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Rainbow Warriors

History and Background


This is the background for my own Rainbow Warrior army, how I see the chapter and what is in my head when I play my games with them.

Your view of the Rainbow Warriors, either as a someone with your own army of them, or as someone who as seen them from afar but never built your own Rainbow Warriors army, may differ from my own view presented below.

It doesn't matter if our view and perception of the Rainbow Warriors differs, because there is space and diversity in this hobby for all of our views. What is presented here is not canon lore - this is my view only. I hope you enjoy reading it, but I'd love to hear if you have any of your own background that you've invented for your Rainbow Warriors, or whatever else your army is!


The Rainbow Warriors are one of the lesser known chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, but perhaps one of the most striking and memorable for those who have encountered them. When seen at war, the Rainbow Warriors wear their distinctive dark blue power armour, decorated with many rainbow coloured plates, symbols and other adornments that denote an individual Rainbow Warrior’s rank, status, specialisms, honours and position within the chapter. It is also a common practice for Rainbow Warriors to pattern their weapons with similar bright, rainbow colours. For those who have encountered them, the abiding memories are of being awed by these bright, luminous angels of humanity, clad in their majestic and stunning rainment and being cowed not only by the raw power, size and inherent lethality of an Astartes, but also by their acute insight, intelligence and attention to small but important details.

Rainbow Warrior Patrol
Rainbow Warrior Patrol

Whilst being first and foremost Space Marines, the Rainbow Warriors as a chapter are also greatly interested and engaged in the affairs of the mass of humanity, much more so than many other chapters of the Adeptus Astartes. It is commonly noted that where the Rainbow Warriors’ interest lies is often aligned with the self-interest of the Rainbow Warriors themselves. The benefits of being aligned with the Rainbow Warriors’ wider political interests and alliances is not lost on those who chose to cooperate with them. Therefore, many of the individuals and organisations, Planetary Governors, Ecclesiarchs, House Traders, Military Commanders and the many others who make alliances, agreements and who engage in trade with the chapter are pleased with the bargains made as they often bring motivation for the Rainbow Warriors to protect them.

When seen on the battlefield, however, the Rainbow Warriors are known for their flexibility, regularly adapting their strategies and tactics, as required by the situation and the enemy they are facing.  Their specialism, if they can be said to have one, is that always plan to maximise the outcome for the minimum expenditure of resources.  That is not to say the they will avoid a battle of attrition, a protracted siege, or an apparently hopeless last stand if that is what is needed to win the victory the Rainbow Warriors have determined is needed. But they are equally likely to consider launching an unexpected surgical strike from orbit with Scouts or Reivers, as choosing to overwhelm an enemy with massed armour, Centurions, Aggressors and the implacable First Company Terminators; or instead choosing to whittling down an enemy with fast, light attacks from Bikes and Land Speeders, supported by long range artillery. The Rainbow Warriors do not have a single preferred style of warfare and this is reflected in their organisational structures.

As well as being  masters of warfare, Rainbow Warriors also have a strong and dangerous drive to learn and improve, a hangover from the attitudes of The Great Crusade. This can lead to an uneasy distrust, at best, from the more conservative and fearful elements of Imperial Society in the 41st Millennium, and at worst has lead to accusations of heres. Such accusations have led to internecine warfare with other arms of the Imperial body on more than one occasion.  Despite these accusations, the Rainbow Warriors have emerged from each such episode with their honour intact and the claims firmly, sometimes lethally, addressed.

Rainbow Warrior Terminators
Rainbow Warrior Terminator Squad

Origins as a Chapter

The Rainbow Warriors are ostensibly a successor chapter of the Ultramarines, but there are many hidden rumours and counter-rumours concerning their origins.

For those Imperial organisations, and the few alien races, that take an interest in the history of humanity, enough references have been uncovered that there is little doubt, at least amongst those enlightened few, that there was a military formation known as The Rainbow Warriors fighting for The Emperor of Mankind, since around the time of the Unification Wars.

Many of these hidden rumours indicate that these ancient Rainbow Warriors were a brigade of Thunder Warriors, but yet others indicate they were in fact some of the earliest Space Marines. In any case, the exact truth is long lost to history, but what is certain is that when looking back to around the period of the Horus Heresy, there are no records that have been found of Rainbow Warriors fighting either in name of The Emperor, or for Horus.

