- "The blasphemy of the Tyranids is such that only one solution is acceptable. Extermination. There can only be two sides in a fight - choose carefully, lest you and I find ourselves on different sides."
Ortan Cassius is the senior Chaplain and Master of Sanctity of the Ultramarines Chapter of Space Marines. He is also the currently oldest active member of the Ultramarines Chapter not contained within the armoured chassis of a Dreadnought. Though Cassius is close to 400 standard years old, his sturdy presence on the Ultramarines' line of battle still fills the hearts of his younger brethren with pride and valour. A survivor of the First Tyrannic War, Chaplain Cassius fought alongside the Ultramarines Chapter Master Marneus Calgar against the monstrous Tyranids of Hive Fleet Behemoth. He barely survived the failed rescue attempt of the doomed 1st Company at the polar fortress of Macragge during that great conflict. Cassius was laid low by a rampaging Carnifex, and managed to sustain himself only through the application of his formidable will until such time that the Chapter's Apothecaries could tend his ruined body. He is now kept alive by extensive bionic enhancements and what little organic skin that remains on his body is gnarled and battle-scarred. His one remaining biological eye burns with unfulfilled vengeance against the Great Devourer.
In 745.M41 Hive Fleet Behemoth made the Tyranids' first contact with humanity when its massive swarms assaulted the Eastern Fringe of the Imperium of Mankind, and made rapid progress towards the heavily populated Realm of Ultramar. This conflict would come to be known as the First Tyrannic War. Upon learning of the threat posed by the monstrous xenos, the Ultramarines' Chapter Master Marneus Calgar drew up plans to defend his Chapter's realm. Deeming Macragge as the star system most vulnerable to the Tyranid menace, Calgar ordered the already formidable defences of Macragge to be further improved. Calgar declared that the Hive Fleet would be halted at Macragge before it consumed more of Ultramar or drove deeper into the heart of the Imperium. Only scant weeks later, the outrider vessels of the Tyranid Hive Fleet attacked the Ultramarines' homeworld and unleashed the infamous Battle of Macragge. The Hive Fleet was defeated after the Emperor-class Battleship Dominus Astra intentionally detonated its Warp-Drive, creating a Warp vortex that destroyed the majority of the Hive Fleet. Calgar's surviving starships then came about and roared back to Macragge to try to save the Chapter's beleaguered polar garrisons.
Chaplain Cassius led the attempt to rescue the doomed 1st Company at the northern polar fortress of Macragge. Few of Cassius' companions emerged unscathed from the terrible close quarters fighting. Only at a great cost in life did the Ultramarines hunt down the Tyranid invaders and exterminate them, though their victory proved pyrrhic at best. Cassius himself was laid low by a rampaging Carnifex, his life sustained only by his own formidable strength of will. After a long convalescence, the Chapter's Apothecaries rebuilt the Chaplain's shattered body with extensive cybernetics, eventually enabling Cassius to return to his duties. Filled with new fire and purpose, the ancient Chaplain felt that he had been blessed with a revelation as he lay dying. He came to believe that the Tyranids assault represented a rightful punishment for Mankind's lack of vigilance, and in Cassius' eyes there was no greater calling than to purge the vile xenos from the galaxy.
Tyrannic War VeteransEdit
In the aftermath of the Battle of Macragge, the Ultramarines were faced with the Herculean task of rebuilding their most experienced body of veteran warriors -- the 1st Company. Responsibility for this undertaking fell to Chaplain Cassius, whose hatred for the Tyranids and all they had done to the worlds of Mankind knew no bounds. Cassius petitioned Marneus Calgar for the authorisation to raise a new body of Ultramarines drawn from the ranks of those Astartes who had survived the First Tyrannic War. Only those Space Marines who had been tested like he had, could truly understand the threat posed by the Tyranids. Calgar eventually acceded to the grizzled Chaplain's request. With the Chapter Master's sanction given, the Chaplain gathered his corps of Tyrannic War Veterans. Under Cassius’ leadership, those Battle-Brothers who had fought the hardest against the Tyranid swarms that had assaulted Macragge were elevated and afforded additional duties, until each was eventually judged worthy of joining the ranks of the slowly reconstituted 1st Company.
Initially few in number, each new clash by the Ultramarines with the Tyranid Hive Fleets provides new Astartes for the cause. Cassius' followers have become an ever more influential faction within the ranks of the Ultramarines Chapter. Though a minor deviation from the Codex Astartes, Marneus Calgar, the Lord Macragge, tolerates his mentor's divergence from its sacred tenets, sensing that someday there shall be another reckoning between the Ultramarines and the Tyranids, and that Cassius' Tyrannic War Veterans may be the key to final victory.
Chaplain Cassius is arrayed in the standard panoply of a Space Marine Chaplain; jet-black Power Armour and a Crozius Arcanum, the badge of his office. Cassius' Crozius bears the crafted skull of a Tyranid. He also wears a Rosarius. In battle, instead of a standard Bolter, Cassius bears the mastercrafted Combi-Flamer/Bolter called Infernus. This weapon has been lovingly crafted and modified by Cassius himself. The Bolter portion of Infernus is loaded with Hellfire rounds instead of standard Bolter rounds. Cassius also bears Terminator Honours, permitting him the singular honour of wearing Terminator Armour into battle.
- Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition), p. 73
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), p. 87
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition)
- Deathwatch: First Founding, pp. 69-70
- White Dwarf 305 (US), "Purge the Alien - Ultramarines Tyrannic War Veterans" by Graham McNeill, pp. 84-89