- "Today's ally is merely tomorrow's traitor. We will be watching you."
- —Grand Master Agraveld Tor speaking at the Antares Conclave
A Grey Knights Grand Master is the second-highest rank that can be attained within the Grey Knights Space Marine Chapter. A Grand Master is a member of the Inner Conclave of the Inquisition and the Chapter Council of Grand Masters who govern the Grey Knights.
By tradition, there are eight Grand Masters of the Grey Knights. Each is the spiritual heir of one of the eight founding Astartes of the Inquisition who served Malcador the Sigillite ten thousand standard years ago during the Horus Heresy.
A master daemonslayer, the Grand Master always wears Terminator Armor and wields a Nemesis Force Weapon in combat, and he is also a potent psyker. Few, if any, daemons have been able to stand against a Grand Master of the Grey Knights and survive.
The death of such a powerful defender of the Emperor's will is always mourned by the Grey Knights and the Ordo Malleus -- though no common citizen of the Imperium will ever know of his existence. Due to the amount of experience needed to become such a warrior, Grand Masters are typically ancient Space Marines who have seen nearly a millennium of service to the Emperor.
By ancient tradition of the Chapter, there are eight Grand Masters of the Grey Knights. To reach this rank is to have battled on ten thousand worlds, to have slain daemons unnumbered and to have stood stalwart as an unfailing example of honour and purity, not only to your Battle-Brothers, but to every soul in the Imperium. Even then, a new Grand Master can only be appointed by the will of those whose ranks he would join. Before he can be raised, the Chapter Council must be unanimous in its approval.
Grand Masters hold responsibility for maintaining the Chapter's many alliances, whether with other Adepta within the Imperium, or the various alien races with whom the Grey Knights have covert dealings. The actual detail of such treaties, pacts and accords are worked out by the Chapter's scribes -- a warrior's time is too precious to be expended on such bureaucratic detail. The Grand Master's chief role in these matters is to attend all meetings with outsiders in his full regalia of war. He speaks as little as is necessary, his grim and martial aspect a stark warning to any who would think to abuse his Chapter's trust. The threat in his manner is clear: betray us, and a thousand warriors such as I shall seek revenge.
Of course, as one of the Chapter's finest warriors, a Grand Master's principal duty is to take charge of those battles so pivotal or perilous that even the hardened warrior-skills of a Grey Knights Captain are deemed insufficient to the task at hand. Such a campaign is sure to see the Grey Knights at the very pinnacle of their abilities, for a Grand Master has a keen eye for strategy, and an uncanny skill for ensuring his troops fight at peak efficiency.
Under a Grand Master's guiding will, a Grey Knights strike force will often adopt non-standard doctrines with a precision and speed that is nothing short of uncanny. Indeed, it is said by some that a Grand Master is apt to psychically control his subordinates' minds if it will bring victory. Others claim it is simply the hallmark of a remarkable leader, but none can truly say where the truth lies.
Notable Grey Knight Grand Masters
- Grand Master Epimetheus - One of the original Founding members of the Grey Knights, Epimetheus stood before the Emperor alongside the other seven potential recruits that Malcador the Sigillite had selected in the hours before the start of the Battle of Terra, and was given command of the 5th Brotherhood. Originally a Legionary of the Dark Angels Legion, he served on Caliban under the Arch-Heretic Luther. Regardless of how Epimetheus became a Grey Knight, his original Progenoid Glands were removed and sealed in a stasis capsule beneath Titan along with the gene-seed of all the already-implanted recruits. It was then replaced with the new gene-seed set aside for the foundation of the Grey Knights. When the knowledge of Titan was hidden by Malcador as the Traitors entered the Sol System, Epimetheus was relatively young and inexperienced. However, when Titan returned to realspace, less than a standard decade had passed in real time, but for the warriors of Titan many Terran centuries had elapsed. Men who were young during the twilight years of the war against Horus were now older than the oldest surviving veterans of the fragmenting Space Marine Legions. Those eight who had previously worn armour of a differing colour had accrued more years than even the most ancient and venerable of Dreadnoughts. Epimetheus was now older than any of the still-living veterans from the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. During the Great Scouring, Epimetheus led a full Brotherhood of Grey Knights, according to his personal account, for a period that lasted many centuries rather than the seven standard years the Legions spent fighting. The world of Pythos was one of the first missions the Grey Knights undertook after their return to realspace. Three entire Brotherhoods and a quarter of a million Imperial Army soldiers set out to close the Damnation Cache, a Warp rift that had been opened during the early days of the war against Horus. It had supplied the Traitor forces with allies throughout the campaign, and with turncoat Legions fleeing towards the Eye of Terror, the Daemons now turned their attention to the worlds surrounding Pythos, seeking to claim them as their own and establish their own debased realm on the material plane. The war to close the Cache was long and bloody. Of the 300 Grey Knights who had set out from Titan to cleanse Pythos, barely twenty survived. With no Athame to keep it permanently closed, it was decided to hide seven seals around the planet, each one different and only able to be undone in a specific order. Over the seventh and final seal to be placed, Epimetheus volunteered to be placed in suspended animation to stand sentinel over it for millennia. In the late 41st Millennia, when Abaddon the Despoiler came to unlock the Damnation Cache once more, Epimetheus was awoken from his slumber. At the conclusion of this campaign fighting against Abaddon and his Forces of Chaos, Epimetheus was led into a trap and taken prisoner. Abaddon wished to experiment upon the unique gene-seed of his captive, and hoped to pry the knowledge from the captured Grey Knight on where the other, still-living Grand Masters were located. Epimetheus' current fate is unknown.
