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- "We embody the fury of the Primordial Stars, stalwarts against the yawning darkness. Celestial Legion, to Eternity! To its End!"
- — Attr. Ankhaya Vhadarsha, the God Reborn, Primarch of the Celestial Legion
The I Legion, which came to be known as the Celestial Legion or the Celestials, was one of the original 20 Space Marine Legions created by the Emperor of Mankind to secure the glorious destiny of mankind. Primarch of the I Legion is Ankaya Vhadarsha, the God Reborn. At the core of the Celestial Legion's tactic are hit-and-run manoeuvres, focusing on weakening the enemy forces from long-range or daring, but lethal high speed incursion: among all Legions, in fact, the Celestials can brag one of the most advanced arsenals at their disposal, with most of their vehicles being antigrav and their plasma weaponry being state-of-the-art, if not superior to those provided by the Adeptus Mechanicus.
Like every other Legion, the Celestials trace their origins back to Terra: during the age of the Unification Wars, most of its Astartes were from different zones of the Throneworld, and their colorful background made it easier for the legion to embrace Urdhva's culture and tactics into their standard doctrine.
The Unification WarsEdit
The Celestial Legion took part in the campaign to unify Holy Terra beneath the dominion of the Emperor. Rather than acting as a frontline or rear guard, the Celestials were deployed in forward position, scouting and testing the enemy defenses in the vanguard. While not exactly safe, this prevented the Legion from sustaining heavy casualties.
The Great CrusadeEdit
The Celestial Legion has always been a special case, amidst the other Legions: though they were loyal to the Emperor, the Primarch and any other Agent of the Imperium failed to enforce the Imperial Truth, but rather than hindering the Legion in any way, the Celestials fought with their very being believing that the Emperor was the 'Chandra', a term that transcends human's perception that stands for "He who is everything and nothing at the same time", and their Primarch an incarnation of this Divine Concept.
Furthermore, the Legion has troublesome relationships with the Mechanicum. The Celestial Legion refuses to share their technology with the 'Defilers', and an Imperial Mandate was required to force the Astartes Legion to share their blueprints, which were discovered to be flawed. Besides, Adeptus Mechanicus would never bend and acknowledge the Celestial's mastery over the 'Starblood', or plasma, and neither would the Celestials give up pointing out flaws in Mechanicus designs.
The I Legion met their Primarch after the end of his brilliant campaign in 839.M30, and were delighted by the tactical mastery of their Father. Despite the Terran veterans disliking the traditionalist reform of the Legion, the many recruits coming from the Astrana System conformed to the Legion's ideals.
The Celestial Legion's 190,000 Marines are divided in 19 Chapter, each of 1,000 Marine, with each Chapter being divided into 10 Companies. Four Companies are classified as 'Combat Companies', composed of 150 Marines: 4 Chadae Squads, 4 'Talavaar' Squads, 2 'Baagh Squads', 2 'Ving' Squads and 3 Veteran Squads alongside the headquarters and vehicle support department. Two Companies are classified as Support Companies, usually being marked as 'Stalking Tiger' - providing Talavaar and Baagh squads, while the other is known as 'Flowing Water', providing Chadae and Ving squads alongside additional spare war machines. One Company is comprised of the Chapter's Neophytes, and finally, the last Company of 100 Marines is exclusively made of the Legion's finest heroes.
The headquarters command of a Celestial Legion is composed of a 'Raja' - the supreme voice of a Chapter elected by the Council of Seven, the second most important structure in the Celestial's headquarters command composed of the 5 Combat Company Captains - the Pentarchs, the Librarius' 'Maharchaka' or Grand Librarian, the 'Mahalerai' representing the Lerai Caste. The remaining five Companies are led by Aspirants, particularly charismatic individuals appointed by one of the Pentarchs.
The Librarium is composed of three ranks: Astartes found to be psychically promising are induced into the ranks of the Librarium as an Acolyte, and once his training is complete, he may be known as an Archaka. Archakai make up a Council, whose purpose is not only to safeguard the Legion's lore and relic, but also preserve and improve its technology.
- Baagh Squad: Perhaps the only infantry with "limited" mobility, Baagh Squad form the infiltrating vanguard of the Celestial Legion: trained in stealth warfare and relying on the element of surprise, Baagh Squads strike from unexpected angles while relaying pivotal information to the Legion. They are usually armed with combat knives and either a Combat Shotgun or a Boltpistol, alongside a Tac-Com array and Tiger Eye-pattern Auspex to accomplish their vital task.
