’s realm even when all hope appears to have vanished.

The world of Firestorm had been brought into the Imperial fold during the last days of the Great Crusade. Originally a world operating at the pinnacle of technology, the Age of Strife left the planet a shell of its former glory. Firestorm’s rich resources gave way to a vast nobility, whose ambition spilled violently into perpetual civil war. A bloody stalemate took its toll upon both the citizens of Firestorm and the planet itself; untold billions were driven into the crucible of warfare, and great technological wonders were unceremoniously razed in battle or scrapped for munitions.

Constant warfare and destruction gradually eroded even the most powerful faction’s ability to make war. Lasguns eventually gave way to muskets and crude cannons, which in turn gave way to sword and shield. Peasant soliders, in the final days of the war, wielded crude spears fashioned from shards of what was once the glorious machinery of mankind. The population of Firestorm, unable even to harvest the most basic of mineral resources, settled into a shattered existence of nomadic gathering. Upon their arrival, Imperial forces were greeted by a world that was a specter of its former greatness.

Having easily cowed the primitively-armed residents, Imperial Explorator teams soon set to determining the strategic value of their new conquest. Firestorm, which combined a strategically valuable location with extensive mineral deposits and fragments of ancient technology, was quickly deemed to be of critical importance. A communique was sent to the Ultramarines – specialists in reclaimation of new conquests – asking for aid in bringing Firestorm back into the fold.

A reply was sent in the form of Sergeant Ardus Cainen, a veteran of considerable experience, and a master of Roboute Guilliman’s methods of developing Imperial holdings. Sent with four other veterans, Cainen’s was tasked with bringing the world’s defenses and industry to sustainable levels within one Terran year. Within six months, Cainen had unified the scattered tribes of Firestorm into a coalition, and had laid the groundwork for a proper Imperial government. This coalition was stable enough that work could begin on the planetary economy and defenses – a process that, thanks to the Ultramarines’ expertise, showed remarkable progress.

However, during this period of healthy progress, communication from the Ultramarines came to a quick halt. Given the limitations in interstellar communication, transmissions from the Ultramarines fleet had been sporadic since Cainen’s arrival; however, the lack of any communication at all was disconcerting. Unaware of the war that was tearing the Imperium apart, Sergeant Cainen and his men continued on their mission – developing government, economy, industry, and defense worthy of an Imperial charge. Ancient defense systems scattered throughout the system, long forgotten by Firestorm’s inhabitants, were re-activated by Techpriests left behind by the Explorator teams to aid the Ultramarines. It was this action, perhaps more than any other, that saved Firestorm from a quick and terrible end.

++The Aurora Control Zone++

As the Macharian Crusade reclaimed great portions of the galactic southeast, the forces of General Tarka’s Third Army were met by a fleet of streaming jade battle cruisers identifying themselves as a lost detachment of the Aurora Chapter. Originally sent as a garrison force to the system to defend against Eldar raids, the large force of Auroras found themselves cut off from the Imperium during the Age of Apostasy. Taking charge of several systems within the reach of their fleet, they successfully carved out a stable empire of worlds under their protection, awaiting the Imperium’s eventual return.

Led by their Master Velatian and the Librarian Sulaco, the Aurora detachment aided the Macharian Crusade in its battles to reclaim the worlds of the galactic southwest, participating in the Scouring of Antaris IV and the infamous Siege of Duro. The Marines returned to Firestorm victorious, re-uniting with the homeworld their predecessors had left behind six thousand years before. The entire Chapter was deployed to Theris III during the turbulent wars of the Macharian Heresy, upholding the peace so hard-won by their brothers.

Over the following months, several of the satellite monitors that ringed the system began to fail. While no immediate cause could be discerned, a disturbing pattern began to emerge, as the orbital monitors failed along a direct path toward Firestorm. The disturbance was finally identified when one of the defense monitors sent back visuals of crudely-wrought vessels, moments before the satellite was destroyed. Sergeant Cainen brought the world to full alert, assembling his defensive forces – Greenskins were on their way.

With scant time remaining before the Orks would make planetfall, Cainen began to organize. In an effort legendary by even Ultramarines standards, Firestorm’s fledgling industry was shifted to a war footing almost overnight. News of the impending attack spread quickly; faced with the prospect of certain death, the population of Firestorm woked tirelessly to master the art of warfare. Government buildings were turned into fortresses; assembly lines, previously used to produce mining and farming, now forged the tools of war.

