- "For every tear I have shed for my Primarch, his enemies have bled a single drop of blood. Yet still I can weep, and they can bleed…"
Corbulo is the Sanguinary High Priest of the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter. He thus serves as the leader of the Chapter's Sanguinary Priests (Apothecaries), the wielder of the relic Chainsword Heaven's Teeth and the Bearer of the Red Grail, the Chapter relic that was used to preserve the blood of their Primarch Sanguinius after he was slain by the Warmaster Horus aboard his flagship Vengeful Spirit during the closing days of the Horus Heresy.
The sacred chalice is used by the Sanguinary Priests and all Aspirants of the Chapter to drink the blood of their Primarch as part of the Insanguination creation ritual for all Blood Angels Astartes. As sometimes happens with Blood Angels Battle-Brothers, Corbulo bears a striking physical resemblance to the Chapter's lost Primarch as a result of a specific expression of his gene-seed. Brother Corbulo shares the Great Primarch's far-seeing eye and deep wisdom. He currently leads his brethren in the ancient quest to eradicate the genetic Flaw that afflicts their Chapter.
Corbulo is the Sanguinary High Priest of the Blood Angels and the keeper of the Chapter initiation mysteries for Neophytes. He is charged with the wardenship of the Red Grail, the artefact in which the blood of Sanguinius was preserved after the Primarch's death.
This vessel is a key part of the induction mysteries of the Sanguinary Priests, but it is also a potent relic upon the field of battle, exhorting the Scions of Sanguinius to greater deeds. Blood Angels in the presence of the Red Grail find themselves reinvigorated, the physical and psychological aspects inherited from their Primarch enhanced in some unknowable way.
The physical resemblance borne by Corbulo to the Blood Angels' lost Primarch is uncanny, as his piercing eyes and noble aspect reflect the nature of the Blood Angels at its most pure. In the centuries since his investiture, it is perhaps this perfection that has driven the Sanguinary High Priest to work ceaselessly to isolate and neutralise the Flaw in his Chapter's gene-seed. This sacred quest has taken Corbulo across the width and breadth of the galaxy, traveling to numerous Apothecarions from other Space Marine Chapters, as well as to forgotten backwater worlds in search of forbidden archeotech related to the legendary genetic sciences of the Dark Age of Technology.
Corbulo's resemblance to the fallen Primarch is not merely physical. His deep wisdom and canny insights are legendary, and his counsel has proven invaluable time and again. More tellingly, Corbulo shares Sanguinius' gift of the far-seeing eye, and can discern the patterns and shapes of a future yet to come -- a gift of the gene-seed that has manifested only sparingly through the many generations of Blood Angels. Those scant hours not claimed by duty or in search for the Flaw's cure, Corbulo spends poring over the Scrolls of Sanguinius, seeking to combine knowledge from the Primarch's ancient prescient visions with the fleeting insights distilled from his own. Corbulo's travails in this regard have borne fruit many times.
That the Blood Angels arrived so swiftly on Armageddon following Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka's initial invasion -- and at full Chapter strength -- was due in part to Corbulo's divinations. Similarly, without Corbulo's guidance, the Blood Angel's Chapter fleet would never have known the hour and location at which M'kar the Reborn's world-breaking Daemon-Cruiser would enter the Baal System, and could thus never have ambushed and obliterated the vessel before Baal itself was laid waste.
Yet these successful predictions have not been without cost. In recent years, Corbulo has grown ever more withdrawn and taciturn, and his eyes have taken on a haunted look that he cannot easily conceal. Though the exact detail of what Corbulo has learnt remains a closely-guarded secret, it cannot be doubted that the very blackest of times lie ahead for the Blood Angels -- events so dire that even foreknowledge is of no protection
Blood Angels Conclave
In 998.M41 Commander Dante summoned all of the Blood Angels' Successor Chapters for a conclave on Baal. Dante called for the support of the Blood Angels Successors to help aid the Chapter in the protection of their common Primarch's homeworld and his remains from the attack of both the Tyranids and the Forces of Chaos. While Dante led the discussion at the conclave, the Apothecaria was working on a radical new procedure to replenish the ranks of the Blood Angels in one swift stroke: the lost art of replicae -- cloning.
Caecus was the Chief Apothecary or Apothecae Majoris of the Blood Angels. Disturbed by the dwindling numbers of his Chapter, and dreading its extinction, he was involved in fruitless experiments, which Commander Dante ordered stopped, to clone Space Marines, thus eliminating the need to go through the arduous process of the maturation and implantation of the gene-seed in an Aspirant.
However, Caecus disobeyed the order and secretly continued the experiments, prodded by an agent of the vile Heretic Astartes Apothecary Fabius Bile. He was tricked into bringing Bile, who was disguised as a well-known Adeptus Mechanicus Magos Biologis, to Baal, mistakenly thinking the false "Magos" would help in cloning Space Marines to increase the Blood Angels' numbers.
Through Bile's manipulations, Caecus was duped, and only managed to create monstrous, mutant clone-Astartes known as "Bloodfiends" who were consumed by the Red Thirst from birth. These creatures were a shattered mirror reformed in the image of a Blood Angel, but lacked any of the qualities that could be thought of as human. The mutations that cursed the gene-seed of the Blood Angels had been enhanced by the machinations and Chaos tech-heresy of Fabius Bile, and with each drop of blood they consumed, the thirst that dominated the Bloodfiends grew stronger.
The mutants broke free from the confines of Caecus' laboratorium and began to run rampant through the sacred halls of the fortress-monastery of the Blood Angels. During their rampage, Bile managed to steal a glass vial that Caecus had carried back from the Chapel of the Red Grail -- a measure of the mingled blood of a hundred centuries of Sanguinary Priests and the Primarch himself, the raw vitae of the Chapter.
