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"Since the founding of their Legion at the birth of the Imperium, the Space Marines of the Dark Angels have been dreaded by their enemies and held in awe by those they protect. Stubborn and relentless in battle, ever vigilant and zealous in their pursuit of their duties, the Dark Angels are among the Emperor's most faithful servants. Yet, it was not always so. For ten millennia the Dark Angels have harboured a sinister secret, an act so terrible and shameful it threatens everything the Dark Angels hold most dear – and may yet bring them eternal damnation."

Inquisitor Bastalek Grim

The Dark Angels are considered amongst the most powerful and secretive of the Loyalist Space Marine Chapters. They were the Ist 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 Horus Heresy.

The Dark Angels stand first amongst the Space Marine Chapters, as they have done since their very inception as the Ist 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 remain shrouded in mystery. Few Imperial records of the Chapter's 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 Ist 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, of which there are more than 19 currently in Imperial service, strive for absolution from the sins of millennia past.

The Dark Angels' terrible secret is this: during the Horus Heresy, some of their 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 Terran years ago.

The Dark Angels hold more battle honours than almost any other Chapter; its only equals are its own successors. The Chapter has fought the length and breadth of the Imperium and beyond; against every foe that has ever beset Mankind. Dark Angels have held Ork WAAAGH!s at bay, crushed planetary uprisings, and saved entire star systems from the incursions of the Ruinous Powers.

They have fought across searing deserts, in the cold void of space, in dense carnivorous alien jungles, and in the depths of the wildest underhives. Yet, while Chapters such as the Blood Angels and the Ultramarines are lauded wherever they fight, the Dark Angels shun laurels and turn their backs upon adulation.

Even though the Chapter has stood side by side with every major arm of the Imperium's military, it has always maintained a distance and aloofness that sets its brethren further apart from the bulk of Humanity, and even from other Space Marines. When the Dark Angels join a larger force to execute a great war or Imperial Crusade, they do so according to their own, unfathomable goals. When a Dark Angels force is committed to such a conflict, it invariably remains aloof.

Its officers keep their own counsel on matters of tactics and strategy, and prefer to maintain their own lines of communication and supply sources. Even when dealing with the battle-brothers of other Astartes Chapters, the Dark Angels often remain sullenly quiet at the Space Marine command councils and tactical briefings, though that is not to suggest that they are any less effective on the battlefield.

When the Dark Angels do undertake joint operations alongside other Chapters, it is quite common for them to do so with others amongst the so-called "Unforgiven" -- the Successor Chapters of the original Dark Angels Legion. The successors of the Ist Legion maintain especially close relations, their officers all being members of the Inner Circle.

This mysterious body provides a ready-made command network that the Unforgiven Chapters can utilise to great effect when coordinating their activities. There is no presumption that the leaders of the Dark Angels have any inherent superiority over those of the other Unforgiven Chapters. Rather, the leaders work together closely, and if needed elect one of their number as nominal commander for the duration of the campaign.

In one matter, however, the officers of the Dark Angels have superiority over those of the other Unforgiven Chapters, through the workings of the Inner Circle -- the Hunt for the Fallen. When hunting those turncoat Dark Angels who escaped the Fall of Caliban, the Unforgiven operate under the auspices of the highest-ranked of the Inner Circle, and the very highest of these is the Supreme Grand Master himself -- the Chapter Master of the Dark Angels.

Through the machinations of the Unforgiven's Inner Circle, its members are eternally vigilant, never resting in the hunt for the Fallen. Even though knowledge of the Fallen is withheld from the majority of the brethren, the results of post-battle debriefings and psi-induced stress-purges are fed back to the Inner Circle and any sign of the presence of a Fallen analysed.

DarkAngelsPrimarisMarine1

A Dark Angels Primaris Captain in combat.

In addition, the Dark Angels' Chaplains are permanently attached to a company, and this allows them to hear the confessions of their brothers and to keep a close watch for signs of the Fallen. When such traces are discovered, the Inner Circle moves without hesitation, redeploying Unforgiven forces wherever they happen to be and re-tasking them with their new target.

In most cases, it is the Ravenwing that locates such activity and the Deathwing that delivers the killing blow, but on occasion, entire Dark Angels strike forces have been recalled from campaigns and committed to engage an enemy that only the highest-ranked of its officers have any true knowledge of.

While a great deal of the Unforgiven's efforts and resources are committed to the Hunt for the Fallen, the majority of the brethren have no knowledge of the matter. Rather, the Dark Angels and their successors are constantly warned against the words of the Heretic and their Chapter dogma extols the virtues of the eternal hunt for those who would foreswear the most powerful of oaths.

The company Chaplains preach sermons that tell of legendary figures betrayed by their own, often having fought in battles far from home. Numerous such tales exist, and each is revealed as part of a slow, deliberate pattern, the brethren monitored all the while for their reaction.

Only upon his ascension to the Inner Circle is a battle-brother told anything approaching the truth, and even then, there are some secrets known only at the very highest tiers. How much of the shame of the Dark Angels a battle-brother knows depends upon his station within the Chapter and how far the agents of the Inner Circle trust him.

He may have fought the Fallen unwittingly, believing his foe yet another vile Traitor worthy only of death. Perhaps his sergeant knew more, certainly his company master did, but he himself almost certainly would not.

Conversely, there are some higher-ranked brethren who despite exemplary service are never inducted into the Inner Circle. Perhaps the company Chaplains harbour some small doubt or have reason to believe the individual would not be able to bear the terrible truth of what occurred during the Horus Heresy. Such Astartes are unlikely to progress much further, for at the highest levels of authority the Chapter is ever engaged upon the Hunt for the Fallen.

Chapter History

The Dark Angels were the first of the Emperor's Space Marine Legions, and in their earliest incarnation fought as the personal army of the Master of Mankind in the dawning years of the Great Crusade and in the shadowed campaigns that had preceded it. As the prototype of what were to become the Legiones Astartes, they served in the final days of the Unification Wars and the early years of the Great Crusade both as the template for the more specialised Legions that were to come after them and a standard by which these successors would be measured. They were also among the best equipped of Imperial units, making use of large numbers of advanced archeotech and Plasma Weapons.

In this period, the Dark Angels were not even known as the Ist Legion as no others existed yet, for the Emperor simply referred to them as His "Angels of Death" or the "Six Hosts." These transhuman troops dominated the final days of the Wars of Unification, easily defeating all their Terran opponents and forcing those among the Tech-priests of Mars who had intervened in the conflict on Terra in the hope of delaying the Emperor's final victory to sue for peace.

From this point on, the Ist Legion ascended in power and the height of the Emperor's favour.

But once the most numerous and powerful of the Space Marine Legions, the Ist Legion's numbers would be depleted and its primacy ended by the middle years of the Great Crusade due to solar decades of savage warfare, particularly in the wars of the Rangdan Xenocides, one of the most apocalyptic campaigns of the Great Crusade.

The scars of these battles would change them, as would their reunification with their Primarch Lion El'Jonson and the introduction of fresh blood from his adopted homeworld of Caliban. A Death World dominated by a warlike, feudal society of techno-barbarians, Caliban's warrior orders provided fertile ground for the Legion's regeneration, and its martial codes and practices were extensively incorporated and adopted by the rebuilding Legion.

Origins

"Empires, monuments and legends are built by thbose who are merely victorious. We were born to kill, not to build. We are not idle long enough to leave monuments and we leave no work of the enermy intact to spawn legends. We are the Ist Legion, and he that follows in our wake is death."

—Attributed to Hector Thrane, Keeper of the Black Gate and First Master of the Ist Legion
Ist Legion Dark Angels Winged Icon

Icon of the Ist Legion at the time of the Great Crusade

Stark and uncompromising, the Dark Angels were the first of the Emperor's Space Marine Legions and the truest to the mould from which the Legiones Astartes had been struck. They were killers of the purest and most refined kind, for whom there could be no other destiny but a lifetime of war and death in the name of the Imperium and Humanity. They did not build empires, made no attempt to master the ways of peace or the subtle skills of the artist, craftsman or diplomat. They offered no excuses for their nature and made no compromises in the pursuit of their assigned duty, shirking neither the price they paid in blood nor the price paid in infamy and solitude.

Dark Angels Chapter Icon

Chapter badge of the Dark Angels in the 41st Millennium

Their greatest battles are to be found in no catalogue of Imperial Compliance or roll of honour, no scholars or poets sing of these glories or remember those fallen in their prosecution, for they were fought against foes so monstrous that it was deemed necessary that all mention of them be erased from history. Such was the nature of their service, not only to be prosecutors of the Great Crusade, but also to serve as the Imperium's most potent bulwark against the unknown terrors that lurked in the dark between the stars.

DA Primaris Intercessor

Dark Angels Chapter colour scheme as displayed by Primaris Marine Brother Balor of the 5th Company, 3rd Tactical Squad (battleline) in Mark X Tacticus Power Armour.

The heraldry of the Dark Angels proclaims their lineage, the first of the Emperor's Legiones Astartes, but other than that simple fact little is known of the origins of the Legion and its initial gene-stock. The genesis of the Legiones Astartes as a whole is a subject shrouded in much secrecy. It is perhaps the greatest and most enduring of the Emperor's many works and a subject scholars have been warned away from in the latter days of His Imperium. What is known with some certainty is that, of all the many breeds of these transhuman warriors, the Dark Angels were conceived by the Emperor as a template and prototype for those that would follow, distilled from the genetic code of the most stable of all His primarchs and without any attempt to foster specific traits or curb the eccentricities of the stock from which they sprang.

Even so, the process by which these first samples were produced was long and laborious, initiated perhaps a standard century or more before the end of the Unification Wars of Terra and consuming a vast number of test subjects to produce but a handful of stable proto-Astartes. Of these initial creations, referenced in fragmentary records unearthed in the Imperial Archives as the "Primordial Strain," almost none are known to have survived initial combat trials and surgical testing, but they form the basis for the initial cultures of the Ist Legion and, by merit of the refined process formulated with their creation, the other Space Marine Legions as well.

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Dark Angels Chapter colour scheme as displayed by a Primaris Marine Infiltrator in Mark X Phobos Power Armour.

This grand experiment exacted a bloody toll upon those territories controlled by the Emperor, for its most critical components were untainted Human subjects, all within a specific range of age and physical fitness. Given the state of Terra in the wake of the wars of Old Night, its surface polluted by the twin scourges of atomic bombardment and genetic phage, such subjects were limited. The initial experiments were conducted with the youth of the Emperor's conquered foes and those purchased from the nomadic clans of slavers that abounded in the wastes of pre-Unity Terra, and later the toll was borne by flesh-tithes exacted on those territories brought, willingly or not, into the fold of the Imperium. As such, the Dark Angels did not bear the stamp of any single gene-stock, unlike some of the other Legions during their earliest years whosecharacter had been moulded by the nature of their initial intake.

Their first recruits, selected from the best of the stock available to the Emperor, were diverse in origin and shared no single cultural heritage that would shape the way in which they made war. Indeed, the diversity of their origins brought a wealth of disparate martial traditions into the fledgling Legion. The dour infantry of the Francish plains and islands of Albia brought with them the brutal coda that had conquered half the ruined lands of the continent of Europa, the warriors of the far Anatolic steppes a skill at cavalry warfare, the berserkers of frozen Skandia a murderous efficiency, and from a dozen other Terran cultures yet more of the arts of war. The Ist Legion was the crucible in which all the savage lore of Old Night, all the bitter knowledge and red-handed wisdom accumulated in millennia of war was to be distilled and fashioned into a weapon of rare potency.

Dark Angels Updated Scheme

Dark Angels Chapter colour scheme as displayed by a Firstborn Space Marine in Mark VII Aquila Power Armour.

In those first faltering years of the grand experiment that was the Legiones Astartes, the proto-warriors of the Ist Legion, barely a few hundred strong, were encouraged to eschew the names of their own people and embrace a new unity unmarked by old loyalties, often taking instead the names of heroes from the old tales that had survived the Age of Strife. In the first rolls of honour of the Legion can be found Gilgamesh, Heracles, Tarchon, Hengist and other names imbued by time with the power of legend. Combined with the grim aspect granted them by the gene-seed of the first primarch, these warriors quickly gained a reputation among the disparate throng that was at that time the army of the Emperor, for they seemed as a band of gods all cast from a singular and potent mould.

Fighting at first as small groups within the ranks of the Emperor's host, plying both the skills of their origins and of the drill masters of the Imperial Laboratories of the Biotechnical Division, they would come to be known as the "Uncrowned Princes" or simply "Crowns." This was a homage both to their place in the line of battle and the destiny bestowed upon them by their creator; a title that would inspire both a sense of unity and a certain arrogance in the first Space Marines and spur them to lead the way amongst the growing brotherhood of the Legiones Astartes.

DA Legionary MK III Artificer

Pre-Heresy Dark Angels Legion colour scheme as displayed by a Firstborn Legion Tactical Marine in Mark II Paravane sub-type power armour, an idiosyncratic variant of the widely-issued Mark II Crusade Power Armour produced by the Artificers of the Isup>st Legion, and renowned for its enhanced void endurance and other systems.

This, in the Legion's earliest moments, was the genesis of the "hosts" of the Ist Legion, which would later be refined by their primarch, Lion El'Jonson, into the Hexagrammaton "wings" of his Dark Angels; a myriad of informal groups within the early companies of the Legion that worked to adapt the doctrines of battle brought from those disparate origins and create a coda of battle fit for the transhuman armies of the Emperor. The hosts were not bound by company or commander and existed throughout the Legion, at any given battle or engagement at least some small number of a given host would be present to advise and lead should their expertise be required. In the early years of the Ist Legion's existence there were many more hosts than would later exist under the Hexagrammaton organisation, with as many as 18 such formations noted by their distinct heraldry in the earliest records of the Unification Wars where the Astartes appear.

The Third Siege of Antioch in 603.M30 saw the participation of nine distinct "hosts" across four separate companies of the Legion, though at this point they numbered less than 30 warriors each and displayed significant tactical overlap in the methods they employed to breach the walls of that ancient enclave.

Deathwing Termi

Dark Angels Deathwing Terminator colour scheme

Time would see the many hosts of those chaotic years quickly resolved into a smaller number of more focused hosts, but in those early years, with their brother Legions still but handfuls of warriors newly-cast from a rough mould, the Ist Legion became the testbed for the various tactics and doctrines that would later become the Principia Bellicosa. As the other Legions grew to a size large enough to engage in small-scale combat actions, some of the more specialised hosts became obsolete, unnecessary in the face of warriors more adept at that style of warfare, while others were made extinct by the inadequacies of their methods and the brutal nature of war in the 30th Millennium.

Far from harming the Legion, this process of bloody evolution left it strong; a weapon well-honed by the fighting on Terra. It also forged a bond between the disparate warriors who made up that early Legion; a bond based upon the sense of superiority and distinction instilled in them by the servants of the Emperor that trained them and the awe they inspired in those they fought beside.

Fall of the Thunder Warriors

As with all the Legiones Astartes, the Ist Legion was intended as a replacement for the brigades of the Thunder Warriors, that unstable experiment in the creation of proto-Astartes which by the middle years of the Unification Wars had run its course. The Thunder Warrior regiments had been the tool needed for their time, an unrefined and savage weapon to match the grim tyrants and debauched potentates that had inherited Old Earth during the Age of Strife. Yet, in comparison to the Legiones Astartes they were a rough breed, powerful to be sure, perhaps even individually more so than their new transhuman kin, but unable to quell their fury to work in unison. They were a mob, a storm of fury and blades that rolled over its foes, while the Legiones Astartes were a true army and in their unity could withstand any onslaught.

Tales and theories beyond count surround the Thunder Warriors and their sudden disappearance from the Imperium's history, most being fabrications and sophistry of the worst kind, though a few warrant further regard. One such tale is of note, a tale told among the nomadic tribes that inhabit the wastelands around Mount Ararat and speaks not only of Thunder Warriors but also of an army "clad all in gray, dark as the clouds of a storm and branded all as one."

These warriors, so say the hill nomads, awaited the return of the few surviving Thunder Warriors, exhausted by their victory, and rather than giving salute to their valour cut them down in a thunderous volley of bolt and plasma. This tale is far different from the heroic tale told by Remembrancers to mark the end of the Unification Wars, but in keeping with the brutal necessities of the Emperor's far-reaching plans. It is possible that the warriors "branded all as one" could be the Ist Legion, who all bore the sigil of their numeration bold upon their battle-plate, for battles of that Legion were oft-removed from Imperial record, the details expunged and forgotten.

Actual proof, however, does not exist, not even in the archives of the Imperial Palace. Yet, several anecdotes from the later years of the Great Crusade do seem to support the theory, all related to a near-obsessive preoccupation with the hunting down and destruction of those few renegade Thunder Warriors that survived and fled Terra, over and above the standing orders of the Imperial Court to suppress all such renegades.

On at least three occasions, fleets of the Ist Legion altered course in order to engage and destroy Thunder Warrior survivors, often making wide detours based on simple rumours of such activity. Such an obsession is notable for what was an otherwise stoic Space Marine Legion and would seem to hint at a more personal interest in the resolution of any encounter with surviving Thunder Warriors, perhaps even a sense of shame in having allowed any to escape some previous engagement.

Another ancient source claims that even before the Unification Wars had ended, the Thunder Warriors, already jealous of their replacements' long lives and near-immortality compared to their own inevitable descent into madness and death, at last realised that their creator had cursed them with short lifespans as a result of their imperfect genetic augmentations. In their rage and fear, they turned upon the Emperor for what they saw as His betrayal.

It was a cadre of several hundred Custodians of the Legio Custodes, the Emperor's lifeguard, even then believed to have been led by the legendary Constantin Valdor, and accompanied by several thousand prototype Astartes of the Ist Legion of the newborn Space Marines, that stood in the Emperor's defence, carrying out a merciless culling of the obsolete and rebellious gene-soldiers.

However, given the renowned secrecy of the Ist Legion and the frequency with which their campaigns and deeds were obfuscated by Imperial decree, it is unlikely that the truth of this matter will ever be known.

The First

The Ist Legion was intended to demonstrate the true potential of the Astartes versus their predecessors among the Emperor's armies for they were a true Legion, numbering already 10,000 transhuman warriors while their early kin among the other nascent Legions were but a few hundred each. It was at Samerkend on Terra in 668.M30 during the Unification Wars that the Ist Legion took to the field en masse for the first time, assembled with the Emperor Himself at their head. Here, the Legiones Astartes faced their first true test, not a test of individual strength or genetic purity, but a test of their worth as an army. Ten thousand of the First, flanked by contingents of four other Legions, took the field against 200,000 gene-forged Udug Hul, the elite slave-soldiers of the king of Akkad. The Udug Hul, whose blood was poison and whose strength was greater than 10 un-enhanced warriors, were the terror of the Upper Asiatic Basin and a foe that had so far resisted the advance of the Emperor's armies.

Ten solar hours after battle was joined Samerkend was in ruins, the Udug Hul scattered and broken and the Great King of Akkad's head a trophy on the belt of the newly-appointed Grandmaster of the Ist Legion. This warrior, Hector Thrane, was lauded by the princes of Terra for his victory and granted the title Sinestra of the Emperor, the left hand of the Warlord of Terra, His most fearsome instrument of conquest. By order of the Emperor, the Ist Legion left no stone upon stone, and almost every record of the terrors encountered in that battle was destroyed. In the wake of the victory the rate of recruitment and processing of the new Space Marine Legions was accelerated, their potential proven in triumph, and the Ist Legion gained a dark renown among the ranks of the armies of Unity. They had walked into the mouth of hell, and not only had they returned, but they had left hell shattered in their passage.

This first victory was to set the pattern of the Ist Legion's battles during the wars for Old Earth and the Sol System, pitting them against the most horrific of foes with only one objective -- to eradicate them completely.

From Fortress Thirty-one in the Thulean wastes of ancient Terra, to the Battle of Karnakon amid the cryo-volcanic mountains of Sedna, the Ist Legion would meet the worst threats that faced the armies of Unity and lay them low. So horrific were many of the threats they faced -- xenos terrors beyond the pale of sanity and psychic phenomena that threatened to tear reality asunder -- that little more than the battle honours remain, the details erased even from the data-stacks of the Emperor's library.

To prosecute these impossible battles the Emperor would grant them access to the armoury vaults of the Imperial Palace, to every forbidden weapon entombed within, and they would be the only Legion trusted to wield the worst of Mankind's creations freely. The orders of Grandmaster Hector Thrane would see the obliteration of the warped cities of Khadun and Molay in the eastern reaches of Old Earth and the deployment of gene-phage munitions to purge Enceladus, one of the moons of Saturn, clean of Khrave infestation. These were victories that left an indelible stain on both the course of the war and the identity of the warriors who prosecuted them, forging Thrane's reputation as a ruthless and prideful warlord.

Among the armies of Unification, the Ist Legion had become synonymous with death, for where they walked it seemed as though that pale rider followed after them with an inevitability that spawned many long-held superstitions regarding the reclusive warriors of the First. They were treated with an awe that sat somewhere between respect and terror by those who served alongside them, for it was said that to offend them was to bring the scrutiny of their patron, Death himself, upon the offender. Among the host gathered by the Emperor they were not heroes, but rather a breed of monster made loyal by the will of their master. They were not to be lauded for their bravery but rather placated to assuage their wrath. Despite the dictates of the Imperial Truth, the common soldiery of the Imperial armies often set small wards and charms at the edges of their camps when the Ist Legion arrived to avert the ill-luck that many felt followed the Emperor's firstborn Legion.

Such superstition was not without cause, for of those Imperial formations attached to support the First Legion in combat most came to bloody ends. Some were savaged by the monsters that the newly-dubbed Angels of Death had come to slay, and others would simply vanish, purported to have been silenced by the Ist Legion themselves, lest word of some dread enemy return to the camps with the survivors. The warriors of the Ist Legion, ever of pragmatic mind, soon began to assume the guise in which they had been cast, adopting the skeletal icon of Death as their own and adorning their armour with funerary symbols. This self-imposed exile from the camaraderie of the Emperor's lesser servants was a point of pride among the Ist Legion. It was a sacrifice made to protect the mortal army from the terrors only the Ist Legion were fit to bear, though to some of those they fought beside, most especially the warriors of the other Legiones Astartes, it seemed more vainglory and arrogance than humble sacrifice.

The Masters of the Ist Legion showed no interest in such slights, content to remain wreathed in malign rumour as they fought the battles that could never be lauded lest they break the minds of those who bore witness to the battle honours. For while the younger Legions were granted the lesser honour of standing triumphant at the mundane victories of conquest, the Ist Legion would be awarded the greater honour of acting as the Emperor's left hand; a brutally efficient weapon of grim aspect hidden behind the bright pageantry of the Imperial Army.

Early Great Crusade

The Emperor's Own Angels of Death

This was an honour they would bear throughout the war to unify the Sol System and beyond, a duty that kept them separate from the other Space Marine Legions created in their image. As the younger Legions slowly began to reach the nominal strength required for the beginning of the Emperor's Great Crusade, the Ist Legion conducted a lonely vigil far from the light of Sol, scouring clean the Oort Cloud and keeping watch along the heliopause border of the system for those terrors that sought to slip unnoticed into the Emperor's newly-claimed domain. This duty they accepted without complaint, taking pride in the role selected for them by the Emperor, for they were His "Angels of Death" -- a name which, at that time, belonged to them alone.

For nearly a solar decade they would dwell in the lightless depths of Mankind's home star system, burning clean the frozen moons of the outer system and freeing the few lost outposts of Humanity that still survived at the very outermost edges of the Sol System. Here, the informal network of specialists within the Legion became the first of its formations called "Orders," dedicated to a singular focus of war beyond the wider scope of the Legion's existing hosts; their craft honed in the battles at the dark edge of Sol, and the complex ciphers and rituals by which they recorded it entrenched over the long years of isolation. It was by the hard-won knowledge of these warriors that the Legion would prevail again and again in the most gruelling and hazardous battles faced by the warriors of the Emperor, the weaknesses of each foe exposed by sacrifice and encoded in the traditions of the Orders and the secrets of war in any environment catalogued in their archives.

The Legion would return to the inner worlds purged of weakness and hardened by adversity, their armour no longer the flat grey of the other Legions, but a deep and impassive black. There would be no fanfare on their return to the Emperor's side, no parades of victory, merely the silent approval of the Emperor of Mankind and a place at the vanguard of the host that mustered ready to make war upon a hostile galaxy to save Humanity from extinction. Despite the hardships that would await them and the mighty foes they would face, none could doubt victory having witnessed the grim resolve and stoic pride in the faces of the black-clad warriors as they took their place at the head of the host.

There, amid the vast muster that took place around the shipyards of Saturn, the fleet granted to the Ist Legion stood out among the newly-built Saturnine pattern vessels and the ancient ships re-awakened from the macro-vaults of Mars, for the Ist Legion were granted the honour of a tithe of those few remaining Terran starships. These ancient voidcraft almost all dated back to the years before Old Night, relics of forgotten technologies and lost aspirations of grandeur. Among them were to be found massive Gloriana-class Battleships, Promethean-class Cruisers clad in dense layers of Void Shields and weapon-studded Tiamat-class Destroyers, all far surpassing more modern designs in potency and made available to few other than the Emperor's own guards. To each of His other Legions He bequeathed but a handful of such ships, while to the Ist Legion He granted a fleet.

This gift was not a simple reward for the heroics they had displayed in the fighting on Old Earth and beyond, but rather a necessary tool for those actions yet to come. For as the armies of the Emperor set forth on the Great Crusade and pushed beyond the edges of those few star charts that had survived Old Night, they encountered such terrors that the battles on Terra were made to seem inconsequential by comparison. In these dark places among the stars, the Ist Legion would find the reason for their reward, for in order to fight the monsters the Emperor had foreseen in His path, they would need monstrous weapons. Alone among the Legiones Astartes, they would make common use of the forbidden weaponry of Old Night, of gene-phage and rad wave, employed to wipe clean the nests of those enemies deemed too terrible to be faced in open battle. The Ist Legion were the fulcrum of the Emperor's wrath, the agency of His hate, for they brought not simple destruction but the all-encompassing oblivion of utter annihilation.

They were the Angels of Death, a title that would one day encompass all of the Emperor's Space Marines but, in those brutal early days of conquest and blood, it was theirs alone.

Even as other Legions fought to bring those Human colonies discovered by the expeditionary fleets to Imperial Compliance, the Ist Legion fought to hold back the hate of a galaxy filled with terrors. They took war to the dens of monsters and legends without fear or hesitation, shattering the hold of nightmares on the future of Mankind; though only in the most secure vaults of the Imperial Archives do any records of these battles remain.

They speak of Behtelgen IV, where the 3rd Chapter, formed mainly of warriors from the Hosts of Stone and Iron, assaulted a world whose mountains and crust had been hollowed out to form a fortress for a swarm-creature of protoplasmic and hyper-acidic slime, the nucleus of an infection that had spread through the void to infest a dozen worlds and seen millions rendered into little more than a nutrient slurry for the beasts.

Scattered picts show the shattered husks of the once-verdant worlds of the Osiryne Cluster where the Ist Legion's 19th Expeditionary Fleet engaged a vast, sentient planet-killer -- a technological abomination spawned by some long-forgotten empire and left to wreak havoc upon an uncaring universe -- the records of the battle itself sealed by Grandmaster Hector Thrane. These horrors, and a thousand more, were exterminated by the warriors of the Ist Legion, and all trace of the campaigns erased from records to protect the sanity of those unprepared for the raw mindless hate of the universe laid bare.

To those outside the ranks of the First, their record in the early years of the Great Crusade seems at best lacking in comparison to their brother Legions and at worst a fabrication. With many of their greatest triumphs shrouded in secrecy, they had less conventional triumphs to their name: merely a handful of worlds brought to Compliance where hundreds had burned in silence. What few knew was that it was in the sacrifice and valour of the Ist Legion that many of the Legiones Astartes' key doctrines were forged, with such tomes as the Principia Bellicosa formed, in part, from the strategies and tactics perfected by them as each of the Legion's hosts strove to refine their own brand of warfare upon the most vile battlefields of the Great Crusade.

Those that thrived on the field of battle would grow and pass their knowledge on, not only to their battle-brothers within the Legion but to those without through the doctrines created in their wake. While those that struggled would fade from the roster of the Legion, ground to extinction by the inexorable hunger of war.

A Fortress of Pride

These trials would shape the Ist Legion into a fearsome weapon, the largest and most heavily armed of all of the Legiones Astartes during the early years of the Great Crusade. They fielded more warriors under arms, maintained a larger fleet and had access to weaponry more powerful than any of their brother Legions at that time, even those such as the Luna Wolves and Space Wolves which had already been reunited with their primarchs. The Grandmaster of the Ist Legion stood at the left hand of the Emperor, one of the most influential personages in the early Imperial Court whose counsel was second only to that of Malcador the Sigillite and Horus Lupercal.

Despite the hidden nature of many of their triumphs, they were acknowledged by all as pre-eminent among their transhuman kin; the most powerful force-at-arms in the serried ranks of the Imperial armies. In those heady years of conquest and victory the Ist Legion stood true to their name at the apex of Imperial might, feared by those who stood against the Emperor and His dream of unity and respected by all those who fought at their side.

Yet, as with all things, the glory of the Ist Legion would be a fragile thing and one that could endure only for a short time before becoming something less than it once was. For the Ist Legion, in those days before the return of their primarch, the great foe that would topple them from their place of honour would not be any terror from the outer dark, but rather their own hubris. For, though the black cruisers of the Legion were ever to be found at the edges of the map, hunting for monsters in the dark between the stars, they now took a perverse pride in pitting themselves against only the most powerful of foes, those that wielded a power equal to that of their own, those in whom they saw the possibility of defeat. Other threats -- deemed too insignificant for the Ist Legion, too weak to pose a real challenge, foes that would not test their strategies or mettle -- would often be bypassed and left to the Imperial Army regiments and other Legion fleets that followed in their wake.

Yet with each encounter they grew only stronger; no enemy, no matter how powerful or destructive, could stop them and each triumph only added to the shield of arrogance they had built about themselves. The stubborn pride that had sustained them through hardships unnumbered now became a double-edged blade. The Hexagrammaton, once an ever-shifting body of knowledge that changed to match each challenge, had become fixed in place; the warriors of the First assuming that they had reached the apex of skill and could learn no more. Recruitment from outside their ancient enclaves on Terra and a few other worlds slowed to but a trickle, with those from outside the traditional recruiting grounds considered less valuable.

Each battle led them further down the path of wilful arrogance, each victory hailed as a triumph of their skill and each defeat dismissed as the folly of lesser breeds of warrior and leaders rightfully culled from the Legion by their failure. Tradition and ritual became more valued than innovation, with each order and host jealously guarding their own small fragments of the Legion's battle-lore, certain that it was this scrap of knowledge that was the true heart of the Legion's success.

The Legion began to turn in upon itself, the openness and inquisitive nature of their early years slowly being replaced by a secretive and tradition-bound approach. They had begun the Great Crusade as mentors and guides for the other Legions, seeking out the stratagems and tactics through which the potential of the Legiones Astartes might be fully realised, but now came more and more to resent those they had once guided. The other Legions claimed world after world for the Emperor, easy victories in the eyes of the Ist Legion, trivial conquests against unworthy foes, yet ones for which they received laurels and praise equal to that of the First Legion's hard-won battles.

Some also came to rival the power of the First: the Ultramarines, now re-united with their primarch, Roboute Guilliman, could claim more warriors under arms, and the Imperial Fists, under Rogal Dorn, boasted the firepower of immense relics such as the Phalanx in their fleets. To a Legion that had built its pride upon a sense of authority, some might say superiority, to find itself now merely one among many would shake its foundations.

Perhaps the final blow to their fragile pride was to come at Canis-Balor, where simple conquest and stubborn complacency became ignominy and disaster. Here, in an otherwise insignificant star system home to a xenos breed as yet uncatalogued by the sage-brothers of the Legion's Orders of Extinction and Annihilation, the Ist Legion and its Grandmaster committed a small force to the assault, confident in their ability to prevail and secure in the tested strategies of the hosts and orders. Yet the xenos of Canis-Balor, their identity long-since purged from records, proved a threat unlike any faced before, fighting without regard for sane tactics and with a technology that defied rational explanation. The Ist Legion's initial attack was repulsed with heavy losses, an indignity that the Ist Legion had not known for solar decades.

Defeat was a foe they thought they had conquered and pride began to cloud their wisdom. A second assault followed and then a third, each repulsed in turn with mounting losses.

With his faultless record now tainted and his pride sorely wounded, Grandmaster Hector Thrane led one final assault himself, refusing to accept that any might equal his own warriors in skill and tenacity. This assault, even weakened by the losses already sustained, cut a swathe through the xenos forces defending the planet, but could not overcome the sheer numerical superiority of the foe. Overwhelmed, it teetered on the brink of annihilation.

Grandmaster Thrane, realising the folly of pride that had driven him into battle, chose to remain behind with his lifeguard, sacrificing himself to allow the retrieval of valuable combat assets. The world of Canis-Balor was reduced to ashes from orbit, all trace of life on its surface incinerated in nucleonic fire, a measure that many argued should have been taken earlier had pride not forced their hand. All records of the alien foe the Legion had fought were sealed away, though they would later be recovered by the Order of Broken Claws before being sealed once again for reasons equally lost to history.

The loss, both of the battle and of Grandmaster Thrane, proved a catalyst for turmoil among the ranks of the Legion. Each of the masters of its hosts and the preceptors of its orders were sure that had their doctrines been given primacy, they could have turned the tide of battle. A subtle struggle for power erupted among the complex tiers of authority within the Legion, a struggle that slowed the pace of their conquests and threatened to unseat the Legion from its pre-eminent position of honour once and for all.

The Ill-Made Knight

This struggle was fought most fiercely upon the floor of the Ist Legion's great Hall of Council on the world of Gramarye, at the heart of the Legion. There, where once the masters and preceptors of the Legion had created much of the wisdom that now guided the Legiones Astartes as a whole, a storm of vitriol and admonition had erupted. Each of the masters of the Legion, unable or unwilling to see fault in their own wisdom, sought to attach it to that of their fellows so that it might be excised from the Ist Legion. Most contentious of all was the selection of a new Grandmaster, for few would countenance the selection of a warrior from a host of the First other than their own.

As the pace of the Ist Legion's conquests slowed and the deliberations of the Council of Masters stagnated, it would be the intercession of Malcador the Sigillite, first among the Emperor's confidants, to break the deadlock. Rather than present some censure on behalf of the Emperor, he chose instead to sponsor a candidate of his own, seeking to stir the Legion from its doldrums and return them wholeheartedly to war. His words to the Council of Masters were carved upon the lintel of the chamber, such was their impact: "A fertress can be held upright by many pillars, alone they are nothing but together they are mighty. Yet, a fortress must have a master or else all its strength is for nothing."

The warrior nominated by the Sigillite was elected by unanimous vote of the Council of Masters; he was neither a master of the hosts nor a preceptor of the orders, but a war-worn captain from among the vast ranks of the Ist Legion. Malcador's logic was impeccable, for such a candidate stood for no one branch of the Legion's arts alone, but rather for all as one. Where any of the venerable masters would find nothing but opposition from their peers, a simple warrior found acceptance from all. The warrior chosen was Urian Vendraig, once captain of the 14th Company of the 8th Chapter, a Terran taken into the Legion after the Emperor had united that war-tom world, and with a grand record of victory as his banner and as yet uninitiated into the inner mysteries of any one host or order.

His was a legacy of bloodshed in battle, of rousing speeches and glorious last stands. He had stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his battle-brothers through all his service and spent but little time in rirual or doctrinal debate.

His new task was to unify a divided Legion and return them to the Great Crusade and the purpose laid out for them by the Emperor unburdened by doubt and division. As a warrior first and foremost, Vendraig saw the value of bringing the Legion fully into the Emperor's Great Crusade, taking its rightful place at the head of their brothers rather than only serving at the fringes of history. For the first time in the Great Crusade, a small contingent of carefully-selected Remembrancers was allowed to join the Grandmaster's entourage, attached to his personal guard and given strictly limited access to the Legion's records, so that they might bear witness to the Ist Legion's ascension.

All that remained was to find a challenge worthy of the Legion, some terrible foe to bind them once again in hatred of the enemy and, as though gifted to them by the Emperor, word arrived of a new terror encountered on the far rim of the Great Crusade: a race known to history as the Rangda.

Encountered by the 105th Pioneer Company of the Vth Legion on an isolated world along the northern rim of the galaxy, the Rangda were considered a grave threat to the expanding Imperium. Though at that time their territory was thought to encompass only a single star system, they possessed a vile technology and fearsome aspect that warranted the most extreme of responses. Mustering a fleet numbering hundreds of capital class warships the new Grandmaster descended upon the isolated system of Advex-mors, where the Rangda had created a vast artificial war-moon, an immense engine of war that had cost millions of slave labourers from a hundred worlds their lives. This monstrous weapon was defended by a fleet of lumpen and ugly Rangdan war-barques, each bristling with weapons and crewed by slaves whose neural collars enforced their unflinching obedience.

The battle that ensued would leave the system of Advex-mors as little more than ashes and rubble, all six worlds claimed by the Rangda were rendered uninhabitable, their fleets reduced to drifting fields of wreckage and their vast slave armies utterly annihilated. The campaign lasted for four solar months and cost the lives of some 5,000 of the Ist Legion, but as the banner of the Imperium was raised over those broken fragments of the Rangdan war-moon that had rained down upon the burned husk of Advex-mors beneath, the Imperium was reminded of the sheer power of the Ist Legion.

First Rangdan Xenocide and the Battle of Advex-mors

Of all the campaigns waged by the Ist Legion, it is their battles against the Rangda that have most intrigued historitors and scholars, for the veil of secrecy cast over these engagements has served only to make the myths that have taken the place of truth all the more grand. There is little information to be found outside of the most carefully-guarded sections of the Imperial Archives and the records of the Dark Angels themselves, a Legion well known for rigorously maintaining its many secrets. However, for the first of the great wars against the Rangda there is another source of information available to us -- the data cores of the rebel Forge World of Xana II. Raided and burned by Loyalist forces during the Great Scouring, before its dark magi fled into exile, much information was recovered from the Forge World that the Ist Legion could not seal away. It is from these meticulously-gathered scraps of knowledge that a true picture of the first battle between the Dark Angels and the Rangda can be formed.

