Legion XX: The Fianna
|Primogenitor||Bascna ap Riada|
|Cognomen||"The Emperors Chosen", Former Derogatory nickname "The Unblooded"|
|Observed Strategic Tendencies||Fortification and Strategic Consolidation, Single Combat, Attrition Warfare, Anti Xenos Specialists.|
|Noteworthy Domains||Dal Riada, Dagdas Forge (Vassal Forgeworld)|
|Colours||Green and White|
|“The Fianna know, a worthy death is better than a craven life" |
-Attributed to Bascna ap Riada
One of the Emperors favoured Instruments, the Fianna carry the glory of the Crusade to all corners of the Galaxy, leaving behind them an array of superb cities and dizzying fortifications. Some Have called them slow in their advances but none can gainsay the Excellent, Compliant planets they leave in their wake.
Their Primarch, Bascna ap Riada is a wildly controversial figure, never shy to speak whats on his mind, he has caused friction with every wing of the Imperium at some point in the past and come to blows with his brothers more than once. Some say the Emperor enjoys his blunt counsel, others suspect that he is kept out of trouble on a short leash.
|Fianna Assault Marine|
|Pre Primarch Heraldry XX Legion|
Held back from the initial wave of extra solar conquest the XXth were tasked with ensuring total compliance of the Sol System and the smooth integration of its various elements. Given the marital nature of a Legion they also prepared the defences of the System and followed up behind their cousins putting down resurgences and xenos pockets. Inglorious work but when called to fight the XXth displayed superb combat skills honed through uncounted hours of Duels and Training.
They were amongst the last of the Legions to leave Sol but one of the first to find their Lost Primarch on the Iron Age World of Dal Riada in first few years of the Great Crusade after only two Campaigns as orphans. Dal Riada was brought to Compliance after a short but eventful campaign and the Primarch Bascna reunited with his gene sons.
The Great Crusade
Upon locating Bascna the legion paused to reorganise at Dal Riada, soon after moving on to the Controversial Compliance of Dagdas Forge. In the Wake of this the Emperor invited Bascna and a large part of the Fianna to operate directly with him. After several highly successful compliances they separated, only for Bascna to nearly come to blows with three of his brothers in close succession. Once more the Emperor lead Bascna and his Fianna directly for a time. This pattern repeated itself twice more and the Emperor is known to have serious concerns with Bascna, he respected only his father and no other. Some amongst the Primarchs he considered true brothers but without a clear superior he chaffed and his wit quickly escalated to blows.
A Compromise of a kind was reached when the Fianna's 215th Expedition was reassigned to internal Imperial security, using the Legions skills to quickly crush rebellion and rebuild stronger than before. It is unknown how the Emperor convinced Bascna of the need of this duty but he took to it with zest and the Imperium breathed a sigh of relief.
The Remaining fleets of the Fianna continued to bring world after world to compliance in the Emperors name, serving directly under him on several further occasions with honour and it is said that whilst the Fianna may not be the swiftest or the deadliest of the Legions, he is their fathers favoured weapon of war.
The Fianna are unusual amongst the Legions long reunited with their Primarchs in that they still adhere closely to the Principa Belicosia's organisational suggestions. Bascna did attempt some early reform into a system more like the Warbands of Dal Riada but on counsel with his Senior officers he was convinced that such changes would be difficult to manage at a Legion level. He did add the Tuatha squads as a compromise, allowing officers of Captain and above their own small retinue of Blademasters which the majority of the Legion take advantage of.
The Chapters of the Fianna name themselves after the Legendary Gods of the Dal Riadan peoples such as Nuada the silver Handed or Arawn the Hunter and take on some of their ceremonial trappings as decoration and banner devices.
