"The Emperor is our Father and our Guardian, but we must also Guard the Emperor."
- — Teachings of the Adepta Sororitas
The Adepta Sororitas, also known as the Sisters of Battle and formerly as the Daughters of the Emperor, are an all-female division of the Imperial Cult's ecclesiastical Adepta known as the Ecclesiarchy or, more formally, as the Adeptus Ministorum. The Sisterhood's Orders Militant serve as the Ecclesiarchy's military arm, mercilessly rooting out corruption and heresy within humanity and every organisation of the Adeptus Terra.
There is naturally some overlap between the duties of the Sisterhood and the Imperial Inquisition; for this reason, although the Inquisition and the Sisterhood remain entirely separate organisations, the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas also act as the Chamber Militant of the Inquisition's Ordo Hereticus.
The Adepta Sororitas and the Sisters of Battle are commonly regarded as the same organisation, but the latter title technically refers only to the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas, the best-known part of the organisation. The Sisterhood serves as the Ministorum's only official military force because the Decree Passive laid down by the reformist Ecclesiarch Sebastian Thor held that in the wake of the Age of Apostasy's Reign of Blood in the 36th Millennium, the Ecclesiarchy cannot maintain any "men under arms."
This command was supposed to limit the power of the Ecclesiarchy by preventing it from maintaining the massive armies of the faithful Frateris Templar it once used to abuse its power from the 32nd to the 36th Millennia. However, the Adeptus Ministorum has been able to circumvent this decree by using the all-female military force of the Sisterhood's Orders Militant.
The Adepta Sororitas, also known as the Sisters of Battle, are an elite sisterhood of warriors raised from infancy to adore and worship the Emperor of Mankind. Their fanatical devotion and unwavering spiritual purity is a bulwark against corruption, heresy and alien attack, and once battle has been joined they will stop at nothing until their enemies are utterly crushed.
Battle-Sisters will stride through fire if need be, their Bolters spitting staccato bursts of destruction every step of the way. Not even death can stay the wrath of the Adepta Sororitas -- indeed, the blood of martyrs only strengthens the resolve of Battle Sisters, spurring them to greater acts of heroism in the name of the honoured fallen.
The Adeptus Ministorum -- or the Ecclesiarchy as it is generally known in the Imperium -- is a monolithic state church founded on the worship of the God-Emperor as the saviour of Mankind and the preaching of the Imperial Creed throughout the whole galaxy. The Sisters of Battle are the army of the Ecclesiarchy. Clad in ceramite Power Armour, they carry an awesome array of weaponry with which to vanquish their enemies; the incredible wealth of the Ecclesiarchy ensures that they are equipped with the best wargear the Imperium has to offer.
The Sisters of Battle are trained to the peak of human ability and stand amongst Mankind's most dedicated and disciplined warriors. Wherever there are foes of the Emperor, the Sisters of Battle will be found fighting with faith and steel. When not actively prosecuting the Ecclesiarchy's wars, the Battle-Sisters of the Orders Militant divide their time between rigorous training and devout worship of the God-Emperor.
Indeed, to the Adepta Sororitas, the disciplines are nigh inseparable, for whilst combat drills and studies of battle tactics can hone the body and the mind, only penitent prayer can bolster the spirit, and all three are required to defeat the Imperium's foes. The combination of combat doctrine and prayer is most evident on the battlefield, where Battle-Sisters loudly proclaim their faith in hymn and verse as they march to war, calling upon the Emperor to aid them in the fight against their enemies. The intense, unquestioning nature of this faith is a potent weapon indeed, manifesting as divine inspiration that drives the Sororitas to unprecedented feats of martial prowess.
Sisters of Battle gripped with holy fervour banish worldly fears from their minds, shrug off mortal wounds, and summon preternatural strength to smite their foes. The Sisters of Battle believe their faith to be a weapon stronger than any steel, and those who witness their battlefield miracles are left in no doubt that the spirit of the Emperor indeed walks with these pious warriors. Once battle has been joined, the Adepta Sororitas will stop at nothing until their enemies are utterly crushed.
The Age of Apostasy
"Blackest of Ages, Saddest of Times. Let none give name to he that laid us low..."
- —The Chant of Days, Scrivener Obyss Mak
The Adepta Sororitas date their founding from the 36th Millennium during the turbulent times known as the Age of Apostasy. During this age the Ecclesiarchy held nigh total power, which it used to ensure that every single subject of the Emperor in the Imperium paid their dues, both spiritually and financially, to the duly appointed officers of the faith. In time, the Ministorum exercised such power that it began to dictate the policies of the Council of the High Lords of Terra.
The Ecclesiarch came to be viewed as speaking with the authority of the Emperor Himself, and he influenced every aspect of the governance of the Imperium. Perhaps it was inevitable that the other great bureaucracies of the Imperium should grow resentful of the Ministorum. The Adeptus Administratum in particular found its own powers greatly curtailed, for the Ministorum's tithes took precedence over its own raising of funds and resources, leaving little in the coffers to pay for the running of the Imperium.
The Administratum's political influence soon waned so far that the Ministorum was able to dictate policy in secular matters as well. The raising and deployment of armies, the prosecution of wars, the commitment of significant Imperial resources and the appointment of sector lords all fell under the effective control of the Ministorum. In time, other institutions began to distrust the Ministorum's power, and the Adeptus Astartes and the Adeptus Mechanicus in particular became increasingly estranged.
As if the situation could not get any worse, the entire Imperium was soon plunged into even deeper despair. The incidence of Warp Storms, a phenomenon that cuts off vast swathes of the Imperium's space from interstellar travel and communication, increased by an order of magnitude. The Warp began to seethe with roiling energies which bled forth into realspace, making travel between anything other than worlds in the same planetary system increasingly perilous. Central governance of worlds limited to periodic contact at the best of times entirely collapsed.
Where the Black Ships of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica were unable to get through, entire populations fell to daemonic incursion or Enslaver domination. Civil war and anarchy beset the Imperium, with those planets that remained accessible being ruthlessly suppressed by the increasingly brutal Frateris Templars. Seeing that their foes were tearing themselves apart, the myriad enemies of humanity struck.
The Traitor Legions sallied forth from the Eye of Terror, using their own blasphemous sorceries to strike planets otherwise cut off from outside aid. Orks traversed the Warp in their ramshackle Space Hulks, uncaring where the tides of the Empyrean regurgitated them and wreaking havoc in regions previously beyond their reach. The Drukhari used their Webway to freely navigate the galaxy, and struck wherever they desired, dragging millions of captives screaming to their infernal realm of Commorragh, to suffer tortures and degradations beyond a sane man's imagination.
The entire Imperium was gripped by an apocalyptic frenzy of doom and anarchy. Countless new sects sprung into being, many proclaiming that the God-Emperor was enacting His final judgement upon Mankind and that the end times were at hand. No world was untouched by the anarchy, as whole populations rose up in increasingly bizarre and extravagant acts of penance and self-flagellation. Anyone who dared attempt to reason with such doomsayers were declared Heretics, and world after world tore themselves apart in an orgy of bloodletting and violent penance.
Onto this doom-laden stage stepped the insane Goge Vandire, the 361st High Lord of the Administratum, a position he had attained by the ruthless application of bribes, threats and outright assassination. A strident opponent of the Ministorum, Vandire had plotted against it for many standard years. Shortly before his ascension to the rank of High Lord, Vandire brought about the selection of a man of his own choosing to head the Ecclesiarchy, ensuring that none could stand before his subsequent rise.
As confidence in the new puppet-Ecclesiarch, Paulis III, plummeted, Goge Vandire made his move, taking control of the Ecclesiarchy in a military coup and assuming the dual roles of Ecclesiarch and High Lord of the Administratum, driving the Imperium into the bitterest period of civil war and rebellion since the Horus Heresy -- the Reign of Blood.
The Daughters of the Emperor
Early in his tyrannical rule, Vandire's agent sent him word of a unique sisterhood of warrior-women living on the little known world of San Leor. Hearing of their ascetic way of life, their utter dedication to the Emperor, and in particular their skills at arms, Vandire decided that he would make a formal visit to the secluded convent of the "Daughters of the Emperor."
The first that the inhabitants of San Leor knew about the state visit by the man who was the de facto lord of the Imperium was when several thousand of his retainers marched into their simple towns, and demanded that they show the High Lord the utmost devotion, on pain of death. Images of these vast processions were recorded by the spy-lenses of hundreds of Servo-skulls, and disseminated across every world in the Imperium not cut off by the raging Warp Storms. The image of the High Lord Vandire being "welcomed" to San Leor became a staple of Ecclesiarchy propaganda.
When at last the vast cavalcade reached the gates of the convent in which the Daughters of the Emperor resided, Vandire found them barred and closed. The voice of the gatekeeper informed the High Lord that the Daughters of the Emperor recognised only the authority of the God-Emperor Himself, and would open their gates to no man. Vandire's attendants cringed in anticipation of an explosion of rage, yet uncharacteristically, the High Lord remained calm.
In a serene manner, Vandire told the gatekeeper that he would prove that he spoke with the authority of the Emperor Himself, if they would allow him to enter their convent with but a small bodyguard. The Daughters of the Emperor acceded to Vandire's request, and the High Lord and a small group of his retainers were led into the central courtyard. There, Vandire announced to the gathered sisters that he would prove that the Emperor's Grace was upon him, and that should he lie, he would be slain.
Vandire brandished his Rosarius, and ordered one of his bodyguards to shoot him. The man was dumbfounded, and fearful of harming his master, but Vandire insisted. Forcing his trembling hand to stillness, the guard aimed his Laspistol straight at Vandire's heart and fired. Vandire was consumed in a blinding white light, and when the vision of the gathered witnesses had cleared, they saw that he stood unharmed before them. All in the courtyard went down upon their knees, and the Daughters of the Emperor proclaimed their fealty to High Lord Vandire.
In truth, Vandire had tricked the sisters, gambling that they would never have seen a Rosarius. It was the energy field projected by the generator within the ornate medallion that had turned the guard's shot, and not the protection of the Emperor. Nonetheless, the Daughters of the Emperor promised themselves to serve their new master, and at his word changed the name of their order to the "Brides of the Emperor."
The sisters became Vandire's personal bodyguard, and their skill at arms was enhanced by training in the finest weapons and armour the High Lord could provide. The Brides of the Emperor would stand at Vandire's side wherever he went, and they were both his bodyguards and his executioners. Word of their dedication spread across the worlds of the Imperium, and none who entered the High Lord's presence would so much as look at him askance under the silent, watchful gaze of the Brides of the Emperor.
The Terran Crusade
Countless millions soon burned in the fires of Vandire's Reign of Blood. It was during this dark, forbidding time that a reformist sect known as the Confederation of Light emerged and denounced Vandire as a Traitor. Led by the preacher Sebastian Thor, the Confederation of Light spread its message of a church dedicated not to politics and the secular rule of the Imperium but to the compassion and mercy of the Emperor to a brutalised people only too ready to throw off the yoke of oppression.