- Grand Master Khyron - One of the original Founding members of the Grey Knights, Khyron stood before the Emperor alongside the other seven potential recruits that Malcador the Sigillite had selected in the hours before the Battle of Terra, and was given command of the 8th Brotherhood. His body allegedly resides within the Dead Fields beneath the Citadel of Titan, within the Tomb of the Eight, the sacred resting place of the eight original founding Grand Masters of the Grey Knights.
- Grand Master Janus - Revuel Arvida was a Sergeant of the Thousand Sons Legion's 4th Fellowship and a member of its Corvidae Cult during the Great Crusade and the opening days of the Horus Heresy in the late 30th and early 31st Millennium. The 4th Fellowship's Captain, Menes Kalliston, led a squad of his Battle-Brothers to the ravaged surface of their homeworld to seek for any signs of survivors or their Primarch. This occurred six solar months after the tragic events of the sanctioned Imperial campaign known as the Fall of Prospero. Imperial forces had ravaged the Thousand Sons' homeworld of Prospero following Magnus the Red's breach of the Emperor's Edicts of Nikaea, by flagrantly utilising the forbidden arts of sorcery. Hoping to find some sign of their missing Legion, instead, their squad was taken by surprise when they encountered a much larger force of Traitor World Eaters who were also on Prospero for their own nefarious reasons. In the ensuing conflagration, the majority of the squad were killed and their captain was captured. Utilising his innate precognitive psychic abilities, Sergeant Arvida was able to elude the World Eaters and eventually escape the surface of the Dead World. Later during the Heresy, Revuel Arvida would find his way to Terra, where he was transformed in an arcane ritual conducted by Malcador the Sigillite into an amalgam of Arvida and a psychic fragment of the personality of the Primarch Magnus the Red which had been left on the Throneworld after his ritual incursion into the Imperial extension of the Webway to warn the Emperor of Horus' betrayal. The new hybrid being chose to call himself Ianius, later known as Janus, who would go on to become the first Grey Knights Supreme Grand Master.
- Grand Master Iapto - One of the first Grand Masters of the Grey Knights. He stood before the Emperor alongside the other recruits Malcador the Sigillite had selected in the hours before the Siege of Terra and was given command of one of the original Grey Knights brotherhoods.
- Grand Master Koios - One of the first Grand Masters of the Grey Knights. He stood before the Emperor alongside the other recruits Malcador the Sigillite had selected in the hours before the Siege of Terra and was given command of one of the original brotherhoods.
- Grand Master Satre - One of the first Grand Masters of the Grey Knights. He stood before the Emperor alongside the other recruits Malcador the Sigillite had selected in the hours before the Siege of Terra and was given command of one of the original brotherhoods
- Grand Master Yotun - One of the first Grand Masters of the Grey Knights. He stood before the Emperor alongside the other recruits Malcador the Sigillite had selected in the hours before the Siege of Terra and was given command of one of the original brotherhoods
- Grand Master Ogen - One of the first Grand Masters of the Grey Knights. He stood before the Emperor alongside the other recruits Malcador the Sigillite had selected in the hours before the Siege of Terra and was given command of one of the original brotherhoods
- Grand Master Vardan Kai - Vardan Kai currently commands the 1st Brotherhood of the Grey Knights with Cadrig Pelenas as its Brother-Captain. As Kai is Steward of the Armoury, his Brotherhood is often called upon when the Grey Knights require large numbers of Stormravens or Land Raiders, and it contains many of the finest pilots and drivers of the Chapter. Kai oversees the war machines of the Grey Knights and the Techmarines that maintain them, ensuring that they remain in perfect fighting condition. If the wards upon a Rhino are imperfect or the engines of a Stormraven less than pristine, it is to Kai that a Battle-Brother must answer.
