"Never Forget, Never Forgive! The Fallen Must Repent!"
- — Deathwing Catechism
The Dark Angels are considered amongst the most powerful and secretive of the Loyalist Space Marine Chapters. They were the I Legion of the original 20 Space Marine Legions to be created during the First Founding of the 30th Millennium. Though they claim complete allegiance and service to the Emperor of Mankind, their actions and secret goals at times seem at odds with that professed loyalty, as the Dark Angels strive above all other things to atone for an ancient crime of betrayal committed over 10,000 standard years ago against the trust of the Emperor during the time of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy.
The Dark Angels stand first amongst the Space Marine Chapters, as they have done since their very inception as the I Legion. They are a proud Chapter, with traditions and rituals that date back to the earliest days of the Imperium of Man. The origins of the Dark Angels Chapter remain shrouded in mystery. Few Imperial records of its beginnings still exist, nor are there many mentions of the part it played in the Emperor’s Great Crusade during the early 31st Millennium. Most references in the histories of the Imperium to its deeds during the accursed times of the Horus Heresy have actually been expunged. Yet a legend persists that at one point the Dark Angels teetered on the very brink of heresy and that an act of the most terrible betrayal dishonoured all of the I Legion's feats of valour, leaving an enduring stain upon all of its Successor Chapters' honour. Such is their shame that from that time onwards, the Dark Angels and their Unforgiven Successors strive for absolution from the sins of millennia past.
The Dark Angels' terrible secret is this: during the Horus Heresy, some of the brethren were turned to the side of Chaos. The Renegades were defeated in a battle that destroyed the Dark Angels’ Legion homeworld, Caliban, but many of the Traitor Dark Angels survived to be cast through space and time by the direct intervention of the Chaos Gods. These survivors are known to those few Dark Angels granted knowledge of their existence as The Fallen Angels or just The Fallen. In the eyes of the Chapter’s leaders, there is only one way that the Chapter can ever atone for its shame, restoring its honour and trust in the eyes of the Emperor—all of the Fallen must be found and either made to repent their ancient sin, or slain.
This story of treachery and betrayal is the Dark Angels’ hidden shame, and their secret mission to destroy all of the Fallen is now their only hope of salvation. No one knows of this other than the Dark Angels, their Successor Chapters and, perhaps, the Emperor himself, interred within his Golden Throne.
The Chapter has been shaped by its dark past and is secretive and monastic in nature, with much time given over to worship and prayer. There are many different levels within the Chapter which individuals may gradually rise through. On attaining each new level, they are granted a little more knowledge of the truth behind the Dark Angels’ origins, but only the highest-ranking members of the Chapter, the members of what is known as the Inner Circle, know the terrible, shameful secret of what occurred 10,000 years ago.
The gestation pod containing the infant Primarch Lion El'Jonson that had been mysteriously teleported through the Warp from the Emperor's gene-laboratory beneath the Himalayan Mountains on Terra by the Ruinous Powers landed on the feudal Death World of Caliban. Caliban was a planet of immense forests inhabited by terrible, monstrous beasts mutated by the touch of Chaos in the centuries after the birth of the Chaos God Slaanesh due to the planet's proximity to the nearby Eye of Terror. Jonson managed to survive in the forests alone, living as a wild man far from civilisation.
Caliban was home to many knightly orders of warrior-aristocrats created to defend its people and the massive fortress-monasteries they lived within from the Great Beasts. These knights maintained a few aspects of Caliban's ancient technology from before the Age of Strife and wielded primitive Bolt Pistols and wore suits of simple Power Armour very similar to that later used by the Astartes that were handed down from knight to knight. Despite these technological trappings, however, Caliban remained very much a pre-industrial society whose warriors rode to war on horseback. One of the most prominent knightly organisations was known simply as "The Order", and was made up of commoners and nobles alike, whereas the other knightly orders were drawn by tradition only from the Calibanite nobility. A group of The Order's knights on patrol in the forests discovered the feral Primarch in the forests. When the knights seemed inclined to kill him, one man, a well-respected knight named Luther, stayed their hands and decided to take the Primarch into The Order. Luther named the feral boy Lion El'Jonson, which means "the Lion, Son of the Forest" in the Calibanite dialect of Low Gothic.
El'Jonson was taken to The Order's fortress-monastery and taught human ways. The Lion learned to speak incredibly quickly and soon mastered all of the necessary aspects of Calibanite culture faster than anyone, including Luther, his mentor, foster father and best friend, believed possible. Before long, El'Jonson had become a fierce warrior in The Order's ranks—though of his years living alone in Caliban's forests, he said nothing, then or later. With Luther at his side, El'Jonson ultimately rose into the highest ranks of The Order. At the height of his reputation, El'Jonson made clear his extraordinary ambition: he called for a grand crusade to exterminate the Great Beasts of Caliban so that the people of his world could finally know peace and live free from fear. This was received with great enthusiasm by the other members of The Order and even the other knightly orders, but it proved to be a time-consuming process that took nearly a decade of constant warfare against the terrible dangers of the deep forests. The word of their successes brought an influx of new recruits into The Order as the campaign progressed. Any Calibanite knightly order that did not follow Jonson's lead, such as the Knights of Lupus of the northern forests which feared that the destruction of the Great Beasts would up-end Caliban's traditional social order, was destroyed to the last man. After the last of the Great Beasts fell, Jonson was named Supreme Grand Master of The Order and was recognised as the rightful ruler of all Caliban. It seemed that the world was ready to enter the new golden age of peace and prosperity that the Lion had promised.
Coming of the Emperor
- "And the Angels of Darkness descended on pinions of fire and light... the great and terrible dark angels."
- — Ancient Calibanite Fable
Shortly after the success of the campaign, the Emperor of Mankind and his Astartes scouts arrived on Caliban after they detected the psychic emanations of one of the Primarchs. From the moment the Emperor landed, El'Jonson felt the deep connection between himself and the Master of Mankind, and swore his fealty. In return, the Emperor made the Lion the commander of the I Legion of Space Marines that had been created from his genome.
The Emperor had launched his Great Crusade after the end of Old Night to reunite all the lost colonies of humanity and restore Mankind's birthright as the rulers of the galaxy. The Emperor's Space Marine Legions purged entire star systems of humanity's xenos oppressors. As the Imperium's wave of conquest advanced across the galaxy, Imperial scouts brought word that they had rediscovered the isolated world of Caliban in the Segmentum Obscurus and that it was home to a man who was likely one of the missing Primarchs. The Emperor had first sent emissaries from the I Legion to serve as his advance force on Caliban, Astartes who had been created from the genome of their lost Primarch Lion El'Jonson. The Imperials brought with them all of the advanced technology that was hailed by the people of Caliban as miraculous. Soon, the Astartes of the I Legion were putting potential Astartes Aspirants from The Order and the other knightly organisations through myriad martial trials and competitions to gauge their level of martial prowess and character. Only the strongest and most dedicated were allowed to pass to the next stage. Many within The Order whispered that they were competing for a place within the ranks of the Astartes. But these trials also served the secondary purpose of determining if the human strain on Caliban was genetically pure enough to warrant its status as a world that the I Legion could recruit from in the coming years.
While the Calibanite knightly orders revelled in their differences and often resorted to combat to settle their feuds, the Astartes Legions were united in purpose and will. Such division could not be tolerated, and at the behest of the Lion and the Astartes, the individual knightly orders were disbanded and brought under the control of the I Legion. Such a drastic move did not happen overnight, and could not pass without dissenting voices, but when the Lion spoke in favour of the union of knights and the glory that would be theirs for the taking in the service of the Emperor, most such voices were stilled, most, but not all.
The Emperor himself finally came to Caliban on a day that would live on for centuries in Calibanite legend. His great vessel descended from the heavens and he welcomed his lost son back into the fold. The event was slightly marred by an attempt against the Emperor's life made by certain conservative knights of The Order who feared the changes that would be wrought to their world by the Imperium and its advanced science and culture, but these malcontents were swiftly and mercilessly executed as traitors by the Astartes.
More objections were raised when the soldiers of the Imperial Army descended to the surface of Caliban. The I Legion's Aspirant trials had already identified the likely candidates for recruitment into that august body, but the vast majority of the planet’s population would still be able to serve the Emperor as troops of the Imperial Army. Within an unimaginably short period of time, the surface of Caliban was transformed from a world of sprawling wilderness and castles to one of martial industry that rang to the beat of factory hammers and the tramp of booted feet as its populace girded itself for interstellar war.
The Emperor’s servants had descended to Caliban with enormous earthmoving machines that cleared dozens of kilometres of forest a day and left flat, lifeless soil in their wake, ready to be planted or built upon. Mines, refineries and manufactorums followed, ready to transform the planet’s abundant resources into vital war materiel for the Emperor’s Crusade. Cities were built to supply the sprawling industrial sites, growing upwards and outwards with each passing year as the traditional villages and towns surrounding the fortress-monasteries were emptied and their citizens relocated to better serve the Imperium.
Finally, the day arrived when those individuals whose courage had been proven beyond doubt, whose stamina, endurance and strength had seen them through the Astartes trials were ready to be added to the ranks of the I Legion. Word had come from Luther that the Astartes had made their final selection for advanced training and the genhancement required to join their ranks. Through the application of Imperial science and the marvels of the gene-seed, these Aspirants were transformed over the next several years into Battle-Brothers of the I Legion, newly renamed the "Dark Angels" by the Lion after an ancient Calibanite fable.
Luther had been chosen to join the I Legion by the Astartes, but in common with a large proportion of that initial intake from The Order and the other Calibanite knightly orders, he had been too old to benefit from the implantation of gene-seed. In its place, Luther, and others like him, had undergone an extensive series of genetic, surgical and biochemical enhancement procedures designed to increase their strength, stamina and reflexes to superhuman levels. They were taller, stronger and quicker than mortal men, but for all that they were still not true Astartes. It was difficult for Luther and the others to come to terms with that fact, knowing that they were surrounded by those who had once served under them as squires and junior knights, but were now far more powerful than they could ever hope to become. Luther still served as the Lion's second within the Legion, earning his position based on merit and fuelled with a desire to prove himself by his devotion to the Imperial ideal. But despite his successes, he could not escape his own inner conviction that he was somehow being looked down upon because he was not a full Astartes.
The Great Crusade
Twenty Legions of Space Marines were created by the Emperor during the Great Crusade to join and lead the Emperor's quest to unite all of humanity under the aegis of the Imperium of Man. The Dark Angels Legion was the very first of those original "First Founding" Legions to be created at the beginning of the Great Crusade, and so were originally under the command of the Emperor himself.
Once the Emperor discovered Lion El'Jonson on Caliban, however, the Primarch took command of the Dark Angels Legion that had been created from his genetic stock, and he was granted command of the 4th Expeditionary Fleet of the Great Crusade in orbit of the planet Sarosh, which had formerly been commanded by an officer of the White Scars Legion. The Saroshi—ruled by a bureaucracy—had recently expressed their interest in becoming part of the Imperium, and the Imperials were eager to allow them in, believing that these people seemed to possess the same secular beliefs as they did in the Imperial Truth. But the Saroshi (without mentioning it to the Imperial expedition) secretly worshipped Chaotic entities in the Warp they called the Melachim, and saw the anti-religious stance of the Pre-Heresy Imperium's Imperial Truth as unsuppressed evil. The Lord High Exacter, the leader of the Saroshi bureaucracy, denounced Jonson and the Emperor to his face aboard the Dark Angels' flagship, and Jonson responded by ramming his Power Sword through the fanatical Saroshi leader's body. The Saroshi had also brought a nuclear device aboard their shuttle, intending to assassinate the fleet's entire command structure, including Jonson; however, Luther and a junior Librarian named Zahariel managed to eject the shuttle into space, causing only minor damage to the flagship. After this incident, Luther, Zahariel and five hundred other Dark Angels were sent back to Caliban in disgrace for allowing an enemy to get a nuclear device aboard the Primarch's flagship to oversee the recruitment of new Space Marines into the Legion from the Calibanite population.
Another incident occurred during the pacification of the world of Dulan that started the millennia-long rivalry between the Dark Angels and the Space Wolves. The Planetary Governor, Durath, had denounced Space Wolf Primarch Leman Russ as "the Emperor's lap-dog" and swore to feed his heart to his pet Grox. Russ, enraged, swore to kill Durath himself and demanded the satisfaction of leading the assault. Jonson, however, had meticulously planned the attack and was not about to let his brother's hot-headedness foil his plans. Jonson led the assault, leaving Russ to watch helplessly as the Lion killed Durath. After the battle, Russ stormed into the fortress and struck Jonson across the room. A brawl ensued that lasted a full day and night, the two combatants being said to be equally matched: while Russ was slightly stronger, the Lion was slightly quicker. Russ eventually ceased and started laughing, realizing how foolish their fight was and how he had allowed his pride and temper to get the better of him. Jonson, however, still angry at what he considered the treachery of Russ' first punch, knocked the laughing Space Wolf out cold with one final blow. By the time Russ regained consciousness, the Dark Angels had departed for new fields of battle in the Great Crusade. It has since been customary for selected champions from both Chapters to engage in a non-lethal duel whenever they meet so that honour may be satisfied.
The Dark Angels had been posted to the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy when word reached them of Horus' treachery against the Imperium. The Warmaster Horus sent Night Haunter and his Night Lords Legion on a campaign of genocide against the Imperial strongholds of Heroldar and Thramas in the Aegis Sub-sector of the Eastern Fringe, thus protecting Horus' flank and delaying the Dark Angels Legion from reinforcing the Loyalists. This bitterly contested campaign dragged on for nearly three standard years, but ultimately ended in failure for the traitorous Night Lords. As the Dark Angels were in transit to Terra alongside the Space Wolves Legion, so too was the Ultramarines Legion, who had also thwarted Horus' efforts to keep them from Terra. The three Legions arrived too late; Horus had been defeated and the Emperor grievously wounded at the climactic Battle of Terra, his shattered body placed within the life-support mechanisms of the arcane Golden Throne. All record and memory of the Traitor Legions was expunged from the Imperial archives and their homeworlds and bases of operations were attacked. All across the Imperium, a tangled web of suspicion hung over everything, misdoubts that were only made worse as further investigations revealed yet deeper corruption. Thus began the Age of the Imperium, an era steeped in paranoia, recriminations and vengeance.
In the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, the surviving Loyalists rallied the reeling Imperium. The Dark Angels took a significant part in these battles, which later came to be called the Great Scouring. As they pursued the rebels, the I Legion diverted to nearby Caliban, which had been enshrouded by Warp Storms since Horus' betrayal. For Lion El'Jonson, one final act of treachery remained to be discovered. Upon the Dark Angels' arrival in orbit, they were fired upon from the surface. Pulling back the Legion fleet, El'Jonson tried to find out what had happened, and discovered that Luther -- who had become embittered by what he perceived as El'Jonson always taking all the glory -- had poisoned the minds of the Dark Angels garrison and the new recruits that had been left on the planet against their Primarch. Correctly believing that Luther and the planet-side Dark Angels had actually been tainted by Chaos, an infuriated Jonson ordered that Caliban be bombarded from orbit, destroying the planet's defences.
El'Jonson then led his forces to the surface and assaulted the Order's fortress-monastery, where he confronted Luther in single combat. Luther, transformed into a Chaos Champion by the power of the Chaos Gods, was now evenly matched in strength with the enraged Primarch. The battle between the two levelled the Order's fortress-monastery as the planet was coming apart around them, the orbital bombardment taking a heavy toll on the surface. El'Jonson managed to wound Luther, but could not bring himself to kill the man who had been his brother and mentor. Luther lashed out with a powerful sorcerous attack that mortally wounded the Primarch. As he saw what he had done, Luther felt a veil lift from his eyes, and the Chaos Gods -- seeing that once again their chosen Champion had failed to defeat the lackeys of the Emperor of Mankind -- lashed out with the powers of the Warp. The Fallen Angels were scattered throughout space and time, and Caliban tore itself apart under the strain of the Ruinous Powers' assault. The only portion of the planet remaining intact was the rock on which stood the fortress-monastery in which Luther and the Lion had duelled. The Dark Angels entered the shattered monastery and captured the broken Luther; of El'Jonson himself, however, there was no sign. It was believed that Jonson was thrown into the maelstrom of space and time by the Chaos Gods along with the Fallen. The truth was that the Lion still lived, though he had been placed into a coma and had reemerged into realspace with the aid of the Watchers in the Dark in a secret chamber deep beneath the fortress-monastery which even his brethren did not know existed. Only the Emperor of Mankind, sitting silent on the Golden Throne from which he sees all, and the Watchers themselves, know this greatest secret of the Dark Angels. Even the Supreme Grand Master of the Chapter is not privy to this truth. However, legends soon spread throughout the Chapter that the Lion would find his way back to the Dark Angels on that grim day when they went to war in defence of the Imperium for the final time.
Ten standard millennia later, a captured Fallen Angel named Merir Astelan would tell a different version of these events. According to Astelan, Lion El'Jonson was late in arriving to the defence of Terra not due to being too far away, but because he was waiting to see whether it was Horus or the Emperor who won the great conflict between them. Astelan, believing that those who were with Jonson would not forgive them for turning on their brothers, ordered the defensive batteries of Caliban to fire upon the returning Dark Angels' fleet. The difference between the Dark Angels' view of the fall of Caliban and that of the Fallen Angel Astelan is considered to be due to Astelan's literally warped perception of these events, but some aspects of this story may ring with truth after all, and Lion El'Jonson might have betrayed the Emperor in his heart, if not in his mind, when he was most needed.
After the Horus Heresy
With their Primarch missing and their Battle-Brothers on Caliban having betrayed them to Chaos, the Dark Angels swore to redeem themselves in the eyes of the Emperor and force the Fallen Angels to repent or die. They decided the true story of treachery behind the destruction of Caliban must remain secret; no outsider must learn of the schism that had split the I Legion, or that any Dark Angels had ever turned to the service of the Ruinous Powers. Should the truth be revealed, the Dark Angels would be labelled Excommunicate Traitoris and never given a chance to redeem themselves. The senior members of the Legion formed a secret conclave -- an Inner Circle of the Legion's Masters. They created an overlapping system to watch over their own Brothers, and also themselves. Everyone must be scrutinised for signs of corruption. Thus started a spiral of mistrust and secrecy that continues to this day.
Such was the scale of the disaster of the Fall of Caliban that there could be no hiding it. Psykers across the galaxy had sensed the Warp Storm that ripped the world apart, and the titanic flash of the tempest meeting the indomitable force field surrounding the Dark Angels' fortress-monastery had blazed like a supernova. However, the Dark Angels erected a systematic cover-up of the truth, for each remaining Battle-Brother of the I Legion had taken stringent vows of unspeakable binding to never reveal what really took place on Caliban. Their story might not have held up under an intense inquiry, but it was a time of great upheaval in the Imperium and the retreating Traitor Legions were bolder near the Eye of Terror: the Night Lords, in particular, laid many ambushes that took a high toll on their Imperial pursuers. That a Warp Storm had claimed the Dark Angels' homeworld, and so many of their brethren, was but another tragedy in a deluge of grim tidings.
Inquiries found the Dark Angels battered, grief-stricken and bereft of reinforcements, but there was little time for any succour, for war called. Across the galaxy, Traitor strongholds remained and many rebellious planets had yet to be shown the error of their judgement, but most ominous of all was the rise of the xenos threat. Much of the Imperium's strength had been siphoned off in the civil war and so countless planets found themselves at the mercy of a new wave of xenos attacks. Leaving only those necessary to oversee the work being done on the reconstruction of what would become The Rock, the Dark Angels split their remaining Legion fleet in an attempt to answer the many distress calls that reached them. In the Cadian Sector they joined the Blood Angels, themselves still reeling from the loss of their Primarch Sanguinius during the Battle of Terra. Together, like vengeful angels, they drove the Traitors and daemons alike into exile. On Seption Prime, Dark Angels Terminator companies arrived just in time to provide a rearguard action, allowing the Ultramarines to extract their forces before that Plague Planet lost to the pestilential whims of Nurgle was destroyed by Exterminatus. All who fought alongside the Dark Angels lauded them as steadfast warriors, utterly dedicated to the destruction of the Emperor's enemies.
Upon their return to The Rock, the much-depleted Dark Angels found disturbing news. At the time of the Fall of Caliban, the Dark Angels thought their traitorous brethren had all been destroyed, vanquished in the Warp Storm that blossomed in the death throes of their homeworld. The Fallen Angels had been swept into the vortex of that horrific rent in the galaxy, but the fury of the Dark Gods had not slain them. The scryings of the Legion's Librarians searched long and hard for their missing Primarch and of him they could read no signs. They did, however, pick up traces of the Fallen and determined that the Traitors yet lived, although what remained of their psychic signatures were widespread, and the connections were already fading out of mindsight.
