The chapter is a 26th founding chapter founded in the year 738M41. They were founded using Blood Angel geneseed and only relatively recently (approximately 850M41) reached full fighting strength due to considerable losses during their early history. The Disciples were founded in the Eastern Fringe to help pacify the rampant Orks and to provide a strong presence in that sector; later helping stymie the Tau's expansion, as well as resisting the numerous Tyranid Fleets encroaching from the galactic east in recent years. The Disciples original actions took place against Tau in the post Damocles Crusade encroachment upon Imperial space. Fortunately for the Tau, recent Tyranid incursions have forced the Imperium to abandon their eradication crusades and to focus on dealing with the massive Tyranid invasion.
Recent actions have shown them to be a worthy successor to their Primarch's gene seed, and they have proven an invaluable force in keeping the region from being lost to the light of the Emperor. Unlike many other sons of Sanguinius they did not receive the Blood Angel's call to arms and did not respond to Dante's request for assistance with the defence of Baal.
Phemos IV is a cold world with a significant number of mining facilities, in close proximity to the Damocles Gulf and the Tau home world. It is graded as a death world due to Phemos IV being engulfed in a Nuclear winter, the results of a war many centuries ago against a raging Ork horde. Substantial ore deposits and a series of 7 thriving planetary hives prevent the world from being abandoned.
The nuclear war left the planet devastated. The living conditions outside of the wall of the Hives are horrendous and without significant protective gear unaugmented humans cannot survive long. The worst of the radation has long since past, but the clouds still block nearly all sunlight from reaching the planet's surface and have dropped the temperatures well below freezing across the entire surface. Virtually all non-aquatic life Was destroyed durig the long winter, as such all food must be brought in from offworld.
The medicae facilities of the Primary Hive Borgannon on Phemos IV are known all throughout the Imperium for their continued refinement of medical knowledge rediscovered in the latter half of M41 in the Hive's extensive information archives. The rediscovered knowledge has permitted the medicae of the planet to perform near miracles in saving the lives of troops who have been involved in skirmishes with the Tau and Tyranids. These facilities boast an order of Sisters of the Bleeding Heart who take in supplicants from all across the Imperium who wish to learn from their medical expertise. Sisters are often dispatched to act as field medicae in major crusades in the sector.
The Disciples have established a Fortress Monastery on the northern polar icecap of Phemos IV, known locally as the Vault. The construction of the Monastery predates the Disciples acquisition of it, and the original purpose is shrouded in secrecy, the base was constructed in such a way as to conceal the base from interstellar passersby. Rumors date the base to thousands of years ago, abandoned for much of its existence. The location is obscured from sensors by the poles electromagnetic field and the naked eye by being largely below the icy surface.
The Disciples' Fortress Monastery consists of 4 primary wings, a central chapel and an underground aircraft hangar. Each wing is dedicated to a specific aspect of the Disciples' lives.
The first wing is their living quarters. They eat meals and spend their time at rest in this wing. Its primary purpose is to allow the Disciples to reflect upon their training and to master activities other than just war, a fairly unique trait for marines, enabled by the longevity their genetics offer. Many great works of artifice can be found here, from weapons armor to even sculptures and musical instruments. It is said that the chapter master Daius Ithymar is a the master violinist and can often be heard playing while he meditates on issues.
The second wing of the Disciples Fortress Monastery is dedicated to healing and spiritual worship. It is here amongst the wounded that the Disciples are trained in the arts of healing and the faith in humanity and the Emperor that the Chaplains instill in them. Any battle brother not on military duty is expected to spend their first 2 hours of each day here dividing their time between studying and practicing medicine and praying to the Emperor. Any Disciple can be expected to perform all but the most difficult of surgeries given the proper equipment.
The third wing is where they practice the arts of war in a number of hermetically sealed combat environments, emulating environmental extremes from blizzards to deserts.
The final wing is where those who are entombed as living ancients and the chapter's armory are preserved. It is rumored there is also a hidden compartment where those who are lost to the black rage are held, but none outside the chapter has ever seen it.
Recruiting is done via a lottery held every year. Male children of a young age are required to be presented to medicae facilities and a percentage any who appear to be potential genetic matches are taken from their families. They are then taken to a training outpost outside the hives near the northern pole to train for several years. All who train at this outpost and survive are hardened warriors and eventually enter the trials to become Disciples, either succeeding, serving as the chapter's serfs or dying in attempt.
