So they existed by plundering their fallen fortress and looting their own dead. The Chaplain knew he could not return to Hive Helsreach, for the Season of Fire played its tempestuous games around the city, harsh enough to kill sky traffic but not quite violent enough to interfere with Vox signals. The Lions swore by them, thanking the thrall-captains of their warships for any and all devoted efforts. Also, "Ekene Dubaku" (Emperor rest his soul) is a badass as fuck name. In universe on the other hand: "Ork snipers" could have been accepted for a time, grots are on the level of the human with the same ballistic skill after all. 12:00- Afternoon Feast: The Chapter gathers to laugh and tell more stories of great deeds. Grimaldus felt he had no choice, could not grant his blessing to the suicide of the Chapter and refused to perform the requested rite upon the Lions. If any such investigation took place, it remained a mystery to the Lions. We pay the price now for our virtue in the past. Less than 96 Astartes of this Chapter currently remain But they had fought this battle for a bloodline's pride, and here was the moment of reckoning. Even with Mannheim emptied of Gargants in the solar weeks since the massacre -- a fact they still could not be certain was true -- it was still a difficult target, rich with the enemy's presence. He was hardly the first man of exalted rank to have his morals decay in a position of power. Pict-feeds from their vessels in orbit were distorted from the void war playing out above, but those rare, wrecked visual clues were the most reliable intelligence they could muster. Above the advance rode the gunship fleet, all flanking the four remaining Thunderhawks in the Celestial Lions' arsenal. The mutilated Celestial Lion reached up for it, clutching it one-handed in a pistol grip, and aimed it up as he lay back in the sludge. But the remaining Lions scoffed at this suggestion. The Lions found him at dawn, slouched against their last Land Raider, shot through the eye-lens. Any serf who has the best story about being a troll is immediately inducted into the scout company. Soon, Dubaku was backing away. The entire chapter was deployed to a single hive, and thanks to spectacularly bad intelligence they ended up outnumbered, unsupported, and taking heavy losses at every battle, culminating in a mission in which the supposedly inactive Gargants they were sent to destroy proved to have been lying in wait for them along with several Ork warbands backing them up- all of which had apparently been warned of the Lions' planned attack some time beforehand. The Lions intended to die alongside their brothers, as it should be. Primarch By the time they stood in defence of the Mannheim Gap, they had been on the surface for three solar months and sixteen days, defending Hive Volcanus on the west coast of the subcontinent of Armageddon Prime. Cyneric questioned the senior Chaplain's motives, and wondered if he hadn't exceeded his authority. Still the Imperials advanced, sloshing through a rising torrent of blood. Warleader Vularkh buried the war-sword Je'hara in the beast's belly and carved three metres of stinking alien guts free. The ship was discovered two years later in Ork-controlled space, with nobody left alive in it, nowhere even close to its intended destination. Of course, this means the Inquisition, Officio Assassinorum, and the Mentors have dishonored and therefore majorly pissed off yet another Chapter and the Black Templars. The Chainsword had found its way through armour joints and plunged into soft tissue; the Power Claw had mangled the Celestial Lion's armour each time it fell. Sometimes the Lions would find their Scouts' bodies, but usually they were lost. The Lions vowed to survive long enough to speak it. The lesson would be learned, just as Inquisitor Apollyon's cronies wished. A Celestial Lion Apothecary falling victim to an "Ork Sniper". Any who dwelled there for more than a handful of solar weeks knew that Armageddon was not a world that slept easy, whether due to Greenskins, dust storms, or yet another war. "Your future life shall be a series of trials, one after the other, until you attain the glory that is your due at the side of the Emperor. They wanted to die as warriors. He knelt before the Reclusiarch and removed his dark helmet. Now the surviving Lions were looting what was left of their supplies at their forward base. On the face of it this is not an acceptable excuse for carrying out those blatantly treasonous orders, and the excuse of 'just following orders' has not flown since 945.M2. It was knee-deep on most of the humans, turning all advancement into a sweating wade through filth. The orbital shield was no longer functioning. Grimaldus did not recognise the warrior who introduced himself as Pride Leader Ekene Dubaku. After hearing their tale of woe, Grimaldus decided that Cyneric had been right. Everything depended on just how fast Grimaldus' forces at Helsreach could break out from the storm, and redeploy halfway across the world. But the Lions' fierce pride and strict moral principles may have contributed to the path that led towards their near-destruction as a Chapter. A black Roman numeral centred on the squad specialty symbol indicates company number. Soon the pivotal moment of the battle came upon Grimaldus, as it had so many times before, his heraldry often drawing enemy commanders to him as often as he fought his way to them. Somehow the Orks knew that the Lions were coming. But now they wished for him to also bless their damnation. The pair of Black Templars were honoured for their presence by the remaining Lions. The Steel Legion did not baulk at the sight of such a vast enemy horde. The Lions felt they had no right to beg for scraps while being left behind. The Reclusiarch argued that it was their world. Grimaldus noticed right away that several of the Celestial Lions were plundering their own firebase's supplies, loading up their surviving Thunderhawks with brutal efficiency. Five hundred Space Marines were involved and some Chapters had taken whole worlds with a quarter of that number. Las-fire lanced off the creature, going ignored against its armour, and equally ignored as the volleys scored fingertip-sized holes in its flesh. In truth, the Gargants were not sleeping, they were simply waiting. Their entire Chapter had landed on Armageddon but for the most remote, uninitiated training forces still spread across the Segmentum. In that span of time, all of which was spent Bolter-to-blade in the city's burning streets, they suffered casualties far, far in advance of any other Chapter. He also did as many Chapter Masters would have done. But soon, the extent of the treachery was revealed, as sniper fire, deadly accurate, rained down from the canyon walls. There were many reports of Vox interference and orders never reaching their warship's captains. Grimaldus wondered why the Celestial Lions had not requested aid from the other Chapters present on Armageddon, but understood that Dorn's blood ran thick in the veins of his descendants. It was possible that the Inquisitor was astute in his observations. We cannot outrun the echoes of Khattar.

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