- Grand Master Vorth Mordrak - Vorth Mordrak commands the 2nd Brotherhood of the Grey Knights with Arno Trevan as its Brother-Captain. Mordrak's Brotherhood has a well-deserved reputation for rapid deployment and swift strikes, even by the standards of the Grey Knights. The Brotherhood makes use of large numbers of Interceptor and Strike Squads, using mass teleportation and Teleport Homer assault tactics to outmanoeuvre their enemies. The 2nd Brotherhood is often in the vanguard of combined Brotherhood assaults, seeding the way for heavier troops to follow. As Admiral of the Fleet, the Grand Master must possess a skill with manoeuvres that ensures the Grey Knights' rapid deployment to a warzone. Over time, these traits have become synonymous with the 2nd Brotherhood. The sole survivor of the attack upon the Fortress World of Mortain by the Renegade Space Marines of the Red Corsairs, Grand Master Vorth Mordrak has continued to be protected by the ghostly apparitions of his fallen comrades. Determined to finally lay the fallen to rest, Mordrak has sworn to end the despicable individual responsible for his Battle-Brothers' deaths, the powerful Chaos Lord Huron Blackheart.
- Grand Master Valdar Aurikon - Valdar Aurikon commands the 3rd Brotherhood with Arvann Stern as its Brother-Captain. The 3rd Brotherhood has always held a place of honour within the Chapter. It was, according to legend, Janus' own Brotherhood, and throughout the long history of the Grey Knights it has fostered many of the Chapter’s greatest heroes. Kaldor Draigo was Brother-Captain and then Grand Master of the 3rd Brotherhood, with Arvann Stern following in the Supreme Grand Master's footsteps. With a reputation for glory, the 3rd has also borne the attentions of some of the Grey Knights' greatest foes. Many times during its history the 3rd Brotherhood has come close to extinction, daemonic adversaries seeking vengeance for the actions of its current Brother-Captain or Grand Master.
- Grand Master Aldrik Voldus - Grand Master Voldus had only recently been promoted to leadership of the Grey Knights 3rd Brotherhood, a position that was rapidly becoming renowned as a dangerous -- perhaps even cursed -- appointment. When the previous Grand Master, Doriam Narathem, was slain by the vile Greater Daemon known as M'Kachen during an assault on the Fortress World of Longhallow, Brother Voldus unleashed a titanic psychic assault on the cackling daemon. So pure and powerful was Narathem's sacrifice and the psychic light of Voldus' mind in that moment that it guided Supreme Grand Master Kaldor Draigo from the realm of Chaos. Surging into battle, the legendary warrior fought alongside Brother Voldus to drive M'Kachen back into the Warp, the two forging their powers into a banishment of unstoppable force. In the wake of the battle, Draigo himself appointed the humble Voldus to the rank of Grand Master, lauding his exceptional heroism and phenomenal psychic prowess. Even as Draigo faded back into the Warp once more, Voldus swore an oath to live up to this great honour -- one of which the self-deprecating hero did not truly believe himself worthy. He strives towards this goal in every battle he fights, offering prayers to the Emperor of Mankind for strength and guidance.
- Grand Master Doriam Narathem - The predecessor of Aldrik Voldus, the newly appointed Grand Master led an assault on the benighted Fortress World of Longhallow. He led a substantial portion of the 3rd Brotherhood to defend the planet. The mission was only his fourth as Grand Master, yet it was also to be his last. Launching a targeted strike onto the island fastness of Tolin's Rock, Grand Master Narathem and his Battle-Brothers attempted to save the precious relics locked within the vaults of the isle's cathedrum. They found themselves beset by hordes of Tzeentchian daemons. As the fighting intensified, the vaults echoed to the fury of Grey Knights duelling with twisted, fire-spewing abominations from beyond the veil. Grand Master Narathem fought alongside his most psychically gifted brothers, chief amongst them Brother Aldrik Voldus. Drawn to the beacon of their considerable empyric power, the hideous Lord of Change M'Kachen burst from the Warp to attack. Narathem threw himself valiantly against the Greater Daemon. Yet the fight was a trap; M'Kachen had scried the strands of the future using an ancient ensorcelled orb, and now used his stolen wisdom to wear down and slay Narathem.
