"Into the fires of battle, unto the Anvil of War!"
First Founding (30th Millennium)
Regent of Prometheus Tu'Shan
Green, Black and Gold
- "On the Anvil of War are the strong tempered and the weak made to perish, thus are men's souls tested as metal in the forge's fire."
The Salamanders are one of the Loyalist First Founding Chapters of Space Marines. They originally served as the Imperium's XVIIIth Space Marine Legion during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. Their homeworld is the volcanic Death World of Nocturne. The Salamanders as a Chapter are unusually concerned with civilian casualties compared to most other Space Marines and believe that one of their most important duties is to protect the lives of the Emperor of Mankind's innocent subjects whenever and wherever possible. This is an attitude that developed as a consequence of the Salamanders' own unusually close connections to the Nocturnean people, as they are one of the only Chapters of Astartes who continue to interact with their families and the people of their homeworld after their transformation into Space Marines. For instance, it is not uncommon for a Salamander to serve as a clan leader among the Nocturneans and live with them when Chapter business does not require him to remain at the Chapter's fortress-monastery on Nocturne's moon of Prometheus. The Salamanders and their people as a whole are also defined by their adherence to a variation of the Imperial Cult called the Promethean Cult.
In the great war of the Horus Heresy, many deeds of infamy and valour were writ upon the bloody stars, and at the centre of this maelstrom lay the Salamanders Legion; betrayed, struck down, laid waste and yet resolute against the foe. There are few Legions who have paid such a high price for their loyalty and honour as the Salamanders. There are fewer still who have so willingly and so often shed their blood in Mankind's defence beyond their measure and due. The Salamanders are such a Legion, and though driven to near-destruction not once, but time and again, they have each time arisen from the ashes of war, stronger and tempered like the peerless steel blades fashioned in the legendary forges of their homeworld: unbroken, undefeated and true to their cause.
The Shadow of a Veiled Creation
As with several of the proto-Legion groupings in the closing stages of the Unification Wars, much remains unknown as to the exact Founding and intake of the XVIIIth Legion. Beyond the usual secrecy and security that the Emperor chose to surround the Space Marine project with, in order to protect the nascent Legiones Astartes both from hostile action and from potential espionage, the origins and early deployment of several early Legion gene-strains are further occluded beyond the modern record's sights. These Legion-groups were formed and established largely in separation from the rest, and it is generally thought created to very specific ends. There were none save perhaps a handful of the Emperor's closest and earliest confidants surviving from those lost and bloody days who knew the facts regarding this mystery, and the truth likely died with them.
The XVIIIth Legion, that would later become known as the Salamanders, along with the VIth (Space Wolves) and XXth Legions (Alpha Legion), comprised this group of proto-Legions. That this "trefoil" of three proto-Legions was somehow veiled from the rest during their creation and establishment was something known to their fellows, but by edict of the Emperor and His agents, it remained unspoken of openly. This element of mystery surrounding them can be seen to establish a distance between the three and the others, at least subconsciously in the minds of their fellow Astartes, particular in regards to their earliest intake of Initiates (around which dark rumours circled), which would later blossom into a level of distrust. This distrust would magnify for very different reasons in regards to what would later become the Space Wolves Legion and Alpha Legion over time, but would be ameliorated in the case of the Salamanders by their later conduct and the influence and person of their gene-sire, the Primarch Vulkan. However, this was not so in their early days, and it is forgotten now by most that at the outset of the Great Crusade, in ca. 800.M30, the reputation being forged by the XVIIIth Legion was a far more bloody and bellicose one than they would later carry.
In many ways, the pattern of their early fate was set and prefigured by the first major battle for which they became publicly identified; the Assault of the Tempest Galleries in the dying days of the Unification Wars on Ancient Terra. In this, the Legion alone achieved a victory against impossible odds and survived, although barely, taking savage losses which reduced the newly invested Legion's active strength from around 20’000 to little more than 1’000 warriors, although in doing so they secured themselves a place of glory and honour in the roll of the Imperium's forces. The Legion's strength was rapidly rebuilt with new waves of recruits, their victorious reputation seeing them favoured for the procurement of new wargear and supply, often over many of their peers but, regardless, the pause kept them from participating in the initial explosion of Expeditionary Fleets departing Terra during the early years of the Great Crusade.
Instead, the XVIIIth Legion was often deployed piecemeal as fresh Chapters of the Legion were readied and pressing demands called for Space Marine involvement. This meant that for the first few decades of the Great Crusade, Legionaries of the XVIIIth were assigned across a considerable number of different reinforcement battle groups and specialist units such as Rogue Trader expeditions, and rarely fought together as a Legion. In particular, they were used to add Astartes might to emergency interdiction taskforces sent in to deal with sudden threats arising "behind the lines" of the advancing Crusade, such as deadly Space Hulks appearing without warning from the Empyrean, or in response to xenos corsair raids and rising dangers unexpectedly disturbed by a fresh human colonising presence in a star system. In many of these cases, the warriors of the Legion would be the only Space Marine contingent taking part in the conflict, forcing them into close co-operation with other human forces (often in a command and spearhead role), and inevitably plunged them directly into the heaviest fighting and most hazardous theatres of battle.
Seldom then did the XVIIIth fight on a battlefield of their own choosing, and while Imperial Compliance actions for the Legion during this time were few and far between, its roll of battle honours was extensive, as was the diversity of its foes and the victories it secured. For the XVIIIth this created a paradoxical reputation both as saviour but also a herald of bloody deeds, forlorn hopes and last-ditch holding actions. For an Imperial Army unit to be assigned alongside the XVIIIth Legion was a sign that the forthcoming battle would be a murderous affair; be it to break a siege, interdict a counter-attack, or hold the line against an alien onslaught in order to protect a civilian population from massacre. Against the foes of humanity there was no odds the XVIIIth would not face, no drop of blood it would not shed, no sacrifice it would not make in terms of Legionaries or materiel in order to serve the Great Crusade and protect Mankind. This kind of asymmetrical battle, it was soon whispered by some of their contemporaries, had become an addiction of sorts to the Legion and their valour less glorious as almost suicidal in temper.
Regardless of the truth of this assertion, it was plain that to the XVIIIth Legion to triumph against the odds was the only victory worth the name. In the worst instances, such as the legendary Manticore Cataclysm, retreat for the XVIIIth became often unthinkable even when tactical expediency would dictate otherwise, and the Legion paid in blood for its own untenable standard of valour and service. Their resultant reputation is known to have won them great favour in certain circles of the Imperial Court and High Command while others, such as Lord Commander Actia of the XIIIth Legion (Ultramarines), bitter after the events of Manticore, is on open record as stating that the XVIIIth carried the seeds of their own destruction within them, and were no more reliable ultimately than the quixotic Vth Legion (White Scars), whose control would increasingly cause difficulties for the Great Crusade, or the IIIrd Legion (Emperor's Children), who had yet to have their gene-seed deficiences repaired by the finding of their Primarch.
In addition to the influence of the Legion's interrupted development and evolution, attrition would ensure that in these early decades, the XVIIIth Legion's numbers never fully developed in the manner of others, battlefield losses preventing them from every reaching the nominal full strength accorded by the Imperial High Command, while its warriors and officers remained distanced from those in other Legions through a combination of circumstances and choice. Increasingly overmatched in number and superseded by others, by the fourth decade of the Great Crusade, whether the XVIIIth Legion would ultimately survive was a matter of open debate in some quarters.
Born of Fire
When the Primarch Vulkan was restored to the Imperium, it was to be on the world of Nocturne. This world of his growth and maturity would, as with his brethren Primarchs, shape much about him and, by extension, his Legion in later years. Nocturne is a Death World, a turbulent volcanic orb riven with fire, radiation and subject to destructive tidal forces caused by its moon, Prometheus. Nocturne is vastly rich in mineral wealth, particularly in gemstones and precious metals, but sparse in the stability of climate or the abundance of organic flora which makes human life readily possible. Further to the perils of Nocturne are numerous forms of highly evolved and adapted predator species and mega-fauna hardened themselves by the environment of this foreboding world and the struggle to survive there. That human life was able to survive on Nocturne is a testament both to the persistence and sheer will to live that is the true strength of Mankind.
The people of Nocturne had become, through design or natural evolution, a phenomenally hardy breed, markedly resistant both to extremes of climate, gravity and of ambient radiation far above the human norm, yet were also possessed of considerable genetic stability. Although their technological level had regressed to pre-industrial during Old Night, the Nocturnians had maintained a high degree of cultural sophistication and social cohesion, and the values of stoic resistance, perseverance in the face of adversity and, above all, courage had become the hallmarks of its tribal people. Deadly Nocturne was to its people "the Anvil" -- the adversity by which men and women were forged, and never more so than during the deadly "Time of Trials" when the planet's moon of Prometheus was at its closest orbit. During this time the land was riven with tempest, earthquake and volcanic eruption, and the great beasts were stirred from their slumber in the earth of Nocturne to slake their hunger.
Before the Great Crusade began, the infant Primarchs were separated from the Emperor of Mankind and transported randomly in their gestation capsules across the galaxy through the Warp from Imperial gene-laboratory beneath the Himalayan Mountains on Terra by the machinations of the Chaos Gods. The Promethean Opus (source of much Imperial knowledge of Vulkan) tells the tale of how one of these children ended up on the feudal Death World of Nocturne. Among the hardy and stoic people of Nocturne, the infant Vulkan had fallen like a blazing comet, and into the home of a "Black-Smiter", - a metal worker by the name N'bel, in the city-settlement of Hesiod - he had been taken as a foster child. N'bel, recognised the child as the one prophesied to be a saviour by the teachings of the Promethean Cult, and named him Vulkan. Like all the Primarchs, Vulkan grew very quickly, reaching full adulthood (and a size bigger and more muscular than any man on Nocturne) by the age of only three Terran years. He was also highly intelligent, able to vastly improve the already considerable metalworking skills of the famed smiths of Nocturne. Quickly, he had risen in strength and wisdom, embracing the culture which had taken him up, working in his adopted father's forge and hunting the great saurians and other beasts bestirred by the planet's fiery temper, becoming a legendary champion in his world's defence against far more dangerous foes; "Dusk Wraiths" as they were known in Nocturne. In reality, these creatures were of the most degenerate and vile class of Eldar Slavers (Dark Eldar), nightmarish beings to whom pain and slaughter were as meat and drink, who sought to prey periodically on the hardy people of Nocturne for their own wicked sport.
The Opus tells that during Vulkan's fourth year, his town was attacked by the Dark Eldar, who were on a slave-taking expedition. The people of his hometown hid, as they usually did when the decadent xenos came raiding, but Vulkan refused to hide. Armed with only a pair of blacksmith's hammers, he roused the people from hiding and drove back the assault, single-handedly slaying a hundred Dark Eldar warriors. As word of the battle spread, the headsmen of the seven most important settlements on the planet came to pay homage to Vulkan, swearing to forevermore crush their foes rather than hiding from them. Against this threat Vulkan became transformed, and his legend spread across his world. He was the "fire-born" -- an undefeated warrior whose superhuman strength had torn the slave-barges down from the sky and crushed the xenos in droves, and whose granite-like flesh had scorned their poisoned blades unmoved, driving the Dusk Wraiths from Nocturne.
In celebration of the Primarch's victory over the Dark Eldar, a tournament of various contests involving tests of strength and craftsmanship common to the people of Nocturne was held. During the opening ceremonies, a stranger appeared. His skin was unusually pale, compared to the dark, swarthy complexions of the people of Nocturne, and his clothes were very strange, made of materials unfamiliar to the pre-industrial Nocturneans. The stranger asked only to be allowed to compete. The stranger claimed that he could best any man at the competitions, causing many people to laugh at the seemingly inadvertent comparison to the superhuman Vulkan. Vulkan accepted the challenge, and the stranger wagered that whoever lost the challenge would swear his eternal loyalty and obedience to the victor. With a smile at such effrontery, Vulkan agreed to the stranger's terms.
Lasting for eight Nocturnean days, the contest included many tests of strength and endurance. The people of Nocturne were treated to the spectacle of two godlike beings competing against one another, utterly astonishing the mere mortals around them with their superhuman prowess. Many of the contests had to be called a draw between Vulkan and the fair-skinned stranger, for there was simply no way to determine a victor. For instance, the anvil lift, where the contestants were required to hold an anvil aloft above their heads for as long as possible, ended in a tie when the two superhuman competitors both held anvils aloft for half a day with no sign of tiring, while all the other competitors had given up after mere minutes. All the subsequent contests saw similar outcomes, and by the end of day 8, Vulkan and the stranger were tied in the overall tournament. To break the tie, the elders of Nocturne decided that the winner would be determined by the test of Salamander Hunting. Both contestants were given 24 hours to forge a weapon, before using that weapon to hunt down and slay one of Nocturne's reptilian salamanders. Assessing that this task, impossible for any others, would be a formality for both godlike contestants, the elders included the caveat that the contestant who brought back the largest salamander would be proclaimed victorious.
The Final Trial
In the end, it came down to the final trial: Salamander-Slaying. Both men had a day and a half to forge a weapon, then go out and slay the largest salamander (a large, heat-loving reptile native to Nocturne), that they could find. Vulkan and the stranger worked all day at their forges, neither pausing to rest. As the day drew to a close, they emerged. Vulkan had forged a huge warhammer, and the stranger a keen-edged sword. They both climbed to the summit of Mount Deathfire, a massive volcano said to be the home of the largest Firedrakes, the most fearsome species of salamander, on the planet. Vulkan found his prey first, smashing its head off with a single blow from his hammer. As he carried the carcass back, the volcano unexpectedly erupted. Vulkan was nearly thrown off a cliff, but managed to grab onto the edge with one hand, stubbornly grasping the tail of his prize with the other. Vulkan held on for several hours, but his hold finally began to slip. It was at that time the stranger reappeared, carrying a salamander larger than his own. The stranger quickly threw his carcass into the lava flow, using its heat-resistant hide as a bridge to cross over and save Vulkan. Vulkan was declared the winner when they returned home since he had a salamander hide and the stranger had lost his, but Vulkan silenced the crowd. He knelt before the stranger, stating that any man who valued life over pride was worthy of his service. At that moment the stranger at last revealed himself to the Primarch His true nature as the Emperor of Mankind. Vulkan would take his rightful place as Primarch of the XVIIIth Legion and ruler of his adopted world. Vulkan's only reservation on departing Nocturne was that he would not leave its people undefended, but in this the Emperor countered that Vulkan's duty was not simply to one world but to many, worlds that knew the terror of the darkness and the feasting of alien horrors uncounted as Nocturne had, and that Nocturne itself as the homeworld of a Primarch would forever be secured by his sons, the XVIIIth Legion which bore his blood.
A Legion Reforged
- "You have suffered. I know this. You have come to the abyss, and almost surrendered yourselves to it. That changes now. I am father, general, lord and mentor. I shall teach you if I can, and pass on the knowledge I have gained. Honour, self-sacrifice, self-reliance, brotherhood. It is our Promethean creed and all must adhere to it if we are to prosper. Let this be the first lesson..."
- — Primarch Vulkan in his inaugural address on Nocturne to the survivors of the XVIIIth Legion
It is believed that Vulkan did not become unified with his own Legion for some years after his rediscovery, but instead stayed alongside the Emperor under His direct tutelage, during which time his presence was kept from the wider Imperium (although not from the other Primarchs who had been discovered to that time). During this period, Vulkan pursued with frightening speed and comprehension learning in the arts of war, history and science, displaying a ferocious intelligence, and also wisdom and compassion that were perhaps at odds with the role he had been destined to play as a general and breaker of worlds as all Primarchs were made to be. He fought at the side of the Emperor in battle -- a colossal, nameless warrior in emerald armour scaled like a dragon of ancient Terran myth -- and studied closely in the weapon-forges of Mars and with his brother-Primarch Ferrus Manus, whose discovery had gone before his own. When the time came, as much dictated by circumstance as by choice, for Vulkan to take charge of the XVIIIth Legion he did so well-prepared for the task ahead, and set about reforging them on the anvil of war.
When Vulkan came to his Legion, it was in the hour of their need. The XVIIIth, led by their Lord Commander Cassian Vaughn, had become embroiled in the rear-guard defence of a cluster of colony worlds near the Taras Division against a wave of Ork marauders. With the bulk of the Legiones Astartes either engaged with the Expedition Fleets breaching space towards the Eastern Fringe or committed as reserves against the horrors of the Rangda Incursion from the Halo Stars to the Galactic North, the XVIIIth was the only Space Marine Legion able to respond to the crisis. Fighting against vast and overwhelming odds, the Legion's primary force, numbering some 19’000 Space Marines, had marshalled the local defenders and held out for nearly a standard year in a series of running battles against well over a million Ork raiders scattered across hundreds of ramshackle ships, "Rok" asteroid vessels and dozens of Space Hulks. The actions of the Legion had allowed the evacuations of three entire planetary populations to the nominal safety of the Taras System, but at a terrible cost. As the conflict progressed, they suffered the grievous wounding of their commander, while the remainder of the XVIIIth became all but trapped on the Dead World of Antaem -- a lightning-rod drawing the Orks to them for battle. Taras was far from the embattled frontier of the expanding Great Crusade, and assistance from other Legions would have been difficult to obtain, but regardless such aid was not asked for by the XVIIIth, who had determined to succeed alone or die in the attempt, knowing that by bleeding the Ork marauder fleet of its strength, countless human lives would be saved. Their Primarch, however, learning of their plight, refused to stand by his plans to join them to rapid fruition.
When Vulkan arrived he did not do so alone, for he brought with him 3,000 new Initiates -- the first of the Legion to be raised from Nocturne -- along with a host of new warships, war machines and arms, all fabricated to the Primarch's own exacting specifications. They fell upon the Ork marauders like a thunderbolt, and shattered the largest of the Space Hulks orbiting Antaem, Vulkan leading his warriors within, purging the vast conglomeration of wreckage and rock with fire and planting seismic charges at its heart to destroy it. Spurred on by this unexpected aid, the rest of the XVIIIth hurled themselves in renewed fury at the Orks besieging them, slaughtering and scattering the greenskinned xenos before them, heedless of their depleted munitions and manpower, leaving nothing for a reserve should they fail. Caught between this hammer and anvil of savagery that over-matched their own, the Ork horde was broken and put to flight, and the survivors were relentlessly pursued and consumed by fire.
In the aftermath, the two halves of the XVIIIth Legion met and were unified upon Antaem's dead coral plains. As their saviours removed their helms and the Terran Legionaries looked upon the faces of their brothers and he that was their gene-father, they could not help but know that they were one and their Primarch had come to claim them. The survivors of the Terran XVIIIth knelt immediately, it is said, before their Primarch, but Vulkan bid them rise, saying that all his sons were equals and he was no petty king needing shows of obedience. Instead, it was he who knelt in honour of the lives they had saved and the price they had paid. Then, seeking out the mortally wounded Lord Commander Vaughn, he conferred the formal transfer of the Legion's mastery by presenting the fallen warrior with the broken Power Klaw of the Ork Warlord who had struck him down to seal the pact between him and his Legion -- they would fight for him, but he would fight for them in turn.
After the battle at Antaem, Vulkan set about remaking and re-forging his Legion, keen to keep the honour, the spirit of self-sacrifice for the Imperium and bravery he found, but also determined that it should stand together and become more disciplined both in its temper and wiser in its pursuit of battle. Firstly, Vulkan was swift to gather together its disperate deployments and unify it once again as a whole, although he was careful to honour the past commitments it had made, such as the maintenance of a permanent garrison at Geryon Deep who stood guard should the Manticore ever return.
With his forces brought together, Vulkan returned the XVIIIth Legion to Nocturne to where, under his auspices, a powerful stronghold, equal to any Legion fortress in the Imperium, was being constructed on Nocturne's moon of Prometheus to serve as its headquarters and armoury, just as Nocturne itself would now be the source of the majority of the Legion's fresh recruits. Here the Legion was reordered and re-armed and, most importantly, Vulkan set above giving it common purpose and common belief. In order to do this, he drew not only on that which he had learned at the side of his Emperor and from the Imperial war machine, but also on the culture and deeply-ingrained warrior and mystical traditions of Nocturne in which Vulkan had been raised. In this Vulkan was wise enough to retain and value the experience of the Terran veterans, and show them respect and hold in high esteem what they had accomplished in many ways, great and small. This was given outward sign by incorporating the XVIIIth Legion's past heraldry into that of the reformed Legion and making their foremost warriors, his Pyre Guard, praetorians; the elite body of Chapter Masters that would serve both as his Honour Guard and as paragons of the standards he would set his Legion. For the fallen first Master of the XVIIIth, Cassian Vaughn, Vulkan fashioned with his own hands a unique Dreadnought sarcophagus, the Iron Dragon, so that Vaughn could serve as Castellan and Protector of Prometheus, and the future of the Legion.
The remade XVIIIth Legion would now take its name from the greatest of Nocturne's saurian predators; ancient and deadly creatures whose blood was fire and whose hides were as hard as emerald steel; the Salamanders of Nocturne. In this Vulkan's choice carried a layered meaning, for not only were Nocturnean Salamanders monsters of savage power with a great totemic significance to the native people, but as creatures they showed unflinching loyalty to their own blood and offspring, and were never more ferocious than in their defence. It was from the bleached-white skull of one such great beast -- Kasare -- that adorned the shoulder-guard of their Primarch's armour, the Legion would now take its new emblem. When the Salamanders Legion re-emerged and departed Nocturne in full force some years later, it quickly took up a place at the forefront of the Great Crusade, smashing alien empires and bringing lost worlds into compliance as part of the Imperium. Although it would never reach the high numbers of Legionary strength the likes of the Dark Angels or Iron Warriors possessed, its power and battle-prowess was undeniable, and its conduct in war was regarded as exemplary. It had been tempered and proven, retaining the fearlessness and savage spirit for which Vulkan had been renowned, but those traits were now governed and kept in check by stoicism, lack of hubris, and considered surety of action. Vulkan had brought his Legion focus, purpose and wisdom. It was now said of the Salamanders that they were neither quick to anger, nor prone to rush in blindly to battle as once they had been, but once they had decided to unleash their wrath, it was as unstoppable and terrifying as the volcanic fury of the dark world they now called home.
Vulkan was able to save his genetic legacy because in them, he saw a great potential. The Emperor knew Vulkan was the perfect son to temper the XVIIIth Legion and forge it strong again. Learning discipline and patience, the Salamanders learned there is no better time to reflect than when they struck their Oaths of Moment and branded them into flesh before battle. Temperance in the face of war was not only prudent, it also saved lives.
The Great Crusade
During the Great Crusade the Salamanders were attached to the 154th Expeditionary Fleet, their forces complemented by Imperial Army regiments drawn from the planet Phaeria, a Death World. They successfully brought hundreds of human-settled worlds into Imperial Compliance. One of the few notable campaigns undertaken by the Salamanders Legion during the Great Crusade was the Imperial Compliance action undertaken on the world of Caldera. Designated 154-4, known as Ibsen by its inhabitants, the Salamanders were tasked with bringing this newly discovered world into Compliance. Led by Vulkan himself, the XVIIIth Legion was joined by the Iron Hands and the Death Guard Legions, both led by their own respective Primarchs. The world was undeveloped, and largely inhospitable to human life, but possessed valuable mineral deposits. However, the Imperial forces faced stiff resistance for control of the planet from the Eldar, who had placed a garrison upon Ibsen.
The Eldar forces -- including Seers, Warlocks and other combat psykers -- could not have expected to defeat one Legion of Astartes, let alone three. The mystery deepened when the semi-feral, primitive human tribes inhabiting the planet seemed more sympathetic to the Eldar, or at the very least, not welcoming to their human liberators. The Salamanders and other Imperials defeated the Eldar relatively easily as expected. After the conquest, the Salamanders learned that the Eldar had been defending a network of menhirs which served as psychic nodes and that fed into a giant arch, where the final and most brutal confrontation between the Astartes and the xenos had taken place. The arch itself had been located thanks to a mysterious Remembrancer attached to the Salamanders, with whom Vulkan had had an unsettling conversation before the battle.
