The Pyre Guard were the highest echelon of the Salamanders Space Marine Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy and as such served as Vulkan's personal Honour Guard. Chosen for qualities which were described by Vulkan as having '...more fire, more fury. Like the volcanoes of ancient Nocturne, they were perpetually on the brink of eruption. Even the Pyroclasts weren't as volatile.' This warlike attitude is exemplified by the Pyre Guard's war-mantra 'Eye-to-Eye, Tooth-to-Tooth!'.
As the most senior of all Salamanders officers, they were considered to be above even the Legion's Captains and disrespect from any below them would not be tolerated, regardless of station or familiarity. As the senior officers, each of the Pyre Guard also commanded one of the Salamander Legion's Chapters. They were each Chosen warriors, displaying a level of self-sacrifice and self-sufficiency that exceeded all others in a Legion dedicated to those ideals. Likened by Vulkan as being 'Like the Saburai of Old Nihon, they were fighters foremost, who could ally as a unit or function expertly on their own.' The Pyre Guard were unique in that all were born on Terra as opposed to Nocturne, however they still displayed the onyx black skin and flaming red eyes ubiquitous to the Legion due to the effects of Nocturne's radiation on their gene-seed.
At the time of the late Great Crusade and the beginning of the Horus Heresy, the Pyre Guard's members were as follows:
- Artellus Numeon - Commander of the Pyre Guard, First Captain and Primarch's Equerry.
- Leodrakk - Biological brother of Skatar'var, Leodrakk was noted for his hot-temper. His armour was adorned with one horn of Loktaral, an ancient Firedrake slain by himself and Skatar'var.
- Skatar'var - Biological brother of Leodrakk and a Warrior-King of Hesiod, Skatar'var was somewhat less agressive than his brother, but just as proud and haughty. Skatar'var's armour bore the other of Loktaral's horns upon its power generator.
- Atanarius - A tall warrior, Atanarius was a master bladesman, said to be the equal of any of Dorn's Praetorians.
- Ganne - A pugnacious fighter and assault specialist, although Ganne shared a competitive rivalry with Varrun, the shared bond of membership within the Pyre Guard ensured their respect for each other.
- Varrun - The oldest of the Pyre Guard, Varrun was often permitted to speak first. He was also an exceptional marksman, utilising this skill to act as a rearguard for the Pyre Guard.
- Igataron - Another assault specialist, Igataron was a silent warrior, speaking rarely, but ferociously aggressive in combat.