Motes in the Serpent's Eye
The Hell Hounds (Blackguard Order)
Officially part of Mezzenbone’s infamous Red Legion, the Hell Hounds are an order of blackguards dedicated to the Destroyer. The Red Legion is an elite unit of shock troops used to break enemy opposition when and where it is able to resist the Emperor’s conventional forces. The Hell Hounds are known as a “cleaner” unit specifically trained in scorched earth tactics. They are only sent into a combat zone when the lord marshal commanding the Red Legion – or the Emperor himself – decrees that nothing is to be left alive or intact. The Hell Hounds drop in, terminate all hostiles, and leave the combat zone in flames.
There is rarely any military justification for the kind of operational overkill the Hell Hounds are trained for. Any opposition sufficient to warrant it would be more efficiently neutralized by orbital bombardment or air power. In most cases, the unit is used as a political weapon. When the Hell Hounds are unleashed on a resistant city or stronghold on some unsuspecting Outlands world, they make a statement that even the most stubborn rebels find hard to ignore.
The Hell Hounds are based on Arangorn, the throneworld of House Mazorgrim. The Emperor shares their devotion to the Destroyer, and he is said to have handpicked some of the unit’s highest-ranking officers. These officers are hard and often cruel, and the Hell Hounds take pride in reports that the majority of new recruits are killed during the year-long initiation period. Based on these reports and others like them, critics of the Hell Hounds – most of them within House Osorus – claim the unit is wasteful and irrational, and lacks any real military role. Mezzenbone dismisses such criticisms, pointing out that efficiency and rationality have little place in true service to the Destroyer.
When not in training, the Hell Hounds wear black and red dress uniforms. They are equipped with powered armor and combat vehicles on many missions, and these devastating weapons only reinforce their terrifying legend on the Outlands worlds they have visited. The unit’s symbol is a black hell hound’s head with glowing red eyes.