As for the chapter itself, they are direct and firm in asserting to all who ask that they are a successor chapter of the Ultramarines and scions of Roboute Guilliman.

Original Rainbow Warrior
The Original Rainbow Warrior

Mythology & The Lost Primarch

Despite the chapter’s assertions to the contrary, there are intriguing indications in the last of the records for the ancient Rainbow Warriors, which run up to just a short time before The Emperor decreeing one of his Primarchs as The Lost – an event that has even fewer historical traces than for the ancient Rainbow Warriors themselves.

Indeed, one unusually outspoken Inquisitor of the Ordo Chronos, Jen Raalcrontz , did suggest to a Conclave convened by her colleagues from several different Ordos, that the ancient Rainbow Warriors of rumour could have been the Space Marine Legion created by The Emperor specifically to be led by The Lost Primarch, had he ever been found. Therefore the reason for their disappearance in the historical record is because Guilliman absorbed them into a surprising large Ultramarine legion of the time, to respect the legacy of his lost sibling rather than have such valuable warriors purged in an act of redaction.

However, Inquisitor Raalcrontz had a reputation for not being entitled focussed and the Conclave had been convened to determine how to tackle the danger of an impending Ork migration in the Segmentum Pacificus that was potentially threatening the crucial Vordrast system. Thus, her opinion was disregarded.  Raalcrontz departed in her Destroyer, Spectrum’s Hope, as the Conclave broke up and that was the last sighting of either the Inquisitor of her vessel. Within a few short decades of this Conclave, the whole of the Ordo Chronos has also gone silent and no Ordo Chronos Inquisitor has been heard from since.

As for the Rainbow Warriors themselves, the only information that could have any bearing on the subject that they have shared is that one of their most ancient and greatly revered heroes is their mythical Master Zigmoor.  In her long and rambling statement to her peers, Raalcrontz also asserted that Zigmoor could have been the given name of The Lost Primarch, but even the most ardent supporters of Ralcrontz’s views confess that this is nothing more than wild speculation in the face of denial and hostility from the Rainbow Warriors towards anyone expressing this opinion to them directly.

The Pursuit of Knowledge and Recruitment

The Rainbow Warriors have an inbuilt desire to learn and improve in all aspects of their existence.  This would quite naturally seen as a curse by most other Imperial organisations and the Rainbow Warriors are very aware of this, so they have built up a complex series of pacts, accords, agreements and treaties in order to control a small domain of important worlds that both enables them to source the matériel they need to wage war against the countless and unrelenting enemies of mankind, but also give them enough space and privacy to be able to pursue their research activities without leaving themselves open to being easily accused of heresy. This region of space is widely known as the Domain of Colours.

One of the most apparent manifestations of this pursuit of knowledge is the higher than usual incidence of both TechMarines and Apothecaries amongst the ranks of the Rainbow Warriors.  Although often detached on other duties, every company of Rainbow Warriors has a supernumerary allocation of up to ten each of these specialists, and it is not uncommon to see them attached at squad level in combat or even assigned as squad members for substantial periods of time, especially to cover combat losses where replacement and reinforcement is not immediately available.

Rainbow Warrior Techmarine
Rainbow Warrior Techmarine with Power Spanner

Further, many of the chapter’s Apothecaries are on detached duty, assigned to find new recruits amongst the Imperium’s mass of humanity in order to maintain the future strength of the chapter. Over the millennia, the Rainbow Warriors have devised an improved a wide ranging battery of tests that they apply to a youth whom they are considering for recruitment. These tests are intensive, painful and varied, applying to many aspects of what will make an Individual suitable for conversation into an Adeptus Astartes. Genetic, physical, psychic and psychological factors are just the most obvious of these many tests that can last up to 10 solar days before a successful candidate is accepted as an Aspirant of the chapter. It almost goes without saying that the vast majority of candidates do not last anywhere close to 10 days of testing as the Rainbow Warriors are only looking for the very best to join their ranks.

