The Realm of Ultramar is the feudal interstellar empire within the Imperium of Man's Segmentum Ultima that is governed by the Ultramarines Chapter of Space Marines and governed directly by the Ultramarines' Chapter Master who holds the Imperial noble titles of Lord Macragge and Lord of Ultramar. One aspect of the Ultramarines Legion that survived the Second Founding was the close relationship between the Space Marines and the populations of the surrounding planets. During the Great Crusade the worlds around the Chapter's homeworld of Macragge provided young recruits for the Ultramarines. They also supplied raw materials, armaments and spacecraft. Although the need to recruit from these worlds diminished almost to the vanishing point with the reorganisation of the Imperium after the Horus Heresy, the tradition continued. To this day, the Ultramarines recruit not from a single world, but from the whole sub-sector of their local space. This area around Macragge is called Ultramar, the stellar empire of the Ultramarines.
Forged by the brilliant strategic mind of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman and the martial prowess of his XIIIth Legion, the Ultramarines, Ultramar was the jewel of the Imperium's border realms, over five hundred worlds torn from the grip of unspeakable xenos empires and the despots of Old Night. Two centuries of disciplined and masterfully planned campaigning since the rediscovery of Roboute Guilliman had won the Ultramarines Legion an industrial base which rivalled any of the ancient strongholds at the Imperium's core, and this vast industrial complex supported one of the largest armies in the Imperial war machine, providing men and resources for the hundreds of regiments of the Excertus Imperialis raised across Ultramar, as well as the XIIIth Legion itself, one of the largest of all the Space Marine Legions.
Age of Strife
The world of Macragge is located in the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy. Macragge was a bleak but not inhospitable world, part of a decayed star empire of ages past that Mankind had inhabited for many centuries since the time of the Dark Age of Technology. Its industries had survived the Age of Strife relatively intact, and its people had retained an authoritarian but cohesive society. It had remarkably preserved a number of antiquated short range warp-capable craft which could be utilised for near-stellar transit -- conditions permitting -- and its people had continued to build sub-light spacecraft even during the time of the most intense warp storms. This had allowed the people of Macragge to maintain contact with several neighbouring human-settled star systems, despite the storms' fury, and so retain a tenuous link to the rest of human space and the knowledge that it was not alone in the darkness.
After their mysterious expulsion from Terra, the twenty incubation capsules of the infant Primarchs came to rest on human-settled colony worlds throughout the galaxy-distant worlds that were inhabited by a wide variety of human cultures, and whether by fickle fate or cruel design, each world would provide a crucible which would temper the child into the Primarch they would become, be that hero or monster, tyrant or liberator. The capsule containing the developing form of one Primarch fell upon the world of Macragge. The Primarch's capsule was discovered by a group of noblemen out hunting in the forest. They broke the capsule's seal to reveal a striking child surrounded by a glowing nimbus of power. The amazing infant was brought before Konor, one of a pair of Consuls who governed the civilised part of Macragge. Konor adopted the child as his son and named him Roboute.
The young Primarch grew unnaturally quickly and as he did so, his unique physical and mental powers became obvious to all. It is recorded that by the time of his tenth birthday, Guilliman had mastered everything the wisest tutors of Macragge could teach him. His insight into matters of history, philosophy and science astonished his teachers, while his recall was absolute and his ability to extrapolate accurate conclusions from fragmentary information was said to border on the inexplicable. His greatest talent, however, lay in the art of war, which was itself treated as a high and lauded science in Macragge's culture. As soon as he had attended his legal majority, Roboute's foster-father Konor immediately granted him command over an expeditionary force sent to pacify the far northern lands of Macragge, known as Illyrium. In his absence, Guilliman's co-consul, a man named Gallan, had unleashed a coup d'etat against Konor -- a development far from unknown historically, if in this instance a surprise. Gallan, it transpired, had long harboured designs on undiluted rulership and had conspired with those amongst the wealthy nobility of Macragge who were jealous of Konor's political power and popularity, and also increasingly afraid of his preternaturally precocious foster child's future.
