Unbelievable as it may seem, there are times when even Astartes battleplate simply does not offer sufficient protection. Most frequently, this will be in circumstances where they are required to prosecute undertakings in theatres regarded by the Codex Tactica Imperialis as Zones Mortalis. Such environs include storming breaches in fortifications, void-craft boarding actions, the clearing of bunker and tunnel complexes and the pacification of space hulks. 

In some cases, these actions may be undertaken by Breacher Squads augmented with boarding or breacher shields, but in circumstances where the probability of survival is rated particularly low and protection is therefore of utmost concern, Tactical Dreadnaught Armour is likely to prove the best option.

A product of the Terminator programme which sought to create the ultimate protective armour for the Legiones Astartes, Tactical Dreadnaught Armour harnesses the capabilities of civilian exo-environment suits that are able to withstand such lethal environs as those found within the containment fields of macro-plasma reactors by combining ceramite and plasteel plating with adamantium bracing. 

According to Kordhial's Liber Armorum Imperialium, several patterns of Tactical Dreadnaught plate were developed by competing armourers, including Kataphraktii, Tartarus, Indominus and Saturnyne with each variant possessing uniquely defining characteristics and appearance but ultimately offering roughly analogous levels of protection to the wearer. 

Such protection came at a price though and an Astartes must undergo extensive training before being certified to fight wearing a Tactical Dreadnaught Armour as the bulk and reduced agility of the suit can wrong foot the inexperienced and render even the most decorated of veterans vulnerable to more numerous or more lightly armoured foes.

But to master Tactical Dreadnaught Armour is to be able to walk unscathed through storms of shot and shell that would prove the death of a lesser armoured warrior.   

Illiatariu. C., Rememberancier Documantist Minoris. To Walk Among Demigods. A Treatise Upon The Nature of The Argyntum Stellae., Published 863.M33, Sector Heliopolis, Segmentum Pacificus. 



I will be the first to admit that I have little by way of a frame of reference since I have spent precious little time around anyone with psychic abilities before, but being in the presence of a Quæsitor is an unsettling experience to say the least. Indeed, one could write much upon the subject of mankind's abject fear of and utter reliance upon the psychic members of our species, but I shall refrain from such digression here.

I am given to understand that the majority of orthodox Astartes chapters maintain a Librarius. There are of course exceptions to this, perhaps the most notable being the Templarum Ater, who I am assured reserve nothing but hatred towards those with even the barest hint of psychic talents. Within those chapters possessed of them though, in addition to such mundane tasks as record keeping and counselling their war leaders, the Librarius maintains oversight of the wellbeing and training of the battle-witches of the Adeptus Astartes

While the intricacies of the rituals and teachings that are their stock in trade are far beyond my comprehension, I believe that the origins of the Librarius lie within the Magna Crucis, though it was censured and disbanded by the Master of Mankind before it took root in all of the Legiones and was ultimately only resurrected in desperation as conventional warriors found they were all but powerless to combat the warpcraft wielded by those gathered to the banner of The Serpent

I believe that much of the garb of the Librarius emerged in this tumultuous time as well.  Indeed, Æplogestes's Admonitio Historiæ Imperialis suggests that the distinctive Psionic Hoods worn by members of the Librarius were derived in part from technoarcana recovered from the ruins of pre-Imperial cultures by the Mundi Comedentii and Manus Ferreae which took the form of collars of blackened silicate that, at great cost would allow the wearer to quiet the Immaterium, though I have been unable to fully corroborate this assertion.

If [REDACTED] is to believed, and I find I have no reason to doubt the veracity of his statements, then while they may appear similar in function and form to their Imperial counterparts, the origins of the abilities and armaments of the Quæsitors lie far earlier in the history of mankind, being instead derived from lessons hard won by a handful of Astartes with latent psionic abilities out among the Halo Stars. I believe that the Astartes do not feel fear, but what horrors must they have endured alone the darkness while attempting to gain understanding and mastery of their abilities? 
As comfortable as I was to eventually become among the majority the subjects of my rememberance, I remained unable to be entirely at ease with [REDACTED]. Merely being in his presence was unnerving enough as I have said, but when he revealed to me the power that Quæsitors possess in the disciplines such as divination, telepathy, fulmination and geomancy, a fear I could never entirely quiet remained ever present in my thoughts. To earn the ire of an Astartes would be terrible enough, but to anger one possessed of the ability to conjure fire from thin air, shatter the very earth itself or still hearts with but a thought would be so very much worse...