The Ist Legion gathered a mighty armada for the assault on the world of Advex-mors, some 50,000 warriors of the Ist Legion and another 100,000 support troops drawn from both Imperial Army regiments and Mechanicum Taghmata forces from nearby Xana, as well as near a full hundred capital class starships and many times that of smaller escort craft. At that time this was a fearsome force of arms, but one still reckoned lacking by many for the task they had set themselves. The initial reports from the Vth Legion fleet that had made the first charts of Advex-mors painted a grim picture for the assault force, for the six worlds of the Advex-mors System were heavily fortified and garrisoned, so much so that the strategos of the Divisio Militaris would initially believe this, erroneously, to be the seat of the Rangda's power in our galaxy rather than the isolated outpost it was later found to be.

Vast legions of captured Humans and other more exotic breeds of slave awaited the Imperial attackers, slave-soldiers bound to their Rangdan masters by cruel neural collars that enforced absolute loyalty and reduced them to little more than savage drones to the xenos that commanded them. The Rangda themselves possessed many horrific weapons, the product of a vile technology created solely for destruction and subjugation, the ultimate expression of which was the vast war-moon that sat in orbit of Advex-mors Primus. This immense engine of war could match the firepower of a full fleet of starships and bore armour capable of shrugging off strikes from capital scale weaponry. It would prove the greatest obstacle to the invasion and the most terrible symbol of the Rangda's power and malevolent ingenuity.

The Ist Legion, led by their new Grandmaster, Urian Vendraig, welcomed the challenge presented them. Indeed, to succeed in the face of overwhelming odds and prove the valour of his Legion was one of the core goals Grandmaster Vendraig had assigned the campaign, a return to glory for the Ist Legion. In honour of this goal, the fighting began in grand style as the assembled Imperial fleet tore an opening in the fabric of space to translate into Advex-mors as a single wedge of steel and guns. This feat of navigation, impressive in its own right, was overshadowed by the sheer might of the fleet assembled, with the leading squadron comprising no less than three Gloriana-class battleships: the Invincible Reason, Paradigm of Hate and Truth's Razor. Those few scattered squadrons of Rangdan warp-barques able to oppose the sudden appearance of the Imperium's fleet were quickly swept aside by the sheer strength of the Ist Legion's gathered ships. Even the foul weaponry of the Rangdan void craft and apathetic bravery of the neural thralls that crewed them could not slow the Imperium's advance, though the complex electromagnetic weapons employed by those ships -- often called "shadow blasters" by the naval crews for the ominous shadows left behind by their atomised victims -- left many crewmen crippled by radiation sickness.

The invasion of Advex-mors Extremis followed these initial successes in orbit, with the Grandmaster himself deploying at the head of the Ist Legion's 8th Chapter to spearhead the assault. Advex-mors Extremis possessed only limited strategic worth, playing host to a small facility that refined fuel from the vast seas of liquid hydrogen trapped beneath the thick icy crust, and was defended by only a small garrison of slave soldiers and a single Rangdan overseer. Yet despite this, its value to the morale of the invasion force and as a statement of the Ist Legion's power was immense. One thousand warriors of the Ist Legion took to the field against 10,000 of the foe, a frenzied wave of flesh-puppets sent by their xenos overlord into a mindless fury, to spend their lives recklessly that the foe might be crushed.

The dark wave of mind-slaved warriors washed over the Ist Legion's lines and was shattered and broken by the Legiones Astartes in a battle that lasted but three short solar hours, at a cost to them of less than 200 casualties. Urian Vendraig himself descended into the boreal hell of the ice mines and slew the Rangdan overlord in personal combat, emerging to hoist its head before the assembled warriors of his Legion. So would go the fighting on the four outer worlds, each small garrison isolated by the vast Imperial fleet and destroyed in detail by different detachments of the Ist Legion, each testing and probing the foe for weaknesses. The Rangda spent the lives of their slaves profligately to bleed the Legion, sending tens of thousands to their deaths to slow their advance and cull the numbers of the invaders, losing but a handful of true Rangda as the Ist Legion celebrated their victories.

Within the space of a few short solar months the Imperium's fleet had crushed the four outermost planets of the system and stood upon the threshold of Advex-mors Primus. Here would begin the true battle, for as the Ist Legion had spent its time subjugating the outer worlds, the Rangda had gathered all their strength amongst the huge shielded fortresses of Advex-mors Primus, and in its skies hung the vast war-moon, a sentinel of huge and terrifying power. Here there would be no simple triumph, and the Ist Legion turned to a far more daring plan to secure victory. Knowing that any effort to destroy the war-moon by means of a sustained orbital assault would result in massive casualties and allow the planet beneath even more time to fortify and prepare, Grandmaster Vendraig planned to strike both targets at once using the might of his Astartes warriors. A single chapter of the Legion would attack the war-moon under cover of a diversionary attack by the fleet and disable it from within, while the majority of the Legion would conduct a massive planetary landing and crush the world's capital in a single, focused assault.

The phalanx of heavy Imperial battleships advanced on Advex-mors Primus but, unlike previous engagements, the lumpen xenos defence barges did not rush headlong to meet them and be torn apart by the heavy guns of the Ist Legion. Instead, the Rangdan craft formed a defensive constellation about the war-moon, denying the Imperial fleet any easy opening by which to deploy landing craft or make a concerted assault, and displaying a level of tactical awareness hitherto unexpected by the Emperor's forces, who were now forced to attack into the concentrated guns of the foe. The space around Rangda erupted in light as the two fleets clashed above the immense face of the war-moon and hundreds of thousands of guns let fly, punctuating the void with both the yellow flash of Imperial Macrocannons and the malefic green flare of Rangdan shadow blasters. Within the first few moments both fleets had lost entire squadrons of craft, with concentrated weapons fire from the innumerable guns of the war-moon ripping apart even the most heavily shielded of Imperium void craft and spreading storms of debris across the battle zone. This was a war of attrition the Imperium's forces had wanted to avoid and could ill-afford to prolong, but one they could not easily abandon without ceding control of Advex-mors Primus to the enemy. It would only be the sacrifice of the battleship, Paradigm of Hate, that would finally turn the tide of the engagement.

The ancient battleship, its void shields flaring as it strove to absorb the sheer weight of fire thrown at it, ploughed into the enemy's formation and scattered the lesser ships of the Rangda. Infested by Rangdan stalker drones and badly wounded by the exotic directed energy weapons of the xenos craft, the Paradigm of Hate slammed into the vast hull of the war-moon, gouging a deep wound in its metal hide. The survivors of its crew and the contingent of Ist Legion warriors aboard the battleship took up defensive positions within the shattered wreck of their vessel and set the plasma reactor to reach catastrophic overload even as the Rangda hosts aboard the vast war-moon moved to overwhelm them. A brief and bloody action was fought in the cold void on the war-moon's surface, with full detachments of towering Rangdan warriors committed to battle for the first time.

Brutally strong and armed with weapons of terrible power, the Rangda proved a match for the Legiones Astartes, both sides inflicting serious casualties upon their foe but the Rangda could not overrun the Ist Legion's defences in time to prevent the Paradigm of Hate's vengeance. The warriors that had once rode the proud ship into war sacrificed themselves that she might strike one last blow against the foe, her reactors exploding like a miniature sun, crippling the vast war-moon and spreading a deadly storm of debris across high orbit. With its death, the battleship had bought the rest of the fleet a brief respite, a chance to press the foe, and the orbital battle quickly fell into a chaotic melee of intermixed starships and squadrons, each locked in a desperate struggle for survival in a mass of duels between individuals and squadrons. The remaining Imperial battleships, Invincible Reason and Truth's Razor, blasted a path into low orbit, weathering enemy attack craft and strikes from ground-based weapons platforms to begin landing ground forces, abandoning any attempt to capture the shattered and silent war-moon.

As the sky filled with the light of a thousand tiny battles fought in the void, the massed forces of the Ist Legion made planetfall, a rain of Drop Pods falling on the wastelands away from the chain of fortresses that girded the equator, while several smaller forces dispersed in squadrons of gunships and Stormbird transports. It would be these smaller forces that saw action first, mounting raids on the nearest fortresses and those columns of Rangdan slave soldiers sent to investigate the landing zone, buying time with the blood of the enemy for their brothers to array themselves for battle.

For the first day these raiding columns, mostly led by the warriors of the Order of Crows and the marshals of the Hosts of Wind and Fire, bore the brunt of the fighting. At first they only had to contend with lesser forces of slave soldiers, driven into their path by the Rangda to weaken them and easily bested by the battle-hardened Legiones Astartes. But they would also be the first to face the true Rangda in combat. Little is known of the alien enemy those warriors faced; that they were towering creatures of fell strength, inhuman cunning and bearing the products of a cruel technology that equalled or even exceeded that of Mankind is common to all the tales that would later be told. The warriors that fought these initial battles suffered terribly, many of the columns reduced to less than half their original strength as they fended off the Rangda and several were annihilated entirely, but the information they procured was priceless indeed. The tactics, weaponry and character of the Rangda were laid bare to Grandmaster Vendraig, though at the cost of several hundred of his finest warriors, and with this he planned his next steps.

Arrayed and ordered to take full advantage of their foe's weakness, the host of the Ist Legion advanced in force to meet their enemy: a host of near 30,000 Astartes in full panoply of glory and with all the brutal weapons of their trade, the full muster of those still combat-capable and not bound to serve in orbit aboard the ships of the fleet. Such a force was a threat that could not be ignored and the Rangda, proud and still certain of their superiority, quickly moved to oppose the creatures that dared to invade their home. The two armies met across 100 kilometres of Advex-mors' broken outlands.

The initial stages of the battle were fought against the slave legions of the Rangda by the screening elements of the Host of Blades and the heavy tanks of the Host of Iron, warriors ready to counter this by-now familiar Rangdan tactic. Knowing that the true Rangda would expend their slaves with abandon in order to pinpoint a weakness in the Astartes' lines before attacking -- pitting their strength against the weakest point of their opponent -- Grandmaster Vendraig had massed his finest warriors, veterans of the Hosts of Crowns and Bone, to act as a mobile reserve. Meanwhile, mobile elements of companies led by warriors of the Host of Wind, mounted on swift jetbikes and Land Speeders, isolated and harried the main body of the Rangdan force and relayed precise information on their movements. Made complacent by Terran centuries of conquest and success, the Rangdan elite watched and waited, fully assured that they would claim victory once committed to the fighting against an exhausted and drained foe.

Rather than wait for the hammer blow to fall and sunder his formation, Grandmaster Vendraig moved first, leading a charge that burst through the slave soldier battalions and bore down upon their waiting Rangdan overlords. Too proud to retreat in the face of such a challenge, the Rangda met the warriors of the Ist Legion blade-to-blade in a savage melee that tested the mettle of both forces, the stoic brutality and measured swordsmanship of the Ist Legion matched against the savage might and cruel technology of the Rangda. Legiones Astartes warriors were cut asunder by Rangdan warriors enveloped in layers of energy shielding that burned the very air about them as they fought, while the lithe, vulpine xenos fell before the Terranic Greatswords of the Ist Legion Terminators.

It was a slaughter that would have ended in mutual annihilation, both sides equally matched in skill and power, until Vendraig met the Rangdan warmaster in single combat. Vendraig was a superlative swordsman, strong of arm and swift in battle, yet his foe was a towering xenos monster cloaked in burning energy fields and wielding a huge crystalline blade that bled a neurotoxin of hideous potency. For an hour the duel raged and, as their warriors died around them, the two generals fought with savage ferocity, neither giving an inch. In the end, though wracked by the pain of the toxin raging in his blood and his armour rent and sundered, Urian Vendraig slew his foe and held high the severed head of the Rangdan warmaster, the battle decided and the pride of that foul xenos breed broken.

With the greatest strength of the foe shattered in open combat by the warriors of the Emperor and their warmaster a cooling corpse in the dust, those Rangda that remained fled and took refuge in the fortresses left to them. However, with the Imperium's ships consolidating control of orbit now that the war-moon had been broken and the Grandmaster's host having scattered the greatest strength of their defences, the Rangda were a broken force. The next few solar months became a series of gruelling sieges as the Ist Legion surrounded and reduced each of the Rangdan fortresses by storm, leaving no stone upon stone and utterly erasing all trace of the enemy on the world they had once claimed, while in orbit specially equipped cadres of Breachers and Destroyers swept the vast ruins of the war-moon slaughtering the thousands of Rangda still trapped in its labyrinthine warrens.

Yet the cost of this victory in the First Rangdan Xenocide was staggering, with some 10,000 of the Ist Legion slain and 50 Imperial ships of the line utterly destroyed, including the irreplaceable Paradigm of Hate, the wreckage of which could not be salvaged from the fused remains of the Rangdan war-moon. This was the legacy the Ist Legion wished to leave, a symbol of their Legion in the barren waste they made of Advex-mors and a message to those who might seek to oppose them. Those that would seek war with the Ist Legion would be met by a foe that would not balk when faced with the highest cost to claim victory, a host that would bring an enemy not only to defeat, but to utter annihilation.

Decline of the First

The epic poems and depictions of the Advex-mors campaign were spread across the Imperium by the Remembrancers that had accompanied the fleet. The Ist Legion had taken one of the direst threats to emerge from beyond the borders of the Imperium head-on in their place of power and crushed them utterly and without mercy, leaving no stone upon stone. Yet, it was but one great victory among a thousand others, with each of the Legions able to boast of achievements just as impressive, their returned primarchs forging legends that would resound across the galaxy for thousands of Terran years.

Far from ending the strife within the Legion, the Battle of Advex-mors seemed only to deepen the malaise that gripped its heart, a sickness that sought to corrupt that once unparalleled force. Pride had taken hold of the warriors and masters of the Legion, and only blood would assuage its hunger.

In the wake of the campaign at Advex-mors, the newly-anointed Grandmaster sought other badges of glory for his Legion. A dozen victories were claimed for the First, each more reckless than the last, and yet it was still considered nothing more than what was expected by the Divisio Militaris on distant Terra. Driven on by a hunger for glory that grew with each and every campaign honour, the Grandmaster and his warriors arrived at the non-Compliant stronghold of Karkasarn, a fortress-world that had resisted Roboute Guilliman and the storied ranks of his elite for almost a solar month. The patient warlord of the Ultramarines had set his strategies, intending to besiege the fortress in detail and save his Legion the unwarranted casualties a foolhardy frontal assault would bring.

The arrival of Grandmaster Urian Vendraig and his warriors did not change this strategy, and the Lord of Ultramar expected them to heed his counsel and join his camp. The warriors of the First, seeing before them a chance to humble the great primarch, formed ranks before the great kilometres-high gates of the world-fortress of Karkasarn and charged.

A wedge of black-armoured warriors and engines of war, 10,000 strong and preceded by the same great banners that had once gone to war at the side of the Emperor Himself, descended upon the city-sized gatehouse. Hundreds fell in the initial assault, blasted apart by rampart cannon and immolated by plasma-gouts issued forth from hidden murder holes in the fortifications. They forced a breach at the cost of their own lives, opening a path for the heavy guns to burn a hole in the vast gates and into the maze of fortified boulevards beyond. His hand forced by the actions of the First, Guilliman and his own warriors advanced, but slowly, cautiously, taking each objective methodically and with minimal losses.

The vanguard of the Ist Legion soon outpaced them, making for the central plaza and the citadel at its heart. Though they would reach it long before the Ultramarines, a final act of treachery by the desperate overlords of Karkasarn would undermine the Ist Legion's victory: a hidden atomic mine detonated under the keep's tower and killed the second Grandmaster of the Ist Legion as he stood upon the threshold of triumph, burying both Vendraig and his lifeguard cadre from the Host of Death.

Though their losses had been grievous, both in number and in significance, victory had been seized in the Legion's bloodied grasp, its savour all the more sweet for the price paid to earn it. Yet the Lord of Ultramar, his blue-clad warriors last to the battle and last to the victory, offered them no words of congratulations. The primarch did not acknowledge the skills or the fortitude of the Ist Legion, gave no salute to their bravery or their fallen. Instead, he offered only these words to the battered ranks of the victorious First as they stood about the bodies of their fallen champions: "Vainglory is a poor strategist, for he renders triumph a bitter trophy and an empty prize. Today you have proven the strength of your Legion, but not its wisdom."

Along a Knife's Edge

It would be in death that Grandmaster Urian Vendraig would finally achieve his aim, for it was the first stirrings of hate that would unite his Legion, an animosity that was born with his death and festered in the ignominious victory of Karkasarn. That world was abandoned by the Ist Legion and left to the warriors of Ultramar, its battle honour excised from Legion records and marked on banners only by an empty laurel. The only thing that the Angels of Death would take with them from Karkasarn was a subtle taint, a lingering sense of ignominy that soured their conquests and achievements and drove them to even greater feats to prove their valour.

For despite the deeds of their past and the victory at Karkasarn, the Ultramarines saw them simply as equals -- brothers rather than mentors. To the Ist Legion, whom the Emperor had created first and kept close at His side, this seemed more of an insult than the harsh words of Roboute Guilliman.

Once more the Council of Masters took the reins of the Ist Legion, that most potent weapon of war, and split it across the stars to seek vindication in the most deadly contests of arms they could find, each eager to prove the worth of their Legion and their Host. They gave battle without remorse and grasped at triumphs without regard for the cost attached to their trophies. The 9th and 14th Chapters of the Legion took the coral citadels of Melnoch from the Fra'al in a single night of brutal close quarters slaughter, at a cost of a tenth of their own strength, in order to outpace the onslaught of the Luna Wolves elsewhere in the cluster.

Upon the rust deserts of Vorsingun a force of 1,000 initiates of the Host of Iron, gathered from 11 companies and crewing over 400 engines of war, took the field against a throng of brutish Orkoid hulks over three times their number, running ahead of the main assault force to claim victory for themselves at a fearful price. Yet for each victory, each battle honour claimed by the blood of its warriors, the Ist Legion came no closer to regaining the glory of its inception.

All across the galaxy the Legiones Astartes had each become a unique weapon of war, having taken the doctrines of the Principia Bellicosa developed from the trials of the Ist Legion's campaigns and surpassed them, adapting them to their own needs. In the Realm of Ultramar, the grand kingdom of the Ultramarines forged by the hand of Guilliman, the primarch of the XIIIth Legion had gone so far as to pen a new treatise of war to improve upon the scheme by which the Legions had organised themselves since they had left Terra. The golden age of the Ist Legion, those halcyon days when it had stood as sole guardian of the fledgling Imperium, had all but ended. The nature of those hidden battles meant that they would live on only in the memories of the oldest warriors of the Legion and in the secret histories of the Imperial Archives, a bitter price to pay for the first of all the Emperor's Legions that their own honour would ever hold their greatest achievements captive.

Pride, which had sustained the Legion through all of the horrors of its past, all of its solitary crusades and valiant last stands, would not allow them to accept a lesser place in the Imperium's order of battle. Pride would see the Legion ground to dust before it would let the younger Legions eclipse them.

As the Great Crusade drew to its mid-point, the turning of the tide in the Emperor's war to conquer the galaxy, the Ist Legion stood at a precipice of their own. The years since the death of Grandmaster Urian Vendraig had seen them reduced in number, but not in spirit. Where the other Legions had prospered and grown stronger, the Angels of Death had seen their power squandered in suicidal assaults and campaigns gruelling beyond the ken of mortal soldiers. Those wars had cost them warriors and war engines, more perhaps than was wise, but had honed the fighting skills of its warriors to a keen, but brittle edge. To their allies they were grim deathseekers, ever-searching for the mightiest foes against which to match their skills and never retreating from battle, even in the face of annihilation. Its leadership divided among the Council of Masters and its warriors taken by a fever of battle-lust, the Legion was spread across the galaxy and engaged in wars beyond count, each chapter, host and order seeking to regain what had been lost.

Had it continued down that path it is likely that the Ist Legion would have fallen, slowly and inevitably cut to pieces on the double-edged blade of its pride. Yet this was not to be, for a small fleet of Jaghatai Khan's roving hunters, the White Scars, would discover a world known as Caliban and the Emperor would bring forth from its dark forests the Ist Legion's salvation.

Lion El'Jonson

YoungLionElJonson

The young Primarch Lion El'Jonson as a knight of The Order on Caliban before the Great Crusade.

As with much knowledge regarding the Ist Legion and its master, there was a vast body of rumour and little fact regarding the earliest years of the Primarch Lion El'Jonson.

Before the start of the Great Crusade, the gestation pod containing the infant primarch that had been mysteriously teleported through the Warp from the Emperor's subterranean gene-laboratory beneath the Himalazian (Himalayan) Mountains landed on the feudal Death World of Caliban in what would become the Segmentum Obscurus.

Caliban was a planet whose surface was largely covered by 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 to defend themselves 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 Legiones 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.

Over 150 Terran years later, the young Lion would be discovered by a hunting party of the knights of The Order in the depths of Caliban's forests. Within these forests dwelt a breed of creature now unknown in the galaxy, monstrous chimaeric weapons left over from the Age of Strife, driven by a hunger that could not be slaked and fully capable of rendering an armoured warrior into a ruin of blood and flesh in seconds.

How long the young primarch had survived alone in the green deeps cannot be known for certain, for the Lion himself seldom spoke of those times. The knights that found him assumed from his stature and bearing that he could not have spent more than a solar decade alone, but the growth and development of the primarchs does not follow the pattern of mortal Humans, and they do not age as do those untouched by the Emperor's genius.

The span of standard years in which the Lion prowled Caliban's sea of trees may well have been far longer than can be easily comprehended. Indeed, the legends of those fortified towns that bordered the stretch of forest where the primarch was discovered spoke of a forest spirit that haunted the depths, a spirit of small stature but whose form was that of a man who was known only by the mysterious marks he left in his wake and had existed for nearly a standard century before the discovery of El'Jonson.

Regardless of whether the Lion had stalked the world-forest of Caliban for a Terran decade or a century, that time had left its mark upon him. The lightless depths beneath the forest canopy teemed with horrors, rapacious killers that often emerged from the deeps to hunt among the towns and villages of Caliban's slowly-dwindling Human population. There, amongst the most foul monstrosities imaginable, the Lion spent his childhood.

He learned to keep silent, lest he grant advantage to those that stalked him, he learned to fight only when he could win, lest he be wounded too gravely to survive, and he learned that once battle was joined it could end only in death, that the strong would survive and the weak would fall. He fought for his life with nothing but his bare hands and a determination so inhumanly strong that it served him better than any iron-forged blade.

The Lion was no feral berserker, but rather a calculating hunter ruled by logic and not simple rage. When he was discovered at last by the knights of Caliban, he was judged so dangerous that it might be best to have him slain, treated as one of the Great Beasts of the forest, so akin to them was he. It was the judgement of one man that would see him brought into the realm of Mankind and away from that of beasts, and that man was named Luther.

As a champion among the warriors that had defended Caliban through the long years of Old Night, Luther named his new charge Lion El'Jonson, which meant "the Lion, Son of the Forest" in the Calibanite dialect of Low Gothic, and raised him as a knight of The Order. Luther taught El'Jonson the laws and strictures of The Order, to mete out justice as a man rather than as a beast, and gave him something that the young primarch had never before had -- a reason to fight beyond simple survival.

Caliban was a dying world, its people besieged by the Great Beasts that thronged in the hidden depths of the forest and slowly driven to extinction. The Order, which built and manned the great fortresses at the borders of the wild, had vainly tried to stem the tide but had succeeded only at slowing the pace of their people's destruction, for they were too few to do more than defend their fastnesses from the constant assaults.

El'Jonson was taken to The Order's chief fortress-monastery of Aldurukh 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 solar decade of constant warfare against the terrible dangers of the deep forests.

El'Jonson would quickly prove not only a superlative warrior and strategist, but also a leader whose quiet confidence and iron will drew recruits to The Order in numbers never before seen. With each victory against the Great Beasts of the forest, each fell head planted upon the walls of The Order's fortresses, more warriors took up arms with hope in more than simple survival.

Lion El'Jonson stood at the forefront of this new crusade, not by choice, for he had ever been taciturn and prone to seek solitude, but by action, always to be found at the fore of any battle and unafraid to speak his mind or act when others might hesitate. By his order the old traditions that allowed only the nobility to fight among the knightly orders of Caliban were dropped, swelling The Order's ranks further at the cost of some dissent within the ranks of the more traditional knights.

Any Calibanite knightly order that did not follow El'Jonson's lead, such as the Knights of Lupus of the northern forests which feared like many that the destruction of the Great Beasts would up-end Caliban's traditional social order, was destroyed to the last man.

Pre heresy lion el johnson

Supreme Grand Master Lion El'Jonson as a knight of The Order on Caliban.

Within the space of a solar decade, The Order's ranks had grown to the point that they were able to take the war for their survival ever-deeper into the world-forest itself. With Lion El'Jonson and Luther at their head, they unleashed their crusade to rid Caliban of its curse, bringing flame and steel to the lair of the monsters that had hunted them for generations beyond count.

The war was long and bloody, with hundreds slain for each monstrous nest put to the torch, and many grew weary of the slaughter -- all save the grim knight, El'Jonson. The Lion knew that mercy had no place in war, to leave with their task unfinished and with any of the foe yet alive would be to waste all of the lives spent in its pursuit. There could be only one end and that was the total annihilation of the enemy by whatever means was needed.

El'Jonson set the knights to ambush the Great Beasts as they came to feed, poisoned the pools at which the creatures drank and set ablaze vast tracts of the forest to set them to flight. He gave the foe no respite and hunted them till no more could be found, and when his warriors spoke of his prowess and victories, it was fear that coloured their words as much as awe.

Some of Caliban's aristocracy, following in the wake of the Knights of Lupus, feared his new methods and determination enough to declare open rebellion, some fearing the changes he had wrought upon the tradition-bound people of Caliban and others simply seeking to claim the power Lion El'Jonson had come to wield. These traitors to the cause of Caliban's salvation were put down without mercy, the ranks of their knights and soldiers culled in their entirety and their fastnesses torn down as a warning to others.

At the end of the crusade against the Great Beasts, with both the Lion and Luther exhausted by the terrible cost the fighting had exacted, it was El'Jonson that received the battle honours and the title of Grand Master of The Order. He accepted the accolade without fanfare, for such Human eccentricities still seemed less worthwhile to the youth that had grown to manhood among monsters. He understood little the value some placed upon titles and rewards, for his grim and solitary habits had always kept him distant from others, and he saw not the change his rise had wrought in Luther.

For where they had once competed as equals for honour and victory, the primarch had now eclipsed his mentor and brother, leaving him behind as he grudgingly accepted the people's adulation and offer to rule over all of Caliban. It was a wound dealt in ignorance, for El'Jonson did not see the spark of fierce pride that burned within his brother ignite to jealousy in the face of his triumphs, a wound that would fester in the years to follow.

Had the Emperor not arrived shortly after this victory, descending from the heavens to claim His lost son, then perhaps this wound might have healed in Caliban's new peace, but this was not to be. The Emperor came to heap new glories upon the Lion, granting him command of the Ist Legion, whom He renamed the "Dark Angels" after an ancient Calibanite myth that spoke to their grim mien, and making him a general within the vast Imperial army that sought to conquer the galaxy.

Lion El'Jonson would soon leave for distant Terra and his new destiny, bringing his uncompromising and remorseless style of warfare to the ranks of the Imperial forces. To him would fall the role of watchman at the edge of the Emperor's domain, the bane of monsters and beasts and the bearer of weapons too terrible to entrust to any other.

He would be the cold and inevitable destroyer, the doom that once unleashed could not be recalled, subverted or delayed; taught by the black depths of the forest of Caliban the value of cold, ruthless tenacity. Lion El'Jonson was the first of all the primarchs, war distilled into its rawest and most fundamental essence, death that walked like a man, and the galaxy would be forever changed by his return.

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
LionElJonsonPortrait

A sketch of the Primarch Lion El'Jonson during the Great Crusade.

Shortly after the success of the campaign against the Great Beasts, in 846.M30 the Emperor of Mankind and a small band of His Legiones Astartes scouts drawn from the Ist Legion arrived on Caliban after they detected the psychic emanations of one of the primarchs. From the moment the Emperor first 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 Ist 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.

Only a small honour guard of the Ist Legion would accompany the Emperor to Caliban, for the Legion was still scattered to war zones across the front lines of the Great Crusade. A mere 500, mostly veterans of the Host of Death, would precede the Master of Mankind as He journeyed to greet His lost son, the Knight of Caliban known as "The Lion." Arrayed in the jet black power armour and mortuary symbols that had come to be their mark, it seemed as if the old tales of Calibanite legend and myth had come to life, a host of dark angels mustering before the stronghold of The Order and kneeling before Lion El'Jonson.

In that initial, fateful encounter the Legion would earn a new title from the first of the primarchs, for he saw fit to test the mettle of his new followers by personally duelling the captain of the company. The Lion stood against the Cataphractii-armoured warrior and matched his Calibanite steel to the power field-wreathed blade of his opponent and left him wounded in the dust; the Lion took their measure and they his and both learned a respect for the other. From that day forth the primarch would call the Astartes of the Ist Legion his "Dark Angels," a title that soon spread throughout the Legion.

Within a short span of time, the Emperor arrived at The Order's fortress-monastery to reclaim His lost gene-son in person and induct Caliban formally into the Imperium of Man, its vast forests to be cleared for industry and the first tithes of recruits claimed from among its population to replenish the depleted ranks of the Ist Legion.

The day of the Emperor's arrival was one 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 Imperial 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.

The Ist Legion's governing Council of Masters on distant Gramarye would soon hear of Lion El'Jonson, the man who was their primarch, and once more they were riven by dissension. Though none would doubt the word of the Emperor that this knight of Caliban was their true lord, they were split by shame and pride. Some were stricken by remorse at the state of the Legion their primarch would inherit, while others wished to set forth and bring a suitable victory as a trophy to set at the feet of their new master.

All across the galaxy, the dispersed units of the Ist Legion reacted much the same, some detachments redoubling their efforts and throwing themselves into combat with renewed zeal to bring honour to the Legion, while others sought to extricate themselves from their campaigns so they might travel to Caliban and ask forgiveness of their returned primarch. The Lion himself was brought to Terra by the Emperor, that he might learn of the war the Master of Mankind wished him to prosecute and of the role he would play for the Imperium in the years yet to come.

Soon, the Space Marines of the Ist Legion who had accompanied the Emperor to Caliban 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 Ist 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 Space Marine Legions were united in purpose and will. Such division could not be tolerated, and at the behest of the Lion and the Dark Angels, the individual knightly orders were disbanded and brought under the control of the Ist 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.

More objections were raised when the soldiers of the Imperial Army descended to the surface of Caliban. The Ist 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 earth-moving machines that cleared dozens of kilometres of forest a solar day and left flat, lifeless soil in their wake, ready to be planted or built upon. Mines, refineries and manufactoria 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 Terran 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 Ist 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 standard years into battle-brothers of the Ist Legion, the newly renamed "Dark Angels."

Luther had also been chosen to join the Ist 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.

As for Lion El'Jonson, his brother primarchs would come to call him dour and morose, given to dark moods and heedless of the counsel of others, but he saw things simply and starkly. He learned on Terra that the war he had fought in Caliban's monster-haunted forests had not been ended, but only begun -- for the galaxy teemed with monsters to be slain. He dedicated himself to one task: killing.

He had no time for Sanguinius' chivalric ideals, for Mortarion's arbitrary hatreds or Fulgrim's obsession with beauty, such passion only obfuscated the true goal: that the enemies of Mankind should be destroyed. As the first of all the primarchs created by the Emperor, he was both more and less than his brothers: a primal force of destruction whose single-minded focus wrought him more inhuman than even Magnus the Red.

The Lion could stand against any of his kin, match blades with Fulgrim and stalemate the strategies of Roboute Guilliman and, though some might exceed him in the details of some tasks there were none that were his equal in the grander scope of battle, none whose will could match the bloody-minded determination of the Lion. His talents and resolute confidence, which some might have called arrogance, won him few friends but saw him placed at the head of his Legion faster than any of the primarchs to be rediscovered before him.

And the Legion he inherited was in sore need of its primarch and in need of a new beginning. Scattered and fractured, the Ist Legion remained a powerful fighting force but one whose purpose had become lost in the long years of the Great Crusade. Before the coming of the primarch they had been mentors and guides for the younger Legions, but their students had long since found their own wisdom. Now Lion El'Jonson would grant them a new purpose, one in keeping with the primarch's own methods and the vision he had for the Emperor's Great Crusade.

His first acts were to merge many of the teachings of Caliban's techno-feudal aristocracy with those of the Ist Legion Hexagrammaton, fusing the best of Terra and Caliban to create something new and more refined, and to gather the scattered fragments of his Legion together. With the first generations of recruits taken from the ranks of the worthy among the knights of Caliban still undergoing implantation of gene-seed, hypnogogic indoctrination and live-fire training, the Lion prepared to embark on a crusade of his own.

With him were to be found the original 500 warriors that had first arrived at Caliban as well as those chapters and battle groups that had sought him out to pledge their allegiance, as well as auxilia companies raised from the stock of Caliban to serve the Imperial Army, and a small retinue of Mechanicum magi from the Forge World of Xana II, eager to court favour with the new primarch. In full they numbered 20,000 warriors, perhaps a third of the Legion, each marked by the new beginning they were pledged to, adorned with the winged sword of Lion El'Jonson's Dark Angels instead of the grim marks of an age now ended.

Lion El'Jonson led this host forth, seeking out those companies of his gene-sons that had not yet found their way to his side. To find those scattered warriors amid the chaos of the Great Crusade, a war waged across a galaxy by ten billion warriors under arms, was no small feat and made possible only by the genius of the Lion himself and the arts of the tech-adepts of Xana, who quickly parsed the data banks of the Divisio Militaris to discern in which campaigns the Ist Legion bled and died.

For any other Legion the arrival of their newly-rediscovered primarch might have been the cause for raucous celebration or ostentatious parades, but not so for the grim Ist. News of Lion El'Jonson's approach most often spurred the warriors of the Ist Legion to redouble their efforts in battle, throwing themselves upon the foe without care for their survival so that when they stood before their gene-father they might offer him the blood-soaked laurels of victory.

Each battle-worn company received their new master with the same stoic reserve, with silent courtesy and brief but solemn vows of allegiance, and each was tested in battle by the primarch himself before they joined the ranks of his growing entourage. As was the way of the Lion, he demonstrated his worth by his actions and skill rather than with words and vague promises, allowing those who might doubt him to match their blades against his in honest combat. None among the Legion could question his right to lead after such a trial, though some few within the Legion harboured misgivings at the sudden changes the primarch brought to the centuries-old doctrines of the Legion and the shift in authority he represented.

Within a few short standard years, the Lion had gathered the vast majority of his Legion together, near 100,000 warriors, and led them to the ancient stronghold of the Ist Legion on Gramarye. There the gathered Council of Masters and Preceptor's Conclave awaited him amid the many glories of the Ist Legion's long and glorious history and the amassed wisdom distilled from its battles. Here, surrounded by the dusty trophies of the past, Lion El'Jonson made his Legion whole once again; he faced the ceremonial champion of the Council of Masters in the ring of honour, battling Pyrhus Calagat, the master of the Host of Fire, in an hour-long duel that has since become legend. This final trial ended, the primarch accepted the titles of Grandmaster of the Ist Legion, the six wings of the Hexagrammaton and High Preceptor of the Orders Militant of the Ist Legion, the first warrior to consolidate the leadership of the entire Legion under one banner.

To the gathered warriors of the Dark Angels, whose oaths had now been sworn in blood and sacrifice, the new primarch swore an oath of his own, an oath to seal the pact between them. This oath is recorded in the books of the Council of Masters: "We are the Angels of Darkness, for us there is no peace, no end but war and death. We shall not walk in the golden halls of Mankind's future, but stand resolute in the shadows beyond. While we yet draw breath, this Imperium will not fall and we will not know defeat, for I pledge every warrior, every drop of blood in the Legion in the name of victory, no matter the cost."

Reorganisation of the Ist Legion

With his oath to his Legion sworn, Lion El'Jonson saw the rise of his Dark Angels, placing new masters over each of the wings he had created from the bones of the Legion's old hosts and formalising the Dark Angels' various informal orders in the style of Caliban's knightly orders.

With the first influx of new recruits from Caliban now ready to join the Ist Legion, comprising those older warriors like Luther that had opted to undergo the painful and unreliable cybernetic and genetic augmetic enhancement process that allowed them to reach levels of ability comparable to true Space Marines, Lion El'Jonson swiftly incorporated them within this new structure, taking care to assign posts and commands based only on merit and not due to origin or the simple virtue of time in service.

A number of the Lion's old companions from The Order found positions within his inner circle, and despite the stringent trials the Lion insisted upon, some of the oldest veterans were less than pleased to yield their authority to these comparative newcomers. The old grand Legion chantry on Gramarye was torn down, replaced with a more modest fortress to secure the industrial sprawl of that world, for though the Legion would maintain a great fortress-monastery on Caliban, its true heart and seat of power would be the sanctum of its primarch aboard his flagship, the ancient Gloriana-class Battleship Invincible Reason.

For many, this reinvigoration of the Legion served to dispel the malaise that had long lain over the First, discarding the vainglory that had sapped the worth from victory and embracing the purity of the primarch's vision; though for a silent minority of veterans the sudden and jarring dissolution of old traditions and the introduction of new Calibanite blood left a lingering sense of doubt.

The Lion chose to confront any intransigence with the stoic indifference that was his hallmark, choosing to immerse the Legion in war and trust that his example would dispel any doubt. Dispersed under the masters and knight-commanders of the Legion he set the Dark Angels to their task, while the primarch led his own fleet to answer a call for aid received only recently by the newly-installed astropathic choir at Caliban. His destination was the distant world of Karkasam, where the Ultramarines garrison there had resisted siege for over eight solar months after a sudden uprising against Imperial rule among the population living within the ruined halls of the shattered world-fortress.

The desperate rebels had opened hidden vaults deep beneath the surface of the planet and set loose a biogenic phage that had reshaped the broken people of their world into twisted, blood-hungry ghouls whose minds were burned clean of all thought except the need to hunt and kill. These monstrous mutant creations then fell upon the unsuspecting warriors of the XIIIth Legion with a ferocity that gave pause to even the warriors of the Legiones Astartes.

With much of the Great Crusade's strength concentrated to the galactic east, there were few forces available to relieve the beleaguered Ultramarines and, given the history of Karkasam, few expected the Dark Angels to return. So, when the Invincible Reason broke through the Immaterium andentered realspace, its drop bays already open and primed for launch, Praetor Artaeon of the XIIIth, the commander of the all-but-overrun Astartes garrison, lost for a moment the famous stoic reserve of the Ultramarines and cried out for joy at the sight.

The Lion himself was at the forefront of the relief force, cutting a path through the teeming hordes of flesh-ghola that threatened to overrun the Ultramarines. At the head of 1,000 ebon-armoured Veterans of the Dreadwing, the new master of the Ist Legion made swift work of the foe, a curtain of superheated plasma scouring clean the walls and bunkers of the Ultramarines' fortress. At his heels came the full force of the fleet, 10,000 transhuman warriors of the Dark Angels, and by their blades was the enemy put to rout and then annihilated as they cowered in their boltholes.