Beginning of the Hunt
The Masters of the I Legion greeted this new shock with typical stoicism, despite the inner turmoil it created. On the one hand, they feared their nightmare would be revealed -- that while the Fallen lived, knowledge of their Legion's treachery against the Emperor might be spread throughout the galaxy. On the other hand, the continued existence of the Traitors offered hope, for if the Renegades could be tracked down and forced to repent, then the sins of the Legion might be absolved, washed away in the blood of the Fallen. The Grand Masters of the nascent Inner Circle swore that so long as even one of the Fallen remained alive and unrepentant, the Dark Angels would be Unforgiven, cursed by their brothers to atone for all eternity. So began the secret mission that would prove the driving force behind the Dark Angels' and their Successors' actions for millennia to come. To this day, the Dark Angels and their Successor Chapters of the Unforgiven continue to wage a war of repentance to wipe this secret stain from the honour of the old I Legion. They can never truly rest until every one of the Fallen has been eliminated. Dark Angels hold the duty of capturing or killing the Fallen as their most important duty, superseding all other necessities. There have been cases where the Dark Angels have literally left the battlefield in the middle of combat against the Emperor's foes in order to chase down a suspected sighting of a Fallen Angel.
Using The Rock as their mobile fortress, the Dark Angels have crisscrossed the galaxy bringing war to the Emperor's enemies. Few other Space Marine Chapters can match their roll call of victories -- for they have fought in the forefront of many of the most crucial battles in the Imperium's history. For the Dark Angels, however, no action ever is enough to atone for the sins of their ancestors -- they remain the Unforgiven until every last Fallen Angel has been captured, repented and accepted the Emperor's Peace.
When the Dark Angels achieve a battlefield objective, they immediately leave to seek their next engagement. They are not a Chapter who rebuilds shattered Imperial worlds or performs humanitarian missions -- they are the Emperor's warriors, bred solely for battle. After every combat, they reclaim their wounded and fallen comrades and any prisoners they have taken before returning to their orbiting fleet.
As a general rule, the secretive Dark Angels do not share battle records with the Administratum. They comply with the letter of Imperial law which requires that astropathic reports be made to Terra concerning their campaigns, but these communications remain minimal. The Imperium's knowledge of the Chapter's plans and actions are vague, on a par with only the Space Wolves, who are infamous for the utter disregard they show the bureaucrats of the Adeptus Administratum. The Imperium gleans most of its knowledge about the Dark Angels' activities from outside reports, such as those submitted by those Planetary Governors and Imperial Commanders who fought beside them, or from the Inquisitors sent to inspect them. With their triumphs far too numerous to list in full here in this limited space, what follows are those battles that the Dark Angels themselves consider worthy of special commemoration by the Chapter.
- Unification Wars (Unknown Date.M30) – The Dark Angels Legion was the very first of the original 20 First Founding Space Marine Legions to be created at the beginning of the Great Crusade, and so were originally under the command of the Emperor himself. When he first began to breed a new type of superhuman warrior using the genome of the missing Primarch Lion El’Jonson, candidates were selected from those Terrans that had fought beside the Emperor during the Unification Wars when he first revealed himself and his purpose. With their aid, the Emperor reconquered Terra and humanity was on the brink off launching into a golden age – the Age of the Imperium. So it was not strange that when he perfected his techniques for the creation of the Space Marines, many of these Terrans were chosen to lead the Great Crusade.
- Subjugation of Sarosh (Unknown Date.M30) – Shortly after their entry into the Great Crusade the 4th Expeditionary Fleet of the Dark Angels reached the orbit of the planet Sarosh (officially codified as Sigma Five-One-Seven), which had formerly been commanded by an officer of the White Scars Legion. The Saroshi - ruled by a bureaucracy - had recently expressed their interest in becoming part of the Imperium, and the Imperials were eager to allow them in, believing that these people seemed to express the same secular beliefs as they did in the Imperial Truth. But the Saroshi (without mentioning it to the Imperial expedition) secretly worshipped Chaotic entities in the Warp they called the Melachim, and saw the anti-religious stance of the Pre-Heresy Imperium's Imperial Truth as unsuppressed evil. The Lord High Exacter, the leader of the Saroshi bureaucracy, denounced Jonson and the Emperor to the Primarch's face aboard the Dark Angels' flagship, and Lion El’Jonson responded by ramming his Power Sword through the fanatical Saroshi leader's body. Unknown to the Dark Angels, the Saroshi had secreted a nuclear device aboard their shuttle, intending to assassinate the fleet's entire command structure, including Jonson; however, Luther and a junior Librarian named Zahariel managed to eject the shuttle into space, causing only minor damage to the flagship. After this incident, Luther, Zahariel and five hundred other Dark Angels were sent back to Caliban in disgrace, for allowing an enemy to get a nuclear device aboard the Primarch's flagship, to oversee the recruitment of new Space Marines into the Legion from the Calibanite population.
- Compliance of Byzanthis (Unknown Date.M30) – A Dark Angels’ Expeditionary Fleet, under the command of Chapter Master Merir Astelan discovered the far flung world of Byzanthis during their exploration of system DX-619. A radio signature, faint or perhaps even nonexistent, had brought the Dark Angels here; the merest chattering murmur against the background radiation of the universe. Another Dark Angels’ fleet, under the command of Chapter Master Belath, joined Astelan’s only two weeks earlier in the Calcabrina System, on orders from the Lion, that Belath add his forces to the expedition. Astelan had never met Belath but this was not surprising. The massive influx of warriors into the Legion following the rediscovery of Caliban meant that there were many commanders who had never met each other, tossed together on task forces and in warzones all across the galaxy. That one such Chapter commander had been despatched to assist Astelan was curious for the simple fact that there had been little enough for Astelan’s Chapter to do and additional forces were unlikely to change that. When the two Chapter Masters finally met face-to-face, they differed on their approach of what action should be taken against the newly discovered world. Astelan advocating making a peaceful overture to the planet’s locals in order to foster good relations. Belath advocated a more aggressive approach and to subdue the planet through force of arms. Chapter Master Astelan cautioned Belath that they should only use force when all other forms of diplomacy had failed. The younger Chapter Master did not agree with the senior commander’s assessment, but would defer to his position for now. Upon first contact with the local populace, Astelan’s landing force was engaged by the local military. The local military sustained substantial losses while the Dark Angels received only minimal casualties. Receiving a looped message from planet’s global council (known as the Committee of Nations) Astelan hoped to make amends for the inadvertent conflict and communicate with the council, forcing the state governments to treat with them through the Committee of Nations, and hopefully forge a common fate for the whole planet. The younger Calibinite Chapter Master Belath would not consent to this course of action. Chapter Master Astelan and one of his commanders agreed to meet the Council in their chambers and explain their purpose. Astelan explained to the Council representative of the benefits of becoming a part of the newly forged Imperium of Man under the beneficence of the Emperor of Mankind. But these negotiations were interrupted by the unheralded arrival of Chapter Master Belath. Ten massively armoured Terminators teleported into the chambers and opened fired on the startled delegates, massacring a good portion of their number. Belath deferred to the senior Astelan and inquired whether he should order the rest of his fleet to attack or whether they should teleport back to orbit. Astelan was filled with a mixture of rage and incredulity. Forcing his hand, Astelan reluctantly ordered the assault. He warned his younger counterpart that the blood of all who died on Byzanthis would be on his hands, and that he would not let his actions go unpunished. The younger Chapter Master merely dismissed the senior commander’s threats and proceeded to inform Astelan that he had already sent word to Caliban of what had occurred on Byzanthis and that he would soon learn the consequences of disobedience.
- Assault on Dulan (Unknown Date.M30) – As the Space Marine Legions pushed back the frontiers of the Imperium, each Primarch strove to excel in the eyes of the Emperor and none more so than Leman Russ, Primarch of the Space Wolves. Only Horus and Lion El’Jonson could claim more victories than Russ and this was a constant frustration for him. It was on the world of Dulan where the Space Wolves were fighting alongside the Dark Angels that matters came to a head. The Tyrant of Durath had personally insulted the Emperor, sacrificing thousands of Imperial priests to his patron Daemon, and both Russ and Jonson desired the honour of slaying this heretic. The Tyrant Durath insulted Russ, causing him to demand the right to lead the attack on the fortress. Johnson ignored him and led his own carefully planned attack instead, killing the Tyrant personally. After the battle Russ confronted and attacked Johnson, and the two dueled for a day and a night. Russ eventually stopped attacking, seeing the humor of the situation, at which point Johnson knocked him unconscious. Now he considered honour to be satisfied. The prostrate Russ was carried from the fortress by his men and, when he regained consciousness, the Dark Angels had already departed to fight in the Alisore campaign. Russ swore he would avenge the stain on his honour and, to this day, whenever the Space Wolves and Dark Angels meet, one of their number is called upon to refight the ancient duel of the Primarchs in order that honour may be satisfied.
- Alisore Campaign (Unknown Date.M30) – This was an Imperial Compliance carried out by the Dark Angels during the Great Crusade against the world of Alisore.
- Siege of Barrakan (Unknown Date.M30) - This was an Imperial Compliance carried out by the Dark Angels during the Great Crusade against the Orks on the world of Barrakan. A notable campaign of this Compliance action was the defence of Firebase Endriago. A Chapter of the Dark Angels had been cut off by the Greenskins and trapped at the firebase for 18 months. By the end, the beleaguered Astartes were fighting off the alien assaults with fists and pieces of sharpened steel scavenged from bombed-out strongpoints, but through it all Brother Nemiel had never wavered. He had taunted the Greenskins relentlessly and exhorted his brothers to acts of ever-greater defiance in the face of insurmountable odds. When a Greenskin’s crude axe had shattered his knee he had grabbed the beast by one of its tusks and kicked it to death just for spite. When the last line of defence was broken, he had stood his ground in the face of a massive xenos champion and fought an epic duel that had given the Chapter time to launch a counter-attack that finally exhausted the last of the enemy’s strength. The next day, when relief forces finally managed to fight their way through to the firebase, Nemiel had stood on the ramparts and cheered with the rest of his brothers. It took several minutes before he registered the slaps on his shoulders and back and realised that the Chapter was not cheering for victory -- they were cheering for him. Not long after, the Chapter voted unanimously for him to take the place of Brother- Redemptor Barthiel, who had fallen during the darkest hours of the siege.
- Suppression of the Gordian League (Unknown Date.M31) - This was an Imperial Compliance carried out by the Dark Angels during the 200th year of the Great Crusade against the Shield Worlds of the Gordian League -- a confederation of human worlds who were allied with degenerate xenos. During this campaign the Dark Angels high command received word that Warmaster Horus and his Legion had renounced their oaths of allegiance, along with Primarch Angron’s World Eaters, Mortarion’s Death Guard and Fulgrim’s Emperor’s Children. They also received word of the atrocity committed against the doomed world of Istvaan III, when Horus ordered it to be virus-bombed, rendered it a lifeless planet. The Warmaster knew that the Emperor would respond with all the force he had available. Jonson believed that the Dark Angels' deployment to the Shield Worlds was part of an effort to scatter the Imperium’s most loyal servants as far as possible in order to minimize the number of Legions Horus would have to face at any given time. Even so, a strike force of seven full Legions posed a dire threat to Horus’s survival, as they made their way towards Istvaan V. Jonson's forces were too deeply enmeshed in the Shield Worlds to respond quickly to Horus’s treachery; the best estimates of the Primarch's staff indicated that it would take them nearly eight months to conclude their offensive operations, even on an emergency basis, and reposition themselves for a strike against Istvaan V. Even if they could move more quickly, Horus’s agents would be able to alert the Warmaster in time to organise a counter-strike. However, Jonson believed that a small, hand-picked force, might accomplish what an entire Legion could not. The Primarch issued orders for many of their reserve squadrons to resupply and prepare for immediate deployment to the Tanagra System. Their primary target was to secure the Forge World of Diamat. They could not afford to let the Warmaster acquire the substantial supplies and ordnance needed to fortify the world of Istvaan V against the approaching Loyalist strike force. Jonson would personally lead the expedition to Diamat, with a battle group of fifteen warships. Secrecy was vital, as the Primarch was aware that the Warmaster's agents were more than likely tracking the Dark Angels' movements.
- Thramas Crusade (ca. 005-008.M31) - During the Horus Heresy the Warmaster Horus sent Night Haunter and his Night Lords Legion on a campaign of genocide against the Imperial strongholds of Heroldar and Thramas in the Aegis Sub-sector of the Eastern Fringes, thus protecting Horus' flank and delaying the Dark Angels Legion from reinforcing the Loyalists. This bitterly contested campaign dragged on for nearly three standard years. In an attempt to sway his brother Lion El'Jonson to Horus' cause, the Night Haunter left a deep-void beacon in the patrol path of one of the Dark Angels' outrider vessels. The beacon was set to transmit coordinates in advance, so that the two Primarchs could meet and parley on the planet of Tsagualsa. Night Haunter wanted to break his former brother either mentally, physically or both to obtain his objectives. The Primarchs were accompanied by two warriors from their personal Honour Guards to the parley. The meeting began amicably enough between the two as they conversed with relative civility. This amity lasted only until the Night Haunter slandered El'Jonson, and in return the Lion struck his former brother. This melee further degenerated into an all-out brawl between the two sides. As the Night Haunter strangled the life out of El'Jonson, one of the Dark Angels Honour Guardsman ran his sword through the Night Haunter's back, saving his Primarch's life. Eventually both Legions sent reinforcements in response to this incident. Each side dragged away their respective Primarchs from the scene of the combat. Both Primarchs survived this brutal confrontation and went on to continue the contest between their Legions for control of the Aegis Sub-sector. When next they fought, the Dark Angels executed a meticulously planned ambush on the Night Lords' fleet while it was in transit across the sub-sector that saw the back of the Night Lords Legion broken and their Primarch mortally wounded after having faced his brother El'Jonson once again in mortal combat. Thanks to the skilled coordination and superb execution by the Lion, the Night Lords fleet was devastated, losing dozens of capital ships and approximately one-quarter of their Legion fleet to the Dark Angels' assault. Unfortunately, the remainder of the Night Lords fleet fled the Dark Angels' wrath, taking their critically wounded Primarch with them before the Lion could finally end his wretched life.
- Fall of Caliban (Unknown Date.M31) - In the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, the surviving Loyalists rallied the reeling Imperium. The Dark Angels took a significant part in these battles, which later came to be called the Great Scouring. As they pursued the rebels, the I Legion diverted to nearby Caliban, which had been enshrouded by Warp Storms since Horus' betrayal. For Lion El'Jonson, one final act of treachery remained to be discovered. Upon the Dark Angels' arrival in orbit, they were fired upon from the surface. Pulling back the Legion fleet, El'Jonson tried to find out what had happened, and discovered that Luther -- who had become embittered by what he perceived as El'Jonson always taking all the glory -- had poisoned the minds of the Dark Angels garrison and the new recruits that had been left on the planet against their Primarch. Correctly believing that Luther and the planet-side Dark Angels had actually been tainted by Chaos, an infuriated Jonson ordered that Caliban be bombarded from orbit, destroying the planet's defences. El'Jonson then led his forces to the surface and assaulted the Order's fortress-monastery, where he confronted Luther in single combat. Luther, transformed into a Chaos Champion by the power of the Chaos Gods, was now evenly matched in strength with the enraged Primarch. The battle between the two levelled the Order's fortress-monastery as the planet was coming apart around them, the orbital bombardment taking a heavy toll on the surface. El'Jonson managed to wound Luther, but could not bring himself to kill the man who had been his brother and mentor. Luther lashed out with a powerful sorcerous attack that mortally wounded the Primarch. As he saw what he had done, Luther felt a veil lift from his eyes, and the Chaos Gods -- seeing that once again their chosen Champion had failed to defeat the lackeys of the Emperor of Mankind -- lashed out with the powers of the Warp. The Fallen Angels were scattered throughout space and time, and Caliban tore itself apart under the strain of the Ruinous Powers' assault. The only portion of the planet remaining intact was the rock on which stood the fortress-monastery in which Luther and the Lion had duelled. The Dark Angels entered the shattered monastery and captured the broken Luther; of El'Jonson himself, however, there was no sign. It was believed that Jonson was thrown into the maelstrom of space and time by the Chaos Gods along with the Fallen. The truth was that the Lion still lived, though he had been placed into a coma and had reemerged into realspace with the aid of the Watchers in the Dark in a secret chamber deep beneath the fortress-monastery which even his brethren did not know existed. Only the Emperor of Mankind, sitting silent on the Golden Throne from which he sees all, and the Watchers themselves, know this greatest secret of the Dark Angels. Even the Supreme Grand Master of the Chapter is not privy to this truth. However, legends soon spread throughout the Chapter that the Lion would find his way back to the Dark Angels on that grim day when they went to war in defence of the Imperium for the final time.
- Search for Recruiting Worlds (120.M31) - Necessity demands that the Dark Angels find a new recruiting world after the destruction of Caliban, but at this date, a conscious decision is made instead by the Chapter to establish many. This plan is agreed to by the High Lords of Terra as it allows for contingencies and preserves the Chapter's genetic diversity. For the Dark Angels, it allows the preservation of a mantle of secrecy, for no one is entirely sure of the number of the Chapter's recruiting worlds or of how many Aspirants are taken into The Rock.
- The Forgotten Wars (580.M31 - 632.M32) - Rumours lead the Dark Angels, with two of their Successor Chapters, to embark upon a harrowing campaign. In hindsight it is easy to see that the Ruinous Powers baited the Dark Angels, luring them into the swirling edge of the Eye of Terror. Only the Dark Angels' irrepressible resolve allows them to escape, and they pay a high price in casualties.
- Missing Foundings (ca. M33) - There are many Space Marine Chapter Foundings during this era, but the High Lords of Terra purposefully do not seek to use the gene-seed of the Dark Angels Chapter for any of them.
- Second Mortis Gate Campaign (560.M33) - Almost the entire Dark Angels Chapter takes to the field, and it is recorded that all three of the Sacred Standards of the Chapter flew above the scene of that great triumph.
- Red Stars Campaign (732.M33-822.M33) - In a series of wars, the mineral-rich Kulgotha System is scoured of xenos and claimed by the Imperium of Man. The Dark Angels take part in many of these battles, including deploying in full Chapter strength at the climactic Battle of Vermilac Prime.
- Noble Passing (101.M34) - While leading his Chapter to victory in the Bloodpox Campaign against the Death Guard Traitor Legion and the Brotherhood of the Plague, the twelfth Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels Chapter, the esteemed Armaros, contracts the loathsome pox known as Nurgle's Rot. His rapid deformation convinces the Supreme Grand Master to immediately pass the Lion Helm to his successor. To ensure the infection does not spread, Armaros voluntarily enters The Rock's reactor chamber and is wholly consumed.
- In the Wrong Hands (456.M34) - Inquisitor Halleck, after many decades tracking degenerates in wilderness space, captures a mysterious Heretic known only as the Angel of Truth. The last Vox broadcast by Halleck's ship claims the prisoner has broken under questioning and revealed a deep-rooted heresy. While returning to Terra with his revelations, the Inquisitor is beset by an unknown enemy. The only Imperial force in the vicinity is the Dark Angels' Strike Cruiser Black Sword of Vengeance. They report no sign of the Inquisitor, his vessel or the prisoner.
- Raid on Nova Terra (104.M35) - The Dark Angels, following Cypher's trail, are led to believe that at least one member of the newly declared Ur-Council of Nova Terra is a Fallen Dark Angel. In a daring raid, a Ravenwing strike force lands upon Nova Terra but fails to secure any prisoners.
- Hrakon Campaign (495.M35) - The Segmentum Pacificus is the centre of unrest during the Nova Terra Interregnum and the Chapter's Inner Circle continues to follow the many clues that have led them deep into the internecine fighting in the region. Known to the Dark Angels as the Hrakon Campaign, they systematically seek out Obidiah Hrakon, the despot ruler of an upstart planet which has been pivotal in its support of Nova Terra. In the Veiled Region, the Dark Angels finally corner Hrakon, who takes refuge on a piratical port world. Seeking to ensure that none escape, the Dark Angels blockade the planet and unleash the entire Deathwing. Deploying in sequential teleportations, the Terminators prosecute an epic slaughter until only a single foe is left alive -- Obidiah Hrakon -- once a Standard Bearer for the ancient Dark Angels Legion. Refusing to give up, Obidiah is subdued after a duel with the Grand Master of the Deathwing and is transported back to The Rock to face the tender mercies of the Interrogator-Chaplains. His death is not an easy one.
- Cataclysm of Souls (975.M35) - Still operating largely in the Segmentum Pacificus during the Nova Terra Interregnum, the Dark Angels take part in the fierce fighting of the Cataclysm of Souls. In addition to putting down those who reject the authority of the High Lords of Terra and the Ecclesiarchy, they search for signs of the Fallen. It is a civil war the likes of which the Imperium has not seen since the Horus Heresy.