- Chadae Squad: Forming the rank and file of the Celestial Legion, Chadae Squads have been compared to hawks swooping down on their prey: equipped with their Windsail Harness, their high mobility and Power Armor make them fairly resilient against enemy assault and elusive - as between every fusilade, they can simply jump back into cover. Standard armament for Chadae are Twin-linked Wisp-pattern pistols - capable of projecting streams of plasma over greater distances than those used by other Imperium forces. One in five can take Special or Heavy Weapons, such as the fearsome anti-infantry Thunderbreath Cannon or the Fury anti-vehicle gun.
- Talavaar Squad: Talavaar Squads are comparable to other Legion's Assault squads: armed with a pair of sabres, they incarnate the Aspect of Wrath of the Chandra, and while their flails may seem insensate and frenetic, every moment is part of Khayana's Dance of Death. Either boarded on Sabretooth Antigrav transports or on Windsail Harnesses, Talavaar shine in melee combat, and in order to reach their destination, they make use of Grav-Discord Grenades - small ordnances that disrupt the environment and sends infantry lines in the air, allowing the Talavaar to charge unhindered.
- Ving Squad: While Jetbikes are fairly common in the Space Marine Legions of the Great Crusade, Ving Squads completely revolution the concept of High velocity incursion: gifted with what the Mechanicus would call a Machine Spirit, Ving Jetbikes are capable of automatically seeking targets while the pilot is focused on cruising at neckbreaking speed or locked in melee: Ving Squads are, in fact, more leaning towards the melee aspect of mounted warfare, and Astartes pilots usually wield glaives or spears to exploit their high speed. Jetbikes have an in-built Twin-linked Flamefang - rapid plasma repeaters that can scorch power armor.
- Chamak Squad: Veteran Chadae can ascend to Chamak the rank of Chamak after passing several trials - known as the Eight Paths. The end result is an all-rounded warrior that has seen it and done it all. Flexible and capable of tackling any situation, Chamak Squads are (like every elite Astartes of the Celestial legion), so lost in their warfare style that they simply cannot change their mindset. Chamak have the broadest choice over which weapon and equipment to bring: they usually go to war with a Windsail harness upgraded with a Stormwind Accelerator and a Lightstrike Rifle - a Plasma Rifle that, combined with the Stormwind Accelerator, become a weapon with impressive range. Other common loadouts are the Deva Plasma Gatling with Howler Grenade Packs to scatter and destroy hordes of infantry or a twin-linked Sunfury Cannon with Entropic Dispersion Field to tackle heavier targets and their counterfire.
- Deranti Squad: The infamous Scythe Squads of the Celestial Legion, while descending from the Aspect of Wrath of the Talavaar Squads, incarnate a much grimmer side of warfare - that of Death. Gliding silently equipped with a Windsail Harness and a Kinetic Force Barrier, the Deranti's dance is tranquil and calculated - unlike the strut and fret of the younger Talavaar. A Veteran has access to any kind of weapon he wishes to use - but the universal symbol of the Deranti is a pair of grain-cutting sickles - a reminder of what gives life can also give death. Sheathed in a power field, these weapons are perfect for destroying the multitudes of the Enemies of the Chandra. Other weapons of choice are the Gada, or Meteor-Mace (comparable to a Thunder Hammer), the Trishula Harpoon, capable of releasing electric shockwaves and the Maduvu, a shield with two blades mounted on each side.
- Bashmir Squad: With terminator armors being mostly unavailable, the Celestial Legion relies on Bashmir squad to fulfill the duties normally carried out by Legion terminators: lither and less cumbersome but at the same time less resilient, Bashmir are so bulky and heavy, they are unable to be mounted on transports or equipped with Windsail Harnesses. Instead, they are deployed from low orbit directly unto the battlefield, ready to wreck mayhem. Such feat is accomplished thanks to the plating of the Bashmir' Avenger armor and the built-in Entropic Barrier Generators. It is also thanks to the latter that the Bashmir soften the resistance they encounter, as they scatter an amount of force capable of grounding infantry lines, and even absorb Lascannon shots. Bashmir are equipped to deal against infantry targets: wielding a Storm Plasma Gun in one hand and Power Talons in the other, they can easily carve bloody swathes through light and medium armored infantry. One in five may choose to take a special weapon, to further enhance the squad's potential while the entire squad can be outfitted to deal against heavy targets, with a Fury Meltagun and an anti-vehicle Destroyer Gauntlet.
