That's an answer as individual as each hobbyist, but for me, it's because of the rich background that Games Workshop has stolen from just about everywhere. I don't blame them. Every artist steals. It's the synthesis that makes it great. How does all this theft get tied together and reintegrated into a new whole? That's the key.
It occured to me that I've let this vital portion of my hobby fall to the wayside. I think trying to be more competative has made me forget that story needs to trump rules at times, or burn out will occur. For that reason, I'm presenting my background story for the Celestial Lions 3rd Company to you, my audience of no one.
They honor those who fell at Armageddon, those who were doomed by their own government:
“To have faith in times such as these is easy. Man is beset from all sides by the Xenos, the traitor. The Emperor is our only refuge. But what of those whose faith is tested? What of those who have been judged, found wanting, and still believe? There is no greater faith than those who hold true after being brought low.”
--Brother-Captain Lerato Vinerex, Master of the Fleet
+++Lexicanum Entry: Restricted, Vermilion Access+++
Thought for the day: An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded.
The Celestial Lions are a Space Marine Chapter created in the 38th millennium. They have a long and glorious history. Recently, the highly naive nature of the Chapter led them into conflict with the Inquisition.
During the event known as the Khattarn Insurrection, five companies of the Celestial Lions were attached to Inquisitor Apollyon in order to crush the ongoing revolt on the main planet, Khattar. The orbital defences were nothing to the Space Marines and they quickly landed on the planet, with virtually no opposition. As the campaign progressed and the number of prisoners increased, it became evident that this was no mere minor rebellion. Apparently the priesthood of Khattar had been corrupted and had led the leaders of the planet into the arms of Slaanesh. Local renegade Imperial Guard and Planetary Defence Force regiments were quickly defeated and within three months the rebellion was crushed. The detachment of the Celestial Lions boarded into their ships and left for their fortress monastery.
As the ships left orbit, the Imperial Navy, under orders of Inquisitor Apollyon, bombarded the planet, and obliterated the entire population of the planet. This action horrified the Celestial Lions who proceeded to condemn the Inquisitor. Captain Saul had attempted to halt the bombardment, but could not counter-order an Inquisitor. From then on, the Celestial Lions were highly vocal against the Inquisition, as it was unnecessary to destroy the planet. They sent a series of very loud and public condemnations against the Inquisition in general. A delegation of senior Chapter officers left for Terra to further their cause, but the ship never arrived. It was blown wildly off course by a freak warp storm, far into Ork territory. The wreckage was eventually found two years later, although this was not enough to deter the Celestial Lions, which kept demanding an investigation into the events surrounding the destruction of Khattar.
Their efforts, though valiant, were completely in vain. The Inquisition technically answers to no one but itself and the Emperor, intolerant of any outside pressure and criticism.
With the outbreak of the Third War for Armageddon, the entire chapter of the Celestial Lions dispatched was deployed to defend Hive Volcanus. They suffered horrendous casualties within months of arriving. The intelligence they received was horribly inaccurate and often led them into ambushes where they were outnumbered and outgunned. Some of the higher ranking officials began to suspect this was intentional, a ploy to wipe out the entire chapter, but nothing could be proven.
One particularly devastating battle was when four entire companies were wiped out in the Mannheim Gap by the combined forces of Warlord Thogfang's Gargant mob and the Razor Speed Freaks. Losses mounted and ended with a very well-coordinated attack on the Celestial Lions base camp.
This particular battle lasted for three hours. Hundreds of Marines fell to the overwhelming Ork forces. Sniper fire rained down from the mountain sides, relentlessly targeting the Apothecaries. Finally, a small company was able to break through the Ork lines and fight their way back to the Hive. Only ninety-six Marines survived and, to make matters worse, the last Apothecary took a bullet to the head within hours of arriving at the Hive. Their gene-seed lies unharvested on the surface of Armageddon and the remaining brothers have sworn to die alongside their fallen brothers, fighting to the last.
++END DOCUMENT/SECURE TERMINAL UPON PAIN OF DEATH+++
“It was true that we were thought to be doomed. But the Emperor saw us through that day. It is true that we are a shadow of what we once were, and that Armageddon was what broke us. But what is broken can heal. Is it not our burden as Space Marines to carry on, no matter the cost?”
--Brother Epistolary Marcus Alesius
It is whispered in some corners of the wide galaxy that one Apothecary was spared by the grace of the Emperor. Mortally wounded, he saw to his own internment in a dreadnought of the Third Company, Scipio’s Claw. Though nearly blinded by the pain, Brother Albus’s transformation from something more than man to something less than machine was accomplished. Though it pained them to do so, a large contingent of the Third Company smuggled themselves out of the ruins of Volcanus Hive, escaping with Albus to an awaiting Strike Cruiser.
Since then, those elements that survived the hell of Volcanus have rejoined their Battle Brothers. Though they are a shadow of their former glory, the Celestial Lions still keep the vows they made to uphold the will of the Emperor. They survive by the most tenuous of threads, but then again, what servant of the Emperor does not?