Very unusually, perhaps uniquely, the Rainbow Warriors are known to test female candidates as well as male. This has attracted the attention of those who distrust the Rainbow Warriors, particularly as it leads to suspicion the the Rainbow Warriors may have made unsanctioned changes to their gene seed or indoctrination practices to enable the recruitment of female candidates. These suspicions are compounded by the fact that when a candidate becomes an Aspirant of the Rainbow Warriors, they are given a new name at the same time as they give up all former allegiances, and the Rainbow Warriors do not recognise names as having an innate gender, using any and all names they consider powerful, including those names considered to be female names by wider Imperial society.

The Rainbow Warriors themselves neither confirm or deny that individuals in their ranks were born either male or female. They simply assert the point that gender is irrelevant to any Astartes, and that their recruitment activities also seek to bolster numbers of the chapter’s serfs and find exceptional individuals for their allied trans-system PDF forces, The Light Dragoons, who do maintain a substantially higher percentage of female than male warriors. They also vehemently assert that their gene seed is pure and do not accept any suggestions for this to be verified. To the Rainbow Warriors, their gene seed is a private matter and not a suitable subject of enquiry for outsiders.

In the past, a few powerful and foolish individuals have attempted to insist on checking the gender of individual Rainbow Warriors, by direct inspection.  Where polite refusal has not been accepted, an appropriately violent response has been given by the Rainbow Warrior concerned, as would be appropriate towards any individual trying to check a person’s gender without consent.  That is, of course, an Adeptus Astartes definition of appropriate violence.

Less obviously, the widespread and refined recruitment activities of the chapter have helped build up and maintain a larger Librarius than is maintained by most other chapters.  Most Company Captains have ready access to Librarians if they think they need to use them, and suspicion of these warp-touched kin is much lower than usually found in other Adeptus Astartes chapters.

As with the Apothecaries, many Librarians often find themselves assigned to a detached duty. However, for most Librarians this is a less public-facing role than detached duty fr an Apothecary.. Indeed it is often an assignment to a research duty that the chapter would not like to become known to outsiders, progressing research into warpcraft, technosorcery or other borderline heretical areas that the Rainbow Warriors believe can be forged into tools in the service of mankind.

Skirting Space Hulks

One of the lesser known star systems under the control of the Rainbow Warriors is Nihilius Profundus. This system has just one settled planet, Profundus Maximus, which has a balanced mix of industry and agriculture, but not an overly large population and large areas of the planet are still wilderness. Profundus Secundus is the only other planet in the system with a breathable atmosphere and boasts little more than a few small exploratory ventures supported by Profundus Maximus in terms of population, so it is effectively uninhabited.

However, the star system has a further interesting feature which isn’t at all common.  In the outer reaches of the system, beyond the planets but not as far out as the Oort Cloud lies a track of space that is several tens of billions of kilometres across that forms a real space warp gyre.  This is a real space exit point where the broken, battered and ravaged ships and other matter that has been lost in the warp and cast adrift on its tides may get ejected out.

Although such gyres are not unknown elsewhere, this particular one appears to have more stability than others of its kind, in that it is a lot more common for broken vessels and even space hulks to be ejected here and not to get drawn back into the warp.

For this reason, the Rainbow Warriors have heavily militarised the outer reaches of Nihilius Profundus, and maintain an active cordon of patrols, both of Rainbow Warrior combat vessels and The Light Dragoon’s system defence craft, to protect against the possibility of incursion into the system by Xenos threats that could threaten or suborn the local population.  This protection also includes raids by The Rainbow Warriors and the most elite of their local allies into some of the broken vessels and hulks, both to gain intelligence and in order to run hot training exercises. It is rumoured that matériel is sometimes taken off such vessels, too, but these rumours have never been confirmed.

The Imperial Navy also maintains a small presence in system, but does not actively participate in patrols. By agreement with the Rainbow Warriors, their role is only to maintain a standing watch in case of a sizeable active void threat appearing and immediate naval assistance being required. To date, they have never been called upon.

What is significantly less known outside of the Rainbow Warriors themselves is how much effort the Rainbow Warriors Librarius has expended to increase the stability of the gyre, to continue to allow ejection of material from the warp, but to greatly reduce the chances of it being sucked back again.

The reason for these efforts, that would never be admitted, is that the gyre provides not only a convenient and relatively stable, if actively dangerous, training ground, but it also provides a wealth of opportunity and cover for all kinds of warp, xenos and archaeotechnological research and investigation that is best kept clandestine.

