- "Fire sputters...The shame of our deaths and our heresies is done. They are behind us, like wretched phantoms. This is a new age, a strong age, an age of Imperium. Despite our losses, despite the fallen sons, despite the eternal silence of the Emperor, now watching over us in spirit instead of in person, we will endure. There will be no more war on such a perilous scale. There will be an end to wanton destruction. Yes, foes will come and enemies will arise. Our security will be threatened, but we will be ready, our mighty fists raised. There will be no great war to challenge us now. We will not be brought to the brink like that again..."
- — Oriax Dantalion, First Chapter Master of the Fists Exemplar Chapter
The Fists Exemplar is a Second Founding Successor Chapter of Imperial Fists lineage. This Chapter was initially composed of the more progressive Imperial Fists Legionaries, who agreed with the views of Roboute Guilliman, the Primarch of the Ultramarines, that it was necessary for the Legiones Astartes to be broken down into smaller existing formations, known as Chapters, following the disastrous and costly Horus Heresy. Never again would one individual wield the power of a Space Marine Legion. It was Captain Oriax Dantalion who wisely counseled Primarch Rogal Dorn on the need for such drastic measures. Though he initially disagreed with his officer's opposing viewpoint, he eventually relented, and agreed to have his Legion broken into separate Chapters. Captain Dantalion was chosen to become the first Chapter Master of one of these newly created Chapters. Dorn deemed the new Chapter Master and those that followed him as exemplars of a new order, and so the Primarch named this new Chapter the Fists Exemplar.
Following the dark days of the Horus Heresy, Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines Legion, presented his magnum ops -- the Codex Astartes -- a great and sacred tome of military organisation, strategy and tactics for the reformed Adeptus Astartes. He also proposed that the existing organisation of the Legiones Astartes should be broken down into smaller, autonomous formations, known as Chapters based on the common unit of organisation of the same name among many of the Space Marine Legions. While many Primarchs welcomed the Codex Astartes, Rogal Dorn initially refused to have his Legion sundered. Fortunately, the recalcitrant Primarch received some sage advice from an unexpected quarter. Oriax Dantalion was a Captain in the Imperial Fists Legion and a veteran of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. He took part in the epic final battle of the bloody conflict during the Battle of Terra. Surviving the brutal onslaught of the Traitor Legions and the subsequent dark years of the Great Scouring, he was one of the few proponents within the Imperial Fists who agreed with Roboute Guilliman's controversial proposal to sunder the Space Marine Legions and form them into Chapters. Dantalion's opposing viewpoint put him at odds with Rogal Dorn, who resisted any notions of breaking apart his Legion.
Unperturbed, Dantalion spoke at great length with his Primarch over the necessity of Guilliman's decree. However, Dorn was not persuaded by his officer's arguments. The Primarch was disappointed that one of his own sons would even propose such an idea and became openly hostile to Dantalion for his views when it came to the fate of the Imperial Fists Legion. But eventually, fearing the outbreak of another Imperial civil war, Rogal Dorn relented, and saw the wisdom of Guilliman's proposal. Thus, when the Second Founding began, Dorn remembered the early wisdom displayed by Captain Dantalion. He rewarded the bold officer for his wise foresight by choosing him to become the first Chapter Master of the newly-created Fists Exemplar Chapter. This Chapter was composed of the more progressive Imperial Fists Astartes who shared Dantalion's points of view.
To aid the new Chapter Dorn gifted the Fists Exemplar with the mighty Star Fort Alcazar Astra, which had served the VII Legion well in the Volgotha Deeps during the dark days of the Horus Heresy. The Fists Exemplar were assigned to stand sentinel over the storm-wracked region of Wilderness Space afflicted by the rapidly appearing and disappearing Rubicante Flux, a Warp Storm that plagued the Abra Sector near the borders of the Segmentum Solar and uncomfortably close to ancient Terra. The Rubicante Flux was sporadic in its eruptions, visiting occasional Space Hulks, mutant incursions and Renegade Space Marine hosts on the surrounding star systems. The new fleet-based Chapter towed the Star Fort during their patrols of the sector for many standard years until disaster struck. When the intermittent Warp Storm suddenly erupted once more, the Fists Exemplar were caught by surprise as they attempted to tow their Star Fort to a new location. Alcazar Astra was caught within the gravitational flux of a nearby star, which threatened to pull the Star Fort into its fiery embrace. Chapter Master Dantalion and his officers valiantly guided the massive, mobile Star Fort towards the nearby world of Eidolica, where they were forced to beach it upon the planet's surface. Grounded, the fort was forever without hope of feeling again the cold kiss of the void on its armour plating. Three of its four ancient engine-columns had been destroyed in the impact. The secrets of those Plasma Drives' construction had been lost to the weaponsmiths and Techmarines of the Chapter, and so the beached Star Fort had become a planetary fortress-monastery.
