Second Founding (31st Millennium)
Silver and Red
- "All of creation suffers, young ones. Only in accepting our own mortality can we make a difference. Only in bearing the burden of our failures can we find the strength to go on. Only in detachment from glory, or honour, or jealousy... from life itself can we hope to spare others from grief. We are Doom Eagles. And we are dead already."
- — Librarian Secundus Thryn of the Doom Eagles
The Doom Eagles are a Loyalist Space Marines Chapter and a Second Founding Successor Chapter of the Ultramarines. The homeworld of the Doom Eagles is Gathis II. Atop the Ghostmountain, their world's largest peak, sits their mighty fortress-monastery, the Eyrie. The Doom Eagles are a notoriously pious, grim and aloof Chapter of Astartes. However, unlike the Ultramarines, their use of Dreadnoughts is more extensive, fitting with their belief that they are fighting while already dead. They emphasize the use of stealth tactics and speed in combat. At a basic level, all Doom Eagles accept that they are already dead men in the service of the Emperor of Mankind. This is the root of their courage and their unshakable resolution and determination to stand in the face of even the greatest odds. As such, the Space Marines of this Chapter are almost impossible to deter from doing their duty, but they are a dour, grim and depressive lot, albeit staunchly loyal to the Emperor and the Imperium.
The Doom Eagles are one of the Second Founding Successors of the Ultramarines Legion, and as such have the honour of being counted amongst the so-called “Primogenitors” of the Sons of Guilliman. This august group includes some of the most well-known and celebrated Chapters ever to have fought in Humanity’s name, sharing as they do the genetic inheritance and many of the traditions of the Ultramarines themselves.
Service in the Jericho Reach
The Doom Eagles have seen action throughout the Jericho Reach during the Achilus Crusade, particularly in the Canis Salient. A force based around the Chapter’s 3rd Company was instrumental in the conquest of the world of Wrath, breaking the stubborn defence mounted by its native peoples and opening the way for their complete subjugation. During the key battle, an orbital drop directly on to the island capital of the natives’ rulers, the 3rd Company’s squads displayed their mastery of the jump assault to characteristic effect. Every squad of the company, whether Tactical, Assault or Devastator, donned Jump Packs in order to affect a high altitude drop some fifty kilometres away from the heavily defended drop zone. The high altitude deployment allowed the Space Marines to confound the defenders, their Jump Packs arresting their descent while they steered themselves in at an extremely shallow angle. By the time the assault force was over the drop zone, the defenders were unable to mount anything more than an ad hoc last stand, and the head of the resistance was severed in a single, critical battle.
- The Awakening of Faugris (991.M41) - The Doom Eagles attacked in force upon the theoretically Dead World of Faugris, which turned out to be a Necron Tomb World. After 16 weeks of invasion and bombardment the Necron legions were still boiling forth from their stasis tombs in terrifying numbers. The Doom Eagles were ultimately forced to withdraw before Imperial reinforcements could arrive to bolster their deployed strength.
- 13th Black Crusade (999.M41) - At least 5 companies of the Doom Eagles are known to have participated in the defence of the Cadian Sector of the Segmentum Obscurus during the 13th Black Crusade of Abaddon the Despoiler. Upon arriving at the Cadian Gate, the Doom Eagles dispatched their forces to war zones that had already suffered at the hands of the Forces of Chaos. The largest of these detachments, under the command of Captain Luctus of the 3rd Company, was involved in multiple operations within the Belis Corona Sub-sector of the Cadian Sector, against the Plague Zombies created by the Chaotic disease called the Curse of Unbelief.
- Defence of Belis Corona - Upon arriving at the Cadian Gate, the Doom Eagles Chapter dispatched forces to a number of warzones, notably areas that had already suffered terribly at the hands of Chaos. The largest of these detachments, under the command of Captain Luctus of the 3rd Company, was involved in operations within the Belis Corona Sub-sector, where the notoriously pious Chapter battled those who had fallen to the Curse of Unbelief. Only those without the strength of faith to resist were afflicted by the plague, and it has been noted that not a single Doom Eagles Battle-Brother was touched by its blight. The Doom Eagles had proven effective in combating the Plague Zombies infesting many worlds of the sub-sector, though, typically for the Astartes of this aloof Chapter, they had refused all offers of support in consolidating these successes.
