- "The Aegida was the shield, but no more. Sotha shall not be defended, but shall strike at the darkness before it can grow, and reap a bitter harvest. Put out the call to the proud men and women of this world -- they have earned the right to fight and bleed and die alongside any warrior of this Chapter, and their sons shall be our brethren. Let them turn their ploughshares into swords, and stand with us as equals. If I am to be damned then it shall be on my own terms, and red with the blood of my foes. We stand no longer as the Emperor's shield, brothers, but as his noble Scythes."
The Scythes of the Emperor is a Codex Astartes-compliant, Loyalist Chapter of Space Marines that is a Successor Chapter of the Ultramarines of the 3rd Founding. Its history can be traced back to the early Horus Heresy era, when the Ultramarines 199th "Aegida" Company was assigned as permanent protection over the restricted world of Sotha, the site of the mysterious Mt. Pharos and the strange xenos artefact known as the Pharos device within. Following the Second Founding and the subsequent sundering of the original Space Marine Legions, a phantom 11th Company was assigned to secretly continue the defence of the Agri-World, in direct contravention of the dictates of the Codex Astartes. The last surviving member of "Aegida" Company, Captain Oberdeii would later become the first Chapter Master of the newly formed Scythes of the Emperor Chapter, which would be a part of the 3rd Founding in 001.M32.
By the latter years of the 41st Millennium, the Scythes of the Emperor stood on the brink of extinction in battle with the vile xenos known as the Tyranids, and the sorely depleted Chapter was prepared to go out fighting in a final blaze of glory against the Great Devourer. However, Archmagos Belisarius Cawl and the Ultima Founding gave the Chapter an unlooked for chance to return to full strength. With their ranks bolstered by the genetically superior transhuman warriors of the Primaris Space Marines, the Scythes of the Emperor have been fully restored, and now take the fight to the various enemies that assail the Imperium on all sides.
The origins of the Scythes of the Emperor (sometimes referred to as the Emperor's Scythes) hail back to the dark days of the Horus Heresy in the early years of the 31st Millennium. They were originally a part of the Ultramarines Legion's 199th "Aegida" Company, which was assigned by the Primarch Roboute Guilliman to the world of Sotha as permanent protection. The assigned Astartes took pride in their duty and later adopted the crossed scythes symbol upon their pauldron related to those they protected, the scythe-wielding agriculturalists. A ritual of clearing the area about the research site on Mount Pharos for over a standard century was the precept for the use of the scythe symbol. This simple, rural tradition, dating back over a hundred years, gave rise to the protection company's choice of icon.
This world was given the classification of "restricted", due to the fact that Sotha possessed a strange pre-Imperial biotechnological device, known as the Pharos, which was located within the massive geographical landmark of Mount Pharos from which it took its name. This strange alien device was built by an unknown xenos civilisation that harnessed the psychic energy of empathy to aid navigation through the Warp, much like the Astronomican, but on a much smaller scale. It was utilised by Roboute Guilliman as a psychic beacon to attract Loyalist forces of the region that had been scattered by the Ruinstorm to the Ultramarines' homeworld of Macragge. Cut off from all travel to or communication with the Throneworld of Terra by that great Warp Storm conjured by the Word Bearers Traitor Legion during the Battle of Calth, Guilliman had created his own rump interstellar empire, the Imperium Secundus, to rally the Loyalist forces against the Traitors and maintain the ideals of the Emperor of Mankind.
The Pharos would later become a source of contention between the Loyalists and Traitors when members of a Night Lords Traitor Legion splinter fleet under the command of Captain Krukesh the Pale sought to claim it from the forces of the Imperium Secundus during the Battle of Sotha. During this conflict, the Loyalist Iron Warriors Warsmith Barabas Dantioch sacrificed his own life to overload the Pharos, disabling the Night Lords fleet above Sotha and allowing the Loyalist forces to prevail. After the Horus Heresy ended, and the subsequent Second Founding occurred in 021.M31, the Space Marine Legions were sundered into smaller separate formations known as Chapters in accordance with Guilliman's Codex Astartes. Oberdeii was later promoted to Captain of the Aegida Company, which was maintained as a phantom "Eleventh" Company of the Ultramarines on Sotha, even as Guilliman forced every other Chapter to conform to the Codex model of ten. Quite aside from the secret shame of Imperium Secundus, the existence of the Aegida Company could have been seen as proof of the Primarch's wilful and deliberate flouting of Imperial decree -- a decree that he and his surviving loyal brothers agreed upon only after much conflict.
Oberdeii was a living, breathing reminder of what the Ultramarines considered, in their vanity, to be Lord Guilliman's mistakes. They could not erase them from the pages of history while Oberdeii remained on Sotha, oathed to the final duty that he had been given by the Primarch. As "Warden of the Pharos", Oberdeii swore an Oath of Moment, known as the "Aegidan Oath", on Guilliman's blade Gladius Incandor to protect Sotha's secrets which had been buried in the Pharos. This Oath of Moment, written in the Primarch's own hand, was kept within Mount Pharos along with the skull-like iron mask of the fallen Barabas Dantioch, the first Warden of the Pharos.
By the time Imperial Fists Primarch Rogal Dorn initiated the Third Founding in 001.M32, Oberdeii was the last surviving member of Aegida Company. He was not simply the reminder of a mistake -- he was the embodiment of it, and the last scrap of living proof. The time had come for the Aegida itself to be purged. In order to remove any evidence of perceived heresy on the part of Guilliman, as well as his complicity in defying the Codex Astares, Ultramarines Chapter Master Tigris Decon sent a representative, Chaplain Segas, to Sotha, to offer Oberdeii a choice of reassignment to the Chapter's 5th Company or to continue his watch over the Pharos by becoming the first Chapter Master of a new "Aegida Chapter". Oberdeii was initially appalled by the fact that Rogal Dorn would initiate yet another Founding, but reluctantly consented to becoming the Chapter Master of a new Chapter, and instead chose to name this new force the "Scythes of the Emperor". To fill the new Chapter, Chaplain Segas and Brother Wenlocke, along with seventy-two Ultramarines Veterans of the Orlan Conquest, were assigned to join Oberdeii on Sotha. The newborn Scythes quickly established a fortress-monastery upon their Chapter homeworld of Sotha. From this base of operations, near the region of space known as the Damocles Gulf in the Segmentum Ultima, the Chapter took upon itself the duty of policing and safeguarding many of the nearby mining and manufactoria settlements.
