The Angels of Absolution is a Loyalist Chapter of Space Marines and a Second Founding Successor Chapter of the Dark Angels. However, unlike their fellow Unforgiven, the Angels of Absolution feel that their shame in the eyes of the Emperor of Mankind has already been wiped away and they have earned His absolution, which has also led to them forgoing the use of the term "Unforgiven" in relation to themselves. As might be expected, this stance produces some conflict when the Angels of Absolution undertake joint operations with the Dark Angels and their fellow scions of Lion El'Jonson.
The Angels of Absolution have fought throughout the known galaxy, most often alongside the Dark Angels Chapter, in joint operations such as the Crusade against the Ork Empire of Charadon, the Battle at Archangel VII or the bloody suppression of the Rasputin Uprisings. In doctrine and temperament, the Angels of Absolution are very close to the Dark Angels. The two Chapters' teachings are largely consistent -- the only divergence lies in the emphasis placed on the Chapter's guilt concerning the Fallen. Though it is a subtle distinction, the Angels of Absolution consider their own sins expunged by their forefathers' actions in the Fall of Caliban. Though the Angels of Absolution fear no damnation from the consequences of that Fall, they still consider themselves responsible for meting out the punishment upon the Traitors. The Angels of Absolution possess all the drive of the other Unforgiven Chapters, while at the same time they are not weighed down by the same guilt.
The Angels of Absolution is one of the Unforgiven Successor Chapters of the Dark Angels and it is very similar in organisation and culture to its parent Chapter. It is known to have close ties with the Dark Angels, and on numerous occasions the two Chapters have launched joint operations together. However, unlike the other Unforgiven, the Angels of Absolution's armour is painted bone-white. This is intended to serve as a symbol of their belief that unlike the other Unforgiven Chapters, their sins against the Emperor of Mankind were cleansed during the Fall of Caliban at the end of the Horus Heresy, thus allowing them to adopt their Chapter name. However, they still believe it is their duty to join with the Dark Angels and the other Unforgiven to hunt down the remaining Fallen Angels and bring them to the Emperor's Justice. They just do not believe that doing so is necessary for them to be redeemed in His eyes.
- Vengeance from the Void (ca. M32) - Across a hundred scattered systems in the western marches of the Segmentum Solar, cult uprisings led by a core of Chaos Space Marine warbands drawn from the Iron Warriors, Night Lords and World Eaters Traitor Legions brought entire planetary governments to their knees in a year of blood and anarchy. With whole sections on the brink of collapse, events took a dramatic turn when a combined force of the Adeptus Astartes emerged from the black depths beyond the spiral arm and launched a sudden and overwhelming attack directly upon the uprising's command. Though many Space Marines fell in glory, the warlords of the Traitor factions were slain and the uprising fractured into a thousand localised rebellions which were soon put down by local forces. Subsequent Inquisitorial studies claimed that these Space Marines were drawn from several Chapters, including the Angels of Absolution, Minotaurs, Carcharodons and Death Eagles. Other evidence however, including their estimated Founding and projected deployment dates, contradict these assertations, consigning the entire event to conjecture.
- The Invasion of Nova Sulis, The Plague of Unbelief (302.M36) - During the wars that marked the beginning of the Plague of Unbelief during the Age of Apostasy, the Angels of Absolution were one of the first Space Marine Chapters who took up arms against the mad Cardinal Bucharis and his splinter empire based at Galthamor. The Angels of Absolution fought alongside such notable Chapters as the Executioners, the Raven Guard and the Space Wolves at various points during the conflict.
- Archangel VII Persecution (Unknown Date.M41) - The Angels of Absolution's 2nd Company and the Dark Angels' Ravenwing worked in concert together to deadly effect at Archangel VII, tracking down a small band of Fallen Dark Angels and their followers at the death world's northern pole. A joint strike of Deathwing and the Angels of Absolution's 1st Company Veterans assaulted their fortress. The battle raged fully for two days, as the enemy proved to be well ensconced within their nigh impregnable walls. The two Chapters lost a combined dozen Terminators before the fortress could be breached. Encountering three of the Fallen, one was slain in battle whilst the remaining two were seized and taken back to the Rock to be subjected to the brutal ministrations of the Dark Angels' Interrogator-Chaplains.
- Corinth Crusade (698-705.M41) - The Chapter participated in the Corinth Crusade against the Orks of the Charadon Empire led by the Warlord Skargor the Despoiler. Alongside elements from 5 other Space Marine Chapters and 50 full Regiments of the Imperial Guard, the Crusade drove WAAAGH! Skargor back to the world of Corinth and ultimately an Ultramarines Dreadnought killed the Ork Warlord in single combat. This Crusade pushed back the later invasion of Imperial space by the Charadon Orks' WAAAGH! Argluk by 30 standard years.
