Scythes of the Emperor Chapter History

Cpt. Alexis Polux led the defence of Sotha.

The Scythes of the Emperor are a proud Chapter brought low through near complete destruction by Hivefleet Kraken.

An event which claimed their once verdant homeworld called Sotha. This world was the administrative center for the Sotharan League (some 86 planets in latest fiction, 2019) and it’s loss and subsequent scattering of the Scythes into a beleaguered Chapter Fleet put the region in turmoil for over a century. After Primaris reinforcement and an expedition to Sotha by the late Chapter Master Thracian, the Aegida Orbital above Sotha has been repaired and now acts as their Fortress Monastery. Below the world of Sotha has begun a long reseeding process by Techpriests of Belisarius Cawl.

The Scythes of the Emperor’s origins began during the Horus Heresy, when the 199th “Aegida” company of the Ultramarines fought, heavily outnumbered, against the Night Lords in the Battle of Sotha, defeating the traitors as they sought to control the Pharos device, a mysterious xenos artefact buried within Mount Pharos.

The device was ‘lighthouse’ to the rebuilding of Roboute’s Imperium Secundus at the time, among many other secret properties it held. Upon Roboute Guilliman’s arrival and defeat of the traitors, he honoured the company with the emblem of two crossed scythes, representing their defence of the farmers of Sotha, citizens of a small but proud population which had suffered greatly under the attack, but did not yeild.

Post Heresy & Founding

After the Heresy and the Second Founding, the Aegida Company was maintained secretly as a phantom 11th Company under the command of Captain Oberdeii, in defiance of Guilliman’s own Codex Astartes. An act which Roboute Guilliman personally charged Oberdeii to oath, within the exotic tunnels of Mt. Pharos.

When Rogal Dorn initiated the Third Founding nearly a millennium later, Oberdeii was the last surviving member of the company. Nevertheless, the Ultramarines’ Chapter Master, Tigris Decon, wished to remove the evidence of Guilliman’s ‘heresy’, sending Chaplain Segas and Brother Wenlocke to offer Oberdeii the choice of being reassigned to the 5th Company or continuing to guard the Pharos by becoming Master of a new ‘Aegida Chapter’. Oberdeii reluctantly agreed to found a new Chapter, but chose the more fitting, Scythes of the Emperor. In addition to Chaplain Segas and Brother Wenlocke, seventy-two Ultramarine veterans of the Orlan Conquest were assigned to the new Chapter. (M31.021)

They continued their vigil over Sotha, Mt.Pharos and the surrounding Sotharan League within the Ultima Segmentum. Taking upon themselves the duty of policing and safeguarding of notable tributary worlds such as Egottha, Beremin, Moloch, Miral, Graia, Veridian, Vespastor, Devlan, Salem, Lamarno, Triplex Phall, Espandor, Radnar and Kimmeria. They performed admirably during notable events such as;

  • M39 Chapter purge of Arthas Moloch
  • The Corinth Crusade (698-705.M41) (Led by Marneus Calgar)
  • Damocles Gulf Crusade (742M41: Participated in actions on Sy’l’kell & Dal’yth Prime.)
  • Xikun Campaign (745.M41)
  • Verdeworlds Campaign (865.M41) verse Eldar settlers.
  • Liberation of Egottha (992.M41).

Then came the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Kraken in 992.M41.

The Fall of Sotha

The arrival of the Tyranids had been foreshadowed in dreams of a young Oberdeii. When, as a neophyte, he had become lost in the tunnels of Mt. Pharos, his mind sensitive to the xenos device within, he experienced visions of great terror. He kept this knowledge his entire life. During the defence against the Night Lords traitor legion, the Pharos device was damaged, sending out a powerful beacon. This event was long feared by Oberdeii as having attracted something terrifying and apocalyptic.

The coming of Hivefleet Kraken lead to the Scythes nearly being destroyed. An invasion which had already annihilated the Lamenters Chapter in the Devlan system. Sotha, the Scythes Homeworld, was lost entire, with only 239 Scythes surviving to arrive at Miral Prime. Their fall back onto Miral was ended when hiveships invaded soon after, so too Graia and several smaller worlds until eventually they set to preparing and defending Bosphor when news from Ichar V sent word of a combined forces victory and breaking of the Kraken fleet. They were bitterly disappointed not to have been present when that first great victory was won.