Rise of the Great Devourer
One of the Scythes' later Chapter Masters, Thorcyra, proved an excellent strategic leader. He led the Scythes for several standard centuries until his death during the desperate flight of his Chapter from the jaws of Hive Fleet Kraken on their homeworld of Sotha in the latter years of the 41st Millennium. As the Scythes grew in strength, they expanded their policing actions around their homeworld of Sotha in the Eastern Fringes of the galaxy. After eradicating human and alien pirates from the nearby Imperial mining colonies, the Scythes moved on to counter several Ork migrations in the lower Segmentums of the Imperium.
The Scythes served during the Damocles Gulf Crusade, and played a vital role in the capture of the world of Sy'l'kell from the Tau Empire. However, the Crusade ultimately stalled and withdrew when it was learned that the newly encountered Tyranids were heading for the Realm of Ultramar, the home of the Ultramarines.
In recent history, the Scythes of the Emperor, along with their allies, the Lamenters Chapter, were virtually destroyed during the invasion of the Imperium of Man by the Tyranids' Hive Fleet Kraken in 992.M41. The remnants of the Chapter stood on the edge of oblivion. The few Battle-Brothers that remained swore to spend their lives seeking out and annihilating the remaining Tyranid splinter forces within the Ultima Segmentum and beyond even as they sought new recruits to replenish the Chapter's shattered ranks.
During the recent events of Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade, the long-standing Fortress World of Cadia was destroyed. With Cadia's fall and the loss of the network of Necron-built Cadian Pylons that had long prevented the Eye of Terror from naturally expanding into the Materium, the Warp rift began to expand exponentially across the width of the known galaxy. This tear in reality, known as the Great Rift, effectively rent the Imperium in half. The beleaguered forces of the Imperium increasingly found themselves overwhelmed as the power of Chaos and the xenos hordes grew unstoppable. Whole sectors of the Imperium lost contact with Terra, while others reported the onslaught of rabid Greenskin hordes, aggressive Tau fleets or undying Necron hosts, seemingly driven to conquest in the face of the expanding Warp Storm fronts. Heretic Chaos Cults and rogue psykers rose up in the billions, and every Imperial world now seemed set to burn in the fires of unending war. But all was not lost, for upon the Ultramarines' homeworld of Macragge during the Ultramar Campaign of 999.M41, the genius of Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl combined with the power of Ynnead, the Aeldari god of the dead, to resurrect the Primarch Roboute Guilliman from his millennia-long, deathless slumber.
Guilliman had anticipated the need for a new breed of hero for this, the darkest age in the Imperium's history. He knew that the galaxy would need warriors resilient enough to stand against the Forces of Chaos as the Imperium found itself poised on the brink of annihilation. To that end, for 10,000 standard years, Archmagos Cawl had been working upon improving the Adeptus Astartes themselves. The result were the Primaris Space Marines of the Ultima Founding, a more powerful corps of transhuman warriors, more potent than even the original Astartes. New armies were raised in breathtaking numbers and new and terrible weapons were developed whose fury even the worshippers of the Dark Gods would be unable to withstand. Gathering a great new armada, composed of elements of the Adeptus Custodes, the Silent Sisterhood and a vast war host of Primaris Space Marines from many newly founded Chapters, the Lord Commander of the Imperium launched his Indomitus Crusade.
Guilliman decreed that those Chapters who had suffered the worst at the hands of the myriad enemies that assailed Mankind were to be amongst the first Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes to receive the newly-created Primaris Space Marines of the Ultima Founding as reinforcements. With their ranks fully replenished by the new Primaris Astartes, the Scythes of the Emperor are now able to once more take the fight to the Archenemy and the various threats that currently assail the Imperium of Man.
- The Corinth Crusade (698.M41-705.M41) - The Scythes of the Emperor participated in the Corinth Crusade that fought under the command of the famous Chapter Master Marneus Calgar alongside elements of the Ultramarines, the Angels of Absolution, the Lamenters, Silver Skulls and Marines Errant Chapters, supported by 50 Imperial Guard regiments against the Ork WAAAGH! Skargor that emerged out of the Greenskins' pocket empire of Charadon. The Crusade drove WAAAGH! Skargor back to the world of Corinth and ultimately Warlord Skargor was slain. This Crusade pushed back the later invasion of Imperial space by the Charadon Orks' WAAAGH! Argluk by 30 standard years.
- Damocles Gulf Crusade (742.M41) - It was in the years following the Damocles Gulf Crusade against the Tau in M41.742, that the Scythes of the Emperor would come to the forefront of warfare within the Eastern Fringe. The Scythes led the first landing into Tau territory, the world of Sy'l'Kell. After establishing the landing zone, the Imperial Guard Regiment of the 17th Brimlock Dragoons heavy support element moved on to expand the Imperial foothold. The Dragoons were nearly destroyed by a heavily mechanised Tau counter assault against the expanding Imperial position. The timely intervention of the Scythes, accompanied by the 4th Imperial Storm Troopers, broke through the Tau lines, averting a near-disaster. After claiming Sy'l'Kell, the Crusade moved across the Damocles Gulf. After a brutal first fleet engagement with the Tau, the Imperials landed on the major Tau world of Dal'yth Prime. This led to months of bitter fighting, during which the Scythes (alongside the Ultramarines and Iron Hands Chapters) were constantly engaged against Tau Heavy Jump infantry units, during an effort to claim the Tau city of Gel'Bryn, intended to be used as a major starport for the forces of the Crusade. The Astartes maintained constant night patrols against Tau infiltrators during the months-long fighting. With news of the encroaching Hive Fleet Behemoth bearing down upon the Eastern Fringe and the stalemate between the two sides, the Crusade was forced to withdraw in order to bring full Imperial resources to bear against this new xenos threat. Despite requests from some in the Crusade leadership to perform an Exterminatus upon the Tau planet before Imperial withdrawal, the Astartes and Imperial Guard commanders refused. An unusual mutual respect between both sides had been forged during the conflict.