An orator of supreme skill, Sebastian Thor swayed whole worlds to his cause and turned the tide against Vandire. As Thor's crusade smashed aside those who remained loyal to the Ecclesiarch, the Space Marines and the Adeptus Mechanicus, both of whom had remained largely on the defensive during the Age of Apostasy, were finally able to join forces with Thor and close on Terra.
As Vandire's madness had become all too apparent, the Fabricator-General, Gastaph Hediatrix, of the Adeptus Mechanicus roused the Senatorum Imperialis to oust Vandire from power. Vandire's answer was to dissolve the Senatorium Imperialis and declare both the Mechanicus and the Adeptus Astartes Heretics and Traitors to the Imperium.
This affront made the Space Marines reconsider their neutrality toward Vandire and the Reign of Blood in general, and at the height of the Age of Apostasy in 378.M36, an elite Space Marine strike force composed of forces drawn from the Imperial Fists, Black Templars, Fire Hawks, Soul Drinkers, and the forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus assaulted the Renegade High Lord Goge Vandire's seat of power -- the massive Ecclesiarchal Palace on Terra.
The Space Marines, believing Vandire to be only protected by legions of zealous but ineffective Frateris Templar troops, launched one of their trademark lightning Drop Pod assaults. However, once on the ground, the Astartes found to their dismay that they had grossly underestimated the opposition. Facing them were a corps of superbly trained warrior women, clad in Power Armour and wielding Bolters, who fought with a passion remarkable even to their Astartes opponents and stood their ground to the last woman, fearless and fanatical in the belief that they were protecting the Emperor Himself.
The Space Marines' assault bogged down as they were pushed back with casualties, and the attackers were forced to resort to a long, grinding and bloody siege of the Ecclesiarchal Palace complex with quarter neither asked for nor given. For solar months, Vandire's army withstood every assault. The madness only ended when the commander of the Adeptus Custodes -- the praetorian guard of the Emperor Himself -- sought out Alicia Dominica and her most trusted companions, the leaders of Vandire's bodyguard.
The Custodes took them before the Golden Throne and the God-Emperor, and though no written histories tell of what transpired there, it was evident that some great truth was passed to Dominica and her fellow warriors. When they emerged from the bowels of the Imperial Palace they marched with barely-controlled fury to Vandire's audience chamber.
There, they found him in the midst of yet another insane tirade, pausing only to condemn him for his crimes against the Emperor. Reportedly, Vandire's final words were "I don't have time to die -- I'm too busy!"
Alicia Dominica drew her Power Sword and beheaded the High Lord. It is said that at the moment of truth Vandire's Rosarius, which had protected him upon San Leor, now failed him, its gleaming form cleaved in two by Alicia's blow. The Reign of Blood was over.
The Reformation of the Ecclesiarchy
"Let the word of the Emperor be heard once more wherever men gather and look upwards unto the stars. Let them know that the Emperor looks back upon them, from the Golden Throne, wherever in this benighted galaxy they might reside."
- —Cardinal Bloo
In the wake of Vandire's downfall, Sebastian Thor was declared the 292nd Ecclesiarch and the Imperium began the long process of rebuilding. Perhaps the most sweeping of changes Thor instigated affected the military forces over which the Ministorum held sway. What remained of the Frateris Templars was disbanded, under the terms of the so-called Decree Passive, which forbade the Adeptus Ministorum from controlling any "men under arms."
Never again would the Ecclesiarchy threaten the continued rule of the Administratum. The Brides, after resuming their original title of Daughters of the Emperor, were at a loss as to what their purpose should be after this event, and so the Ecclesiarchy took the opportunity to recruit and indoctrinate them into the ranks of the Minostorum's military forces. Due to their all-female membership, the Daughters of the Emperor did not technically break the ban and thus, the Ecclesiarchy was able to circumvent the Decree Passive's strictures, even if the spirit of Thor's decree was rather blatantly disregarded.
This newly formed military force was renamed the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas. The Sisterhood became true defenders of the faith and a very physical reminder of the power of the Ecclesiarchy. Trained to the highest levels possible for normal humans and possessed of a phenomenal faith in the God-Emperor of Mankind, the Sisters would go on to engage in Wars of Faith, bringing the light of the Emperor to parts of the galaxy that had fallen into darkness.
During the first years of the Sisterhood's existence, Alicia Dominica, who founded the Orders Militant at Thor's behest, led wars of faith against the alien invaders that had exploited the Imperium's weakness during the Reign of Blood. Silvana, Mina, Lucia, Katherine and Arabella -- those Sisters who had joined her before the Golden Throne -- accompanied Dominica.
Under their combined leadership, the Sororitas were filled with a righteousness of purpose that the Imperium had not witnessed since the legendary days of the Great Crusade. Countless enemies fell as the armies of the Sororitas brought the divine judgement of the Ecclesiarchy to the farthest corners of the galaxy, and to this day, the Sisters of Battle have stood as faithful and loyal defenders of the Ecclesiarchy, and the Imperium.
The Convocation of Nephilim
During Thor's Reformation, another organisation came into being at the end of the Age of Apostasy -- the Ordo Hereticus. Formed initially to ensure that such a calamity as the Age of Apostasy could never again befall the Imperium, its remit soon expanded to cover not just doctrinal heresy, but genetic and psychic divergence as well. Soon after the formation of the Orders Militant, the masters of the Ordo Herericus and the highest ranked of the Adepta Sororitas signed the Convocacion of Nephilim, a document that bound the Sisterhood to the Ordo Hereticus as its Chamber Militant.
The exact details of this agreement have never been revealed, but some believe it to be linked to the knowledge imparted to Dominica and her companions before the Golden Throne. That such knowledge could be so dire as to bind the two organisations so formally is testament to the weight of the task with which the Adepta Sororitas and the Ordo Hereticus are burdened. Others believe that the Convocation was intended to curb the power of the Ecclesiarchy, exploiting the fact that the Sororitas are a loyal and zealous force that could be used to enforce the agendas of the newly formed Ordo, thus turning a blind eye to the naming of the spirit of the Decree Passive.
Whatever the truth, those who seek it without the blessing of the highest-ranking members of either organisation will find only a slow and painful death in the deepest excruciation chambers of the Ordo Hereticus, or a fiery, yet equally painful end at the hands of the Adepta Sororitas.
Wars of Faith
- The Reign of Blood (Late M35-Early M36) - Goge Vandire engineers the ascension of the degenerate Ecclesiarch Paulis III, then becomes 361st High Lord of the Administratum. Shortly after, Vandire topples Paulis and assumes the mantle of both High Lord of the Administratum and Ecclesiarch. Vandire's Reign of Blood begins. Almost 14 billion are slaughtered by the Divine Army during the Purge of Lastrati. The Daughters of the Emperor from San Leor are co-opted into becoming Vandire's personal bodyguard, and are renamed the Brides of the Emperor. The Reign of Blood culminates in the Siege of the Ecclesiarchal Palace, at the height of which High Lord Vandire is executed by Alicia Dominca, the leader of the Brides of the Emperor.
- The Thorian Reformation (Early M36) - Sebastian Thor assumes the position of Ecclesiarch. The 4,000 or so surviving Brides of the Emperor become the Daughters of the Emperor once more. They are divided between the two newly established convents -- the Convent Prioris on Terra, and the Convent Sanctorum on Ophelia VII. Those sisters still residing at San Leor are transported to the new convents, and the foundations of the non-militant orders are laid. In 288.M36 the Decree Passive prohibits the Ecclesiarchy maintaining standing armies of "men under arms." The Daughters of the Emperor are officially constituted as the Adepta Sororitas. The ranks of the Adepta Sororitas swell to over 10,000 battle sisters, leading Sebastian Thor to establish the system of orders.
- The Martyrdom of Alicia Dominica (c.650.M36) - Alicia Dominica falls at the Battle of Frideswide's World, surviving hundreds of blows but falling to a single traitor’s lasgun blast to her heart. She is declared a saint soon after. Ecclesiarch Equitus XI formalises the position of Abbess of the Adepta Sororitas and appoints Sister Palmiro of the Order of the Holy Word to the position.
- Wars of Faith (Early M38) - During a century in which the power of the Ministorum reaches a peak not seen since the reformation of Saint Sebastian, a thousand Wars of Faith are launched across the length and breadth of the Imperium, and billions of heretics are put to the pyre.
- Founding of the Orders of the Blood Rose & Sacred Rose (Mid M38) - An additional two Orders Militant are formed by order of Ecclesiarch Deacis VI. The Order of the Bloody Rose is founded at the Convent Sanctorum in honor of Saint Mina. The Order of the Sacred Rose, founded in memory of Saint Arabella, the last of the six sisters to enter the Throne Room, is formed at the Convent Prioris.
- The San Leore Massacre (799.M41) - A Red Corsairs strike force invades San Leor, the original home world of the Daughters of the Emperor. The Chaos Space Marines are unprepared for the fury of the Sororitas reprisal, as they come under assault from nine separate Orders Militant and are utterly annihilated by the combined counter-attack.
- The Battle of Fire and Blood (833.M41) - During the Vinculus Crusade, Black Templars Space Marine Chapter join forces with the Order of the Bloody Rose to purge the heretical warrior-cults of the Peleregon cluster.
- The War for Piety (835.M41) - The Shrine World of Piety rematerialises after being swallowed by a Warp storm two centuries earlier. The planet is, however, almost unrecognisable, having transformed into a hideous Daemon World. Canoness Sariah of the Order of the Sacred Rose immediately leads a force of Battle Sisters to the planet to retrieve artefacts from the Reliquary of Hope, one of the few sites on the whole world to have withstood the corrupting touch of Chaos. As the rest of her forces establish a formidable perimeter around the reliquary, Sariah leads several Celestian and Dominion squads into the labyrinthine corridors beneath it. For three days, Canoness Sariah and her Sisters battle through monster-infested passageways; bolters cut down scores of blood-hungry Daemon-hounds and flamers burn swathes of Nurglings and bloated plaguebeasts. Only Sariah and two Celestians survive to rejoin the Battle Sisters on the surface, having recovered the left thigh bone of Saint Dolan and three pages of the ominous Lexicon of Falsehoods from a stasis vault. The surviving Battle Sisters withdraw to orbit with their prizes just as a fleet of Grey Knights vessels arrives and lays waste to the planet with cyclonic torpedoes.
- The Defence of Dimmamar (858.M41) - Dimmamar, birth world of Sebastian Thor, comes under attack from the Eldar of Craftworld Ulthwé without any warning or apparent reason. Seraphim Superior Amelda of the Order of the Bloody Rose immediately retaliates, leading her squad of Seraphim in a daring attack to slay the enemy commander -- Farseer Kauerith. The Seraphim's pistols blast a bloody path through a score of black-clad Eldar before the Sisters are engulfed in a hurricane of psychic lighting. Though many of her companions fall, Amelda refuses to yield and defiantly advances through the edritch storm, slaying the Eldar Farseer with a single bolt round to the head.
- The Bloodtide Martyrs (876.M41) - Chaos comes to the Basilica of St. Mariel on the world of Van Horne in the shape of the Bloodthirster known as the Lord of the Bloodtide. The first to oppose the Daemon's legions are the Battle Sisters of the Order of the Ebon Chalice, but soon after battle is joined, all contact is lost with the Adepta Sororitas. The Daemons are eventually vanquished with the arrival of the 4th Brotherhood of Grey Knights. Upon their victory, contact with the Imperium is re-established and it is discovered that every Battle Sister on the planet has been killed. The slain are officially elevated into the ranks of honoured martyrs in the eyes of the Sisterhood.