- Defence of Yayor - On the Agri-World of Yayor, contingents of the Doom Eagles also defeat the undead horrors unleashed by the Curse of Unbelief (Zombie Plague).
- Defence of the Deliverance (Imperial Navy starship) - Several squads of the Doom Eagles' Terminator armoured veterans of the elite 1st Company, fought a horrific battle in the close quarters of the corridors of the Imperial Navy carrier Deliverance, whose crew had become infected by the ravaging Zombie Plague and been transformed into undead monsters.
The Doom Eagles follow the standard Chapter organisation as laid out by the Codex Astartes, though they have a special affection for the use of assault tactics that make use of Jump Pack-equipped Assault Marines.
Council of Eagles
Modelled after the Senatorum Imperialis of Terra, the Council of Eagles encompass a commission of Doom Eagles Astartes of the highest rank who would draw together on matters of import facing the Chapter. The group would offer advice to the Doom Eagles' Chapter Master, and while ultimately it was he who held the final sanction over all commands, he was able to draw upon the knowledge and advice of all his company captains, his senior Chaplain, Apothecary, Forge Master and Librarian.
The Neophytes of the Doom Eagles are not chosen primarily because of their strength, their courage, the depth of their soul or their physical appearance, but on the basis that every single one of them shares a feeling of total loss, grief and desperation. They regard themselves as already dying, just like their homeworld of Gathis II. The tests which the future Space Marines must pass are intended to illustrate to them that they have nothing to lose and that it does not matter where and when they die. Only a very few of the Doom Eagles' Aspirants survive these tests, and only those who have recognised the fact that they are already truly dead in the Emperor's service are allowed to survive their Aspirant's Trial and join the Chapter as Neophytes. By Imperial command, every male of 13 standard years was to be present at Table City, the world's capital, upon the thirteenth day of the thirteenth lunar month of every year. Every year was the same: the gliders would come to the various outlying villages and tribal communities to collect the youths. And sometimes, once in every decade, not all of them would return. Inducted into the Imperial Navy, the rumour went, or sent as cannon fodder to fight the Orks. Some of the people of Gathis believed that the youths were offered as a sacrifice to the Emperor's glory or any one of a thousand different possibilities, all of them rich with uncertainty and legend. Some of the natives even believed that the selected youths were sent to appease the angry mountain ghosts.
The potential Aspirants are brought to a stone building at the skyport. Once gathered, the black-robed Chapter Serfs who ferried the boys from the gliders would begin to choose. Directed by an unseen presence (a Chapter Librarian whose physical presence was hidden by a psychic veil) a hand would reach out and tap at a selected boy, and then three or four ebony figures would close in, dragging away each victim. The boys would then be brought to a rocky plateau, somewhere amongst the colossal crags of the Razorpeak Mountains, before a cave. They would be confused and unsure of how they had arrived there. A disembodied voice would then inform the selected youths that they had been chosen. Chosen not for their strength or their courage, nor their souls or their bodies. They had been chosen because each in their way had already understood an immutable truth; they understood that they were already dead. They each shared memories of disaster, loss, injury, a lifetime of exclusion and isolation.
The disembodied voice would then order them to enter the cave, where they would surely die. Despite their aching minds, the youths would enter the cave, desperate to obey the Librarian's commands. But not all the youths would succeed in this task, for some could not bear the weight of the sadness that they had experienced all their lives. The Librarian would explain to the selected youths that millennia ago, an object had fallen from the sky amongst the Razorpeak Mountains. Its impact shattered the crust of the planet, destabilising it forever. The world of Gathis II, like its people, was dying one second at a time. One day its core would solidify, its oceans would freeze and its people would starve. Standing within the cave, the youths would then notice the growing puddle of boiling water at their feet, now continuously rising unbidden.