- The Verdeworlds Campaign (865.M41) - A Black Templars Crusade joined forces with the Blood Angels and Scythes of the Emperor to cleanse the Verdeworlds of their Eldar settlers.
- Aftermath of the Badab War (912.M41) - After the conclusion of the Badab War, the Scythes of the Emperor were charged by the Inquisition with watching over the penitent Lamenters Chapter of Astartes who were performing a penitent Crusade for their role in the rebellion, to make sure there were no further signs of heresy. Through this long watch, both Chapters became firm allies.
- Second Tyrannic War - The Fall of Sotha (992.M41) - Over 300 years after the assault of Hive Fleet Behemoth upon the Eastern Fringes of the galaxy, the Emperor's Tarot began to tell of foul portents ten years before the arrival of Hive Fleet Kraken. Among the planets overwhelmed by the locust-tide of the Tyranid Hive Fleet Kraken was the Scythes of the Emperor Chapter's homeworld of Sotha. Even for a well-defended Chapter planet, there was little hope against such vast numbers of xenos and their remorseless hunger. With devastating losses to the Chapter fleet, the Scythes were driven back to their fortress-monastery on their homeworld of Sotha, which quickly came under siege by the Tyranids. Thousands of Tyranid creatures landed on the planet, and the Scythes, led by Chapter Master Thorcyra, prepared to make their stand at their fortress-monastery in order to give as much time as possible for the population of Sotha to evacuate. Before the planet and fortress-monastery were completely overrun, the Scythes managed a breakout from the doomed world, falling back to regroup in the nearby Miral System. Sotha, along with so many other planets in the path of the inexorable advance of Hive Fleet Kraken, was reduced to the barren state of an asteroid by the Tyranid swarms. Two hundred Space Marines from the Chapter broke through the Tyranid assault. With much of the region overwhelmed by the Tyranids, there was nowhere for these brave Astartes to go beyond the claws of the Kraken.
- The Battle of Miral (992.M41) - The last of the Scythes eventually landed on the Death World of Miral. Somewhere on the surface of this planet, a huge rocky outcrop called the Giant's Coffin rose from the jungle. The pursuing Tyranid fleet caught up and encircled them, leaving the Scythes trapped and surrounded on the jungle planet. The surviving forces of the Scythes prepared to make this their final stronghold. The Giant's Coffin was a tremendous natural citadel whose steep cliffs would slow the invaders and the rocky promontories would provide excellent firing positions for heavy weapons. As the Tyranids mounted their forces for a final push to wipe out the remaining Sycthes, Chapter Master Thorcyra ordered all of the remaining Battle-Brothers to withdraw from the world so as to avoid the complete extinction of their Chapter. In his last official act, Master Thorcyra passed the artefact known as the Emperor's Scythe (the Chapter Master's symbol of office) to Captain Mansirius Thrasius of the 3rd Company, the only Captain of the Chapter still alive. As the rest of the surviving Scythes escaped the doomed planet in Thunderhawk gunships, Thorcyra and the remains of the Veteran 1st Company took up the position as the last line of defence. Leadership of the nearly destroyed Chapter passed to the new Chapter Master Mansirius Thrasius. The solemn ceremony of investiture was conducted on the bridge of the Honour's Might (the Chapter's only remaining starship, an almost-crippled Battle-Barge with severely depleted resources). Thrasius then ordered the starship renamed The Heart of Sotha in memory of the Scythes of the Emperor's homeworld and the terrible sacrifices made there. The fate of the planet is unknown, although at the end of the Tyranid onslaught, little more than a company of the Scythes of the Emperor remained. For a time the remnants of the Chapter sought out and annihilated the remaining Tyranid splinter forces within the Ultima Segmentum and beyond even as they ought new recruits to replenish the Chapter's shattered ranks.
- Rebirth (970.999.M41) - The Scythes of the Emperor finally emerged from the dark shadow of Hive Fleet Kraken and announced that their Chapter would be born anew.
- Battle of Hamagora (Unknown Date.M42) - The 2nd Company of the Scythes of the Emperor, newly reinforced with Primaris Astartes Battle-Brothers in the wake of the reinforcements brought by the Indomitus Crusade, found itself under siege upon the Hive World of Hamagora, assailed by an endless swarm of Nurgle daemons. Intercessor Squads established a punishing series of kill-zones amongst the ruins of hive city Agrippa, yet for every daemon they slew, two more emerged from the dank tunnels of the undercity, and their casualties began to mount. Operating in total secrecy, Strike Force Harbinger of the Grey Knights' 5th Brotherhood teleported into the sub-city. Their quarry was the Great Unclean One Gul'gulm'ga'tol, who had turned Agrippa's sprawling sewage works into his personal baths -- hordes of putrid daemons crawled endlessly forth from the morass of rancid gruel. After a bloody battle, the strike team sent Gul'gulm'ga'tol screaming back into the Warp. Hamagora was saved, though the Scythes never discovered how.