- Hrud Rising (980.M35) - The Dark Angels take part in the task force cleansing the Hrud infestations that erupt across the Imperium at this time. With two of their three assigned sectors cleared, The Rock disappears as the Dark Angels leave the campaign to pursue their own objectives. The Chapter Master of the Ultramarines files a complaint with the High Lords of Terra about the Dark Angels' behaviour, although no action is seen to be taken in response.
- Trail of Unbelief (314.M36-334.M36) - The Dark Angels begin a two-decade-long campaign beset with many battles to hunt down Brother Machius, a former lieutenant of Cardinal Bucharis during the great rebellion known as the Plague of Unbelief. Despite several ambushes set by the Night Lords Traitor Legion, the Dark Angels prevail -- the Ravenwing locate Machius on th plague-ridden world of Gronmoth, capturing him at the Battle of Black Death.
- Rebulus Cleansing (439.M36) - Following a mysterious trail, the Dark Angels and several of their Successor Chapters begin a 30-year campaign that uproots hidden cults and corrupt officials across three sectors of Imperial space. The battles against this network of subversion bring much suffering to the Rebulus System before the corruption is finally subdued, culminating in the destruction of the artificial moons surrounding the planet Ixx.
- Siege of Dominus Prime (673.M36) - The Dark Angels and the Angels of Vengeance both deploy their entire 1st Companies to end the five year deadlock in the Imperial assault against a rebel tyrant. Nigh on two hundred Terminators crack open the "unassailable" fortress and massacre the Traitors, save for those few who are taken to The Rock for slow, painful questioning.
- Battle for Kurin's Acropolis (Persembe II) (551.M37) – Situated dangerously close to the Eye of Terror, the world of Persembe II suffered a ferocious assault by the High Anarchist Potchek – a vile Chaos Magister whose Forces of Chaos left that world's Planetary Defence Force reeling. Within a week, Potchek’s legions swept away all organised resistance and what few Imperial forces remained were driven back to Kurin’s Acropolis, the site of an ancient structure raised to the glory of the Emperor during the Great Crusade. Fortunately, their salvation came in the form of the Dark Angels' 3rd Company, and few battle honours evoke more hard-won pride than the lone ribbon that commemorates this campaign. The Astartes of the 3rd Company made a daring Drop Pod assault on Persembe II and created a thin cordon between the Acropolis and the approaching horde of daemons and Chaos Cultists. Master Baradiel, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his Command Squad, orchestrated a defence that stopped the Chaos forces dead. Once reinforced by the company’s war machines, the Dark Angels advanced upon the enemy. Eventually Baradiel came upon the Anarchist and blew the Potchek’s head away from his body with his Storm Bolter. The Archenemy’s army fractured and the Daemons fled back into the Immaterium. As the mortal soldiers turned to flee the Astartes wrath, the Dark Angels fell upon them. None escaped their righteous fury.
- Battle of Midpoint (871.M37) - An Eldar fleet threatens to destroy the massive space docks of Midpoint in the Argonnes Sector. The sudden appearance of The Rock and the Dark Angels' Swordfleet tips the battle in the Imperium's favour. The Eldar retreat, but not before the firepower of The Rock annihilates their capital ship and a half dozen vessels of their armada. To this day, the savaged hulls and floating corpses of both sides still hang in the depths of space, forming an eternal graveyard.
- Betrayal at Zambeque (883.M37) - The Ravenwing follows a trail that leads all the way to the Imperial Governor of Zambeque,a key Imperial planet sometimes called the gateway to the Gothic Sector. Before they can apprehend the Governor for questioning, however, the planet declares open rebellion against the Imperium. The Dark Angels' task force is surrounded upon Zambeque by Chaos Space Marines of the Alpha Legion, and only the timely counterstrike by half of the Deathwing prevents the annhilation of the entire 5th Company. The Governor, a Fallen Angel who was once known as Brother Solas, escapes with the remnants of his Traitor Marine allies.
- Hunt for Solas (987.M37) - After picking up the trail of the Fallen Angel Brother Solas, the entire Ravenwing deploys en masse on the plains of Picus, an Agri-world in the Orar Sub-sector. All ten of the Ravenwing's Deathshrouds join the hunt, bringing a shroud of arcane darkness to that world's sun-drenched surface that can be seen from orbit. Despite their sweeping efforts, Brother Solas evades his pursuers again, and the Chapter records state that Cypher himself may have had a hand in Solas' uncanny escape.
- Altid Crusade (299.M38-309.M38) – The Dark Angels played a crucial part in the Altid Crusade, a decade-long campaign that ended on the colony world of Altid 156. The Dark Angels committed an assault upon the colony world of Altid 156 after it had rejected the rule of Terra decades before and declared independence from the Imperium. The Dark Angels Crusade force was composed of 3 Ravenwing Squads, 5 Deathwing Terminator Squads and 5 Tactical Squads of the 5th Company, along with various support vehicles. Assaulting the pilgrim-colonists’ headquarters, the Deathwing met the foe they had really come to fight. Not the separatist colonists, but their leader – Elucidax the Keeper, a Heretic known to have inspired dozens of rebellions across the quadrant. But Elucidax was known by the Dark Angels by another name: Zeriah, the one-time Captain of the Dark Angels Legion's 14th Assault Company. Though Zeriah was a formidable opponent, killing a dozen Dark Angels, the Ravenwing captured him and transported him back to The Rock. Interrogator-Chaplain Asmodai extracted a confession from the Fallen Dark Angel, leading to the eventual capture of Zeriah’s entire band. Zeriah refused to admit his sin in joining Luther in rebellion against the Dark Angels Legion, and languishes alone in a cell to this day. Though their actions on Altid 156 had not been coordinated with the rest of the forces of the Imperium engaged in the Crusade so that they could capture the Fallen Angel, the Dark Angels claimed that "Elucidax the Keeper" had been slain at their hands. This ensured that despite the breach in protocol, no inquiries by other Imperial authorities would be made.
- The Blackest Time (666-686.M38) - Three Grand Masters of the Ravenwing are lost in a single year in 666.M38, each one slain while in pursuit of a group of Fallen Dark Angels. This marks the beginning of an unprecedented two-decade period where the Ravenwing has no Grand Master. During this time, the Ravenwing are given direct orders from the Grand Master of the 2nd Company of the Angels of Vengeance, as the Dark Angels wait until a suitable candidate can be found from within their own ranks.
- Hundred Planet Rebellion (519.M39) - While attempting to follow Cypher's path, the Dark Angels uncover a mad priest named Alldric the Subverter. The Heretic visionary had led a swathe of planets on the borders of the Veiled Region to reject the rule of the Imperium. Within a decade, the Dark Angels and several of their Successor Chapters suppress the Chaos Cultist uprisings and slay their leaders.
- The Lost Hope of Perdition (891.M39) - An investigation by the Dark Angels of a Space Hulk designated the The Lost Hope of Perdition newly materialised out of the Warp discovers strong elements of the Renegades known as The Cleaved to be aboard. The ensuing fight is won when Dark Angels Assault Squads, advancing behind a trio of Dreadnoughts, get close enough to set Cyclonic Charges in the Hulk's engine rooms.
- Destruction of Grymm's Landing (550.M40) - One of the first and most reliable of the Dark Angels' recruiting worlds is destroyed in an uprising, instigated by the Alpha Legion and supported by elements of the Night Lords.
- Macharian Heresy (405.M41) - Over three standard decades, the Dark Angels are one of the Space Marine Chapters tasked with suppressing the civil wars collectively known as the Macharian Heresy that are ongoing across many of the territories gained by the Imperium during the Macharian Crusade of the Lord Solar Macharius. The Ravenwing uncover several corrupt cults, largely instigated by the Alpha Legion, and the unmistakable signs of Cypher's presence. During the Lythanos Uprisings, only a run-in with the Space Wolves allows several of the Fallen to escape the Dark Angels' grasp.
- Fourth Quadrant Rebellion (775-780.M41) - The Dark Angels were one of a dozen Space Marine Chapters that took part in the suppression of multiple revolts and Secessionist outbreaks which set ablaze nearly a full quarter of the Segmentum Solar and outlying star systems which was known as the Fourth Quadrant Rebellion. These brushfire conflicts proved difficult to stamp out, not least because there was no single enemy or common cause behind them, but rather countless long-standing grudges and the fruits of many centuries of misrule and savage oppression by a series of corrupt Imperial Planetary Governors. These civil conflicts were quickly made all the worse by the opportunist attacks of Chaos Cults, Renegades and xenos forces taking advantage of the widespread anarchy the rebellion engendered.
- The Egammonon Revolt – More than a dozen Space Marine Chapters were caught up in the fighting of the Fourth Quadrant Rebellion, either aiding one faction or another or simply defending their own territories, whilst others were brought in by the Imperium to pacify the quadrant and finally put an end to the fighting. The Dark Angels were deployed to the world of Egammonon during the Fourth Quadrant Rebellion to put down the rebel forces present on that planet.
- Rastabal, Assault on the Fortress of Kaligar – Grand Master Sammael, a senior member of the Inner Circle, led his first action as the Grand Master of the Ravenwing in the initial invasion of the world of Rastabal during the Fourth Quadrant Rebellion. He followed up this action by his assault upon the fortress of the pretender Kaligar, whom it transpired, was one of the Fallen, and Sammael personally ran the ancient Traitor to ground after fighting him in a titanic duel said to have lasted a full day and a night.
- Siege of Vraks (821.M41) - Supreme Grand Master Azrael leads nearly half of the Dark Angels Chapter during the infamous Siege of Vraks. The Dark Angels force arrived on board the Battle-Barge Angel of Retribution and the Strike Cruisers Sword of Caliban and Salvation and a small number of escorts to assist against the Forces of Chaos that assailed the small Imperial planet. Without communicating his intentions, Azrael simply set about his self-assigned mission -- the destruction of Vraks' starport which would sever any easy access to off-planet reinforcements. Needing no assistance, he saw no reason to involve the Imperial Guard regiments engaged on Vraks. Moving in a lightning assault, the Dark Angels' vanguard was led by Azrael himself. As the Dark Angels strike force moved through the starport they unleashed unrestrained destruction upon it. The Dark Angels fought for Vraks' star port for eight days before Azrael ordered the final assault. Leading elements of the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th and 9th Companies the Supreme Grand Master led his Dark Angels to finish the enemy's resistance and finally overrun the starport. Dismounting his Land Raider, Azrael led the assault as he plunged into the enemy ranks of militia men, his black blade, the Sword of Secrets, cutting a bloody swathe. As the Dark Angels were about to achieve victory, the duplicitous Alpha Legion sprung their trap. The Chaos Space Marines had been lying in wait, using the militia as bait to draw the Dark Angels on. As the fighting intensified Azrael saw brother Anmael fall, riddled with fire, and the Sacred Standard he was brandishing toppled. Azrael knew he must recover the banner for it could not be allowed to lie in the dust. Racing through enemy fire he reached the banner just as the enemy did. The Dark Angels and Alpha Legionaries fought over the fallen body of Brother Anmael, neither giving ground. While the other Dark Angels fought to escape the Alpha Legion's sudden ambush, Azrael cut down the last of his enemies and plucked up the sacred standard. As he did so, a massive armoured figure strode through the smoke, his ancient Power Armour decorated with blasphemous runes and the heretical eight-pointed star of Chaos Undivided. An Assault Marine launched himself into the path of this figure, the Chaos Lord Arkos the Faithless of the Alpha Legion, only to be cut clean in half by the stroke of the Chaos Lord's Warp-powered blade. The two mighty heroes clashed. Azrael was confronted by Arkos, and soon the two were engaged in furious combat. In one hand Azrael held his Chapter's Sacred Standard of Devastation, in the other the Sword of Secrets. The two rained down smashing blows upon each others' armour, until blood seeped through the joints of Azrael's suit of Artificer plate. The weight of Arkos' mighty blows had badly wounded the Supreme Grand Master in the one-sided duel. The Chaos Lord had the combined power of the four Chaos Gods with him this day. Arkos' blows forced Azrael ever backwards, weakening his opponent until a shoulder charge and a fast, low sweeping cut sent Azrael sprawling to the ground, the Sword of Secrets skittering from his grasp. Prone amongst the rubble, the banner still clutched to him, Azrael saw death approaching as Arkos loomed over him, raising his Darkblade for the killing blow. As he reached out to strike the blow that would see Azrael's reign as Supreme Grand Master end, the impacts of an Assault Cannon sent Arkos staggering backwards. Racing up the street came Deathwing Terminators led by Interrogator-Chaplain Belphegor, who, enclosed in his black Terminator Armour, charged into Arkos, his Crozius Arcanum swinging. Belphegor managed to strike the Traitor to the ground with a blow that cracked his Power Armour. Arkos fell dazed and bleeding. Concerned for his wounded commander, the Chaplain turned to aid him. When he turned back to face Arkos, the Traitor had vanished. Though the ambush had inflicted painful losses upon the Dark Angels, the Traitors were unable to carry the day, and soon drifted away as they had been recalled by their thwarted commander. The Dark Angels proceeded to hunt down and destroy the remnants of surviving militiamen. Their ambush had inflicted painful losses on the Dark Angels, with the loss of 200 Battle-Brothers, but the traitors could not win this battle alone. The Dark Angels had failed to take a single Traitor Legionairy alive, although their Battle Barge's cells did contain many captured Renegade militiamen who would face the formidable Interrogator-Chaplains on return to The Rock. After ten days the starport was securely in the hands of the Dark Angels. They set about destroying the facility with demolition charges. Two days later, the starport was damaged beyond repair. Upon completing their mission, the Dark Angels strike force departed Vraks Prime.
- Massacre on Minoria (832.M41) - En-route to the Ork-infested warzones of Periliac Prime, the entire 1st Company of the Dark Angels, the elite Deathwing, make an unscheduled detour to the small and unremarkable Mining World of Minoria on the edges of the Periliac System. The Deathwing teleport en masse onto the planet and kill or capture every one of its inhabitants. As a direct result of their delay in reinforcing the beleaguered planet of Periliac Prime, the entire system buckles and falls under the crushing might of WAAAGH! Drillakilla. It is later claimed publicly by several other Space Marine Chapters that the Dark Angels' delay was a significant reason for the fall of Periliac Prime.
- Faze V Uprising (897.M41) – An Imperial expedition was launched into a region of space that had for many years been riven with fierce Warp Storms. Led by a Rogue Trader of Clan Arcadius, the Dark Angels provided their 5th Company to aid the endeavour. Entering orbit above Faze V, the fleet was immediately fired upon by fearsome energy weapons of a type unknown to the fleet’s Tech-priests. In response, the Dark Angels committed themselves to an immediate combat drop. The 5th Company engaged men altered by cybernetics, and held entirely in the thrall of some blasphemous machine intelligence. In a grueling campaign that lasted four months, the techno-recidivists of Faze V were beaten back to their mighty silicon fortresses, besieged, and eventually annihilated. The Dark Angels’ last act was the destruction of the great logic stacks of the disabled machine entity. But this was not carried out until a party of Techmarines, accompanied by the then-Grand Master of the Deathwing Bekenel, had entered the machine complex and retrieved some scrap of as yet undisclosed data. Even after the population of Faze V was freed from the Artificial Intelligence's control, they craved their machine-ruler's mind-touch and rejected their own freedom. The Dark Angels were forced to continue to press their attack. In a gruelling campaign, the techno-recidivists of Faze V were eventually wiped from the face of their world.
- Assault on the Toxic World of Sephlagm (922.M41) - The 3rd and 4th Companies of the Dark Angels pin down a Chaos Cultist army on the world of Sephlagm while the Ravenwing deploys in a pincer formation. The Ravenwing's Support Squadrons clear streets while the Attack Squadrons rush the rebel headquarters, summoning the Deathwing to teleport into the structure and eliminate the daemon-possessed rebel leader.
- Death of Supreme Grand Master Naberius (939.M41) - Whilst pursing Cypher, Commander Naberius, Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels -- is led into an ambush and slain by Chaos Space Marines. Azrael leads the Deathwing to recover his body and is subsequently named his successor as the new -- and current -- Supreme Grand Master of the Chapter.
- WAAAGH! Groblinik (949.M41) - Fghting alongside the Imperial Guard troops of the Vostroyan Firstborn, Mordian Iron Guard and the Adeptus Mechanicus' Skitarii Legions, the Dark Angels attempt to halt the onslaught of the Ork WAAAGH! Groblinik. The Orks are checked at the Battle of the Sularian Gate and Ezekiel, the Grand Master of Librarians, slays the Greenskin Warlord Groblinik.
- Battle of the Sularian Gate (949.M41) – During the Battle of the Sularian Gate the Dark Angels 5th Company deployed alongside the massed Imperial Guard regiments of the Vostroyan Firstborn, Mordian Iron Guard and Adeptus Mechanicus Skitarii Legions in an effort to halt WAAAGH! Groblonik. Several minor worlds had already fallen and dozens more teetered on the brink of destruction unless the green tide could be stopped. On the fourth day of the Battle of the Sularian Gate, Ezekiel, the Dark Angels' Grand Master of Librarians, was gravely wounded by a stray Ork bullet, embedding itself in his left eye socket. Recovering the fallen Librarian, he was taken to a makeshift triage station where the remains of his eye were removed. He only had the patience to be fitted for a simple bionic, returning to the fray. Rallying the 5th Company, Ezekiel led a furious counter-attack that broke WAAAGH! Groblonik forever. Ezekiel faced the Ork Warlord in furious hand-to-hand combat, slaying him with his powerful psychic assault. Hefting his mighty force weapon, Ezekiel hacked off Groblonik’s head and threw it into the Ork mob. The WAAAGH! broke at the sight of their fallen warlord and the panicked Greenskins were soon slaughtered by the Imperial forces.
- Hyades (Unknown Date.M41) – Captain Jeremiah Gieyus led an elite Deathwing Kill-team that had long pursued and now prepared to capture one of the Fallen Angels known as Cadmus. Stirring up old animosities that burned within both Chapters, Captain Gieyus's Kill-team and Ragnar Blackmane's Battle-Brothers of the Wolfblade soon fell into a confrontation with one another. Eventually the two Chapters set aside their differences and went after the errant Cadmus. They tracked down the Traitor before he could make good his escape and succeeded in capturing the Heretic. With a newfound mutual respect for one another, Ragnar withdrew his forces and let the Dark Angels conclude their Chapter business in privacy. Captain Gieyus then executed Cadmus.
- Crassia II (Unknown Date.M41) - Grand Master Belial led his Deathwing warriors against an unknown enemy on the foetid marshes of Crassia II.
- Terraq (Unknown Date.M41) - Grand Master Belial led the Deathwing in the rout of the Renegade Space Marines Chapter known as the Violators on the world of Terraq.
- Second Battle of Rynn's World and Bad Landing (989.M41-991.M41) - A Dark Angels strike force, including the entire Ravenwing, is sent alongside the forces from other Space Marine Chapters to relieve the Crimson FistsChapter on Rynn's World and reconquer the worlds in the Loki Sector that had fallen under Ork domination.
- Cleansing of Durganion XIII (996.M41) - A distress call lures a Dark Angels strike force into a Genestealer ambush, and the confines of the hive prove an advantage to the xenos. The battle end when the Broodlord is destroyed by a Ravenwing advance. Without his guidance, the remaining xenos are exterminated and the planet marked by the Inquisition for corruption testing.
- Third Tyrannic War (997.M41) - Several Dark Angels strike forces take part in fighting the far-reaching tendrils of Hive Fleet Leviathan.
- Battle of Piscina IV (221.997.M41) – Piscina IV was a Dark Angels recruiting world that was invaded by the Ork WAAAGH! led by the Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka and his ally the Warlord Nazdreg Ug Urdgrub. Though caught by surprise, the world was defended by the Dark Angels' 3rd Company, and assisted by a scattering of combined squads drawn from the personnel of the Dark Angels' Deathwing and Scout Companies. The Orks were successfully driven off, thanks to the actions of Master Belial and his small force. Piscina IV was saved, though much damage had been incurred on the planet and its civilian inhabitants.
- To Catch Cypher (998.M41) - The Black Templars fight alongside the Dark Angels, though a dispute over a Black Templars prisoner who may be Cypher causes both Chapters to briefly engage in combat. The incident is reported to Terra and Inquisitor Archibald is assigned to lead the inquiry.
