"Today, I will teach your kind the meaning of wrath. I will kill a thousand of your filth-breed before your blood dries on my gauntlets."
Gabriel Seth, known as the "Guardian of Rage," is the current Chapter Master of the infamous Flesh Tearers Space Marine Chapter. A Second Founding Successor Chapter of the Blood Angels, the Flesh Tearers have served humanity since the dawn of the Age of the Imperium.
Tragically, the Flesh Tearers have become increasingly prone to the most extreme effects of the Blood Angels' genetic Flaw known as the Black Rage, to such an extent that the Chapter long stood at the very brink of oblivion.
Gabriel Seth became Chapter Master of the Flesh Tearers as his Chapter was near annihilation. Millennia of unrelenting savagery had left the Chapter shunned and distrusted by many of the Imperium's fighting forces. Seth knows that he cannot realistically curtail his Battle-Brothers' bloodlust -- indeed he himself is as prone to rage-soaked savagery as any of his brethren.
Other Space Marine Chapters had long viewed the Flesh Tearers as being but a single step from turning Renegade, and the Inquisition sought to have the Chapter investigated. Worse, mutation in the Flesh Tearers' gene-seed had exacerbated Sanguinius' curse, increasing the incidence of the Black Rage well beyond that seen in other Blood Angel successors.
Even those Flesh Tearers fortunate enough to escape the Black Rage were gripped by a bloodthirsty recklessness that inevitably cost many lives whenever the Chapter went to war.
Yet by striking first, and in isolation from other forces, the Flesh Tearers' worst excesses are concealed, as is the collateral damage amongst allies that once was the hallmark of the Chapter's assaults. Now, worlds that once reviled the Flesh Tearers praise them as saviours.
It is too early to tell if Seth's strategy will ultimately bear fruit, especially as with the Devastation of Baal, the Chapter has been brought back up to full strength with the integration of Primaris Space Marines who are known to be far more resistant to the Flaw than their brethren.
Despite his intentions, Seth has done little to dispel the mistrust of his staunchest critics. Yet such things are of little concern to the Flesh Tearers Chapter Master, for, in his heart, Seth never truly abandoned hope that the Flesh Tearers can be spared from ultimate oblivion.
It was a desperate hope at best until the arrival of the Indomitus Crusade on Baal and the inclusion of the Primaris Marines in the Flesh Tearers' ranks. Now Seth has a new fear -- that when his Chapter has lost their defining rage, they may transform into something different...something less than the true scions of Sanguinius.
For all his efforts to challenge the commonly held perceptions of his Chapter as berserk butchers, Gabriel Seth is every bit the bloody whirlwind when he plunges into battle.
He wields an enormous two-handed Chainsword named Blood Reaver, and is more than capable of hacking even the most monstrous enemies limb from limb with it. As he fights, Seth lashes out at his opponents with vicious kicks, punches and headbutts, using every part of his anatomy as a weapon.
The Chapter Master prefers to plunge headlong into massed foes before unleashing his full ferocity upon the bodies pressed in around him, and it has been remarked by Commander Dante of the Blood Angels that such luckless victims would have more chance of surviving a Battle Cannon shell landing in their midst. Indeed, the blood-drenched results are not dissimilar...
"I have fought the reaper himself. I have slain warp-spawned beasts and xenos demigods. I will not fall to a drug-fuelled puppet."
- — Gabriel Seth, Chapter Master of the Flesh Tearers.
In the year 815.M41, the position of Chapter Master of the Flesh Tearers passed to Gabriel Seth. His first act was to repair relations between his Chapter and the Blood Angels, the pact of brotherhood having been sundered by centuries of the Flesh Tearers' bloodthirsty ways. Upon his ascension, Seth came to Baal, to seek audience with Commander Dante. The newly ascended Chapter Master vowed to bring the Flesh Tearers to heel -- to put an end to the violent outbursts, and the heedless, unnecessary slaughter. Seth also vowed to bring honour back to the Chapter and glory to the memory of Sanguinius.
Upon assuming custodianship of the Flesh Tearers, Seth was also told the terrible truth of his Chapter's rapid decline. He listened grim-faced as the Chapter's Sanguinary Priests presented the evidence -- the rate at which their Battle-Brothers succumbed to madness or death now far exceeded the Flesh Tearers' capacity to replace their losses. Within two Terran centuries, the Flesh Tearers would be no more, abandoned by their allies and betrayed by their own flesh. At that moment, Seth swore that if the Flesh Tearers' fate was extinction, then they would pass into history in proud remembrance, not through whispered rumours of brutality and madness.
Seth has announced his intention that should the Chapter be doomed, the last passages of its histories will be filled with glory. The new Chapter Master intends to undo the damage done in recent centuries, by mounting proactive patrols through regions of space where the enemies of Mankind are known to lurk. The Chapter will be the first to respond to calls for aid, launching utterly devastating counterattacks to turn invasions before they have even begun. To date, it is too early to tell how Seth will write the last entries of the Flesh Tearers' story, but already, the Chapter is taking steps to undo the undoubted wrongs it has committed, and redeem itself in the eyes of potential allies.