After the slaughter ended, Vulkan saw the Remembrancer loitering by the arch and then suddenly disappearing. Following him, Vulkan and his elite Pyre Guard descended into the chambers beneath it, through a portal at its base. There they found a crude warding ceremony taking place, conducted by the primitive human tribal priests, who were ready to sacrifice an ancient Dark Eldar witch. Finally, Vulkan realised the truth: the arch was in reality, a Webway portal (though none of the Imperials, including Vulkan, knew this at the time); Vulkan had seen a "gate" like this before, in his Nocturnean youth, when Dark Eldar repeatedly utilised such a portal to raid and pillage the planet.
The Eldar had taken control of the portal by defeating their dark cousins, and in the process had freed the indigenous human population of Ibsen from the horrors of Dark Eldar raids; the Eldar had been seen by the humans as liberators. Terrified by the defeat of their liberators at the hands of the Imperium, the natives had sought to sacrifice their Dark Eldar captive to ward off the inevitable return of her race; the mysterious "Remembrancer" who was nowhere to be seen had actually been the Emperor in disguise, who must have had a great interest in the particulars of this mission since he had ordered so many resources committed to it. Vulkan ordered Ibsen and its irredeemably corrupted population cleansed by flame. He renamed the scoured, Nocturne-like Dead World that remained Caldera. The world was now ready to receive new human colonists and to be exploited for the benefit of the Imperium.
Not long after the successful conclusion of this campaign, Vulkan and his Salamanders Legion participated in another joint Imperial Compliance action on the world known as Kharaatan. Designated 154-6, the Salamanders fought alongside the Primarch Konrad Curze and his Night Lords Legion as well as Mechanicum forces, the Legio Ignis Titan Legion, and several Imperial Army regiments. During this campaign Vulkan became infuriated with his brother Primarch and how his Legion brutally conducted themselves. During one notable incident, the Night Lords slaughtered the inhabitants of an entire city in order to seed fear amongst the general population. When he confronted Curze about his Legion's actions, a brief fight ensued between the two demi-gods. After the successful conclusion of this campaign, Vulkan reported Curze's conduct to both Warmaster Horus and his brother Primarch Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists Legion. This incident would later sow the seeds of animosity between Vulkan and his brother Curze, causing a rift that would further widen as the Great Crusade wore on. The events on Kharaatan would have far-reaching affects that wold later play a key role in what happened to Vulkan after the tragic events of Istvaan V played out.
Drop Site Massacre
- "I can scarcely imagine what inspired Horus to this madness. In truth, the very fact of it frightens me. For if even the best of us can falter, what does that mean for the rest? Lord Manus will lead us in. Seven Legions against his four. Horus will regret rebellion."
The Salamanders' role during the Horus Heresy is not well known to Imperial scholars; what is for certain is that the XVIIIth Legion, along with the Iron Hands and the Raven Guard, were part of the first wave of Loyalist attackers during the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V. After the announcement of the Warmaster Horus' treachery against the Emperor and the destruction of the four open Traitor Legions' (the Sons of Horus, Emperor's Children, Death Guard and the World Eaters) remaining Loyalists during the Battle of Istvaan III, the Emperor ordered seven full Legions of Space Marines to attack the Forces of Chaos serving his beloved son and former friend. But amongst those seven Legions, four were already secretly Traitors to the Imperium and devotees of the Ruinous Powers.
Seconds after the first drop-ship pierced the cloud layer, batteries of emplaced guns erupted across metres of earthworks dug along the Urgall Depression. Flak fire filled the sky like upwards-pouring rain, chewing through wing and fuselage, detonating arrow-headed cocoons of metal and spilling their lethal payloads into the air. It barely dented the assault, and when the Imperial loyalists finally made planetfall, over forty thousand legionaries tramped out upon the scorched earth. Of their initial complement, only fifteen of the Salamanders' ships and eleven Drop Pods would not make the surface intact. Nigh-on full Legion strength would be levelled against Horus and his rebels. The Salamanders hit along the left flank, the Raven Guard the right and Ferrus Manus with his Morlocks dead centre.
Black sand cratered by ordnance made for uncertain footing. As the vast armies of the three loyal Primarchs ran from the holds of ships or emerged through the dissipating pressure cloud of blooming drop-pods, several legionaries faltered and slipped. Sustained bolter fire met them upon planetfall, and hundreds amongst the first landers were cut down before any kind of beachhead could be established. Fire was met with fire, the drumming staccato of thousands of weapons discharged in unison, their muzzle flashes merging into a vast and unending roar of flame. Dense spreads of missiles whined overhead to accompany the salvo, streaking white contrails from their rockets. Sections of earthworks erupted in bright explosions that threw plumes of dirt and armoured men into the air. Las bursts lit up the swiftly following darkness, spearing through tanks and Dreadnoughts that loomed behind the foremost ranks of enemy defenders, only for return fire to spit back in reply. Flamers choked the air with smoke and the stink of burning flesh, as yet more esoteric weapons pulsed and shrieked. It was a cacophony of death, but the song had barely begun its first verse.
The right flank was swollen with warriors of the XVIIIth. Salamanders teemed out of their transports, quickly coming into formation and advancing with purpose. The black sand underfoot was eclipsed from sight, as a green sea overwhelmed and overran it. Vexilliaries held aloft banners, attempting to impose some order on the emerging battalions. Methodical, dogged, the XVIIIth Legion found its shape and swarmed across the dark dunes. At the forefront of this avenging wave was Vulkan, and to his flanks the Firedrakes. Lumbering from the metal spearheads of Drop Pods, the Terminators amassed in two large battalions. They were dauntless, dominant, but not the most implacable warriors in the Salamanders' arsenal. Contemptors, striding through the smoke, laid claim to that honour. Great, towering war engines, the Dreadnoughts jerked with the savage recoil of Graviton Guns and Autocannons. Not stopping to see the carnage wreaked, they slowly tramped after the rushing companies of Legionaries in small cohorts, attack horns blaring. The discordant noise simulated the war cries of the deep drakes and was pumped through vox-emitters to boost its volume.
Disgorged by Thunderhawk Transporters, Spartan Assault Tanks, Predators Infernus and Vindicators disembarked at combat speed, tracks rolling. The battle tanks rode at the back of the line with a steep ridge behind them, anchoring the dropsite with their armoured might. Three spearheads were driven at the traitor's heart, two black and one green, all determined to bring down the fortress squatting at the summit of the Urgall Hills that overlooked the expansive depression. In seconds the shifting sand became as glass, vitrified by the heat of tens of thousands of weapons, and cracked underfoot.
Vulkan ordered his sons to take the ridge line to gain higher ground. Shells pranging off his armour, the primarch took up the vanguard position, whilst his chasing Pyre Guard tried to keep pace. Behind the Pyre Guard, the stoic advance of the Pyroclasts struggled to keep up as they laid down sheets of burning promethium in front and to the flanks. The Terminator-armoured Firedrakes were also slipping back, unable to compete with the Primarch's speed, and Numeon began to see that there was a realistic danger of becoming estranged from the rest of the Legion. Adding their strength to the spearhead the Primarch was forging, the 15th Company Reconnaissance took up fresh position. Their charge line would take them in alongside the Pyre Guard, able to maintain pace where the bulkier Firedrakes and Pyroclasts could not.
As if sensing that his Legion was losing him, Vulkan slowed but a fraction as the fire-blackened lip of the outermost trench drew close. Hunkered within the partially sundered defences, the Legionaries of the Death Guard brought guns to bear. The XIVth Legion were hardy fighters -- the Salamanders had fought alongside them at Ibsen, but those days were gone and now allies had turned into enemies. The flame storm and the ferocity of Vulkan's attack had scattered the defenders but they were rallying quickly and now counter-attacked from three separate channels. Although the trench network was wide enough for three legionaries to stand abreast, the fighting was thick and fierce. Wilting before his charge, the defenders sensibly chose to hang back and harry the primarch with a welter of bolter fire. Meeting it head on, the primarch shrugged off the shell damage as the brass casings broke apart against his near-inviolable armour.
Across the entire Urgall Depression, hundreds of battles between Legionaries were fought. Some were company-strong, others were squads or even individuals. There was no scheme to it, just masses of warriors trying to kill one another. Most of the Loyalist troops had moved on from the dropsite and were engaging Horus’ rebels at the foot of his fortifications, but a few still occupied this beachhead. Scattered groups of traitors had spilled out as far as the dropsite but were quickly destroyed by the troops holding it. These were skirmishes, though, and nothing compared to the greater battle. As the 15th Company pressed the attack against the retreating Death Guard forces, a dirty cloud, too thick and too low to be fog, rolled down the slopes. It spilled into the myriad trench-works, funnelled by the conduits of hewn earth. And it was fast. In seconds it had cleared the no-man’s-land between the previous trench and the next bank of fortifications and was hurtling at Nemetor and his warriors. It overtook the Death Guard first, who adjusted respirators before the miasma hit as if they knew it was coming. It was a deadly gas attack.
The Legion armoury was vast, and not all of its weapons were as obvious as a Bolter or as noble as a sword. There were those who wielded devices of much more insidious potency -- the slow and agonising ones, the weapons that forever scarred both the bearer and the victim. They did not discriminate and made no allowance for even the strongest armour. From the vaunted champion to the lowliest mortal, they were the great levellers and their works were terrible to behold. More than a hundred of the reconnaissance company collapsed, choking and spitting blood. Many of the 15th didn't wear battle-helms, preferring to be unencumbered for the stealth work at which they excelled. These warriors had suffered the worst. Skin sloughed away by virulent acids, ravaged by pustules and choking on vomit, eyes drowning in pus from the dirty bomb, there was almost nothing left of them but half-armoured carcasses. Dozens more were hacked apart or shot down by resurgent Death Guard attacking in the confusion.
The numerically superior Death Guard had already overrun the smaller reconnaissance company and was attempting to encircle the rest of the Salamanders. Vulkan single-handedly prevented that, hitting the overlapping warriors and cutting them apart with his flaming sword. First Captain Numeon and the Pyre Guard joined him fractionally later and a dense, chaotic melee erupted. As battle continued to rage all around them, the din of the melee was pierced by savage and guttural war cries. A ruddy smog was sweeping across the battlefield, fashioned from blood-drenched mist and the smoke generated by thousands of fires. Caught in a crosswind, it slashed in from the east and brought with it the brutal challenge of a Legion that revelled in war. It was the XIIth Legion -- the World Eaters.
Ash-fall from the many thousands of fires turned the sky grey. It baptised a cohort of warriors, clad to various degrees in ancient gladiatorial trappings and wielding ritual caedere weapons. They were the Rampagers, a deadly breed even amongst the Eaters of Worlds, and a throwback to Angron's incarceration as a slave-fighter. Bellowing guttural war cries, they charged ahead of a Contemptor Dreadnought to engage the Salamanders. Emerald-armoured Astartes balked at what the battle-maddened World Eaters attempted. Though there was no more than thirty men - just three squads - they charged over a hundred. Several went down to sporadic bolter fire. Some were clipped by shrapnel but kept on coming. Only those too injured to fight, unable to run because of missing limbs or critical wounds were halted. Something urgent and terrible spurred them on. Even when they were the War Hounds, their reputation in battle, particularly close-quarters, was fearsome. As the reborn World Eaters under Angron, they had become something else. Rumours abounded within the ranks, of arcane devices that manipulated the legionaries' tempers, simulacra of the ones embedded in Angron's skull by his slavers. Now that the Salamanders saw them, ignoring pain and injury, frothing with frenzy, they believed those stories to be true.
As the Salamanders and World Eaters fought in bloody close-quarters, elsewhere on the slope, a much larger force of Firedrakes fought Angron's personal body guard, the Devourers, to a bloody stalemate. For once, the Lord of the Red Sands was close to his Honour Guard. Angron bellowed a challenge to his brother Primarch. Vulkan's name was heard amongst the guttural syllables of the World Eater's native tongue. Anointed in blood, partially obscured by scudding clouds of smoke and shimmering heat haze, Angron continued to bellow his challenge, this time in High Gothic, "Vulkan!" His voice was the like fall of cities, rumbling and booming across the vast battlefield. Angron jabbed down to his brother with one of the motorised Power Axes he carried. Its blade was burring, roaring for blood. "I name you high rider!"
Farther down the slope, Vulkan gripped the haft of his immense warhammer Dawnbringer and went to meet his brother's challenge. But before the two Primarchs could come to blows, an arcing salvo from one of the traitor gun emplacements spear-headed a missile up into the air and all the way down until it struck part of the slope between the two Primarchs. A firestorm lit the hillside, several tonnes of incendiary ordnance expressed in the expansive bloom of conflagration. It swept outwards in a turbulent wave, bathing the lower part of the slope in heat and flame. This was nothing compared to its epicentre. Firedrakes were immolated in that blast, blown apart and burned to ash in their Terminator Armour. Though Vulkan was wreathed in flames, he stepped from the blaze unharmed. The remaining Firedrakes gathered to him, tramping over the dead where they had to. Mauled as they had been by the World Eaters, Vulkan knew that his warriors had suffered but would not stop until they were dead or the battle was over. But it was grievously attritional, and he was not ashamed to admit relief when he heard that the reinforcements coming in to make planetfall behind them. Hundreds of landers and drop-pods choked the already suffocating sky, emblazoned with the iconography of the Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors, Word Bearers and Night Lords. The Primarch merely watched impassively as the manifold shuttles touched down and the loyalists took up position on the edge of the depression. Of Angron, there was no sign. The firestorm had beaten him back, it seemed, and now with the arrival of four more Legions, the Lord of the Red Sands had ordered a retreat.
Both the Raven Guard and the Salamanders withdrew towards their drop site to give their recently arrived reinforcements a chance to earn glory against the Traitors. Vulkan and his brother Corax tried to persuade their fiery-tempered brother Ferrus Manus to do the same. But the Gorgon would not be dissuaded from his task. The scent of blood was in the air, and so, the Iron Hands pressed the attack against the retreating Traitor forces. Unknown to the Loyalists, the drop site had been fortified by the four secret Traitor Legions, who had been intended to form the second wave of the Imperial assault on Horus' forces. While the retreat of Horus' rebels was ragged and disorganised, the warriors of the XVIIIth and XIXth Legions fell back in good order. Tanks returned to column, rumbling slowly but steadily back down the slope. The scorched trenches emptied as legionaries filed out in vast hosts, company banners still flying. They were battered but resolute. The dead and injured came with them, dragged or borne aloft by their still standing brothers. It was a great exodus, the black and green ocean of war retreating with the tide to leave the flotsam of their slain enemy behind it.
On the northern side of the Urgall Depression, a fresh sea made ready to sweep in and carry all of the mortal debris away. Across from the muster field of the Salamanders, which was little more than a laager of drop-ships, were the Iron Warriors. Armoured in steel-grey with black-and-yellow chevrons, the IVth Legion looked stark and stern. They had erected a barricade, the armoured bastions of their own landing craft alloyed together, to bolster the northern face of the slope. Great cannons were raised aloft behind it, their snouts pointing to the ash-smothered sky. A line of battle tanks sat in front, bearing the grim icon of a metal-helmeted skull. And in front of that, Iron Warriors arrayed in their cohorts, thousands strong. They held their silence and their weapons across their bodies, with no more life than automatons. Not a single Legionary about the XVIIIth stood idle. Yet the Iron Warriors, the entire muster on the northern slope, neither spoke nor moved beyond what was necessary to assemble.
Not one responded to the Salamanders' hails. Only the wind kicking at their banners gave any sense of animus to the IVth Legion throng. Only when Vulkan started in the direction of his brother, Perturabo, the Lord of Iron returned the Lord of Drakes' gimlet gaze with one of his own. It was only at that moment, did Vulkan realise that they had been betrayed. More than ten thousand guns answered, the weapons of their allies turned on the Salamanders with traitorous intent, crushing the Loyalists between the hammer of Horus' forces and the anvil of the fortified drop site. Wrath drove Vulkan up the side of the hill, that and a sense of injustice. The ignoble actions of his brother primarchs had wounded Vulkan to the core, far deeper and more debilitating than any blade. Vaunted warriors all, the Pyre Guard could scarcely keep up.
Battle companies followed in the wake of their lords, captains roaring the attack as thousands of green-armoured warriors chased up the slope to kill the sons of Perturabo. Withering crossfire from both the north and south faces of the Urgall Depression cut down hundreds in the first few seconds of deceit. The XVIIIth Legion were shedding warriors like a snake sheds scales. But still they drove on, determined not to back down. Tenacity was a Salamander’s greatest virtue -- that refusal to give in. Upon the plains of Isstvan V, against all of those guns, this quality almost ended the XVIIIth Legion. Only as the majority of the Salamanders crested the first ridge, did they first see the arc of fire. It trailed, long and blazing, into the darkling sky. The tongue of flame climbed and upon reaching the apex of its parabola bent back on itself into the shape of a horseshoe. Rockets screaming, it came down in the midst of the charging Salamanders and broke them apart.
A savage crater was gored into the Urgall hills, like the bite of some gargantuan beast resurrected from old myth and birthed in nucleonic fire. It threw warriors skywards as if they were no more than empty suits of armour, bereft of bone and flesh. As a bell jar shatters when dropped onto rockcrete from a great height, so too did the Legion smash apart. Tanks following after their lord Primarch were flung barrel-rolling across the black sand with their hulls on fire. Those vehicles in the mouth of the blast were simply ripped apart; tracks and hatches, chunks of abused metal torn to exploded shrapnel. Legionaries spared death in the initial blast were eviscerated in the frag storm. Super-heavies crumpled like tin boxes crushed by a hammer. Crewmen boiled alive, legionaries cooked down to ash in that furnace. It went deep, right into the beating heart of the Salamanders ranks. Only by virtue of the fact that they were so far ahead were the Pyre Guard spared the worst.
With immense kinetic fury, it threw them apart and smothered their armoured forms in a firestorm. An electro-magnetic pulse wiped out the Vox, a threnody of static reigning in place of certain contact. Tactical organisation became untenable. In a single devastating strike, the Lord of Iron had crippled the XVIIIth Legion, severed its head and sent its body into convulsive spasm. Retreat was the only viable strategy remaining. Droves fell back to the dropsite, trying to climb aboard ships that were surging desperately into the sky to outreach the terrible storm of betrayal below. It was not a rout, though for any force other than the Legiones Astartes it would have been, faced with such violence. Many were cut down as the traitors threaded the air with enough flak to wither an armada.
Despite a heroic defence, the three Loyalist Legions who took part in the battle on Istvaan V were practically destroyed; all but a handful of Battle-Brothers fell on that fateful day and the Primarch Ferrus Manus of the Iron Hands was beheaded by his former best friend Fulgrim, the Primarch of the Emperor's Children. After this sad defeat, the Salamanders, as well as the other two betrayed Space Marine Legions, were unable to perform any further tasks the Emperor had planned for them and spent the rest of the Heresy rebuilding their shattered forces. Both Vulkan and his brother Corvus Corax survived the ambush on Istvaan V. Conflicting reports by the few survivors stated that Vulkan, also gravely wounded, had to be dragged away from the fight onto a Thunderhawk gunship by three of his Pyre Guard and then managed to escape back to Nocturne. But the reality of the Salamanders' Primarch's fate proved to be far more dire.
Vulkan had survived the nuclear fire of the Iron Warriors' orbital strike, where so many of his sons did not. Finding himself surrounded by hundreds of Traitor Legionaries from both the Night Lords and the Iron Warriors, Vulkan resigned himself to his fate. Fighting valiantly, the Primarch fought to the death, but was eventually overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of the enemy and was shot, stabbed and bludgeoned into unconsciousness. The Night Haunter, now inherently insane, saw the opportunity to torment his fallen brother and took the unconscious Vulkan as his prisoner. When the Salamanders' Primarch finally awoke, he found himself fettered in massive chains aboard a gaol-hulk belonging to the VIIIth Legion. Over the span of several months, the Night Haunter took sadistic pleasure in attempting to break both Vulkan's body and mind, or kill him outright. But the task proved impossible, as every time Curze thought he had succeeded in killing his brother, Vulkan's body would miraculously regenerate to its former healthy state. Vulkan had been revealed to be a "Perpetual", a being who was capable of continuous cellular regeneration and therefore was effectively immortal, much like their father, the Emperor of Mankind. Enraged, Curze took it upon himself to kill Vulkan as many times as was necessary to permanently rid himself of his intolerable presence. The Night Haunter personally beheaded the Salamanders' Primarch, ripped out his throat with a piece of cutlery, stabbed him through the chest and virtually tore him limb from limb with his own wicked claws. When these attempts failed to kill Vulkan, Curze had him eviscerated, shot at close-range by hundreds of Bolters, put into a ventilation shaft of a starship's engine and even stripped naked and thrown out of an airlock into the airless void of space. But the Night Haunter's efforts proved all for naught.
Each time the Night Haunter thought he had successfully murdered his brother Primarch, Vulkan's body would continue to regenerate back to its former vigorous state, further enraging the Night Lords' Primarch. With his unnatural abilities to regenerate revealed to him, Curze attempted to make Vulkan admit that he was no less a monster than himself. To further torment his brother, the Night Haunter had Davinite sorcerer-priests use the fell powers gifted to them by the Ruinous Powers to ensnare Vulkan's mind and run him through a series of illusionary mental trials where he continuously failed at some noble task, resulting in the deaths of innocents. But even this form of sorcerous torture failed to break the resolute Vulkan. Fed up with his insufferable prisoner, the Night Haunter devised a final solution to his problem of ridding himself of the Salamander's presence. Vulkan's fate would be decided in a duel to the death.
He offered his brother a means of escape and achieving that which he had sought for so long -- his freedom. All he had to do was navigate a labyrinth, where, at the centre of it, lay his personal warhammer Dawnbringer. But this was no ordinary maze. At the request of Night Haunter, the Iron Warriors' Primarch Perturabo had crafted him the singular prison, unlike any other, in imitation of his own private sanctorum known as the Cavea Ferrum. This special prison was an elaborate labyrinth, whose featureless walls and strange geometric design made it all but impossible to map and therefore escape. Anyone who attempted to mentally map the labyrinth would be hopelessly knotted in turns that should have been physically impossible. Even after trying scores of times to map the labyrinth, an individual would only manage more than a handful of turns within its twisting corridors before it all stopped making sense. But despite the odds, Vulkan did the impossible, and managed to find his way to the center of the maze and reclaim his hammer. With his weapon in hand, he managed to overpower his gaoler Curze, and activate the secret personal teleporter built into the head of the finely wrought warhammer. Vulkan immediately transported halfway across the galaxy, and reappeared in the upper atmosphere of the Ultramarines Legion's homeworld of Macragge. As he fell from an impossible height, his body was burned to a crisp upon reentry. But before his mind faded into blackness, Vulkan was content that he would soon find himself whole once again, and in the care of his Ultramarran cousins.
The events immediately following the end of the great galactic civil war are even more obscure in current Imperial records and perhaps known only to the taciturn masters of the Salamanders' Librarius. What is clear, however, is that when the Ultramarines' Primarch Roboute Guilliman authored the Codex Astartes during the Reformation of the Imperium after the end of the Heresy and prepared the plan to safeguard the Imperium from another civil war by breaking down each Space Marine Legion into a single Chapter comprised of only 1,000 Space Marines, Vulkan stood alongside Leman Russ of the Space Wolves and Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists in opposition to the plan. However, like the others, Vulkan eventually acquiesced rather than put the unity of the Imperium at risk once more. Whatever was said, Guilliman eventually relented and the fact remains that the Salamanders were the only Legion exempt from being divided into several Chapters. It is a matter of debate whether any Successor Chapters during subsequent Foundings were created using the Salamanders' gene-seed, although similarities in the physique, markings and tactical dogma of several other Chapters, such as the Black Dragons and Storm Giants, make it seem likely. Several Chapters created much later in subsequent Foundings may share the genetic inheritance of the Salamanders, but no evidence exists of any Second Founding Successor Chapters having been sired.
The sad truth is that the XVIIIth Legion may have not sired any immediate Successors due to the painful fact that their numbers were so severely depleted by the events of the Drop Site Massacre that it was not possible to divide the Legion into separate Chapters. With the Salamanders exempt from dividing their numbers, Vulkan's initial misgivings about the Codex Astartes were quashed, and to this day the Salamanders are largely compliant with its dictates. However, they continue the tradition of maintaining the seven warrior-houses of the original Legion, with each of the great settlements of Nocturne forming the basis of one of the seven main companies of the Chapter. In addition to these, the Salamanders maintain a Scout Company, which has no permanent settlement on Nocturne, its Astartes residing instead in the harsh mountain ranges of Nocturne until such time as they complete their training and rejoin the warrior-house of their birth as full Battle-Brothers. Each of the Salamanders' line companies is slightly larger than a standard Codex company, but the Scout Company is barely half the size of most other Chapters', due to the sparse population of Nocturne and the Salamanders’ meticulous selection process. This method has its limitations, but still provides a slow but steady turnaround of new recruits to replace the Chapter's losses.