On Matters of Faith

The Rainbow Warriors position on the divinity of The Emperor is that they are willing to accept this as an Article of Faith, but that they continue to look for proof of His divinity.  This really amounts to a policy position that enables individual Rainbow Warriors to remain privately agnostic, whilst publicly accepting enough of the Imperial Creed so as not to cause conflict with the more religiously motivated arms of The Imperial body. All Rainbow Warriors maintain this position and can be seen making the proper observances when needed. But within the chapter, and in private chapter spaces it is left entirely to the individual and no pressure is given for or against.

What this means in practice is that all Rainbow Warriors accept the a Emperor as the superlative example of Mankind, a powerful psyker and matchless leader and victor of The Unification Wars, who created both the Primarchs and the gene seed of the Space Marines, and led Mankind back to the conquest of the stars.  But just under half (usually about 48%) accept The Emperor as a god and follow aspects of the Imperial Creed.

The Rainbow Warriors do maintain a Reclusiam, and the chapter has Chaplains like any other, who look to the spiritual needs of those who believe, as well as providing more general guidance on the aspects of fortitude, resilience and hatred that is needed by any Space Maine. Chaplains are respected and followed into battle by all Rainbow Warriors, regardless of their faith, and they carry out a similar leadership role as is found other chapters.  However, with faith in the divinity of The Emperor being of lower prevalence amongst Rainbow Warriors, the proportion of Chaplains is lower than might be expected. It is also not uncommon for individual Rainbow Warriors, regardless of their personal faith, to consult a TechMarine, Apothecary or Lieutenant for guidance and moral support where a warrior in another chapter would consult a Chaplain.

Guilliman Returns and Primaris Rainbow Warriors

With the events of the opening of The Great Rift, the Cicatrix Maledictum, and the return of Roboute Guilliman, just like every other chapter the Rainbow Warriors have had to face the question of how they would respond to the appearance of the new Primaris Space Marines created by Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl.

However, once some basic information was received about them, that they are a sanctioned progression of Space Marines whose creation was done on Mars under the commission of Guilliman himself there was no doubt or dissent from anyone in the chapter that these cousins would be welcomed as brothers-in-arms, whatever Guilliman’s plans.

As soon as news of the Death Guard’s assault on Ultramar became known, Chapter Master Arkon Ce’el immediately dispatched three companies of Rainbow Warriors to the Ultramar sub sector to assist their Ultramarine progenitors.  This force was led by Captain Chromas of the 2nd Company in the BattleBarge Lightbringer.

Although the increased difficulties of warp travel made the transit time longer than expected and they did not arrive in time to help relieve Ultramar herself, Captain Chromas’ forces did arrive in time to assist the Ultramarines and their fellow successor chapters in the suppression and persecution of remaining Death Guard and the other plague armies of the Great Enemy who we were still menacing parts of the Ultramar Subsector.

After Guilliman’s climactic battle with Mortarion, he undertook many further reorganising activities, including a lengthy 30 minute meeting with Captain Chromas.  Chromas emerged from this meeting looking both stunned and surprised, but remained tight lipped about the meeting, saying just that he had information that could only be shared with Chapter Master Arkon Ce’el himself.  However, he also carried orders that the Lightbringer should rendezvous with a number of Munitorium and Adeptus Mechanicus bulk carriers and troop conveyors for the transfer of a large but unspecified number of Primaris personnel and a very large volume of matériel into the possession of the Rainbow Warriors, together with two Mars-built Primaris Strike Cruisers renamed the Comet of the Emperor and Rainbow Warhammer.

At the conclusion of their meeting, Guilliman was seen bidding farewell and giving the Emperor’s blessings to Captain Chromas, departing with a curiously informal and enigmatic gesture. This gesture remains noted as being out of character for Guilliman. But, as to the nature of the information shared with Chromas – that remains between Guilliman, Chromas and Chapter Master Arkon Ce’el alone.

Primaris Rainbow Warrior
Primaris Rainbow Warrior

Chapter Structure and Pushing the Boundaries

The Rainbow Warriors have always followed the general structures and guidance of the Codex Astartes, as it’s guidance fits well with the Rainbow Warriors’ ways of war that emphasises using the right response to any given situation.  However, they have never been strict adherents to the codex, and in line with the Rainbow Warrior’s innate desire for learning and improvement and they have always pushed boundaries.

