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Emperor's Children

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The Emperor's Children were the III Legion of the twenty original Space Marine Legions, also known after their fall as the Lords of Profligacy.[12b] Their Primarch is Fulgrim. One of the nine legions that betrayed the Emperor during the Horus Heresy, they became Chaos Space Marines. They worship the Chaos god Slaanesh and are hedonistic psychopaths who live for experiences of excess.

Marine Basic Data Current Symbol
EmperorsChildrenMarine.jpg
- Emperor's Children -
Legion Number: III
Primarch: Fulgrim
Homeworld Pre-Heresy: Chemos
Homeworld Current: Eye of Terror
Chaos God: Slaanesh
Colours: Purple, Black and Gold
Specialty: Sonic Weaponry, Demoralization
Battle Cry: Children of the Emperor! Death to his foes!
ECSymbolNew.jpg
Pre-Heresy Symbol
EC Symbol.jpg

History

Pre-Heresy

Unification Era III Legion Shoulderpad.
Pre-Heresy Emperor's Children Marine.

Unification Wars

The earliest recruits to the Emperor's Children, then known as III Legion, were recruits gathered from Europa during the Unification Wars. Noble houses, such as House Loculus of Komarg, selected the finest of their youth and gave them to the Emperor following their defeat by his Thunder Warriors as tribute for their previous defiance. Following the Houses of Europa's lead, other noble Terran dynasties also sent their children to fight in the III Legion. This was rumoured to be the source of the Legion's adopted name, the Emperor's Children, a name that was re-affirmed later following Fulgrim's rediscovery.[11a]

One distinction with the early days of the Emperor's Children was that they willingly cooperated with and even led the young Imperial Army into battle during the Unification Wars, something other Legions saw as disdainful. Leading "lesser" troops seemed natural for the aristocrats of the Legion.[11a] Perfectionists even before having been reunified with their Primarch, the III Legion became known to efficiently execute and exceed the Emperor's own expectations.[Needs Citation]

Great Crusade

The Legion was frequently given diplomatic and emissary-protection missions by the Emperor and were known by some as His heralds,[18] the marines painting their armour imperial purple to signify their mission, emblazoned with a thunderbolt and rayed sun. The right to bear the Emperor's personal standard, the Palatine Aquilla, was granted following the Proximan Betrayal when the XVIth Cohort were all killed in defense of the Emperor, wounded by a Vortex weapon, during a surprise insurrectionist attack at the ceremonial plaza during the Imperial Compliance ceremonies.[11a]

Despite this status, the Legion was struck with disaster within a year of Proxima following the pacification of the Selenar gene-cults of Luna and the Martian Compact,[11a] when a substantial portion of gene-seed reserve was lost during its transit to Luna.[21b] It was then found that a Selenite plot had corrupted gene-seed stock held on Terra with what was known as 'the Blight', causing organ degeneration that then spread more widely in the Legion.[18]

Rapid deployment of reserves, purging the infected, and the establishment of methods such as salvaging Progenoid Glands from its dead warriors helped to reverse the decline, but the Legion never recovered from this incident, and thus were always among the smallest of the Legio Astartes. While other legions such as the Ultramarines, Imperial Fists, and Luna Wolves all exceeded the 100,000 mark, the III Legion numbered only in the hundreds.[11a]

Rediscovery of Fulgrim

Fulgrim and the Emperor's Children during the Great Crusade.

Following his rediscovery on Chemos, Fulgrim was placed at the head of his Legion. Fulgrim addressed the mere 200 Marines upon their first meeting, stating that they would go out into the Galaxy and spread the wisdom of the Emperor. "We are His children," the Book of Primarchs relates he told them, "Let all who look upon us know this. Only by imperfection can we fail him. We will not fail!" Following this address, the Emperor named the IIIrd Legion the "Emperor's Children".[11a]

As they were so few in number, the Emperor's Children were placed under the command of the Primarch Horus of the Luna Wolves, and they would fight together for almost a century until Horus' promotion to Warmaster following the Ullanor Crusade.[2b] Horus and Fulgrim grew close to one another, with eventual dire consequences for the Imperium.[Needs Citation]

