The Pilgrims of Rust.
The Pilgrims of Rust is the common name for the forces commanded by Former Lord Commander, Antilo Rust. The Pilgrims of Rust’s core units hail from a planet known as Rall. Its snowy forested conditions made for hearty and well bred infantrymen for the Imperium of Man. Until its chief military leader, Rust, turned from the Imperium and seized power of the entire planet and later after a series of small scale invasions, the entire system. The various forces that comprise The Pilgrims are listed below.
The Traitors of Rall.
The forces of the Rallen Infantry comprise a healthy number of the Pilgrims fighting units. They are some of the only troops in the warband, which follow conventional military tactics, and are probably the most well equipped. Armed with advanced tactical helms, manufactured on Rall itself, from ancient scavenged STC devices, they are able to use the thermal optics and internal communications systems to improve inter-platoon coordination. The Rallen, have very little in the way of personal vehicles as they were primarily recruited as heavy infantry.
Estimated Force Size: 2-3 Full Strength Regiments of Heavy Infantry.
Cyrus Liberation Front.
The planet Cyrus, was suffering from a vicious governor and an abusive ruling party 93 % of the global population lived in poverty in the massive continent wide manufactoia city. The other seven percent lived a life of luxury in the “Spear of Destiny”. A fortress/government resort, around the size of a hive city, it functioned as the planetary capital, and was home to no less than 30 public execution grounds, and housed a regiment of well armed personal bodyguards for the governor. Already in a brutal civil war when Rust attacked, the majority of the loyal imperial defenders were overrun or obliterated by teams of suicidal troopers called “Martyr Squads”. These teams are loaded into any available vehicle and driven into the midst of fortifications where they affix melta bombs and use flamers to hopefully devastate any enemy resistance before they are massacred. All members of the CLF wear gasmasks, symbolizing the Manufactoria worker. It was here on Cyrus; that Rust made his threat known to the sector, and it is here that the first alerts reached out into surrounding systems about the threat posed by the Pilgrims.
Estimated Force Size: Approx. 1.2 million poorly equipped Militia
Fiends of Yuriel
The “Fiends of Yuriel” is the bulk of the armored support in the Pilgrims warband. The moon of Yuriel, was in orbit around Cyrus during the primary invasion of the planet, and Rust sent his Elite forces, now known as the Equinox Protectorate, to claim the moons space docks, and eliminate the threat of possible orbital weapons. When the Equinox Protectorate began their assault, they found the area covered in the bodies of thousands of civilians and PDF forces. The Dockyards, and two of the five ground to space weapons batteries, were in the hands of a Crazed Band of Mechanized Infantry. The Capitan of the Protectorate was so impressed by the finality of the destruction he invited the Bloodied Tankers to join with the Pilgrims. It was not long after the taking of Cyrus, that the Fiends began devoting themselves to the Chaos God Khorne, and soon faith in the Dark Gods took hold through the Pilgrims. This did not sit well with Rust, whose primary goal had not been to spread the influence of warp entities, but to liberate populations from iron imperial rule.
Estimated Force Size: Approx. 1 Mechanized Infantry Regiment, and 1 Damaged Tank Regiment.
The Equinox Protectorate
The Equinox Protectorate is made up of the eight hundred and twenty men that comprised Rust’s original command on Rall. They have been gifted with advanced weapons, train to the highest of their ability and are the embodiment of Rust’s ideal for a free humanity. It is rare for Rust to take the field without this elite of the elite alongside him.
Estimated Force Size: 820 Elite Infantry.
The war on Jacobs Hope was brutal, and long. It was won by the bravery shown by turncoat Imperial Guard units, which held the enemy in check long enough for a pilgrims strike force to push hard into the defenses around the Capital Spire and kill Severius Lieu, the planetary governor. Many of the populace of Jacobs Hope were, the adventurous sort, Rouge Traders, Pirates, and other general dissidents. In many ways, Rust admired the bravery shown by the Imperial Guard he fought against there, but they stood in the way of the freedom of the trillions of humans throughout the Imperium of Man.