The ultimate fate of the Salamanders' Primarch is a matter of much conjecture, for he disappeared many years after the Horus Heresy. Some sources state that Vulkan led his Chapter for as long as three millennia before he departed on some undocumented mission he never declared to the Imperium at large, though scant evidence of any of his deeds throughout that age remain. The tale is made all the more mysterious by the fact that Vulkan appeared to have left behind him a text, called the Tome of Fire, within which is locked the nature and location of nine artefacts the Primarch willed to his Chapter. It said that over one thousand standard years after the events of the Horus Heresy, Vulkan hid these nine artefacts around the galaxy for his Chapter to find, as a test to see if they were worthy of his leadership. Of these nine relics, five have been recovered, three of which, the Spear of Vulkan, Kesare's Mantle and the Gauntlet of the Forge, are wielded by the Chapter's Forgefather, Vulkan He'stan. Two, the Chalice of Fire and the Eye of Vulkan, remain on the Nocturnean moon of Prometheus in the Chapter's fortress-monastery, while the last four artefacts, the Engine of Woes, the Obsidian Chariot, the Unbound Flame and the Song of Entropy, have yet to be discovered. The Tome of Fire claims that only when all of these artefacts are recovered by the Forgefather of the Salamanders, as five now have been, will Vulkan judge the Salamanders sufficiently tempered to have passed the ultimate contest. Then, so the legend states, he shall return to lead the Salamanders in the final war against the enemies of Humanity in accordance with the prophecies written within the Chapter's most sacred tome.
- Assault on the Tempest Galleries (Unification Wars) (Unknown Date.M30) - Although it is entirely likely that the transhuman warriors of the XVIIIth Legion saw action before their assault on the Caucasus Wastes, the records of these engagements being either deliberately lost, deleted or sealed at the highest level, the first open battle honour recorded for the then-as yet unmatched XVIIIth Legion was the Assault of the Tempest Galleries during the overthrow of the Ethnarch of the Caucasus Wastes on Terra. It would also prove to be one of the most famous early campaigns for the Legion. Even though it occurred long before the XVIIIth Legion's reunification with their Primarch Vulkan on Nocturne, this conflict set its seal upon the nature of the Legion and had a profound influence that remains to this day. The conquest of the Caucasus Wastes was one of the last great battles of the Unification Wars that would see at last the Emperor as the undisputed master of Terra, but victory did not prove easy. The mutated eugenicist-oligarchs who ruled the Caucasus Wastes presented the Emperor's forces with one of the most difficult challenges they faced in open warfare. While few in number compared to the zealots of the Yndonesic Bloc or the savage warbands of Ursh, the Caucasus Ethnarchy's power was based on scores of relic-technologies and the terrible weapons in their possession which dated back to before the Age of Strife, while its military forces ranged from the armoured, gene-augmented "Ur-Khasis" troops, roughly analogous to the Emperor's Thunder Warriors, to narcotically-enslaved covens of psykers. The Ethnarchy's strongholds were concealed kilometres deep beneath the hollowed-out mountains of the Wastes and shielded from attack from above by near-impregnable power-filed webs. An attempt by the Imperial forces to take the Ethnarchy's mountain-strongholds by storm earlier in the Unification Wars had met with bloody defeat, with the loss of almost 10’000 Thunder Warriors and more than a million other casualties, but had seen the Caucasus Wastes contained and isolated thereafter. So it was that when the hour of the Emperor's vengeance came around, nothing was to be left to chance. The forces of six entire proto-Legions of the Legiones Astartes were mustered for the final assault on the Caucasus Wastes, along with the massed forces of the Legio Custodes, with the Emperor Himself to lead them, and countless other tributary armies, mechanised battalions and warrior bands beneath the raptor-and-lightning banner of Unification. But, of all of these, the first thrust upon which all else would depend the Emperor entrusted to the nascent XVIIIth Legion. Although the decision to utilise what they considered to be a largely unknown and untested unit in so vital a role was questioned by many within the Imperial command, the Emperor's will was obeyed. The XVIIIth would carry the assault, utilising scores of freshly created gigantic "Termite" subterranean boring machines fitted with recently acquired technology from Mars. The full force of the proto-Legion, some 20,000 Astartes strong at this juncture, was committed to what was widely believed to be a suicide mission to destroy the vast geo-thermal furnaces which provided power for the Ethnarchy's impregnable defences. These were housed far below even the subterranean strongholds, and known of only through ancient legend, in a hundred-kilometre-long string of vast, artificially-created caverns known as the Tempest Galleries for the incessant storms of flame and electromagnetic force which bled from the ancient and little-understood relic machineries. The XVIIIth Legion's Power Armour had been specially-modified for the extreme conditions they were to face, and had been camouflaged in striated patterns of sulphur yellow and sable black. Once they were ready, the XVIIIth saluted their Emperor and calmly mounted the untested Martian war engines of the Mechanicum and pierced the dark earth and rock at the edge of the Wastes, disappearing into a deadly and unknown world. Soon all signals were lost, and not even the power of the Imperial psykers could penetrate the turbulent depths to maintain contact with the Space Marine assault forces. Hours stretched into days and days became weeks, and nothing was heard from the assault force while the vast army of the Emperor waited in immediate readiness for the grand attack, and no sign or signal came. Pressed by His commanders, it is said the Emperor silenced them and replied; "They shall not fail me, they will return from the fire, thus it shall ever be." Reports claim that moments after the Emperor spoke, great tremors shook the region, their turbulence felt as far away as Gorodak and the Jade Citadel of Hangol. In their wake, the power-webs that had for so long shielded the Caucasus Wastes failed and the full force of the Emperor's wrath fell upon them to their utter destruction. The last Ethnarch of the Caucasus was dragged in chains to the Imperial prison of Khangba Marwu and the buried secrets that had been his strength were taken by the new, now uncontested master of Terra. Of the fate of the XVIIIth Legion nothing was known until the closing days of the campaign when, far from the Wastes, a long-dormant volcano near Klostzatz shattered and one of the Termite machines hauled itself from the rubble carrying just over a thousand survivors from the XVIIIth Legion. The taskforce's after-action reports were immediately analysed by the Imperial command structure, and had they not been accompanied by supporting evidence and hololithic records, it is likely that they would have been greeted with disbelief. Almost four-fifths of the XVIIIth Legion's taskforce had survived the journey to their objective, the rest being destroyed by the plethora of environmental hazards, crushed like eggshells between the grinding tectonic plates or incinerated by seas of magma when their shielding failed. Those who breached the carborundum-lined caverns of the Caucasus Tempest Galleries found a strange, imprisoned world as alien as anything the expeditions of the Great Crusade would find among the stars. Vast kilometre-high spindle-machines turned over caged seas of molten metal drawn from the planet's core, spewing forth coronas of blinding lightning while suspended on silicate webs across which unfathomable and inhuman machines scuttled like spiders. In this airless furnace beyond mortal endurance, the Legionaries of the XVIIIth found no warrior of the Ethnarch to contest them, for nothing human had set foot in this hell for millennia, but rather the defenders of these sleepless engines, that had turned since before the start of the Age of Strife, were fire-blackened service-automata reacting to the outsiders' threat as antibodies would against an invading infection in a living body. Incredibly strong and built to withstand the ravages of the firestorm that surrounded them, each would have overmatched even the battle-automata of the Mechanicum's Legio Cybernetica in size and power, being products as they were of Mankind's ancient and technologically advanced past. There were thousands of these tempest-automata, and all turned on the Astartes of the XVIIIth Legion in an implacable and unceasing attack. Neither Plasma nor Melta Weapons could breach their armour, while Bolter shells rippled across them like rain. Only massive kinetic force applied at close range against their articulated joints was able to disable them; a lesson that cost the XVIIIth hundreds of lives to learn as they were forced into a running battle of attrition with the relentless machines, and cut off when many of their Termite carriers were targeted and crushed by the colossal articulated toothed metal spheres used by the ancient workings to tunnel and expand the galleries. The XVIIIth Legion held out with a mixture of stoic resilience and suicidal fury, maintaining discipline and order despite the onslaught, while individual Legionaries hurled themselves willingly to their deaths to grapple with the killing machines so that they might be destroyed and their brothers' lives saved. Fighting now for survival from gallery to gallery, they collapsed tunnels and severed the silicate webs behind them to impede their pursuers and buy themselves time, but their casualties were huge, with thousands having perished within the first dozen hours of the conflict, but the precious time they had purchased with blood, however, would be spent well by the survivors, for it would be neither the Legion's immense resilience nor its willing sacrifice that would see them victorious, but their intelligence. Showing the aptitude for technology and craft for which they would become justly famed in later centuries, they began to first use the wreckage of the attacking machinery that surrounded them as salvage to repair and augment their own expended wargear, and soon escalated to tearing from the automatons their central control systems and repairing them sufficiently to be sent crashing back into their own ranks as mindless berserkers. This proved only the start; power conduits were re-directed and machine death-traps created, cyclopean lightning-rods conducting the power of the howling electromagnetic corona above were fashioned into improvised harpoon weapons to burn out the hearts of the largest machine-beasts, rivers of molten metal redirected into service tunnels, atomantic chambers compromised to detonate like miniature suns, shattering engines that had endured for tens of thousands of Terran years. Soon something like a stalemate had been achieved, but at a terrible cost; for less than a third of the XVIIIth Legion's original number remained, and yet the body of the vast system had been badly wounded, but a mortal blow was not yet struck. In the inaccessible deeps, the ancient implacable Machine Spirit (Artificial Intelligence) that bound the Tempest Galleries together was manufacturing fresh robotic soldiers for its cause, and that was something the Astartes of the XVIIIth Legion could not match. Realising this strategic reality, the Legion hatched a plan to commit its forces to a single, coherent attack and destroy the Tempest Galleries or die trying. The plan was to attack and cripple the central power transmission node in the largest of the gallery chambers yet discovered, the reasoning being that, even if the vast generator-spindles were not put out of action, it would successfully interrupt the flow of energy to the Ethnarch's defences far above. A two-pronged assault strategy was devised. The first division would mount a series of diversionary attacks at other locations to confuse the enemy. Once this was under way, the second, larger division would assault the power node. It was assumed that while survival was in any way unlikely for the Space Marines of the XVIIIth Legion, death for the central assault force would be certain. For this reason, the XVIIIth Legion's surviving commanders acquiesced to the wishes of the Legion's rank-and-file and assigned Legionaries to it by lottery -- not because they had no volunteers for the main assault force, quite the contrary, but because it was the fervent wish of all to take part. When the assault came, the Legionaries thundered from their holdouts and defensive redoubts, many armed with improvised Power Fists and Thunder Hammers, Shock Cannons and cutting saws fashioned from the shattered remains of fallen tempest-automata. With them came their full reserves of munitions and manpower, for nothing was or could be held back. Attacked suddenly from many fronts, the inhuman intelligence which oversaw the Tempest Galleries responded with cold machine logic, efficiently dividing and dispatching its forces to deal with the threats. The fighting was savage but the plan was working, and the concentrated force of the main assault group managed to smash its way into the Great Gallery, its few remaining Dreadnoughts and rapier batteries leading the way. Like a hive of ants crudely kicked open, the tempest-automata responded in a tide of scorched-black metal and snapping servo-claws, slamming into the XVIIIth Legion head-on across the silicate bridges suspended between the sea of fire below and the hurricane of corposant lightning far above. Bodies by the hundred, machine and Legionary alike, fell broken into the burning abyss, severed power cables sparked furiously, mechanical bodies exploded in sheets of fire and shrapnel, while spilled blood vaporised to steam in the superheated air. Slowly, tortuously, the Legion fought its way to the towering power node at the centre of the gallery, buying each metre of ground taken with dozens of lives. It was then the kraken rose from the depths. A vast articulated beast-machine appeared, the greatest of the robotic engines that maintained the Tempest Galleries, sheathed in armoured scales of synthetic black diamond, molten metal running off it like water. Its coils could have crushed a Battle Titan and were more than sufficient to enwrap and shatter the silicate bridge on which the Legion fought. Their weapons utterly useless against the new foe, the survivors were forced to attempt a fighting retreat they knew was futile as, one by one, the silicate strands were severed and hundreds more fell to their doom. What occurred next can only be guessed at, but the last garbled transmission from the Great Gallery was of one of the huge grav-propelled tunnelling-spheres used by the tempest-automata crashing through the gallery wall and plunging past the kraken-engine and directly at the node-nexus. It is believed that the only possible explanation for this is that one part of the diversionary attack groups had used the confusion of the battle to gain control of one of the colossal serrated tunnelling-spheres and set upon using it as a last ditch weapon. Regardless of the cause, whether Legion-action or the calamity of one of their own automata gone haywire, the node structure exploded, collapsing the gallery around it and blowing out numerous surrounding caverns and tunnels, and creating the earthquakes and tremors felt across the region. The explosion also appears to have murdered the governing Machine Spirit of the galleries, for in the aftermath, the automata simply shut off, the machinery stilled, the vast spindle generators sinking slowly and silently into the fires below, never to turn again. Little more than 1’000 Astartes of the 20’000-strong XVIIIth Legion survived, and those who did were scattered across the Tempest Galleries, many conducting diversionary attacks at its fringes and once again displaying formidable fortitude and perseverance in regrouping and intelligence in rebuilding one of the damaged Termite transporters for the arduous journey back to the surface. Upon their return, the Emperor Himself gathered the survivors together and awarded them the Laurel of Victory for the campaign against the Ethnarch (to the dissatisfaction of some commanders) to be forever theirs, and their first battle honour, inscribed with the motto: In Fire and Darkness Tested. This was to prove prophetic, and the action at the Tempest Galleries a high bar indeed for the Legion's prowess, and a standard of sacrifice and victory against the odds that would prove a punitive taskmaster for the Legion in the early years of the Great Crusade. It is an interesting addendum to the record of this battle that the XVIIIth Legion's survivors brought with them from the Tempest Galleries metallurgy and machine craft predating the Age of Strife, the secrets of which, in addition to being given over to the Imperial Command, were retrained by the XVIIIth Legion itself.
- Sedna Campaign (Unknown Date.M30) - The Sedna Campaign was another early campaign of the XVIIIth Legion. Serving alongside seven other Legions, the XVIIIth fought in utter darkness on the surface of a world constructed by alien hands at the outermost edge of the Sol Sytem, finally leaving the entire Sol System in human hands for the first time since the start of the Age of Strife.
- Compliance of Caldera (Unknown Date.M31) - An unusual campaign during the Great Crusade for the Salamanders involved bringing the world of 154-4, known as Ibsen by its inhabitants, into Imperial Compliance. The Salamanders, lead by Vulkan himself, were joined by the Iron Hands and the Death Guard Legions, both lead by their own respective Primarchs. The world was undeveloped, and largely inhospitable to human life, but possessed valuable mineral deposits. However, the Imperial forces faced stiff resistance for control of the planet from the Eldar, who had placed a garrison upon Ibsen. The Eldar forces -- including Seers, Warlocks and other combat psykers -- could not have expected to defeat one Legion of Astartes, let alone three. The mystery deepened when the semi-feral, primitive human tribes inhabiting the planet seemed more sympathetic to the Eldar, or at the very least, not welcoming to their human liberators. The Salamanders and other Imperials defeated the Eldar relatively easily as expected. After the conquest, the Salamanders learned that the Eldar had been defending a network of menhirs which served as psychic nodes and that fed into a giant arch, where the final and most brutal confrontation between the Astartes and the xenos had taken place. The arch itself had been located thanks to a mysterious Remembrancer attached to the Salamanders, with whom Vulkan had had an unsettling conversation before the battle. After the slaughter ended, Vulkan saw the Remembrancer loitering by the arch and then suddenly disappearing. Following him, Vulkan and his elite Pyre Guard descended into the chambers beneath it, through a portal at its base. There they found a crude warding ceremony taking place, conducted by the primitive human tribal priests, who were ready to sacrifice an ancient Dark Eldar witch. Finally, Vulkan realised the truth: the arch was in reality, a Webway portal (though none of the Imperials, including Vulkan, knew this at the time); Vulkan had seen a "gate" like this before, in his Nocturnean youth, when Dark Eldar repeatedly utilised such a portal to raid and pillage the planet. The Eldar had taken control of the portal by defeating their dark cousins, and in the process had freed the indigenous human population of Ibsen from the horrors of Dark Eldar raids; the Eldar had been seen by the humans as liberators. Terrified by the defeat of their liberators at the hands of the Imperium, the natives had sought to sacrifice their Dark Eldar captive to ward off the inevitable return of her race; the mysterious "Remembrancer" who was nowhere to be seen had actually been the Emperor in disguise, who must have had a great interest in the particulars of this mission since he had ordered so many resources committed to it. Vulkan ordered Ibsen and its irredeemably corrupted population cleansed by flame. He renamed the scoured, Nocturne-like Dead World that remained Caldera. The world was now ready to receive new human colonists and to be exploited for the benefit of the Imperium.
- Compliance of Kharaatan (Unknown Date.M31) - Not long after the successful conclusion of the campaign on Caldera, Vulkan and his Salamanders Legion participated in another joint Imperial Compliance action on the world known as Kharaatan. Designated 154-6, the Salamanders fought alongside the Primarch Konrad Curze and his Night Lords Legion as well as Mechanicum forces, the Legio Ignis Titan Legion, and several Imperial Army regiments. During this campaign Vulkan became infuriated with his brother Primarch and how his Legion brutally conducted themselves. During one notable incident, the Night Lords slaughtered the inhabitants of an entire city in order to seed fear amongst the general population. When he confronted Curze about his Legion's actions, a brief fight ensued between the two demi-gods. After the successful conclusion of this campaign, Vulkan reported Curze's conduct to both Warmaster Horus and his brother Primarch Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists Legion. This incident would later sow the seeds of animosity between Vulkan and his brother Curze, causing a rift that would further widen as the Great Crusade wore on. The events on Kharaatan would have far-reaching affects that wold later play a key role in what happened to Vulkan after the tragic events of Istvaan V played out.
- Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V (006.M31) - Noted as one of the most devastating defeats in the history of the Adeptus Astartes, and certainly in the history of the Salamanders, the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V saw the Raven Guard and Salamanders Legions nearly annihilated as effective fighting forces and only the quick thinking and initiative of the Salamanders allowed a bare few Space Marines of those two Legions to escape that dreadful day. In response to the treachery of the Warmaster Horus and his betrayal of the Loyalist Astartes in the Sons of Horus, Emperor's Children, World Eaters and Death Guard Legions at Istvaan III, the Primarch of the Imperial Fists Legion, Rogal Dorn, on the direction of the Emperor who had learned of Horus' actions from the Loyalist survivors aboard the Eisenstein, ordered 7 Loyalist Space Marine Legions to Horus' base on the world of Istvaan V to challenge the Traitors. They would attack in two waves and fall under the supreme command of the Iron Hands' Primarch Ferrus Manus. The Legions comprising the first wave were the Iron Hands, Raven Guard and Salamanders. The Legions comprising the second wave were the Alpha Legion, Night Lords, Iron Warriors, and a large contingent of Word Bearers that their Primarch Lorgar had stationed in the star system. Unknown to Dorn and Ferrus Manus, the Night Lords, Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors and Word Bearers had all turned from their service to the Emperor and pledged their loyalty to Horus, and been instructed to keep their new allegiance to Chaos a secret. The first wave secured the drop site at a heavy cost. Horus ordered his front line troops to fall back, tempting Ferrus Manus to overstretch his already thin lines. Against the advice of Corax and Vulkan, Manus led his Veterans against the fleeing Traitor Marines unsupported. Manus then brought his brother Fulgrim to combat. As the two Primarchs drew their weapons, the Raven Guard and Salamanders fell back to regroup and allow the second wave's Legions to advance and earn glory. However, as they returned they were mowed down by the four Traitor Legions that had landed to supposedly support them, thus revealing their new allegiance to Chaos. At the same time the apparent rout of the Sons of Horus, the World Eaters, Death Guard and Emperor's Children suddenly halted and the Traitors pressed their attack. As Horus pressed the counterattack he managed to sandwich the Loyalists between the two Traitor forces, killing most of them. The Iron Hands were cut off and slaughtered to a man -- the veteran Morlock Terminators cut down and the Primarch Ferrus Manus beheaded by Fulgrim. The Salamanders and Raven Guard could do nothing to help the Iron Hands, and were forced to make a costly break out with precious few of their forces. Those Thunderhawk and Stormbird gunships that lifted off and escaped Istvaan V were far fewer than those that had landed. Corax, the Primarch of the Raven Guard, was badly wounded and Vulkan's fate was unknown for some time. The remainder of the Iron Hands Legion arrived to find their veterans and Primarch dead and the Salamanders and Raven Guard reduced to a fraction of their full strength, with both Legions nearly wiped out. So it was that Vulkan and his Salamanders eventually returned to Nocturne in defeat, steeled to rebuild and take revenge on Horus and his Traitors.
- Fires of Phaistos Osiris (533.M39) - During this action, the Salamanders defending the important Cardinal World of Phaistos Osiris, located in the northern Segmentum Ultima, from a massive Ork onslaught. This particular action has been held up as a shining example of the role the Adeptus Astartes play in the protection of the Imperium. This important Cardinal World was and remains the capital of the Osiran Sector, and is both the location of the revered Basilica of Saint Thoth the Intercessor as well as the sector's primary Schola Progenium facility. Within this desolate region, this important world was a lynchpin of the Imperium's spiritual and temporal control. In 533.M39, WAAAGH! Ruckrippa threatened to drown the entire sector in darkness. Given advance warning of the Orks' progress, the Salamanders stood at the head of a well-disciplined army raised from the students of the Schola and hundreds of thousands of volunteer pilgrim-militia.Leading the resistance, the Salamanders Chapter had devised a complex and subtle defence in depth which denied the planet's resources to the Greenskin enemy. The Salamanders used the Orks' own homicidal rage and lack of discipline against them, goading them on and trapping them into the killing grounds of their own choosing. In orbit, the Salamanders' Chapter fleet, supported by Battlefleet Ultima, engaged Ruckrippa's Deff-Hulks in a shock assault. Under cover of the bombardment chosen squads of the Salamanders' Firedrake Terminators conducted teleporter raids aboard the doomed Ork Hulks. Planting seismic charges, the Deff-Hulks were ripped apart with explosive atomic blasts. On the surface of Phaistos Osiris, the Orks launched their final assault against the world's main temple-city. The Salamanders launched their final counter-attack, now fighting on a hellish battlefield that was to the Chapter no more nor less than home ground. With them came suicide-squads of fanatical Redemptionists. The final killing blow came when the Firedrakes descended from the darkness above, slaughtering the remaining Orks in the hell below, smashing the WAAAGH! into a thousand pieces.
- Purging of the Moons of Ymgarl (754-756.M41) - By order of the High Lords of Terra actions against suspected Genestealer infection were stepped up across the galaxy. As part of this xenocidal campaign, the Salamanders were given the onerous duty of purging the Genestealers for all time from the moons of Ymgarl where they had first been encountered. This was a realm where these foul creatures had always maintained a foothold and from which they had previously been thought to originate. The losses amongst the Space Marines were horrendous, but assaults from the nightmare Ymgarl Genestealers were despatched in storms of fire or crushed under the shattering blows of Thunder Hammers. The Salamanders did not falter despite desperate hours and terrible reversals. The campaign lasted for nearly two years of bloody struggle and death in the darkness before finally the Magos Biologis of the Adeptus Mechanicus pronounced the ancient threat on Ymgarl ended, although its dark legacy would live on in the shadows of chill ship holds, dark hulks and doomed worlds uncounted.
- The Primarch's Legacy (772.M41) - Forgefather Vulkan He'stan recovers the Gauntlet of the Forge after defeating the warhost of the Eldar pirate lord Iath Bloodweaver.