- The Slaughter at Sanctuary 101 (897.M41) - On a world in the Vidar Sector located in the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy, the Order of Our Martyred Lady had founded a fortress-convent designated Sanctuary 101. The isolated convent had the misfortune of being the Imperium's first recorded contact with the Necrons, where the Battle-Sisters were massacred by Necron Raiders. Video logs recorded a furious battle between the valiant Sisterhood and the Necron Warriors, but little of worth was displayed as there appears to have been an artificial disruption introduced into the recordings. Subsequent investigations into the site of battle revealed nothing more than the mutilated corpses of the Adepta Sororitas, eviscerated in a hideously surgical manner. No signs of the true nature of Sanctuary 101's undying attackers were ever found.
- The Battle of the Penitent (938.M41) - The Orders of the Valorous Heart and Ebon Chalice suffer great losses against Warboss Blackaxe's Orks and are pushed back to the walls of the Cathedral of Saint Dufaux. The attackers are held back only due to the unyielding determination and sacrifice of hundreds of Sisters Repentia. However, their martyrdom buys time for the Battle Sisters to open the vast cathedral gates. The greenskins are slaughtered shortly thereafter as two dozen Penitent Engines rampage across the battlefield, staining it with Ork blood.
- The Promethium War (980.M41) - The Order of the Ebon Chalice reinforces Space Marines of the Salamanders Chapter who are engaged in a brutal urban war against the dread Black Legion on the world of Heletine. The enemy is put to the torch as dozens of Immolators and Land Raider Redeemers burn a path through several war-torn cities. Despite the strength of their combined forces, the Imperium's advance is halted when Lord Gralastyx -- the Daemon Prince leading the Forces of Chaos -- unleashes a legion of Possessed Chaos Space Marines. As the frenzied Chaos horde rips through the Imperium's ranks, Battle Sisters and Space Marines fight back-to-back, their bolters and flamers defiantly blazing away as every warrior endeavours to sell their life dearly. However, the allied forces are saved when Saint Celestine appears, falling upon the Chaos horde like an avenging angel. The Living Saint carves a bloody path through the baying horde towards Lord Gralastyx, before plunging her fiery blade through his tainted heart. With the death of Gralastyx, the Chaos horde is banished into the Warp, but of Celestine there is no sign, for she has vanished as mysteriously as she appeared.
- The Martyrdom of Praxedes (991.M41) - Canoness Praxedes of the Order of Our Martyred Lady reinforces the Imperial Guard on the cardinal world of Okassis, soon after the start of the Second Tyrannic War. As the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Kraken assault the Ecclesiarchal Cathedral, the combined fire of Retributor squads and Exorcist tanks obliterates the first wave, but the second manages to breach the Cathedral's fortress-walls. As Tyranids pour through, Praxedes confronts a monstrous Hive Tyrant. During the fighting, the Canoness is dealt a mortal wound, but even as her blood pours onto the floor, Praxedes summons the strength to land one final blow, caving in the Hive Tyrant's skull with a thunderous strike from her power mace. With the Tyrant's destruction, the Tyranid swarm looses all direction. The Battle Sisters waste no time in pressing the assault, determined to avenge the death of their beloved leader. Such is the fury of their counter-attack that the remaining aliens are swept aside, buying the time needed to evacuate the Ecclesiarchy's priests from Okassis.
- The Third War for Armageddon (998.M41) - The Orders of the Argent Shroud and Our Martyred Lady stand amongst the Imperium’s defenders as Ghazghkull Thraka invades the world of Armageddon once more. In the initial Ork assault, the Battle-Sisters' positions were attacked by large Ork submersibles which emerged from the Boiling Sea. Caught unawares by the audaciousness and sheer ferocity of the Greenskins' attack, many of the Battle-Sisters were slain. The Battle-Sisters were the front line of defence for Hive Tempestora, but their battle lines soon were overrun. This enabled the vile Greenskins to take control of the hive city's underhive within only a few hours. With each successive wave of Ork attacks, the Sisters were continuously pushed back, until finally they found themselves with their backs to the great armoured doors of their Sanctorum. It was there that the Battle-Sisters made their final heroic (but futile) stand against the encroaching Ork hordes. This day became one of the darkest within the Order's history as their battle lines crumpled and they were scattered. Those few Sisters that survived the final assault attempted to form their lines again but were cut down by the massive green tide of Orks. After an hour of savage fighting, no humans were left alive as the vile Orks took Hive Tempestora and the Sanctorum. After this defeat, the Order could barely field three whole companies. The loss of their Sanctorum and the many valiant Sisters who had fallen was acutely felt throughout the rest of the Order -- many Novices began questioning their faith in the Emperor. Those Battle-Sisters that remained recovered quickly, swearing mighty oaths of vengeance against the foul Greenskins and vowing to retake Hive Tempestora, no matter the cost. But before they could do so, the surviving Sisters of the Order were spread across the rest of the planet to help solidify key Imperial positions. Their presence proved pivotal in preventing the Orks from overrunning several areas of Armageddon.
In the 41st Millennium, the Adepta Sororitas is part of the Ecclesiarchy and is divided into two Convents. The Convent Prioris is located on Terra, and the Convent Sanctorum is based on the Shrine World of Ophelia VII. The overall commander and spiritual leader of the entire Sisterhood and all its myriad Orders is the Abbess Sanctorum, the leader of the Convent Prioris on Terra. As the recognised leader of the Adepta Sororitas, the Abbess Sanctorum is sometimes elected to join the ranks of the High Lords of Terra, while other times she is subservient to the commands of the Ecclesiarch.
The Convents of the Sisterhood are organised into several Orders. Each Order follows the same basic hierarchical structure:
- Order: Led by the most senior Canoness, called the Canoness Superior, who runs the entire Order. Each Canoness Superior is subservient only to the will of the Abbess Sanctorum.
- Preceptory: A Preceptory contains a single Convent with up to 1,000 Sisters, so an Adepta Sororitas Preceptory is equivalent in size to a Space Marine Chapter and is lead by a Canoness Preceptor or Prioress.
- Commandery: A Commandery normally comprises several smaller Convents or detachments of Orders Militant Sisters from a single Convent with up to 200 Sisters of Battle, led by a Canoness Commander. A Commandery is more or less equal in size to a Space Marine company.
- Mission: The smallest organisation of the Sisters, a Mission consists of a few Sororitas units and can be led by a Canoness or the lesser rank of Palatine.
Unlike the many Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes, the Sisterhood is united into a single organisation with a centralised ruling body. The head of the Adepta Sororitas holds the rank of Abbess, and is elected from and by the leaders of all the Orders. Beneath the Abbess are two Prioresses, one leading each Convent, and below these, the Canonesses Superior of each Order.
There exists a hierarchy of sorts amongst these leaders, though to outsiders it is highly arcane and ritualistic and based on a system of precedence. Orders that were established by "Ecclesiarchal Writ" are ranked higher in the order of precedence than those that were formed by a group splitting off from a preexistent order. This is especially visible in the six Orders Militant, each of which has spawned dozens of far smaller Lesser Orders Militant, the Canonesses of which rank lower in the order of precedence than those of their parent organisation.
The Canonesses are aided in their duties by their Order's Palatines. These are highly experienced and capable officers, from whose ranks the next Canoness will be drawn. It is the Palatines that often lead missions in the field, whether the Order is an Order Militant fighting the enemies of Mankind, or an Order Hospitaller establishing a hospital at the front lines. Below the Palatines are the Sister Superiors, who lead or supervise groups of their sisters in whatever tasks the order in question is focussed upon.
Members of the Adepta Sororitas can and do transfer from one Order to another, depending on their own unique skills and experience. In particular, a sister of an Order Militant may eventually transfer to a non-militant order to carry on the Emperor's work should age or injury render her less effective a warrior. Furthermore, it is not unheard of for a senior member of the Sisterhood to transfer to another organisation entirely; several Canonesses are known to have become Inquisitors, one a Cardinal Palatine and one even a Rogue Trader.
- Sororitas Command Squad - A Sororitas Command Squad is formed from the ranks of the elite Celestians, for only the most dedicated and distinguished Sisters of Battle are granted the privilege of forming their leader's bodyguard. Having earned their scars and proven their merit on scores of battlefields, the Celestians of a Sororitas Command Squad are often given the honour of carrying the sacred standard of the Order into battle, or of safeguarding a revered relic -- perhaps the bones of a long dead saint or an icon believed to have been touched by the Emperor himself -- during the course of a campaign. A Sororitas Command Squad may also be accompanied by Sisters from other, non-militant Orders, who act as advisors and specialists to the Canoness. These Sisters are commonly from the Orders Dialogus -- skilled orators whose amplified voices can embolden the spirits of nearby troops -- and the Orders Hospitaller. With her chirurgeon's tools, the medical ministrations from a Sister Hospitaller can staunch the bleeding from mortal wounds and purge many lethal poisons from a warrior's bloodstream, allowing a Battle Sister to return to the fray despite grievous injuries.
- Sisters Repentia - Confession and prayer are as much a part of a Battle Sister's everyday existence as bolter drills and military discipline. Those who fall short of the Sisterhood's rigorous codes are subject to many punishments, but in the more serious of cases the transgressor may be exiled from their Order. These warriors, known as Sisters Repentia, are each cast out with only a handful of rags, a hood to cover their face and a ceremonial Eviscerator with which to strike down the Emperor's enemies. Sisters Repentia band together into groups that seek redemption in the fires of battle, and they are led to war by a Mistress of Repentance -- a harsh warrior who drives her charges onwards with a pair of Neural Whips. The Mistress judges each exiled Sister's deeds and occasionally, at battle's end, she may declare her sins atoned for. Although extremely rare, those few who return to the fold of their Order are held with great esteem by the Sisterhood. To the Adepta Sororitas, those who seek forgiveness in the Emperor's eyes by treading the path of a Sister Repentia occupy a state of grace that many aspire to, yet few ever attain. Indeed, some Battle Sisters willingly exile themselves, finding fault in the smallest imagined transgression in order to join the ranks of the Repentia. These Sisters are possessed of a righteous zeal that knows neither pain nor fear. They will die when the Emperor is ready to accept their souls, and not a moment before. These Sisters' maniacal fervour inevitably means that they martyr themselves fighting against the most hopeless odds, finding in death the absolution denied to them in life.