When the Ultramarines sallied forth from their fortifications to meet them among the sea of corpses and ash they did so with some trepidation, perhaps expecting some measure of retribution for the last meeting between their Legions at Karkasarn or a demand to cede the world to the Ist Legion in return for their aid. Yet the Lion had no interest in old grudges or the tawdry business of accolades and honours, and with the killing complete he left without fanfare, leaving behind only an empty banner to mark the Dark Angels' debt to the Ultramarines paid. That this was among his first battles was no accident, but a statement of his intent. He was not to play at politics, not to build empires, nor monuments, he was pledged to war and death -- to kill the enemies of the Emperor and nothing else.

And so it was with this doctrine in mind that Lion El'Jonson and his Dark Angels took up their duties in the latter days of the Great Crusade.

Late Great Crusade

"There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures."

— Attrib. the Emperor of Mankind, to the Six Hosts at their embarkation upon the expeditionary fleets during the outset of the Great Crusade, ca. 798.M30
Lion El'Jonson Sarosh

Primarch Lion El'Jonson during the Great Crusade.

Twenty Legions of Space Marines were created by the Emperor during the Great Crusade to join and lead His quest to unite all of Humanity under the aegis of the Imperium of Man. The nascent proto-Legion, known as the Primus or Ist Legion (later renamed after a series of cognomens including "The First," the "Angels of Death" and the "Uncrowned Princes" as the Angelis Tenebraium or Dark Angels) was the very first of those original "First Founding" Legions to be created at the beginning of the Great Crusade.

The Ist Legion was raised first to active service in a staged process of testing and trials before the full active force was created through mass recruitment. Each stage of creation resulted in an expansion of the gene-seed implantation on progressively larger groups of neophytes.

During the Unification Wars on Terra, they were the first of the Space Marine Legions to be created and were therefore 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.

Compliance of Molech

One of Lion El'Jonson's earliest campaigns as commander of the newly-dubbed Dark Angels Legion, was the Imperial Compliance of the newly discovered Knight World of Molech. This was a massive joint-Compliance operation between multiple Legiones Astartes, including the Dark Angels, Luna Wolves, Emperor's Children, White Scars and thousands of Imperialis Auxilia soldiers and various Mechanicum and Legio Titanicus assets.

Cyprian Devine of House Devine was named planetary governor of Molech. In the presence of several of His primarch sons, the Emperor led them to a Warp Gate hidden underground, where He proceeded to utilise it to enter into the Realm of Chaos to parley with the Ruinous Powers.

DA warlord Lion ElJonson AA

Primarch Lion El'Jonson during the Great Crusade.

When He finally returned, the Emperor appeared aged, but much more powerful. He then psychically suppressed His sons' memories of Molech and stationed a large garrison force comprised of nearly 100 Imperialis Auxilia regiments, three Legio Titanicus cohorts, along with detachments from two Space Marine Legions to protect the secrets of the Warp Gate on Molech.

Second and Third Rangdan Xenocides

Next, the Dark Angels took part in the vital campaigns of the final Rangdan Xenocides. They fought alongside Titans from the Legio Gryphonicus, Legio Vulturum and Legio Kydianos as well as other Xanite Mechanicum forces from the Forge World of Xana II.

The conflict began in 862.M30 when the Rangda, that xenos terror long thought extinguished in the earlier First Rangdan Xenocide, fell upon the northern reaches of the Imperium in numbers that defied belief. For almost a solar decade the veterans of the Ist Legion, now the Dark Angels, fought to hold at bay an enemy that threatened to consume all the worlds of Mankind.

The Lion wrought his own legend in those dark times, a grim figure of death and vengeance that descended upon the Rangda in a cold fury: In the first dire standard years of the conflict, when the Imperium seemed lost in a tide of xenos fiends and their slaves, the Lion stood tall amid the carnage. He was no golden hero like his brother Sanguinius, nor a black-humoured figurehead like Horus Lupercal, but rather a silent rock, unyielding in the storm. He did not inspire loyalty, nor any other virtue. Rather he went forth where the foe was strongest, armoured by his pride and confidence and drew others along with him for the simple honour of standing by his side.

For near a solar decade the battles would rage, some nine Space Marine Legions taking part in the fighting, and ravaging Human colonies across the northern sectors of the Imperium. Of those Legions caught up in the fighting many would suffer serious losses, the Space Wolves marking the loss of some 5,000 Astartes breaking the siege of Xana alone and the Dark Angels, gathered once again in almost their full number, bore a toll of their own.

LionElJonson2

Lion El'Jonson, primarch of the Dark Angels Legion, during the Great Crusade.

The Dark Angels hurled themselves at their enemies and broke their greater strength in countless battles against the vile xenos on the edge of the Halo Stars. This campaign culminated in the Third Rangdan Xenocide around 890.M30, which resulted in the loss of the lives of 50,000 Dark Angels Space Marines, spent in preventing the destruction of perhaps the entire northern Imperium by the alien menace from the outer darkness.

At the breaking of the great citadel of Vorksag, during the vast clash of void ships over Morcar and the seven-solar-week-long Battle of Morro, where three companies of the Dark Angels held against more than a million Rangdan neuro-shackled servitors, victory was bought at the cost of their lives, and with the blood of the old Legion, for when victory was at last proclaimed and the Rangdan menace vanquished for the final time, the Dark Angels were but a tenth of their old number.

Some say the old Legion fought to prove themselves worthy of their new master, others that they bled to make right their failure to destroy the Rangda when first they met at the Battle of Advex-mors, and a few whispered that the Lion sent them into slaughter so he might replace them with more tractable, Calibanite warriors.

Whether true or not, it was to Caliban that the Lion turned to replenish the ranks of his Legion. With the Rangdan plague driven back, the first new influx of true Calibanite Space Marines entered the ranks of the Legion, where once they had been but the few older companions of the primarch, now they were dispersed across all the wings and orders of the Legion.

They were a new breed of warrior for the Ist Legion, guided more by tradition and ritual than their forebears and unburdened by the weight of pride that had been the lodestone of the Terran veterans. In the wake of the Second Rangdan Xenocide, it was this changed Legion that went forth to continue its works and to bring war to the most fell of foes.

From Caliban they spread out across the stars, for unlike many of their brethren they took few strongholds, save for the lonely chantry-holds that held the knowledge of the Legion. Each of their expeditionary fleets was bound to a different corner of the Imperium, to patrol the dark places where monsters were still to be found. The Lion took command of one such fleet, no larger or more grand than any other for he expected each to be an engine of death capable of defeating any foe, and set course for the world known to Imperial cartographers as Sarosh.

Due to the extensive losses suffered by the Ist Legion during the Rangdan Xenocides, by 899.M30, the Ultramarines Legion were on the cusp of becoming the largest Space Marine Legion, standing at around 166,000 Legionaries.

Feud of Dulan

Brother Titus of the Dark Angels Legion

Brother Titus, honoured Dreadnought of the Dark Angels Legion during the campaign on Dulan.

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 Lupercal 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 in 870.M30 where the Space Wolves were fighting alongside the Dark Angels that matters came to a head. This incident would start the millennia-long rivalry between the Dark Angels and the Space Wolves. The planetary governor of Dulan, Durath, had denounced the 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 solar 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, realising 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 Battle of Dulan and the infamous feud between the Dark Angels and the Space Wolves is a tale told many times. In essence it is always recounted as a simple tale, yet one that has seen a number of tellings each of which has had its own agenda, and rarely has that agenda been the simple truth. The details of the battle are well known as noted in the most common retelling above.

Leman Russ and Lion El'Jonson were both assigned to the conquest of the world of Dulan and, while the Space Wolves waited and lay siege, the Dark Angels staged a sudden assault that allowed them to claim the honour of the final victory. On hearing of this it is most often claimed as above that Leman Russ flew into a rage and assaulted his brother, leading to the legendary duel between them that their Legions' Successor Chapters are rumoured to reenact whenever they meet. This has led to the popular assumption of a bitter grudge between the Space Wolves and the Dark Angels, a sense of lasting ill will brought about by this single isolated incident that has been accepted by history as fact.

Yet, those two Legions and their later Successor Chapter fought together on a number of occasions, both before and after the Battle of Dulan, without rancour and in many cases with a noted sense of shared camaraderie. Indeed, it has often been noted that the two primarchs, Lion El'Jonson and Leman Russ, were of much the same character, though they oft expressed it differently. Both were practical to their core, with little time for frivolity or the excesses of civilisation. Both valued plain speaking over political necessity and judged men and women by the actions they took rather than the words they spoke. But above all, the two primarchs placed the utmost value on loyalty, holding their oaths as iron bonds and reserving the deepest hate for those who would forsake a vow.

This being true, it throws the events on Dulan, and the grudge they are supposed to have given birth to, into a strange light. That the two fought is not in doubt, for too many sources agree on it; that either came to hold a grudge is implausible. If anything, the record of the two primarchs suggests a deep bond of trust and mutual respect.

Together they had seen the end of the Rangdan empire, had conquered a thousand worlds and vanquished some of the most terrible foes to stand against the Imperium. Dulan would seem to have represented one of many tests; a test that allowed the two to take a measure of each other and a test oft repeated when they or their warriors met -- but one repeated without the rancour often attributed to it. There exists no greater symbol of the loyalty held between the two Legions, the Wolves of Fenris and the Knights of Caliban, than in the final days of the rebellion against the Emperor, when Horus himself trembled as the two Legions re-united as brothers-in-arms, ready to test themselves against the forces that lay siege to Terra.

Subjugation of Sarosh

The Descent of Angels

The Dark Angels descend upon the world of Sarosh to cleanse it.

The Dark Angels' 4th Expeditionary Fleet under the command of Lion El'Jonson took part in the continued Compliance of Sarosh (officially codified as Sigma Five-One Seven but known to the Dark Angels as Four-Three, the third world brought to Compliance by the 4th Expeditionary Fleet), which had formerly been commanded by an officer of the White Scars Legion.

Lion El'Jonson went in answer to a call for aid from his brother, Jaghatai Khan. Of all the primarchs, the Khan stood closest to the Lion, for despite their differences each appreciated the honest and forthright nature of the other, and so the Lion was ill-disposed to ignore his call.

The Sarosi -- ruled by a planetary 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 over a standard year had passed and the Sarosi were as yet no closer to attaining Compliance, constantly apologising to the Imperial planetary governor chosen for their world, Harlad Furst, that their bureaucracy was slowing the process.

Sar Luther Master of Caliban

Luther, after being sent back to Caliban.

But the Sarosi (without mentioning it to the Imperial expedition) secretly worshipped Chaos 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.

After the Dark Angels fleet arrived in orbit to accelerate the Compliance process, the Lord High Exacter, the leader of the Sarosi bureaucracy, who had been invited aboard the Invincible Reason to meet the primarch, denounced El'Jonson and the Emperor to the primarch's face aboard the Dark Angels' flagship, and El'Jonson responded by ramming his power sword through the fanatical Sarosi leader's body.

But the Sarosi delegation had also brought a hidden nucleonic device aboard their shuttle, intending to assassinate the fleet's entire command structure, including El'Jonson, in one fell swoop; however, Luther and a junior Librarian named Zahariel El'Zurias managed to eject the shuttle into space, causing only minor damage to the flagship. Luther admitted to Zahariel that he had discovered the device earlier and had briefly considered allowing it to kill his oldest friend, largely because of the jealousy that had begun to grow in his soul.

The rebels on Sarosh would be crushed for their treachery, brought to heel swiftly by the might of the Dark Angels and the Imperium's armies, but the victory would leave a bitter taste for many. In the aftermath of the fighting, some questioned the ease with which the Sarosi had infiltrated the Ist Legion's defences, and though none would call what had occurred treachery, there were those whose devotion to the Legion's new path was questioned.

Luther, Zahariel and five hundred other Dark Angels drawn from among the veterans of both Terra and Caliban were to find themselves returned to Caliban, not in exile, but neither in triumph.

There they were to serve as a garrison force, the overseers of the Lion's sanctuary and to continue the recruitment of new Space Marines into the Legion from the Calibanite population. They were required to leave the Great Crusade behind, regardless of their legacy of standard years in service in either the Calibanite forest or among the stars.

This was the determination of the Lion, that he would set aside even those whom he held dearest in the name of duty. Some would name it arrogance and others, with the benefit of hindsight, would call it foolhardy, but it was ever the way of the Lion. It was not the cold logic of battle favoured by some among the primarchs, but the proud imperative of duty and excellence -- that those who faltered be set aside, no matter how justified or small the failing, and the worthy grow stronger through the trials they faced.

Final Days of the Crusade

By this creed of strength and excellence the Ist Legion, the Dark Angels, lived and died, continuing the work of the Emperor in the last days of the Great Crusade. Wherever the tide of Imperial conquest slowed they were to be found, bright swords and grim resolve against the worst horrors of the galaxy. Lion El'Jonson, now long parted from the forests of Caliban and a staunch believer in the dream of Human empire embodied in his gene-father, fought with every moment given to him.

He spent no time on parades, fortress-building or in petty squabbles with his kin, but went stoically from battle to battle. He and his Legion began to shun the gatherings of the Great Crusade and the fellowship of their brothers among the Legiones Astartes, scorning those who would fret over such frivolities while there remained enemies of power and strength to test their mettle against. As the years and wars wore on, a distance grew between the Dark Angels and the other Legions of the Imperium; few of the primarchs cared to take the time to seek out their reclusive brother as he and his Legion continued to whet their blades to a keen edge.

They began to forget the deeds he and his warriors had performed, for he rarely spoke of them. All except one.

Horus Lupercal, ever watchful, paid much heed to his brother and the actions of his Legion. Once he had tried to bind the Ist Legion to him, only to find the cipher of their ways a shield against his influence and their pride a foil to his manipulation. His and Lorgar's warrior lodges would find no purchase within the ranks of the Dark Angels, as they were shunned by the preceptors of the Orders Militant and the proctors of the wings of the Hexagrammaton as worthless and beneath them. The Dark Angels were not and never could be Horus' to command.

The Dark Angels' master was as his Legion, a rock in which Horus Lupercal could find no crack or chink in which to fix his barbs, no psychological leash by which he could lead him along paths of his own choosing. The Lion was not well-liked among the brotherhood of the primarchs, but he had the respect of each and every one of his brothers, and more than that he had the trust of his father, the Emperor, and the keys to the hidden and ancient arsenals of Terra.

Were the Emperor to choose a single one among his primarchs to lead, to stand at the head of the Great Crusade, then Lion El'Jonson was a choice easily understood, and this troubled the master of the Luna Wolves. So, when the conquest of Ullanor Prime loomed before Horus in 000.M30, he was sure to see the Lion and the Ist Legion diverted to far battlefields and tendered him no invitation to the great Triumph of Ullanor that followed.

So it was that when Horus was crowned as the Warmaster of the Imperium the Lion was not present, a victory to the covetous mind of the new Warmaster. Yet this was one of the few miscalculations made by the shrewd intellect of the Warmaster. He counted all men of power to think as he did, yet while the Lion and the Wolf of Luna shared many traits, they were not the same.

When news of Horus' new rank reached Lion El'Jonson he did not pause in his campaigns, nor did he offer congratulations or lament his own fortune and this, more than the reaction of any of his other brother primarchs, gave the Warmaster pause. When Horus' thoughts later turned to rebellion and treachery after his fall to Chaos in the Temple of the Serpent Lodge on Davin, it is likely that it was the Lion he marked as among the greatest of threats to his plans.

The Dark Angels were both numerous and skilled in all the arts of war, with access to the armouries of Terra and psyarkana forbidden to all others, and their primarch was as inflexible as iron, loyal beyond doubt to the Emperor and resolute enough to rise up against any threat to his father's grand dream of Human unity.

As with all of the primarchs, the Warmaster did not feel fear as did lesser mortals, but the thought of facing Lion El'Jonson in open battle gave him pause, and if he would not be turned to the Traitors' cause, then he must be removed.

There were three Space Marine Legions Horus sought to remove from the path of his heresy before it began. The White Scars he hoped to preserve for his own use, the Blood Angels he hoped to destroy or corrupt -- but the Dark Angels he hoped to banish, to send far enough away that by the time they could return, his grim business would be complete.

This was not to be, for the Lion would return to the Imperium as the sun returns to the horizon each morning, blinding and implacable, and he would reach for the heart of his fallen brother. Horus had loosed a beast the equal of any that lurked in the world-straddling forests of Caliban or the silent dark between the stars, one that would tear apart the Imperium if only to grasp a victory of ashes and blood.

Horus Heresy

Unyielding, technologically capable, ruthless and insular, the Dark Angels at the time of the Horus Heresy would once again be a powerful and highly independent Legion, used to operating on their own to conduct large-scale campaigns and Compliance actions.

Because of this, the fear of the Ist Legion's intervention led the machinations of the Warmaster Horus to ensure that when his treacherous plans came to fruition, the Dark Angels had been despatched to the outer edges of the Imperium where they would be unable to interfere, at least for a time.

As the Horus Heresy progressed however, the power of this Legion would make itself known, savaging the Night Lords at Thramas and going on to unleash destruction on an unprecedented scale during the later years of the Heresy when they crushed Traitor world after Traitor world across the southern galactic zone.

Suppression of the Gordian League

During the 200th year of the Great Crusade, 998.M30, the Dark Angels Legion was carrying out an Imperial Compliance campaign against the Shield Worlds of the so-called Gordian League -- a confederation of Human worlds who were allied with degenerate xenos.

During the seven-Terran-year-long campaign, in 005.M31, the Dark Angels' high command received word that the Warmaster Horus and his XVIth Legion had renounced their oaths of allegiance to the Emperor, along with the 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 Isstvan III, when Horus ordered it to be virus-bombed to eliminate the remaining Loyalist Astartes from those four Traitor Legions still active upon it, rendering it a lifeless Dead World.

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 on Horus' orders was part of an effort to scatter the Imperium's most loyal servants as far as possible in order to minimise the number of Legions Horus would have to face at any given time.

Even so, the strike force of seven full Space Marine Legions ordered to the Isstvan System in response to the Warmaster's treachery posed a dire threat to Horus' survival, as they made their way towards his forward operating base on the world of Isstvan V.

Battle of Diamat

El'Jonson's forces were too deeply enmeshed in the Shield Worlds of the Gordian League to respond quickly to Horus' betrayal; the best estimates of the primarch's staff indicated that it would take them nearly eight solar months to conclude their offensive operations, even on an emergency basis, and reposition themselves for a strike against Isstvan V.

Even if they could move more quickly, Horus' 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 the Dark Angels' 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 Isstvan V against the approaching Loyalist strike force.

El'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. El'Jonson went to Diamat in order to secure several powerful continental siege machines known as Ordinatii; vast artillery pieces that could devastate the most powerful fortifications.

The small fleet of Dark Angels vessels arrived in the Tanagra System just five solar days after the destruction of Horus' landing force at the Xanthus star port. With no way to secure the siege machines held in storage in Diamat's depots from El'Jonson's Astartes, the admiral of the raiding fleet had little choice but to withdraw back to the Isstvan System. The Warmaster's final gambit had failed.

Following this small victory at the Battle of Diamat, El'Jonson met with his fellow brother primarch, Perturabo of the Iron Warriors Legion, aboard his flagship Invincible Reason. Perturabo informed Jonson that the IVth Legion was en route to the Isstvan System, to face the Warmaster and his Traitor Legions upon the black sands of Isstvan V.

Ferrus Manus and the Iron Hands Legion had hastened ahead of them, hungry to claim the Emperor's vengeance against Horus. Perturabo lied to El'Jonson, explaining that he had hoped that his Legion could provision his vessels at the Xanthus star port above Diamat before continuing to the combat zone. Of course, they were now unable to, as the Ist Legion had destroyed the orbital port.

Perturabo inquired of El'Jonson how he had learned of the existence of the Ordinatii siege engines. Jonson explained that he had discovered them fifty Terran years earlier when he was studying the history of the Great Crusade and saw a reference to them in a despatch from Horus that had been sent to the Emperor.

Horus had commissioned the colossal siege machines from the masters of Diamat during the long siege of the xenos fortress-states on Tethonus. The war machines took much longer for the forge masters to complete than planned. By the time they were finished, the campaign on Tethonus had been over for a standard year and a half, and Horus had moved on to other conquests.

So the weapons were put into a depot on Diamat against the day when the Warmaster would come to claim them. But then the Isstvan III Atrocity occurred. When Jonson had received word of Horus' perfidy, he knew that ultimately the Warmaster's path would lead to Terra.

Even if he were somehow to prevail against Perturabo and the other Legions sent to confront him in the Isstvan System, the Warmaster couldn't claim total victory so long as the Emperor was safe in His palace. For Horus to triumph, the Emperor had to die. And that meant a long and costly siege of Terra. Therefore, the Warmaster would come to claim the siege engines of Diamat.

El'Jonson informed his brother that he would be unable to accompany the Loyalist fleet to Diamat, as he had to make all haste to the Shield Worlds of the Gordian League and prepare the rest of the Ist Legion for the trip to Terra. In fact, he thought it best if no one outside Perturabo, himself and the other primarchs ever knew that the Lion was there. He didn't want the Emperor to believe he did anything at Diamat with an ulterior motive in mind.

Perturabo agreed that it was both a prudent choice, and a very humble one. El'Jonson explained that his actions were done for the good of the Imperium, not for accolades, nor for power.

But El'Jonson confessed to his brother a certain jealousy. He believed Horus had become the Emperor's favourite son for no other reason than fate. Had he been the first of the primarchs to be found, El'Jonson believed he would have been the Warmaster instead.

The Lion also believed that Horus would inevitably be defeated and that the Emperor would need to choose a new Warmaster very quickly if the Great Crusade was to continue. He asked for Perturabo's support.

The two primarchs ultimately reached an understanding -- El'Jonson granted permission for the Iron Warriors to take possession of the siege engines at their convenience -- on one condition. El'Jonson made his brother promise that the Ordinatii would be put to good use.

Perturabo assured his brother that they would be, never letting on that he had already sworn himself to Horus' rebellion and would participate only solar months later at the Drop Site Massacre on Isstvan V where three Loyalist Legions were almost completely destroyed.

Thramas Crusade

Following the victory of the Drop Site Massacre, Horus called a meeting of the primarchs of 8 of the Traitor Legions (minus the participation of the Alpha Legion's Primarch Alpharius) aboard his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit.

Five of the primarchs, including four who had fought at Isstvan V, met in person, including Horus, Fulgrim, Angron, Mortarion and Lorgar. Three appeared through the use of hololithic emitters that transmitted their signals through the Warp, including Perturabo, Konrad Curze and Magnus the Red, who had only recently joined the Traitors after the Scouring of Prospero when the broken remains of his XVth Legion had been transported by Tzeentch into the Eye of Terror to the Planet of the Sorcerers.

The Thousand Sons, bitter at what they perceived as their betrayal by the Emperor, now willingly became the ninth Traitor Legion. The council of Traitor primarchs made their plans for the next step in their war against the Emperor and then each Legion went its way according to its assigned role.

In 007.M31, Konrad Curze's fleet departed, bound for the planet of Tsagualsa, a remote world in the Eastern Fringe that lay shrouded in the shadow of a great asteroid belt. From there, the Night Lords Legion's terror troops would begin a campaign of genocide against the Imperial strongholds of Heroldar and Thramas, star systems that, if not taken, would leave the flanks of the Warmaster's strike on Terra vulnerable to attack.

This campaign would also delay the Dark Angels Legion from reinforcing the Loyalists. The Thramas System was of particular importance, as it comprised a number of Mechanicum Forge Worlds whose loyalty was still to the Emperor.

This bitterly contested campaign, known as the Thramas Crusade, 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 Curze strangled the life out of El'Jonson, one of the Dark Angels honour guardsmen 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.

Battle of Perditus

In 008.M31, the Dark Angels received intelligence from an astropathic message from the nearby Perditus System about Traitor movements. They immediately moved to intercept. Upon arrival, they interrupted the month-long conflict between the Iron Hands 98th Clan-Company, led by Casalir Lorramech and a large Death Guard contingent, led by First Captain Calas Typhon.

Both sides had been fighting over an ancient sentient device, known as the Tuchulcha Engine. This device was part of a triumvirate of similar sentient devices (another being the Ouroboros and a third, unnamed engine) which when combined could create temporal rifts that bridge space and time.

On its own, the Tuchulcha was capable of precise and extremely efficient Warp jumps. Faced with the prospect of fighting the entirety of the much larger Ist Legion fleet, both sides retreated from the planet's surface at the Lion's request.

Wary of both sides' motives, especially those of the Death Guard's First Captain Calas Typhon, the Lion prevented the device from falling into the Death Guard's hands. Jonson proceeded to serve his own ambitions and requisitioned the device for his own use.

The Lion ordered the destruction of Perditus, much to the consternation of both commanders. He used the Tuchulcha Engine to make a Warp jump, but during their sojourn through the Immaterium, the Dark Angels were beset by daemons.

The Lion reinstituted his Legion's Librarian corps to fight these nefarious Warp-spawned creatures. As this was in direct violation of the Emperor's Decree Absolute at the Council of Nikaea, this caused a dispute within the Legion that eventually came to a head when the enraged Lion slew Chaplain Nemiel.

During the height of the Battle of Perditus, the Lion encountered the Greater Daemon of Tzeentch known as Kairos Fateweaver, who attempted to convert the primarch to the cause of the Ruinous Powers, but failed miserably, as he had nothing to sway the Lion to their cause.

The Lion told the foul creature that absolute loyalty to the Emperor was reward enough, and impaled the Lord of Change through its black heart. At the same time, he mockingly asked the daemon if he had "foreseen" his defeat.

Hunting the Night Haunter

DA Thramas Crusade

Primarch Lion El'Jonson leading his Dark Angels against the Night Lords during the Thramas Crusade.

Utlising the Tuchulcha Engine a second time, the Dark Angels were able to execute a meticulously planned ambush on the Night Lords' fleet while it was in transit across the Tsagualsa 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 of 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.

Later, after a period of recovery, Cruze, his First Captain Sevatar and the elite Night Lords Atramentar Terminators led a desperate boarding assault action upon the Dark Angels' flagship Invincible Reason. This resulted in the death of all but a dozen of the Atramentar and the capture of Sevatar and the remaining survivors.

Konrad Curze fled El'Jonson's wrath, evading the Dark Angels for solar months, stalking the shadows within the bowels of their flagship, and continued to wreak terror and chaos amongst the mortal crew.

The Night Lords primarch also killed every hunter-killer team sent by the Lion to hunt him down. After losing several squads of Dark Angels, the Lion himself took up the hunt for Curze, stalking him throughout the Invincible Reason for the next sixteen solar weeks.

However, he could never find his elusive brother primarch. At some point, the remaining Night Lords captives somehow managed to affect their escape and fled into the void.

Imperium Secundus

With the torrential Ruinstorm raging, blocking out the light of the Astronomican and causing Warp travel to be all but impossible, the Imperium was effectively cut in half during much of the Horus Heresy following the Battle of Calth. The Dark Angels came to the realisation that they were unable to return to Terra to assist in its defence, even with the use of the Tuchulcha Engine.

Miraculously, they managed to lock onto the beacon of the strange alien device known as the Pharos, on the world of Sotha, which guided the Ist Legion fleet safely through the Warp and to the Realm of Ultramar's capital world of Macragge.

There, they were greeted by Roboute Guilliman and Sanguinius, whose Blood Angels Legion was also guided to the Realm of Ultramar by the Pharos.

The three primarchs were instrumental in the foundation of the "Imperium Secundus" as a means of continuing the fight against the Traitors and securing the Emperor's great work. Guilliman proclaimed Sanguinius as the rightful heir to the Emperor and declared him the new ruler of Imperium Secundus.

Lion El'Jonson was made the Lord Protector of this new empire of Humanity and supreme commander over all its military forces, a title that was similar to that of Warmaster. Unfortunately, the foundation of Imperium Secundus was marred when Curze escaped from the Invincible Reason and rampaged across Macragge, intent on spreading as much terror and chaos as he could.

Eventually, both Guilliman and the Lion confronted the cornered Curze. Their attempts to kill him were unsuccessful as the Night Lords primarch had laid a cunning trap. He brought down an entire chapel upon the two primarchs through the use of planted explosives and fled the scene.

Guilliman and the Lion were only saved through the direct intervention of the Loyalist Iron Warriors Warsmith Barabas Dantioch, who was communicating with Guilliman at the time of the attack through a portal that was opened by the Pharos. On instinct, the Warsmith reached through the portal and pulled the two primarchs to safety on Sotha.

Battle of Zepath

Feeling directly responsible for the Night Haunter's rampage on Macragge, the Lion continued to obsessively hunt his wayward former brother for the next two Terran years. In 011.M31, El'Jonson eventually was able to trace a slim lead on Curze's whereabouts to the Zepath System, which had since fallen to the Word Bearers and World Eaters forces during their Shadow Crusade.

Farith Redloss, the Lieutenant-elect of the Dark Angels' Dreadwing, was charged with leading the hunt for Konrad Curze upon the world of Zepath. The Dark Angels quickly uncovered the horrors perpetrated by the Word Bearers for their dark rituals on that planet.

Eventually, the Dark Angels took part in multiple engagements against the forces of both Traitor Legions, which culminated in the capital city of Numentis. The Traitor forces were utterly annihilated by the victorious Dark Angels and the world was left in the care of its surviving population.

Meanwhile, another detachment of Dark Angels under Captain Ormand reinforced the Space Wolves against the Alpha Legion at the Alaxxes Nebula while another under Corswain was tasked by the Lion with hunting down Calas Typhon following the Battle of Perditus.

Exile of the Lion

Angels of caliban by raffetin

As the city of Alma Mons burns around them, Lion El'Jonson confronts Konrad Curze in an epic duel.

While continuing his obsessive hunt for the elusive Night Haunter, the Lion and Guilliman continuously clashed over policy, especially in regards to the security of Imperium Secundus. They were particularly vexed with how best to deal with the emergence of rebels on Macragge that the Lion was certain Curze had instigated.

Following a suicide bombing of an Astartes convoy, the Lion used the Ist Legion to establish martial law on Macragge. Certain that Curze was hiding within the rebellious Illyrium region, the Lion advocated the use of a massive orbital saturation bombardment of the region to ensure Curze's death.

Facing resistance from both Emperor Sanguinius and Guilliman, the Lion instead, opted to deploy his Legion's Dreadwing in order to flush out Curze and the rebels.

During an attack on the city of Alma Mons, the Lion finally cornered the elusive Night Lords primarch and the two came to blows. After a brutal confrontation, the Lion eventually emerged victorious, and questioned his brother why he had turned away from the Emperor, to which Curze simply replied: "Why not?"

Curze went on to explain that there was a monster in his head that he could not stop. Though he finally had Curze at his mercy, the Lion couldn't bring himself to kill his brother, and instead pummeled him again.

He then ripped off Curze's backpack from his battle-plate, lifted him over his head, and brutally brought the Night Haunter down across his knee, breaking Curze's spine and paralysing him. The Lion brought the grievously wounded Konrad Curze before Sanguinius and Guilliman to stand trial.

A Triumvirate was later held where Curze defended his actions, but refused to admit his guilt. Since each of the primarchs had been created to perform a specific function, Curze argued he was merely acting according to his own nature, and therefore had committed no crimes.

The Night Lords primarch further divided Guilliman and the Lion by accusing the latter of secretly ordering orbital bombardment in direct violation of Guilliman's orders to prevent civilian casualties. Enraged, the Lion sought to kill Curze, but was halted by the words of Sanguinius as Guilliman snatched El'Jonson's Lion Sword and broke the blade across his armoured thigh in his fury.

El'Jonson was furious, but Sanguinius dismissed the Lord Protector, ending the Triumvirate. The Lion was then banished from Imperium Secundus. Taking his leave, the Dark Angels withdrew from Macragge only hours later.

Standing in the chamber of the Tuchulcha Engine aboard the Invincible Reason, the Lion brooded over recent events. He questioned his actions over the course of the last few decades -- the banishment of Luther, the death of Nemiel as well as other decisions he had come to regret.

As the Dark Angels made their final preparations to depart back to Caliban, the Lion went back to the Tuchulcha Engine's chamber. He ordered the device to teleport himself and Holguin, "Deathbringer", the voted-lieutenant of the Deathwing, back to Macragge.

As Sanguinius prepared to execute Curze for his crimes, both the Lion and his lieutenant teleported directly into the chamber and told Sanguinius to stop. As troops entered the room, demanding the Lion surrender, El'Jonson explained his reasons for the intrusion.

He reasoned that Curze had the ability to see precognitive visions of potential futures, and repeated the Night Haunter's claim that his death would one day come at the hands of an assassin sent by the Emperor. If this was true, the Lion reasoned, then it was proof that the Emperor was still alive beyond the barrier of the Ruinstorm.

Sanguinius knew the Lion's explanation rang true, as he recognised that his own precognitive visions of his inevitable death would also eventually come to pass. When Guilliman demanded to know what would become of Curze, the Lion knelt before his two brothers and promised that he would be Curze's gaoler.

Curze remained captive aboard the Invincible Reason and occasionally the Lion would visit to speak with him in an attempt to gather information from his prophetic visions, but the Night Haunter rarely proved cooperative.

Second Battle of Davin

In the wake of these revelations, Imperium Secundus was abolished by the three primarchs as an unfortunate mistake. The three primarchs led their Legions in an attempt to breach the Ruinstorm and reach Terra to defend the Emperor now that they knew He still lived.

Once in the Ruinstorm, the combined Loyalist fleet came across a variety of Warp-born horrors and word of an entity spreading destruction known as the "Pilgrim". Not even the Tuchulcha Engine proved capable of navigating the Ruinstorm, which frustrated the Lion. During the Battle of Pyrrhan, El'Jonson commanded Dark Angels Astartes as Sanguinius received a vision and realised that he needed to go where the Horus Heresy had truly begun, the world of Davin.

Through an arduous journey, they eventually reached Davin, the nexus of the continuing Ruinstorm in realspace, and engaged a vast Daemonic host on and above the world in what would be remembered as the Second Battle of Davin.

Reluctantly, Roboute Guilliman and the Lion agreed to trust in Sanguinius but both had thought to simply destroy the hated world upon arriving from orbit. After the fleet emerged over Davin, Sanguinius shocked El'Jonson by boarding the Invincible Reason and taking the still-captive Konrad Curze with him.

Sanguinius hoped to use Curze's prophetic abilities to determine what he was meant to do upon Davin that could helpt to save the Emperor. Sanguinius commanded a mass ground assault on the world, and the enraged Lion nearly ordered that Davin be subjected to an Exterminatus action regardless of Sanguinius' presence upon it. At the last moment El'Jonson relented, and was immediately horrified by what he had nearly done. He realised that some external power was attempting to force the primarchs down the path to damnation, and he followed Sanguinius down to the surface of Davin.

On that dusty world, Sanguinius was trapped within a portal to the Warp and did battle with the Daemon Madail while Guilliman and the Lion desperately tried to reach him. A vicious battle erupted both on Davin and above it in the void, where Guilliman's acting flagship Samothrace was destroyed in orbit by the Daemonship Veritas Ferrum.

During the ground battle at Davin's infamous Temple of the Serpent Lodge, where Horus had first been corrupted by Chaos, Guilliman and El'Jonson managed to finally fight as partners and brothers. Together they brought down a massive Soul Grinder Daemon Engine.

Eventually, Sanguinius was able to escape and the Space Marine forces evacuated the world to orbit. Davin was destroyed by Cyclonic Torpedoes, and with its anchor in realspace gone, the Daemonic fleet vanished back into the Empyrean and where Davin had once been, a breach in the Ruinstorm was now visible. The path though led directly to Terra, but upon further study it became apparent that Horus had foreseen that this route to Terra might open for the Loyalists and had blocked it with a gauntlet of multiple Traitor fleets. Guilliman and the Lion agreed to distract the blockade while Sanguinius and the Blood Angels fleet made directly for Terra, for that was their destiny.

Sanguinius and the Blood Angels fleet then raced directly for Terra through the opening, as was their destiny in Sanguinius' precognitive visions, while Guilliman and Lion El'Jonson led the Ultramarines and Dark Angels Legions in diversionary attacks against the Traitor fleets that allowed the Blood Angels to slip through the cordon.

By the time the Siege of Terra began, the Lion hoped to draw Traitor forces away from the Throneworld by striking at their own Legion homeworlds. As a result, the Dark Angels destroyed several Traitor homeworlds such as Chemos of the Emperor's Children and Barbarus of the Death Guard, acts that the Lion would come to relish.

Passage of the Angels and the Crusade of Vengeance

At some point before or during the Siege of Terra, the Astronomican went dark for the Dark Angels fleet. Fearing that Terra had fallen to Horus, El'Jonson became nihilistic and instead of moving towards Terra pledged himself to vengeance through the destruction of as much of the Traitors' territory as he could. Using the rationalization of attacking the traitor homeworlds in hopes of drawing reinforcements away from Terra to his troops, El'Jonson oversaw the destruction of Chemos and Barbarus in a spiteful purge dubbed the "Passage of the Angels." Without the Astronomican, the Dark Angels continued to rely on the Tuchulcha Engine for guidance through the Warp.

The Lion eventually ordered the Dark Angels fleet to head to Deliverance, the homeworld of the Raven Guard Legion where Corvus Corax and Leman Russ of the Space Wolves Legion were currently mustering their forces. The Lion was quick to question Corax's absence from the major fronts of the war, but his wrath was quickly extinguished by Russ, who pointed out that the Space Wolves' own survival was still an asset of great worth even if Terra remained beyond their reach.

Russ declared he would join El'Jonson's so-called "Crusade of Vengeance," including with Space Wolves warriors equipped with the new suits of Mark VI Corvus Power Armour produced on Kiavahr. Yet Corax was cautious to commit his badly mauled Legion to what he saw as a needlessly spiteful waste of resources for a purely emotional gain, and only assigned a small expeditionary force of the Raven Guard to accompany the Space Wolves and the Dark Angels.

Eventually, the Dark Angels made course for Terra on the Lion's command, but arrived too late to influence the outcome of the Siege of Terra or prevent the Emperor from being mortally wounded by Horus and interred on the Golden Throne.

Great Betrayal

Luther Coverart Leszek Woźniak

Luther, the Great Betrayer and leader of the Fallen Angels.

In the aftermath of the Siege of Terra, 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 Ist Legion diverted to nearby Caliban for the first time in many standard years, since the world had been enshrouded by the Ruinstorm and other Warp storms since Horus' betrayal but now was free of such navigational interference.

