Swords of the Borderlands

Although a relatively young Chapter when compared to the likes of the Ultramarines or the Blood Angels, the Azure Blades have been faithfully defending the worlds of the Emperor at the edge of the Eastern Fringe for more than three millennia.  Despite the tragedy of the Shattering, and the shift in battle doctrine that followed, the Chapter has never wavered from its ancient duty.  In the intervening centuries the Azure Blades have fought in countless campaigns, but nevertheless the following bear special mention.

The War in the Shadows     534.M41

Efforts to bring the hive world of Hardelis back into compliance by the Philippan 17th are put in jeopardy when the conflict attracts the attention of the Renegade Chapter called the Night Stalkers.  War Marshal Linus Lopez,  commander of the Imperial Guard forces on the planet, almost immediately petitions the Azure Blades for aid when he learns of the threat posed by the traitor Astartes.  The response is immediate, and within a month a strike force composed of elements from the Veteran and Third Companies descend upon the beleaguered world.  Led by Brother-Captain Caldo Ramirez, the brothers of the Chapter engaged their  rebel brethren amongst the shadows of the planet’s shattered cities, preventing them from interfering any further with the duty of the Imperial Guard.  It was not a confrontation in the traditional sense, and more of a deadly kind of hide-and-seek as both Chapters tried to get the better of the other in the darkness of countless silent alleyways.  In less than a month the Azure Blades drive the Renegades from the planet, and so stealthy was the way the brothers of the Chapter did their deadly work that few officers outside of the War Marshal’s staff even realized that the Night Stalkers were dealt with until the end of the campaign five years later.

The Forging of Steel    576.M41

Although the bulk of the Chapter is occupied with quelling the advance of Waaagh! Gitchoppa, Chapter Master Gonzaga still sends a squad of battle-brothers to aid the  world of Sulu-III, which had long been preyed upon by pirates and slavers.  Upon arrival, the Space Marines start training the local militias to better resist their oppressors.  Less than a month later the pirates once more descended upon the planet to raid and pillage, but instead of a people cowed and fearful they instead find a populace ready to fight back; within days the corsairs are chased off the planet.   The battle-brothers did not linger, and returned to their place on the front lines, but to this day the people of Sulu-III remember and celebrate the azure-armored saviors from the heavens that delivered them from fear.

Without A Trace    602.M41

The Azure Blades join seven other Chapters and the Imperial Guard in retaking the planets of the Tempest Stars, which had seceded en-masse from the Imperium decades before.  Although the Chapter performs admirably in the course of the campaign, one particularly mysterious event mars its otherwise exemplary record — several squads under the command of the respected Chaplain Ka Ying disappeared without a trace.  The only clue to their fate lay in the last vox message sent out by the Chaplain, where in it he mentioned the sudden appearance of a mysterious robed and black-armored Astartes on the battlefield, and was apparently in the process of pursuing the said figure.

The Angels of Absolution, a Chapter descended from the Dark Angels, was listed in campaign records to have been prosecuting duties close by, but when questioned could give no insight to the fate of the vanished brothers.

The Wrath of the Swordwind    633.M41

Colonists on the verdant world of Maia-III are attacked by Eldar Aspect Warriors clad in the colors of Craftworld Biel-Tan for reasons unknown.  The Strike Cruiser Astor’s Falx, en route to the forge world of Thandros for preventive maintenance, received the astropathic call for help, and promptly changed course.   Under the command of Brother-Captain Ludo Bonetti, the battle-brothers of the Chapter made planetfall to deal with the xenos raiders, but find to their surprise that they were not dealing with isolated skirmishers but a full Warhost of Aspect Warriors — the infamous Swordwind of Biel-Tan.  Although outnumbered, the brothers of the Azure Blades fought without fear, and in doing so bought the colonists enough time to be evacuated from the planet.  As the battle-brothers were eventually forced to withdraw, Bonetti swore to someday pay the Eldar back a hundred-fold for their perfidy.

