=][= On Mortifactors Heraldry =][=
+++ Report submitted by Inquisitor Jahn Shonto (Ordo Astartes). Date 789.M41 +++
++ 0.9001232.88d ++
Submitted as part of Inquisitor Shonto’s annals entitled ‘Concerning Chapter-Specific Idiosyncrasies With Relation To Preventative Actions Towards The Possibility Of Heresy’. It should be noted that despite the chapter’s overt distinctions and curious differences, there is not now, nor has there ever been any evidence to suggest anything but the utmost loyalty to the Emperor, may he watch over us. The complete report is now encrypted into the Inquisitorial Stacks on Terra (ref 0.9001232.88d) but this brief summery may give you some idea as to this most unusual of Space Marine chapters.
The Importance of the Skull
The skull is by far the most important aspect of the heraldry and Chapter insignia of the Mortifactors. They venerate death and the dead above all, though they save their greatest veneration for the Emperor himself. Their halls are filled with morbid imagery and statues of those now past. Furthermore, the very walkways of their Star Fortress, the Basilica Mortis, are catacombs for long interred heroes, both of the legion and, in some instances, mere mortal humans.
As the leering face of mortality, the skull features on nearly every set of shoulder guards worn by the battle brothers of the Mortifactors. Each Space Marine must paint the skull on his left shoulder himself (or on the right should he wear the Crux Terminatus), adhering to myriad rules, before the eve of battle or a new campaign. It would be impossible to catalogue all of these intricacies, but I have made some observations during the Nemenar Campaign where the Mortifactors drove a large Ork Warband from the system on the Imperium’s southern limits. What information on this strange custom that I have gathered, I submit to you here.
Typically, the shoulder guards of the tactical marine display a simple skull aspect on sable. The size denotes length of service to the chapter, with larger skulls, some obscuring all of the background worn by those worthy of Veteran status. Smaller skulls are worn by those who have only just graduated from the 10th Company.
Similar to Tactical Marines, though the addition of fire or flames denotes additional training with heavy weaponry.
Similar to Tactical Marines, though the skull is matched in some way with a small silver blade to show additional training with close combat weaponry.
Though this rank is revered perhaps more than any other in the Chapter, the skull is never large and does not obscure the shoulder guard. This is supposed to denote the link between the Chaplain and even the newest recruit into the chapter. Instead though, the colours of the shoulder guard are inverted, with a sable skull aspect on a field of bone.
The skull obscures the shoulder guard, though the field is azure with the skull in lighter shades of the same colour. The rest of the armour remains predominantly black but depending on the company the Librarian is attached to, there may be other azure decoration.
The skull obscures the shoulder guard, though the field is crimson with the skull in lighter shades of the same colour. There will be other red embellishments across the armour too, though all of it is of a softer hue, more closely resembling the soil of Mars and its rusty appearance.
The skull of the Apothecary is hooded, and more in shadow. This symbolises the closeness with death and incorporates part of the ancient Terran superstition of the Dyer Reaper who comes at the hour of passing. Other embellishments on the armour include a marbled white where other marines would have bone. It should also be noticed that Apothecaries are rarely used in combat. They are seen as a necessity, but only begrudgingly as they deprive their brothers of death, so are rarely seen on the battlefield (as is the same with Dreadnoughts – the Mortifactors only maintain two or three and are strangely superstitious about them).
The Scouts are not permitted to wear the skull as this is considered to be an honour that is earned when they become a full Space Marine. Instead, their shoulder guards are plain bone. Upon passing all rites of initiation, and on the eve of their first battle as a full Space Marine, they will paint the skull for the first time in a ceremony conducted by a Chaplain (or Superior Brother if no Chaplain is present).
The Veterans of the Chapter all wear skulls that obscure the entire shoulder guard with no additional adornments or variations as this was the guard worn by the Chapter’s founder, the most noble Sasebo Tezuka.
Veteran Sergeants (non First Company)
Once a Veteran leaves the First Company to take command of a squad, the skull is reduced in size again to the size of a new recruit, yet the gold border (indicative of First Company) is retained. He is also permitted to display his name on the guard.
Marines under censure are not permitted to display the skull upon their armour, and instead, until their penance has been paid in full, display a bone coloured ‘M’. There are alternative marks across the Chapter for this though they remain undisclosed. Furthermore, a Space Marine who performs a valorous act of note while under censure may choose to retain the ‘M’ mark beyond the period of punishment.
Captains & Chapter Master
There do not appear to be any rules surrounding the shoulder guards of these heroes of the Chapter. Instead, their traditions, personal experience, weaponry and more define their customs and each varies greatly.
Some shoulder guards bear almost indistinct gold lettering. These are the personal expressions of the individual marines and may relate to anything, from campaigns fought to the names of fallen brothers or even personal mottos.