Ranks of the Adepta Sororitas
Command Order Ranks
- Abbess Sanctorum - The Abbess Sanctorum is the leader of the Convent Prioris on Terra; she is also the overall spiritual leader of the Sisterhood. In military matters she is assisted by the Prioress of the Convent Sanctorum. In the centuries following the Age of Apostasy, Saint Dominica led the Adepta Sororitas as founder and overall patron. Her martyrdom at the hands of the heretics of Fridewide's World left a great void in the organisation, which experienced a temporary crisis as no leader felt they were able to adequately follow in Dominica's footsteps. Eventually, the Ecclesiarch Equitius XI intervened, and ordered the leaders of each Order to select one of their number to lead. After many weeks debate, the leaders agreed by majority that Sister Palmiro of the Order of the Holy Word was most suited to take up the rank of Abbess of the Adepta Sororitas. However, Sister Palmiro was an exceptionally humble woman, and declined to lead, stating that it was her intention to depart on a pilgrimage to San Leor, and that she had no desire for rank and privilege. After much debate, it was agreed that Sister Palmiro should complete her pilgrimage, but that she would take up the rank of Abbess upon her return, and regard it as a welcome penance. Palmiro agreed to these terms, and after barely a century the tradition of electing the candidate who least desired the rank of Abbess to the post became commonplace, that she should regard it not as a privilege but as a penance, and that she should undertake a pilgrimage to San Leor before taking up the position. This tradition was maintained for most of four millennia, until the election of Sister Sabrina of the Order of the Ermine Mantle. Unfortunately, Sabrina disappeared whilst on her pilgrimage, and never returned to Terra. The last sighting of Sabrina and her entourage was on the Ocean World of Habren IV, and though it is not known whether she fell prey to attack or some other misfortune, the Sisters of the Order of the Ermine Mantle have embarked upon at least a dozen missions to locate her. Until she is found on her fate determined, Ecclesiarchal law dictates that the post of Abbess of the Adepta Sororitas must remain vacant.
- Prioress - A Prioress is the overall leader of a single Convent of her Order.
- Canoness - A Canoness is an overall senior commander of one of the Orders Militant, each a veteran warrior of many hundreds of battles who has risen to her position through a combination of strong leadership, shrewd tactical genius and sheer overarching faith in the Emperor. Though she is ostensibly answerable to the Prioress of her Convent, a Canoness' superior knowledge of battle inevitably holds sway concerning military matters. There are several subdivisions of this rank, including:
- Canoness Superior - A Canoness Superior serves as the overall leader of an entire Order.
- Canoness-Preceptor - A Canoness-Preceptor serves as the leader of a single Preceptory of Sisters.
- Canoness Commander - A Canoness Commander serves as the leader of a Commandry.
- Palatine - A Palatine is a senior rank utilised by the Adeptus Sororitas. Though not as senior in rank as a Prioress or Canoness, they are nevertheless experienced and fierce warriors who lead and inspire their fellow Battle-Sisters in combat.
Orders Militant Ranks
- Celestian - Celestians are Battle Sisters who have proven themselves above and beyond the call of duty in their devotion to the Emperor during battle. The senior Celestians in an Order are called Celestians Superior and they aid the Canoness with the day-to-day running of the Order. They specifically act as administrative liaisons between the Sisters Superior and the Canoness, and may even lead Battle-Sisters into combat when the Canoness is otherwise engaged.
- Seraphim - Only the very best Battle-Sisters are able to join the ranks of the Seraphim, the elite warriors of the Orders Militant. Seraphim receive special training and equipment and are the equivalent of Assault Space Marines. A Seraphim Squad is comprised of Sisters of Battle who are trained in using Jump Packs. They have the ability to fire two Bolt Pistols simultaneously, making them experts at close combat. Seraphim Squads are deployed as a fast attack squad with the Sisters of Battle. The squad can be accompanied by a Sister Superior. Occasionally Seraphim carry a pair of Hand Flamers (a single-hand version of the regular Flamer) or Inferno Pistols.
- Retributor - A Retributor is a standard Battle-Sister who is outfitted with the Order's heaviest weaponry. Believing that the Emperor himself guides their aim, these Sisters annihilate the Ecclesiarchy's foes with overwhelming firepower. Retributors are commonly armed with heavy bolters to provide long-ranged support to squads of Battle Sisters, cutting down hordes of enemy infantry with a staggering rate of fire. However, in the close confines of urban warfare, or where the foe are wont to shelter behind armoured bulwarks, Retributors prefer to rely upon Heavy Flamers, unleashing searing infernos that burn their opponents out of cover and reduce them to charred corpses. Finally, completing the Holy Trinity of bolter, flamer, and melta, Retributors are also adept at wielding deadly Multi-Meltas, whose roaring thermal blasts can reduce the mightiest of battle tanks into molten slag.
- Dominion - A Dominion is a standard Battle-Sister who utilises specialised weaponry such as Storm Bolters, Flamers, and Meltaguns. They are amongst their Order's most aggressive warriors, driven by the need to destroy the Emperor's foes. Though their training has tempered the worse excess of their impetuosity, Dominions still yearn to fight at the fore of any Sororitas attack. As such the Orders Militant maintain several units who are almost solely comprised of such warriors. Dominion squads are the Sisters of Battle's shock troops and they are primarily tasked with leading the vanguard of Sororitas assaults, breaking through enemy front lines, destroying heavily defended fortifications and blunting the spearheads of any counter-attacks.
- Legatine Advance - The Legatine is among the highest ranking Sisters in any Order Militant of the Adepta Sororitas. The most skilled of warriors and the greatest spiritual leaders the Sororitas possess, they inspire great devotion in those that follow them and are political powers in their own right in the Imperium. Most Legatines go on to serve as a Canoness Preceptor, Prioress or even the Canoness Superior of their Order.
- Superior Advance - This senior rank is held by Battle-Sisters that have been singled out and nominated for the honour by their fellow Sisters, recognising those who possess the ability to lead. Sister Superiors are inspirational leaders, acting in the forefront of the Adepta’s work, demanding unflinching obedience to the Rule and unwavering faith in their subordinates. They are often given command of forces on the battlefield, field hospitals in active war zones or particular missions of investigation, as the purpose of their individual Order warrants.
- Celestian Advance - The most experienced Battle-Sisters are granted the honorific of Celestian, marking them out as highly skilled veterans of hundreds of engagements and combats. Celestians are the equal of any other fighting force humanity has to offer other than the superhuman Space Marines; they are greatly skilled, tactically experienced and resolute in their faith in the God-Emperor.
- Cantus Advance - By the time a Sister reaches the rank of Cantus she has mastered the fundamentals of her duties and may have already been chosen to serve within a particular Order, but the Adepta demand that each Sister know the fundamental skills of all Orders so she can be a multi-purpose tool in the Emperor's hand -- to cure, learn, counsel or kill.
- Sister Superior - A Sister Superior leads a single squad of Battle-Sisters, and is thus equivalent to a Space Marine Sergeant.
- Elohiem Advance - As Battle-Sisters advance and gain both in skill and experience, they are granted the mark of the Elohiem, meaning that they have willingly shed blood in the Emperor’s service.
- Militant Advance - The Sisters of the Orders Militant are the elite and merciless fighting arm of the Adeptus Ministorum and the Ordo Hereticus, and they are eternally vigilant and ceaselessly loyal to the Imperial Creed. This is the next rank earned by a Battle-Sister.
- Battle-Sister - The Battle-Sister is the basic rank of the Sisters of Battle after a woman has completed her training and taken her vows to the Emperor.
- Constantia Advance - In the final stage of the Noviciate, before they are inducted in to the full rank of Sister Adepta, the Novice’s learning encompasses the use of the Chamber Militant’s sacredly ordained weaponry such as the Bolter and resistance to the deceits of heresy. At this rank the Sister confirms her complete devotion to the Imperial Creed.
- Sororitas Acolyte - Due to the close ties between the Ordo Hereticus and the Adepta Sororitas' Orders Militant, it is not uncommon practice for these Sisters to serve the Inquisition for some part of their vocation. Sororitas chosen by their superiors for independent or detached service in this way are often among the most capable and self-sufficient of their Noviciate class, deemed strong enough to endure the rigors and perils of such duty. These Sisters often return to the Sororitas even firmer in their convictions and honed in their skills. Sororitas that survive long-term duties with the Inquisition are a very valuable asset for the Adepta in their war against heresy and faithlessness, and are often destined for future high rank.
- Novice Advance - This is the lowest rank within the Adepta Sororitas. The rule of the Orders is harsh and a Novice Sister must endure many hardships during her training. Self-denial, rigid discipline and religious contemplation are indivisible parts of their training. They are armed not only with skills needed to defend the Ministorum but also with training that teaches them to fan the flames of their faith into a roaring blaze.
Orders Famulous and Dialogous Ranks
- Nunciate Advance - The rank of Nunciate or "messenger" is afforded to those among the Orders Famulous and Dialogous who excel not only in their crafts, but who are also noted for their skills in leadership and experience at dealing with the Imperium’s hierarchy. Such individuals are often entrusted to act on their own to represent their Order, or are tasked as close advisors to highly important individuals such as Inquisitors and Imperial Commanders.
- Dialogus Advance - A Dialogus Advance is a rank of the Orders Dialogous, the Sisters who focus their attention on the arts of the scholar, serving as translators and expert advisors for Imperial and planetary authorities in many fields. The armour of their faith makes them far less subject to petty corruption or hubris than others. The arts of the Dialogous are of obvious use to both the Adeptus Ministorum and, most particularly, the Ordos of the Inquisition, as they are expert at unlocking hidden codes and obscure references, dragging the faintest hint of heresy into the light.
- Famula Advance - A rank common to the Sisters of the Orders Famulous, who devote themselves to diplomacy and the fine arts of negotiation. They are experts at dealing with the different Adepta of the Imperium and broker alliances and agreements between fractious power-blocks, guilds and noble houses of many different Imperial worlds. Their primary goal is to preserve the Imperium's order and stability and ensure that those who rule or uphold the sinews of Imperial commerce are also working towards this goal. Their task, however, enables them to covertly monitor those they serve for signs of corruption or heresy.
Order Hospitaller Ranks
- Almoness Advance - This is the senior-most rank of the Sister-Hospitallers. These Sisters are as hardened to the horrors of the battlefield as any war veteran. Many of these experienced Hospitallers are called upon by both the Inquisition and the Imperial Guard to put their extensive skills and knowledge to darker ends in the service of the Imperium.
- Curia Advance - A more senior-rank of the Sisters of the Ordos Hospitaller. The Curia Advance has been forged in the crucible of war and catastrophe, honed by faith and discipline. These Sisters' skills encompass not only the healer’s arts, but also personal survival and the stewardship of those under their care in the harshest and most deadly of circumstances. These Hospitallers must know when to heal, when to give the final mercy and when to watch for the hidden enemy.
- Hospitaller Advance - A rank of the Sisters of the Ordos Hospitaller, who serve as physicians and offer palliative care at the frontlines of the Imperium's many war zones and disaster areas. To the common citizenry, they are saintly figures beyond reproach, but they are no more forgiving nor compassionate than the Orders Militant if confronted by heresy or the works of the Ruinous Powers.
"It is not enough to serve the Emperor, or even to love Him. You must give to Him all that you had, all you have, and all you shall ever have. You must give yourself over utterly and entirely to His divine will and become a vessel of that will. Only then is your sacrifice fitting."
- — From the Rule of the Sororitas
The majority of recruits into the Adepta Sororitas are drawn from the Schola Progenium, having been identified by the Drill Abbesses as suitable candidates from an early age. A few may be transferred from outside organisations, in particular the ranks of the servants of the Inquisition, although this is relatively unusual and only undertaken following lengthy consideration.