Under Seth's leadership, the Flesh Tearers homeworld of Cretacia has become little more than an automated armoury and recruitment centre. At any given time, the bulk of the Flesh Tearers are off-planet, performing great patrol-arcs through the Segmentum Ultima and Segmentum Tempestus, the Chapter's Librarians sifting the aether in search of astropathic calls for assistance. So it is that the Flesh Tearers will often be amongst the first wave of reinforcements to an embattled Imperial world, Seth himself leading boarding actions against enemy blockade vessels or counter-assaults on the invaders' drop zones before the foe have claimed so much as a foothold.
Seth knows that he cannot realistically curtail his Battle-Brothers' bloodlust -- indeed he himself is as prone to rage-soaked savagery as any of his brethren. Yet by striking first, and in isolation from other forces, the Flesh Tearers' worst excesses are concealed, as is the collateral damage amongst allies that once was the hallmark of the Chapter's assaults. Now, worlds that once reviled the Flesh Tearers praise them as saviours, and Seth as the bringer of that salvation.
It is too early to tell if Seth's strategy will ultimately bear fruit, if the Flesh Tearers can regain their place amongst the Imperium's pantheon of honoured defenders even with the arrival of Primaris Marines amongst their ranks. Despite his intentions, Seth has done little to dispel the mistrust of his staunchest critics, in whom the memory of plans frustrated by the Flesh Tearers' impetuous assault forces lies too fresh. Such things are of little concern to the Flesh Tearers Chapter Master, for, in his heart, Seth has never truly abandoned hope that the Flesh Tearers can be spared from ultimate oblivion. What fate ultimately lies in store for the Flesh Tearers and their Chapter Master, only time will tell.
A Chapter Master's Rage
Upon the world of Hamenlina, a librarium world, the Flesh Tearers sent a small force to help fight against the forces of the Archenemy as they sought to secure the knowledge contained in Hamenlina's datastacks and parchment-text archives. Reaching across the cold vastness of space and time, amongst the desiccated remains of striated ruins, the taint of the cursed blood of Sanguinius had called out to Astorath the Grim, High Chaplain of the Blood Angels. He had sensed that a small number of damned members of a Blood Angels Successor's Death Company yet lived, despite the carnage that had been wrought.
Astorath had come to perform his solemn duty -- to kill those who still survived, yet suffered the ravages of the Black Rage. There were five of them left. The others were already dead, felled in battle as they waded waist deep through the entrails of their foes. When Astorath had first set on his bloody path, he had thought, hoped even, that battle might have claimed all of the damned, that he would not be required to bring them peace. His hope was naive. A few always survived. Stripped of his Bolter and set apart from his warrior brotherhood, Astorath marched to war with another weapon -- the Executioner's Axe, an unimaginative name for an unimaginative task; a weapon born for this purpose.
Praying for these lost sons of Sanguinius, Astorath proceeded with his grim task, and soon managed to kill all five of the cursed brethren. With their deaths, Astorath unfurled a length of the tapered parchments hanging from his armour, recording each of the names as he dragged their corpses into a pile. Such warriors as these would never receive a proper burial, and would not be remembered in the annals of their Chapter. Their names would missing from the Hall of Heroes. They were lost, and they must remain so. It was Astorath, and him alone, who would remember them.
After tossing a melta charge amongst their corpses, the explosive detonated, searing away their remains. Astorath waited in silent vigil until the heat dissipated. Gathering up their ashes, he drew a bare palm across the Executioner's Axe. His blood mixed with the ash and he smeared the thick paste over his Jump Pack's wings. His duty was done. Kneeling, he looked to the sky and prayed to Sanguinius to grant him strength. For these lost sons were the Flesh Tearer's scions, and they would not die in silence.
Not long after, a lone Thunderhawk gunship infiltrated the atmosphere of Baal, homeworld of the Blood Angels. Aboard the vessel, Gabriel Seth sat alone. Once the small vessel touched down on the red-rust desert surface of the toxic planet, the Flesh Tearers Chapter Master snarled a destruct command as the assault-ramp touched down and he stepped out onto the concourse. Behind him, the pilot-Servitor's neural cortex burned out and its memory banks dissolved.
Other than the Blood Angels, only the Chapter Masters of Sanguinius' disparate sons knew the location of where Seth now stood, and so it had to remain. The Flesh Tearer made his way towards the massive reclusiam tower of the High Chaplain Astorath. His approach did not go unnoticed, as he was stalked by a choir of Erelim. The five Blood Angels Chaplains crouched in shadow, stalking him as he closed on the immense chapel. Stripped of all insignia and adornment save the Chapter badge emblazoned on their shoulders, they were as dark mirrors to the Sanguinary Guard that stood in the light with Dante. Even their skull helms had been daubed death-black and their Jump Packs framed by halos of darkest feather. Nothing but the glower of crimson optics betrayed them in the half-light.
