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The Iron Warriors 38th Company has landed in Equestria, entrenching themselves like a barbed hook after a fierce battle with the aliens of the Tau Empire, intent on destruction and pillage of anything and anyone they encounter.

A small squad is dispatched on a reconnaissance mission, only to find that there is intelligent life on this world unlike the feuding space-farers above.

Will these improbably adorable and friendly equine aliens turn the damned warriors of Chaos from their blood-soaked path, cleansing them of their dark legacy with the magic of friendship and harmony?

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No.

No, that isn't happening.

The Iron Hearts series is comprised of 5 Books and related stories, and they explore what happens when a slightly unorthodox band of Chaos space pirates get allied with a magical nation of talking equines and just snowballs from there.

The first Book can be found here, and all related stories can be found on the author's account.

It's recommended to read the side stories "Visions of Darkness" and "Gear in the Machine" after finishing Book 4.


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This fic contains examples of the following:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: Derpy delivering a letter to Warmaster Solon in person. This is despite the fact that he was in the center of his heavily-defended base at the time, which was absolutely covered in automated defensive guns, guarded by hardened soldiers 24/7, and was getting more impenetrable by the hour. She didn't even notice any of these things.
  • A Father to His Men: Sliver, at least where the Iron Warriors are concerned.
  • Action Girl: Are you a female in this series? Then there is a 90% chance you're one of these.
  • Alien Blood: Blood for the blood…. Wait, they're bugs, do they have ichor or something? Oh well.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Chaos.
  • Armour Is Useless: Averted in that armor has saved quite a few characters.
  • The Artifact: The Warp Core for Books 1 through 3, since the Company and the Tau Sept are fighting to possess it and get it assembled.
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  • Ask a Stupid Question...: And most characters will give you either a stupid answer or an overly long, scientific answer that won’t be listened to.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: The main strategy of a large number of characters.
    • Tellis’ style, as he flies in a straight line towards enemies while making a racket.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Subverted. Solon, Warsmith of the 38th Company, holds the record for most duels lost (largely because he survives losing). He holds the rank of Warsmith due to being uniquely suited to leading a roving band of looters, and being incredibly skilled with technology.
  • Badass Bookworm: Twilight, as she is in her alicorn form for this story. She gets her opportunities to use her heightened magical power to defend her world.
  • Badass Family: A Nurgle cultist, part of a magical super weapon, and a cyborg; these are the Apple siblings.
  • Badass Normal: Daniels, who's a completely normal human mercenary that starts out with bog-standard equipment. He's just good enough to keep surviving in the Company's fights without dying.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: Chaos.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: The Chaos Mark Champions (formerly the Cutie Mark Crusaders).
  • Bad Vibrations: Used with Big Mac's apple juice to show that a Greater Knarloc is stomping towards the Apple farm. For bonus points, Pinkie naturally shows up to say that she remembers this scene from Draconic Park, directed by somepony named Stephen Spielbuck.
  • Berserk Button: Twilight's becomes Lord Serith himself, after his various plots humiliate Twilight while casually destroying her own attempts to outsmart him, she has to be physically restrained by her friends in order to not try murdering him after the first meeting between Celestia and the Chaos leadership.
    • Princess Celestia is revealed to absolutely despise Chaos, and finds those wearing the Star or corrupted by Chaotic energies to be so intolerable that she banishes all humans from Canterlot, while demanding that the 38th Company leave her world at the nearest opportunity. She wrestles with this later, making it readily apparent that she'd rather have Equestria destroyed by Orks than have her world be a haven for Chaos.
    • The 38th Company, from the top to the bottom, hates Slaaneshi worshippers and will not suffer Slaanesh's daemonettes anywhere near them. The Chaos Temple in Ferrous Dominous has 4 chambers for new converts to swear themselves to the Dark Gods; anyone trying to swear themselves to Slaanesh will get sealed into the room and burned by heavy flamers until they're ash.
  • Big Bad: High Commander Voidsong for the first three books, and then it gets a little more nebulous for the fourth and fifth books. That's because the Warlord (the Ork Warboss who got the Waaagh rolling in the first place) doesn't show up, and it's the Warlord's subordinates that directly threaten Equestria.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Big Mac has this.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Most main characters have managed this at some point.
  • Blessed with Suck: Serith's condition, from his perspective. Serith sees the benefits of being a Rubric Sorcerer, as enchantments that rely on hurting flesh can't hurt him, and he could totally unmake the Thousand Sons' Rubric Marines with his knowledge. But he resents having to be saved by Solon's technology from his own failure, and is now a powerful psychic being bound to a machine that Solon controls.
