|This article, Nemean Lions, was written by Cornish Moose. Please do not edit or 'acquire' this fiction without the writer's permission.|
- "My warriors are the mightiest mortal men of the Segmentum. Long have we fought the enemies of the Imperium and crushed them beneath our feet in His name. Let us be reborn, our flesh reforged as tough as the skin of the Apex Leonis and our mighty roar shall make the heretic and xenos alike tremble in fear."
- — Excerpt from King Kajama's speech to the Imperial Fists prior to the Chapter's founding.
The Nemean Lions are a Loyalist Successor Chapter of the stoic Imperial Fists, raised during the 23rd Founding. Since their inception, the Nemean Lions have steadfastly prosecuted the enemies of Mankind across the width and breadth of the known Galaxy, taking part in many notable conflicts down the millennia. Despite their relative youth, the Nemean Lions have garnered a reputation as dedicated and stalwart defenders of the Emperor's domain, and are always eager to answer the call-to-arms should an Imperial world be assailed by heretics, xenos or the malefic. The Nemean Lions always look forward, carving their own legends in the annals of the Imperium's history.
- 1 Chapter History
- 2 Notable Campaigns
- 3 Chapter Homeworld
- 4 Chapter Organisation
- 4.1 Order of Battle
- 4.2 Chapter Equipment
- 4.3 Rank Hierarchy
- 4.4 Specialist Formations
- 4.5 Specialist Vehicles
- 5 Chapter Beliefs
- 6 Chapter Gene-Seed
- 7 Chapter Recruitment
- 8 Combat Doctrine
- 9 Deathwatch Service
- 10 Notable Members
- 11 Chapter Fleet
- 12 Chapter Relics
- 13 Chapter Appearance
- 14 Chapter Relations
- 15 Notable Quotes
- 16 Gallery
- 17 Videos
In the 38th Millennium, it was decided that more Astartes Chapters were needed to defend the Imperium and a Founding was planned. One of the areas identified was the Aeaean Cluster in Ultima Segmentum which faced the constant threat of xenos attacks. Waaaghs from several nearby Ork domains had long plagued the inhabitants of this Sector and the defences were crumbling. The creation of this new Chapter from the world of Caelus Prime had a unusual and noteworthy footnote. King Kajama, ruler of the 300 tribes of Caelus, heard of this planned Founding and vowed that his people would contribute to the Emperor’s chosen. He raised a force of his finest warriors, the best that Caelus could provide and sought the help of a Rogue Trader to take him to the Phalanx, the Imperial Fists' mobile Fortress-Monastery. There he sought an audience with the Imperial Fists’ Chapter Master. Having piqued the interest of the Imperial Fists, this audience was permitted. Kajama made an impassioned speech and displayed the prowess of his warriors in a series of mock battles. The stand out event however was when Kajama's young son Shaka stepped forward unprompted and gave a short speech. This boldness by the Nemeans impressed the Fists and they agreed to petition the High Lords to include these stalwart warriors in the selection.
Of course, the matter had already been decided centuries prior, such is the nature of the labyrinthine Administratum. But as luck would have it the planet of Caelus was amongst those already selected. Whether their plea had been the deciding factor in the selection of the Imperial Fists as progenitor or not will never be known but Kajama was delighted by this result nonetheless. Shortly afterwards the 23rd Founding began in earnest and the call went out to begin mustering the wargear and initiates needed to forge a new Chapter. Kajama and his men were well placed, in the presence of their gene-fathers and having already gained their respect. Kajama was devastated to discover that he was far to old to become an initiate but to his immense pride his son was not and immediately moved to be first in line to prove his mettle in the trials to become one of humanity's mightiest warriors. Kajama asked his youngest bodyguards to volunteer to undergo the implantation of gene-seed so that his son, whom he was sure would prove the greatest of the new recruits and be selected their leader, would have a core of veterans to build his Chapter around. They were considered too old by the standards of the Astartes, having served their monarch as his most faithful retainers and warriors. Not a man amongst them were younger than twenty standard Terran years. The trials they would have to endure to become transhuman Astartes would very likely kill them in the process, no matter how courageous and strong-willed they were. Despite these risks every man agreed without hesitation, and so the Imperial Fists' finest Apothecaries and fleshcrafters utilised arcane techniques and their finest relic medicae equipment, to ensure that they did not fail in their task of successfully transforming these brave warriors, from human to transhuman warrior. But as predicted, the vast majority of them died. Out of hundreds of volunteers, barely two score survived the transformation, a number that nonetheless amazed the Apothecaries at the sheer hardiness of the Caelus genome. In honour of their courage the transformed Prince Shaka - now newly appointed as Chapter Master of the Nemean Lions - formed an elite company of Astartes around the survivors, which became the core members of his Lion Guard. They would serve him well as advisors as well as protectors over the following centuries. Kajama, Shaka and the fledgling core of the new chapter departed the Phalanx with a retinue of Imperial Fists to train the new warriors and a number of gifts. The most valuable being a priceless suit of Mk II Crusade armour and an ornate sword wielded by a former Chapter Master.
The newly anointed Chapter Master (for which the Nemean title of Regulus was created) swiftly grew into an excellent example of an Astartes. He did not sit idle as his Chapter, named the Nemean Lions in honour of the mightiest predator on Caelus, grew around him, leaning on his advisors and father to see if there was any improvements that could be made with their equipment. One of his first destinations was the Forge World of Tvastar, having been told of the Crimson Robes, a Chapter lost in the warp since the 33rd Millennium. This ill-fated force had re-emerged 5 years earlier, only to be assaulted by a massive Ork fleet and driven to the planet of Chekhov IV. There the chapter had been wiped out after heavy fighting with the savage xenos before reinforcements could arrive and repel the greenskins. The salvageable power armour and wargear had been taken to Tvastar for repair and Shaka wanted this rare cache of ancient equipment for his men. The Mechanicus was initially dismissive but after Shaka presented the Magos with gifts, including pelts from the incredibly rare Apex Nemean Leonis he was able to gain their attention. The Lions were provided with a significant amount of the cache and were able to augment their Mk VII armour with pieces of Mk III as a result and a few veteran squads were even blessed with full suits of Mk III armour.
Space Hulk Cleansing
With resources spread thin as the Imperium mustered a huge number of new Chapters, the Nemeans were only given a modest fleet as part of their Founding - two Battle Barges and a small number of Strike Cruisers and Escorts. While this was considered suitable by the Administratum for the Chapter to fulfil its role, Shaka was not pleased with the situation.
As the Bastion Chapter of the Aeaean Cluster the Lions were expected to cover a large area and their foes had sizeable fleets to call upon. The Sector fleets were depleted by constant fighting and could not be relied upon for support so the Lions needed to be able to hold their own in void combat. Shaka was mindful of what had happened to the Crimson Robes, the scarred armour of his men a constant reminder of how vulnerable a Chapter can be in the huge universe. Shaka decided to enlist the help of the Rogue Traders his father had used before, The Solar Winds of Auximite, to help him search for new ships. The Auximite by chance had already found what Shaka wanted but lacked the means to tackle it themselves - a Space Hulk drifting in void space that was believed to contain salvageable ships. Scans of the hulk showed it was home to what they believed to be a human population, but no envoys that the Auximite had sent there had returned. Shaka saw the opportunities that this provided to both factions and decided to draw up plans. In a combined operation a force from the Auximite Merchant Fleet joined the Nemean Lions and together they assaulted the Space Hulk. They quickly discovered that the humans were in fact an infestation of Genestealer Cults.
After a prolonged engagement involving the entire Chapter sweeping the Hulk compartment by compartment, the Lions were able to defeat the Genestealers and claim the Space Hulk. From this they were able to cut free and claim a sizeable number of ships, including an enormous Dreadnought, three Battlecruisers and a number of Cruisers. The Dreadnought was heavily damaged and would require extensive repairs at the orbital yards orbiting Tvastar. The Battlecruisers were relatively lightly damaged and Shaka presented them to the Magos of Tvastar as a gift in thanks for their assistance. The Cruisers would take longer to repair but several would eventually join the Chapter fleet, the rest going to bolster the battered Battlefleet Kantharos. Freed from the threat of enemy attack the Auximite were able to begin more extensive salvage operations of the Space Hulk, eventually salvaging a number of minor vessels.
