Well, my Dark Hands army has certainly been around the block. Once numbering in the 3000 point range, they hit the auction block and were cut in half. The remainder (the painted part basically) were kept as no one wanted them. they're an official, GW created chapter (though I have altered they're colors a good bit as can be seen here vs. their official colors here), but I guess that if you don't pick one of the chapters that EVERYBODY else plays, it devalues the models. Nice paint & Forgeworld additions to no avail. So a few squads of AoBR tac. marines later (to fill in the then gaping hole in their Force Org.), the Dark Hands are once again a viable army.
One thing they've never really had though was fluff. I used to have officers & sergeants with Roman names, going for that kind of theme. Then I made a long and detailed description of the ceremonies for anointing the chapter master. Where he was issued the same wargear as is given to a newly minted marine, so that he may never lose sight of his humble origin. I often refer to this as the 'Uriel Ventris syndrome'. It threw a few opponents for a loop on the table, and then usually he would die. Again, all to no avail.
So here's my latest bit. The Dark Hands are all but unknown in the wider universe. Why is this? I was hoping for a bit of a sinister reason. Despite many chapters being the defenders of humanity, they are often (and rightly so) feared as mindless, blood crazed murderers such as the Flesh Tearers, or unstoppable berzerkers as in the Space Wolves. So what would place the Dark Hands in this category, while remaining virtually unknown? I can answer that with but a word:
Wanton murder, and crazed destruction results in scattered (and invariably emotionally scarred) survivors. It lacks a meticulous methodology that leaves no one alive. So I came up with the following. Sure they leave a calling card, so to speak, however to prepare for resettlement Imperial authorities often will enact a scorched earth method of cleansing the ruins without a thorough inspection, obliterating any evidence. These cleansings are usually instigated by the Inquisition with whom my Dark Hands frequently operate (usually Hereticus, though occasionally Malleus).
(Note: The author 'Snipes' is one of my inquisitorial henchmen.)
In the event that sleep fails you on your journey to the conclave, I’ve attached a Munitorum request for Inquisitorial intervention, it should be most helpful.
Below I’ve pulled an entertaining extract from said request. It seems as though the Astartes have fulfilled your request for assistance, and they were quite thorough in the undertaking. Indeed they’re methodology certainly has spooked the Mordian high command. I’ve already taken the liberty of informing the Munitorum that the Ordo Hereticus will be taking over this matter, and to reassign their regiments elsewhere.
Munitorum official Request No.: #456006850.25.6
Addendum C, Subsection 2, pg. 17 (Partial Extract)
…hot dropped on the capital city to no resistance. On securing our drop zones we found a scene of utmost destruction. To say a battle was fought here would be folly, this was a massacre. Few buildings are still standing, and bodies are everywhere. We moved on the Governor’s palace to see if he still lived, so we might effect his rescue. A few scattered and frightened domestic animals, livestock and native fauna were encountered, but not a single human soul. The Governor’s palace was little more than a shell, his court a scene of utter carnage, bodies everywhere, none identifiable. Blood and gore covered all surfaces save one, the seat back of the Governor’s throne had been meticulously cleaned, and upon it we found the following inscription:
There are those who stand radiant, within the Emperor’s holy light. Angels held high, the pinnacles of humanity, names such as the Ultramarines, Imperial fists and so many more. When the Emperor’s light is usurped from the faithful souls of humanity, it is these angels who come, for they are His angels of salvation.
Then there are those who stand outside of His holy light. They stand in His shadow. When humanity fails our almighty Emperor, when it willingly turns from His light, the Emperor of mankind turns to these angels. These are not angels of salvation. No, these are His angels of destruction.
You chose the darkness.
You chose us.
We are the Dark Hands of the Emperor.
We are the reason you should never have turned from His light.
Our Logis engines can find no record of any Astartes named ‘The Dark Hands of the Emperor’ and I fear this may be the work of a heretofore-unknown traitor marine warband. I am forwarding a request to high command for Inquisitorial assistance. I suggest we put all nearby worlds on alert and…
Anyways, here's the cause of this whole train of thought, my 3rd Co. captain that I was working on last night.
I've not settled on a name for him yet but given my army's theme I was thinking of Captain Kurtz.