Having been identified as a candidate for membership, the individual is shipped to one of the two convents, where she will be subjected to a lengthy and arduous regime of testing intended to gauge her suitability to join the sisterhood and to identify which of the orders she would be most suited to. Regardless of which order she will eventually join, all candidates undergo extensive instruction in the traditions of the Adepta Sororitas, and most receive at least a modicum of military instruction.
Once a sister is judged worthy to join the sisterhood and has received her basic training, the candidates are gathered in the great hall of the convent before the Canonesses and Palatines of the orders to which they will be assigned. Such gatherings range from grand ceremonies involving several thousand new sisters and taking several days and nights to conclude, to smaller events where only a handful of candidates gather in the great hall.
One by one, the name of each candidate and the order she will join is announced, and the newly elevated sister will be led off to begin her vocation. Once she is assigned to her order, the sister will begin a period of even more rigorous training and indoctrination, which, it is said, will never end until she sits in death at the right hand of the Emperor.
Orders of the Adepta Sororitas
The famed Orders Militant or Sisters of Battle of the Adepta Sororitas pursue the ways of war to spread the Emperor's light. The Orders Militant are often tasked by the Ecclesiarchy with defending its Shrine and Cardinal Worlds or retaking such planets from Heretics, xenos or the blasphemous Forces of Chaos. There are literally dozens of different Orders Militant, with their convents scattered across the galaxy.
The Sisters of Battle are also often attached to the Ordo Hereticus of the Imperial Inquisition and indeed serve the Witch Hunters as their Chamber Militant. Battle-Sisters are recruited solely from the female progena or graduates of the Schola Progenium facilities spread across the galaxy. They are the orphans of those Imperial servants who have given their lives in the service of the Imperium, either in the Astra Militarum or some other Imperial Adepta.
While being raised within the Schola they receive a strong Ecclesiarchy upbringing and education, coming to regard the Emperor as their spiritual father. Progena recruited into the Sisterhood are indoctrinated even further with the strict orthodox doctrines of the Imperial Creed, becoming ever more fiercely devoted to the Emperor and the Imperial cause. Their duty as part of the Sisterhood is to ensure and enforce the physical and spiritual purity of humanity and the departments of the Adeptus Terra.
As they share much the same role within the Imperium as the Ordo Hereticus, Battle-Sisters often form a major part of Ordo Hereticus military forces when a Witch Hunter does not wish to commandeer the forces of the Imperial Guard into his or her service to carry out a military objective. There are six major Orders Militant in the Adepta Sororitas that are widely recognised across the Imperium:
|Convent Sanctorum (Ophelia VII)||Convent Prioris (Terra)|
|Order of the Bloody Rose||Order of the Sacred Rose|
|Order of Our Martyred Lady||Order of the Ebon Chalice|
|Order of the Valorous Heart||Order of the Argent Shroud|
Other Sororitas Orders are not combat-oriented per se and pursue less violent activities such as the copying, study of and commentary upon the Imperial Creed's scriptures, preaching, tending to the sick and injured, educating the young and maintaining the spiritual loyalty and health of the Imperium's various powerful noble families.
- Orders Hospitaller - The Sisters of the Orders Hospitaller aid the poor and heal the sick and the wounded in the many hospitals and clinics across the Imperium operated as charities by the Sisterhood. Some of their hospitals are part of Imperial Crusades and the Sisters serve as medics for the Imperial Guard regiments serving in those conflicts. Several of the more well-known Orders Hospitaller include:
|Convent Sanctorum (Ophelia VII)||Convent Prioris (Terra)|
|Order of the Eternal Candle||Order of the Cleansing Water|
|Order of Serenity||Order of the Torch|
Note: It is unknown which Convent the Order of the Quiet Sorrow belongs to.
- Orders Famulous - The Sisters of the Orders Famulous organise, educate and maintain the households of certain Imperial Planetary Governors and Imperial nobles, serving as advisers and by their very presence reminding them of their higher loyalties to the Emperor of Mankind. They oppose any disloyalty with the support of faithful followers from the inside of the noble household itself. The Orders Famulous also maintain and update extensive genetic and genealogical records for all the important noble families of the Imperium and can conduct genetic testing at the request of the Inquisition when rampant mutation or heresy on the part of Imperial nobles is suspected. Across the galaxy, the most well-known of the Orders Famulous include:
|Convent Sanctorum (Ophelia VII)||Convent Prioris (Terra)|
|Order of the Key||Order of the Holy Seal|
|Order of the Gate||Order of the Sacred Coin|
- Orders Dialogous - The Sisters of the Orders Dialogous help to translate the innumerable dialects and slangs of Low Gothic used throughout the Imperium. At the behest of the Inquisition and certain other parties in the Imperial hierarchy, they also study xenos languages, and translate texts obtained from xenos artefacts. Sisters Dialogous are often employed as Sage Acolytes in Ordo Hereticus Inquisitors' retinues. The better-known Orders Dialogous include:
|Convent Sanctorum (Ophelia VII)||Convent Prioris (Terra)|
|Order of the Holy Word||Order of the Sacred Oath|
|Order of the Quill||Order of the Lexicon|
Besides the more well-known major Orders of the Adepta Sororitas there is also an unknown number of Minor Orders whose functions are widely unknown. Since their inception, the Orders Militant Majoris have established a number of subsidiary convents throughout the galaxy at sites that are significant to the Ecclesiarchy.
Sometimes little more than minor garrisons, some of these bases have developed identities distinct from their parent Orders over time, eventually becoming separate Orders all together. The better-known Orders Minoris include:
- Order of the Black Sepulchre - A Minor Order Militant with ties to the former Orpheus Sector.
- Order of the Bleeding Heart - This Minor Order Militant has long been entrusted with the care of the bones of Saint Emiline, upon the Adepta Sororitas Shrine World of Emiline's Hope.
- Order of the Blue Robe - This Minor Order Militant serves under the auspices of the Convent Sanctorum of Terra. The Order aided Inquisitor Halen Jentz during the Second Albonian Genocide.
- Order of the Crimson Oath - This Minor Order Militant took part in the initial campaign of the Achilus Crusade to reclaim the Jericho Reach in 777.M41 from both the xenos and the apostate.
- Order of the Crimson Tear - This Minor Order Militant is believed to have been destroyed in the Fall of the Tzadrekhan Unity.
- Order of the Divine Lamentation - This Minor Order Militant took part in the Imperial defence of the Cadian Sector from the Forces of Chaos during the 13th Black Crusade. Refused reinforcements despite suffering 83% losses.
- Order of the Ermine Mantle - This Minor Order Militant took part in the Imperial defence of the Cadian Sector from the Forces of Chaos during the 13th Black Crusade. Self-imposed penance after the loss of the Order Militant Banner.
- Order of the Fiery Tear - This Minor Order Militant took part in the initial campaign of the Achilus Crusade to reclaim the Jericho Reach in 777.M41 from both the xenos and the apostate.
- Order of the Glowing Chalice - This Minor Order Militant are drawn from the Schola Progenium facility on Vedill I. They often fight alongside the Militarum Tempestus Storm Troopers of the 9th Iotan Gorgonnes Regiment, who also possess many members who originate from Vedill I.
- Order of the Golden Light - This is a Minor Order Militant of unknown origin.
- Order of the Maurdlin Countenance - This Minor Order Militant took part in the Imperial defence against the Forces of Chaos during the 13th Black Crusade. Canoness-Preceptor Dorothea commended for the Order's defence of the world of Sancho Panza.
- Order of the Silver Lily - This Minor Order Militant took part in the Imperial defence against the Forces of Chaos during the 13th Black Crusade. Canoness Astra was noted for her loyal service during the defence of the world of Subiaco Diablo.
- Order of the Silver Shroud - This is a Minor Order Militant of unknown origin.
- Order of the Sublime Adoration - This Minor Order Militant took part in the Imperial defence against the Forces of Chaos during the 13th Black Crusade. Rescued the 188th Cadian Imperial Guard Regiment at Crimson Fell.
- Order of the Virgin Rose - This is a Minor Order Militant of unknown origin.
- Order of the White Rose - This Minor Order Militant split from the Order of the Sacred Rose in the latter part of the 39th Millennium. At least one convent, on Periremunda, worked with the Ordo Hereticus on a regular basis. It is unclear whether other convents did the same. The entire Periremunda convent died in battle against the Tyranids, choosing death to atone for their assistance in the Excommunicate Traitoris ordered by Inquisitor Killian.
- Order of the Wounded Heart - This Minor Order Militant took part in the Imperial defence against the Forces of Chaos during the 13th Black Crusade. Purged the 366th Barissa Native Auxilia.
Other Non-Militant Orders
There are scores, perhaps even hundreds more non-militant orders within the Adepta Sororitas, the vast majority of which are unknown to the bulk of Mankind. The following are only a few known examples:
- Orders Pronatus - These minor Orders specialise in retrieving, guarding, studying and repairing artefacts of value to the Ecclesiarchy. The named Orders Pronatus include:
- Order of the August Vigil - One of the Orders Pronatus, the Order of the August Vigil specializes in the guardianship and defence of holy relics and Shrine Worlds across the Imperium. They are known to occasionally cooperate with the Ordo Hereticus, especially in the transport of unholy artefacts and captured prisoners.
- Order of the Blessed Enquiry - One of the Orders Pronatus, believed to have been destroyed due to their collection of artefacts related to the Chaos Gods.
- Order of the Eternal Gate - One of the Orders Pronatus. Imperial records speak of the Order of the Eternal Gate whose responsibility is the retrieval of ancient or dangerous relics and artefacts for the Ecclesiarchy.
- Orders Madriga - The Orders Madriga provide the all-female choirs that fill the cathedrals with sublime, heavenly song in the temples favoured temples of Arch-Cardinal Ignato.
- Orders Planxilium - The Orders Planxilium form thousand-strong processionals leading weeping and wailing pilgrims upon the remembrance and high holy days of Veneris.
- Orders Sabine - The Sisters of the Orders Sabine accompany the Missionaria Galaxia on missions to rediscover human-settled worlds and to prepare them for re-integration into Imperial society and culture. The Sisters specialise in infiltrating primitive societies and introducing elements of the Imperial Creed to the natives. This process can take generations as the Sisters arrange royal marriages and act as court advisors. When the Missionaria Galaxia arrives on such a world the local leadership is then primed to accept the spread of the Imperial Cult without struggle or strife.
- Orders Vespila - The "dark sisters" of the Orders Vespila are tasked by Cardinal Kregory Hestor with the sanctification of the bodies of fallen kin, and are sometimes called upon to serve as forensic specialists when a Throne Agent has recourse to disinter a long dead corpse. Cardinal Hestor petitioned the Ordo Hospitaller to populate this Order within the Calixis Sector. Tasked with the internment of bodies, the Order Vespila's grey shrouded ceremonial robes are synonymous with the death of priests. It is unknown why Cardinal Hestor felt it so important to be certain that the bodies of the faithful were properly buried, but rumours abound that he has secret knowledge of a prophecy regarding a long dead saint. When an Inquisitor needs the Sister's macabre skills he calls upon the Ecclesiarchy to provide him with the graveyard guards of the Order Vespila.