- Stern's Remembrance (884.999.M41) - The Dark Angels 5th Company battles elements of the Chaos Space Marine warband known as the Crimson Slaughter for control of the Chaotic artefact called the Hellfire Stone. The Dark Angels' 5th Company was led by Master Zadakiel to the world of Stern's Remembrance where they discovered the notorious Fallen Angel Attias the Untamed. The Fallen attempted to warn his erstwhile brothers that it was all an elaborate trap, and that they should take their leave. The Dark Angels took Attias into custody and attempted to take their leave, but as they made their way back to their Thunderhawks the trap was sprung, as a massive Drop Pod assault was launched by the Crimson Slaughter while their allied Chaos Cultists surrounded the outnumbered Dark Angels. In the ensuing battle, the Dark Angels reluctantly freed Attias, allowing him to fight by their side in order to survive the Heretics' onslaught. As Zadakiel was about to board the hovering gunship, the Helbrute Mortis Metalikus appeared. Zadakiel drew his Heavenfall Blade called Fellbane and started to do battle with the beast. Despite his agility, the Helbrute eventually got the upper hand and was about to crush him underfoot when the Thunderhawk appeared, shooting the Helbrute and giving Zadakiel the chance to climb aboard. However, as the Dark Angels Master grabbed the open ramp at the front of the Thunderhawk, the Helbrute grabbed him, dragging Zadakiel down. Seeing he could not escape his fate and that the Helbrute was aiming his Multi-melta at the Thunderhawk, Zadakiel threw Fellbane into the Thunderhawk and let go, falling to his death. Now the most senior Space Marine on board, Sergeant Balthasar gave the order to return to The Rock with their prisoner. The Captain of the 5th Company's Strike Cruiser handed over a data-slate with a message from Kranon the Relentless, the Chaos Lord who led the Crimson Slaughter warband. In the message, Kranon taunted Balthazar, showing how the Helbrute had turned the body of Zadakiel into a trophy and claiming that he knew the Dark Angels' secret shame, as proven by the capture of the Fallen Angel Attias, and that he expected and indeed counted upon meeting again as the Dark Angels would surely not tolerate the existence of such a breach of their ancient secrecy for long.
- 13th Black Crusade (995.999.M41) - The Dark Angels deploy the entirety of their Chapter in support of the beleaguered world of Cadia to halt the encroaching Forces of Chaos led by Abaddon the Despoiler during the 13th Black Crusade. According to the Dark Oracle, the name given by the Dark Angels' Supreme Grand Masters to Luther, who lies rotting in The Rock's deepest dungeon, many Fallen are amongst the Forces of Chaos following Abaddon into battle. The Rock makes haste for the Cadian Sector. Yet soon after the battle is joined, Supreme Grand Master Azrael withdraws the support of the Dark Angels for Cadia, claiming any engagements involving the Traitor Legions were Adeptus Astartes business only and of no concern to others. Even as The Rock made haste towards the embattled Cadian Sector, the Chapter was bombarded with distress calls; urgent pleas for aid from desperate worlds. The Inner Circle was awash with confirmed reports of the Fallen, including Cypher himself. The Rock's psychic choir of Astropaths had become so overloaded with messages of xenos invasions and uprisings that it was impossible to track which were current and which were ghost messages -- lingering echoes of disasters already come and gone. From the psi-shielded sanctum of the Librarius, Ezekiel, the Grand Master of Librarians, reported a tide of Warp energies rising, the Eye of Terror once more opening to spew forth its filth onto the galaxy, including the unmistakable signs of the Fallen amongst their number. Desperate to capture the Fallen and to prevent any from revealing the Chapter's long-kept secret, the Dark Angels were already too thinly spread. Risking the scrutiny of the Inquisition and the allegation of attempting to rebuild a full Space Marine Legion, the Dark Angels called upon their Successor Chapters for aid. The Unforgiven girded for battle as never before since the time of the Horus Heresy. Into this scene of calamity, Supreme Grand Master Azrael emerged from the deepest dungeon of The Rock, his mind still attempting to decipher the gibbering deluge of information spouted by the Dark Oracle, his Chapter's greatest secret and greatest asset. Despite the multitude of threats and the darkness of the hour, he knew that it was for these circumstances that the Space Marines had been created. Brooding and perhaps obsessively flawed by their past failings, the Dark Angels nevertheless rushed once more to the forefront of Mankind's battle for survival, intending to fight with righteous fervor and a refusal to never accept defeat. no matter the odds, whoever the foe. During the 13th Black Crusade the Dark Angels took part in many notable battles, including:
- Defence of Ex Lucan VII (999.M41) - Composed of four entire Companies of Dark Angels and three of their Successor Chapters (not named), this deadly force of Astartes are collectively known as Taskforce Shadowguard. They staged themselves upon the outlying Mining World of Ex Lucan VII, laying in wait within the hollow mountains of the Kyran Range for a substantial force of Eldar raiders. Appearing out of nowhere through portals this vile race makes use of, the xenos waste not time in launching their attack against the mining settlements of the Kyran Range. Shadowguard reveals themselves and take the first raider force completely by surprise. Exploiting the momentum of victory, Shadowguard than executes a manoeuvre that smashed aside a second xenos force. Unable to coordinate their assault in order to force a breakthrough in the Astartes' lines, the Eldar raiders are annihilated in a devastating massacre.
- Pursuit of the Voice (999.M41) - During the campaign, the Dark Angels and Space Wolves great mutual rivalry causes severe disruptions to the Imperial efforts in the defence of the Sentinel Worlds area. Though both forces operate in the same region for several weeks, both refuse to coordinate their actions, harming the ability of the Imperial Guard commanders on the ground to act, for they cannot rely upon the aid of either Chapter. The situation soon changes, as the Dark Angels abruptly leave the area in search of renegade individuals they refuse to identify. The Dark Angels seek a shadowy figure calling himself the "Voice of the Emperor," operating out of Lelithar. The Dark Angels launch a number of strikes against this figure, but on each occasion found that the pressures of constant attacks upon their hallowed ground of the Caliban System forces them to redeploy their forces. Each time the Dark Angels manage to close on the suspected location of the Voice, hie somehow is able to slip through their clutches, leaving behind taunting, heretical graffiti. Harbouring an intense hatred for this individual, the Voice transmits a number of all-channel vox-casts throughout the war, making obscure references to the I Legion's earliest history, as well as making astonishing claims against their Primarch Lion El'Jonson. The Dark Angels and their Successors vehemently rebut these blasphemous broadcasts. The Dark Angels and the Unforgiven relentless pursue this heretic and his followers and eventually capture him. But as the Voice lay languishing within the holds of one of their vessels he somehow, through some as yet unidentified means, managed to effect his escape.
- Battle of Kasr Tyrok-Cadia (999.M41) - The Dark Angels and the Space Wolves set aside their ancient vendetta as Supreme Grand Master Azrael and Great Wolf Logan Grimnar come to a mutual, but temporary, understanding. Both Chapters take to the field together, in the defence of Kasr Tyrok upon the world of Cadia against a substantial force of Chaos mutants. The combined force of Dark Angels and Space Wolves smashed into the rear of the mutant mob, cutting them down without mercy, each Chapter sought to outdo the other in their skill at arms. As the last few mutants were dispatched their friendly banter soon turned to insults. Victory had been achieved, but the Sons of the Lion and the Sons of Russ soon depart ways, their long-time rivalry rearing its ugly head once again.
- Battle of Kasr Partox-Cadia (999.M41) - A massive force of the Archenemy stands arrayed against the valiant Imperial defenders of Kasr Partox in a final stand. Within the fortress are 23 Cadian regiments. Alongside the regiments of Cadia stand a host of units from worlds near and far, such as the Knovians, Gundronites, Mordant, Thracians, Jourans and a thousand more. The battle-brothers of Adeptus Astartes are also counted amongst the Imperial defenders, including Chapters from the Dark Angels, Space Wolves, Ultramarines, Doom Eagles and many more that aren't named. There are also other servants of the Emperor which includes the Sisters from the Adepta Sororitas, the mighty Grey Knights, scores of Inquisitors, siege dreadnoughts of the Ordo Reductor, as well as the mighty God Machines of the Adeptus Titanicus and their Skitarii servants. In the ensuing slaughter, the Imperials are forced to abandon Kasr Partox and retreat towards the Caducades Sea, where they will hope to make their stand at Kasr Gallan. At the height of the battle, a fleet of Necrontyr vessels appeared from nowhere and assaulted Kasr Partox as well as the orbiting Chaos fleet, forcing a Chaos-held Blackstone Fortress to disengage. With Kasr Partox fallen, command and control structure are soon non-existent. The retreat from Kasr Partox sees the most intense fighting of the war, with many thousands of lives given up so that the bulk of the Imperial forces mighty escape. The Imperials managed to make it to the Caducades Sea, leaving behind thousands of dead, their bodies defiled by the blasphemous Chaos horde. The Imperial flee aboard transport ships across the Caducades Sea, forced to abandon the bulk of their heavy equipment. Some remnants from the Ecclesiarchy as well as a number of Space Marines of the Subjugators have chosen to make their last stand, as Imperial Guard engineers plant munitions at the heart of the part in order to destroy it.
Lion El'Jonson had introduced to the I Legion of the Space Marines the organisational structure he had learned from The Order on Caliban. The Lion's tenets of loyalty, discipline and self-efficiency were incorporated into everything the Legion did. As the I Legion had been created from Terran warriors gifted with the gene-seed of the stalwart, if reticent, Lion El'Jonson, the Dark Angels had always been regarded as dedicated and serious-minded warriors. Like their primogenitor, they were slow to anger, but tenacious and all but unstoppable once roused. Before the Horus Heresy, a Space Marine Legion might count ten thousand or more warriors under a single command, though the exact numbers of the Dark Angels Legion in the days of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy remain unknown in current Imperial records, though the Legion was considered to be of moderate size for the time.
Following the tragic events of the Horus Heresy, the Dark Angels began acting suspiciously and growing more insular, which was noted by many watchful eyes. Having incorporated the structure of the original Order on Caliban into the Legion, the remaining Dark Angels took that knightly brotherhood a step further, becoming even more monastic in manner. The Dark Angels sought to lay down the new rigours that would govern them in the wake of the terrible events that had led to the Fall of Caliban. At this time in the early 31st Millennium, entire new divisions of the Imperium, such as the Inquisition, were developed with the sole purpose of seeking out and destroying internal corruption related to the treachery of the Horus Heresy and the actions of Chaos on the human-settled worlds of the Imperium. Inspections following the destruction of Caliban judged the Dark Angels fit to continue as a Loyalist Legion. Some leeway for their new reclusive behaviour was granted due to the simultaneous loss of the Legion's Primarch and homeworld, but largely it was allowed because of the Dark Angels' ongoing and relentless heroics against the Imperium's foes during the travails of the Great Scouring.
Regardless of these allowances, the Dark Angels remained closely monitored by the Imperial authorities and particularly by the nascent Inquisition. After the disappearance of their Primarch, it did not seem that strange for the remaining Dark Angels to withdraw further into their own brotherhood. If before they had been described as reserved, now they were, at best, taciturn: at worst, they were cold and austere. Behaviour that once would have been described as pensive was now more like a brooding silence. Yet there was one thing that had not changed -- their campaigns continued to be well-planned and effective actions. If the Dark Angels were in some strange mourning, it in no way dampened their ability to bring battle to the enemies of the Imperium and of Mankind.
Many changes happened within the Imperium during those dark days. Although Horus had been defeated and his remaining Traitor Legions driven into the Eye of Terror, the High Lords of Terra and the remaining Loyalist Primarchs still dreaded the resurgence of Chaos. They had all recoiled in horror at the full realisation of how insidious the betrayal had been, how far across the galaxy the roots of corruption had spread. Never again could the Imperium be subjected to such widespread rebellion; drastic measures had to be undertaken. To avoid the threat of the Space Marine Legions falling under the influence of the Archenemy, the remaining Legions were sub-divided into a number of smaller Chapters. Under the new structure of this so-called Second Founding, each Chapter's size was limited to a thousand warriors. The organisation, tactics and roles of these new "Chapters" -- a word derived from a former sub-divison of a full Legion -- were defined in a hugely influential work known as the Codex Astartes. Roboute Guilliman, the Primarch of the Ultramarines, almost single-handedly undertook the work of preparing the Codex Astartes. The proscriptions within its pages not only lessened the risks of a single Traitor altering the course of the Imperium, but also allowed the limited number of Loyalist Space Marines remaining to be more flexible -- spreading more widely across the galaxy to confront Mankind's many enemies. The organisation of the Dark Angels Chapter and its Unforgiven Successors differs from the standards of the Codex Astartes in the shape of its higher ranks, along with the order of battle of its 1st and 2nd Companies.
The Inner Circle
After the fall of Caliban, the senior members of the I Legion assembled in secret conclave. They decreed that knowledge of the fall from grace of their brothers must remain undisclosed for all time, and that no outsider must ever learn of the schism that had split the Legion or that some Space Marines of the Dark Angels Legion had turned to the Ruinous Powers like the Astartes of the Traitor Legions. Should this dreadful truth ever become known, they feared that the Dark Angels would come to be reviled as Traitors like those who had followed Horus, and all hope of expunging the stain to their honour in the Emperor's eyes would be lost forever.
As the decades following the Fall of Caliban turned to centuries, the Inner Circle took shape. It grew from an ad hoc conclave into a formal, if still furtive, organisation that spread through not just the Dark Angels, but their Successor Chapters as well. Recruitment planets were founded and new generations of Dark Angels were added, replacing the ranks of those lost in battle. The regimens and drills of the Chapter were strict, with special emphasis on brotherhood and loyalty. However, the Masters and elder warriors who led the instruction told the Neophytes nothing of the sins of their forefathers. The truth of what occurred and knowledge of the Fallen was withheld, now known only to the increasingly small number of brethren who had survived it.
The Inner Circle was comprised of the Legion’s most senior officers, formed to forever guard this dangerous knowledge, and each member swore oaths of unspeakable secrecy. The Inner Circle is currently comprised of the Dark Angels Chapter's Supreme Grand Master, all of the other Grand Masters, the Masters of each of the Chapter's companies, the members of the Deathwing and the Ravenwing Black Knights. However, even the members of the Inner Circle receive gradations of the truth, and only the Supreme Grand Master of the Chapter is currently privy to all of the Dark Angels' many secrets.
The Grand Masters of the Inner Circle swore that so long as even one of the Traitor Fallen Angels remained alive and unrepentant, the Dark Angels would bear the stigma of the Unforgiven, cursed by their own brothers to atone for all eternity for the sins of the past. Until every last Fallen Dark Angel was captured and made to repent, there could be no peace for those sons of the Lion who had remained true to their duty. This would be the true mission of the Inner Circle, and, through its secretive machinations, of the entire Chapter.
The Inner Circle hides its true face even from its own. Where many Space Marine Chapters openly celebrate their ancestors' achievements, the Dark Angels take great pains to tell their story one passage at a time. Much of the Dark Angels’ teachings to their brethren on this subject are couched in allegory, parable and myth, the same essential truths told again and again in one form after another. As veterans rise through the unseen levels of trust, more of the truth is gradually revealed to them by the ranking members of the Inner Circle.
The first such allegory a Dark Angel is told recounts the so-called Tale of Two-Heads-Talking, in which a band of Deathwing Terminators returned to the planet of their birth to find their people enslaved by hideous xenos overlords. Daubing their armour white, as was the tradition of their native people, the Terminators began their death-quest. They defeated their enemy, but at the cost of the life of their beloved Librarian. Similar tales are told at every stage in a Dark Angel's progression through the ranks, the details changing from one story to the next, but the essential truth remaining. Each tells of a group of heroes returning to their homeworld to find their people enthralled by a Traitor, and only at the cost of eternal humiliation and dishonour are the enemies defeated. Even then, some always escape, to be hunted down later.
Only on his ascension to the elite 1st Company, known within the Dark Angels Chapter as the Deathwing, will a Battle-Brother of the Dark Angels or the other Unforgiven Chapters begin to learn the truth of the events that transpired at the very dawn of the Age of the Imperium. This is the first ring of trust within the Inner Circle and those who are considered for membership are observed, unaware, by those within the hidden order and also by the dimunitive Watchers in the Dark, the mysterious humanoid creatures that haunt the lower levels of The Rock. It is essential that only those who have proven their loyalty to the Chapter time and time again across the decades are allowed to progress. Silent and hooded brothers lead any aspirants before the assembled Inner Circle for the great rituals of judgement, and those chosen are elevated to the Deathwing, or disappear forever, further casualties of the Unforgiven's shame..
While a new member of the Inner Circle might suppose he has now been told the whole truth about his Chapter, such is not the case. There remain circles within circles, levels within levels, with each step accompanied by its own rituals. Entering the 1st Company is only the beginning of a Dark Angel's journey towards the truth. Rising through the intricate and convoluted ranks of the Inner Circle, he learns more and more, the secrets one by one revealed as his Masters’ trust in him increases. Only upon ascension to the rank of Grand Master (leader of an entire specialty of the Chapter) is the whole truth revealed, and even then, it is likely that there remain revelations known only to the holder of the title of Supreme Grand Master, the Chapter Master of the Dark Angels.
Given the planning skills inherited from their Primarch, the Dark Angels have instituted fail-safe systems that automate the passing on of knowledge should key members of the Inner Circle die without being able to properly reveal their secrets to their successors. There are some revelations that are known only to those who gain ascension to the rank of Supreme Grand Master, the Chapter Master of the Dark Angels. And yet, there remain secrets of the Chapter to which even he is not privy...
Specialty Ranks and Formations
The Dark Angels make use of very different terminology when referring to the Chapter's officers as compared to that commonly used by other Space Marine Chapters. This is because the Dark Angels have continued to draw upon the ancient military traditions of The Order in organising the Chapter. In general, this terminology is also replicated in most, but not all, of the Unforgiven Successor Chapters of the I Legion.
- Supreme Grand Master - The Dark Angels' Chapter Master is known instead as the Supreme Grand Master. It is his duty to chair all meetings of the Chapter's Inner Circle, which serves as the Dark Angels' replacement for the standard Chapter Council. Only the Supreme Grand Master is privy to all of the Chapter's dark secrets -- and even he does not know everything....
- Grand Master of the Deathwing - The Grand Master of the Deathwing is the Master (Captain) of the Chapter's Veteran 1st Company. He is generally considered to be the natural successor of the current Supreme Grand Master. The Grand Master of the Deathwing usually knows almost all of the secrets of held by the Inner Circle; only the Supreme Grand Master knows more than this veteran officer of the Chapter.
- Grand Master of the Ravenwing - The Grand Master of the Ravenwing serves as the Master (Captain) of the Chapter's highly mobile 2nd Company. The Grand Master of the Ravenwing usually knows as many secrets of the Inner Circle as the Grand Master of the Deathwing, and is normally considered as the natural successor to command the Deathwing when his predecessor falls in battle or is promoted to lead the entire Chapter. The Grand Master of the Ravenwing also serves as the Chapter's Leader of the Hunt; it is his task to run any rumours concerning the possible location of a member of the Fallen to ground anywhere in the galaxy.
- Grand Master of Librarians - The Grand Master of Librarians serves as the Chapter's Chief Librarian and oversees the Librarium. He is responsible for maintaining all of the Dark Angels' Chapter records and the security of its secrets. He is a member of the Inner Circle and is thus one of the only members of the Chapter privy to the whole truth surrounding the Fallen.
- Master Apothecary - The Master Apothecary serves as the Chapter's Chief Apothecary and oversees the medical needs of all Dark Angels as well as all biological research conducted by the Chapter. The Grand Master of Apothecaries' most important duty is to preserve and maintain the purity of the Chapter's stock of gene-seed. He is a member of the Inner Circle and is thus one of the only members of the Chapter privy to the whole truth surrounding the Fallen.
- Master of the Rock - The Master of the Rock serves as the Dark Angels' Master of the Forge and oversees all of the Chapter's Techmarines as well as its Armoury and vehicle pool. With deep understanding of the arcane sciences refined over many standard years of experience, the Master of the Forge is comparable to a Tech-priest of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The Dark Angels maintain a similar role within their Chapter known as the Master of the Rock, although there is an ominous difference. Upon ascending to the honoured position, the Master of the Rock follows his predecessors in the office by being permanently and cybernetically hard-wired into the control nave of Cogitators located deep within the Chapter's asteroid base known as The Rock. It is his solemn duty to placate the most important Machine Spirits, directing the maintenance of the engines and Warp-Drive that allow the enormous asteroid to navigate the galaxy. Because of their dual allegiance to the Chapter and the Adeptus Mechanicus, Dark Angels Techmarines are never inducted into the Deathwing. This includes the Master of the Rock; he is privy only to the secrets of the Dark Angels' asteroid base and its hoard of ancient technology, but never to the greatest secrets shrouding the Chapter's origins.
- High Interrogator - The High Interrogator, also known as the Grand Master of Chaplains, serves as the Dark Angels' Reclusiarch, or High Chaplain, and oversees the duties of all of the other Chaplains of the Chapter. His most important duty is to train the Dark Angels' special class of Interrogator-Chaplains and he is usually a master of their art of interrogation and psychological manipulation. He is a member of the Inner Circle and is thus one of the only members of the Chapter privy to the whole truth surrounding the Fallen.
- Grand Master of the Fleet - The Grand Master of the Fleet is the Dark Angels officer who is most skilled at naval warfare and who is placed in overall command of all of the Chapter's capital warships, transports, and air assets.
