The low monotonous chant slowly wafted across the huge open spaces of the great hall. The sounds echoed off the walls and pillars of the chamber, gradually loosing their individuality and merging in to a low rumble that soothed the human heart. Each pillar and wall had a different sonorous quality that altered the sound waves, enriching them with a musical quality of their own and adding to the chorus. Such was the craftsmanship of the creators of the great hall millennia ago, its purpose one of artistic creativity and relaxation of the soul. A gentle aura of golden light descended like a warm blanket from above, its sources hidden amongst the finely crafted sculptures that adorned vaulted ceiling. The calmness of the light was broken only by the individual flicker of the ceremonial torches, whose flames seem to dance to the motion of some unseen force. The tranquillity of the atmosphere washed over all those present like the warm embrace of a loving mother or a proud father. Memories flickered, events recalled and emotions soothed as the low chant continued to emanate from the head of the chamber.
Brother-captain Apollyon slowly opened his eyes, his lips subconsciously mouthing the words of the invocatum maleficum in synchrony with the audible chant. The sweet smell of incense helped calm his supernatural senses. The chants slowly swept his thoughts from the present to the distant past. He allowed his memories to flood back from eons ago, remembering with pride his first steps in to the service of the emperor. He had been recruited in to the Angels of Redemption chapter from his home world. Katris III was a feral world, where the phrase survival of the fittest was given meaning everyday of one's life. His utter belief in individuality had nearly cost him his life. His initial inability to work as a member of a team, during his days as a novice in the tenth company, almost forfeited his career as a space marine. Only the careful selection process and rigorous indoctrination of space marine training had earned him the right to accept the honoured geneseed of the lion. He savoured the memories of battle, as he rose from a scout to a veteran space marine, his natural ability to lead ensuing in his dynamic rise to the command of a company. It was, however, the time before he became the master of the fourth company, which he repeatedly visualised in his mind. Despite showing much promise in battle and superb leadership under fire, his impetuous nature had always remained in the way of his advancement. He had remained so until the keen eyes of the chapter's training officers had sought him out as one of the ideal candidates for service under a little known and shadowy organization. Highly skilled, dedicated, individualistic and extremely innovative individuals were chosen for secondment. Under the watchful eyes and tutelage of the highly secretive training program, Apollyon learned of scientific marvels, technological wizardry and alien horrors. It was as a member of the little known sub-organization, that he truly blossomed in to his full potential. He had been accepted as a serving member in the kill team of the Death Watch, the chambers militant of the Ordo Xenos arm of the emperor's holy inquisition.
Arrogant in the belief of the superiority of the human race and the supernatural capabilities of the space marine, particularly of the unforgiven chapters, Apollyon quickly learned to respect the other members of the Death Watch teams. He even spent time learning from other individuals such as the occasional member of the Officio Assassinorum, Adeptus Mechanicus and Xeno biologists. One hundred and twenty years of service in the Death Watch had exposed him to alien horrors beyond compare. He had worked closely with similarly capable individuals from various space marine chapters, befriending some and even taking a blood oath with a brother marine from the Space Wolves chapter. It was as a very different individual that Apollyon finally returned to the service of his chapter. Inquisitor Barraphos awarded Apollyon greatly with finely crafted personal weaponry and equipment as his appreciation for the extensive service. Once again supremely confident in his own abilities, and his knowledge of the universe, he was to be humbled yet again. This time it was with the revelation of the dark secrets of the chapters' history. Following a long series of gruelling tests both physical and psychic, Apollyon had proved himself to be worthy of entry to the first company. Rigorous as the criteria are for entry to this exalted formation, they were even more stringent on those individuals who had been exposed to outside influence, particularly those of the inquisition. Deep mind scans, psychic stability tests and long hours of prayer and self deprivation finally culminated in his ascension in to the inner circle.