Passing of the Torch
Shaka had achieved much in few hundred years, strengthening both his Chapter and the Aeaean Cluster. His legacy would be cut short however, unforeseen failures of implanted organs meant that his health began to rapidly deteriorate. The Spiritwalkers communed with the ancestors for guidance and announced that Shaka's destiny was to slumber until the Chapter's need was most dire. Twelve great periods of strife would require his wisdom and strength before he could cross over to the spirit world. It was decided that this meant that Shaka should be placed into cryo-sleep and awoken when the Lions faced an insurmountable threat. Prior to entering cryo-sleep, Shaka's final task was overseeing the election of his successor, Hekaton Nicarchus of the 2nd Speria.
Thus far Shaka has been awoken to deal with eleven existential situations, most recently to aid his brethren during the Trojan War and Noctis Aeterna, before returning to slumber with the arrival of the Indomitus Crusade and the relative stability it brought.
Despite the best efforts of its staunch defenders, by the early 39th Millennium the Aeaean Cluster was once more embroiled in constant war. Ork Waaaghs were pushing deep into the Sector, ravaging the vital systems within. These attacks culminated in the massive Waaagh of Warboss Darrioz, cunning greenskin who rampaged across half the Cluster before his three pronged assault was finally halted in the orbits of Caelus Prime, Tvastar and Tymar by the forces of the Imperium. Darrioz was slain by an awoken Shaka in battle on Caelus Prime in the First Battle of Mytikas Peak and this left the Orks temporarily in turmoil. With half of the Cluster occupied or besieged by the xenos menace, it was decided by the ruling council of the Cluster that these attacks could not continue and that the Imperium needed to retake both the lost ground and annex the neighbouring Ork territories as well to lessen future attacks. For this a Crusade would be called, drawn from the Nemean Lions and local Astra Militarum forces as well as any available detachments of other nearby Astartes Chapters. They would strike in three battlegroups and then split off into multiple detachments to attack as many worlds as possible to keep the Orks off balance. Speed was of the essence to capitalise on the leaderless Orks so little time was spent sending out requests for outside assistance. The opening assaults were highly successful in driving the greenskins back but it was not long before a new Warboss named Xerkzez seized power and organised an effective resistance. Xerkzez was also a cunning leader, a worthy successor to Darrioz and fought well against the hard pressed Imperial forces. For several decades the campaign experienced both triumph and disaster as the fortunes of war swung back and forth. Eventually Xerkzez was toppled in the battle of Salamesh and the Orks finally routed. While half of the Sector was devastated in the conflict, the Ork threat had been so diminished that a period of relative peace would follow for many years, allowing time to rebuild and reinforce. In the aftermath the Nemean Lions took the opportunity to start undertaking a larger role in the Imperium, casting off their now redundant previous role as a Bastion Chapter.
One of the first actions the Lions participated in after the Medean Crusade, the Aquivea Campaign was a swift and brutal cleansing of a system that had declared independence from the Imperium. Regulus Epamondas led a force in a daring strike on the governor’s palace and took out the entire leadership in a single stroke. However this did not lead to the capitulation of the citizens as expected, for the rebellion was actually the result of a foul xenos cult working from the shadows. Epamondas and his men were forced to fight a running street battle against both human and abominations as they withdrew from the capital in the face of an overwhelming counterattack. After achieving this with minimal casualties they prepared for a full scale assault against the hive but this was countermanded by an Inquisitor who had decided such heresy could only be resolved via purifying the planet. Epamondas protested, arguing that the nearly all of the citizens were unwitting participants but was forced to stand aside. Thus began a long history of distrust when it came to Inquisitors and their organisation.
Betrayal and Turmoil
In this disastrous encounter, later named the Ambush at Lukhtrae, the Lion's suffered the loss of almost the entire first Speria after being betrayed by a detachment of a brother Chapter, the Scions of Cassan, which had secretly turned to Chaos. The remainder of the Lions furiously pursued and slaughtered the heretic Astartes to avenge their brothers and retrieve the Chapter's precious Terminator armour. The bloodlust of the Lions was not slaked by this victory and they refused to believe that these Astartes were working alone. They laid siege to the world of Cassan, demanding the destruction of the remaining Scions whom they declared traitors. It was only the intervention of cooler heads and the summoning of an Inquisitor that prevented a full scale conflict between the two. While the rest of the Scions of Cassan were cleared of heretical taint, the Lions protested this decision and vowed to never fight alongside them again.
The shame of losing their first Speria caused great dismay amongst the battle brothers of the Lions, shaking their confidence in their own martial skills. Believing that they had been forsaken by the spirits, some fell into a state of despair, others departed the Chapter to become Deathwatch Blackshields and try and regain honour that way. Epamondas tried to still this rising turmoil by deploying the Chapter on a campaign to gain some quick victories but this proved to be a mistake when the conflict turned into a drawn out war on an awaken Tomb world which saw the complete annihilation of several Speria. This defeat, combined with the horrific sight of former brothers transformed into monstrous trophies by the Necron's Flayed Ones, sent morale on a further spiral downwards.
Fearing that the Chapter was on the verge of collapse, Epamondas ordered all remaining Lions to return to Caelus Prime and brought Shaka out of Cryogenic sleep. Shaka, deeply disturbed by this turn of events, gathered the entire Chapter, now just numbering a few hundred, onto the hunting plain and spoke with his brothers. Each one was honoured to bear witness to their founder and drew strength from his presence. Shaka ordered an immediate crusade against the Necrons that had bloodied his warriors, vowing to repay all shed blood.
With Shaka in command, he was able to rouse the Lions to renewed vigour and they set off once more for the Tomb world. Armed with the foreknowledge of what they faced, Shaka was able to prepare for each encounter, softening up each target with orbital fire, artillery and diversionary assaults. As a result each victory was assured but not obviously so, raising the spirits of his men. The reclamation of the bodies from the first campaign was another boost, allowing those spirits to be guided into the afterlife. By the end of the mission Shaka was confident that the morale of the Chapter was on the mend and was satisfied to return to his slumber. He left a parting reminder to Epamondas to take more care when planning any future ‘easy’ missions. After this incident Regulus Epamondas ordered the creation of the Sparagos, a taskforce to be gathered in times of great strife to avenge fallen Nemeans and bring the culprits to justice.
After the election of Regulus Alkaios in 652.M41, one of his first acts was to begin the arduous process of gathering support for a reform of the Chapter's organisation. The original, heavily Codex-deviant, layout of twelve Speria was becoming a hindrance in the increasing turbulent current millennium. The loss of several Strike Cruisers made deploying the twelve Speria independently more difficult and there was a growing number of instances where the Codex-deviance would create friction when working alongside other Chapters or the Inquisition. Alkaios also believed that the small but significant uptick in manpower and vehicles for each Speria that would result from this change would prove decisive in the larger conflicts he foresaw arising. With the aid of his reputation and the support of the Spiritwalkers, who had received visions supporting this course of action, Alkaios was able to muster a majority in favour of this overhaul. The 11th and 12th Speria were disbanded and merged with the remaining ten. Alkaios decided to retain the twelve sided tables that was located in the meeting chambers of the Fortress-Monastery and aboard the flagship Argos, placing an helm engraved with battle names on the vacant seats in honour of the former warriors and their Speria's deeds.
When the calls for reinforcement were sent out from Cadia after the Battle of Tyrok Fields, Regulus Alkaios knew that he must answer the call. Despite the Lions being committed in multiple campaigns across Ultima Segmentum, he knew that Cadia was of paramount importance. Eventually he decided to withdraw the first three Speria from the preparations for the Trojan campaign and lead the three hundred warriors to answer Cadia’s call. These Speria participated in the defence of Cadia against Abaddon’s latest Crusade, battling traitor forces across multiple warzones. They suffered heavy casualties before withdrawing after the fall to join the Indomitus Crusade.
