|This article is about the planet; for the novel, see Nocturne (Novel).
|Adeptus Astartes Homeworld, Death World
It is a binary planetary system, with its over-sized moon Prometheus circling Nocturne erratically causing massive tectonic stress. There are vast chains of volcanoes and frequent earthquakes, destroying what little the people built. The enormous levels of stellar radiation present on the world has given most of its life a dark obsidian-like appearance, including its people.
- 1 History
- 2 Planetary Overview
- 2.1 The Time of Trial
- 2.2 The Sanctuary Cities
- 2.3 Geography
- 2.4 Fauna
- 3 Related Articles
- 4 Sources
Settled by Humanity during the Dark Age of Technology, Nocturne's bleak and unforgiving nature bred a hardy and stoic people. During the time of the Great Crusade the Primarch Vulkan was deposited onto the world and upon growing to adulthood drove back the Dark Eldar raiders which had tormented the planet for centuries. When the Emperor arrived at Nocturne he found Vulkan as its king and protector. Thereafter Nocturne has served as the Homeworlds of the Salamanders.
- ???.M31 — The Battle of Nocturne during the Horus Heresy as the Death Guard invades.
- In 761.M41, the Daemon Engines of the Soulsmelter assaulted Nocturne and it's Great Crucible. As a result, the Chapter Master of the Salamanders sanctions the opening of his master reliquaries.
The Time of Trial
Once every fifteen Terran years (One Nocturne year), the two worlds approach so closely that Nocturne is almost torn to pieces. This is the Time of Trial. Vast waves crash across the seas, thousands of volcanoes explode, further blotting out the weak haze from the sun of Nocturne and earthquakes constantly ravage the land. All life is sent reeling, towns collapse and lots of people die. Then, a terrible winter sets in for the next quarter of a year. The young freeze and most, if not all, of the livestock die, unable to withstand the cold like they had the heat. During this Time of Trial, the Sanctuary Cities throw open their gates and give refuge to the vast pilgrimages of the tribes who flee to the cities in hope of protection from the harsh elements.[2b]
The Sanctuary Cities
Although the majority of Nocturne's populace are tribal in nature, especially in the Ignea region, there are 7 major population centres that exist on the surface of Nocturne. These are called the 'Sanctuary Cities'. Each of the cities contains a Chapter Bastion of the Salamanders and are dedicated to one of the Salamanders companies.[2a] The location of these Sanctuary Cities are situated upon the most seismically stable areas of Nocturne, their positions first divined by tribal shamans and latent psykers through commune with the earth.[2a] Later, geological surveyors improved the accuracy of these divinations.[2a] Finally, upon the arrival of the Outlander to Nocturne, great void shields and vast walls of adamantium and ceramite were erected to protect the cities from the ravages of the Time of Trial.[2b]
Due to the Salamanders ethos of the protection of humanity, the Salamanders practice an almost unique custom - that of living amongst the people of Nocturne. With the exception of the Neophytes and the 1st Company Firedrakes, most seasoned Salamanders maintain private domiciles throughout Nocturne and the Sanctuary Cities.[2a] In times of war and muster, the gathering of the companies is facilitated by a host of sacred teleportation translation points across Nocturne.[2b]
The Seven great Sanctuary Cities are thus:
Themis - The City of Warrior Kings[3c]
Situated far out on the Arridian Plains[3c], Themis has long been renowned for it's warriors, producing men of exceptional size and fighting prowess, qualities which are augmented by the process of becoming an Astartes.[2a] East of Hesiod, and on the Arridian Plain, Themis breeds warriors and hunters; men and women who are usually of larger and hardier stock than their fellow Nocturneans. Themian culture, although adherent to the Promthean Creed, is harsh and many rites of passage are based on surviving against and hunting the many predators of the Arridian Plain that surrounds it.[7a]
Epimethus - The Jewel City[4b]
The Jewel City, north of Hesiod, and Nocturne's only ocean-bound settlement, Epimethus is situated in the Acerbian Sea. It has a tall spire which it's lords and chieftans inhabit that can be seen from even the most distant desert regions.[7a] As an ocean bound Sanctuary City,[2a] Epithemus is noted for the quality of fishermen it produces.[3b] These spear-fishermen, and any Astartes who are drawn from their ranks, are noted for their exceptionally strong and accurate weapons throwing, a skill perfected via the necessity of hunting the volcanic rock skinned gnorl-whales in the Acerbian Sea.[3b]
