Hungry Ghosts: The Bones Beneath the Beards
The Legios Moriad XIV Regiment was assembled as an elite expeditionary force composed of troops from the League of Moriad, nine heavy gravity homeworlds near the edgeward borders of the Squat regions. Sent to investigate rumors of exotic mineral resources to be found on the Eastern Fringes of the galaxy, they instead discovered horrors from beyond the stars and from within their minds.
Rather than rich worlds awaiting the construction of mighty forgespires and deepest delvings, empty husks of pitted rock awaited. These grim discoveries drew the Moriad along the trail of wrecked worlds toward temptation. How efficient must be those who stripped these worlds, how mighty the machines and how wondrous the technologies, how surely these technologies would be shared with the Squats.
These were the thoughts the Squat commanders could not put to rest, thoughts that pounded ever louder as they pursued those who destroyed worlds. Their thirst for mechanical lore led them beyond the limits of the Astronomicon's flickers and into the maw of the Behemoth, the first fleet of the extragalatic Tyranid to drink from the Milky Way.
The Moriad were soon desperate for survival in the pincers of an advanced biotechnology that they struggled to comprehend and could not defeat. The mind of the expeditionary force commander, Gen Jengiz Stalkarlik, turned grimly toward the thoughts that had spurred the Moriad to chase the Tyranid fleet. Where the sane would have turned away, Gen Stalkarlik and his Moriad embraced their dark cravings and followed them to their source.
Some believe the Moriad were tainted from the start, others that they broke psychically from the emptiness of the edges of the galaxy in contrast to the snug corridors of their homeworlds. Whether driven by desire or desperation,* the Squat warriors called upon Lord Khorne, the dark god of blood and machines to save them from the Behemoth Tyranids. Mighty Khorne granted the Moriad their wish, in a fashion.
In the end, entirety of the Legios Moriad Expeditionary Force was slain by the Tyranid. As each soldier died, though, Khorne transported his corpse from the battlefield. Each awoke to undeath, refashioned by Khorne’s whims and the random chaos of their warpspace journey. All awoke in the Maelstrom, upon a blood red garnet the size of a planetoid, conveniently orbitted by a Chaos-corrupted spacecraft.
Ever restless, the Moriad soon forayed from the Maelstrom. Khorne provided them with weapons and minerals in the form of a Squat reconnaissance outpost to devour. It was here that they discovered their hunger for flesh could never be sated, though they could never starve. After futile feeding on the bodies of their brothers, the Moriad left the garnet planetoid and the Maelstrom to continue their eternal quest for new flesh and machines to consume.
Through centuries of unlife the Legios Moriad, rebaptised as The Hungry Ghosts, have collected a strange variety of weaponry and cybernetics dedicated to destruction in the name of Chaos. Some have become more machine than flesh, but none have found rest.
*In fact, Chaos had levered the smallest among them to speed them to doom. The Moriad were accompanied by a gaggle of Ratling cooks, as the only artful cuisine among the Squats is entirely alcoholic or geologic. Following one of the few paths to Khorne that Ratlings may find, the mission's head chef came already possessed of unholy hankerings for raw meats of all kinds. Soon the hallucinogenic poisons he mixed into every meal made the Squats keenly receptive to Khorne’s daemonic gibberings from the warp, and their common greed inflated into undying treason.