"In the void there is nothing but darkness. In the darkness we dwell. The past is shrouded by shadows. In the shadows we seek the truth. By its nature the truth shall be found. The truth is light."
- — Final invocation of the Seventh Rite of the Raven.
A Black Knight or Ravenwing Black Knight is a member of the Dark Angels Space Marine Chapter's elite 2nd Company, known as the "Ravenwing," who serve with others of their elite ilk as a heavily armed shock cavalry force. Mounted on powerful, heavily customised Mark IV Raven Pattern Assault Bikes, they bring swift death to their foes. They have managed to survive in the Ravenwing long enough to learn to take the doctrines of mobile warfare to the next level of mastery.
The Ravenwing Black Knights are the 2nd Company's greatest warriors, elite fighters who style themselves after the monster-hunting knights of old Caliban. They speed towards the foe, swinging their deadly Corvus Hammers with such force that the spiked end can puncture even the thickest armour.
Whether deployed on their own, or forming a Veteran core in the centre of a larger Ravenwing spearhead, the Black Knights are the ultimate weapon of the Grand Master of the Ravenwing. Although Dark Angels rarely recount battle deeds or heroic tales unless doing so addresses some special need, the Black Knights' Ravenwing brethren often cannot hold their tongues as they speak in wonder about the fighting prowess of their company's elite Battle-Brothers.
"LET US FLY STRAIGHT AND TRUE, AND LET OUR TALONS TEAR OUT THE HEART OF THE FOE. GOOD HUNTING."
- —Final verse of Corvus Sacramentus, Ravenwing Blessing
If a Battle-Brother has served long enough in the Ravenwing and can pass the Seven Rites of the Raven -- brutal ceremonies that test not only his skill, but also the extremes of Chapter loyalty -- he will be inducted into the esteemed ranks of the Black Knights, the Inner Circle of the 2nd Company. There, after taking part in the long and solemn ritual that culminates in the Vow of the Beastslayer, they will learn the real reason behind their hunt for Heretics and the truth about their Chapter's history.
Ravenwing Black Knights ride to battle atop Mark IV Raven Pattern Space Marine Assault Bikes, powerful machines outfitted with deadly Plasma Talons. To signify their exalted status, Black Knights carry Corvus Hammers, which are patterned after an ancient Calibanite weapon used to hunt the Great Beasts. The Black Knights' riding skills are supreme, and they can drive at top speed through almost any impediments to close on their foes.
During this approach, their Plasma Talons tear gaping holes in the enemy lines before they literally ride over their prey, cracking armour and sundering flesh with their Corvus Hammers as they go. Against more formidable opponents, those Black Knights trained in the use of the Ravenwing Grenade Launcher fire a salvo of specialised Rad and Stasis Shells, which can make even the most potent of enemies more vulnerable to a sustained assault.
A Ravenwing Black Knight is a vengeful killer who will not rest until he has run his prey to ground. If his Plasma Talons do not kill the foe, the razor-sharp bill of his Corvus Hammer surely will. Ravenwing Black Knight Squads are often led into battle by a Veteran Astartes and longtime member of the Black Knights known as a Ravenwing Huntmaster who bears an ancient Power Weapon that is drawn from the armouries of The Rock.
Ravenwing Command Squads usually consist of experienced Ravenwing Black Knights who form a swift and highly-mobile bodyguard around a mounted Chapter officer, or execute other specialised missions on their own. These squads usually include several other Chapter specialists -- an Apothecary to tend to the wounded and recover the fallen's gene-seed on far-flung scouting missions, an Ancient, and the Ravenwing Company Champion wielding a deadly blade of Calibanite origin. These may individually join a detachment of Ravenwing or group together to form a bodyguard or command group. All are proven Black Knights, steeped in the secrets of the Chapter.
A Ravenwing Apothecary will use his bike to traverse vast distances to quickly tend to the wounded. They are skilled riders as well as medics, and have earned their brethren's utmost trust. Many such Apothecaries have been seen steering their bikes one-handed while they effect emergency surgeries upon a fellow Ravenwing Biker, even while moving at great speeds.
The Ravenwing Ancient carries one of the company's sacred standards, and beneath the shadow of that fluttering banner the black-armoured warriors of the Ravenwing bring death to the foe. They also form a rallying point, and can be found at the very forefront of the devastating bike charges.
The Ravenwing Company Champion is called upon to defend the 2nd Company's honour during ritual combat, and tasked with cutting down the most formidable of opponents in battle. Like all the Chapter's Champions, the Ravenwing Champion is gifted a deadly Blade of Caliban -- an ancient Power Sword whose heritage can be traced back to the early days of the Chapter.
When a Ravenwing Command Squad rides to battle, they form a rallying point for one of the most fearsome fast strike forces in the galaxy. Beneath the fluttering shadow of their standard, the black-armoured Astartes of the Ravenwing bring death to the enemies of the Emperor.
- 2-4 Ravenwing Black Knights
- 1 Ravenwing Huntmaster
- Power Armour (Any pattern)
- Mark IV Raven Pattern Assault Bike
- Plasma Talons - Mark IV Raven Pattern Assault Bikes have their twin-linked Bolters replaced with a weapon unique to the Chapters of the Unforgiven, the Plasma Talon. With a range between that of the Plasma Pistol and Plasma Gun, the Plasma Talon gives the Black Knights a significant boost in firepower.
- Ravenwing Grenade Launcher - Ravenwing Black Knights employ specialised Grenade Launchers adapted to fire even at the high speeds at which they race across the battlefield. These Grenade Launchers fire specialised shells beyond the standard Frag and Krak shells that utilise ancient technologies. The Rad Shell spreads radiation-contaminated fragments across a broad area that have a debilitating effect on a foe, while the Stasis Shell is capable of momentarily freezing the space-time continuum in a localised area, slowing the reaction times of any of the enemy nearby to the Ravenwing's assault.
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
- Blade of Caliban - Blades of Caliban are relics and each has its own honourable heritage. Only the Champions of each company, having performed heroic and faultless duty, earn the right to wield one of these ancient Power Swords in battle.
- Corvus Hammer - On Caliban the thick forests made tall lances impractical, so the ancient knights of the Dark Angels' lost homeworld developed a unique military pick, which consisted of a hammerhead modified to provide additional power during impact. Its beak-like spike proved ideal for puncturing monster scales and armour alike. The bike-mounted warriors of the original Dark Angels Legion adopted this weapon design and these ancient weapons are still maintained by the Black Knights of the Dark Angels and its Successor Chapters.
- Power Sword or Power Maul (Optional replacements for Ravenwing Huntmaster's Corvus Hammer)
- Melta Bombs (Ravenwing Huntmaster only)
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Dark Angels (8th Edition), pp. 43, 113
- Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pp. 47, 60, 62, 82
- Mastery of Sanctity (Novel) by Gav Thorpe