Sons of Hades
"Those for whom the Emperor is not lord are to be purged in blood and flame. Let not the enemies of the pure Imperium infect your soul with the sin of mercy."
Maladon Ezrarius, High Chaplain and Executioner Marshal
The Sons of Hades are a little known successor Chapter of the Blood Angels and carry all of the less desirable traits of their primogenitors. Though, they are very active in surpressing and attempting to cure the Red Thirst that haunts their bloodline.
Currently, the promethium rich desert deathworld of Hades, within Segmentum Pacificus, is their home. So intense is the heat and solar radiation that only the Astartes can walk the planet surface for any length of time.
Much of the Chapter is made up of recruits from amongst the small, primitive tribes of Hades that exist in a small section of the Southern hemisphere where the solar radiation and heat are made slightly more tolerable. Even here though they must shelter in labyrinthian cave systems during the heat of the day...only venturing out at night when they must. Usually, this is to hunt amongst the universally tough and hostile life forms that have adapted to the harsh environment.
Very few outside the Chapter know of the primitive population and they wish it to stay that way in hope that they will not be corrupted by contact with Imperial Society. So fanatic are they in keeping the purity of their ancestory that only members of the Reclusiam are normally permitted to walk amongst the chosen people. This is done not only to limit their exposure but also so they can be watched closely by those most experienced in detecting taint.
Nearly 300 years ago, the greatest of all sins occurred within the ranks of the Sons of Hades. Heresy. Betrayal. Denial of the Emperor's dominion.
This event was not a sudden breaking of wills nor the result of shattering sanity when faced with the horrors of the universe and endless war. It came about from a festering infection in the mind of but one man, Baelis Grell, Captain of the once glorious Third Company, and spread amongst those under his command, over the course of decades, in which darkness could take root. It was not until the Chaos-fueled uprising of Adraxx Hive on Orlith that the corruption came to light.
Baelis himself took the head of the prophet behind the insurrection but dismantling the rebellion was not his goal. Instead, while beleaguered PDF forces were being slaughtered in the streets and the vast city was on the verge of consuming itself in violence, Grell took on the role of warlord with his traitorous Astartes enforcing his will.
While sending astropathic messages to Hades that the rebellion had been quelled and order was being returned, Baelis went about raising his army from amongst the maniacs of Adraxx and arming them with looted PDF gear. By the time he had cut communication with Chapter Command and it became apparent something was terribly wrong, the one time hero had fled to the warp with a ragtag fleet and hundreds of thousands of fanatical followers.
In the aftermath of the betrayal, while the Sons searched in vain for the heretics, the loyal remanants of third company were confined and put through a battery of interrogations and examinations by the Reclusium and Librarium. Those deemed pure, except the first Sergeant of the company who had a different fate in store, were organized into a seperate force, tasked with hunting down the traitors at all cost...not to return to Hades until the mission was accomplished.
Lord Inthrus Kull has sat upon the Onyx Throne for more than 200 years. He is the unquestioned master of the Sons of Hades by virtue of an indomitable will, tactical genius and legendary combat prowess, though his rise to power was not always certain. For, he was there on Adraxx when Baelis betrayed both Chapter and Emperor...serving as First Sergeant to the oft praised Captain of the Third.
Inthrus, though, was as much a victim of betrayal as any other who would have once put faith in Grell and when the heresy was revealed the Sergeant found himself, and those under his command still loyal, marked for death at the hands of their own squad. It was then that he fell to the Black Rage.
The echo of brother turned on brother, as it was with Sanguinius and Horus, was too much to bear and fueled his decent into homicidal madness. Inthrus fought like a nightmare made flesh and encased in ceramite. Bolt pistols punched holes in his armor and flesh while chainblades carved gashes that went bone deep. Nothing, it seemed, could kill him but he was more than capable of inflicting mortal harm on others.
In the end all but Inthrus lay dead, including those battle-brothers who had fought at his side against the heresy. This carnage, however, was not enough to slake his thirst for violence, gore and revenge. For days he raged through the war torn hive, savagely butchering any heretic he came across, until a squad of traitor devastators put an end to his rampage. Foolishly, though, they left him for dead, buried under tons of plasticrete that had once been a hab-block.
Beneath the crushing weight Kull found himself trapped, though somehow still conscious in spite of his grevious wounds...and still in the grip of madness. Like a frenzied beast he tried in vain to escape his prison. Muscles strained and tore with effort but freedom was denied.
Endless, mania filled nights passed until at last, as fatigue and injury threatened to overcome the stricken sergeant a spark of intellect illuminated the darkness that had descended over his mind. Like a sailor plotting a course by some tiny spot of light in the heavens, Inthrus was guided back to sanity, but not wholly as the man he once was. The Rage had left a mark on his psyche that lingers to this day.