  • Blown Across the Room: Happens very often in fights.
  • Boring, but Practical: Practicality is Iron Warrior policy. Over-elaborate plans that don't promise a guaranteed gain for the Company are outright dismissed.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Pinkie Pie, once again, reprises her role as Destroyer of the Fourth Wall. She claims to understand Crabapple's buzzing due to having subtitles on, and says she knows that Equestria will need saving since she read the plot outline notes. This is all within the first chapter alone.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Tellis of the Iron Warriors is simultaneously a discussed and subverted example. He is certainly one of the most deadly Raptors of the 38th Company, to the point that he's a powerful Champion of Khorne and gets the Blood God's direct attention occasionally. He's also one of the Legion's worst soldiers: Tellis has no attention span, barely listens to his own side, and doesn't care for tactics beyond flying headlong into a fight. Tellis has repeatedly ruined his Company's battle plans by going on his own and slaughtering anything he finds.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: Several Iron Warriors are incapable of removing their armor or have replaced much of their body with machinery. Orks as well considering they reproduce through spores.
  • Captain Crash: Dest is officially a Rhino driver, but every time he drives, the Rhino gets utterly blown up and everyone riding almost always gets killed except for him. He's later forced to try driving an airplane, and it doesn't work any better (he doesn't remember how to deploy the landing gear).
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: Discord's latest job is working in one of these, but it's for the Dark Gods and its somewhere in the Warp. He's shown to be either approving or denying prayers to Tzeentch, and the whole thing feels like an office building.
    • Discord is not amused by the amulet that Serith gave to Twilight, and tells Spike that the cursed artifact that Spike put on is a lawsuit waiting to happen; the new daemon inside it didn't offer Spike a contract of any sort in exchange for its power, and has the nerve to go for full mutation for its drawback.
  • Character Development: In droves from everyone. The Equestrians start out innocent and pure, but eventually get used to the prospect of constant warfare and become more-or-less Chaotic servants while still being somewhat chipper. The 38th Company is still evil and Chaotic, but there is a noticeable relaxation of their violent urges. Serith muses on how their time on Equestria has changed them in Book 5.
    "This is an odd world," Serith mumbled, "it welcomes us outwardly and resists us from within. We relentlessly hammer our corruptions into its surface, and it corrupts us back with gentle words and beneficent gestures, free of guile and extortion. We are unused to such..." he trailed off. "... I cannot even call it opposition. We have no opponents here, aside from the savages. Chaos is ascendant, completely dominant. And yet..."
  • Children Are Innocent: Good thing the 38th Company despises Slaanesh. Who knows what would have happened if the CMC had chosen his mark?
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Subverted, the 38th doesn’t need torture as they have the information psychically ripped from their enemies. Mostly due to the fact that when torture is used people will say anything.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Iron Warriors in general (there are exceptions).
  • Cool Big Sis: Applejack and Rarity to their respective siblings, even after the fillies convert to Chaos to get their cutie marks.
  • Cool Car: The Rhinos. Any vehicle in this series really.
  • Cool Guns: Every gun in it could qualify.
  • Cool Pet: Applebloom has a pet maulerfiend.
  • Cool Sword: Power swords, Chainswords and many more.
  • Crazy Awesome: Rainbow Dash and Tellis, especially after they become friends and begin to go for crazier and crazier stunts to defeat their enemies.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When the Iron Warriors make planetfall anywhere, they build a fortress. Even if it's only a small scale supply run, they build a fortress just in case they need to dig in.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The space battle that opens the fic, with the Iron Warriors ambushing and demolishing a Tau exploratory fleet. There was also the first dream simulation for the Mane Six when they were training, where they were repeatedly killed by Orks.
  • Cuteness Proximity: The Chaos soldiers accompany Dark Acolyte Gaelia in chapter 2 start losing their discipline when talking to Applebloom, whom they regard as one of the nicer things they've seen since turning to Chaos.
  • Cyborg: Standard policy in the Iron Warriors involves removing any non-useful mutations and injured parts and replacing them with cybernetics. Broken arm, must amputate and replace with a robotic arm.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Visions of Darkness, placed after Book 4, focuses on each of the named human and Chaos Space Marine characters and devotes a chapter to each one, to show how they think and their history.
  • Demonic Possession: Spike gets latched onto by a daemon hiding in a chaos artefact. Since there was no official contract, Discord has it removed from him.