- Company Master- A Company Master of the Chapter is the Dark Angels' equivalent to the standard Space Marine Captain of other Chapters. A Company Master leads each of the 10 companies of the Dark Angels and ultimately falls under the command of the Supreme Grand Master. Every Master within the Chapter serves as a member of the Inner Circle, although even at this rank he is not privy to the entire truth surrounding the Chapter's dark past or all of the Chapter's many secrets. To lead the Dark Angels requires a battle-hardened Veteran, a dedicated warrior who has proven his prowess and Chapter loyalty a thousand times over. Such heroes advance into the fabled Deathwing, the 1st Company, but in order to be considered for command, a Space Marine must distinguish himself yet further. Only those who show superlative leadership and tactical skills, and who prove themselves to be absolutely reliable in pursuit of the Chapter's goals, are considered for promotion to officer rank. The Dark Angels do not call their officers by the typical Astartes designation of Captain, preferring instead to retain the old title used millennia ago by The Order of Company Master. Each Company Master bears additional honorific titles, reflective of his solemn duties within the Chapter. All Dark Angels are taciturn and monastic in nature, and these traits are exemplified by the Company Masters. They shun highly visible, diplomatic roles, avoiding even well-deserved battle laurels and the adulation of their brethren. Where the lauded Captains of other Space Marine Chapters deliver rousing speeches to Imperial coalition forces allied with the Adeptus Astartes, the leaders of the Dark Angels are shadowy figures, more comfortable in cowled seclusion than at the forefront, acting as a skilled orator. Yet for all their silent reservations, Company Masters are no less commanding, though perhaps their grim silence makes them more menacing. With a signal, a Company Master launches the Astartes under his command into action. None can claim to be more disciplined than the Dark Angels; a single barked order can start any number of flawlessly executed manoeuvres. Almost soundlessly, attack plans are orchestrated and fire support coordinated. A Company Master meets each challenge with the same intractable resolve. Such officers are not only superb strategists, but also the most skilled of combatants. Armed with the finest wargear drawn from The Rock's armoury, and with relics maintained since the dawn of the Imperium, a Company Master can cleave through alien hordes or cut down even the mightiest foe in pursuit of a personal challenge. As part of the Inner Circle, a Company Master may join his 1st Company brethren in battle, donning his Terminator Armour and leading one of the most feared combat formations in the galaxy. However, they are most assured in the midst of their own troops, leading their company to victory in the name of the Emperor and the Lion of Caliban. The Company Masters know that they and their Battle-Brothers are descended from the I Legion, the first of the Emperor's Space Marines to be created, and are the favoured Sons of the Lion. They know theirs is a heavy responsibility, for it is their role to both uphold the honour of the Dark Angels, while at the same time seeking to exorcise the secret sins of the ancient past. Only on their orders will the Chapter attain victories, and through them, final redemption.
- Interrogator-Chaplain - The Dark Angels maintain a very special cadre of Chaplains known as Interrogator-Chaplains who are tasked with getting any Fallen Angel who has been captured by the Dark Angels to admit their sins and repent of their betrayal of the Emperor. Interrogator-Chaplains are as skilled in the arts of interrogation, torture and psychological manipulation as the most experienced members of the Inquisition. Interrogator-Chaplains are not members of the Inner Circle, though their duties require that they have knowledge of many more of the Chapter's secrets than is normal for Dark Angels of their rank.
- Deathwing Knight - A Deathwing Knight is a fell-handed warrior of the Dark Angels, a member of the elite 1st Company (the Deathwing) whose glorious deeds on the field of battle are matched only by his unflinching devotion to the Chapter. Deathwing Knights are a truly imposing sight, for in them lives on some semblance of the Lion himself. They embody silent strength and a veiled, yet still palpable nobility. Within the Deathwing, there are multiple circles of trust, with older, more experienced warriors ensnared ever deeper into the spiderweb of secrets. The most veteran Deathwing warriors are given the title of Deathwing Knights, the uppermost level of the order before being named a Master. They become the ultimate upholders of ancient Chapter traditions and the most skilled fighting unit of the Dark Angels. In battle, the Deathwing Knights are fell-handed foes, Terminators armed with Storm Shields, wielding ancient weapons specially forged for vengeance. Few foes dare to stand before them -- none do so for long. In the stratified Chapter organisation of the Dark Angels and the other Unforgiven, the Deathwing Knights represent the elite -- only the Masters and Grand Masters of the Chapter rank higher, and they are only chosen from among the company of the Deathwing Knights, who are also members of the Chapter's Inner Circle. None but the most fell-handed of warriors from the 1st Company are promoted into the Inner Circle of the Deathwing, and displaying skill in battle is not enough to receive the honour of knighthood. A warrior must be wholly dedicated to the Chapter, and must display an obsessive need to carry on the Chapter's secret crusade to hunt down the remaining Fallen. When a member of the Deathwing is deemed worthy of the honour, he is brought into the Chamber of Judgments in The Rock to face a series of challenges, each of which has been individualised to test the candidate's strength, resolve and loyalty to the Chapter past any breaking point he may possess. Should the Astartes prevail in these tests, the warrior is granted the title of Knight and passes beneath the shadowed arch at the heart of the Chamber of Judgment. The Watchers in the Dark present to him a Mace of Absolution and a Storm Shield -- both priceless heirlooms from the time of the Great Crusade in the late 30th Millennium, with powers beyond even the potency of the Astartes who will bear them. In battle, the Deathwing Knights are used as a heavy shock force -- they teleport into the fight with Storm Shields locked. With incoming fire ricocheting off them, the Knights march forward to assault the greatest threat with impunity, first slamming into the foe with their Storm Shields before laying into them with their Power Maces and Flails. In the presence of a Heretic, the Knights of the Deathwing power up their ancient weapons to deliver a killing blow of earth-shattering force. The most skilled and veteran of Deathwing Knights are known as Knight Masters. They wield an even more potent ancient Power Weapon known as a Flail of the Unforgiven.
- Ravenwing Black Knight - Mounted on powerful, heavily customised Mark IV Assault Bikes, the Ravenwing Black Knights of the Chapter's 2nd Company, the Ravenwing, are heavily armed shock cavalry. Those who survive in the Ravenwing long enough learn to take the doctrines of mobile warfare to the next level of mastery. If they can pass the Seven Rites of the Raven, they will be inducted into the Black Knights, the Inncer Circle of the 2nd Company. There, 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 Knights are often led into battle by a veteran Astartes and longtime member of the Black Knights known as a Ravenwing Huntmaster. 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, a Standard Bearer, and the Ravenwing Company Champion wielding a deadly blade of Calibanite origin. 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.
- Deathwing Command Squads - The highest-ranking members of the Chapter's Inner Circle are sometimes accompanied by a Command Squad of Veterans drawn from the Deathwing, the elite 1st Company. Such a hand-picked formation of the most veteran Deathwing Terminators makes a formidable unit, ideal for service as a bodyguard or to be assigned special duties by a Librarian or Interrogator-Chaplain. They can be equipped for any role from the Chapter's armoury and often include specialists such as Standard Bearers, Apothecaries or even the Deathwing Company Champion. Belial, the current Grand Master of the Deathwing, has personally led many a Deathwing Command Squad straight into the heart of battle, forging a breach in enemy lines and crushing opposing leaders.
- Dark Angels Command Squads - Dark Angels company officers are often accompanied by a Dark Angels Command Squad -- a hand-picked unit of the five most able Company Veterans. The Codex Astartes sanctions the formation of these units largely as bodyguards for key Masters of the Chapter. Dark Angels officers use their Command Squads in a variety of roles, such as forming Honour Guards to spearhead attacks, shoring up defensive lines, or achieving special missions. Because of their elite nature, Command Squads can draw upon The Rock's full arsenal of weaponry and wargear. The most prominent addition to any Command Squad is the Standard Bearer, for he carries one of his company's much-revered banners. Since The Rock was made the Dark Angels' headquarters, the solemn Great Hall has been lined with proud company standards, along with ceremonial banners, heraldic pennants and, in pride of place, the Chapter relics known as the Sacred Standards. Every Son of the Lion, from Neophyte to the most battle-scarred Veteran, will fight even harder beneath the presence of such a Chapter icon. Whether it is a Company Master leading a Command Squad with its Company Standard into the thick of the fighting, or the bearer of a Sacred Standard marking the Dark Angels' hold over a rallying point, the heraldry of the Dark Angels is a call to war that is known and feared across the galaxy. Some Command Squads contain an Apothecary to care for those of his brethren wounded in battle. This battlefield medic will make use of his Narthecium -- a field kit which contains all the technology, stim-packs and sacred unguents needed to patch wounds -- allowing his brethren to return to the fight. Not all the wounded can be saved, but between their ceramite Power Armour, superhuman constitutions and bioengineered self-regenerative properties, only the most horrific of wounds are mortal for the Astartes. When an Apothecary finds one past hope, he will calm the dying, perhaps helping them to find the Emperor's Peace with a quick cut, and take out his Reductor from the Narthecium. This special device will be used to remove the Progenoid Glands from the dead Astartes' body. The genetic secrets within these organs will be used to create future generations of Dark Angels. A Command Squad can also contain a Company Champion. In the Dark Angels Chapter, each company has unique rituals -- most often some combination of duels, tests of strength and mental battles intended to see who can maintain their self-control the longest. The winners of such competitions represent their company during the ceremonies held in the Great Hall of The Rock. These individuals embody the honour of their company, representing their brothers in the mysteries of the rites just as they do in war. On the battlefield, it is a Company Champion's task to personally confront enemy warlords and captains, leaving the Company Master free to coordinate the wider battle. Should the Dark Angels encounter their ancient rivals the Space Wolves during their missions, it is a Company Champion who will face the Space Wolves' chosen champion in ritual combat, reenacting the epic clash fought between their respective Primarchs during the Great Crusade nearly 10,000 standard years ago.
The Dark Angels' 1st Company of Veterans is referred to within the Chapter as the Deathwing. The Deathwing is comprised solely of Dark Angels Veterans who only take to the field of battle in bone-white Terminator Armour. Prior to the Horus Heresy, during the Great Crusade, the Power Armour of the Dark Angels Legion was coloured jet-black. After the Heresy, the bulk of the Chapter began to appear in dark green armour, whilst the 1st and 2nd Companies' panoply remained jet-black in honour of the original Legion colours.
The Deathwing Company's Astartes later painted their Terminator Armour in a bone-white colour scheme to remember the lone squad of Dark Angels Terminators who defended an important Dark Angels recruitment planet known as Plain's World from a Tyranid Genestealer invasion. These Terminators painted their armour white, the colour of death, as they believed that they would never survive the confrontation. Surprisingly, these Terminators proved successful in reclaiming the world and in doing so saved a crucial part of the Dark Angels' cultural heritage and the genetic diversity of the Chapter. Amongst the Unforgiven Chapters, only the Dark Angels' Deathwing Company Terminators actually continue this tradition. The Deathwing are both the most stubborn and most resilient of the Astartes of the Dark Angels and Unforgiven Chapters, and will often refuse to leave a battlefield even in the face of overwhelming odds, citing the tradition of the Terminators who saved the Dark Angels' recruitment world.
The Deathwing is tasked with that mission which takes precedence over all others for the Chapter, even though they may be called upon to fight a wide range of foes. The Deathwing are responsible for crushing all of the enemies of the Unforgiven, and there are no greater enemies than the Fallen. Like the Ravenwing of the Dark Angels and other Unforgiven Chapters, which concentrates on mobile warfare using Bike Squads, specialised Land Speeders and aircraft, the Deathwing does not comply with the standard organisation of Space Marine Chapters' 1st Companies as outlined by the Codex Astartes, though all of the other companies in Unforgiven Chapters generally do so.
The bulk of the 1st Company is composed of Terminator Squads, indefatigable warriors who blast apart their enemies with Storm Bolters whilst advancing into melee assault range. Deathwing Terminators feature a mix of weaponry, for both long-ranged and close combat oriented roles. Terminators typically begin engagements aboard an orbiting starship, teleporting to the battlefield at a prearranged time, often homing in on a signal from ranging Ravenwing units. By the time foes see the flash signifying the arrival of the Deathwing's Terminators, it is already too late. The Deathwing appear in a blazing hail of gunfire, as if they had begun firing while en route. They live up to their name, arriving like a sword stroke to deliver the deathblow.
A Deathwing Knight is a fell-handed warrior of the Dark Angels, a member of the elite 1st Company whose glorious deeds on the field of battle are matched only by his unflinching devotion to the Chapter. Deathwing Knights are a truly imposing sight, for in them lives on some semblance of the Lion himself. They embody silent strength and a veiled, yet still palpable nobility. In the stratified Chapter organisation of the Dark Angels and the other Unforgiven, the Deathwing Knights represent the elite -- only the Masters and Grand Masters of the Chapter rank higher, and they are only chosen from among the company of the Deathwing Knights, who are also members of the Chapter's Inner Circle. None but the most fell-handed of warriors from the 1st Company are promoted into the Inner Circle of the Deathwing, and displaying skill in battle is not enough to receive the honour of knighthood. A warrior must be wholly dedicated to the Chapter, and must display an obsessive need to carry on the Chapter's secret crusade to hunt down the remaining Fallen.
The highest-ranking members of the Inner Circle are sometimes accompanied by a Command Squad drawn from the Veterans of the 1st Company. Such a hand-picked formation of the most veteran Deathwing Terminators makes a formidable unit, ideal for a bodyguard or to be assigned special duties by a Librarian or Interrogator-Chaplain. They can be equipped for any role and often include specialists such as Standard Bearers, Apothecaries or even the 1st Company Champion. Belial, the Grand Master of the Deathwing, has personally led many a Command Squad straight into the heart of battle, forging a breach in enemy lines and crushing opposing leaders.
The Dark Angels are known for their stoic and intractable manner, unflinching against even the mightiest of foes. The Deathwing are paragons of stoicism, unwilling to take even a single step away from the enemy when battle is joined, their prowess honed across countless battlefields so that they can weather any attack. The Deathwing favour rapid teleport attacks, appearing literally from nowhere (often collaborating with the more mobile Ravenwing squadrons on reconaissance missions to ensure the precision of their teleportation coordinates) to deliver overwhelming force against an unprepared enemy. Teleportation is the easiest way to strike from nowhere in Terminator Armour, but other methods work as effectively for a veteran of countless wars. Once the Ravenwing has located the enemy, the Deathwing are deployed to destroy them so utterly that not a single trace remains. In the case of the Fallen Angels, the Deathwing cast down all of their works and grind them to dust beneath their Ceramite boots, so that none may ever know of the stain cast upon the Unforgiven’s honour by their very existence. The fortunate are destroyed in the unstoppable maelstrom that is a Deathwing assault; the unfortunate are dragged away to the dungeons of The Rock, to suffer the attentions of the Interrogator-Chaplains and to confess their sins in the vain hope of a merciful end.
The Dark Angels' 2nd Company is called the Ravenwing. The members of the Ravenwing are chosen not only for their skill at fast assaults using bikes and Land Speeders but also for their resilience to the heretical rantings of members of the Fallen Angels. The Ravenwing wear jet-black armour in the style of the Dark Angels during the Horus Heresy and specialise in lightning-fast assaults. All but the highest members of the Chapter's Inner Circle are oblivious to the true purpose of the Ravenwing, which is to hunt down and capture every last member of the Fallen. Only with the blood or full repentance of the Fallen do the Dark Angels believe that their sins against the Emperor during the Heresy may finally be washed away.
Like the Deathwing, the Ravenwing does not conform to the ideal of Space Marine Chapter organisation as laid out in the Codex Astartes, though the other Dark Angels and Unforgiven Chapters' companies are considered to be Codex-compliant. The Ravenwing Company is mostly composed of Bike Squads and squadrons of assault Land Speeders. These vehicles are then divided into two groups; one serves as an attack squadron and the other as a fire support squadron.
Biker Squads form over half of the 2nd Company's bulk and they are the centre of any Ravenwing attack. The Space Marine Assault Bikes lay down a torrent of fire from twin-linked Bolters and accelerate into combat should a vulnerable target reveal itself. It is Ravenwing doctrine to avoid becoming bogged down such that their speed is negated and the enemy's superior numbers can be brought to bear. Thus, the Ravenwing Bikers might charge into a foe, but unless they break them immediately, the bikers are likely to streak off, leaving their foe bewildered, unsure of which direction the next attack will come from. Equipped with teleportation homers, Ravenwing bikes often drive deep into the heart of their quarry before summoning the heavy assault troops of the Deathwing. The Ravenwing ride down any of the foe who attempt to flee, mercilessly allowing none to escape the ensuing massacre. The standard Attack Bike augments the more lightly armed Ravenwing bikes, lending its heavier firepower where needed. The Attack Bike is ideal for getting into position to support the Ravenwing's assaults, clearing the path ahead of the onrushing bikes with its Heavy Bolter. Some Attack Bikes are outfitted with a multi-melta: these are tasked with hunting down and destroying enemy armour which would otherwise endanger their brethren.
Mounted on powerful, heavily customised Mark IV Assault Bikes, the Ravenwing Black Knights of the Chapter's 2nd Company, the Ravenwing, are heavily armed shock cavalry. Those who survive in the Ravenwing long enough learn to take the doctrines of mobile warfare to the next level of mastery. If they can pass the Seven Rites of the Raven, they will be inducted into the Black Knights, the Inner Circle of the 2nd Company. There, 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.
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, a Standard Bearer, and the Ravenwing Company Champion wielding a deadly blade of Calibanite origin. 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.
Ravenwing VehiclesTo carry out their operations, the Ravenwing of the Dark Angels and the other Unforguven Chapters makes use of a variety of vehicles intended to enhance tactical mobility and manoeuvrability. The Ravenwing even maintains its own air support arm that is seprate from the rest of the Chapter. The Ravenwing makes use of the following types of vehicles:
- Land Speeders - Most often, Land Speeders form highly mobile support for the ground-bound bike elements of the Ravenwing or larger Dark Angels strike forces. While part of the Ravenwing closes with the enemy, it is the Land Speeders that ensure that the bike-mounted spearhead can reach its quarry. To do this requires vehicles and pilots as mobile and quick-witted as the bike formations themselves. The Ravenwing advocate a fluid style of attack, and all its members must be ready to switch from well-rehearsed set-piece attacks to improvised breakthroughs or rapid pursuit of fleeing foes. In the Ravenwing's unconventional composition, a single Land Speeder makes up part of the standard Attack Squadron, while others (up to five) are grouped into Support Squadrons that can be split as needed. This unusual doctrine has been developed because the Ravenwing use Land Speeders to perform a variety of battlefield roles, due to their versatile weapons loadout. The Dark Angels can equip their Land Speeders for light probing reconnaissance, advanced scouting, tank-hunting, seek and destroy missions, and so on as required by tactical demands.
- Ravenwing Master-Crafted Land Speeder - The Ravenwing Master-Crafted Land Speeder is a unique variant of the Land Speeder used only by Master (Captain) Sammael of the Dark Angels' Ravenwing. The Master of the Ravenwing's Land Speeder is heavily armed with twin Heavy Bolters and twin-linked Assault Cannons. In addition, this specialised pattern of Land Speeder is equipped with superior targeting equipment and a protective Void Shield generator.
- Land Speeder Vengeance - The Land Speeder Vengeance is a variant of the standard Land Speeder and is used only by the Dark Angels and their Unforgiven Successor Chapters and is the deadliest weapon available in the Ravenwing's arsenal, a larger variant of the standard Land Speeder that is armed with the devastating Plasma Storm Battery, with which it lays down a blistering barrage to support the Dark Angels' attack. The Land Speeder Vengeance couples a larger chassis and four powerful gravitic lifter-engines with a ferocious heavy weapon load-out, providing the Ravenwing with a highly mobile and deadly support battery to aid them in their hunt for the Fallen.
- Ravenwing Darkshroud - The Ravenwing Darkshroud is perhaps one of the strangest archaic relics deployed on the field of battle by the Chapters of the Unforgiven. The Darkshroud is a powerful icon of the Chapter and the Dark Angels will protect it with their lives. This archeotech vehicle consists of a Land Speeder Vengeance mounted with an ancient stone statue known as a Stone Guardian, an Icon of Old Caliban or the Ten Brothers of The Order. Ten such idols exist within the Chapter's Armoury. These statues were some of the few barren remnants found amongst the ruins of the Tower of Angels following the destruction of Caliban and were exposed to intense Warp energies during the catastrophe that destroyed that world. Locked in stasis displays deep in the Reclusiam of The Rock for years, it was not until the desperation of the Vendetta Campaign that the Dark Angels at last felt compelled to unleash their arcane power upon the battlefield. Each statue was mounted upon the chassis of a Land Speeder Vengeance, with great cables siphoning off its strange energy and amplifying it, and a power field of unknown quality which ripples outwards from these grim reliquaries and absorbs most forms of electromagnetic energy. In battle, the Darkshroud is used in support of the Ravenwing, its otherworldly veil serving to partially obscure and protect the company's bikes and light vehicles as they streak towards the foe. Even the blazing beam of a Lascannon can be swallowed within that gloaming field of eldritch power, dissipating harmlessly while the Ravenwing speed onwards.