It was still some time before he was found by his battle-brothers and taken in chains to explain the betrayal of Baelis and his part in it to Chapter Command. The story he laid out was nearly beyond belief. More than a year passed as he was subjected to rigurous examination by Sanguinary Priests, the Librarium and the Reclusium. In the end he was deemed to be free of taint and telling the truth of the events on Abraxx. As for his salvation from the Black Rage the Sanguinary Priests could find no answers, though in it there was a spark of hope for others who had and would fall.
Over the centuries since the blasphemous betrayal, Inthrus proved himself time and time again. Eventually rising in power and prestige until being elected to the highest office after Chapter Master Rathrik and much of First Company were lost to the Warp.
Conflict with the Imperium
It was inevitable that Third Company's betrayal would be discovered. So, it was that the traitors made themselves known with a series of raids on Imperial colonies.
Oddly, and most likely purposefully, survivors were left who could take word of the presence of Astartes amongst the raiders to the Imperium. Many theorized that this was done as a means of striking a blow against their betrayed brothers merely for spite. It worked splendidly.
Within six months of the raids a blockading force of Imperial warships led by Inquisitor Andrius Gauth translated in system and demanded the Sons of Hades surrender for examination at risk of Exterminatus.
In truth Gauth had no intention of destroying the promethium rich planet but also knew full well that trying to assault an Astartes fortress was not going to work in his favor. Chapter Master Rathrik, guessed as much and sent an invitation to discuss the charges with the Inquisitor.
His bluff called, Andrius took up the invitation and attended an audience with Rathrik in which the Sons were accused of heresy and ordered to stand trial. Rathrik refused to surrender his battle-brothers but made a counter offer. He would take the blame for Grell's fall and stand trial for his Chapter, in the meantime the blockading force would stay in place and the Sons would remain within their fortress.
Seeing an opportunity, and thinking better of inviting a conflict with a Chapter of Astartes warriors, Gauth accepted the terms and took Rathrik aboard his flagship for trial.
Once concluded, Rathrik was found to be loyal but still responsible for not recognizing the corruption within his ranks. His sentence was to provide a company-sized contingent of warriors to be placed directly under Guath's control for a period of 100 years. In which time they were to pursue and eleminate the treacherous Third.
So deep was Rathrik's shame that he took the sentence upon himself and, along with 3 squads of his veterans and elements from the remaining companies, left Hades aboard the strike cruiser Void Lord to serve the Ordo Hereticus. In his stead it was decided a council of Captains led by his own First Captain, Agsur, would rule.
Rathrik nor his warriors were ever to return.
"Between the glorius light of the Emperor and the wretched darkness of betrayal stands only our loyal bodies, which we give for redemption."
Sergeant Malik Trask, Commander of Eclipse Company
The remnants of the Third, a mere 21 battle-brothers who were tasked with pursuing the traitors in the initial aftermath of the betrayal became dubbed the Eclipse Company by their acting commander, Sergeant Trask. The members blacked-out their right shoulder pads and the Company iconography it contained. Not, as some would think, to erase their shame but to simbolically eliminate the Third as a force amongst the Chapter until it can be redeemed with the death of the traitors. This also serves to differentiate the loyalists from the heretics who still bear their Company designation.
To this day the search and struggle continues and the Chapter has not a Third Company.
Conflict with the Blood Angels
Like other descendants of Sanguinius, the Sons of Hades maintain a Death Company where their rage-consumed brethren are relegated. For most this means a glorius end in battle...though some do not fall. It is here that the Sons stray from the practices of their peers and do not execute their tormented battle-brothers. Instead they are isolated and studied in the hope of curing the affliction. In this lies the seeds of schism with the Blood Angels, who have implored that this not continue and that the suffering be granted peace.
The situation became near-deadly during the reclamation of the tomb world, Serenity from the putrid followers of the Lord of Decay. Astorath the Grim had mysteriously appeared on Hades during the onset of the campaign and accompanied the Son's during its prosecution. After the liberation was secured and when the rampaging brothers of the Death Company were gathered, Asorath sought to perform his sacred duty but was denied by High-Chaplain Maladon Ezrarius. For a tense moment it seemed as if the stand-off would be settled in blood, but Astorath relented and left his brother Chapter with his chastisement. He has, in the long years since, returned on rare occasion without warning or stated reason, though he has never again attempted to redeem thier lost. It appears that Angel of Death is content for the time being to merely observe the outcome of their seemingly cruel folly.
After centuries of this practice, the Sons are no closer to a cure and in fact have become plagued by new problems. Not only are the number of brothers in the Death Company steadily increasing and becoming a potential threat from within their own ranks, but some of the longterm afflicted have begun to...change. It is only then, or if another Son's life is taken, that the fallen marine is executed at the hands of the Executioner Marshal.