  • Destructive Saviour: The Iron Warriors. They save Equestrian cities, but usually leave the cities heavily damaged and on fire. Justified due to the chaos of warfare.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Rainbow Dash's attempt to make Tellis knock himself out by flying into a wall of Fluttershy's cottage, after enraging Tellis enough to make him chase her out of Ponyville. She didn't take into account that Tellis is a supersoldier who weighs about 600 pounds, is flying just as fast as she is, and that Fluttershy's cottage is made out of wood.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Happens to the Tau due to them not having much contact with humans outside of the Imperium, and are accordingly shocked by some of the things they see when fighting Chaos. The Tau also didn't expect the "native xenos life-forms" to actually assist the Iron Warriors, given the Imperium's xenophobic attitudes to other species.
    • The Iron Warriors get their turn after the Tau force in the Everfree Forest is found to be totally underwhelming. The Legion relax their guard to the point that construction of their base's high-priority defensive works get delayed, which goes incredibly poorly for them when a much bigger Tau force with heavy armor support suddenly attacks the incomplete fortress.
    • Because Orks regularly defy expectation, they manage to surprise the Iron Warriors by managing to get a lot more of their Waaagh to push through the Warp storm caused by the Nethalican. Everyone involved repeatedly states that what the Orks managed is impossible.
  • Divided We Fall: The Iron Warriors realize that if you just kill the regular humans willy nilly, then you won’t have enough people to operate at full capacity.
  • Door Stopper: At the time of its conclusion, the series clocks in at over a million words.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Chaos worshippers aren't the most sane of individuals when it comes to their powers.
  • Dwindling Party: In Book 5, Canterlot gets utterly swarmed by a space hulk's worth of Orks and vehicles, and the Company can't spare any more forces than the Mane Six and their friends (Gaela, Daniels, Dest, Tellis) and Delgan is already at Canterlot. They're too outnumbered this time, and the Orks eventually kill every human and Chaos Space Marine in the city through attrition.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Not really no. Equestrians are constantly shocked and appalled by the Company's sheer apathy towards losses or pragmatism.
  • Evil Feels Good: Chaos grants lots of benefits, whether it bee increased archane might, martial skill, or extreme durability.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Serith, High Sorcerer of the Company and all-around unpleasant individual.
  • Fan Disservice: Any description of a Nurgle worshiper, pus-ridden hulks that they are.
  • Fantastic Racist: Ponies towards Tau. Understandable, since their first impression of the Tau Empire is profoundly negative after Equestria heard about the unprovoked attack on Sweet Apple Acres, and only gets more negative with the repeated incidents of Books 1 through 3.
  • Fearless Fool: Tellis. As well as any pony.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The reason the Iron Warriors and ponies get along is their mutual antipathy for the Tau Empire.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Gaela outright refuses to believe the Celestia and Luna control the rotation of the planet and the moon’s orbit. Until about three hours after the planet stops moving, when she relents to help the Mane Six.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Fluttershy makes friends with a group of daemon engines.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Angel bunny, worshiper of Khorne.
  • Foreshadowing: Ork beacons are mentioned relatively early in the story.
  • From Bad to Worse: From maybe upwards of several thousand Tau (counting those in space) to nearly ten billion Orks.
  • Gender Is No Object: As long as you prove useful the Iron Warriors don’t care.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Ignis Ferrox, a Defiler (read: a possessed robot bristling with guns, quadrupedal in stance with a pair of pinciers out the front), is compared to a crab. Solon is quite similar, but he's a person attached to a defiler's base. And who replaced the claws with a heavy bolter turret.
    • In fact, the resemblance is so stark that a pony mistakes Solon for a Defiler's child when they see him standing next to one.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Tellis and Sliver slug it out over a party.
  • Healing Factor: Tellis can regrow his Wolverine-style lightning claws when they're broken, and his daemon armor repairs itself once it can gorge on blood.
  • Hearing Voices: The CMC after they convert to Chaos worship.
  • Hidden Depths: The Iron Warriors aren't the Ax-Crazy maniacs Chaos is usually depicted as in fiction. Granted, they are still Ax-Crazy maniacs, but they have far more nuance than usual.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The Warp very much is.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The warp and the galaxy at large to various Equestrians, seeing as one is endless hell-dimension and the galaxy is nothing but war.
  • Illegal Religion: At one point Celestia has any Chaos artifacts in Canterlot confiscated. A public relations campaign springs up, asking anypony that recognizes the symbol on the poster to report it to the Royal Guards.
  • Immortality Inducer: Being a Space Marine or a worshiper of Nurgle, which does matter when Solon is both. He's lived for a very long time as a result.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Tellis impales a Vespid on a Celestia Statue.