Once every year, lave-flows beneath the Razorpeaks vented into the tunnels beneath the youths' feet, filling them with scalding water. Within an hour, the cavern, and all those above it, would be submerged. They would breathe boiling water, gagging silently as the air was burnt from their lungs. The chamber had a single exit. The youths were offered the choice of making use of it or accepting death. Either way, they had minutes to live. With nothing to lose, the youths would scramble from the chamber and make their way to another cavern which was bisected by a living cobweb of mossy lichen. This web, glowing with bacterial luminescence, bore thorns, as long as the youths' fingers. They sprouted like butcher-hook talons, curved like scimitars and equally as sharp. This forest of daggers reached from cavern wall to cavern wall, from stalactite-strewn ceiling to uneven floor. The youths had to force their way through the wall of sharp, tiny spines that lacerated flesh and split sinews. Some of the youths would manage to liberate themselves from the web of thorns, while other would hopelessly become enmeshed. Some youths would not even try to get through, standing or sitting, impassively waiting for their doom as the boiling water bubbled ever higher.
Through chambers and caverns, the youths would continue on. Scalding water would churn from every crevice, dousing the flickering torches that lighted the way, one-by-one. Arriving in another large chamber, the youths would be confronted by a floor that was a gravelpit of smouldering embers, heated by the fire-red magma that cooled, sludgelike, in scattered puddles. The Aspirants -- those who dared -- would scamper across in a flurry of yelps and explosions of sparks. Some would fall with a howl into the curdling lava, clawing at the air and shrieking until their skin charred and their lungs filled with fire. But still, those that made it through would continue to push on. In another chamber the ground gave way to an echoing chasm lined by splintered bones. Only by leaping across, then scrabbling amid the jagged handholds of the opposite rock face, could the youths pass. The screams of those who fell, punctuated by the splintering cracks of impact, echoed throughout the hollow mountain forever. And always the water would rise, dogging at their heels, curling its tendrils, wrapping everything in a sulphurous haze. The mountain filled from the base upwards, and with every step the remaining air grew hotter and more stifling.
Those few surviving youths, their muscles protesting, would continue to pass obstacle after obstacle, forever convinced that each test would be their last. Only by accepting their own deaths could they march across the scorching coal fragments. Only by understanding that they were nothing, could they move unhurriedly past an unflickering motion-sensor. Only by knowing that they were dying one second at a time, that they were already dead and forgotten, could they hurl themselves into the abyss, then clamber, hands and arms lacerated, to their feet. They would be surviving and no longer care.
Passing through the final cavern the Aspirants would then enter a tunnel that twisted and grew narrower, coiling slowly downwards. Palms and knees shredded, the adolescents would struggle to continue to make their way forward. The tunnel would grow steeper, walls closing-in until the youths writhed, worm-like, using only toes and elbows. Suddenly, there would be light. Worming their way from the tunnel, the Aspirants would find no relief at the freshness of the mountain air. Those that had survived to reach this point would find themselves on a ledge, jutting from a sheer rockface on the mountainside, the ground falling away in all directions. Directly in front of them would stand the Ghostmountain: the tallest of the Razorpeaks and the home of the Doom Eagles. Off to the side, a tangled shape at the farthest corner of the ledge, would be the shapes of canvas pulled taunt on metal frames. These were gliders, their only means of escape from the raging gout of water that continued to boil to the surface. Buckling the harnesses around their chests, those that dared would secure themselves into the glider. They would then hurl themselves off the ledge before the water thundered from the tunnel.
Driven on by the furious gales ripping between the Razorpeak summits, the Aspirants would struggle to retain balance and altitude. Bloodied and scarred, exhausted physically and mentally, they would continue to glide towards the Ghostmountain. As the massive peak loomed closer, a disembodied voice would direct them towards a craggy rockface, where they could just make out a shadowy recess above a flat ledge -- another cave. Exhausted, the survivors would once again be confronted by the disembodied voice, which warned them that though they had survived, they should not be relieved. For they would die yet. The Librarian would then reveal himself and test the youths psychically to see if they were worthy. Touching the minds of the survivors, the Librarian would examine their very souls, to see if the youths understood that their lives were worth nothing to them now. Only if they accepted their own mortality, and detached themselves from glory, or honour or jealousy from life itself, could they hope to be spared. Those that were found worthy would be allowed to enter the cave to discover the Eyrie of the Doom Eagles. The successful Aspirants would then enter humbly and in thankful service of the Golden Throne. But they were warned to always remember that they had not survived their day of testing. For they were now dead. Those who were found wanting would be left on the ledge of the Ghostmountain, exposed to the elements, where they would quickly die.