The Disciples prefer a flexible mix of ranged combat and hand to hand combat in accordance to the teachings of the Codex Astartes. Their geneseed compels them to maintain strong close combat capabilities, to be used when the situation warrants it, but they strive to balance this out with ranged weapons to increase the odds of winning the imminent assault decisively with few losses.
Often the chapter will employ significant forces to save even the smallest number of their comrades, believing, contrary to imperial doctrine, that the sacrifice of the few is not justifiable for the greater good (which has caused conflicts with other Imperial commanders on numerous occasions).
To the Disciples, every man, woman and child can make a difference, if someone had decided to 'sacrifice' the emperor or the Lord Solar Macharius in an engagement before he came of his own, humanity would have long since fallen to the Ruinous Powers. On the other hand they are very quick to take someone to task for lacking the will or perseverance to live up to this legacy the Empreror grants. This is quite at odds with the larger Imperium's view of such things and the Inquisition has kept a close eye on the Disciples for signs of heresy. The Inquisition has yet to find any actual evidence of heretical activity due to this belief, but their scrutiny continues.
Because of this belief in service and sacrifice the majority of the Disciples are at least partially trained in the way of the apothecary, though the Sanguinary priests are the chapter’s true masters of the art of healing. The Disciples believe that their calling is to both help save lives and to destroy the enemies of the Imperium. In this way they are often a welcome sight by other forces compared to more heartless chapters such as the Iron Hands.
Every marine's life is invaluable to the chapter, and when a marine dies their gene seed must be harvested; thus ensuring that their most potent warriors’ lives are never wasted. After battles, often the Disciples can be seen wandering the battlefield tending to wounded warriors, be they fellow space marines or lowly guardsmen. It is not unheard of for the Disciples to load their transports with the injured and to engage in fighting retreats to ensure the wounded are protected, even against horrendous odds.
The Disciples are organized as a Codex chapter consisting of 10 companies with a captain and command for each, a chapter master, an armory and a few specialists outside of the core chapter. The only deviations are they have a larger than average Apothecarion and a small contingent of Sanguinary guard to honor the traditions of their forbearers. Also notable is that they are very well equipped for such a young chapter, with the majority of their veterans having terminator armor available and a larger than average Land Raider complement.
The chapter boasts all of the typical Blood Angel’s deviations from the Codex, from Stormravens to Death Company. Death company in the chapter are called Bluehelms due to the heraldry they are given when inducted into the company. They also boast Sanguinary Guard who have an alternate variation of their typical gold armor.
The Disciples chapter has an unusually forward looking view, believing that each person has potential to bear great boons to the Imperium and will do nearly anything to save Imperial lives. They believe in the holiness and divinity of the Emperor. They believe in the Manifest Destiny of Humanity, and will stop at nothing to achieve this; destroying any who would oppose such a glorious goal. They value the lives of the humanity that they were created to protect, yet believe that only the Emperor is worthy of serving. Respect is given to those who show a regard for the lives of others and a willingness to protect the Imperium. Those who wantonly disregard the lives of those the Disciples protect are not worthy of respect.
Gene seed is viewed as the most holy gift the Emperor bestowed upon his marines, and they even revere the gene seed so much as to take great risks to retrieve it. There are even rumors that they have abandoned planned campaigns in their lengths to acquire and preserve other chapter's gene seed to be returned to the parent chapters as soon as possible. There is nothing more repugnant to the Disciples than traitor space marines, who use the gift of geneseed to battle against the Imperium.
The planet of Phemos IV was rescued during the war that caused the nuclear winter by Space Wolves of the Great Company of Henrikh Icebeard. Many of the guard who fought alongside the Wolves took to worshipping them as though they were gods amongst men. These beliefs and stories have been passed down through the generations to modern Phemos IV. When a marine chapter was stationed on the planet, the people took it as a sign of favor from the Emperor. In this way many of their totems and some of their beliefs spread throughout the planet and often even to this day some of the Disciples carry wolf pelt, bone totems or runic iconography.
The act of healing is a test of the Disciples strength and resolve. All sons of Sanguinius bear a sometimes unbearable thirst for blood. The Disciples show their resolve by healing despite this urge for the blood of those they are healing. There are no documented cases of them succumbing to this temptation, but with the fires of war one can never quite tell.
The Disciples are descended from the Blood Angels and have a very stable geneseed from what has been observed to date. They have all 19 of the original implants. No noteworthy signs of physical corruption have been observed, however they appear to carry the psychic curse that affects all sons of Sanguinius.
By the emperor we serve!