- Nephilim Jetfighter - Nephilim Jetfighters are sleek Dark Angels aircraft deployed from the fighter bays of The Rock or any of the Dark Angels' Strike Cruisers. Although sometimes given the task of escorting Thunderhawks to their drop sites, the main role for the Nephilim is as an interceptor to establish air superiority over the battlefield, allowing their brethren to concentrate on ground targets with little concern for aerial assault. The Nephilim Jetfighters have only been used by the Dark Angels since the late 40th Millennium, when the Standard Template Construct for the improved engines was discovered while hunting a suspected Fallen, Baelor the Imposter, in the Nephilim Sector. Designated the Lionheart engine, the technology was used to modify older designs, though many features were left in place to appease the Machine Spirits. The end product was a more agile fighter with improved speed, even while carrying more powerful armaments. With a twin-linked Lascannon mounted in its nose, the Nephilim is ideally suited to bringing down aerial targets. It has proven itself on innumerable occasions.
- Ravenwing Dark Talon - The Ravenwing Dark Talon is perhaps the deadliest weapon in the Ravenwing's arsenal, and it plays a pivotal role in the 2nd Company's eternal hunt for the Fallen. A strange and ominous-looking craft, this atmospheric fighter is topped with sepulchre-like spires and half-covered in a gothic facade. Flying low, the Dark Talon follows the contours of surrounding terrain. Utilising its ground-facing boost jets, the Dark Talon can literally hang in the air, hovering above its victims like some black bird of prey. The Dark Talon attacks in two ways; it is armed to provide direct air support to allies on the ground with an underslung racked Hurricane Bolter under each of its blunt wings. The Dark Talon also carries a single bomb. It is able to accelerate on bombing runs, delivering its strange payload to their marked quarry. This archaic holdover from the Age of Technology is an archaic weapon known as a Stasis Bomb, the blast from which causes a degree of heat damage but, more importantly, momentarily halts the flow of time. This unnatural disruption to the time stream causes gut-wrenching disorientation and slows the reaction times of those caught within the proximity of the blast. Situated in the nose of the aircraft is the Dark Talon's most awe-inspiring weapon. The Rift Cannon, sometimes referred to as the Stained Glass Cannon, is a weapon developed at the zenith of Mankind's technological achievements and his hubris long before the Emperor first reigned upon Terra. When fired, it emits a beam of Warp energy that emerges with a cascade of scintillating colours that explode into a blossom of oblivion as a small rift into the Immaterium is opened at the beam's point of contact. In addition to its mighty arsenal, the Dark Talon carries a stasis-crypt holding cell where the Dark Angels' captives are loaded so that they might be ferried up to the orbital fleet and, ultimately, to the dungeons of The Rock and the attentions of the awaiting Interrogator-Chaplains.
- Mark IV Raven Pattern Attack Bike - The Mark IV Raven Pattern Assault Bike is used exclusively by the Space Marines of the Dark Angels Chapter's Ravenwing. Ravenwing Black Knights ride to battle atop Mark IV Raven Pattern Space Marine Assault Bikes, powerful machines outfitted with deadly Plasma Talons.
Remaining Chapter Companies
The remainder of the Chapter is organised along standard Codex Astartes lines. The 3rd, 4th, and 5th Companies are Battle Companies -- the backbone of the Chapter's fighting ability and the core of any prolonged campaign. In large battles, these formations generally form the centre and will be counted upon to bear the brunt of the fighting. The 6th and 7th Companies are Tactical Companies, each consisting entirely of Tactical Squads. These act as a reserve which may be used to bolster the front line, launch diversionary attacks or stem enemy flanking moves. The 8th Company consists of Assault Squads, typically equipped with Jump Packs. When deployed en masse, this company is used to storm an enemy's position -- quickly closing with a foe and engaging in close ranged or hand-to-hand combat. The 9th Company consists solely of Devastator Squads. It is the most powerfully armed company in the Chapter, and is used to bolster defence points and provide long-ranged fire support. The 10th Company consists of Scout Squads; youths who have been partially transformed into Space Marines as Neophytes but are not yet full Initiates of the Chapter. This company represents the future of the Chapter and has no formal size as the rate of recruitment operates under a wide number of variables. Those Scout Squads nearest to completing their training are assigned to strike forces. It is almost unheard of for the Scout Company to fight as a single unit.
All of the companies of the Chapter, with the exception of the Deathwing, the Ravenwing and the 10th Company, maintain Rhino and Razorback transports for each of their squads and Masters. More vehicles are held centrally by the Chapter Armoury, while Drop Pods are held by the Chapter fleet. The Deathwing has designated Land Raiders, and more are held in the armoury for use as requested by a Company Master. Although maintained by the armoury, it is customary for Dreadnoughts to remain a part of the company in which the warrior served before being interred within his cybernetic sarcophagus. When not active, Dreadnoughts can be found powered down in The Rock's Halls of Silence. The Dark Angels Chapter includes a large number of support staff, the great majority of whom are human Chapter Serfs, though there are a few Space Marines amongst their number. Most of these are non-combatants of advanced years, tasked with leading the day-to-day administration of the Chapter, such as the Victuallers, or the Master of Recruits. A particularly vital branch of the Chapter's support staff is that within the armoury. These include the Chapter's Techmarines, and the vast number of mono-task Servitors that perform mundane work and maintenance.
Dark Angels Librarians
Like their fellow Astartes Chapters, the Dark Angels also maintain a Librarium of potent psykers who are highly talented and trained to master the power of the Warp at the highest levels. Each Chapter selects its Librarians in its own way, either from seed worlds, as it does with the bulk of its Initiates, or from the ranks of gifted psykers brought to the Scholastica Psykana. Most Chapters train and test chosen psykers following the ancient ways laid out in the Codex Astartes. Librarians of the Dark Angels are trained in this way, and, with few minor variances, have been taught to live by the word of the Codex. Dark Angels Librarians have a number of unique psychic abilities only used by the psykers of their Chapter:
- Force Barrier - Wrapping himself in a blanket of power, the Dark Angels Librarian is able to create a potent but static psychic shell around himself.
- Hellfire - The Librarian is able to summon a torrent of psychic fire to burn and char his foes.
- Mask of Shadows - Covering his thoughts in darkness, the Librarian hides his mind from sight, confounding the efforts of enemy psykers or fearsome foes to psychically engage him.
- Mind Worm - Driving deep into the target’s mind, the Librarian implants the seed of doubt and remorse, crippling the creature with indecision and guilt.
- True Strike - Deadly against those with the psychic gift, the effects of a True Strike can smash an enemy psyker’s mind to pieces.
- Weaken Resolve - The Dark Angels Librarian forces his way into the minds of his foes, robbing them of their will to fight and eroding whatever mental resistance they possess.
Order of Battle
As noted above, the Dark Angels and their Successor Chapters, the Unforgiven, are not organised according to the dictates of the Codex Astartes, instead maintaining their own unique order of battle which is intended primarily to aid their continued hunt for all of the remaining Fallen Angels, and to maximise their secrecy in doing so. The current Chapter order of battle as of 999.M41 is as follows:
- Chapter Command: Azrael, Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels Chapter, leads a council of officers drawn from the senior-most members of the Inner Circle. This council's composition changes depending upon the wishes of each Supreme Grand Master
- The Inner Circle:
- Azrael, Supreme Grand Master
- Belial, Grand Master of the Deathwing
- Sammael, Grand Master of the Ravenwing
- Sapphon, High Interrogator and Grand Master of Chaplains
- Ezekiel, Grand Master of Librarians
- Master Apothecary
- Grand Master of the Fleet
- 8 Masters (Captains) of the 8 remaining companies
- All Deathwing Astartes
- All Ravenwing Black Knights
- Reclusiam: Sapphon, High Interrogator and Grand Master of Chaplains
- Librarius: Ezekiel, Grand Master of Librarians
- Apothecarion: Master Apothecary
- Armorium: Master of the Rock (The Master of the Rock serves as the Chapter's Master of the Forge; he is cybernetically hard-wired into the systems of The Rock and is NOT a member of the Inner Circle because of his shared allegiance to the Adeptus Mechanicus)
- Fleet Command: Grand Master of the Fleet
- Administrative Staff
- 1st Company, the Deathwing: Belial, Grand Master of the Deathwing, Bearer of the Sword of Silence
- 2nd Company, the Ravenwing: Sammael, Grand Master of the Ravenwing, Leader of the Hunt
- 3rd (Battle) Company: Master of the 3rd Company (Identity Unknown)
- 4th (Battle) Company: Master of the 4th Company (Identity Unknown)
- 5th (Battle) Company: Master Balthasar of the 5th Company
- 6th (Reserve) Company: Master of the 6th Company (Identity Unknown)
- 7th (Reserve) Company: Master of the 7th Company (Identity Unknown)
- 8th (Reserve) Company: Master of the 8th Company (Identity Unknown)
- 9th (Reserve) Company: Master of the 9th Company (Identity Unknown)
- 10th (Scout) Company: Master of the 10th Company (Identity Unknown)
- The Inner Circle:
"Forget your past life. From this day on, you are simply a Dark Angel--nothing else is of consequence. The Chapter is all that matters."
- —Commander Azrael addressing new recruits to the Scout Company
As the Dark Angels have no homeworld to speak of (since the destruction of Caliban), they draw their recruits from a variety of different Imperial planets, mainly those feudal worlds with a pre-industrial level of technology like that of Caliban before the coming of the Emperor. Representatives of the Dark Angels visit each recruiting world once within a normal human's lifetime, and take the strongest juveniles from the population. Each Aspirant is thoroughly screened, and from the moment he is accepted into the Chapter as a Neophyte Space Marine, his past becomes irrelevant. Once the recruit is accepted he will undergo the normal rites to become a Space Marine. However, should he fail, his mind will be wiped clean and his body converted into that of a Servitor, the mindless cybernetic automatons that carry out the labourious tasks of the Chapter. Unlike other Chapters, the Dark Angels do not make use of human Chapter serfs or bondsmen, only Servitors, as they fear that human serfs could be compromised to reveal all of the Chapter's secrets.
After the Horus Heresy, the Dark Angels recruited from a single planet known as Plain's World. Sometime before the 41st Millennium, a group of returning Deathwing found that their sole recruiting world had been overrun fifty years earlier by Tyranid Genestealers, with only a few un-tainted humans remaining among the populace. The Terminators, whose duty and honour required the extermination of the Genestealers, prepared themselves for battle. The odds of their success was nearly non-existent. And so, the Terminators engaged in their native death ritual. Instead of anointing their skin with white ash, they anointed their armour, changing its colour to bone-white. The Terminators cleansed the world and rescued the enslaved populace, and in honour of those few Terminators, the armour of all Dark Angels Terminators was ever after painted white. The Dark Angels' leadership, the Inner Circle, thereafter recognised the folly of relying upon one planet for manpower and so diversified their recruiting grounds to include other Imperial worlds.
The Dark Angels have been seconding Battle-Brothers to the service of the Deathwatch for millennia, and Watch Station Erioch has several of the Chapter’s brethren occupying senior appointments, including the lost Watch Captain Ramiel. As one of the greatest of Adeptus Astartes Chapters, the Dark Angels have fought against every foe, and often bring huge reserves of experience and wisdom to the Deathwatch upon taking their Apocryphon Oath. In addition, Dark Angels are known for their resolute devotion to duty, undertaking the most arduous of missions with solemn dedication. It is also whispered that the Dark Angels are not always wholly altruistic in seconding Battle-Brothers to the Deathwatch, and it is undeniable that doing so greatly aids the Unforgiven’s ongoing hunt for the Fallen. Most Deathwatch Kill-teams are made up of but a handful of Battle-Brothers, sent alone into the far reaches of the void to pursue objectives unknown to even the highest tiers of the Imperium’s government. The net is cast wide, and several Fallen are believed to have been captured by the Inner Circle following reports passed on by a Dark Angel serving in the Deathwatch. Yet, the Dark Angels must observe the Apocryphon Oath or risk bringing dishonour to their Chapter and earning the wrath of the Deathwatch, and the Inquisition. Dark Angels often remain aloof from their Kill-team Battle-Brothers, yet in time, they learn that the Deathwatch has its own secrets, many every bit as damning as those kept by the Unforgiven.
The ruins of Caliban are located in the Cadian Sector, to the galactic north of the Eye of Terror. Prior to the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy, the Death World of Caliban was covered with lush forests, inhabited by monstrous creatures warped by the proximity of Chaos in the Eye of Terror. The humans of the planet were a proud, martial people, forced to live in great stone fortress-monasteries. The Dark Angels eventually rebuilt their fortress-monastery on the asteroid that had borne the original fortress-monastery of The Order, known as Aldurukh, "the Rock of Eternity" in one of the old Calibanite dialects of Low Gothic. Aldurukh was originally the name of the mountain that The Order's founders had decided for the site to build their fortress-monastery, using the name of the mountain for the fortress. Though The Order had other fortress-monasteries, Aldurukh was their first, and so they gave it a name that mattered, a name that summed up exactly what they were trying to build. This sacred site was The Order's literal rock, their foundation of stone. As long as it endured, then some part of their ideals would always be alive.
The Dark Angels drilled deep into the old bedrock and rebuilt the ruins into a vast new complex with advanced Imperial technology worthy of a Chapter of Astartes. The fortress-monastery is known officially as Angelicasta (the Tower of Angels) but is more commonly referred to as "The Rock" just like its ancient predecessor Aldurukh, though this term is more properly applied to the dead asteroid that is all that remains of lost Caliban.
Following the destruction of Caliban, the Dark Angels made The Rock their new home. never was there a gloomier site, for although the Warp Storm that scoured Caliban could not penetrate the fortress-monastery of Aldurukh's shields, they left an indelible mark. The force field over the fortress-monastery held, but was rent with cracks. To this day, there exists a disturbance within the field's protective shell, as if part of that tempest still rages within. Great chain-lightnings arc across the artificial atmosphere that surrounds the craggy Rock, briefly outlining the ruins that crown the asteroid.
The Dark Angels explored the halls and dungeons that they found beneath the fortress-monastery. There, they claimed the hoard of machinery that had sat untouched since the little-understood Age of Technology. Many of the devices from that apex period of human invention still worked, like the great shield generator itself, although their mechanisms were now unfathomable. Although the extant halls were large, a massive labour carved out deeper and deeper catacombs beneath the asteroid's bedrock, excavating room for an entire Space Marine Legion. With the aid of the Tech-priests of Mars, docks were added, allowing for the entrance of spacecraft. Although it took centuries to complete, The Rock was also outfitted with Warp-Drive engines, allowing the Dark Angels' new headquarters to travel across the galaxy through the tides of the Immaterium. While the artisans did marvellous work, crafting halls full of clustered columns rising to arched vaults, and much decorated ceremonial crypts to hold the I Legion's sacred relics, it was a grim place, full of echoes and cold stone.
Although only a fraction of what was once Caliban, The Rock is larger than even the heaviest class of starship, and it bears formidable firepower. The sheer sides of its mass are studded with gun turrets, Lance batteries, torpedo tubes, observation blisters and communications relays. Its cavernous docking bays can accomodate many hundreds of smaller craft -- including Thunderhawk gunships, Nephilim Jetfighters and even Escort frigates.
No effort was made to rebuild the ruined Tower of Angels atop The Rock, and even now it remains undisturbed and eerily silent, protected from the cold depths of space by the same force fields that shrouded it from the destruction of Caliban. Although attempts have been made to mask it, an unusual energy signature emanates outwards from The Rock, portending of some great power hidden within. Beneath the shattered ruins, many dark secrets lay cloistered from sight, and the deeper into The Rock's labyrinth of dungeons one goes, the closer one comes to the truth of the Dark Angels -- even truths they themselves do not yet comprehend.
The warrens beneath The Rock are where the Dark Angels bring their Fallen Angels brethren to be redeemed by their Interrogator-Chaplains. It is believed by the Inquisition to hold many other secrets of critical importance to the Imperium. Only when a Dark Angel reaches the rank of Master (Company Captain) does he truly learn all the secrets of the Dark Angels, but one secret is known only to the Supreme Grand Master, the Master of the Chapter: the Fallen Angels' leader, the Chaos Champion Luther, is not only still alive, but imprisoned within the deepest, most secure cavern of The Rock. He is incurably insane, and has thwarted the attempts of every Supreme Grand Master to make him repent to date. Luther simply rants and raves that he has no need of confession or repentance, for one day Lion El'Jonson will return and forgive him for his sins against the Emperor.
Near the heart of The Rock lies a single cell. It is deep in the bowels of the asteroid base, where only the Watchers in the Dark and the Supreme Grand Master of the Chapter are allowed to venture. There, past locked gates that are shielded by dozens of feet of adamantine plating, is an oubliette. Its walls are inscribed with the most potent runes of warding known to Men, and they have been inscribed to keep creatures out, but also to keep something within. There, sustained in life for ten thousand standard years by a powerful stasis field, languishes the broken man who was once Luther.
Luther's cell can only by reached by the Supreme Grand Master of the Chapter, who possesses the ancient Power Sword and mark of his office known as the Sword of Secrets. Fitting the blade into a cleft in the wall unlocks the iron gate leading to a dark tunnel and the rune-protected cell in which the Arch-Heretic Luther is imprisoned.
For nearly 10,000 standard years, the Dark Angels have kept the secret of the disastrous events that took place on Caliban at the end of the Horus Heresy. They will never reveal the truth to anyone outside their Chapter, for they could not bear for others to know their terrible shame. And all the while, deep within The Rock, his continued existence known only to the Watchers in the Dark and the Chapter's Supreme Grand Master, the Archtraitor Luther raves on -- speaking of what is to come or emitting senseless shrieks of despair.
At times, his voice assumes a grating, inhuman quality and it tells cunning lies or speaks worlds of such utter despair that to hear them is to wish for death. It is the rare moments of lucidity, when Luther begs for his own end, that are, perhaps, the hardest to endure -- although each and every Supreme Grand Master has done so. Down the ages, the Supreme Grand Masters have had some success in using Luther as an oracle. Although his Warp-contaminated and deranged mind often wanders or attempts to deceive, during moments of lucidity the Luther-thing speaks of events that will be, or might be, or drops hints at what is hidden and where. Since the Fall of Caliban, each Supreme Grand Master has, in turn, taken the long, dark walk down to the heavily psi-warded cell. Each has tried to extract a confession from the Archheretic, each has tried to penetrate the madness that now clouds his mind; none have succeeded. The thing that was, and may still be, Luther has divulged many secrets -- from the names and locations of members of the Fallen; to the whereabouts of relics from the I Legion secreted in the underworks beneath the old fortress-monastery. Mostly, however, all that can be gotten out of Luther are mad ravings -- over and over he repeats that he has no need of repentance, for one day Lion El-Jonson will return and absolve him of his sins, and he claims that day is near and that he can already feel that the Lion lies close at hand. Yet the Supreme Grand Masters still hope to gain wisdom from this Dark Oracle, hoping to hear Luther recant, so that he might be, at last, released from the torments of life. Yet even the highest-ranking Dark Angels do not know everything, although they believe that they do...
Buried yet deeper within The Rock, hidden in its innermost chamber, is the final, greatest secret of the Dark Angels and the Unforgiven. It remains unknown to the Inquisition or the Inner Circle of the Chapter. Only one person in the galaxy knows the full truth -- the Emperor of Mankind. Even in his living death upon the Golden Throne, even though the sunken orbits of his skull no longer have eyes, the Emperor still sees much. Hidden inside a secluded chamber at the heart of what was once the planet of Caliban, unreachable by all save the cryptic Watchers in the Dark, the Primarch Lion El'Jonson lies sleeping. There he slumbers, his wounds long-healed, waiting for that time when he will be needed again, when the clarion call of battle sounds for the last time, summoning him once again to defend the Imperium of Man against its many enemies.
During his duel with Luther on Caliban, Lion El'Jonson suffered a severe psychic blow which left him mortally wounded. He was then pulled into the Warp and lost as the Dark Angels of that time believed. Yet what they did not know was that Jonson emerged from the Warp not long after on The Rock, his own abilities as a Primarch having proven to be enough of a defence to prevent the Ruinous Powers from seizing him, though he had lapsed into a coma. Once Luther was taken prisoner by the Dark Angels, the comatose form of Jonson was also taken into the deepest chamber of the Rock and placed into stasis to keep him alive. It was the mysterious Watchers in the Dark, their purposes always their own, who led the wounded Primarch to his rest deep within the heart of The Rock. Yet some amongst the Unforgiven believe the Lion will eventually return for one final Crusade intended to lead the Dark Angels to their greatest victory for Mankind and finally bring justice to the remaining Fallen Angels. Others believe that the Lion will only return when the End Times come and the Imperium stands at the brink of destruction. For these believers, Jonson will reappear from the Immaterium, forgive the sins of the Fallen and reunite them with the rest of the Unforgiven as they prepare to defend Mankind one final time. Little do they realise that their Primarch rests literally beneath their feet.