Once more he was to be surprised and once again the veil dropped from his eyes. Once more, he realised that knowledge was the true power in the universe. At each step of his progression, he had realised that there was more unknown. Now, finally, he had realised his purpose. Under the strictest of secrecy, he remembered being teleported off the battle fields of Qartaran, on to a fast strike cruiser. He had left without any word to neither his company nor his battle brothers. For all intents and purposes he had died on the battle field, his gene seed apparently unclaimed. Yet, he was very much alive and speeding on his way to his destiny. He remembered the pride swell in his chest as the strike cruiser approached their destination. He remembered the solemn ceremony, where he swore allegiance once again to their primarch, but also to the cause of redemption, dedicating the rest of his life to the hunt for the fallen. He visualised the scene as he had stood side by side with honoured veterans from every unforgiven chapter, gathered in the Lion's own personal star ship. He had indeed joined the ranks of the Knights of the Order.
It was as a member of one of the small teams of the Knights of the Order, that he truly found his purpose. Acting in small groups, the Knights had the capacity and the freedom to follow each and every lead on the fallen, hunting them with singular purpose. The knights were made up of like minded individuals from each and every unforgiven chapter. Their existence was known only to the few highest ranking individuals of the inner circle of each of those chapters. The organization allowed the pooling of all intelligence on the fallen and actions to be taken without compromising the integrity of the chapter organizations. Their primary role was in the tracking down of leads, tracing potential sources of information and on occasions calling in chapter support for assaults on identified bases of operations of the fallen. It was on very rare occasions that the Knights had to deploy in battle strength. The past weeks had been extremely hectic. Their strike teams had been surreptitiously moving in and out of the systems of the Cadian gate, ever since they received Interrogator-Chaplain Phaleg's coded transmission. Many informants and heretics had been captured and they had been working their noose around the cult of the voice, slowly but surely. Apollyon marvelled at the gathered strength of the Knights. He had never before witnessed the full cumulative strength of the organization gathered in one place. He subconsciously thanked the primarch for allowing him to be the nominal head of this enigmatic organization during the time of its greatest trial. The soothing chants of the interrogator-chaplain Sartradon continued to reverberate through the great hall as the Knights prepared for battle.
Gathered in their full strength, the great hall filled with proud warriors scarred with the experience of constant conflict, the Knights represented and awesome strength of arms. This day would go down in the long and proud history of their as one that was utterly unique. Most space marine chapters are planetary based which provides a recruitment base for them. The Knights of the Order, being constantly supplied by experienced individuals from each and every one of the unforgiven chapters have the advantage of being allowed a frugal existence, free from the need for extensive logistics. It was truly appropriate that one force totally dedicated to the eradication of the treachery of 10,000 years past was based on the first warship to fall in that battle. The Angelus Lionus was the primarch's personal command ship, gifted to him none other than the emperor of man himself. After the defeat of the arch traitor Horus, Johnson returned to Caliban. Grief stricken at the loss of his father and the treachery of his brothers, he had deemed himself unfit to travel aboard his father's gift and refused to travel in that ship. That decision had saved not only the primarch but also his legacy. The Angelus Lionus, commanded by Admiral Llacheu and containing the Lion's Master of the guard Lamoroch, was destroyed in the opening salvoes of the treachery that had beset Caliban. What was unknown to most, was that the admiral Llechau had self destructed his stricken ship and destroyed the orbital defences of Caliban, to allow the safe entry of the main Dark Angel fleet. The explosion had blown out the rear of the gigantic warship, but the great artisan's who had created the unique space ship had done their work well. The entire forward section of the ship separated at the time of the explosion, protected by its own void shields, a design intended to add to the survivability of its most important complement. In the aftermath of the destruction of Caliban, the surviving Dark Angels discovered the remnants of the of the Angelus Lionus, fused to a massive piece of asteroid. Separated from the main continent sized plate of Caliban on which the Tower of Angels stood, this discovery was hidden by the then chapter master of the dark angels. With the creation of the Knights of the Order, the Angelus Lionus, was renamed the Keep in honour of the second largest fortress monastery on Caliban and made in to their base of operations.