"On this day the Emperor Himself looks down upon us and sees that we are worthy. On this day we raise high the burning brand of our faith and by its light shall we see that our enemies are false and faithless, little more than flickering shadows. Follow me now, my brothers and sisters, and let us banish the shadows from this place forever!"
- — Ephrael Stern, the Daemonifuge
Ephrael Stern was a Sister of Battle of the Order of Our Martyred Lady who was predestined to acquire special psychic abilities born of her unshakable faith in the Emperor of Mankind that far surpassed those of any ordinary psyker.
Amongst all the countless warriors of the Adepta Sororitas, Ephrael Stern is unique. Driven by a strange destiny and possessed of formidable faith-based supernatural powers that many call heretical, she and her Aeldari comrade Kyganil have cut a swathe through some of the great and terrible events of this dark millennium.
Bound together by the strands of fate, she travels with an Aeldari known as Kyganil, or simply "the Pariah." Once, this fey warrior was a Harlequin of the Laughing God; now he is a wanderer, an outcast from his own people who has found his place at Stern's side.
Kyganil has brought Stern by dark paths to the repository of forbidden lore known as the Black Library, and it is through him that Stern has made contact with the Ynnari -- though none but she yet know her true purpose in this.
Known as the "Thrice-Born" and "the Daemonifuge," Ephrael Stern had been promised by her parents before her birth to the Adepta Sororitas. She was raised on the planet Antigone's Harbour by the Saint Sabbat Schola Progenium.
The Arch-Drill Abbot of the school submitted the young Ephrael for induction within the sisterhood and was accepted by Sister Patricia from the Order of the Holy Seal. The Novice Stern excelled at her new monastic duties as a battle-sister-in-training.
She eventually completed her training and along with 500 other novices took her sacred Oaths of Adherence at the Ecclesiarchal Palace on Terra. Sister Stern was then chosen to become a member of the Order of Our Martyred Lady.
Shortly after her induction into the order, she was sent to the Ecclesiarchy Cardinal World of Ophelia VII. Whilst stationed there, her exemplary service record helped elevate her to the esteemed ranks of the order's Seraphim within record time. Only three standard years later she would be ordained as a sister superior.
Sister Stern was eventually sent on a mission on behalf of the order to investigate a lost convent of sisters of the Orders Pronatus on the world of Parnis. There, Stern and her sisters discovered what had become of their fellow Sororitas.
A powerful Greater Daemon of Slaanesh, a Keeper of Secrets named Asteroth, had been freed from its bonds and destroyed the convent. It then took the ruined bodies of 700 battle-sisters and forged them, body and mind, into a terrifying construct of living flesh known as the "Screaming Cage."
Though the fallen sisters were forced to share their torment and suffering, the Daemon failed to take into account that they were also able to inadvertently share their faith as well.
As the Daemon sought to kill the remaining sisters sent to investigate the convent, Ephrael Stern fell in battle. Seizing this one chance, the fallen sisters within the Screaming Cage used their combined psychic powers to bring her back to life -- filling her with the full might of their combined faith in the God-Emperor to combat the forces of Chaos.
Once returned to life, the resurrected Stern was told to flee as the fallen sisters hid her presence from the Daemon and its Chaos servants.
Stern's memory of these events was erased. She was the only one who managed to return to her order on Ophelia VII, being the sole survivor of the expedition to Parnis, her sanity stretched to the limit.
Her seemingly unnatural power made her the object of suspicion amongst members of her order, with many of her sisters viewing her as having been corrupted by the Ruinous Powers. Stern was placed within a holding cell for four Terran years until her exact nature could be determined.
At this time she was attacked by a sister who was being controlled by a Daemon of Slaanesh to silence her. But the enraged Ephrael managed to defeat her attacker with her bare hands. This set new events into motion.
An Inquisitorial investigation, under the command of Inquisitor Silas Hand, was sent to the order on Ophelia VII to investigate the sole survivor of the Parnis Expedition. Whilst at the Convent Sanctorum, Stern underwent numerous trials to test her spiritual purity and ensure that her soul was free from corruption.
Not found wanting during these trials, Sister Stern was declared uncorrupted and was reinstated within the ranks of her fellow battle-sisters, and granted her former position of Seraphim and rank of sister superior. Inquisitor Hand, not fully trusting Sister Stern, nevertheless took her with him to investigate the former convent on Parnis.
During the investigation the fallen sisters of the Screaming Cage finished their holy work -- pouring all of their remaining knowledge and power into Sister Stern to fight the corruption of Chaos.
Hunted by both the Imperium as well as the forces of Chaos, Stern remains aloof from both. She has even sacrificed herself, stabbing herself in the heart, to escape the foul machinations of the infamous Sorcerer Ahriman of the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion.
Resurrected once again by the power of the faith within her, Stern finally embraced her abilities and used them freely for the first time.
Ephrael Stern was last seen traveling with Kyganil, a mysterious Aeldari and former Harlequin known as "the Pariah," to the fabled and forbidden Black Library, using her abilities to access the vast conduits of the Webway.
Though the Ordo Hereticus has issued orders for her destruction, some members of the Ordo secretly believe that she might represent Humanity's greatest hope against Chaos since the legendary primarchs.
During the Era Indomitus, Ephrael Stern came to the aid of a group of Adepta Sororitas of the Order of Our Martyred Lady engaged with a warband of the Word Bearers Traitor Legion on the world of Severitas, guided by grim visions of a frozen, silent doom that she sought to prevent. Though distrusted by her fellow sisters at first, she convinced them that she was a true servant of the Emperor by unleashing her miraculous powers on the Heretic Astartes.
On its way towards the systems bordering the Nephilim Sub-sector, Battlegroup Kallides of the Indomitus Crusade's Fleet Primus stopped at Severitas. After the Sisters of Battle led by Stern defeated the Word Bearers, they joined the battlegroup, pledging to aid the Indomitus Crusade in any way they could, for they recognised it as the holy endeavour that it was.
During the later War in the Pariah Nexus fought by Battlegroup Kallides, she commanded a portion of the Order of Our Martyred Lady and the Order of the Bloody Rose, and proved to be a constant thorn in the side of Illuminor Szeras, who was not able to understand or counter her faith-based supernatural powers. Indeed, her powers were unable to be suppressed by the Pariah Nexus, giving the Imperials a vital edge in the conflict.
Since her resurrection, Ephrael Stern has had to battle not only the worshippers of the Dark Gods, but also those of her own Imperium who believe her to be irrevocably tainted.
Though they might find their fuel in faith, Stern's powers manifest themselves in a supernatural fashion that many have mistaken for -- or chosen to perceive and condemn as -- witchery.
She is stronger and faster than any of her sisters, can unleash searing bolts of holy judgement upon her foes and, when death has claimed her, she has returned to life once again.
In this era of proliferating psychic mutation and untrammelled heresy, such supernatural occurrences are more than enough to render Stern a target for firebrand zealots.
- Daemonifuge (Graphic Novel)
- Daemonifuge (Graphic Novel) (20th Anniversary Edition) (Cover Image)
- Psychic Awakening - Pariah (8th Edition), pp. 5, 12-15, 54-55
- Crusade: Beyond the Veil Mission Pack (9th Edition), pg. 56
- Warhammer Community - Pariah: Ephrael Stern & Kyganil of the Bloody Tears