“No tactical record or archived battle account from the Tyrannic War had ever mentioned an invasion quite like it, before the fall of Sotha.”

The few surviving Battle-Brothers, less than 200 at the time, swore to spend their lives seeking out and annihilating the remaining Tyranid splinter forces within the Ultima Segmentum and beyond even as they seek new recruits to replenish the Chapter’s shattered ranks. In M41.999, the Scythes emerged fully from the shadow of Hivefleet Kraken, confirming their existence yet and began rebuilding as a single Battle Company.

There was much unrest for a time as many wanted to expend themselves fighting Kraken, whilst the leadership intended to recover and rebuild. This schism may have ended when Chapter Master Thracian sent vocal 40 brothers to the Deathwatch. A deal which may or may not have been struck to obtain much needed geneseed for the Chapter from the Inquisition.

During this period they discovered the Sothan serfs and peoples had been infected by a Genestealer cult, an uprising which was put down brutally amidst the small Chapter fleet. It had taken centuries to then infect the very Chapter itself through psychic manipulation and genestock. This sabotage of both the the people of Sotha, the Chapter Fortress and Genestock of the Scythes led to the quick fall of Sotha. This became a secret only to the Veterans of the Scythes.

The Scythes at that time no longer had any Codex-approved Terminator squads, with only three remaining suits of Terminator armour. Forge Master Sebastion was known to have acquired a fourth partial suit. He was in the process of restoring it to combat-readiness when the Indomitus Crusade began. (This would be in use during the Cawl Expedition, The Great Work – Guy Hayley)

In this present millennia (8th Edition 40k), post Indomitus Crusade and the returned Roboute Guilliman, the Scythes were reinforced by new Primaris Marines. The recruits unaware of the Genestealer secret. By this time only a few original Sothans were alive.

Arch Magos Cawl and the Ultima Founding have given the Chapter a chance to return to full strength, without this secret taint. Reinstating their capability to patrol and defend the Sotharan League and Shield Worlds within Ultramar’s fourth tetra, under the direction of Tetrarch Decimus Felix, an Ultramarine Primaris Captain and close confidant of Roboute. Whilst the Chapter maintains a fleet based existence about the Battlebarge, Heart of Cronus, Decimus rules the Sotharan league from the newly instated governing world of Vespastor. Notable actions since have been the Battle of Hamagora. The 2nd Company of then newly reformed Scythes of the Emperor found itself under siege upon the hive world of Hamagora. The Scythes Intercessors being assailed by an endless swarm of Nurgle Daemons.

Years later Belisarius Cawl would set out on an expedition to Sotha, with Tetrarch Felix and Chapter Master Thracian and his last veterans (10). Discovering the Pharos to be a Necrontyr structure entombing a C’tan stargod. The last of the original Sothans would die on this final expedition. Defeating the Genestealer Patriarch at the heart of their Monastry, reclaiming their honour.

At the end of this expedition, Cawl kept his promise to Thracian and began reseeding Sotha from gene banks of flora and fauna. A several hundred year effort. The Aegida platform is to become the new Chapter Fortress and a new era of the Scythes shall begin with their Primaris brothers.

Presently the Scythes are involved in the War for the Aberrus System, that began in M42, when a tendril of Hive Fleet Kraken invaded the Imperium’s Aberrus System.[66]

Several Astra Militarum Regiments were sent to aid the System’s worlds, but they were no match for the Tyranids. It was only when the Iron Lords, Knights of the Raven, Lamenters and Scythes of the Emperor Chapters arrived that the Imperium began to stand a chance. The Imperial forces were unaware, however, that a second Hive Fleet was fast approaching the Aberrus System and was twice the size of the invading Kraken tendril. The Ordo Xenos Inquisitor Shalisha Talaris has learned of this, though, and has sent a desperate plea for aid to the Indomitus Point Watch Fortress. She fears that if Aberrus falls to the Tyranids, then the fate of the entire Eastern Fringe will hang in the balance

The Specialist Units  – Salvation Teams

Rumours abound of Space Marines wearing the insignia of the Scythes still alive inside the Tyranid Hive Ships of Kraken splinter Hive Fleets; “Salvation Teams”; small, autonomous units of Scythes given the task of traversing the battlegrounds and dead hiveships along the Eastern Fringe. Running to ground every rumour, every indication a Sothan may still live somewhere in the wake of the Tyranid assault.

