Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The Endless Ones - Part Two
Through Flesh, mastery of the Materium.
Through Knowledge, mastery of the Flesh.
Through the Warp, mastery of Knowledge.
Through Will, mastery of the Warp.
Through Shaitan, mastery of All.
---From the Catechism of the Endless Ones
Shaitan! Binder, Retriever of Souls, Everpresent, The Great Shepherd, The Ascendant, Lord over Life, Voidwalker, Heirarch of the Outer Reaches, Archon of Koth, Master of the Endless Ones.
---Herald announcing the arrival of Shaitan
(Part One can be found HERE)
After their baptism in the blood of their brothers, the Banishers struck out for the edges of the galaxy. They cut a swathe through a number of lightly-defended worlds through a combination of shock and treachery, carving out a small empire centered on the industrialized world of Koth. Here they transformed both themselves and society in their new domain.
The Banishers gave way to the Endless Ones, serially immortal servants of Shaitan, masters of daemons, the central force other renegades and traitors came to orbit around. With their excellent facilities and skills at producing marines, the Endless Ones have a resource greatly desired by traitor marines that few outside of Fabius Bile could match. Various warbands have found refuge with the Endless Ones, bartering their services in battle for recruits and other supplies. Some have maintained their own identity, but over time many have become more and more incorporated into the Endless Ones directly. Aside from actual Endless Ones, their foes may face marines from the Abyssal Reavers, the Sons of Taurus, the Heralds of Oblivion, the Tears of Sanguinius, as well as warbands of Word Bearers, Iron Warriors, Death Guard and many others, some close to full chapter strength, others a mere handful of warriors. As both have grown, the Endless Ones and the Scythiak Usurpation have recently made contact and have begun to make common cause as well. Estimates vary, but it is believed by many that the Endless Ones in aggregate command the largest concentration of Chaos Marines outside of the Eye of Terror and the Maelstrom.
The Endless Ones are masters of serial possession. Through the use of clones and transferred essences, the same host can be used for multiple greater daemonic possessions, with the host's soul whisked away and protected at the moment of possession, to be later retrieved and implanted in a new clone.
Squads maintain the old Banishers practices, using short possessions by minor warp entities to strengthen themselves, but now take them even further. The same entity is used to possess each squad member in turn, building bonds between the squad and the daemon but also between the squad members themselves, as some memories and knowledge is passed along. The daemon serves as a sort of psychic repository for the squad as well as a minor ally within the warp.
Champions, squad leaders and other notable warriors are brought into the ranks of the Immortals. These become the true "endless ones", with a series of clones kept in preparation should they fall in battle. The Immortals are also given additional training which psychically steels them further enabling their souls to persist in the warp long enough for the Binders to retrieve them and implant their essences into one of their prepared clone bodies.
Other marines that are grievously injured may also be reborn in a similar way, with their shattered forms sustained while a new body is prepared. Once the body is ready, their soul is drawn out and transferred to "possess" the new one. With this capability to restore their fallen heroes, the Endless Ones do not entomb them in dreadnoughts. Such weapons as the Endless Ones make use of are piloted by bound daemons, not crippled warriors, though associated warbands may make use of more traditionally piloted dreadnoughts.
For the regular humans in Shaitan's domain, the path to their own longevity runs through his favor. Those whose loyalty and competence are repeatedly demonstrated gain access to rejuvenat treatments, dramatically extending lifespans, and these individuals are placed in increasingly high positions. Many join the Kotharite armed forces in hopes of distinguishing themselves sufficiently to gain access to these treatments and positions. Of course for every soldier that attains such success and longevity many more have their lives cut even shorter.
Shaitan himself has taken the immortality of the Endless Ones a step further. He somehow manages to inhabit multiple forms simultaneously, across great distances. Different Inquisitors have several theories as to how this is accomplished. The truth may lie in one or even a combination of these methods. Inquisitor Josiah Kamenev has theorized that Shaitan himself psychically and ritually dominates warp entities and implants them in his clones, carrying his own imprint and control along. Others suggest that he has found a way to activate the latent psychic potential in his clones and psychically links himself with them. Still others maintain that it is an elaborate charade, with different Binders taking on the role as needed, and perhaps even that the original Shaitan lies long dead, with a series of successors cloaking themselves in his mantle and legacy. Regardless of the truth about Shaitan himself, it is certain that his Endless Ones will continue to bedevil the galaxy.