Most of the remaining Lions were embroiled in the Trojan war during the Black Crusade, a sprawling conflict orchestrated by the Alpha Legion as part of a number of plots created seemingly to draw away forces that could have otherwise been sent to the Cadian system. Warp storms formed shortly after the conflict began, trapping both sides in the war zone and distorting the passage of time through unknown means. While externally the war only raged for twelve years, for the combatants it was closer to a century. The rebellion and its Chaos supporters were eventually crushed but not before the Alpha Legion had succeeded in its goal. Many of the surviving Lions were irreparably affected by the conflict, becoming overly aggressive and isolated from their brothers.
The Great Rift left the Lions separated, with Alkaios and his forces unable to rejoin the bulk of the Chapter in Imperium Nihilus. Cut off from their home, they joined Guilliman’s gathering forces, hoping that they would be able to find a path home when these forces set forth. Those Lions that emerged victorious from the Trojan war had little time to celebrate, for they found themselves in a hellscape of conflict, as Chaos forces ravaged the Aeaean Cluster and the covert actions of a Genestealer cult came to fruition in the form of an invasion by a Hive fleet splinter.
Alkaios and his men fought alongside the forces of the Crusade, earning many accolades in battle. Guilliman bolstered their depleted ranks with his new Primaris marines, a revelation that deeply troubled many of the firstborn. They feared a degradation of their culture and traditions by integrating these new marines from different cultures and time periods. When a stable corridor through the Great Rift was discovered by the Crusade close the the Aeaean Cluster, Alkaios took the opportunity to visit Caelus Prime and reunite with his brothers. They were overjoyed at his return, having feared the worst, but were also deeply troubled but the enhanced warriors he brought with him. Much debate and strife was caused by this before Alkaios was able to calm the situation. After shoring up the defences of the Sector, Alkaios led the entirety of the Chapter back to rejoin the Crusade, where they continued to serve with distinction until its end.
- The Cleansing of Zintanica V - The Nemean Lions and Daughters of Athena use their speed and ferocity to quickly end the siege warfare of entrenched Chaos forces.
- The Medean Crusade - The Nemean Lions spearheaded a Crusade to clear the Aeaean Cluster of Orks that had plagued the Imperial territory for Millennia. The relatively young chapter was essential in the Crusade’s success.
- The Gorgantes War - Rebel forces, with the assistance of Heretic Astartes, ravaged several systems of the Thalatta Subsector. The Nemean Lions dispatched a Speria but where mislead as to the scale of enemy forces, and narrowly avoided defeat after many years of bitter fighting.
- The Trojan War - Following the gruelling and prolonged conflict of the Gorgantes War, further insurrection came from the previously staunchly loyal Trojans. The Nemeans deploy a full five Speria to the heavily fortified system, and their fate remained unknown until the end of the Noctis Aeternae, trapped by a temporal ritual the Lions fought against an unprecedented force of heretics and daemons for almost one hundred years. Those that endured eventually defeated the heretics with reinforcements led by Shaka himself, only later discovering that the war was simply a ploy to divert forces from the Cadian gate.
- The Battle of Vorlese - Eparchos Alexiares lead a detachment of the Lions as part of the assault on the Grand Cruiser.
- The War of Beasts on Vigilus - Regulus Alkaios lead a rare gathering of the entire Chapter as part of this conflict, liberating many Hives from the clutches of Chaos and Xenos.
The Nemean Lion's homeworld is Caelus Prime, a planet home to huge sprawling savanna plains that have a wide variety of animal species which either closely resemble Terran specimens or were deliberately seeded from Terra long ago for reasons unknown. The Nemean people are nomadic tribes with a strong warrior culture. From a young age the men participate in ritualistic hunts to gain pelts. Those that become Astartes maintain this tradition, adorning their armour with furs to show their prowess. The most accomplished warriors will show their prowess by hunting the famous Nemean Leonis, a deadly predator that can threaten even a fully armoured Astartes if he underestimates it.
- Nemean Leonis - Similar in appearance to the ancient Terran Lion, the Nemean Leonis is the top predator of Caelus Prime. It has diamond edged claws that are known to be able to pierce adamantium armour but it is most notable for its hide, containing a collagen material that is highly resistant to damage and only gets stronger with age. Indeed ancient Leonis, known by the name Apex, are considered nearly invulnerable and sightings of them result in massive hunts to acquire their pelts. The hunting of a Leonis is integral to the culture of the Nemean Lions, with events such as initiation and promotion requiring the hunting of a suitably aged animal to demonstrate the prowess of the hunter. Such events have proved double edged on occasion, more than one prospective Regulus being slain while chasing a pelt.
- Magyaran Wolf - A species of large, wire-haired wolves that has been domesticated by the Nemeans to be used as hunting dogs. Their excellent senses and ability to point towards prey means they are highly prized by their owners. Regulus Alkaios keeps a pair of these wolves and regularly utilises them for his hunts.
The Nemean Lions' Fortress-Monastery is Mytikas Peak, positioned on a plateau overlooking the great plains of Thriasia, ancestral home of the 300 tribes. A sprawling network of the usual Astartes defences rings the perimeter and indeed from the outside the Fortress Monastery is seemingly a typical example of an Astartes fortress. Deep within the heart of the defences however is an enormous underground structure, a vast bunker that the Lions call home. It contains an extensive array of holo projectors and atmospheric processors to simulate the appearance of the plains that lie outside the many layers of stone, metal and shielding. Hundreds of tents, identical to those used by the tribes of the plains (though substantially larger), dot the artificial plain, allowing the Lions to continue to exist as they did prior to becoming Astartes and maintain the traditions that are deeply ingrained into their core, while still being as well protected and safe as any other Chapter when it returns home to rest and rebuild after campaigns. In a corner, concealed from the plain itself is the enormous lift surrounded by a double helix staircase that allows the Marines and any equipment to easy traverse between the plain and the rest of the Fortress-Monastery.
Above this vast plain lies the second largest chamber in the Fortress-Monastery, the ‘Hall of Furs’. This chamber, faced with Caelusian Marble, holds the pelts of fallen brothers and can hold the entirety of the Chapter should it be required to. At the hall's terminal is arrayed the pelt of the white lion and panoply of Shaka. The remaining sections of the outward fortress include guest quarters, armouries, machine hangars and deployable runways. While the bulk of the Machine pits and Apothecarion facilities are within those sections, both have elements incorporated into the artificial plain, with their mechanical components carefully concealed by tents and cameoline screens. Several forges operate under the false sky, carefully built by Tvastar to mimic those used by the tribes while still being the equal of a standard Techmarine forge. Though a library for reading and tome collections is held within the Fortress Monastary’s spire, the Spiritwalkers spend most of their time within the plain, around a replica of the ‘Temple of Lost Seers’. A great hall, the largest tent of the plain, sits in the middle of the chamber. Shaka’s 'tomb' is in one corner, where the Strategos stands in cryopreservation, gazing upon his charges when they feast or plan. It is the only tomb the planet possesses, as deceased Nemeans are immolated upon the Thriasian plains.
The Lions are a hardened, veteran force which mostly adheres to the core concepts of the Codex Astartes but has deviated in a number of ways to better suit their chosen battle tactics and cultural history. Each Company of the Lions is called a Speria and combines all arms into a flexible, balanced battle group that do not require support from other detachments. There are no reserve Speria with the Lions, each one maintains a mix of unit types and regularly sees combat. Formations made up of several Speria are called Phalanxes and are led by the senior Hekaton (Captain) who gains the temporary rank of Tetrarches (Praetor) for the duration of the operation. The Lions favour long range firepower, with a large proportion of Devastator and Tactical squads, plus a growing number of heavy and regular Intercessors. Dropships and attack flyers are desired over tanks as the Lions prize mobility over durability and rely upon rapid redeployment for a number of their core battle tactics.
