"The man who is the leader of the Augurs! A highly attuned sorcerer, and a revered duelist! The man rules over the Augurs of the Serpent, dealing swift, decisive blows to his enemies! His reach extends far and wide. It is he who brought Ares, Captain of the Alfa Legion to his knees! It was he who brought the world of Cismet to its knees! It is now he who is the bringer of light to the Imperium's diseased and dying body! Long live the Augurs of the Serpent! Long live Ral-!" - Final words of PDF Commander Matthias, moments before execution after the last bastion of resistance fell upon the Hive of Cismet.
At around M39, within GLORIOUS ULTRAMAR, A child was conceived to a family of traders upon the world of Calth. He was given the name Rallor Volkin, and was groomed to be the heir to a generation's worth of fortune and connections.
As he grew up, Rallor was taught about self-defence, the virtues of honour, honesty and modesty, for those were the traits that the said Family lived by, having been able to achieve reputation and wealth through trade since the the trading family was first formed. But, as both fate and plot would have it, a series of events would change his path forever - starting upon Prandium, 10 years after his birth.
Unknown to most of Calth, a cult had implanted itself there, and has been gaining power over the years - and Rallor's family had by accident, discovered it's existence and whereabouts. Very quickly, the Volkin manor was attacked by Cultist members. The brutal and quick shoot-out between the Cultists and the House guard resulted in the death of first Rallor's mother as she accidentally got caught up in the crossfire, and then the father as he died fighting.
Rallor, rather than pissing himself and running off, grabbed a weapon and desperately lended aid to the House-guard that had defended his home and family for so long, for the sake of avenging his parents. Unbeknownst to Rallor, the Ultramarines had arrived at Calth - receiving a tip of the Cult's existence from the Inquisition, and proceeding to purge the planet of the taint. By the time they had reached the Volkin manor, all they found was dead bodies everywhere... and Rallor lying within, battered, wounded, bloody, exhausted but alive, a Laspistol empty of ammunition clutched tightly in his hands.
Initiation and Service
Rallor would be recruited into The Ultramarines after that day, the Ultramarines present being impressed by the boy's determination and skill. The boy would endure all the trails the Ultramarines would put him through - and he would begin to recieve the geneseed of his predecessors before him, just like the other scouts that have passed the trials as well.
After Rallor was Implanted with the Ultramarine Geneseed and had received his gear, he had to first make a Pilgrimage to Talassar as was Ultramarine tradition. To visit the old battlegrounds of the fight between the orks and his new brothers in arms. He reflected on his old life, on the unexpected chain of events that brought him there, and upon his future. Thinking of his old parents for the very last time, Raller would silently vow to his dead parents in front of an altar that he would make them proud, and that he would serve the Emperor's Will. He completed the pilgramige, and returned to his brothers.
Many years later, Rallor has just about reached the time where he would soon adorn his armour. He had distinguished himself since his pilgramige on Talassar with ranged expertise, especially with Shotgun weapons. But as he would soon find out, his fate was about to take another swift turn.
The Squad he was part of since his induction was under direct attack by a Ork Mob while scouting out a location for Ork activity. While his squad was struggling, fending off the Ork Slugga boys - Rallor was left to fight the Ork Nob leading the mob after the Sergeant was brutally killed before their eyes.
During the brutal fight, Rallor was scared for the first time in decades by the Nob, and fell to his knees, seemingly giving up. Just as the Nob was about to deliver the final blow to end Rallor's life, the scout suddenly unleashed a burst of raw biolighting from his hands, exploding the Ork Nob in a bout of red steam, blood and limbs. The other Ork Boyz merely gawked at their dead nob in astonishment, before their morale broke and they routed. With the self-discovery of being a Psyker, Rallor was sent back to Ultramar shortly after for Librarian Training, earning his Power Armor at the same time. After saving the lives of the remainder of the Scouts he had served with, he earned it.
