"What man could not do, the Emperor sent his sons to accomplish. They were an antidote to the weakness of flesh and the sin of mind that kept man from greatness. His sons he sent to bear the cost of life and death so that man may prosper. Such a heavy burden was as poison to the blood of his sons, and so the Emperor sent his Executioner to set the afflicted free."
Astorath the Grim is the High Chaplain and Redeemer of the Lost, the Blood Angels Space Marine tasked with granting the Emperor's Peace to all those of his fellow Astartes who bear the gene-seed of the Primarch Sanguinius and have been overcome by the genetic Flaw known as the Black Rage.
There is no station within the Blood Angels Chapter more greatly honoured or more deeply loathed: honoured for the burden the Redeemer of the Lost bears as he carries out his difficult but necessary duties; loathed because that duty is stained forever with the blood of his fellow Battle-Brothers. In battle, Astorath is a true angel of death, a sombre, axe-wielding figure who shepherds the madmen at his side to a final, meaningful end.
"Treat them with honour, my brothers. Not because they will bring us victory this day, but because their fate will one day be ours."
- —Astorath the Grim, Blood Angels High Chaplain
Astorath has the sacred calling to seek out those amongst the Scions of Sanguinius whose souls have been claimed by the terrible genetic Flaw known as the Black Rage, and whose mental degeneration has become so severe that even an honourable death in battle is no longer possible. His quarry found, Astorath ends his lost Battle-Brother's life with a single mighty blow to the neck, severing his head to thwart the fiendish endurance granted by the Black Rage. This is without doubt an act of mercy, a gift to the accursed. Nonetheless, no Battle-Brother can ever feel entirely comfortable in Astorath's presence, for they know that the bite of his forbidding axe might one day be the last thing that they feel.
Whilst officially bound to the Blood Angels, Astorath's duties carry him far and wide amongst the Chapter's Successors. It was long ago considered that these terrible duties were best borne by a single Astartes of Sanguinius' line, and, thus far at least, a single brother has been equal to the task at hand. So does Astorath tread the stars, hacking apart those enemies who would prevent him from bestowing his gift of oblivion.
To an observer, it might seem that Astorath's presence fans the destructive fires of the Black Rage. Certainly it is more prevalent wherever he treads, and even those Blood Angels who remain sane are unmistakably wilder in the Redeemer's presence. However, the truth is entirely the opposite.
Astorath can sense the Black Rage's degenerative onset before it becomes apparent to any other soul -- including its victim. Individual afflictions echo through his mind in the form of doom-laden chords, and grow ever stronger as other Battle-Brothers fall into the Black Rage's clutches. No separation of distance can serve to mute this dolorous symphony. Whether the victims are fighting on Armageddon or in Ultramar, Astorath can sense their plight -- and he must go to them as his duty requires.
So it is that the Redeemer of the Lost has become a true Angel of Death, a legend of destruction amongst the Blood Angels, their Successor Chapters and their foes alike. Wherever Astorath the Grim treads, the enemy face not only his fury, but the onslaught of Space Marines caught in the twilight shadows of the Black Rage. Astorath's sorrow for his doomed Battle-Brothers serves only to fuel a determination that they shall pass into death having known one last great victory. In this cause he fights like a man possessed, resolute that his twin gifts of death and redemption shall not be denied.
Guardians of the High Chaplain
The Erelim are comprised of a choir of five Blood Angels Chaplains. They vigilantly stand in the shadows, charged with protecting the hidden reclusiam of Astorath the Grim on Baal, whose location is only known to the Chapter Masters of the Blood Angels and their Successor Chapters. Stripped of all insignia and adornment save their Chapter's symbol emblazoned upon their shoulder plates, they are as dark mirrors to the Sanguinary Guard that stand in the light of Lord Commander Dante. Even their skull helms have been daubed death-black and their jump packs have been framed by halos of darkest feather. Nothing but the glow of their crimson coloured optics betray them in the half-light.
- Artificer Armour - Astorath is clad in master-crafted, crimson-coloured Artificer Armour that has the appearance of exposed, striated muscles.
- Winged Jump Pack - Astorath wears a modified version of the standard Astartes Jump Pack that is designed to emulate Sanguinius' own angelic wings, but instead of being angelic white, they are a dark mirror of the Sanguinary Guard's own Jump Packs, framing the Redeemer of the Lost by a halo of darkest feather. When leaping down from above, it is as if the grim executioner has taken flight on broad angelic wings like an avenging angel of legend, thus striking fear into his foes.
- Bolt Pistol
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
- The Executioner's Axe - Astorath's axe is crafted to deliver the perfect killing blow. This mighty two-handed master-crafted Power Axe is so keen it can even slice through power fields. Many consider the blade to be cursed, for it is steeped beyond cleansing in the blood of Sanguinius' sons. Yet it is a peerless weapon of mercy and of war, its cutting edge coated with void-diamond and sharpened to a monomolecular finish.
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Blood Angels (8th Edition), pp. 35, 83
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Blood Angels (7th Edition), pp. 15, 38, 108-109
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pp. 44-45, 72, 82
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- Astorath The Grim: Redeemer of the Lost (Short Story) by Andy Smillie
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