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The Red Templars were founded as the chaos of the Horus Heresy was fading from memory into legend. The first mention of the chapter comes some 1,100 years post-Heresy, when they established their headquarters in the Elysium Sector.
As a successor chapter of the Imperial Fists, the Red Templars are associated with implacable defence and an unwillingness to retreat from a battle. Unlike their brothers, the Red Templars are deeply associated with the Imperial Cult.
The Red Templars established themselves on the planet of He Protects in the Cypran system and quickly came to dominate local politics, until the planet was theirs in all but name. He Protects and the surrounding systems are rich in Imperial relics and holy sites for the cult of the Emperor. As time passed more and more pilgrims were attracted to the system, which lay deep in the Elysia Sector.
Pilgrim ships and group on the various Relic Worlds were not immune to attack from human or Xenos pirates. The chapter made it their business to escort vessels carrying pilgrims to these sties to ensure safe passage in uncertain times.
The Chapter thus became intertwined in the politics of the region. As well as protecting pilgrims, the chapter came to facilitate trade and credit in the region. Unusual behaviour for an Astartes chapter but then who would deny credit backed by such an institution? The wealthy would often deposit a portion of their wealth to the chapter, and be ensured that such wealth would be available to them throughout their pilgrimage. For a small fee.
And so the chapter grew, in influence if not in size. Over its first two hundred years the chapter defeated orc hordes, pirates, chaos marauders, and even dark eldar who would otherwise have plagued the systems. Under the chapters gaze, the systems grew in wealth and influence.
The Red Templars are not the only Imperial institution present in the system, as both the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Adeptus Sororitas have a presence.
Some four centuries after its establishment, the Red Templars were effectively in control of 12 planets across five systems. Occasionally an Inquisitor might stop by to request the chapter’s aid (always given), and if they saw anything to question, there was no lingering suspicion on the chapter.
The Red Templars did more than simply facilitate travel. Their fortified chapter houses were often built over known or suspected sites of Imperial relics, and the chapter conducted their own, secretive digs.
A few hundred years after arriving in the system, it became known that the Red Templars had fortified a large asteroid in the system. Over time this became known as Knights’ Rock.
Knights’ Rock became the seat of the Chapter Master and his Loyal Circle of senior members of the Red Templars. Whispers began of secret meetings on this airless asteroid between the Red Templars and unknown others, attended to by mindwiped servitors. The secretive digging continued across worlds in the Cypran system and beyond.
The Red Templars were searching for something.