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Macragge is an Imperial Civilised World located in the southern reaches of the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy in the Ultima Segmentum. It is also the Chapter homeworld of the Ultramarines Chapter of Space Marines and the capital of the Ultramarines' Realm of Ultramar. Macragge itself is mostly bleak and rocky, with more than three-quarters of its land mass formed from mountainous upland almost entirely devoid of life. The people of Macragge do not live in this inhospitable region, but the fortress-monastery of the Ultramarines, the Fortress of Hera, is built here upon a craggy peak surrounded by impenetrable mountains.

Within this mighty fortress, inside the vast Temple of Correction, was the shrine of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman. This is where his body sat upon a huge throne of ornately-carved marble. He was preserved near death by a stasis field impervious to the decaying effects of time for nearly 10,000 Terran years. This Shrine of Guilliman was once one of the holiest places in the Imperium, and millions came from all over the galaxy to look upon the face of the ancient Primarch. During the Ultramar Campaign of the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41, Roboute Guilliman was resurrected from this living death by the actions of the Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl and Yvraine, the Daughter of Shade, the prophet of the recently awakened Aeldari God of the Dead, Ynnead.

Guilliman immediately took back command of the Ultramarines and of Macragge and Ultramar itself. However, after clearing the forces of Abaddon the Despoiler from his homeworld and the rest of Ultramar, Guilliman left for Terra to consult with his father the Emperor for the first time in 10,000 standard years, leaving Chapter Master Marneus Calgar of the Ultramarines to rule Macragge and Ultramar in his stead. He would return over a standard century later in the wake of the Indomitus Crusade to bring reinforcements to Macragge and Ultramar at the darkest hour of the Plague Wars, after the forces of the Chaos God Nurgle had sought to claim the Ultramarines domain for the Plageu God.

Macragge has fearsome defences, including two polar defence fortresses, that have been upgraded since the Battle of Macragge. It is the homeworld of the Ultramarines and the seat of the Ultramarines Chapter Master Marneus Calgar. Macragge is famous as the site of the invasion of the Tyranid Hive Fleet Behemoth, which was repelled by the might of the Ultramarines at the Battle of Macragge. It remains the firm seat of the Realm of Ultramar, ruled by the Ultramarines Chapter Master who serves as the world's Planetary Governor under the title of Lord Macragge and the Lord of Ultramar.

History

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Magna Macragge Civitas, capital city of Macragge, as it existed in 009.M31 during the Horus Heresy

According to Imperial legend, the Emperor of Mankind created the Primarchs from artificially-engineered genes using his own genome as a template, carefully imbuing each of them with unique superhuman powers. Imperial doctrine goes on to tell how the Ruinous Powers of Chaos spirited away the Primarchs within their gestation capsules, scattering them widely across the galaxy through the Warp. More than one of the capsules was breached whilst it drifted through Warpspace - the forces of the Immaterium leaked in, wreaking havoc on the gestating being inside the capsule. Undoubtedly damage was done and Chaotic corruption affected several of the Primarchs, although the nature of that corruption would not become apparent until the Horus Heresy.

After drifting for decades, or in some cases even hundreds of years, the twenty gestation capsules came to rest on human-settled worlds throughout the Milky Way Galaxy - distant planets inhabited by a variety of human cultures. The capsule containing the developing form of one Primarch fell upon the world of Macragge in the Eastern Fringes of the galaxy. This was a bleak but not inhospitable world that Mankind had inhabited for many centuries since the Dark Age of Technology. Its industries had survived the Age of Strife and its people had continued to build sub-light spacecraft throughout the period of intense Warpstorms. The people of Macragge had successfully maintained contact with neighbouring human-settled star systems, despite the loss of many ships and crews. The Primarch's capsule was discovered by a group of noblemen out hunting in the forest. They broke the capsule's seal to reveal a strikingly beautiful and perfectly formed child surrounded by a glowing nimbus of innate power. The amazing infant was brought before Konor Guilliman, one of a pair of Consuls who governed the civilised region of Macragge. Konor adopted the child as his son and named him Roboute Guilliman.

The young Primarch grew quickly, and as he did so his unique physical and mental powers became obvious for all to see. By his 10th birthday he had studied and mastered everything the wisest men of Macragge could teach him. His insight into matters of history, philosophy and science astonished his elders, but his greatest talent lay in the art of war, the purpose for which his gene-father had created him. A genius for military organisation prompted his foster father to give him command of an expeditionary force in the far north of Macragge. This mountainous area was called Illyrium, a barbarous land which had harboured bandits and brigands for as long as anyone could remember. Although many wars had been fought against them, no-one had ever pacified the region for long. Roboute fought a brilliant campaign and won not only the submission, but also the respect, of the fierce Illyrian warriors. Returning home, Roboute found the capital of Macragge City in turmoil. During Roboute's absence his father's co-Consul, a man named Gallan, had crafted a coup d'etat against Konor. Gallan was one of many amongst the wealthy nobility of Macragge who were jealous of Konor's political power and popularity. These malcontents were accustomed to easy living on their vast estates where they were supported by the toiling of a multitude of impoverished slaves. Konor had changed all that, forcing the old aristocracy to provide their vassals with reasonable accommodation and sufficient amounts of food. He had also passed legislation which obliged them to contribute to an ambitious programme of improving and enlarging the capital city. All these reforms were of great benefit to the people of Macragge, but were unpopular with all but a few of the more far-sighted aristocrats.