- Lycanthos Drift Campaign (780.M41-810.M40) - At the closing stages of the infamous Fourth Quadrant Rebellion, the Salamanders interveened as part of the Imperial wareffort to reclaim one of the last bastions of Chaos. Operating under the overall command of Lugft Huron of the Astral Claws Chapter, the Salamanders joined forces with elements of the Fire Hawks, White Scars and Celestial Guard Chapters and were supported by Imperial Guard regiments drawn from Cal-Sec and the Deathkorps of Krieg as well as the god-engines of the Legio Venator. For more than two decades the Imperium purged the Lycanthus Drift, which concluded with the fall of Lycanthus Secundus. Having forged many oaths of brotherhood, this campaign would have unknown repercussions as when the Badab War would shake the Imperium, the Salamanders were called upon by both sizes to intervene.
- Infinite Enmity (878.M41) - Forgefather He'stan defeats the Necron Overlord Trazyn the Infinite in personal combat after the Necron attempts to wrest the Spear of Vulkan for his own collection.
- Badab War (906-912.M41) - The Salamanders were one of the Space Marine Chapters that participated in the Badab War, serving the Imperium by helping to defeat the Astral Claws and their wayward Secessionist allies. Initially, the Salamanders were reluctant to get involved in the internecine conflict, having fought alongside both the Astral Claws and the Fire Hawks as recently as the Lycanthos Drift Campaign of the 810s.M41, and the Chapter was greatly troubled to intervene on either side despite direct calls do so. When proof was provided to them by the Legate Inquisitor in charge of prosecuting the war that the Astral Claws had broken faith fully with the ancient covenants of the Imperium, the Salamanders were forced by duty to act. The Chapter could only send a small force consisting of one Battle Company (the 2nd Company) under the command of Captain Pellas Mir'san, as the rest of the Chapter was already committed elsewhere. Although few in number, the Salamanders' force was heavily engaged throughout the conflict until the bitter end, playing key roles in several important events during the conflict.
- A New Hero Arises (938.M41) - Tu'shan is appointed as the Regent of Prometheus following the violent death of his predecessor at the hands of Huron Blackheart, the renegade Chaos Lord of the Red Corsairs.
- Second War for Armageddon (941-961.M41) - During the Second War for Armageddon, the Salamanders fought with distinction, led by their Chapter Master Tu'Shan, whose tenure as Chapter Master had only begun 3 years before the start of the conflict. Among other feats of their service on the hive world of Armageddon, a company of the Salamanders managed to defend the bridge over the River Stygies from a thousand-strong Ork Speed Freeks force, and prevented the Orks from destroying a water purification plant, thus saving Hive Tempestora from a slow death by dehydration. Although the hive city eventually fell to the Orks, the Salamanders' efforts allowed it to be evacuated before the Orks could capture it, saving countless lives. The Salamanders have been involved in many magnificent Imperial conquests and victories, but in recent times even these great achievements have been eclipsed by their stalwart fighting during the Second War for Armageddon. While the Blood Angels set about destroying the massive Ork horde, and the Ultramarines bent their strength to the defence of the surviving hive cities, the Salamanders took upon themselves the essential but neglected task of protecting the supply convoys, fighting rearguard actions against the Orks' advances and escorting refugee columns. So unstinting were they in these arduous but unsung duties that the Salamanders were to earn the gratitude and respect of thousands of Imperial Guardsmen and civilians. The Salamanders have become renowned as sturdy and dependable allies, a reputation that is not shared by many other, more unpredictable, Space Marine Chapters.
- Tochran Crusade (943.M41) - Trazyn the Infinite claims to have discovered the Song of Entropy -- one of the missing artefacts of Vulkan -- instigating a decade-long war between the Salamanders and the Necron forces of the Tomb World of Solemnace. Trazyn's claim proves to be a lie to lure He'stan into a trap during the Assault of Tochran, where the Necron once again attempts to slay the Forgefather and acquire the Spear of Vulkan. The Salamanders' 6th Company fights back to back, Bolters and Flamers defiantly blazing away at the surrounding Necrons. Forty Battle-Brothers fall during the fighting, but at battle's end, He’stan defeats Trazyn once more, and the Salamanders stand knee-deep in broken Necron bodies.
- The Killeneth Rebellion (955.M41) - Chapter Master Tu'shan is thought lost when a rebel Hellhound flame tank engulfs his position with burning sheets of promethium. The cheers of the rebels die in their throats when Tu'shan emerges from the blazing inferno, heedless of the flames around him, and smites the Hellhound with a single blow from his Thunder Hammer. The rebels flee in terror before the terrifying spectacle of Tu'shan's fire-wreathed form.
- Assault on Moribar (Unknown Date.M41) - A strike force composed of the Salamanders' 3rd Company, under the command of Captain Ko'tan Kadai, caught up to the deranged former Chaplain of the Black Dragons, Vai'tan Ushorak, and his warband of Chaos Space Marines on the Cemetery World of Moribar. While Ushorak delved into the secret crypts beneath the sepulchre world, the Salamanders and the Renegade followers of Ushorak fought savagely through the crematoria of that ash-blanketed world. At the height of the fighting, Ushorak was plunged into the central furnaces at the heart of the planet, while the Renegade Salamanders Librarian Nihilan tried to save his mentor but failed and was horribly burned in the process, barely surviving his horrific wounds. Eventually, from the tattered remnants of Ushorak's followers, the newly christened Chaos Sorcerer Nihilan forged the Dragon Warriors Chaos Space Marines warband, determined to exact vengeance on the Salamanders and the people of Nocturne. The vengeful Nihilan was particularly determined to gain vengeance against Captain Kadai, and proceeded to engineer the heroic Salamander officer's downfall on the world of Stratos as revenge for his own horrific wounds.
- The Scorian Prophecy (962.M41) - Captain N’keln descends on the planet Scoria following rumours of an "artefact of Vulkan," but finds only a horde of Orks. After recovering an ancient artefact from the derelict Adeptus Mechanicus Forge Ship Archimedes Rex, the Salamanders' 3rd Company used information derived from the artefact to journey to the world of Scoria. On Scoria, the 3rd Company discovered survivors of the Imperium's 154th Expeditionary Fleet, a remnant from the Great Crusade, as well as 50 suits of ancient Power Armour and the oldest living Salamander, Gravius, who had fought in the terrible Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V over ten millennia before. The Salamanders on Scoria also successfully captured an Iron Warriors fortress before coming under attack by thousands of Orks. The brave Fire Born repelled several attacks by the Greenskins and even use their downed Strike Cruiser's main guns to push back the tide of Orks. After breaking the back of the Ork assault, the Salamanders were "rescued" by the arrival of a Strike Cruiser from the Marines Malevolent, a Chapter with which the Salamanders had poor relations and with which they had already had a less-than-friendly meeting back on the Archimedes Rex when the Marines Malevolent had sought to seize the Forge Ship's technology for their own. The 3rd Company's Captain, N'keln, was allegedly slain by an Ork commando team while on the world, and the Chaos Sorcerer Nihilan, a determined enemy of the Salamanders, was sighted on the world but slipped from the 3rd Company's grasp. It was on Scoria that the Salamanders discovered that a new apocalyptic weapon, a Seismic Cannon, now lay within the hands of Nihilan and the Forces of Chaos who were determined to destroy the Salamanders and their homeworld of Nocturne. Despite the large number of important Salamanders artefacts removed from the planet, dissension reigned among the ranks of the 3rd Company upon their return to Nocturne due to their multiple failures, the discovery of the threat posed by the Seismic Cannon and the death of their Captain.
- The Protean Incident (966.M41) - The Firedrakes are ambushed by Night Lords whilst investigating a Genestealer-infested Space Hulk. Though several Salamanders Terminators fall in the fighting, the Firedrakes stoically forge onwards and annihilate the Traitors and aliens both.
- Stratos Campaign (Unknown Date.M41) - The Salamanders succeeded in the liberation of Cirrion, a floating loft-city and the capital of the Imperial Mining World of Stratos. A small group of Dragon Warriors under the command of the Chaos Sorcerer Nihilan orchestrated the uprising of a Chaos Cult, the so-called Cult of Truth, on the Imperial mining world of Stratos to serve as a distraction while they secretly recovered an artefact known as the decyphrex from the depths of the floating loft-city and Stratos capital of Cirrion. The Salamanders responded to Stratos' astropathic distress call and Nihilan had the added enjoyment of arranging for the death of the Salamanders' Captain Ko'tan Kadai, one of the Space Marines who had nearly killed him after he had gone Renegade decades before on the Cemetery World of Moribar.
- Defence of Nocturne (975.M41) - Most of the Salamanders Chapter unites to defend both Nocturne and Prometheus from a host of Chaos Space Marines calling themselves the Dragon Warriors. After the death of his old foe Captain Kadai, Nihilan enlisted a warband of Iron Warriors to mine a special ore known as fyron from the world of Scoria. It was during this time that the Chaos Sorcerer entered into a daemonic pact with the daemon Engel'saak in order to enhance his already formidable psychic powers. The daemon told Nihilan of a forbidden tome that possessed the fell knowledge of the the ancient Nocturnean Corpsemasters that had the ability to resurrect the dead. With this forbidden knowledge, Nihilan hoped to resurrect his own former master, the charismatic Renegade former Dragon Warriors Chaplain Vai'tan Ushorak. In return for the daemon's knowledge and the enhancement of his powers, the Chaos Sorcerer provided Engel'saak a host body, enabling the daemon to enter the material realm as a Daemonhost and wreak havoc on the Salamanders Chapter. It was during this conflict that Nihilan finally revealed his nefarious plan: utilising a Seismic Cannon that was emplaced on his flagship, the Chaos Cruiser Hell-Stalker, he created a shaft that delved deep into Mount Deathfire, the sacred mountain of the Salamanders on Nocturne. Within the mountain, the Chaos Sorcerer was able to breach the hidden sacred shrine that contained one of the lost books of the Primarch Vulkan, known as the Tome of Fire. The Chaos Sorcerer was confronted by the Salamanders Epistolary Pyriel, his fellow former Neophyte-in-training, whom he defeated in a psychic battle that resulted in the Salamander psyker's death. Though it was a pyrrhic victory, Pyriel's sacrifice was not in vain, as the Salamanders' Chief Librarian Vel'cona arrived to face his former pupil before Nihilan could make good his escape. The Chief Librarian and the Chaos Sorcerer battled within Mount Deathfire, but unfortunately Nihilan made good his escape due to the timely intervention of his personal bodyguard, Ramlek. Vel'cona was able to destroy Ramlek upon an anvil that mysteriously materialised out of nothing. The Chaos Sorcerer managed to escape, still intent on resurrecting his former master Ushorak and taking revenge against the Salamanders. Nihilan's current whereabouts are unknown.
- The Promethean War (980.M41) - The Salamanders 6th Company under Captain Ur’zan Drakgaard -augmented by several squads Assault Squads of 4th Company - fights a gruel war of attrition on the Ecclesiarchy world of Heletine against the Black Legion and the Children of Torment warband. Reinforced by the Adepta Sororitas of the Order of the Ebon Chalice, a decisive break-through turned into a rout as the spearhead of Salamanders and Cadian Shock Troops from the 81st Regiment are ambushed and the Sisters of Battle abandon their allies to pursue their own hidden agenda.
- The Burning Maze (989.M41) - The Salamanders 3rd Company makes planetfall on the Death World of Myze to reinforce the Catachan MVIIIth "Black Snakes" in their fight against a tendril of Hive Fleet Leviathan. Together, the Salamanders and their Imperial allies burn half the world to ash and cinder before the Tyranid threat is finally cleansed.
- The Bloodplague Crusade (995.M41) - The Salamanders and Iron Hawks unite to defeat the daemon legions of Khora'arr'seth, slaying the creature on the corrupted Shrine World of Lamath's Hope. The Salamanders withdraw after cleansing the entire world by fire.
- Third War for Armageddon (998.M41) - When the Ork Warboss Ghazghkull launched his new offensive against the Imperial forces on Armageddon, the Salamanders were one of the first Space Marine Chapters to respond, sending a full 7 companies to combat the Orks, including Chapter Master Tu'Shan, who personally lead his Firedrakes (the elite 1st Company). The Salamanders launched several counter-attacks against the Rok-forts landed by the Orks along the Hemlock River. Preferring the close-quarter fighting within the maze of crudely-carved tunnels within the Roks to the long-range duels in the desert, the Salamanders made the Orks pay a high price for their audacity. At least three Roks were destroyed by the Salamanders' attacks, slaughtering untold thousands of the savage Greenskins. Many Chapters fought in the name of the Emperor on Armageddon, or for personal glory. Of the 20 full Space Marine Chapters that deployed for the Third War for Armageddon, only the Salamanders truly fought to save the lives of the people of Armageddon. They are even today much respected for their willingness to stand up against one of the Marines Malevolent's captains who had left civilians to die because the Marines Malevolent "hadn't time" to defend them from the Orks. Most of the Salamanders depart Armageddon following Ghazghkull's retreat, but two companies remain to protect major population centres, fighting on through the Season of Fire when no one else can. A squad of Firedrakes leave for Baal with the Blood Angels as an Honour Guard for the fallen Captain Erasmus Tycho.
Like many of the First Founding Chapters (and many subsequent ones as well), the Salamanders recruit exclusively from the people of their homeworld, Nocturne. Children aspiring to become Space Marines begin their training at the age of six or seven Terran years as the apprentice to a Salamanders Astartes. They spend several years learning the art of the smith, and the most able apprentices are then judged by the Chapter's Apothecaries and Chaplains to see if they are worthy (and capable of surviving the gene-seed organ implantation process) to become Space Marines. Their training includes many of the same trials the Emperor and Vulkan competed in according to Nocturnan legend, finally culminating in the hunting and slaying of a massive salamander on Mount Deathfire.
Each Salamanders company recruits solely from one of the great clans of Nocturne, and thus each Battle-Brother is a member of the same clan as his fellow company Battle-Brothers as well. The Salamanders companies each maintain huge, tracked fortresses that crisscross the volcanic surface of their homeworld, serving as an easy way to interact with their fellow companies and the various Nocturnan clans. Because each Battle-Brother in a Salamanders Company is a clan brother as well, the Salamanders have been known to fight like their savage namesakes to rescue their fallen and wounded.
When Vulkan took over his inherited Space Marine Legion the XVIIIth had already, in the relatively short time since its departure from Terra and the start of the Great Crusade, developed a distinct character of its own. Although still largely following the guidelines and dispositions laid down by the Principia Belicosa of the Imperial High Command, its scattered deployment and tendency towards asymmetrical engagements (relative to the common operation patterns of the other Space Marine Legions) had created a considerable bias in its structure and tactics.
Company level detachments, numbering a nominal 100 to around 200 Asartes under a single Captain, were the principal unit of strategic action and logistical support, with larger battalion and Chapter distinctions in practice seldom needed. The Legion's senior command conversely acted as a kind of heavy strategic reserve, weighing in with a concentration of force where it was most needed, and dispatching reinforcements as it could across numerous fronts at any given time. At the battlefield level, circumstance as well as natural temperament focused the Legion's tactics on relatively short-range engagements, where it sought to counteract enemy numbers by the use of confined area engagement or shock assault.
Here the individual physical power of the Space Marine, their ability to endure and relentless fury in battle, could be relied upon to inflict disproportionate damage on almost any foe, although the inherent risks were high. Such tactics naturally lent themselves to short-range but devastating arms such as flame, Volkite ray and Melta Weapons being preferred by the Legion. Supporting this tendency was the telling factor that even before the Nocturnian influence came to the fore, the technical aptitude demonstrated by the Legion's rank-and-file further served to allow them to maintain and indeed field-manufacture such advanced weapons, even while subjected to scattered deployments and uncertain supply.
One of Vulkan's first actions was to largely unify his scattered Legion and do away with its ad hoc strategic operations, but he did so in a way that preserved, where possible, the spirit of autonomy and self-sufficiency the component units of the XVIIIth had developed, which he saw as inherent virtues where tempered with purpose. At the strategic level, Vulkan ordered his Legion into the formation of seven "Realms", each linked both in name and spirit with one of Nocturne's seven great city-settlements. To each of these he assigned a Lord Commander, known also as a Protector, as it was their sworn duty, in addition to that of a warrior of the Emperor, to protect the city-settlement in time of attack (the Lord Commander of the 1st Battle Company being Protector of Hesiod, and so on). Each Nocturnian city-settlement served as a focus of the Legion's recruitment and their governance of the planet, anchoring the Legionaries to the humans for whom they fought, and each city-settlement went on to exhibit its own unique influences on the XVIIIth Legion's evolving traditions.
The strong links between the Salamanders brethren and the people of Nocturne came quickly to create bonds of kinship and loyalty within each company's ranks. An inevitable degree of competition was also fostered by the nature of this relationship as well which, tempered by Vulkan's teachings, spurred the Salamanders Legionaries to greater heights of achievement and attainment. This too had its echo in the culture of Nocturne, which encouraged conflict to be resolved through a series of often perilous ritual trials and competitions to prove the worthy from the unworthy, and the righteous from the base; a system that developed so that the wider community was strengthened rather than reduced by bickering, treachery and petty feud. It is worthy of note that this grounded bias towards recruitment on Nocturne did have the adverse effects that it slowed the pace at which the XVIIIth Legion's numbers were increased.
Although a proportion of new recruits continued to be fed into the Legion from Terra and Proximal, this was not sufficient in size to significantly ameliorate this problem, nor did Vulkan pursue the rapid-induction techniques favoured in later years by certain Space Marine Legions. The counterpoint to this difficulty was, however, that Nocturne's native population, although relatively small, were hardened survivors all, strong of constitution and psychologically resilient, therefore they made for excellent subjects for initiation into the Legion with a very low rate of gene-seed implant rejection.
Vulkan and his Legion also developed the asymmetrical warfare practiced early on by the XVIIIth Legion to an even greater virtue, tempering a willingness to sacrifice with judgement as to the value of the long-term outcome, developing a mastery of close range fire-fights and Zone Mortalis operations, both through discipline and relentless training and through excellence of wargear. This superiority manifested most visibly in the Legion's weapons, as under Vulkan's mastery, the Salamanders became justly famed for superior artifice in the creation of arms, from the Bolters carried by its rank-and-file to the savage implements of destruction carried by the Legion's Dreadnoughts. Each weapon was both a thing of lethal beauty and a masterwork of form and function. Accordingly, they maintained a high proportion of special weapon units, in particular Flamer Squads, including the uniquely armed Pyroclast elite who carried prototype and highly adaptable flame-projector weapons. Likewise, their Terminator Armour-equipped forces were also noteworthy and regarded as amongst the most powerful in any Legion, with each armour suit being embellished and modified by its owner, with such innovation leading to the introduction of the earliest Storm Shields in Space Marine Legion service.
The Salamanders Legion also maintained and manufactured a substantial armoury of heavy vehicles and other war engines equal in number and diversity to that of a far larger Legion. This armoury showed a bias towards tanks, armoured rams, gunships and mobile support weapons over static artillery, light skimmers and rapid attack vehicles, although it ensured it did not lack for anything it might need. The reason for this was that the Salamanders Legion, as it had developed, did not favour attritional warfare in its tactics, nor did it favour speed over survivability. Likewise, the Legion's void-going warfleet was not particularly large in number, but it was just as telling to the Legion's character that each warship, be it Frigate or Battle Barge, was itself a work of bellicose art, layered with sophisticated and masterwork weapons and systems that often overmatched similar vessels of their size.
During the latter years of the Great Crusade when the XVIIIth Legion was operating at the peak of its power, it was worthy of note that the comparison most readily drawn to it by commentators within the Imperial High Command, both through certain similarity in purview and utter contrast in character was with the Death Guard Legion. While both specialised in fighting in some of the most difficult and dangerous environments, and both were fully capable of remorseless and absolute destruction when unleashed, where one cleansed with purifying fire, leaving a world scoured but one day fit to become a domain of humanity, the other tainted and eradicated, leaving nothing but poisoned devastation in their wake. This led to the two Legions and their Primarchs seldom operating together unless expediency demanded otherwise, and indeed created not a little acrimony between the two. The events of the Horus Heresy would see this blossom into the bitterest hatred and rivarly, an emnity that exists unto the present day.
The Salamanders Legion under Vulkan adopted a series of extensive reforms to its structure, the widest and most reaching of which was the organisation of the XVIIIth Legion into seven Realms each under the command of its Lord Protector, below which numerous line companies, each of around 120 Space Marines were formed. Aside from specialists, the Legion followed a simplified form of the Terran pattern for battlefield ranks, transiting in descending order of rank from Captain to Lieutenant to Master Sergeant, Sergeant and Legionary. Seniority within these ranks were determined, when needed, by length of service. Noted equality of speech and demeanour was practiced within the Legion outside of the press of battle, with little value given to the formality of rigid hierarchy practiced by Legions such as the Ultramarines or the Emperor's Children.
Beyond this simple, but highly cohesive system, reinforced by the culture of self-reliance, self-discipline and loyalty promoted by the Promethean Cult (as the cthonic traditions, beliefs and practices of the Legion became known) a wider variety of titles of renown and spheres of influence also evolved. These developed as a record of deeds and achievements, accorded to an individual by their peers, and were likely as often for the accomplishments of a particular craft, as for a singular act of courage in battle. The value of these titles such as "Forge Master", "Storm Proven" or "Wise Shield", often recorded upon the bearer's armour in stylised Nocturnian glyph-forms and branded into their flesh, transcended rank and great store was set by them within the Legion and, while many such titles were in effect unique to their bearer, some like "Firedrake" came to mark the Legion's core of elite warriors and carried direct military authority as well as ritual or honorary significance. The Firedrakes, named for the greatest of the salamander saurids said to originate beneath the stones of Mount Deathfire, were the finest and most experienced warriors of the XVIIIth Legion. To be afforded this exalted status, mere skill-at-arms was not enough alone, and the warrior would have to have been proven of faultless bravery and just as importantly, faultless self-control. Amongst these, the greatest formed the Pyre Guard; the Primarch's own loyal retainers and Honour Guard.
Each of the Legion's seven Realms had its own core of Firedrakes to serve as leaders and exemplars for the Legion, and in this they received a special duty to instruct by both word and deed. To this end they received special tutelage in the Promethean Cult by their Primarch and the Igniax, Firedrakes particularly selected for their wisdom, learning and devotion to the spiritual aspects of the Promethean Cult; individuals who swiftly became the core of the Salamander's Chaplains once this concept was disseminated across the Space Marine Legions.
At the outset of the Horus Heresy, the bulk of the Salamanders Legion had been rearming and re-equipping itself at Nocturne after a lengthy campaign of xenos eradication near the galactic core. As such it was able to answer the call to Istvaan V with the majority of its active strength. Although full records are impossible to verify in the aftermath of the Drop Site Massacre, it is believed a force of around 83,000 Space Marines went with their Primarch to Istvaan V, the losses of which during that deadly action were almost total, rated by some sources as high as 98%.
However, the Legion did maintain other detachments that did not travel to the Istvaan System and so were spared the bloody cataclysm. Principal among these were the fully equipped and autonomous garrison maintained at Geryon Deep and the Castellan of Prometheus' forces at around 2,000 to 3,000 remaining, alongside the full intake of Neophytes in training on Prometheus, combined with several line companies on detached deployment elsewhere. These figures would tally with commonly held estimates of total active strength for the Salamanders Legion at the end of the Great Crusade of approximately 89,000 Astartes, placing them as among the smallest overall of the Space Marine Legions in manpower. It remains a testimony to the undying resilience of the XVIIIth Legion and its spiritual and psychological strength that despite the losses at Istvaan V, losses thought fatal to the Legion at the time, it was able to maintain coherence and recover its strength, dragging itself back from the precipice of oblivion and remaining a bloody thorn in the side of the Traitors for the rest of the War of the Heresy and, of course, rising again from the ashes to become vital to the Imperium's defence in the face of the Traitor and Renegades in the dark times of the modern 41st Millennium.
