For Whom the Bell Tolls
Hounds of Chulaínn
The Hounds of Chulaínn are a fleet based space marine chapter, formerly based on the now forbidden world of Chulaínn in the subsector Seven Victories. The position of High Fíorscoth, or Chapter Master, is currently filled by Nuada Silverarm. About 400 marines are known to be active, less than half the size of a full chapter.
By the standards of most space marines, the Hounds were always a poor chapter – the position of their world on the edge of the Basque and Vortigern sectors led to many administrative difficulties with obtaining equipment and geneseed from the vaults of Mars. This led to some resentment between the Hounds and nearby chapters who were better equipped, like the Chorus Vermillion and the The Sons of Antares.
Descended in lineage from the White Scars, the Hounds specialised in hunting and brutally assassinating enemy leaders, focusing particularly on the xenos races that bordered and infiltrated the Basque and Vortigern sectors, including the kifaru, the hrud and Eldar reavers.
Their fortress monastery, Chulaínn Dùn, was carved from a giant mountainside of an unusual metal alloy – the Hounds would use the alloy in their forges to offset their lack of support from the Adeptus Mechanicus. The fortress was the site of many ritualistic feasts where the marines would feast upon the bodies of their dead brethren.
Raiders, hunters and assassins, the Hounds used few of the larger space marine vehicles, but did have a penchant for bikes, jump packs and land speeders.
The Hounds were sundered by one of their own in the event known as the Butchery, leading to the quarantining of Chulaínn and the rise of the warlord Sètanta.
The Hounds of Chulaínn have been investigated thrice by agents of the Inquisition, for daemon worship and sorcery. Each time the investigation came to nothing – pre-Imperial pagan Chulaínnish rites had been preserved and repurposed as initiation ceremonies and celebrations. The rumours of members of the Hounds studying the beings Daghda, Mabb and Balor, amongst other members of the Chulaínnish pantheon, were unable to be verified in any of the investigations. It is intriguing, then, that since Nuada Silverarm’s has taken up the mantle of High Fíorscoth in the aftermath of the Butchery, there are no records of the deployment of Hound Librarians to any battlefield, nor serving as judges for the people of Chulaínn, as they did in days of old.
The Death of Conchobar and the Seeds of Butchery
An account by Taifeadta, historian-savant
With the death of the Conchobar the position of High Fíorscoth of the Hounds had to be filled.
The duel between Conchobar and the black kifaru ended with chapter master impaled upon the horn of the xenos champion. Nuada, despite losing his arm earlier in the battle, took up his master’s sword and slew the creature, ending the Battle of the Black Sands. Nuada would later have his bionic arm built from the creature’s silvered horn, leading him to his cognomen, Silverhand.
Conchobar’s body was returned to Chulaínn, his progenitor glands removed, his organs harvested and served to his captain, and his corpse left for the planet’s scavengers, as was the custom of the Hounds.
His passing was lamented, but the Emperor’s wars do not wait for grief and a successor had to be chosen. The Hounds expected the High Fíorscoth to be a puissant warrior, a peerless scholar and respected by his peers. As such, any fully initiated marine could stand for the role, though in practice the chosen warrior was invariably the captain of one of the companies.
Sétanta Goldenhound, captain of the third finn, was considered most likely to take the role. Nuada was considered too inexperienced for the role, and he declined to stand. Miach Longtooth and Elcmar stood, but were defeated in the duels. Fíonn and Nechtan Sunderer failed the tests of knowledge. Only Sétanta and and Bres remained for the vote. Bres was not well liked by his peers, considered staid and unimaginative, never truly forgiven for his supposed role in the Calamity of Red Dominion, and so it was a surprise when the votes fell his way, Sétanta accepted his defeat with grace, but never truly believed he had been fairly beaten. This seed of doubt would grow until it blossomed into the Butchery.
Did Bres cheat? It is likely we will never know. His death at Sétanta’s hands, the destruction of the Halls of the Fiorscoth and the actions of the Sons of Sétanta during the Butchery have destroyed our best sources of information. Perhaps Sétanta’s peers recognised the danger in him; perhaps Bres enjoyed more trust from his peers than thought. So begins another chapter in the unlucky history of the Vortigern Sector.