As Roboute and his army approached Macragge City they saw the smoke from a multitude of fires and hurried to investigate. From citizens fleeing from the city, Roboute learned that troops in the pay of Gallan had attacked the Senate House with Konor and his loyal bodyguard inside. The rebels surrounded the Senate, whilst drunken soldiers roamed the city looting and murdering at will. Roboute hurried to his foster father's rescue. Leaving his troops to deal with the drunken mob, he fought his way into the Senate House. There he found his father dying of wounds inflicted by an assassin in Gallan's employ. For three whole days the Consul had directed the defence of the building, even as surgeons fought for his life. With his dying breath Konor told his son of Gallan's treachery.

Roboute crushed the aristocratic rebels and quickly restored order to the city. Thousands of citizens flocked to the Senate House and amidst a wave of popular acclaim Roboute assumed the mantle of sole and all-powerful Consul of Macragge. The new ruler acted swiftly to crush the old order. Gallan and his fellow conspirators were executed and their lands and family titles taken from them. New, honest, hard-working settlers were given their old farms and property. With super-human energy and the vision only a Primarch was capable of executing, the Consul reorganised the social order of Macragge, rewarding the hard-working, placing men of honour in high office, and building the armed forces into a powerful and well-equipped force. Macragge flourished as never before.

While the gestation capsules containing the Primarchs drifted through the Warp, the Emperor and his armies of Space Marines advanced across the galaxy. This Great Crusade liberated many human worlds from alien domination and re-established contact with human-settled planets that had endured isolation and danger for untold thousands of years.

As the young Roboute Guilliman waged war against the Illyrian bandits in the northern mountains of Macragge, the Emperor and a force of Space Marines reached the planet of Espandor in a neighbouring star system. From the Espandorians the Emperor learned of the existence of Macragge and the astounding son of Consul Konor Guilliman. He immediately realised that he had found one of his long-lost sons. Though the Emperor took ship to Macragge his vessel ran into a sudden and unexpected Warp-squall, a brief but intensely strong disturbance that threw the craft far off-course. By the time the Emperor reached Macragge, Roboute Guilliman had ruled for almost five standard years. In that time the world had undergone a transformation. Its people were well-fed and prosperous, its armies well-equipped and its cities had been rebuilt in glittering marble and shining steel. Vessels from Macragge plied regular trade with the local star systems, bringing raw materials and more people to the flourishing world. The Emperor was astounded to find a planet so well-ordered and prosperous, and realised at once that Roboute Guilliman was a Primarch of unsurpassed ability and vision. Once Guilliman learned the truth of his origins he immediately swore his fealty to the Emperor, his true father.

The XIII Legion of Space Marines, the Ultramarines, was assigned to the command of Roboute Guilliman, whose own genome had provide the basis for its Astartes' gene-seed, and its forward base was relocated to Macragge. The Primarch quickly assimilated the many wonders of the Imperium of Man and set about his new role with skill and enthusiasm. Guilliman's chief talents, as ever, lay in war, and he led the Ultramarines to fresh conquests in the galactic south. He succeeded in liberating more worlds during the Great Crusade than any other Primarch, and the worlds he brought within the Imperium were to benefit from his organisational skills and passion for efficient government. Whenever Roboute Guilliman freed a world from the tyranny of xenos or other men, his first priority was to set up a self-supporting defence system. Once a world was safe he could move on, leaving behind enough advisers to ensure that industry would be created, trade routes set up with the rest of the Imperium, and government directed towards the betterment of the people.

Battle of Macragge

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The world of Macragge as seen from high orbit

Over the 10 millennia after the death of Roboute Guilliman Ultramar held against all manner of invaders - some so strange as to defy the comprehension of the common man. The Ultramarines have tested their might against Ork WAAAGH!s and Renegade uprisings, Tau incursions and Necron raids, but the measure of their heroism is shown truest in battles where they have defended all life in the galaxy itself in the face of threats from beyond known space. So did the Sons of Ultramar prove in the 35th Millennium in battle against the Star-Striders of Crioth, and in retaliation for the Heavenfall Massacres. But of all these terrible wars and heroic struggles, there is one conflict that stands above all others - the onslaught of the Tyranid Hive Fleet Behemoth, and the Battle of Macragge in 745.M41.

Upon learning the threat posed to Ultramar by Hive Fleet Behemoth, Marneus Calgar at once drew up his plans. Deeming Macragge to be the star system most immediately threatened, Calgar ordered its already formidable defences to be further improved. A dozen warships already hung in orbit, and each day more arrived from the Warp. Massive Strike Cruisers cast shadows over civilian vessels and Imperial Navy Destroyers, and were themselves dwarfed by the brooding presence of the Ultramarines' Battle Barges. Between this mighty fleet of warships and the planet's no less formidable orbital defence stations, Macragge was anything but defenceless. Scant weeks later, the outrider vessels of the Tyranid fleet attacked Macragge. The alien bio-vessels swept aside attacks by Ultramarines Strike Cruisers and swarmed over the planet below. Soon many thousands of Mycetic Spore-birthed beasts scurried and rampaged across Macragge. Deeming that the Tyranid threat was too massive to be opposed piecemeal, Calgar combined his ground forces into three mighty armies. The primary and secondary taskforces, composed largely of 1st Company Veterans and Ultramaran Planetary Defence Forces, bolstered Macragge's polar fortresses against the Tyranid onslaught. Meanwhile, Calgar's taskforce, the largest of the three, performed a series of rearguard actions, attempting to slow the Tyranid advance and eliminate Hive Mind synapse-control organisms. Calgar achieved great success in the early days of the campaign, buying time with blood for his Battle-Brothers to the north and south. However, the Tyranids kept coming.

