One thing remains a certainty: At the height of their glory, even they could not have forseen their fate, nor the speed with which it was delivered.
— Gerald Robotnik, Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
The Nocturnus Clan (ノクターン一族 Nokutān Ichizoku?), also known as the Marauders (マローダー Marōdā?) or the Fourth Great Civilization by the archaeologists on Earth, are the primary antagonists in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. They are a long-lost nation of echidnas led by Imperator Ix. Gerald Robotnik was the first to propose the clan's existence after it disappeared for millennia.
About 4,000 years ago, the Nocturnus Clan were on the verge of conquering the world, when their whole civilization was drawn into the Twilight Cage. Inside this prison, the Nocturnus Clan evolved and eventually became the ruling power in the Twilight Cage. Imperator Ix then began formulating a plan to bring the Nocturnus Clan back to Earth and conquering it as well.
Characteristics and culture
The Nocturnus Clan is a highly technologically advanced civilization and is responsible for several worldbreaking achievements in the ancient world, such as the Gizoid androids. Even by the present day's standards, the Nocturnus Clan's technology is still more advanced than anything else in the world.
During their time on Earth, the Nocturnus Clan was a flourishing tribal system civilization, with clockwork-and-waterwheels in fusion with nature, who believed in science and industry. Much like their rivals, the Knuckles Clan, however, the Nocturnus Clan also held warmongering ambitions, with ideals of colonizing the entire world, and would willingly go into direct and violent warfare to claim new lands.
Following the Argus Event which trapped their entire civilization in the Twilight Cage, the Nocturnus Clan was forced to adapt and evolve in order to survive in this hostile environment with violent alien races. In little time, through acquiring new technologies and tactics, and under the leadership of Imperator Ix, the Nocturnus Clan society eventually evolved from an ancient-era tribal civilization into a sinister and brooding technophilic empire. Likewise, the Nocturnus Clan became much more powerful and have threatened people in terms of warfare through all means, be it from strategic alliances to direct subjugation, seek to subjugate or pacify their enemies to obtain totalitarian dominance.
In the centuries leading up to 4,000 years ago, the Nocturnus Clan society had been living in peace, albeit strained. Under the rule of Ix, however, the Nocturnus Clan began a series of successful conquest of the lands and managed to take control of much of the world. Eventually, the expanding borders of the Nocturnus Clan empire began pushing against those of the Knuckles Clan empire, a rival Echidna clan led by Chief Pachacamac which also sought conquest. In a war of expansion, the Nocturnus Clan fought the Knuckles Clan in a constant bloody conflict for supremacy where neither side would yield.
More technologically-orientated than the Knuckles Clan, the Nocturnus Clan managed gain the upper hand by prosecuting the conflict with their prototype Gizoid armies. The war only ended when the Knuckles Clan was laid to waste by Perfect Chaos. With their rivals wiped from the face of the earth, the Nocturnus Clan "nearly colonized the whole world" (as attested by Shade in Chapter 6). However, their ascendancy was abruptly curtailed following the Nocturnus Clan's creation of their most powerful Gizoid ever, Emerl, by the mysterious Argus Event, which saw the Nocturnus civilization uprooted and imprisoned in the Twilight Cage. Following the Nocturnus Clan's disappearance, the surviving members of the Knuckles Clan believed that Perfect Chaos destroyed them as well, while the rest of the world believed that Emerl destroyed the Nocturnus Clan directly.
When faced with the multitude of cosmic horrors cohabiting the Twilight Cage, the Nocturnus Clan was forced to change rapidly, from a clockwork-and-waterwheels tribal system to a sinister technophilic imperium. Through strategic alliances (or failing that, direct subjugation), Imperator Ix was able to dominate the other races of the Twilight Cage, and hatched a plan to return to Earth with the power of the Master Emerald and Chaos Emeralds.
A few years after arriving in the Twilight Cage (according to Nestor the Wise), they finally succeeded in sending a few warriors (led by Procurator Shade) back to Sonic's world by means of phase-shifting technology, only to find that several thousand years had passed there while they had been gone. They successfully stole the Chaos Emeralds from Knuckles the Echidna (last descendant of their ancient enemies, the Knuckles Clan) and set up a temporary base in the remains of the Metropolis (Dr. Eggman's former base, then deserted) along with other hideouts used by Doctor Eggman and also reactivated old technology that were created by Eggman. They used the Chaos Emeralds to bring Angel Island to them, so that they could steal the Master Emerald without interference from G.U.N. When Sonic, Knuckles, and their allies traveled to Angel Island to stop them, Shade discovered that Imperator Ix intended not merely to return their people to their original world, but actually subjugate the world under Nocturnus rule even if both sides had to experience losses. Learning this, she switched allegiance and joined Sonic's team.