- Pyre Guard - When Vulkan was reunited with his Legion on Nocturne, he saw the potential in his few remaining Terran sons. From amongst these survivors he chose the most stoic and fiercely independent warriors; those who had endured the worst of the XVIIIth Legion's trials and tribulations throughout the early years of the Great Crusade before he had been reunited with them. From these chosen few, the Primarch founded the Pyre Guard, his personal Honour Guard; charged with the protection of their Primarch and to act as his inner circle of advisors. Set apart from the other warriors of the XVIIIth Legion, all seven members of the vaunted Pyre Guard were without equal. These individual warriors were hungry, ready for war. Like the deep drakes of Vulkan's homeworld, they were savage and fierce, sharp of claw and tooth. The members of the Pyre Guard were not like other Salamanders; they had more fire, more fury. Like the volcanoes of ancient Nocturne, the great jagged chains of the Dragonspike and Mount Deathfire, they were perpetually on the brink of eruption. Even the warriors of the Pyroclasts were not as volatile. The Pyre Guard were chosen warriors, those that displayed a level of self-sacrifice and self-sufficiency that exceeded all others. Like the saburai of old Nihon, they were fighters foremost, who could ally as a unit or function expertly on their own. They were also leaders, and each Pyre Guard commanded a Chapter of the Legion in addition to their duties as the Primarch's inner circle warriors. Though Terran-born, these elite warriors still displayed the physical traits of onyx-black skin and red eyes, an irreversible reaction to the unique radiation of Nocturne combined with the genetic heritage of their Primarch, which every Salamander, regardless of origin, possessed. The Pyre Guard's number always stood at seven, a number of great cultural significance to the people of Nocturne. When they marched to war with their Primarch, every one of their personal weapons was forged by its bearer, and every one could spit fire like the drakes of old. It is unknown at present if the Pyre Guard formation survived the end of the Horus Heresy as an active organisation in the reformed Salamanders Chapter.
- Pyroclasts - Shunning conventional Legion Destroyer units in his Legion, save for a small cadre retained for xenocide operations, due to the training and unclean nature of the weapons they wielded, Vulkan created the Pyroclasts to fulfil the role of bringers of utter destruction, creating for them advanced and extremely powerful thermal/incendiary weapons of his own devising. They Pyroclasts embody the Promethean mantra: destruction and renewal through purification of cleansing fire. In battle the Pyroclasts were relentless and remorseless, and where they were unleashed there could be no possibility of mercy or reprieve from their cleansing flames.
- Legion Breacher Siege Squads - Breacher squads were a valuable component of Salamanders Legion companies; often deployed at the spearhead of any attack, or as the core of any defensive line. Given this onerous duty, it was a position of honour to be chosen to fight among their ranks in the Legion. Induction was only granted after a gruelling series of trials which culminated with the hunting of one of Nocturne's legendary salamanders and the forging of a shield incorporating the beast's iron hard bones and resilient scales.
- Legion Terminator Squad - Selected from amongst the finest warriors and craftsmen their companies had to offer, the personal bodyguards of the Legion's Lords Protector who commanded its Realms stood as an embodiment of the principles of the Promethean Cult. These indomitable fighters invariably won many honours, and these victories were celebrated on the superlative suits of Terminator Armour they wore and which were passed down to their elite descendants in the Chapter after the Second Founding.
Prizing short range engagements and the deployment of crushing force against their enemies' strongholds, the Salamanders Legion maintained an extensive arsenal of transport vehicles. These were assigned to units on an ad hoc basis within the Battle Companies and often re-organised to suit the nature of a given campaign. As with all of the Salamanders' wargear, these vehicles were constructed and maintained to an exacting standard, often far surpassing the performance levels listed in their STC specifications and embellished as works of craftsmanship in their own right. Though deployed in great numbers to the battlefields of Istvaan V, almost none of the Legion's auxiliary vehicles are known to have escaped. A notable exception is the Thunderhawk Ohidoran, which blasted a path through squadrons of Traitor Storm Eagles and Primaris-Lightning fighters in order to land amidst the Loyalist Legion's medicae encapment. There it was loaded past maximum capacity with the most serious of the injured. Once loaded, Ohidoran took flight once again, under the control of the wounded Raven Guard Legionary Kirhane, who had lost his right leg below the knee to a Traitor Autocannon salvo and been evacuated to the medicae encampment before switching places with the slain pilot, and managed to dock with the Cruiser Warlock. Despite taking serious damage, the Warlock was one of the few XVIIIth Legion vessels that managed to evade the Traitor fleet and escape the Istvaan System, reaching an Imperial-held outpost nine solar months later carrying thirty-eight wounded Salamanders, seventeen Raven Guard and three Iron Hands from the massacre.
Like many other Space Marine Legions, the Salamanders often grouped their armoured vehicles into large, special purpose formations. Siege Cadre Magnor was one such formation and was based around a core squadron of Typhon Heavy Siege Tanks, and supported by full squadrons of Deimos Predator Infernus and the new Sicaran main battle tanks as outrider forces. Unlike many Cadres within the Salamanders, which were ad hoc formations formed for a single mission or campaign and then reassigned as the course of the Great Crusade's endless battles dictated, Cadre Magnor, under the command of Centurion Magnor Ha'ken, had achieved longevity, proving its worth time and again in situations that required the brute application of firepower to spare the Salamanders a costly infantry assault.
Landing during one of the later drops on Istvaan V, Cadre Magnor was not initially deployed to the front lines of the Loyalist advance, forming part of the Salamander's reserve force not far from the Loyalist drop zones. With the betrayal by those Legions making up the second wave of the assault on Istvaan V, Cadre Magnor found itself surrounded by enemies and cut off from their Primarch and the force of Salamanders trapped with him. Rather than dig in, or attempt to fight free of the Urgall Depression, Centurion Ha'ken brought his tank, the Typon Abraxus, to full power and signalled his Cadre to counter-attack. Using the sheer bulk of his two surviving Typhon super-heavies, Ha'ken began to smash a path through the encircling Alpha Legion troops in an attempt to reach Vulkan. The trail of destruction forged by the Salamanders tanks was only ended when the Traitor Legio Mortis Imperator-class Titan Dies Irae directed a salvo of fire onto their position, obliterating a number of Alpha Legion units as well as the Loyalist tank squadrons.
Post-HeresyThe Salamanders follow the Codex Astartes, but their doctrines are also strongly influenced by the Promethean Cult of Nocturne, an accepted variant of the Imperial Cult, which places a high regard on self-reliance, self-sacrifice, and loyalty to each other as well as to the Emperor. The hammer and the fire are both important symbols of the Cult, and the Chapter makes widespread use of Flamers, Meltaguns, and Thunder Hammers in their armoury. As one can imagine, this preference for Flamers and Meltas leads to a strong affinity among the Salamanders for close-range shooting when in combat. Because of their universal early training as blacksmiths, all Salamanders are fully capable of maintaining and performing moderate repair work on their weapons and armour, leaving the Chapter's Artificers with the free time necessary to create great works of technology and metallurgy. As a result, the Salamanders Chapter has an unusually high number of master-crafted weapons and Artificer Power Armour. The Chapter also favours the use of Land Raider Redeemers. In an interesting example of juxtaposition, however, the fluctuating gravity of Nocturne makes training with certain units such as Land Speeders and Assault Bikes difficult, therefore the Chapter makes little use of them, favouring instead Devastator Squads and Terminator Squads (the Chapter has 120 Veterans as opposed to the typical 100).
Indeed, it is fitting that the Salamanders should lack fast attack capabilities, as for some inexplicable reason, they naturally have slightly slower reflexes than most Space Marines, probably as a result of mutations in their gene-seed. However, a Salamander's reflexes are still significantly faster than those of a normal human. Also, as a result of a reaction between their genetics and the high levels of radiation present on Nocturne due to the constant volcanic churning of rare earth elements from the planet's deep crust, Salamander Battle-Brothers usually have dark or jet black skin and bright, burning eyes with the capability to see in the infrared band of the electromagnetic spectrum, which gives them a natural form of night vision. This appearance is entirely superficial, but has intimidated more than one rebel against the Emperor into submission without firing a shot. Trained never to give up or retreat, Salamanders are capable of going on even when their entire squad is dead, holding positions for months on end. This is one of the more significant effects of Promethean doctrines upon the Chapter's collective psyche.
Before each battle every Salamander receives an honour-scar from a Promethean brander-priest. This symbolises their respect for the Chapter and the Promethean belief that one must be cleansed by the pain of fire before every major undertaking. Only Veterans ever receive honour-scars on their faces, as it takes several centuries of battles before every other space on the Astartes' ebon-skinned body has been filled up with the scars.
- Firedrakes - The Firedrakes are those elite Astartes of the Salamanders Chapter's 1st Company, chosen not simply for their martial skill, but also because of their mental resilience and capacity for discipline and self-sacrifice; for these values the Promethean Cult holds in high esteem. Tried and tempered in the flames of war, just as a blade is tempered in the flames of the forge, the Firedrakes are indefatigable and relentless, possessing a singular focus in battle which borders on the preternatural and legendary resilience; a matter as much to do with their phenomenal willpower as their superhuman physiology or superlatively fashioned arms and armour. Such was the wisdom of Vulkan and traditions of the XVIIIth Legion that many of the Firedrakes could be found fulfilling numerous roles throughout the ranks, rather than concentrated into elitist cadres as were found in other Space Marine Legions; the better to serve as exemplars, champions and protectors, a tradition which still carries over to the modern era. The Firedrakes, most commonly clad in exquisitely crafted Terminator Armour, are formed to act as shock troops and line breakers for the Chapter in the most deadly battles it undertakes.
Order of Battle
The Salamanders differ from most if not all other Space Marine Chapters in that each company possesses 120 Space Marines as opposed to the standard 100 that the Codex Astartes prescribes. Additionally, instead of having 10 companies, the Salamanders have only 6 companies of full Astartes in addition to a small company of about 60 Scout Marines. The order of battle of the Salamanders Chapter in the late 41st Millennium is as follows:
Chapter Command and the 1st Company (The Firedrakes)
The Firedrakes, of which Chapter Master Tu'Shan is the Captain as well as the Regent of Prometheus, are barracked on Prometheus along with the Chapter Master himself. These venerable warriors are almost a breed apart from their fellow Salamanders; the transition they have made to the vaunted ranks of the 1st Company has changed them in myriad ways as they have fully embraced the full evolution of their genetic encoding. Unlike their fellow Battle-Brothers, the Firedrakes are seldom seen on the surface of Nocturne where the other Salamanders readily cohabit with the human populace, albeit often as part of a solitary lifestyle. Their rites are ancient and clandestine, conducted by the Chapter Master himself. Only those who have undergone the most heinous of trials and endured hardship beyond imagining could ever hope to aspire to become a Firedrake.
- Chapter Master: Tu'Shan, Regent of Prometheus
- Master of Chaplains: Unknown
- Chief Apothecary: Harath Shen
- Chapter Standard Bearer: Unknown
- Forgefather: Vulkan He'stan
- Squads: 12 Veteran Squads (10 Space Marines each)
- Support: Dreadnoughts, Rhinos, Razorbacks, Land Raiders, Terminator Squads
- Company Colours: White Salamander head on black left shoulder
2nd Company (Battle Company)
- Captain: Pellas Mir'san, the Winter Blade, Defender of Nocturne
- Squads: 7 Tactical Squads, 3 Devastator Squads, 2 Assault Squads
- Support: Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Standard Bearer, Dreadnoughts, Rhinos, Razorbacks, Assault Bike Squads, Land Speeders
- Company Colors: White Salamander head on black left shoulder
3rd Company (Battle Company)
- Captain: Adrax Agatone, Master of the Arsenal
- Squads: 7 Tactical Squads, 3 Devastator Squads, 2 Assault Squads
- Support: Chaplain Elysius, Apothecary Fugis, Company Standard Bearer, Dreadnoughts, Rhinos, Razorbacks, Bike Squads, Landspeeders
- Company Colours: Orange Salamander head on black left shoulder
4th Company (Battle Company)
- Captain: Dac'tyr, Master of the Fleet, Lord of the Burning Skies
- Squads: 7 Tactical Squads, 3 Devastator Squads, 2 Assault Squads
- Support: Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Standard Bearer, Dreadnoughts, Rhinos, Razorbacks, Bike Squads, Landspeeders
- Company Colours: Green Salamander head on black left shoulder
5th Company (Reserve Company)
- Captain: Mulceber
- Squads: 8 Tactical Squads, 4 Devastator Squads
- Support: Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Standard Bearer,Dreadnoughts, Rhinos, Razorbacks
- Company Colours: Black Salamander head on yellow left shoulder
6th Company (Reserve Company)
- Captain: Drakgaard
- Squads: 8 Tactical Squads, 4 Devastator Squads
- Support: Chaplain, Apothecary, Company Standard Bearer, Dreadnoughts, Rhinos, Razorbacks
- Company Colours: Green Salamander head on yellow left shoulder
7th Company (Scout Company)
- Captain: Sol Ba'ken, Master of Recruits
- Squads: 6 Scout Squads
- Support: Chaplain, Apothecary,Scout Bike Squads, Land Speeder Storms
- Company Colours: Black Salamander head on white left shoulder
- Argos, Master of the Forge
- Land Raiders
- Chapter Serfs
- Promethean Clan Support Staff
Like their fellow Astartes, the Salamanders also maintain a Librarium of potent psykers who are highly talented and trained to master the power of the Warp at the highest levels. Each Chapter selects its Librarians in its own way, either from seed worlds, as do the Salamanders with the bulk of their Initiates, or from the ranks of gifted psykers brought to the Scholastica Psykana and then chosen to by each Chapter. Most Chapters train and test their chosen psyker candidates for the Librarium following the ancient methods prescribed by the Codex Astartes. Librarians of the Salamanders are trained in this way, and, with few minor traditional variances, have been taught to live by the word of the Codex. Salamanders Librarians have a number of unique psychic abilities only used by the psykers of their Chapter, which include:
- Fury of the Salamander - The Librarian conjures the flame and fury of his homeworld of Nocturne and the terrible lizards that dwell upon it, and drives this raging conflagration towards his enemies. The roiling flames twist and writhe into the form of an ancient and powerful drake, its malevolent visage inspiring dread. This power conjures a 1 metre wide line out to its maximum range which strikes everything along its path.
- Heart of the Furnace - The searing heat of the forge runs through the veins of the Salamanders, and the Librarian can turn that heat outwards, wreathing himself in a flame that enemies cannot bear to be near, and which causes flesh to burn and blister at his touch. Any creature, friend or foe, can be affected by these flames.
- Nocturne's Fire - The volcanic fury of Nocturne is a deep and powerful force, and terrifying when fully unleashed. Salamanders are reluctant to use this power unless absolutely necessary, for it can be difficult to control once manifested. The area around the Librarian is suddenly engulfed in a raging inferno which few things can withstand. All creatures within the area of effect suffer, whether they are friend or foe. The Librarian remains unharmed, but cannot move while this power is being sustained.
- Vulkan's Anvil - The Librarian draws upon the unyielding endurance that the Salamanders are legendary for, becoming an anvil against the attacks of his enemies. There is little that can strike a Librarian down when he manifests this power, which greatly enhances the ability of his body to withstand all attacks.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
The Chapter follows most normal Imperial tactical and strategic dogma, as emphasised in the Codex Astartes, but with only slight variations. The Salamanders have a preference for close-ranged fire fights and use many Melta and Flamer weapons to burn whole swathes of infantry troops and to smash armoured foes. The Salamanders also have an intimate knowledge of the ways of metal and fire, forging great relics and powerful Artificer items. They have more Techmarines than is normal for an Astartes Chapter, although not a disproportionate number. Because each Salamanders Battle-Brother can completely repair, service and modify their own arms, Power Armour and wargear, the Techmarines of the Salamanders are free to craft intricate and powerful items of incredible workmanship and advanced technology. This is most evident in the unusual numbers of Terminators in their force, as well as a greater portion of master-crafted weaponry. Their technological resources are also supplemented by regular trade with the Adeptus Mechanicus, made possible by Nocturne's abundant mineral resources.
Self-reliance and craftsmanship are both highly prized traits within the Salamanders Chapter as their Primarch Vulkan himself was a great Artificer, forging many wonders. The only Primarch able to match Vulkan's skill at crafting was his iron-handed brother Primarch Ferrus Manus of the Iron Hands Legion, although Vulkan himself preferred to work the steel over a flame rather than using advanced machinery, just as he had when he was young.
Nocturne is the homeworld of the Salamanders Space Marine Chapter located in the Segmentum Ultima of the Imperium of Man and it is usually classified by the Imperial Administratum as both a Feudal World and a Death World. As a result of the tectonic stresses produced by the gravitational pull of its overlarge satellite Prometheus, there are vast chains of volcanoes scattered across the world's surface and frequent earthquakes, destroying what little the people have built above ground and forcing them to build their habitations in vast subterranean holds. The constant volcanic eruptions have swaddled the world in an ever-present cloak of dust and ash that obscures most sunlight. The Salamanders have built their fortress-monastery on Prometheus, Nocturne's massive moon. The Salamanders have a much closer relationship with their homeworld's people than is common among the Astartes, and they continue to interact quite closely with their own families and clans throughout their lives. As a result, the Salamanders have also developed a remarkable concern for protecting the lives of the Emperor's subjects and will make strenuous efforts to prevent civilian casualties on the battlefield.
When not at war, the Salamanders prefer to live among the people of Nocturne and Prometheus, and usually serve as the leaders of a Nocturnean settlement. Once every 15 Terran years (1 Nocturnean year), the two worlds approach so closely that Nocturne is almost torn to pieces by the resulting gravitic stresses. This is called the "Time of Trial" by the Nocturnean people. Vast tidal waves crash across the seas, thousands of volcanoes explode, their ash and fumes further blotting out the weak haze from the sun of Nocturne while powerful earthquakes constantly ravage the land. All life is sent reeling, towns collapse and people die with heartbreaking regularity. Then, a terrible winter sets in for the next quarter of a year. The young freeze and most, if not all, of the native reptilian livestock dies, unable to withstand the extreme cold as they had the heat.
One of the largest volcanic mountains on Nocturne is named Mount Deathfire. This is where the largest of the massive fire-resistant reptiles called salamanders who are common on Nocturne live, and they are known as the Firedrakes. They are huge, fire-breathing beasts, and one was killed each by the Emperor of Mankind and the Primarch Vulkan during the legendary contests held between the two ten millennia ago when the Emperor rediscovered his son. This world may seem a strange place for humans to live and even thrive, but the Nocturnean people have been moulded both physically and mentally into stronger and more resilient forms by this adversity. The Time of Trial also brings great rewards. Rich veins of gems and strategic metals are revealed, large enough to be mined by the Nocturnan clans to pay for new livestock and food on the Imperium's interplanetary markets.
The Salamanders and other residents of Nocturne live in giant underground Sanctuary Cities, the largest of which is called Hesiod and which tend to be the home of a single one of the Nocturnean people's clans. Each Salamanders company is usually recruited entirely from one of these clan settlements so that the Battle-Brothers of a company will share their clan as well as Chapter loyalties and will also feel strongly connected to their homeworld's common people. The Salamanders either live on Prometheus in the fortress-monastery or live among the people on Nocturne, where they usually serve as the leaders of the clan settlements that dominate the relatively small Nocturnean population of 15 million people.
Recruitment for the Salamanders starts early on Nocturne, at the ages of 6 or 7 Terran years. Those selected as Aspirants are first apprenticed to a Salamanders Astartes who will be their mentor and guide through the process and then taught the ancient ways of the forge. As their training progresses they are required to perform the same trials as Vulkan did in his competition with the Emperor, culminating in the capture of a great salamander reptile on the slopes of Mount Deathfire. Those Aspirants who survive to complete all of these tasks are taken for biological enhancement and implantation of the Chapter's gene-seed at the Salamanders' fortress-monastery on the moon of Prometheus.
It should be noted that the people of Nocturne have been slightly mutated by their constant exposure to the high levels of radioactivity present on their world due to the radioactive rare earth elements often uncovered by the extreme volcanism. They have developed deep ebony skins and the irises of their eyes now glow red in the darkness because they developed over many generations the ability to see in the infrared levels of the electromagnetic spectrum to deal with the constant volcanic pollution that blocks out their world's sunlight. These same physical characteristics are also present in every Salamanders Space Marine. The Imperium's Ecclesiarchy does not consider these mutations heretical as the Salamanders and the Nocturnans themselves have always been among the most staunchly loyal to the Emperor of the Space Marine Chapters and the Promethean Cult prevalent on the world is an accepted variant of the Imperial Cult.
Nocturne is part of what is actually a binary planetary system, with its oversized moon Prometheus circling it in an erratic orbit whose shifting gravity causes massive tectonic stress. As mentioned above, the Salamanders' fortress-monastery is based on the moon of Prometheus and is known by the same name. It is little more than a spaceport at which the Chapter's starships may dock and refuel. The monastery is the only construction built there and has a great orbital dock were the Chapter's Strike Cruisers and Battle Barges can be maintained, refit and repaired. However, many of the Salamanders live on this moon rather than on Nocturne itself when their duties require them to be away from their home clans and the planet's Sanctuary Cities.
The Salamanders have built their fortress-monastery on Prometheus, Nocturne's oversized moon. Nocturne itself is too geologically and volcanically unstable a world to build a large, defensible structure upon. Its high gravity and other environmental issues like the constant volcanic eruptions could also make training more problematic and dangerous than even Space Marines would be able to handle. When not at war, the Salamanders prefer to live among the common people of Nocturne and Prometheus, and are the leaders of each settlement. This is a unique trait of the Chapter, and makes the Astartes akin to living gods among the fierce peoples of their feudal homeworld.
The Pantheon was an extension of the Salamanders' fortress-monastery on Prometheus, the moon of Nocturne. Though, in truth, this bastion of the Chapter was not much more than a simple spaceport linked to an orbital dock where the Chapter’s modest armada of vessels could be refitted and repaired. Rank-and-file Battle-Brothers of the Chapter were restricted from entering the Pantheon. Many Salamanders Astartes had never even seen the Pantheon, though they all knew that at its centre was a small, circular deliberation chamber located deep within the subterranean heart of Prometheus. Only matters of dire import or of profound spiritual significance to the Chapter were ever discussed in the Pantheon. The chamber possessed eighteen seats, which represented the Salamanders' original status as the XVIIIth Legion of Space Marines. The Chapter had retained this numerical designation after the Second Founding broke up the original Space Marine Legions into their Successor Chapters, an event in which the Salamanders had been unable to participate because of their heavy losses during the Drop Site Massacre.
The head seat of the Pantheon was reserved for the Chapter Master, an honour that had been Tu’Shan's for nearly fifty standard years. Thirteen were for the other officers of the Chapter: six to the Captains of the remaining companies; one each for the Apothecarion, Librarius, Chaplaincy and Fleet; with a further three devoted to the Armoury and the Masters of the Forge, an unusual triumvirate but necessary given the Salamanders’ predilection for weaponscraft. Three of the seats were for honoured guests sequestered by the Chapter Master and with the agreement of the rest of the council. Praetor, the Firedrake’s most senior sergeant, often assumed one of these seats. The Librarian Pyriel occupied another. The last position had remained empty for many years, since before Tu'Shan had even assumed the mantle of the Regent of Prometheus.
It was in the Pantheon that the Masters of the Salamanders would sit to consult the Tome of Fire. This artefact of the Chapter had been written by the hand of the Primarch Vulkan in ages past. Though many within the Chapter had never seen it, let alone perused its pages, they knew that it was full of riddles and prophecies. Rumours held that the words themselves were inked partly in Vulkan’s blood and shimmered like captured fire if brought up to the light. The Tome of Fire was not merely one volume, as the name suggested, but rather dozens arrayed in the stacks around the circular walls of the Pantheon. Deciphering the script of the Tome of Fire was not easy. There were secrets within, left by the Primarch for his sons to unlock. The volumes foretold of great events and upheavals for those with the wit to perceive them. But perhaps most pointedly, the Tome contained the history, form and location of the nine artefacts Vulkan had hidden throughout the galaxy for the Salamanders to unearth. Five of these sacred relics had been discovered over the centuries through the travails of the Chapter's Forgefathers; the locations of the remaining four were embedded cryptically within the Tome’s arcane pages. Chapter Master Tu’Shan and those masters still on Prometheus would regularly convene and pore over the Tome of Fire in the hope of unearthing some clue that would unlock the location of one of these ancient artefacts.
Upon the blackened, volcanic world of Nocturne there are seven great settlements known as the Sanctuary Cities of Nocturne. The foundations of these mighty cities bored deep into the earth and each was rooted in the hardest bedrock of the planet. The Sanctuary Cities were established in the location of the seven original settlements of Nocturne's ancient tribal kings. Each of these cities was home to one of seven Salamander Chapter bastions that were located on Nocturne. Each was devoted to and inhabited by the Astartes of one of the Chapter's seven companies. Each Chapter bastion was an austere and hollow place. During the Time of Trial, the Sanctuary Cities threw open their gates and offered shelter to the people of Nocturne. As the Nocturneans were primarily a nomadic race, much of the planet's populace dwelt in disparate villages or even transient encampments ill-suited to resist the devastation wrought by the constant earthquakes and eruptions of volcanoes that plagued the world. Vast pilgrimages were often undertaken that trailed the length and breadth of the planet, as Nocturneans travelled great distances seeking succour.