The Fianna favour two broad strategies at war. On defence they are known for their Expertise at fortification, digging intricate trenches and bastions with a speed and adaptability unmatched in the Imperium. They then hold these bastions to the last man, taking a grim pride in dying before giving ground and breaking the back of the enemy upon their rock. On the Attack they seek enemy leaders and command hubs and strike them directly through whatever means are expedient, once the enemy is decapitated they move to eliminate remaining foes piecemeal.
|Sergeant Conn NaMorna, Tuatha Blademaster|
In a Legion obsessed with Bladework some inevitably come to the Fore, these are usually recognised early on and encouraged to excel by being thrown into the toughest fights as Assault Legionnaires and learning on the hard edge of battle their own unique style. Places in the Tuatha squads is highly coveted and each position is determined in a challenge known as "The Circle of Treachery" last man standing claims the slot.
Every officer of Captain or above is entitled to field a squad of Tuatha, though this squad is of no fixed size. They are often utilised as Bodyguard squads by canny commanders and carry the Company Banner. This is as much to keep the Notoriously impetuous Tuatha on a short leash as to protect their commander. If not then they are usually employed as roving hunter killer squads to seek and destroy enemy Officers and heroes, preferably in single combat. Lastly a rare few distribute their Tuatha amongst their other squads to act as an inspiration or Teacher and provide additional punch across the force.
There is no fixed armament or loadout for Tuatha squads, instead they are allowed free access to the Legion Armoury, (and indeed their commanders armoury) but most favour various kinds of Blade, usually Charnabal sabres and Power Swords and often paired with a combat shield. Whilst they are all skilled melee combatants, a rare few choose to carry heavier assault weapons to battle, the better to kill the enemy. Most also carry fine bolters as backup weapons or for encounters not conducive to hand to hand combat.
It is said a Tuatha Master can strike you twice from a Guard before you can blink, they are usually happy to oblige the Curious.
|Lieutenant Illyn Kastle, 4th Company|
An Informal fraternity amongst the Fianna, the Builders are an assembly of Siegemasters, Architects and Forgelords responsible for coordinating and building the great works and fortresses the Legion is known for. The Primarch is known to hold such tasks as secondary to meeting the enemy face to face so they are granted a great deal of Autonomy in these projects, displaying a dizzying array of influences from beautiful Dal Riadan knotwork to grim Suderican Buttresses, sometimes in harmony on the same edifice.
In Battle they are dispersed amongst the Companies but they bring an edge to any battlezone in which Construction or Demolition is a factor, tearing down or raising up fortifications in impossible time frames or with woefully lacking resources. "If you give a Builder lead company an hour to prepare, they can repel an army!" quipped one Tuatha Captain.
Main Article Dal Riada
|Dal Riada, Home of the Fianna|
Dal Riada is the Homeworld of the Legion XX: The Fianna formerly an Iron Age backwater, plagued with beasts and infighting it has since been fully integrated as part of the Imperium, boasting one of the Mightiest Citadels in the Imperium in the Bladespire and housing the sprawling support and logistical networks that keep the Legion fighting.
Main Article: Bascna ap Riada
Culture and Beliefs
Whilst the Military organisation of the Legion remains broadly Terran, the Culture has long since adopted Dal Riadan mores. Astartes commonly adopt some form of trade in addition to battle training (With the notable Exception of Tuatha Units) and spend much of their Leisure hours improving their skills. Due to the nature of the Legions these trades are almost inevitably martial in application but Poetry is also extremely common amongst the ranks and highly respected, in fact a skilled poet commands as much respect as an Expert Builder or Deadly Tuatha. This has created an extensive storytelling tradition amongst the XXth particularly in the form of Saga Poems describing the deeds of everything from individual Astartes, to Companies or even whole Expeditionary fleets.
The Wargear of the Fianna are also richly decorated as a result of this and competition is fierce amongst the Legion artisans for places of pride in which to display their work, even the Exterior of their ships bear tapestries of illustrations and ornamentation. Primarch Custodetutti is said to have wept when shown the hull of the Righteous Indignation covered in intricate knotwork designs and artistry before the abuses of war and stellar debris scarred it terribly. The Fianna see this as further opportunity to embellish however, adding fresh designs with every refit or repair a valuable outlet for the notoriously restless Legion.