Together, the team journeyed into the Twilight Cage, uniting Ix's vassal states (the Kron, the Zoah, the N'rrgal, and the Voxai—all of whom resented Ix's rule) and launching an attack on the Nocturne, they stole back the Master Emerald and stopped the Nocturnus Clan. Shade managed to escape the Twilight Cage back to Sonic's world, but what happened to the other members of the Nocturnus Clan is unknown.
- Marauder Scout
- Marauder Vet Scout
- Nocturnus Velite
- Nocturne Hastatus
- Nocturne Princeps
- Nocturne Triarius
- Nocturne Equites
- Nocturne Praetorian
- Nocturne Decurion
- Nocturne High Praetorian
- Gizoid Mk. II
- Gizoid Centurions
- Gizoid Guardian
- Prefect Charyb
- Prefect Scylla
- Emerl (formerly)
In other media
The Nocturnus Clan (referred to solely as Marauders) made an appearance in a five-page game adaption story in the Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog #191. In the short strip, which serves as a prequel of sorts to the game, Tails builds a trap to capture the Marauders with the sole remaining Chaos Emerald as bait. As Tails and Knuckles watch nearby, three Marauders appear, take the Chaos Emerald, and destroy the trap. Knuckles leaps into action and battles off the soldiers as more teleport in, but Shade arrives and swiftly defeats him. She orders her men to retreat, after which Tails flees to contact Sonic and G.U.N. to muster the forces necessary to defeat the Marauders.
The history of the Nocturnus Clan in the comics was revealed in the Sonic Super Special Magazine #2 and in Sonic the Hedgehog: The Complete Sonic Comic Encyclopedia. Hundreds of years ago when a group of Albion colonists landed in Soumerca, the resident Felidae warriors attacked and most of the colonists chose to leave and continue their voyage elsewhere. Two castes opted to remain and fight: the Knuckles Clan warrior caste and the Nocturnus Clan advance sciences caste. Relations between the two groups were not positive, and at some point the Nocturnus Clan mysteriously vanished into the Twilight Cage, sustaining themselves with their advanced technology.
Although the Nocturnus Tribe have not appeared explicitly in any other Sonic media beyond Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood game, they appear heavily reminiscent of the Dark Legion from the Archie Comics. Not just in terms of a similar name: like the Nocturnus "dark brotherhood", the Dark Legion were a faction of technophilic echidnas who fought against Knuckles' ancestors, only to be banished to the Twilight Zone, where time flows more slowly than on Mobius.
The name "Dark Brotherhood" is possibly derived from the Dark Legion and the Brotherhood of Guardians, two groups of echidnas from the Archie series.
Imperator Ix, the leader of the Nocturnus, has also been likened to Doctor Finitevus—a "Technomage" of the Dark Legion. Fans of the older UK Fleetway Sonic the Comic series, however, are quick to point out that Finitevus himself seems inspired by STC's Doctor Zachary. All three of these characters are evil-aligned, white-furred male echidnas, with a penchant for technology and megalomania. Ix's name is also reminiscent of another character from the Archie Comics series: the sorcerer Ixis Naugus.
Shade is also reminiscent of another Archie Comic character, Julie-Su. She is a former Dark Legionnaire who turned traitor to the Legion when she fell in love with Knuckles. Likewise, dialogue does seem to hint Shade has an interest in Knuckles. She also turned traitor against her former group for a new group of friends.
The soldier classifications in the Nocturnus army are taken from Imperial Roman army ranks; triarius, hastatus, equite and prateorian to name a few. Likewise, the head of state for the Nocturnus, Imperator was the head of state for the Roman Republic and, later, Roman Empire, which is also the root word for "Emperor," although its literal translation is closer to "Commander."
- The Nocturnus tribe could be based on the Archie Comics' Dark Legion, since both are a race of echidnas with high-tech weapons and both have a female traitor who could have a relationship with Knuckles (Shade).
- It is believed this similarity is what sparked the lawsuit between former comic writer, Ken Penders, and Sega/BioWare. This eventually led to a massive reboot of the long-running comic series, and the retirement of all its echidna characters (save for Sega echidnas Tikal and Knuckles) and most non-Sega characters under Penders' claim.
- Some of the armor that the Nocturnus Clan wears is similar to the Quarians from Mass Effect, a game also made by BioWare.
- "4,000 years ago, the two rival clans of the planet's dominant Echidnas race had been blessed with centuries of peace, albeit strained, but such days were to be short-lived. The expanding borders of the Knuckles' Clan empire and the Nocturnus Clan empire were pushing against each other, and neither side was intent on yielding" - Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood instruction booklet, pg. 4.