Stout walls and robust gates wrought to be strong and resilient by Nocturne’s master artisans were the Sanctuary Cities’ bulwark of defence during the earliest years of the world's ancient colonisation. Tribal shamans who were latent psykers -- before such genetic mutations were demystified and regulated under the Imperium -- had been the first to establish where the safest locations on Nocturne were for these permanent settlements to be founded. They had done so through their psychic communion with the earth, a sacred bond that the people of Nocturne still recognised and respected. Later, there had come the geological pioneers who advised on the construction and development of the nascent townships that would eventually become the Sancutary Cities. But as the ages passed these cities had evolved. Technologies brought by the Emperor after the Great Crusade encountered Nocturne provided new technologies with which to withstand the violent rigour of Nocturnean geology. Void Shields stood in the path of lava flows or pyroclastic clouds; adamantium and reinforced ceramite repelled the seismic tremors or sweeping floods of fire. These havens and their defences were all that stood between the people of Nocturne and their eradication by the elements.
Within each Chapter bastion in the Sanctuary Cities, gymnasia provided for the rigours of the Astartes’ daily training regimen, and a Reclusiam, presided over by the company’s Chaplain, saw to their spiritual needs. In the lower levels of each bastion were the solitoriums, little more than stark oubliettes used for battle-mediation and honour-scarring. Dormitories were sparse and mainly inhabited by Chapter Serfs. Armouries held weapons and other war materiel, though these were mainly for the Chapter's Neophytes -- seasoned Battle-Brothers often maintained their own arsenals, situated at private domiciles amongst the populace of Nocturne where they could better act as their custodians and protectors. Refectories provided repast, and in the great halls rare gatherings could be held. An Apothecarion saw to the wounded. Oratoriums and Librariums were maintained as seats of knowledge and learning in each bastion, though the culture of Nocturne stressed greater importance on the experience and tempering fire of the battlefield.
Catacombs ran through a vast undercroft in each bastion where the emanating swelter of the forges could be felt, the soot of foundries and the hard metal stench of smelteries absorbed by every pore. The great forges of the bastions were temples of iron and steel, where an anvil rather than an altar was the pillar of worship. The hours of devotion spent in the cloying heat, through the lathered sweat and thickening smoke, were as crucial to a Salamander Space Marine as any battle-rite.
Regions of Nocturne
Nocturne has nine settled "realms", seven known sanctuary-cities and two other locales of great spiritual and practical significance to the native population. Each city-settlement serves as the focus of the Chapter's recruitment and their governance on the planet, anchoring the Salamanders to the humans for whom they fight, and each city-settlement exhibits its own unique influences on the Chapter's traditions. The Nine Regions of Nocturne include:
- Hesiod - Known as the Seat of Kings, Hesiod is the largest of the Sanctuary Cities of Nocturne.
- Themis - Themis is also known as the City of Warlords.
- Epimethus - Known as the Jewel City, Epimethus is Nocturne's only ocean-bound Sanctuary City. This tall spire juts like a dull blade into the sky. Epimethus is surrounded by other, much smaller satellite structures, which are the numerous drill rigs and mineral harvesting platforms that rake the ocean floor or mine its deepest trenches for ore.
- Heliosa - Heliosa is also known as the Beacon City.
- Aethonion - The Fire Spike.
- Clymene - The Merchant's Sprawl.
- Skarokk - The Dragonspine.
- Mount Deathfire - The Fount of Life and Death.
- Ignea - The Cold Labyrinth of the Underworld.
Vault of Remembrance
A Vault of Remembrance is located within each of the seven Sanctuary Cities of Nocturne. Located within the highest echelon of the Chapter Bastion within each city was the sacred chamber were a Battle-Brother of the Salamanders could reflect and offer supplication in memoriam for his slain comrades. These temples are vast, echoing spaces. The harmonies of phonolite-chimes echo off each one's darkened walls. Hewn from volcanic aphanite, they rise up like geodesic intrusions and taper off into a craterous aperture that lay open to Nocturne’s fiery-orange sky. Black and fathomless obsidian formed a hexagonal expanse, serving as the massive chamber’s floor.
Stout columns of deep red felsite buttress the half-ceiling, shot through with veins of fluorescent adamite. The rare volcanic rocks and minerals used to fashion these magnificent temples were harvested after each Time of Trial, and the stark and frigid winter that followed in its wake. Such artefacts of geological beauty could be found throughout Nocturne. The most precious were protected within the stout walls of the Sanctuary Cities and their void shield generators. Iron braziers around the chamber’s edge gave it a fiery cast, their flames flickering in the lustrous faces of the polished rock. The vault appeared luminous and abyssal in the light’s reflection -- a diabolic temple raised from the bowels of the world. At its nexus a giant pillar of fire roared, tendrils of a memorial flame lashing from a core of white heat. Ordinarily, a slain Salamander was incinerated in the Pyreum, a massive crematoria forge that existed beneath Mount Deathfire, Nocturne's greatest volcanic peak. According to Promethean lore, the essence of the departed would be passed on into his suit of Power Armour when his ashen remains were offered up on the pyre-slab and he was returned to the mountain. But memorials or remembrance for the departed were always carried out within the Vault of Remembrance located in the Chapter Bastion of which the lost Battle-Brother had been a part.
Mount Deathfire was a massive volcano in the Pyre Desert that was home to the great salamander reptiles called Fire Drakes that were part of the legendary contest between Vulkan and the Emperor 10,000 standard years ago. Mount Deathfire is still the location for the last trial faced by the young Aspirants who wish to join the Salamanders Chapter. Within Mount Deathfire is a sacred cavern where the rites of Immolation are carried out. This chamber is known as the Pyreum, a massive crematoria where the bodies of slain Astartes are returned to the sacred fire of the mighty volcano. According to Promethean lore, the essence of the departed would be passed on into the armour when his ashen remains were offered up on the pyre-slab and he was returned to the mountain. This sacred chamber was held in a deep basin of volcanic rock, girded by layers of reinforced heat-retardant ceramite so that it pooled briefly before flowing onwards from one of the many natural outlets in the rock. There were no lanterns in the cavern, for none were needed. The lava cast a warm and eldritch glow.
Though ostensibly carved from rough rock and intended to look like a natural cavern, the Pyreum was actually a sacred place built by Master of the Forge T'kell. Millennia old, its artifice and functionality were still lauded in the current decaying Age of the Imperium. T'kell had fashioned the vault under the careful auspice of the Chapter's Primarch, Vulkan, and had been amongst the first of his students upon his apotheosis to Primarch. These same skills Tkell would impart to future generations of Salamanders, together with the arcane secrets learned from the Tech-priests of Mars. The Master of the Forge was long dead now, and others walked in his mighty stead, but his legacy of achievements remained. The cavern of the Pyreum was but one of them.
Within this mightiest of Nocturne's volcanoes lies a labyrinth of tunnels and catacombs so vast that two individuals could spend months abroad in its depths and never meet one another and never even witness a sign of each other's passing. Much of its subterranean darkness was uncharted. Only Vulkan had ever known its every shrouded corner, its every tunnel and chamber. Beasts slumbered in the lowest deeps, old creatures jealous of Man and his dominance of the surface. The unique acoustics of the rock, the veins of phonolite and other aurally conductive minerals within its composition, allowed the plaintive wailing of such creatures to be heard far from their dwelling places by human Nocturneans. Few natives ever braved the mountain depths for that reason. It was the province of the Salamanders alone and so these passages often lay deserted.
This relatively unsettled Nocturnean continent's people provide comparatively few recruits for the Salamanders, as they do not live in the large subterranean Sanctuary Cities but are instead nomadic clans that take refuge for only short times in the various cave systems of the continent, preferring the freedom of constant motion to a more settled existence. As such, they are generally economically much poorer than the settled clans that live in the Sanctuary Cities and they are viewed with disdain and prejudice by the people of those settlements. It is this prejudice and their lower socioeconomic status that usually prevents the nomadic clans' youth from successfully completing the trials required to become a Salamanders Neophyte.
The Promethean Cult governs the beliefs of the Salamanders, placing great emphasis on self-reliance, loyalty, and self-sacrifice. These values stem from their training as smiths. The Promethean Cult calls on its followers to emulate the deeds and be true to the teachings of the Nocturnean Primarch Vulkan as well as providing service to and worship of his father, the Emperor of Mankind. Prometheans believe deeply in the virtues of self-reliance and self-sacrifice for others, long defining cultural values of the Nocturnean people, who have struggled to survive the harsh environment of their volcanic and earthquake-wracked homeworld. They hold a firm belief in isolationism, the tenet that only through spiritual meditation and exploration performed alone and in isolation from others can a person gain a true understanding of both themselves and how they can best honour the legacy of Vulkan and serve the will of the Emperor. Prometheans make use of fire in many of their rituals and ceremonies and believe that they must be cleansed by the pain of fire before every major undertaking or initiative. The hammer, sometimes called Vulkan's Sigil, the forge and the anvil are also important symbols for Prometheans due to the importance of smithing in Nocturnean culture. Promethean believers also hold sacred the words of the ancient ritual book known as the Canticle of Immolation, which is often read by Salamanders Chaplains during the Chapter's various ceremonies. It is not uncommon for Salamanders Space Marines to engage in ritual scarring by branding and burning. Frequently held trials of walking over burning coals and carrying red-hot metal bars are a common occurrence. As the Promethean Cult openly calls on its adherents to venerate the Primarchs and follow the Emperor loyally, it is not considered heretical by the Ecclesiarchy and instead has received official sanction as one of the accepted variants of the Imperium's state religion, the Imperial Creed.
Brander-priests are a valued group of Chapter Serfs who administer the ritual brands to the flesh of the Salamanders Astartes. Achievements and honours are recorded in brands upon the flesh of each Astartes, and the brands wind around the limbs and body of the Space Marine. Once healed, each of these scars represented a living history of the Salamanders' many conflicts. Each was a battle won, a foe vanquished. No Salamander went into battle without first being marked to honour it and then again at battle's end to commemorate it. Over the centuries of service to the Chapter these honour marks would come to wreathe a Battle-Brother's legs, arms, torso and back. They were intricate, and became more detailed as each new honour scar was added. Only the most senior Veterans of the Chapter, a Salamander with centuries of service, ever bore such markings on their faces, as their entire bodies were covered in honour marks. Chapter Master Tu'Shan is said to possess so many of these honour marks that he has run out of room on his flesh and instead has to have fresh honours marked directly onto his battle-plate. Brander-priests are assigned upon an Astartes' induction into the Chapter and will ideally serve with that particular Space Marine for their entire lives.
Pilots are the only warriors in the Chapter who may ritually scar their faces before the rest of their bodies, for pilots will traditionally brand the Dactyl's Sigil on their faces, the symbol of the Dactyl, an avian predator native to Nocturne. Captain Dac'tyr of the 4th Company bears a particularly large and detailed sigil as befits his rank as the Chapter's Master of the Fleet.
The reptilian salamanders after which the Chapter are named can live very long lives indeed; the oldest and most legendary drakes are revered in the Chapter's legends, such as the mighty Kessare whose hide is worn by the Forgefather Vulkan He'stan and Kessarghoth, Guardian of the Gate of Fire, a mythical drake of Nocturne whose spirit appeared recently in the Totem Walk of Lexicanium Dak'ir. Those drakes hunted by the Astartes of the Chapter are named and remembered as well.
Those Salamanders Battle-Brothers facing a crisis of belief or purpose will sometimes choose to undertake a ritual known as the Burning Walk. The Battle-Brother departs the Chapter dressed only in the robes of a Nocturnan desert traveler and armed only with a walking staff, to travel the dunes and deserts of Nocturne until their crisis is resolved and they return. Few Astartes who undertake the Burning Walk return, however, and the ritual is more often than not a death sentence.
Relics of Vulkan
According to Chapter legends, the Primarch Vulkan left behind nine relics of advanced technology crafted or designed by his own hand for his prodigy to find and wield if they proved worthy. The Primarch purposely hid these artefacts throughout the galaxy to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands, but also because he knew that even the grandest prize was as nothing were it to be seized without challenge. Since Vulkan's disappearance over seven millennia ago, the Salamanders have appointed one from amongst their number to seek the lost legacy of their Primarch who is known as the Forgefather. This quest has been handed down through the Forgefathers, the greatest heroes within the Chapter, who are always gifted with the name of the Primarch before their own. The Forgefathers seek across the galaxy for the artefacts of Vulkan by deciphering the clues the Primarch left behind in the ancient book that is sacred to the Chapter and the Promethean Cult that is known as the Tome of Fire. At the close of the 41st Millennium, this is a burden currently borne by Vulkan He'stan, the former Captain of the 4th Company.
Only four of Vulkan's original nine artefacts does He'stan seek -- the others have been found through the travails of previous Forgefathers. Three of these, the Spear of Vulkan (a master-crafted relic blade that burns so brightly as to set even Ceramite ablaze), Kesare's Mantle (a legendary drakescale cloak made of Adamantium-hard drake scales) and the Gauntlet of the Forge (a master-crafted armoured gauntlet with a built-in miniature Heavy Flamer, whose molten rage none can endure), are always carried into battle by the Forgefather on his quest. The other two recovered artefacts remain on the Salamanders' moon of Prometheus, for they are valuable beyond measure. One is the Forgeship Chalice of Fire, whose vast manufactorums provide the Salamanders with their weapons of war. The next is the Eye of Vulkan, a spacebound defence laser assembly that stands eternal vigil over the Salamander's fortress-monastery on Prometheus. Of the remaining artefacts, the Engine of Woes, the Obsidian Chariot, the Unbound Flame and the Song of Entropy, only the names are known to the Chapter. Their size, form and location are locked within the Tome of Fire, there to be uncovered as the Primarch's prophecies reveal themselves.
Great Crusade Era
At the time of the Great Crusade, idiosyncrasies in gene-seed were not merely common within the Legiones Astartes, they were part of the Emperor's grand design. It was divergence in programming and influence of the Primarch's genotype in the transformation of human to transhuman Astartes that, beyond any other factor, set the Space Marine Legions apart from each other. In the case of the Salamanders, this factor showed clearly both in temperament and overtly in physiology. Of particular note was the strength of constitution displayed by fully developed Salamanders Astartes, which had measurable superiority to the already superhuman Space Marine norms in relation to extreme temperate tolerance, radiological resistance and cellular repair. As a result of this latter factor particularly, only the Death Guard Legion are on record as having a capacity to process and resist toxins that exceed the Salamander's gene-type.
This variant gene-seed, however, also had some unusual outward effects, the first of which, noticeable even in the first Terran members of the XVIIIth Legion's intake, was a much-remarked "ember-like" bioluminescence to their eyes and a tendency for skin pigmentation to permanently darken in response to prolonged exposure to high levels of potentially harmful radiation as part of their biological defence mechanism, often adopting an unnatural granite-like or obsidian quality with sufficient exposure. This combination of effects, coupled with their Astartes might, made for a particularly frightening appearance for the Legion's rank and file. This alone had earned them fear and an almost superstitious apprehension on first contact by other humans, as "devils in the dark" for example, as they were named by the Proximal Scaver-tribes whose rebellion they were called to quell early in the Great Crusade. It is worthy to note, in fact, that Nocturne, being a world where extremes of temperate and highly unusual radiological phenomena were present, served to further bring out this physiological reaction in Terran Legionaries stationed there and freshly in-taken native inhabitants alike, transforming them. This, if nothing else, helped create a sense of shared nature and identity, both within the Legion and directly in kinship with Vulkan himself, who also shared in these traits.
As far as can be ascertained by the Magos Biologis of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Salamander's gene-seed appears to be both stable and as yet uncorrupted. An unusual trait of the Salamanders is that their Battle-Brothers tend to be slower in reflex reaction than other Chapters, though the origin of this factor is debated and has not been attributed to any factors present in the gene-seed. It is unknown whether this defect is due to a problem with the gene-seed that manifested as a result of most Salamanders Battle-Brothers being raised on their high-gravity world, or the psychological result of the Chapter's doctrines and psycho-conditioning against hastiness and impetuosity. However, it has been noted that a Salamanders Space Marine can move just as quickly as any Astartes equipped with Power Armour, which gives some weight to the psychological hypothesis. The Salamanders were always the smallest of the First Founding Legions, owing to their indoctrination procedures and the large number of Salamanders Space Marines slain at the Istvaan V Drop Site Massacre during the opening days of the Horus Heresy. After the massacre on Istvaan V, the Legion's numbers were severely reduced and, as such, no Successor Chapters were formed from the original XVIIIth Legion during the Second Founding. Although, Imperial scholars have pointed out the similarities in the physiques, markings, and tactical dogma of such Chapters as the Black Dragons and the Storm Giants which may be Salamanders Successor Chapters created at a later date from the stockpiles of their gene-seed.
While it can be said that the Salamanders' gene-seed may not be mutated or deficient, their physical appearance is striking, most likely brought about by a combination of the phentotypic effects created by a biochemical interplay of their gene-seed, the erratic gravitational and radioactive forces on Nocturne, and the unique genetics of the human population that has evolved to survive them. These factors have contributed to the peculiar reaction of the Astartes' Melanochrome gene-seed organ within the Space Marines native to the fiery world, resulting in an individual Battle-Brother's skin becoming obsidian-black and their eyes blazing with a burning red glow. This combination of effects gives the Salamanders an almost daemonic visage, an irony considering the Sons of Vulkan are one of the most humanitarian Chapters of the Astartes. The Salamanders use their terrifying appearance as another tool in the Chapter's arsenal, and it has been used by them to great effect to terrify and intimidate more than one rebellion against Imperial authority into submission without the need to destroy it.
With a culture that emphasises endurance and self-sacrifice, the Salamanders are renowned for their stubborn nature. The Salamanders are not swift to determine a course of action, and slower still to change their minds once they have decided. However, it is a fine line between determination and obstinacy, and Battle-Brothers must be watchful that their stubbornness does not grow.
- Level 1 (Unrelenting) - The Battle-Brother cannot easily change his mind once he has decided upon something. Having weighed the facts of the situation, he sees his current course of action as the best one, and cannot easily consider alternatives.
- Level 2 (Intransigent) - The Battle-Brother is unwilling to compromise and is difficult to reason with. His stubborn nature prevents him from regarding any alternatives to his point of view. Unable to reconcile with the rest of his squad, the Battle-Brother chooses only to rely on himself.
- Level 3 (Obstinate) - The Battle-Brother is slow to decide and is unlikely ever to change his views on any matter, and will die before relenting in any situation.
- Vulkan - Vulkan served as the Primarch of the Salamanders Legion. He was an extraordinary craftsman and stout war leader. Vulkan was one of the few Loyalist Primarchs to survive the events of the Horus Heresy and the Great Scouring, though he later disappeared mysteriously. Approximately a thousand standard years after the end of the Heresy, Vulkan hid 9 sacred artefacts he had created around the galaxy for his Chapter to find, as a test to see if they were worthy of his leadership. He then disappeared to an unknown destination, leaving his Chapter with the message that whenever the Forgefather of the Salamanders had found all nine items, Vulkan would return to lead his Chapter to victory over the enemies of the Imperium in its final days of greatest need, according to the signs foreseen in the Chapter's book of prophecy, the Tome of Fire.
- Legion Commander Cassian Vaughn, "The Fallen Master" - Cassian Vaughn was the first Legion Commander of the XVIIIth Legion before the discovery of the Primarch Vulkan. Cassian was mortally wounded in battle against the Orks, but such was the esteem in which Vulkan held this warrior that he undertook to fashion for him a unique Dreadnought sarcophagus of unsurpassed sophistication and resilience known as the Dracos Revenant, or the Iron Dragon. It was forged of a nigh-impregnable and unknown alloy said to come from deep beneath Old Earth that none save Vulkan was able to master and shape to his will. At Istvaan V, Cassian fought with unmatched fury, first spearheading the attack against the enemy then, as the second wave showed their true colours, standing fast though all around him were slaughtered. Eventually, his armour was burned through and pierced in a dozen places by a blizzard of heavy weapons fire, but he fought on, crashing into the encircling foe and leaving a trail of devastation in his wake. Though his final fate remains unknown, it is generally assumed that Vaughn met his end during the vicious fighting during the Dropsite Massacre, as the Dracos Revenant was either recovered by the Loyalist survivors during their flight from the scorched and blood-soaked battlefields of Istvaan V, or possibly, the Dreadnought chassis was recovered in whole by the sons of Vulkan at a later date. In either case, the Salamanders Chapter has continued over the millennia to have fallen Battle-Brothers interred within this Ancient's sarcophagus.
- First Captain Artellus Numeon - Numeon was a Terran-born Salamanders officer who served as the First Captain of the Legion's elite 1st Company, known as the Fire Drakes, during the last days of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. He also served as Equerry to the Primarch and commanded Vulkan's elite personal Honour Guard, the Pyre Guard, which was comprised of Veteran Battle-Brothers of the Salamanders Legion. Sworn to protect the Primarch, these were warriors set apart from the rest of the XVIIIth Legion. Terran-born like their commander, they did not always fully appreciate the earthy sentiments of the Nocturnean culture in which Vulkan had been raised, but they knew their duty deep within their genetically-enhanced bones. Numeon was present during the tragic events of the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V where his Legion was nearly decimated. He survived the Traitors' trap and eventually made his way off the scoured planet, to carry on the war against the Warmaster's Traitor Legions. Joining a group of Loyalist survivors led by one of Ferrus Manus' former bodyguards, Numeon was then recovered by the Salamanders' Strike Cruiser, Fire Ark, which would become their base of operations for the following months. Performing hit-and-run attacks, the Loyalists around Artellus Numeon picked up the trail of a Dark Apostle of the Word Bearers and his quest for a terrible weapon, rumoured to be the Emperor's power made manifest. En route to the world of Traoris, the Fire Ark picked up an archeologist known as Sebaton which soon revealed himself as the Perpetual John Grammaticus, an immortal agent of the mysterious Cabal. As Loyalists and Traitors desperately searched to retrieve the mighty weapon, the Loyalists perished one-by-one until only Numeon and Grammaticus remain. Having retrieved the weapon, Grammaticus then betrayed Numeon by shooting him in the eye with a concealed digital weapon. Although severely wounded, Numeon attempted to go after Grammaticus but was shot in the back by Dark Apostle Elias. He then lost consciousness and was left for dead. Awakening in agony, he saw that both Grammaticus and the weapon were gone. Numeon managed to depart the planet and succeeded in re-joining the Fire Ark, only to be taken prisoner by another Word Bearers force embarked upon the Shadow Crusade. Fortunately for Numeon, the Word Bearer vessel was boarded by the Ultramarines of Sergeant Aeonid Thiel, and Numeon was liberated and escorted to Macragge, where he reuniting with the remnants of his shattered Legion and his fallen Primarch. Considered by many to be the rightful Legion Master of the XVIIIth Legion, Numeon -- secretly convinced that Vulkan was still alive or might be resurrected -- convinced Roboute Guilliman to let them depart upon the Charbydis, a Salamanders' vessel, in an attempt to break through the Ruinstorm and bring Vulkan's body back to Nocturne. Through his faith in his Primarch's imminent return, Numeon successfully federated the survivors of the XVIIIth Legion into a new brotherhood, The Pyre, which would succeed through much hardship and countless sacrifices to reach Nocturne. Having been trailed by the Death Guard Legionary Commander, Malig Laestygon, Numeon and his fellow survivors successfully linked up with Lord Chaplain Nomus Rhy'tan and their fellow Salamanders remaining on Nocturne. Together, they managed to vanquish the invaders and brought Vulkan's body to the sacred ground beneath Mount Deathfire. However, once the proper rites had been conducted, Vulkan didn't emerge from the fiery pit he was submerged in. Waiting for over a week, this turn of events sufficiently broke Numeon's spirit. As the next Time of Trials drew near, Numeon renounced his rank and position. Stripping off his power armour, he departed from his fellow legionaries and stealthily wandered away into the burning ash wastes around Mount Deathfire, where he offered himself as a final sacrifice so that his father and Primarch could be restored.