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, now a Chaos Champion, had been elevated to a strength equal to that of the primarch through the "gifts" of the Chaos Gods and the two met in a combat the likes of which would not be seen again. The pair's duel levelled the monastery around them but the planet was also taking a heavy toll. The sustained bombardment began to crack the surface of the planet's crust, the Dark Angels in orbit unable to see the damage they were wreaking upon their homeworld. El'Jonson managed to wound Luther, but could not bring himself to kill the man who had once been his brother and mentor.

Destruction of Caliban

The Primarch Lion El'Jonson during the destruction of Caliban.

Luther lashed out with a powerful sorcerous attack that mortally wounded the primarch. Luther then realised what he had done in his jealousy and anger, as if a veil of deceit had suddenly been lifted from in front of his eyes. He fell to the floor, unwilling to fight any more, but it was too late for El'Jonson. The enraged Ruinous Powers of Chaos realised they had lost control of yet another of their pawns in the fight against the Emperor, and sent a massive Warp storm to wrack the surface of the planet. Caliban then broke apart under the strain, destroyed all but for the monastery of The Order which had been protected by potent defensive force fields.

The rest of the Dark Angels who had been converted by Luther to the worship of Chaos were sucked into the Warp and scattered across the galaxy. From that time forward they were named the "Fallen Angels" or simply "the Fallen." The Fallen were scattered throughout space and time, and Caliban tore itself apart under the strain of the Ruinous Powers' assault.

When the Dark Angels descended to what remained of Caliban, now little more than an asteroid upon which stood The Order's fortress-monastery, they searched the ruins and found Luther mumbling that El'Jonson had been taken by the Watchers in the Dark and would return one day and forgive Luther for his sins. The Dark Angels could not find any trace of their primarch.

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.

Chapter Master Astelan Merir

Terran-born Chapter Commander Merir Astelan during the Horus Heresy, one of the Fallen Angels.

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 El'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 Ist Legion, or that any Dark Angels had ever turned to the service of the Ruinous Powers.

Should the truth be revealed, the Dark Angels believed that they 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 Ist 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 Siege 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 at this time 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 Ist 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 Ist 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.

Siege of the Fenris System

DA Fleet Fenris System

The Dark Angels Chapter fleet bombards Midgardia from orbit.

In 999.M41, the return of the heavily mutated Space Wolves 13th Company prompted Supreme Grand Master Azrael to launch a crusade to the Fenris System, which upon arrival was found to be in the throes of a daemonic invasion.

Seeing no other recourse, Azrael ordered the bombardment of one of the most infested of the system's worlds, Midgardia, even as the shape-shifting Changeling was detected aboard The Rock. It was revealed that the daemon had been responsible for manipulating events, setting the Dark Angels against their long-time rivals the Space Wolves as part of a larger scheme orchestrated by Magnus the Red, Daemon Primarch of the Thousand Sons.

A full-blown daemonic invasion of the Rock followed, and through the combined efforts of the two rival Chapters, as well as a detachment of Grey Knights who had followed their own scryings to the system, it was repelled. Despite their brief alliance, however, the Dark Angels' relationship with the Space Wolves was left more frayed than ever by their confrontation.

13th Black Crusade

BL vs

The Dark Angels fighting against the Black Legion during the 13th Black Crusade.

In ca. late 999.M41, a vast tide of Chaos worshippers poured from the Eye of Terror into the Cadian Gate, unleashing Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade. Detecting many Fallen amongst the horde, the Dark Angels risked all by ordering the Unforgiven to join them in a headlong assault against the Renegade forces.

Their forces split across the Cadian Sector, the Dark Angels were involved in many battles, including heroic defensive actions against a daemonic warhost led by the Greater Daemon Kharhnok.

Increasing Warp Storm activity ensured the different forces could not reunite. Only the 4th Company under Master Korahael arrived on Cadia itself, where they and their strike cruiser, Sword of Defiance, were lost during the final battles as that Fortress World at last fell to Chaos, consumed by the growing tides of the Warp.

Great Rift Opens

As the 13th Black Crusade consumed Cadia, even protected by the psychic shielding of The Rock, the Librarians of the Dark Angels were struck down by a shock wave of terror and fell portents. Most of these visions were too fragmentary and fleeting to be recalled in detail, but the revelation experienced by Ezekiel, the Grand Master of Librarians, seared itself into his mind.

He saw the Fallen in their entirety, and their numbers were far greater than the worst fears of the Inner Circle had suggested. Luther had rebuilt the entire Ist Legion while on Caliban, and a vast proportion of them had survived the planet's destruction, trapped within the Warp.

Ezekiel's vision ended with an image of the galaxy in turmoil, and another truth became apparent: a great doom was coming.

That doom became apparent soon after the fall of Cadia at the triumphal climax of Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade in ca. 999.M41. At first, all was utter blackness and the stars faded from the skies, but as the time of the Noctis Aeterna passed, the Imperium gazed out awestruck upon a new horror.

The Cicatrix Maledictum -- commonly called the Great Rift -- split reality across the galaxy, a hole in realspace hundreds of times greater than the Eye of Terror. The Rock was caught within the Imperium Nihilus, the galactic north that was wholly cut off from the light of the Emperor's Astronomican.

Era Indomitus

Escape of Luther

Even as the isolation of the Noctis Aeterna passed, The Rock was invaded. A Daemon army led by the Fallen Daemon Prince Marbas penetrated the formidable Void Shields that surrounded the Dark Angels' asteroid base.

Fighting took place along the docks, within the grand halls, and even in the labyrinthine sub-levels and dungeons that burrowed deep into The Rock. As the conflict reached its climactic point, the invaders disappeared with the same suddenness with which they had manifested, having ultimately achieved little beyond mindless slaughter and destruction...or so it was believed among the Chapter's brethren.

There was one, however, who knew otherwise. In the deepest dungeon, a secret prisoner known only to the Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels -- the Arch-betrayer Luther -- was set free.

Azrael suspected the entire battle had been merely a diversion so that nefarious agents of the Fallen could accomplish their true task -- yet it is a theory that he must keep to himself, for none else must know of Luther's imprisonment for so long...and his escape.

Massacre at Darkmor

Elements of half a dozen Unforgiven Chapters descended upon the Shrine World of Darkmor, including multiple companies from the Angels of Vengeance, the Consecrators and the Guardians of the Covenant. All had followed their Librarians' scryings to the planet, searching for the newly materialised Fallen. It was not long before they discovered that they were not the hunters, however, but the hunted.

The Warp Storms that subsided to allow their armies into Darkmor's orbit returned in force. On the planet's surface, the Unforgiven found the world's vast cathedrals in ruins and its populace slaughtered. Awaiting in ambush are armies of daemons, Chaos Space Marines and Renegades.

What followed was the worst single incident of losses suffered by the Unforgiven since the Forgotten Wars. Less than a hundred Space Marines from an original contingent of a thousand managed to escape, and they did so only because they pursued Cypher, who, in his attempt to flee, led them to a secret teleportation device.

The Primarch's Summit and the Primaris Unforgiven

Guilliman Saviour

The resurrected Ultramarines primarch, Roboute Guilliman, led the Imperial forces of the Imperium during the Indomitus Crusade and brought the Primaris Space Marine reinforcements for the Dark Angels and the other Unforgiven.

In the wake of the recent catastrophic events, Supreme Grand Master Azrael decided to convene an emergency council of the Unforgiven's other Supreme Grand Masters, several of whom were still nearby following the Darkmor Massacre.

The Dark Angels' Librarians succeeded in piercing the veil of the Great Rift and sending out a scattered astropathic summons -- though several died to achieve the feat -- and soon every loyal son of the Lion was preparing to embark on a perilous journey to The Rock.

Not all found their way to that last fragment of their ancestral home. Entire Successor Chapters became lost in the Warp, while others found themselves bogged down in one of the galaxy's many raging conflicts.

It is when Azrael finally decided he could wait no longer for the remaining successors to arrive that he was informed of a new fleet transitioning into orbit around The Rock; it was not a waylaid Chapter of the Unforgiven that it bore, however, but the resurrected Lord Commander of the Imperium.

Azrael, his forces depleted and his Chapter's stronghold battered, feared the worst -- that the newly returned primarch of the Ultramarines, Roboute Guilliman, knew the truth of the Dark Angels' hidden past, and brought judgement with him.

Debating whether to order the withdrawal of the assembled Unforgiven Chapters, or to make a stand and take up arms against the primarch's delegation, at last the Supreme Grand Master decided upon neither, allowing Guilliman's fleets to dock without incident.

It soon became clear that the lord commander and the remaining ships of the Indomitus Crusade fleet came not to deliver censure, but much needed reinforcements.

DA Primaris Intercessor 2

A newly inducted Dark Angels Primaris Space Marine.

From the depths of Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl's vast freighter-hulk marched Primaris Space Marines, created from the purest genetic material ever taken from Lion El'Jonson. Rank upon rank of them entered The Rock clad in new variants of Mark X Power Armour painted in the colours of the Dark Angels and their successors.

At a brief war council, Guilliman outlined the threats facing the Imperium and his plans to continue the Indomitus Crusade. He also spoke of the updated Codex Astartes, and how his brother El'Jonson's descendants had earned the right to maintain their specialised wings and unique order of battle, as long as they continued to serve the Emperor well. So did Azrael and the other Supreme Grand Masters kneel before Guilliman, and pledge their Chapters to the new Imperium.

The Dark Imperium

In the wake of their Primaris reinforcement, the Dark Angels moved into the darkest reaches of the galaxy, now shorn from the light of the Emperor. There Azrael could more easily coordinate the Inner Circle, responding to the myriad distress calls that flooded in from the isolated and Warp Storm-battered worlds of the galactic north.

In addition to breaking sieges and rescuing beleaguered populations, the Dark Angels and their successors continued the eternal hunt for the Fallen, especially pursuing any signs of Cypher and the Daemon Prince Marbas -- which only Azrael knows may be the key to locating Luther.

War Zone Stygius

DA Primaris Indomitus Crusade

Newly-inducted Dark Angels Primaris Space Marines hold back the tide of the forces of Chaos during the Invasion of the Sygius Sector.

The Changeling instigated uprisings all across the Warp Storm-wracked Imperium Nihilus, leaving entire star systems ripe for invasion. The Dark Angels and several Unforgiven Chapters joined the campaigns against the Changehosts of Tzeentch in what became known as the Invasion of the Stygius Sector, fighting alongside the Mordian Iron Guard and the Space Wolves against countless Renegades and the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion.

Although tensions between the Dark Angels and Space Wolves are as high as always, the situation is so dire that there are no conflicts between them save only the expected ritual combat between champions. Initial losses were swiftly recuperated, but it soon became apparent that they could no longer achieve victory.

Only the unexpected appearance of an Aeldari strike force from Ulthwé allowed the Space Marines to safely withdraw, leaving much of the Stygius System to its fate beneath the minions of Tzeentch.

Inner Tribulations

"These are the sons of the Lion, and it is no small task to impress them. I have fought in almost a hundred engagements since joining my brethren on The Rock, leading Squad Grellius to complete every mission assigned, yet not a word of praise have I heard. And rightly so -- for such duty were we created and trained. Yet against the cultist waves and daemon tides invading Hive Trall, our squad alone held a crucial hab-complex against the enemy. When Grand Master Belial arrived to retake the area and recover the gene-seed of the dead, he was surprised to find we had held the line. I think I even saw him smile. In that moment, I believed our acceptance amongst our brethren was complete."

Hellblaster Sergeant Grellius
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Master Lazarus, captain of the 5th Company and the first Firstborn Dark Angel to cross the Rubicon Primaris and become a Primaris Marine, wielding a power sword against the foe.

Immediate concerns over the integration of the Primaris Space Marines among the Unforgiven were soon assuaged as the new warriors adapted to the Unforgiven's ways of war and performed well alongside their battle-brothers.

Yet, mistrusting of others by nature, the Dark Angels and the Unforgiven were not quick to assimilate these new arrivals. The Primaris Marines of the Ultima Founding had not heard the apocryphal tales or gone through the long indoctrinations like those of the Unforgiven. They were not tested in battle. Their loyalty to their parent Chapters had not been ascertained in the painstakingly detailed way the Firstborn Dark Angels preferred.

But those who had suffered most at the Darkmor Massacre, the Angels of Vengeance, Consecrators, and Guardians of the Covenant, were more eager than others to use the Primaris. Thus began a great period of intensive testing and scrutiny.

The Primaris performed superbly in battle, notably in War Zone Stygius, Saltire Vex, the Siege of Hive Trall, Allhallow, and the Gratyann Incursion.

The Primaris were found to adapt well to the Unforgiven's ways of war and fight competently alongside their battle-brothers. In addition, their various squad types, weapons, and vehicles proved useful assets for those commanding Dark Angels strike forces across numerous war zones. Bonds were forged in battle, and many observed that their Primaris brethren's temperament and tendencies were very much like their own, presumably as a result of shared gene-seed.

The Dark Angels hastened to induct more Primaris Space Marines from scratch after observing their battlefield capabilities, indoctrinating these Neophytes as they would any other recruits. Thus were more Primaris added to the Chapter's ranks, moulded in exactly the manner the Chapter desired.

Some of the Firstborn Dark Angels chose to cross the Rubicon Primaris, impressed by the physical feats that their new brethren could achieve. Some traditionalists refused to go through such a process. Others advised against this course of action; with a high risk of death during the procedure, the Chapter could lose many of its warriors. Some crossed without choice, returned to battle readiness after suffering grievous injuries only through the intervention of the new Primaris organs.

The Inner Circle decreed that the Apothecarion would carry this out with seriously wounded battle-brothers to ensure that the Chapter had more Primaris Space Marines who could be fully trusted. The Primaris were undoubtedly powerful and useful, but many of the Inner Circle retained misgivings over the former Greyshields of the Unnumbered Sons who had reinforced the Unforgiven.

Inevitably, questions arose around whether Primaris Space Marines formerly of the Greyshields and of the Ultima Founding Chapters should be inducted into the Inner Circle. Some Firstborn argued that it simply could not be allowed to happen. Others stated that as inheritors of the Lion's genetic legacy, they should have the mental fortitude to handle the secrets they might learn, and indeed a responsibility to play their part in the eventual defeat of the Fallen.

Some took a more pragmatic view, their stance being that battlefield attrition alone might require it. The debate moved from a purely theoretical one as some members of the Inner Circle personally vouched for certain individuals or reported incidents where the Fallen had been observed by those who should not have seen them.

One such example was Interrogator-Chaplain Zaeroph, who had been serving alongside the 3rd Company in the Chalnath Expanse. His testimony was of particular significance, given his previous hostility to the reinforcements brought to The Rock by Roboute Guilliman.

All of these arguments informed Supreme Grand Master Azrael's thinking on this most important of questions. His knowledge of the Dark Angels' secrets surpassed all others, and he alone knew the full risks and opportunities in any course of action. All of this information bore upon his thinking, as did his own experience of seeing the Greyshields' impressive skills in battle.

He thought long on the matter. Luther's escape weighed heavily on his mind. This burden was only made heavier when rumours reached him of a mustering of the Fallen beginning in the Somnium Stars. He doubted little that Luther himself was in some way responsible.

Should these rumours hold any truth, potentially every one of the Unforgiven would have to be ready to meet the threat. No doubt this played a significant role in his decision to permit the induction of the former Greyshields and warriors of the Ultima Founding into the Inner Circle, should they be deemed worthy of such an honour and indeed judged capable of withstanding the shock of the truth.

When Azrael made his decision known, many of the company Masters and Chapter Masters were incensed. Knowing that he could not tell them of Luther's escape, Azrael faced the prospect of causing a second schism amongst the sons of the Lion. The gravest threat the Dark Angels and their successors had faced in ten thousand Terran years brewed in the Somnium Stars, and he risked making more of his brothers Renegade.

Employing all of his diplomatic skill and appealing to the successors' unimpeachable sense of duty, he persuaded all to consider another test. The Deathwing had petitioned him with one Brother Apharan. The former Greyshield had earned their attention, and the Deathwing believed he might be worthy of joining their number. Azrael put to the Chapter Masters and Masters that he had confidence that Apharan would pass the trials, hear the truth, and succeed as any Dark Angel might.

Azrael staked his Chapter's entire reputation on a single warrior. Many of those skeptical were moved by Azrael's conviction and humility before them, despite his superior rank. Many were persuaded by this act alone, knowing that Azrael would never make such a choice without total confidence in future success.

Azrael personally oversaw Apharan's trials, which the former Greyshield passed. Whilst some of the successor Masters remained skeptical, they still conformed, their loyalty to and trust in Azrael outweighing their doubts.

With this matter resolved, the Dark Angels and the Unforgiven ply the stars with renewed vigour and unity of purpose just as the Lion and his knights swept old Caliban, purging the galaxy of the Traitor, mutant, Heretic, and alien wherever they find them.

For the Unforgiven, the slaying of every foe is an act of repentance. They break sieges, crush rebellions, and stymie invasions. All the while their Inner Circles remain ever vigilant for signs of the Fallen, following leads wherever they are found.

Those Primaris Marines formerly of the Greyshields have knowledge of Mars and the returned primarch beyond the wildest dreams of the Librarius and Interrogator-Chaplains and provide vital intelligence that the Dark Angels never had access to before.

Despite their eventual embrace of their Primaris brethren, the Dark Angels were less accepting of the Martian magi who accompanied them when Guilliman reached The Rock. These senior Tech-priests are essential to the induction and creation of new Primaris Space Marines, a state of affairs the Chapter finds extremely irksome. Many pains have been taken to give them as little access to The Rock as possible and keep them under heavy surveillance.

At the same time the Dark Angels' Techmarines and Apothecaries strive to learn all they can from the magi, in the hopes that they can render the Martian priests redundant.

The Unforgiven operate with great coordination in these most trying of times. Accusations of "Legion building" are spoken louder than ever before in some Inquisitorial circles, but the counter-arguments in defence of the Dark Angels and their successors are now made just as loudly.

The Unforgiven's martial might is beyond question, their tally of victories now beyond count. Some make the argument that such a force acts as an essential counterweight to the growing political power of Ultramar in the Imperium following Guilliman's resurrection.

The ferocity of this debate has grown such that internecine conflict has broken out among some Inquisitors, each participant believing they are doing what is best for the Imperium.

The Coming Storm

Rumours, psychic signatures and the torture-wrought confessions of captured prisoners tell of a mustering of the Archenemy within the darkest recesses of the Warp-shrouded Imperium Nihilus. They speak of a gathering of many of the Fallen Angels in the Somnium Stars, a corrupted Dark Angels Legion reassembling in numbers enough to bring the entire galaxy to heel.

Azrael alone suspected the truth of who was leading them, and the terrible conflict to come...

Awakening

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Lion El'Jonson after his awakening in the Era Indomitus of the 41st Millennium. After ten thousand standard years, even a primarch begins to show signs of physical aging.

In the Era Indomitus, during the Arks of Omen Campaign, Lion El'Jonson awoke at last from his ten-thousand-year long sleep within the very heart of The Rock. While his brother primarch Roboute Guilliman's forté lies in matters of command and administration -- a task he accomplishes with aplomb -- Lion El'Jonson was ever a warrior, a hunter and killer, first and foremost. Now awakened into a galaxy of darkness and insanity, he strides between the stars on a mission of vengeance.

Yet, somehow, long before his return reached the ears of the wider galaxy, the Lion's legend had begun to spread from planet to planet within Imperial space -- disconnected worlds united by a mysterious figure who stalked from mist-wreathed passageways to cut down fearsome monsters like chaff. Some knew him as the "Cowled Giant" or the "Unforgiving Knight," or even mistakenly as the "Emperor Incarnate," and his arrival was always heralded by an apparition of ancient forests fading from the aether.

The true nature of this empyric travel is known only to the primarch himself, but as he lay slumbering beneath The Rock his dreams often returned to the Calibanite forests of his youth. Could he have been borne in his restless sleep to other worlds by the ghosts of that same arboreal realm, slain in the destruction of Caliban? He's certainly not telling, but the practical applications of this ability to appear as if from nowhere through the Warp are not lost on him.

Notable Campaigns

Using The Rock as their mobile fortress-monastery, 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.

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The Ist Legion of Space Marines, the Dark Angels, during the Great Crusade.

Dawn of the Imperium, M30-M31

  • Unification Wars (ca. Late 29th Millennium-712.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 was 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 the I Legion's aid, the Emperor reconquered Terra and Humanity was on the brink of launching into a golden age -- the Age of the Imperium. So it was not strange that when the Emperor perfected His techniques for the creation of the Space Marines, many of these Terrans were chosen to lead the Great Crusade.
    • Cull of the Thunder Warriors (ca. 669.M30) - Extant sources state that as the Wars of Unification came to a close, the Thunder Warriors at last realised that their creator had cursed them with short lifespans as a result of their imperfect genetic augmentations, and turned upon Him for what they saw as His betrayal. It was a cadre of several hundred Custodians of the elite Legio Custodes, even then believed to have been led by the legendary Constantin Valdor, and accompanied by several thousand prototype Astartes of the I Legion of the newborn Space Marines, that stood in the Emperor's defence, carrying out a merciless culling of the obsolete and rebellious gene-soldiers.
  • Great Crusade (ca. 798.M30-005.M31) - As the Warp Storms of the Age of Strife subside, the Emperor and His newly created Space Marine Legions forge outwards from Terra to reconquer the galaxy. First amongst the Legions' number are those who would come to be known as the Dark Angels. It is while reclaiming the planets colonised by Humanity during the Age of Strife that the Primarch Lion El'Jonson, one of the lost sons of the Emperor, is discovered on Caliban, and is reunited with the Legion made from his gene-seed. Under El'Jonson's leadership, the newly renamed Dark Angels serve the Emperor’s cause with great distinction, claiming more victories than any other Legion save for the XVI -- the Luna Wolves, under the command of El'Jonson's brother Horus.
  • Discovery of Primarch Lion El'Jonson (846.M30) - The Emperor of Mankind came to the Death World of Caliban and reunited with His lost son, Lion El'Jonson. A young, newly-inducted Calibanite Ist Legion Librarian, Zahariel El'Zurias narrowly averted an attempted assassination on the Emperor's life. After being given command of the Ist Legion, the Lion reforged it into his own image, and dubbed them the Dark Angels, named after an allegorical figure of Calibanite myth.
  • Compliance of Molech (869.M30) - This was one of the Dark Angels Legion's earliest recorded campaigns under the command of their newly appointed Primarch Lion El'Jonson. The newly discovered Knight World of Molech was brought into Imperial Compliance through a massive joint-Compliance operation between multiple Legiones Astartes, including the Dark Angels, Luna Wolves, Emperor's Children, White Scars and thousands of Imperialis Auxilia soldiers and various Mechanicum and Legio Titanicus assets. Cyprian Devine of House Devine was named planetary governor of Molech. In the presence of several of His primarch sons, the Emperor led them to a Warp portal, where He proceeded to enter into the Realm of Chaos to parley with the Ruinous Powers. When He returned, the Emperor appeared aged, but much more powerful. He then suppressed His sons' memories of Molech and stationed a large garrison force comprised of nearly 100 Imperialis Auxilia regiments, three Legio Titanicus cohorts, along with detachments from two Space Marine Legions to protect the secrets of the Warp portal on Molech.
  • Rangdan Xenocides (ca. 839-890.M30) - The Titans of the Legio Gryphonicus as well as the Legio Vulturum, the Legio Kydianos and other Xanithe Mechanicum forces of Xana II, served alongside the vaunted Dark Angels Legion during the vital campaign known as the Rangdan Xenocides. The Dark Angels hurled themselves at the enemies and broke their greater strength in countless battles against the vile xenos on the edge of the Halo Stars. This campaign culminated in the Third Rangdan Xenocide around 890.M30, which resulted in the loss of the lives of 50,000 Space Marines, spent in preventing the destruction of perhaps the entire northern Imperium by the menace from the outer darkness. Due to these extensive losses suffered by the Ist Legion, by 899.M30, the Ultramarines Legion was on the cusp of becoming the largest Space Marine Legion, standing at around 166,000 Legionaries.
  • Asaault on Dulan (870.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 Duran had personally insulted the Emperor, sacrificing thousands of Imperial officials 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 duel of the Primarchs in order that honour may be satisfied.
  • Discovery of Lascal (ca. 900s.M30) - This terrestrial world was discovered on the edge of the Grail Abyss by the 7th Expeditionary Fleet under Lord Commander Suleiman Grimm of the Ist Legion. Originally it had been a feral Ork holding before the Dark Angels exterminated the Ork infestation. Lascal became a forward outpost of the Great Crusade, and later a naval fleet anchorage was constructed there in orbit under the auspices of the Lucien Mechanicum. Continuing to grow, by 902.M30, Lascal had become an independent and self-sustaining Imperial colony.
  • Subjugation of Sarosh (ca. 945.M30) - Next, the Lion's 4th Expeditionary Fleet reported to take part in the continued Compliance 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 (ca. Mid-900s.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.
  • Alisore Campaign (900s.M30) - This was an Imperial Compliance carried out by the Dark Angels during the Great Crusade against the world of Alisore.
  • Siege of Barrakan (900s.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 (ca. 998.M30-005.M31) - This was an Imperial Compliance action 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.
  • Horus Heresy (005-014.M31) - Knowing the Dark Angels and their primarch would remain stubbornly loyal to the Emperor, the Warmaster Horus orders them to the Eastern Fringe on the far side of the galaxy. Hampered by distance, ambushes set up by the traitorous Night Lords and daemonic attacks, the Dark Angels cannot ultimately reach Terra in time to participate in the defence of the Imperial Palace, the culminating battle of the civil war.
  • Battle of Diamat (005.M31) - When word reached the Dark Angels of the Istvaan III Atrocity, Lion El'Jonson and the Ist Legion were bogged down fighting a campaign against the Gordian League. Therefore, the Lion led a small war fleet of 16 vessels against the Forge World of Diamat, in order to seize Ordinatii heavy siege engines, and deny them to the Traitors. He encountered some resistance from vessels loyal to the Traitor cause, as well as traitor Imperial Army forces and a Sons of Horus Company on the planet's surface. The Lion ordered the destruction of the planet's primary forges, which annihilated the Traitor forces in a great conflagration and denied Horus Diamat's manufacturing abilities. In the battle's aftermath, the Lion encountered the Iron Warriors fleet, led by Perturabo, who were on their way to Istvaan V to "pacify" the treacherous Warmaster. Unaware of their true loyalties, the Lion unwittingly handed over the captured Ordinatii to be used against Horus.
  • Thramas Crusade (ca. 007-009.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.
  • Battle of Perditus (008.M31) - When the Dark Angels received intelligence from an astropathic message from the nearby Perditus System, they acted accordingly and moved to intercept. Upon arrival, they interrupted the month-long conflict between the Iron Hands 98th Clan-Company, led by Casalir Lorramech and a large Death Guard contingent, led by First Captain Calas Typhon. Both sides had been fighting over an ancient sentient device, known as the Tuchulcha Engine. This device was a part of a triumvirate of similar sentient devices (another being the Ouroboros and a third, unnamed engine) which when combined could create temporal rifts that bridge space and time. On its own, the Tuchulcha was capable of precise and extremely efficient Warp jumps. Faced with the prospect of fighting the entirety of the much larger Ist Legion fleet, both sides retreated from the planet's surface at the Lion's request. Wary of both sides' motives, especially First Captain Typhon's, the Lion prevented the device from falling into the Death Guard's hands for his own nefarious ends. He then proceeded to serve his own ambitions and requisitioned the device for his own use. The Lion then ordered the destruction of Perditus, much to the consternation of both commanders. He then used the Tuchulcha Engine to make a Warp jump, but during their sojourn through the Immaterium, they were beset by Daemons. The Lion reinstituted his Legion's Librarians to fight these nefarious warp-spawned creatures. As this was in direct violation of the Emperor's Decree Absolute at Nikaea, this caused a dispute within the Legion, that eventually came to head, when the enraged Lion slew Chaplain Nemiel. During the height of the battle, the Lion encountered the Greater Daemon of Tzeentch, known as Fateweaver, who attempted to convert the primarch to the cause of the Ruinous Powers, but failed miserably, as he had nothing to sway the Lion to their cause. The Lion told the foul creature that absolute loyalty to the Emperor was reward enough, and impaled the Lord of Change through its black heart, and quipped whether he had "foreseen" his actions.
  • Defence of Nagathar (ca. 009.M31) - Severed from the main body of their Legion by the unleashing of the Ruinstorm, a strike force from the Dark Angels Legion finds shelter in the Nagathar-system which had become a safe haven for several Loyalist splinter forces, the most important being drawn from the Imperial Fists. The many Loyalist fractions banded together to defend Nagathar from a powerful incursion led the Word Bearers, which had hoped to prey on the system's millions of inhabitants to fuel yet another of their sorcerous rites.
  • Xana Incursion (009.M31) - Intelligence reached Terra that the renegade Forge World of Xana II on the western fringe of the Imperium had reached an accord with the Traitor forces to supply the Warmaster's armies with its vast output of arms and materiel. The bargain was sealed with the delivery by Xana of a number of newly created powerful Ordinatus-class weapons undergoing final field tests. In what was effectively a suicide mission, a handpicked force of Legiones Astartes, including many Blackshields -- in this case Space Marines who had chosen to remain loyal despite their parent Legion's treachery -- was despatched under great secrecy to destroy the war machines and drive a wedge between Xana and the Traitors. With the help of the Dark Angels strike cruiser, Dark Sovereign and its Legionaries, the Loyalists were able to secure two powerful Ordinatii, and destroyed a third, temporarily delaying the alliance between Xana and the Traitors for a number of years.
  • Hunting the Night Haunter (009.M31) - Utlising the Tuchulcha Engine a second time, the Dark Angels were able to execute 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. Directing a second ambush on the regrouping Night Lords, Curze reawakened from his medically-induced coma, and boarded the Invincible Reason with several of his most elite warriors, including First Captain Jago Sevatarion and elite Atramentar Terminators. The ensuing battle ended when Curze fled to the lower decks of the massive flagship and the few surviving Night Lords, including Sevetar, were taken prisoner. The Night Haunter, however, remained on the loose within the bowels of mighty vessel, and continued to wreak terror and chaos amongst the mortal crew. He also killed every hunter-killer team sent by the Lion to hunt him down. After losing several squads of Dark Angels, the Lion himself took up the hunt for Curze, stalking him throughout the Invincible Reason for the next sixteen weeks. However, he could never find his elusive brother primarch.
  • Arrival at Ultramar and the Imperium Secundus (009.M31) - With the torrential Ruinstorm raging, blocking out the light of the Astronomican and causing warp travel to be all but impossible, the Imperium was effectively cut in half. The Dark Angels came to the realisation that they were unable to return to Terra to assist in its defence, even with the advent of the Tuchulcha Engine. Miraculously, they locked onto the beacon of the strange alien device known as the Pharos, on the world of Sotha, which guided the Ist Legion fleet safely through the Warp and to Ultramar's capital world of Macragge. There, they were greeted by Roboute Guilliman and Sanguinius, whose Blood Angels Legion was also guided to the Realms of Ultramar by the Pharos. The three primarchs were instrumental in the foundation of the "Imperium Secundus" as a means of continuing the fight against the Traitors and securing the Emperor's great work. Guilliman proclaimed Sanguinius as the rightful heir to the Emperor and declared him the new ruler of Imperium Secundus. Lion El'Jonson was made Lord Protector of this new empire of Humanity and commander over all its military forces, a title that was similar to that of Warmaster. Unfortunately, the foundation of Imperium Secundus was marred when Curze escaped from the Invincible Reason and rampaged across Macragge, intent on spreading as much terror and chaos as he could. Eventually, both Guilliman and the Lion confronted the cornered Curze. Their attempts to kill him were unsuccessful as the Night Lords primarch had laid a cunning trap. He brought down an entire chapel upon the two primarchs through the use of planted explosives and fled the scene. Guilliman and the Lion were only saved through the direct intervention of the Loyalist Iron Warriors Warsmith Barabas Dantioch, who was communicating with Guilliman at the time of the attack, through a portal that was opened by the Pharos. On instinct, the Warsmith reached through the portal and pulled the two primarchs to safety on Sotha.
  • Battle of Zepath (011.M31) - Feeling directly responsible for the Night Haunter's rampage on Macragge, the Lion continued to obsessively hunt his wayward former brother for the next two years. In 011.M31, El'Jonson eventually was able to trace a slim lead on Curze's whereabouts to the Zepath System, which had since fallen to the Word Bearers and World Eaters forces during their Shadow Crusade. Farith Redloss, the lieutenant-elect of the Dark Angels' Dreadwing was charged with leading the hunt for Konrad Curze upon the world of Zepath. The Dark Angels quickly uncovered the horrors perpetrated by the Word Bearers for their dark rituals. Eventually, the Dark Angels took part in multiple engagements against the forces of both Traitor Legions, which culminated in the capital city of Numentis. The Traitor forces were utterly annihilated by the victorious Dark Angels and the world was left in the care of its surviving population.
  • Exile of the Lion (ca. 011.M31) - While continuing his obsessive hunt for the elusive Night Haunter, the Lion and Guilliman continuously clashed over policies, especially in regards to the security of Imperium Secundus, and how best to deal with rebels on Macragge, that the Lion was certain Curze had something to do with. Following a suicide bombing of an Astartes convoy, the Lion used the Ist Legion to establish martial law on Macragge. Certain that Curze was hiding within the rebellious Illyrium region, the Lion advocated the use of a massive orbital saturation bombardment of the region to ensure Curze's death. Facing resistance from both Emperor Sanguinius and Guilliman, the Lion instead, opted to deploy his Legion's Dreadwing in order to flush out Curze and the rebels. During an attack on the city of Alma Mons, the Lion finally cornered the elusive Night Lords primarch and the two come to blows. After a brutal confrontation, the Lion eventually emerged victorious, and questioned his brother why he had turned away from the Emperor, in which Curze simply replied: "Why not?" Curze went on to explain that there was a monster in his head that he could not stop. Though he finally had Curze at his mercy, the Lion couldn't bring himself to kill his brother, and instead pummeled him again. He then ripped off Curze's backpack from his battle-plate and then lifted him over his head, and then brutally brought him down across his knee, breaking Curze's spine and paralysing him. The Lion brought the grievously wounded Curze before Sanguinius and Guilliman to stand trial. A Triumvirate was later held, where Curze defended his actions, but refused to admit his guilt. Since each of the primarchs had been created to perform a specific function, Curze was merely acting according to his own nature, and therefore had committed no crimes. The Night Lords primarch then further divided Guilliman and the Lion by accusing the latter of secretly ordering orbital bombardment in direct violation of Guilliman's orders. Enraged, the Lion sought to kill Curze, but was halted by the words of Sanguinius and Guilliman who snatched El'Jonson's Lion Sword and broke the blade across his armoured thigh. El'Jonson was furious, but Sanguinius dismissed the Lord Protector, ending the Triumvirate. The Lion was then banished from Imperium Secundus. Taking his leave, the Dark Angels withdrew from Macragge only hours later. Standing in the chamber of the Tuchulcha Engine, the Lion brooded over recent events, he questioned his actions over the course of the last few decades -- the banishment of Luther, the death of Nemiel as well as other decisions he had come to regret. As the Dark Angels made their final preparations to depart back to Caliban, the Lion went back to the Tuchulcha Engine's chamber. He then ordered the device to teleport himself and Holguin, "Deathbringer", the voted-lieutenant of the Deathwing, back to Macragge. As Sanguinius prepared to execute Curze for his crimes, both the Lion and his lieutenant teleported directly into the chamber and told Sanguinius to stop. As troops entered the room, demanding the Lion to surrender, El'Jonson explained his reasons for the intrusion. He reasoned that Curze had the ability to see precognitive visions of potential futures, and repeated the Night Haunter's claim that his death would one day come at the hands of an Assassin sent by the Emperor. If this was true, the Lion reasoned, then it was proof that the Emperor was still alive. Sanguinius knew the Lion's explanation rang true, as he recognised that his own precognitive visions of his inevitable death would also eventually come to pass. When Guilliman demanded to know what would become of Curze, the Lion knelt before his two brothers and promised that he would be Curze's gaoler.

Age of Warding, M31-M34

  • Great Scouring (ca. 014.M31) - With the Emperor grievously wounded by Horus and confined to His Golden Throne, the armies of the Imperium strike back against the reeling Traitors after the Siege of Terra. The Dark Angels Legion plays a significant role in these campaigns of vengeance, and is integral in driving out the forces of Chaos from multiple systems and forcing them to retreat into the Eye of Terror.
  • Fall of Caliban (ca. 014.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 Ist 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.
  • A Fell Legacy (ca.014.M31) - Still reeling from treachery and the loss of their primarch, and beset by Warp Storms, the Dark Angels are rocked to their foundations by the discovery that the destruction of Caliban had not killed all their brothers corrupted by Luther. Energy signatures obtained by the Legion's Librarians briefly register the scattered presence of many Traitors believed to have been slain, although these leads soon fade. It is unknown how many recruits Luther had on Caliban, and how many of those survived is a question that will haunt the Dark Angels for millennia to come.
  • A Legion No More (Unknown Date.M31) - The Dark Angels accept, for the most part, the strictures of the Codex Astartes, splitting what remains of their Legion into separate Chapters of 1,000 Astartes each. These Successor Chapters become collectively known as "the Unforgiven."
  • 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. Using the confusion of the times to their advantage, the Dark Angels and their successors choose numerous planets, obfuscating their precise number and nature, even from the Imperial authorities.
  • The Forgotten Wars (580.M31-632.M32) - During an unspoken period of their history, referred to as the Forgotten Wars, rumours lead the Dark Angels, along with three of their Successor Chapter, the Angels of Vengeance, the Angels of Redemption and the Lions Sable, to embark upon a harrowing campaign to track down multiple Fallen. The clues lead them through Segmentum Obscurus, deep into the Gothic Sector, and eventually into the Eye of Terror itself. In hindsight it is easy to see that the Ruinous Powers baited the Dark Angels. Only the Dark Angels' irrepressible resolve allows them to escape, and they pay a high price in casualties. The Lions Sable are completely annihilated. To cover up their immediate losses after their warriors were thought lost to the Warp, the resources of the recruiting world of the Lions Sable -- the ebon orb of Nachwald -- were usurped to replenish the Angels of Vengeance and the Angels of Retribution. The Dark Angels staged a false plasma explosion aboard the Rock to explain their loss of records, for it was decided by the Inner Circle to destroy all records relating to the event. Of the Forgotten Wars, the Dark Angels do not speak, nor has it entered into the apocryphal tales told to their initiates. They have gone to great lengths to ensure all references to that campaign or to the Lions Sable have been stricken from the records available to the Adeptus Terra. Deep in the dungeons of the Rock are secreted the only remaining accounts, and only those of the Inner Circle ever learn of that heroic sacrifice that must forever go untold.
  • Second Mortis Gate Campaign (560.M33) - The entire Dark Angels Chapter takes up arms against the Renegade forces of the Death Guard. Three solar months of storm-wracked warfare see the Traitor forces driven from their strongholds, and the Dark Angels' standards raised in victory.
  • Red Stars Campaign (732.M33-822.M33) - In a series of wars known as the Red Stars Campaign, 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. In desperation to cut the head off a rising Ork WAAAGH! the entire Dark Angels Chapter was deployed en masse. It was their hope that the Deathwing could draw out and destroy the Ork Warboss Zogax da Great before the Space Marines were overwhelmed by the green tide. Alas, these hopes were dashed when Zogax's Meks deployed some sort of jamming device that prevented the Deathwing from teleporting down anywhere near the Warboss' vicinity. Defiant, Supreme Grand Master Alloken led his own command squad and the 3rd Company in an attempt to cut through the heavily armoured bodyguard of Warboss Zogax. However, aided by all manner of hulking mechanised fighting machines, the Orks proved too powerful. The Dark Angels' impetus was all but spent by the time Alloken appeared before the chainaxe-wielding Ork Warboss. Tragically, the Supreme Grand Master was cut down, but as Zogax reached down to claim the Lion's Helm for his own, his hand was vaporised by a bolt of plasma. Howling in anger and surprise, the towering Ork Warboss looked up just in time to take a rapid volley of bolt pistol shots through both his good eye and his bionically enhanced one. Even devoid of the back part of his huge cranium and the majority of his brains, Zogax fought on for a few more moments before he fell, twitching. Only the timely intervention of the notorious Fallen known as Cypher, prevents the Orks from looting the Lion Helm and the Sword of Secrets from the slain body of the fallen Supreme Grand Master Alloken. When the Deathwing were finally able to teleport to the surface of the planet to secure victory, of Cypher, no further signs could be found.
  • The Redwings of Redemption (Unknown Date.M33) - Aided by the vast armouries of The Rock, the Angels of Redemption restructure and re-equip their 1st and 2nd Companies -- the "Redwings" -- in emulation of the Dark Angels' Deathwing and Ravenwing Companies. The other Unforgiven Successor Chapters soon follow suit.
  • Increasing Observation (Unknown Date.M34) - As the Imperium tightens its controls following the Great Scouring and the ensuing consolidation of power, the Dark Angels and their Successor Chapters find themselves under increasing scrutiny. Only their flawless battle record and eagerness to persecute the Imperium's enemies allow them to avoid censure.
  • 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.