Seth had come to confront the High Chaplain personally. The two exchanged harsh words with one another -- Astorath warned Seth to mind his tone when within his house. The Flesh Tearer scoffed at the High Chaplain's imperious tone, vehemently replying that he had warned him before that only he would deal with his brothers in a manner of his choosing. He also told Astorath that the High Chaplain would not kill another Flesh Tearer while Seth still drew breath.
Astorath informed Seth that the fate of the damned was not his to decide, and that he drew breath only by the grace of the Emperor. Seth countered that for all of the High Chaplain's darkness and theatre, he used it to hide his true nature -- he was still a Blood Angel. They were all lost, for none amongst their bloodline were above the madness, not even him. Astorath's composure slipped as a ripple of rage ran across his features. Seth countered whether it was sane to kill those of their own blood? The High Chaplain replied that he did only what needed to be done to protect their bloodline. He could not simply indulge the sons of Sanguinius' weakness. Enraged, Seth struck the haughty Blood Angel in the chest, and using his momentum, delivered a series of hammer blows to his face.
Astorath fired his Jump Pack, shooting forward to clasp Seth's head with both hands. Firing another burst from his pack, the High Chaplain lifted the Chapter Master up before slamming him head-first down onto the ground. He warned Seth, for all of his strength, all of his anger and his will to fight, he could not best the High Chaplain, for Astorath was the reaper of the lost. Seth knew in his hearts that Astorath was right, for the High Chaplin was both mightier in stature and a formidable warrior without equal, but he did not need to beat him. Only to stand against him.
For every solar minute the pair spent fighting, the reaper of the lost wasn't butchering another of their brothers. Trading blows back and forth, Seth finally succeeded in damaging Astorath's Jump Pack. With a grunt of effort, Seth arched his back, driving Astorath's weight up, and rolled them off the platform. The two Astartes fell, hitting the ground like stones dropped from the heavens. Seth struggled to his knees, and imparted a final warning -- if the High Chaplain harmed another of his brothers, he swore that he would return, and he would not come alone.
Seth then rose unsteadily to his feet and began limping towards the exit. Astorath was indignant, as he hammered his fists into the ground and pushed himself up onto his feet. He could not believe that the Flesh Tearer had threatened the Blood Angels themselves! As Seth continued to walk into the darkness, Astorath called out into the darkness, asking the Chapter Master whether or not he had gone mad. Seth replied that he too would do what must be done, and departed the reclusiam.
The Third War for Armageddon
In 998.M41, a massive conflict erupted between the Imperium of Man and the largest Ork WAAAGH! ever raised, led by the Greenskin Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka. The war was fought on the Hive World of Armageddon where Ghazghkull Thraka had launched his first attempt to seize the planet exactly 57 standard years before. Five full companies of Flesh Tearers participated in the Third War for Armageddon, where the Chapter was nearly declared Excommunicate Traitoris and subjected to investigation by the Inquisition's Ordo Hereticus after they had, in a fit of the Black Rage, slaughtered Imperial citizen militia once they had run out of Orks to kill.
Amongst the Orks of Armageddon, the Chapter became known as the "Eaters of the Dead." Later in the campaign, the Orks were known to retreat when the Flesh Tearers attacked or faced them on the battlefield, a display of fear virtually unheard of among the Greenskins. The incident occurred after the Flesh Tearers were deployed in the Fire Wastes of Armageddon alongside the Sisters of Battle of the Order of the Argent Shroud. The Imperial forces were deployed against the artillery of the Ork Warlord Ruklum, who held positions besieging the civilian settlement of Gaius Point, the citizens of which had formed an irregular militia to aid the Imperial forces in their defence.
The Flesh Tearers managed to deploy behind the Orks and force them into the guns of the Adepta Sororitas and the Gaius Point militia. After slaughtering the Orks to a Greenskin, the uncontrollable Flesh Tearers assaulted Gaius Point themselves and killed every member of the militia. Rather than fight their own allies, the Sisters of Battle withdrew from the field, but the Order of the Argent Shroud reported the massacre to the Ordo Hereticus and recommended that the Flesh Tearers Chapter be declared Excommunicate Traitoris.
Trial of Blood
"I have come here in sacrifice alone. You may damn me. You may swallow up my name in secrecy and remove my deeds from the histories of the Imperium. But -- you will spare my Chapter."
- — A warning given by Chapter Master Gabriel Seth during his Trial by Blood
Following the events on Armageddon, Seth was summoned by Lord Commander Dante to Baal itself, to stand before the lord of the angelic host and an assembly of Chapter Masters from the other Blood Angels Successor Chapters. Each of these mighty individuals were sons of Sanguinius charged with commanding a Chapter of the Blood.
Seth would stand trial to account for his deeds. Casting his gaze over the assembled Chapter Masters, the Flesh Tearer found no friends among them. Amused by the challenge inherent in their damning stares, Seth informed the assembly that he had not come there for their help. It was a rare occurrence for so many Chapter Masters to gather in one location. The Forum Judicium, located within the bowels of the Blood Angels fortress-monastery of the Arx Angelicum, was no simple court. It existed only to arbitrate in the direst of circumstances. In such times the scions of Sanguinius were called upon to lend their voice to the shape of history, to stand and make a choice. More than once Seth had stood with the others, passing sentence on the future. A surge of guilt quickened his hearts as he remembered the consequences of such occasions. Some decrees, some judgements when passed, were like the pulling of a trigger. They could not be undone.