Illiatariu. C., Rememberancier Documantist Minoris. To Walk Among Demigods. A Treatise Upon The Nature of The Argyntum Stellae., Published 863.M33, Sector Heliopolis, Segmentum Pacificus. 



Spear of Volnoscere. Bastards of Siklon. Reavers of the Void. It could be said that the Inanis Barones accumulated titles like they appropriated vessels but while names are easily afforded, not all are as deserved as they may seem.

That the Barones were masters of boarding actions and shock assaults is without question. Similarly beyond doubt is that they, like many before them, ascribed to the the belief that ‘might makes right’ which was to bring them to blows with those with whom they had common cause on more than one occasion.

But a more than momentary glance into the light cast by the names they were given though would reveal a more complex picture of misunderstanding and misrepresentation. Ever has truth been among the first casualties in the conflicts of man. 


Despite my misgivings, for the reputation of the Barones preceded their arrival, I found that [REDACTED] was unusually amiable for an Astartes, though at times I found his humours leaned more towards the melancholic and he was given to a sentimentality that in my, admittedly limited experience was rarely found in trans-humans.


The Sorrowful Years would come to visit much sadness upon Sectors Heliopolis and Morqub, but I felt an unusually personally loss when I learned of [REDACTED]’s death at the hands of Ordo Astartes agents and I shall always regret that I was unable to spend more time in his company as we would often discuss matters beyond those warcraft and battle tactics...


Illiatariu. C., Rememberancier Documantist Minoris. To Walk Among Demigods. A Treatise Upon The Nature of The Argyntum Stellae., Published 863.M33, Sector Heliopolis, Segmentum Pacificus. 


 



I have little doubt that to an Astartes, internment in a Dreadnaught is a singular honour. One that allows him to continue to fight despite injuries so grievous they would overwhelm even transhuman physiology. An honour that ensures his hard won skill and knowledge are not lost to history.

But does such an honour transmute more than just the body? What must such isolation from the senses and the physical world we so take for granted do to a mind?

I wrestled with these questions often but could not bring myself to ask them of [REDACTED]. Instead, during the times we conversed I focused upon subjects I felt would be more palatable.

His elevation from neophyte to Astartes, his first combat deployment. His promotion in the field when he slew four of the monstrous Euyclalid. The battles he fought and foes he killed. Even the manner of his death and implantation into the sarcophagus of a Furibundus Dreadnaught, the design of which I am given to understand was old almost to the point of obscurity when the Astartes were young and the wars of Unity were yet to be concluded.

Old though the design might have been, it was no less fearsome or effective than a Contemptus Dreadnaught and on more than one occasion I found myself almost pitying those who did not call him an ally...
Illiatariu. C., Rememberancier Documantist Minoris. To Walk Among Demigods. A Treatise Upon The Nature of The Argyntum Stellae., Published 863.M33, Sector Heliopolis, Segmentum Pacificus.

 


...I recall reading about the Void Hoplites of the Saturnyne Ordos in an account of the early years of the Great Crusade and how they kept the predations of Old Night at bay for centuries before the armies of Unification reached the Polities of Saturn.


With the formation of the Legiones Astartes, one might well question the purpose of continuing to train and equip men and women for the Solar pattern Auxilia but as I have seen, there are roles to which shock troops like the Astartes are ill-suited such as pathfinders and peacekeepers and it was in these arenas and more that former Void Hoplites excelled to such a degree that the Solar Auxilia became a template utilised throughout the galaxy.

I am uncertain whether the Argyntum Stellæ set forth from Sol in the company of cohorts of the newly minted Solar Auxilia or whether they became allied with them later, though of course even allowing for the time dilatory effects of travel through the Immaterium or repeated juvenat treatments, any who might have traveled with them into the darkness beyond the stars would be long dead.

Regardless of how long they had been in his service, it was clear that Volnoscere recognised and appreciated the capabilities of the Void Hoplites, even going so far as to afford them the honour of wearing the heraldry of the Legion including the Stellæ Argentae...


Illiatariu. C., Rememberancier Documantist Minoris. To Walk Among Demigods. A Treatise Upon The Nature of The Argyntum Stellae., Published 863.M33, Sector Heliopolis, Segmentum Pacificus.







 






Starfall
. The name seems innocuous enough, yet with hindsight the symbolism within it is as evident as it was no doubt deliberate. Ever has it been that man has sought to hide truths in plain sight though, the better to preserve the lie I suppose.