Legionnaires also commonly indulge in drinking, brawling and general rowdiness including a forum of "Battle Poetry" where the participants take it in turns to issue rhyming insults to each other to the acclaim of onlookers.
While the Imperial Truth is of course the accepted truth in the Legion, they commonly call on the Ancient Dal Riadan gods as patrons for luck, many of the Original Dal Riadan veterans (Including the Primarch himself) are more deeply rooted in the old Dal Riadan faith though and still carry on some devotions by rote habit. One thing that has survived is the notion of Destiny. Dal Riadans have always believed that a man's story is already written when he is born until the day that he dies, to struggle against this is futile and so he must simply do his best and accept death when in comes. This has had the effect of notorious fearlessness amongst some Chapters of the Legion and so it is largely overlooked by Iterators, especially given Bascnas intolerance for Imperial micromanagement.
The Fianna geneseed is somewhat corrupted, Their Melanochrome organ gradually leeches the colour from their skin over time and causes the pigment in their hair to shift along the red spectrum, its reduced effectiveness means they are unusually bothered by Solar radiation and tend to remain helmed. The Haemastamen organ also reacted oddly in those Legionnaires of Dal Riadan descent, causing their blood vessels to swell somewhat along their limbs and appear bluer than in regular humans. This is often disguised amidst swirling Blue Tattoos inked in and around the obvious veins and arteries. Unusually the sus-an membrane has never functioned properly for the XX Legion, having a side effect of increased restlessness when out of combat. The Organ never seemed to take with the Legions geneseed, something that seemed obvious when they met their infamously short fused founder, the very thought of hibernation seems alien to Bascna, instead it seems the malfunctioning Organ improved the reflexes of the Fianna, in rare cases to Transhuman levels. The cause of this is unknown despite extensive research by Legion apothecaries.
Cael Bladeson, The Unscarred, Legion Champion
Cael was one of the Original Fianna on Dal Riada, the youngest of that Elite band he was a virtuoso with the sabre from the first time he could hold one. Constantly feeling he had to prove himself against the older members of the band he fought, fucked and drank his way into countless bars, brawls and battles. With Dal Riada compliant he was young enough still for full Implantation and took well to the life of an Astartes and in particular the Geneseed of its sire. The fighting part at least! Quickly rising to pre-eminence amongst the XXth he was appointed Legion Champion after defeating the previous incumbent (A Hundred year veteran) by claiming first blood within a mere second.
In countless duels, (sanctioned or not) amongst the blade hungry Fianna he has never been scratched, against a multitude of Xenos, Mechanoids and stranger things still he has never been felled, fighting the deadliest of his cousins amongst the Legions he has never been defeated. His favoured trophies are the broken swords of 12 Legion Champions in his quarters. His rare talent, the gifts of the Geneseed and near 300 years of practice against the deadliest foes the galaxy can offer have honed him into a killer without Equal.
If anything his downfall may be this record, while he continues to lead the Primarchs Tuatha into every fray he has become melancholy. As his companions have died and still nothing he fights can offer a serious threat he has become deeper in his cups and longer in his bed. Without a change soon even Bascna fears what may be to come.
Seric Facius, Architect of Terra
Seric Facius is a highly unusual Astartes. Born on Terra at the close of the unification wars he studied under the finest Masons of Roma, Ind and Merca learning every secret of each in turn. He was commissioned by Malcador himself to design the core of what would later become the Imperial Palace, followed by a series of Triumphant arches across each of the conquered nations of Old Terra to display the Emperors majesty. For all this he asked no reward, only that Malcador would grant him a single wish upon the completion of his work.
That wish was Astartes conversion.
With most of the Legions already away from Sol Malcador arranged for the XX Legion to take him, by means unknown to the wider galaxy, the finest chirugeons of Terra performed the Procedure and soon Facius stood strong and tall in his new form, glad to take his skills to the stars in service of the Emperor.