Solemn Return

A millennium and a half after their departure for the Western Galactic Fringe the Lamenters were suddenly and unceremoniously recalled to Segmentum Solar in M38 by the High Lords of Terra themselves. Duty bound to answer the call, the chapter reluctantly returned to the center of the Imperium to receive what they could only imagine was sanction. But sanction never came. The Lamenters had been recalled, along with numerous other crusading chapters to help defend against a mounting threat emanating from the Eye of Terror. Chaotic and Heretic forces were spewing forth from the eye in increasing number. This activity would eventually become known as the 9th Black Crusade.

Quickly the old myths and rumors of the Cursed founding started to churn. The Lamenters thought that possibly, because of their long absence, that the legends of the 21st Founding would have died out, but they were now stronger than ever and it seemed every man, woman, and child knew the legend. Every fleet that worked with the Lamenters kept its distance. Entire Chapters of Space Marines were openly hostile. The chapter found itself operating largely alone in a space with hundreds of other fleets, many of sat side by side with their guns directed at the Lamenters themselves – their supposed allies.

This open hostility was only amplified when the Inquisition showed itself amongst the commanders of the campaign. Every conflict the Lamenters had fled to avoid was rekindled in an instant. This deepened the despair already felt within the chapter. The only option remaining was to throw themselves into their duties as they had done every time before. They would not be provoked. The Lamenters would remain stoic in the face of adversity.

The aversion to the Lamenters during their return would never be felt so much as it was on Corillia. The Chapter answered the call for reinforcements from the Mortifactors Space Marines, who were deeply embattled on the surface. In the face of a total invasion from the heretic Black Legion itself, the Lamenters committed the entire chapter to the battle, managing to break the blockade of the Black Legion and land their forces to bolster the Mortifactors defenses. In the brief reprieve bought by the Lamenters, the highly superstitious Mortifactors recalled their entire force, refusing to work with a chapter that was born out of the Cursed Founding. Labeling them heretics and traitors before they left, The Mortifactors put the Lamenters and the entire planet’s population behind them. Leaving them all to fate as Black Legion reinforcements began pouring into the star system. Considerably outnumbered, the already depleted Lamenters committed themselves to the defense of the planet, refusing to desert the population and relegate the civilians to a death sentence.

For six weeks the Lamenters held their ground as the only Loyalist Adeptus Astartes on the planet. Under fierce siege from all sides, the chapter worked side-by-side efficiently with the human planetary defense forces as the attrition of warfare had quickly exhausted their apprehensions to working with the “cursed” Marines. Like working with all those that they had previously safeguarded on their western crusades, the chapter rallied their mortal cousins and helped them survive, a feat they were becoming proficient at. Despite this heroic stand, due to the sheer number of invaders, it would only be a matter of time before the Black Legion would take the planet. All hope seemed lost.

After the heroically protracted campaign was nearly spent, the Ultramarines and White Scars Space Marine Chapters, fresh to the fight, would break through the Black Legion forces and land troops on the surface of Corillia to relieve the beleaguered Lamenters. Enduring a suicidal guerrilla campaign across the planets primary hive city the Lamenters had suffered extreme casualties, dwindling from over eight hundred battle brothers they were now down to just under two hundred.

After relief had come, the Lamenters returned to their fleet, which had also suffered extreme casualties as it provided escort duty for any civilians the Chapter had helped off the surface. Many civilian ships in the fleet sacrificed themselves, in the spirit of their masters, to preserve the lives the Lamenters had purchased with their own blood. The battered fleet took to open space, heading for loyalist territory in an effort to refit and resupply. During the journey, through a twist of fate reserved only for those of the 21st Founding, the Lamenters were devoured by an anomalous warp storm that quickly manifested around the fleet, leaving no trace of them behind. This freakish event seemingly confirmed everyone’s suspicions about the chapter and their connections to the warp. The Lamenters were deemed lost by the commanders of the campaign and the Adminstratum on Terra struck the Lamenters from the active index of Space Marine Chapters in service to the throne. The Bell of Lost Souls tolled just once.

Yet, unbeknownst to the Imperium, the crippled fleet would manifest itself in the furthest reaches of the galaxy, beyond the ghoul stars. The Lamenters, lost in the black void would now have to make its way home, damaged, undermanned, and seemingly devoid of resources. The records from this time are lacking, especially from the earliest days due to the chaotic first few weeks but, the Lamenters would find the resources to make it home. Scrapping smaller ships for fuel, ammo, and supplies, the fleet managed to get itself underway, particularly with the aid of their Adeptus Mechanicus allies. With limited space and hundreds of thousands of humans to feed, the civilian populace began to perish first. Xeno harassers and the pursuit of resources took a toll on the Astartes themselves, slowly snuffing out their precious numbers.

During the sluggish journey, an ancient human ship, longer than twenty kilometers, of an unknown class and configuration was found drifting. Given the nature of space hulks there was a reluctance to explore the vast ship, but the resources it could render the fleet would be essential. Knowing that survival was a delicate precipice, the Mechanicum fleet committed its full forces to aid in the search. In addition, the Lamenters dedicated several kill teams, leading thousands of human volunteers over to the wreck. An unknown alien species had taken up in the ships bowels, using it as a nesting ground for their hideous offspring. With mild resistance, the alien threat was purged and the ship was found to be largely intact.

Rather than stripping and scuttling the ship, the titanic vessel was slowly rehabilitated to life and joined the fleet as the Mater Lachrymarum. This allowed less strain on the resources of each ship in the fleet, and in the holds of the Lachrymarum were found supplies, relics, and stores to keep many of the remaining mortal population alive. The ship was looked upon by the entirety of the fleet as a miracle and it earned a place as a venerated ship within the chapter fleet.

The perilous journey back to the ragged edges of the Imperium would take the Lamenters more than a century to complete.