In the last few millennia the organisation of the Chapter has undergone a significant change. Prior to the ascension of Regulus Alkaios the Lions fielded twelve Speria, eleven with eighty Astartes and the First Speria being half as large again. They now maintain a more conventional ten Speria of one hundred Astartes.
As of 653.M41 the Order of Battle assumed its current composition as detailed below.
Order of Battle
|Veteran Speria||Battle Speria|
"Jaws of the Jaguar"
"Shield of Talos"
"Spear of Hippomenes"
"Sons of Argus"
"Wall of Leonidas"
"The Silver Shields"
The Lions have a comparatively high proportion of Mk III armour due to their inheritance of the salvageable suits from the annihilated Crimson Robes Chapter at their creation, though only a few of these suits are complete. Their veteran squads wear a larger proportion of Mk III armour segments thanks to its suitability in assaults and durability. The most decorated of these squads may even be provided with complete suits of the armour as a sign of their achievements. The remainder of the Chapter wears either Mk VII or Mk X armour, often with a Mk III helm and/or pauldrons thanks to the wider availability of these parts. The close relationship between the Chapter and the Forge World of Tvastar has enabled the Lions to acquire a number of ancient Dreadnoughts and other vehicles, including a Sicaran Battle tank and a few Storm Eagle gunships. Thanks to dedicated support from Tech-Priest teams, on ‘secondment’ to the Chapter, the Lions can deploy these ancient and temperamental vehicles on a semi regular basis.
The Nemean Lions' order of battle contains several specialist formations and officer ranks not present in other Space Marine Chapters, though they largely resemble the standard Codex Astartes ranks in function if not title. In Nemean culture when a rank/title is permanently bestowed upon a warrior it is taken as a new first name, replacing the previously held one.
- Strategos (Former Regulus) - This rank was created in light of Shaka's unique status and to avoid confusion when he interacts with his successors.
- Regulus (Chapter Master) - Currently held by Alkaios.
- Tetrarches - A Brevet rank to signify a Hekaton that is leading several Speria (Phalanx). Uniquely this rank is not taken as a permenant name so is discarded once the bearer reverts to their old position.
- Hekaton (Captain)
- Eparchos (Lieutenant) - The Senior Eparchos in a Speria is denoted by a lion tooth talisman typically worn on the waist.
- Deathspeaker (Chaplain) - Nemean Deathspeakers are tasked with recording the battle history of the Chapter. Unusually a number of them disdain the practice of wearing a helm and freely show their faces amongst their brothers.
- Samanos - A subset of the Deathspeakers who perform the role of executioners, bringing justice to any who dishonour the Chapter.
- Spiritwalker (Librarian) - In addition to their regular duties, Spiritwalkers perform frequent communes with the spirits of the passed, seeking guidance on future events.
- Sangoma (Apothecary) -
- Saragos - A veteran who is/has served in a Sparagos strike team. These warriors are allowed to retain a section of bone-white armour to signify this honour, typically their helm.
- Skotadi - Veterans of the Trojan war, these hardened Astartes endured 100 years of war in tumultuous warp space against daemon hordes and the forces of Chaos.
- Misthophoros – Title bestowed upon a currently serving member of the Deathwatch.
- Dekarchos (Squad Sergeant) -
- Agema (Veteran) -
- Kontophoros (Battle-Brother) -
- Katakopo (Scout) -
- Psilos (Neophyte) -
- Aspirant -
Comprised of the most veteran and skilled of the Chapter's warriors, the Somatophylakes Leonis (Lion Guard) are clad in ancient suits of Tartaros pattern Terminator armour. Each warrior has distinguished themselves by hunting a Nemean Leonis alone and unarmoured, slaying it in ritual combat. These pelts are proudly displayed on their armour to show their prowess. The Lion Guard are fearsome in both hand to hand and ranged combat, dedicated to protecting the Regulus with their lives. As Alkaios insists that the suits are kept meticulously repaired and maintained they do not bear the patchwork of scars that the more common Indomitus pattern wearing Anthropos carry as a sign of past deeds. Currently the Lion Guard is made up of non Primaris marines. No member of the Guard has so far been willing to attempt the conversion process.
The Terminator force of the Chapter, veteran Astartes chosen for the honour of wearing ancient suits of Indomitus pattern armour. When a warrior dons one of these suits he discards his own name and takes on that of the armour, which hails back to the first wearer, millennia before. The Anthropos forbid the Techmarines from repairing the suits after battle, barring damage that would render the armour unusable or the wearer vulnerable. As a result, each suit bears many scars which tell the tale of countless deeds in battle. An Anthropos prides himself on memorising every scar, and the battle it was earned it. When the suit passes to a new owner, the old pelts are placed into the ‘Hall of Furs’ in the Fortress Monastery. When not encased in the suits, members of the Anthropos conceal their faces from their brothers behind animal masks to hide their former identities.
An elite kill team of the Chapter's finest warriors, gathered to undertake perilous missions to retrieve the bodies of Lions that have be taken as trophies by foes. Such desecration is anathema to the Lions and they will ensure that these trophies are retrieved at any cost so that the slain brother can cross to the spiritworld in peace. Sparagos teams are typically drawn from the First Speria and the Samanos, though occasionally other members/units are called upon for support if deemed necessary for tactical or morale reasons. The Sparagos, though given lee way to arm themselves as necessary, most often carry large relic Stormshields, swords and one handed ranged weapons (typically heavy Bolt Pistols). With this armament they can push ahead through the surrounding firefight to reach and engage their target. Wherever possible the trophy taker is captured alive, to allow a ritual execution that the Chapter can witness.
Sparagos armour is painted bone white and afterwards their wearer is permitted to retain a portion in that colour to denote former service. They are viewed by the rest of the chapter with a mixture of apprehension and deep respect, they have enacted the darkest rituals of Nemean culture and carry a burden amongst the spirits.
The Skotadikos, as the Aeaeans call the Noctis Aeternae, left a significant scar upon the entire Chapter, which it is still coming to terms with. The greatest of these injuries were among those Astartes in the Trojan War, those that survived became known as Skotadi, those that are marked by the rift. They suffered a collective mental trauma, which left them with an inescapable aggression and pain uniting them. Although the majority would later recover, some did not. They found themselves unable to integrate with the next generation of warriors who replaced their casualties and especially staunchly refused to acknowledge the Primaris. Alkaios, deeply concerned as to the impact they could have on the wider Chapter, decreed that the Skotadi would be formed into kill teams, and in battle deploy ahead of the Lions’ main assaults. Skotadi are outwardly anomalous to the rest of the chapter, wearing armour which is heavily customised with pieces drawn from patterns not usually employed by the Chapter such as Mk. IV or V. Their behaviour is considered barbaric and the respect and significance of the spirits lost to them. They brutally execute their enemies particularly traitor forces, often dismembering them. While such thoughts trouble him, Alkaios is secretly relieved when he receives a report of one of their number falling in battle. The possibility that this could be the awakening of a previously hidden gene-flaw is a thought that has given him more than one sleepless night.
The Initiates of the Chapter are not formed into the traditional scout units, instead being formed into combat units and used for both limited front-line combat and support roles. These young warriors fight with an unbound eagerness, desperate to prove themselves in every possible battle to gain the respect of their elders. In battle these units are expected to draw the foe back to the main body by skirmishing when in defence and probing the enemy lines for weakness when on the offensive.
While the rest of the Lion's Psilos (Neophytes) join the Katakopos, those from the Karda tribe join the Agrianos. The Karda tribe was the last to be united with the other tribes as they fought until almost the very last before being subjugated. Famed for their impressive size and aggression, the Psilos of these warriors are outfitted with improved Carapace armour and used for irregular warfare and commando strikes. The survivors are tempered by the combat they have seen and are able to control their bloodlust. They often gravitate to the Anthropos, eager to carve their deeds into the storied suits of scarred armour.