Tragically, Chapter Master Dantalion was killed in the subsequent crash. With the Star Fort eternally grounded, the Fists Exemplar adopted Eidolica as their Chapter Homeworld. First Captain Alameda was chosen as Dantalion's successor and assumed the role as the new Chapter Master of the Fists Exemplar. The Chapter adapted well to the inhospitable world and continued to serve the Imperium well for a standard millennia, until the coming of the Ork Warlord known as The Beast.
War of the Beast
Invasion of Eidolica
Sundering of the Fists Exemplar
- "Sometimes, you have to destroy something old to make something new. The Fists Exemplar know that better than any of Dorn's sons."
- War of the Beast (544-546.M32) -
Notable Fists Exemplar
- Oriax Dantalion (Deceased) - First Chapter Master of the Fists Exemplar.
- Alameda (Deceased) - Second Chapter Master of the Fists Exemplar.
- Garthas (Deceased) - First Captain of the Fists Exemplar's Veteran 1st Company.
- Zerberyn - Formerly served as Honoriarius within the Chapter's Honour Guard, and later First Captain of the Fists Exemplar's Veteran 1st Company. Acting as First Captain, he commanded the Battle Barge Dantalion during the War of the Beast. Sometime during this conflict he was forced to align himself with the Scions of Dorn's mortal enemies -- the Iron Warriors. He fought alongside Warsmith Kalkator's forces against a massive Ork fleet. When the combined Astartes forces later linked up with the Tempestus Scions, the human troopers attempted to fire upon the Fists Exemplar's Iron Warriors allies. This forced Zerberyn's hand, who was forced to kill his human allies and seemingly condemn himself to further damnation. Later, he was seen fighting alongside the Iron Warriors in the Immitis System against the Beast's Greenskin forces. During this time, First Captain Zerberyn had begun to lose his doubts over the supposed "heresy" of his actions, which had been necessary in order to survive. Next, Zerberyn and his forces appeared alongside their Iron Warriors allies in an attempt to acquire an Astropathic station. After the Inquisition discovered the two forces were working side-by-side, a battle broke out between both sides. When Zerberyn learned that The Beast had finally been defeated, the First Captain rendezvoused with the Black Templars, commanded by Marshal Bohemond, and attempted to explain his actions. He advocated that the Iron Warriors had fought honourably and should be allowed to leave in peace. But the zealous Black Templars would not hear of it. Many of Zerberyn's own Fists Exemplar rebelled against the prospect of opposing the mighty Imperium of Man. A subsequent battle ensued between the Black Templars and Zerberyn's forces and their Iron Warriors allies. Faced with killing either Marshal Bohemond or Warsmith Kalkator, the First Captain chose the former. Now left with no option to serve an Imperium that would view him only as a Traitor, Zerberyn knelt before the Warsmith and pledged himself to the service of Kalkator and his Iron Warriors.
- Maximus Thane - Third Chapter Master of the Fists Exemplar. Former Captain of the 2nd Company.
- Tyrian - Captain of the 5th Company.
- Dentor - Captain of the 7th Company.
- Xontague - Captain of the 8th Company.
- Hieronimax (Deceased) - Captain of the 9th Company.
- Kastril - Captain of the 10th Company.
- Aloysian - Master of the Forge.
- Honorarius Zerberyn - Honour Guard
- Mendel Reoch - Apothecary
- Byzander (Deceased) - Chapter Standard Bearer
- Aquino - Standard Bearer, later chosen as Chapter Standard Bearer.
- Hoque - Sergeant, later chosen as Captain of the 2nd Company.
- Anatoq - Sergeant, later chosen as Captain of the 9th Company.
- Antares - A Battle-Brother of the Fists Exemplar, he later became one of the founding members of the xenos-hunting Deathwatch during the War of the Beast in 544.M32.
- Gaspar - A Battle-Brother of the Fists Exemplar.
- Otho - A Dreadnought of the Fists Exemplar, he fought in many of the battles of the War of the Beast, including the second invasion of The Beast's homeworld of Ullanor.
Per Chapter tradition, the Fist Exemplar's Power Armour was left unpainted. It was both a Chapter tradition and a requirement. Cast in storm cloud grey, the Fists Exemplar's unadorned and unmarked Ceramite was reminiscent of the original "Grey Legions" of the post-Unification Wars era Space Marine Legions of old, before they gained their own marks of distinction and character.
- The Beast Arises (Novel Series):
- The Emperor Expects (Novel) (Book 3) by Gav Thorpe
- Predator, Prey (Novel) (Book 2) by Rob Sanders
- Throneworld (Novel) (Book 5) by Guy Haley
- Echoes of the War (Novel) (Book 6) by David Guymer
- The Hunt for Vulkan (Novel) (Book 7) by David Annandale
- The Last Son of Dorn (Novel) (Book 10) by David Guymer
- The Beheading (Novel) (Book 12) by Guy Haley