Master of the Rock
Most Space Marine Chapters have a Master of the Forge: the most senior Techmarine within the Chapter. With deep understanding of the arcane sciences refined over many standard years of experience, the Master of the Forge is comparable to a Tech-priest of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The Dark Angels maintain a similar role within their Chapter known as the Master of the Rock, although there is an ominous difference. Upon ascending to the honoured position, the Master of the Rock follows his predecessors in the office by being permanently and cybernetically hard-wired into the control nave of Cogitators located deep within the asteroid base. It is his solemn duty to placate the most important Machine Spirits, directing the maintenance of the engines and Warp-Drive that allow the enormous asteroid to navigate the galaxy.
It is his mind alone that perceives the workings of the force field that still shields the asteroid base. The previous Masters of the Rock, whose bodies of flesh and bone have withered, are left in place, their mechanical upgrades still functioning while their bones fall in dusty heaps below. Eventually, these bodes will be collected for display in the Alcoves of Honour. Because of their dual allegiance to the Chapter and the Adeptus Mechanicus, Techmarines are never inducted into the Deathwing. This includes the Master of the Rock; he is privy only to the secrets of the Dark Angels' asteroid base and its hoard of ancient technology, but never to the greatest secrets shrouding the Chapter's origins.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
The Dark Angels follow the standard combat doctrine of the Codex Astartes, but their dogged resistance against overwhelming odds is legendary. The Dark Angels will stubbornly stand their ground in combat, refusing to give ground to the enemy, even if it is tactically beneficial to do so.
The primary driving force of the Chapter is the hunt and capture of the remaining Fallen Angels. Only by forcing every single one to repent do the Dark Angels believe they can restore their honour. If a member of the Fallen or someone who may know of the location of one, is present on the battlefield, the Dark Angels will ignore their objective and do all in their power to capture this individual. Everything else is second to the capture of a Fallen Angel, including any other human life. It is not unknown for Dark Angels to fire upon friendly targets in order to prevent them from discovering the secret of the Fallen. Those friendly units that survive are often taken to The Rock to be turned into Servitors, to silence them forever.
The Dark Angels are also notoriously intolerant of non-humans and mutants, even those like Squats, Ogryns or Ratlings who are considered benevolent by the Imperium of Man. They are also highly mistrustful of the Imperial Inquisition, and will refuse to fight alongside any force that incorporates members of the Inquisition, or non-human soldiers, except in the most dire of circumstances. This is due to the fact that they do not want the Inquisition investigating the Chapter or discovering its dark secrets.
Notable Dark Angels
- Lion El'Jonson - Lion El'Jonson was the Primarch of the I Legion of Space Marines. Following the events of the Horus Heresy, Jonson and his Crusading fleet returned to his homeworld of Caliban. Inexplicably, they were fired upon by the Dark Angel forces garrisoned there under the command of his once-trusted mentor and surrogate father, Luther, who had been entrusted with the custodianship of Caliban in the Lion's absence. Luther would eventually betray the Lion after allowing himself to be seduced by the offers of Chaos, rallying a good portion of the Dark Angels who had been left behind by their fellows to garrison the Legion's homeworld to his cause and attacking the Lion's fleet as he returned to Caliban. The titanic struggle between the two former friends resulted in the destruction of Caliban and the loss of the Dark Angels' Primarch, as well as the escape of Luther's allies who had sided with the Ruinous Powers. Known as the Fallen Angels amongst their former Battle-Brothers of the I Legion, it became the overriding goal of the Dark Angels and all of their Successor Chapters (collectively known as the Unforgiven) after the Second Founding to hunt down every one of the Fallen and get them to repent their betrayal of the Emperor and of the Lion.
- Supreme Grand Master Azrael - The current, and some would say greatest, Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels Chapter and the unofficial commander of all the Dark Angels' Successor Unforgiven Chapters during the 41st Millennium.
- Supreme Grand Master Naberius - Naberius was a former Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels who was led into an ambush and slain by Chaos Space Marines whilst in pursuit of the infamous Fallen Angel Cypher in 939.M41. Azrael led the Deathwing to recover his body and was subsequently named as his successor.
- Supreme Grand Master Aradiel - Aradiel was a former Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels that led the boarding action of the infamous Space Hulk Prison of Lost Souls.
- Supreme Grand Master Anaziel - Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels in the 37th Millennium. Requested the creation of the Disciples of Caliban Chapter of Unforgiven Space Marines.
- Supreme Grand Master Armaros - The twelfth Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels, Armaros led his Chapter to victory in the Bloodpox Campaign in 101.M34 against the vile Death Guard Traitor Legion and the Renegade warband known as the Brotherhood of the Plague. Armaros contracted the loathsome pox known as Nurgle's Rot, causing his rapid deterioration. His condition convinced the Supreme Grand Master to immediately pass the Lion Helm to his chosen successor. To ensure the contamination did not spread, Armaros voluntarily entered The Rock's reactor chamber and was wholly consumed.
- Cypher - The most feared member of the Fallen Angels whose true name is unknown. Wherever this phantasm of a man goes, other Fallen are not far behind. This name comes from ancient Caliban, where it was commonly a title, Lord Cypher, rather than a name, given to the man who would renounce his own true name and become the keeper of the Order's traditions, rituals, lore and ceremonies.
- Chapter Commander Merir Astelan - Astekan ordered the planetary defences on Caliban to fire on Lion El'Jonson's fleet after it returned to the Chapter homeworld from the Horus Heresy. He was cast into the Warp and reemerged into the galaxy during the 41st Millennium after which he was captured by the Dark Angels, taken to The Rock and interrogated about what had happened on Caliban, offering one perspective of those tragic events.
- Master Baradiel - Master of the Dark Angels 3rd Company who led the assault against the Forces of Chaos upon the world of Persembe II in 551.M37. He confronted the the vile and twisted Chaos Magister known as Potchek as slew the foul servant of Chaos in personal combat.
- Master Belial - Current Master of the Deathwing Company. Under his leadership the Deathwing have fought in scores of mighty battles, distinguishing themselves in the fighting around the Eye of Terror during Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade. The Deathwing was also pivotal in the victories won amongst the foetid marshes on Crassia II and the rout of the Renegade Space Marines Chapter known as the Violators on Terraq.
- Master Sammael - Master of the Ravenwing Company, rides a rare anti-gravity Jetbike left from the time of the Horus Heresy.
- Master Gideon - Former Master of the Ravenwing who met his end in 899.M41 when he was crushed by the Chaos Titan Traitorous Ire. As he lay dying, his body shattered beyond repair, he declared that Sammael was to succeed him.
- Master Ezekiel - Grand Master of Librarians - Keeper of the Book of Salvation. This ancient tome contains the names of every one of the Fallen Angels that the Dark Angels have captured.
- Master Sapphon - Present Grand Master of Chaplains (Reclusiarch) for the Chapter. He received the post neither due to age nor ability as an interrogator (Asmodai is his superior in both these things), but for his great leadership skills.
- Master Ezekiel - Leader of the Deathwing recruiting party which discovered the Genestealer infection of their own homeworld of Plain's World. Realizing that they faced a potential suicide mission, the Dark Angels Space Marines reverted to their tribal names, and painted their armour death-white. Ezekiel became the warrior Cloudrunner once again, and fought along side Weasel-Fierce, Bloody Moon, and the Librarian Lucius, known as Two Heads Talking.
- Master Gabriel - Ex-Master of the Deathwing. Gabriel was sent to find Captain Ezekiel and his men as they did not return from Totem. On finding Ezekiel the lone survivor, Gabriel discovered the fate of his Brothers. Gabriel returned to his Chapter and started the new Deathwing Company using his own badge, a broken sword mixed with the wings of the Chapter badge, and kept the white in respect of his Brothers. He was killed on the Space Hulk Charnel Shrine.
- Master Balthasar - The current Master of the Dark Angels' 5th Company, Balthasar was led by his former Master Zadakiel to the world of Stern's Remembrance where they discovered the notorious Fallen Angel Attias the Untamed, who then attempted to warn his erstwhile brothers that it was all an elaborate trap, and that they should take their leave. The Dark Angels took Attias into custody and attempted to take their leave, but as they made their way back to their Thunderhawks the trap was sprung, as a massive Drop Pod assault was launched by the Chaos warband known as the Crimson Slaughter while their allied Chaos Cultists surrounded the outnumbered Dark Angels. In the ensuing battle, the Dark Angels reluctantly freed Attias, allowing him to fight by their side in order to survive the Heretics' onslaught. As Zadakiel was about to board the hovering gunship, the Helbrute Mortis Metalikus appeared. Zadakiel drew the Heavenfall Blade called Fellbane and started to do battle with the beast. Despite his agility, the Helbrute eventually got the upper hand and was about to crush him underfoot when the Thunderhawk appeared, shooting the Helbrute and giving Zadakiel the chance to climb aboard. However, as the Dark Angels Master grabbed the open ramp at the front of the Thunderhawk, the Helbrute snatched at him, dragging Zadakiel down. Seeing he could not escape his fate and that the Helbrute was aiming his Multi-melta at the Thunderhawk, Zadakiel threw Fellbane into the Thunderhawk and let go, falling to his death. His position as Master of the 5th Company was then passed on to Balthasar, who became the new leader of the company. Since then, Balthasar has continued to obsessively hunt down the Crimson Slaughter, intent on enacting his vengeance against those Chaos Space Marines by destroying them utterly, and avenging his fallen Master.
- Master Zadakiel - Former Master of the Dark Angels 5th Company, Zadakiel led his company to the world of Stern's Remembrance where they discovered the notorious Fallen Angel Attias the Untamed, who then attempted to warn his erstwhile brothers that it was all an elaborate trap, and that they should take their leave. The Dark Angels took Attias into custody and attempted to take their leave, but as they made their way back to their Thunderhawks the trap was sprung, as a massive Drop Pod assault was launched by the Chaos warband known as the Crimson Slaughter while their allied Chaos Cultists surrounded the outnumbered Dark Angels. In the ensuing battle, the Dark Angels reluctantly freed Attias, allowing him to fight by their side in order to survive the Heretics' onslaught. As Zadakiel was about to board the hovering gunship, the Helbrute Mortis Metalikus appeared. Zadakiel drew the Heavenfall Blade called Fellbane and started to do battle with the beast. Despite his agility, the Helbrute eventually got the upper hand and was about to crush him underfoot when the Thunderhawk appeared, shooting the Helbrute and giving Zadakiel the chance to climb aboard. However, as the Dark Angels Master grabbed the open ramp at the front of the Thunderhawk, the Helbrute snatched at him, dragging Zadakiel down. Seeing he could not escape his fate and that the Helbrute was aiming his Multi-melta at the Thunderhawk, Zadakiel threw Fellbane into the Thunderhawk and let go, falling to his death. His position as Master of the 5th Company was then passed on to the company's senior-most surviving Astartes, Sergeant Balthasar.
- Master Zahariel - Zahariel was a formidable Librarian during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Watch Captain Ramiel - Ramiel is currently serving the Long Vigil with the Deathwatch. Though he first volunteered for the duty, in truth, he had a hidden agenda in doing so, although his passion for smiting xenos was truly remarkable. Over a number of decades, Ramiel has pursued a Fallen who had presumably joined the Deathwatch under the guise of a Black Shield. For decades thereafter, Ramiel has spent years secretly investigating Watch Fortress Erioch's Deathwatch Chaplain Titus Strome, a former Black Shield of unknown provenance. Unable to confront Strome directly, he arranged for his gene-seed to be tested. However, before the matter could be resolved, Ramiel was called upon to lead a Kill-team on a special mission. Ramiel and his team disappeared after they were sent to re-establish contact with Watch Station Midael. No trace of them has been found since. Midael remains out of contact with the Deathwatch to this day and the secrets it might hold are still hidden.
- Interrogator-Chaplain Asmodai - Oldest and most successful living Interrogator-Chaplain within the Chapter today. Bearer of the fabled Blades of Reason.
- Interrogator-Chaplain Belphegor - Belphegor participated in the Siege of Vraks (Vraks Devastation Force) where he notably saved the life of Supreme Grand Master Azrael by besting the traitor Alpha Legion Captain known as Arkos the Faithless in single combat, sending the Chaos Space Marine reeling with a single blow from his Crozius Arcanum just as Arkos was about to put an end to Azrael's life.
- Interrogator-Chaplain Molochia - Greatest of the Dark Angels' Interrogator-Chaplains. Molochia died after over 300 years' service to the Chapter, with 12 Black Pearls on his Rosarius, meaning he had successfully gotten 12 of the Fallen to repent. To this day, no other Interrogator-Chaplain has emulated this achievement.
- Interrogator-Chaplain Uzziel - Uzziel was an Interrogator Chaplain and former Knight of Lupus.
- Interrogator-Chaplain Boreas - Chaplain of the 3rd Company during the Battle of Piscina IV. Boreas is known to have successfully extracted the confession from the infamous Fallen Angel Merir Astelan.
- Brother Bethor - Bearer of the Sacred Standard. (The Dark Angels have three Sacred Standards, namely the Standards of Fortitude, Retribution and Devastation.)
- Brother-Sergeant Kohl - By the two hundredth years of the Great Crusade era, Brother-Sergeant Kohl was a Terran born Dark Angel and one of the oldest serving battle-brothers that had fought in the very first battles of the Great Crusade.
- Scout Sergeant Namaan - Legendary Sergeant who died halting the Ork advance during the Piscina IV Campaign.
- Revered Venerari - Revered Venerari is a Dark Angels Dreadnought who served in the 3rd Company during the Piscina IV Campaign.
Ragnar Blackmane, the young Wolf Lord of the Space Wolves Chapter, recently aided the Dark Angels' secret pursuit of the Fallen Angels upon the world of Hyades. While Ragnar knows nothing of the reasons for the Dark Angels' pursuit of these particular Renegades, his actions have begun to heal the long-standing feud between the Dark Angels and the Space Wolves.
The Dark Angels were known to possesses the following vessels as part of their Legion fleet during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy and as part of their Chapter fleet after the Second Founding:
- Invincible Reason (Gloriana-class Battleship) - Flagship of Lion El'Jonson during the Great Crusade.
- Angel of Retribution (Battle Barge)
- Salvation (Battle Barge)
- Spear of Truth (Battle Barge)
- Ultimate Vengeance (Battle Barge)
- Undying Faith (Battle Barge)
- Unrelenting Fury (Battle Barge)
- Vinco Redemptor (Battle Barge)
- Decimator (Grand Cruiser) - Grand Cruiser that was assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade. Temporary flagship of Lion El'Jonson during the secret mission to the forge world of Diamat.
- Duchess (Grand Cruiser) - Grand Cruiser assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade.
- Duchess Arbellatris (Avenger-class Grand Cruiser) - assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade. Temporarily reassigned during the secret mission to the forge world of Diamat.
- Flamberge (Infernus-class Grand Cruiser) - Infernus-class Grand Cruiser assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade. Temporarily reassigned during the secret mission to the forge world of Diamat.
- Iron Duke (Avenger-class Grand Cruiser) - Assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade. Temporarily reassigned during the secret mission to the forge world of Diamat.
- Lord Dante (Infernus-class Grand Cruiser) - Infernus-class Grand Cruiser assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade. Temporarily reassigned during the secret mission to the forge world of Diamat.
- Amadis (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade. Temporarily reassigned during the secret mission to the forge world of Diamat.
- Adzikel (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade. Temporarily reassigned during the secret mission to the forge world of Diamat.
- Black Sword of Vengeance (Strike Cruiser) - In 456.M34, the Inquisitor Halleck, after many decades tracking degenerates in wilderness space, captured a mysterious Heretic known only as the Angel of Truth. The last Vox broadcast by Halleck's ship claimed the prisoner had broken under questioning and had revealed a deep-rooted heresy. While returning to Terra with these revelations, the Inquisitor was beset by an unknown enemy. The only Imperial force in the vicinity was the Dark Angels' Strike Cruiser Black Sword of Vengeance. The vessel's crew reported no sign of the Inquisitor, his vessel or the prisoner.
- Sword of Caliban (Strike Cruiser)
- Vehemence (Strike Cruiser)
- Wrath of Caliban (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade.
- Formidable (Light Cruiser) - Light Cruiser assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade. Temporarily reassigned during the secret mission to the forge world of Diamat.
- Intrepid (Frigate) - Frigate assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade.
- Dauntless (Frigate) - Frigate assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade.
- Arbalest (Destroyer) - Destroyer assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade.
- Audacious (Destroyer) - Destroyer assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade. Temporarily reassigned during the secret mission to the forge world of Diamat.
- Courageous (Destroyer) - Destroyer assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade. Temporarily reassigned during the secret mission to the forge world of Diamat. Destroyed when they engaged rebel ships.
- Hotspur (Destroyer) - Destroyer assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade. Temporarily reassigned during the secret mission to the forge world of Diamat. Destroyed when they engaged rebel ships.
- Rapier (Destroyer) - Destroyer assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade. Temporarily reassigned during the secret mission to the forge world of Diamat. Destroyed when they engaged rebel ships.
- Seventh Son (Destroyer)
- Stiletto (Destroyer) - Destroyer assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade. Temporarily reassigned during the secret mission to the forge world of Diamat. Destroyed when they engaged rebel ships.
- Seraphic Vigil (Outrider Ship, Unknown Class)
- Bold Conveyor (Troopship) - Troopship assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade.
- Noble Sinew (Troopship) - Troopship assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade.
After the Horus Heresy, the Dark Angels founded at least three Successor Chapters to track the Fallen, the known ones being the Angels of Absolution, the Angels of Redemption and the Angels of Vengeance. These Successor Chapters share in the secret of the Fallen, and collectively the Dark Angels and their Successors refer to themselves as "The Unforgiven".
In addition, several other Chapters have since been created using the Dark Angels' gene-seed. These Successor Chapters were introduced in the 4th Edition Codex: Dark Angels released in 2007. The new Chapters introduced were the Guardians of the Covenant, the Consecrators and the Disciples of Caliban. The Disciples of Caliban are unusual in that the Dark Angels' Chapter Master Anaziel specifically requested their creation, the only known instance of a Chapter Master making such a request, much less having it granted. The Consecrators are notorious for using lovingly-preserved technology from the time of Lion El'Jonson himself, and as such they bear a striking resemblance to the Dark Angels Legion of pre-Heresy days.
Curiously, although Dark Angels gene-seed is every bit as pure and fully functional as that of the Ultramarines Chapter, the seed of the Lion has rarely been used to Found new Space Marine Chapters since the Horus Heresy by the Adeptus Mechanicus.
- Blade of Caliban - Blades of Caliban are Chapter 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 unique Power Swords.
- Blades of Reason - Interrogator-Chaplain Asmodai uses an ancient and horrific device known as the Blades of Reason that looks like a knife with many sharply-honed and polished blades. Etched into the blades are numerous extremely fine neural-wires which inflict agonising pain on any nerve fibres they cut through. With this archaic weapon Asmodai attempts to extract confessions from captured Fallen Angels during interrogations in an attempt to save the doomed prisoner's soul through his expert and painful ministrations.
- Book of Salvation - This sacred tome records the names of those Fallen Angels that have been captured by the Dark Angels and the Unforgiven and their names are entered within its ancient, dessicated pages with their own blood. Grand Master Ezekiel is the custodian of this sacred relic.
- Ceremonial Swords - Dark Angels frequently carry mundane swords with winged hilts in the ancient Calibanite style in echo of their Chapter badge. These weapons are used more for ceremony than in combat, but they are perfectly functional weapons should the Battle-Brother have reason to draw one. They are carried either in addition to, or in lieu of, a Combat Knife depending on the individual’s preferences.
- Corvus Hammer - On Caliban the thick forests made tall lances impractical, so the knights developed a unique military pick called a Corvus Hammer, 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 Dark Angels Legion adopted this weapon design and these ancient weapons are still maintained by the Ravenwing Black Knights.
- Deathroar - This venerated Plasma Pistol was recently left to the Deathwatch by Captain Raziel of the Dark Angels, who gave his life to hold a fortress on the edge of the Cellebos Warzone of the Jericho Reach against sieges by the Forces of Chaos until reinforcements arrived. Deathroar contains the power of a heavy weapon in its small casing. The super-heated air around the muzzle as the weapon discharges produces a unique sound reminiscent of predatory felines from which Deathroar derives its name.
- Deliverer - Deliverer is a master-crafted Bolt Pistol that has ended the lives of many an unrepentant Fallen. Grand Master Ezekiel is the current bearer of this ancient weapon.
- Fellbane - One of the legendary Power Swords collectively known as the Heavenfall Blades. These formidable weapons are carried only by the highest-ranking members of the Dark Angels' Inner Circle. Chapter lore states that these blades were forged from the core of a meteorite that struck The Rock in orbit around the Feral World of Al Baradad. Fellbane is currently in the possession of Master Balthasar, Captain of the Dark Angels' 5th Company.