As Roboute and his army approached Macragge City they saw the smoke from fires and hurried to investigate. From citizens fleeing from the city, Roboute learned that troops in the pay of Gallan had attacked the Senate House with Konor and his loyal bodyguard inside. The rebels surrounded the Senate, whilst drunken soldiers roamed the city looting and murdering at will. Roboute hurried to his father's rescue. Leaving his troops to deal with the drunken mob, he fought his way into the Senate House. There he found his father dying of wounds inflicted by an assassin in Gallan's employ. For three whole days the Consul had directed the defence of the building, even as surgeons fought for his life. With his dying breath Konor told his son of Gallan's treachery.
Roboute crushed the rebels and quickly restored order to the city. Thousands of citizens flocked to the Senate House and amidst a wave of popular acclaim Roboute assumed the mantle of sole and all-powerful Consul of Macragge. The new ruler acted swiftly to crush the old order. Gallan and his fellow conspirators were executed and their lands and family titles taken from them. In the new order, loyal soldiers and hardworking settlers were granted rights where the oppressive aristocracy had once held sway. With super-human energy and the singularity of vision only a Primarch was capable of executing, the new Consul reorganised the social order of Macragge, creating a ruthlessly enforced meritocracy where the hardworking prospered and the honourable received positions of high office, and those who shirked the law or worked against the good of the whole faced draconian, but faultlessly even-handed punishment. The stagnated and uneven economy was re-ordered, technology disseminated rather than hoarded by the elite, and the armed forces were transformed into a powerful and well-equipped force. Macragge flourished as never before -- one people and one order, united under the unchallengeable rule of Roboute Guilliman.
The Coming of the Emperor
Around the time that the young Roboute Guilliman waged war in Illyria, the Emperor's fleet had reached the planet of Espandor at the outer edge of the network of worlds with which Macragge had maintained tenebrous contact. From the Espandorians the Emperor learned of the existence of Macragge and the extraordinary son of the Consul Konor Guilliman, and from what he learned he knew that this child could be none other than a missing Primarch. There have been some who have suggested that the Emperor's arrival at Espandor and the isolated region so far from the frontline of the Great Crusade's main spur of progress was no accident, and that by some arts he had perceived or had foreknowledge of what he would find. Regardless, what followed was certainly not foreseen. As the Emperor's fleet quickly moved on to Macragge, it was almost immediately deflected by violent warp squalls which had risen up to separate Macragge and a handful of nearby systems from approach. Thwarted by a power even the Emperor could not readily ignore, it would be something in the region of five standard years before contact could be successfully attempted.
In the years that intervened, Macragge had undergone a striking transformation. It was now a world of uniformity and order, prosperous and productive. Its cities had been rebuilt in glittering marble and shining steel, and the serried ranks of its armies were well armed and well equipped, and outfitting themselves now for operations beyond their own world. For even before the Emperor's arrival, Roboute Guilliman, it is said, had dwelt much on the ancient histories contained in the great libraries that he had confiscated from his world's deposed aristocracy, and the fragments he found there telling of the ancient domains of Mankind, and he had begun to dream of new horizons and new worlds to conquer, of a domain "beyond the sea of night" or to use the ancient scholarly form found in the texts --"Ultramar". By his will, he made it so and within their warp-sealed enclave, vessels from Macragge now plied regular and well-patrolled trade routes with local star systems, bringing raw materials and people to the flourishing world, while against some of its neighbours, short, victorious conflicts had already been waged to pacify the strife they had found there.
It is said that when the Emperor saw what his lost son had wrought, he was indeed pleased, and that he met with Roboute Guilliman without the dissembling that had been needed with those Primarchs he had found of more savage timbre. It is furthermore recorded that once Guilliman learned the truth of his origins, he immediately swore his fealty to the Emperor, who he knew was his true father, for he had already theorised correctly the purpose for which he had not been born so much as deliberately created. It was immediately apparent to Imperial observers that Roboute Guilliman possessed a powerful analytical intelligence, even when compared to the superhuman cognitive abilities of his peers, as well as a talent for statecraft and macro-organisation of staggering potential. Yet few could then guess what such talents harnessed to the Great Crusade would go on to achieve.
