The Deathwatch Ghost Shield (Previously known as the Deathwatch Ghost Company) was an idea that I had come up with a few years ago, for a portion of the Deathwatch that would be under the direct service of the Fringe Conclave Inquisitors of the Ordo Xenos.
Narratively speaking, the Deathwatch Ghost Shield has a history spanning back to M33, and they had a crucial role in the development of many of the lesser known chapters of Adeptus Astartes whose origins were found in the Eastern Fringe. It was the Deathwatch Ghost Shield that helped to reincorporate and train the Lion Guards chapter, which would eventually become the Void Lions chapter. The Ghost Shield still exists and is intrinsically a part of the Era Leonicine narrative.
When I thought of the Ghost company, I wanted it to be a portion of the Deathwatch whose membership never returned back to their original chapters, either for a transgression or failure which stained their honor to the point of the marines experiencing a deep shame and needing redemption. The Deathwatch Ghost Shield was a ” last stop” of sorts from which the battle brother did not return but hopefully regained his honor through his death.
The Marines of the Ghost company were therefore often grim and distant from one another except when they were formed into teams and sent on missions. To mark the membership of the Ghost Company, my idea was to have the chapter heraldry in grey instead of its original colors, so it would always serve as a reminder to the marines of their transgression, and inspire them to further regain their honor through feats of great accomplishment and sacrifice.
In my previous narrative, If a marine in the Deathwatch Ghost Company died well and earned his redemption in the eyes of the Inquisitor that commanded them, his pauldron would be returned to its full color and placed on the Wall of Redemption with the marines name engraved upon a plaque beneath it. This might not sound like much, but for all intent and purpose, once the marine was given over to the Ghost Shield, he was considered dead to the chapter, his name erased from all records. The Ghost shield was its own isolated fraternity of redemption, and though that redemption might not be acknowledged by the marines previous battle brothers and original chapter, the Wall served as an affirmation that redemption can be achieved, and it is acknowledged by the marines new battle brothers.
The Inquisitors of the Fringe Conclave were harsh when it comes to determining whether a marines death was worthy of Redemption. Simply being killed on a mission is not enough, and marines who happen to be killed without fullfilling some great feat of purpose towards a mission are forgotten, their names erased. The marines of the Ghost shield are under constant surveillance and monitoring because of this. No battle brothers of the Ghost Shield, regardless of rank, have their geneseed harvested and return to the chapter. It truly is a dead end.
On one hand, I strongly prefer the original Space Marine miniatures and do not like incorporating Primaris marines into my Void Lions army. On the other hand, I do want to explore the Primaris range on the tabletop without doing so in a way that would make me uncomfortable. I don’t like mixing the two kinds of marines, but at the same time, I dont want to have two marine forces that are the same. So rather than finding one of the newer Primaris Chapter to build, I looked to my own narrative and chose the Deathwatch Ghost Shield.
Changes to the Ghost Shield
- With the arrival of the Primaris Marines, the Deathwatch Ghost Shield has become a complete Primaris force.
- The marines of the Deathwatch Ghost shield are all greyshields, never deployed to the chapters they would have reinforced, as a Tithe to the Ordo Xenos. Their right pauldrons bear no heraldry at all so their original chapter is a mystery to all but the Inquisitor they serve. However, the more Stable geneseed chapters are the most abundant in the Ghost Shield.
- The marines of the Ghost shield have no names. They are referred to as their tactical role, marines in squads give eachother numbers to identify eachother, and squads themselves are numbered based on deployment.
- The Marines of the Ghost shield never remove their helms and are never seen by eachother without their armor on.
- The watch fortress of the Ghost Shield resides is a space fortress known as The Black Castle, located in the Eastern Fringe, though its exact location is unknown.
- The Ghost Shield is composed of chapters worth of Marines, and is organized much like a chapter, with different companies and captains of those companies. However, the Ghost Shield has no Watch Master. In the place of that role is the collective of the Fringe Conclave.
- Ghost Shield marines have grey gun casings on their bolters.
I will continue to develop this idea as time goes on! Thank you for reading!