+ inload; Iron Warrior Basilikoi +

+ inload: Black-hearted bastards of the Basilikoi +

An old rogue makes the best watchman.
+ Proverb, archaic. Provenance unknown.

+ The Basilikoi Lodges were not organised into Musters, as were the rest of the Great Company, but rather were set as overseers to monitor the other Musters, giving rise to their alternative High Gothic title, Invigilati. Needless to say, this did nothing to dispel the Iron Warriors' reputation as paranoiac obsessives. +

+ While this reputation had some basis in fact – certainly towards the later years of the Horus Heresy, as Perturabo's humours became increasingly mercurial – the original purpose of Invigilation had a very worthwhile origin as an effective safety valve for the Musters. +

+ As with all groups of fighting men, their sense of competition – mostly positive and outwardly directed – often led to friction and occasionally threatened to erupt into violence. The stand-offish nature that most of the IVth's legionaries cultivated in imitation of their master meant that these bursts of violence were more unexpected and lethal than in the other Legions; who often had ritualised methods of dispersing such tension – the honour duels of the Imperial Fists and Emperor's Children, or the fighting pits of the Luna Wolves and World Eaters. +

+ The deputisation of the Basilikoi to moderate and identify such brewing confliict, was thus both a useful method of ensuring the Musters remained positively competitive, and a sign of the web of control Perturabo held over his legion. +

+ Their blank honour masks; fitted in imitation of the Legion's symbol, was intended as a brooding reminder of the subsumation of personal ambition to the greater whole. Eventually, however, such an outlet proved insufficient to the task. Even by the latter years of the Great Crusade, the Invigilati commonly saw themselves as elevated above the common Musters and began to order them about on an unofficial level, in direct opposition to their original purpose. +

+ Doubtless Perturabo must have been aware of the subtle politicking emerging amongst his Legion's elite after the Warmaster's betrayal – indeed, it seems impossible that none of the Basilikoi themselves could resist turning informer in the hope of currying favour at the highest level – but he certainly acted as a neutral party; perhaps secretly pleased; perhaps appalled. +

+ By the time of the Siege of Terra, many Basilikoi – particularly those still garrisoning distant worlds, had all but enslaved the Musters and Militia under their command, forming the kernels of marauding warbands, some of which went on to plague the Imperium during the Great Scouring and beyond. 
...and what of the Officia Monstrosa? A number of Basilikoi were sighted with this force during the siege, operating with all the professionalism, duty and heroism one might expect of the most virtuous Ultramarine or Blood Angel. This is a mournful reminder that while the Legions who followed the Warmaster proved rotten at the core, their treachery was committed by their leaders. The Legionaries who followed them are now lost to the Imperium forever, but few were initially evil – merely dutiful.
More troublingly, it is a sobering reminder that if such exemplars as the Basilikoi could fall, we can be certain of no Legion at all...

1 comment:

Mi®ko said...

Where do the Spiked Pads come from? Beautiful