Seth informed the assembly that he had come to make a sacrifice, but one that would include him alone. They might damn him, removing his name and deeds from the histories of the Imperium. But they would spare his Chapter, he warned. Dante informed the Flesh Tearer that he was in no position to make demands. Castellan Zargo, Chapter Master of the Angels Encarmine, agreed with the Lord Commander, pointing an accusatory finger at Seth, warning him that he would account for his deeds. Seth interjected, yes, he would -- but only his deeds. And with him it would end.
Whatever the outcome, Seth promised that the Flesh Tearers would continue to fight in the name of the Emperor and Sanguinius. The assembly would do nothing to reprimand them nor bring stain to their honour. If they threatened his brothers -- if they spilled even a single drop of blood in vengeance -- Seth promised that he would kill every last one of them before his head left his shoulders. He would tear out their eyes and drink their blood dry. Zargo bristled with indignation at Seth's threats.
The Flesh Tearer cut off his retort, calling Zargo a hypocrite. For it was the assembled Chapter Masters before him who had summoned him in threat of his life. Geron, Chapter Master of the Angels Numinous scornfully asked Seth what boon had he given them. For the Flesh Tearer's actions and that of his Chapter had forced the attention of the Inquisition upon all of them, clawing at their doors like hungry wolves. Orloc, lord of the Blood Drinkers, agreed with Geron's assessment.
Dante slammed his hand down, brooking no more dissent from the assembled scions of Sanguinius. The Flesh Tearer had said his piece, now Seth would listen to what the assembly had to say. Dante gestured to Techial, Chapter Master of the Disciples of Blood. He had been appointed the assembly's Chronicler. It fell to him to recount Seth's sins, to detail the actions that had brought the Flesh Tearers to such a juncture. Techial unfurled a length of parchment and read the charges aloud.
Gabriel Seth stood before them as a broken son, an orphaned brother. As Techial listed off the misdeeds of the Flesh Tearers, they soon came upon the event known as the Stromark Civil War. In 991.M41, a political rivalry within the Stromark System lead to a civil war between the two manufactoria worlds, Stormark Primus and Stromark Secundus, that coexisted within that star system. The escalating violence halted the flow of much needed weapons and materiel from those planets to the wider Imperium, a situation that the Departmento Munitorum's Adepts determined could not be allowed to continue without adversely affecting the security of the Emperor's realm. As a result, the Angels Encarmine and the Flesh Tearers were despatched to the Stromark System with the mandate to end the conflict by any means necessary.
The fighting on Stromark Prime was the first to cease. The first engagement by the Flesh Tearers Chapter was also the last, as stories of unstoppable Space Marines hacking a vicious and bloody path through literally tens of thousands of Stormarkian warriors quickly terrified the planet's recalcitrant population into submission. Stromark Secundus took longer to be pacified, as the Angels Encarmine used less "direct" methods than their savage brethren amongst the Flesh Tearers. Several solar hours of difficult combat ensued that was brought to an end when five of the Chapter's Furioso Dreadnoughts smashed into the Stormarkian Secundus military headquarters and tore the planet's High Command apart. The surviving officers of the planet's Planetary Defence Force wisely agreed to immediately end the conflict with their neighbours and resume meeting the system's crucial production quotas.
Zargo claimed that Flesh Tearers Chaplain Appollus had forced his hand at Stromark. The Chapter Master accused the Flesh Tearers of killing millions with needless haste and callous disregard. Seth countered that Appollus had done what was needed, accusing Zargo of negligence as he would have bled Astra Militarum regiments for solar months before committing to battle. Seth claimed that it was better to slaughter those too weak to have thrown off their oppressors than throw away the lives of those who would at least try.
The master of the Exsanguinators interrupted the Flesh Tearer's reply. He bristled with rage at how Seth had handled another situation with an upstart Inquisitor by the name of Corvin Herrold. When the Inquisitor had boarded the flagship of the Flesh Tearers, seeking audience with the Chapter Master, he was there to inquire about the events that had occurred at Honour's End in 837.M41, when the Flesh Tearers and the Space Wolves had gotten into a bloody confrontation with one another on the world of Lucid Prime after the Flesh Tearers had continued their indiscriminate slaughter of civilians even after the Chaos Renegades had been driven away.
In reality, the Inquisitor had used one of his Interrogators as a proxy to meet with Seth. Meanwhile, the Inquisitor infiltrated the bowels of the vast flagship, seeking evidence of the Ordo Hereticus's long-held suspicions about the Flesh Tearers' deviancy. When he came upon a lone Astartes who had recently succumbed to the Black Rage chained to the walls within the bowels of the ship, Herrold believed his Ordo's suspicions had been vindicated. The Inquisitor was taken by surprise and knocked unconscious by Chaplain Appollus, while his retinue was slaughtered by the Flesh Tearers.