Age of Forboding, M35-M36

  • Raid on Nova Terra (257.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 the notorious Fallen Angel. A daring Ravenwing strike assaults Nova Terra, but fails to apprehend 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. Although the Unforgiven Chapters are seen as loyal by the wider Imperium, many dark rumours tell of the Angels of Redemption abandoning their duties to pursue their own veiled missions.
  • 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.
  • Red Heresy (290-310.M36) - During the Age of Apostasy, the Red Heresy Plague erupts deep in the Segmentum Tempestus across the heavily populated star cluster known as the Don'lorth Sector, foreshadowing of the later battles that would become known as The Plague of Unbelief. It is here that the Cult of the Old Gods rises. Agitators and anarchists stir up the hives into open rebellion. Workers in their untold billions are urged by red-robed priests to cast off their shackles, to reject the corpse-god Emperor. The horrific slaughter of all agents of the Adeptus Administratum and Adeptus Ministorum is enough to draw in vast fleets of Imperial armed forces. Seeking a quick way to end the rebellion, the Silver Skulls Chapter deploy en masse in a desperate attempt to kill the leaders behind the rising cult. The hunt is disastrous -- with Drop Pod assaults ambushed and multiple Thunderhawks brought down en route to their objectives. Only the arrival of Dark Angels Deathwing and Ravenwing forces, along with the 3rd Company of the Angels of Vengeance, staves off certain defeat. However, the Silver Skulls observe the Deathwing forsaking the battle in pursuit of a mysterious robed Space Marine, which later turns out to be the notorious Fallen known as Cypher. Before Cypher escapes, an Angels of Vengeance Librarian detects several Fallen ensconced within the red-robed hierarchy of the Red Heresy. The Silver Skulls are left to dig themselves out of their own predicament. They do so, but openly condemn the Dark Angels; another formal protest is filed to the High Lords of Terra.
  • Trail of Unbelief (314.M36-334.M36) - The Dark Angels begin a two-solar-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. In truth, the Unforgiven's numbers were substantially higher, and several prisoners were taken back to The Rock for questioning.

Age of Execration, M37-M39

  • The Black Gulf Mines (154.M37) - The few survivors of the Zargosoan smuggler fleet break under pressure from a Dark Angels force led by Master Interrogator-Chaplain Molochia. They relate a tale of how a cloaked stranger fought his way aboard their flagship, the Black Needle, claiming parley. He knew the smuggler's code and invoked the rites of combat -- winning his duel and taking the place of a seasoned mate. Within a year, the stranger had risen to the very top, besting the previous captain in single combat. Under his leadership, the Zargosoan fleet -- five ships in all -- concentrated their raids along the Black Gulf Mines. There, amidst the sprawling asteroid fields and orbital man-made platforms, the smugglers raided mining complex after mining complex, hauling off many tanker-ships filled with sought after minerals and gasses. As it turns out, the leader of the mining colony -- known as the Black Gulf Tyrant -- is a figure greatly sought after by the Dark Angels.
  • 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 Aeldari 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 Aeldari 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 and secedes from the Emperor's realm. The Dark Angels' task force is surrounded upon Zambeque by Heretic Astartes of the Alpha Legion, and only the timely counterstrike by half of the Deathwing prevents the annihilation of the entire 2nd 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.
  • The Amalgamation Schism (Unknown Date.M38) - The arrival of the space hulk Amalgamation triggers a series of events that sees the Crimson Sabres Chapter estranged from the Imperium. A conflict with the Dark Angels over an Interrogator-Chaplain's unorthodox excruciation of a prisoner is thought to be at the heart of the matter.
  • 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 solar decades before and declared independence from the Imperium. Although the crusade's ruling council ordered a single regiment of Imperial Guard to assault the wayward colonists, the Dark Angels, acting on information they refused to disclose to the council, insisted on making the assault themselves. 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 (518.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 solar decade, the Dark Angels and several of their Successor Chapters suppress the Chaos Cultist uprisings and slay their leaders. Such actions are doubly pleasing for Cypher, for not only is he revenged upon the Alpha Legion's machinations, but he further frustrates the Dark Angels. For their part in the campaign, the Dark Angels are awarded many honour badges and campaign ribbons for their actions by the High Lords of Terra. The austere Dark Angels infrequently bear such commendations, but feel pressured to do so in this case. Deep down, the Inner Circle seethe at the dishonour -- for they know the truth, that the badges are but a sign of their failure to capture Cypher once again.
  • Relief of Rael's World (814.M39) - The Penal facility on Rael's World is the target of a concentrated assault by a coalition of Alpha Legion warbands, many amongst Segmentum High Command are unwilling to expend some of the overstretched resources in its relief. Then, with no warning or explanation, a Dark Angels strike force intervenes. The enemy is routed and their leader captured by the Dark Angels, the deliverance of Rael's World seemingly a by-product of the Chapter's ongoing Hunt for the Fallen.
  • The Forlex Rescue (Unknown Date.M39) - A Necron stasis-crypt awakens beneath the Imperial colony of Forlex. Striking from orbit, the Guardians of the Covenant drive the xenos back below ground and, though the cost in lives is steep, well over one hundred thousand colonists are safely evacuated.
  • Battle of Styx (Unknown Date.M39) - T'au forces attempt to annex the Dark Angels recruiting world of Styx. The Rock itself arrives in orbit to defend the planet, and the Dark Angels' response is so violent that the xenos are wiped out in a single solar day.
  • 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, though at the cost of Supreme Grand Master Zakaron, who manually triggers the blast.

The Age of Anathema, M40-M41

  • Destruction of Grymm's Landing (550.M40) - One of the first and most reliable of the Dark Angels' recruiting worlds, Grymm's Landing, is destroyed in an uprising, instigated by the Alpha Legion and supported by elements of the Night Lords. The Angels of Vengeance respond, fighting through wave after wave of Renegades, cultists and madmen. Finally, despite massive casualties, they exterminate every living thing on the surface of Grymm's Landing.
  • Cegorach's Due (Unknown Date.M40) - The Dark Angels track the Fallen known as Neziek to the world of Vriedos. They run their quarry to ground just as he is about to escape through a Webway portal. However, the Dark Angels' efforts at capture are foiled when a sizeable band of Harlequins bursts from the portal. Fighting furiously, the Harlequins hold the wrathful Space Marines at bay long enough to snatch Neziek and drag him into the Labyrinth Dimension.
  • 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. The Deathwing are deployed in response, and several of the Fallen are captured amidst the ensuing carnage. The rebelling populaces, regarded as mere obstacles to the Dark Angels’ true mission, are slaughtered in their millions. 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. Mystery shrouds the architects of this catastrophe, but the Dark Angels fight alongside the Imperial Fists to end the threat once and for all.
    • 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 to the Greenskins.
  • 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 solar 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, bringing an end to the shadow-shrouded conflict now known as the Rhamiel Betrayal. For this and many other heroic deeds, Azrael is subsequently named his successor as the new -- and current -- Supreme Grand Master of the Chapter.
  • WAAAGH! Groblinik (949.M41) - Fighting 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, slew 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 Astra Militarum 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.
  • Pandorax Campaign (959-961.M41) - In the Demeter Sector, Abaddon the Despoiler led an alliance of Traitor Legions, including his own Black Legion and the Death Guard, in an invasion of the Imperial Death World of Pythos in the Pandorax System, the location of an ancient hidden gateway to the Warp. Another piece in his dark design to bring an end to the Long War, the Warmaster of Chaos fell upon the world with a small force of Daemon Engines and infernal war machines. In the space of a few bloody solar days the major hive cities were overrun and the local Planetary Defence Forces crushed beneath the might of the combined Traitor Legions. Only a small contingent of Catachan Jungle Fighters, the CLXXXIIIth Catachan Regiment of the Imperial Guard, managed to escape the destruction, trekking through the world's inhospitable jungle to the relative safety of the nearest mountain range. Abaddon commenced the complex rituals and sacrifices that would open the Damnation Cache, a portal between realspace and the Warp, breaking open seals that had remained untouched since the time of the Horus Heresy. Heeding the impassioned cries for salvation from Pythos, the entire Dark Angels Chapter, led by Azrael himself, came to the defenders' aid. Supporting these Space Marines were Grey Knights dispatched from Titan to deal with the escalating daemonic incursion and the dire peril that the Damnation Cache posed. Both Imperial forces smashed through the Traitor Legion blockade around Pythos, in an epic void battle that pitted the finest warships of the Imperium supported by The Rock, the Dark Angels' mobile Fortress-Monastery, against the ancient vessels of the Traitor Legions. After the Chaos warfleet was finally driven from orbit and back into the void, the Space Marines were able to send their troops down through the atmosphere, bringing war to its ruined hives and hostile jungles. Failing to allow this distraction to draw him away from the awakening of the Damnation Cache, Abaddon sent an alliance of Legions to hold the Loyalists at bay. Before either the Dark Angels or the Grey Knights could stop him, Abaddon finally opened the portal to the Warp, daemons spilling out across Pythos. The ensuing conflict devastated the world as reality itself bent and buckled under the raw power of the Empyrean. The unleashed energies created rampant psychic phenomena, and Space Marines fought under boiling skies of blood and in rolling clouds of keening spirits. All across the Demeter Sector, latent psykers were awakened to full and terrible awareness and rebellions sprung up like cancerous boils on dozens of Imperial worlds in the region. After a long and bitter struggle, a squad of Grey Knights managed to reach the Damnation Cache and close the Warp portal. Starved of their daemonic allies, the Traitor Legions were forced onto the defensive and finally into retreat. Abaddon's forces left Pythos, escaping the vengeance of the Imperium once again, but the world had been irrevocably tainted by the touch of the Warp, its once proud cities and vast wilds twisted into a nightmarish hellscape. Before the portal was closed, however, Abaddon took with him a psyker, rumoured to be of prodigious strength and the bearer of a unique gift that would aid the Warmaster of Chaos in his forthcoming 13th Black Crusade. This conflict is remembered in Imperial records as the Pandorax Campaign.
  • 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.
  • 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 Fists Chapter 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 ends 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.
  • The Canyons of Koris (Unknown Date.M41) - Azrael leads a force to purge the Orks of WAAAGH! Gutgouger from Koris. Wings of Nephilim Jetfighters engage in furious dogfights through the planet's storm-lashed canyon maze, covering the Dark Angels' final push against Gutgouger's Killfort.
  • Assault on the Wyrmwood (Unknown Date.M41) - Several squads of Deathwing board the Space Hulk Wyrmwood. None are ever seen again, and records of the action are erased.
  • The Shadowshrine (Unknown Date.M41) - A strike force under Chaplain Asmodai battle a Commorrite host of Drukhari in the shrine-city of Gothala. Thousands of Mandrakes fall upon the Space Marines from squirming portals of sentient shadow, and it seems the Dark Angels must be overrun. However, Asmodai holds his force together, eventually leading an attack to collapse the Dark Eldar portals and end the nightmare.
Purging of Kadillus

The Dark Angels 3rd Company in combat against the Orks on their recruiting world of Piscina IV

  • 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.
  • The Black Templars Incident (998.M41) - The Black Templars fight alongside the Dark Angels on the world of Parabulus in an attempt to weaken the Renegade pirates who use the world as their base. A Black Templars Strike Cruiser, Ophidium Gulf, assists a Dark Angels force in pursuit of the individual known as "The Voice of the Emperor." After hard fighting, the Black Templars succeed in capturing him -- although are later embroiled in a dispute with the Dark Angels, during which both Chapters briefly engage in battle. Although ultimately taken into custody by the Dark Angels, the robed captive mysteriously escapes and the Ophidium Gulf is lost. At the behest of the Black Templars, the Inquisition is called upon to investigate -- results are pending after the disappearance of the investigating Inquisitor Archibald.
  • The Rich Prize (998.M41) - The Deathwing smash the Renegade enclave of Darkenhel. Over two dozen Fallen were seized, and the cells of The Rock ring with agonised screams for many solar months.
  • Belial's Fury (561.999.M41) - Belial, Grand Master of the Deathwing, cornered Cypher on Piscina IV. Belial was the best shot and most formidable close combat fighter in the Dark Angels Chapter, yet his efforts come to naught. His Storm Bolter misses before jamming and the Sword of Silence cuts off merely a piece of Cypher's hood as he ducks the blow. When Belial is subsequently tied up by the massed wave attack of suicidal cultists, Cypher makes good his escape. This marks the third time he has eluded the mighty Belial.
DA vs

Master Zadakiel and his 5th Company battling Kranon the Relentless and his Crimson Slaughter Chaos warband on the world of Stern's Remembrance

  • 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 Chaos 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 Balthasar, 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.
  • Dark Vengeance (999.M41) - Seeking to avenge the death of Company Master Zadakiel on Stern's Remembrance -- and to strike down a foe who appear to know their darkest secret -- the Dark Angels' 5th Company engages the Crimson Slaughter on the world of Bane's Landing. The fight is a desperate one, and only an act of supreme self-sacrifice prevents the Chaos worshippers from achieving their aims.
  • Siege of the Fenris System (999.M41) - The return of the heavily mutated Space Wolves 13th Company prompts Supreme Grand Master Azrael to launch a crusade to the Fenris System, which upon arrival is found to be in the throes of a daemonic invasion. Seeing no other recourse, Azrael orders the bombardment of one of the most infested of the system's worlds, Midgardia, even as the shape-shifting daemon called the Changeling is detected aboard The Rock. It is revealed that the daemon has been responsible for manipulating events, setting the Dark Angels against their long-time rivals the Space Wolves as part of a larger scheme orchestrated by Magnus the Red, Daemon Primarch of the Thousand Sons. A full-blown daemonic invasion of The Rock follows, and through the combined efforts of the two rival Chapters, as well as a detachment of Grey Knights who had followed their own scryings to the system, it is repelled. Despite their brief alliance, however, the Dark Angels' relationship with the Space Wolves is left more frayed than ever by their confrontation.
  • 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), a deadly force of Astartes, collectively known as Taskforce Shadowguard, staged themselves upon the outlying Mining World of Ex Lucan VII, lying 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 wasted no time in launching their attack against the mining settlements of the Kyran Range. Shadowguard revealed themselves and took the first raider force completely by surprise. Exploiting the momentum of victory, Shadowguard than executed 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 were 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, he 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 Ist 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 trace the source of the comms-signals to a broadcasting device in deep space. Although difficult to measure with precision, it is estimated that its location amidst the dust-ridden clouds of debris would approximate where their home world of Caliban once was. The beacon is swiftly and unceremoniously destroyed. 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.
    • Fall of Cadia (999.M41) - A vast tide of Chaos-worshippers pours from the Eye of Terror into the Cadian Gate. Detecting many Fallen amongst the horde, the Dark Angels risk all by ordering the Unforgiven to join them in a headlong assault against the Renegade forces. Their forces split across the Cadian Sector, the Dark Angels are involved in many battles, including heroic defensive actions against a daemonic warhost led by the Greater Daemon Kharhnok. Increasing Warp Storm activity ensures the different forces cannot reunite. Only the 4th Company under Master Korahael arrives on Cadia itself, where they and their Strike Cruiser, Sword of Defiance, are lost during the final battles that lead to the fall of that world to Abaddon the Despoiler.
  • The Galaxy Shakes (ca.999.M41) - Even protected by the psychic shielding of The Rock, the Librarians of the Dark Angels are struck down by a shock wave of terror and fell portents. Most of these visions are too fragmentary and fleeting to be recalled in detail, but the revelation experienced by Ezekiel, Grand Master of Librarians, sears itself into his mind. He sees the Fallen in their entirety, and their numbers are far greater than the worst fears of the Inner Circle would suggest. Luther had rebuilt the entire I Legion on Caliban, and a vast proportion of them had survived the planet's destruction, trapped within the Warp. Ezekiel's vision ends with an image of the galaxy in turmoil, and another truth becomes apparent: a great doom is coming.
  • Purge of Allhallow (Unknown Date.M42) - Allhallow was the Chapter homeworld of the Angels of Absolution. Sometime after the creation of the Great Rift, the T'au Empire began a purge of the population of Allhallow due to a psychic plague affecting its population. Secretly, the T'au were assisted by the Angels of Absolution's parent Chapter, the Dark Angels.
Note: For the deeds of the Dark Angels and Unforgiven Chapters following the opening of the Great Rift in the Era Indomitus, see the above history of the Chapter, starting with the section the "Great Rift Opens."

Legion Organisation

Hierarchy and Structure

The organisation and structure of the Dark Angels Legion predated the standard patterns of military organisation laid out by the Principia Bellicosa, indeed many of the doctrines and formations in common use throughout the Legiones Astartes found their origins in the early practises of the Ist Legion. In fact, this would seem to have been one of the prime missions gifted to the Ist Legion by the Emperor -- to discover, refine and perfect those strategies and patterns that would allow His new gene-crafted transhuman warriors to perform at peak efficiency.

When Imperial scholars speak of the "standard" form of a Space Marine Legion they speak of the Dark Angels, for it was in the sacrifice of the Ist Legion that these structures were first born. While Roboute Guilliman would later add to and adapt this structure, even that superlative general built upon the foundation that had been defined by the wars of the Ist Legion before the return of Lion El'Jonson. Even the Lion, upon resuming command of his Legion, would bow before the wisdom of these founders of the Ist Legion, content to bind this original structure to a single vision and authority, and it remained largely unchanged in form until the Second Founding.

In the earliest years of its existence, the Ist Legion would experiment with every form of war, every style of organisation and formation, with a host of warriors dedicated to almost any tactical or strategic ploy. This meant that the Legion contained specialists suited to every opponent and battlefield, but it lacked a cohesive structure to organise those warriors. It was by its very nature chaotic and fluid, ever-changing as certain tactics fell out of favour and new ones rose to prominence, and as such it lacked an easily defined sense of organisation.

This chaos was a necessary tool for its purpose, and in time it would resolve into order, into a system of supporting and overlapping formations that existed in parallel and allowed the Dark Angels to confront any foe on any battlefield and overcome them. This system of specialised formations stood at the very heart of the Ist Legion, and was the core around which it was built.

Of Hosts and Orders

The Ist Legion's hierarchical unit structure was composed of a descending hierarchy of chapters, companies and squads as was any other, according to the dictates of the Principia Belicosa. This was the shape of its overt hierarchy, the uncloaked face it showed to its brother Space Marine Legions and the Imperium at large. Yet each of the warriors of the Legion also held a concurrent position in a second, covert layer of organisation, one they kept hidden from those not of the Legion.

This secret strata of organisation was composed primarily of two distinct bodies: the great hosts and the Orders of Battle or Hekatonystika. Both of these bodies served to allow the collection and codification of martial knowledge by the warriors of the Legion and to see that this knowledge was available on the battlefield when it was needed most by the generals of the Great Crusade.

The great hosts were the larger of the two covert organisations, numbering at first in the dozens, with each individual force claiming the loyalty of hundreds of individual warriors. The hosts were each dedicated to the perfection of one art of war, as some specialised in siege warfare, others in the art of skirmish and yet more in the brutal discipline of shock assault and many other tactics besides.

The hosts did not fight as cohesive formations in most situations, being spread across the various chapters and companies of the Legion. Any given unit might comprise members from a variety of different hosts all working together, lending their experience and skills to their battle-brothers so that the whole had a value far greater than any individual piece.

No matter the challenge faced by even the least unit of the Ist Legion it would find at least one expert in its ranks, a distinct advantage when compared to many of the younger Legions, each of which was dedicated to a single brand of conquest and ill-equipped to fight outside its preferred sphere. Only in the most dire of situations did a host assemble en masse, its acolytes called out from the ranks to form a single body of those most skilled in their chosen art. Be it the siege-wrights of the Host of Stone or the breaching clades of the Host of the Void, such a body could be a potent force in its chosen element, more than capable of turning the tide of even the direst battle.

Each host followed the same organisational structure, each with its own master, marshals and initiates organised into cells scattered across the chapters of the Legion. These cells were embedded at the very heart of the Legion's core, operating alongside the companies and squads of its open and public hierarchy. Any given squad might very well include members from several cells, each bound in service to different hosts -- they were at once brothers, sealed by the oaths made to Legion and sergeant, and made strangers by the secret ties and mysteries of their host.

A warrior owed his obedience to both his commander in the ranks of the Legion's public hierarchy and his superior in the hidden society of his host, with only the subtle context of tradition to tell when one held authority over the other. It is a testament to the fortitude of the minds and the enduring loyalty of these warriors that such a complex system not only functioned on the field of battle, but excelled in bringing triumph to the Ist Legion.

The great hosts of the Ist Legion recruited openly and widely among the uninitiated warriors of the Legion. When new intakes of recruits reached front line companies they would find themselves under constant scrutiny from the appointed procurators of the hosts, each seeking signs of the aspirant's worthiness to join their host in their conduct on the field of battle. Those selected by the procurators, having already faced their trials upon the battlefield and in the subtle tests conducted by their battle-brothers and commanders, would be swiftly inducted into the most basic tenants of the host and granted the right to bear its mark upon their power armour.

Those warriors initiated into a host met freely within the precincts of the Legion's holdings and encampments to debate strategy and the proper use of arms, with those of the higher ranks responsible for the training of those below them. These gatherings, though not secret, were considered a private matter of the host, a forum where a warrior's standing within his host stood greater than that of his formal rank within the Legion. Members could speak on the business of the host, the practise and protection of their unique rites of battle and tradition, without fear of censure, for it was considered the duty of the hosts to preserve the Legion through their unstinting pursuit of excellence.

The Orders of Battle, also known as the Hekatonystika, though more numerous, boasted far fewer adherents than the hosts. Of the hundreds of individual orders, most could count no more than a few dozen initiates, a mere handful of warriors by comparison to the vast hosts and chapters of the greater Legion. Such warrior-fraternities could not disseminate their knowledge across an entire Legion in the same manner as the hosts, and harboured a skill set ill-disposed towards such a use.

The Orders of Battle were experts in a single bloody aspect of war, the destruction of a singular foe or the mastery of some aberrant field of conflict. When a battlegroup of the Ist Legion encountered a foe worthy of their hatred or a field of battle whose nature defied their contempt it was to the Orders of Battle that they turned, forming a cenobium, a cadre of the warriors from an order trained to negate the foe, to lead the assault and to turn all their secret knowledge into a weapon to smite the enemies of Mankind.

Each Order of Battle maintained a strict hierarchy, though no two were exactly the same, with each organised to best serve the aims and lore kept by that order. For, unlike the hosts, which openly recruited and shared much of their knowledge when called to battle, the orders were of a more secretive nature. The true position and nature of the ranks within a given order were only truly understood by the inducted initiates of that order, with a system of ciphers and cryptic signs unique to each order used to mark them out to those who had been inducted into their ranks.

Each tier of the order granted an initiate greater understanding of the mysteries it had been created to preserve and placed upon them a greater burden of responsibility to keep that knowledge ever ready to be called upon at need. The order would meet to affirm their knowledge in the form of rituals and tradition as well as to train in more practical ways -- to keep ready blade and bolt for the day when their knowledge would be required in the name of the Legion and the Imperium.

Most orders maintained a sanctum chamber aboard any voidship to which a cell of their members was posted, a private space into which entry was only granted to ordained members of the order and where ritual training and study could be pursued in seclusion. Some of the largest orders controlled space stations, most often based in and around warzones that supported or required their unique skills.

The Order of Broken Spears operated an orbital stronghold capable of hosting all 138 known members, set in place above the broken mesas and twisting canyons of Argyel III, a Death World whose rock was laced with traces of heavy metals that countered most active sensor systems. Given that the Broken Spears were masters in the art of ambush and the silent war of wits that prevailed in such dense and confusing terrain, this served as the perfect location for the training of its initiates and as a retreat for those veterans seeking to contemplate the teachings of the order without distraction.

These sanctums, whether grand strongholds or spartan chambers aboard a ship of war, also served a crucial role in the recruitment of new members. Such prospective acolytes were identified by the senior members of a cell by the record of their achievements and skill, and were subject to much debate within the cell before any decision was made. Once summoned by the cell a warrior could expect to face a series of gruelling physical and mental trials, administered in the seclusion of the order's domain where these candidates were granted limited rights of entry, though often under binding oaths to hold secret all that was witnessed.

Such trials varied widely between orders, though often presented the very real possibility of serious injury or even death for those that accepted the challenge. The exact nature of these rituals was kept secret and even those that failed were bound by the honour of the Legion not to speak of that which they had faced, such was the respect given to the orders of the Hekatonystika by the rank-and-file warriors of the Legion. Only once fully inducted would they receive the freedom of the order's domains and the right to begin study of the first tier of the hidden lore of their new warrior-brotherhood and to bear the mark of its acolyte upon the ceramite of their war plate.

To hold a position even in the outer circles of one of the Orders Militant of the Hekatonystika was considered a great honour, and of the entire Legion less than half could claim such an achievement. Though few outside of the ranks of a given order knew the full import of the insignia borne by its adepts, all of the Legion's warriors granted the bearer of such a sigil due respect and few even amongst the most senior of commanders would fail to heed their advice, no matter what formal rank they might hold outside the order. Though it was a rare occurrence, some particularly skilled warriors within the Legion bore the insignia of more than one of the Orders Militant upon their armour.

In some cases such warriors had formally departed one order to take up a position in a new brotherhood, sworn to keep the secrets of their old association, while in the most exceptional of cases they might hold rank in two or more orders at the same time. There are only a handful of examples of this, the most well-known being Lion El'Jonson himself, who held the rank of high preceptor of every order within the Legion, and Knight-Captain Atreus Deucalion, bearer of the sword Chrysaor. Knight-Captain Deucalion, who was also a marshal of the Firewing of the Hexagrammaton, was counted one of the finest swordsman in the Legion and held station within three separate orders, blending the blade-techniques of each to form a unique and deadly style of his own.

Ultimately, it was this arcane, covert and deeply-layered organisation of the Ist Legion which provided one defence from the corruption of Chaos and the Traitors in the years just before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy. Horus and Lorgar's warrior lodges found no purchase within the ranks of the Dark Angels, as they were shunned by the preceptors of the Orders Militant and the proctors of the wings of the Hexagrammaton as worthless and beneath them.

The Dark Angels thus never suffered corruption due to the actions of Horus and his allies among the Traitor Legions, yet even as the Heresy ended, they would face their own betrayal from within, driven by the same flaws of jealousy and vainglory that drove the Warmaster to rebel against the Emperor.

The Five Hundred

"Of all the weapons wielded by the Emperor's Legions, it is not cannon or blades that are the most deadly. It is knowledge that has carried us to victories beyond count, and wisdom that has broken empires and kings. Yet still there are those who question why we keep such a potent weapon concealed from our foes within the folds of the Hexagrammaton."

— From the Lion Codex, the collected words and deeds of Lion El'Jonson

The first 500 warriors of the Dark Angels to stand alongside their primarch on Caliban, after arriving on that world with the Emperor, would come to be known simply as the "Five Hundred," an honourary company embedded in the Legion's system of Orders Militant. Each of the Five Hundred were sworn to a unique duty, bound to gather information and to keep it hidden for the benefit of the Legion just as the other Orders Militant, save the subject of their scrutiny was the primarch himself.

For among all the doctrines of the old hosts of the Ist Legion, each carefully crafted and honed by centuries of war, they had never accounted for such a manifest icon of war and death as a primarch. Study was required that they might learn how best to fight at his side, which weapons were best-suited to be deployed alongside the primarch and how the Legion would need to be reshaped to serve his will. Lion El'Jonson himself would prove no more forthcoming to his gene-sons than he had been to his brother primarchs, prone to silence and self-reliance. He offered his new Legion the chance to prove itself in battle, but gave them no guidance on the means by which they would best earn his respect.

The Five Hundred would serve as the Lion's life guard, to fight and die ever in his shadow, that the Legion might learn that which their new master was reticent to speak of and earn his favour in war. Their hard-won secrets, enshrined in the tome known as the Lion Codex, was among the most cleverly and completely ciphered records within the Legion, for it contains the sum of their knowledge of Lion El'Jonson -- his fighting style and strategies.

Such secrets would be valuable beyond reckoning to any foe of the Legion, and just as priceless to his gene-sons, for with the guidance of the codex the Council of Masters sought to reshape their Legion in his image. As such, the Five Hundred were its only keepers and they accepted no new initiates, which ensured that the secrets the company held lived or died with them.

The Lion himself never mentioned this enterprise, never uttered one word of praise for the ever-present honour guard at his side even as their numbers dwindled over time. Yet, neither did he forbade them their study and on the eve of battle he often waited patiently for those of the Five Hundred present to assemble at his side before he set forth. This silent acceptance was counted by the Dark Angels as the ultimate mark of recognition, worth more to them than any honour marking or gaudy touch of victory.

The Hexagrammaton

HexagrammatonIcon

The icon of the Six Wings of the Hexagrammaton of the ancient Dark Angels Legion

The Primarch Lion El'Jonson introduced to the Ist Legion of the Space Marines the organisational structure he had learned from the knights of The Order on Caliban. The Lion's tenets of loyalty, discipline and self-efficiency were incorporated into everything the Legion did.

As the Ist Legion had originally been created from Terran warriors gifted with the gene-seed of the stalwart, if reticent, Lion, 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. However, the Legion was considered to be of moderate size for the time.

DA Legion Standard Hexagrammaton

Ist Legion standard with Hexagrammaton symbol utilised in conjuction with the winged sword emblem.

Under the Lion's supervision, the Ist Legion was reorganised into another parallel series of specialised formations known collectively as the Hexagrammaton, and colloquially as the "Six Wings." These specialised formations existed outside the regular chain-of-command and organisation of the Legion. These formations were an amalgamation of the Terran pre-Principia Belicosa approach used by the Hosts of the Ist Legion and the organisation of the now-proscribed formations of the early Legiones Astartes and Caliban's knightly orders.

Before the creation of the first Space Marine Legions, the Legiones Astartes were organised into a formation known as the "Six Hosts of the Angels of Death," with each of these hosts having its own specialisation and purpose. Following The First's reunification with their primarch Lion El'Jonson on Caliban, the Lion incorporated the traditions of the Six Hosts and The Order, and thus, the Six Wings were created.

The Ist Legion followed the organisational principles of the Principia Bellicosa, organising their Legion's strength into chapters, which were led by Masters, and below them orders, which were led by Paladins. These formations were further broken down into companies, led by captains, and squads commanded by sergeants.

Members of the Six Wings were distributed amongst squads and companies, where they acted as captains, sergeants, and line Legionaries, or in specialised formations when assembled on orders from their respective voted-lieutenant of a wing. These voted-lieutenants, also called masters, acted as both commander of their wing and often acted as counsel to their primarch.

Voted-lieutenants were elected by their peers rather than being nominated by a superior. They would then have their nominated successor chosen to command the wing in the event of their untimely death, so as not to interrupt the cohesiveness of a wing's command.

The voted-lieutenants who served as the chosen leaders of each wing often gathered together in a group known as the Council of Masters, first in the great fortress of the Ist Legion on Gramarye and later wherever the Legion was engaged after being reunited with their primarch.

On the field of battle, a commander responsible for an area of operations or campaign had to request the intervention of one of the Six Wings. When such a request was made and eventually accepted, the members of the requested wing were summoned from their duties, when possible, in order to assemble and conduct operations under the command of their voted-lieutenant's orders.

The Hexagrammaton formations that existed within the Dark Angels Legion at the time of the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy included the following:

The Deathwing and the Ravenwing are still used by the Dark Angels to this day in their hunt for the Fallen. The other four wings have been lost to the mists of time and are no longer fielded by the Dark Angels. They have been unseen since the era of the Horus Heresy.

Deathwing Protocol

The Deathwing

Icon of the Deathwing

The Deathwing originated as the Veteran Cataphractii Terminators of the Dark Angels who often served as lifeguards to the Legion's officers, including its primarch. Duty weighed heavily upon the oath-bound warriors of the Deathwing, for once sworn to a task they would let no obstacle bar them from its completion. On the battlefield not even death would stay their advance and where others would retreat in the face of annihilation, the Deathwing stood unmoved. When war dictated that the impossible must be achieved, it was the warriors of the Deathwing to which the Ist Legion turned.

The Deathwing is unique among the Space Marines Chapters of the 41st Millennium in that the entire Dark Angels 1st Company fights exclusively in Terminator Armour. The Deathwing are notoriously stubborn and resistant, refusing to buckle under extreme pressure from enemy advances even when it would be more advantageous to retreat.

Yet the Deathwing is not solely a tactical formation. Promotion to the Deathwing also means that an individual is made privy to many of the Chapter's dark secrets. The most closely guarded of these secrets is that of the betrayal of Luther and the Fallen, and the subsequent loss of their primarch, Lion El'Jonson.

Ravenwing Protocol

I Legion Ravenwing Icon

Icon of the Ravenwing

The Ravenwing protocol, which focused on the use of anti-gravitic units and all-terrain bikes, had its origins in early Legiones Astartes tactics for rapid-moving search and destroy formations, some of which dated back to the nomadic techno-barbarian war clans of pre-Unification Terra.

After Caliban's discovery during the Great Crusade, these formations were revived and expanded as they offered a form of rapid strike warfare the knights of Caliban both understood and had perfected over many generations, though now their steeds were ones of unyielding metal, rather than flesh.

Dreadwing Protocol

The Dreadwing

Icon of the Dreadwing

The speciality of the Dreadwing was total warfare using the most sinister of weapons. The elected voted-lieutenant of this wing, bearing the title of "Dreadbringer," commanded Destroyer Squads supported by other types of units to bring total annihilation of a foe on a specific battlefield.

The Dreadwing also utilised mass armoured assaults of Land Raiders, Spartan Assault Tanks, Mastodons, and Fellblades with advanced weaponry. Their hallmark was the use of dark, sinister, and shunned munitions such as Phosphex, Rad and Vortex Weapons.

Firewing Protocol

The Firewing

Icon of the Firewing

The Firewing was one of the six wings of the Hexagrammaton that existed during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. The smallest of the wings, the Firewing was dedicated to the hidden subtleties of warfare and within its ranks were found an eclectic mix of stalkers, champions and Moritat killers, all bound by their shared expertise in the arts of blade and knife, duellists and assassins without peer.

The Firewing sought the destruction of the enemy through the violent depletion of their command structure, whether in honourable duels at the heart of a battle or at the hands of subtle killers far from the battlefield. When given free reign upon the field of battle, the initiates of the Firewing choose to wage a war of wills against the enemy, seeking to break their resolve rather than slaughter their ranks.

The Firewing was disbanded in the wake of the Horus Heresy. There are, however, intriguing heraldic links between the Firewing and the sigil of the Consecrators, a Second Founding Successor Chapter of the Dark Angels.

Ironwing Protocol

I Legion Ironwing

Icon of the Ironwing

The Ironwing Protocol was developed before the Great Crusade was fully born, when the first Space Marines were used by the Emperor to exterminate threats to Mankind too dire to be allowed to endanger the glorious future. He had designed later variants of this protocol, which sought to wed the superhuman power of the Legiones Astartes and amplify that killing strength with newly-designed, bespoke armoured units -- such as the Land Raider -- as well as mighty Dreadnoughts in close support, for the Ironwing's mission required the shock application of brute force.

Those were entered into the Principia Belicosa for use and development by the Legions that would follow, notably the Xth and IVth, but the Dark Angels would continue to develop the tactical pattern to serve their own ends.

Stormwing Protocol

I Legion Stormwing Icon

Icon of the Stormwing

As the largest of all the wings of the Hexagrammaton, the Stormwing incorporated the majority of the Dark Angels' line infantry, training battalions and mobile ordnance batteries within its ranks. The members of this wing were drilled in the disciplined and stalwart arts of close order warfare and set-piece battles, unshakable on defence and resolute on attack. Its Veteran warriors were the core of the Legion's infantry companies, capable of executing complex manoeuvres and formations under the heaviest enemy fire.

The Stormwing was also a tactical formation used in the Great Crusade, consisting exclusively of Breacher Squads armed with Boarding Shields. The Stormwing specialised in spaceborne boarding operations.

Inner Circle Knights Cenobium

DW Inner Circle Knights Cenobium Sqd 1

A squad of Knights Cenobium during the Thramas Crusade.

