It had been 10 years since Ghostwrath had arrived mysteriously on the planet known as Forlorn. In that time other Space Marines from his former chapter, Fate’s Angels, had also come to the planet through the same swirling portal that had brought him there. Each and every one of them to appear had also failed in their fate quest; a total of 20 Marines including Ghostwrath.
The Marines who arrived came in various conditions. Some walked through fully armed and their power armor in optimal functional condition while others came naked and battered. Each and every one was welcomed, met by Ghostwrath and Darktide as they stepped from portal.
They all shared an instant bond. These brothers in arms who once fought for the Emperor remained brothers of a stronger bond, the bond of failure. Victory will raise a man’s spirits and the glory is shared among those who fought for the cause. Failure, however, can destroy the soul yet a common failure among many has the power to unite like no other emotion. Space Marines may not be men in the same way as those they are tasked to protect but they are still men and do still feel the pull of emotion and no pull is stronger than shame and failure.
Over the 10 years on Forlorn, the wayward Marines had established a primitive yet effective base camp near where they arrived. The camp itself was surrounded by a 10 foot wall of logs. The logs were dragged in from the surrounding forest which was thick with not only trees but wildlife as well. Within the perimeter of the camp were but two buildings. The former Fate’s Angels had erected a sleeping hall and a dining hall, the bare essentials.
They continued their martial training but chose to do so outside in the harsh climate. Practicing in warmth with sure footing would do nothing to prepare them for fighting outside where the ground was frozen more often than not and hands would go numb from the bitter temperatures. Those Marines who arrived at Forlorn without their power armor, or had to later discard wearing it because of failures within the armor, were garbed in pelts and furs of the local wildlife. The enormous warriors clad in the furs of animals gave them the appearance of being monsters from childhood stories.
Small bands of Space Marines routinely explored. Groups consisting of three battle brothers would set out to discover what they could of the planet. Their ranging would be for a period of two to three months at a time. Upon their return they would relay their findings and another group would set out on the same task. During these explorations they had learned the planet was scarcely inhabited by mankind. Small villages were scattered throughout yet they all appeared to be independent of one another. There were also no signs to indicate that the planet was Imperial.
One thing that the Space Marines had encountered early on was an ab-human species of Beastmen. Their initial encounters with the Beastmen were hostile. The parties would be ambushed while walking the foot paths they had established through the various forests in the region. Though the Beastmen were fierce and without fear they were also no match for the Space Marines. Wielding wooden spears, and the occasional metal close combat weapon – be it sword, axe or mace, they could not hope to penetrate the Marines’ power armor. Those Marines without armor were more cautious in their approach to combat against the Beastmen but were no less lethal.
Eventually the Marines were approached by a warband of Beastmen at their camp. The Beastmen leader knew some low gothic, which was spoken in a grunting manner. To ensure the survival of his warband the leader offered to follow the Marines, to accept their leadership. Darktide and Ghostwrath discussed their choice at length. They could refuse the offer and seek to eliminate the Beastmen, a potential threat to their survival, or accept the offer and gain an ally. Ultimately the pragmatic choice of accepting the offer was made. Beastmen were a fierce species and their aid would increase their forces. Soon after other warbands of Beastmen approached them to also offer up their subservience and all were welcomed into the fold.