In a final climactic battle on Cold Steel Ridge, the Ultramarines rearguard were brutalised by the Tyranid horde and Calgar himself was gravely wounded. Knowing that to remain planetside was to doom his followers to wasteful death, Calgar withdrew to the orbiting Battle Barge Octavius. Refusing all but the most vital medical attention, the Master of Macragge took command of the fleet, and sought a way to save his world from certain destruction. Hours later, the main Tyranid fleet arrived at Macragge. With no sign of reinforcements, Calgar led his fleet in a series of daring attacks, striking at isolated vessels as they spread out to invade Macragge in force. Caught between the blistering firepower of Macragge's polar fortresses and the vengeful hammer blows of Calgar's fleet, Tyranid vessels were destroyed by the score, but many more yet remained. As battle raged, the Tyranids unleashed thousands of Mycetic Spores above the vital polar fortresses - if the fortresses were taken, Macragge's guns would be silenced, and the world left defenceless. So it was that the Tyranids landed in even greater numbers than before, and the fortresses soon found themselves sorely beset. Their gruesome cargo delivered, the battered Hive Ships retreated from orbit. Trusting to his Ultramarines to keep the fortresses secure, Calgar relentlessly pursued the Tyranid fleet, determined that it would not bring ruin to other worlds. Never before or since has the valour of the Ultramarines been tested as it was in the defence of the polar fortresses. The Veteran Space Marines of the 1st Company led the lightly-armed Auxilia in a tenacious defence of the fortresses, holding every wall and trench until the last possible moment before it was overrun by the Tyranid swarm. Slowly the troops withdrew ever deeper into the fortress, while making the Tyranids pay for every single yard of ground they advanced. The Titans of Legio Praetor stalked the ice fields and drove smoking furrows through the onrushing Tyranid hordes with shells and plasma. The ferocity of the swarms was unbelievable. At the northern fortress they overran the walls by using the steaming piles of their own dead for cover. Imperial Battle Titans were dragged down and ripped apart by sheer weight of numbers. The defenders' gun barrels glowed red hot and jammed in spite of the arctic cold, ammunition began to run low even though the fortress had contained stockpiles intended to last for months of siege.

Yet still the defenders fought on. Lumbering scythe-armed Carnifexes tore into the defenders' bastions like living battering rams, smashing their way through metal and rockcrete walls with equal fury. The Ultramarines had to rely on heavy short-range firepower to bring down the foe, but for each Tyranid that fell, another three sprang forward to continue the fight. Lesser men were paralysed with terror as the Tyranids broke through the perimeter again and again, but the Ultramarines never despaired and never gave thought to defeat.

Calgar pursued the Tyranid fleet toward the ringed world of Circe at the edge of the Macragge System. The timely arrival of the Imperial Navy's entire Battlefleet Tempestus from Bakka finally sealed the Tyranids' fate by catching them in a vice between the two fleets. Even now, the Imperial fleet was overmatched, for the Tyranids were too many. The battle would have been lost save for the heroic sacrifice of the great Battleship Dominus Astra. Charging into the heart of the Hive Fleet, the huge Emperor-class Battleship detonated its Warp-Drives, creating a Warp vortex that dragged both it and the entire Tyranid fleet to oblivion. With the Hive Fleet destroyed, Calgar's surviving starships came about and roared back to Macragge to try to save the beleaguered polar garrisons. The survivors of the Ultramarines 1st Company were still believed to be fighting amongst the defence laser silos of the northern citadel, but all contact with them had been lost after the Tyranids overran the surface outposts. Of the southern garrison, nothing was known. Calgar, feeling that the situation was becoming critical, sent the 3rd and 7th Ultramarines Companies ahead in their fast Strike Cruisers while his remaining damaged ships limped back to Macragge. The Space Marines of the 3rd and 7th Companies deployed onto the poles by Drop Pod, their supporting units following up in Thunderhawk gunships. Scenes of unbelievable carnage awaited them below. Piles of mangled Tyranid corpses and shattered wargear lay strewn across the ice. Vast, steaming craters pocked the snows where Titan plasma reactors had gone critical. The stench of death lay everywhere. The 7th Company landed unopposed at the southern fortress and quickly linked up with the survivors of the garrison above ground. Together they pushed on to clear the subterranean passages that the Tyranids had overrun.