While the Doom Eagles 3rd Company has long since been recalled to other warzones, a small core of its warriors remained to stand the Long Vigil with the Deathwatch in the Jericho Reach. While each is a veteran of numerous wars, most have chosen to deploy as Assault Marines, where their mastery of the jump assault can be put to use against the myriad enemies of Mankind stalking the war-torn depths of the Jericho Reach.
The Doom Eagles reside on the world of Gathis II. This Feral World is home to primitive human tribes that have some agricultural ability and who possess technology equivalent to Old Earth's early Iron Age cultures. The tribal people of Gathis II largely live without the assistance of advanced technology with the exception of primitive gliders that they use to travel far distances, carried by the planet's notoriously strong winds and updrafts. Tribal communities and gloomy villages dot the few areas of planetary dryland, their ramshackle dwellings clustered around one another for protection, smeared with the planet's only unique resource, which is known as chamack oil. Produced from the pulped remains of chamack weed, the viscous sludge was exported by the Administratum as a cheap but foul-smelling sealant. Day and night the cargo gliders ferried their odoriferous loads from distant island-tribes, a whole year's harvest barely filling a single glider. Competition for access to the aquatic plantations was fierce and regularly bloody. This feral planet has little direct political or economic interference from the Imperium and only pays the lowest grade of planetary tithes.
Constant vigilance and regular belief-modification of the population is enacted by agents of the Ecclesiarchy as a necessity, to foster belief in the God-Emperor and to monitor the native population for psykers or mutants. The Ecclesiarchy has adapted their teachings towards the indigenous and often unique cult belief system of the Gathis people. The mortuary-cult beliefs of Gathis II reflect the Doom Eagles' beliefs that a person is already dead. The natives believe that death is inevitable and that they themselves are dying, which is ultimately liberating, freeing one's soul from doubt. The Ecclesiarchy priests of Gathis II preach, "Seek not escape from misery in death, for He That Is Most Mighty gathers-not the Selfish Dead to his side."
When the Doom Eagles were created during the Second Founding, they were granted the storm-wracked world of Gathis II as their Chapter homeworld. There they built their mighty fortress-monastery, known as the Eyrie, which is located in the Razorpeaks mountain range upon the tallest peak. The earliest, most primitive tribes of Gathis II had christened it the Ghostmountain, a name not in honour of its white-grey stone, but in recognition of the many dead that haunted it, so lethal were its slopes. Thousands of standard years later the name was, if anything, even more fitting. Slick rain, dark with the metallic scent of oceans and the tang of rotting biomass, constantly fell against the constructions men had built high up in the tallest crags. Once, before men had come from Terra to colonise this world, there had been a true peak atop the Ghostmountain, a series of serrated spires that rose high enough that they could pierce the cloud mantle. Now a great walled citadel stood in their place, the living rock of the peak carved and formed by artisans into halls, donjons and battlements of a stark, grim aspect. At each point of the compass, a hulking tower rose, opening into the sculpted shape of a vast raptor screaming defiance at elements and enemies.
The Doom Eagles' first Chapter Master, Aquila, made it a tenet of his new Chapter that every Son of Gathis would understand the cost of hesitance, of failure—and with it, the great guilt that came in step. He would have them see these things, know them first-hand. And so, relics were added to the Chapter's Reclusiam; gathered by Battle-Brothers on pilgrimages to places of battle and failed wars, each item a piece of despair and calamity made solid and real.