Ultramar was a blade at the throat of Warmaster Horus' rebellion. Left unopposed and given time to gather in strength, for the warriors of the XIIIth Legion and their oath-bound Imperial Army auxilia, Ultramar would form a bastion that could resist even the full might of Horus' dark hosts. Worse, with Ultramar intact and alerted to Horus' plans, any attempt by the Traitors to move against the core systems of the Imperium would see the forces of Guilliman sally forth to trap him between their defenders and their own vast numbers. Yet, if Horus could bring Ultramar to ruin and leave the warriors of the XIIIth Legion scattered or slain, there would have been no other Loyalist force capable of stopping the advance of his growing armies. That Lorgar found the breaking of his brother's realm to his liking is undoubted; the XVIIth Legion had suffered a humiliating rebuke at the hands of the Ultramarines years before at Monarchia, an insult that had apparently festered within the Legion and driven them willingly into heresy. Indeed, it is commonly believed that the plan adopted by the Traitors for the destruction of Ultramar originated in the twisted mind of the Word Bearers Primarch.
It is unlikely that the true architect of the Calth Atrocity will ever be known however, and weighed against the innumerable sins committed by both Lorgar and Horus, the attribution of this one offence is inconsequential. What is known is that the earliest stages of the assault on Ultramar were laid down long before Horus arrived at the fateful worlds of Isstvan III, in the year 005.M31, with a series of orders issued under the seal of the Warmaster dispatching a number of Legions to campaigns in the furthest reaches of the Imperium. Of these, the Blood Angels were sent forth in their entirety to Signus, the Dark Angels to Tsagualsa and the Ultramarines received orders to muster alongside the Word Bearers at Calth, both Legions to be deployed against the Ork hold of Ghaslakh. Gathering at Saturn those of his Legion who had been embarked on crusades in distant parts of the galaxy, Roboute Guilliman would depart the Sol System mere months before news of Horus' rebellion reached the Emperor's ears. The turbulent state of the Empyrean in those years would see the Ultramarines' main strength journey to Calth by a winding and obtuse trail which would also cloak them from all attempts by Terra to recall them or forewarn them of Horus' actions. The Word Bearers, delayed by the slaughter at Isstvan, would not arrive at Calth until the majority of the XIIIth Legion had already gathered, travelling a path of blood and ashes of their creation.
Though the Ultramarines would eventually prove victorious, they would not be afforded the luxury of reaping the fruits of their victory. In one final callous act, the Word Bearers somehow, and through inexplicable means, somehow poisoned the Veridia star. The solar winds emanating from it were somehow poisoned. The surface of Calth, its atmosphere already grievously injured by the Word Bearers' bombardment, rapidly destabilising to the point that it soon became impossible for unprotected mortals to walk upon it. The majority of the population was evacuated into the vast subterranean arcologies in an effort to provide some shelter, however tenuous, from the fell light of the Veridia star. The second crisis brought to the Primarch's attention was at that time only partially understood, but already astrotelepathic messages were relaying desperate pleas for aid from all over the Five Hundred Worlds of Ultramar. The Traitors' assault on Calth was not an isolated event; other attacks were being reported across dozens of other systems. In a moment of stark clarity, Guilliman saw what the Word Bearers had intended at Calth -- they had planned the extinction of the Ultramarines so that the Traitors could reave unopposed across those stars under his protection. In this they had failed, for while the Ultramarines had suffered unprecedented losses, the Legion had rallied and was yet a formidable force. Guilliman's vengeance would be terrible indeed, and well earned. But here the Primarch's counsellors set their final piece of ill news before him. The Warp, which had been turbulent and capricious for the past year, now rose towards a storm of unprecedented fury. Worse, it now closed in around the Veridian System and any vessels that did not leave within a few hours were stranded there for years.