Heliosa - The Beacon City[3c]
Ringed by stout walls of gleaming white stone, Heliosa gains it's name from the reflected sun off their flanks.[3c] With the great Gey'sarr Ocean on one of it's borders, Heliosa is known for it's unique unarmed combat techniques, as taught by it's tirbal leaders, including the legendary Master Prebian.[7a]
Aethonian - The Fire Spike[3c]
A jutting spike of a city, Aethonian is situated in the east on the borders of the Gey'sarr Ocean[3c] and is named after the monolithic spike of igneous rock that spears through the centre of the sanctuary city.[7a]
Clymene - The Merchant Sprawl[4b]
A distant city, Clymene is situated out in the east of Nocturne, bordered by the T'harken Delta and the Gey'sarr Ocean. Isolated out in inhospitable desert, Clymene is deemed to be difficult to assail by any enemy.[4b]
Hesiod - Seat of the Tribal Kings[4c]
Hesiod is a royal city, and most of its citizens have titles of some description or other. It is also the largest and most important of the Sanctuaries. The Vault of Remembrance is based here.[7a]
Located out on the Pyre Desert, Hesiod is built into the south-to-east curvature of a vast shoulder of basaltic rock, giving it a strong defensive position overlooking the Pyre Desert.[4c] Hesiod comes as close to having as much wealth and affluence as a Death World can possess and as such, Hesiod is the residence of the kings and leaders of the various tribes of Nocturne.[2a] Its people are mighty and noble, giving Nocturne what could be considered a form of aristocracy on the Death World.
Skarokk - The Dragonspine[4b]
Skarokk is located in close proximity to Clymene, out in the east bordered by the T'harken Delta and the Gey'sarr Ocean. It too is deemed unassailable due to the hazardous environments surrounding it.[4b]
Nocturne has a number of key geographical features that present the population with many hazards, but also the opportunity of wealth and defence against attack. Namely, the main features of Nocturne are:
An immense mountain chain of Nocturne, the heart of the world and it's lifeblood. As the largest and deadliest volcano, the mountain has a profound sacred significance for both the natives and the Salamander chapter. It's caldera and numerous lava pits and chambers are used in rituals of ascension and passing, as well as being the single biggest threat to the continuation of life on Nocturne. Librarians undergoing the first stage of their training, the 'Totem Path', do so under Mount Deathfire. Beneath it's craggy peaks, a vast undercroft of caverns, tunnels and caves exist that date back to before the time of Vulkan. No explorer or scholar of the current era has been able to map the entirety of this subterranean, labayrinthine realm (Though it is rumoured Vulkan may have)[3a] and many amongst the Salamanders believe it harbours secrets, including the location of the missing artefacts of the Nine.[7a]
As the largest of Nocturne's mountains, Mount Deathfire is in many ways the spiritual hub of the Salamanders. Deep within it's base the Pyreum[7a], a vast cavern, created by the first Master of the Forge, T'kell, and girded in ceramite[2a], plays host to the solemn funerary duty of returning the Chapter's dead to the mountain to be consumed by the lava within. This ceremony of 'Interment and Ascension' involves chaining the fallen to a vast, ceramite coated pyre slab, and then lowering the fallen into the lava flow. The slab is lowered by means of two chosen Astartes robed in the traditional garb of metalworkers, who pass chains etched with symbols of the forge - the flame, the anvil and the hammer - through their hands. As the chains are red-hot, the symbols are branded into the palms of the incumbents. The Astartes must grip the chains precisely, for any deviation will result in an irregular brand - a mark of great shame that will be scoured away in disgrace.[2a]
As a sheer monolith of rock, Mount Deathfire serves as the focal point on the surface of Nocturne not just for the Salamanders, but also the people of Nocturne. Riddled with vents and magma chambers, it is said that only Vulkan had ever navigated the full extent of it, leaving mysterious chambers locked in it's depths.[3a] It is here that the biggest and most fierce of the eponymous Salamander lizards live, the Firedrakes.[3a] Giving rise to childhood stories such as that of the giant denizen Khessarghoth[3a], they are huge, fire-breathing beasts, and often it is only those of the elite Salamanders 1st Company, named Firedrakes themselves in honour of the creatures, that are capable of killing one.[3c] Upon his arrival to Nocturne, it is said that one each was killed by the Outlander and Vulkan. Veins of Phonolite, and acoustically resonant rock, perforate Deathfire allowing creatures of the deep to be heard, wailing in the depths.[3a]