Built within the Eyrie was a great octagonal tower, tallest of the citadels that reached for the sky, deepest of those that plunged levels down into the heart-rock of the Ghostmountain. The Reclusiam was a million memorials to countless deaths across the galaxy. Entire floors were given over to relics recovered from the sites of terrible battles and brutal wars across the entire span of the Imperium. Many were from conflicts in which the Doom Eagles had taken a direct part, but others were from atrocities so soaked in despair and fatality that warriors of the Chapter had been drawn to visit them. Many levels of the Reclusiam were such grim museums, halls reverent with shards of stone and bone, glass and steel. Armageddon, Rocene, Malvolion, Telemachus, Brodrakul, and countless other war-sites, all were represented there. And in the hallowed core, brought to the Eyrie by Aquila himself, the silver-walled chamber where pieces of shattered masonry from the Imperial Palace lay alongside a feather from the wing of Sanguinius and a shard of the Emperor’s own battle armour. It was said that those with the witch-sight could hear the ghost-screams in the tower. If that were so, if these relics could indeed contain a fraction of the pain and anguish that had enveloped them, then those without psychic abilities were glad that the great chorus of sorrow thundering silent in the air was hidden from them.
Hall of the Fallen
Within the tall citadel of the Eyrie's Reclusiam lay the Hall of the Fallen. The largest open space inside the Eyrie, the vast walls, floor and ceilings were sheathed in great tiles of polished obsidian, each the size of a Land Raider. Hanging at right angles from complex armatures, some from floor to ceiling, others suspended at differing heights, there were free-floating panels of the same dark stone. At a distance, the glassy black panes seemed clouded somehow, but as one drew closer, definition unfolded. Each panel was perfectly laser-etched into thin strips; each strip sported a half-globe of glass, behind which lay a random item.
When a Battle-Brother died, in accordance with Chapter laws and diktats, their name was cast from the rolls. A ceremony of loss was then conducted and sanctified. The name of the dead Battle-Brother was carved in High Gothic script, etched into the black obsidian by a Servitor stoneworker, the letters lined in heavy silver. The fallen's name was carved in memoriam, by the light of the Chapter and all of Gathis. Next to each name, inside the glass, lay a relic: a fragment of armour, an eye-lens, a Bolter shell, an honour-chain. Every artefact was something that had been touched by the dead. A piece of them, to be held in trust for as long as the Chapter existed. Within the heart of the Ghostmountain, in the deepest levels of the Hall of the Fallen, lay the memorial of the Chapter's founder, Aquila, and beside it a cracked helmet under glass. It had no dressing, no great and ostentatious detail to set it aside from every other marker. The First Master had ordered it so, knowing that in death, all men were truly equal.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
The Doom Eagles are a Codex Astartes-compliant Chapter, adhering to the wisdom of their Primarch, yet they display a predilection for aerial attacks using Assault Squads equipped with Jump Packs. The Chapter’s Battle-Brothers are especially potent in this role, taking on the aspect of the literal "angels of death," swooping down from the heavens to mete out the Emperor’s justice upon the foes of Mankind. The Chapter’s focus on such tactics means that its veterans are held to be amongst the finest exponents of the jump assault in the entire Adeptus Astartes, though plenty amongst the Blood Angels and the Raven Guard Chapters would vehemently disagree.
As a Successor Chapter of the Ultramarines, the Doom Eagles are amongst the august group of some of the most well-known and celebrated Chapters ever to have fought in Humanity's name, sharing as they do the genetic inheritance and many of the traditions of the Ultramarines. In many ways, however, the Doom Eagles are very different to the other inheritors of Roboute Guilliman’s legacy. While the Ultramarines are noble and virtuous, each a shining exemplar of the values the Space Marines are sworn to uphold, the Doom Eagles are overtly maudlin in demeanour, the teachings of their Chapter cult very much focused on death and mourning. Central to the Doom Eagles’ traditions is the notion that each and every Battle-Brother is already dying. Many brethren appear consumed by grief, though as Space Marines they are well able to bear their affliction. The Doom Eagles suffer their maudlin nature with stoicism and dignity, channelling it via their Chapter’s rites and traditions into a weapon with which to engage the enemies of Mankind. Their belief that death is inevitable and that they themselves are dying is ultimately liberating, for it frees the Doom Eagles from the scant doubts that one as mighty and fearless as a Space Marine might still harbour. Only those able to overcome every shred of fear of death survive the Chapter’s rites of selection, and those who do, while dark and brooding, have truly conquered death itself.