In reality, very few living Astartes are ever found, more often than not the “Salvation Teams” are merely reduced to “Salvage” teams recovering the non-biological artifacts such as Power Armour and Bolters, and not just from the slain Astartes of the Scythes but from many, many other Chapters as well. Still, desperate times call for desperate measures and the Scythes gain invaluable experience in boarding actions against even the dormant or dying Tyranid vessels. It is possible that the Scythes of the Emperor now know even more about this foul xenos species and how to defeat them than even the Ultramarines’ own Tyrannic War veterans.

Further reading:
The Essential Scythes Reading Guide
The Scythes of the Emperor on Lexicanum40k
Warhammer40k.Wikia – Scythes of the Emperor


The Scythes of the Emperor – Boxed Set Beginnings & References

Before 8th edition, Dark Imperium the novel and all the novels and short stories published in recent times (2012-2016), the only mention of the Scythes of the Emperor Chapter was in Tyranid Attack, Advanced Space Crusade & White Dwarf in the 1990’s.

Veteran Sergeant Reaper, Sergeant Khan and a Scout from the 1st Squad being mentioned in stories. Note the Black and White Stripe Kraken Campaign badge.

Advanced Space Crusade preview.
The Scythes of the Emperor Sergeant and Scout colour scheme shown on the inner box of Advanced Space Crusade and pg. 51 White Dwarf 131 November 1990.

The Scythes Scout Colours, Advanced Space Crusade. pg.51 WD 132 December 1990.

The Scythes of the Emperor, noted in Andy Chamber’s Tyranid Army review (The first official Tyranid list). pg.47 White Dwarf 145. January 1992.

The Scythes of the Emperor,featured artwork in Tyranid Attack. pg.18 White Dwarf 158, February 1993.

The Scythes of the Emperor feature by Andy Chambers, Space Marine and Eldar Scouts article. pg14 White Dwarf 159. March 1993.

Scythes Emperor Tyranid Attack

The Scythes of the Emperor fourth Vindicator, ‘Reaper’. Destroyed in defence of Miral prime against Hive Fleet Kraken. Single Art Panel, Imperial Armour Vol. 2, Space Marines and Forces of the Inqusition pg. 74

Index Astartes: Purge the Alien. Scythes Sergeant Remas retells his tale to Chaplain Cassius. pg.54 White Dwarf 306 (UK), June, 2005. This story is actually an edit of Sgt Khan and Chaplain Fabius conversation, Page 16. Advanced Space Crusade.

Scythes Emperor Kraken

Purge the Alien Notes: As the Ultramarines recovered from the devastating attack of Hivefleet Behemoth, Chaplain Cassius moved to create a specialised force of Tyranid Hunters amongst the Ultramarines. The contraversial force gained new impetus on the attack of Hivefleet Kraken, as a fresh influx of Deathwatch marines from the remaining Scythes, spread further combat techniques amongst other Chapters. The meeting of Sargeant Remus with Chaplain Cassius was instrumental in the Scythes of the Emperor’s ongoing association with the Ultramarines, by creating a highly specialised Tyranid response force.

The Coming of the Great Devourer by Warwick Kinrade, Epic 40,000 Scenario. pg.82 White Dwarf 218 (UK), February 1998. (Click for Larger Image)


Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team

References and Notations:
Aggregated from 40k Lexicanum, 40KWiki and collaboration with Brother Kurgan of Bolter & Chainsword.
  1. How to Paint Space Marines, pg. 88 listed under Codex Chapters
    Codex: Tyranids (4th Edition), pg. 14
    Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition)

    : pg. 19
    12b: pg. 33
    Imperial Armour Volume Nine – The Badab War – Part One, pgs. 76-77