On Armored Wings    660.M41

Imperial Forces make a final push into the heart of the planet-wide rebellion during the Benellus Intervention, but are stopped short of reaching the recidivists’ stronghold by a complex network of cannons and anti-aircraft defenses lining the only pass through the Serpent’s Spine Mountains.  Previous rounds of orbital bombardment had been unable to dislodge or even disable the guns, and sending in bombers was too dangerous to even consider.  Something had to be done about the defenses, and so it fell to the brothers of the Storm Condors and the Azure Blades to take them out.  As the terrain was too treacherous for any kind of tracked vehicle, alternate means of deployment had to be used;  while the Storm Condors used modified Land Speeders, the techmarines of the Azure Blades came up with a similar  — but far better armored — solution, resulting in the first Hellkite Assault Carrier.  Using these transports, brothers of both Chapters assaulted the gun emplacements of the rebels, and within a week the defensive network was shut down permanently.

After seeing the utility of the hybrid machine, the Azure Blades Chapter Council allows six more to be built in the wake of the Benellus Campaign.  Although the Chapter submits the plans of the vehicle to the Mechanicus for evaluation, the fact that the techmarines dared to make such a machine strains the Chapter’s relationship with the magi of the Machine Cult.

The Hunt for the Hydra 698.M41

Sightings of traitor Astartes wearing the colors of the Alpha Legion fomenting trouble in the Maguuma sub-sector prompt an immediate response from the Azure Blades, and Chapter Master Ruis personally leads three companies worth of battle-brothers to deal with the Chapter’s ancient enemies.  While the sons of Alpharius seemed to have vanished as soon as the Azure Blades arrived in the sub-sector, the Chapter was suddenly faced with a more pressing issue in the form of cult activity erupting across four planets, apparently under the instigation of demagogues from the Word Bearers traitor legion.  The Chapter Master rallies the PDF forces on each planet, and leads his battle-brothers in stamping out the chaos cults simultaneously across the sub-sector, before their threat reached critical mass.  Order was eventually restored, but the Chapter’s real quarry had eluded them yet again.

Ironhand’s Fall    749.M41

The advance of the 671th Biscay during the Cadmus Campaign grinds to a halt when traitor Astartes, led by the Daemon Prince Revor the Dominator, caught them by surprise during the Siege of Hive Terminus, then proceeded to harry the army relentlessly.  Brother-Captain Bonetti, whose strike force was located just a few kilometers south, quickly moved to support the beleaguered guardsmen, all tactical subtlety discarded to confront the traitors in open battle.  In a collision that latter historians claimed echoed across the plains, Loyalists and their rebel brethren clashed in a bloody melee.  Despite outnumbering the renegades, the battle-brothers of the Azure Blades were forced to fall back as Revor himself took to the field, his daemonic strength sweeping aside everything that stood in his path —  all except Brother-Captain Bonetti and his command squad.  The two leaders and their retinues dueled, but for all his post-human strength and centuries of expertise Captain Bonetti was laid low by Revor’s warp-enhanced might.  As the daemon prince reveled at his perceived triumph, Veteran-Sergeant Burgos took up his fallen commander’s sword, and with a skill that stunned all witnesses avenged his Captain’s honor by cutting down the daemonic prince.  With their leader banished back to the Empyrean, the renegade warband is dealt the justice they were due.

Veteran Sergeant Burgos, due to his seniority and position as member of the fallen Captain’s command squad, is given a temporary field promotion to Force Commander, and leads the strike force for the rest of the campaign; later he is given a more permanent promotion by Chapter Master Ruis, and takes Bonetti’s place as the Captain of the Chapter’s 1st Company.