A variant of the Corvus Blackstar. It is unknown how the Forgeworld of Tvastar acquired the STC for the Corvus nor how the Lions gained permission to use the vehicle, which is normally reserved for Deathwatch use only. All records on the matter are sealed and any attempt to investigate is quickly stifled. The Corvus Anemoi is somewhat different to its progenitor, having been tailored to act more as a fire support/heavy transport, trading the stealthy covert abilities of the standard Corvus for heavier firepower. Sporting a pair of Accelerator Autocannons alongside the standard loadout, it can unleash a blistering hail of fire onto targets before dropping a cargo of Astartes and then providing close air support or interception of attack craft and drop ships. Armed with the usual suite of halo countermeasures, this flyer is able to pierce all but the heaviest AA defences as part of strike missions.
Stormraven (Dios Pattern)
A variant of the standard Stormraven, the Dios pattern has a substantially lengthened body. It cannot carry a greater number of Astartes however, as the extra space is taken up by thicker armour, an improved sensor suite to provide the passengers with greater battlefield awareness and more munitions and fuel to give the Dios pattern greater staying power to support the Lions it is supporting.
The Nemean Lions have retained the beliefs of the tribes of the plains, who believe in the sacred spirits of all living creatures. Oral and written histories are of great importance to the Nemeans, with Deathspeakers being responsible for maintaining the war stories of the Chapter; an Astartes (as a warrior of the plains) is tied intricately into their history, with each battle linked to their unspoken name. The unspoken name, for an veteran Astartes, can become excessively long, made of segments such as, ... Kontophoros of the Ruin Gate, Vigilus, claimed Morkai champion of Khorne, and 37 unnamed, Dekarchos of the Ossuary .... .
The spirits of the ancestors are revered and are called upon by the Chapters Spiritwalkers for council on matters of great importance. When killing an opponent a Nemean Lion will utter a death prayer to give thanks to the spirits for their guidance in combat. They will also ensure that their own fallen are holding a weapon in their hand, preferably before they pass so that the spirit will remember that it was a warrior. The corpse of a fallen brother should remain intact and be returned to Caelus Prime for cremation. This is because the spirit and body are one and it must be ensured that the warrior's soul returns to Caelus Prime, where they can both enter the afterlife and guide the Spiritwalkers. As a result of these beliefs, the Nemeans regard the gene-seed as a sacred vessel, imbuing its recipient with a portion of both the Emperor's and Dorn's spirit. If a fallen Lion is desecrated, the Chapter will hunt down the perpetrator with the full wrath they can muster as punishment and any lost body parts must be recovered if possible. If the corpse cannot be restored then the Spiritwalkers must undertake a ceremony known as the rite of unification which will gather the disparate pieces of the spirit and restore it. This ceremony takes many days and requires blood offerings from relatives of the deceased. If successful the soul will be restored and guided to Caelus Prime, though it shall be weakened by the trauma and unable to be summoned for council by its descendants.
The Sangomas, and Apothecarion are a carefully balanced discipline of science and tradition. Traditionally bloodlettting, organ removal, and cybernetic transplant is considered sacrilegious but for an Astartes it is unavoidable. This deviation from tradition is considerd acceptable however as the process leads to the incorporation of a fragment of Dorn's (and by extension the Emperor's) spirit and therefore any weakening of the original spirit is offset by this added strength. While the Sangomas happily conduct initiation thanks to this justification, they will strenuously avoid any operation that weakens the spirit under other circumstances, such as removal of a damaged limb, unless it is of vital importance. Where possible they prefer to utilise cloning or regenerative treatments over bionics.
For the Techmarines a similar dilemma exists, for augmenting their bodies with cybernetic implants is often necessary for their work, and revered by the subjects of Mars. However for the Nemean Lions it is a deeply concerning practice that many abhor. For a limb to be removed and replaced with machine, especially 'unnecessarily' is have your soul weakened and an insult to the spirits. When a Techmarine does this for any reason other than necessity, his brothers will inevitably look down upon him as a result. Some Techmarines nonetheless put the machine faith above the Nemean faith, and are all but exiled, forced to live apart with only their fellow Techmarines for company.
As a Successor Chapter of the Imperial Fists, the Nemean Lions share their genetic legacy with their genetic forebears. Due to this direct link, they have inherited many of the characteristics of their Primarch Rogal Dorn. The Chapter's gene-seed is highly stable, though like the Imperial Fists' it is lacking the Betcher's Gland that allows a Space Marine to spit corrosive acid, and the Sus-an Membrane that allows him to enter a life-sustaining state of deep hibernation. It also possesses the additional flaw of an imperfection in the Occulobe, increasing the low light vision of the Lions' Astartes at the cost of sensitivity to strong light. The gene-seed has proven to be very forgiving towards older Initiates, which when combined with the robust genetic stock of Caelus Prime has given the Chapter a slightly higher success rate when implanting into more mature subjects. It should be noted though that this applies only to the initial implantation, older Aspirants still have a higher chance of organ rejection or developing complications as they age. The Chapter's Sangomas weigh this carefully against the skills of the applicant and the council of the Spiritwalkers before approving such cases.
When a new batch of recruits are required, the Nemeans hold an event called the Artellian Choosing. The tribes send their most promising young men to the gathering for a several weeks long series of hunts, duels and ritual trials to demonstrate not only physical but mental prowess of all the potential Aspirants. Many thousands of applicants are whittled down to a few hundred candidates that will go on to the next stage. Unlike some Chapters the Lions do not permit duels to the death as part of training, only to first blood. There is still a high mortality rate for Aspirants however, the hunting of some Caelus’s deadliest creatures is integrated into the training regime and such creatures do not forgive failure. These hunts instil valuable lessons into the young warriors and teach them key skills of field craft, stealth and teamwork. They are overseen by veterans, but one particular hunt that is the final trial of their training is led by the Guardian of the Hunt. A trek that last weeks, the young lions travel to the Graveyard of Titans and the Temple of the 'Lost Seers' that Spirit Walkers have pilgrimaged to for Millennia. Here they commune with the Spirits, often for the first time.
With the revelation of the Primaris, the Chapter has begun the process of fully transitioning to these new Astartes. When Alkaios and his Speria joined the Indomitus Crusade, Roboute Guilliman offered them Primaris marines to fill the losses sustained during the Noctis Aeterna and the conflicts preceding it. Alkaios was wary, these Astartes had no knowledge of Nemean culture and the traditions of the Chapter, they had gone on no hunts, earned no pelts. Many were ten millennia old and held deeply rooted beliefs of their own. He knew from experience that many in the Chapter were deeply conservative and would resist such a change. Nonetheless he decided to take one of the offered marines, the future Alexiares, and see how well he adapted. He took the marine to the Nemean hunting ground in the Argos to introduce him to the hunt. They stalked a lesser lion, with the Regulus teaching his charge the rituals he needed to perform. Alexiares brought down the lion with a hunting spear and ended it with the ritual dagger in the traditional manner. Over the coming days he would be introduced to other aspects of Nemean culture and eagerly explore each one. During this time he selected the name Alexiares to replace his own.
Alkaios was greatly pleased at how this Primaris had embraced the Nemean ways and the respect he had shown. Alkaios decided to accept Guilliman's offer. While the initial integration was comparatively smooth thanks to the familiarity his men had with the Primaris, having fought alongside them already, and the deep trust they had for their leader's judgement, this did not ring true with the wider Chapter when they reunited. Alkaios had been absent for many years and some had even believed him to be dead. His arrival with these new an unheard of warriors caused protest amongst the leadership and grumbling in the ranks of the greater Chapter. Days of talks did not alleviate the situation and several fights broke out between the two sides with a number of marines being injured. Iphaclus resolved to speak to the dissenters personally, telling them of his commune with the ancestors and the vision they had sent him, showing of how the Emperor's hand had guided Cawl's in the creation of the Primaris and that accepting these warriors would allow the Imperium to grow strong once more. This quietened most of the disagreement, for the time being at least.