In the north of Macragge, the 3rd Company came under attack as soon as it landed. Hundreds of creatures emerged from dark tunnel mouths and shattered Imperial bunkers to assail the Space Marines. Only staunch fire laid down by the company's Devastator Squads kept the alien swarm at bay until Thunderhawk gunships arrived to blast the Tyranids back into the darkness. Captain Fabian of the 3rd Company prudently awaited the
arrival of the company's 3 Dreadnoughts before proceeding into the fortress itself to search for survivors.
The dark, dank corridors beneath the northern fortress were already altered by the alien presence. Mucous dripped from the walls and ceilings and a pervasive musky stench filled the air. Alien screams and roars echoed and reverberated along the tunnels. The Space Marines pushed onward into corridors littered with Tyranid and Ultramarines dead, the darkness reluctantly receding before their suit lights. Chameleoid Lictors lay in ambush amongst the corpses, slashing into the advance squads in an orgy of destruction. Eventually the forward squads used flamers to burn their way along the passages and flush out their enemy. Even as fire consumed them, the creatures still leapt forward with claws outstretched to rend and slay.

Through darkness and terrors unimaginable, the 3rd Company finally reached the lower Penitorium where the defenders had made their last stand. Tyranid bodies were piled six deep around the doors, and within the room a circle of Terminators lay where they had fought back to back. Each had given his life for his brothers. The Ultramarines' 1st Company had been wiped out to the last man. The Battle of Macragge remains a great source of both sorrow and pride for the Ultramarines. The names of its fallen are commemorated each year at the Feast of Days, their sacrifice remembered throughout Ultramar with honour and gratitude. But the cost had been great. The Ultramarines 1st Company was gone and the 3rd and 7th sorely diminished. It would be many long years before the Chapter could properly replace its losses, but replace them it would. The Ultramarines would endure.

Since the Battle of Macragge, the Ultramarines have become instrumental in the Imperium's wars against other Tyranid Hive Fleets. In response to the threat, and counter to the dictates of the Codex Astartes for the first time, the survivors of the Battle of Macragge were formed into elite, specially-trained anti-Tyranid squads. These Tyrannic War Veterans make up the first and most powerful of the Chapter's reformed 1st Company, and are second to no other warriors of the Imperium because of their experience, training and upgraded Power Armour.

The Ultramar Campaign and the Terran Crusade

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The retaking of the Macragge System by the Ultramarines Chapter during the Ultramar Campaign of the 13th Black Crusade in ca. 999.M41

Soon after the Iron Warriors' Invasion of Ultramar was defeated in 999.M41, Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade began in earnest. In the days immediately after the fall of Cadia the Despoiler was informed by the Chaos Sorcerer Zaraphiston of a disturbing reality. The Sorcerer had discovered through his Warp-scryings that the Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl had escaped Cadia's destruction with a device in his possession that could turn the tide of the Long War in favour of the Imperium of Man. The Despoiler also learned that Cawl was one of a number of survivors of Cadia, now calling themselves the Celestinian Crusade, who had escaped into the Webway with the aid of the Eldar Ynnari and were making their way to Macragge, the homeworld of the Ultramarines Chapter. To neutralise the nascent threat to his coming triumph over the Corpse-Emperor, the Despoiler detached a portion of his Black Fleet and ordered a Chaos invasion of the Realm of Ultramar as part of the 13th Black Crusade.

The Celestinian Crusade, named for Saint Celestine, the Living Saint who had come to aid the defenders of Cadia in their darkest hour, was led not only by its namesake but also by Archmagos Cawl, Marshal Marius Amalrich of the Black Templars, and Inquisitor Katarinya Greyfax of the Ordo Hereticus. These individuals, joined by the Ynnari's commanders Yvraine, the Daughter of Shades, and her war leader The Visarch, first stepped from the Webway and onto the soil of the Shrine World of Laphis in the Macragge System. They were surprised to discover that they had set foot in a war zone, but they soon defeated the local Chaos forces that had been in the vicinity of the Webway portal. The Celestinians and their uneasy Eldar allies defeated the Heldrakes besieging the local Ultramarines fortress and then convinced the Space Marines to grant them passage to Macragge, though Yvraine and the Visarch sent the majority of the Ynnari back into the Webway to carry out missions more pressing for their people.

The Celestinians arrived at Macragge aboard an Ultramarines Strike Cruiser to discover that the capital world of Ultramar had come under a full-scale invasion by the Forces of Chaos. While a massive battle raged in orbit between the Chaos and Loyalist fleets, on the ground the Fortress of Hera, the Ultramarines' fortress-monastery, was in danger of falling to the Archenemy. Gaining an audience with Marneus Calgar, the Chapter Master of the Ultramarines and the Lord of Macragge, Belisarius Cawl revealed that he was over 10,000 standard years old and had known the Ultramarines' Primarch Roboute Guilliman during the time of the Horus Heresy. Cawl explained that he had been tasked by Guilliman with finding a way to restore the Primarch to life even before his mortal wounding by the Daemon Primarch Fulgrim in the time after the Heresy.

After much debate, the Celestinians and the Ynnari were allowed into the Temple of Correction where Guilliman sat in stasis despite Chapter Master Marneus Calgar's reservations about the newcomers.

While Cawl began his work on the time-frozen body of Guilliman, seated upon his throne in the temple, the Black Legion took notice of the activity and launched a massive assault upon the Temple of Corrections, fearful of what the Loyalists were attempting. The Celestinians, aided by the Ultramarines' officers and the 3rd Brotherhood of the Grey Knights led by Grand Master Aldrik Voldus who had come to Macragge to aid the defence, faced off against over a hundred Black Legionaries. Yet, even as the Loyalists fought to give Cawl just one more solar second to complete his work, more Chaos forces poured into the shrine from above using Dreadclaw assault boats, and the defenders quickly found themselves overwhelmed.