The first of these boundaries came at the time of the founding of the chapter itself. Adjudged to be an administrative error at the time when the Chapter was created, the Rainbow Warriors were assigned nearly 3,500 former Ultramarines.  In retrospect, an administrative error seems unlikely, as the orders came from Guilliman himself, but when the new Chapter Master Comet queried this apparent mistake, the response was an ambiguous ‘Do the right thing, but I’m sure you’ll find they are needed.’

Chapter Master Comet took this guidance under consideration secluding himself for a day of thought before returning to his Captains and presenting his solution to the problem.  A little over 1,000 of the new Rainbow Warriors would establish their Fortress Monastery on Prism, the home world they had been gifted, and the remainder would form a crusading force aboard the Chapter’s carrier Destroyer of Darkness.

In order to ensure that he stayed within the structures of the Codex Astartes as much as possible, Comet assigned only five companies to each half of his chapter, assigning the position of Lieutenant to each one, with Captain and Lieutenant each being responsible for ten squads each.  By then being creative with supernumerary positions such as Command Staff, the Librarius, the Reclusiam and even a chapter command-attached motor pool, Comet was able to fit his oversized chapter into the general structures of the Codex.

The first three centuries after founding were hard on the chapter, with the crusading fleet finding themselves in one brutal engagement after another with traitor Death Guard, Night Lords and Emperor’s Children that gradually reduced the numbers of crusaders below 1,000 and the Rainbow Warriors on Prism fought off a small but protracted minor Ork invasion of their home world.

These events were taken by all as the reason why Guilliman had chosen to over-staff the Rainbow Warriors, and his cryptic response to a chapter Master Comet were seen as a prophecy.

Within 1,000 years, the Rainbow Warriors were no longer operating as two separate parts but the Destroyer of Darkness’ role has evolved into that of an assault carrier when a larger force of Rainbow Warriors needed to be deployed.  However, the habit of an increased force size and the use of Lieutenants to double the size of companies had become ingrained, as had the practice of starting to hide the chapter’s true strength from outsiders in order to avoid awkward questions an unnecessary conflict.

At about the same time that the Rainbow Warriors finally accepted they had consolidated back into a single organisation was the time that they also truly recognised in themselves their preferred, adaptive style of warfare. To support this, it was the fifth Chapter Master of the Rainbow Warriors, Refractorus, who reorganised all companies of the Rainbow Warriors into Battle Companies and began a systematic cross-training program, so that every Rainbow Warrior was, and still is, trained and competent to fulfil any battlefield role, as required. So a a Rainbow Warrior assault marine can easy take the battle to the enemy wielding a lascannon without a second thought; a Rainbow Warrior tactical marine can easily pilot a Thunderhawk; or a Rainbow Warrior Apothecary can strap into a suit of Centurion armour – whatever is needed to bring death to the enemies of mankind, to achieve victory and the goals of the Rainbow Warriors.

It is also at about this same time that the chapter put in place the policies and approach to the local Imperium that started them down the path of establishing effective control over the Domain of Colours.

Many different ways were, and still are, used to keep hidden the strength of the chapter from outsiders. The most straightforward of these are detached duty assignments for individual Rainbow Warriors; recruitment activities and out of chapter training for TechMarines, but Astartes are also assigned to diplomatic and administration roles within the chapter’s sphere of influence. Secretive research projects and forces assigned to investigation missions around the Nihilius Profundus warp gyre are another place where true numbers can be hidden, but honour guards for particularly important civilian allies, attachment of small forces to larger Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy formations, training advisors for the Light Dragoons and squads of Rainbow Warriors put at the disposal of a few selected Inquisitors can hide a surprising large numbers of troops.  In addition, the Rainbow Warriors make available a relatively large number of Astartes to the Deathwatch, valuing the elite training and skill sets acquired by those Rainbow Warriors who return to the chapter. However, around two-thirds of the Rainbow Warriors serving with the Deathwatch do so as black shields, hiding their origins and allegiances, in order to help the chapter hide their true numbers.

Deathwatch Rainbow Warrior
Rainbow Warrior serving in the Deathwatch

By the time of the 41st millennium, those few who were aware that the Rainbow Warriors had more than 1,000 troops estimated their true strength to be between 2,000 and 2,500 Warriors. However, this has been bolstered further by the unknown number of Primaris Marines brought back from the realm of Ultramar by Captain Chromas.