As 200 years of service as a Lexicanum passed, Rallor learned how to control his abilities as he was mentored by an Epistolary. He had read more of the Codex Astartes during this time, and had quickly grasped it's knowledge. After a successful campaign where he had proven himself again, he was then promoted to Codicier. Rallor at the time wanted to learn more than he already knew, but not being able to have further access to the Librarium and not being able to be taught more skills and warp powers despite his talent and ability to quickly learn would start to slowly, but surely embitter him.
50 or so years after Rallor had become Codicier, Rallor soon enough was sent out a distance away from Ultramar, attached to the Ultramarines of the 2nd Company - to help in purging a Feudal World of the orks that have descended upon it as part of a small WAAAGH.
Rallor was picked to be attached, for the Orks were an enemy Rallor knows too well. But what Rallor and the other Ultramarines were unaware of was that an Alpha Legion Cell was also operating on the planet, using the Orks to bring about the populace to their side in secret. For about 2 months Rallor battled psychic baffling - wrongly thinking that it was the Weird Boyz trying to ransack his mind. Then one night, the psychic baffling was more intense than usual. His mental fortress strained from the intensity and furiosity of the assault, so much that Rallor now realised that it was not the Weirdboyz' doing at all. Despite his Psychic Helm, Rallor's mind was quickly overcome - and he would be confronted within his mind, by the one responsible for the 2-month psychic baffling. A Chaos Sorcerer, of immense power.
Rallor was overcome by it, and he gazed upon the intruding Sorcerer with amazement. Not even the greatest of the Ultramarine Sorcerers could have compared to this Sorcerer, he thought. He has power, and Rallor secretly wanted it, even craved it subconsciously. Instead of destroying Rallor's mind as one would have expected, the Sorcerer greeted Rallor politely, surprising him. Knowing that he is outmatched, Rallor played along - and after a short conversation, The Sorcerer offered Rallor a deal. "I know of your hunger for Knowledge, fellow Psyker - for I too have it. But unlike your brothers, I am willing to share it, and even take you as my apprentice, should you consider this deal. Join me, and my knowledge will be yours."
Rallor considered it. Then asked why he did not offer him power. Sure, Knowledge can grant one power, but there must be something more to this. Can he not offer more? The Sorcerer merely laughed like a gentlemen, and replied; "Why give you what you already have? I am merely offering to add and expand upon that power. Now will you accept my offer?"
Rallor thought of it more. After a moment of silence, he - albiet reluctantly - agreed. The Sorcerer said he will contact him later, and merely left Rallor's mind. Quickly, Rallor got himself back up, refreshed his mental defences... and simply thought hard on what he had wrought.
The Power of Betrayal
Later the following day, the Ultramarine force would position themselves around a valley, keeping themselves as concealed as they could. Rallor had predicted a week ago that the Ork Horde, along with the Warboss of the Ork WAAAGH! that has ransacked the Feudal World for too long and has managed to avoid previous attempts at killing him.
The Orks arrived, and set up camp as predicted - making makeshift fortifications for their temporary foothold. The Warboss of the WAAAGH was sighted. The time was right.
The Ultramarines sprung their well-placed trap, and attacked the camp from all sides. The Orks reeled from the sudden assault, but managed to quickly recover - and sure enough the Valley became a bloodsoaked battlefield. Thankfully, the Warboss was killed by the Captain of the 2nd Company of the time in a duel, which left the Orks Routed and milling about in furious confusion. As they were slaughtered in their droves, Rallor felt a familiar touch on his mind.
"My first lesson, apprentice; The hour is at hand. How far are you willing to go for our deal?" As soon as the mental message was sent, the Ultramarines were then ambushed, in a manner very similiar to how they had ambushed the Orks previously - Traitor Marines in the Silver, Blue and Green of the Alpha Legion fired upon Rallor's brothers as they marched from their hiding places all around the edge of the valley, pinning many down, killing several more in the process.
The Librarian simply stood there, dumbstruck. He never imagined that this would happen. He should have predicted this - a lot of lives would have been saved. Yet... It was because of the Chapter Librarium's refusal to grant him greater knowledge that lead to this. The plain fact infuriated him further. He is at a crossroads - and for the very first time, he cannot even begin to think of which way to go, let alone to do.