- The Siege of Vraks (830.M41) - On special request of the Dark Angels' Supreme Grand Master Azrael, the Angels of Absolution sent a sizeable taskforce to aid in the final battle of the gruesome campaign that had been the Siege of Vraks. By 830.M41 only Vraks' citadel remained unconquered, but the Chaos Space Marines warbands had by then successfully summoned their daemonic allies, which made for a bloody last battle. Accompanied by Interrogator-Chaplain Belphegor of the Dark Angels -- who had already fought on Vraks nine years before during the Dark Angels' involvement in the Siege -- the Angels of Absolution sent their augmented 4th Company under Master Yafrir to Vraks with the twin goals of capturing the leader of the Alpha Legion known as Arkos the Faithless and the destruction of his redoubtable flagship, the Despoiler-class Battleship Anarchy's Heart. After heavy negotiations and only upon the acceptance of their terms did the Angels of Absolution take to the field. Chaplain Belphegor would lead a daring drop-pod assault within the Citadel precinct itself, concentrating their assault on the Basilica of Saint Leonis while Master Yafrir would lead an armoured column from the Cardinal Gate. With the Basilica's central gate taken by the Terminator-armoured veterans of the Angels of Absolution's 1st Company, both forces linked together before venturing in the rubblefield that was now the Basilica of Saint Leonis. Here the Faithless -- Arkos' warband -- awaited them, resolved to die fighting. Although surrounded and outgunned they did not run, holding their ground. Arkos himself succeeded in killing Master Yafrir before being overwhelmed by Chaplain Belphegor and taken prisoner. The Anarchy's Heart likewise succumbed to the vessels of the Angels of Absolution, and although they would mourn the loss of their Master, the Angels of Absolution had reached their goals and even surpassed them as they took no less than 15 prisoners from the Alpha Legion, a valuable source of information in their hunt for the Fallen.
- 13th Black Crusade (999.M41) - Currently, the Angels of Absolution are wholly committed to stopping the 13th Black Crusade, and all ten companies are deployed in some fashion on those battlefields around the Eye of Terror as they seek to contain the aftereffects of Abaddon the Despoiler's latest assault upon the realm of Mankind. The Angels of Absolution have reported back to The Rock the confirmed presence of several members of the Fallen amongst the Forces of Chaos that emerged from the Eye with the Despoiler.
The Angels of Absolution organise themselves along the same lines as the Dark Angels and so are considered to partially comply with the Codex Astartes. Most of the Unforgiven Chapters follow the Dark Angels' pattern of organisation, including having formations similar to the Deathwing and the Ravenwing, although they are not named as such. The Angels of Absolution Chapter's 2nd Company works closely with their Dark Angels' counterpart -- the Ravenwing, combining their resources in order to hunt far and wide in search of their nemesis, the Fallen. Like the Dark Angels, the Unforgiven Successor Chapters also have a clandestine group who possess knowledge of the Fallen and of the true events that occurred on Caliban. In the Angels of Absolution, their Inner Circle is called the Hidden Brotherhood.
The Angels of Absolution are very close to their progenitor Chapter in both doctrine and temperament. Their teachings are similar with one minor divergence in regards to the Chapter's guilt concerning the Fallen. The Angels of Absolution believe their own sins wiped clean by the actions of their Dark Angels forefathers in the Fall of Caliban. This Chapter fears no spiritual damnation from the inter-Legion war known as the Fall, but they do feel responsible for meting out the punishment upon the traitors as an act of repentance.
Notable Angels of Absolution
- Deathwatch Apothecary Septimus - Septimus is an Apothecary of the Angels of Absolution who serves in the Deathwatch, the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Xenos. He has sworn to travel the void on secret missions without hope of help or succour from the Chapter. He arrived at Watch Fortress Erioch in the Jericho Reach on the heels of the Achilus Crusade in the entourage of Rogue Trader Diaz Lian, although it is unclear whether he came aboard a ship that traversed the Warp Gate from the Calixis Sector or was already present in the Jericho Reach. Though Septimus originates from the Angels of Absolution, he has not stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his Battle-Brothers in many years. He is a highly skilled Apothecary with experience with a wide variety of gene-seed through his duties within the Deathwatch. He is known to be unusual amongst his Battle-Brothers for he is carefree and charismatic, even partial to the occasional joke. What secret agenda brought him across the stars to Erioch remains unknown.
- Master Yafrir - Master Yafrir was the Master of the Angels of Absolution's 4th Company, an honourable man whose prediction went to armour-borne assaults he would often lead from the front inside his personal Land Raider. Deployed to the final battle of the Siege of Vraks as commander of the 4th Company, Master Yafrir relinquished much of his command to Interrogator-Chaplain Belphegor of the Dark Angels who had accompanied him onto Vraks. Leading the support force to Belphegor's drop pod assault, Master Yafrir was sadly slain in the ruins of the Basilica of Saint Leonis, vanquished by the Chaos Champion Arkos the Faithless whom the taskforce had been charged to capture and bring back to the Rock.