With the arrival back at Prism of these new warriors, the necessary rituals and training were carried out to fully induct these new marines into the chapter. As these rituals and inductions were completed, Chapter Master Arkon Ce’el reorganised the chapter, publicly recognising an expanded structure of twenty companies within the Chapter. Although it remains unclear exactly how many marines are in each company, what is known is that the even numbered companies are comprised of the Firstborn Astartes and the odd companies of Primaris Astartes, with just two exceptions: the First Company remain comprised of the Firstborn elite who deploy in either Terminator squads, or as veterans in standard power armour; and the 18th Company which is a Vanguard Primaris Company. The Rainbow Warriors now known to run two Scout companies, the 19th creating and training Primaris Rainbow Warriors and the 20th still creating Firstborn Rainbow Warriors.

Chapter Specialists of the Rainbow Warriors

An interesting point of note is that the Rainbow Warriors almost never send their TechMarine apprentices to Mars to be educated, but instead they attend the specialised Kolorowe Błyskawice Technikum institute setup on the Forge World of Dimbyd Acunman. This Adeptus Mechanicus stronghold, which lies within the sphere of influence of the Rainbow Warriors, is a productive yet polluted world whose output is largely dedicated to the arming and equipping of both the Rainbow Warriors and the Light Dragoons. The 30 year apprenticeship of a TechMarine at the Institute sees a continual cycles of learning and testing on the whole range of theotechnocratic matters, with assignments and placements in rotation throughout the many and varied industries to be found on Dimbyd Acunman, from the high orbital shipyards, to the southern promethium mines, the armoury hives of Mellt Lliw, to the Knight House of Foudre Épées. Upon mastery of the technical arts, a TechMarine of the Rainbow Warriors will predominately wear the colour of their calling, the yellow that reflects the sulphur rich soils and pollution of the planet Dimbyd Acunman. Although not completely unknown, it is a rare Rainbow Warrior TechMarine who wears red to indicate a Martian education.

Rainbow Warrior Techmarine Mars
Rainbow Warrior Techmarine who spent time training on Holy Mars

The Rainbow Warrior Apothecarion School is not located off world, however, but is itself a small dedicated hive city known as Chorba, built into the central equatorial highlands of Prism. All Rainbow Warriors spend some time studying the basic medical arts and some details of xenoanatomy, with a particular focus on how best to kill xenos. However, those specialising as Apothecaries spend a decade or more studying at Choroba learned the finer details human and Astartes medicine.  This gives them the knowledge and skills they need to serve as chapter medics, but many Rainbow Warriors who have studied and qualified for this important battlefield role are not appointed to such duties by the chapter, but instead take these biologis skills into research postings, or simply use these skills to make themselves better warriors.  The chapter considers this level of investment in the education of their Warriors as acceptable because of the simple pursuit of knowledge for its own sake.

As well as keeping larger numbers of Apothecaries and TechMarines than is usual for a most chapters, the Rainbow Warriors actively seek out suitable psykers as part of their recruitment activities, in order to help maintain a large cohort of Librarians as part of the chapter. These powerful battle psykers are often seen fighting alongside their brothers when the Rainbow Warriors take to the field, and are commonly seen commanding, or at least leading, smaller deployments of Rainbow Warriors.  These specialised warriors do not only undertake battlefield roles, however, but are often to be found in research positions, or working on the difficult warpcraft problems associated with keeping the warp gyre stable in the system of Nihilius Profundus as stable as possible. There are also other aspects of the chapter’s research interests that require the participation of one or more of the Rainbow Warrior’s psykers, of which only a few key members of the chapter are aware.

Unlike their other internal organisations such as the Apothecarion and the Armoury, the Rainbow Warriors’ Reclusiam is rather smaller than one might expect for the chapter strength.  Only around 48% of the chapter at any given time having a personal faith in the Imperial Creed and the Rainbow Warriors have a cultural tendency to look to all other specialists or command figures for their spiritual and moral guidance as commonly as they do to their Chaplains. Despite this, Chaplains are equally respected by Rainbow Warriors as they are in other chapters, regardless of their personal faith. However, Rainbow Warrior Chaplains are more rarely seen than those of other chapters. Regardless of all these points, because of the size of the chapter, between 12 and 15 Chaplains are actively filling this role at any given time.