The Warboss Zagrokk and the sizable greenskin forces under his command had been displaced from their holdings by the ferocious battles of the Heresy, and had set its sights on Firestorm as a resupply station and source of slave labor. The Great Crusade had seen a change in human civilization, turning once-ripe targets of Ork invasion into well-defended enclaves able to turn aside all but the largest WAAAGH. The prospect of once again pillaging an undefended human world had set the Orks into a frenzy, and the greenskins had set the whole of their warmaking apparatus towards the quick conquest of the planet. The first volley of orbital defense lasers took the Orks by surprise, reducing a full third of their Kroozers to smoldering hulks. It was not long, however, before the sentries were met with suicide charges from brutal Ork Ram ships, and their guns silenced. The initial wave of defenses had slowed the Ork attack, but now thousands of greenskin warriors assaulted the planet, dropping from the skies in huge Rokks and swarms of fighters.

Upon landing, the Orks found crudely-walled cities bristling with weaponry. The walls fell after several sustained Ork assaults, but not before the defenders took their toll in green blood. As the walls were abandoned, Orks swarmed into the cities, only to find them suddenly emptied of their defenders. Through a system of ancient tunnels, Firestorm’s populace had evacuated to the planet’s heavily-fortified mountain ranges. Buildings in the abandoned cities were booby-trapped, set to explode and collapse on the invading Orks. The blunt Ork assault gave way to a protracted siege, the Orks attempting to wall the humans inside their mountain fortifications while they mined the planet bare.

The population of Firestorm turned to guerrilla tactics, destroying Ork equipment with satchel charges and crude firebombs. Mile by mile, the humans began to retake Firestorm’s surface. The Orks attempted to retaliate, but the human assailants would simply melt back into the mountains, where pursuing Ork forces were slaughtered by the massed defenders. Sergeant Cainen is said to have met his death in one such siege, holding the gates of his mountain fortress against hordes of greenskins. His loss was mourned, but gave the men and women of Firestorm a martyr to rally behind. The renewed purpose of Firestorm’s people resulted in a profound increase in the intensity of conflict, and a great victory was won by Firestorm’s warriors as Warlord Zagrokk himself was killed as he attempted to mount an assault on command bunker within Mount Zarek. The final blow to the Orks came as two of the remaining Ultramarines repaired a downed Ork aircraft and snuck aboard the Kill Kroozer Deff’s Hed, Zagrokk’s flagship. Their attack detonated its core, sending burning shards of the Kroozer into an eternal orbit. Leaderless and demoralized, the Orks fled the planet. The battle for Firestorm was won, and the defenders took to once again rebuilding their home.

Less than a year later, the Ultramarines returned to Firestorm; the remaining Marines were given the grave news of Horus’s rebellion, and the Emperor’s internment in the Golden Throne. In turn, the new arrivals were told of Cainen’s heroic command of Firestorm’s people in the defense of their homeworld. The story spread throughout the Legion, becoming a source of inspiration and bravery as the Ultramarines fought to keep the Imperium from crumbling in the wake of the Heresy. Eventually, word of Firestorm’s salvation reached the ears of Roboute Guilliman himself. When the Ultramarines were divided into independent Chapters during the Second Founding, Guilliman honored the fallen Sergeant by placing Firestorm in the hands of one such Chapter, honoring them with the title of “Aurora” – an ancient Terran patron of hope, renewal and the new dawn.

++The Andromedus Forge World++

Lying within the Tempest system, the Titus asteroid belt is one of the most valuable assets in the sector; it contains plentiful reserves of mineral compounds required to forge critical war machines. Forge World Andromedus, founded in M33 to utilize these resources, enjoys the full protection of Aurora Chapter, whose home world also lies within the system. Several times in their history, the Forge World and the Aurora Chapter have worked in tandem to repel invasions of the system, and have always emerged victorious. For their aid, the Forge World supplies the Chapter with an impressive arsenal of Land Raiders, Predators and other armored vehicles, giving rise to the Aurora’s legendary armory and their penchant for massive armored assaults.

Home World
Firestorm, named for its regular meteor showers, has a surface comprised mainly of low-rise mountain ranges. These mountain ranges are rich in mineral resources – the recovery and processing of which employ the vast majority of Firestorm’s citizens. Thanks to the steady pipe of technology afforded its citizens by Aurora Chapter, life on Firestorm is relatively luxurious by Imperial standards. Many citizens live in small communities situated upon the more productive mineral deposits, while others have situated near the small cities that house Firestorm’s production industry. Unlike many Space Marine home worlds, Firestorm does not offer up natural extremes and hardships for its people; the majority of citizens lead peaceful, if spartan lives of mining, farming and industry. Rather than a potential pool of recruits, the Aurora Chapter views the citizens of Firestorm as a people under their protection. As such, great efforts are made to shield the population from the strife and conflict found throughout the rest of the galaxy.