- Grand Master Karas Vaurmand – Karas Vaurmand was the Grand Master of the 3rd Brotherhood during the fifth century of the 41st Millennium. Vaurmand's face betrayed his advanced age, while his burnished armour dictated victory upon victory in gold-leaf script. During the First War for Armageddon, Vaurmand was honour-bound by Chapter tradition to remain on Titan, guarding the Grey Knights' fortress-monastery in his brothers' absence. He chose Captain Taremar Aurellian, of the 3rd Brotherhood, to lead the Grey Knights strike force to Armageddon in his absence. As Lord Vaurmand was the only Grand Master present on Titan at the time, tradition dictated this fate, no matter how he raged against it: Titan must always have one of the eight Grand Masters present to oversee the order's operations. With Vaurmand, only a skeleton presence remained to walk the cold halls of the Grey Knights' fortress-monastery even as the Daemon Primarch Angron assaulted Armageddon.
- Grand Master Drystann Cromm - Drystann Cromm, Keeper of the Augurium, currently commands the 4th Brotherhood of the Grey Knights with Ionan Grud as its Brother-Captain. The 4th Brotherhood contains many of the Chapter's most potent psykers, warriors with an instinctual understanding of the Warp that goes even beyond that of their peers. It is from the 4th Brotherhood that new Prognosticars are often chosen, after they become too badly wounded to fight. The members of the 4th Brotherhood have also displayed an uncanny ability to sense danger before it materialises.
- Grand Master Rothwyr Morvans - Rothwyr Morvans, Protector of the Sanctum Sanctorum, commands the 5th Brotherhood with Tauros Hendron as its Brother-Captain. Some of the greatest heroes of the Grey Knights continue in their duty even after their bodies have been crippled beyond repair, entombed within one of the Chapter's Dreadnoughts. The 5th Brotherhood has long been the warden of the wealth of the Grey Knights' Dreadnoughts, its Grand Master as much the chronicler of their deeds as their commander. While other Brotherhoods contain Dreadnoughts, most of these begin within the Sanctum Sanctorum, their histories and glories carefully considered before they are honoured with entombment. Grand Master Morvans is one of the few that speaks with the ancient warriors, often awakening them for war. In battle the 5th Brotherhood will often be deployed alongside several Dreadnoughts, as Morvans is aware that if one of these deathless warriors is left too long dormant he might never be roused. It is a cycle of war that the Dreadnoughts are doomed to repeat endlessly, as long as the Chapter has need of their cybernetic might.
- Grand Master Anval Laraon - Anval Laraon, High Seneschal of the Fortress, currently commands the 6th Brotherhood of the Grey Knights with Caddon Varn as its Brother-Captain. Laraon is an exacting warrior, a trait that saw him ascend to the rank of High Seneschal and is reflected in the warriors of the 6th Brotherhood. The Grand Master believes in no wasted effort or force, often arguing to the Chapter Council against the use of more than a single part of a Brotherhood unless the most extreme circumstances call for it. Laraon understands there are far too few Grey Knights in the galaxy for the task of protecting the Imperium, and is loath to waste the life of a single one. The High Seneschal believes that, striking at the right time and in the right place, a handful of Grey Knights can do the job of a whole Brotherhood.
- Grand Master Covan Leorac - Covan Leorac, Representative to the Inquisition, currently commands the 7th Brotherhood of the Grey Knights with Darig Tegvar as its Brother-Captain. The Inquisition and the Grey Knights are inextricably intertwined, their goals often aligning. The 7th Brotherhood has a long history of operations alongside the Ordo Malleus, and many Brother-Captains have personal relationships with Inquisitors. As a result, respected Inquisitors are more likely to gain favour from the Brotherhood if they call for aid, as more than one Inquisitor has learned. Grand Master Leorac maintains the Chapter's secret knowledge of the Inquisition, tomes of lore on the Inquisitors of each Ordo reaching back thousands of standard years. It is rare for individual Battle-Brothers to serve with the same Inquisitor more than once, lest either should learn too much of the other.
- Grand Master Aidan Perdon - