+ inload: Phalangite Polimistes +

+ inload: Phalangite Polimistes +

Tresantes. Coward. Nothing is a worse insult to a Legionary of the IV. The Iron Warriors' central philosophy came to be built around interdependence and subservience of the individual to the group. Perturabo intended his legion to work like a single organism – a machine that was an extension of his will. To betray this through vainglorious individuality was judged poor form – though tolerated if it brought success – but to turn and flee was anathema. +

+ So far, so unremarkable. Warriors through the millennia have shunned those in their ranks whose courage failed. The post-human Iron Warriors took this ideal beyond normal boundaries of endurance, elevating conspicuous stubbornness to the status of a virtue. In the context of the Olympian historical traditions, this virtue took on a quasi-religious form, which survived – distorted and twisted – in the Iron Warriors' own traditions. +

+ Thus the term coward was not simply a sting in the Olympian tradition. It carried with it connotations of oath-breaking, unfaithfulness, a rejection of every group ideal, and left the individual bereft of support; both externally (from soceity) and psychologically. For an Astartes, whose entire life was winnowed down to a tight focus – unleavened by spiritual, marital or moral comfort – it was unbearable. Honour was all. Iron was all. 

+ Little documentary evidence remains of Phalangite Polimistes in the Great Astartes Librarium on Terra. Unfortunately, this means it is equally difficult to say whether this was an accidental loss of information – all too common in the years following the Horus Heresy, or a more deliberate excision from Legion history. This possibility is raised by a number of intriguing hints about these pict-captures. +

Judging from the powerpack (often the best identifier) His armour is mostly Mars-pattern Mark IV, but has clearly suffered some extreme damage at some point, as the torso and helm are unusual and non-standard. Polimistes' combat blade – an easily-unsheathed trench knife – sits on his hip, opposite a Coron-pattern helm, an unpopular and little-used variant which was bulky, prone to autosense-failure, and had exposed piping. It was part of the group of prototypes relegated to replacement and training; and not intended for front-line combat – part of the mongrel plate later classified 'Heresy Armour'. That it is being used here indicates the pressing need for all available Astartes to be in the field. +

+ The standard XIX Muster tactical markings are present, which belies the possibility of censure; though it is equally likely that these markings have been added later. The Coron-pattern helm is more obviously visible here, along with extensive corrosion on the lower legs – possibly rad-damage. Barely visible on the thigh is an oathpaper. While black pseudoleather was commonly used amongst the Iron Warriors (to reduce visibility during trench warfare), these were usually written with white ink. The pure black of this oathpaper might indicate that it has been deliberately obscured – dyed or written over as a mark of penance. +

+ Ultimately, the truth will likely never be known, but the combination of such hints is tantalising. Repentant coward? Twice-traitor? Or simply a soldier fighting with second-class wargear? The contemporary viewer must make up his own mind; and draw their conclusion from the unclear evidence above and – perhaps – the look of furious desperation etched into his features. +

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