In such a situation, Seth could have killed the Inquisitor outright, buying his silence with swift oblivion. But Seth's pride had damned the Inquisitor. When Herrold finally regained consciousness, he was given a harsh object lesson by the Chapter Master. Seth had one of his Librarians create a psychic mind-link with the recently-cursed Battle-Brother. Herrold was exposed to the full measure of the nightmarish symptoms of the Black Rage. Only a few moments' exposure was almost enough to break the Inquisitor's mortal mind.
Seth explained that this was the inner demon the Flesh Tearers' were forced to wrestle with on a daily basis, a demon that at best they were able to use as a weapon against the enemies of the Emperor, and at worst would steal their sanity and their lives as they struggled to continue to faithfully serve the Imperium. Seth asked the Inquisitor -- what right did a worm like him have to accuse his Chapter of heresy. Departing the Victus, Herrold removed his Inquisitorial Rosette, his official badge of office, dropping it to the ship's deck. For he no longer had any faith in his own judgements.
Malphas of the Exsanguinators accused Seth of having to prove that his will was stronger than that of the Inquisitor's. The Flesh Tearer explained that it was, for it had to be, for the curse of their bloodline ravaged his Chapter. It stole his brothers and handed him monsters. It was as inevitable as death, and yet they fought on. Malphas thrust a finger at Seth, stating that it was a fight the Flesh Tearers had obviously lost.
Seth retorted that it was all of their burden to bear, though fate and fortunes not of their making forced them to face it to different degrees. The Flesh Tearer thought that Malphas, of all the Chapter Masters present, would have been more understanding. The curse claimed his brothers almost as often as it did Seth's. If the Exsanguinators' blood were as susceptible to the Black Rage as the Flesh Tearers', Malphas might be standing accused instead of Seth. The Chapter Master found himself lacking for words.
Seth explained to the assembly that they had not won the war against the Archenemy. They had lost entire worlds to the slaves of the old Legions, and yet never had this council gathered to discuss whether or not they should give up that fight. Many of the assembled Chapter Masters bristled at the Flesh Tearer's audacious words. Seth replied that the curse was as real a threat as anything the Eye of Terror spawned. The Archenemy could be defeated. They could be killed. The scions of Sanguinius would fight them with all that they were and they would kill them, bleeding the galaxy to do so. But the curse, the curse could not be faced in battle. It could not be brought to account. They had nothing to wage war against when it was all that they were.
Lord Sentikan, master of the Angels Sanguine countered that Seth was mistaken. Mephiston was living proof of the victory that awaited. He emerged from the throes of the curse sane of mind and whole of body. He was hope enough. Seth countered that Sentikan was a naïve Aspirant if he believed that monster to be their salvation. In Seth's eyes, Mephiston was an abomination. A wraith who should have been clad in armour as dark as his soul. This remark sent a tide of discord washing through the chamber, drawing cries of sanction and outcry in equal measure. Indignant, Malakim Phoros, Master of the Lamenters Chapter remarked that at least the Chief Librarian did not butcher with the same abandon as the Flesh Tearers. Even those Battle-Brothers deemed fit to wear the crimson made the butchers of his Chapter's Death Company seem sane by comparison. Seth angrily retorted to Malakim's jibe, but was cut off by Dante's words.
The Lord Commander warned Seth that anger and despair had seen the end of Nassir. Seth sighed, sobered by Dante's words. Nassir Amit had been the first of the Flesh Tearers' Chapter Masters. A brutal, vicious warrior, his deeds were great and many. He had fought in the Great Crusade and conquered Cretacia, the world Seth now called home. Amit had been the best of them before his thirst for blood and violence had consumed him. Seth explained to the council that he had stood consumed by darkness and led an army of monsters in defence of the light. He had done what must be done to ensure the future of his Chapter.
Geron, Chapter Master of the Angels Numinous, replied with disdain that Seth's first duty was to the Emperor, whether he survived or not was of no consequence. It was no secret that the Angels Numinous held the cursed in callous disregard. They loathed their damned brethren, despised their weakness and the dark legacy of their father. Seth countered that his first duty was to Sanguinius and the sons the Primarch had left him in stewardship of. Dante interrupted, asking Seth what of his duties to them as a whole. What of the promise he had made to him. Did Seth remember the oath he had made to Dante when he first assumed command of the Flesh Tearers. On the day of his rise to Chapter Master, Seth had come to Dante. Seth had vowed to bring the Flesh Tearers to heel. To put an end to the violent outbursts, and the heedless, unnecessary slaughter. He was to bring honour back to the Chapter and glory to the memory of Sanguinius.
Seth angrily replied that he had fought to uphold that vow with his every breath. Dante ordered Seth to speak, then. Speak and let them hear of his efforts. Seth spoke of the many times his Chapter, even caught in the throes of the Black Rage, had accomplished much. They had snatched victory even at the expense of their own lives.