Notable Sisters of Battle
- Saint Alicia Dominica - Patron Saint of the Sisterhood, Bearer of the Grail of Ages, Founder of the Order of the Ebon Chalice, Alicia Dominica is revered throughout the Imperium as both the founder and patron saint of all the Orders of the Adepta Sororitas. In the 36th Millennium, she ended High Lord Goge Vandire's Reign of Blood after condemning him for his crimes against the Emperor and beheading him. Shortly after, under the instruction of the newly appointed reformist Ecclesiarch Sebastian Thor, Dominica established the Sisterhood -- the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas, with the Sisters divided between the Convents on Terra and Ophelia VII. She herself became the first Canoness of the Order of the Ebon Chalice. In 650.M36, Alicia Dominica fell at the Battle of Frideswide's World, surviving hundreds of blows but falling to a single Traitor's lasgun blast to her heart. She was declared a saint of the Imperial Creed soon after.
- Saint Arabella - Saint Arabella is the patron saint of the Order of the Sacred Rose. Although this long-dead martyr never led her Order in battle, it was founded in her name. She was one of five companions of Alicia Dominica, the patron saint and founder of the Adepta Sororitas. She was the last of the surviving six Sisters to enter the Emperor's Throne Room when they were brought before him for a personal audience during the Reign of Blood in the 36th Millennium by the Adeptus Custodes. Arabella disappeared in the late 36th Millennium shortly after the death of Saint Mina -- her ultimate fate remains unknown
- Saint Katherine - Saint Katherine is the patron saint of the Order of Our Martyred Lady. Originally, she was the founder of the Order of the Fiery Heart. She was one of five companions of Alicia Dominica, the patron saint and founder of the Adepta Sororitas. Known as the Shield Bearer, Katherine was regarded as Alicia Dominica's second-in-command and was the bearer of Dominica's Praesidium Protectiva -- a large shield said to contain a shard of the Emperor's own personal Power Armour, which is said to be impervious to physical attacks. Katherine was well-known for her fiery determination and vengeful spirit, ever leading her Sisters at the forefront of innumerable battles and pursuing the prosecution of numerous Wars of Faith against Heretics in the name of the Emperor of Mankind. She was the founder of the Order of the Fiery Heart. Her Sisters came to reflect her vengeful and fiery nature. Leading her Order for many decades, she was declared a Living Saint within her lifetime for performing legendary acts. Eventually, Katherine met her end at the hands of evil men, when she was murdered by the Witch-Cult of Mnestteus. So deeply did her Sisters mourn Katherine's loss that they renamed their Order the Order of Our Martyred Lady. Unknown to her Order, sometime before her untimely death, Saint Katherine visited the world of Sanctus Lys in the Palatine Sector. Beneath a shrine, in a hidden crypt, she interred her golden Power Armour and her legendary Power Sword, the Ardent Blade. These powerful artefacts were found centuries later and retrieved by the Living Saint, Saint Celestine.
- Saint Lucia - Lucia was the youngest of the five companions of Alicia Dominica, the founder and patron of the Adepta Sororitas. Lucia went on to become the founder of the Order of the Valorous Heart. In the late 36th Millennium, Saint Lucia was captured by recidivists, who gouged out her eyes and forced her to endure the death screams of a thousand innocents, and the murder of a number of her own Sisters, who remained resolutely silent. Mere days after word of her death reached the Holy Synod, Lucia was canonised as an Imperial Saint.
- Saint Mina - Saint Mina is the patron saint of the Order of the Bloody Rose. Although this long-dead martyr never led her Order in battle, it was founded in her name. She was one of the five companions of Alicia Dominica, the patron and founder of the Adepta Sororitas. In the late 36th Millennium, Saint Mina was martyred by a sanguinary Chaos Cult whilst at prayer in a shrine on Hydraphur. When her body was found along with the shrine, she was surrounded by the corpses of twenty of her attackers -- her body covered in their blood. Her personal symbol, the red rose, represents her strong character and her final death.
- Saint Silvana - Silvana is the patron saint and founder of the Order of the Argent Shroud. She was one of five companions of Alicia Dominica, the patron saint and founder of the Adepta Sororitas. She was one of the first Sisters to lead Holy Crusades in the name of the Emperor of Mankind. In the late 36th Millennium, Silvana met her fate at the hands of a Death Cult Assassin. Her remains disappeared whilst lying in state at the Convent Prioris. She was declared an Imperial Saint by the unanimous vote of the Holy Synod of the Ecclesiarchy.
- Saint Anais - Anais was a Living Saint that fought in the War of Faith in the Kaurava System. Saint Anais was placed by Confessor Turgenum March alongside the Order of the Sacred Rose in the defence of the Order's primary bastion in the Sama District, on the planet of Kaurava I. When in battle, Saint Anais was imbued with the "Inviolable Aura" -- a powerful psychic aura which rendered every Battle-Sister in her presence nigh invincible. However, this gift had one flaw, for if the holy shrines used in the blessing of this powerful aura were to be destroyed, the Inviolable Aura could be rendered impotent. This could make even the Living Saint subject to mortal wounds and allow her to be slain.
- Saint Celestine - Very little is known of the life of the Battle-Sister known as Celestine before she was declared a Living Saint, other than that she was once a Sister Repentia of the Order of Our Martyred Lady that fought alongside the multitudes of Imperial faithful during the protracted war against the Heretics of the Palatine Schism. Celestine was at the forefront of the first wave of the deadliest fighting and was thought to have been killed in battle before the capital city of the planet Eurytion. She fell that day, alongside every other Repentia, but despite her defeat, it was said that she accounted for the deaths of over one hundred schismatics during the assault. As Celestine's body was reclaimed by her Sisters and set amongst the honoured dead, her Sisters saw that life still lingered within her, and the light of one touched by the divine will of the Emperor glowed within her eyes. Cleansing her body of the blood and filth of battle, the Sisters were astonished to find that she stood flawless before them. The next day the assault resumed, with Celestine at the head of the Imperial forces. The Heretics fell within hours as Celestine wreaked her bloody vengeance. She was hailed as the Crusade's figurehead as the entire Sector was scoured of schismatics and those deemed unworthy of existing upon the worlds of humanity. The Crusade's leader, Lord Ansgar, believed the Crusade would reach its conclusion on the capital world of the Palatine Sector, but Celestine insisted upon first liberating the small backwater planet of Sanctus Lys. Unknown to all but her, the world was home to the Shrine of Saint Katherine of the Order of the Fiery Heart, a holy place visited by that Living Saint in secret just before her death. Celestine's followers found a broken altar amidst some ruins and were ordered by Celestine to remove it. Beneath the shattered remains, a hidden crypt was found. Barring any from following her, Celestine descended the dusty steps that none had trod in millennia. As the dawn of first light broke above the ruined shrine, Celestine rose from the tomb, borne aloft on a column of divine radiance and attended by cherubs and doves. She was now clad in a suit of shining golden Power Armour, and wielded a vibrant blade that none could look upon -- the Ardent Blade of Saint Katherine. Celestine was declared a Living Saint by Lord Ansgar and a conclave of Thorian compatriots shortly thereafter. Saint Celestine was hailed as the Hieromartyr of the Palatine Crusade, as she dispatched thousands of Heretics during the prosecution of multiple Wars of Faith. The veneration by the Sisters of Battle was miraculous; she was a Living Saint, whom the Sisters would follow even unto the very center of the Eye of Terror. Alas, Saint Celestine was lost to the Imperium whilst fighting the Renegade Warmaster of Forrax. Many believed she perished during her moment of triumph, yet none survived to give a true account of the battle's conclusion.
- Saint Praxedes - Saint Praxedes of Ophelia VII was the Canoness of the Order of Our Martyred Lady at the start of the Second Tyrannic War. With a force of Battle-Sisters she reinforced the Caladenian Imperial Guard on the Cardinal World of Okassis. As the Tyranids assaulted the Cardinal Palace, she led her Battle-Sisters and a company of Guardsmen in a gallant counter-attack. Leading from the front of the fighting, she bested a Hive Tyrant and broke the Tyranid attack, buying the thousands of refugees fleeing from the conflict the time needed to evacuate the planet. Not content with this success, the Canoness pressed deep into the heart of the Tyranid swarms, leading her small army in a guerrilla war against the armies of the Hive Mind. The disruption and havoc she wreaked seriously weakened the Tyranid attack on the spaceport, saving even more lives. As the last of the shuttles soared into orbit and safety, all contact was lost with her army. She was the first Martyr to the Kraken and her name is revered all across the Ultima Segmentum. Some claim that she yet lives, fighting on against the dreaded hordes of the Tyranids from within their swarms.
