- "Out of the storm it came -- a beast of brass and obsidian, of cable and bone, the wind from its jagged pinions reeking of brimstone and rotten souls..."
The Heldrake is a winged Daemon Engine of Chaos Undivided that plummets out of the skies like a living comet, hurtling towards enemy aircraft and crashing claws-first into them from above. Each Heldrake is a vicious predator, hell-forged deep within the Warp. These monstrous creatures take cruel joy in diving down upon the unsuspecting air support of their enemies in order to shred them into pieces with is scything wings and rune-carved talons. Heldrakes are usually found within the ranks of the Chaos Space Marine Traitor Legions, attaching themselves to the bottoms of Chaos warships and waiting until the ship reaches low orbit of its target planet, then the Heldrake will plunge into the world's atmosphere and engage enemy forces in the war-torn skies.
Heldrakes were once noble fighter aircraft flown by Space Marine pilots, though they are now something much more hideous. The dark energies of the Warp have granted them a form much better suited to the predatory role their twisted spirits savour. While all Heldrakes have sweeping wings and the powerful engines common to all Chaos fighter craft, such as the Hell Blade or Hell Talon, the resemblance ends there, for their aspect is one of flying daemonic reptiles or pterosaurs more than any ordinary aircraft.
The miasma of wrongness that surrounds these fell creatures is due not only to their hideous hybridisation, but also to the keening anguish of what remains of the individuals who used to be their pilots. The steersmen inside the Heldrakes, having become consumed by the power and independence granted to them by their fighter craft, have literally become one with their vehicles due to the power of the Warp. At first, the transformation is of the body -- the corrupted Astartes pilots shrink back into the interiors of their machines until they see with the craft's auto-senses and speak with its Vox-grilles. Eventually, as the machines themselves achieve daemonic sentience, the transformation affects the pilot's very soul. After so many centuries swooping through the Warp as pitiless hunters, the steersman's soul melds with that of their war engine until they are entirely subsumed. The pilot's physical form becomes an atrophied, foetal ball that burns deep in the core of the Daemon Engine where a natural beast would have a heart. Trapped and made subservient to the murderous desires of the daemon with which they now share their prison, the withered, blackened pilots scream in the darkness, their trauma and rage magnified by the Vox-arrays of the Heldrake into haunting cries.
Often, the first sign of a full-scale Chaos Space Marine invasion comes in the form of an attack by Heldrakes. These metallic monstrosities traverse the void between the worlds by clinging to the undersides of Chaos Space Marine attack ships, wings folded protectively around themselves in the manner of bats and their piston-driven claws clamped onto the fuselage above. Dark umbilical cables, sheathed in organic webbing, probe outwards from each Heldrake's body to burrow into the host voidship's outer surface, drawing away raw energy as a leech draws blood from its victim. When the Chaos warships arrive in low orbit, the Heldrakes detach themselves, unfurling their great wings as they plummet towards the atmosphere of the victim planet below. Some will soar through the skies as heralds of the destruction to come, retractable weapons pushing out from their gullets and spitting volleys of red-hot bullets that cut down the scrambling, earthbound defenders below. Others prefer to plunge through the clouds into the crucible of battle, screaming in savage joy as they crash headlong into the fight.
- Heldrake Fear Squadron - Heldrake Fear Squadrons consist of at least three and up to five Heldrakes. These formations are usually the first sign of a Chaos invasion, as the Heldrakes shriek from the skies before the main body of the Chaotic invasion force.
The Heldrake is armed with two sets of powerful, piston-driven claws that are capable of tearing into enemy aircraft as easily as if it were flesh. The creature has a set of back claws located on what appear as short legs that the Heldrake uses to hang from the bottom of Chaos starships and to land and latch on top of enemy aircraft, allowing its other claws, located on its longer primary limbs, to tear into the enemy aircraft. The Heldrake is also armed with a single long-range weapon, a Hades Autocannon, that is located within its mouth. The Hades Autocannon is a massive six-barreled, rapid-firing Autocannon that allows the Heldrake to scythe down masses of enemy troops and aircraft with contemptuous ease. The Heldrake can also be armed with a Baleflamer in place of its Hades Autocannon. The Baleflamer is a daemonic Flamer weapon that allows the Heldrake to heave out the great gouts of daemonic Warpfire roiling within their chests. The burning ichor that rains down upon their prey ignites flesh and soul alike.
Ordo Malleus Departmento Analyticus Technical SpecificationsEdit
The technical specifications of the Heldrake have not yet been determined or obtained by the Ordos of the Inquisition.
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 16, 27, 52, 72-73, 83, 101
- Imperial Armour Volume Thirteen - War Machines of the Lost & The Damned by Andy Hoare with Alan Bligh & Neil Wylie, pg. 114
- Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 180
- Death From the Skies (6th Edition)
- Games Workshop Webstore: Chaos Heldrake
- Games Workshop Webstore: Heldrake Terror-Pack