During the Bloodfiends' rampage, a small group of the bloodthirsty mutants assaulted the sacred Chapel of the Chapter's fortress-monastery, the Arx Angelicum. Brother Corbulo raced to the Chapel to confront the vile creatures. He knew exactly what it was the beasts wanted, and he bellowed out a denial, charging in a headlong rush to meet such embodiments of corruption. The creatures swarmed Corbulo as the Sanguinary Priest carved into them with his relic Chainsword Heaven's Teeth. But the largest of the Bloodfiends, a massive brute easily the size of an Astartes in Terminator Armour, threw itself towards its target -- the Red Grail and the precious blood of the Primarch it contained.
The creature destroyed the two machine-helot Gun Servitors that guarded the sacred chalice. Reaching into the glow of the anti-gravity suspensor field holding the relic aloft, the Bloodfiend seized the sacred chalice. The creature struck Corbulo across the face, sending him reeling to the floor. Then the mutant tipped the contents of the cup into its open mouth and drained it to the dregs. After completing its desecration, the creature threw the grail away and Corbulo dove after it, scrambling to snatch the empty cup from the air before the holy chalice could strike the ground. His hands trembled with fury at bearing witness to such a despicable act in so sacred a place. Now that the beasts had tasted the blood of the Primarch, they only craved more.
In the aftermath of this desecration, Bile had achieved his goal and escaped from the Blood Angels' homeworld with a sample of the precious vitae of their Primarch. The Blood Angels and their Successors successfully defended their most sacred of sites on Baal -- the Golden Sarcophagus of Sanguinius within the sacred sepulchre where the Great Angel lay for all time, sleeping in light, forever preserved.
The sons of Sanguinius destroyed the horde of mutants and erased the stain of Chaos from their midst. They had paid for the continued sanctity of the Great Angel with their blood, and in the aftermath of this misery, Commander Dante took responsibility for what had happened and accepted it without complaint. Dante believed that it was his hubris that had brought the Chapter to this dark place.
The Successor Chapters took this into consideration as well as Commander Dante's original request for the Successors to grant the Blood Angels a small tithe of their Chapter's Initiates in order to replenish the ranks of the Chapter. The Successor Chapters unanimously agreed to hand over to the Blood Angels some of their own Neophytes to help their ancestral Chapter rebuild its strength in the wake of the Chaos assault -- and in preparation for the oncoming assault by the Tyranids and the Forces of Chaos -- when their aid would be needed more than ever before.
Devastation of Baal
It was Corbulo, also, who foresaw Hive Fleet Leviathan's attack on Baal. It was he who -- seeing no other choice -- authorised the pillaging of Aspirants from the Baalite tribes, and the abandonment of their peoples to their fate. He fought the invading xenos during the Battle of Baal with remarkable fury, wading knee-deep through their corpses with his relic Chainsword howling in gory arcs, and many believe that in his reckless butchery the Sanguinary High Priest sought to make amends for the innocent lives he so callously sacrificed for victory.
Fascinated by the newly-inducted Primaris Space Marines -- or more specifically, their potential to advance his research into a cure for the Flaw -- Brother Corbulo made it his business to accompany them into battle wherever he could in the days after the Devastation of Baal. Thus Corbulo was on hand during the final attack on the Alpha Legion's Fortress of Lies on Khovan. Spearheaded by Vindicators and Repulsors, the Blood Angels' attack breached the immense fortification, allowing squads of Intercessors to pour inside. Yet the Alpha Legionaries drew out the fight, baiting their enemies and striking to wound and goad the Primaris Blood Angels wherever possible.
Though victory was eventually secured, the violence unleashed by several of the Primaris brothers to achieve it was extreme, with Traitors torn limb from limb. No official censure was applied to the Battle-Brothers in question, but Corbulo sought audience with Dante shortly afterward. His deep disquiet was evident, for the Primaris Astartes may not be as immune to the ravages of the Red Thirst and Black Rage as Belisarius Cawl had believed...
- Artificer Armour
- Bolt Pistol - A Bolt Pistol is a smaller version of the Bolter in standard use by the Space Marines and other Imperial forces. It is a powerful sidearm that fires explosive kinetic rounds colloquially referred to as bolts.
- Heaven's Teeth - This Chainsword is a treasured and irreplaceable relic of the Chapter from the time of Sanguinius.
- Frag Grenades - A Frag Grenade is the standard anti-personnel grenade commonly used by the military forces of the Imperium of Man, including the Astra Militarum and Adeptus Astartes. It produces a blast of shrapnel that can shred unarmoured infantry troops.
- Krak Grenades - The Krak Grenade is a type of explosive device used by the military forces of the Imperium of Man. Krak Grenades use a shaped explosive charge capable of punching holes in armoured targets such as vehicles or bunkers, and its charge can even rip armour plating apart.
- Narthecium - A Narthecium is a tool of a Space Marine Apothecary's trade, containing implements specially designed for treating the Astartes genetically-engineered physiology and for performing first aid without having to remove the patient’s Power Armour.
- The Red Grail - This ancient and highly revered artefact is the most sacred of the Blood Angels' holy relics, said to contain the blood of their slain Primarch and used in the Ritual of Creation of all Blood Angels Astartes by the Chapter's Sanguinary Priests. On the field of battle, the presence of the Red Grail is said to reinvigorate any Blood Angels in its presence, somehow enhancing the physical and psychological strengths these Astartes inherited from their Primarch.
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Blood Angels (8th Edition), pp. 23, 31, 78
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pg. 49
- Codex: Blood Angels (4th Edition), pp. 8, 15
- Codex: Blood Angels (3rd Edition), pg. 19
- Codex: Angels of Death (2nd Edition), pg. 96
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pg. 38
- Red Fury (Novel) by James Swallow