During the last few gamesessions, our Throne Agent Cadre have encountered marines none of us were quite able to identify. Recently it turned out that these marines were of the Wordbearer chapter. However, they have been seperated from the imperium since before the heresy.
Now don't worry about how they came to be in their current state, because this will likely remain an unsolved mystery for the rest of the campaign.
A bit of context.
We've recently found a lost Imperial saint on a deathworld in Segmentum Tempestus. This great find, as well as the recovery of a daemonhammer and an absolutely ancient print of Lexio Divinatus, has led my Hierophant to declare the planet a Shrine-world and send word to the Imperium to send a missionary-fleet. They are due to arrive in a week or two.
In the meantime, we've started exploring the planet. It turns out the planet is actually playing host to a few enemies of the imperium, who are currently ripping each-others throats out over something. Eldar and Traitor marines are fighting on the planet, and as we approached the ancient ruins of an Imperial cathedral, another group entered the mix. The offshoot wordbearers. The CSM were trying to take an imperial cathedral, the WB were holding, while the Eldar waited for a moment to strike (BTW our party's scout is amazing)
Long story short, we flattened both the CSM and Eldar with the use of the foolproof Imperial tactic of drowning the enemy in lasgun fire and a mountain of corpses. Now it was just us and the cathedral, and the marines inside.
Our inquisitor spoke to them and it appears that for now, he is willing to give them the benefit of doubt, so we haven't nuked their position from orbit yet.
What is your take on these marines?
They have openly declared their allegiance to the Emperor, however they have also flatly stated that the Emperor is by no means a holy man, nor should he be worshipped in any fashion.
Now, of course, the only thing stopping me from charging them in suicidal, burning frenzy was the fact that I had solemnly sworn to let the Inquisition handle this matter until the Missionary fleet arrived.
This got me thinking. Many Astartes chapters have different views of the Emperor than what the Ecclesiarchy would prefer, but I actually don't know alot about how much these views differ, nor if they are openly accepted or if they are secrets, kept between the marines and higher-ups of Imperial government. Nor do I know how to react to these supposedly not-fallen marines.
Are they guilty of heresy, by being Wordbearers alone, or is there some Imperial writ that lets them seek redemption? Does it matter that they were not involved in the Horus Heresy?
Is it even for us to decide, or is it supposed to be decided by the other marines, or some congregation of Ecclesiarhcal, Inquisitorial and other officials?! What kinda matter are we dealing with here.
My gut told me to firebomb them and let it be done with, but I am wondering if there isn't more depth to it than that.
What do you guys think?
Thanks in advance.