After all the evidence had been laid bare, and all the discussions had ceased, the Chronicler called for his brothers' silence. As one, the assembled Chapter Masters drew their blades. There was no secret ballot or hushed congress in the Forum. Each of the Chapter Masters would account for his decision in open court, the truth of their judgement ever known. As Chronicler, the honour of first petition was Techial's. As first among them, Dante voted last. Upturning his blade and planting it into the ground, Techial rendered his verdict. Guilty. Zargo could not move quickly enough. A second guilty verdict. And so it continued as one by one the other Chapter Masters condemned the Flesh Tearer. Seth bit back a curse as even Malphas damned him. Only a handful of the Chapter Masters stood in his defence, tossing their blades to the chamber floor. The weapons chattered beside him. It was a symbolic gesture, a martial gift to help defend him from guilt. All eyes turned to Dante.
Dante rendered the final verdict. "Gabriel Seth, son of blessed Sanguinius, Chapter Master of the Flesh Tearers." He paused, driving his sword down into the earth. "This council finds you unfit to bear such a title." He went on to inform Seth that the Flesh Tearers would be broken up, a portion of their number subsumed by each of their Chapters and placed under watch of their most steadfast Chaplains. Seth inquired as to his fate. Dante began to inform him that he would remain on Baal, until such time as madness or death claimed him.
At that moment a sonorous voice echoed throughout the chamber, "No, he will not." A startled hush fell over the chamber as a new speaker entered. Clad in blackest plate, dark-feathered pinions framing his back, Astorath was a figure of dread. The Blood Angels High Chaplain entered the chamber and stood shoulder to shoulder with Seth. Dante warned the High Chaplain that he had overstepped his authority. Astorath replied to his Chapter Master that no, he had not, as it was he who walked the line that was his, and his alone to tread. For only he alone was the final arbiter of the curse and its victims. Dante welcomed the High Chaplain's wisdom but warned the High Chaplain that he would not defy the council in their decision.
Astorath informed the assembly that it was not defiance he brought, but redemption. Techial inquired for whom did he bring redemption. Astorath interrupted, snapping at the Chronicler -- he brought redemption not just for the Flesh Tearers, but for all of them. He had come to stop the assembled Chapter Masters from making a grave error. Sentikan spoke slowly, struggling to contain his anger, warning Astorath that it was not his decision to make. Astorath retorted that he was the Redeemer, Sanguinius' chosen executioner. Were they so certain that none among them should face the High Chaplain's axe. Astorath levelled his weapon, panning it over the assembled Chapter Masters. A chorus of angry retorts rippled around the chamber. Malphas asked Astorath if he had dared to threaten them. Astorath replied that he had not. He offered only a reminder and a promise. A reminder that in time when the curse took even the strongest among them, he would bring judgement -- and release.
Dante asked the High Chaplain why he would stand in Seth's defence. Seth had troubled him, even bloodied him on a prior visit to Baal, and on more than one occasion. Astorath explained that they were the Emperor's avenging angels. They showed no mercy. No forgiveness. They had been bred to bring only death. They were terrible to behold and their fury was the stuff of fire-swept legends. Yet, there were terrors in the depths of the universe whose might eclipsed their own, whose hatred they could not comprehend. There were foes they must face who would cross the lines of honour and kinship that they could not afford to break.
Zargo snarled in frustration, asking the High Chaplain, did they actually need the Flesh Tearers. Astorath replied, that they did. The Emperor in His infinite wisdom created many sons, each of differing aspect. Zargo was their zeal, Malakim their redemption and Sentikan their protector. If Dante was their conscience, then they should let Seth be their blade. They should let the Flesh Tearers be the teeth of that blade. Turning to regard the Flesh Tearers Chapter Master, Astorath continued, explaining that even though Seth was a wretched berserker and his actions were ill-considered and rash, they were in need of such mongrels if they were to triumph. For the first time in two solar days, silence filled the vastness of the chamber. Behind the unreadable visage of his death mask, Dante smiled. Wars, he knew, were won with weapons, not principles. Gabriel Seth was nothing if not a weapon.
And so the Flesh Tearers Chapter Master was judged guilty -- but he and his Chapter were allowed to continue to serve as the bloody weapons of the Emperor.
Blood Angels Conclave
In 999.M41, the Blood Angels teetered on the brink of oblivion following the events on the Shrine World of Sabien. The fate of the Blood Angels Chapter now required the magnanimity of their Successor Chapters. Commander Dante summoned all of the Blood Angels' Successor Chapters to a conclave on Baal following a near-disastrous Chapter civil war that nearly tore the Blood Angels apart.
Dante called for the support of the Blood Angels Successors to help aid the Chapter in the protection of their common Primarch's homeworld of Baal as well as the remnants of their Chapter in the face of expected invasions by both the Tyranids and the Forces of Chaos. During this time Seth was busy leading a campaign against the Companitas, an anti-Imperial rebel group on the world of Eritaen, when a small Blood Angels envoy brought the summons to the stern Chapter Master. Seth loathed his Chapter's progenitors, hating the fact that the Blood Angels were a First Founding Chapter. He felt that they were both haughty and arrogant by nature, and looked down upon their Successor Chapters with contempt. After arriving at the Blood Angels Conclave on Baal, Seth initially voted against allowing his Chapter to provide Commander Dante with a tithe of Initiates like the other Blood Angels Successors.
