The Lords of Decay are a warband of Chaos Space Marines who were once a Loyalist Chapter of Space Marines known as the Lances of Pteros. They were corrupted after entering the Eye of Terror in 321.M37 as part of the Imperial Abyssal Crusade. At some point during their sojourn in the Eye, the Lances of Pteros were corrupted by Nurgle and latter absorbed into the Death Guard Traitor Legion. The Death Guard has grown substantially larger in this way by recruiting members from other Traitor Legions and Renegade Space Marine Chapters who are dedicated to Nurgle.
The Lords of Decay appear to function as an elite force within the Legion, known to even have been led for a time by the Daemon Primarch Mortarion himself. They are the only Chaos Space Marine warband in existence to have attempted and orchestrated a direct attack on the Sol System and to have defeated a member of the Adeptus Custodes in combat since the Horus Heresy. They were heavily involved in assisting the Forces of Chaos during the terrible Siege of Vraks.
The Lords of Decay were a formally Loyalist Chapter known as the Lances of Pteros. Following the Ecclesiarchal Purges of 321.M37, a dozen star systems were engulfed by Warp Storm Dionys, its echoes rippling along the spiral arms of the galaxy as it raged through the Empyrean. Records of mutation and Chaos Cultist activity quadrupled overnight. Worse yet, it was not only the citizens who were affected by the sudden influx of Chaos. Many of the Space Marine Chapters with homeworlds affected by the Warp Storm found that the secret imperfections in their gene-seed were writ large upon their new recruits, giving rise to a wave of disturbing manifestations both physical and psychological. The Lectors of Ixis were one such Loyalist Chapter of Astartes that had been affected by these Warp Storms.
When the Ecclesiarchy heard of this sinister turn of events, Saint Basillius the Elder demanded that all those Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes whose homeworlds had been touched by the Warp Storm be rendered unto his judgement. Such was the elder's influence with the High Lords of Terra that within a standard year this had come to pass. After a series of stringent tests and prognostications, hundreds of Chapters were deemed unaffected by the Warp Storm. No less than thirty were found wanting. The Judged, as these fallen Chapters came to be known, volunteered for a redemptive Penitent Crusade. The most militant of their number demanded the right to purify their tainted flesh in the fires of battle, to make a noble end from tragic misfortune. To the surprise of his closest advisors, Saint Basillius agreed to this proposal. He saw it fitting to send the accused into the Eye of Terror, taking the fight for the Imperium's future to the Daemon Worlds inhabited by the Traitor Marines.
A representative from each of the doomed Chapters held an emergency Council of Dismay to discuss the proposed Crusade. After scant hours of debate, they acquiesced to Basillius' demands, for they believed that martyrdom was preferable to an existence of suspicion and doubt. The last few days of 321.M37 saw a solemn procession of Strike Cruisers and Battle Barges pass through the Cadian Gate into the Eye of Terror, relay systems dormant and heraldic colours obscured by black mag-plates. One by one, the Chapters of The Judged disappeared into the iridescent dust nebulae that surrounded the Eye. As the massive Space Marine flotilla entered the Eye of Terror, they were set upon by a massive Chaos warfleet. The resultant battle was so fierce that the ships of The Judged were forced to retreat and were scattered to the furthest corners of the Eye.
The true account of what occurred within the Eye to the Lances of Pteros Chapter is unknown, but most of the tales of the Chapters of the Judged ended in tragedy and sorrow. By the time they reemerged from the Eye many centuries later, the Lances of Pteros were no more. They had become the Lords of Decay, one of the largest Plague Marine warbands operating in the galaxy today. They have been led into battle by both Typhon, the Herald of Nurgle, and even the Death Guard Daemon Primarch Mortarion, now a powerful Daemon Prince dedicated to the Plague Lord. The Imperium of Man has recorded multiple encounters with these foul Traitor Marines since the start of the 41st Millennium, of which several of the most notable are recounted below.
- Battle of Pluto (Unknown Date.M41) - This event was recorded by the Chaos Lord Typhus, the former First Captain of the Death Guard Traitor Legion and the Herald of Nurgle, who was present aboard his flagship, the Chaos Battleship Terminus Est, which was overseeing the battle from orbit. Over Pluto, the Lords of Decay and several other fleets of allied Nurgleite Chaos Space Marines broke out of the Warp and quickly dispatched the nearby merchant ships. They quickly descended to the surface of Pluto where the Chaos Lord Festernius unleashed a plague of nitrogen-fixing bacteria that turned all of the nitrogen storage cisterns present on the planet for Imperial industrial use into toxic ammonia deposits. The Imperial Navy's entire Battlefleet Solar emerged from the Warp 6 hours later in response to the distress call from Pluto and engaged the Nurgleite fleet above that frozen planetoid. A strike force of Adeptus Custodes from Terra teleported down to the surface of Pluto and were supported by several units of Howling Griffons Space Marines who were in the vicinity of the Sol System at the time and Grey Knights from the nearby Ordo Malleus base on Titan. In single combat, Festernius challenged the sergeant leading the Custodes detachment to combat and reportedly slew him and his strike force of 6 Custodes to a man. Festernius was reported to have vomited on the Custodes' sergeant's breastplate, melting through the ceramite layers of his Power Armour and then, thrusting both his hands into the hole, tore the powerful Custodes warrior in two. Despite this brief victory, 4,000 Traitor Marines were slain to a man by the Howling Griffons and Grey Knight forces with Festernius eventually being defeated in single combat by the Captain of the Grey Knights. He was recorded to have burst apart Festernius' plague spewer with a shot from his Stormbolter before extinguishing the Chaos Lord's disease-ravaged mind with a psychic blast. Of the Chaos warfleet that assaulted the Sol System's outermost defences, 27 starships were destroyed by the wrath of Battlefleet Solar while only 3 Imperial vessels were lost.
- Siege of Vraks (813-830.M41) - The Lords of Decay were one of the Chaos Space Marine warbands that answered the call of the Chaos Lord Arkos the Faithless of the Alpha Legion to support the defence of the Forces of Chaos entrenched on the Armoury World of Vraks from the assault of the Imperium of Man. After the Siege of Vraks ended with the fall of that benighted world to Imperial forces after a horrifically costly military campaign in 830.M41, the Lords of Decay fled off-world. Their last reported sighting was in the Mentieth Sector, where Imperial forces were in pursuit.
The Lords of Decay's Power Armour is the same as that of the Death Guard, decayed and cracked plates of Ceramite discoloured in sickly greens and browns. The Lords of Decay's Chaos Space Marines, like those of the Death Guard, often wear the antique Mark III "Iron" pattern of Power Armour.
The Lords of Decay's badge is a red, modified version of the standard Mark of Nurgle on a field of of sickly greens and browns depending on the condition of the individual.
Notable Lords of DecayEdit
- Festernius - Festernius was the Chaos Lord who led the Nurgleite assault on Pluto and slew an entire contingent of Adeptus Custodes. Despite this notable victory, Festernius was slain by a Captain of the Grey Knights Space Marines.
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pg. 19
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 21
- Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three, pg. 141
- Imperial Armour Volume Thirteen - War Machines of the Lost and the Damned by Andy Hoare with additional material by Alan Bligh & Neil Wylie, pg. 43