Swollen by new recruits drawn from Chemos and Terra, the Emperor's Children finally mustered the strength to undertake a crusade alone, and Fulgrim proudly led his warriors into the unknown at the head of the 28th Expedition Fleet. To many worlds he brought the rule of the Emperor, crushing any resistance in the certain knowledge that any who fought against the Emperor fought against humanity itself. This wish to achieve perfection met its martial zenith during their first major campaign since parting with the Sons of Horus, the Cleansing of Laeran, where the Emperor's Children met an alien foe that offensively echoed their ideals. The Laer were judged so formidable by the Adeptus Administratum that it was feared any attempt to subjugate them would take over a decade. The Emperor's Children scoured them from their home-system in a month. This titanic effort was a notable feat of arms perhaps achievable only by Fulgrim's legion. However, it cost them dear; 700 marines perished with over 4,200 being injured.[1] Shortly after the campaign, the Emperor's Children fought alongside their closest brethren, the Iron Hands, against the Diasporex.[Needs Citation]

Notable Engagements pre-Heresy

The Horus Heresy

Emperor's Children battle Iron Hands at the Dropsite Massacre.

When the events that led to the Horus Heresy erupted, Fulgrim rushed to the Warmaster's side, attempting to reason with his old friend. Instead, Horus seduced him, playing upon his love of flawlessness to weaken Fulgrim's loyalty to the Emperor. Although Fulgrim initially resisted and wanted to speak out against Horus, the weapon he had taken from the Laer temple actually contained a daemon of Slaanesh. This daemon had been whispering to Fulgrim since he picked it up and weakened his resolve to the point where Horus was able to sway him.[Needs Citation]

The rot spread from Fulgrim to his Lord Commanders, then to company and squad leaders, and finally all but a bare handful of Marines followed Slaanesh rather than the Emperor. The remaining loyalists, led by Saul Tarvitz, a Captain of the Emperors Children, fought bravely on Isstvan III but were eventually overwhelmed as Horus, and the three Primarchs who had already declared for him wiped out those forces they believed would remain loyal to the Emperor. The Legion then gleefully proceeded to aid in the destruction of the arriving loyalist legions.[1] After the fighting on Istvaan III, Fulgrim entered the Heresy proper with approximately 50,000 marines.[11b] They fought alongside the traitors in the Dropsite Massacre. The Emperor's Children saw heavy fighting with the Iron Hands and Fulgrim slew their Primarch, Ferrus Manus[2]. Some elements of the Emperor's Children loyal to the Emperor remained, with at least one warband of them forming the Death Eagles.[13]

Some time after Isstvan V, The Perfect Fortress erected by Fulgrim in a strategic key system, was taken by the Raven Guard by luring the self-reliant Emperor's Children out. The whole Emperor's Children garrison was destroyed[14]. Later, the Legion accompanied Fulgrim along with Perturabo and the Iron Warriors to the Crone World of Iydris, where Fulgrim would achieve Daemonhood.[12] After the events on Iydris, the Emperor's Children devolved into disparate warbands. While most accompanied Fulgrim as he rendezvoused with Horus or undertook his own adventures in the Warp, several warband leaders arose who undertook their own sadistic raids into Imperial territory.[16] A third of the Legion remained under the control of the Eidolon, which attempted to destroy the White Scars both at the Kalium Gate and the Catallus Rift.[17]

After Horus ordered a muster for all traitor forces to converge on Ullanor in preparation for the final drive on Terra, Fulgrim was still nowhere to be found and the Emperor's Children still leaderless. However Lorgar was able to find the Primarch inside the Palace of Slaanesh and used Zardu Layak to bind him to his will with his True Name. Now forced to rejoin the war, Fulgrim let out a cry that rippled across the Warp. All across the galaxy, the various Emperor's Children's warbands heard the cry of their Primarch and rushed back to his side. Due to the blessing of the Gods, Warp trips that should have taken weeks took only hours, and soon the Emperor's Children were whole once more under the leadership of Fulgrim. Fulgrim was eventually freed by Layak, and the Emperor's Children pledged themselves to Horus for the assault on Terra.[24]

All trace of decency amongst the Emperor's Children had vanished by the time they partook in the Siege of Terra. While other Traitor Legions assaulted the Imperial Palace, the Emperor's Children embarked upon a spree of terror and gratification amongst the helpless citizenry of Terra. Millions of defenseless civilians were slaughtered and rendered down to create endless varieties of drugs and stimulants, countless thousands more dying to provide the Legionnaires with more direct and cruder pleasure.[1][5]

Post-Heresy

Emperor's Children battle Sons of Horus during the Legion War.