The losses inflicted upon the Ultramarines' fleet assets at Calth were crippling and hamstrung any effort to prosecute a war beyond the bounds of Ultramar. Such was the Ultramarines' desperation, missions to salvage the hulks drifting in orbit above Calth were quickly authorised despite the death toll such missions exacted in the deadly radiation of the Veridia star. Eventually, Guilliman took his leave of the once-bountiful world of Calth, the would-be jewel in the crown of Ultramar which had stood for so much that now could never be realised. Before the Primarch ordered the fleet to depart, the Warp closing in all about it, he swore to return to Calth and to deliver it from the Traitors. It would be many years and many battles, across five hundred worlds and more, before that promise could be delivered upon. But it would be delivered upon, for Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the XIIIth Legion and Master of the Five Hundred Worlds of Ultramar, had sworn it. Ultramar would endure.
The confusion and disorder following the Horus Heresy had left the Imperium weak and vulnerable. Everywhere the enemies of mankind prepared to attack. Many worlds remained in the grip of Chaos. Into this breach stepped Roboute Guilliman and the Ultramarines. Always the largest Legion, the Ultramarines found themselves divided and dispatched all over the Imperium in a desperate effort to stem the tide of invasion and unrest. The Ultramarines successfully held the Imperium together during a time of intense danger. Macragge was able to supply new recruits at such a rate that before long the Ultramarines alone accounted for more than half the total number of Space Marines, and few were the systems where their heroism went unnoticed. Within a decade, order was restored to the Imperium. Even as the Ultramarines reconquered, a new theory of warfare was emerging. Under the guidance of the Ultramarines' Primarch, the Codex Astartes, Guilliman's superbly written treatise on strategy and tactics, was taking shape. Its doctrines would reshape the future of all Space Marines and forevermore dictate the foundation for the Imperium's military strength and the ultimate survival of Mankind.
Ultramar is unique amongst the demesnes of the Space Marines. Where other Chapters rule over a single planet, asteroid or, in some cases, a mobile Chapter fleet or orbital fortress, the Ultramarines have a far larger feudal demesne. Before the Horus Heresy the realm of Ultramar consisted of more than five hundred worlds, and was commonly referred to as "The 500 Worlds of Ultramar" or the somewhat heretical "New Empire." These 500 worlds were all themselves divided into fiefdoms. The largest was the Ultramarines' homeworld of Macragge, with the fiefdoms of the worlds of Saramanth, Konor, Occluda, and Iax all varying is size. Before the Word Bearers' surprise assault on the world of Calth during the Heresy there was talk of Calth gaining its own fiefdom due to its industrial output nearly rivalling that of Macragge before the Traitors destroyed its biosphere. The fiefdoms of Ultramar were ruled by a Tetrarch, who was an Ultramarines Captain or Chapter Master chosen for this position by Roboute Guilliman, the Primarch of the Ultramarines Legion. The Tetrarch would then choose both a military governor, an Emperor's Champion and his Honour Guard. After the Horus Heresy, when the Space Marine Legions were broken down into smaller 1000-man Chapters, the 500 Worlds of Ultramar were divided up and given over to the many Successor Chapters of the Ultramarines. The Ultramarines Chapter kept control of the original center of Ultramar, consisting of no fewer than 11 local star systems, each with its own worlds and governments loyal to the Chapter. All the worlds that once comprised the larger Realm of Ultramar share a common cultural heritage with Macragge, so it is not surprising that their styles of architecture, government, and societal traditions are similar.
After the Horus Heresy all 11 worlds benefited from the Imperial reforms enacted by Roboute Guilliman and Ultramar's citizens remain disciplined, productive and loyal. As a result, Ultramar is a wealthy stellar empire within the larger Imperium that knows little unrest and no rebellion or heresy -- a somewhat unique distinction in the increasingly desperate days of the late 41st Millennium. The population lives in sprawling cities, but these cities are surrounded by extensive farmlands and seas that teem with fish.