One of Nocturne's many deserts, the Scorian Plane is frequented to gather Sauroch, a saurian bull-like creature that is often herded and consumed on Nocturne.[2b] It is an expansive ash desert, a breeding ground for the native sauroch and a hunting ground for the more predatory Sa'hrk.[7a]
A spike shaped rock, with an immense flat top, the Cindara Plateau stands tall above the ash of the Pyre Desert, providing observers with an unparalleled view of the surrounding area.[4a] Aspirants must climb this volcanic spear of rock in order to earn a place in the Salamander's ranks. Those who do not die in the attempt from the plateau's numerous hazards will be met at it's flat summit by an induction party of Salamanders.[7a]
One of the larger ash deserts, the Pyre Desert is the location of the vast Cindara Plateau and, due to its hostile conditions, is also the site of the "Burning Walk," a self-imposed exile undertaken by members of the Chapter who have been incapacitated or find their faith tested.[2c] A vast desert region, the Pyre desert is plagued by sand storms, where the sun never truly sets.[7a]
A sulphurous oceanic body, to the north of the Pyre Desert, the Acerbian Sea is frequented by dredgers and hunters of the native gnorl-whale. So immense is this sea that it ranges from highly acidic to almost frozen in the extreme north. Rumours persist that the ocean depths harbour the legendary 'Leviathans', a species of water-borne deep drakes of Nocturnean myth.[7a] The location of the Jewel City, Epimethus, the Acerbian Sea is noted for the range of life found in it's depths, particularly the immense, volcanic rock-skinned gnorl-whales.[3b]
A region of subterranean caves, Ignea is home to many of Nocturne's tribal inhabitants.[3c] This large region of subterranean caves gave rise to an underclass of Nocturneans called 'Igneans', a derogatory term used by some inhabitants of the more esteemed Sanctuary Cities.[7a]
The Arridian Plain is a vast hunting ground, prowled by men and beast alike. It is home to Themis, the City of Warrior Kings, where the surrounding land breeds hard men.[3c] As an arid, desert region of Themis, the Arridian Plain is a particularly unforgiving landscape preyed upon by some of the deadliest creatures native to Nocturne, including the Leo'nid and the monstrous Scorpiad.[7a]
As befits it's name, the T'harken Delta is an area of land bordering alongside the eastern Gey'sarr Ocean.[4b] It is a region of the Arridian Plain and hunting ground of the Leo'nid. Bordering the Sanctuary Cities Clymene and Skarokk, it is also the confluence of several acid veins and sulphur rivers.[7a]
Themian Ash Ridges[3a]
A series of ridges out on the Arridian Plain.[3a] A vast plateau of ash and rock formed over one edge of the Arridian Plain, the Themian Ash Ridges overlook Themis. They are also known for the highly poisonous ash-adder that riddles it's many crags and blind sinkholes.[7a]
One of Nocturne's many craggy ridges and sub-mountain ranges that web surface of Nocturne, the Dragonspire Ridge is connected to the Serpent's Fang.[3b]
The Serpent's Fang is huge chain of predominantly granite mountain peaks that dominate the surrounding deserts.[3b] One of the lesser mountain chains, it is famed for the granite forests that dwell in it's shadow.[7a]
The vast eastern ocean of Nocturne.[3b] Highly volatile, it harbours many black smokers and underground faults that erupt sporadically in spumes of super-heated water and steam from the ocean bed.[7a]
This may seem a strange place to live, but the people have been moulded into stronger and more resilient forms. The Time of Trial also brings great rewards. Rich veins of gems and metals are revealed, enough to be mined by the people to pay for livestock and food on the interplanetary market. Tradition is revered strongly of Nocturne, especially the tradition of smithing, as is evident by the presence of numerous 'Great Forges', all across Nocturne.[2a]
Whilst the majority of the Salamanders live on the surface of Nocturne, the Salamanders Chapter's fortress monastery is based on the moon Prometheus. It is here that the chapters Firedrakes reside[2b], and it also plays host to two of Vulkan's relics - the Chalice of Fire, a vast forgeship that produces the bulk of the Salamanders wargear, and the Eye of Vulkan, a huge series of orbiting defence lasers that protect Prometheus from attack. In essence, Prometheus is a vast spaceport from which the Chapter's ships may dock and refuel.