For a time the surviving Space Marines of the Scythes of the Emperor Chapter navigated through space on board their last starship and mobile fortress-monastery, the Battle Barge called The Heart of Sotha, recently renamed the Heart of Cronus. The Chapter was but a shadow of its former glory, but it was a hard and elite fighting force, and could be found fighting anywhere against the Tyranids within the Ultima Segmentum. The Chapter was forced to break with its past tradition and operated with only 2 full companies. The survivors of Sotha were amalgamated to form one company referred to only as the "Battle Company", while all new recruits to the Chapter which the Scythes actively sought from any suitable worlds they passed (often, in fact, those worlds that they had saved from destruction by Tyranid splinter Hive Fleets), were inducted into the Chapter's other company, the "Scout Company".
The current disposition of forces of the Scythes of the Emperor after the induction of the Primaris Space Marines is unknown, though they are once more a fully operational Chapter and fighting force.
During the Scythes' retreat from Hive Fleet Kraken, Chapter Master Mansirius Thrasius instigated tactics of minutely detailed withdrawals and a constant fighting retreat, viewing every engagement without a casualty as a victory despite the Chapter constantly falling back from world to world ahead of the Kraken's advance. Thrasius realised that the Chapter had to recruit new Space Marine Aspirants in order for the Chapter to survive. On each planet where the Scythes fought they would gather up those defenders with the greatest potential, especially those young enough to become Astartes, and rescue them while the rest of the world fought and died. In this way hundreds, if not thousands, of potential recruits have been gathered along with many others who could serve as Serfs to the Chapter, replacing those lost on their former homeworld of Sotha.
Before the near-destruction of the Chapter during the Second Tyrannic War, the Scythes drew Neophytes from many different worlds (Sotha, Miral, Narro and Radnar), all worlds now fallen to Hive Fleet Kraken. These new Scouts are the future of the Chapter. They demonstrate the Chapter's new diversity, the new embryonic culture it is developing, and its old traditions are inevitably passing. For many Scythes Veterans, these Neophytes personify everything that they detest about the changes their new Chapter Master is forcing upon them and their disdain for those changes, alongside their resentment at having to train the new recruits instead of fighting as one of the Veterans of the remaining Battle Company. This has fostered a bitterness towards the Scout Marines of the Chapter that many Veterans are unable to completely conceal. With the news of the Kraken's defeat, Chapter Master Mansirius Thrasius and many of his lieutenants disappeared, departing The Heart of Sotha abruptly and returning just as suddenly. What Thrasius did while away is unknown, but upon his return over 300 Neophytes had already had their gene-seed organs implanted and begun the Chapter's training regimen. These recruits were those who had been gathered from the many planets on which the Scythes had fought, but the source of the gene-seed was another matter. Rumours persist in the Chapter that perhaps the gene-seed had been secretly rescued from Sotha before the Tyranids attacked. Others believe that the gene-seed might have been stolen, pillaged from other Chapters in similar dire straits during the Tyranid invasion. Still others hold that perhaps the gene-seed was bargained for, or that it was the payment by the Inquisition's Ordo Xenos for seconding over 40 of the surviving Scythes to the Deathwatch. But the truth of the matter remains unknown.
- Salvation Teams - Rumours abound of Space Marines wearing the insignia of the Scythes still alive inside the Tyranid Hive Ships of Kraken splinter Hive Fleets; stories of Imperial Navy boarding parties of armsmen surrounded, nearly destroyed, before being saved by such warriors who then disappeared back into the depths of those hideous living vessels; stories of Tyranid Bio-ships convulsing and collapsing in the midst of battle, though untouched by any external force. The rumours of scattered remnants of the Scythes fighting the Tyranids has lead to the creation of "Salvation Teams"; small, autonomous units of Scythes given the task of traversing the battlegrounds of the Eastern Fringe in the wake of Hive Fleet Kraken and running to ground every rumour, every indication of Veteran Scythes still alive somewhere in the wake of the Tyranid assault. In reality, very few live Astartes are ever found, more often than not the "Salvation Teams" are merely reduced to salvage teams recovering the non-biological artefacts such as Power Armour and Bolters, and not just from the slain Astartes of the Scythes but from many, many other Chapters as well. Still, desperate times call for desperate measures and Thrasius has ordered all such recovered material to be taken for the Scythes' use. Nevertheless, Thrasius' strategy appears to be solid and succeeding, as the Chapter's Scout Marines eventually rise to become full Battle-Brothers on an accelerated timetable and lead their own "Salvation Teams" while the Scythes gain invaluable experience in boarding actions against the Tyranids. It is possible that the Scythes of the Emperor now know even more about this foul xenos species and how to defeat them than even the Ultramarines.
When the Scythes of the Emperor first came upon Hive Fleet Kraken, they had little idea of the horror that was approaching them, and so when the first Hive Ship appeared in their system, they attacked almost blind to the risks they were facing. They conducted desperate boarding actions to destroy as many of the ships as they could. One of the first boarding actions by the Scythes against Hive Fleet Kraken was led by Sergeant Remas, which was successful, but resulted in the death of all of the boarding team members save for Remas and another Battle-Brother named Tobias.
It can be assumed that the Thunderhawk Sergeant Remas used to escape the Hive Ship sustained some damage on its escape, as the lone Scythe did not rejoin his brothers but was instead found much later; unconscious and wounded on board his gunship by the Ultramarines Chapter. Remas later told his tale to Chaplain Ortan Cassius of what had transpired with the new alien menace, sharing all his intelligence on the threat of the Tyranids. During the Conclave of Hera on Macragge which had been called by the Ultramarines to consider the first change to their Chapter structure since the Second Founding in light of the danger presented by the Tyranids, Chaplain Cassius would later call forth Sergeant Remas to testify. He gave key evidence on what he had seen and learned in battle against the Tyranids. The conclave continued for many solar months, until all those Ultramarines who wished to speak on the matter had been heard. Eventually, the Ultramarines Chapter Master Marneus Calgar decreed that he had heard all that he needed and retired to his chambers atop the Ultramarines' mighty Fortress of Hera to ponder the matter. On the morning of the fortieth day, Lord Calgar emerged and declared before his assembled warriors that the elite Tyrannic War Veterans would indeed become part of the Ultramarines' military structure, and after their first successful trial on the world of Espandor, all recognised their usefulness.
