The world of Aquilon is primarily covered with icy mountains peopled by hearty and self-reliant barbarian tribes. These warriors fight on foot, as cavalry or chariots flounder in such rocky terrain. The Executioners raised from these people share this predilection and, as these warriors constitute the bulk of the Chapter’s recruits, the Executioners field relatively few squads equipped with jump packs or bikes.
However, Aquilon is not entirely covered in mountains. It has equatorial plains peopled by such tribes as the Kush, Shem, and Hyrkanians. Though not as robust as the mountain tribes, these plainsmen are still able to defend their comparatively lush plains. They have developed a nomadic culture based on the horses introduced by early human settlers. Their warriors move swiftly across the plains, attacking other plains tribes, tracking herds of game animals, and rapidly encircling any raiders from the mountains. Over the millennia, each of these plains tribes has developed their own bloodlines of horses according to their preferences.
As in many cases, the only force able to unite the warlike and independent Aquilonian tribes is their loyalty to the Executioners, who draw recruits from the plains and mountains alike. Executioners drawn from the plains maintain their preference for cavalry tactics, and demand steeds appropriate to their stature. To achieve that end, all of the plains tribes have interbred the largest and strongest horses of their respective bloodlines, producing a line of truly herculean steeds. These horses may never be ridden by any of the mortal warriors of Aquilon but are instead reserved for those Executioners that wish to ride them into battle.
Even with their massive strength, these steeds are incapable of carrying the weight of a fully armored Space Marine. The steeds are augmented by both Techmarines and Apothecaries to increase their strength and stamina. Vulnerable joints are replaced with servos, bones are hardened with ceramite, and stimulant injectors push muscles beyond their biological limit. Like servitors, the horses are partially lobotomized to remove any fear or hesitation from their behavior. Their senses are slaved to those of the Marine riding them, allowing the rider complete control with minimum attention. Ceramite plates cover the steed’s skin, riveted directly into its bones, while bolters are integrated into its body. The final product is a mount worthy of an Astartes, a biomechanical construct on par with the more common machines used by other Chapters.
These steeds are obviously difficult and time consuming to produce, and therefore rare. They are generally reserved for the Warlords of each Company, as well as their closest advisers and champions. In this capacity, Captains and Command squads act as a heavily armed and armored spearhead, quickly engaging and destroying the enemy while the slower elements of their force move into position. This is extremely appropriate for the Executioners’ overall strategy, as all Captains act as Warlords in their own right and are expected to be both the most skilled and aggressive warriors in the Company. A Captain unwilling to demonstrate his prowess on the battlefield will quickly find himself challenged for his position.