  • Impossible Thief: Pinkie Pie somehow hijacks Chaos Dreadnoughts for her own use by removing the pilot's sarcophagus. She doesn't have the tools, manpower, or time to do this, and yet she just leaves the former pilot lying around while she treats the Dreadnought chassis like a Mini-Mecha.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: Done by Apple Bloom to a daemon-corrupted probe droid, which she names Crabapple. Neither Applejack or Galea are happy about it. Crabapple, for "her" part, considers Apple Bloom her owner and resists all attempts to return to service.
  • I Never Got Any Letters: During the Mane Six's first stay in Ferrous Dominous, the normal magic letters between Princess Celestia and Twilight get intercepted by Serith's hidden wards on Twilight's quarters. The radio silence from Twilight gets Celestia on edge, and both of their attempts to communicate get interrupted constantly by circumstance. It's only until they both have a face to face meeting that it comes out that the magical letters were never delivered to either of them thanks to Serith.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Serith, for all his power and posturing, is actually this compared to other Chaos Sorcerers. His prior schemes and projects have constantly fallen apart, and the resultant self-loathing that his failures cause has made Serith suggest that Solon should just deactivate him permanently to spare Serith the shame.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Ponies have a natural resistance to Chaos, but they can give themselves over to Chaos.
  • Insectoid Aliens: The Vespid.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Space Marines.
  • Jetpack: Tellis enjoys his very much.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Subverted repeatedly. The Iron Warriors don't have hearts of gold, maybe hearts composed of unfathomable evil but no gold. Yet a lot of ponies worship them as heroes.
  • The Juggernaut: Space Marines.
  • Killer Rabbit: Angel Bunny.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than Warhammer in general.
  • Limited Wardrobe: When you can’t remove your armor this is what happens.
  • Living Ship: The Iron Warrior’s ship the Harvest of Steel.
  • Loophole Abuse: Trixie would never have succeeded in her first performance for the Iron Warriors without pulling this every time.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: The author states in one of his notes that this is why no ponies have died yet.
  • Mad Scientist: Solon, and the Dark Mechanicus.
  • Made a Slave: Tau prisoners, or anyone who the 38th Company thinks could be useful working in their ships.
  • Made of Plasticine: If you don’t have armor.
  • Make Them Rot: Nurgle-blessed weapons.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Drones.
  • Mile-Long Ship: Most space ships.
  • Mind Rape: How Serith gets information from prisoners.
  • Moody Mount: Maulerfiends aren’t too happy to give Pinkie a ride.
  • Mooks: Subverted since the antagonist Tau, whom are killed off constantly and with no drama whatsoever, actually have a morally defensible mission, are fighting an explicitly evil army, and even occasionally make significant ethical decisions on the battlefield.
  • More Dakka: When Trixe gets guns expect this, since she empties the clip without bothering to aim single shots.
  • Mundane Solution: During the Siege of Canterlot, Commander Voidsong and her soldiers are stopped by the magical door leading to the palace vaults. The door can only be magically opened by Celestia or Luna (who are currently depowered), the door itself is totally unaffected by the anti-magic bomb, and their first attempt shows the door's not even scratched by anti-tank weaponry. A few seconds later, Voidsong wordlessly motions the soldiers to melt the stone wall next to the door, and gets into the vaults with no fanfare.
  • Nightmarish Factory: The Iron Warriors' base.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Averted, the Tau are fully willing to leave people behind for the Greater Good.
  • Not So Different: Celestia gets told by Voidsong that they aren’t that different at all. Celestia is not pleased.
  • Obviously Evil: The Iron Warriors.
  • Odd Friendship: Between Rainbow Dash and Tellis, after she flew next to an anti-air missile and kicked it hard enough to stop it from blowing him up. It impressed/distracted him enough to forget about horribly maiming her.
  • One-Man Army: Any Space Marine really.
  • Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: Bolters. And Tau Plasma Rifles.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Tellis.
  • Pest Controller: Solon is full of cockroaches and other Nurgle-blessed insects, and can use them as a last-ditch weapon.
  • Plasma Cannon: An available weapon.
  • Plot Armor: Are you a main character? Congratulations, you’ll be fine.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The Mane Six get embroiled in their first fight due to the language barrier between them and the Tau. In this case, it did kill some Tau and Kroot.
  • Power Born of Madness: Chaos powers
  • Psychic Powers: All unicorns and psykers. The former is remarked upon by the alien armies on Equestria, since it's unheard of to have so many psykers in a planet's population.
  • Psychic Static: The Shadow of the Warp