Only then, at the last, did Yvraine call upon the power of her patron, Ynnead, the recently awakened Eldar God of the Dead. The alien god's power over life and death combined with Cawl's arcane technology to heal the Primarch's wound and awaken him from his ten-thousand-year slumber. An awakened and enraged Primarch proved more than the Chaos attackers were prepared to deal with. Guilliman shattered the attacking Forces of Chaos and provided an extraordinary surge in morale for his Ultramarines and the other Loyalist forces. The Imperials quickly swept the Black Legion before them, breaking the back of the Chaos assault upon the Ultramarines fortress-monastery. In that one moment of resurrection, the fate of Macragge and of all Ultramar was decided.

In the wake of the battle in the Temple of Correction, Guilliman was crowned as the restored Primarch of the Ultramarines Chapter and all of its Successor Chapters, and as the Lord Macragge and ruler of Ultramar. Marneus Calgar happily ceded the role of Chapter leadership to his gene-father, while Guilliman declared that the autonomy of all the worlds that had once belonged to the Realm of Ultramar and gone their separate ways in the millennia since the Horus Heresy was revoked. Ultramar was to be restored to what it had been in the golden age of the Imperium, a miniature stellar empire comprising five hundred human-settled worlds. Once in full control of the Loyalist forces on Macragge, the Primarch's strategic genius was unleashed, and the Forces of Chaos were driven off of Macragge and then from most of Ultramar within approximately seven solar months.

With Ultramar safe for the moment, Guilliman decided that the time had come to journey to Terra and meet with his father the Emperor for the first time in ten millennia, beginning what became known as the Terran Crusade.

Gathering forces from all across the Imperium who were able to reach Macragge as the Warp grew ever more turbulent in the wake of the 13th Black Crusade, the Primarch assembled a massive Crusade Fleet to reach Terra. Leaving Macragge and Ultramar in the capable hands of Marneus Calgar, Guilliman's fleet was passing near the great Warp rift known as the Maelstrom when it was intercepted by a Chaos fleet led by the Daemon Primarch Magnus the Red and his Thousand Sons Traitor Legion. Magnus had stirred himself from the Planet of the Sorcerers for the first time in millennia in recent days, to assault the Fenris System of his ancient foes the Space Wolves, and now to confront his former brother. The Thousand Sons Primarch cast a potent sorcerous ritual that flung the Terran Crusade Fleet into the Maelstrom, with no apparent way for it to escape from the labyrinthine clutches of that wound in reality.

With time in the Warp indeterminate, the Terran Crusade wandered from Daemon World to Daemon World within the Warp rift, taking steady casualties from the constant daemonic assaults. All during this time Roboute Guilliman's guilt and frustration began to grow, weighing down his psyche as the Loyalists found it impossible to escape the Maelstrom's clutches. But a beacon of hope came when on one such world Guilliman received a psychic message from the Eldar Farseer Eldrad Ulthran, now an ally of the Ynnari, which laid out a series of landmarks for the Imperial fleet to follow to escape the Warp rift. But when the much-diminished Crusade reached the starship graveyard which marked the passage back to realspace, it was met by another massive Chaos fleet, this time of the piratical Chaos Space Marines known as the Red Corsairs, led by the Lord of Change Kairos Fateweaver. The Chaos forces assaulted every voidship in the Imperial fleet, and Kairos ultimately succeeded in defeating Guilliman by using his psychic powers to wrap the Primarch in chains literally crafted from his own guilt. Threatening the immobilised Primarch's life, the Greater Daemon forced the rest of the Imperial fleet to surrender.

The Terran Crusade found itself in dire straits, brought by Fateweaver's command to a Blackstone Fortress hidden in the Maelstrom by the Red Corsairs, a secret gift from Abaddon the Despoiler. There the Primarch and his remaining followers would have rotted for eternity were it not for intervention from an unexpected source -- the Eldar Harlequins led by the Shadowseer Sylandri Veilwalker and Cypher, the mysterious Fallen Angel who was a sometimes enemy and sometimes ally of those loyal to the Emperor. In return for a promise to bring the Fallen Angel before the Golden Throne, Cypher freed the Primarch and his compatriots. With their starships lost to them, their crews sacrificed to the Ruinous Powers, Veilwalker offered another path to Terra -- through the Webway gate that lay at the heart of the massive xenos star fortress.

The Terran Crusade passed successfully through the Webway towards Terra, only to discover that the Labyrinth Dimension was already haunted by Magnus the Red and the forces of the Thousand Sons. As Veilwalker explained that there had long existed a secret exit of the Webway on Luna, the moon of Terra, Guilliman realised that his daemon brother had been waiting for them. As soon as they opened the Webway exit in the Sol System, the Thousand Sons would rush through behind them, unleashing a major Chaos invasion right on Terra's doorstep, allowing Magnus to gain the glory ahead of the Despoiler. But with aid from the Harlequins and other Imperial forces such as the Sisters of Silence and the Imperial Fists, Guilliman and his Terran Crusade survivors managed to overwhelm the Thousand Sons and cast Magnus back through the Webway portal, permanently sealing it so that it could never be used again to threaten the Throneworld of the Imperium.