The events at Ul-Hiyar would would come to have a profound effect upon the Argyntum Stellæ and would play a significant role in the formation of what would become known as the Marines Mendicant but the consequences of the strike against Volnoscere would bear more unexpected fruit in the revival of the Oki-hāmau by the Legion.

Deployed throughout multiple theatres during the Sorrowful Years the Oki-hāmau was less of a formal assembly of dedicated units and more a loose band of ad-hoc formations assembled for specific "hunt/kill" undertakings, with each being led by an Astartes of the Legion. On occasion, this might be a member of the Kapihe though it seems that more frequently, command would fall to less senior officers or line Astartes.
As the parameters of such operations were so varied, it became common for mission leaders to be given significant discretion in their selection of materiel and personnel and as the Sorrowful Years ground on many such individuals came to recognise the benefits of a combined arms approach when assembling their team.

[REDACTED] can be considered broadly representative of an Oki-hāmau formation, and I believe them to have been present at [REDACTED] and [REDACTED], though I have been unable to confirm their presence in this theatre with any veracity and thus the latter of these undertakings should perhaps be attributed to Marines Mendicant operatives instead...

Illiatariu. C., Rememberancier Documantist Minoris. To Walk Among Demigods. A Treatise Upon The Nature of The Argyntum Stellae., Published 863.M33, Sector Heliopolis, Segmentum Pacificus.




 

 


There were times when I wondered if following my curiosity had been folly.


Admittedly these were mostly when I found my person endangered but there were others too. In fact, many was the night cycle I found myself doubting the decisions I made along the path that led to The Primarch.

Now it seems clear that doubt was one of the prices of Enlightenment, for what are any of us if not the sum of our choices? But at the time, I felt as though everything I understood must be a lie which is a difficult place to be for one indoctrinated in the Imperial Creed.

As fate would have it, I was only to meet with Volnoscere once, but once was enough to convince me of what my purpose in this must be. The Argyntum Stellæ had departed Terra before the foundation of the Rememberancier order and thus the counting of their past was lost, but as they forged the future I would do what I could to ensure their deeds were witnessed. I am not naive enough to believe he counted me a friend after our meeting, but I'd like to think that my choices from then on pleased him.

Illiatariu. C., Rememberancier Documantist Minoris. To Walk Among Demigods. A Treatise Upon The Nature of The Argyntum Stellae., Published 863.M33, Sector Heliopolis, Segmentum Pacificus.






 

"Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful."
Shellei, M., Francynstein. fl. M2

+++

I'm sure you will recall my previous discussion of Transhuman Dread and the deleterious effects it has upon unaugmented humans. It may surprise you to learn that in time, one may become, if not immune to it, then sufficiently inured as to not flinch in fear at the slightest movement an Astartes makes.

Even Transhuman Dread pales to insignificance in comparison to being regarded by the targeting augers of a 'Dreadnaught' though, and the first time that I found myself in the presence of [REDACTED] it was all I could do not to flee in terror.

My hosts appeared amused at my discomfiture and assured me that should my nerves get the better of me, the threat responses hardwired into the mnemocoils of [REDACTED]'s warsuit would ensure I would not live to make such a poor choice again. Though I never did find out if they spoke in jest, I can assure you that I was instantly resolved to never put their words to the test...


Illiatariu. C., Rememberancier Documantist Minoris. To Walk Among Demigods. A Treatise Upon The Nature of The Argyntum Stellae., Published 863.M33, Sector Heliopolis, Segmentum Pacificus.






To many, the warriors of the Astartes must seem as though cast from exactly the same mould, particularly when fully clad in warplate. Indeed I have occasionally heard it said that so similar do they look that some think them to be no more than automata like the fearsome constructs of the Cult Mechanicus.

But to the more patient observer, the distinctions in markings, personal heraldry and unit identifiers even if esoteric and untranslatable begin to emerge from the canvas of each suit of armour.

I cannot pretend that I discerned the true meaning of much in my time with the Argyntum Stellæ, such was their penchant for veils of secrecy that was perhaps greater even than that of the Holy Ordos of His Inquisition. I was able though to glean some tantalising morsels that I believe are truths regarding the Kapihe though.

Counted among Volnoscere's most trusted and capable warriors, where others of lesser rank within the Legion displayed the characters 'CV' upon their left pauldron, I observed at least two officers that bore the designation 'CII' instead. This variant of such a common marking along with the peculiarities of their personal heraldry led me to conclude that these men were chosen and I resolved to try to discover what had made them so.