  • Radio Voice: Vox Systems.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Applejack refuses to get involved with the fighting between the Tau and the Iron Warriors, and maintains that her family will also stay out of it. It takes a Great Knarloc destroying some of the Apple's orchards and literally walking through their farmhouse before she finally snaps.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: The 38th Companies of the Iron Warriors are stated to be this; back in the Pre-Heresy days, the grand companies of the Iron Warriors were required by their Primarch to maintain a 38th Company dedicated to guarding their supply lines. Even among a Legion that had grueling siegework as their lot in the Crusades, being in one of these companies was regarded as a punishment detail. When the fanfic starts, the 38th Company is still the place where the Iron Warriors dump Marines too incompetent or eccentric to tolerate, but who aren't total wastes of gene-seed to simply kill.
  • Red Shirt Army: The Chaos Mercenaries, who are actually pretty professional and effective when not faced with super soldiers or giant magical monsters.
  • Running Gag: Humans are absolutely blown away by cragodiles, and someone will always comment on "alligators made of rocks".
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Tellis thinks the Four Elements of the Tau are "Fire, Blood, Plasma, and Spicy Nacho." He got one right.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Everybody seems pretty sure Wyatt Daniels and Applejack are a thing. Everybody except them.
  • Shock and Awe: How ponies generally react to things.
  • Shout-Out: An elderly unicorn uses the Jedi Mind Trick from Star Wars to gain access to Ferrous Dominous, and is himself a Captain Ersatz of Ben Kenobi.
  • Soul Jar: What Serith is revealed to be in Book 5; a phylactery created by Solon binds Serith's soul to his armor, after his attempt to undo the Rubric of Ahriman severely backfired and left him a Rubric Sorcerer
    • Solon is another example, having died on his pilgrimage for Nurgle on one of the Plaguefather's daemon worlds. Now the insects in his armor function as a phylactery for his soul.
  • Space Pirates: The 38th Company.
  • The Spark of Genius: Solon's ability to construct weapons and equipment is far beyond that of the small army of scientists and engineers at his beck and call.
  • Start of Darkness: The Visions of Darkness stories reveal how each of the named human characters was either recruited or forced into the forces of Chaos.
  • Summon Magic: Daemon summoning specifically.
  • Sweet Tooth: General Gnoss develops a taste for chocolate cake, and is astounded by the prospect of strawberry-flavoured milk.
  • Techno Wizard: The Dark Mechanicus.
  • Teleporters and Transporters
  • Temple of Doom: Chaos temples.
  • The Dragon: Hazarr "Coggz" Wrencha is surprisingly intelligent for an Ork, whether in building gigantic war machines or keeping an interest in what calls the Orks to the Centaur System in the first place. He still has to follow the local Warboss's orders, though; the Warboss is bigger than he is.
  • Unstoppable Rage: If you worship Khorne you have this.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The Equestrian Postal Service's mixup of two deliveries (a shipment of apples meant for Canterlot, and the Warp Core going to Ferrous Dominous) is directly responsible for the Siege of Canterlot, and causes the Tau to be able to finish their Warp device, which means that about 9.7 billion Ork are now on their way to the planet.
  • Verbal Judo: Twilight often acts as the voice of reason to keep things calm between the violent, alien militants of the 38th Company and the Equestrians, some of whom are less than happy to be fighting, helping, or even tolerating the forces of Chaos.
  • Villain by Default: Subverted constantly. The 38th Company are space pirates, evil cultists, and violent tyrants, and everypony knows it. But the Equestrians end up making friends with them and becoming allies anyway.
  • Villain Has a Point: After the Siege of Canterlot, Warmaster Solon shuts down the Nethalican proposal to save Equestria (again) since it would demand even more of his warband's limited resources to enact it with little gain, and sees no reason to risk his fleet over protecting a single world. He also points out that the 38th Company wasn't asked to save Equestria; Celestia demanded that the Company leave at first opportunity.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: The factions from 40K will always choose violence first. Applejack gets lectured by Twilight for doing this during the first encounters with the probe and Tau.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: Serith honestly thought returning something he stole (The Elements of Harmony) would endear him to Celestia.
  • War God: Khorne.
  • We Have Reserves: Averted with the 38th Company, which tries to conserve its troops. Even the redshirts. Even the Orks (or at least their leader) has a problem with this. As much as an Ork can be against it anyway.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Tau.
  • A Wizard Did It: This is Dark Acolyte Gaelia's default explanation for technical things she doesn't want to explain to the uninitiated, blaming Warp energy for the strange things she runs into. Justified, as Warp energy does actually cause a good deal of odd events.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Chaos powers.
  • Wrench Wench: Gaela.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The Apple siblings' first reaction to a possible visitor from outer space is to track it down and try to sell it apples. To their credit, they wise up quickly when the probe starts to look threatening.

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