Each of Ultramar's worlds are self-sufficient in raw materials and food. Trade between the planets is active, and each planet has its specialties and delicacies. Each world is balanced as a society and also as an ecosystem - although composed of primarily industrial worlds, Ultramar has none of the nightmarish toxic wastelands that are common phenomena throughout the human-settled galaxy. It is therefore little wonder that many system governors and planetary lords across the Imperium regard Ultramar with an envious eye.
Even without the presence of the Ultramarines, Ultramar is one of the most heavily defended sectors in the Imperium. Each world is protected by a nigh-impenetrable network of orbital defences and battle stations. The Ultramar Defence Fleet stands ever vigilant against pirate raids and enemy invasion. Meanwhile no fewer than six massive star fortresses – with Galatan being the largest – stand sentinel over shipping lanes and critical strategic positions, each a formidable bastion protected by void shields and possessed of enough firepower to destroy a moon.
Planets of Ultramar
Ultramar is the feudal realm of the Ultramarines within the greater realm of humanity that is the Imperium of Man. Its worlds do not pay the Imperium's tithes. Instead they contribute directly towards the upkeep of the Ultramarines Chapter. The rulers of the individual worlds of Ultramar are feudal lords of the Chapter Master of the Ultramarines. This is why the Ultramarines leader is also the Lord of Ultramar as well as the Lord Macragge, with all the rights and responsibilities that such titles entail. Just like other worlds in the Imperium, each world of Ultramar raises regiments for its own defence. Most worlds in the Imperium are obliged to provide regiments for the Imperial Guard when required, but Space Marine homeworlds are an exception. In the case of Ultramar, however, the Ultramarines rule so efficiently and are so prosperous that they maintain several hundred regiments ready and willing to join the Imperial Guard when the need arises. As a result, regiments from Ultramar have fought all over the galaxy, often in campaigns alongside the Ultramarines themselves. Each world of Ultramar also provides Space Marine recruits for the Ultramarines Chapter itself. Throughout Ultramar, proud citizens point to public statues of famous Ultramarines who were born to local families. Amongst the older aristocratic dynasties it is a matter of considerable esteem to send recruits to the Ultramarines. For a family to have provided a renowned hero, perhaps even an actual Master of the Chapter, is a great honour that brings considerable fame and status for many generations.
The Ultramarines are unique in that, unlike their fellow Astartes Chapters, they control nine habitable worlds, rather than a single Chapter planet, star system or fleet. Collectively, these star systems are known as the Realm of Ultramar, a sub-infeudated autonomous region of the Imperium of Man, with Macragge as the capital world. Macragge is a cold and rocky world with large, inhospitable polar regions, though certainly capable of sustaining human life. It is home to the Fortress of Hera, the Ultramarines' fortress-monastery.Ultramar is located in the galactic Southeast of the Eastern Fringes near the galactic Rim. The Eldar Craftworld Iyanden has been sighted in this sector and the expanding Tau Empire is also nearby. Twice Ultramar has stood in the path of a Tyranid Hive Fleet and the Tyranid threat in the Eastern Fringes remains strong. Macragge, the Ultramarines' homeworld and location of their fortress-monastery, is just one of the 11 worlds in the Realm of Ultramar. Macragge itself is mostly bleak and rocky, with more than three-quarters of its land mass formed from mountainous upland almost entirely devoid of life. The people of Macragge do not live in this inhospitable region, but the fortress-monastery of the Ultramarines is built here upon a craggy peak surrounded by impenetrable mountains. Within this mighty fortress, inside the vast Temple of Corrections, is the shrine of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman himself. This is where his body sits upon a huge throne of ornately-carved marble. He is preserved in death by a stasis field impervious to the decaying effects of time. This is one of the holiest places in the Imperium, and thousands come from all over the galaxy to look upon the face of the ancient Primarch. The other ten worlds in the Realm of Ultramar include:
- Konor - Forge World - Konor is an Adeptus Mechanicus Forge World. Konor shares a common culture with the rest of Ultramar but technically is independent of the Lord of Ultramar's rule as it owes allegiance instead to the Fabricator General of Mars. However, Konor often relies upon the Ultramarines for its defence and the products of its manufactoriums are mostly intended for use by the Chapter.