Warrior Cults within the Rainbow Warriors

As with other chapters of Space Marines, the Rainbow Warriors have their own rituals, cults and sub-organisations. One of the most notable of these are the veteran warriors of the 6th Company. For thousands of years, this Company of Rainbow Warriors has been assigned to garrison a smaller chapter fortress located in the equatorial jungles of Prism’s lightly settled southern continent.

These jungles of Prism are wild places. The terrain itself is hard and treacherous; the wildlife, both plant and animal will quickly end the life of the unwary and the hugely variable microclimates across the region can be just as deadly as the wildlife. Such are the conditions here, that Prism would be considered a death world, should they be more widespread. But, despite the deadly weather, carnivorous plant life and killer animals large and small, there are richness to be had in minerals, and a hard life can be lived.

The native human population of these jungles has long ago, even before the coming of the Rainbow Warriors, regressed to a stone age level of technology. They live on the edge of survival, in a series of old but continually maintained pyramid-fortresses, the possession of which is brutally fought over by the local tribes.  Each of these fortresses is a gateway to a primitive mining complexes where gold, silver or prismatic obsidian can be obtained by a lot of hard effort.  These minerals are then traded to the Rainbow Warriors or other sanctioned traders for luxuries, simple technologies, or slaves to be put to use mining further mineral wealth.

Over the millennia, the rituals and practices of the veteran warriors of the 6th Company has come to reflect the local cultures that they are garrisoned amongst.  Many 6th company veterans adorn their armour with the vibrantly coloured feathers of the dangerous predatory birds or reptiles that can be found in the region, or wear the patterned pelts of hunting marsupials or ambush amphibians that they have defeated in a ritual hunt. It is also fairly common to see these veterans wielding blades made of prismatic obsidian.

Since the arrival of the Primaris Rainbow Warriors, the new 7th Company was formed of mostly veteran Primaris marines and they have been garrisoned alongside the 6th Company in the southern jungles, and these new marines have begun to adopt similar practices as their Firstborn brothers.

Another distinctive Company due to their traditions are the 14th Company, formally the 7th Company. Commonly known as Vermillion’s Martyrs, this battle company are one of the more religious formations within the Rainbow Warriors and they tend to attract likeminded warriors into their ranks.  Their particular worship of The Emperor has an inclination towards the austere and this grim outlook leads them to forgo many of the adornments favoured by their Brothers. These Rainbow Warriors are distinctive because they limit their armour to the simple base dark blue, adorned only with the chapter symbol on their left shoulderpad, a simple gold eagle breastplate, their company number on their left knee and codex compliant role and squad markings on their right shoulderpads. Only the most honoured in the company will wear a rainbow, and then usually only one, but all members of the company wear the distinctive multi-hued stripe of their helmets that is known as the Mark of Zigmoor.

Their appellation of Vermillion’s Martyrs comes from the company’s cult practices of worship of The Emperor, their Primarchs and chapter heroes of legend. These are brought together in a semi-sacred set of writings known as The Twin Tales of Comet, a reference to the first Chapter Master of the Rainbow Warriors, although many more than two histories are contained in these texts. One such legend tells how a veteran Brother-Sergeant Vermillion was martyred in a surprise attack by an Order of Battle Sisters who had pledged themselves as allies, but had secretly fallen to the ways of excess and pleasure, and had become corrupted by Chaos.  Despite being mortally wounded in the ambush, Sergeant Vermillion held on long enough to allow his brothers to rally and launch a counter attack that overcame the traitorous assault and enabled the Rainbow Warriors to root out and destroy the corrupted Order of Battle Sisters. It should also be noted that the Adeptus Sororitias asserts that no Battle Sister has ever fallen to Chaos. The Rainbow Warriors believe otherwise.

Since the expansion, the Primaris 3rd Company has been stationed with the Firstborn 14th Company. The 3rd are proving to be a similarly religious company and have begun to wear their armour in a very similar manner to Vermillion’s Martyrs, although they have not taken on their own appellation, as yet.

Primaris Rainbow Warrior (3rd Company)
A Primaris Rainbow Warrior of the 3rd Company