When Horus was defeated, the Emperor's Children left a trail of depopulated worlds in their wake as they fled to the Eye of Terror. They were the first of Legions to begin raiding Imperial worlds for captives and plunder. Their excesses knew no limits and raiding alone could not fuel their ever more boundless depravities. In their unrestrained fervour, they soon took to capturing the slaves and servants of the other Traitor Legions, triggering a series of wars within the Eye of Terror. At some point during this period, Fulgrim disappeared from the Legion, rumoured to have retreated to a planet of pleasure giften to him by Slaanesh.[1a]

Fabius Bile, the former Chief Apothecary, took up command of the remaining Emperor's Children and regrouped at at Canticle City, the fortress of the Emperor's Children on the Daemon world of Harmony.[20] From here Bile launched the destruction of the fortress of the Sons of Horus at Maleum, after which the body of Horus was taken and cloned by the Emperor's Children. Ezekyle Abaddon (himself a rumoured clone of Horus) led the Sons in a lightning attack against the Emperor's Children at the Battle of Harmony, destroying the body of Horus and his clone.[15] Bile fled, salvaging what he could of his experimentations, the other Emperor's Children considered Bile's retreat from Canticle City with the remnants of his work as a betrayal.[20]

As the wars against the other Traitor Legions intensified, the Emperor's Children soon exhausted their supply of slaves and began to prey upon the only victims they had ready access to: each other. Bereft of leadership, the ensuing bloodshed shattered the Emperor's Children as a unified Legion and splintered them into many warbands.[1a] After the Legion War ended, all the Legions resumed their raids on the Imperium, with the Emperor's Children proving the most successful in this pursuit.[5]

At some point, certain warband leaders of the Legion banded together to form the Phoenix Conclave, a grouping of the splintered remnants led by Lord Commander Primus Eidolon, aimed at restoring the Legion to its former glory.[21a]

Notable Engagements Post-Heresy

Post-Heresy Emperor's Children Marine

Organisation

Pre-Heresy

Emperor's Children on parade

From its perilous beginning, the Emperor's Children Legion continued to grow until it met its eventual end in the Eye of Terror. Fulgrim selected a few individuals, the bravest, strongest and noblest, to become Lord Commanders, called by Sanguinius the 'Princes of War, who were each given authority over the Company commanders. Fulgrim taught the Lord Commanders personally, taking care that they were worthy of the honour of being the representatives of the Emperor. In turn the Lord Commanders passed Fulgrim's words on to the officers under their command, and they to their squads. In this way, through their leaders, each Space Marine of the Emperor's Children Legion followed the Emperor himself. To honour the Emperor, they strove for perfection in all things: battlefield doctrine was obeyed to the letter, tactics and strategy were studied in minute detail and perfected, and the Emperor's decrees were memorised by every Space Marine, adhered to in every way. While the Emperor's Children, like most legions, considered the Emperor a man, not a god, their reverence and adoration for him bordered on the fanatical.[Needs Citation]

The Emperor's Children developed a very rigid combat methodology that was reflected in their order of battle. By the time Fulgrim led them into rebellion his Legion comprised 11,000 marines organized into 30 Millennials, the first ten of which were led by a Lord Commander. As each Space Marine looked to his superior officer for guidance, each Company inherited its manner and practices from its Commander. Though this was the case with many Legions, the Emperor's Children had a strength of devotion to their leaders that was almost unmatched.[Needs Citation]

The Legion strove for perfection in all their endeavours, and worked continuously to perfect their military operations. Each and every Space Marine trained almost ceaselessly for his assigned task, whether it be foot soldier, driver, gunner, scout or sniper. The Legion employed no Librarians, as the genetic mutation that allowed a psyker to access the warp was considered a flaw, a nothing considered a flaw would be allowed in the Legion.[6]

Every aspect of battle was analysed and used to the Emperor's Children's advantage, from terrain and weather to deployment or reserves.[1] As well as standard formations the Emperor's Children also fielded many specialized units, such as the lascannon equipped 'Sun-Killers', the duelist 'Brotherhoods of the Palatine Blades', the Primarch's 200 strong 'Phoenix Guard'[11b], and the elite assault companies 'Wings of the Phoenician' whose commander bore the title 'Eagle King'.[22]