Amongst the ranks of the Ist Legion stood the formidable elite warriors of the Inner Circle Knights Cenobium. Only the most dedicated warrior-adepts of the Legion could attain the rank of cenobite and were granted the right to bear the cipher of one of the orders of the Dark Angels.

Clad in the finest Cataphractii Pattern Terminator Armour they were covered in the symbols and heraldry of the Ist Legion. The Cenobites of the Inner Circle could easily weather the storm of shrapnel and flame produced by the terrible weapons of the Great Crusade with limited risk. Armed with the best weapons that the Legion could provide, they would bring the fury of their assault into the heart of enemy fortifications.

These temporary squads were outfitted with a Terranic Greatsword and a Plasma Caster, a small Plasma Weapon unique to the Dark Angels Legion fitted into the Astartes' vambrace to allow the cenobium of Inner Circle Knights to fight unencumbered in combat.

Weapons of Old Night

As the Ist Legion, the Dark Angels were originally outfitted with a panoply of arms drawn not from the fruits of the Emperor's pact with Mars, but instead from the arsenal of the Unification Wars of ancient Terra; relic weapons and technologies of great potency but often difficult to replicate and even treacherous to do so, many of which would later be forbidden.

Long after the other Legions were formed, and the Great Crusade ratified and standardised much of the Legiones Astartes wargear so that it could be replicated on Forge Worlds across the Imperium, the Dark Angels retained many of these ancient and potent relics, as well as the techno-arcana that resided within them.

These they continued to employ solely within the Legion, weapons whose secrets were never fully yielded to Mars or their Space Marine brethren by the Emperor's own command. These weapons included the following:

  • Calibanite War Blade
  • Plasma Repeater

Specialist Units and Formations

DA ast Knights Cenobium

A Dark Angels Veteran of the Knights Cenobium.

  • Inner Circle Knights Cenobium - The Dark Angels Legion played host to a multitude of ciphered orders, Chambers Militant concealed within the panoply of the Legion and dedicated to the preservation and perfection of a singular doctrine of war. Wthin each of these orders, the most dedicated warrior-adepts were charged and granted the right to bear the cipher and charge of the order, to fight in the forefront of those battles that required the hard-won skills harboured within each of these secretive cells.
DA ast Deathwing Companions

A Deathwing Companion during the Great Crusade.

  • Deathwing Companion Detachment - The finest warriors and longest-serving Veterans among the Deathwing formed the ranks of the Companions, each such detachment sworn by the most stringent of oaths to ensure the survival of those officers placed under their charge. Most famous among the Companions are those that had taken a death-blow meant for their charge and survived. Such warriors were granted the right to wear bone-white armour in recognition of their selfless devotion to the Legion.
DA Ast Operator Alais Decur

Firewing Enigmatii Operator Alais Decur.

  • Firewing Enigmatus Cabal - The Firewing existed to prosecute a swift and silent style of war, to smother the enemy's ability to resist, steal their will to fight with precision strikes, and gain the acquisition of key intelligence for use by other forces. The Enigmatii were the foremost practitioners of this style of war, operating in small elite units to eliminate th enemy's leaders, disrupt their lines of advance and throw their plans into disarray. Armed and equipped with the finest weapons and equipment available, they were a deadly threat to those deemed dangerous enough by the Lion to warrant their attention.
DA ast Interemptor Squad

Dreadwing Interemptor wielding a deadly Plasma Incinerator.

  • Dreadwing Interemptor - Even among the brethren of the infamous Dreadwing the Interemptors were a grim breed, dedicated as they were to a singular purpose -- the utter annihilation of the enemy. When the Interemptors attacked, they left behind no trace of those they conqueroed -- no bodies, no ruins, nothing. They took no trophies of their victories and told no tales of thsoe that had fallen before them, those consigned to death at their hands were forgotten forever. They were the Lion's ultimate sanction, his final curse for those foolish enough to stand against the Ist Legion.

Legion Command Hierarchy

Given the multitude of layers of structure to be found in the organisation of the Dark Angels, the Legion's command hierarchy can seem impossibly confused to outsiders. The three strands of authority woven into the form of the Legion, that of wing, chapter and order, would seem to compete to claim each warrior's allegiance and attention upon the field of battle, as well as presenting complex schemes of heraldry that defy easy identification by those unfamiliar with their intricacies.

However, for the warriors of the Ist Legion it has proven to be not only effective but also capable of quickly adapting to the flow of battle and the ever-changing vicissitudes of war, allowing it to not only overcome the challenges of the Great Crusade but to thrive as one of the most dangerous of all the Legiones Astartes.

Taken separately, each of these chains of command is actually quite traditional in form, based upon the precepts of the Principia Bellicosa which the Ist Legion helped define, with authority invested in a single chain of command, from the highest ranks down to each individual of the companies, orders and wings that made up the Legion. This allowed commanders to efficiently maintain control of large bodies of troops by dividing the responsibility among a multitude of lesser officers while staying true to the vision and strategy of a single general.

What complicated this arrangement was that to outsiders it seemed that the three different strands of authority within the Legion were not linked, and left no standing and fixed method by which one could tell when the authority of one commander outstripped that of another. To the warriors of the Dark Angels it came down to a simple matter of battlefield context and a deep-seated trust and respect for the abilities of the warriors that stood alongside them.

In battle, authority was seeded to the warriors of the highest rank in whichever branch of the Legion was best suited to exploit the situation around them. Where the specialised knowledge and skills of a given wing or order officer would provide the Legion an advantage, their authority superseded that of the more traditional commanders, with both the rank-and-file and the line officers implicitly trusting them to lead the fight. When the veterans of wing and order moved to implement the overall strategies of the chapter commanders, the warriors around them followed.

Such a disregard for strict and unchanging lines of command and control frustrated some Legions and primarchs, with Roboute Guilliman in particular making many attempts to convince the Lion to reform his Legion along the lines of his own Codex Astartes. Some attempts by other Legions were made to emulate the success of the Dark Angels pattern, with the Raven Guard applying a similar structure to separate certain strata of their Legion; however, none of the other Legions retained the solid core of long-standing veterans required to fully implement the complex organisational doctrines of the Ist Legion.

Just as it had been intended, they took from the example of the First those elements of their tactics that meshed with the direction of their own Legion and adapted them to their own purposes. It was only the superb skills and long-term indoctrination and familiarity of the warriors of the Dark Angels that could fully utilise such a complex organisational arrangement to its fullest potential. It allowed them to adapt and evolve from moment to moment on the battlefield, claiming victory without the grinding attrition that marked the conquests of other, more inflexible, Legions.

Outside of the battlefield authority of individual knight-praetors or order preceptors, there were three bodies that exerted control over the strategic deployment of the Legion. Foremost among these was the Primarch Lion El'Jonson, who held the ranks of Lord of the Ist Legion, Grandmaster of the Hexagrammaton and High Preceptor of the Hekatonystika. He held absolute and final authority over the entire Legion, and when he took the field, his orders superseded all others regardless of position or knowledge.

Given the known tendency of the Lion to engage in frontline control of smaller battle forces and leave the widely-flung elements of his Legion to complete their objectives as they saw fit, much scope existed within the Legion for secondary forms of control to handle the more mundane administration of the massed forces of the Legion. Fortunately, the Dark Angels were both more than capable of operating without direct oversight, having proved their mettle in standard centuries of independent operation, and already possessed additional bodies of authority well-suited to directing the arduous task of seeing the far-flung fleets of the Dark Angels supplied.

The Council of Masters, comprised of the heads of the wings of the Hexagrammaton or their appointed agents, had long overseen the strategic operation of the Legion. The assembled masters or voted-lieutenants were often integral in the process of assigning Ist Legion forces to the various fleets and warzones of the Great Crusade, and there was often much lively debate within the council halls as to which wings should provide troops and commanders to which deployments.

As some of the most experienced and veteran warriors of the Legion, the wing masters and their marshals were ideally suited to such high level planning and the primarch granted them the honour of his implicit trust, freeing him to undertake a more active role in the Legion. The Conclave of Preceptors of the Hekatonystika rarely took on a similar role, for although it consisted of warriors of equal skill and experience, it was convened in full on only a few ceremonial occasions. The preceptors of the orders took on strategic leadership roles largely only when their specialist skills were demanded by the conflict at hand, but still served as a reserve of talented officers should the Legion ever stand in need of direction.

This layered system of leadership, from primarch, to the Council of Masters, to the Conclave of Preceptors and then individual officers of the line, was flexible enough to support the Legion's preference for a multitude of simultaneous deployments rather than massing in a single warzone. It played to the strengths of their primarch, who had little interest in the micromanagement of his Legion's strategies and excelled in direct battlefield command. That the Lion made few changes to this existing structure after taking over command of the Legion speaks of his approval of it, and that he granted such autonomy to his warriors shows the trust he had for the veterans of the Ist Legion.

Lords of the Inner and Outer Circles

Given the unique structure of their organisation among the Space Marine Legions, it was not surprising that the Dark Angels also employed a number of variant titles for their officers. The line officers of the Legion retained a standard pattern of identification prior to the Calibanite influence that Lion El'Jonson brought to the Ist Legion, though in the years after the primarch's return, a variant system based on the titles of the knights of Caliban found favour with many.

By the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, only the most intransigent veterans of the old Legion, those of Terra, Gramarye and beyond, still used the older, more plain titles of praetor, centurion and consul.

The warriors of the wings of the Hexagrammaton adhered to their own system of titles, denoting both the bearer's authority and skill within the wing to which he belonged. This system was in use with all six of the wings in existence at the time of the Horus Heresy with few variances between them. Some employed distinct honourary titles to distinguish warriors of particular renown, such as the title of "eskaton," which was used within the Dreadwing to denote a warrior who had overseen the final death of an entire xenos race or world.

By contrast, the secretive orders of the Hekatonystika maintained few set titles across the hundreds of individual orders that existed in the pre-Heresy Legion. Of the few titles used by almost every order the most well-known were that of "preceptor," used to indicate the leader of an order, and "seneschal," which was granted to high-ranking order members that oversaw the hidden chambers of the halls of the order.

When openly garbed in the full panoply of the order and bound to open war in the name of the Legion, members would also use the honourary title "cenobite" to illustrate the temporary supremacy of their standing in the order over that of their rank within the formal hierarchy of the Legion.

What follows is a brief summary of the more commonly known and used titles and ranks for the three chambers of the pre-Heresy Ist Legion, ranked from highest to lowest vertically:

Of the Hekatonystika

(Corpus Sinister)
Of the Principia Bellicosa

(Corpus Nobilis)
Of the Hexagrammaton

(Corpus Dextera)
Preceptor
Knight-Praetor
Master (Voted-Lieutenant)
Seneschal
Knight-Commander
Marshal
Cenobite
Knight-Captain
Proctor
Adept
Knight
Initiate

Legion Operational Doctrine

By the last years of the Great Crusade, shortly before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, the Dark Angels claimed a strength of approximately 180,000 warriors. In terms of sheer size this placed them in the upper tier of the Legiones Astartes, alongside such Legions as the Ultramarines and Sons of Horus, and despite the rise of the younger Legions to rival their glory, they still remained one of the single most powerful military forces in the Imperium. Some surviving records from the period have noted a much lower field strength for the Dark Angels, sometimes as low as 50,000. These reports are likely due to the confusion that the Dark Angels' organisational procedures and heraldry caused for most unfamiliar observers.

The dense nature of the ciphers they used and the secretive nature of many of its sub-formations often led to some amount of bewilderment for outsiders, especially when combined with the fluid and shifting nature of authority and command within the Legion, sometimes even to the degree that it led to military setbacks when working alongside other Imperial forces. Surprisingly, the Dark Angels made little attempt to remedy this situation, indeed some of their commanders, especially the older veterans of the Great Crusade, seemed to take a quiet pride in the confusion it occasioned among the least disciplined of their allies.

In particular, a common practise by some Dark Angels Legion forces was to arrive without announcing to their allies who commanded the Ist Legion's contingent, leaving their counterparts to determine whom to greet as warlord by the heraldry they displayed. Those few who made the correct choice, or who were wary enough to make no judgement, were treated with respect and those who chose poorly watched carefully for further lapses in judgement. Such tests of worth were commonplace among the Dark Angels, both for their own initiates and for those that would fight alongside them, for the sons of the Lion judged the worth of no warrior on rumour and hearsay alone.

Such actions were most often encountered among the more veteran formations of the Legion. Those forces whose tallies of victories and vanquished foes were so impressive that some among the newly-recruited regiments of the Imperium's armies thought them fabrications and even those who had served in the Great Crusade long enough to have heard of the valour of the Ist Legion rarely knew the full scope of their victories and sacrifices.

Indeed, the Dark Angels remained one of the most experienced bodies of warriors within the Legiones Astartes. Despite the many dire battles they had faced, they had always retained a core of Veterans to pass on the hard-won skills and knowledge of their struggles, indeed much of the structure of the wings of the Hexagrammaton and the orders of the Hekatonystika was dedicated to exactly this task. As such they had maintained a level of skill and proficiency in every sphere of warfare that, while sometimes less specialised than the younger Legion, could rarely be equalled among the Legiones Astartes.

Given these material and organisational preferences the Dark Angels tended to a sparse pattern of deployment, scattering their numbers widely in relatively small detachments, relying more on the potency of their weaponry and the individual prowess of their warriors than on sheer numbers. Capitalising on the diverse nature of the warriors that made up each chapter and company, individual battle forces of the Dark Angels were most often little more than a handful of chapters operating in close support, often a force as small as a few thousand warriors. Where other fleets relied more on the numbers they could bring to bear, the Dark Angels emphasised the fluid nature of their units which were able to quickly and efficiently reform as needed within a local theatre of war in order to meet the challenges of a given engagement.

It was a rare sight to see large numbers of the Ist Legion gathered in any one place, and such a sight was considered a portent of the worst kind, for the grim, black-armoured ranks of the Dark Angels were only amassed to face the most dire of threats. Indeed, many among the ranks of the Imperial Army considered it a grave misfortune to be tasked with serving as support to the Dark Angels, not due to any mistreatment at the hands of the Legiones Astartes, but rather because the battlefields upon which they walked were inimical to the lives of merely mortal warriors and only the most skilled or fortunate mortal soldiers survived such a tour of duty. Despite this long-held superstition, those few regiments that had served alongside the Dark Angels and survived held the battle honours granted them by the Lion with pride, despite the bloody price paid for their acquisition.

In order to support this widely spread web of independent companies and chapters the Dark Angels maintained perhaps the greatest fleet of all the Legiones Astartes, both in terms of sheer number of capital class vessels and in the impressive firepower of those craft. Just as with the many disparate companies of the Legion, the fleet was also widely spread, most often operating either as a support flotilla attached to a chapter or as one of the rare deep range patrol squadrons.

Support flotilla were comprised of the heaviest void ships available, with the core of many being a Gloriana-class Battleship or other first-rate warship supported by one or more squadrons of cruisers. Support flotilla were intended to provide transport for the attached chapters, allowing them to breach heavily-defended star systems without support and assault a specified target without the need for extensive auxiliary forces. They also served to provide orbital fire support to Legiones Astares forces engaged in battle and a base for Legion interface craft, either to serve as an orbital supply line or to launch airstrikes or interdiction missions.

By contrast, the patrol fleets maintained a smaller contingent of Legion warriors, rarely more than company strength, and fielded more deep range cruisers and sleek escort craft mounting scanning augurs and other equipment unique to the Dark Angels. These squadrons were tasked with seeking out unknown nests of xenos or isolationist and belligerent Human enclaves, much in the same manner as the more specialised White Scars fleets.

Those Legiones Astares companies accompanying the fleet were used solely to assess the threat level of the enemies discovered, mounting spoiling raids or brief hit-and-run campaigns before withdrawing back to the orbital fortresses. Those deemed dangerous by the veterans of the Ist Legion were annihilated from orbit and those marked vulnerable left for the Great Crusade that followed in the fleet's wake.

With assets spread across the galaxy, the Ist Legion placed little emphasis on maintaining a large number of holdings and fortresses. Indeed, there were only two large outposts held by the Dark Angels, the ancient fortress of Gramarye which played host to the halls of the Council of Masters and the vast industrial facilities that produced many of the Legion's more esoteric weapons and had long been concealed from the scrutiny of the Mechanicum, and the more recently acquired fortress-monastery of The Order on Caliban. These two worlds saw the largest concentration of the Legion's infrastructure, and were both heavily fortified and defended.

Other holdings on Terra, where a significant protion of the Ist Legion's recruitment was still conducted, and the scattered chantry houses of the various Orders Militant, were less well defended, but not intended as frontline combat installations.

The standard pattern of operations within the Legion saw these holdings used as bases for resupply for a force that was primarily based within the mobile halls of the fleet. Only on the rarest of occasions did any of the chapters of the Dark Angels Legion return to their halls for any lengthy period of rest, with garrison duty left to the rawest recruits and those masters and seneschals with Deathwing lifeguard cadres that stood warden over those domains.

Forbidden Arsenal of the Dark Angels

Complementing the Dark Angels Legion's skill and hard-won knowledge was one of the most deadly arsenals in the entire early Imperium. Much of the technology routinely deployed by the Dark Angels was of an order of complexity beyond that available to the younger Space Marine Legions and on par with those of the Legio Custodes, produced in dedicated manufactoria on Terra and elsewhere to the specifications of the Dark Angels' learned forge masters according to designs dating back millennia to the Age of Technology.

Exotic plasma weaponry, munitions of archaic and unstable design as well as variants of armoured vehicles and void craft based on unique technologies, all were the sole province of the Ist Legion. This proved a potent force multiplier on the battlefields of the Great Crusade, amplifying the superior skills of the Dark Angels and allowing them to prevail against foes that lesser technology could not defeat.

As well as those advanced weapons and designs they used openly, the Dark Angels also maintained large stocks of weapons of a darker renown. Within the sealed vaults of Caliban and Gramarye, as well as a number of secret caches scattered across the Imperium and guarded by dedicated orders of the Hekatonystika, were vast stores of weaponry long since proscribed by the Emperor to the other military arms of the Imperium.

Gene-phages capable of annihilating all life upon a planetary body in mere solar hours, core-breaching magna munitions that could tear a planet apart from within, stockpiles of ancient silica-virae -- the dreaded scourge of the nanite that was pronounced the ultimate tech-heresy by the Mechanicum of Mars -- all could be found within the hidden armouries of the Dark Angels.

Such weapons could not be unleashed lightly, for they served only a single purpose -- the utter eradication of all life. They were of no use to conquerors, only to destroyers, and they served as the ultimate sanction for those enemies like the Rangda deserving only of complete annihilation.

Legion Strength and Disposition

Horus chose the moment to raise his banner carefully, setting plans to have those Space Marine Legions that threatened his revolt divided and distant from the fighting that would decide the fate of the Imperium. The Dark Angels, ever on the move and split across the vast territory of the Imperium, had been subtly divided by the orders of the new Warmaster, set to patrols and campaigns far from Terra and cleared away from the northern bounds of the Emperor's domains.

A significant portion of the Legion had gathered under Lion El'Jonson and been dispatched beyond the bounds of the Imperium in the galactic east, beyond news of what was to come and far from those who might call upon them for aid. Both Caliban and Gramarye had seen a sudden drop in shipments of crucial supplies and news from the far front of the Great Crusade, all blamed on the vicissitudes of war rather than the hidden orders of the Warmaster, leaving them gradually more isolated and vulnerable. To any conventional assessment of military strength, the Dark Angels had been forced into a corner before even the first Traitor cannon was fired at Isstvan III.

Of their full strength, most likely somewhere slightly less than 200,000 warriors at about 180,000, no more than a third had been dispatched alongside the Lion and placed beyond the reach of the Imperium. This left perhaps 120,000 Dark Angels active along the borders of the Imperium, mostly clustered to the galactic south and west in small battleforces of no more than 5,000 warriors. Most of these forces were either heavily engaged in prosecuting difficult campaigns or fresh from the fields of victory and still counting the toll upon their strength.

Few had been given the opportunity to make contact with either the upper echelons of their own Legion's command or that of the Divisio Militaris that coordinated Great Crusade deployments, and the Primarch Lion El'Jonson remained far from the reach of his Legion with no news of his progress or the fate of the troops that accompanied him. The Dark Angels that remained were in essence blinded and by accepted military logic exhausted and as such Horus, his strategists and co-conspirators deemed such small forces to be of negligible threat to their plans, that isolated from any central command they would be unable to mount any real opposition to the rebellion.

They were sorely mistaken. Among all the Legions, the Dark Angels' complex system of wings and orders had long defied any foothold to Horus' and Lorgar's treacherous warrior lodges, denying that insidious seed of Chaos corruption that had stymied so many other Legions' ability to react swiftly to the news of Horus' perfidy.

Nor were the Dark Angels distracted by the confusion that afflicted the Imperium's control channels in the immediate aftermath of the Isstvan III revolt, for they had long disdained to subject themselves to the direct oversight of the Imperium's authorities. Where other Legions and fleets scrambled to react to the unified onslaught of the Traitor forces and struggled to combat the influence of the Warmaster within their own ranks, the Dark Angels' fleets each took initiative on their own and met this new challenge head-on.

Purposefully kept to the outskirts of the initial conflict by the Warmaster's machinations, the Dark Angels' knight-praetors set their chapters upon those outlying worlds that dared to openly espouse loyalty to the Warmaster, deprived of the chance to directly strike against Horus' new centres of power.

The Dark Angels turned their disadvantage to opportunity, each fleet an unpredictable threat to the Traitors and their allies, and more than capable of annihilating forces larger than their limited numbers might suggest. The destruction and chaos they wrought kept many star systems and industrial centres along the southern and western galactic rims from supplying the main rebel force as well as threatening the Death Guard homeworld of Barbarus and slowing the rate of troops from that key world to the front.

Even as the hastily-assembled Imperial retaliatory task force headed to Isstvan V, the Dark Angels were fully engaged at a dozen worlds far from Terra, utilising the terror weapons at their disposal to make examples of those Imperial worlds most vocal in their support of the Warmaster. The burned and poisoned husks of once-populous worlds were intended to bring a swift end to any insurrection, but could not stem the tide of rebellion that rose up in the wake of the Drop Site Massacre at Isstvan V and the momentum it granted to the rebel armies of the Warmaster.

Despite this, the Dark Angels did not hesitate to destroy that which they could not hold in the Emperor's name, preferring to leave Horus as the Warmaster of an empire of ashes than allow their temporary weakness to cede him territory, with only the most heavily-fortified worlds proof against their onslaught.

So for the first handful of years of the Horus Heresy the limited size of the Dark Angels' companies restricted them to small-scale raids, with many using the superior void craft of their attached fleets to take on the role of commerce raiders, cutting the throat of the Traitors' supply chain. Gramarye and Caliban, while never directly attacked, were kept isolated from the greater war, both by the actions of Word Bearers esoterists and the strange Warp-based powers they now wielded, and the disturbing silence from certain echelons of the Legion's leadership.

The Dark Angels remained a potent force, but one divided and bereft of cohesive direction, at the time seemingly little more than a painful thorn in the side of the juggernaut Horus had aimed at Terra. Yet, with the advantage of hindsight, it is clear that by the actions of the raiding fleets of the Ist Legion, Horus was denied the early victory he craved, for the supplies they denied him and the chaos they sowed amid sectors that might otherwise have fallen to him without a shot fired slowed his advance just enough.

The stubborn refusal of the Dark Angels to consolidate and grant Horus' lackeys a final decisive battle, a defiant and suicidal assault to express their anger and frustration, granted the Primarch Rogal Dorn, the Praetorian of Terra, time to rally the remaining Loyalist elements around the Imperium's core. It also kept them from the series of massacres and last stands that plagued the Loyalists during the early years of the Horus Heresy, the carefully arranged decimation by which Horus had removed those obstacles that stood in his way.

This carefully chosen strategy left the Dark Angels perfectly placed for the return of their lord, poised at the borders of Horus' fragile empire and ready for the Lion to give the word, to let loose the fetters of Imperial decree and give them leave to unleash all the fell tools they held ready for such a cataclysm. Horus' first gambit had failed, Terra remained outside his grasp and the Ist Legion stood ready to show him the terrible cost of his dark ambitions.

Chapter Organisation

Dark Angels' Chpater Organisation

Dark Angels' Chapter organisation.

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 at the Siege of Terra 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 the former primary sub-divison of a full Legion under the strictures of the Principia Belicosa -- were defined in a hugely influential work known as the Codex Astartes.

Roboute Guilliman, the primarch of the Ultramarines who had become the Lord Commander of the Imperium and the Imperial Regent in the wake of Malcador the Sigillite's death and the Emperor's internment in the Golden Throne, 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, which were the only survivors of the wings of the Hexagrammaton.

The Inner Circle

DA Battle-Brother Inner Circle

Dark Angels Veteran battle-brother and member of the Inner Circle.

After the destruction of Caliban, the senior members of the Ist 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.

Deathwing Terminator

Deathwing Terminator

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 diminutive 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. And yet, there remain secrets of the Chapter to which even he is not privy...

Specialty Ranks and Formations

Dark Angels -Matt Bradbury

Dark Angels Company Master (Captain) who serves in the Inner Circle

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 Ist 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 and Master of Sanctity, 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 serves as the equivalent of a standard Master of the Fleet and 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 Ist 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.
  • Lieutenant - When Roboute Guilliman revised his Codex Astartes upon his return, he added a new rank to the Adeptus Astartes -- that of lieutenant. These officers serve as the right hand of their Company Masters, helping to direct the troops in battle and adding flexibility to the command structure. Many Battle Companies frequently divide into two Battle Demi-companies, and command of each of these falls to a Lieutenant. The Dark Angels and their Successor Chapters have readily accepted this new role into their Battle and Reserve Companies. The many wars following the opening of the Great Rift saw the loss of multiple Company Masters, with few new candidates to replace them. The position of Lieutenant gives rising leaders vital experience in command, and creates the perfect training ground for these battle-brothers to become masters. The longest serving and most honoured Lieutenants of the Dark Angels are presented with robes and cowls -- the austere markings of a Veteran amongst the descendants of the Ist Legion.
  • 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.
DeathwingKnights

A squad of Deathwing Knights and a Watcher in the Dark

  • 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.
BlackKnight

Ravenwing Black Knight mounted on his Mark IV Raven Pattern Assault Bike

  • 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.
  • Wardens in White - The Wardens in White are the two oldest Venerable Dreadnoughts of the Dark Angels' Deathwing company. Below The Rock's vaulted galleries, beyond the Corridors of Shadows and the Portal of Penumbral Sorrow, is the Chamber of Passageways. It is to this domed and mysterious space that each prospective Dark Angels Supreme Grand Master is led by the Chapter's Keeper of the Keys. As the greatest heroes of the Chapter perform the needed rituals to send the candidate on into darkness alone, they are watched over by a pair of silent, ancient guardians. The cybernetic sarcophagi of these timeless gatekeepers are heavy with oath papers, purity seals and ornate decoration. The identities they possessed in life are now completely subsumed by secrets. Were any foe to penetrate The Rock's countless defences, it would be the duty of the Wardens in White to form the last line of defence. These Dreadnoughts are only ever taken to war in the very greatest need, and even then only one may leave his post at any given time. During the Fallen Daemon Prince Marbas' invasion of The Rock early in the Era Indomitus to free Luther, they fought for solar hours, cutting down swathes of Daemonic foes with torrents of Assault Cannon fire and Plasma Cannon blasts. Though both ultimately fell, an incredible tragedy, not one foe made it past them.

Company Command

  • 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.
  • Company Veterans - The Dark Angels are a solemn Chapter, not given to acts of self-aggrandisement, but that is not to say that the Dark Angels do not recognise their brethren who perform extreme deeds of bravery. After each engagement, following the solemn ceremonies for those lost in battle, the tribute-rites of merit are performed. To be acknowledged before the assembled might of the Dark Angels is a proud and humbling moment -- for each of the battle-brothers is, in their own right, a hero of many battles. Taking after the company masters, Veterans renounce the garish. Not for them the gold-encrusted armour of an Honour Guard or the ostentatious plume to denote to all onlookers their exalted station. Instead, only the keenest eye can perhaps discern a ceremonial robe or catch the odd gleam from some antiquated and honoured wargear gifted to them for their acts of bravery. On the battlefield, however, it is easy to mark Company Veterans -- for they fight as a band of heroes.
  • Company & Chapter Ancients - The most prominent member of company command is the Standard Bearer or Ancient, for he carries one of the company's much-revered banners. Since The Rock was made the Dark Angels' base of operations, the solemn Great Hall has been lined with proud company standards, along with ceremonial banners, heraldic pennants and, in pride of place, the Sacred Standards. Every son of the Lion, from Neophyte to the most battle-scarred Veteran, will fight even harder beneath the august presence of such a Chapter icon. The most honoured of all Company Ancients is promoted to Chapter Ancient, and is tasked with carrying a banner from the days of the Great Crusade. Many are the acts of extreme heroism that have been performed by Dark Angels in the shadow of such ancient standards, and their symbols are known throughout the galaxy.
  • Company Champions - A company's command unit can also contain a Company Champion. In the Dark Angels Chapter, each company has unique rituals -- most often some combination of duels, contests of strength, and mind battles of self-control. 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 rites as they do in war. On the battlefield, it is a Company Champion's task to confront enemy warlords and captains, leaving the Company Master free to conduct the wider battle. Should the Dark Angels encounter Space Wolves during their missions, it is a Company Champion who will face the Space Wolves' champion in ritual combat, re-enacting the epic clash fought between their respective primarchs nearly ten thousand Terran years ago.

Deathwing Company

Deathwinglogo

Company badge of the Deathwing.

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, never standard power 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.

Deathwing Sqd

The Deathwing unleash their unfettered wrath upon the enemies of the Emperor.

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 and a Company Master-in-training 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.

DA Deathwing Knight

Deathwing Knight Master armed with a Storm Shield and a Flail of the Unforgiven.

They can be equipped for any role and often include specialists such as Ancients, 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 reconnaissance 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.

Ravenwing Company

Ravenwinglogo

Company badge of the Ravenwing.

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 Assault 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.

DA vs

Ravenwing Black Knights spearhead a lightning assault against a horde of Tyranids.

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 Vehicles

Ravenwing Land Speeders

Ravenwing Land Speeders during an aerial assault.

To carry out their operations, the Ravenwing of the Dark Angels and the other Unforgiven 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 separate 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 Grand 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.
DA Vengeance Model

A Land Speeder Vengeance.

    • 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 Darkshrouds

A Ravenwing Darkshroud employing its field of darkness.

  • 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 Jetfighters

Nephilim Jetfighter in combat.

  • 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 Talons

Ravenwing Dark Talon attacking Necrons in a high-speed attack.

  • 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.

Remaining Chapter Companies

DA Tact Sqd

A Dark Angels Tactical Squad

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.

DarkAngelsStormraven

A Dark Angels Stormraven gunship unleashes its deadly payload.

The traditional composition of the companies of the Dark Angels and their Unforgiven Successor Chapters outlined above shifted after the introduction of the Primaris Space Marines by Roboute Guilliman and the Indomitus Crusade during the Era Indomitus.

The Battle Companies now consist of six Battleline Squads, two Close Support Squads and two Fire Support Squads comprised of any combination of the types of squads delineated below. Most Dark Angels deployments now consist of a single Battle Company, reinforced by elements of the Deathwing, Ravenwing, Scout and Reserve Companies as needed.

The 6th to 9th Companies are Reserve Companies, entirely composed of squads of the same designation. The 6th and 7th Companies are Battleline Companies, each consisting of between ten and twenty Battleline 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 is the Close Support Company, and consists of ten to twenty Close Support Squads, most often used wherever a strong hand-to-hand fighting force is needed.

DarkAngelsRedemptorDreadnought000

A Dark Angels Redemptor Dreadnought

The 9th Company is the Fire Support Company, consisting of ten to twenty fire support squads. It is the most heavily equipped company in the Chapter, and its heavy-weapon bearing Astartes provide suppression and raw destructive power. Squads from the Reserve Companies are often attached to a Battle Company in order to bolster a given force's capabilities. In such instances, they are identified as the 11th Squad, 12th Squad and so on.

The 10th Company in the new force organisation still serves its traditional role as the training ground for new battle-brothers of the Chapter, and is made up entirely of Scouts and a force of Vanguard Space Marines. Led by a Sergeant, these recruits will take to the battlefield alongside the strike forces of other companies, typically acting in a reconnaissance role. The reformed Codex Astartes dictates no formal size for the 10th Company, as the rate of recruitment is not fixed.

Battleline Squads

The most numerous and strategically versatile warriors in the Dark Angels Chapter are the Battleline Squads, and they form the backbone of most strike forces. Whatever the particular demands of an engagement, Battleline Squads are equal to the task, flexible enough to aggressively press home an attack or to staunchly hold a defensive position.

As set down in the revised Codex Astartes, Dark Angels are organised into three main types of squad: Battleline, Close Support and Fire Support, each trained, armed and equipped to excel at a different tactical battlefield role.

The squads are each led by a sergeant, who directs his warriors to flawlessly execute the orders of his superiors, and are sometimes split into five-Astartes sub-units called Combat Squads, so as to provide greater battlefield flexibility. These squads include the following:

DA Intercessors Battle

Dark Angels Intercessors in battle.

  • Intercessor Squad - When planning out the core of a Space Marines Chapter, Roboute Guilliman remembered well the success of single armament squads from the days of the Great Crusade. While the Legions did employ a number of specially equipped squads, the hearts of their fighting phalanxes were formed from massed heavy infantry bearing bolters. Thus, with Guilliman's reworking of the Codex Astartes upon his return came the Intercessor Squads. Here was a centre for any battle line -- a core of warriors that could lay down fire while advancing or equally as well hunker down to hold a vital objective. Such adaptable squads would prove invaluable to any tactician, for they would be able to respond to any of the battle's needs. Each member of an Intercessor Squad carries some variant of a bolt weapon. The standard armament is the Bolt Rifle, a firearm that has a longer range and greater armour penetration than the extant Adeptus Astartes Bolter. The Auto Bolt Rifle exchanges some range and striking power for an increased rate of fire, while Stalker Pattern Bolt Rifles can reach a greater distance and have more penetrating power, but cannot be fired on the move, making those that bear it less mobile. The entire squad is extensively trained in the use of each variant, and can equip themselves as the mission dictates. In addition to their main weapon, each Intercessor also bears a Bolt Pistol, Frag and Krak Grenades. It is common for one or two members of an Intercessor Squad to also carry an auxiliary Grenade Launcher, allowing them to fire their explosives across the battlefield. This loadout allows Intercessor Squads to lay down a punishing amount of firepower that can sweep away all but the most resilient of foes. By the third or fourth deployment in the Stygian war zone, even the most reticent and disapproving of the Dark Angels' Veterans was swayed by the effectiveness and sheer killing power of these new squads, but it was the Intercessors' almost innate ability to coordinate between themselves to create overlapping fields of fire that won over many of the brethren. Since the inclusion of Intercessor Squads, the Company Masters of the Unforgiven Chapters have come to count on their formidable salvoes of firepower. Indeed, they are now often the base upon which the rest of a strike force is built.
DA Tact Marine 3

A Dark Angels Tactical Marine

  • Tactical Squad - For millennia, the Tactical Squad had formed the backbone of the Dark Angels' armies. This period began with the inception of the Codex Astartes at the tail end of the battles of the Great Scouring, and lasted until nearly the end of the 41st Millennium. Although now Tactical Squads must share their combat role with the Intercessors, they remain a mainstay of many Unforgiven Battle Companies. Tactical Squads are composed of versatile warriors, able and equipped to perform a number of battlefield roles. A Tactical Squad could be asked to hold ground, provide fire support, charge into melee, or perhaps do all during the course of the same battle. Adaptability is the hallmark of Tactical Squads. Whereas other Space Marine squads might be optimised to perform a single task, the flexible Tactical Squad is built around the premise that its role will change based on need -- fluidly switching from offense to defence, from static to mobile, from ranged combat to close assault. The circumstances of a battle will dictate the course of action they should follow. The armament carried by a Tactical Squad is the Boltgun, the standard anti-personnel weapon of choice and bringer of death to the Emperor's enemies since the Great Crusade. As befits its needs, a Tactical Squad will supplement its firepower with more specialised or heavier weaponry -- such as a Flamer to burn foes from cover, or a Plasma Cannon to combat heavily armoured enemies. Every battle-brother is fully trained with the entire arsenal, as such duties are rotated to ensure the various firearm skills remain sharp. Tactical Squads often take to battle within a Rhino or perhaps a Razorback, as these tracked transports better allow for rapid redeployment or the seizure of vital objectives.
  • Infiltrator Squad - A Vanguard Infiltrator is a type of Vanguard Space Marine who is usually part of an Infiltrator Squad. Vanguard Infiltrators are Primaris Space Marines who are responsible for disrupting enemy communications and sabotaging targets of opportunity. Clad in Mark X Phobos Power Armour, the first the enemy sees of Infiltrators is a cascade of choking smog as they hurl a barrage of Smoke Grenades, masking their advance. As the foe peers into the swirling cloud, the Space Marines bring their targets down with disciplined bursts of fire, the augur-scopes of their marksman Bolt Carbines lighting each victim up for the kill. Aside from their weaponry, the most important tool at the Infiltrators' disposal is the Omni-Scrambler. This portable, back-mounted device intercepts wave signals across a broad spectrum, scrambling frequencies and diverting holo-broadcasts to ensure that enemy communiques never reach their intended recipients. Infiltrators are drilled in self-sufficiency and survival techniques, and some squads have their own medicae specialists called Helix Adepts to perform the sacred duty of recovering the gene-seed of fallen brothers.

Close Support Squads

Nothing can end a battle as quickly as a well-coordinated and perfectly timed assault. It is the role of the Close Support Squads to crack open the enemy lines and to deliver the blow that breaks them entirely, sending the remnants of their army fleeing.