While Dante led the discussion at the conclave, the Apothecaria was working on a radical new procedure to replenish the ranks of the Blood Angels in one swift stroke: the lost art of replicae (cloning). Caecus was the Chief Apothecary or Apothecae Majoris of the Blood Angels. Disturbed by the dwindling numbers of his Chapter, and dreading its extinction, he was involved in fruitless experiments, which Commander Dante ordered stopped, to clone Space Marines, thus eliminating the need to go through the arduous process of the maturation and implantation of the gene-seed in an Aspirant.
However, Caecus disobeyed the order and secretly continued the experiments, prodded by an agent of the Chaos Space Marine Apothecary Fabius Bile. He was tricked into bringing Bile, who was disguised as a well-known Adeptus Mechanicus Magos Biologis, to Baal, mistakenly thinking the false "Magos" would help in cloning Space Marines to increase the Blood Angels' numbers. Through Bile's manipulations, Caecus was duped, and only managed to create monstrous, mutant clone Astartes known as "Bloodfiends" who were consumed by the Red Thirst. These creatures were a shattered mirror reformed in the image of a Blood Angel, but lacked any of the qualities that could be thought of as human. The mutations that cursed the gene-seed of the Blood Angels had been enhanced by the machinations and Chaos tech-heresy of Fabius Bile, and with each drop of blood they consumed, the thirst that dominated the Bloodfiends grew stronger.
The mutants broke free from the confines of Caecus' laboratorium and began to run rampant through the sacred halls of the fortress-monastery of the Blood Angels. During their rampage, Bile managed to steal a glass vial that Caeucus had carried back from the Chapel of the Red Grail -- a measure of the mingled blood of a hundred centuries of Sanguinary Priests and the Primarch Sanguinius himself, the raw vitae of the Chapter. During the Bloodfiends' rampage, a small group of the bloodthirsty mutants assaulted the sacred Chapel of the Chapter's fortress-monastery. One of the Bloodfiends seized the holy relic and then tipped the contents of the cup into its open mouth and drained it to the dregs. Now that the beasts had tasted the blood of the Primarch, they only craved more. In the aftermath of this desecration, Bile had achieved his goal and escaped from the Blood Angels' homeworld with a sample of the precious vitae of their Primarch.
The Blood Angels and their Successors successfully defended their most sacred of sites on Baal -- the Golden Sarcophagus of Sanguinius within the sacred sepulchre where the Great Angel lay for all time, sleeping in light, forever preserved. The sons of Sanguinius destroyed the horde of mutants and erased the stain of Chaos from their midst. They had paid for the continued sanctity of the Great Angel with their blood, and in the aftermath of this misery, Commander Dante took responsibility for what had happened and accepted it without complaint. Dante believed that it was his hubris that had brought the Chapter to this dark place by authorising the replicae experiments in the first place.
The Successor Chapters took this into consideration as well as Commander Dante's original request for the Successors to grant the Blood Angels a small tithe of their Chapter's Initiates in order to replenish the ranks of the Chapter. During this defence of the sacred sepulchre, Dante had saved Seth from one of the corrupted mutants. It was only at that moment that he truly realised that all of the Blood Angels Successor Astartes were brothers at heart. The Blood Angels' Successor Chapters, including the Flesh Tearers, unanimously agreed to hand over to the Blood Angels some of their own Neophytes to help their ancestral Chapter rebuild its strength in the wake of the Chaos assault -- and in preparation for the oncoming assaults by the Tyranids and the Forces of Chaos.
The Devastation of Baal
During the Devastation of Baal, Seth was a key commander of the defence and among the Blood Angels Successor Chapter forces and fought alongside Dante at key moments of the battle. After Dante was critically wounded by the Swarmlord, Seth led a retreat back to the fortress-monastery of the Blood Angels, the Arx Angelicum, and commanded the defences until the forces of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman's Indomitus Crusade arrived to cleanse Baal of the Tyranid infestation by Hive Fleet Leviathan.
Though Seth knew that in the wake of the Indomitus Crusade the Flesh Tearers would be reinforced with Primaris Space Marines of Sanguinius' lineage who were not as susceptible to the Flaw and the Flesh Tearers' mutant version of it, Seth was not very satisfied at the prospect of seeing the Flesh Tearers' numbers swell once more. He believed that Roboute Guilliman's gift of the Primaris Astartes would transform the Flesh Tearers and the other Successor Chapters of the Blood Angels into further copies of his own Ultramarines who just wore variants of crimson armour rather than blue. Seth was convinced that without their inherent fury, his Space Marines would lose what had made them true scions of Sanguinius and become something else in time, something less.
"I remember the day Seth left a world to die. I remember the voices of our brothers, of those he left behind to die with it. I remember the day Seth proclaimed our lives worth less than the planet of the Legion that shunned us. I remember that day. It was the first day I believed him to have the strength to save us."