- Valyant: The Celestial Legion does not make use of Dreadnoughts for not only do they refuse to have deals with the Adeptus Mechanicus, but also because condemning a dead warrior to live on is blasphemous thus, unlike Dreadnoughts, Valyant pilots are alive. Less armored than Legion Dreadnoughts, Valyants make up for their weaker frame with Windstorm Engines - essentially, a bigger and more powerful Windsail Harness that not only allows the Walker to perform impressive leaps, but it also disrupts their infantry opponent's footing, as they alter gravity constantly. Valyants are equipped with Power Claws to destroy infantry and vehicles, with underslung Storm Plasma Guns which can be replaced for Flamers. They can also mount heavy weapons replacing their claws - Sunfury Cannons, Deva Gatling or Viltya Disruptor Cannons.
- Rakshasa: Hulking biped walkers, the role normally covered by a Legion Contemptor Dreadnought is tackled by the Celestial's Rakshasa. A marvel of technology, the Rakshasa's pilot is merged with the walker upon connecting with the interface. These warbeasts can only be piloted by Psykers, unlike the smaller Valyant model, and are built specifically for Archaki: as weaponry, it boasts four Force Greatblades, and one pair can be traded for a Great Force Lance or a Force Arkbow. The formidable plating of the vehicle is further bolstered by a Psykic Canopy, empowered by enemy spells or the evry psyker piloting it. While certainly not as mobile as the Valyant-class, like most Celestial Legion vehicles can be deployed via Thunderhawk drop.
Due to the poor relationships with the Mechanicum, the Celestial Legion has access to very few vehicles that other Legions would consider standard - especially the heavier caliber guns such as Fellblade Super-Heavy Tanks or Kand Raiders.
The Celestials recruit from their home system, and while some legions seek to test the physical might of their recruits, the Celestial legion's trials focus on sharpening the discipline and focus of every potential recruit: selecting their initiates around males in the range of 14-17 years of age, they undergo a year of ascetic lifestyle with the bare minimum required to live in order to steel themselves, while studying the art of warfare and combat techniques - a process that is intensified several tenfolds at the end of the fasting.
The final Trial is the 'Ascension to Heaven' - undertaking a long pilgrimage through the Fourteen Worlds of Astrana and brave the fourteen circles of the Underworld. Aspiring marines usually travel in parties - but it isn't unheard that some lone recruits passed this test all by themselves.
Legion Combat DoctrineEdit
While initially serving as scout and vanguard duty, now the First Legion is deployed as a scalpel - a precise strike force that can deal utterly devastating damage if used correctly. Believing in the principle of hit-and-run, Ankaya and his Legion make use of extremely fast antigrav vehicles, devastating close ranged weaponry and precise long ranged weaponry to weaken their foes before the killing blow. It isn't an overstatement to claim that the Legion does not deploy marines on foot: those who are not embarked on a vehicle or riding a bike, go to battle equipped with a Windsail Harness - a jetpack that alters gravity around the wielder in order to enhance his movement capabilities.
The Celestials are also infamous for their Plasma weaponry: refined and calculated, despite being slightly weaker than Mechanicus Plasma Guns, Starblood weapons do not overheat; for this reason, they can afford a much more reliable usage and fire rate. This does not mean the Legion eschews melee combat: part of the Legion's doctrine requires special units and squads that are capable of causing mayhem - and that duty befits Scythe Squads perfectly.
Primarch's Curse: Ascetic TranscendenceEdit
Not only as part of their training, the Celestials are unfazed before most terrors, slaughters and other nerve wracking situations. Furthermore, elder and veteran legionnaires often develop a unique focus on an aspect of warfare, making them extremely proficient at their chosen facet of warfare - but to the exclusivity of all else. These doctrines are so internalized, that they cannot be passed down - which is why, while there are several legendary warriors, they cannot transmit their experiences, if not through cryptic and prophetic teachings.
Legion Culture & BeliefsEdit
The Celestial Legion draws its caste system, faith and rank from the highly technological - albeit paradoxal Astrana Worlds: an innate spiritualism sharpened by utilitarism that drove the denizens of the Fourteen Planets of Astrana to advance technologically and by a traditionalism that imposes a stark faith on its society.