Ghostly Benefactors    778.M41

Hoping to stop the rampage of Waaagh! Grimmblood in its tracks before it can consume more worlds of the Northmund sub-sector, Brother-Captain Eugenio Burgos leads three squads deep into Ork-held territory to assassinate the greenskin leader.  Although they are able to locate Warboss Grimmblood, the Space Marines find themselves assailed by Grimmblood’s thousands-strong personal bodyguard.  Unable to break free from the green sea surrounding them, Burgos tries one more try for the Warboss’ life before he and his men are finally overwhelmed.  All hope seemed lost, when an unknown force assails the Orks’ flanks.  Taking advantage of the diversion Burgos and his men cut their way to the Warboss, and in a climactic duel the Captain takes Grimmblood’s head.  With the death of their leader the Waaagh! falters, as Grimmblood’s subordinates fight each other in hope of gaining dominance over the horde.  Although still vast, the disorganized greenskins are slowly but inexorably dealt with by the Imperial Guard, and the sub-sector is cleansed of their filth.

As for the Brother-Captain Burgos’ mysterious benefactors, no trace of them could be found.

The Month of Darkened Knives 792.M41

Dark Eldar raiders, who had been preying on the worlds of the Thorian Gulf for decades, are finally driven from the system as brothers of the Azure Blades destroy their raiding parties in a series of ambushes on several planets, while the bulk of their pirate fleet is intercepted and dealt with by the Chapter’s own warships.  One of the xenos ‘ ships, a Torture-class cruiser designated as Khazril’s Hate, was captured after it was boarded by battle-brothers of the 3rd Company.

A Brotherhood Renewed    815.M41

Events of the Doric Crusade bring together once more brothers of the Azure Blades with their contemporaries in the Rift Wardens, a dour Chapter that has had a strained relationship with the them ever since Isolde Campaign turned sour a millennium before, with each blaming the other for its eventual failure. It is only after the Battle of the Dark Spires, where brothers of both Chapters stood together against succeeding waves of Nhilwani Colossi, that a measure of respect was regained between them.  While in methodology and in personality the two Chapters were still at odds with each other, a brotherhood formed in battle is a strong one indeed.

The Scourging of Stříbro-VII    849.M41

The Azure Blades deploy in force to aid the Imperial Guard in stopping the system-wide rampage of Geldurin the Putrescent, self-styled Plaguelord and Daemon Prince of Nurgle, and his force of Traitor Astartes.  After several months of grueling campaigning that saw one planet after another return to Imperial control, the daemon prince and his followers are eventually chased back to StříbroVII — a resource-rich world that was the first to fall under the Plaguelord’s vile caress.  While the Imperial Guard set about trying to reclaim the planet and its vital infrastructure, the Chapter focused on hunting down the Daemon Prince and his inner circle.  The fiend is eventually cornered amidst the remains of the planet’s capital of Biela Rovina, long transformed into a noxious wasteland.  As the 2nd and 3rd Companies stalked their way inwards from the city’s edge, pitting their guile and stealthcraft against the millennium-old hatred of their Traitor brethren, the Chapter Master himself led a force to the gutted remains of the Cathedral of the Emperor Eternal, which had been desecrated and turned into the Plaguelord’s personal stronghold.  In those fume-choked ruins dozens of bloody encounters played themselves out, and while the Azure Blades eventually carried the day and the Plaguelord was banished back into the warp, it came at the cost of the Chapter Master’s life.  Brother-Captain Eugenio Burgos, commander of the 1st Company and Ruis’ named successor, becomes the Chapter Master in his place, but only after passing the grueling tests set by the Librarians and Chaplains of the Armeria.

The Gathering of Swords    861.M41

The massive space hulk designated as The Vaicorana of Spite breaks warp less than thirty light years from sub-sector Maharlika, which is composed of several heavily-populated planets.  With just twenty fully-functional suits of tactical dreadnought armor, the Chapter was ill-equipped to board and cleanse the hulk; as the Strike Cruiser Azureus moves to intercept, Chapter Master Burgos sends word to the leaders of neighboring Chapters of the danger the hulk represented, and requested that they send forces to aid in its scouring.  The Storm Condors, the Knights Sangria, and the Sons of Tyrael eventually answered his call, and soon their own Strike Cruisers, filled with their own Terminator battle-brothers, joined the Azureus in its mission.  The combined force descended upon the hulk and, when it was discovered to be filled with Tyranids, reaped a grim harvest of their foes.

The cleared hulk is eventually given over to the Mechanicum, in the hope that the possible archeotech that could be discovered would be enough to ease relationships between the Azure Blades and the Machine Cult.

