- "The flesh is weak, but it can be made strong, unified with the machine. The mind... that we cannot fix."
- — Chapter Master Caul Engentre
The Brazen Claws is a Loyalist Second Founding Successor Chapter of the Iron Hands Legion. The Chapter recently emerged from a twenty-year-long ill-conceived Crusade of Vengeance in the Eye of Terror against the Traitor Legions and other Forces of Chaos. Some portions of the Chapter were corrupted during that struggle, though the majority of its Battle-Brothers remain free of Chaotic taint.
The Brazen Claws were created shortly after the end of the Horus Heresy during the Second Founding of the early 31st Millennium. Being the scions of Ferrus Manus, the Brazen Claws are an unassailable and resolute Chapter of Space Marines. They never slow once engaged in combat, and never yield, meeting each fresh battle with renewed vigour against the enemies of Mankind. Once engaged in combat, the Brazen Claws never yield, fighting on without pity or remorse for either the enemy, or their own losses. For ten millennia, the Brazen Claws have amassed a long and glorious history combating those that would threaten the Imperium of Man. But soon, the Chapter's own tale of woe would fall upon them like a dark shadow.
In the latter half of the 41st Millennium, the Brazen Claws' homeworld of Talus IV was destroyed by a bloodthirsty horde of daemons and the Chapter was forced to flee the planet as it fell to Chaos. Ever since, they have embarked on a Crusade of bitter vengeance against Renegade strongholds and Chaos-tainted worlds surrounding, and even within, the Eye of Terror. Little record of the actions or whereabouts of the Brazen Claws since they launched this Crusade exist within the Imperium's archives, but Lord Castellan Ursarkar E. Creed of Cadia insists that they have been sighted on numerous battlefields around the Fortress Worlds of the Cadian Gate during the 13st Black Crusade in 999.M41, fighting against the Forces of Chaos led by Abaddon the Despoiler. Elements of the Chapter appeared in force to take the fight to their hated enemy on every possible occasion.
- The Martyred Sons (416.M37) - Inquisitor-Lord Antonius Coil of the Ordo Malleus discovered the current location of the nomadic Hell-Forge of Sarum while conducting an Exterminatus against the warp-tainted Hive Worlds of Goleonda IX, and moved to see it destroyed at last. Along with warships committed from Battlefleet Reductus and several Militarum Tempestus regiments, he mobilised the aid of three Space Marine Chapters, the Brazen Claws, the Sons of the Raven and the Celestial Guard, to strike deep into the perilous Golgotha Wastes against this nightmarish thorn in the Imperium's side. Within sight of the baleful world, the Imperial fleet was ambushed on all sides by the pale warships of the Warp Ghosts and Black Wings Chaos Space Marines and the horrific daemon-engines of their Dark Mechanicus allies of Sarum. In the brutal seventeen hour void battle which followed, the Imperial fleet was encircled and slowly torn to pieces both from without and from within as Daemons ripped open passages into realspace deep onboard the stalwart vessels. Only the Chapter fleet of the Brazen Claws broke free from the trap without crippling losses, while the human contingent of the Imperium's strike forces were annihilated to the last. The ravaged Celestial Guard Chapter would take nearly a century to rebuild from its grievous losses from its stores of gene-seed, swearing bitter vengeance against the Warp Ghosts. The fleet-based Sons of the Raven Chapter, not one of whom escaped the deadly trap, was declared martyred and the great Bell of Lost Souls in the Tower of Heroes on Terra tolled to mourn their passing. Eighteen standard years later, a corrupted Warspite-class Battle Barge, believed once to have been the Seraphina Carricus of the Sons of the Raven Chapter, was encountered transporting a Warp Ghosts raiding force off Mezoa XV, the withered face of Jo'sun Hernezu the martyred Chapter's last master worn by its revenant captain.
- Devil's Claws (223.M39) - The Brazen Claws entered the Peligron Cluster to besiege a renegade stronghold on Falax. They lost three squads from their 3rd Company and a Daemonic surge destroyed the mind of the Librarian leading the assault. Their complex strategy was in disarray but, due to the heroics of their Devastator Centurions, the Daemons were kept at bay. An evacuation was made possible only by the firepower of the Centurions.