As he watched the Captain of the 2nd Company rally the men to him, Power Mace in hand, Rallor realised what the Alpha Legion is after. He felt numbed, cold. He watched as the Captain was slowly but surely pushed back as Alpha Legionnaires sought to kill him. Time seemed to slow to a crawl for the Librarian. Then he broke into a run. To the Ultramarines, it would appear as if he was running to the side of the Captain in support. Bolter fire ripped the ground beneath him apart as Alpha Legionnaires attempted to fire upon him, but nevertheless Rallor ran - almost certain that they will not gun him down immediately.
He rushed into the midst of the Ultramarines, and stood beside his Captain, Force Stave in hand. One moment, the Librarian seemed to be preparing to face the Alpha Legionnaires that were just about to get into melee range. Then, just as blades started to clash, Rallor wielded his Force Stave, augmenting himself with the Might of Ancients... and rammed it right through the Captain's stomach, power armour crumpling under the force, the end of the Stave even managing to stick out on the other side. Rallor unleashed all his bitter thoughts into the energies of the Force Stave - and effectively killed the Captain beside him on the spot, causing utter confusion, and then anger among the Ultramarines.
As the Ultramarines immediately lost cohesion for a mere moment, the Alpha Legion proceeded to slaughter the 2nd Company while Rallor retreated, Alpha Legionnaires now proceeding to cover him. As Rallor watched, the Ultramarines managed to retrieve the body of their captain as they fell back towards the center of the valley under the weight of the determined slaughter, some of them yelling curses at Rallor, swearing that this dishonour would not go unavenged. Few even took the time to curse yell and scream at their former across the vox-link before the Librarian disconnected himself from the channels. They would be boxed in, under fire from all sides as their numbers dwindled. Perfoming a Last Stand of a sorts.
Then, the Thunderhawks would arrive. They saturated the battlefield in fire, causing the Alpha Legionnaires to fall back along with Rallor, allowing what remained of the 2nd Company to be extracted.
As Rallor walked among the corpses of his former Brothers-in-arms, stunned by today's events - he was approached by the Sorcerer. The Sorcerer said nothing, merely allowing the Librarian to take the time to look around and come to his senses.
Rallor turned to the Sorcerer. Whatever his desires, whatever his sins, it is far too late to turn back now. He knelt before him, and proclaimed his alliegence. He may be a Traitor, but he still had his honour - no matter how smudged and disgraced it may be. He will maintain his integrity, and honour the deal... and then perhaps later, he will make him pay for what he had Rallor do. Before they would leave, Raller would take up one of the abandoned Power Swords from the corpse of an Ultramarine Sergeant - he would carry it as a reminder, or so he promised himself.
The Alpha Legion forces would not leave the Feudal World yet. They had been using the Orks to their advantage by making them fight the PDF and other Imperial Forces - while they drew in more recruits into their ranks, and seeded a cult that is ironically aiding the local PDF, thus rapidly spreading it. But mere recruitment is not what the Alpha Legion is there for.
Rallor would aid the Sorcerer, and the Commander of this Alpha Legion Cell as they searched for their goal - an ancient, near-mythical tome of detailed knowledge of the Warp and it's usage known simply as The Rauskin. As they searched for it, Rallor was immediately taught much by the Sorcerer - the Alpha Legion's ways, strategies, and the Sorcerer's own knowledge of the Warp. Rallor swallowed all that knowledge up like a famished man who had been offered the meal of his dreams, and for a while it satisfied him. The shock of having actually killed his former Captain and betrayed his former Battle-Brothers had eased, and despite everything, Rallor began to fit in, recolouring his armour to that of the Alpha Legion. They would eventually track the location of the tome to a huge Castle. Upon confirming the location, they revealed themselves - and assaulted the castle, quickly taking it.