- Liberatorii Delictum (Battle Barge) - The Liberatorii Delictum transported the Angels of Absolution's augmented 4th Company to the world of Vraks in their hunt for Arkos the Faithless. Having succesfully deployed its complement of Space Marines to the surface, the Liberatorii Delictum would then hunt for Arkos' own vessel, the mighty Despoiler-class Battleship Anarchy's Heart. With the Repentant patrolling into the Vraks system's asteroid field, the Liberatorii Delictum bid its time, placing itself on an intercept vector should the Anarchy's Heart try to reach Vraks and exfiltrate Arkos and his warband. Forced by the developments on the surface to precisely do this, the Anarchy's Heart met the Liberatorii Delictum head-on, both battleships firing at each other and inflicting grievious wounds to their counterpart. With the help from the onrushing Repentant, which attacked from the rear, the Liberatorii Delictum destroyed the Anarchy's Heart, ending the menace it had posed to Imperial ship traffic in the Scarus Sector.
- Repentant (Strike Cruiser)
Although there are many Unforgiven recruiting worlds -- the full number of which is known only to the Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels -- the majority of them are Feudal Worlds, much like Caliban was. Over time some recruiting worlds have been lost -- either permanently, such as Grymmport, or for a short period, like the Plainsworld -- but new sites are constantly added. Upon some of these recruitment worlds, the Dark Angels have built fortress-monasteries -- large, well-defended complexes where hopeful Initiates can compete for the honour of being selected. Other planets have smaller outposts, ranging from a Fortress of Redemption to a mere statue, in front of which ceremonies might take place. The most feral of these planets have nothing but legends of visitors from the sky appearing at regular intervals.
At need, some established recruiting worlds have been given over to Successor Chapters, or vice versa, and much work is done to ensure that any records held by the Adeptus Administratum are soon lost. For instance, Nachtwald was originally the main homeworld of the Lions Sable, but after their destruction it passed into the control of the Angels of Vengeance, and has since been used primarily by the Angels of Absolution.
- Redemption's Lament - Among the histories of Watch Fortress Erioch is a curious tale regarding the master-crafted Astartes Power Sword cryptically named Redemption's Lament. It was brought to the Watch Fortress in the wargear of the veteran Battle-Brother Raguel of the Angels of Absolution Chapter, but it is not told that he ever wielded the blade in battle. The histories tell that when Raguel returned to his Chapter, he refused to bear his blade with him, saying that its fate no longer dwelt with his brethren. A passing footnote in the annals of the Deathwatch comments that Raguel's Vigil coincided with the Angels of Absolution ceasing to use the cryptic designation of "Unforgiven" for the members of their Chapter.
The Power Armour of the Angels of Absolution is painted bone-white with black back pack and Aquila or Imperialis symbol on the chest plate. The red squad specialty symbol (Tactical, Assault, Devastator or Veteran) is indicated on the right shoulder guard whilst the Chapter iconography is painted on the left shoulder guard. Squad designation is indicated by a black Gothic numeral stenciled on the centre of the squad specialty symbol. Company number is designated on the right poleyn (knee guard) with one notable difference -- the Angels of Absolution invert the company markings of their parent Chapter.
Like their parent Chapter and other Unforgiven, Veteran Angels of Absolution are commonly found wearing deep green hooded cloaks and tabards; this symbolises their shame over what the Fallen Angels had done near the end of the Great Crusade. Cloaks and hoods are worn by the Veteran Angels of Absolution and the Chapter's Inner Circle because they have learned enough about the Dark Angels Legion's history, and thus their shame, prior to obtaining their rank within the Chapter.
The Angels of Absolution's Chapter badge is a white skull superimposed over a black, stylised wing extending to the right. This is centred on a field of bone-white.
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Dark Angels (8th Edition), pp. 11, 18, 37, 45
- Codex: Dark Angles (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 47, 170
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pp. 73, 75
- Codex: Dark Angels (3rd Edition), pg. 14
- Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition), pg. 16
- Codex: Angels of Death (2nd Edition), pg. 33
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pp. 72, 75
- Deathwatch - Honour the Chapter (RPG), pg. 131
- Deathwatch - Rites of Battle (RPG), pp. 61, 236
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- Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks, Part One, pp. 90–95
- Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks, Part Three, pp. 76-95
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War, Part One, pg. 76
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War, Part Two, pg. 87
- Imperial Armour Volume Thirteen - War Machines of the Lost & The Damned, pg. 21