- Ephrael Stern - Known as the Thrice-Born and the Daemonifuge, Ephrael Stern had been promised by her parents before her birth to the Adepta Sororitas. She was raised on the planet Antigone's Harbour by the Saint Sabbat Schola Progenium. The Arch Drill-Abbot of the school submitted the young Ephrael for induction within the Sisterhood and was accepted by Sister Patricia from the Order of the Holy Seal. The Novice Stern excelled at her new monastic duties as a Battle-Sister-in-training. She eventually completed her training and along with 500 other Novices took her sacred Oaths of Adherence at the Ecclesiarchal Palace on Terra. Sister Stern was then chosen to become a member of the Order of Our Martyred Lady. Shortly after her induction into the Order, she was sent to the Ecclesiarchy Cardinal World of Ophelia VII. Whilst stationed there, her exemplary service record helped elevate her to the esteemed ranks of the Order Seraphim within record time. Only three years later she would be ordained as a Sister Superior. Sister Stern was eventually sent on a mission on behalf of the Order, to investigate a lost convent of Sisters of the Orders Pronatus on the world of Parnis. There, Stern and her Sisters discovered what had become of their fellow Sisters. A powerful Greater Daemon of Slaanesh, a Keeper of Secrets named Asteroth, had been freed from its bonds and destroyed the convent. He then took the ruined bodies of 700 Battle-Sisters and forged them, body and mind, into a terrifying construct of living flesh known as the Screaming Cage. Though the fallen Sisters were forced to share their torment and suffering, the daemon failed to take into account that they were also able to inadvertently share their faith as well. As the daemon sought to kill the remaining Sisters sent to investigate the convent, Ephrael Stern fell in battle. Seizing this one chance, the fallen Sisters within the Screaming Cage used their combined powers to bring her back to life -- filling her with the full might of their combined faith in the God-Emperor to combat the Forces of Chaos. Once returned to life, the resurrected Stern was told to flee as the fallen Sisters hid her presence from the daemon and its Chaotic servants. Stern's memory of these events was erased. She was the only one who managed to return to her Order on Ophelia VII, being the sole survivor of the expedition to Parnis, her sanity stretched to the limit. Her seemingly unnatural power made her the object of suspicion amongst members of her Order, with many of her Sisters viewing her as having been corrupted by the Ruinous Powers. Stern was placed within a holding cell for four years until her exact nature could be determined. At this time she was attacked by a Sister who was being controlled by a daemon of Slaanesh intending to silence her. But the enraged Ephrael managed to defeat her attacker with her bare hands. This set new events into motion. An Inquisitorial investigation, under the command of Inquisitor Silas Hand, was sent to the Order on Ophelia VII to investigate the sole survivor of the Parnis Expedition. Whilst at the Sanctorum, Stern underwent numerous trials to test her purity and her soul for corruption. Not found wanting during these trials, Sister Stern was declared uncorrupted, was reinstated within the ranks of her fellow Battle-Sisters, and granted her former position of Seraphim and rank of Sister Superior. Inquisitor Hand, not fully trusting Sister Stern, nevertheless took her with him to investigate the former convent on Parnis. During the investigation the fallen Sisters of the Screaming Cage finished their holy work -- pouring all of their remaining knowledge and power into Sister Stern to fight the corruption of Chaos. Inquisitor Hand sacrificed himself to defeat Asteroth and banish the daemon back to the Warp. Sister Stern went missing after this second expedition, once again being the sole survivor. Hunted by both the Imperium as well as the Forces of Chaos, Stern remains aloof from both. She even sacrificed herself, stabbing herself in the heart, to escape the foul machinations of the vile Chaos Sorcerer Ahriman of the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion. Resurrected once again by the power of the faith within her, Stern finally embraced her power and used it freely for the first time. She has even been able to use her newfound abilities to defeat a Culexus Assassin that had been sent to kill her by the Inquisition. Her current whereabouts remain unknown
- Helena the Virtuous - Raised from infancy in an Ophelian Schola Progenium, Helena proved to be remarkably gifted even during her earliest childhood. Exceptionally intelligent, eloquent and inquisitive, she was destined to become a high authority in whatever vocation she chose. After thirty years' service in the Order of the Key, Helena had risen to the position of Canoness and was responsible for a great increase in the power of the Ecclesiarchy. Her efforts did not go unnoticed and when the Prioress of the Convent Sanctorum died, Helena's was the first name on the Ecclesiarch's lips to serve as her replacement. Although Helena's duties are mainly of an organisational and spiritual nature, she has always possessed the gift of involving herself personally at the right moment. As a Prioress, Helena is a member of all the Orders of the Adepta Sororitas, including the Orders Militant. Although she lacks the lifelong training of one of the Sisters of Battle, it has been known for Helena to personally intervene in combat when necessary. With her own strict regime of training and exercise, she keeps her ageing body in the best condition possible and she is very skilled in the theories of battle. Helena's greatest asset is the holiness and serenity she radiates. Her presence has an underlying strength which reassures others and imbues her followers with an undying love and respect. Combined with her encyclopedic knowledge and shining charisma, these qualities make Helena a truly great battlefield commander, administrator and politician.
"The strength of Man dwells in our purity of our minds and bodies, within the potency of our weapons and the might of our starships. Most of all, it is found in the righteousness of our cause and our unshakeable faith in the eternal God-Emperor."
- — Preacher Mihai Hujar
The primary individual weapon of the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas is the Boltgun. Weapon specialists like Dominions and Retributors tend to use flame and heat-based weapons such as Flamers and Multi-meltas, and other weapons with a purifying spiritual effect. Battle-Sisters use a form of modified Power Armour in battle -- however, since they lack the Black Carapace gene-seed organ implant of the Space Marines, they cannot interface with the armour to the same degree as the Astartes and thus are somewhat less mobile in combat. The Sisters of Battle also make use of very strong faith-based powers in battle, which may or may not be related to the psychic powers of the Warp. The Sisters believe these abilities are granted by the divine will of the Emperor himself, though they are more likely the psychic manifestations of the Sisters' incredible faith and devotion to him, as the Immaterium is shaped by belief. The most common wargear worn by all Sisters of Battle includes:
- Sororitas Power Armour - Commissioned by Goge Vandire, it is the only part of his legacy that was not removed along with his head. Created initially by the forges on Mars for the Adepta Sororitas, this lighter power armour provides excellent protection and increased strength with little to no reduction in movement speed or agility. Similar to the light power armour often used by many Inquisitors, the Sororitas Power Armour has an extended operating life. Sisters of Battle do not have the advanced Black Carapace of the Adeptus Astartes, however, the Sisters are trained to use their power armour to its fullest.
- Hospitaller Carapace Armour - Often serving in combat zones, Sisters Hospitaller require more protection than other Non-militant Orders. The distinctive armour is a welcome sight to injured guardsmen and Acolytes alike, an angel of mercy sent by the God-Emperor himself. In addition to its protective qualities, the hooded habit is often coated in incense and unguents and the rest of the armour is sealed and treated against toxins.
- Bolt Pistol
- Godwyn-De'az Pattern Bolter - Designed specifically for the Adepta Sororitas, and blessed by the Canonesses of the Orders, these venerated weapons are presented to an Adepta Sororitas upon becoming a Battle Sister. The Sisterhood considers the venerated Godwyn-De'az bolt weapons heirlooms; each one carefully maintained by highly specialized servitors and trusted servants. This pattern bolter has great significance to the Adepta Sororitas, not only as a powerful weapon against the enemies of mankind, but also as a symbol of the Emperor's judgement and of the sisters personal connection to her faith.
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
Special Issue Wargear
- Blessed Standard - The standards of the Adepta Sororitas are thrice blessed by the prioress of their convent before they march to war.
- Chaplet-Ecclesiasticus - With each bead on the string representative of an act of penance performed by a Sister, the Chaplet Ecclesiasticus is often worn around the neck or waist depending on its length and preference of the wearer. In some cases each bead represents ten or even more acts of penance going as high as a thousand acts per bead. The Chaplet is combat ready, each bead made of adamantium.
- Chirurgeon's Tools - Implements of both torture and salvation, the chirurgeon's tools can restore the fallen so that they might fight once more.
- Fleur De Lys Tattoo - Devoted to the Ecclesiarchy in mind and body, the Adepta Sororitas often bear tattoos, ritual scaring or other markings that display their loyalty. The Fleur De Lys is a symbol of the Sisterhood but a Sister might also bear markings of the Ecclesiarchy or the Inquisition. In addition roses, wings or other Order-specific icons might be chosen by a Sister.
- Laud Hailer - Proclaiming the power of the Emperor in heavenly tones, a Laud Hailer bolsters the spirits of the faithful.
- Praesidium Protectiva - Constructed from layers of armaplas and ceramite, these shields are said to contain small fragments of armour originally worn by the Emperor. They are only found among the Adepta Sororitas, and even then are only issued to those Sisters who excel (and prefer to engage in) hand-to-hand combat. Due to the weight of the Praesidium Protectiva, it can only be used by a Sister wearing Sororitas Power Armour.
- Rosarius - A Rosarius is a gorget or amulet worn by some members of the Ecclesiarchy to protect them from physical and spiritual harm. It is believed that the stronger the bearer's belief in the might of the Emperor, the stronger the rosarius' force field will be.
- Simulacrum Imperialis - Some of the most precious artefacts in the possession of the Holy Ordos, Simulacrum Imperialis are holy symbols of the Ecclesiarchy that were once borne by a Saint of the Imperium, or have been fashioned from the bones of a Saint. Brought out only rarely, usually when the forces of heresy and the warp are at their worst, a Simulacrum Imperialis is often carried at the forefront of an Adepta Sororitas battle group. Considered one of the purest symbols of the Ecclesiarchy and the might of faith in the God-Emperor, the mere sight of Simulacrum Imperialis is often sufficient to raise the spirit and fighting zeal of any nearby allies. These holy symbols are wellsprings of inspiration and faith and it is a great honour to carry such an irreplaceable relic into battle.
- Storm Shield - A storm shield is a large, solid shield that has an energy field generator built into it. Though the bulk of the shield offers physical protection, the energy field is capable of deflecting even the most powerful attacks.
- Neural Whip - These psycho-conductive neural whips are often carried by Mistresses of Repentance and are as much symbols of rank as they are vicious weapons that can slice open armour and flesh alike.
- Power Weapons
- Eviscerator - An obscenely large double-handed Chain Weapon that is favoured by Ecclesiarchy zealots, Witch-Hunters, and the Sister Repentia of the Adepta Sororitas. Although very unwieldy and tiring to use, the Eviscerator is fully capable of bisecting an armoured man or tearing open the most blasphemously corrupted mutant in a single stroke of its gargantuan blade. It can slice through walls and even damage vehicles. Since it must be wielded with both hands it cannot be used in combination with another close combat weapon.
- Condemnor Boltgun - The Condemnor Boltgun is a highly specialised combi-weapon used almost exclusively by the operatives of the Ordo Hereticus and Adepta Sororitas. Combining a boltgun with a single-shot crossbow armature, these archaic seeming weapons fire a silver stake engraved with sigils of disruption that destabilise a psyker's connection with the Warp.
- Godwyn-De'az Storm Bolter - The Storm Bolter used by servants of the Ecclesiarchy are not drastically unlike those used by throne agents. Firing bolt rounds at a greatly increased rate of fire, this weapon requires two hands to operate and is essentially two bolters firing in synchronised bursts. Its high rate of ammunition consumption makes the weapon impractical in many situations but few would argue with the results that such a powerful symbol of faith can have.
- Combi-Flamer, -Melta or -Plasma
- Plasma Pistol
- Seraphim Inferno Pistol - The deadly Inferno Pistol can burn through even the most fortified of structures or armour. It is well known that if one weapon will do, two will do twice as well. The Seraphim Inferno Pistols are designed to work as a pair and can be used while in hand-to-hand combat by specially trained Seraphim.
- Exorcist Missile Launcher - Though notoriously unreliable, the Exorcist Missile Launcher's volleys are considered by many to be the Adeptus Ministorum's final word in anti-armour firepower.
- Storm Bolter
- Seraphim Hand Flamer - Designed for use in pairs, Seraphim Hand Flamers can spew forth gouts of fl ame from both pistols at once. In addition the hand flamers are designed to be used in melee combat and can release small controlled bursts of flame that use negligible amounts of Promethium. The weapon can be used both as a ranged weapon and a melee weapon by those who are properly trained.
- Melta Bombs
Gear & Tools
- Hospitaller Medicae Tools - The Order Hospitaller equips its Sisters with the best battlefield medicine tools found outside the Apothecaries of the Adeptus Astartes. The kit has a variety of sacred oils, unguents, surgical tools, and sterilisers to help those who lay wounded in battle.
- Reliquary - Reliquaries come in a myriad of forms, such as boxes, caskets, and cases. They are used to contain relics, charms, or holographic images of actual relics.
- Rules of Sororitas - A collection treatises, litanies and assorted holy directives.
- Sarissa - These are heavy spiked blades the Sororitas often attach to their bolters in order to allow them to engage in hand-to-hand combat without switching weapons. When mounted on a bolter, a sarissa counts as an axe in close combat.
- Seraphim Jump Pack - More streamlined and stylised, this jump pack is based off the same technology as those used by the Space Marines. The design has the added effect of giving the Adepta Sororitas the appearance of avenging angelic hosts. The aggressive use of them by the Sororitas has made that design work tremendously well. Aside from the normal usage, an alternate tactic, seen in the re-consecrating of Pilgrims' Pause, was as a lateral boost to redeploy Seraphim strike teams while staying behind cover.
