'Olgha Kurganova' (presumed alias) one of the 3rd Trojan warleaders
The system known to Imperial cartographers as Troy was believed unremarkable when reabsorbed into the Empire of Mankind during the Great Crusade. A planet slightly larger and older than Terra, Troy II was the main inhabited planet and had begun to suffer desertification from the system's ageing sun, falling back to a feudal system of city-states clustered around the remaining fertile areas. The planet was swiftly brought into compliance by the Imperial Fists, and construction began on hive cities which formed the basis for atmospheric re-humidifiers and other technologies which rapidly began to return the world to full habitability.
Two things were noted by the Explorator teams which made initial contact with the Trojans. Firstly, that despite falling into a largely pre-technological state the women of Troy II were unusually active in both the military and local politics, and secondly, that the worship of an ancient Goddess called 'Artemis' was widespread across the planet. According to standard Crusade doctrine, the shrines of Artemis were razed wherever they were found, and after the Heresy the Missionaries of the Ecclesiarchy soon brought the teachings of the Imperial Cult to the populace. It was only in M40 that the system's unusual nature became more fully understood.
Ever since Imperial rule had come to the planet, the Administratum had found that regiments raised on Troy II posed an unusual supply problem. Many regiments of the Astra Militarum featured warriors of both genders, though usually the males were in the majority. Supply and re-supply requests for Trojan regiments, however, made it clear that over 90% of their fighting force was female. At the same time, an increasing number of fleet-based Space Marine chapters, including the Guardians of the Covenant, reported that no visit to the planet in over three centuries had produced a single viable Aspirant for recruitment.
Chimeras of the Third Trojan. Note debased iconography and Cult markings.
Exhaustive investigations by the Magos Biologis eventually revealed what the priestesses of Artemis had known for millennia, though not in scientific terms. Exotic radiation from the Trojan system's sun had induced a tiny, but significant flaw in the Y-chromosome of the populace, leading to a drastically reduced birth-rate of male children. Additionally, those men who were born tended to be smaller and weaker than the Galactic average, whilst the women were proportionally stronger. This led to adjustments in Imperial tithes, whilst the Adepta Sororitas founded a minor Order, the Order of the Auric Shroud, on the planet to take advantage of its uniquely suitable stock.
Meanwhile, Trojan culture gradually shifted back to the old ways, with the Cult of Artemis quietly rebuilding in the shadows. The Goddess was given credit for the strength of the Trojan women, and yet the importance of men as breeding stock was given due consideration. Gradually, men were phased out of front-line combat duties in the Trojan military altogether, and those few who were physically capable of such service were formed into a ceremonial unit known as the Vermilion Guard, noted more for their excellent drill and pristine, bright red uniforms than for their combat skills. In a controversial move, the Imperial Commander of the planet, Andromache XXIV, ruled that the Vermilion Guard could have their pick of any Trojan women not currently serving in the military and brought in edicts supporting polygamy, which over the succeeding generations did have the effect of increasing the planetary birth-rate and improving the stock of available males. In recognition of their special status, the soldiers of the Trojan PDF began wearing pure white battle-fatigues and were often referred to as the Virgin Rifles, though in truth the Artemis cult encouraged them to find companionship within their own ranks.
Battle standard of the Third Trojan, showing the symbol of the Cult of Artemis
In retrospect, the warning signs were present for all to see. The symbol of the Cult of Artemis, which represents the moon symbol of the Goddess and two bows, bears a striking resemblance to the Rune of Slaanesh, as does the Cult's emphasis on seeking martial perfection to the Dark Prince's own principles. The number three is considered of significance to the cult, reflecting three aspects of the Goddess and is also the founding number of the Emperor's Children Traitor Legion. Scholars of the Ordo Hereticus now state with 98.2% certainty that the Cult of Artemis had been a secret Slaaneshi cult for several millennia, but Troy II had not shown, and according to all known records, still does not show, any sign of insurrection, and so those who might have understood the omens never saw them.