In addition, other Battle-Brothers of the Scythes of the Emperor have been reported as being rescued by various other Chapters performing boarding actions against Hive Ships from Hive Fleet Kraken. Usually the Scythes' survivors are cocooned and commonly found in Terminator Armour, with an unusually high proportion of the captured Astartes being Librarians. Why this is the case is unknown, but perhaps they possessed some means of preserving themselves against being killed or consumed, or else the Hive Mind regarded them as worthy of preservation for further study. It is not known if any of these lost brothers have been reunited with the remnants of the Scythes.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
For many solar decades the Scythes had been forced to change their tactics due to the limited resources and manpower the Chapter possessed. The Chapter generally organised small mobile strike forces, which were capable of carrying out hit-and-run missions and were used to relying on only themselves during a fight. It was also not uncommon to see Chapter Master Mansirius Thrasius take to the field of battle, due partly to the limited resources of his Chapter, but also because he was deeply driven to prove himself worthy of a command he did not feel he earned and to bring honour and glory to the Chapter once more. Due to the devastating losses suffered at the hands of Hive Fleet Kraken during the withdrawal from Sotha, the Scythes of the Emperor possessed almost no suits of Terminator Armour, nor any armoured vehicles larger than Rhinos or their variants. The Chapter tended to fight exclusively against the Tyranids (though they will of course engage any enemy of the Imperium of Man as any Space Marine Chapter would) and hate them more than any other force in the galaxy. Fully two-thirds of the Chapter are Second Tyrannic War veterans (the rest having been recruited following the destruction of Sotha), and the Chapter was also known to have killed more Tyranids per man than any other fighting force in the galaxy, including the Ultramarines. The Scythes of the Emperor were often the first Space Marines to respond to any distress call regarding an attack by Tyranids made within the Ultima Segmentum.
Due to the events that have occurred in recent years, the sorely depleted Scythes have greatly benefited from the unlooked for aid of Archmagos Cawl and the Ultima Founding. Not only have they had their ranks bolstered with the newly created Primaris Space Marines, but they have also received desperately-needed war material and equipment that they have long been without. Receiving the finest weapons, armour and other wargear that they would need to conduct their defence of the Imperium, the Scythes of the Emperor can now adjust their tactics accordingly, and fight the enemy as they see fit in accordance to the dictates of the Codex Astartes.
Chapter Master Mansirius Thrasius, like his counterpart from the Crimson Fists, Chapter Master Pedro Kantor, was determined above all else to keep his Chapter alive in the wake of disaster. The legend of the tenacious survival of the Crimson Fists Chapter after the fall of their fortress-monastery on Rynn's World to an unexpected disaster amidst a great invasion by Orks is well-known amongst the Adeptus Astartes. That Chapter's struggle for survival details how hard the Crimson Fists' Master had to struggle to prevent his Battle-Brothers from launching a reactionary self-destructive Crusade after the severe losses taken during the Ork attack on their homeworld. The Crimson Fists had been reduced to 300 Battle-Brothers and still managed to hold onto their homeworld. The Scythes, who numbered only 100 Veteran Astartes and had lost their homeworld, found the struggle to be all the greater.
An Astartes exists only to fight in the Emperor's name; it is his only reason for existence. To tell one that he may not fight when the enemies of the Imperium are within striking distance is a far greater punishment than death. To many of the surviving Second Tyrannic War Veterans' of the Scythes of the Emperor, however, Thrasius' attempted reconstitution of their Chapter was a betrayal of the Chapter's very spirit, its legacy. It was consigning the survivors to a tepid, meek existence, unable to fight to their fullest. Many of the Scythes' Veterans believed Thrasius would have the Chapter die slowly and painfully, forgoing their duties, sapping their courage and their honour in order to simply maintain a further, yet ultimately empty existence. They feared the eventual loss of the Scythes' original spirit simply to produce larger numbers of Space Marines who were Scythes of the Emperor only in name. This feeling amongst so many of the Chapter's Veterans produced a real political rift within the Scythes that Thrasius would soon be forced to deal with if the Chapter was to remain an effective foe of the Imperium's myriad enemies.
Fortunately, with the recent resurrection of their long-dead Primarch most of these long-held suppositions and beliefs have been challenged following the introduction of hundreds of Primaris Space Marines as reinforcements into the ranks of the once sorely-depleted Chapter. No longer standing on the brink of oblivion, the Scythes of the Emperor once again have a chance to fight effectively in the name of the Emperor.
Notable Scythes of the Emperor
- Chapter Master Oberdeii - Oberdeii, known as the second Warden of the Pharos, was the first Chapter Master of the Third Founding Scythes of the Emperor Space Marine Chapter. Originally a Scout Marine of the 199th "Aegida" Company of the Ultramarines Legion during the Horus Heresy, he would go on to be a part of many of the events surrounding the mysterious xenos artefact known as the Pharos on the Agri-world of Sotha during the dark days of the Horus Heresy. Following the Battle of Sotha, he was promoted to Reconnaissance Squad Sergeant by Primarch Roboute Guilliman personally. He would later be promoted to serve as the Captain of the Aegida Company, which acted as a phantom 11th Company of the newly sundered Ultramarines Legion. This was in defiance of the dictates of the Codex Astartes, ordered secretly by the Ultramarines Primarch himself. Oberdeii would maintain his vigil over Sotha for centuries, until the dawning the 32nd Millennium. During the Third Founding, he was offered the choice to be reassigned as a part of the Ultramarines Chapter's 5th Company or to continue his vigil as Master of a new "Aegida Chapter". Oberdeii reluctantly accepted the latter choice, and became the first Chapter Master of the newly forged Adeptus Astartes Chapter he renamed the "Scythes of the Emperor".