Alkaios announced several days of ritual sparring contests to allow the two groups to intermingle. The new Primaris acquitted themselves well, despite the vast experience of the older marines. Nevertheless, the Chapter Champion Antaeus, while being shorter and weaker than the Primaris challengers won every contest, whether bare fisted or bladed, even against marines that had been in cryo storage since the Great Crusade. The event helped to forge bonds between the two groups which would then be tempered in the coming battles as Alkaios stabilised the Cluster before taking them all to rejoin the Indomitus Crusade.
While the integration of the initial Primaris had been completed successfully, when the Lions finally stood down from the Indomitus Crusade, having suffered severe casualties in some of the bloodiest fighting of the conflict, Alkaios declined the offer of further reinforcement drawn from the Unnumbered Sons and took the Chapter home to rebuild. He feared that the dilution of the Chapter's gene-seed and culture this would result in would be too much for his brothers to stomach and would only lead to further conflict.
Fractures are beginning to show in the Chapter as the original Primaris rise through the ranks and the Rubicon Primaris procedure further muddies the waters. Alkaios and a number of the senior officers have undergone the procedure successfully but several high profile failures of the upgrade procedure have not helped the matter, with some greatly respected marines dying as a result. Additionally, the recent ascension of some Primaris to elite units and officer positions has bred resentment amongst marines who feel their greater experience has been overlooked. The Chapter is currently in a mixed state, with a large number of marines declining to upgrade, particularly those who are veterans of many centuries.
The Lions favour a balanced approach to combat, with a mix of types within a battlegroup and rarely deploy at less than Speria strength. They favour ranged combat overall thanks to their heritage of hunting with throwing spears but all Lions are trained in the arts of spear and sword fighting and are capable in close combat. The Lions like to coordinate their infantry and vehicles to ensure that when they advance the enemy is overwhelmed by the all-arms assault they face. They strongly favour simple, yet effective strategies based around application of force. For example the "Lions Claws", which places strong thrusts on the flanks and a reserve in the centre. The enemy is pincered and surrounded by the flanks as they are drawn into the centre before the reserve checks the attack and the foe is crushed via encirclement. The Lions rarely deploy their cadre of heavy vehicles such as Land Raiders outside of sieges due to their focus on speed and agility. Flyers and Speeders, especially ones upgraded with more potent firepower, are more highly prized for the flexibility they bring.
Despite the friction that has existed between the Lions and organisations such as the Inquisition at times, they readily send Astartes for the Long Vigil when required and have a long and storied history of service with the Deathwatch since their founding. These Astartes are selected by the Spirit Walkers during a ritual, consulting the spirits to find which Battle brothers will gain the most from their service. Those Nemean Lions seconded to the Deathwatch have accumulated a respectable history and reputation, but only a few in all their number have chosen to remain beyond their tour, remaining loyal to their chapter above their new comrades.
- Strategos Shaka - The former Chapter Master of the Nemean Lions, responsible for the formation of its culture, traditions and equipment. A huge and imposing figure, Shaka was on more than one occasion mistaken for a Primarch by the primitive people of planets he fought on. Shaka spent most of his time as Regulus fighting to ensure his Chapter was well equipped for the many wars they would have to fight, using threats, bribery and negotiation to build up his fleet and ground forces to be best equipped for any fight they may come across. While still comparatively youthful he began to suffer from failing organs and his expected life span was reduced to a decade at most. Before his ill health forced him to renounce the leadership and be interred in cryosleep, Shaka wore a custom suit of Artificer armour made by the Tech-priests of Tvastar. Shaka still lives and his health, while failing, allows him brief periods out of cryo for conflicts of such importance that the presence of his imposing stature is necessary. Whenever Shaka now takes to the battlefield the mere sight of his silhouette can rally the Lions and inspire them to fight with three-fold ferocity.
- Regulus Alkaios - The current Chapter Master of the Nemean Lions, ascending to the position in the middle of M41. Although young, Alkaios was already a legendary figure within the Chapter, having defeated an Apex Nemean Leonis single-handedly during a hunt. As a Battle brother Alkaios fought extensively alongside a detachment of Salamanders and gained a deep respect for the regard they showed towards the innocent civilians of the Imperium. Alkaios will do his utmost to protect the mortal humans of the worlds he fights on, though he will not allow this to compromise his battle plans or put his brothers at risk. While this has gained him a great deal of adulation amongst some of the peoples he has saved, it has also led to disagreements with other chapters who disapprove of the human focus. Alkaios can often be seen at the forefront of battle, scattering and crushing his foes with mighty sweeps of his thunder hammer, the Hammer of Hephaestus. Alkaios has recently successfully crossed the Rubicon Primaris as an example to his men that the procedure is feasible.
- First Hekaton Ilus - The current Captain of the First Speria. Ilus ascended to the rank following the death of Captain Hylas at the hands of an Alpha Legion kill team during the re-conquest of Lernaean III. Following the confusion and disarray caused by the loss of several key leaders of the Speria, Ilus was able to stabilise the situation and rally his brothers, leading them out of the precarious situation they had found themselves in. After rejoining with Alkaios's forces, the Regulus decided to appoint Ilus as the new Captain. Ilus is a taciturn and pragmatic leader, willing to spend lives for the greater good, both those of his own men and allies. He prefers to stay at the rear, overseeing the combat strategies, waiting for the perfect moment before charging in and slaying foes with mighty blows from Imperator, his relic sword. Ilus has recently crossed the Rubicon Primaris at the request of Alkaios.
- Chief Spiritwalker Iphaclus - The current Chief Librarian of the Nemean Lions. Twin brother to Alkaios but his polar opposite in personality, Iphaclus is a reserved and cerebral character who avoids the limelight in favour of studying in his library. Iphaclus lacks prowess in battle, with poor marksmen scores, and average sword skill. However, he has incredible strategic insight and extraordinary psychic powers. With the introduction of Mk X armour Iphaclus has adopted the Phobos pattern, preferring the extra mobility and lighter weight it affords. After persuading Alkaios that the spirits were guiding him to embrace the Primaris, Iphaclus crossed the Rubicon Primaris just after his twin, aiding his passage with his psychic powers.
- Deathspeaker Reclusiarch Philocentes - A charismatic orator who wades into the heaviest fire to drive the Lions to greater deeds, Philocentes is an imposing figure on the battlefield and equal in respect and ability to many of the Chapters historic Regulus. Unusually for a Reclusiarch, Philocentes freely shows his unscarred face to his battle brothers, even on the battlefield. As is tradition, Philocentes and his fellow Deathspeakers oversee funeral rites, ensuring all fallen brothers are burnt after their gene-seed is extracted. He also records the history and deeds of the Chapter's members and activity. Philocentes has recently crossed the Rubicon Primaris at the request of Alkaios and was instrumental in the survival of 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Speria during the Trojan war, during which single-handedly slew a Traitor Knight.
- Chapter Champion Antaeus - Antaeus was a late recruit to the Astartes, initially rejected due to perceived poor suitability. He joined the Nemean PDF Cadets and swiftly gained fame, displaying impressive skill with any close combat weapon, particularly the traditional hunting spear and the long sword. He took his rejection strongly and fought hard to be recognised by both the Astartes and his superiors. Eventually he came to the attention of the Regulus and was accepted despite the reservations of the Sangomas and began the process. Two centuries later and he was a well respected warrior in the Chapter, recognised for his skills in combat. With the death of the previous champion, Antaeus was chosen by Alkaios after a ritual contest which saw him face 20 contenders in unarmoured single combat, defeating each one in a single day without taking a scratch in return. As Chapter Champion Antaeus wears a relic suit of Mk II power armour and wields an ancient blade which bears a strong resemblance to the Black Sword of the Black Templars. Since his prowess is made clear, he does not feel the need to signal it further through pelts, choosing instead to only wear a piece of the Apex Leonis pelt which was gifted to him by Alkaios upon his ascension. Antaeus has recently crossed the Rubicon Primaris at the request of Alkaios.