To make such attacks, the designated troops must be fast, aggressive and hard-hitting. These squads include the following:

DA Inceptor

A Dark Angels Inceptor

  • Inceptor Squads - These Primaris Space Marines are equipped with reinforced Mark X Gravis Power Armour and heavy built-in Jump Packs -- rocket-like thrusters worn upon the back that allow their wearers to make powered jumps across the battlefield, leaping over obstacles and hurtling over great distances at speed. These fast-moving squads are capable of descending in the midst of the enemy and unleashing an absolute shellstorm. The primary weapon of the Inceptor Squad is the Assault Bolter. A single such firearm can stitch a pattern of death to scythe down multiple targets in seconds, and each member of the squad bears a pair of these bulky weapons. This means that the Inceptor Squads are capable of putting out enough firepower to halt a charging mob of Orks, or to turn massed cultists into a bloody mist. The distinctive sound of their high calibre shots is swiftly answered by rippling explosions of bolt shells and the dying screams of their enemies. Alternatively, an Inceptor Squad may be equipped with Plasma Exterminators, a loadout favoured by the Chapters of the Unforgiven due to their affinity with the dangerous and powerful technology behind their creation. Inceptors can be dropped from attack craft, even those in low orbit. Engaging their Jump Packs, they enter the atmosphere of a planet at blazing speeds, moving so quickly that few foes can react to their approach. Even as the enemies' guns try to track them, the Inceptors are upon them -- a devastating spearhead that strikes at the fore of a Space Marine assault. Despite the ground-shaking force with which they land, the Inceptors' servo-equipped boots absorb all of the impact, as well as providing extra boost when their wearers launch themselves back into the skies with a bounding leap. Formidable on their own, Inceptor Squads are the perfect complement to the rapid-strike style of the Space Marines.
DA Assault Marine

A Dark Angels Assault Marine

  • Assault Squads - With chainswords roaring and Bolt Pistols blazing, the Assault Squads of the Dark Angels charge into the thick of battle. They are often unleashed as the vanguard of an attack, for it is their violent onset that will punch the holes in the enemy lines that will be exploited by their brothers in other squads. As Assault Squads carry little in the way of ranged weaponry, it is vital for them to close with the foe quickly. To this end they frequently employ Jump Packs, allowing them to quickly cover great distances and deploy from Thunderhawk gunships, descending out of the skies like birds of prey. Plunging deep behind enemy lines, they can bypass a foe's best-laid defences, as shown when the Assault Squads of the Dark Angels 4th Company forced a breach in the Gohika Line during the siege against the Iron Warriors on Perditia. Such dangerous deployments take a toll, however, and of all the Dark Angels, only the Ravenwing regularly sustains a higher casualty rate than the Assault Squads of the Battle Companies. Unlike the bellicose and headstrong Assault Squads of other Space Marine Chapters, those of the Dark Angels are dour and stoic. In place of howled battle cries, they maintain a constant chant, a mantra of hatred and repugnance every bit as terrifying as the vox-amplified bellows of their counterparts in other Chapters.
  • Outrider - An Outrider is a Primaris Space Marine who rides to battle on a Raider Pattern Combat Bike. Outrider Squads advance ahead of the main Space Marine lines, guard the flanks of larger formations and hunt down enemy infiltrators to the Adeptus Astartes' battlelines. When battle is joined, they conduct lightning fast hit-and-run attacks on defended positions and run down those who would try to escape the vengeance of the Chapter. The Raider Combat Bike, designed like most of the vehicles and wargear used by the Primaris Marines by Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl, shares a lot of similarities with the standard Space Marine Assault Bike, including a twin-linked bolter weapon load-out and double exhausts. However, the engine block is even more heavily armoured, and the front suspension has undergone quite an evolution. While speed, weapons and armour are certainly important for a combat bike, they are nothing when compared with performance. The Raider Pattern Combat Bike is also excellent on the battlefield as long as its rider can dominate its bellicose Machine Spirit. With battle-brother and bike in harmony, victory is all but assured. Among the Dark Angels, Outriders usually serve with the Ravenwing.
DA Primaris Reiver

A Dark Angels Reiver

  • Reiver Squads - Even amongst the grim and shadowed brethren of the Dark Angels, the Reiver Squads are regarded as the most sinister squads within the Chapter. Here are terror troops, trained and equipped so that their sudden appearance spreads fear up and down the enemy lines. Each member of this Primaris squad is outfitted in Mark X Phobos Power Armour, constructed from a lighter-weight ceramite that allows its wearer greater mobility and stealth. The suit's servo-motors are engineered for silent running, as Reiver Squads rely upon infiltration and secrecy to launch their shock attacks. The element of surprise is key to any Reiver Squad, and they employ a host of different methods to ensure they can ghost through enemy lines to appear wherever on the battlefield they can inflict the most damage. Some Reivers are equipped with Grav-Chutes, allowing them to be airdropped into combat from fast-moving transport or attack craft. Using directional fins, Reivers control their plummet, pulling out of steep descents only at the last instant. Their streamlined armour has been designed to dampen both noise and resistance as they freefall into battle, and there is no sign of their arrival like the fiery contrails of Jump Packs or the flashing glare of teleportation. Once they reach their destination, the Reivers join the fray. Not all Reiver Squads deploy by air, however -- many simply move unnoticed across the battlefield to get into position, auto-senses set to maximum as they attempt to stay out of their foes' vision. To this end, Reivers often go to war bearing silent-firing grapnel launchers, allowing them to ascend vertical surfaces with ease. They are masters of travelling by unexpected routes, creeping through drainage tunnels or scaling seemingly impossible heights. There is no site upon a battlefield that they cannot reach. Once in position, the Reiver Squads will wait for a prearranged signal, or until an opportune moment arises. Nothing can prepare a foe -- even one standing guard -- for the sudden fury and shock of a Reiver assault. It is their role to sow fear and confusion amongst the enemy forces, and so they will emerge from the shadows amidst the blaring of their concussive Shock Grenades. Gone are their silent ways, replaced with a cacophony. Even the Reivers' quick-firing Bolt Carbines are modified to add to this effect, the weapons' wave-amplified muzzle blasts roaring. The augmented battle cries of the Reivers themselves are the most terrifying sounds of all, and even professional soldiers accustomed to the brutality of war are unnerved by the sudden and horrific aural assault. Against weaker-willed or less-trained foes, the results are even more dramatic. The Unforgiven Chapters have all fielded Reiver Squads to some degree, for their shock tactics and surprise attacks are ideal at laying the groundwork for the killing blows that follow. Even as enemies reel from the Reivers' assault, the bikes and aircraft of the 2nd Company suddenly appear, swiftly followed by the teleportation strikes of the 1st Company Terminators.
  • Incursor Squads - An Incursor Squad is a close support Primaris Space Marine unit that fulfils an aggressive, close-quarters gun-fighting role within Adeptus Astartes forces. Their missions typically see them storming defended positions, sweeping the flanks of spearhead advances or rapidly knocking out strategic enemy assets such as power generatorums and communication centres. Key to this role are the paired wargear technologies of their Occulus Bolt Carbines and the Divinator-class Auspexes that feed directly into their highly advanced transpectral combat visors.

Fire Support Squads

Without the aid of the Fire Support Squads, most Space Marine strike forces would swiftly grind to a halt. These units provide covering fire for their battleline and close support brethren, allowing them to better carry out their vital roles, while thinning out the enemy's infantry and eliminating their toughest armoured threats.

These squads include the following:

  • Hellblaster Squads - The Hellblaster Squads harken back to days of glorious legend, when entire squads of the Ist Legion marched to war bearing deadly plasma weaponry. Each member of a Hellblaster Squad bears some variant of the Plasma Incinerator -- a weapon whose fire burns with the heat of a sun. Deployed at the right place and time, such a squad can crack open an enemy battle line, blunt a foe's armoured spearhead or fell the most hulking of xenos creatures. Not even the thickest armour plating can withstand such tremendous plasma blasts for long. Although all members of a Hellblaster Squad bear some form of a Plasma Incinerator, they are nonetheless strategically versatile. The assault variant sacrifices a little range for its ability to fire multiple blasts. Both it and the standard Plasma Incinerator are light enough to be fired on the move, while retaining enough stopping power to turn a Greenskin mob of Killa Kans into glowing heaps of molten slag. The most powerful version of the armament is the Heavy Plasma Incinerator, which can fire at longer range, and its incandescent bolts of plasma strike with more power still. A Hellblaster with such a weapon must remain stationary if they wish to direct the formidable shot, but is able to hunt larger prey. All variants of the Plasma Incinerator can be supercharged. With a blazing roar, each weapon glows dangerously hot before discharging plasma bolts of extraordinary force. Typically this is done only in the direst of circumstances; like all Imperial plasma armaments, the weapons suffer from potential meltdown when set in this manner. While the Unforgiven are not afraid to martyr themselves in a starburst of self-immolation, they will only do so if such an act is justified by the situation at hand. As they have done since they first claimed The Rock as their homeworld, the Dark Angels honour those brethren who suffer a fiery death due to plasma overloads. Their names are chiselled into the Pillars of Conflagratus that line the Hall of Fire. They stand as a hallowed and eternal reminder to the living that no cost is too high to pay for victory.
DA Devastator Marines

A Dark Angels Devastator Squad in battle.

  • Devastator Squads - The members of Devastator Squads are the most heavily armed of all Dark Angels Space Marines. Enemy battle tanks are reduced to blazing wrecks before them, while towering walkers are blasted apart by their overwhelming firestorm. In addition to targeting armoured vehicles and providing support to advancing battleline or close support troops, Devastator Squads are ideal for cracking open enemy fortifications. A Devastator Squad commonly carries four heavy weapons, the exact nature of which varies from engagement to engagement, with anti-tank Lascannons and Multi-Meltas exchanged for infantry-shredding Heavy Bolters and Plasma Cannons as the battle requires. Traditionally, a Devastator Squad will wield a mix of weaponry in order to more readily adapt to the battle's challenges, although some commanders prefer a homogeneous weapons loadout, purposefully equipping their Devastator Squads to compensate for shortfalls elsewhere in the strike force. Any Devastator battle-brothers not equipped with heavy weaponry carry Boltguns, acting as spotters and providing covering fire, making their squad, in essence, a heavy Tactical Squad that is capable of dealing with a variety of threats. A Devastator Squad is at its deadliest when it can fight from a defensible position that overlooks the battlefield. Once entrenched in such a site they can dominate the foe, forcing them to either keep their heads down or be destroyed -- a situation that allows the Dark Angels to seize the initiative.
DA Primaris Aggressor

A Dark Angels Aggressor.

  • Aggressor Squads - "Advance and destroy" is the directive that the Unforgiven Chapters have put in place for their Aggressor Squads. Each of these Primaris Marines is clad in heavy Mark X Gravis Power Armour and equipped with a pair of gauntlet-mounted weapons, turning them into a walking bastion of firepower. An Aggressor Squad can wade into the largest of enemy hordes, plug breaches in defensive lines, or lead the advance across open terrain. During the battles upon Mordian, the Dark Angels Aggressor Squads were pivotal in clearing the dense hive cities of foes, leading a slow, but inexorable advance hab-block by hab-block. Aggressor Squads have proven effective in many different deployment positions, although one of the most common is advancing between two formations of Intercessors. Armed with Boltstorm Gauntlets, an Aggressor Squad can spray wide volleys of explosive bolts, mowing down waves of enemy infantry. Back-mounted Fragstorm Grenade Launchers add to the carnage, blasting holes into oncoming formations with great blossoms of shrapnel-filled explosives. Should any foes live through such a hurricane of firepower, they are met by swinging Power Fists, each blow able to crumple a battle tank. Other Aggressor Squads are equipped with Flamestorm Gauntlets, allowing them to send fiery bursts outwards in searing sheets. This is certain death for tightly-packed enemies, or for cowardly foes that thought to take refuge behind thick cover or in bunkers. In the wake of such a firestorm, nothing remains of their enemies save brittle and blackened bones, and these are soon crunched to powder as the Aggressor Squads stride forward to bring their next target into range.
  • Eliminator Squads - An Eliminator Squad is composed of dedicated marksmen. These fire support Primaris Vanguard Marines haunt the shadows of the battlefield, seeking out high-value targets and bringing them down with pinpoint volleys of bolt rounds.
  • Suppressor Squads - Suppressors are a type of fire support Vanguard Space Marine and usually members of a Suppressor Squad. Suppressors are Primaris Space Marines who specialise in rapid responses to heavily armoured enemy threats, entering battle either by dropping directly into the action via the Grav-Chutes or in long leaps using the Jump Packs integrated into their Mark X Omnis Power Armour. As soon as a target is sighted, the Suppressors engage their shock-absorbing servo plates and let fly with their portable Accelerator Autocannons. The brutal ferocity of the foot-long, armour-piercing shells they unleash will blast apart anyone caught in their path and force even the most stoic enemies to seek shelter from the murderous firestorm.
  • Eradicator - An Eradicator is a Primaris Space Marine dedicated to a close range fire support role, particularly against enemy armour and fortified positions. Before the molten ire of an Eradicator Squad's thermal ray Melta Weapons, heavy armour and static defensive positions stand little chance. Eradicators wear the heavier Mark X Gravis Power Armour pattern, allowing them to stride unharmed through waves of incoming fire before bringing their own destructive weaponry to bear at close range.
  • Desolation Squad - A Desolation Squad is a squad of Primaris Space Marines who have been outfitted with multiple different types of missile launchers to provide long-ranged fire support to their battleline and close support brethren. These power armour-clad fire support specialists are an addition to the ranks of the Primaris Marines, laying down volleys of heavy firepower from across the battlefield. While Eradicators are forced to hustle their Melta Rifles into spitting distance, and Hellblasters must lug their Plasma Incinerators close enough for rapid fire, Desolation Marines can simply sit back and unleash a hellstorm of explosions. Traditional missile launchers -- such as those available to the Astra Militarum -- trade raw power for flexibility, swapping out Frag and Krak Missile payloads mid-battle. The armourers of the Indomitus Crusade will brook no such compromise, so these new rocket weapons are specialised to fire one of two warheads. In exchange, they boast the most powerful missiles ever available to Space Marine infantry. More reliable, more powerful, and with an effective range that exceeds even a Sniper Rifle, the Superfrag Rocket Launcher is the ultimate anti-infantry weapon and a decisive rebuttal to hordes of unwashed Heretics and slavering aliens. There is nothing quite like reducing the enemy's battleline to a smouldering crater with one pull of a trigger. On the other hand, when the Adeptus Astartes' foes rumbles towards them with a spearhead of hulking, armoured behemoths, a volley from a Superkrak Rocket Launcher will punch cleanly through any armoured shell -- be it metal or chitin. Whichever means of destruction chosen by the squad, Desolation Marines all pack a little something extra under the barrel of their rocket launchers. The belt-fed Castellan Launcher can saturate the sky with guided bomblets that rain down on the enemy wherever they hide. It is the perfect weapon for flushing out cowardly targets -- and it fires separately from a Desolation Marine's main rockets, allowing them to pick and choose their targets.
  • Infernus Squad - An Infernus Squad is a squad of Primaris Space Marines deployed to provide close-ranged fire support to allied forces through the use of Pyreblaster Flamer weapons. When an Imperial Space Marine force is faced with innumerable hordes of xenos, such as a Tyranid swarm or an assault by Ork Boyz, an Infernus Squad is the perfect tool. Armed with Pyreblasters that spit gouts of promethium-fuelled incandescent flame, they purge their foes with fiery wrath.

Chapter Support

DA Tanks

Dark Angels Rhinos in battle.

All of the companies of the Chapter, with the exception of the Deathwing, the Ravenwing and the 10th Company, maintain Rhino, Razorback and Repulsor 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 which serves 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

DA Librarian

Dark Angels Librarian summoning forth his psychic abilities.

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.

Interromancy Discipline

In order to aid the Interrogator-Chaplains in their cruel labours, the Librarians of the Dark Angels have mastered a sinister and invasive form of telepathy.

Few sensations are more horrific for a victim than the insidious slither of the Librarian's thoughts as they writhe through the gaps in his mental defences, flaying and twisting his psyche at will.

  • Mind Worm - A variant and more visceral version of the standard Mind Worm ability, with this power the Librarian violently burrows his consciousness into the screaming victim's brain, ripping free their secrets in a spray of gore.
  • Aversion - The Librarian sends waves of cold fear washing outwards. The foe find themselves unable to focus upon the psyker, their subconscious screaming at them to look away for fear of what they will see.
  • Righteous Repugnance - Reaching into the minds of his brothers, the Librarian stokes the fires of their hate, and the Dark Angels respond with a surge of cold, furious violence, enhancing their combat abilities and ability to withstand damage.
  • Trephination - The Librarian gathers his thoughts into a white hot spike to plunge straight into his victim's mind, leaving the foe's brain matter dribbling from ears.
  • Engulfing Fear - The Librarian inveigles his way into the minds of his foes. Subtly, he twists and heightens their fears, destroying their morale and willingness to fight.
  • Mind Wipe - The Librarian scourges the mind of his foe, dragging out every memory and skill that makes them who they are and reducing them to hollow shells of what they once were.

Order of Battle, ca. 999.M41

Dark Angels Hierarchy

Dark Angels Chapter 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 Chapter order of battle as of ca. 999.M41 before the opening of the Great Rift and the arrival of the Primaris Space Marines is as follows:


Inner Circle


Supreme Grand Master Livery Shield
*Personal livery of the Supreme Grand Master

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.

Supreme Grand Master (Chapter Master) Inner Circle Reclusium Librarius Knights of the Rock
Azrael Back Banner


  • Azrael, Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels
DA Reclusium


DA Librarius


Other Departments
Armourium Fleet Command Apothecarion Logisticiam
DA Armoury


DA Apothecarium
  • Brother Razaek, Grand Master of the Apothecarion, Master Apothecary
  • 10 Apothecaries
  • Brother Sepharon, Warden of the Gates
  • 1,200 Servitors
  • Administrative Support Staff
  • Support Personnel (Chapter Serfs)

Companies

The dispositions and commanders of the Dark Angels Chapter's companies, as of 999.M41:

Deathwing Ravenwing Battle Companies
1st Company 2nd Company 3rd Company 4th Company 5th Company
1st Co Deathwing Shield


2nd Co Ravenwing Livery Shield


3rd Co Livery Shield


The Unmerciful
4th Co Livery Shield


The Feared
5th Co Livery Shield


The Unrelenting
Reserve Companies Scout Company
6th Company 7th Company 8th Company 9th Company 10th Company
6th Co Livery Shield


The Resolute
7th Co Livery Shield


The Unbowed
8th Co Livery Shield


The Wrathful
9th Co Livery Shield


The Remorseless
10th Co Livery Shield
The Redeemed

Order of Battle, Era Indomitus

DarkAngelsOrderofBattlePostGreatRift

The Dark Angels Chapter Order of Battle after the introduction of the Primaris Space Marines.

As noted above, the Dark Angels and their Successor Chapters, the Unforgiven, are not entirely 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.

In truth, the great majority of the Dark Angels' engagements -- from putting down insurrections to destroying xenos forces -- have nothing to do with their secret hunt for the Fallen. Yet this does not stop the sons of the Lion, from the most Veteran member of the Inner Circle, to the newest Scout Initiate, from searching each and every battlefield for the signs of sedition. Those with the least understanding see the search for specific heresy only as loyalty to the Emperor, while those of the Inner Circle know signs of corruption or Human augmentation might be clues that lead to a lost brethren in need of absolution.

With the exception of their two specialist companies, the Deathwing and the Ravenwing, the Dark Angels otherwise fight as a Codex Astartes-compliant Chapter. Like all Adeptus Astartes, tactical flexibility, rapid deployment and combined arms remain key to their ability to successfully complete the vast range of missions to which they are assigned.

Battleline Squads form the core of most strike forces, supported by Close Support and Fire Support Squads, although there are a number of more specialised formations, such as the tank-heavy "Hammer of Caliban" formation or the Scout Recon Stalker Strike.

Any Dark Angels force can also call upon elements of the 1st or 2nd Companies for support; although their secret priority is the hunt for the Fallen, more often than not the Deathwing and Ravenwing serve in more conventional elite roles upon the battlefield.

Although smaller strike teams might be led by a lieutenant or even a Veteran sergeant, larger missions are typically presided over by a master. It is his duty to lead his brothers in Humanity's defence, but there is another task incumbent upon him: the Company Master must be always alert for the Fallen, ready to call in the Ravenwing or Deathwing at a moment's notice.

Like the foundations of some great keep, the Battle Companies of the Dark Angels bear the weight of their Chapter's combat duties. The 3rd, 4th and 5th Companies of the Dark Angels are kept as close to full strength as possible at all times, with steady replacements coming from the Reserve Companies.

These transitions are laden with ritual, and each company maintains its own archaic rites of initiation, oaths and traditions. Knowledge is densely stratified within the Chapter's ranks, and with each progression battle-brothers learn by rote the allegorical tales and pseudo-myths that strengthen their resolve, build their dedication, and harden their hearts against Traitors.

Every advancement brings new secrets, preparing the Chapter's warriors for the appalling revelations that await them should they ascend to the brotherhood of the Inner Circle.

The Chapter order of battle in the days after the opening of the Great Rift and the arrival of the Primaris Space Marines is as follows:

Inner Circle


Supreme Grand Master Livery Shield
*Personal livery of the Supreme Grand Master

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.

Supreme Grand Master (Chapter Master) Inner Circle Reclusium Librarius Knights of the Rock
Azrael Back Banner


  • Azrael, Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels
DA Reclusium


DA Librarius


Other Departments
Armourium Fleet Command Apothecarion Logisticiam
DA Armoury


DA Apothecarium
  • Brother Razaek, Grand Master of the Apthecarion, Master Apothecary
  • 10 Apothecaries
  • Brother Sepharon, Warden of the Gates
  • 1,200 Servitors
  • Administrative Support Staff
  • Support Personnel (Chapter Serfs)

Companies

The current dispositions and commanders of the Dark Angels Chapter's companies:

Deathwing Ravenwing Battle Companies
1st Company 2nd Company 3rd Company 4th Company 5th Company
1st Co Deathwing Shield


2nd Co Ravenwing Livery Shield


3rd Co Livery Shield


The Unmerciful
4th Co Livery Shield


The Feared
5th Co Livery Shield


The Unrelenting
Reserve Companies Scout Company
6th Company 7th Company 8th Company 9th Company 10th Company
6th Co Livery Shield


The Resolute
7th Co Livery Shield


The Unbowed
8th Co Livery Shield


The Wrathful
9th Co Livery Shield


The Remorseless
10th Co Livery Shield
The Redeemed

Chapter Recruitment

"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."

Supreme Grand Master Azrael addressing new recruits to the Scout Company
DA Scouts

Dark Angels Scout Marines.

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 laborious tasks of the Chapter.

The Dark Angels make use of less Chapter serfs or bondsmen than other Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes. They prefer the use of Servitors for most Chapter labour, 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 Terran 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.

Fallen Angels

As the solar decades since the Fall of Caliban turned to Terran centuries, the Inner Circle took shape. It grew from an ad hoc conclave to a formal, if still furtive, organisation that spread through not just the Dark Angels, but their Successor Chapters as well. With no homeworld save The Rock, recruitment planets were founded and new generations of Dark Angels were added to replace those lost in battle.

The regimens and drills of the Chapter were strict, with special emphasis on brotherhood and loyalty, ideals passed directly on to their Successor Chapters as well. However, the Masters and elder warriors who led the instruction told the Neophytes nothing of the sins of their forefathers.

By the halfway point of the 32nd Millennium, only a few interred within the sarcophagi of Dreadnoughts were left of those that survived the Battle of Caliban. The truth of what occurred and knowledge of the Fallen became secrets carried only by the small number of Inner Circle brethren within each Unforgiven Chapter.

As Veterans rise through the unseen levels of trust, more of the truth is gradually revealed to them by ranking members of the Inner Circle. Only then will they realise that in the millennia since the Fall of Caliban, the sons of the Lion have been fulfilling their duties to the Emperor while at the same time carrying out a hidden agenda, scouring the galaxy for signs of their corrupted kin.

Whether operating alone or in small bands, each of the Fallen has found their own way of surviving the millennia since Luther's betrayal. A great many have embraced the power of the Dark Gods, becoming true Heretic Astartes, and in the wake of the Great Rift's birth some of these have even ascended to daemonhood. Others have surfaced as leaders of some piratical or cultist cause, or have been discovered attempting to live a nomadic existence on the fringes of the Imperium. A notable few have risen to be tyrants of entire planetary empires, with multiple worlds at their command.

As time means nothing in the Warp, sometimes a Fallen appears upon a world having just, to his frame of reference, been plucked from the disintegrating surface of Caliban. That thousands of intervening Terran years have passed are, to him, just the blinking of an eye within the abyss of insanity that is the Warp. Usually driven wild with rage, such individuals launch themselves upon the hapless servants of the Imperium, becoming a terrible force of vengeance and raving aloud those secrets the Inner Circle have worked so long to keep silent.

There are those amongst the Fallen who regret their betrayal of their primarch. Unable to reconcile themselves with their former order, they lead a forlorn, hunted existence. Many become mercenaries or Rogue Traders, roaming the edges of the galaxy as masterless men. Some attempt to atone for their sins, integrating themselves into Human societies to work towards a noble cause.

The Dark Angels often go for standard years, even solar decades, without finding any rumours or clues as to the whereabouts of one of the Fallen. When traces of the Fallen are detected, the Ravenwing and Deathwing are deployed. While both companies have gained fame for their many triumphs against the Imperium's enemies, it is for the Unforgiven's nefarious task that they are truly trained and equipped. The Ravenwing are the ultimate hunters and scouts, harrying their quarry into a position of vulnerability before their brothers in the Deathwing arrive, the mailed fist brought swiftly down to inflict the killing blow.

Any captured Fallen are taken back to The Rock. Deep inside its dungeons, Interrogator-Chaplains inflict terrible excruciation in order to force their disgraced kin to repent. Occasionally they do, and for their pains, they die quickly. More often than not, however, the captured Fallen refuses, and suffers a long, drawn-out and agonising death at the hands of those who would save his soul.

Many of these defiant Traitors meet their ends with curses upon their lips, knowing their corrupted souls will find a different kind of salvation in the Warp, while others simply accept it as the price they pay for cleaving to the beliefs that led them to betray their brothers in the first place.

Deathwatch Service

DA Deathwatch Champion

A Dark Angel Deathwatch Champion.

The Dark Angels have been seconding battle-brothers to the service of the Deathwatch for millennia, and Watch Fortress 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.

Chapter Headquarters

The Rock Wulfen

The Rock, mobile Fortress-Monastery of the Dark Angels Chapter.

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 on 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.

ThrRockInterior

The Rock in the void, escorted by the Dark Angels' Chapter fleet.

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-lightning arcs 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 Ist 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 accommodate 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.

DA Cmd Sqd

Dark Angels Command Squad

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 adamantium 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 be 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 words 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 Arch-heretic, 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 Ist 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.

Luther was recently freed from his prison during an unexpected attack of daemons on The Rock after the birth of the Great Rift and the end of the Noctis Aeterna that was led by the Fallen Angel Daemon Prince Marbas. The Dark Angels believed the attack to have little purpose other than mayhem and destruction, but Supreme Grand Master Azrael knows the truth. The attack was intended to provide a diversion so Luther could be freed from his millennia-long captivity. Luther's current whereabouts are unknown.

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 Magos 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

DA Wargear chart

Weapons and wargear of the Dark Angels.

The Dark Angels follow the standard combat doctrine of the Codex Astartes for the most part, 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.

Though the Dark Angels have spent nearly ten millennia hunting the Fallen, the great majority of their battles have nothing to do with their heretical forebears.

As loyal Space Marines, the sons of the Lion deploy to defeat the enemies of the Imperium as would any Space Marine Chapter.

Nevertheless, each battle-brother is vigilant for signs of sedition on every battlefield. To most of the Dark Angels this is simply a part of their loyalty to the Emperor. To those of the Inner Circle, anything found could be an essential clue in the hunt for the Fallen Angels.

This is because the primary driving force of the Chapter is the hunt and capture of the remaining Fallen. 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.

Dark Angels Weapons

Assorted Dark Angels wargear and equipment.

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.

With the exception of the Deathwing and Ravenwing companies, the Dark Angels follow standard Space Marine combat and organisational doctrine as written in the Codex Astartes. Tactical flexibility, rapid deployment, and combined arms are key components of their strategies.

In the same vein as their father, Dark Angels officers are expert tacticians and specialists, and have been quick to capitalise on the skills of the Primaris Space Marines and the particular capabilities of their different squad types.

New specialised formations have been developed to work alongside ancient patterns such as the Hammer of Caliban and Scout Recon Stalker Strike.

Caliban's Reach is but one example, which combines the immense firepower of Hellblasters and Devastator Centurion Squads to incredible effect.

The advanced infiltration and reconnaissance skills all Primaris Space Marines learn as a part of their training in Vanguard Marine squads is of great value to a Chapter seeking hidden foes whilst keeping secrets of its own.

The omniscramblers of Infiltrator Squads can severely disrupt enemy communications, enabling Ravenwing squadrons to strike without the possibility of their quarry being warned.

The Divinator-class auspexes and transpectral combat visors of Incursor Squads collect data from battlefields that previously would have been almost impossible to extract, and yield new intelligence for the Inner Circle to act upon without the Vanguard Space Marines' knowledge.

Chapter Gene-Seed

As the I Legion of the Space Marine Legions, the Dark Angels' gene-seed is one of the purest and least degraded of all. Remarkably, the Dark Angels' Apothecaries have observed that the gene-seed carried by the Primaris Space Marines is universally of the highest quality they have ever seen, and so the Chapter's stock is qualitatively and quantitatively in excellent health.

There are no known aberrations in the Dark Angels' gene-seed, which makes the reluctance of the High Lords of Terra to utilise it in the founding of new Chapters perplexing.

The Dark Angels and their Successor Chapters, collectively known as the Unforgiven, have an unusually close bond, often working hand-in-hand with one another. But often, these Chapters have a tendency to be highly suspicious of outsiders and can be perceived as unreasonably aloof and intransigent.

Indeed, there have been a number of occasions where the Dark Angels or one of the Unforgiven have withdrawn suddenly and with no explanation from a warzone when confronted by an Inquisitor or Missionary. Rumours continue to persist of nepotism and "Legion-building." Over time these factors have led to the Unforgiven being regarded with distrust by the Inquisition and other arms of the Imperial government.

Despite their impeccably pure gene-seed, the Dark Angels have been passed over for many of the Foundings that have created fresh Chapters to fight the Imperium's wars. Yet from time to time the Adeptus Terra have been forced to permit the Dark Angels another Founding, the records of which have mysteriously vanished shortly afterward.

In this way, an uncertain number of Unforgiven Chapters have been created, each giving every outward appearance of fighting their own wars for the Imperium, while secretly aiding in the Dark Angels' hidden hunt.

In the Era Indomitus, however, the traditional reluctance of the Adeptus Terran to sanction more Foundings with Dark Angels gene-seed seems to be changing. In Some Inquisitorial circles argue that this is due to Roboute Guilliman's direct involvement, the primarch recognising the Dark Angels' genetic strength and commitment to the Imperial cause.

Others contest that it is due instead to a desire in some Terran or Martian circles to increase the Unforgiven's overall strength and thus act as a potential political counter-balance to the successors of the Ultramarines.

Dark Nature

Although only the upper echelons of the Chapter are aware of the awful truth of the Dark Angels' past, even those newly recruited are possessed of a secretive, even introverted nature. The idea that outsiders are not to be trusted is drilled into the recruits from an early stage, and they are tested continuously to ensure their compliance until it becomes second nature.

After all, a brother who cannot be entirely trusted to keep the Chapter's secrets is unlikely to advance through its ranks. Although the Dark Angels have fought beside all of the branches of the Imperium's vast military machine, they prefer to stand beside other Space Marines.

Many, even brother Astartes, find the Dark Angels aloof and uncommunicative. The Dark Angels, for their part are impatient and unforgiving with strangers who pry into their affairs.

The Dark Angels are also notoriously intolerant of non-Humans and will often refuse to fight alongside armies that include abhuman warriors or alien races.

Yet, despite such incidents of friction, many Dark Angels have served with distinction and honour. Their taciturn nature and stubborn refusal to accept anything other than total victory over their foes has served the Unforgiven well.

Chapter Beliefs

The Dark Angels Chapter gives praise to the Emperor of Mankind but, much to the chagrin of the Ecclesiarchy, do not revere him as a god.

Like most First Founding Chapters, the Dark Angels venerate their primarch as much as they do the Emperor, who they venerate as the founder of the Imperium and as their creator. To the Dark Angels the Emperor is a man, perhaps the greatest and most perfect of men, but not a god.

The driving force of the Chapter is the hunting of the Fallen Angels who were swept into the Warp vortex that destroyed Caliban. The Dark Angels believe with iron conviction that only by hunting down, capturing and forcing each and every one of the Fallen Angels to repent their crime will the shame of the Dark Angels and all their successors be absolved in the eyes of the Emperor.

The Fallen have been scattered throughout time and space and thus the Dark Angels' ten millennia quest is far from over. It is this quest that drives the Dark Angels and they will follow up any rumour, no matter how slim, if it offers them the chance of recapturing one of the Fallen.

Should one of the Fallen be captured, he is taken back to the Rock and thrown in the darkest dungeon where the fearsome Interrogator-Chaplains attempt to make him repent his past sins.

Should the Fallen repent, his death will be swift and relatively painless, but in most cases he will refuse and the Chaplain will be forced to use any and all methods to force him to repent. Often this will result in the Fallen's death, but this is a small price to pay for adding his name to the Book of Salvation.

Notable Dark Angels

Great Crusade Era Personnel

  • Hector Thrane (KIA) - Hector Thrane was the first Grandmaster of the Ist Legion and led them during both the Unification Wars and the Great Crusade. He earned the right to lead his Legion following his great victory against the Udug Hul soldiers of the Great King of Akkad, with the ruler's head becoming a macabre trophy that hung from his belt. Shortly after, Thrane became the Legion's Grandmaster, which also earned him the title, "Sinestra of the Emperor, the left hand of the Warlord of Terra, His most fearsome instrument of conquest." This particular campaign proved the worth of the Legiones Astartes as a viable army and Thrane went on to lead the Ist Legion against the Emperor's foes on both Terra and across the Sol System. Though the Ist Legion achieved momentous victories, the use of Exterminatus-class weapons to achieve their aims left an indelible stain on both the course of their campaigns and the soul of the Ist Legion. By the beginning of the Great Crusade, the Grandmaster's actions had forged Thrane into a ruthless and prideful warlord. His continued success saw Thrane's meteoric rise and influence within the early Imperial Court, so much so that Thrane's counsel to the Emperor was second only to that of the Regent of Terra Malcador the Sigillite and the Primarch Horus Lupercal. However, such prominence and success caused both the Grandmaster and his Legion to develop an air of extreme arrogance that led them to believe they could not be defeated. This proved to be their undoing when they faced an unnamed xenos species on the world of Canis-Balor. Suffering numerous casualties, the Ist Legion was put on the back foot and forced to make a tactical withdrawal in the face of the dangerous foe's superior technology that defied rational explanation. Eventually, Thrane personally led another invasion of Canis-Balor after becoming enraged at both the losses and marring of his reputation. Under the Grandmaster's direct command, the Ist Legion's forces cut a swathe through the xenos, but could not overcome their superior numbers. This led to the Ist Legion's near-destruction at the hands of the powerful xenos, at which point Thrane realised his hubris and pride had brought The First to the point of ruination. Seeing the futility of continuing the invasion, Thrane immediately ordered the Ist Legion to evacuate the surface of Canis-Balor. As they began to do so, Thrane and his lifeguard acted as a rearguard against the advancing xenos, valiantly sacrificing themselves in order to ensure their brothers were able to successfully retreat. Once the evacuation had been completed, Canis-Balor was destroyed by Exterminatus. Shortly after, Thrane was succeeded as Grandmaster of The First by Urian Vendraig.
  • Urian Vendraig (KIA) - Urian Vendraig was the second Grandmaster of the Ist Legion. Vendraig was a Terran-born Legionary who joined the Ist Legion following the end of the Unification Wars and took part in the Great Crusade. Vendraig would rise to become a captain of the 14th Company of the Legion's 8th Chapter and earned an enviable record of grand victories to his name. Following the death of Grandmaster Hector Thrane during the campaign on Canis-Balor, to the surprise of all, Vendraig was nominated by Malcador the Sigillite to be Thrane's successor, after the upper echelons of the Legion could not agree on who should become the next Grandmaster. The Sigillite's reasons for doing so were simple: Vendraig was a captain who was not enmeshed within any of the Legion's numerous factions and groups. Not bound to the allegiance of any of one of these sub-factions, Vendraig would be accepted by the Legion's upper echelons as a viable compromise candidate. Malcador's insights were soon proven correct, as the Ist Legion's Council of Masters voted unanimously for Vendraig to succeed Thrane as the new Grandmaster. Following his elevation, Vendraig was tasked with unifying a divided Legion and returning them to service in the Great Crusade. A warrior first and foremost, Vendraig saw the value of having the Ist Legion serving for a time on the fringes of the Great Crusade. To help the Legion take their rightful place as one of the preeminent Legions in the glories of the Great Crusade, Vendraig allowed a small contingent of carefully-selected Remembrancers to join his entourage. Having limited access to the Legion's archives, they personally bore witness to the Ist Legion's ascension and helped to boost The First's reputation across the Imperium. Vendraig next sought a foe that would unite The First together in their hatred. The opportunity to do so soon came when word arrived of the discovery of the deadly xenos species known as the Rangda on the far rim of the Great Crusade. Considered a growing threat to the Imperium, Vendraig brought the entirety of the Ist Legion to the Advex-Mors System and immediately launched a purgation campaign. The following battle cost the lives of 5,000 Legionaries. Despite the high tally of lives spent to eradicate the upstart xenos, the Rangda were defeated and the Imperium was once again reminded of the Ist Legion's might. However, the Grandmaster's hunger for glory caused Vendraig to lead his Legion in reckless actions that earned them great renown and victories, but also eventually led to the Grandmaster's own downfall. The Ist Legion joined the efforts of the Ultramarines Legion to bring the Fortress World of Karkasarn into Imperial Compliance, which had so far resisted all efforts by Primarch Roboute Guilliman and his gene-sons. Utilising a patient strategy that would bring inevitable victory while minimising losses suffered by the Imperial forces, Guilliman had expected Vendraig and The First to follow his orders. However, the Grandmaster vehemently refused. Seeing a chance to snatch a victory from the Ultramarines and humble Guilliman, the Ist Legion launched an assault upon the recalcitrant planet. In the subsequent battle, a force of 10,000 Legionaries breached the world's defences at the costs of hundreds of lives. The First's reckless advance into the inner workings of Karkasarn forced Guilliman's hand. He ordered the Ultramarines to follow the Ist Legion, but they did so methodically while securing objectives along the way. This led the Ultramarines to suffer only minimal losses, while The First suffered grievously. When Vendraig was about to secure victory by claiming a citadel that lay at the centre of the world, the overlords of Karkasarn detonated an atomic weapon that had lain beneath the citadel. The Grandmaster and numerous warriors of the Ist Legion died in the subsequent explosion. Vendraig had indeed succeeded in uniting his Legion in hate, though this was only achieved through his death and his Legion's ignominious victory.
  • Master Pyrhus Calagat - During the early years of the Ist Legion's existence, Pyrhus Calagat was a master of the Ist Legion's Host of Fire. He also served as the Council of Masters' ceremonial champion. Upon the Ist Legion's reunification with their primarch Lion El'Jonson, Calagat dueled the primarch upon his arrival at the world of Gramarye. The Lion willingly underwent this ceremonial process in order to bring the Ist Legion under his command. The hour-long duel between them has since become legendary. After El'Jonson emerged victorious, he was made the new Grandmaster of the Ist Legion, which was officially reborn as the "Dark Angels."
  • Atreus Deucalion - Atreus Deucalion, bearer of the sword Chrysaor, was a Knight-Captain of the Ist Legion, who was also a Marshal of the Firewing, and was counted as one of the finest swordsmen in the Legion and held station within three separate Orders Militant, blending his blade-techniques of each to form a unique and deadly style of his own.