- Chapter Master Mansirius Thrasius - Mansirius Thrasius is the current Chapter Master of the Scythes of the Emperor after the recent death of his predecessor, Thorcyra, on the Death World of Miral at the hands of the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Kraken.
- Chapter Master Thorcyra - Thorcyra was a Chapter Master of the Scythes of the Emperor in the latter years of the 41st Millennium. He, along with the remnants of the Scythes' entire 1st Company, were wiped out to a man during the Battle of Miral by the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Kraken.
- Chief Librarian Tormal - Tormal is the Scythes' only remaining senior officer and Librarian, who has been with the Chapter for almost a standard century.
- Reclusiarch Segas - Segas was the first Chaplain of the Scythes of the Emperor. Originally a Chaplain of the Ultramarines Chapter, during the dawning of the 32nd Millennium, he was charged by Chapter Master Tigris Decon with going to the world of Sotha to erase their Primarch's mistake in the secret creation of an eleventh company, which was direct contravention of the Codex Astartes, which he himself had forced upon every other Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes. When Segas finally found Captain Oberdeii, the last surviving member of the original "Aegida" Company, he offered the aged warrior two choices -- to be reassigned as a part of the Ultramarines' 5th Company, or to continue to stand sentinel over Sotha as the new Chapter Master of a newly created "Aegida Chapter". Reluctantly, Oberdeii assented to become the new Chapter Master of the renamed "Scythes of the Emperor" Chapter. Segas would become one of the newborn formation's founding members, and eventually its first Reclusiarch. Following his death, his remains were later interred upon the reliquary world of Egottha.
- Reclusiarch Hornidal - Hornidal, a Veteran of the First Tyrannic War, served as the Reclusiarch (senior Chaplain) of the Scythes before the fall of Sotha. While on Crusade to liberate the reliquary world of Egottha in 990.M41, he received the general recall message for the entirety of the Chapter to return to their Chapter homeworld. Concerned by the implications of such grave news, he urged the captain and crew of the vessel Xenophon to push as hard as they could as they made their way to Sotha, for fear of arriving too late. Unfortunately, they encountered a small vanguard of Hive Fleet Kraken and were boarded by the Tyranids. Despite his skilled leadership in the defence of the vessel, the Xenophon was doomed. Before they self-destructed the doomed voidship, Hornidal managed to record a warning message to be relayed by distress beacon, warning other vessels of the impending danger to Sotha.
- Chaplain Demetrios - Demetrios was a Chaplain of the Scythes before the fall of Sotha and was a subordinate of Reclusiarch Hornidal. He was a part of the aborted Crusade originally sent to liberate the reliquary world of Egottha in 990.M41. When Hornidal received the general recall message for the entirety of the Chapter to return to their Chapter homeworld, he ordered the destroyer Xenophon to make all haste. While en route to Sotha, they encountered a small vanguard of Hive Fleet Kraken and were boarded by the Tyranids. Demetrios called the Scythes to battle, under instruction from the Reclusiarch, and witnessed Sergeant Certes' final battle-oaths. He was last seen leading Certes' squad in a desperate counter-offensive and was presumably killed.
- Forge Master Sebastion - Sebastion serves as Master of the Forge (senior-most Techmarine) of the Scythes of the Emperor after the fall of Sotha. He is charged with the training of prospective Techmarines as the Chapter is slowly rebuilt. He had identified Neophyte Narro, a member of Sergeant Tiresias' 21st Salvation Team, as a potential candidate, recognising his natural affinity for practical problem solving and had begun his early training in the mysteries of the Omnissiah before his untimely death aboard a Tyranid Hive Ship. He recently accepted Neophyte Bokari for an apprenticeship as a potential Techmarine, after the Neophyte continuously delivered to him considerable amounts of both Power Armour and parts of precious Terminator Armour recovered from various Tyranid Hive Fleet vessels. Sebastion was particularly focused on the restoration of damaged or lost Terminator Armour, for after the fall of Sotha, the Chapter only had three such suits in its possession, and the recent acquisition of a fourth partial suit was considered a major step forwards in creating a future Codex-approved Terminator Squad.
- Captain Romonos - Romonos served as the commander of the "Battle Company", the Chapter's sole remaining Veteran combat formation following the battles with Hive Fleet Kraken.
- Captain Vosok Dali - Vosok Dali was the Captain of the Scythes of the Emperor's 8th Company and the Lord Executioner. After the destruction of Sotha by Hive Fleet Kraken, Dali betrayed his Chapter and proceeded to kill the remaining Space Marines of his company due to the simmering rage and resentment he had felt towards his fellow Astartes since his days as a Scout Marine.
- Captain Theodosios - Theodosios served as the commander of the Scythes of the Emperor's 5th Company before the fall of Sotha to Hive Fleet Kraken. Departing with the entirety of his company, Theodosis made for the Eastern Fringe to investigate rumours of rebellion and uprising. Unbeknownst to the 5th Company, this was the precursor to the invasion of Hive Fleet Kraken. Captain Theodosios attempted to send word back to Sotha to warn them, but his Astropathic message was disrupted by unknown means (presumably by the effects of the Shadow in the Warp, the psychic disruption projected by an encroaching Hive Fleet's Hive Mind before an imminent attack). This prompted the general recall of the entirety of the Scythes back to their homeworld. When they encountered the first Tyranid Hive Ship, Theodosios charged Commander Cassios with leading a diversionary attack so that his own force could flank the enemy and destroy it. The mission ended in utter failure and the entire 5th Company was wiped out.
- Commander Cassios - Cassios was the commander of the Scythes' lost 5th Company which disappeared in its entirety before Sotha fell to the Kraken. The commander was discovered by Brother-Sergeant Tiresias and his Salvation Team in a Sus-an Membrane-induced stasis aboard a dead Tyranid Hive Ship two standard years after the Salvation Teams were initially formed and dispatched.
- Lieutenant Hadrios - Seconded to Chapter Master Thrasius as his chief aide.