- Chapter Master T'kell - Chapter Master T'kell was a senior officer of the Salamander's Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras that maintained a small garrison and a few ships on Nocturne's moon, Prometheus, during the Heresy. The garrison however, was quite small as the bulk of the Legion had followed Vulkan to take part in the operation on Istvaan V. Chapter Master T'kell's ultimate fate following the end of the Horus Heresy and the dissolution of the XVIIIth Legion into separate Chapters during the Second Founding, remains unknown.
- Chapter Master Tu'Shan - Current Chapter Master of the Salamanders and the Regent of Prometheus, Tu'Shan is a living legend. His victories and accomplishments are well known and he is an example to the Salamanders' values of compassion, duty and self-sacrifice. Tu'shan personally participated in the Third War for Armageddon, his Chapter earning much fame and adoration from the populace for their daring and desperate battles to protect refugee columns and the people of Armageddon.
- Captain Zek Tsu'Gan - Former Veteran Sergeant of the 3rd Company. Ascended to the ranks of the 1st Company after the events on Scoria.
- Captain Pellas Mir'san - Known as "Winter Blade" and the "Defender of Nocturne", Pellas Mir'san has served as the Captain of the Salamanders 2nd Company for more than a century and a half, and is one of the oldest members of the Chapter still serving. Captain Mir'san commanded the Salamanders Chapter's contingent as its Force Commander during the Chapter's involvement in the Badab War.
- Captain Adrax Agatone - Takes up command of the Salamanders 3rd Company following the death of Captain N'keln. Former 1st Tactical Sergeant of the Company. Captain Agatone took command of the battle for the Ferron Straits during the Gevion Campaign.
- Captain N'keln (Deceased)- Previous Captain of the 3rd Company and Kadai's successor after the battle against the Dragon Warriors on the world of Stratos. Regarded by many astartes within the Chapter as unready for the promotion, he rose to the occasion and became an inspiring leader. Unfortunately, treachery ended his leadership prematurely.
- Captain Ko'tan Kadai (Deceased)- Previous Captain of the 3rd Company, murdered by the treacherous Dragon Warriors on the war-torn world of Stratos.
- Captain Dac'tyr - Master of the Fleet and Captain of the 4th Company. Many warriors in the 4th Company are Pilots and bear the Dactyl Sigil. Captain Dac'tyr bears a particularly large and detailed version of the Sigil to represent his rank as Lord of the Burning Sky.
- Captain Nubean - Captain of the 4th Company during the Battle for Slato.
- Vulkan He'stan - Former Captain of the 4th Company, He'stan now serves as the Chapter's current Forgefather -- bearing their Primarch's name and charged with walking in his footsteps to locate the mythical lost relics of Vulkan whose locations remain locked in the sacred book of the Promethean Cult known as the Tome of Fire. The hope of the Salamanders rest upon this one Space Marine. To be so honoured is to be tasked with an epic quest, a journey that has been handed down in turn to the greatest heroes of the Chapter since the mysterious disappearance of their beloved Primarch, Vulkan. For millennia the Forgefather of the Salamanders has led the search to recover legendary relics. At a simple request, the Forgefather can draw upon the full might of the Chapter -- for they would go to any length, suffer any losses, in order to find all of the missing artefacts. It is a Salamanders legend, as told in ancient tales and inferred from the sacred book of the Promethean Cult known as the Tome of Fire, that when all nine of the Relics of Vulkan are recovered and returned once more to Nocturne, the Primarch himself will return to lead his sons to final victory. Before one can fully understand Vulkan He'stan and his quest, one must first know the tale of the Salamanders.
- Captain Mulcebar - Captain of the 5th Company, Mulcebar is a great traditionalist and holds the ancient and revoked Edicts of Nikaea as sacred, and thus, distrust every psyker and witch, even if they belong to the Librarius of his own chapter.
- Captain Ur'zan Drakgaard - Captain of the 6th Company, Ur'zan Drakgaard is a fierce and uncompromising individual. He is possessed of a grim countenance who sees little reason for enjoying beauty or anything trivial. However, the wounds borne by this stalwart Son of Vulkan, leaves no doubt as to his dedication and unflinchingly loyalty. Scars cover his body and his face bears heavy scarring which draws his face into a permanent snarl, exposing his teeth through his ravaged flesh. Despite his disfigurement, Ur'za bears his wounds as a mark of pride, seeing them as true measure of a warrior, and regards them higher than any honour received. Though he believes himself to be unremarkable and feels overshadowed by some of the other leaders within the Chapter, nevertheless, Captain Drakgaard is not bothered by this. For his sheer determination, singular purpose and the utter refusal to capitulate, no matter how dire the situation, more than makes up for his self-perceived failings. His wounds are a testament to his tenacity. In battle Ur'zan makes use of his wide-toothed Kaskara sword, which possesses one straight edge and one serrated. The sword's hilt is made of blended tellurium and gold and is capped with a pommel made from the tooth of the same drake who's scales he wears as a trophy. A fierce warrior and savage warrior, Captain Drakgaard leads from the front, leading his Honour Guard, the "Serpentia," into the thickest of the fighting.
- Captain Terellus - Former Captain of the 6th Company who led his warriors to betray the Chapter and their oaths of fealty to the Emperor of Mankind and instead swear their loyalty to the Chaos Blood God, Khorne. Leader of the Renegade Chaos Space Marines warband called the Dragon Warriors.
- Captain Zen'de - Former Master of Recruits and Captain of the 7th Company. Master Zen'de is a renowned Promethean philosopher of the Chapter.
- Captain T'sen - Captain of the Chapter.
- Captain Phoecus - Captain Phoecus led a company of the Salamanders during the 35th Millennium and commanded the Strike Cruiser Forgehammer.
- Master of Recruits Sol Ba'ken - Current Master of Recruits of the Salamanders' Chapter, Sol Ba'ken's service to the Chapter began as a simple Battle-Brother amongst the ill-fated 3rd Company. Massive, even for a Salamander, Ba'ken's resilience is almost legendary amongst the Chapter. Serving first as second-in-command to another great, if disputed, figure of the Chapter, then-Sergeant Da'kir, Ba'ken gained command brevet upon his friend's inclusion amongst the Chapter's Librarius Department. Listed as lost during the Greviox Campaign alongside Chaplain Elysius, Ba'ken had in fact been taken prisoner by Dark Eldar raiders and transported to an obscure corner of the Eldar Webway from which only Chaplain Elysius and himself would return alive. Seeing himself as ill-suited for the task at hand, but being by far the most logical and sensible choice, Solon Ba'ken has taken up the mantle of Master of Recruits only recently, but accomplishes his task with diligence and a fierce desire to improve his own skills so as to better serve his Chapter.
- Master of Recruits Prebian - Master Prebian was the previous training officer for the Chapter, the Master of Recruits. He personally taught Chaplain Elysius unarmed combat.
- Master Apothecary Harath Shen, "Defender of the Final Vault" - Master Harath Shen serves as the Master Apothecary of the Salamanders Chapter. He is one of the foremost of their Chapter's Apothecaries, a Veteran whose abilities have seen him rapidly progress through the ranks of the Apothecarion and whose bravery in recovering the gene-seed of the fallen has gained him great respect among the Chapter. At the beginning of the Badab War, Shen was engaged in overseeing a new intake of recruits on Nocturne and answered Pellas Mir'san's call to join the Chapter's expeditionary force. He fought at the forefront of the conflict, participating in Operation Sedna and the Invasion of Shaprias, but it was during the subsequent boarding of the Salamanders' Battle-Barge Pyre of Glory by Secessionist forces that the Master Apothecary's greatest hour would come, defending the gene-seed vault against the predations of the treacherous enemy.
- Apothecary Fugis - Fugis was the former Apothecary of the 3rd Company. Brother Fugis opted to take the Fire Walk after the battle for Scoria, a test of the will and the soul that few return from.
- Apothecary Emek - Brother Emek formerly served as a junior member of Sergeant Dak'ir's Tactical Squad before leaving to train in the Apothecarion. After the departure of Apothecary Fugis from the 3rd Company, Brother Emek became the company's new Apothecary.
- Apothecary Suda - Apothecary of the 4th Company during the Battle for Slato.
- Apothecary Tarsa - Former Apothecary of the 24th Company of the Salamanders’ Legion, Atesh Tarsa was counted dead for many years - one of the innumerable bodies left on the black sands of Istvaan V. Only later would the Legion discover that Tarsa had survived and joined the crew of the legendary Sysipheum.
- Techmarine Argos - Master of the Forge, Argos was one of the Salamanders' three honoured Forgemasters. Brother Argos trained as a Scout Marine alongside Chaplain Elysius and was horribly burned across his face when he slammed Elysius out of the way of a stream of Tyranid bio-acid.
- Techmarine Orlinia - Techmarine serving the 4th Company during the Battle for Slato.
- Techmarine T'kell - Legendary Techmarine and Master of the Forge of the Salamanders, built the Vault beneath Mount Deathfire where the ashes of fallen Salamanders are immolated in lava upon the Pyre-slab, their essence returned to the heart of Nocturne. T'kell built the Vault under the watchful eyes of Vulkan himself. Prior to Vulkan's departure to Istvaan III, T'kell was given the honor to become the first Forgefather. Vulkan ordered T'kell to destroy all of the relics that were stored in the Primarch's Great Vault, as Vulkan feared that his relics may fall into the wrong hands. T'kell pleaded his Primarch to leave some legacy behind, to which Vulkan had eventually agreed. Vulkan gave T'kell the privilege to choose seven of the relics that he would leave to his Legion.
- Brother Draedius - Brother Draedius serves as one of the Chapter's Techmarines.
- Brother M'karra - Brother M'karra serves as one of the Chapter's Techmarines.
- Chaplain Elysius - Chaplain Elysius is the current bearer of Vulkan's Sigil and an inspirational figure for the entire Chapter. Elyisius trained as a Scout Marine under the esteemed Master of Recruits Prebian and served alongside Brother Argos, future Lord of the Forge, in the 10th Company. Elysius' overconfidence and eagerness to join battle would see him severely compromise his mission on the moons of Ymgarl -- the tracking and marking of a single Genestealer -- in order for the Salamanders' 3rd Company to eradicate a Tyranids' nest. This would evenutally result in the death of a fellow Scout and the severe disfigurment of his friend, Brother Argos. Unwilling to let himself be extracted after this failure, Elysius would pursue his mission stubbornly, although he himself would also be severely wounded in combat with the Genestealer. As a sign of shame for his own failure, Elysius would then hide his unharmed face under his battle-helm. This let him to be perceived as a solitary being, whose counsel was always wise and whose fiery oratories could kindle the fire of hate in the Salamanders' hearts. Elysius is a veteran of his Chapter, serving his Chapter for over a century by the time his fate was linked to that of the 3rd Company. Following the death of Captain Ko'tan Kadai, Elysius acted as counselor to both of his successors and reunited the shattered squads of 3rd Company into a new brotherhood. He participated in both the events on Scoria, where he lost his right arm to an Ork Warboss, and those of the Geviox Campaign, which would see him taken prisoner by the cruel Dark Eldar alongside several other Salamanders. Both Elysius and future Master of Recruits, Sol Ba'ken survived in this hellish realm from which they would both be saved by Vulkan He'stan. Elysius would finally overcome his grief and play a more prominent role in the Chapter. Elysius was responsible for the recovery and following "reeducation" of the Black Dragons Space Marine known as Zartath, which considerably aided to alleviating the tensions between the two Chapters. While 3rd Company came under scrutiny and investigated after one of its Sergeants -- Sergent Iagon -- had turned renegade and defected to the renegade Dragon Warriors, Elysius was attached to the 6th Company of Captain Draakgaard during the Cleansing of Heletine.
- Chaplain Xavier - Chaplain Xavier was one of the most legendary Reclusiarchs (High Chaplain) of the Chapter, granted the honour of carrying one of the Chapter's most revered relics into battle, Vulkan's Sigil. Though long-deceased Chaplain Xavier continues to inspire the Salamanders as they forge their way through the fires of war.
- Chaplain Ramesis - Chaplain of the 4th Company during the Battle for Slato. Ramises recognized the potential in Brother Xavier when he retrieved Ramises' fallen Crozius after his weapon hand was cut off by an Eldar Farseer, using it to batter the Eldar psyker into the dirt. When the Dark Eldar poured fourth from the Webway gate, Chaplain Ramises took up the fallen Power Sword of Sergeant Malesti, fighting to the bitter end against an overwhelming tide of xenos filth.
- Chaplain Hasdrubael - A Chaplain of the Salamanders Chapter who served during the era of the legendary Chaplain Xavier. He supported Xavier's acceptance into the Chapter as a Neophyte.
- Lord Chaplain Nomus Rhy'tan, "The Voice of Fire" - During the Great Crusade era, the direct promulgation of the doctrines of the Primarch Vulkan, influenced by the teachings and culture of his adopted world of Nocturne, were already being distributed by the "Voices of Fire" -- a body of chosen Legionaries of which Nomus Rhy'tan was one. Many of these Astartes went on to become the Legion's first generation of Chaplains, and Rhy'tan, already highly regarded as a confidante of his Primarch and a renowned orator and instructor, became senior among them by popular assent of his peers. Before departing for Istvaan V, the Primarch bade the Lord Chaplain to remain behind at Prometheus with the Legion's Neophytes and instructors as regent in his stead, and with a heavy heart Rhy'tan obeyed, and in doing so was destined to survive, the future of his Legion in his hands.
- Chaplain Phaestus Var'kir - Phaestus Var'kir was a member of the Igniax, the formation that preceded the Reclusiam inside the Salamanders Legion and one of the first pupils of the great Nomus Rhy’tan. Sole Chaplain amongst the warriors of the Pyre, Phaestus Var'kir would stand countless vigils over his Primarch's dead body on Macragge after the events of the Death of Vulkan. Embarking upon the Charbydis with his fellow Salamanders, Var'kir, lacking Artellus Numeon's conviction that their Primarch could be reborn, provided counsel but very little guidance, having lost his faith. Most notoriously, he tried to convince Numeon to abandon his fruitless quest of reviving the Primarch, claiming that the notions of rebirth of the Promethean Creed were only spiritual, and could not manifest as true. It would only be after facing the horrors of the Neverborn and seeing his brothers' nascent faith in their task that Var'kir would revise his judgement. Through his mastery of the art of divination, Var'kir would succeed with Epistolary Ushamann to guide the Charbydis and reach Nocturne. But fate being a fickle mistress, this was not to be, as Var'kir would never tread the soil of his home world again. As the Charbydis approached their final destintion, they were attacked by both the Death Guard and the Word Bearers. The courageous Chaplain decided to remain aboard the doomed ship and defend the bridge, while Numeon and the surviving battle-brothers of the Pyre covertly brought Vulkan's casket planetside.
- Chief Librarian Lord Umojen - Lord Umojen was the Salamanders' Chief Librarian during the later part of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. Umojen had to disband the Legion’s Librarium in accordance with the Edicts of Nikaea. Umojen was not present on Istvaan to witness the Dropsite Massacre, but events situated him on Terra prior to the Siege of the Imperial Palace. His mission there as well as his ultimate fate remain unknown.
- Chief Librarian Vel'cona - Chief Librarian of the Salamanders Chapter, Vel'cona is the most powerful and most highly respected Librarian in the Chapter and mentor to Epistolary Pyriel.
- Epistolary Pyriel - Epistolary and a Veteran and hero of the Salamanders Chapter.
- Epistolary Ushamann - Member of the Pyre, the fellowship of warriors on board the Charbydis on their dangerous voyage back to Nocturne during the dark days of the Horus Heresy. Epistolary Ushamann was a telepath of great skill which had served the XVIIIth Legion before the Edicts of Nikaea. Ushamann had been a student of the reputed Ra’stan whose training techniques focussed on abstention and denial of power. Reinstated into the Librarius after the Dropsite Massacre, Ushamann would struggle to re-use his power, but would however prove of paramount imortance, not only in battle but also in plotting the Charbydis’ course. After the death of the Charbydis’Navigator, Ushamann - working in concert with Chaplain Var’kir - would take the Charbydis to Nocturne, an act he would pay with his life, but a sacrifice he was all the more willing to make in order for his lord Vulkan to be restored.
- Lexicanium Hazon Dak'ir - Leader of one of the 3rd Company's Tactical Squads, Dak'ir went on to become a Lexicanium under his mentor Pyriel. As his training neared completion, Dak'ir was revealed to be a figure of Nocturnean prophecy known as the Ferro Ignis or "Fire Sword" that would either destroy or save Nocturne and the Salamanders. Lexicanium Dak'ir had his Librarian helmet forged with a sculpted silver faceplate down the left side of the helmet to represent the scarring that mars the flesh of his face. Dak'ir bears the Force Sword Draugen.
- Librarian Zambias - An accomplished member of the Chapter's Librarium, Brother Zambias deployed with the 4th Company during the Battle for Slato.
- Librarian Hestion - A gifted Librarian of the Chapter who served aboard the Strike Cruiser Forgehammer during the 35th Millennium.
- Renegade Librarian Nihilan - A former Salamanders Librarian who turned Renegade and joined the warband of the Black Dragons visionary, the Renegade Chaplain Ushorak. The Salamanders responded rapidly, sending a strike force composed of the 3rd Company and led by Captain Kadai which made their way to the Cemetery World of Moribar. While Ushorak delved into the secret crypts beneath the sepulchre world, the Salamanders and the Renegade followers of Ushorak fought savagely through the crematoria of that ash-blanketed world. At the height of the fighting, Ushorak was plunged into the central furnaces at the heart of the planet, and Librarian Nihilan tried to save the Captain but failed and was horribly burned in the process, barely surviving at all. From the tattered remnants of Ushorak's followers the newly christened Chaos Sorcerer Nihilan forged the Dragon Warriors Chaos Space Marines warband, determined to exact vengeance on the Salamanders and the people of Nocturne.
- Tactical Sergeant De'mas - Tactical Sergeant of the Salamanders 3rd Company.
- Tactical Sergeant Typhos - Tactical Sergeant of the Salamanders 3rd Company.
- Tactical Sergeant Clovius - Tactical Sergeant of the Salamanders 3rd Company.
- Tactical Sergeant Ek'bar - Tactical Sergeant of the Salamanders 3rd Company.
- Sergeant Honorious - Sergeant of the Salamanders 3rd Company.
- Assault Sergeant Naveem - Assault Sergeant of the Salamanders 3rd Company.
- Assault Sergeant Vargo - Assault Sergeant of the Salamanders 3rd Company.
- Assault Sergeant Cortan - Sergeant of an Assault Squad during the Horus Heresy.
- Devastator Sergeant Omkar - Devastator Sergeant of the Salamanders 3rd Company.
- Devastator Sergeant Ul'shan - Devastator Sergeant of the Salamanders 3rd Company.
- Devastator Sergeant Lok - Commander of the Incinerators Devastator Squad of the 3rd Company. Lok is a veteran of the Badab War, who earned a pair of platinum service studs for his actions boarding the Executioners Chapter's Battle Barge Blade of Perdition. A bionic eye replaces the natural one he lost fighting the Genestealers on Ymgarl. The Devastator Sergeant has had a Power Fist constructed that encases his left arm.
- Land Speeder Sergeant Arkan - Brother Arkan served as commander of a Land Speeder during the Horus Heresy.
- Hunter Sergeant Sorkar - Brother Sorkar served as Sergeant of a Hunter Squad during the Horus Heresy.
- Support Sergeant Harmokan - Brother Harmokan served as Sergeant of a Support Squad during the Horus Heresy
- Veteran Sergeant Malesti - Officer of the 4th Company during the Battle for Slato, Brother Malesti served in the 10th Company with Chaplain Ramesis. Sergeant Malesti fell to the ravening firepower of the Dark Eldar when they spilled forth from the Webway gate on Slato; his Power Sword was taken up by Chaplain Ramises.
- Sergeant Goria - Officer of the 4th Company during the Battle for Slato, Brother Goria deployed with Captain Nubean's contingent and was killed by a Striking Scorpion Exarch during a battle with Eldar ambushers shortly after the 4th Company arrived on the planet's surface.
- Sergeant Lysonis - Sergeant of the 4th Company during the Battle for Slato.
- Sergeant Delphus - Sergeant of the 4th Company during the Battle for Slato.
- Sergeant V'reth - Commander of the 70 Salamanders Astartes from the 6th Company despatched to Helsreach Hive on Armageddon to help protect the civilian shelters of the dock districts. Sergeant V'reth and his Astartes aided the Black Templars against the Ork invaders before departing the Hive for the Hemlock River where the rest of the Salamanders where fighting alongside the Titans of Legio Metalica, Legio Invigilata and Legio Ignatum.
- Chosen Kobal Ru'than, "True Blade" - Serving as a part of the Bodyguard Phalanx of the Lord Protector Da'Ru, 3rd Line Company, Ru'than took part in the infamous Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V. In the final hours of the massacre, Lord Protector Da'Ru ordered his phalanx, including Ru'than, to form up around him and led a charge into the heaviest concentration of the approaching enemy. Fragments of Chosen Ru'than's distinctive Terminator Armour were later seen as trophies adorning Night Lords armoured units.
- Firedrake Sergeant Barris Kal'sho - Master Barris Kal'sho was the commander of Firedrake Squad Kal'sho during the Great Crusade and opening days of the Horus Heresy. During the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V, he led his squad in capturing Fortification Omicron-633, part of a chain of small ferrocrete bunkers erected by the Death Guard. Squad Kal'sho reached its objective just as the traitorous second wave emerged from its Drop Pods, and were engulfed by a writhing cloud of toxic fog. Low on ammunition and caught between the Death Guard's tenebrous wall of poison and the advancing ranks of Word Bearers, Assault Cadre Chimerae was quickly overwhelmed and scattered despite Squad Kal'sho's heroic efforts to fight their way to their Primarch Vulkan and the main body of Salamanders. Missing in action, Kal'sho was last seen engaged in combat with the Word Bearers abomination units, the daemon-possessed Gal Vorbak.
- Firedrake Sergeant Praetor - Sergeant of a squad of Firedrake Terminators known as Tu'shan's Mailed Fist. Praetor leads his Terminator Assault Squad with resolute determination and has served in over a hundred campaigns. Sergeant Praetor has three platinum service studs hammered into his brow and his Terminator helmet is embellished with Drake's Teeth.
- Firedrake Sergeant Nu'mean - Commanded the Protean, a vessel of the Chapter that fell to the machinations of the Eldar. Nu'mean returned to the vessel over a century later with Sergeant Praetor and two squads of Firedrake Terminators to execute a captured Farseer held aboard the vessel. Sergeant Nu'mean fell in action to Genestealers during the mission.
- Firedrake Sergeant Halknarr - Member of Vulkan He'stan's Strike Force during the Gevion Campaign.
- Firedrake Sergeant Mulgan - Sergeant of a Firedrake Terminator Squad during the Horus Heresy.
- Firedrake Veteran Persephion - Member of Vulkan He'stan's strike force during the mission to the Volgorrah Rift.
- Firedrake Veteran Eb'ak - Member of Vulkan He'stan's strike force during the mission to the Volgorrah Rift.
- Firedrake Veteran Oknar - Member of Vulkan He'stan's strike force during the mission to the Volgorrah Rift.
- Firedrake Veteran Zek Tsu'gan - Haughty sergeant in the 3rd Company and rival of Dak'ir, Tsu'gan became a member of the Firedrakes following the death of N'keln. Tsu'gan wears the Terminator Armour formerly worn by Firedrake Veteran Imaan.
- Firedrake Veteran Gathi'mu - Member of Squad Praetor who bore a Heavy Flamer in battle, Gathi'mu wears the hide of the Firedrake Kalimar that he killed on the slopes of Mount Deathfire. Brother Gathi'mu fell during the Battle for Sepulchre IV.
- Firedrake Veteran Namor - Member of the Chapter's Firedrakes, Brother Namor fell in battle on Scoria.
- Firedrake Veteran Clyten - Member of the Chapter's Firedrakes, Brother Clyten fell in battle on Scoria.
- Firedrake Veteran Ma'nubian - Member of the Chapter's Firedrake (1st) Company.
- Firedrake Veteran En'kar - Member of Sergeant Praetor's Squad, Brother En'kar fell during the Battle for Sepulchre IV.
- Firedrake Veteran Kai'ru - Member of Sergeant Praetor's Squad, Brother Kai'ru fell during the Battle for Sepulchre IV.
- Firedrake Veteran Mercurion - Member of Sergeant Nu'mean's squad during the mission to the Protean, killed in action.