- Hekaton Aristeus, Guardian of the Hunt - Aristeus commands the 10th Speria and is therefore master of the Katakopos. As with his predecessors he is afforded the title of Guardian of the Hunt, a prestigious rank within Nemean Culture. Hailing far back into the forgotten past of Caelus there are tales of the Guardians, skilled warriors who could track any prey and tame mighty beasts such as the filament wolves. Aristeus continues this legacy, teaching the Psilos his skills and organising hunts for Chapter gatherings, both at home and on campaign. Aristeus is rarely seen without Horish, his Mytikan Falcon, a fearsome bird of prey and his closest friend. Aristeus has recently crossed the Rubicon Primaris at the request of Alkaios.
- Eparchos Alexiares - A young but already highly decorated Astartes who fought alongside Roboute Guilliman during the Indomitus Crusade. The first Primaris to be accepted by the Chapter, Alexiares was responsible for passing on the knowledge he had gained to the other Greyshields adopted by the Chapter. He was gifted a blade by the Ultramarines as thanks for his aid in the War of Beasts. His skill at arms and cunning intellect has seen Alkaios recently promote him to the First Speria.
- Leader Atlas - The current commander of the Athropos who, as per tradition, has set aside his original name to assume that of Atlas. Atlas was a near mythical warrior from the Founding of the Chapter who carved his way through a horde of genestealers to secure the battleship which would become the Argos, the pride of the Chapter. Since then, the various Atlas’s have always been at the heart of every battle, tallying up an incredible list of achievements and victories. The latest Atlas lives up to the name, having earned distinction in the retaking of the Trojan system and joining the last battles of the Indomitus Crusade which saw the Aeaean Cluster liberated.
- Forgemaster Hephaestus - A marine who when initiated suffered from crippling complications which left him unable to perform his duties. He was denied the mercy of the Sangomas though by Regulus Dioedas, who was guided by the Spiritwalkers to keep Hephaestus alive and part of the Chapter. Dioedas decreed that Hephaestus would go to Mars to become a Techmarine. The Mechanicus rebuilt his body, their technology far surpassing that available in Ultima Segmentum. Reborn in metal and faith, Hephaestus eagerly absorbed the knowledge offered to him. He returned to his Chapter as a fully-fledged Techmarine and swiftly rose to the rank of Forgemaster of the Lions. Hephaestus has maintained a close relationship with the now Regulus Alkaios, who he believes is a worthy successor to Dioedas. Hephaestus has recently crossed the Rubicon Primaris. Despite the increased risks this posed, it actually proved a momentous event for Hephaestus, healing several of his crippled organs and improving his health. The change has been bittersweet however, for he was accustomed to a mechanical body and its positive and negative elements and has now been robbed of it.
- Hekaton Archelaus - Archelaus is a hardened, veteran warrior who proved his mettle during the Trojan War, commanding the 6th Speria. After the death of Akhilles in the waning days of the campaign, he took over as Hekaton of the 4th Speria and was appointed Praetor. Under his command the surviving chaos warbands were hunted down and destroyed and final victory achieved. Archelaus is known for his deeply spiritual nature, spending many hours with the Spiritwalkers and Deathspeakers, seeking the wisdom of the elders. He has made it his task to persuade the dissenting voices of the chapter to embrace the Primaris, seeing them as the only way for the Chapter to thrive going forward.
- Misthophoros Apollonides - A currently serving member of the Deathwatch. Apollonides is a calm and collected Astartes, displaying the deep patience and quiet manner typical to Nemeans. Shortly after the Noctis Aeterna Apollonides was chosen for Deathwatch service and departed to join their ranks. As is custom, he replaced his rank of Kontophoros with that of Misthophoros.
Current Fleet Composition
- 1 Battleship
- 2 Battle Barges
- 8 Strike Cruisers
- 30 Escorts
Argos (Courageous Class Battleship) - A huge, 16km long Battleship, the ship named Argos was salvaged by the Nemean Lions during the cleansing of Space Hulk Dominatus Felix Titanicus. The ship was damaged almost beyond repair and required a century-long refit before it was operational once more. Behind the formidable facade of armour and turrets, the Argos is comparatively under-gunned for a ship its size and has a number of structural weaknesses as a result of her traumatic history. The Mechanicus of Tvastar has provided an extremely strong void shield as a result to compensate. While the ship is still a potent asset in fleet engagements, the Argos is more highly valued for her transport ability. The interior contains an enormous artificial hunting plain, complete with numerous examples of wildlife from Caelus so that the Astartes can participate in hunts and other rituals from home as they transit to distant battlefields.
- Spear of the White Lion - The Spear wielded by Regulus Shaka. An otherwise normal Nemean hunting spear, it was rebuilt after being shattered during the hunt for the White Lion, an extremely rare Apex Leonis which had lived to such an old age that its pelt had turned completely white. The rebuilt spear has a power blade and metalled shaft, with an impressive history of slaying enemy warlords.
- Pelt of the White Lion - The pelt of an extremely rare Apex Leonis slain by Shaka during a lengthy hunt. This pelt typically adorns the tank Foehammer when it takes to the field.
- Hammer of Hephaestus - Forged by the legendary Forgemaster Hephaestus for Regulus Alkaios, this mighty Thunderhammer was used to slay a Greater Demon of Khorne during the Indomitus Crusade.
- Aspis Cadianis - A large, oval shield, crafted after Alkaios's previous shield was sundered on Cadia. It was named in honour of that terrible conflict and inscribed with the names of the Lions lost.
- The Spirit Blade - An ancient relic within the Nemean Lions, a blade that the spirit walkers of the tribes of Caelus supposedly used before the formation of the Chapter that was said to channel its wielders psychic potential as a lightning rod. Where this blades origin truly lies is unknown, but it has been reforged into a powersword for the chief Spiritwalker and currently is wielded by Iphalcus.
- Armour of Pericales - A suit of Master-crafted Mk II armour inherited from the Imperial Fists Chapter. Wearing this suit of armour is an honour reserved for the Chapter Champion.
- Dawnbreaker - A power sword of unknown origin, bearing a strong resemblance to the Black Sword of the Black Templars. This well-balanced duelling blade is reserved for the Chapter Champion.
- Guardian Blade - A power sabre of unknown origin. This blade is reserved for the Guardian of the Hunt and is considered a symbol of his status.
- Blade of Aemilius - A power sword gifted to Eparchos Alexiares by the Ultramarines after he fought with exceptional distinction alongside the Sons of Guilliman during the Vigilus campaign.
- Imperator - A power sword gifted to the Chapter by the Imperial Fists at the Chapter’s founding. Currently this blade is wielded by the First Hekaton.
- Knight Breaker - Earning its name after a lifetime of deeds, Philocentes’ Crozius was built by Haephestus to his specification upon ascending to Reclusiarch.
- Foehammer - An ancient Sicaran battle tank salvaged from the destruction of the Crimson Robes Chapter. During the 12th battle for the Gyula Heights the turret of the tank was obliterated by a Ork Titan. With no ability to repair the Sicaran's turret, Hephaestus decided in desperation to graft the turret of a disabled Repulsor Executioner onto the hull. Such tech heresy shocked the Tech-priests of Tvastar when they witnessed it and they attempted to have the hybrid vehicle dismantled and rebuilt according to the original patterns, but they discovered that the Sicaran's machine spirit had overwhelmed that of the turret and now refused to be parted with it. After much consultation the Tech-priests decided to allow the vehicle to remain as it was and merely repaired it and ensured that the original temporary modifications were made permanent. Hephaestus has since petitioned the Mechanicus of Tvastar on multiple occasions to try and make the new hybrid a recognised pattern of vehicle but to no avail. The rarity of Sicarans, even damaged ones, is a severe hindrance to his request.
The Nemean Lions wear primarily dark grey coloured power armour. Parts of the armour such as the wrist trim of the vambraces (forearm armour), poleyns (knee guards), top of the helmet and left armorial inset are given a sand colouring. The right armorial inset is yellow with a tribal design unique to the tribe the wearer hails from and the poleyns feature a black, hide style pattern. Some of the Astartes of the Lions decorate their armour with additional tribal markings to select armour panels. This is permitted as long as it is restricted to only the right side of the armour, due to concerns that excessive embellishment may anger the machine spirit.