At long last, Guilliman was escorted by the awed defenders of Terra to the Imperial Palace, where the survivors of the Celestinian and Terran Crusades at last went their separate ways. There, he finally met for one full solar day with his father, the Emperor of Mankind, for the first time in millennia. None know what was said between them, but when the Primarch emerged from the Inner Palace, he declared that he was taking up the mantle of the Lord Commander of the Imperium once more. Now the first among equals among the High Lords of Terra just as he had been after the Horus Heresy, Guilliman promised the people of the galaxy that he would assemble the greatest fleet and armies seen since the Great Crusade to take the fight to Chaos ... and revive the Emperor's lost dream of a better future for Humanity.

Fleet Avenger and the Coming of the Primaris Space Marines

While the resurrected Primarch Roboute Guilliman organised what was to become the Indomitus Crusade in 999.M41, the Great Rift tore the galaxy asunder. Fearing for Ultramar, Guilliman sent to safeguard his realm much of the remaining task force of Ultramarines and their Successor Chapters that had accompanied him to Terra during the Terran Crusade. With them went the first Primaris Ultramarines, for Archmagos Belisarius Cawl had begun to open his secret vaults. The small armada -- commanded by Captain Cato Sicarius and dubbed Fleet Avenger -- ran into Warp Storms the like of which had not been seen since the Age of Strife.

With the fleet battered and split apart, Sicarius signalled for each voidship to make its own way back to Macragge, the interference growing so bad he feared many would not receive the message. Sicarius' own Strike Cruiser, the Emperor's Will, was still in the Warp when the Astronomican faded and then went black, marking the onset of the Noctis Aeterna. Amidst the tidal waves of psychic energies that cascaded randomly across all star systems of the galaxy, one last transmission was received from the Emperor's Will. The fragmentary message was accompanied by disturbing images, and only one sentence could be made clear: "They have breached the hull, they are here." Fully half of Fleet Avenger ultimately reached Ultramar, bringing with them their precious cargo, but of the Emperor's Will there remained no sign. In his absence, command of the Ultramarines 2nd Company was handed over to Captain Acheran.

The Plague Wars

One aspect of the Ultramarines Legion that survived the Second Founding was the close relationship between its Astartes and the populations of the surrounding planets. During the Great Crusade the worlds around Macragge provided young recruits for the Ultramarines. They also supplied raw materials, armaments and spacecraft. Although the scale of recruitment from these worlds diminished with the reorganisation, the tradition continued. To this day, the Ultramarines recruit not from a single world, but from the whole of the region around Macragge, known as Ultramar, the stellar empire of the Ultramarines.

Ultramar is unique amongst the domains of the Space Marines. Where other Chapters rule over a single planet, asteroid or, in some cases, a mobile space fleet or orbital fortress, the Ultramarines have a larger domain. They control an entire sub-sector including many star systems, each with its own worlds and governments loyal to the Chapter. All the worlds of Ultramar share a common cultural heritage with Macragge, so it is not surprising that their styles of architecture, government, and traditions are similar.

Using governmental systems set in place by Roboute Guilliman, the citizens of Ultramar are disciplined, productive and loyal. As a result, Ultramar became a wealthy pocket stellar empire that knew little unrest or rebellion for long stretches of time -- a unique distinction in the war-ridden galaxy. The most heavily populated of Ultramar's worlds were self-sufficient, with much trade between planets. Although composed of primarily Industrial Worlds, Ultramar had none of the nightmarish toxic wastelands that were common phenomena throughout the galaxy. All of that was to change, however.

Even before the coming of the Noctis Aeterna with the birth of the Great Rift in 999.M41, Ultramar faced a series of dire threats. Tendrils of several Tyranid Hive Fleets drifted inexorably towards Guilliman's realm. The Arch-Arsonist of Charadon, one of the greatest Ork Warlords in the galaxy, led a monstrous WAAAGH! from his anarchic domain with the intent of overrunning the Ultramarines' eastern defences. Yet the greatest threat of them all was that posed by the dark servants of Chaos. A vast horde of Traitors, Renegades, mutants and madmen fell upon Ultramar under the leadership of the foul Daemon Prince M'kar the Reborn during the Invasion of Ultramar. And then came the Noctis Aeterna, and with it wave after wave of daemon-filled Warp Storms. In the wake of these disasters, some of the greatest servants of Nurgle, the Chaos God of Plagues and Decay, fell upon the Ultramarines' stellar realm, seeking to corrupt the bucolic beauty of its worlds. The Plague Wars, as they came to be known, saw some of the greatest battles the Imperium had ever endured, with every inhabited planet of Ultramar suffering a staggering number of casualties.

Macragge, the capital world, saw fighting across its bleak rocky uplands as well as in its populated cities. The Ultramarines' sprawling fortress-monastery -- including the shrine in which Roboute Guilliman had lain in stasis for over seven millennia -- came under concerted attack. The Bubonicus Legions, led by a favoured Great Unclean One known as Ku'gath Plaguefather, seized the nearby Tartella System before descending upon the planet of Iax, a Garden World rich with life. The Espandor System suffered beneath the Creeping Doom offensive of the Daemon Primarch Mortarion and his Death Guard. On Parmenio a great armour battle took place, and throughout the sub-sector a naval battle raged, with defensive battle stations engaged by a Plague Fleet led by the Death Guard Lord known as Typhus. Even the disciplined tactics and heroic sacrifices of the defenders were only enough to stave off defeat. Nurgle's followers pushed their befouling offensive forward, contaminating all they touched.