Heresy Era Personnel

  • Lion El'Jonson - Lion El'Jonson was the primarch of the Ist 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 Ist 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.
Chapter Master Astelan Merir

Chapter Master Merir Astelan, as he appeared during the Great Crusade.

  • Chapter Commander Merir Astelan - Merir Astelan was a Terran-born Legionary of the Dark Angels Legion, who was a part of the first 5,000 intakes of potential recruits which formed the corps group of the newly created Ist Legion. He took part in the closing campaigns of the Wars of Unification, and was present when the Emperor launched his Great Crusade to reunite the disparate worlds of mankind into a unified Imperium. Astelan would later appear in history as one of the senior officers within the Dark Angels Legion, holding the esteemed rank of Chapter Commander, and led his own Expeditionary Fleet which carried out numerous Imperial Compliances. But eventually, Astelan fell out of favour with the Lion, and following has actions during the compliance of Byzanthis, was sent back to Aldurukh on Calibian, some fifteen years after Luther and the rest of his training cadre had returned to the Dark Angels' homeworld. Astelan would then go on to earn the eternal enmity of his former brethren, when he later gave the order for the planetary defences on Caliban to fire upon 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. Astelan would eventually escape from his captivity on The Rock, and rendezvous with his former comrades, Methelas and Anovel. Together, these three Fallen Angels conspired with the infamous Typhus, the fallen former-Fist Captain of the Death Guard Legion, to enact a diabolical plan to unite the three separate devices that made up the so-called Tuchulcha Engine, an ancient sentient device and possible Warp entity of unknown origin, with its brother devices in order to open a portal through time and space, to ten millennia earlier. This would allow the original legions of Fallen Angels to enter the 41st Millennium. Utilising captured gene-seed, Astelan planned to have the Fallen, the Death Guard and newly-created Astartes, merged together into one unstoppable legion that would be known as the Death Angels, in order to conquer the galaxy. The notorious Fallen Angel known as Cypher, allowed himself to be captured and warned the Dark Angels that the Tuchulcha was embedded within the bowels of The Rock, and that the history of the Dark Angels would be irrevocably changed if they allowed the device to be reunited with the other two engines. Fortunately, this grand scheme of Astelan and Typhus would ultimately be foiled thanks to the efforts of Supreme Grand Master Azrael and Cypher, who managed to turn Anonvel to their cause, and betray his former allies. The fate of Astelan following these events remains unknown.
  • Chapter Commander Belath - Chapter Commander Belath, a Calibanite-born Dark Angel, appointed to his esteemed position by the primarch himself, was sent to shadow the Terran-born Merir Astelan during the Compliance of the newly rediscovered world of Byzanthis. The two Chapter Commanders held vastly different philosophies in regards to the proper use of force when attempting an Imperial Compliance of a new world. Though Astelan espoused that unnecessary bloodshed should be avoided at all costs, as a world brought to heel with violence would often remain resentful and willful, and would be slow to accept their conquerors as brothers. He advocated the use of diplomacy rather than wanton destruction. But Chapter Commander Belath reminded Astelan that the Lion have given him specific orders emphasising the use of overwhelming violence for those who remained willful and recalcitrant. When diplomatic relations broke down after a disastrous ground reconnaissance led by Astelan himself, Belath ordered an immediate retaliatory orbital bombardment, but Astelan denied the younger Chapter Commander's request. In the aftermath, Belath continued to argue for an overwhelming show of strength, and urged an invasion of Byzanthis, preferring to attack all six world powers at once. But upon discovered that the world was ruled by a Committee of Nations, Astelan sought a last ditch effort to parley with the planet's ruling body. Appearing with Chapter Commander Belath at his side, the parley went well at first, under Astelan's direction, but things quickly took a turn for the worst when the Byzanthis military forces detected the Dark Angels' vessels pre-positioning themselves for an inevitable attack. Under Belath's orders, the fleet had positioned themselves above all six of the worlds capital cities. This precipitated an immediate threat response from the Byzanthians, who attempted to seize the two Dark Angels representatives. Belath abruptly ended the negotiations with the Committee by summoning his Terminator armoured elite, who proceeded to execute the upstart politicians. Enraged by his counterpart's actions, Astelan had no choice but to go along with the impetuous Belath, and finally ordered a full-scale planetary invasion. In the aftermath, Astelan was dismayed by the use of violence, and warned Belath that his disreputable actions would not go unpunished. Belath remained unperturbed by such empty threats, and responded that it would be Astelan who would be punished, for he had already sent an astropathic relay back to Caliban, informing them of the Chapter Commander's "cowardly" actions on Byzanthis. Belath's ultimate following this Imperial Compliance remains uncertain.
  • Lord Commander Althalos - Lord Commander Althalos was the Castellan of the Chimaera and commanding officer of the Alaxxes Outpost. A Calibanite by birth, Althalos was introduced into the Ist Legion after the Lion had already turned his back on Luther and placed him in command of the Legion's homeworld. As Lord Commander of one of the first Chapters raised solely under Luther's guidance, Althalos had faithfully carried out his orders for fifty-nine years, until the rising Warp-storms, the beginning of the Horus Heresy and the break-down of communications with Luther caused him to reveal his outpost's existence -- and the true strength of the Ist Legion -- by saving the Space Wolves' Legion, including their Primarch Leman Russ from certain death. With proof of the Space Wolves' loyalty to the Golden Throne, Lord Commander Althalos offered to repair the VIth Legion's badly mauled fleet in exchange for solid information on the unfurling Heresy. Lord Commander Althalos's ultimate fate, as his true allegiance, remains unknown.
  • Lord Commander Grimm - Lord Commander Suleiman Grimm is a well known figure within the Ist Legion, whose actions during the Great Crusade brought him much honour. As head of the 7th Expeditionary Fleet, he was instrumental in the reconquest of much of the region of Segmentum Obscurus known as the Coronid Deeps. Most notoriously, on the world of Dark Haven, Grimm rediscovered the Imperial Knights household of House Orhlacc and brokered a deal of mutual assistance between the Legion and the Knighthouse. It was also under Lord Grimm's command that the xenos empire known as the Mitu Conglomerate was destroyed, freeing the Coronid Deeps from their inhuman rule.
Corswain

Paladin-Captain Corswain during the Great Crusade.

  • Paladin-Captain Corswain - Paladin Corswain was the commander of the 9th Order and a champion of the Dark Angels. He exemplified the qualities of stalwart determination and mastery of the blade. Caliban-born, but not an ingrained scion of The Order, Corswain was instrumental in bridging the divisions within the Ist Legion in its formative years under Primarch Lion El'Jonson. Under the Lion, Corsawin was groomed to serve no any one Host or Order within the Legion, but to command the respect and knowledge of all. During the Horus Heresy, he had the honour of serving as a member of the Lion's personal honour guard who found notability during the Thramas Crusade, during which he saved his primarch from death by combating Konrad Curze, primarch of the Night Lords. When the Age of Darkness finally passed and the dust of history began to settle, Corswain's name would long echoe down through the ages.
Master of Deathwing Holguin

Holguin, the Master of the Deathwing, during the Great Crusade.

  • Master Holguin - One of the few Terran-born members of the Ist Legion to hold a place in the Council of Masters of the Hexagrammaton, Holguin was a key member of Lion El'Jonson's council. During the long years of the Great Crusade, he was renowned for his unwavering loyalty and determination in battle. This grim resolve saw him survive confrontations that few others could, and he was one of a handful of Space Marines that could claim to have fought in all three Rangdan Xenocides and lived. In the later years of the Horus Heresy, the actions of his own primarch and the sins of the Traitors would bring a dark aspect to his demeanour, leaving him prone to a bitter fury. Once Holguin stood at the forefront of the Legion's battles, however, with the coming of the Lion and the great changes wrought within the Ist Legion he had become more withdrawn. It was only with the outbreak of the Horus Heresy and the perfidy of those that would spurn their oaths of loyalty to the Emperor that he had once again thrown himself into the front lines. Some among his brethren called his newly-rekindled zeal self-destructive, but few could deny that the fury he directed at the Traitors was a blessing for the Loyalist cause.
  • Master Gahael - Gahael served as the Master of the Dark Angels' Second Order during the Great Crusade.
  • Master Moriaen - Moriaen served as a Master of the Dark Angels Legion's Sixth Order during the Great Crusade.
  • Master Alajos (KIA) - Alajos served as a Master of the Dark Angels Legion's 9th Order during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. A skilled duellist within the ranks of the Ist Legion, only Merir Astelan and Corswain had ever beaten him in the sparring circles. By the latter years of the Great Crusade, during the Dulan Campaign in 870.M30, Alajos had served the Dark Angels for half a standard century and achieved the rank of chapter master. During this campaign, he and the Paladins of the 9th Order served as their primarch's honour guard. Alajos cautioned Lion El'Jonson against making a teleport assault against the Crimson Fortress, advising that they should at least contact their Space Wolves allies first to find out why they were delayed. Unable to reach the VIth Legion's Primarch Leman Russ, the Lion and his Paladins launched the assault and achieved an overwhelming victory, which the Space Wolves felt detracted from their own glory. When Russ became enraged at his brother's temerity, Alajos bore witness to the infamous duel between the two primarchs. As Russ went to pick up his fallen chainsword Krakenmaw, Alajos barred the Wolf King's way, however, Russ took his axe, Urthand instead, and back-handed the Dark Angels chapter master to the ground and began the clash with the Lion that lasted for over a standard day until the Lion rendered him unconscious. Later, during the opening years of the Horus Heresy, Alajos was present when the Lion met with the Night Lords Primarch Konrad Curze on the world of Kruun. Alajos duelled the Night Lords' First Captain Jago Sevatarion, but because he was not wearing a helm for the duel, Alajos lost most of his face to a swipe by Sevatar's Chainglaive. Two standard years into the Thramas Crusade, Alajos and Paladin-Captain Corswain served as bodyguards for Lion El'Jonson during the meeting between their primarch and the Night Haunter on the world of Tsagualsa. When the two primarchs once more came to blows, Alajos and Corswain fought their counterparts among the Night Haunter's honour guard, Sevatarion and Sheng. Tragically, Alajos was decapitated by Sevatarion while he was protecting the Lion.
  • Paladin Commander Inardin - Inardin served as a Paladin Commander of the Dark Angels Legion's 9th Order during the Great Crusade under the command of Master Alajos.
  • Knight-Praetor Logaine - Knight-praetor of the 17th Order and Marshal of the Firewing, during the Thramas Crusade Logaine was assigned by his primarch to command the Dark Angels battlegroup sent against the Night Lords Traitor Legion upon the world of Kenrac. His orders were clear: eliminate all occupying forces and secure the planet for the Ist Legion. Rather than waste manpower and munitions in the direct annihilation of the mortal slave regiments that the Night Lords placed in the frontline, Knight-Praetor Logaine made use of the Firewing's doctrine of precise strikes and the careful accumulation of intelligence. With the information gained from traditional scouting and the interrogation of the captured Night Lords, the location of the main Night Lords host itself was quickly ascertained. In a final assault, the Dark Angel battlegroup's heavy assets landed with pinpoint precision amongst the Night Lords' own units. Hopelessly outnumbered, the Night Lords garrsion quickly fell to the onslaught of a combined force of heavy transport vehicles and Terminator Assault Squads.
  • Knight-Praetor Kordray Mordred - Kordray Mordred served as commander of the 51st Chapter of the Dark Angels, the Sable Griffons, during the Great Crusade and the early years of the Horus Heresy. This Chapter was comprised of approximately 1,500 Legionaries. Following the end of the Rangdan Xenocides, little remained within the Rangda System, save Advex-Mors, mistakenly believed to be the homeworld of the xenos species known as the Rangda, upon which a chantry station of the Order of Broken Claws was erected. One of the smallest of the Orders Militant of the Hekatonystika, this cadre of warriors held the only full and complete accounting of that war and the Rangda and, in the wake of that xenos strain's destruction, these knights were charged with guarding the spoils of those victories. The Order of the Broken Claws were charged to act as watchmen over the supposed remains of the Rangdan home and to stand sentinel over the far reaches of the Emperor's domain. In 006.M31, a Sons of Horus Heavy Cruiser Conqueror's Pride translated in-system and hailed the Dark Angels garrison on Advex-Mors, indicating that they needed to resupply. Unaware of the treachery that had occurred on Isstvan III, there was no immediate cause for alarm. Queries from the Dark Angels requesting their destination and intent were ignored, and when Knight-Praetor Kordray Mordred demanded to speak with the Sons of Horus commander, his only answer was a sudden and indiscriminate barrage launched by the cruiser in orbit. Though the barrage left little of the fortifications on the surface, the Order of the Broken Claws' chantry below the surface only sustained minor damage. The Sons of Horus launched an entire chapter's worth of Legionaries to assault the surface, including a formation of elite Justaerin Terminators. Within the stygian darkness of the corridors of the Broken Claws chantry, the warriors of the Ist Legion broke the pride of the Sons of Horus, inflicting heavy casualites upon their foes. When the Traitors finally managed to breach the inner chambers they were greeted with the sight of a slew of corpses of their own warriors, with very few Dark Angels bodies amongst them. With their honour besmirched, the Sons of Horus launched a series of successive assaults. But these only resulted in more of their warriors being slain by the stubborn Dark Angels defenders. Finally, with only one surviving defender, the Sons of Horus sent their Destroyer squads to finish off the stubborn Dark Angels once and for all. With the death of the final defender, the Sons of Horus broke into the stasis vault that contained the forbidden Rangdan weaponary and proceeded to plunder a number of pre-determined weapons and fled for the surface. However, one of the grounded Traitor Stormbird gunships was captured and the relics it bore lost to a daring assault by Knight-Praetor Mordred and his Deathwing lifeguard, while another was shot down and destroyed by Ravenwing Xiphon Interceptors. However, despite their efforts, the surviving Sable Griffons were unable to halt the Traitors' exodus from the surface. Though the remainder of the Dark Angels defenders were trapped beneath the surface, the Sons of Horus were unable to take their revenge and were forced to flee due to the arrival of Dark Angels reinforcements in the form of the Promethean-class Cruiser Invidious. Though the Sons of Horus had achieved their primary objective and managed to acquire some of the Rangdan weapons, they were unable to break the will of the fiercely Loyalist Dark Angels, achieving only a phyrric victory at best. Yet the potency of these forbidden weapons would help turn the tide of the Horus Heresy in the Traitors' favour.
Aloceri Ravenwing Voted Lieutenant

Voted-Lieutenant Aloceri of the Ravenwing.

  • Voted-Lieutenant Aloceri - Aloceri was a member of the Dark Angels Legion who fought during both the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. After the birth of the Ruinstorm during the opening years of the galaxy-wide civil war, Aloceri became the voted-lieutenant of the Ravenwing. It was rumoured he was backed for the position by the Deathwing commander Holguin, due to the fact that both of them had served as aspirants together and that Aloceri was the favourite of the esteemed Master Ramiel. Regardless of the truth of why he was chosen, Aloceri was known to be an indisputable master of the Land Speeder, Jetbike, Strike Fighter, Interceptor and even the traditional horsemanship that was demanded by service in the Ravenwing.
  • Voted-Lieutenant Griffayn - Griffayn, known as "the Spear-Cast," was a member of the Dark Angels Legion during both the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. Holding the rank of sergeant-at-arms, he became a voted-lieutenant of the Firewing, holding the position as early as the Muspel campaign. During the Horus Heresy, he accompanied Chapter Master Belath to Caliban to request reinforcement for the Thramas Crusade. Howevever, both were unaware that Luther had turned against the Lion. Ultimately, Griffayn was turned by Luther and was spared during that purges that befell many of Belath's men, joining the forces of Chapter Master Merir Astelan after killing the Loyalist Librarian Asmodeus. In his absence, he was succeeded by Vastael, who became the new voted-lieutenant of the Firewing.
  • Voted-Lieutenant Calloson - Calloson became the voted-lieutenant and master of the Dark Angels Legion's Stormwing after the galaxy-spanning Ruinstorm dissipated in the final days of the Horus Heresy. His long record of service to the Legion saw Calloson take part in the battles for Kalippa Major, Creusias, Strichnus and the boarding attack on the Night Lords cruiser Vulturine. Each of these attacks left him heavily wounded and resulted in his body becoming heavily scarred and rebuilt with augmetics. Though Calloson was noted by his brethren for having obvious deficiencies in character, his extraordinary will to always be the first to face any enemy and his utter disregard for death greatly endeared him to his Legion. Calloson ultimately bequeathed a relic to the Legion and its successors for the millennia to come -- the Shield of Calloson.
  • Voted-Lieutenant Duriel - Voted-Lieutenant Duriel was a captain within the Dark Angels' 12th Order during the Great Crusade and a member of the Ironwing. He was also a senior Forge-Wright and Master of the Ironwing, who was taught secret arcane lore in the Terran forges of Narodnya and Manraga. After he suffered grievous wounds in battle, Duriel was installed as a commander of the Ist Legion's flagship Invincible Reason and granted the title of castellan. As a holder of this esteemed rank, Duriel had overall command of the Gloriana-class Battleship when Lion El'Jonson was not present. Duriel was amongst the primarch's forces that investigated the unrest and strange disappearances that occurred around the world of Muspel. During the campaign on Muspel, Durel would later sacrifice himself by detonating a nucleonic weapon to defeat a Khrave-infected Titan.
DA warlord Farith Redloss

Dreadbringer Farith Redloss of the Dreadwing

  • Voted-Lieutenant Farith Redloss - Farith Redloss was the Dreadbringer of the Dreadwing during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. Redloss was originally a native of Caliban, but most of his family was killed by the Great Beasts that roamed its global forests. When he was 8 standard years old, his settlement was rescued by the knights of The Order and the Primarch Lion El'Jonson. The young but determined warrior was selected to become a member of the Dark Angels Legion after the arrival of the Emperor on Caliban. Eventually commanding the Dreadwing after succeeding Voted-Lieutenant Constantine, he became the voted-lieutenant of the formation after recommendation by his predecessor. As commander of the Dreadwing, Redloss was frequently at his primarch's side. When the Lion arrived at Macragge during the Horus Heresy, Redloss led his honour guard and later helped battle Konrad Curze when the Night Lords primarch was loosed upon the planet. Farith later helped lead the hunt for Curze, and personally led the Dreadwing in the attack on the Zepath System in the search for the Night Haunter. He also took part in the hunt for Curze in the Illyrium region of Macragge when the Lion finally cornered his maddened brother. Redloss continued as the Dreadbringer during and after the Imperium Secundus period, commanding the Dark Angels at the Battle of Pyrrhan and the Second Battle of Davin. Along with Holguin, the commander of the Deathwing in this period, he was the only commander of a Hexagrammaton wing to survive the escape from the Ruinstorm.
  • Voted-Lieutenant Vastael - Vastael became the voted-lieutenant of the Firewing following the end of the Ruinstorm during the Horus Heresy. Before that, he had served in the Fire Support Squads of the 3rd Order, where he had benefitted from the mentorship of Voted-Lieutenant Farith Redloss, the commander of the Dreadwing. Due to this, Vastael originally swayed between joining the Dreadwing or Firewing, before ultimately deciding on joining the latter wing. Vastael's ultimate fate is unknown.
  • Eskaton Marduk Sedras - Marduk Sedras held the rank of eskaton, a title used by the Dark Angels Legion's Dreadwing. This title was used to denote a warrior who had overseen the final death of an entire species or world. At the start of the Horus Heresy, Sedras was one of the oldest living Space Marines, having faithfully served the Emperor for more than 250 Terran years. There was very little that Sedras hadn't seen. Before any battle began, he often imparted his wisdom to nearby Imperial units, inspiring them to even greater deeds.
  • Lieutenant Iksal Mordwen - Iksal Mordwen was a lieutenant of the Ironwing during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. During the final years of the Great Crusade he took part in the Dark Angels' campaign alongside the still Loyalist Emperor's Children Legion during the Siege of Mykana. Unable to breach the impenetrable shield outside the Mykana's capital city, it was to be the ingenuity and hard-won knowledge of the Ironwing that provided an answer. An Ironwing lieutenant, Iksal Mordwen, demonstrated that a dense-enough energy beam could disrupt a small section of the force field long enough to allow a small raiding party to penetrate the outer defences of the city. They assembled a force of volunteers, primarily warriors mounted on swift jetbikes and Land Speeders spearheaded by the initiates of the Ravenwing and led by Lieutenant Mordwen. The junior officer's bold plan proved effective, and the Dark Angel strike force was able to penetrate the outer shield and destroy the shield spire that powered it, allowing the rest of the Dark Angels forces to launch a final assault. Those survivors of the assault on the city, Lieutenant Mordwen and a few dozen of his brethren, were trapped behind enemy lines and faced with such a horde of enemies that it became simply a matter of how high a price in lives they would demand for their death. The surviving Legionaries from both the Ist and IIIrd Legions fought on for another three solar hours of frantic battle as the Mykanan hordes threw themselves against the thin line of defenders. By the time the main force of the Dark Angels assault arrived to relieve them, they had exhausted all their munitions and the survivors had resorted to combat blades and bayonets to hold the line. Satisfied that Mykana was purged and no threat remained to the Imperium's claim upon Laconis, the Lion ordered the Dark Angels to return to their ships, leaving the Emperor's Children amongst the ashes of the world's primitive people to await the return of their own fleet and establish Imperial authority upon it.
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Master Zahariel El'Zurias during the Great Crusade.

  • Chief Librarian Zahariel El'Zurias - Zahariel El'Zurias was a formidable Librarian during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras, his name being closely tied to that of the Lion himself, for he was the sole other person known to have slain the most dreaded of the Great Beasts of Caliban, a Calibanite Lion. This kinship was acknowledged by the primarch himself, who soon began to rely heavily on Zahariel, his cousin later Interrogator-Chaplain Nemiel, and Sar Luther to council his actions outside of the Order's usual hierarchy. His psychic gifts marking him out as a prime candidate for Space Marine elevation, Zahariel was inducted into the Ist Legion and sailed from Caliban as part of the first Calibanite generation of the Dark Angels. Falling in disgrace alongside Sar Luther following the events of the Sarosh Campaign, the Lion exiled Zahariel to Caliban where he would stay for the most part of the remaining Great Crusade. Confined to Caliban, Zahariel would become an even closer ally to Luther with whom he adverted several crisises, for which he was rewarded with the rank of Chief of the Mystai, the Calibanite equivalent to the rank of Librarian-in-Chief. Given privy to many of the Order's secrets, it is generally believed that Zahariel was somehow corrupted by the powers of Chaos and would ultimately side with Luther during his betrayal. His ultimate fate remains unknown.
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Interrogator-Chaplain Nemiel during the Great Crusade.

  • Interrogator-Chaplain Nemiel - Related by blood to the great Librarian Master Zahariel, Nemiel was inducted into what was still the Emperor's Ist Legion of the Legiones Astartes at the height of the Great Crusade. Born and raised on Caliban like his cousin and close friend Zahariel El'Zurias, Nemiel was introduced into the Order and raised as a Knight even before Caliban was reunited with the Imperium. Having gained the Lion's favour even before his ascension to the rank of Space Marine, Nemiel was a most prominent recruit amongst the first Calibanite generations of Dark Angels and would fully embrace and fashion the role of Chaplain within the Legion of the Dark Angels. Following the dire events of the Sarosh campaign, Nemiel was deemed loyal enough to stay with the 4th Expeditionary Fleet and thus remained with the Legion and endured its hardships where other Caliban-born Astartes were exiled to Caliban. Rising steadily within the ranks of the Chaplaincy, Nemiel became a close confident to his primarch until the events of the Thramas Crusade which saw the Dark Angels fight against the Night Lords. When the Invincible Reason, the Gloriana-class Battleship and flagship of the Legion found itself attacked in the Warp and boarded by daemons, Interrogator-Chaplain Nemiel, his loyalties residing with the Emperor above his primarch, tried to enforce the Edict of Nikaea upon Brother Asmodeus who had broken his vows in order to defeat the daemons. Duty-bound to uphold the Edict, Nemiel's actions contradicted the Lion's orders to allow the use of psychic abilities. The Lion beheaded the valiant Interrogator-Chaplain with a single strike to spare Brother Asmodeus' life.
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Firewing Enigmatii Operator Alais Decure.

  • Knight-Sergeant Alais Decur - Alais Decur was one of the few remaining Graymaryan recruits with the main force of the Ist Legion by the time of the late Great Crusade, with most having been reassigned to chantry houses within the Imperium proper or the oft-overlooked fortifications of the Imperial Industrial World of Gramarye. Graymarye had once served the Ist Legion as one of its strongholds and also the seat of power for the Council of Masters, which ruled after the death of Urien Vendraig, the former grandmaster of the Ist Legion before the return of Lion El'Jonson. As a knight-sergeant, Alais was a member of the Seeker cadre of the 14th Order during the Shield World Campaign and accompanied the Lion's forces during the Battle of Diamat.
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Knight-Sergeant Indravain Mors during the Horus Heresy.

  • Knight-Sergeant Idravain Mors - Knight-Sergeant Mors, seneschal of the Deathwing, was assigned to the 23rd Order, "The Shattered Mantle," during the Horus Heresy. Knight-Sergeant Mors was inducted into the inner circle of the Deathwing after the battle on Mykana, where he took a Mykanan phase-lock musket shot meant for his commander, leaving him on the brink of death once victory was secured. He bore the Deathwing initiation icons on his right armorial inset, marking him as a warrior who was master in the arts of the Deathwing, as a champion and linebreaker, should he be needed. Mors fell again on the fields of Sheol IX during the Thramas Crusade, once again shielding the knight-praetor of the Shattered Mantle, though this time from the vengeful talons of the Night Haunter himself. His shattered body was recovered from the field of battle and interred in a Dreadnought sarcophagus in honour of his sacrifice.
  • Brother-Sergeant Kaye - Kaye was a sergeant of the Stormwing in the Dark Angels Legion during the Great Crusade. He was among the troops commanded by their Primarch Lion El'Jonson who investigated the unrest and strange disappearances occurring around the world of Muspel. By that time, Kaye was a knight of the Stormwing and served within the 15th Company of the Dark Angels Legion's 3rd Order. His power armour bore heraldic icons of obscure secret orders and Kaye wielded a Calibanite Warblade in battle. Kaye was the commander of Tactical Squad Martlet and they, accompanied by the Librarian Aravain, boarded the vessels of Muspel's system fleet that lay silent near the world.
  • Brother-Sergeant Kohl - Brother-Sergeant Kohl was a Terran-born Dark Angel and by the two hundredth standard year of the Great Crusade one of the oldest serving battle-brothers that had fought in the very first battles of the crusade.
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Legionary Zediel Ardaral of the Stormwing, one of the one of the six specialised "wing" formations of the Hexagrammaton.

  • Brother-Sergeant Abdaziel Magron - Abdaziel Magron was a former sergeant of the Dark Angels Legion who disappeared sometime during the Horus Heresy whilst engaged with the Traitor Astartes of the World Eaters Legion near a small planetoid. The Imperial task force had managed to sustain the laser barrage on the doomed planet, but they were too successful, for the beams scythed through the world's crust and deep into the liquid core. The unstable planet exploded during the height of the battle which resulted in a large mass of debris impacting with the Dark Angels' capital ship Imperial Vengeance. The shock wave of the exploding starship hurled Sergeant Magron along with a large amount of wreckage into the void of space. As far as he could tell, he was the only survivor of the engagement, and he was cast adrift into space. With no chance of rescue, Magron used his Sus-an Membrane to shut down his vital functions and induce a state of suspended animation. The unlucky Space Marine floated through the void of space for over ten millennia, and eventually was pulled into the strong gravitational pull of the Eye of Terror. His comatose body drifted far into the Eye itself and he ultimately came to rest on one of the many Daemon Worlds of that benighted realm. Sergeant Magron was found by another Astartes, a Fallen Angel by the name of Zhebdek Abaddas. Abaddas was a former Captain of the Dark Angels Legion, until he threw in his lot with Luther and became one of the Fallen and a servant of the Dark Gods. He helped revive his erstwhile kin, and apprised him of the situation -- he was no longer in the 31st Millennium, but had in fact awoken far in the future, in the 41st Millennium. Abaddas than proceeded to feed Magron a stream of lies in regards to the outcome of the Horus Heresy; that Horus had won, killed the Emperor and that the Imperium of Man was no more. Instead, Horus now ruled a new Imperium of Chaos. He tried to corrupt his fellow Dark Angel, who slowly succumbed to the Abbadas' lies and the corrupting influence of Chaos and the Blood God Khorne. But in the end, Abaddas' deception did not avail him as Magron refused to acquiesce to his fate and fought Abaddas and killed him. Magron somehow found his way out of the Eye of Terror and was turned over to his former battle-brothers in the Dark Angels Chapter. Stripped of his power armour and placed in a holding cell, Magron contemplated his fate, and prepared himself to face any trials put before him. Taken to the great Fortress-Monastery of The Rock, the only remaining fragment of the Dark Angels' original homeworld of Caliban, Abdaziel Magron spent many months in a cold dungeon, interrogated by the Chapter's Interrogator-Chaplains and Librarians. The interrogation was exhaustive. Magron made a complete confession and repented his loss of faith in the Emperor. The harsher methods used on him dragged no complaint from his lips. He said nothing in mitigation of his sin. But finally he was allowed extreme unction, and offered the last blessings of a quick death and the respite of the Emperor's Peace.
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Venerable-Praefectus Oramas, Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought, fighting during the Horus Heresy.

  • Brother-Sergeant Maegos Losteurne (KIA) - Assigned to the strike cruiser Caliban's Will, Losteurne was part of the Dark Angels reserve that returned to Caliban with Luther during the Great Crusade. He met his end on the great voidship but little information regarding his fate could be gleamed from his corpse by Dark Angels investigators from the Deathwing when the ship was rediscovered in the 41st Millennium, other than he still wore the Dark Angels' black Heresy era colour scheme with a white tabard. However there was one anomaly. His right kneeplate sported a Daemon's skull superimposed over a Chaos Star and his tabard was hung with the remains of faces and skulls, leaving little doubt about his true allegiance.
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Titus, Venerable Castraferrum Dreadnought of the Ironwing

  • Legionary Zediel Ardaral - Ardaral was a simple Legionary of the line, an ordinary warrior within the host of the 42nd Order of the Ist Legion. However, Ardaral also bore the rank of proctor within the Stormwing, and that of cenobite within the Order of the Crimson Field. Within his unit he held a higher rank within the Stormwing than any other and was often called upon to advise the sergeant of his squad on appropriate tactics and organisation, as well as serving outside his squad in a cenobium of the Crimson Field during two separate engagements. Overall, he served as an excellent example of the unusual distributed command structure and organisation utilised by the Dark Angels, one designed to put skills and experience before simple hierarchical rank and too complex to be made easy use of by those not well-versed in its intricacies. Legionary Ardaral would survive the Thramas Crusade to great honour, fighting in the vanguard of the assault on Sheol IX. There he and his unit formed a vital part of the force that cut the Night Lords off from their voidships, allowing Lion El'Jonson and the secondary waves of the attack to catch their elusive foe off-guard and vulnerable. By the end of the battle, Ardaral's company had been rendered almost combat ineffective, with casualties near halving their numbers, though the tally of their own kills more than proved their valour and skill in the face of such a fierce foe.
  • Legionary Ormand - In the days of the Ist Legion, the Dark Angels began surrounding themselves with secrecy. This isolationist tendency was also mirrored by those chapters of the Legion detached from Caliban or the expeditionary fleets to watch over given sectors of space. Legionary Ormand was one of two specialists of the Alaxxes Outpost that clandestinely infiltrated both the Alpha Legion and Space Wolves fleets that were fighting in the Alaxxes Nebula. On board a shadow-craft, Ormand successfully infiltrated Leman Russ' flagship, Hrafnkel, and retrieved valuable information on the VIth Legion's Compliance records, strength and fighting techniques. His true mission was to ascertain the Legion's loyalty, masquerading as a Space Wolves Legionary in order to achieve his objectives. Discovered and captured by one of the Space Wolves Rune Priests, Ormand was taken before Leman Russ himself, but refused to reveal his secrets. Yet, upon seeing the defiance with which the Space Wolves fought the numerically superior Alpha Legion, Ormand convinced Lord Commander Althalos to reveal the Ist Legion's presence and saved the Space Wolves from certain annihilation.
The Nemean Reaver

The mysterious Blackshield commander known as the Nemean Reaver during the Horus Heresy.

  • Venerable-Praefectus Oramas - Venerable-Praefectus Oramas, the Archon of Flame, was a Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. In his former life he was an initiate of the Ist Legion's Firewing and no towering hero of the Great Crusade. Following his mortal wounding and internment within a Dreadnought sarcophagus, he had the rare honour of wielding both a Conversion Beam Cannon and a Kheres Pattern Assault Cannon. These were both rare weapons, even among the Legiones Astartes, for the technology required to keep such potent weapons operating was both all but lost to Imperial scholars and dangerous to employ. Only within the ranks of the Ist Legion was such ancient technology found in great numbers, often employed en-masse in order to overwhelm the terrible foes against which the Dark Angels were often pitted. The Kheres Assault Cannon, whose temperamental nature limited its use amongst many of the younger Legions, combined with the volatile Conversion Beam Cannon, represented a significant deployment of firepower, but one that was commonplace among the ranks of the Dark Angels Legion.
  • Titus - Titus was a Venerable Castraferrum Dreadnought who served within the Dreadwing during both the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. Originally, Titus was a Terran member of the old Ist Legion, before it was reunited with their primarch Lion El'Jonson. He would later be interred within a Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought after being mortally wounded in battle with the Gordian League during the Great Crusade. However, his Contemptor chassis was destroyed during the Battle of Diamat and Titus was later placed within the sarcophagus of a newer Castraferrum Pattern Dreadnought. Titus became the voted-lieutenant of the Dreadwing following the dissipation of the galaxy-wide Ruinstorm during the Horus Heresy.
  • The Nemean (a.k.a. The Nemean Reaver) - During the Age of Darkness which followed the Horus Heresy, the Nemean Reaver, or simply "the Nemean", was a Reaver Lord of the Blackshields, those Legionaries that had repudiated their former sire and allegiance in the wake of the Warmaster's betrayal and who now fought as a distinct command that was neither aligned with the Traitor's nor with the Imperium. Although his true identity as a former member of the Ist Legion has never been confirmed, it is generally assumed from the weapons he bore and the Calibanite influence in his personal heraldry that the Nemean was, in fact, a scion of the Lion. Rumoured to be one of the survivors of the terrible Rangdan Xenocides, the Nemean was the first lord of a large group of independent Legiones Astartes that had carved out their own autonomous realm in the Pale Stars region of the Ultima Segmentum. This splinter-force was commonly known as the Dark Brotherhood and was led by the Nemean. At the Conclave of Optera, the Nemean met the Agenta Primus of the Regent of Terra in person, the famous Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro, who convinced the Nemean to be inducted into the highly selective ranks of the Knights-Errant, bound into personal service to Malcador the Sigilite. Some reports later placed the Nemean on Terra during the dire events of the Battle of Terra, defending the walls of the Imperial Palace but these reports have yet to be confirmed. The Nemean's final destiny remains unknown.

Post-Heresy Era Personnel

  • Supreme Grand Master Azrael - Azrael is the current, and some would say greatest, Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels Chapter. Azrael is also the unofficial commander of all the Unforgiven Chapters during the late 41st Millennium as they follow the lead of the Dark Angels leader in all matters concerning the Hunt for the Fallen.
  • 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 - Anaziel was the Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels in the 37th Millennium. It was Anaziel who 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.
  • Supreme Grand Master Alloken - During the final battle of the Red Stars Campaign in 822.M33, Supreme Grand Master Alloken led the entirety of the Dark Angels Chapter during the climactic Battle of Vermilac Prime in order to cut the head off WAAAGH! Zogax. The Orks utilised hence-unknown technology that jammed the Space Marine's teleportation devices. Alloken opted to confront the Warboss with his command squad, without the support of the Deathwing. In the ensuing battle, the Supreme Grand Master was killed. As the Warboss reached down to claim the Lion's Helm for his own, only the timely intervention of Cypher prevented the massive Ork from claiming this revered relic. When the Deathwing were finally able to teleport to the surface of the planet to secure victory, they found both the Lion's Helm and the Sword of Secrets, the badges of the Supreme Grand Master's office.
  • Supreme Grand Master Purson - During an unspoken period of their history (580.M31-632.M32), referred to as the Forgotten Wars, rumours led the Dark Angels, along with three of their Successor Chapters, the Angels of Vengeance, the Angels of Redemption and the Lions Sable, embark upon a harrowing campaign to track down multiple Fallen Angels, including the elusive Cypher. The clues led them through the Segmentum Obscurus, deep into the Gothic Sector, and eventually into the Eye of Terror itself. During the grueling campaign, the world of Cocytus I was engulfed by a massive Warp Storm. This was the last anyone would ever see of Purson or the Lions Sable Chapter. Eventually, the Fallen known as Cypher did reappear, leading the Dark Angels into an empty cathedral dedicated to the Emperor on a ruined and desolate planet. There, they found neatly placed where they could not miss them the returned Sword of Secrets and the Lion Helm -- the most potent icons of the Dark Angels and tokens carried by their Supreme Grand Master.
  • Grand Master of Librarians Ezekiel - Ezekiel is the Grand Master of all the Librarians of the Dark Angels Chapter. Along with the Supreme Grand Master and the Master of Sanctity, the Grand Master of Librarians is one of the most important individuals in the Dark Angels and the Unforgiven Chapters. Ezekiel is also Keeper of the Book of Salvation, the ancient tome that contains the names of every one of the Fallen Angels that the Dark Angels have captured.
  • Grand Master of the Fleet Nephalor - Nephalor is the current Grand Master of the Fleet for the Dark Angels, and bears the title of "High Huntsman of the Void." Nephalor is the overall commander of the Dark Angels fleet and seems to share these duties with the Master of the 4th Company, who bears the lesser title of Master of the Fleet. The division of responsibility or difference between the positions is not clear.
  • Warden of the Rock