Unlike in some more Codex-compliant Chapters, the Nemean Lions' Speria do not used coloured trim as a designation. Squad speciality (such as Tactical, Assault or Devastator) is also not indicated as the Lions designate such positions just before battle and rely on the equipment and HUD markers to identify these units. The squad number is identified by a small Roman numeral placed on the power pack. The rank of Kontophoros is indicated by a red transverse crest. Veteran status is conveyed by either a more complete suit of Mk III armour or the wearing of a piece of Apex Leonis pelt, gifted by the Regulus. Both of them being considered a great honour by the bearer.
The Nemean Lions' Chapter badge is a snarling lion head in gold on a sand coloured background.
- Daughters of Athena - Well-equipped and trained Astra Militarum Regiments raised on Caelus Prime alongside the Nemean Lions. The Lions have forged close bonds with the various Kori of the Daughters in the countless conflicts the two have fought in. If any are available the Lions will choose Daughters over other Imperial Guard forces in the area.
- The Solar Winds of Auximite - An alliance of Rogue Traders who were enlisted by King Kajama to ferry him to The Phalanx prior to the founding of the Nemean Lions. They have since become closely involved with the Lions, aiding them in both warfare and diplomacy wherever profit follows.
- Forge World Tvastar - The closest Forge World to Caelus Prime and the provider of most of the Chapter's equipment. Shaka took great care to cultivate a strong relationship with the Magi, to ensure that they always have the Lions in their thoughts when new gear is available.
- Orks - The Lions have a long history of conflict with the Orks, who were the primary cause of the Chapter's creation with their constant Waaaghs in the Aeaean Cluster. The Medean Crusade has broken the back of such large attacks but the Orks remain a persistent nuisance in the Cluster.
- Chaos - The forces of Chaos are an especially hated foe of the Nemean Lions, on several occasions they have caused severe casualties for the Chapter and drawn them into long conflicts such as the Trojan War.
- Inquisition - While not a true foe, the Lions have an uneasy relationship with the Inquisition at best, a result of the Lions putting what they consider to be the well-being of the Imperium as a whole ahead of faction politics and regarding the Codex Astartes as guidelines to be bent if required rather than hard rules. As of yet the Lions have not drawn the true wrath of the Inquisition upon themselves and the recent good standing the Lions have forged with the Primarch Guilliman as part of the Indomitus Crusade may give them further pause if they do.
- Tyranids - Most recently the Nemean Lions’ greatest foe was splinters of Hive Fleet Kraken that laid waste to entire systems of the Aeaean Cluster before they were finally contained. Of all the threats to test the home Sector of the Lions, never has one left their lands irreparable. For this the Lions treat the Tyranids as an unparalleled threat.
- Scions of Cassan - The Lions have never truly forgiven this Chapter for the Ambush at Luhktrae which saw the destruction and desecration of most of their First Speria. While the parent Chapter was cleared of association with the traitorous elements, the Lions still regard them with contempt and hostility.
By the Nemean Lions
- "Brothers! We near the end of a long and brutal struggle! We have fought, we have bled, we have been beaten but we are unbroken! The Heretics think they are safe behind their defences, they think they have won! They are wrong!! Will you follow me? Will you show them how foolish they are?"
- — Regulus Strategos Shaka prior to the charge of the 300, the final skirmish of the Trojan War
- "Do you see those Heretics over there?! Do you see them?!?! Their presence offends me, their stench offends me, their very appearance offends me! Purge this Heresy brothers, charge!!"
- — Regulus Alkaios during the Indomitus Crusade
- "The bolters fell silent, the bodies became still, the rasps and cries ended, the thud of ceramite boots upon rockcrete continued, and in the novel quiet only them and the vox distorted whispers of the death prayers remained. Every kill earned a word to the spirits, no matter the quality of the soul, and the ferocity of the firefight would earn many minutes of this chant."
- —Battle poem of Livinia VI, Serf Demeter - 384.M41
About the Nemean Lions
- "The Heretics were closing in, my platoon was down to five or six soldiers, low ammo, low morale. The Commissar was long dead. I loaded the last power pack into my Laspistol and prayed for the Emperor to deliver us. He answered my prayer. Two flyers came screaming in at low level, unleashing a furious barrage and a cargo of even more furious demi-gods. They flew through the enemy in a glorious dance of death and blood, scattering the filthy traitors back to the shadows. I thank the God-Emperor every waking moment for sending His servants the Nemean Lions to spare us that day."
- —Unknown Astra Militarum Lieutenant - 639.M40
- "As Sons of Dorn, one would think that they would be as stalwart and pragmatic as the rest of their gene-kin. While the former is correct, the latter being a partial truth is something that I am glad to see. Their bonds with their brothers are among the strongest I have seen. The care that they place to ensure that the souls of their fallen pass on in peace and fulfilment is nothing short of beautiful. While we are of different genetic heritage, we are of the same mind in regards to the belief of the human soul."
- —Jäger Cavus Bahjutei of the Lightning Wraiths
- "I have had the honour of being a spectator of the Feast of Blades that the Sons of Dorn hold on a centennial basis shortly before my secondment to the Deathwatch. While the Nemean Lions didn't ultimately win, their prowess among their peers was something that could not be overlooked, the vaunted Black Templars even made note of the performance of Antaeus in the arena. I find many of our fellow Astartes name themselves for some ideal or likeness that they don't end up living up to. However, it must be said, apart from the Custodians, the Nemean Lions truly have earned the moniker of their namesake."
- — Cyrus Sogdianus, Vanguard Veteran of the Kingslayers, Fifth Spear Headsmen of the Immortals regarding the prowess of the Nemean Lions
- "The defence and liberation of the Aeaean Cluster was a brief moment of proud history amongst so much failure and the final act of the first Praetor and Taskforce Onyx. To know that these systems would birth such a noble Chapter would have given him pride. That such loyalty, fealty and nobility remains in humanity strengthens my faith in the Emperor. But I have sought you out for more sorrowful reason, to return one of your fallen sons. We knew him as Judgement, fury of the Spirits. He was my comrade and oversaw the burial of our battle brothers. His service surpassed all that we asked, and I have never seen such reverence for the dead. Whatever his failure, whatever drove him to leave you, he spent the remainder of his life seeking to redeem it. I came to learn much of your culture through him, the significance of your ancestors and the spirits of the plain. It is because of this that I know that I must break the shroud of secrecy we keep, to honour his memory. Please, read his history and know his deeds, take his furs and pelts, accept him once more as a Son of Shaka. I have the body, I have his murderers, see justice is done for my friend."
- —Brother Mitikas, Chaplain of the Brotherhood of Provedance, of the Blades of Onyx, returning Brother Asterius to the Nemean Lions.
|Twenty Third 'Sentinel' Founding Space Marine Chapters|
|Dark Angels Successors||Adamantine Knights • Angels of Annihilation • Rondo Knights •|
|White Scars Successors||Cobalt Leviathans • Dragons of Suzanoo •|
|Space Wolves Successors||•|
|Imperial Fists Successors||Brotherhood of the Sword • Doom Fists • Eternal Paladins • Iron Guard • Platinum Souls • Sons of Tyreme • Storm Zealots • Void Lions •|
|Blood Angels Successors||Argent Eagles •|
|Iron Hands Successors||Astral Fists • Fists of the Gorgon • Gilded Knights •|
|Ultramarines Successors||Grey Steeds • Space Naga • War Angels •|
|Raven Guard Successors||Accipiters • Corvus Claws • Void Basilisks • Winds of Fury •|
|Chimeric Lineage||Imperial Brothers of the Sword •|
|Unknown Lineage||Adamant Wardens • Arachnid Warriors • The Ashen • Claws of Arktos • Conquistadors • Heralds of the Storm • Incursors • Onyx Executioners • Ordinators • Pilgrims of Sanctus Penitents • Star Angels •|
|Renegades||Ghast Knights •|