    (Chapter noted as part of the Ultramarines Corinth Crusade only, no further mention)
  2. 993M41: Hive Fleet Kraken all but wipes out the Scythes of the Emperor. V5 rulebook, pg. 128
  3. 742M41: Damocles Gulf Crusade. Participated in actions on Sy’l’kell. C:Tv3 pg. 58
  4. 742M41 Damocles Gulf Crusade: Dal’yth Prime. C:Tv3 pg. 60
  5. Picture C:SM v3 pg. 23
  6. Engage Hive Fleet Kraken in the Miral System at the Giant’s Coffin. Codex: Tyranids 2nd Edition pg. 14
  7. The Chapter reduced to little more than a company of Marines over the course of fighting the Tyranids. Codex: Tyranids 2nd Edition pg. 15
  8. Chapter Planet: Sotha. Overrun by Hive Fleet Kraken 992M41. Galactic map. Codex: Tyranids 2nd Edition pg. 37
  9. Armor example. Space Marine Collectors Guide pg. 6
  10. How to Paint Space Marines pg. 77
  11. Codex Chapter. How to Paint Space Marines pg. 88
  12. The Colors of War. GW Catalog and Hobby Reference 2004-05 pg. 338
  13. Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes poster (out of print). Art of Warhammer 40k pg. 70-71
  14. Scythes of the Emperor, Space Wolves and Lamenters mentioned in reports to Inquisitor Kryptman prior to the approach of Hive Fleet Kraken. WD131 pg. 40-41
  15. Chapter reduced to a few scattered remnants after encountering Hive Fleet Kraken. WD145 pg. 37
  16. Chapter Master Thoryca, the Giants Coffin, Miral Prime. Chapter planet: Sotha destroyed by Hive Fleet Kraken. WD218 pg. 84-85
  17. M39 Chapter purges the world of Arthas Moloch. WD288 pg. 104
  18. Captain Remase, Brother Harvan (deceased). WD305 pg. 86
  19. Vindicator Reaper. Destroyed during the Defence of Miral Prime. Imperial Armor Vol. 2 pg. 74
  20. Sgt. Khan. Advanced Space Crusade Rulebook pg. 16
  21. Chapter banner found in the hands of Sgt. Khan when he was rescued by Ultramarines after the Tyranids attacked Sotha. The banner is described as quartered with checks and bearing the emblem of a golden horseman. Advanced Space Crusade Rulebook pg. 16
  22. Picture of the banner. Advanced Space Crusade rulebook pg. 42
  23. Brother Harvan. Killed fighting Tyranids. Advanced Space Crusade rulebook pg. 16
  24. Picture of a Marine with a golden horseman holding a scythe. Advanced Space Crusade rulebook pg. 29
  25. Vosok Dall. Renegade Scythe. Champion of the Blood God on New Badab during the Skull Harvest. Killed by the Iron Warriors warmsith Honsou in single combat. Novel: Heroes of the Space Marines. Story: The Skull Harvest by Graham McNeill
  26. Sgt. Tiresias, 21st Salvation Team. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 430
  27. Scout Neophytes: Narro, Hwygir (chose the name Culmonios when selected to be an Astartes), Pasan, Vitellios. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 430
  28. Scout Neophytes (deceased): Metellian, Quintos and Varos. Killed during boarding actions on tyranid hive ships designated #34732 Halisa, #10998 Archelon, #51191 Notho respectively. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 435
  29. 5th Co. wiped out months before the fall of Sotha. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 440
  30. Captain Theodosios, Commander Cassios, Lt. Enero, Ancient Valtioch. Members of 5th Co. when they disappeared prior to the fall of Sotha. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 442
  31. Chapter Master Thrasius (post fall of Sotha). Develops the Salvation Teams to look for missing Astartes within the hive ships and to scavange equipment (regardless of which Chapter it came from). Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 443-444
  32. Chapter Master Thoryica killed during the Giant’s Coffin battle on Sotha by Tyranids. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 444
  33. Chapter vessel (unknown class): The Heart of Sotha. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 445
  34. Forge Master Sebastian. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 451
  35. Commander Cassio recovered alive by Sgt. Tiresias Salvation Squad, 3 years after the fall of Sotha. Killed while attempting to escape the hive shipLegends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 461
  36. Brothers valens, Nikos, Leo, Abas, Tiberios, Messinus, Herakleios all killed (5th Co.). Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 461