- The Crusade of Steel (900.M41) - Iron Father Kardan Stronos led the full might of the Iron Hands and Brazen Claws Chapters against the Necron dynasty of the Crimson King. Stronos refused to fall back in the face of a massive counter-attack, and alongside the Iron Hands' Garrsak Clan Company he somehow fought his way to strike the Crimson King a mortal blow that shattered the Necrons' command structure.
- The Folly of Heroes (955.M41) - Despite direct orders to the contrary from the High Lords of Terra, the Brazen Claws launched a counterstrike they considered a Crusade of Vengeance into the Eye of Terror itself in response to the Forces of Chaos' assault upon their homeworld of Talus IV, leaving it in ruins. The Brazen Claws' last Astropathic transmissions indicated the Chapter was engaging a fleet of Iron Warriors vessels, but no other trace was heard of them for long decades.
- Broken but Unbowed (994.M41) - Once thought destroyed in the Eye of Terror, the Brazen Claws resurfaced near Cadia, battered, but still fighting their long war against Chaos. It was their Chapter Master, Caul Engentre, who ordered the Chapter out of the Eye after a subjective twenty standard years of combat against the Traitor Legions. Engentre saw the toll that the Eye was taking upon his brothers, and decided to end their Crusade of Vengeance against the Forces of Chaos. To the Brazen Claws' surprise, though only twenty standard years passed for them in the Eye, almost forty had gone by in realspace. Such are the effects of the Warp.
- 13th Black Crusade (999.M41) - The Brazen Claws participated in the defence of Cadia against the Forces of Chaos during the recent 13th Black Crusade.
- Fall of Medusa V (999.M41) - Some elements of the 2nd Company of the Brazen Claws led by Captain Erod took part in the campaign known as the Fall of Medusa V. They were involved in the coordination of Imperial forces in the southeastern zone of Armida.
Like their predecessors, the Iron Hands, as loyal sons of the Gorgon, Ferrus Manus, the Brazen Claws are ultimately defined by their hatred of weakness of any kind, a hatred that extends to their own bodies, for they hold that all organic bodies, even those of a genetically-enhanced Space Marine, are ultimately frail and subject to the weaknesses brought on by age and disease. The Brazen Claws are compulsively driven to replace their own biological flesh with cybernetic replacements, a practise that begins as soon as a Neophyte is initiated into the Chapter.
Notable Brazen Claws
- Chapter Master Caul Engentre - Caul Engentre is a hero of the Brazen Claws Chapter who has four centuries of experience in facing down the slavering darkness of the daemon, xenos, mutant and Heretic. Lord Engentre was present when the Brazen Claws' homeworld of Talus IV fell to the ravening hordes of Chaos. The Chapter Master had sworn a mighty oath of vengeance to pursue the Forces of Chaos into the very Eye of Terror itself. It had been uttered in the ashes of his Chapter's homeworld, the oath sworn amidst the fires of their burning Fortress-Monastery. After twenty standard years of prosecuting their ill-fated Crusade of Vengeance against the Traitor Legions within the Eye of Terror, the Chapter had suffered the loss of at least two companies. After twenty years of hubris, pride and death, Engentre called the entirety of his Chapter to council aboard his flagship, to discuss whether or not it would be prudent to continue prosecuting their Crusade. Out of ten companies, only four hundred Space Marines of the Brazen Claws were able to attend. Engentre stared out at the gathered Chapter, at the battered men left. There were gaps in squads, gaps in companies, once filled by men he had known and called brother. Even now, even standing at attention, they could not remain still. Their limbs danced, machinery grinding, clanking, ill-maintained. Their bodies beset by random flashes of neuronic misfire as the Eye of Terror's Chaotic energies slowly wore away at their minds. After much debate, and the sage wisdom of the Chapter's surviving Captains, Engentre told his Chapter that their Crusade was at an end. He then ordered his Chapter to prepare to depart the Eye for the realms of man.