“Peace and Liberty cannot be attained without War and Obliteration. It is the sad but true work of our time, we must kill them all today, but then such is the place for un-open minds in a uncaring galaxy”- Antilo Rust, on the “Stand of the Merkan 76th”
Estimated Force Size: 1-2 mixed strength Light Infantry Regiments, 1,000 Armored Pieces
Exactly how it is that Rust came upon members of the shadowy group known as the Dark Mechanicus is not fully known. But, it is thought that upon his attack on Cyrus, a Techpriest, is thought to have lowered the Void Shields of the Spear of Destiny and sabotaged the forward security doors. Know glimpses of this mysterious individual are seen from behind an army of twisted mutant abominations and dark scientific inventions.
Estimated Force Size: 3-4 Arch Heretics, 1,000-2,000 Warrior-Constructs
Superheavy and Ariel Support
One thing that the Pilgrims have little of is superheavy support. This fact keeps them from major engagements of large Imperial worlds. They have only 1 Baneblade, named “Freedoms Hammer” it is very rarely used until such a monstrosity is the only possible option for victory. Ariel support too, is scarce, and as a result many of the landers and transport craft, must pull duty as combat gunships for the bulk of the campaigns.
The Alien race known as the Hrud, infest many parts of the galaxy, and the Imperial Guard have fought many battles against their kind since many care to remember. They are specialists of stealth, and are highly technologically advanced, though this is not easily visible on the surface, as much of their technology would be described as “Contraption” at a glance, though the Eldar have been heard to praise the Hrud for their tactical and technologic prowess. It is possible that Rust found these aliens and hired them as mercenaries on any number of occasions. Though the most likely seems the Adjank Cluster a space hulk of moderate size for a space hulk, which passed on the outskirts of the Jacobite system just prior to the Pilgrims planetfall on Jacobs Hope. It’s uncertain exactly what role the Hrud play in the overall command of the Pilgrims, of if they even mix socially with the other forces. It is known that they are used as a forward scout and sabotage force.
Estimated Force Size: 2 Clans, or approx. 1845 Hrud.
Rust: Dawning of Heresy
Early in Rust’s life, just after his promotion to Capitan of the planetary defense forces, on Rall; he experienced a series of scarring personal crises. It was suspected that an insurgency was being planned in a town on the southern border of the capital province, Rust was ordered to march into the town and display a devastating show of force. When Rust and his men arrived they found a slaughter begun on the populace of the town, from the other PDF companies ordered there. The Planetary Governor had gotten fed up by the activists demands and declared them traitors and ordered the town purged for heresy against the emperor. Rust was to comply with orders and butcher all living things in the town.
He did not comply.
Disgusted by the errant misuse of power displayed by the governor, Rust aided the activists escape. Rather than covering up the massacre and sending the official story of an uprising, Rust spoke the truth, that the Governor had ordered thousands die, because of political ineptitude. Across, Rall citizens took up arms in anger at the callous murder, and overwhelmed Arbite and PDF outposts across the planet. A month after the uprising, the Governor and the ruling aristocracy surrendered along with eight thousand planetary defense troopers.
“My dear, dear friends… I have come from a position of obscurity, to the precipice of the seat of global power in but one month. I watched friends murdered like cattle, but I did not despair. Most of all, you, the people of Rall, did not despair! No! You took the yoke of imperial dominion and cast it aside to the snowy ground! It is here! Today, my friends, my fellow pilgrims on the journey of freedom, we do a thing few humans dare breath in these times. We look into the Starry night, point into the heavens, to the birth place of mankind, and scream never again!” – Excerpt of Antilo Rust’s “Speech of Liberation”
Rust: Relations With the Knights of Decay
While he does not fight Chaos commonly, Rust recognizes the horrifying threat it poses to human kind should it be allowed to fester. At the moment he sees his allies and men’s worship of the Ruinous Powers, as a necessary evil to maintain force unity, and gain more skillful and powerful resources. When he was first contacted by Lord Balthos, from the Knights of Decay, he primarily refused the Traitor Astartes assistance. After much debate, it was decided that the Pilgrims and the Knights would fight in conjunction, but only on the condition that the Pilgrims be treated as equal, and not as pawns in the game of the “Dark Gods”. Had it not been for the chivalric code that the knights employ, this proposal may well have ended in the annihilation of either one of the factions. Rust still to this day refuses to fight in the vicinity of Balthos’ troops, and thinks his mens’ adoration of the bloated and decaying marines to be macabre and disturbing in the highest.