- Sergeant Marek Angeloi - Marek Angeloi was a Sergeant of the Scythes around the time that Sotha fell to the predations of Hive Fleet Kraken. He formerly served as Tiresias' superior at the time Chapter Master Mansirius Thrasius returned from planning for the future survival of the Scythes after the Chapter's near-destruction. Both Sergeant Angeloi and Tiresias were openly critical of the Chapter Master's new direction for the Chapter in its pursuit of survival. Their voices of dissent rallied much support from the senior surviving Veterans of the Chapter. Without any prior notification, Chapter Master Mansirius Thrasius sent the upstart Sergeant and 40 other rebellious Space Marines from the Chapter (roughly 1/3 of the surviving Scythes of the Emperor) for secondment with the Deathwatch to assist their Kill-teams in fighting the Tyranid menace. Angeloi eventually attempted to counter the dissent to Chapter Master Thrasius' orders among the Veteran Marines of the Chapter who desired to see the Chapter attack the Tyranids even if it meant the Scythes' ultimate extinction.
- Sergeant Certes - Certes was a Sergeant of the Scythes before the fall of Sotha and was one of three noncommissioned officers under the command of Reclusiarch Hornidal. He was part of the aborted Crusade originally sent to liberate the reliquary world of Egottha in 990.M41. When Hornidal received the general recall message for the entirety of the Chapter to return to their Chapter homeworld, he ordered the destroyer Xenophon to make all haste. While en route to Sotha, they encountered a small vanguard of Hive Fleet Kraken and were boarded by the Tyranids. Certes was presumably killed early on, as Chaplain Demetrios was later seen leading Certes' squad in a desperate counter-offensive against the vile xenos.
- Sergeant Edios - Edios was a Sergeant of the Scythes before the fall of Sotha and was one of three noncommissioned officers under the command of Reclusiarch Hornidal. He was a part of the aborted Crusade originally sent to liberate the reliquary world of Egottha in 990.M41. When Hornidal received the general recall message for the entirety of the Chapter to return to their Chapter homeworld, he ordered the destroyer Xenophon to make all haste. While en route to Sotha, they encountered a small vanguard of Hive Fleet Kraken and were boarded by the Tyranids. Edios was killed while defending their ship's tech-crews in the burning bow section, though his body was recovered by his surviving Battle-Brothers.
- Sergeant Hekaton - Hekaton was a Sergeant of the Scythes before the fall of Sotha and was one of three noncommissioned officers under the command of Reclusiarch Hornidal. He was a part of the aborted crusade originally sent to liberate the reliquary world of Egottha in 990.M41. When Hornidal received the general recall message for the entirety of the Chapter to return to their Chapter homeworld, he ordered the destroyer Xenophon to make all haste. While en route to Sotha, they encountered a small vanguard of the Hive Fleet and were boarded by the Tyranids. He was presumably killed while leading his squad against the invading xenos.
- Sergeant Remas - When a Tyranid Hive Ship first appeared in the Sotha System without warning, the Scythes of the Emperor attacked almost blind to the risks they were facing. Sergeant Remas led one of the first known boarding actions by the Scythes against Hive Fleet Kraken, which was successful, but resulted in the death of all of the boarding team members, with the exception of Remas and another Battle-Brother named Tobias. Their Thunderhawk gunship sustained heavy damage while affecting their escape, and the pair of surviving Scythes were found much later, unconscious and severely wounded, by the Ultramarines Chapter. When the Ultramarines found Remas' drifting gunship, the unconscious Sergeant was clutching a shredded Scythes' Chapter standard so tightly that they had to wait until he woke before he would release it. Remas later told his tale to Chaplain Ortan Cassius of what had transpired with the new alien menace, sharing all his intelligence on the threat of the Tyranids. During the Conclave of Hera on Macragge, Chaplain Cassius would later call forth Sergeant Remas to testify, in which he gave key evidence from which agreement would eventually be reached by the Ultramarines to create the elite Tyrannic War Veterans.
- Sergeant Tiresias - Tiresias was a Second Tyrannic War Veteran who survived the attacks on both Sotha and Miral. Tiresias was assigned to the 21st Salvation Team -- a small unit consisting of himself and four Neophytes. Sergeant Tiresias has led this team for two standard years, running to ground any rumours of surviving Scythes that may still be aboard one of the Tyranids' dead Hive Ships along the Eastern Fringe. He was mortally wounded while investigating an unknown class of Hive Ship. His body and gene-seed were later recovered by the 121st Salvation Team.
- Sergeant Quintos - Quintos was the leader of the Scythes' 121st Salvation Team after the fall of Sotha. He had previously served as a Neophyte member of the 21st Salvation Team under the command of Sergeant Tiresias, but was sorely wounded when he lost an arm and part of his face to the Tyranids while searching for Scythes survivors aboard a Hive Ship. As a result of these injuries he received a bionic replacement. Quintos and the 121st Salvation Team later recovered the gene-seed of Commander Cassios and the body and gene-seed of Sergeant Tiresias, who had been mortally wounded during a mission to destroy an unknown class of Hive Ship.
- Neophyte Pasan - Pasan was a Neophyte who served as a member of the 21st Salvation Team under the command of Sergeant Tiresias. As one of the last of his generation to be born on Sotha, Tiresias favoured training Pasan over his squad-mates for a future leadership position. During the exploration of an unknown Tyranid Hive Ship, it was Pasan who devised the plan to destroy the xenos ship. Pasan died within the "heart chamber" of the Tyranid vessel when he was overwhelmed by a swarm of Gaunts.
- Neophyte Hwygir - Hwygir was a Neophyte who served as a member of the 21st Salvation Team under the command of Sergeant Tiresias, acting as the squad's Heavy Weapons specialist and carrying a Heavy Bolter. He hailed from the Death World of Miral. When he became a fully-fledged Space Marine he had chosen to rename himself Culmonios. He died aboard a Tyranid Hive Ship after being fatally shot in the back of the head by a Tyranid biomorph.