Gabriel Seth is a brash, blunt and fearless leader. He has led his Chapter for over 100 standard years. Seth has experienced many victories over his long career but he has also seen so many of his Battle-Brothers fall to the Black Rage that the losses weigh heavily upon his already dour spirit. The fate of the Flesh Tearers rests in the hands of its Chapter Master -- a furious warrior and charismatic leader, Seth has made it his quest to earn redemption for his dying Chapter.
However, it is a war fought not just upon the battlefield but within the very souls of his brothers, who struggle to overcome the curse of their gene-seed. The Chapter Masters of the Flesh Tearers have always shared the genetic Flaw of their Battle-Brothers. Their fate, like all the sons of Sanguinius, is to struggle against the failing gene-seed of their Chapter. Guided by fury and madness, many of these great warriors have led their brothers into impossible battles and futile massacres. Gabriel Seth is the first Chapter Master for a thousand Terran years to give the Flesh Tearers something many had thought lost to them: hope.
Inspired by the noble aspects of his Blood Angels heritage, Seth believes that there might yet be salvation for his Chapter. It is his fervent desire that the Flesh Tearers redeem themselves for the excesses of their blood, and temper their madness with acts of valour and honour. It is a war fought both within the ranks of the Chapter and within Seth's own mind, as he struggles in his own personal battle with the Black Rage. Nonetheless, Seth has proven more resilient than many of his predecessors, and clings to his dream of salvation even as the world grows ever darker and more violent around him.
Seth and his Flesh Tearers have earned a great deal of animosity from other Imperial military forces who the Flesh Tearers often ignored or disregarded during combined operations because of their over-aggressive tendencies. At the same time, even other Astartes often refuse to serve alongside the Flesh Tearers because of their tendency to rush headlong into battle without regard for strategy or tactics.
Seth leads his Chapter from the front, landing in the vanguard of the Flesh Tearers assaults as his massive two-handed Eviscerator, Blood Reaver, scythes through his foes in vivid crimson arcs. Close to the centre of the action and knee-deep in the dead, Seth can better command his Battle-Brothers. When the Red Thirst takes a Flesh Tearer the teachings of the Codex Astartes fall away and only the scent of blood and death will guide them. Seth has become adept at channelling the unrestrained violence of his Chapter, leading by example when words hold no weight. When not in combat, Seth is a stern and gloomy Chapter Master, preoccupied with the imminent extinction of his Chapter and what, if anything, he can do to stop it. Though Seth hopes for a reprieve, he also is preparing his Chapter to join the annals of the lost with honour rather than being remembered with fear and loathing.
- Artificer Armour - Seth wears an ancient suit of Power Armour which prominently features both the striking serrated iconography of the Flesh Tearers Chapter and the wings of the Blood Angels.
- Blood Mantle - Seth's cloak is another badge of rank recognised by his Battle-Brothers, and according to legend it was cut from the banner carried by the first Flesh Tearers Chapter Master Nassir Amit.
- Halo of Thorns - The Flesh Tearers Chapter Master has the honour of wearing this ancient Iron Halo, a sacred relic of his Chapter known as the Halo of Thorns.
- Blood Reaver - A relic of Baal, Seth wields Blood Reaver, one of the Chapter's most deadly relic weapons, which is a massive two-handed Eviscerator that is almost twice the size of the standard variant used by Astartes squad Sergeants. Never was a weapon so aptly named as Seth's massive Chainsword. Armed with this ruinous blade, Seth can carve even the most heavily armoured opponents into welters of gore. Blood Reaver is every bit as unsubtle and savage as the Chapter Master. Forged with teeth taken from the chainfists once worn by the Flesh Tearers' first Chapter Master Nassir Amit, Blood Reaver serves as both armament and banner, its guttural roar a rally cry to the enduring nature of the Flesh Tearers and the violence they will inflict on those before them.
- Bolt Pistol
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
- Blood Angels Painting Guide - Sons of Sanguinius (Supplement), pp. 54-56, 58-59, 66, 70-71, 74, 171, 182, 185, 284, 296, 337-338, 342, 344, 347-348, 350-351
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Blood Angels (8th Edition), pp. 21-23, 39, 76
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pg. 55
- Codex: Tyranids (8th Edition), pp. 28-29
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pg. 62
- Wrath & Glory: Core Rules (RPG), pg. 418
- Index Astartes I, "Blood Frenzy - The Flesh Tearers Space Marine Chapter"
- Shield of Baal - Exterminatus (Campaign Supplement), pp. 17, 19, 54-56
- Red Fury (Novel) by James Swallow
- Black Tide (Novel) by James Swallow
- Helsreach (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Know Thyself (Short Story) by Andy Smillie
- Gabriel Seth: The Flesh Tearer (Novella) by Andy Smillie
- Flesh Tearers Quick Reads - Fury and Rage (Anthology)
- Blood In The Machine (Audio) by Andy Smillie
- Trial By Blood (Novel) by Andy Smillie
- The Devastation of Baal (Novel) by Guy Haley, Ch. 11, 30
- White Dwarf 40 (December 2019), "Index Astartes: Flesh Tearers" by Andy Smillie and Tom Horth, pg. 74