The Better Know a Chapter series was originally intended to be a brief summary of the Steel Revenants' history, their beliefs, and what makes them special to me. I'm only one post in and already the project has begun to develop a mind of its own. Eventually, I would like the Better Know a Chapter series to encompass not only the Steel Revenants, but other Chapters as well - the Iron Hands, who are desperately underfluffed, as well as the other Chapters in the Aetherium cluster and those with whom the Revenants have associated over the past seven thousand years. However, in the interest of starting small and not overdoing it (or outstripping my ability to concoct more fluff...) I will be breaking this down into tiny, digestible bits over a long period of time.
Now that the intro's out of the way, here's the good stuff.
In the twilight years of the 34th millennium, a curator in the Administratum discovered an accounts ledger detailing tithes collected in the days of the great crusade. Included in the ledger were more than forty inhabited worlds in the Aetherium star cluster of the Segmentum Pacificus. After cross-referencing with current tithing data from that sector, the curator discovered that those worlds were not found anywhere else in the archives. He filed a report with the Administratum’s tax division, which marked the delinquent tithes of twoscore worlds as a high-priority case and immediately filed with the Master of the Administratum for an Inquisitorial permit to investigate.
The Inquisition sent out a young agent, Inquisitor Virgil, to investigate the Aetherium Cluster. Virgil and his group of acolytes explored and charted the forgotten worlds of the Aetherium, from the desolate wastes of the Kokytus system to the wondrous beauty and lush abundance of Aquinos. On some of these worlds, humans still lived, though they had descended into barbarism and abandoned their faith in the Emperor, or succumbed to vile slavery beneath terrible alien warlords. On many, only ruins remained. Virgil himself was slain by cannibalistic abhumans during this journey, but his acolytes returned with his bones, and with many fantastical stories and strange artifacts from the times before the Heresy. Virgil himself was posthumously enshrined as a lesser saint, and had a star in the Aetherium named in his honour.
The tales of lost mankind inspired pity and greed in equal measure in the High Lords of Terra. None among them wished to see men yoked by foul greenskins or other creatures too strange to name. At the same time, each of the High Lords balked at the thought of men toiling for their own ends rather than for the betterment of the Imperium. The Fabricator-General, in particular, looked hungrily to the Aetherium and thought what wondrous technology might be hidden therein. Through the trade of favors and the calling in of obligations, the Fabricator-General convinced the High Lords to send a joint Crusade and Explorator mission to the Aetherium, to bring those worlds back into the Emperor’s arms.
The crusade was to be led by Imperial Warmaster Alligheri. An accomplished admiral in the Imperial Navy, Alligheri had earned much fame for his work in driving the forces of Chaos from the Orion Stars. Along with a sizeable battlefleet and fully four hundred regiments of Imperial Guard, Alligheri was granted the aid of three fledgeling Chapters from the Sixteenth Founding of the Adeptus Astartes: the Steel Revenants, of the lineage of Ferrus Mannus, the Knights of Glory founded from the White Scars, and the Dragons Rampant, of Rogal Dorn’s Gene-Seed. The Marines, for their part in the bargain, were promised each the planet of their choice on which to found their Fortress-Monastery. Thus was begun the Aetherium Crusade.