Angels of the Lion Chapter
By Michael White ( Sandalphon )
Background: Recruited from the orbital defense port of Sebastio, Ariel's only moon, Leonis had spent his youth in the docking bays as an apprentice mechanic amidst the heavy machinery and often less-than-savoury characters that inhabited such an environment. Spending his time doing maintenance work on damaged freighters Leonis kept himself occupied. He was smart enough enough to keep his head down and his skill with a knife kept him out of trouble with the hive syndicates, and he managed to survive the stifling and demanding environment long enough to reach maturity. Despite being by far the nearest neighbouring planet, Leonis had never been to Ariel, and not knowing much about life outside the port he often dreamed of leaving the port and exploring the outer rims, but eventually his thoughts always came back to Ariels' lush forests, where savage feline beasts roamed alongside the giants of
men known as the Angels of the Lion. He had only once caught a glimpse of such a man, adorned head to toe in a massive suit of green and gold armour and the impression was everlasting.
It was during the raids of the chaos warband Morgoth in 3669895.M41 that Sebastio was placed under martial law, and suffering heavy losses on Ariel, the AotL's recruitment officers were in full force, scouring the port for potential candidates to be taken to Ariel as recruits. The chance had finally arrived for Leonis to realise his dreams, understanding that only a minimal percentage of candidates ever made it through the first screening he was determined to try out and put his name down for testing... After rigorous psychic probing, biological endurance procedures (for which his presence of mind and previous profession stood him in good shape for) and further casualties on Ariel, Leonis boarded the first recruitment shuttle bound for Ariel.
All members of the AotL begin their service in the Greetingwing, the scouting 2nd company of the chapter. The neophytes are lead by their mentors (fully fledged scouts) through a series of trials in the dense forests of Ariel. Leonis fortunately found himself paired up with a sgt. named Commodus and with his guidance proved exceptional as a neophyte. After weeks of accelerated training due to the battles on Ariel, a strong bond was forged between the two and Commodus guided Leonis to the final trial, the taming of the Lion. This final trial has often proved fatal and is one of the major factors behind the AotL's recruitment as an ongoing and costly procedure. However it is a neceassary step towards Brotherhood, for if one is no better than the primal beasts how can he seek to serve to serve the Lion's (El'jonson) will? Here the neophyte must coax an Arien Lion out of its den, supervised but unaided by their mentor, and force it to submit or defeat it outright in combat without the aid of firearms. The mentors, knowing the locations of dens scattered throughout the forests, guide their neophytes to possible death in the hopes of finding another Angel. After two days of hiking through the treacherous terrain, Commodus and Leonis found the cave..
"From here on in, you're alone young one" were the last words Commodus spoke before the beast attacked. Springing from its cave, the Lion lunged at Leonis with unbridled strength catching him offguard, he barelly managed to roll aside in time. Hearing Commodus chuckle in the distance, Leonis felt ashamed at his underestimation of the Lion's temprament "coaxing? Hah!" he thought to himself.. but now was not the time for thought, and he focused himself on the task at hand... For two hours man and beast fought blow for blow, claws and brawn against speed and precision. Armed only with a standard issue combat knife Leonis eventually managed to bring the beast to its knees, but out of respect and compassion did not kill it. The familiar hearty chuckle of Commoduss' echoed throughout the cave as he applauded Leonis' achievement "A success well earned, young brother!, I have finally found my Angel." With a menacing roar the beast leapt at Commodus who calmly brushed it aside, "still some life in the old King left" he said. "King?" asked Leonis, Commodus explained that this particular cave was home to the largest lion in the region, seldom were those brought here but victory would mean certain success and certain promotion for both the finder and the neophyte. Suddenly the king pounced again, pinning Commodus against the cave wall, snarling eye-to-eye as if challenging his right to throne. Leonis lept to his aid and rolling underneath the bleeding behemoths underbelly, sliced it open. Writhing in agony the King of Beasts flung Commodus to the side of the cave and collapsed, crushing Leonis beneath him. The battle was finally over and when he regained consciousness, Commodus hauled the beast off of a broken Leonis, to find him still breathing, but shattered from the waist down. Knowing full well the capabilities of the Apothecarium back at the base, Commodus carried Leonis' body with him for he had not only saved his life, but had slain the King of the Lions and would be the toast of Ariel and a hero in the making. And thus Leonis entered the ranks of the Angels of the Lion, assigned to Sgt Commodus's 4th company tactical sqd. in the first victory over the Morgoth raiders, 3669896.M41.