“Here a man died and a saint was born. It is a place of blessedness and of legends, and its time shall come!”
— Pontifex Grabrilus of Maccabeus Quintus
Maccabeus Quintus is an arid and bitterly cold world with a harsh, bright sun, that is prone to terrible famines and droughts which leave their mark even on its strongest inhabitants. Yet Maccabeus Quintus is a blessed world, blessed not because of the resources it possesses (which are few), or because of the climate (which is harsh), but because of the faith that grows there in abundance. Maccabeus Quintus is a Shrine World of the Adeptus Ministorum administered by the Ecclesiarchy’s Black Order, the place where the great Lord General Militant Drusus, the second commander of the Angevin Crusade, fell and was raised up as an Imperial saint by the glory of the Emperor. A site of pilgrimage for the faithful across the Calixis Sector of the Segmentum Obscurus, this Shrine World has a significant military tradition all its own. Following after their great patron, these pilgrims form the core of the Maccabian militias, the finest of which are chosen to become Maccabian Janissaries of the Imperial Guard. Like Saint Drusus, they defend or expand the Imperium in battle, which is regarded as the most pious form of worship.
The chronicles of the Angevin Crusade tell that Lord General Militant Drusus, commanding the Trailward Salient of the Crusade, had pushed towards the Halo Stars, hoping to carve out a stable domain in what had been a fraught and bitter decade of war, when a sudden and vicious resurgence of hostilities in the region around Spectoris, at his rear, caused his advance to shudder and to halt. The order to mass and regroup was given. The planet chosen for this gathering was an uncolonised world in the obscure and unoccupied Maccabeus System, and as Drusus’ forces gathered, the general himself prayed for guidance, knowing that a wrong choice could result in the collapse of the salient and jeopardise perhaps the fate of the whole Crusade. Infamy struck, and employing unholy methods, his enemies discovered Drusus’ location and unleashed a deadly and unnatural assassin against him. Drusus fell, but even as the killing blow was struck did the power of the Emperor rent the assassin apart and spare the great man. After ten days and nights in shadow did Drusus return, and the power of the Emperor was within him. In the years that followed, Drusus knew not defeat, and one after the other did his enemies fall until the Calixis Sector was born. So it was that on dry Maccabeus Quintus, the Emperor raised Drusus up, and the life of a man ended while the life of a saint began.
In the centuries following the Crusade, Drusus was declared an Imperial saint, for his miraculous return and subsequent triumph, and the site of his miracle was declared a Shrine World. To this day, Maccabeus Quintus is a site of pilgrimage for the faithful across the Calixis Sector, and is the heart of the Drusian Cult within the sector’s Ecclesiarchy. The world’s various Ecclesiarchal buildings are maintained by the priests of the Black Order of the Ministorum. Maccabeus Quintus’ harsh and unforgiving landscape is walked by countless pilgrims every year, many of whom spend the remainder of their lives there, giving themselves to the devotion of the God-Emperor of Mankind.
Unlike many other Shrine Worlds in the Imperium, Maccabeus Quintus maintains a significant military tradition. Following after their patron Drusus, discipline and endurance are regarded as the greatest of virtues, and to protect or fight for the Imperium is considered the highest form of worship. With the sheer number of pilgrims arriving on-world each year, a considerable population of the devout exists on Maccabeus Quintus, which in turn provides an ample and diverse supply of potential candidates to the Maccabian militias, the finest of which are chosen to join the vaunted ranks of the Imperial Guard’s Maccabian Janissaries. To date, none have refused this honour, for all are driven by faith and the spirit of pilgrimage, and to become a Janissary is to embark upon a pilgrimage of a different sort, carrying the Emperor’s wrath to dark and distant places.
Today Maccabeus Quintus is a world of hard, bright light and deep darkness: of open, echoing spaces, cold, arid planes and great shrine cities from which coloured prayer pennants flutter. It is also a distant counterweight and perhaps one day will be a threat to the primacy of the Adeptus Ministorum’s holdings on Scintilla. To those born and raised in the cold shadows of the Maccabean shrine cities, faith is central to their lives. They know that no matter the harshness of their lives, they are the children of a place favoured in the sight of the Emperor.