Finally, deep within the castle keep, Rallor and his master would finally find it. The tome was huge compared to a normal man, but for Astartes it may as well be like what a large Yellow Book of ancient Terra would be to a normal person. Rallor would take it in his hands to carry it for his master - but as they walked back up to the surface, the Alpha Legion would find themselves under attack by Imperial Forces coming to the aid of the already-dead defenders. What made it worse was that as the Alpha Legion were forced to defend the walls, Blue Drop Pods fell from the sky - the Ultramarines had returned, to avenge their dead. Rallor was again dumbstruck. He knew that they would come back - but for one thing, this was sooner than he thought. For the other thing, he is unsure what to do. He could turn himself in, redeem himself by doing what he did to his former Captain - but he did none of those things. Nor could he will himself to even try.
Following his Master's order, Rallor begrudgingly took the tome with him and followed the Sorcerer. Before they can get into the castle keep however, a few Drop Pods struck within the courtyard - and unloaded it's cargo of vengeful Space Marines of the 2nd Company. Rallor was immidiately forced to fight his brothers with his master, and despite the fierce determination of the Ultramarines - they managed to break through, along with the rest of the Alpha Legion, forcing themselves into the keep, supposedly to make a final stand.
But there would be no final stand. Deep within the keep, The Sorcerer would quickly invoke a ritual to tear open a rift through reality - a rift that Rallor and everyone else were quick to utilize. Despite the casualties, they got away with the tome. They would later evacuate the planet via transport, to their hidden ship orbiting the planet's moon. But before they would get away, the Imperial Fleet that is within the vicinity would notice the tiny Alpha Legion fleet, and bring their guns to bear. The traitor fleet scattered, and despite taking fire and damage, managed to escape to the Warp - along with Rallor Volkin.
The Ixianad Shadow Crusade
Rallor would since then follow his Master - becoming an Alpha Legionnaire himself, and started adoping the alias 'Darkminster' - as a codeword of a sorts that is reminiscent of a title that others had ended up calling him for his cold efficiency in manipulation and strategy, 'The Dark Minister' . He had also obtained a few items for himself, one known simply as The Robes of the Deathless to the others, while the other was a warp-enchanted helm, that increased his power. A Millennia after he had betrayed his Ultramarine brothers, he would move along with his master to the Ixianad Sector, where the services of Rallor and his Master were called for.
By this point in time, Rallor was no longer the honourable Ultramarine he used to be, although he still maintains his dignity and even prided himself as a Warrior-Psyker of the Alpha Legion. He had not gotten any closer to his Master since the first time they had met, but he had been largely loyal to him - even after the Sorcerer had taught his student everything he knew prior to obtaining the tome, the Sorcerer still learned from the tome and in turn, he taught Rallor what he had learned. Such as was their tenuous agreement, and up until now, Rallor was content with that.
The Alpha Legion Cell they had started to work for would then have it's cover blown as the Inquisition discovered their presence - which sparked the immediate Shadow Crusade, where Rallor would face action against Alfa Legionnaires for the first time. The enemy space marines had upon numerous times confounded Rallor - for they do not follow the Codex Astartes as other Chapters would do, not to mention they are all... extremely eccentric, which made things much more harder for him to predict. During the war, he was able to obtain an Archeotech Teleport Pack from a besieged Forge World, and ended up having it integrated into his armour for his own use. He would use his psychic powers to more effectively teleport using the Teleporter than what he would be able to do without his powers or this new device, and managed to bring about a victory in such a fashion during the Shadow Crusade.
Eventually towards the very end of the Shadow Crusade, the main base and stronghold of the Alpha Legion - Kantorus - would suddenly find itself under siege by a combined force of the Order of the White Heart, and the Alfa Legion. Rallor would quickly realise that they are outmatched, and that reinforcements from the other Alpha Legionnaires would not arrive in time. In desperation, he tried to access the tome to find a way of bringing the enemy to their knees - and found a mass-summoning ritual. But because of this, Rallor and his old Master started coming to blows verbally over the usage of the tome and the supposed owner of it.