The Fury of the Ancients    889.M41

Venerable Brother Tersius, companion of Antonius and the Chapter’s First Champion, takes temporary command of the 2nd Company after Brother-Captain Janus Lawson is incapacitated by warpfire.  Drawing upon almost three thousand years worth of battlefield experience, the ancient dreadnought leads the embattled militia of Hive Ranthia in defending their city against its warp-enhanced attackers, buying enough time for reinforcements to arrive off-planet, before personally leading his battle-brothers, including fellow dreadnoughts Tsurugi and Emilio, in a strike against the coven of witches that masterminded the insurrection.  Although his adamantine hull was rent by eldritch lightning and eventually incapacitated, his efforts won the campaign for the Imperium, and added another honor to his long list of achievements.

Debt Repaid with Interest    914.M41

An Eldar warhost from the minor Craftworld of Fae’ran attack the agri-world of Rivenwood, but find themselves  effectively stranded on the planet as battle-brothers of the 2nd Company pinpoint and destroy most of the webway gates they used to deploy on-planet, while the Strike Cruisers Cynod’s Saber and Bergen’s Edge engage their wraithship at the edge of the system.  The xenos furiously fight towards the remaining gates, only to find the bulk of the 3rd Company under Brother-Captain Kenningson waiting for them.  Caught between the two companies the warhost is crushed utterly.  While the Eldar warship manages to escape, the losses the Azure Blades caused will take centuries to recover, and set back whatever plans they had on the area for at least that long.

Wolves on the Prowl    927.M41

Brothers of the Azure Blades 4th Company join the Great Company of Erik Morkai during the Purge of  Valerian, where they worked in tandem with its vaunted Wolf Scouts in hunting down the Jackals, the personal army of the planet’s secessionist ruler, in the thick jungles they had turned into their base of operations.  The Azure Blades turned the very same guerrilla tactics the Jackals had been using to terrorize Loyalist forces months before against them, and in a series of brutal ambushes decimated its forces, while the Space Wolf scouts took the fight directly against the rebels’ hidden safeholds with savage efficiency.  With the last pocket of resistance stamped out the two Chapters parted ways relatively amicably, though it is mentioned that the Wolf Lord’s no-nonsense and terrifying approach to warfare made a lasting impression on the minds of the battle-brothers of the Azure Blades.

The Battle of the Ash Wastes    942.M41

The Chapter’s complement of predator tanks under the command of Sergeant Soranami Haruo join elements of the Armageddon Steel Legion and the Praetorian Mechanized in hunting down the Steel Holdfast, a massive land fortress used by an Iron Warrior warband to terrorize the planet of Ainole.  The tank force finally corner the land ship amidst the Ash Wastes, but find that it is no easy target, as it is accompanied by a veritable armored company’s worth of tanks of different types.  The battle that followed would become the largest armored confrontation the sector had seen in centuries.  Although the honor of destroying the land ship would fall upon the Leman Rus Vanquisher named the Pride of Moladune, the tanks under Sergeant Soranami accounted for ten confirmed tank kills, which included a traitor baneblade.

Ancient Evils    967.M41

Excavations by prospectors on the desert world of Arena Fortalesa reveal not the expected riches, but a Necron Tomb complex.  Slowly roused from their eon-long slumber, its owners begin wreak havoc upon the inhabitants of the world.  A strike force under Brother-Captain Damos Corpuz of the 1st Company arrived to aid the local PDF, and proceeded to seek out and destroy as many command nodes as they could find, but it only seemed to be delaying the inevitable as more and more Necrons continued to awaken.  As planetary evacuation plans were drawn up, the Captain led his battle-brothers into the main tomb complex with a massive fusion bomb in tow to destroy it.  Against all odds the raid succeeded, and the cavern containing the tomb collapsed, although the Captain himself was gravely injured in the process.

