"No no no! By the Throne, boy, how many times? Depress the loading catch before removing the drum feed, not while removing the drum feed! You'll jam the weapon! (smack) Oh stop bawling, child. You're ten years old, you should have learned basic Autogun procedures by now. Fifty press ups and fifty Pax Imperiums. And certainly there will be no dinner."
- — Drill Abbott Kross Vorgt
A Drill Abbot (or Drill Abbess) is a priest of the Adeptus Ministorum and a decorated veteran of the Imperium's wars who tirelessly works at converting the orphans of martyred Imperial servants into driven and dedicated fanatics prepared for the trials of Imperial life. Drill Abbots run the Scholas Progenium, the brutally effective educational institutions which every standard year produce untold numbers of Planetary Governors, Imperial Guard Commissars, Adeptus Arbites Arbitrators, Imperial Navy officers, Storm Troopers and Inquisitors.
The Imperium of Man has many layers of government, but those who rise to the top tend to be survivors of the Scholas Progenium. Such prodigies require tutors capable of driving home hard lessons and able to instill discipline into the souls of the scared and lonely young. The Drill Abbots are technically full Preachers of the Ecclesiarchy, but are excused from a Preacher's normal duties of ministering to the faithful in favour of a more specialised role in teaching the future leaders and special forces troops of the Imperium. This sacred duty is fulfilled through the focused application of devotional teachings, exercise and weapons training. Drill Abbots stalk the hallways of the Schola, striking the fear of the Emperor into the hearts of youths who one day shall have the power of life and death over millions. Even the most ruthless Lord Inquisitor may still, centuries later, remember his time in the Schola Progenium with a mixture of fear and awe due to the work of these fearsome individuals.
Coming from a wide variety of backgrounds, most Drill Abbots have served at least half their lives in one branch or another of the Imperial military. They have seen first hand the enemies of the Imperium, and are anxious to impress upon their young charges the absolute necessity of faith in the Emperor and skill at arms. They are charismatic and inspiring, caring for their young charges in their own harsh way, and famed for their unbending stubbornness and strength of will. They will seek to maintain their fighting edge throughout their lives, and remain fierce and skilled combatants and warriors. Many Drill Abbots forge lifelong bonds of mutual respect with Progena in their care, which can result in useful contacts years later with some of the most senior figure in the Sector. Indeed, it is not unknown for Inquisitors to recruit their old tutors for their retinues, as a sign of the tremendous debt they owe for the gift of the light of the Emperor.
Some Drill Abbots find it difficult to return to active duty or to be drafted into a cell of Inquisitorial Acolytes after serving so long with the Schola Progenium. While these men serve the God-Emperor to the best of their ability, it is often a surprise when their commands are not met with cowering obedience. So harsh are many of the methods employed by Drill Abbots that many students fear for their lives. The more fearsome Drill Abbots have been known to employ branding, freezing cold and sleep deprivation to motivate their charges, which is the source of the understandable terror that some Progena feel. This fear is not typically necessary, however, as Drill Abbots wish to prepare their charges for service to the God-Emperor and it is well known that such service only ends in death. Regardless of their pasts, Drill Abbots are well known for their uncompromising and stubborn natures. Coupled with their faith in the God-Emperor of Mankind they have considerable martial prowess and the respect of even the most seasoned Imperial Guardsman. A Drill Abbot has suffered and knows how to administer suffering in turn; they are not people to be trifled with.
Becoming a Drill Abbot
A Drill Abbot is typically an experienced Imperial Guardsman who is ordained as an Abbot by the Adeptus Ministorum after their period of service. They are decorated NCOs of the Imperial military, men and women who already have the experience and skills necessary to forge new warriors from the rabble and raw material of the Progena. Although the process of indoctrination into the Schola's more arcane educational techniques takes some time, most Drill Abbots are thrown into the deep end and can go from fighting Orks to fighting for the souls of troubled adolescents in just a few short weeks. Encouraged to treat these children just as they would treat soldiers, the task of a Drill Abbot is not one for the merciful of heart. A certainty of purpose is required, and one must know that to show a pupil mercy is to lie to them about the true nature of the galaxy.
Notable Drill Abbots
- Josef Khoriv - Based in the Schola Progenium habitat orbiting the planet Golian, Josef Khoriv was once a petty officer in the Imperial Navy. He was part of a boarding party which freed Cardinal Symien of Ophelia from an Ork pirate ship, protecting the high ranking clergyman during their harried escape. So impressed was Symien that he had Josef transferred to Golian to pass on his skills to the potential Commissars, clergyman and naval officers in the habitat. Unfortunately, Josef's adventures weren't over, as Golian was actually being controlled by an alien-worshipping cult infected by mind-controlling creatures known as Genestealers. It was upon uncovering this fact that Josef rallied his students about him and expunged the cult from the orbiting station, earning himself the attention of the Inquisition. It was Inquisitor Covenant who arrived to investigate the incident and, like Cardinal before him, was so impressed by Josef's resourcefulness and bravery, that he requisitioned his services for his Inquisitorial retinue.
- Dark Heresy: Blood of Martyrs (RPG), pp. 68-69
- Inquisitor (Sourcebook), pg. 137