  37. Seems some Brothers of the Chapter possibly committed suicide after the events of Ichar IV against Hive Fleet Kraken. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 463
  38. Sgt. Angeloi. Advocates for the Chapter to end itself in one final, glorious crusade rather than attempting to rebuild. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 466
  39. Lt. Hadrios. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 481
  40. Captain Romons. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 482
  41. Campaign on Tan. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 483
  42. Brother Domitios (wounded on Tan). Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 484
  43. Chapter victories against Hive Fleet Kraken: Dal’yth Tertius and Translock. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 484
  44. Fought Hive Fleet Kraken on Miral and Graia. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 487
  45. Over 40 battle brothers (including Sgt. Angeloi) sent to the Deathwatch to assist in teaching others how to fight the Tyranids. Perhaps as a means for the Chapter Master to rid himself of those who would rather see the Chapter destroyed instead of rebuilding. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 487
  46. Chapter Master Thrasius claims 3 companies worth of neophytes were to come. How that is to be is debated. Suggestions were: Chapter Master Thoryca knew Sotha would fall and evacuated the gene-seed. Thoryca had an agreement with the Inquisition to have their gene-tithe returned and that those Marines sent to the Deathwatch was payment for this. Xenos tech being used to progenoids faster than normal. ‘Reaper squads’ harvesting gene-seed not of the Scythes. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 488
  47. Sgt. Tiresias and his scouts all killed while attempting to extract Commander Cassio from a hive ship. Legends of the Space Marines. Orphans of the Kraken pg. 497, 502
  48. Sgt. Lahmas. Savage Scars pg. 150, 260
  49. Sgt. Rheq, leader of Scythes contingent, Damocles Gulf Crusade. Savage Scars pg. 187
  50. Ancient Mhadax, dreadnought, former Captain. Savage Scars pg. 304
  51. Unknown Chapter member serving in the Deathwatch. Uthuriel craftworld crashsite, world of Dacturus Atlas Infernal ebook pg. 11
  52. Remaining battle brothers have vowed to destroy the Tyranids. C:SM Digital Edition pg. 88
  53. Reclusiarch Hornindal. Killed in the crash of the Xenopohon on the world of Tumbus. H&B 21, The Shadow of the Beast
  54. Captain Theodosios, 5th Co. H&B 21, The Shadow of the Beast
  55. Xenophon, Hunter class destroyer. H&B 21, The Shadow of the Beast
  56. Liberation of Egottha (reliquary world). H&B 21, The Shadow of the Beast
  57. Segas, 1st Chaplain of the Scythes Chapter, buried on Egottha. H&B 21, The Shadow of the Beast
  58. Chaplain Demetrios. Killed in the crash of the Xenopohon on the world of Tumbus. H&B 21, The Shadow of the Beast
  59. Sgt. Certes. Killed in the crash of the Xenopohon on the world of Tumbus. H&B 21, The Shadow of the Beast
  60. Sgt. Edios. Killed in the crash of the Xenopohon on the world of Tumbus. H&B 21, The Shadow of the Beast
  61. Brother Mascios. Killed by tyranids during boarding actions against the Xenophpon. H&B 21, The Shadow of the Beast
  62. Old Sothan salute: right hand over the primary heart and then swept outward, the sign of the reaper, the inevitable victor. H&B 21, The Shadow of the Beast
  63. 698M41 Corinthian Crusade. Ultramarines, Angels of Absolution, Silver Skulls, Scythes of the Emperor and Marines Errant crush Waaagh!Skargor. C:SMv6 pg. 30
  64. 970999M41, Chapter announces it will be reborn after its near annihilation at the hands of Hive Fleet Kraken. C:SMv6 pg. 34.
  65. The Scythes Intercessors of 2nd Company fought on Hamagora against Nurgle demons, Grey Knights 8th Edition pg.25
  66. The Aberrus Warzone, Pg24 9th Edition Space Marine Codex.

About the Author

Site owner and creator, Sebastian Stuart has been updating and maintaining the Scythes of the Emperor webpage since 1997. He is canonised as 'ForgeMaster Sebastion' by Richard Williams and LJ Goulding in the Scythes of the Emperor novels by Black Library.