- Firedrake Veteran Gun'dar - Member of Sergeant Nu'mean's squad during the mission to the Protean, killed in action.
- Firedrake Veteran Kohlogh - Heavy weapons specialist and member of Sergeant Nu'mean's squad during the mission to the Protean, killed in action.
- Firedrake Veteran Ve'kyt - Member of Sergeant Nu'mean's squad during the mission to the Protean, killed in action.
- Firedrake Veteran Hrydor - Heavy weapons specialist of Sergeant Praetor's squad during the mission to the Protean, killed by Night Lords Traitor Marines during the mission.
- Firedrake Veteran Vo'kar - Member of Sergeant Praetor's Firedrake Squad and part of Vulkan He'stan's strike force during the mission to the Volgorrah Rift.
- Firedrake Veteran Invictese - Member of Sergeant Praetor's Firedrake Squad.
- Firedrake Veteran Tho'ran - Wounded in action during the Gevion Campaign.
- Firedrake Veteran Lorrde - Wounded in action during the Gevion Campaign.
- Firedrake Veteran Mek'tar - Placed in command of the re-captured Capitol City of Ironlandings during the Gevion Campaign after the arrival of the Firedrakes.
- Firedrake Veteran Daedicus - Participated in the Gevion Campaign as part of Vulkan He'stan's Strike Force. Brother Daedicus is a veteran of the Badab War and still wears a black and yellow striped knee-pad in remembrance of that dark campaign.
- Deathwatch Veteran Elwaine - Brother Elwaine served in the Deathwatch during the Battle for Tarsis Ultra, bringing righteous flame to the vile xenos known as the Necrons.
- Company Champion Vek'shan - Former Champion of the 3rd Company's Command Squad that was known as the Inferno Guard.
- Banner Bearer Malicant - Brother Malicant served Captain Kadai in his Inferno Guard Command Squad.
- Brother Sol Ba'ken - Sol Ba'ken was Hazon Dak'ir's former Battle-Brother. Bak'en was happiest carrying his hand crafted Heavy Flamer into battle, taking it stubbornly with him nearly everywhere. He was promoted to sergeant as Dak'ir's replacement once Da'kir was recruited into the Chapter's Librarium. He now carries a piston-hammer he crafted himself.
- Brother Cerbius Iagon - Formerly the loyal second-in-command of Sergeant Tsu'gan's Tactical Squad, Iagon replaced Tsu'gan as squad sergeant when he left to join the Firedrakes. Despite his promotion, Iagon is a dark and twisted individual, cruel and loyal only to Tsu'gan, or at least he used to be. Unknown to his brethren, Iagon's hands are stained with the blood of Captain N'keln, who Iagon murdered to allow Tsu'gan to be promoted as the company's Captain. Instead, Tsu'gan joined the Firedrakes, leaving Iagon abandoned and desperate. During the Gevion Campaign, Iagon betrayed the Chapter again, murdering Brother Koto and joining the Renegade warband of Chaos Space Marines known as the Dragon Warriors under the command of the Chaos Sorcerer Nihilan.
- Veteran Brother Shen'kar - Veteran Brother Shen'kar served Captain Kadai in his Inferno Guard Command Squad.
- Legionary Heka'tan - Survivor of the Drop Site Massacre during the opening stages of the Horus Heresy.
- Legionary Shendrak Nal'kor - Legionary Nal'kor served with Breacher Squad Ar'vak, 17th Line Company, during the infamous Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V. His squad served near the forefront of the Loyalist advance, holding fast in the ruins of a Traitor anti-aircraft bunker destroyed as part of the initial drop assault. Barricading themselves within after they were cut off, Vox-intercepts indicated that Legionary Nal'kor and his squad were one of the last Loyalist holdout forces to be eradicated, the Alpha Legion forced at last to use massed Vindicator tanks to end the resistance.
- Legionary Karo Nar'Shak - Legionary Nar'Shak was one of the few loyal Legiones Astartes known to have escaped the Dropsite Massacre aboard the Thunderhawk Ohidoran, and participated in the seizing of the Night Lords vessel Warlock before that craft left the Istvaan System under heavy fire. The arrival of the Warlock and its cargo of Legiones Astartes at Agathaon, having evaded capture and destruction for nine months, was near miraculous. Nar'Shak served as a part of Battlegroup "Revenant." This ad-hoc Loyalist Company of surviving Legiones Astartes was known to have conducted a series of pin-point orbital assaults on key Cyclothrathe installations on Numinal, successfully disrupting the unity of the Dark Mechanicum forces. Legionary Nar'Shak's ultimate fate following the Horus Heresy is unknown.
- Legionary Maraeus Orasus - Legionary Orasus served with Legion Tactical Squad Fal'shon, and was assigned to Support Cadre Igax during the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V. Squad Fal'shon and four other Tactical Squads were tasked with the close protection of the ordnance squadrons which formed Support Cadre Igax. Expending the majority of their munitions in the early stages of the battle, the Cadre was left woefully unprepared to deal with the second wave's treacherous assault. Surrounded by Alpha Legion units that had approached to point blank range under the guise of friendship before opening fire, Squad Fal'shon fought to the last, expending their remaining munitions, then grappling with the enemy in hand-to-hand combat.
- Veteran Gravius - Gravius was a Veteran of the Horus Heresy who was discovered by warriors of the Salamanders Chapter's 3rd Company during the 41st Millennium aboard the remains of a warship dating back to the Great Crusade.
- Bray'arth Ashmantle - Bray'arth Ashmantle is a unique Mark IV Ironclad Pattern Venerable Dreadnought. Sokhar Bray’arth, once a Captain of the Salamanders Chapter's 4th Company, is the current occupant of this ancient relic Dreadnought that is known as the Iron Dragon and which was fashioned by the hands of the revered Salamanders Primarch Vulkan.
- Ancient Grenn - Once, Ancient Grenn was Consul-Centurion Shar'rac Grenn of the Realm of Epithemus, well respected in the Legion for his devotion both to duty and the teachings of Vulkan. The honour markings on his kneepads and the embossed seal of Nocturne on his dreadnought chestplate recalled the glories of his long career, which culminated in the brutal fighting on Istvaan V from which he barely escaped, alongside a handful of his brethren. It was on Dominica Minor that the tattered survivors, known as the Cadre Sulphaeon, heard rumours of Vulkan's death and the total destruction of their Legion, and when the dread fleet of Mortarion appeared in orbit of their refuge, they pledged to die in its defence rather than flee before their gene-father's murderers. Grenn's ultimate fate is unknown.
- Su'Matr - One of the Chapter's Dreadnoughts and a former Master of the Forge.
- Tuseok, "The Dragon of Serapis" - Ancient Tuseok, known as "The Dragon of Serapis", was a Contemptor-Mortis Pattern Dreadnought during the Great Crusade and early days of the Horus Heresy. A veteran of the Legion's battles before the XVIIIth was united with its Primarch, Tuseok bore a long list of honours and advanced to the rank of Captain before his mortal wounding at the disastrous Battle of Khur. Of particular note is his participation with the Saturnyne Armada in the Segmentum Solar pacification campaign. He was also personally recognised for his heroic deeds during the conquest of Serapis by Vulkan himself. Ancient Tuseok did not survive the Drop Site Massacre, though a small contingent of his Cadre Obsidiax was able to evacuate Istvaan V alongside Raven Guard forces, thanks in no small part to the Dreadnought's self-sacrificial actions in repelling attacking waves of Night Lords gunships harrying the escape attempt.
- Amadeus - Dreadnought assigned to the 3rd Company. Amadeus fell fighting the Eldar during the siege of Cluth'nir.
- Ashamon - Ironclad Dreadnought attached to the 3rd Company. Featured in the Tome of Fire book series
The Salamanders Chapter fleet is known to comprise the following vessels:
The Salamanders Chapter fleet includes the following known vessels:
- Flamewrought (Gloriana-class Battleship) - The flagship of the Salamanders Legion during the Great Crusade. The Flamewrought was embroiled in the vicious space battle above Istvaan V at the opening conflict of the Horus Heresy.
- Charbydis (Battle Barge, Unknown-Class) - The Charbydis was one of the venerable vessels to serve the Salamanders Legion during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. The Charbydis was one of only a handful of XVIIIth Legion vessels to have survived the ferocious orbital battles above Istvaan V and successfully escaped the star-system. It is believed the Charbydis was the unknown vessel sighted near Fellwatch Keep in the Manachean Commonwealth before making its way to Macragge in the Ultima Segmentum. There it would notably serve as transport for the Salamander’s fallen Primarch, Vulkan - then believed dead - on his ardous return to Nocturne. Battered, the Charbydis would succeed in rallying Nocturne only to be ambushed by those that had followed it into the Warp: the Monarchia of the Word Bearers Legion and the Reaper’s Shroud of the Death Guard. With no chance to survive a boarding assault, Artellus Numeon and his survivors decide to abandon the Charbydis to its fate and reach the surface with Vulkan’s body in a Thunderhawk. In order for the subterfuge to work, the Charbydis fights to her last breath, first destroying the Monarchia before closing in with the Reaper’s Shroud which she severely damaged in her death throes.
- Flamewrought (Battle Barge) - In the late 41st Millennium the Battle Barge Flamewrought is the second starship of the Chapter to bear that name in honour of the Primarch Vulkan's original flagship during the Great Crusade.
- Pyre of Glory (Battle Barge, Unknown Class) - The Pyre of Glory was the flagship of the Salamanders’ taskforce "Gift of Fire" under the command of Captain Pellas Mir'san of the 2nd Company during the Badab War. Most notoriously, in 911.M40, the Pyre of Glory became the staging-point of one of the bloodiest episodes of the entire war, known as "the Red Hour." Forced to drop out of Warp due to severe turbulences, the Pyre of Glory was left stranded in-system, executing repairs before being boarded both by Separatist forces from the Astral Claws and the Executioners Chapters. In violation of most basic military rules, the Astral Claws proceeded to slaughter their captives as they sought to steal the Salamanders' gene-seed from the ship's Apothecarion after their formal surrender, such infamy being unheard of, Executioners' High Chaplain Thulsa Kane denounced their alliance with the Astral Claws. The Executioners then immediately turned their weapons against their former allies, slaughtering them to the last man.
- Vulkan's Wrath (Battle Barge) - The Vulkan's Wrath spearheaded the Astartes' invasion of the Dark Eldar city Commorragh in the Webway during the 35th Millennium.
- Drakelord (Strike Cruiser) - The Drakelord was a Strike Cruiser that served the XVIIIth Legion during the Great Crusade. Having been seconded to Nocturne’s protection, the Drakelord did not travel to Istvaan V and would thus be there to hunt down the Reaper’s Shroud, a Grand Cruiser of the Death Guard Legion, after its foolish attempt to invade the Salamanders’ homeworld.
- Forgehammer (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser that served the Chapter during the 35th Millennium under the command of Captain Phoecus.
- Hammerforge (Strike Cruiser) - The Hammerforge participated in the defense of Nocturne against the attack led by the Dragon Warriors.
- Protean (Strike Cruiser) - Under the command of Firedrake Sergeant Nu'mean during a campaign against the Eldar. Lost in the Warp as a result and later became part of a Space Hulk.
- Serpentine (Strike Cruiser) - Served the 6th Company during the Third War for Armageddon.
- Vulkan’s Wrath (Strike Cruiser) - The original Vulkan’s Wrath was a Strike Cruiser built in the 30th Millennium for the needs of the Great Crusade. As for the Drakelord, the Vulkan’s Wrath would not travel to Istvaan but remain docked on Prometheus while the Legion unknowingly left to meet its destruction. The Vulkan’s Wrath would also participate in the hunt for the Reaper’s Shroud alongside the Drakelord.
- Vulkan's Wrath (Strike Cruiser) - Currently serving the 3rd Company, named after the famed Salamanders Battle Barge.
- Firelord (Frigate) - Transported Vulkan He'stan and his strike force of Firedrakes to the Gevion Cluster to recover the Chapter relic known as Vulkan's Sigil.
- Forge Hammer (Nova-class Frigate) - The Forge Hammer was the vessel seconded to Captain Agatone of 3rd Company on his special mission to retrieve the "fugitive" Tsu’gan - then a simple Firedrake - which had embarked on his own penetant crusade for his own failings.
- Chalice of Fire - A legendary Forge Ship that produces the majority of the weapons and munitions used by the Salamanders and remains in orbit around Nocturne.
- Eye of Vulkan - A spacebound defence laser assembly that remains in orbit over Nocturne, hovering eternally over the Salamanders fortress-monastery on the Nocturnan moon of Prometheus.
- Gauntlet of the Forge - Shaped like a Power Fist, the Gauntlet of the Forge is actually an intricately crafted Heavy Flamer built into an ornate gauntlet. This relic is in the possession of Vulkan He'stan along with two of the other artefacts of Vulkan.
- Iron Dragon - The so-called Iron Dragon is a unique Mars Pattern Mark V Dreadnought chassis, possessing uncommonly heavy armour and built with a one-of-a-kind enhanced reactor system which incorporates thermic generation technologies that are no longer fully understood by the Imperium. It is believed that this particular Dreadnought served as the first prototype of what would later become the Ironclad Pattern of Dreadnought. The Iron Dragon itself has seen many dark and terrible wars in its time, as the echoes and horrors of the ages weigh heavily upon it. Its Machine Spirit now broods with unquenchable violence. It is said that Primarch Vulkan himself had designed two unique arm weapons for this Dreadnought chassis, each of which had a built-in Dreadfire Pattern Heavy Flamer that represented the Iron Dragon’s most potent and unique armament. Only in the most dire of circumstances will a fallen Battle-Brother of the Salamanders be interred within this Ancient's shell, as only the most highly individualistic, strong-willed and warlike-souls possess the remotest chance to survive during the Dreadnought's activation process. The current occupant of the Iron Dragon is Sokhar Bray’arth, the ferocious former Captain of the 4th Company, now known to his Battle-Brothers as Bray'arth Ashmantle.
- Kesare's Mantle - One of the nine artefacts of Vulkan, Kesare's Mantle is a mighty drakescale cloak currently worn by Vulkan He'stan.
- Promethean's Blessing - Chain Weapons and Power Weapons are often deadly enough, especially in the hands of the Astartes, but Chapters sometimes modify these weapons to enhance their already impressive effects. One such modified device is known as Promethean’s Blessing. Gifted to the armoury of Watch Fortress Erioch in a forgotten age, this device is an inverse heat sink, which uses the excess power generated by the motor of a chain blade or the charge core of a power weapon to project flame along its edge. When it strikes a target, there is a chance that the weapon will set the target on fire, causing additional damage.
- Salamander's Mantle - Earliest Imperial records of durable cloaks crafted from the skins of the lava salamanders native to Nocturne. Known as a Salamanders’ Mantle these scaled cloaks are worn by heroes of the Chapter. As well as the status symbol of wearing such a mantle, the scales of the Nocturne salamanders also provide unrivalled protection against fire. Later this technology spread in the form of Adamantine Mantles to many other Space Marine Chapters.
- Spear of Vulkan - This is a mighty relic Power Weapon in the form of a huge halberd, once wielded by Vulkan himself. The weapon is currently in the hands of Vulkan He'stan, the Forgefather of the Chapter.
- Surtur's Breath - Just as the Salamanders know well how to protect themselves from flame, so too are they adept at its use. Many Salamanders alter their flamer with unique modifications and upgrades they have learned over a long career. One such modified Flamer has a reputation with the members of the Deathwatch operating in the Jericho Reach. Legend says it once belonged to a particularly vicious Salamander by the name of Surtur who used a unique propellant that made the Flamer shoot at an extended range with terrifying ultraviolet fire.
- The Promethean Opus - The Promethean Opus is a text sacred to the Salamanders and to all the people of Nocturne that contains the original story of how the Emperor of Mankind first came to their world. The Opus recounts the legend of how Vulkan was reunited with the Emperor. It is written that when the Emperor came to Nocturne, he did so in the guise of a stranger during a great festival. By tradition, such celebrations included numerous trials of strength. Knowing that Vulkan’s pride would prevent him from serving another, the Emperor challenged Vulkan, declaring that the loser must declare his eternal fealty to the winner. The resulting challenges saw the stranger and the Primarch perform deeds that no mortal could replicate, forging weapons in rivers of fireblood, carrying anvils across lava deltas and more. The contest culminated in a hunt for the largest salamander -- the giant firebreathing lizards that roam Nocturne's mountains -- and returning with its body. Vulkan slew a gargantuan beast, but as he returned, ill-fate beset him as Mount Deathfire erupted. He was flung from the edge of a precipice, where he clung by one hand above a lava flow, the other hand grimly holding onto his prize. Only by abandoning the carcass could Vulkan save himself, yet he refused to do so, even as his strength ebbed. And then the stranger appeared, dragging behind him a salamander even larger than Vulkan's. Seeing the Primarch's plight, the stranger cast his own prize into the lava to form a bridge before lifting Vulkan up and saving him. Upon returning to the settlement, Vulkan was declared the winner, for the stranger had returned empty-handed, but it was the Primarch who knelt before the stranger, saying that any man who valued life over pride was worthy of his service. In honour of that day, the Chapter's Scout Marines endure trials that echo those of Vulkan and the Emperor, and are only inducted into the ranks as full Battle-Brothers after they hunt and slay a Nocturnean salamander.
- Tome of Fire - An ancient tome of lore and prophecy left behind by Vulkan. The contents of the Tome, when properly deciphered, lead to the locations of Vulkan's hidden relics. The ultimate fate of the Primarch Vulkan is a matter of much conjecture. Some sources state that he led his Chapter for as long as three millennia before finally disappearing on an undocumented mission. Though he has been thought lost on many occasions, he always returned. Vulkan's last disappearance, however, is made all the more mysterious by the texts he left behind, collectively called the Tome of Fire. In them, he willed to his Chapter several personal artefacts, crafted by his own hand, though they were nowhere to be found and the text gave no indication as to their whereabouts. The legends say that only when the artefacts have all been recovered according to the clues laid down in the Tome of Fire will Vulkan return to lead his warriors in the final war against the enemies of Mankind.
- Vulkan's Sigil - A symbol of office supposedly carried by Vulkan himself into battle, the Sigil is a holy relic of the Salamanders and was carried into battle in recent times by the Chaplain Xavier, a legendary figure of the Salamander Chapter and its former Reclusiarch.
The Promethean Cult defines the identity of the Salamanders as a Chapter, and teaches them the virtues that make them warriors worthy of their Primarch Vulkan’s example. The symbols associated with this cult -- the hammer and anvil, the flame, and the scales and visages of the powerful reptilian drakes who stalk the ash-choked landscape of Nocturne -- are recurring features on the wargear, banners, heraldry and personal affectations of Salamanders Battle-Brothers, particularly the Veteran Firedrakes of the 1st Company, who commonly wear great mantles of drake-hide to signify their elite status in battle. Listed here are some representative sigils, most of which will have been crafted by their owner’s own hand:
- The Flame - Sometimes painted or carved onto armour, sometimes intricately plated with polished pseudo-gold, or carried as metallic emblems upon chains or cords, the flame signifies both creation and destruction, representing both the potency of the forge and the desolation of a raging inferno. Those who bear the flame are passionate and decisive, a tendency that is sometimes at odds with the considered and careful nature of the Salamanders.
- Tools of the Forge - Whether appearing as crossed hammers or a stylised anvil, or any other arrangement, this symbol is a common affectation for those who excel at forge-craft; the intricacy of the design itself is a testament to the bearer's own talent.
- Wyrm-hide - The powerful drakes that roam Nocturne are dangerous predators and a source of food and materials for the world's people. They are also a source of great sport and challenge for the Salamanders, who hunt the larger breeds as tests of prowess and rites of passage, culminating in the Firedrake hunt that gives the 1st Company their moniker. To have claimed the hide of one of these great beasts is a sign of tenacity, might and fortitude.
- Vigil Braziers - Amongst those Salamanders who swear the Apocryphon Oath and join the Deathwatch, the familiarity of the Promethean Cult is a solitary matter, for the Salamanders Battle-Brothers engaged upon the Long Vigil are isolated from the Chaplains and Brander-Priests who serve their Chapter. Solitude is not an unfamiliar thing to the Salamanders, for whom isolation is a natural part of the Promethean Cult’s practices, but the honour-branding that they use to mark their accomplishments is not so easily practiced alone. Nonetheless, many Salamanders upon the Vigil take with them a small, ritually-prepared brazier, an assortment of tools, and the training necessary to brand themselves in the wake of triumphant victories.
The Salamanders are typically armoured in bright green Power Armour with green trim, black shoulder plates and backpack, and a gold chest Aquila or Imperialis. The Salamanders often make use of flame ornamentation on their weapons and vehicles. Squad specialist symbols are indicated on the right shoulder guard by a flame symbol with the squad designation indicated by a stenciled black-coloured Gothic numeral in the centre of it. Company designation is indicated on the left shoulder plate by the colour of the Astartes' Chapter icon, a large Salamander head, with a contrasting background, in accordance with the company colours prescribed by the Codex Astartes:
- 1st and 2nd Company - White Salamander icon with black background.
- 3rd Company - Orange-yellow Salamander icon with black background.
- 4th Company - Green Salamander icon with black background.
- 5th Company - Black Salamander icon with orange-yellow background.
- 6th Company - Green Salamander icon with orange-yellow background.
- 7th Company - Black Salamander icon with white background.
The Salamanders Chapter badge is a coloured silhouette of the armoured and spiked head of the legendary Nocturnean Salamander reptiles from Mount Deathfire.
- Codex: Armageddon (3rd Edition)
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 8, 19, 29, 54-59, 73, 78, 112, 144-145
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 8, 26
- Codex: Space Marines (3rd Edition), pg. 40
- Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition), pg. 7
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 16
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 20-26, 98, 100, 103
- Epic Armageddon (Rulebook), pg. 70
- Horus Heresy: Collected Vision, pp. 279, 316
- How To Paint Space Marines, pg. 79
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Forces of the Inquisition & the Space Marines
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 30, 47, 49
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 26, 32-33, 44, 46, 54, 58-60, 76-83, 170-173
- Index Astartes IV, "Promethean Warriors - The Salamanders Space Marine Chapter"
- The Horus Heresy - Book Two: Massacre (Imperial Armour), pp. 19, 41, 114-135, 193, 246-253
- The Horus Heresy - Book Four: Conquest (Imperial Armour), pp. 162-163
- Warhammer 40,000 Compendium (1st Edition), "The Badab War", pp. 33-35
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (5th Edition), pg. 135
- White Dwarf 303 (US), "Index Astartes: Deep Strike", pg. 18
- White Dwarf 301 (US), "Space Marine Heroes" by Graham McNeill, pg. 59
- White Dwarf 300 (UK), "Legends of the Space Marines", pg. 118
- White Dwarf 274 (UK), "Index Astartes: Promethean Warriors: The Salamanders Space Marine Chapter"
- White Dwarf 269 (US), "Index Astartes: Armoured Personnel Carrier, The Space Marine Rhino"
- White Dwarf 248 (UK), "Promethean Warriors: The Salamanders Space Marine Chapter"
- White Dwarf 197 (UK), "For They Shall Know No Fear: Developing a Space Marine Chapter", pp. 22-29
- White Dwarf 119 (UK), "Space Marine Painting Guide", pp. 32-39
- Fireborn (Audio Book)
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- First Heretic (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Angel Exterminatus (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Promethean Sun (Novella) by Nick Kyme
- Age of Darkness (Anthology), "Forgotten Sons" by Nick Kyme
- Scorched Earth (Novella) by Nick Kyme
- Vulkan Lives (Novel) by Nick Kyme
- The Unremembered Empire (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Deathfire (Novel) by Nick Kyme
- The Tome of Fire (Trilogy Book Series):
- Salamander (Novel) by Nick Kyme
- Firedrake (Novel) by Nick Kyme
- Nocturne (Novel) by Nick Kyme
- The Circle of Fire (Book Series) :
- Rebirth (Novel) by Nick Kyme
- Let the Galaxy Burn (Compilation), "Know Thine Enemy" by Gav Thorpe
- Heroes of the Space Marines (Anthology), "Fires of War" by Nick Kyme
- Helsreach (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Warriors of Ultramar (Ultramarines Novel Series) by Graham McNeill
- Artefacts (Ebook) by Nick Kyme
- Forge World - Download: Master Harath Shen