Recruitment starts early on Nocturne, age six or seven Terran years. They are taught the ways of the forge and then have to perform the same trials as Vulkan did. Then the survivors are taken for bio-enhancement.
- Dactylid - A winged, saurian creature. Also known as the 'dactyl', it has a larger more monstrous genus called the dactylon.[7a]
- Drygnirr - A diminutive fire-lizard. A totemic creature, it is often associated with visions and prophecy.[7a]
- Golem - Animated statues of onyx carved psychically by the members of the Librarius.[7a]
- Gorladon - Monstous draconian creature with a tri-horned, bone-plated skull.[7a]
- Gnorl-whales - Large aggressive ocean mammal with a gnarled forehead and covered in a layer of volcanic rock. They are commonly hunted by Epimethian spear-fishermen for their meat and hide.[7a]
- Lacertid - Barbed and blade-shelled creature native to the Scorian Plain.[7a]
- Leo'nid - Solitary apex-predator of the Arridian Plain. Often hunted by Themians for their scaled hide and mane.[7a]
- Pyre-Worm - Carrion creature with an armoured, spined body. Eaters of the dead.[7a]
- Sa'hrk - Deadly saurian desert pack-predator.[7a]
- Salamander - Large lizards which live in volcanic environment. Central to the culture of the Salamanders Chapter.
- Sauroch - Nocturnean cattle-creature. Bovine nad saurian in aspect, Sauroch are commonly found ranging the deserts in slow, lumbering herds. The lesser breeds are fairly placid, but the larger Saurochs are much more aggresive and deadly.[7a]
- Scorpiad - Massive, insect-like monster. Caught by Ignean trappers out on the Arridian Plain and then purchased by the Themian Gladiatorial Guilds for use in the hell-pits.[7a]
- Serrwyrm - A long, chitinous creature with six reverse-jointed legs ending in claws designed for burrowing. With a tough chitin shell and hunting in packs, the serrwyrm is a lethal opponent.
- Ur-Drakes - World serpents, the eldest of all the ur-drakes of Nocturne. Thought to be just part of the mythologies of the planet[10a], the gigantic drakes have been asleep for thousands of years inside the depth of the planet entwined with the heart of it like rocks. Their breath is the movement of the earth itself. According to Vulkan these creatures are virtually behind the comprehension of the human mind even for gene-crafted soldiers like the space marines, witnessing them is an experience that is beyond normal. The god-beasts are in slumber and dreaming of fire.[10b]
- 1: Index Astartes IV, [Needs Citation]
- 2: Salamander (Novel)
- 3: Firedrake (Novel)
- 4: Nocturne (Novel)
- 5: Hell Night (Short Story) — Tome of Fire (Anthology)
- 6: Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition) (E-Book Edition), pg. 198
- 7: Salamanders: The Omnibus
- 7a: Glossary
- 8: The Firebrand (Short Story) — Tome of Fire (Anthology)
- 9: Dataslate: Adeptus Astartes Storm Wing, pg. 8
- 10: Old Earth (Novel)
- 11: The Horus Heresy: Book Two - Massacre, pg. 117
- 12: First Founding (Background Book), pg. 254-255
- 13: Index Astartes IV, pgs. 116-116