In combat the Emperor's Children were as brave as any Space Marine who ever lived. Sustained not merely by the example of their peers but by a deep individual belief in their duty to their superiors and the Legion as a whole, they fought to the best of their abilities in all conditions, whether the battle was a massive attack or a simple patrol. It was widely believed that no Space Marine of the Emperor's Children had ever been routed in battle. Similarly, the Legion was highly demanding of forces allied with it - signs of hesitation or inefficiency within the Imperial Guard or even their brother Space Marines were not tolerated. The principle of leading by example was ingrained into every fibre of the Emperor's Children, and they had little patience for any other approach. Fulgrim embodied these principles, and when he entered combat he would lead his Legion from the very front.[Needs Citation]

The Legion had a highly restrained tactical 'rulebook' that they attempted to apply to all combat situations. For example, ground assaults were to be accompanied with both heavy weapon and air cover; the Emperor's Children looked to Land Speeders for the latter purpose. When a particular aspect of their textbook approach to war broke down (again for example, no air cover being available), the Legion would still fight with determination, while an alternate tactic was selected from their repertoire by the commanding officer. Fast attack was seen as a preferred style by the Legion however, and the Legion made heavy use of high speed vehicles such as the jetbike, both for its swift and elegant style, as well as the practical consideration that the Legion could not sustain the same levels of attrition that some others could.[11b]

The Emperor's Children also entertained a warrior-lodge, the Brotherhood of the Phoenix. Like everything in the Legion it was highly formalised and as a result was only open to the Primarch and his senior officers.[2]

Post-Heresy

Emperor's Children post-Heresy.

In the aftermath of the Eye of Terror Slave Wars, the Legion of the Emperor's Children was shattered as an organized fighting force. Without the guidance of their Primarch, they have since been fractured into individual warbands and have lost any semblance of unity.[1a]

The only focus of admiration for the Emperor's Children now is senseless indulgence. This makes them the most violent, sadistic, and debauched creatures imaginable. Having abandoned most of their old traditions, the Legion still maintains their original name, taking pleasure in the grievous insult to the grandeur of the 'false' Emperor and his Imperium[5]. Their armour has been corrupted into sensuous and grotesque designs, and bears dazzling, pastel colours, silks and golden chains. Slaanesh gifts his favoured warriors of the Emperor's Children with the ability to feel pain and pleasure through the layered ceramite of their armour as if it were their own skin and flesh, making every blade or bullet that rebounds from its contours a thrill of sublime pain. This also relate to their weapon - some of the Emperor's Children learn to taste blood of enemies with their blades.[23]

Many Emperor's Children Space Marines have become Noise Marines, twisted creatures addicted to fury and tempest, only satisfied by the roar of explosions and the screams of the dying. A Noise Marine's hearing is a thousand times more sensitive than even that of a normal Space Marine, and can distinguish between even the subtlest differences in pitch and volume. A Noise Marine's enhanced hearing affects his whole mind, causing extreme emotional reactions that make all other sensations seem pale and worthless. The louder and more discordant the noise, the more extreme the emotional reaction provoked. Eventually only the clamour of battle and heightened screams of fear stir a Noise Marine.[Needs Citation]

The name comes from their preference for weapons that use sound, such as the Blastmaster - a rifle-like weapon that fires different frequencies that overpower senses and destroy flesh; and the Doom Siren, a loudspeaker melded into the Marine's body that enhances his screams to violent torrents that can knock the largest enemy back. Noise Marines also possess an ability called the 'Warp Scream'. This screech shocks and dulls the reactions of all in close vicinity to them. Some have risen to become warlords in their own right. Warbands of the Emperor's Children are rare in general, however.[1]

Warbands

Post-Heresy warbands of the Emperor's Children include:

Noted Elements of the Emperor's Children

Emperor's Children Armoury

Vessels

Formations

Great Crusade and Heresy Era
Post-Heresy

Notable Members of the Emperor's Children

Captain Lucius
Lucius the Eternal
Great Crusade and Heresy Era
Senior Officers
Captains
Other Officers
Non-Commissioned Ranks
Post-Heresy
Unique Troops & Vehicles
Noise Marine.

Related Articles

Sources

Uncited