- First Captain Macklen Eogh - Captain of the Brazen Claws elite 1st Company.
- Second Captain Erod - Captain of the Brazen Claws 2nd Company. During the twenty years of prosecuting their ill-fated Crusade against Chaos, the Brazen Claws had suffered terribly. After two decades, Erod told Seventh Captain Imbolkh he was done, for he had no wish to die in the benighted realms of the Eye. He had no wish to die fighting their Chapter's damned war, so Erod abandoned his brothers and returned to realspace.
- Third Captain Embrose Kalgach - Captain of the Brazen Claws 3rd Company.
- Seventh Captain Julas Imbolkh - Captain of the Brazen Claws 7th Company. Imbolkh once possessed fiery hair that had turned a premature grey, his face a mass of scars acquired during his time whilst fighting against the Forces of Chaos during his Chapter's Crusade of Vengeance within the Eye of Terror.
- Eight Captain Duro - Former Captain of the Brazen Claws 8th Company. During the Brazen Claws' war of vengeance in the Eye of Terror, Duro and the 8th Company were thought lost when they followed after the 9th Company in their pursuit of a large Emperor's Children warband deep into the hellish realms of the Eye. Twenty years later, when Chapter Master Engentre called the entirety of the Chapter for council aboard his flagship, the lost 8th Company returned from the void, but they did not return unchanged, for they had been corrupted by the malign influence of Chaos. What occurred after the erstwhile company returned to their former brethren has not yet been recorded.
- Ninth Captain Hrtel - Captain of the Brazen Claws 9th Company. Lost during the Chapter's war of vengeance in the Eye of Terror, when they pursued a large warband of Emperor's Children deep into the Realms of Chaos. They were presumed lost to the Warp.
- Captain Firlus Ghad - One of the few surviving Captains of the Brazen Claws who took part in the ill-fated Crusade of Vengeance within the Eye of Terror. During his tenure within the Eye, he sustained horrific wounds to his throat, which required an augmetic replacement, leaving his voice awash with static.
- Refuge in Defiance - Refuge in Defiance is a master-crafted Astartes combat shield. There are few implements of war that better meld offensive might with defensive protections than the deft guard of this combat shield. The unique resonance of the protective field steadies the sword-arm or firing grip of the wearer and guides it towards his enemies. The most learned Forge Masters believe that this particular shield's Machine Spirit can sense those who have struck blows against it and it manipulates this deadly link to enhance its user's combat abilities.
The Chapter's Power Armour is painted in a quartered pattern of pelagic blue and clotted red. Blue squad specialty symbols on the right shoulder guard designate an Astartes' operational specialty -- Tactical, Devastator, Assault or Veteran. The white Roman numeral stenciled in the centre of the squad specialty marking, indicates squad number. Veteran Marines of the Brazen Claws' elite 1st Company are designated by a white helmet. The colour of the Aquila or Imperialis on the chest guard indicates company number in accordance to the dictats of the Codex Astartes -- i.e. White (1st Company), Yellow (2nd Company), Red (3rd Company), Green (4th Company), etc.
The Brazen Claws' Chapter badge is a large red-taloned claw on a field of blue.
- Adeptus Astartes: Successor Chapters (Limited Release Booklet), pg. 20
- Codex: Space Marines (7th Edition) (Digital
Edition), pg. 143
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 8, 14, 16, 19, 70-71, 147
- Codex: Space Marines (3rd Edition), pg. 47
- Codex: Eye of Terror, pg. 16
- Deathwatch - Honour the Chapter (RPG), pg. 132
- Hammer and Bolter 3 (Anthology), "Phalanx" by Ben Counter
- Imperial Armour Volume Thirteen - War Machines of the Lost & The Damned, pg. 22
- Index Astartes Volume One (Digital Edition), "Index Astartes: Centurions - Famous Battles of the Centurions", pg. 65
- Angels of Death: No Worse Sin (Short Story) by Joe Parrino