Breaking apart his Indomitus Crusade after over a century of combat intended to stabilise the Imperium, Roboute Guilliman returned to aid his home system. Seeing that his only chance lay in seizing the initiative, the Primarch masterminded a brilliant campaign known as the Spear of Espandor. Rapid counter-strikes and a series of daring boarding actions clawed back many of the foe's gains. Where the disparate Chaos armies fought separately, the defenders of Ultramar supported each other in every way they could, allowing Guilliman to slowly reverse the course of the war and put Nurgle's favoured commanders on the defensive. Utilising their superior numbers, the Chaos forces amassed for a final confrontation upon Iax. There they fought to a standstill, with Guilliman countering every ploy. Ultimately the Chaos forces escaped under the cover of a massive Virus Bomb. With little time to spare -- for the galaxy remained riven with war -- the Lord Commander of the Imperium organised the rebuilding of Ultramar, beginning with the defence networks, before leaving once more at the head of a retributive strike force.

Notable Locations

  • Hera's Crown Mountains - Hera's Crown Mountains, sometimes referred to as the "Crown Mountains," is the mightiest range of mountains on Macragge, where the Ultramarines' formidable fortress-monastery, the Fortress of Hera, was constructed by the hand of Primarch Roboute Guilliman.
  • Illyria - During the Horus Heresy era, this region of Macragge was known by the local inhabitants as 'bandit country'. It was also a known hotbed of anti-Konor, and later, anti-Imperial sentiment. During the Horus Heresy, when the Dark Angels arrived through the Ruinstorm after successfully breaking the Night Lords Traitor Legion during the Thramas Crusade, Konrad Curze, Primarch of the Night Lords, who had stowed away aboard the Dark Angels' flagship Invincible Reason, managed to make his way down to the surface of Macragge and spread chaos and mayhem. He managed to evade his Ultramarines and Dark Angels pursuers by hiding within the slums of Illyria and gaining a basis of support, which caused its eventual destruction at the hands of the Dark Angels' elite Dreadwing. Ten thousand years later, during the Plague Wars, it would once again become the site of mutiny amongst the ranks of the Ultramar Auxilia.
  • Fortress of Hera - The Fortress of Hera is the formidable fortress-monastery of the Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter. This mighty edifice is situated in the Valley of Laponis alongside the Hera's Fall. The Ultramarines' citadel is considered a wonder of engineering constructed by the hand of the Chapter's own Primarch Roboute Guilliman during the bygone era of the Great Crusade. The Fortress of Hera contains graceful balconies, golden geodesic domes and slender glass walkways supported by silver-steel buttresses. The vast domed structures of the fortress are citadels in their own right.
    • Gallan's Rock - Gallan's Rock is a rocky promontory overlooking a waterfall in the Crown Mountains on Macragge, and is accessible from the Fortress of Hera. According to Ultramarines legend, the Rock was where Roboute Guilliman beheaded the rebellious Consul Gallan, who had murdered his co-Consul Konor, Roboute's adoptive father. The Ultramarines themselves use the Rock as a place of execution, for members of the Chapter who have been condemned for serious crimes.
    • Hall of Maxellus - The Hall of Maxellus was a vast hall within the Fortress of Hera that was crafted in honour of the fallen Maxellus, the twenty-first Chapter Master of the Ultramarines, who was renowned for his wisdom. The Ultramarines later placed a statue of the famed Chapter Master within the Hall, where his stern but benign face watches over all who enter.
    • Library of Ptolemy - The Library of Ptolemy is the Librarium of the Ultramarines Chapter, located within the Fortress of Hera, occupying an entire spur of the range of the Crown Mountains. It is named for Ptolemy, the first and greatest Librarian of the ancient Ultramarines Legion. This Librarium is considered one of the greatest repositories of knowledge within the entirety of the Imperium of Man, and it has a reputation for completeness that even the Agrippan Conclaves or the Arcanium of Teleos cannot match. The Librarium is reputed to contain practically every word ever written across all of human history. Guarded by Ultramarines Astartes and auto-defences, at the heart of the Librarium is the Chapter's greatest relic -- Roboute Guilliman's original manuscript of the Codex Astartes. The Codex is transcribed into four massive volumes, each said to be one metre long and one-third of a metre thick. According to Chief Librarian Tigurius, the Arcanium is said to occupy the exact same remote spot where the Primarch, as a youth, would seek solace and solitude in order to reflect in silent contemplation and to study the great works of humanity. This fact was a carefully guarded secret, as the Chief Librarian did not want to attract millions of pilgrims to the Library of Ptolemy to spoil the peace of the refuge. Following the resurrection of Roboute Guilliman after the events of the 13th Black Crusade, the Library of Ptolemy was ordered sealed permanently and forbidden to enter upon penalty of death by the Primarch, for as the Imperium was entering the new millennium, it was an age of war, not wisdom. Guilliman did not seal the doors against the truth, but against the superstition that had taken truth's place. One version of the past was in that library, another was in the heads of men. The closing of the doors was symbolic, but powerful. It sealed both versions of the future away for now. But truth be told, there was one book within the library that told a history that the Primarch would rather no one read. Guilliman could not afford the shadow of his great mistake, the Imperium Secundus, to hang over his latest ventures, so he did not mention this fact. But one day, the library's doors would be unbarred, and if the men and women of the Imperium were lucky, when Guilliman reopened the doors to the Library of Ptolemy, those who entered might finally understand what they read there.
    • Plaza of Attendance - The Plaza of Attendance was one of the original landmarks that had survived over ten millennia of invasions and war. This landmark was a vast space like an inverted ziggurat stamped into the Fortress of Hera's rampart plateau. The walls had advanced from the plaza, leaving it some way from the edge where before it had stood at the brink of man-made cliffs. The side nearest the city, once open, was now walled with a faceless armoury. The halls at the eastern end, where for a brief period the Blood Angels' Primarch Sanguinius had sat as Emperor of the Imperium Secundus, had been demolished long before. But the plaza remained, an important place where Macragge's dignitaries and a contingent of an Astartes Honour Guard could greet an important guest with all the pomp and circumstance that Macragge could muster.
    • Temple of Correction and Shrine of the Primarch - The Shrine of the Primarch is built to contain the body of the slain Primarch Roboute Guilliman frozen in time. It is one of the most holy places in the entire Imperium, and one which welcomes millions of Imperial pilgrims every year. It lies within the Temple of Correction, a vaulted sepulchre forming a small part of the Ultramarines' vast northern polar fortress on Macragge. The temple is a miracle of construction and typical of the attention to detail to which the Ultramarines apply themselves. Its proportions defy the human mind by the scope and grandeur of its design. The multi-coloured glass dome that forms the roof is the largest of its kind. Even the Techno-magi of the Adeptus Mechanicus come to marvel at the structure said to have been designed by Roboute Guilliman himself. According to the Ultramarines there is enough marble within the temple to build a mountain, and sufficient adamantium and shining plasteel to construct a sizable Imperial warfleet. Within this edifice is the great marble throne of Roboute Guilliman, and upon that throne sits a regal corpse. Though the best part of 10,000 Terran years have passed since his death, the Primarch's body is perfectly preserved. Even his death wounds from the Emperor's Children's Primarch Fulgrim's blade are visible upon his throat. His mortal remains are preserved from the ravages of time by means of a stasis field that isolates the Primarch from the time-stream of normal four-dimensional space-time. Everything encompassed by the field is trapped in time and can neither change nor decay. There are some, however, who claim the Primarch's wounds do change. They say that Guilliman's body is slowly recovering and that his wounds show mysterious signs of healing. Others deny the phenomena, and point out the sheer scientific impossibility of change within the stasis field. Yet enough believe the stories to come and witness for themselves the miracle of the Primarch, generation after generation.
    • Sword Hall - The Sword Hall is located within the Fortress of Hera. It is a vast, expansive chamber that contains a precious Chapter relic that harkens back to the earliest days of the Ultramarines. Suspended within a golden shaft of light, in the centre of the chamber, trapped in an anti-gravitic suspension field above the marble floor, is the legendary Power Sword of Roboute Guilliman.

