The Emperor's Spears is a Loyalist Space Marine Chapter of unknown Founding and origin that hails from the feral Ocean World of Nemeton. It was one of three Chapters that made up the Sentinels of the Veil, Astartes guardians who once stood watch over the Imperial worlds located in the backwater region of the galaxy known as Elara's Veil.
Due to separate tragedies suffered by their fellow Chapters among the Sentinels of the Veil, only the Emperor's Spears remain as the stalwart protectors of the scattered worlds of this region from the horrors of the Outer Dark. Only time will tell if this Chapter will be able to maintain its vigil successfully, for it is a depleted force on the Imperium's benighted frontier.
The exact origins of the Emperor's Spears remain unknown. Upon their inception, they were charged with standing sentinel over the scattered worlds of Elara's Veil. This backwater sector of the galaxy was once protected by the oath of unity sworn by three mighty Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes -- the Star Scorpions, who were undone by flaws in their genetic coding; the Celestial Lions, who were ravaged by the Inquisition for sins they did not commit, and the Emperor's Spears. Now, after hundreds of standard years, the Emperor's Spears still keep their vigil. They are barbarian watchmen against the Outer Dark; bloodied but unbroken in their long duty.
The Emperor's Spears divert substantially from the organisational dictates of the Codex Astartes. They have a vast Chapter fleet, and specialise in air-to-ground warfare and orbital drop assaults. They are particularly mobile when it comes to deployment and redeployment, and are not short of air assets. The Emperor's Spears often ally with the military forces of the Cult Mechanicus and Skitarii Legions of the Forge Moon of Bellona and Imperial Knights from Raukama, a Knight World located in Elara's Veil.
The homeworld of the Emperor's Spears is the Ocean World of Nemeton. Its landmasses are small and mountainous, and heavily forested. There are several equatorial landmasses that are largely marshy jungle. Due to the temperate weather, rainfall is constant across most of the surface. The Twelve Tribes of Nemeton represent a mono-culture of interacting pre-industrial tribes who loosely share certain touchstones, including beliefs, cultural practices and language. As Elara's Veil is a nebula that takes up most of Nemeton's night sky, the Nemetese clans have come to believe that rain is something superstitious and sacred, a belief that is considered borderline heretical by many of the more conservative factions of the Imperium.
The Emperor's Spears primarily wear sky blue Power Armour and a white helm. This Chapter does not display company numbers on its Power Armour, and it does not paint the trim of its shoulder plates to designate company. Squads are marked with Nemetese runes or Roman numerals on the shoulder pauldrons or greaves. Nemetese runes look similar to Ogham, an early medieval alphabet used to write the early Irish language. Outsiders cannot penetrate the meaning of these specific symbols, but they are never used elsewhere in the Nemetese tongue, and do not seem to be numbers.
Warriors of the Emperor's Spears' elite 1st Company, called the "Paragons," have the trident marking on their helms and white shoulder pauldrons, while maintaining the standard sky blue trim. A lot of Paragons also have the trident symbol tattooed on their faces, in red or white ink. Officers from all companies may choose to paint one or both shoulder pauldrons white.
The colour of the right poleyn (knee guard) is dark blue, almost black, and is used for personal heraldry. Many Emperor's Spears have the sigil of the Sentinels of the Veil placed there, denoting them as the warriors chosen to watch over the region of space called Elara's Veil. This symbol takes the form of the red and black sub-sector symbol which depicts Elara's Veil on Imperial stellar cartographic maps, for example, or it can be a personalised symbol of the nebula itself, much in the way the Astral Claws, Lamenters, Mantis Warriors, and Executioners wore the unique marking of the Maelstrom Warders to designate their role as sentinels over the Warp rift known as the Maelstrom.
Many older members of the Emperor's Spears have the symbol of the Star Scorpions displayed on the right poleyn instead to reflect the campaigns they fought alongside their lost sibling-Chapter. Obviously, their newly-arrived Primaris Space Marine brethren do not display these symbols. Other Emperor's Spears Astartes, including the Chapter's Primaris brethren, often have the Celestial Lions' symbol engraved on their right poleyn, reflecting the many crusades fought alongside the Lions.
Another common symbol displayed on the Emperor's Spears' right poleyns is the Argent Gauntlet, which is worn by warriors from both the Celestial Lions and the Emperor's Spears and takes the form of a silver fist. This is the symbol of the Exodus Armada. Any warrior of any rank is authorised to wear it, so this, or the symbol for the Sentinels of the Veil, is often the default icon that is displayed on the poleyn if the warrior makes no other choice.
The officers of the Emperor's Spears sometimes make use of helm plumes. Sergeants can wear red transverse crests, similar to the ones worn by the ancient Space Marine Legion Centurions of the Great Crusade era. Veteran Sergeants wear red-and-black striped transverse crests. Lieutenants have red-and-black striped longitudinal crests while Captains wear white longitudinal crests. While most Emperor's Spears officers wear helm crests, others use the standard helms and helm colours proscribed in the tenets of the Codex Astartes, similar to the Ultramarines.
Librarians and Apothecaries both wear black Power Armour, with druidic and priestly elements adorning their battle-plate. Techmarines wear black as well, and they use the standard Techmarine armour technology, but without the druidic and priestly elements. Unusually, the Emperor's Spears' Techmarines don't wear many symbols of Mars. Instead, they opt to display the icon of the nearby Forge Moon of Bellona, which takes the form of a halo (a half-cog) over a skull weeping blood. This is the same symbol used by the Cult Mechanicus and Skitarii Legions of Bellona (mostly black with red patches).
Librarians, Apothecaries and Techmarines have white helms, and the few that have served in the 1st Company also have the red trident on their helm. Chaplains wear the traditional black battle-plate with bone-white helms. Red tear-trails are carefully applied to the skull-mask's cheeks, as if weeping. Any skulls that are displayed on their armour also have these same blood-tears, which represent some unknown meaning from Nemetese legends.
Space Marines from the Emperor's Spears have also been known to wear trinkets, talismans, serpent scale-hides and fur pelts. These are usually gifts from the Twelve Tribes of Nemeton, not things the Astartes have hunted or made for themselves. These primitive fetishes are nowhere near as common as they are on the Space Wolves' wargear, but appear very similar to those worn amongst the Space Marines of the Salamanders Chapter. The most common ornamentation worn by the Emperor's Spears are Nemetese runes on their armour, which are usually black, silver, or white -- either painted or carved into talismans.
The Emperor's Spears have codes of conduct that forbid them from becoming too filthy. Even in the middle of a campaign, they are forced to maintain their armour as well as they can, to respect its Machine Spirit and to intimidate the enemy, rather than looking battered and therefore weak.
The Emperor's Spears' Chapter badge is a black trident pointed upward with a skull centred upon it, all centred on a field of sky blue.
- Adeptus Astartes: Successor Chapters (Limited Release Booklet), pg. 39
- How to Paint Space Marines, pg. 87
- Bolter & Chainsword Forums - Aaron Dembski-Bowden on the Emperor's Spears