- "Many died on that first day. But far fewer than would fall later, and fewer still than those who have died since.
We descended from the heavens, angels of fire and death, bent on vengeance. But the fourth planet was a death world, a
wildwood of wrathful fauna and barbed flora, an unforgiving landscape that sought to punish those who trespassed against it.
We named it Cretacia, from the ancient Baal sandscript, meaning Birth of Wrath.
Like us, Cretacia was a consummate killer. Violence lived in its very air. Its winds were the lash of a terrible beast, striking out
to flay us from the skies; its clouds, void-dark phantoms whose acid tears stripped the crimson from our warplate. Death met us at every
turn, tested our resolve and measured our strength. We were as the angels from old Terran legend, trapped in hell itself.
Yet for all our trials, Cretacia's wrath was far from spent."
- — Nassir Amit, Chapter Master of the Flesh Tearers, during the Declaration of Conquest, Cretacia, 238.M31
The planet of Cretacia is the Chapter Homeworld of the Flesh Tearers Space Marines. The world is teeming with violent saurian life, similar to the dinosaurs of prehistoric Terra, and the Flesh Tearers supposedly hunt these beasts unarmoured and weaponless as sport. The oversized world of Cretacia was the fourth planet in a star system of seven worlds, and at first approach it appeared to be uninhabitable. Finding Cretacia perpetually shrouded in dense clouds, the Flesh Tearers effected landings on the planet to discover what lay below. What the Space Marines discovered was a planet to rival any Death World known in the galaxy due to its lethality to human life.
Cretacia was a world marked by a trackless landscape of dense jungles and steamy swamps that harboured many vicious reptilian, amphibious and insectoid forms of life. Many Space Marines were lost to these hostile creatures on the first day before effective perimeters could be established. Even so, patrols still reported casualties from insects as big as men with sharpened proboscises that could penetrate Power Armour, and huge reptilian predators, almost as large as Scout Titans, that ripped through entire squads. There were also herds of gigantic herbivores that could easily crush an unwary Space Marine with a single massive foot.
The Flesh Tearers Chapter was created in the 31st Millennium after the Primarch of the Ultramarines, Roboute Guilliman, who led the reformations sweeping the Imperium after the Horus Heresy, determined that all of the existing Space Marine Legions would be broken up into 1,000-man Chapters so that no single military commander could ever again wield the dangerous power of an entire Astartes Legion. This event is known as the Second Founding and the Flesh Tearers were one of the Chapters formed from the Blood Angels Legion, even as they continued to grieve for their fallen Primarch, Sanguinius, who had been slain by Horus at the climax of the Battle of Terra.
When the Flesh Tearers Chapter was brought into being during the Second Founding, Captain Amit, the commander of the Blood Angels Legion's 5th Company, was chosen to be its first Chapter Master. Of all the IX Legion's captains, Amit's reputation – and that of his company –- was the most bloodthirsty. More than once, the 5th Company had been called to censure by Sanguinius for their zeal in pursuing enemy forces. It was not for nothing that the outspoken officer had earned the nickname "the Flesh Tearer," and rather than deny the epithet, he had made it his own. Amit had a predatory way about him, a sense of aggression barely held in check that was often unleashed in full many times on the field of battle throughout the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. Like their commander, the Battle-Brothers of the 5th Company were known to bear Bolters and flaying knives in battle.
After their official formation, the Flesh Tearers immediately left Terra to embark upon a new Imperial Crusade to eliminate Traitor forces still loyal to Horus as well as continuing to purge Chaotic infestations from Imperial worlds during the period known as the Great Scouring. The Flesh Tearers were assigned the Battle-Barge Victus from their former Legion, which served as their mobile fortress-monastery for the next three thousand standard years. The Flesh Tearers' initial Crusade eventually led them deep into the western reaches of the galaxy. It only ended when the Chapter discovered an isolated Death World, which they named Cretacia. The newly discovered world was marked by a trackless landscape of dense jungles and steamy swamps that harboured many vicious reptilian, amphibious and insectoid forms of life. Many Space Marines were lost to these hostile creatures on the first day before effective perimeters could be established. Even so, patrols still reported casualties from insects as big as men with sharpened proboscises that could penetrate Power Armour, and huge reptilian predators, almost as large as Scout Titans, that ripped through entire squads. There were also herds of gigantic herbivores that could easily crush an unwary Space Marine with a single massive foot.
The Flesh Tearers fought back against these immense creatures. Squads were engaged in hunts to cull as many of the native monsters as possible, ostensibly to clear more landing areas, though garrulous Imperial savants now speculate that these hunts were for no other reason than to satiate the Flesh Tearers' lust for death. As the patrol squads ranged further through the jungles and swamps, incredibly, they discovered the existence of human settlements.
The people of Cretacia were apparently descended from some long-lost human colony that had settled the planet millennia before during the Dark Age of Technology, but had since devolved into an extremely primitive state. Lacking all but the most rudimentary aspects of a language, these primordial humans had somehow managed to not only adapt to living amongst the titanic monsters that roamed Cretacia, but to actually thrive in the planet's hostile environment. They proved to be incredibly strong and had developed superior reflexes compared to baseline humans to compensate for their more limited intellects, giving rise to a mutant subrace of Mankind that was fierce enough to defend itself against the largest of the creatures that preyed upon them.
The Flesh Tearers promptly rounded up hundreds of the ferocious humans and the Chaplains and Sanguinary Priests of the Chapter set to work, testing their minds and bodies in soul-destroying trials to determine if there was any evidence of corruption caused by their long isolation from the rest of humanity. Though extremely backward and primitive, the Flesh Tearers ultimately deemed them free of deviancy.
Chapter Master Amit of the Flesh Tearers saw the value of Cretacia. The inhospitable terrain and deadly creatures provided an ideal testing ground for his troops, whilst the primitive humans already inhabiting the world could easily be moulded into potential Battle-Brothers. Declaring the world now belonged to the Imperium by the right of conquest, Amit founded a permanent home for his Flesh Tearers.
- Index Astartes I, "Flesh Tearers"
- Flesh of Cretacia (Novella) by Andy Smillie