- Flail of the Unforgiven - The veteran leaders of the Deathwing Knights, the Knight Masters, eschew the maces of their fellows in favour of brutal Power Flails called Flails of the Unforgiven. These archaic Power Weapons are carried as a badge of office, and are a reminder to all the Fallen of their ultimate fate at the hands of the Dark Angels.
- Foe-Smiter - This ornate Storm Bolter was wrought by Fedorovich the Great, amongst the foremost weaponsmiths of Mars during the age when the Tech-priests joined with the Emperor's forces to equip the armies for the Great Crusade. It was he who forged so many of the master-crafted weapons still prized by the Imperium today, but even then, the weapon known as Foe-Smiter was considered special. It was presented with honour to the I Legion of the Space Marines, where it was used to great effect by Brother Bartholomew -- the first Grand Master of the Deathwing. To this day, Foe-Smiter can still lay down a cavalcade of fire, and is highly prized by the Dark Angels and by the current Grand Master of the Deathwing, who always wields it.
- Furious Vengeance - This ancient Bolter was created by Master-Artificers on The Rock only a few centuries after the Horus Heresy, and although it bears no inscription, it was consecrated with terrible oaths of vengeance and retribution against Traitors. Over the millennia it has cut down many hundreds of accursed Space Marines who betrayed their Emperor and their brothers, selling their souls to Chaos. Among its victims are a number of Fallen Angels, although this fact is only known by the Inner Circle of the Chapter.
- Halberd of Caliban - The Company Champion of the Deathwing traditionally carries the massive Power Weapon called the Halberd of Caliban, which was reforged from a Blade of Caliban shattered in battle long ago, and incorporating the same grim technologies that power the weapons of the Deathwing Knights.
- Lion Helm - The Lion Helm is an angelic-winged helm once worn by the Dark Angels Primarch Lion El'Jonson during the bygone days of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy over ten thousand standard years ago. It is now the primary badge of office of the current Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels. As with all heirlooms connected to the mighty Primarch of the Dark Angels, it is attended by the Watchers in the Dark. The helm generates a powerful force field that has protected the Supreme Grand Master since the days when the Dark Angels were still a Space Marine Legion. To don that winged helmet is to take up the mantle of the Lion and lead the Dark Angels to victory, or die in the attempt.
- Lion's Roar - One of the most unusual pieces in the arsenal of The Rock is the Combi-weapon known as the Lion's Roar. It is similar to the Combi-weapon borne by Supreme Grand Master Azrael, although the single-shot plasma blast it fires is accompanied by a devastating roar, from whence the weapon gets its name. The Lion's Roar is issued to heroes of the Chapter and over the years it has proven to be the ideal weapon of choice for those leading boarding missions, bunker assaults, or a forlorn hope. Whether its heroic bearer returns from battle or not, the Lion's Roar has always been recovered and returned to its place of honour in The Rock's armouries.
- Lion's Wrath - Lion's Wrath is a master-crafted Combi-Plasma Gun. Supreme Grand Master Azrael is the relic's current bearer. This legendary weapon was made by Technomagos Prestor the Unchallenged in the days following the Fall of Caliban in the early 31st Millennium. Upon his elevation, Azrael added his name to the list of Dark Angels heroes that have borne it into battle down through the ages.
- Mace of Absolution - Bespiked, glowing with power and emanating an eerie mist from their vents, the ominous Power Weapons called Maces of Absolution are employed by the Deathwing Knights in their endless hunt for the Fallen. In the presence of the most accursed Heretics, their power is amplified to awe-inspiring magnitude.
- Monster Slayer of Caliban - This ancient Power Sword was traditionally bestowed upon the most honourable knight of the Order before the onset of a long quest into the wilds of Caliban. Its well-honed blade is empowered by a force generator of magnificent strength; however; over the ages, it has grown somewhat temperamental, and the know-how to fix such ancient technology has passed beyond what the Techmarines of the Dark Angels can now repair in the late 41st Millennium. It is believed that as long as its owner stays pure of mind, the Monster Slayer of Caliban will strike down even the greatest of foes. This has been proven countless times, perhaps most famously when Master Mortifer wielded the blade to dispatch three hulking Carnifexes. It is said that Mortifer later lost his faith, and the sword fizzled out at a critical moment and could not penetrate even the crude armour of an Ork Warlord.
- Needle of Truth - It is the task of the Dark Angel Interrogator-Chaplains to extract truth from those captured by the Chapter, as well as protect its secrets and maintain its spiritual well being. The Needle of Truth is an ancient blade which was taken by the Chapter to the Jericho Reach to uncover the secrets this new sector harboured, especially rumours of the Fallen.
- Perfidious Relic of the Unforgiven - Borne by the mysterious Watchers in the Dark, these are ancient relics of the old I Legion that have been recaptured by the Deathwing and sometimes carried into battle by the wraith-like figures. The exact nature or function of most of these revered relics are unknown, for they are as mysterious as the cowled figures that bear them. What is known is their effect on the battlefield, for their presence alone dampens the power of enemy psykers and fills the Dark Angels' opponents with feelings of dread.
- The Protector - The Protector is a finely crafted suit of Artificer Power Armour that has been faithfully maintained by the Chapter's master craftsmen over the long millennia, and is said to provide even more protection and durability than the usual protection of standard Power Armour. The Protector is inlaid with the sombre symbols of the Dark Angels. Its exact age is unknown, but the Protector has been considered a Chapter Relic since the early years of the 37th Millennium, when it is recorded in Chapter records that it saved Brother Methias, Master of the 5th Company, from a close-range Battle Cannon shot during the storming of the Traitor stronghold on the moons of Secclucious VII. Since those days, this suit of armour regularly turns up in the Master of the Armoury's log, where it is praised for its exceptional ability to shrug off the most lethal of blows.
- Raven Sword - This infamous master-crafted Power Sword is one of a triumvirate of legendary swords collectively known as the Heavenfall Blades. These formidable weapons are only carried by the highest-ranking members of the Dark Angels' Inner Circle. Chapter lore states that these blades were forged from the core of a meteorite that struck The Rock in orbit around the Feral World of Al Baradad. The blades wielded by the Master of the Deathwing and the Master of the Ravenwing also utilise small amounts of the obsidian taken from the meteorite in their working. It is also said that a small portion of this meteoric substance was despatched to each of the Dark Angels' Successor Chapters, so that the senior members of the Unforgiven's own Inner Circles would also bear the same heritage forged in steel as those borne by the Masters of the Dark Angels. The Raven Sword is currently in the possession of the Master of the Ravenwing, Captain Sammael.
- Secret's Shield - Grand Master Ezekiel dons the blessed suit of Artificier Power Armour called Secret's Shield whenever he goes into combat.
- Sacred Standards - These three Dark Angels standards date back to the time of the Great Crusade in the late 30th Millennium. It is custom for only one to be displayed at any time; the remaining two are held in the Great Hall of The Rock. The three sacred standards of the Dark Angels include:
- Standard of Devastation - The Standard of Devastation is a symbol of defiance and devastating retaliation. Throughout its proud history, the banner has flown above numerous last stands and as Chapter legends have it, has been found many times atop the heaped piles of the enemy dead.
- Standard of Fortitude - The Dark Angels, like many of the Space Marine Chapters, have sacred standards which they carry into battle in times of need to bolster the fighting strength of their men. The Standard of Fortitude is one such banner -- emblazoned with the icons of the Chapter and stained with the blood of heroes, it has a profound effect on all who view it and can dramatically improve morale. This forbidding standard represents the unstoppable courage and tenacity for which the Chapter is famed across the galaxy. It inspires any nearby Dark Angels to press the attack, heedless of incoming melee blows and ranged attacks, advancing steadily while unleashing a hail of fire.
- Standard of Retribution - The Standard of Retribution serves to remind the Dark Angels that the enemies of the Emperor can never be forgiven. In the shadow of this hallowed artefact, they are inspired to fight on under any circumstances, smithing their foes with righteous and unquenchable fury.
- Sword of Secrets - The Sword of Secrets is a master-crafted Power Sword of formidable potency created soon after the disappearance of Lion El'Jonson. It is the mightiest of the so-called Heavenfall Blades, the swords cut from a block of jet-black obsidian that struck The Rock whilst in orbit around the Feral World of Al Baradad. The blade of the Sword of Secrets is so incredibly well-crafted from a single block of the Heavenfall obsidian that it has not chipped nor lost its keen, razor-sharp edge over its many millennia of bloody use. This relic is borne by every successive Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels and is currently in the possession of Azrael. Only the Supreme Grand Master knows that it is also the only device that allows access to the deepest known dungeon in The Rock. Fitting the blade into a cleft in the wall unlocks the iron gate leading to a dark tunnel and the rune-protected cell in which the Arch-Heretic Luther is imprisoned.
- Sword of Silence - In times of need, Belial, the Grand Master of the Deathwing (1st) Company, wields the famous master-crafted Power Sword known as the Sword of Silence. This sword is one of a triumvirate of legendary swords collectively known as the Heavenfall Blades. These formidable weapons are only carried by the highest-ranking members of the Inner Circle of the Dark Angels. The Chapter's lore states that these blades were forged from the core of a meteorite that struck The Rock in orbit around the Feral World of Al Baradad. The blades wielded by the Grand Master of the Deathwing and the Master of the Ravenwing also utilise small amounts of the obsidian taken from the meteorite in their working.
- Traitor's Bane - Traitor's Bane is a potent master-crafted Force Sword wielded by Grand Master Ezekiel in battle that radiates psychic power. Phased crystalline patterns along the Force Sword's blade coil iridescent psychic energy around it like a snake. This fell blade is rumoured to possess the trapped spirits of those Fallen it has slain in battle and are now entrapped within. It is said that the blade grows darker in aspect, the shadows drawing in around it, whenever one of the Fallen Angels are near.
- Weapon Charm - Among the Deathwing, Battle-Brothers sometimes adorn their weapons with fetishes, bird feathers and charms, in respect for their ancient ancestors and the roots of their brotherhood. These fetishes seem to appease the Machine Spirits of their weapons and connect them more strongly to the Battle-Brother, making them as reliable and unrelenting as the Deathwing themselves.
Prior to the Horus Heresy, during the Great Crusade, the Power Armour of the Dark Angels Legion was coloured jet-black. Not long after the Legion's Primarch was reunited with the warriors of the I Legion, a wedge began to be driven between the Calibanite Dark Angels and their Terran-born brethren. On the right shoulder plates of the Calibanite Dark Angels, where normally a Space Marine’s organisational and rank markings would be painted, they were authorized to wear the personal heraldry of their respective knightly orders. On their left shoulder plates, El’Jonson had decreed that the Chapter's Calibanite Astartes were to wear the dark green of their homeworld’s forests as an act of remembrance of the battles fought to tame their homeworld under the leadership of the Lion.
After the Heresy, the bulk of the Chapter began to appear in dark green armour, while the 1st and 2nd Companies' panoply remained jet-black in honour of the original Legion colours. The Deathwing Company later re-coloured their armour to bone-white in honour of a battle fought long ago but after the Heresy. Chapter legend states that a band of Deathwing brethren returned to the world of their birth, only to find their people enslaved to a large Genestealers cult. Abiding by the traditions of their people, the brethren repainted their armour white, symbolising that they were dead men walking - ghosts - setting out on their death-quest to rid their world of the Genestealers' taint. Since that day, the Deathwing have continued to wear their Terminator Armour in bone-white colours, in solemn remembrance of the sacrifice of their predecessors.
Veteran Dark Angels are commonly found wearing hooded cloaks and tabrads; 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 Dark Angels and the Chapter's Inner Circle because they have learned enough about the Dark Angels' history, and thus their shame, prior to obtaining their rank within the Chapter.
Apothecaries of the Dark Angels keep their entire armour painted black except for the backpack, groin and torso armour, which are all bone-white. They have a red vertical stripe painted down the centre of the helmet.
The badge of the Chapter is a winged sword on a green roundel, which was the ancient icon of The Order. Variants of this symbol exist for the Deathwing and Ravenwing Companies, the former depicting the winged sword as broken, the latter a sword held by a single wing and raven's claw. The 10th Company, the Chapter's company of Scout Marines, uses the Dark Angel Sword but without the wing device, to symbolise the fact that the Scout Company comprises Chapter Neophytes, who have yet to "earn their wings" as full Dark Angels.
Prior to the release of Codex: Angels of Death (2nd Edition), the background of the Dark Angels, both in Games Workshop material and within the fictional Warhammer 40,000 universe, was shrouded in mystery. Aspects of the Chapter's fall to Chaos bear similarities to the legends of King Arthur, in particular Arthur's/El'Jonson's eventual defeat, and Gawain's/Luther's fall from grace. Also, the name of their Primarch, Lion El'Jonson, is inspired by the English poet Lionel Johnson, the author of "The Dark Angel". Originally the name was spelt Lyyn Elgonsen (Rogue Trader, p. 138); presumably to obscure the reference. The dark secret revealed in the original poem was its author's homosexuality. The home of the Dark Angels prior to the Second Edition revision of the Chapter was the planet Delahon.
Games Workshop has in recent years restricted the information about the Dark Angels to emphasize the mystery surrounding the Chapter. The fate of Lion el'Jonson had been purposefully left out of all texts since the 2nd Edition Codex: Angels of Death (a Dark Angels/Blood Angels "combo" codex; the first dedicated codex for either Chapter) from the mid-1990s, and only re-emerged in the 2001 "Index Astartes" article published in White Dwarf magazine. While the Inner Circle of the Chapter know of the existence of Luther's stasis cell beneath The Rock, there is another chamber at the very heart of the Rock that is unknown to all but the Watchers in the Dark and the Emperor himself. This secret chamber contains the still-sleeping form of Lion el'Jonson. Similarly, information regarding the Chaos Space Marines character Cypher, rumoured to be foremost of the Fallen, is kept vague to further fuel players' imaginations.
The novel Angels of Darkness, written by Games Workshop staff member and codex writer Gav Thorpe, provides an alternative account of the events that split the Chapter, and the Primarchs' influence over their Space Marines. Despite the layers of learning and civilisation el'Jonson acquired in later life, the time he spent in the forests of Caliban marked him permanently, and he remained a brooding, paranoid, and secretive man. Jonson's experience taught him that exposure invited predators, that darkness was as welcoming as it was dangerous. Intrigue, half-truths, and suspicion became second nature to each new Dark Angel. Jonson mistrusted the Terran-born Dark Angels above all others. While these men formed a minority within the Legion, Jonson spent by far more time leading them than the Caliban-born Dark Angels. el'Jonson also systematically removed control from each company commander and held his Legion's reigns tightly. Each company posted to a warzone was shadowed by a younger company in secret to report on its men's loyalties to the Primarch.
As the Heresy erupted, the Dark Angels were operating on the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy. In the interim, Warp storms cut Caliban off from reliable astrotelepathy, so that only garbled accounts of current events reached the planet. Some were true, some were half-true, some were outright fabrications. In their desperation, the elder Dark Angels tried to leave Caliban and confront Horus. They were prevented by their younger brethren in a battle that grounded the Marines' vessels and despoiled Caliban. When the Lion returned, his fleet was fired on for fear that he had sided with Horus, and that the victors' version of the uprising had already damned them in Jonson's eyes. Jonson immediately ordered a full-scale bombardment, and the destruction of Caliban soon followed.
The canonicity of the novel is hotly debated. Although the Fallen character (Astelan) is a first-hand witness to events, it is unclear which of his claims are true, which are deliberate misinformation, and which are bias. The author, Gav Thorpe, has stated in an interview on Dysartes that the book is not an objective look at the events on Caliban, but a character study of one of the Fallen Angels.
- Wargame Tactics for Dark Angel Space Marines - A site for Dark Angel Space Marine Tactics.
- Battlefleet Gothic: Armada p. 26
- Chapter Approved 2001 - First Book of the Astronomican, p. 51
- Chapter Approved 2003 - Third Book of the Astronomican, "Dark Angels Update", p. 100
- Citadel Journal 47, "Angels of Death", pp. 21–25
- Citadel Journal 37, "Tacticus Dark Angels", pp. 78–85
- Codex: Angels of Death (2nd Edition)
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex)
- Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition)
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition)
- Codex: Dark Angels (3rd Edition)
- Codex: Eye of Terror, pp. 12, 16
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition)
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition)
- Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition)
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 44–46, 197
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), p. 236
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 46–53
- Deathwing: Rules & Mission (1st Edition)
- Hammer & Bolter 17 & 18, "The Lion" (Novella) Parts 1 and 2 by Gav Thorpe
- Horus Heresy Vol. 1: Visions of War, pp. 13, 273, 278-279
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pp. 18, 40, 96, 109, 137, 161
- Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks - Part One, pp. 54–58
- Index Astartes I, "The Unforgiven," pp. 4, 13, 18-23
- Index Astartes II, "For the Emperor!: Space Marine Chaplains," pp. 19, 56, 58-59
- Index Astartes III, "The Eye of the Storm: Space Marine Chapters fighting in the Eye of Terror", p. 67
- Planetstrike (4th Edition), pp. 55, 57
- Space Hulk: Campaigns (1st Edition)
- Space Hulk: Mission Book (2nd Edition)
- Space Hulk: Rulebook (2nd Edition)
- The Thirteenth Black Crusade (Background Book), pp. 20, 30, 48, 74, 79, 84
- Warhammer: Monthly (Promotional), "Deathwing"
- Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1st Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (5th Edition), p. 129
- White Dwarf 327 (UK), "Battle Report: Ambush at Mon’Kali"
- White Dwarf 326 (US), "Dark Angels Design Notes", p. 28
- White Dwarf 303 (US), "Index Astartes: Deep Strike", p. 18
- White Dwarf 266 (US), "Chapter Approved: Kroot vs. Dark Angels"
- White Dwarf 265 (US), "Chapter Approved", pp. 78–87
- White Dwarf 254 (US), "Index Astartes First Founding: The Unforgiven, the Dark Angels Space Marine Chapter"
- White Dwarf 234 (US), "Company of Ravens - Ravenwing Tactics" & "Master of the Ravenwing's Land Speeder", pp. 67–69
- White Dwarf 227 (US), "Chapter Approved", pp. 73–80
- White Dwarf 213 (US), "Battle of the Nine, Redemption!", pp. 26–30
- White Dwarf 208 (US), "Faith and Vengeance", pp. 78–86
- White Dwarf 193 (US), "Dark Saviours: Dark Angels Characters", pp. 91–95
- White Dwarf 170 (US), "Dark Angels Space Marine Army", pp. 25–28
- White Dwarf 166 (US), "Space Marines: Codex Imperialis", pp. 8–19
- White Dwarf 161 (US), "Deathwing Terminators", pp. 4–7
- White Dwarf 149 (US), "Strike Deep: Space Hulk Campaign", pp. 45–61
- White Dwarf 143 (US), "Dreadnoughts!", pp. 50–71
- White Dwarf 142 (US), "Guide to Painting your Epic Scale Forces", pp. 20–35
- White Dwarf 137 (US), "The Last Stand: Space Hulk Campaign", pp. 42–50
- White Dwarf 133 (US), "Space Hulk: Genestealer Invasion"
- White Dwarf 129 (US), "Space Marine Armor", pp. 13–29
- White Dwarf 126 (US), "Epic Space Marines", pp. 12–27
- White Dwarf 112 (US), "Terminator: Space Marine Tactical Dreadnought Armour"
- White Dwarf 96 (US), "Chapter Approved: The Raven Wing: Dark Angels 7th Company of MK-14 Riders", pp. 51–56
- Descent of Angels (Novel) by Mitchel Scanlon
- Fallen Angels (Novel) by Mike Lee
- Age of Darkness (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, "Savage Weapons" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- The Primarchs (Anthology), "The Lion" by Gav Thorpe
- Shadows of Treachery (Anthology) edited by Christain Dunn, "Prince of Crows" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Angels of Darkness (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
- Deathwing (Anthology), "Deathwing" by Bryan Ansell & William King
- Eye of Terror (Novel) by Barrington J. Bayley
- The Purging of Kadillus (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
- Sons of Fenris (Novel) by William King
- Angels of Darkness (Novel) by Gavin Thorpe
- Malediction (Audio) by C.Z. Dunn
- Ascension of Balthasar (Audio) by C.Z. Dunn
- Battle-Brothers (Ebook) by Gav Thorpe
- Ravenwing (Ebook) by Gav Thorpe
- Unforgiven (Ebook) by Graham McNeill
- Easy Prey (Eshort) by C.Z. Dunn
- Book of the Lion (Anthology) Edited by Graeme Lyon
- Tales of the Dark Millennium (Anthology), "The Falls of Marakross" by Steve Parker, "A Balance of Faith" by Darren-Jon Ashmore, "Vindicare" by C.S. Goto and "Tears of Blood" by C.S. Goto
- Victories of the Space Marines (Anthology), "Heart of Rage" by James Swallow
- Dark Vengeance (Novel) by C.Z. Dunn