The Legion makes use of an abundance of symbolism related to the mythology of these planets - mixing modernity with syncretic elements that represent values and virtues.
The Celestial Legion is deeply rooted to its prophetic origins - Ankhaya is not only a Commander or a Gene-Father - he is a Herald of the Universe's End and the Conclusion of the Eternal Cycle. Tasked to assemble a host of heavenly warriors, he shall see the destruction of the old and corrupted world and rule the reforged galaxy freed of all Evil.
While of course theocratic, this myth has been interpreted by Ankhaya himself as the struggles that mankind must go through to finally claim their place amongst the Stars, as overlords of the known Universe.
Notable Legion MembersEdit
The colour scheme adopted by the I Legion of old, was originally deep red with black pauldrons. Following the reunion with their Primarch, the Legion adopted teal as their primary color and black as their secondary color. Each Chapter has their own variation - usually colouring the trims of their armorials to match the color of their elaborate symbols. Battle-plate is commonly decorated by the Astartes themselves, during meditation rituals known as 'Chandala' - these decorations are usually inscriptions or elegant circular pattern when the marine is lost in the rite.
The Legion's color also indicates rank. Veterans and Aspirants don elegant master-crafted battle-plate that is modified by the Legion with unique details - Naga serpents, laughing yaks or other mythological creatures. It isn't uncommon for these legionaries to wear a completely different colour either - most notably, Deranti using black to represent their grim trade.
The Legion's Heraldry reflects the nature of Infinity, repeating the same pattern over and over. Several other variants are adopted by different Chapters or even Veteran Shrines.
Imperium of MankindEdit
The relationship between the Celestials and the Imperium can be described as one of mutual benefit: while the Celestial Legion serves the Emperor in his crusades, they enjoy a sort of independence from its cumbersome apparatus. While this of course strains relations, it is a tax that must be paid for this loyalty. Ankhaya and the Emperor are in a fatherly relationship - he admires the charisma and mindset of the leader of the Imperium, while his Legion sees him as the ultimate expression of the Cycle. While this divinization is against the Imperial Truth, it assures loyalty.
Space Marine LegionsEdit
- Argonite Reavers - Ankhaya sees the Reavers as a bunch of blind savages, chasing some romanticized ideal of glory. While the Sygarian is the protagonist of this behavior, Ankhaya respects his prowess and leadership.
- Dragon Lords - The two Legions have no particular sentiment towards the other.
- Honour Bound - While the two Legions work extremely well together - with the Celestials capable of exploiting the hardiness of their brothers to strike and return to safety, Ankhaya finds the Legion's fixation on honour and glorious melee quite unhealthy.
- Jade Legion - Ankhaya finds their use of psychological warfare to be extremely admirable and effective, albeit eerie and unnatural. He considers their Primarch quite underwhelming in the field of battle, but otherwise an entertaining personality.
- Sanctified Sons - Ankhaya is fascinated by his brother Primarch Anax's upbringing, but ultimately looks down on his brother for his blind creed, in a sort of antithetic antipathy. The two Legions have won numerous battles together however.
(To be added)
The relations between the Martian Priesthood of Mars and Celestials contentious. These two factions are currently engaged in a cold war with one another - the only factor preventing it to explode into open conflict is the Imperium tying the two factions together.
The Celestials abhor the mutant - as they are naught but parodies of the purity of man. Most abhumans are seen as divine punishment from sins of a previous incarnation of the soul - but the Legion is willing to cooperate with mutants that can prove their worth.
(To be added)
Perhaps the greatest rival of the Celestial Legions, the Aeldari are deemed a very worthy and difficult opponent to tackle - unlike Orks. As both armies rely on speed and cunning, the Rajas studied Eldar tactics and techniques, developing specific countermeasures to counter the children of Isha. Several students and Archakai are very interested in Eldar culture too, finding many analogies between their Prophecy and the birth of Ynnead, the God of Death.
Like many other human factions, the Celestial Legion does not differentiate Dark Eldar from the Craftworld or the Exodite Eldars - as like their cousins, they are a lethal opponent that should never be underestimated.
By the CelestialsEdit
About the CelestialsEdit
This article was originally authored by Aethris, and transcribed here, for your viewing pleasure, by Algrim Whitefang.