The Argument would very quickly turn into an outright psychic duel , one that Rallor would very quickly win - crushing his old master's mind in a show of raw psychic might. Acting quickly, Rallor gathered what he needed for the Ritual, and as the siege/battle proceeded, he commenced the Ritual.
After hours of chanting and channelling the energies of the Warp, Rallor was about to complete the ritual, when suddenly pain flared up his arm. He looked down only to find his arm missing, and blood squirting out of the wound. Someone had gotten to him, and that distraction was enough. The energies of the ritual simply blasted out from the chamber, shaking the fortress and the surrounding land with telekenetic force, crushing fortifications, buildings, dozens of warriors and even the surrounding landscape into rubble, dust and assorted red paste flecked with crushed dust of power armour or simply throwing them around in random directions.
For a good moment, everyone at the location would recover from the dizzyness, the nausea and whatever injuries which were sustained. Rallor and the one who wounded him would be no exception to that. The Sorcerer-Student would look upon the one who had wounded him so, to see a Captain of the Alfa Legion standing up to his feet, armed with a Relic Blade coursing with destructive energies. He brandished it, declaring in a dignified voice that his name is Captain Ares Gildeon - and that he would slay the heretical and treasonous Sorcerer on the spot. He then proceeded to attack the flabbergasted Rallor. The duel was quick, and painfully one-sided - Ares would ruthlessly wound him badly, and even ruined the helmet before ramming his Blade through Rallor's gut. Pulling it out and leaving the Sorcerer for dead, Ares would find the Rauskin Tome that Rallor had been using for the ritual, left open in the center of the chamber as it was instructed. Immediately recognising it for what it was, Ares walked up to a nearby brazier that is conveniently nearby, took it, then used it to burn the book. He waited until the book would burn up completely, before leaving the chamber. The Imperial Force would later move off-world.
A Serpent Remains
Rallor should have died there, when Gildeon hacked his sword through the Sorcerer's chest. He may have even been expecting to die, seeing that he was never that close to death before - but he would find himself awake. Wracked with pain, but very much alive. He got up, and looked around. He would find the ashen remains of the Rauskin Tome, and merely stared. For the first time in millennia, Rallor was angered. So much knowledge, so much potential locked away within that tome - and it has all slipped away.
The anger was enough, He got up, ignoring the pain - and looked for others. He found survivors, several of them. Rallor knew that despite the Robes of the Deathless having revived him, he would not survive for too long, so he did his best to keep himself alive, for a few days. He would black out, only to be awake again in a medical bay, aboard The Destined Darkness. After managing to recover, Rallor immediately got onto the inner political field of the surviving Alpha Legionnaires, and ruthlessly took over the leadership of the Ragtag group despite strong opponents and rivals.
As soon as he managed to gain control, Rallor reorganised the survivors - a mere 100 or so Astartes - using knowledge of the Codex Astartes. He then divided them up between what ships remained apart from The Destined Darkness and then gave his order - from now on, they are no longer Alpha Legionnaires. Now, they are The Augurs of the Serpent. Their emblem and colour scheme is thus changed accordingly, and once that was done, the entire fleet is scattered. They are to go out, find other survivors - and bring them into the fold. They are to also extend their influence across the Sector anew once more.
For the dead, the Augurs had sworn vengeance upon the Alfa Legion - but for Rallor, his target would be much more specific. He would make Ares suffer, even if he had to crawl through the Warp to choke the Captain to death in order to do it.
A Declaration of War
Two Decades would pass since the formation of the Augurs of the Serpent. The Sector itself continues to be in a state of combat-readiness, even as the Orks that had long since pushed into Ixianad were being pushed back. As this happened, the influence of the Warband grew in the shadows across the heart of the Sector... Then abruptly, the Augurs struck from the shadows. A world known simply as Cismet within the heart of the Sector abruptly broke rose up in rebellion, declaring it's independance from the Imperium of man, even as it's orbital defences fired upon Imperial Navy vessels, scattering them away from it's orbit. It sparked the start of a larger war, which would have gone on for months without Alfa Legion support. Due to it's importance as a manufacturing world, the Alfa Legion was called for... and the Chapter answered, sending Captain Ares and a sizeable force of Space Marines to the planet, to crush all resistance and reclaim it for the wider Imperium.
