The March Wardens

Still rather vague but its a start

The Pilgrim’s March

Situated in the Ultima Segmentum 26 light years spinward from San Leur the Pilgrim’s March is a string of nine systems starting with Suro Nexim and arcing south west to end 117 light years later at Deploro Elido. The March gets its name from the procession of holy sites that have been organised, by the Ecclesiarchy, into a pilgrims route, or march, through the nine systems. The entire march can take up to ten years to complete and is often the ultimate act of worship for faithful Imperial citizens. The March was formalised in 271 M38 after members of the Adeptus Ministorum noticed the popularity of the many religious sites that dotted the systems that make up the March.

Starting with the Church of the Emperor Triumphant in Edalia city on Suro Nexim, continuing to the Monastery of the Sisters of Quiet Penitence on Latona to the network of shrines to the martyrs of the fall of Pavalonis that fill the catacombs under that city on Deploro Elido the systems that make up the March are unnaturally blessed with religious sites, artifacts and features of interest that draw the faithful from all parts of the galaxy.

It is estimated that close to 20 million pilgrims are on any of the planets in the March at any one time. The systems are all the exclusive domain of the Ecclesiarchy which is responsible for the continued maintenance of the systems and the protection of the millions of pilgrims that flow through the March. By 763 M39 the task of protecting the citizens, pilgrims and religious officials of the March had grown beyond the capabilities of the Ecclesiarchy and its own troops. The lure of spoils and slaves drew Eldar pirates. Ruinous cults and other heretics were also drawn to the March and pressure from nefarious Xenos elements such as the Tau and the Arch-arsonist of Charadon stretched the Ecclisiarchy past its limits. A petition was made to the Lords of Terra for the creation of a chapter of the Adeptus Astartes specifically tasked with the protection of the March from elements too powerful to be dealt with by local militias, PDF or Adeptus Ministorum troops.

The March Wardens

Debate on the subject raged on some time and it wasn’t until 864 M39 that the chapter was approved. Funds for the raising of the Chapter were raised by selling special Apostolic Indulgences amongst the many pilgrims to the March. The Chapter was intended to be a quick reaction force that could be stationed in the systems that made up the March and also quickly respond to needs as they arose across the entire March. As such the structure of the Chapter was significantly different than Chapters designed more in line with the dictates of the Codex Astartes. The Chapter is not divided into Companies as normal but is instead divided into nine Patrols that are assigned to each of the nine systems in the March. With the exception of the Patrol assigned to Esti Adalpi each Patrol takes the name of the system to which they are billeted. Based in a series of Strike Craft each Patrol is able to send Marines in groups from a single Tactical formation of ten Marines to almost 100 troops depending on the dictates of the situation.

The Chapter was not given fixed planet-side monastery or fortress to call its home but was initially settled in a renovated Guard orbital battle station while the Chapter’s first Battle Barge, The Emperors Swift Sword, was readied. The Chapter is based in three Battle Barges, The Emperors Swift Sword, Suffer the Faithful and Merciless Pursuit, which each travel a route through three of the nine systems in the March. Each Patrol can then call on the resources of those battle barges if the need arises. The Emperors Swift Sword is considered the fortress-monastery for the Chapter and it is there that the Chapters head, Warden Ipelius, resides.

The Chapter while not young still suffers from a deficit of the type of material that most Chapters take for granted. Land Raiders are in low supply and are reserved for the Warden’s use and the use of the Chapter’s single formation of Terminators. The Chapter has to rely on Predators and Land Speeders as mobile fire support platforms. Even then the number of Land Speeders available is very limited and most patrols can only count on the support of a single formation of Land Speeders.

While the Chapter currently has the frames, armour and internal systems for two Dreadnoughts it has not had any Marines deemed worthy of being enshrouded in the Tactical Dreadnought armour. Terminator armour is a very precious commodity in the Chapter and while five suits have been set aside for use by members of the Warden’s Bodyguard the remaining suits have been reserved for use by high ranking members of the Chapter and even then only in emergency circumstances.

Patrol Disposition

There are nine systems in the Pilgrim’s March; Suro Nexim, Astus Figo, Interrus, Misnus, Latona, Est Adalpi, Pelias, Postulo and Deploro Elido. Each system has a dedicated Patrol of Marine that consists of anywhere from 80 to 110 Space Marines and their support staff and servitors. The fleet assets of the Chapter are split between each system as well with a mobile reserve of troops and fleet strength accompanying each of the Battle Barges. Each Patrol is then able to counter threats in space and on land depending on the circumstances of the emergency.