Illiatariu. C., Rememberancier Documantist Minoris. To Walk Among Demigods. A Treatise Upon The Nature of The Argyntum Stellae., Published 863.M33, Sector Heliopolis, Segmentum Pacificus.



 

I believe it was The Weeping Philosopher who said: "War is father and king of all. It proves some to be gods and others merely human". As a non-combatant in what was clearly an Astartes war, my humanity was as painfully obvious to me as the inhumanity of the Astartes. I don't mean that they lacked mercy or compassion, though naturally those are not traits they are renowned for possessing. No, I mean that they are to us as we are to the Neyanderthel or Kro-Magon.

From the outset it was clear that Volnoscere had gathered to him those of aptitude and capability in the disciplines of war and arts of diplomacy or more often than not facets of both. Like a king naming warrior princes he formed what I came to know was ‘The Kapihe’, and to them he entrusted portions of the Legion, safe in the knowledge that with his forces in their capable hands, he could then focus his energies upon the reason for his return to the Imperium.

Illiatariu. C., Rememberancier Documantist Minoris., To Walk Among Demigods. A Treatise Upon The Nature of The Argyntum Stellae., Published 863.M33, Sector Heliopolis, Segmentum Pacificus.





When at last I saw them, I recalled a passage that I had read, though even now I cannot recall the source:
“An Astartes is designed to fight and kill anything that doesn't annihilate it first. If you saw an Astartes, you knew you were in trouble. Their appearance alone would cow you with fear.  
But to see one move. Apparently that was the real thing. Nothing human-shaped should be so fast, so lithe, so powerful, especially nothing in excess of two meters tall and carrying more armour than four normal men could lift. The sight of an Astartes was one thing, but the moving fact of one was quite another. Psykologians called it ‘transhuman dread’. It froze a man, stuck him to the ground, caused his mind to lock up, made him lose control of bladder and bowel. Something huge and warlike gave pause; something huge and warlike and moving with the speed of a striking snake, that was when you knew that gods walked amongst men, and that there existed a scale of strength and speed beyond anything mortal, and that you were about to die and, if you were really lucky, there might just be time to piss yourself first."

I was no foolish Chelon, and had done my research of course, but reading about a thing and experiencing it are not the same. I had wanted to know though, I mean really wanted to know. Gods but how I wish now had been able to temper my curiosity.”

Illiatariu. C., Rememberancier Documantist Minoris. To Walk Among Demigods. A Treatise Upon The Nature of The Argyntum Stellae., Published 863.M33, Sector Heliopolis, Segmentum Pacificus.




“I petitioned through the latter half of 785 and into 786. Travel throughout Sector Heliopolis was becoming more difficult due to the presence of predation fleets and I feared that even if I were successful, my destination might prove beyond reach.

Thankfully, my worries were to prove unfounded and thus it was that by Septimus of 786 I was well upon the path that would come to bring me to the court of Those Who Had Returned.

At this time I had little idea of what lay before me though and I thus spent much of my journey reading and rereading such scraps as I could find of the works of Keyler, Karkahsee and Gerontius. They had been where I sought to go and I believed any enlightenment they might grant me could serve me well in the presence of the Legiones Astartes Argentum Stellæ."

Illiatariu. C., Rememberancier Documantist Minoris. To Walk Among Demigods. A Treatise Upon The Nature of The Argyntum Stellae., Published 863.M33, Sector Heliopolis, Segmentum Pacificus.



"...Many of us call the Astartes Angels of Death without truly appreciating the meaning of those words. But then how could we? To the Imperium at large they are saviours and protectors. They are paragons of virtue and warriors without peer, not unlike the Knyghtes of antiquity. But there was nothing noble in what was visited upon those worlds that declared for Volnsocere..."

Illiatariu. C., Rememberancier Documantist Minoris. To Walk Among Demigods. A Treatise Upon The Nature of The Argyntum Stellae., Published 863.M33, Sector Heliopolis, Segmentum Pacificus.

 

I have witnessed a great many things in my time abroad in this galaxy. Of all of them, the most terrible to behold was the wrath of the Adeptus Astartes when roused to war against their own kind.
Illiatariu. C., Rememberancier Documantist Minoris., Collected Essays vol.IX, Sector Tyraxus, Segmentum Pacificus. 835.M33