- Neophyte Narro - Narro was a Neophyte who served as a member of the 21st Salvation Team under the command of Sergeant Tiresias. He hailed from the Hive World of Radnar, coming from a privileged background. Narro had been recognised by Forge Master Sebastion as a potential candidate for a future Techmarine, noted for his natural affinity for practical problem solving, and had begun his early training in the mysteries of the Omnissiah before his untimely death aboard a Tyranid Hive Ship.
- Neophyte Vitellos - Vitellos was a Neophyte who served as a member of the 21st Salvation Team under the command of Sergeant Tiresias. Like Neophyte Narro, he too, hailed from the Hive World of Radnar, having been reluctantly pressed into service when his world had to defend themselves against the threat of Hive Fleet Kraken. Sergeant Tiresias was not overly fond of Vitellios, who he felt had an inflated ego and an attitude of smug superiority. Nonetheless, Tiresias grudgingly admitted that Vitellos' background as a warrior made him a natural-born leader. Vitellos died aboard a Tyranid Hive Ship when he was crushed to death by one of the vessel's numerous organic door-valve mouths.
- Vosok Dall - Vosok Dall was a Battle-Brother of the Scythes of the Emperor who turned Renegade and swore allegiance to the Blood God Khorne sometime after the fall of Sotha. Now a Chaos Space Marine, Dall was a warrior who killed in the name of a blood-drenched god who revelled in murder and battle. He was both strong and capable, with a hunger for glory and martial honour unmatched even by those who still fought for the Imperium. Vosok was killed on New Badab, homeworld of the Renegade Red Corsairs, by Warsmith Honsou of the Iron Warriors, during Honsou's participation in a tournament known as the Skull Harvest, called by the Red Corsairs' Chaos Lord, Huron Blackheart.
- Shipmaster Kaeron - Commanding Officer aboard the Hunter-class Destroyer, Xenophon. He was lost along with the voidship during the destruction of Sotha by Hive Fleet Kraken.
- Leviton Goss - Sub-Lieutenant of the Xenophon, he too, was lost along with the ship when it was destroyed by the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Kraeken.
- Serf-Sergeant Milus Ogden - Chief Security Officer of the Xenophon, who was lost with the destruction of the ship by the Tyranids during the Fall of Sotha.
- Tyek - Security Officer aboard the Xenophon. He was killed during a ship-to-ship collision.
- Gricole - Senior retainer under Sergeant Tiresias.
- Heart of Cronus (Battle-Barge) - Formerly called the The Heart of Sotha and before that, Honour's Might, the Scythes of the Emperor's only remaining Chapter fleet starship is now named the Heart of Cronus. It is currently serving as their mobile base of operations and fortress-monastery since the destruction of their homeworld of Sotha. In order to facilitate the training of prospective Astartes, the hangar was rebuilt into a training ground for newly recruited Neophytes, which includes ingenious traps, xenoforms and combat Servitors programmed with Tyranid attack patterns, in order to survive fighting against those vile xenos.
- Xenophon (Hunter-class Destroyer) - The Xenophon served in the Scythes of the Emperor's fleet shortly before the destruction of Sotha by Hive Fleet Kraken.
The Scythes of the Emperor primarily wear yellow Power Armour. This includes the power pack, torso and groin armour. The helm, pauldrons, greaves, gauntlets and leg armour are black. The white squad specialty symbol on the right shoulder guard designates operational specialty -- Tactical, Devastator, Assault or Veteran. A black Roman numeral is stenciled in the centre of it, indicating squad number. The colour of the Aquila or Imperialis on the chest guard indicates company number in accordance with the dictates of the Codex Astartes -- i.e. White (1st Company), Yellow (2nd Company), Red (3rd Company), Green (4th Company), etc. Veteran status is denoted by a yellow left knee guard, adorned with a black skull.
The Scythes of the Emperor's Chapter badge is a pair of crossed yellow scythes on a field of black or a single black scythe in a field of yellow.
- Advanced Space Crusade Rulebook (1st Edition), pp. 4, 16, 29, 38, 42, 45, 48
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Grey Knights (8th Edition), "Putrid Springs," pg. 25
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Space Marines (8th Edition), pg. 31
- Codex: Space Marines (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 111
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 18-19, 33, 53
- Codex: Tyranids (4th Edition), pg. 14
- How to Paint Space Marines, pg. 88 (colour scheme, listed under Codex-compliant Chapters)
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pg. 77
- Index Astartes IV - "The Badab War", pg. 55
- White Dwarf 306 (UK), "Purge the Alien - Ultramarines Tyrannic War Veterans", by Graham McNeill, pp. 54-55
- White Dwarf 264 (UK), "Index Xenos: The Kroot", pg. 96
- White Dwarf 218 (UK), "The Coming of the Great Devourer", pg. 80
- White Dwarf 198 (US), "Honour and Glory: Veteran Regiments", pp. 34-37
- White Dwarf 48 (FA), Scenario for Epic 40,000 by W. Kinrade
- Unremembered Empire (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Slaughter at Giant's Coffin (Novel) by Laurie Goulding
- A Safe and Shadowed Place (Eshort) by Guy Hayley
- Renegades of the Dark Millennium (Anthology), "The Blood of Sotha", (Short Story) by Laurie Goulding
- Legends of the Space Marines (Anthology), "Orphans of the Kraken", by Richard Williams
- Heroes of the Space Marines (Anthology), "The Skull Harvest", by Graham McNeill
- Reclamation (Short Story) by Laurie Goulding
- Last Watch (Advent Short Story Series) by Laurie Goulding
- The Shadow of the Beast (Short Story) by Laurie Goulding
- The Aegidan Oath (Short Story) by Laurie Goulding
- Visions of War: The Art of Space Marine Battle, "Heloth", (Short Story) by Laurie Goulding