As that force of Space Marines touched down upon that world and proceeded to move to crush all resistance, not all went as planned and scheduled... Incidents broke out, sabotage, reports of armoured figures skulking the ruins and ambushing patrols. Upon occasion, Astartes would fire upon one another in confusion. All these reports and more, slowed the rate of which the invasion force would crush the Secessionists - just to the point where it got worryingly slow. Despite the efforts of Ares and wider tactical stratagems, the Alfa Legion's domination of this world had been delayed. After more and more reports came in of the incidents occuring across the front lines, there was confirmation; The enemy had help, which came in the form of Traitors. Chaos Space Marines. The Colour scheme was never identified at the time, but the realisation that the great enemy has his hands in the entire affair got Ares and his forces to double their efforts.
The new enemy never faced the full brunt of the Alfa Legion directly, favouring guerilla warfare tactics, instigating confusion, and a few times lured small portions of the Invasion force into carefully laid ambushes. As the campaign dragged on from the first week to the 2nd, reports of a number of Rogue Psykers being used by the enemy grow drastically, and the enemy fought all the more harder. By the middle of the third week, the Planetary Capitol of Cismet was under siege... but even as the Alfa Legion broke through the main defences, it took Days to fully retake the city itself. It was during that time, that fate would bring things to full circle.
Ares was leading an assault upon the former Palace of the Planetary Governor situated right in the center of the city - a gigantic spire-palace of gothic architecture, it's former Imperial idolatry and symbols defiled, broken, or taken down, the gargoyles leering over to look down below. Even as fighting broke out around the area of the Spire, Ares led a Teleport Assault into the Spire itself, with the intention of breaking the defenders from within - but as he re-materialised within the Spire, he realised he was all alone. Somehow, he was separated from his squad mid-transit. He tried to contact the rest of his strike force, but could not reach them. The vox was jammed. He braced himself for an anticipated ambush... but nothing came. The gigantic hallways, which once most likely bustled of activity, was empty. Most of the light sources were left off, which gave it a foreboding atmosphere.
The Captain explored, and found... nothing. Then, he would be found by Rallor, who declared his Identity as Darkminster, of the Augurs of the Serpent, to the Captain in mockery of their first meeting. So they began their duel. Although Ares struck out with his Relic Blade with all the might he would muster, Dark wielded his Force Stave and Power Sword with an expertise and will to the point that he was never forced to take a step back, which stunned the Captain. It was barely half a minute into the fight when Rallor struck out with a vengeful zeal and cut off Ares' left forearm. The duel would continue, but Ares was left with a handicap, being forced on the defensive. The fight would continue for another few minutes until when Ares would feint successfully, and struck a deadly wound to the Sorcerer forcing him to pull out of the fight and leaving him there.
As Rallor teleported away and left Ares there in the otherwise empty chamber, the vox came alive - the source of the jamming was dealt with, and Ares could rejoin the rest of his forces. The Palace-Spire of Cismet fell shortly after. Since then, the Augurs of the Serpent was never encountered again upon Cismet for the duration of the campaign. The planet was reclaimed for the Imperium of man within the week, and all trace of corruption was purged.
Rallor of course, knew that he would not have been able to maintain public hold upon that world... even if he had really wanted to, and threw all effort into holding it, the Imperium would have crushed him. But he had a reason to create all that commotion, and he had reason to bring his Warband together on that world to stall the Alfa Legion. He kept his newly acquired tome tightly in his grip - it is nothing compared to the now-destroyed Rauskin, but the knowledge contained within would help advance his cause further and thus was well worth it, despite the loss of influence upon a single key world, and the now-general acknowledgement that the Augurs of the Serpent exists. But Ares now knows that the Sorcerer is alive and well despite all the odds... and that a serpent still remains.