Adepta Sororitas Vehicles
- Sororitas Rhino - The Rhino personnel carrier is the most common transport vehicle at the disposal of the Sisters of Battle, allowing units to move swiftly to where they are most needed, be it to seize an objective or strike deep into the heart of an enemy force. This tried and tested vehicle is famously robust, easy to repair and utilised extensively by the Imperium's most elite fighting forces such as the Adeptus Astartes and the Adepta Sororitas. The Rhino is fully capable of interacting with power armour, recharging power cells and downloading tactical battle information as troops are transported into the thick of battle. Rhinos, like all Sisters of Battle vehicles, are bedecked with holy symbols and relics in addition to military insignia denoting squad and Order markings. The door hatches of the Order's Rhinos are often emblazoned with the Sigil Sororitas -- the icon of the Sisters of Battle.
- Immolator - The Immolator battle tank is a design exclusive to the Adeptus Ministorum, based upon the ubiquitous Rhino chassis. Immolators carry deadly, but short ranged, twin heavy flamers that cleanse the battlefield of all but the toughest of foes. The sight of such a tank rumbling into sight has disrupted more than one enemy battle line as warriors try in vain to evade an Immolator's fearsome inferno. Sisters of Battle favour bolters, flamers and meltas to eradicate their enemies -- the so-called "holy trinity" of weapons. As a result, some Immolators are armed with a pair of tank-busting multi-meltas instead of the traditional heavy flamers, whilst others mount heavy bolters to cut down enemy infantry formations at range. Immolators are tactically versatile vehicles and the tank of choice for many Sororitas commanders, for in addition to their prodigious armaments, their armoured hulls can carry squads of Battle Sisters, deploying them onto vital objectives and then supporting them with heavy weapons fire.
- Exorcist - An Exorcist is one of the Adepta Sororitas' unique weapons of war, a vehicle that unleashes volleys of explosive, armour-piercing judgement upon the foes of the Imperium. They are, however, unpredictable machines that are only vaguely understood by the Tech-Priests who must continuously service them. Many Exorcists have been in service since the Age of Apostasy, further adding to their erratic nature. The Exorcist missiles fired by these revered vehicles are capable of splitting open enemy battle tanks or destroying entire squads of heavy infantry in one punishing salvo, provided, of course, that the Exorcist's temperamental machine spirit does not malfunction. Most vehicles in the Sisters of Battle's armoury serve multiple purposes, for in addition to being weapons of war, they are mobile shrines adorned with devotional icons and carvings. The Exorcist is perhaps the most ornate example of this. Each is an individual work of art whose battlefield role of providing devastating long-range fire support is secondary to its significance as a potent, divine symbol of the power and glory of the Ecclesiarchy.
- Penitent Engine - Penitent Engines are towering, bipedal vehicles that rampage through the enemy's battle lines, leaving death and carnage in their wake. The machines' arm-mounted flamers blaze a trail of fiery destruction as they thunder towards their foes, and their gigantic, razor-edged buzz saws carve through armour, flesh and bone with every frenzied swipe. To be a pilot of a Penitent Engine is to have committed a terrible crime, one so heinous that punishment such as imprisonment, exile, arco-flagellation or execution is deemed too lenient. Many of the unfortunates sentenced to pilot a Penitent Engine were once members of the Ecclesiarchy -- priests fallen from grace or Battle Sisters who have, through failure of duty or faith, caused the deaths of their fellows. A multitude of wires and chemical injectors are implanted into the condemned pilots' spines, and when they are not ripping through the ranks of their enemies, lances of pain and images of guilt shoot directly into their brains, reminding them of their sins. Driven by their pilots' frantic need for forgiveness, Penitent Engines charge towards the closest foe in sight heedless of any danger, knowing that only in death -- theirs or the enemy's -- can forgiveness finally be earned. Penitent Engines often charge into battle beside the ranks of the Orders Militant. The Sisters of Battle consider it their sacred duty to witness these great machines in the fires of combat, observing the actions of their fallen brothers and sisters as they atone for past sins and seek redemption.
Ecclesiarchy Relics are items of incredible rarity, holy artefacts and revered tools of destruction that the Ecclesiarchy will go to any lengths to recover and protect. Such is their spiritual provenance that they are powerful weapons in the hands of the faithful, and in extreme circumstances they will be entrusted to the warriors of the Adeptus Ministorum. Only one each of the following relics can be chosen per army:
- Blade of Admonition - This blessed power sword is the very blade carried into battle by Alicia Dominica -- the founding saint of the Adepta Sororitas -- and was famously used to cut the head from the arch-traitor Goge Vandire and bring an end to the Reign of Blood. Saint Dominica wielded this blade in the decades following the reformation of the Ecclesiarchy, and a thousand more false prophets and heretics were slain upon its razor edge before Alicia's eventual martydom. The silver blade was recovered and polished to a mirror finish, and it is said that one who looks upon it can see the reflection of their own soul. Those who wield the sword cannot therefore fail to compare their worthiness to that of Saint Dominica and so strive to emulate her peerless example.
- Cloak of Saint Aspira - Canoness Saint Aspira of the Order of the Bloody Rose led her Battle Sisters in a War of Faith that liberated nearly one hundred worlds from the grip of the blasphemous tyrant Denescura. At the inception of the war, Aspira was presented with a magnificent cloak blessed in the Ecclesiarchal Palaces of Terra. Whilst this in itself marked the cloak as a treasured relic, small shards of the Emperor’s own armour were woven into it to ward away the blows of the enemy, elevating it to a sacred garment of incomparable spiritual significance. Saint Aspira wore the cloak throughout the War of Faith, striding into the fray heedless of her own safety, secure in her unwavering knowledge that the Emperor protects.
- Mantle of Ophelia - The Mantle of Ophelia was once the badge of office for the Prioress of the Convent Sanctorum and was worn by Helena the Virtuous, a Living Saint and one of the most revered leaders in the history of the Adepta Sororitas. The mantle is thought to have sacred powers of protection, for Helena was said to have anointed it with the Tears of the Emperor, a phial of blood-like liquid meticulously collected over a century from weeping statues of the Emperor found across the Cardinal Worlds of the Imperium.
- Sacred Banner of the Order Militant - Each of the six great Orders Militant possesses a single ancient battle banner passed down through the generations from the time when their Order was first created. It is said that several strands of hair taken from each of the Order's founding saints are woven into these sacred banners, and as such their divine provenance is beyond doubt. Each banner represents the heritage and history of their respective Orders and the honour of carrying one is granted only to the most faithful and accomplished members of the Sisterhood. They are proudly borne to war, and the Battle Sisters who fight beneath their shadow are inspired to greater feats of glory, redoubling their efforts and refusing to retreat.
- Rod of Grace - The Rod of Grace is a melee weapon, similar to a Space Marine Chaplain's Crozius Arcanum, and wielded by Helena the Virtuous in battle. The Rod of Grace is covered with a shimmering force field. However, this field is much more powerful and can be focused into a beam to strike at a distance.
- Sceptre of Vengeance - The Sceptre of Vengeance was the huge, heavy power mace wielded by Saint Ophelia in hand-to-hand combat. Its head is wreathed in a shimmering flame which leaves a trail of fiery sparks as it swings through the air.
Until the release of Warhammer 40,000 2nd Edition's Codex: Sisters of Battle, the Convent Sanctorum was described as being on Terra, with the Convent Prioris on Ophelia IV. In the 2nd Edition Codex, Gav Thorpe reverses the locations of the Convents; he also changed the name of Ophelia IV to Ophelia VII.
The following statement comes from the Codex: Sisters of Battle (2nd Edition): "A sign of the Sisters' strength is the fact that in their entire history only a single Sister, Miriael Sabathiel, has fallen to the lure of Chaos. How Miriael fell is unknown, only that she was turned from the Emperor's light to Slaanesh worship, and now serves as one of the Prince of Chaos' greatest warriors."
However this is clearly contradicted by the graphic novel, Daemonifuge, in which a Sister was seduced by a Navigator (who had been corrupted by a daemonic servant of Slaanesh) and several Sisters were completely corrupted by a Keeper of Secrets, a Greater Daemon of Slaanesh. In the novel Cain's Last Stand, it is also stated that an entire Mission of Sisters were seen engaging Imperial forces alongside Chaos Cultists and Cain was also confronted by two Sisters under daemonic influence. Those Sisters, however, were suffering from mind control and when these two were freed, they immediately killed themselves.
- Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition), "Force Dispositions" (Chart), pg. 16
- Codex: Grey Knights (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 86
- Codex Imperialis (1st Edition), pp. 14, 39
- Codex: Militarum Tempestus (6th Edition), pg. 29
- Codex: Necrons (3rd Edition), pp. 5, 146
- Codex: Sisters of Battle (2nd Edition)
- Codex: Tau (3rd Edition), pp. 56–57
- Codex: Witch Hunters (3rd Edition), pp. 10-11, 18-19, 27, 29, 34-36, 46-47, 52-55, 58-59, 65
- Dark Heresy: Blood of Martyrs (RPG), pp. 23, 77-78, 92-97
- Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook (RPG)
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 339
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pg. 231
- Imperial Armour Volume Twelve - The Fall of Orpheus, pp. 21-22
- Shield of Baal: Exterminatus (7th Edition), pp. 80-85
- The Inquisition (Background Book), pp. 64-65
- The 13th Black Crusade (Background Book), "Roll of Honour", pg. 90
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition)
- White Dwarf 381 (UK), "Codex: Sisters of Battle (5th Edition) Part 2," pp. 82-93
- White Dwarf 380 (UK),"Codex: Sisters of Battle (5th Edition) Part 1," pp. 90-103
- White Dwarf 293 (UK), "The Liber Sororitas", by Andy Hoare, pp. 52-57
- White Dwarf 269 (UK), "Index Astartes: Armoured Personnel Carrier," pg. 12
- White Dwarf 254 (UK), "Tactica: Sisters of Battle," by Matthew Sprange, pp. 44-47
- White Dwarf 232 (UK), "Chapter Approved: Sacred Rites," by Gav Thorpe, pg. 74
- White Dwarf 218 (UK), "Massacre at Sanctuary 101," by Rick Priestley, pp. 28-37
- White Dwarf 213 (UK), "Battle Report: Sisters of Battle - Battle Scenarios," by Andy Kettlewell, pp. 83-95
- White Dwarf 211 (UK), "Sisters of Battle," by Gav Thorpe, pp. 49-56
- Daemonifuge (Graphic Novel Series)
- Dawn of War: Ascension (Novel) by C.S. Goto
- Crossfire (Novel) by Matthew Farrer, pg. 258
- Duty Calls (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell
- Execution Hour (Novel) by Gordon Rennie, pg. 146
- Faith & Fire (Novel) by James Swallow
- Hammer and Anvil (Novel) by James Swallow
- Legion of the Damned (Novel) by Rob Sanders
- Legacy (Novel), by Matthew Farrer, pg. 203
- Shroud of Night (Novel) by Andy Clark
- Sons of the Hydra (Novel) by Rob Sanders
- Red and Black (Audio Book) by James Swallow
- Dawn of War - Soulstorm (PC Game)