Sources

  • Codex: Adeptus Astartes - Space Marines (8th Edition), pp. 22-31, 44, 47, 49, 63, 134, 154-155, 193
  • Codex: Space Marines (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Ultramar"
  • Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 12-14, 32-33
  • Codex: Tyranids (5th Edition)
  • Codex: Tyranids (3rd Edition)
  • Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition), pg. 18
  • Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 53-54, 200
  • Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 67-73
  • Gathering Storm - Part Three - Rise of the Primarch (7th Edition), pp. 4-93
  • Index Astartes III, "Warriors of Ultramar - The Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter"
  • The Horus Heresy - Book Five: Tempest (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pg. 76
  • Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (8th Edition), pg. 154
  • White Dwarf 264 (AU), "Index Astartes – Ultramarines"
  • White Dwarf 263 (US), "Index Astartes - First Founding: Warriors of Ultramar - The Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter", pp. 18-25
  • White Dwarf 185 (US), "Lord Macragge, Master of the Ultramarines", pp. 7-12
  • White Dwarf 97 (US), "Index Astartes - Ultramarines" by David Wise & Rick Priestley, pp. 39-49
  • Defenders of Ultramar (Graphic Novel) by Graham McNeill (Artwork here from Defenders of Ultramar Issue 1, pp. 5, 8)
  • Battle for the Abyss (Novel) by Ben Counter
  • Garro: Oath of Moment (Audio Book) by James Swallow
  • The First Heretic (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
  • Betrayer (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
  • Dark Heart (Novella) by Anthony Reynolds
  • The Unremembered Empire (Novel) by Dan Abnett
  • Nightbringer (Novel) by Graham McNeill
  • Legends of the Space Marines (Anthology), "Consequences," (Short Story) by Graham McNeill
  • Dead Sky, Black Sun (Novel) by Graham McNeill, Chapter One
  • Courage and Honour (Novel) by Graham McNeill
  • The Chapter's Due (Novel) by Graham McNeill
  • Dark Imperium (Novel) by Guy Haley

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