Notable Doom Eagles
- Aquila - Aquila was a Veteran Battle-Brother of the Ultramarines Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras, and became the founder and first Chapter Master of the Doom Eagles during the Second Founding.
- Hearon - Hearon is the current Commander (Chapter Master) of the Doom Eagles.
- Tolkca - Tolkca is the Chapter's Librarian Primus, the Chief Librarian of the Doom Eagles Chapter.
- Thryn - Thryn was the Librarian Secundus of the Doom Eagles' Chapter and the chooser of the faithful.
- Consultus - Consultus was the Captain of the Doom Eagles whose contigent was dispatched to the world of Merron.
- Luctus - Luctus was the Captain of the Doom Eagles' 3rd Company during the 13th Black Crusade.
- Dhellas - A mighty warrior, Captain Dhellas is one of the greatest of the Doom Eagles heroes of the invasion of Wrath. Despite an unprecedented tally of dead foes, he fell at the very moment of victory. Though Dhellas' body was returned with due reverence to his Chapter, a mighty edifice was raised in his honour upon one of the numerous small islands of the world of Wrath in the Jericho Reach.
- Tarikus - Tarikus was a Doom Eagles Sergeant who served on the worlds of Merron and Kript under the command of Captain Consultus. While recovering from wounds aboard his company's starship, it was assaulted by the Renegade Red Corsairs. He fought valiantly, but was eventually subdued by the Chaotic pirates and sold to the vile Chaos Space Marine Apothecary Fabius Bile to be used in his heretical geno-experiments. Tortured and experimented upon for over two years, he was eventually freed along with the rest of Bile's captives by the Astartes of the Blood Angels Chapter and was returned to his homeworld of Gathis II. There he underwent extreme trials of purity to test his physical, mental, and spiritual well-being before being declared free from Chaotic taint, and was reunited with survivors from his original squad and returned to full active status.
- Zurus - Brother Zurus was Tarikus' replacement, acting as the Sergeant for his squad until he returned from captivity from the world of Dynikas V, two years later.
- Petius - Apothecary Petius served under Sergeant Tarikus on the world of Merron before his abduction by the Red Corsairs. He later followed Zurus for two years.
- Keilor - Doom Eagles' Battle-Brother who sacrificed himself by initiating an explosion in the midst of a Genestealer Cult whilst seconded to the Deathwatch.
- Korica - Battle-Brother who served on the world of Merron under Captain Consultus.
- Mykilus - Battle-Brother who served on the world of Merron under Captain Consultus.
- Petius - Battle-Brother who served on the world of Merron under Captain Consultus.
- Shroud of Yrnax - This Astartes back banner is made from the remnants of a campaign standard from a joint effort by the Doom Eagles and the Deathwatch to put down a xenos-worshipping cult that had taken over the world of Yrnax. The cult’s mad fanaticism meant the world was only reclaimed when every last inhabitant had been gunned down. The banner, torn and damaged in a desperate attack in the latter stages of the campaign, stands as a potent symbol of the lengths to which the Adeptus Astartes must sometimes go, and the grim prices that must be paid. The banner is a powerful spur to Astartes morale whenever it is used by a Space Marine officer of either the Doom Eagles or the Deathwatch.
The Doom Eagles' Power Armour is primarily silver in color, with red decoration, markings and trim.
The Chapter's badge is a set of stylised feathers, angular and black. At the crux of the raptor-wings is an ivory-white skull.
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pg. 141
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 30
- Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition)
- Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition), pg. 43
- Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter (RPG), pp. 109, 133
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition
- Warhammer 40,000 Planetstrike (5th Edition), p. 57
- Black Tide (Novel) by James Swallow
- Crucible of War (Anthology), " On Mournful Wings" (Story) by Simon Spurrier
- Legends of the Space Marines (Anthology), "The Returned" (Story) by James Swallow