Typical Third Trojan infantry squad. Note the lack of armour and emphasis on Flamers
The Third Trojan Regiment was raised late in M41, and was the first to have entirely female combat troops. As was traditional, the command HQ was formed of a small unit of Vermilion Guards, whose privileges were extended to the Regiment's support staff. The Colonel of the Regiment, Aleksander Aenas, was an experienced officer of the Trojan PDF and understood well how to wield his unusual Regiment to best effect, scoring significant early victories against the Orks of Ochre Hass. Then, on transit to their next deployment and with no warning, the entire Regiment rebelled. Unknown to Colonel Aenas, every sergeant and junior officer in the Regiment was in fact a priestess or devotee of the Cult of Artemis, and through a combination of tantric indoctrination rituals and powerful narcotics they had spread their teachings throughout their units. Only the Vermilion Guard stood by the Colonel, supported by a few loyal wives, but ten formal guards and a small force of cooks, medics and seamstresses stood no chance of even slowing the tide. Imperial Navy counter-boarding parties made desperate last stands and their heavy shotguns took a grim toll, but sheer numbers and the deployment of the Regiment's own heavy weapons soon broke even their resistance. Soon the crew of the vast troop-ship, Conveyor of Condemnation, were either dead or seduced into the cult's service, and when the fleet dropped out of Warp at their next destination, the Third Trojan Regiment was nowhere to be found.
Debased Leman Russ Demolisher known as Icon of Dominance. Note overtly Slaaneshi livery.
Since this event, details of the fate of the Regiment have been sparse. Conveyor of Condemnation was eventually found adrift near Cadia, suggesting it may have been attempting to venture into the Eye of Terror, but boarding parties found the interior of the ship to have been heavily damaged, with evidence of tank combat actions within the cargo holds. Several splinter forces bearing the iconography of the Cult of Artemis and claiming to be the Third Trojan have surfaced from time to time, often seen acting in concert with the so-called Emperor's Children 63rd Company or Daemons of Slaanesh, particularly the Keeper of Secrets As'ylla, Mistress of the Seven Keys, and her Herald, the Daemon often referenced as Lucretia, She Who Knows. Several leaders have been sighted, from Olgha Kurganova, The Insurrectatrix of the Cobalt Bastion, who appears to use almost Imperial tactics and equipment, to Hekubia Rex Trachata, the Pyromatriarch, a powerful rogue Psyker who despite her name has shown skill in Biomancy and Daemonology as well as Pyromancy and is reputed to have the ability to shoot plasma blasts from her bare hands.
Hekubia Rex Trachata, Rogue-Witch.
Wherever they are sighted, the Third Trojan can be recognised by certain distinguishing features. Firstly, their combat fatigues, of which usually only the trousers are worn, are of a vivid pink, reputedly created by staining their original white with the blood of their victims. (In actuality, the pigment is believed to have been derived from the uniforms of the small Vermilion Guard contingent). The common infantry wear little or no armour and use flamers and lasguns almost exclusively, with the exception of a sub-cult who use only knives, bows and other simple weapons and spearhead assaults under the effects of potent combat drugs. Elite units armed with Hellguns and wearing pure white Carapace armour have also been sighted, along with a command formation whose armour is black and pink. This heraldry has also spread to some of the Regiment's tanks and Chimeras, though the majority still bear defaced Codex camouflage patterns.
Squad Sisyphus, AKA the Gubernatorial Guard (reference unknown)
There is one final, disturbing footnote to the story of the Third Trojan. Some years after the disappearance of the Regiment, the Museum of War on Troy II was raided by a notorious band of space pirates led by the infamous Zola the Gorgon. According to the Museum manifest, amongst the missing items was an ancient battle-tank, believed to be a discarded prototype of the Malcador class. A vehicle fitting the description of this war engine, now bearing the name Mephisto Waltz, has recently been sighted operating with the Traitors in nearby systems. Whatever the final fate of the Third Trojan Regiment, it seems they are not done with their home system yet.
Mephisto Waltz. Note debased activities on aft deck, stolen artwork used as battle-banner.