- Prandium - Dead World - Prandium once teemed with life. Settlers from Macragge established a colony on the planet after the Horus Heresy. Thanks to a mild climate and fertile virgin environment, the people of Prandium prospered. The planet soon become the most beautiful jewel of Ultramar, a planet of remarkable prosperity and an incredibly rich native fauna. Prandium was destroyed by Hive Fleet Behemoth in the First Tyrannic War. The lifeless planet is now reduced to bedrock, its atmosphere blown into space by the ferocity of the Tyranid attack.
- Calth - Cavern World - Calth is an airless world whose inhabitants live in underground cities where the deadly light of Calth's blue sun cannot reach them. The caverns of Calth are constructed on such a huge scale, and with such grandeur, that they are as light and airy as any city of Macragge. Of all the local worlds, Calth is the most specialised, for although its people grow vast quantities of food in nutrient vats, they prefer to import most of what they eat from the neighbouring system of Iax. Calth is famous for its orbital shipyards, which provide the spacecraft used by the Ultramarines as well as civil and military craft for wider use in the Imperium. Calth was the site of a major battle during the Horus Heresy, in which the Word Bearers Traitor Legion attempted to destroy the Ultramarines to prevent them from reaching Terra in time to aid the defence of the Imperial Palace from the Forces of Chaos.
- Espandor - Frontier World - Most distant from Macragge is the world of Espandor, a planet of extensive forests whose major cities are confined to the westernmost of its two continents. Espandor is a secondary settlement whose people are the descendants of explorers from Macragge and hold considerable pride in their rugged existence. Tradition has it that Espandor was settled during the Age of Strife by traders blown off-course and subsequently stranded by Warp Storms. It is the least densely populated of all the worlds of Ultramar.
- Iax - Garden World - Iax is sometimes described as the Garden of Ultramar. Its climate and fertility have made it one of the most naturally productive worlds in the Imperium. The inhabitants have harnessed the planet's inherent verdancy, covering its surface with well-ordered farms and cultivated woodlands. There are no large cities on Iax, but many small towns dotted over the landscape, connected together by an efficient system of fast hydroways. The oldest and most urbanised area of Iax is the ancient city of First Landing, whose citadel has withstood the barrages of invaders over the centuries. Legend has it that Guilliman came to Iax many times, and that he treasured the world almost as much as his beloved Macragge.
- The Triple Worlds (Quintarn, Tarentus and Masali) - Agri-worlds - These small planets form a triple world combination orbiting around a common centre of gravity much like the Earth and its moon. Gigantic horticultural cities cover hundreds of square miles, capturing precious water in wind traps and storing it in massive underground tanks. The cities of the Three Planets are enclosed by gigantic domes under which flourish forests and gardens as lush as any in Ultramar.
- Talassar - Ocean World - Talassar is a planet of storm-tossed seas and rocky islands whose single continent is known as Glaudor, which was the site of a major battle between the Ultramarines and invading Orks immediately after the Horus Heresy.
- Talasa Prime - Talasa Prime is an Inquisition Fortress World.
- Parmenio - Parmenio is an Ultramarines Training World used largely for the training of the Chapter's Neophytes.
- Codex: Space Marines (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 21
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 12-15
- Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition), pp. 11-15
- The Horus Heresy - Book Five: Tempest by Alan Bligh, pp. 10-11, 15-17, 75-79
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (5th Edition), pg. 117
- Know No Fear (Novel) by Dan Abnett, pp. 24-24, 65-66
- Unremembered Empire (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Deathfire (Novel) by Nick Kyme