“We will wage war until the Emperor’s light shines upon every world in the galaxy. We will not rest until that day arrives. Any who oppose the the Emperor shall face annihilation.” – High Marshal Ioculus at the Battle of the Flaming Sky
The Knights of Altair are a loyalist 23rd Founding chapter of the Adeptus Astartes derived from the Imperial Fists’ gene-seed and their Primarch Rogal Dorn.
The 23rd Founding, which occurred during the latter part of the 37th Millennium, was ordered by the High Lords of Terra following a troubled period when no fewer than 57 space marine chapters were lost to civil war, massive xeno invasions of Imperial space, and heavy attacks by the forces of Chaos.
Several of the space marine chapters founded at this time were conceived as chapters destined for perpetual crusades against the Emperor’s foes. But the Mythos Angelica Mortis, the great work concerning the Adeptus Astartes at this time, contains a cryptic passage suggesting the Knights’ founding was hampered by a shortage of gene seed.
“Unlike its brethren chapters, the cadre that formed the Knights of Altair was small, and it was many decades before the chapter’s ranks grew mighty. Thus, the chapter’s early duties were the defense of the Helios, a forge world of the Magos Biologis that gave birth to much of the 23th Founding.”
Some texts hint that the Knights were originally named the White Templars, suggesting the chapter was, indeed, intended to be launched on a crusade. But after decades defending Helios and other worlds that orbited Altair, a star whose location is conspicuously absent from Imperial star charts, members of the chapter began calling themselves the Sons of Altair—and later the Knights of Altair.
The Knights of Altair are considered loosely compliant to the Codex Astartes—with only a few significant practices that do not follow the sacred followings of Roboute Guilliman. Its most significant variance from the Codex is the practice of creating ad hoc formations that draw specialist teams from other companies. This tactical doctrine may have its roots in the chatper’s early years, when the under-strength chapter often was outnumbered in battle, and the Knights relied on an aggressive but targeted hit-and-run attacks, surgically targeted to disrupt enemy attack plans or destroy command and control centers, supply points, or strategic assets.
“Strike the enemy from behind, and he will turn to face you. Make him stumble, and he will think only to regain his balance. Force him to counter your blow, and his attention is diverted. By this, you stymie the intentions of the mightiest of enemies.”—High Marshal Gladius Pectox, 203.M41.
Although records suggest an honored service for the chapter defending Helios immediately following the 23rd Founding, there is a centuries-long gap in the history of the chapter. Its next mention in Imperial records is in the early 38th Millennium during an Imperial campaign against the Hadrus Skin-Weavers, a parasitic xenoform that overwhelmed the Imperial world of Mataras IV in the Jericho Reach, a region of space close to the Eastern Fringe of the Milky Way Galaxy in the Ultima Segmentum.
For the past century, the Knights of Altair have operated in the Corvus Cluster, a sector of the Segmentum Ultima that is to the galactic west of the Realm of Ultramar and adjacent to the expanding Tau Empire. Over the years, the Knights have worked in concert with the Ultramarines in numerous campaigns and maintained strong relations with this illustrious chapter, a relationship of trust and respect in sharp comparison with the chapter’s emnity for the Deathwatch, the military army of the Ordo Xenos.
The home of the Knights of Altair is unknown. Some speculate that the chapter maintains its fortress-monastery on the forge world of Helios. Others claim the Knights have no home world but operate from a huge Battle Barge that roams among the stars.
There is some truth to both theories. The Knights maintain a sizable base, including extensive forge facilities, on the strategically important forge world whose location has been expunged from Imperial records by the Inquisition. And the Knights’ fortress-monastery roams the stars. But it is not based on a Battle Barge. It resides within a 20-mile-in-diameter asteroid that once orbited the Helios system but, after gravitational disturbences in the system, was hurled into the void.
The Knights are a noble chapter, with a record of service to the Imperium that is without blemish. There is no evidence of deterioration in its gene seed, and no Battle-Brother has ever turned from the Emperor’s graces.