Genetic Origin: Dark Angels
Homeworld/Homeland: The fortress-monastery of Carceri, on Kaymakli. The Lightbringers also retain Chapter Keeps for recruitment, resourcing and training purposes on Sephira Major Kappa and Darkling Gamma.
Chapter Colours: Gold armour, dark green panelling, off-white insignia.
Chapter Emblem: A hand, holding a sword, with a wing at the wrist – probably derived from the parent Chapter’s Ravenwing emblem. The First Company replaces the sword with a key.
Motto: Deferimus lucem – “We bring the light.”
The Lightbringers have a noted martyr complex and a tradition of ancestor worship. Their Roll of Honour is recited at the start and end of every campaign, and repeated as a catechism in times of strife. Brethren derive great spiritual fortitude from the prospect of being added to the Roll – they are not, however, frequently suicidal, or inclined to throw their lives away in pursuit of a glorious sacrifice. Admission to the Roll is not bought by mere death in battle, but by death assuring victory.
As a Chapter, the Lightbringers favour a high-risk high-reward approach to warfare; their focus on exceeding the achievements of their own predecessors demands an opportunity to accomplish as much as possible. Punishing air strikes are the order of the day; the Lightbringers tactical doctrines observe that a drop pod makes a passable bunker if defensive warfare is called for, and so the air-strike remains the favoured approach even when on the back foot.
The Chapter’s focus on personal glory and valiant martyrdom means few brethren volunteer as vehicle crew – it’s too safe inside the metal boxes – and those who do favour the dangerous and daring business of piloting, where there is flak to be avoided and dogfighting to be done. Furthermore, many Lightbringer officers disdain APCs, preferring to arrive at the right place in the first place. However, for those occasions when an airdrop or teleport attack prove impossible, the Chapter does maintain a pool of Land Raiders – the Raider’s capacity to pull triple duty as mobile bunker, line-breaking transport and duelling tank par excellence make it a prime choice for a Chapter with limited numbers of specialist vehicle crew.
On the most basic level, the Lightbringers adhere to the organisational structure imposed by the Codex Astartes – ten companies of a hundred Marines each. However, there are significant divergences in logistical and spiritual organisation.
The First through Fifth companies are, as normal, Battle Companies, the First comprised of Terminators. The Chapter’s Dreadnoughts are exclusively assigned to the First Company, and – curiously for a Chapter so preoccupied with its ancestry – are seemingly never consulted on matters spiritual or strategic.
The Sixth and Seventh companies fulfil the standard role of reserve forces, based on Kaymakli. The Eighth company is a roving patrol force, responding to distress signals and escorting the Chapter’s tithe fleet on a semi-fixed route around the Sephira sub-sector. The Ninth is a garrison company, based on Sephira Major Kappa. Sephira produces a truly staggering quantity of promethium, representing such a major strategic asset that the permanent guardianship of a Marine company is justified. The Lightbringers receive a tithe of the fuel and draw many of their recruits from Sephira’s moons, shipping them to the Tenth Company on Darkling Gamma for intensive training before redeploying them.
The remaining divergences are spiritual in origin and nature, rooted in the deep-seated morbidity that characterises the Chapter. Each Company maintains an Exemplar, a favoured warrior who seeks out particularly dangerous enemies to engage in single combat “to draw the Emperor’s gaze”. The Chaplains are Extollers, and their role is to spur the brethren on to mightier deeds through comparison with their predecessors. The Librarians are effectively biographers – the lower-ranking Memoria observe and record the deaths and achievements of their brethren, while the higher-ranking Obituarists transmit those achievements to the Keeper of the Roll of Honour. Finally, there are the Apothecaries – the Wardens, who stand at the gates of death and refuse admittance to the unworthy, who still have deeds left to do.
Tactically, these roles are compatible with the conventional functions of standard bearer or company champion, spiritual leader, psychic reconnaissance and communications officer, and battlefield medic, although other Imperial forces have noted some difficulty in parsing Lightbringer communiques, phrased as they are around individual deeds rather than direct appraisals or reports on the situation at hand. They also serve to bind together the Lightbringers’ formations and detachments, which often include troops drawn from up to five companies and operating under unfamiliar officers.
While the other Unforgiven Chapters hunt, redeem, and destroy the Fallen, the Lightbringers are the gaolers of the damned. Those Fallen who end up in the Lightbringers’ hands are not granted the luxury of death. Instead, they are consigned to a Dreadnought suit; incarcerated in that silent shell, they expunge the stain on their souls by slaughtering the enemies of the Emperor for as long as they live. The First Company, those Lightbringer veterans who have thus far evaded glorious martyrdom, earn through continued survival the responsibility for their penitent brethren – yet even they do not know all that is to be known.
Only the Librarians, the incumbent Chapter Master, and the Inner Circle of the Dark Angels are aware that the Lightbringers Chapter represents a terrible experiment by the Unforgiven collective – their gene-seed is derived from Fallen stock. A lieutenant of Luther’s treasonous company begged, in his dying moments, for a chance to make good on his recantation and prove that the Fallen were not intrinsically damned. Substitute gene-seed was – and is – supplied to the Adeptus Terra, and the Chapter assigned a homeworld hard by the Ghoul Stars, on the fringes of known space.
Some of the longer-serving Librarians are troubled by this prospect, suspecting their entire history to be a Fallen conspiracy, a double-bluff. Among the shadowy ossuaries of Carceri, there exists a whispered rumour that the Lightbringers’ ancestry taints them all, and that their institutionalised rush toward a hero’s grave is a culturally and psychically encoded check, preventing them from living long enough for the taint to manifest. Among the privileged few who know the secret, there is a saying, a secret motto for the Chapter, raised like a warding prayer against the future: “the longer we live, the farther we fall.”