The Aurora Chapter maintains its fortress-monastery of Tithonus in the remote Okeanos mountain range where Ardus Cainen is said to have fallen. Set into the rock of Mt. Eos, Tithonus is a maze of tunnels and enormous chambers where the Marines of the Aurora Chapter train and live. Here, the most promising recruits from Firestorm’s military academies are given the grueling trials common to every Space Marine Chapter. Those few who earn their place within the Chapter’s ranks become heroes and legends in their own time, lauded and revered by their communities, joining those warriors who have kept a long vigil over the planet of Firestorm, and all others who live under the protection of the Imperium.

Combat Doctrine
As strict followers of the Codex, the Aurora Chapter remains a flexible tactical force that is able to adapt their forces to any battlefield situation. The Auroras strike rapidly; foot troops are often mounted for quick tactical deployment, maximizing the shock value of their initial attack. The Auroras’ expanded armory is quickly brought to bear with a flurry of Rhinos, Razorbacks, and Drop Pods. The Chapter’s propensity for rapid, devastating armored strikes has earned them the nickname “The Hammer of Roboute.”

It is in open warfare, however, that the Chapter has earned their reputation as an armored assault force unequaled by any but the most heavily-mechanized of Imperial Guard forces. Owing to their home system’s rich mineral resources and an in-system Forgeworld, the Aurora’s armory is three times larger than that of an average Space Marine Chapter. Even a partial deployment of the Chapter’s armory is a sight to behold; Land Raiders and Predators swarm over enemy lines, crushing their foes beneath heavy tracks and a hailstorm of firepower, while explosive rounds from Whirlwinds and Vindicators detonate across the battlefield. Across the Ultima Segmentum, the name “Aurora” has become synonymous with armored destruction.

The Aurora Chapter is organized into the standard formations prescribed by the Codex Astartes, and their heraldry closely resembles that of the Ultramarines, with a few exceptions. Notably, while the Chapter originally displayed their Company colors on their pauldron rims, they are now denoted by white Company markings on the left kneepad of the warrior’s power armor, while their shoulder rims remain permanently black in honor of the many brethren lost during the defense of Milagro IV in the Johnus Uprising.

As a proud First Born Chapter, the Auroras maintain close ties with the Ultramarines, often aiding the warriors of Ultramar with armored divisions and regularly sending troops for Ultramarine Honor Companies. The Auroras are also known to have alliances with several Imperial forces throughout the galaxy, including the Azure Flames Chapter of Space Marines, and the 401st Cadian regiment. The Chapter’s Librarium, housed deep within the rock of Mt. Eos, is said to have a record of Imperial organizations, history and military deployments that rivals that of the Adeptus Terra. Exactly how and why the Aurora Chapter would keep such a repository of knowledge is unknown, but it has proven invaluable to the Chapter and its allies when requesting aid and assistance from the Imperium.

The Aurora Chapter, like the majority of Space Marine Chapters, recognizes the Emperor as a warrior and leader without peer, but do not put faith in the aspects of godhood and divine salvation that the Imperial Cult ascribes to him. A reverence of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman also figures strongly into the Chapter’s doctrines, exemplified by the Aurora Chapter’s strict organization along the lines of the Codex Astartes. Though not exactly religious in nature, a set of rituals and iconography have grown up within the halls of Tithonus, and the Aurora Chapter observes many of the holy days observed by the people of Firestorm since before the days of the Imperium. Banners and other iconography of the Auroras often heavily features the stars and the heavens, as well as weapons of war balanced by shields, walls and fortresses, symbolizing the Chapter’s role as a defender and harbinger of new hope.

The Aurora Chapter sees its place within the Imperium as a protector of the Emperor’s realm and the citizens that dwell within, rather than a crusading force in the Emperor’s name. The Chapter has often refused to attack intelligent, civilized species – such as Eldar or Tau – without provocation. This has caused considerable friction between the Auroras and other Imperial bodies, including other Space Marine Chapters. Thus far, the Aurora Chapter’s long history of loyal service to the Imperium has kept them shielded from overt accusations of heresy, but several Puritan Inquisitors are said to be building a case for the Chapter’s excommunication and cleansing. It remains to be seen if the Auroras can hold to their ideals in an age which demands unquestioning service to the Imperial cause.

Battle Cry
While the Aurora Chapter itself does not appear to have a true battle-cry, many banners, emblems and other symbols of the Chapter are inscribed with the the ancient Terran phrase “tuebor,” meaning “I will defend.”

The Aurora Chapter