In the Presence of Angels    982.M41

The Azure Blades joins the Angels Vermillion and Blood Drinkers Chapters in the Corona Crusade, which sought to retake the worlds of the Randgris cluster, lost to Waaagh! Grotblasta decades before.  Under the command of Brother-Captain Voltar Kenningson, the Azure Blades 3rd Company begins its bloody work, and embarked on a hit and fade campaign on the Orks” supply lines and major manufacturing hubs.  Despite the disruption on their supplies, the hold of the greenskins upon the planets could not be easily dislodged, and eventually required direct assaults on their main strongholds.   Using a trio of Hellkite Assault Carriers Captain Voltar led his assault marines in raids against Grotblasta”s subordinate warbosses, but their armored skimmer-based attacks paled in comparison to the assaults spearheaded by the Sons of Sanguinius; despite his own long years of campaigning Captain Voltar could not help but feel a measure of awe as he witnessed the Vanguards of the Angels Vermillion, embarked upon their Stormraven Gunships, descend as if with wings of fire into the heart of the Ork fortresses.

After five long years of campaigning, the last ork is driven from the planets they had abused for so long, and the Randgris cluster is returned to the Imperium’s fold.  To commemorate the success of the campaign, Hellkite 2 of the armory is upgraded to emulate the gunships that served the Blood Angel successors in the crusade with lethal efficiency.

The Scouring of Vau’da    988.M41

Elements of the Azure Blades 4th Company arrive to help the Imperial Guard quell a planet-wide uprising on Vau’da.  Things turn for the worse however when it is discovered that the rebellion was fomented by Chaos cultists worshiping Slaanesh.  Hoping to prevent a possible infestation of Chaos Daemons, Brother-Captain Kyrios Caeli sends his battle-brothers in aiding the Guard destroy cultist cells, but despite their efforts the cultists still manage to open a gate into the Immaterium in the heart of the planet’s capital city.  As daemons streamed into the city streets, Kyrios led his company in a desperate battle to close the warp rift before it opened any further, culminating in a melee between the brave Captain and his command squad against Slaaneshi daemonettes and the entity known as the Masque, while his Librarians struggled to close the portal.  In five grueling hours of combat it seemed that the Space Marines and their Imperial Guard allies would be overwhelmed, but the gate slowly narrowed, then closed entirely.  The brothers of the Azure Blades then sets upon the remaining daemons in righteous fury, before turning their attentions on the traitors that summoned them.  The planet was saved, but a year’s worth of bloodshed would follow before it could rightfully be claimed that Vau’da was clear of Taint.

The Battle of the Black Nebula   995.M41

The Azure Blades deploys the Strike Cruisers Astor’s Falx, Cynod’s Saber, Bergun’s Edge and their escorts in support of Admiral Vortigern Hanroth’s ad-hoc fleet as it intercepted the main tendril of Hive Fleet Jormungandr.  While the admiral’s allied fleet ultimately triumphed, both Astor’s Falx and Cynod’s Saber were left crippled and adrift in space, while Bergun’s Edge was heavily damaged but still capable of moving under its own power.   The rest of the Chapter’s ships, having dispersed across nearby sectors to waylay any stray hive vessels, later recover the stricken ships for repairs.  Chapter Master Burgos, not at all convinced at the final destruction of Hive Fleet Jormungandr, starts putting into place contingencies for the time that the Hive Fleet, or something similar to it, would threaten the sectors under the Chapter’s purview again.

The Coming Darkness    999.M41

An unprecedented number of uprisings explode across the patrol route of the Azure Blades’ fleet.  Even with the recently reconstituted Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Companies, the Chapter finds itself hard-pressed to deal with every rebellion, but bound by ancient pacts and alliances Chapter Master Burgos still sends whatever forces he can spare.  With the forces of the Chapter spread thinly across several sub-sectors as a result, old enemies such as the Dark Eldar take advantage of the ensuing confusion to raid once-secure worlds, and Ork empires that were nominally held in check by the Chapter’s intervention start to surge uncontrollably.  With the news of a new hive fleet — codenamed Moloch — incoming, Chapter Master Burgos could only prepare the brothers under his command, for it seems the worse has yet to even rear its ugly head…


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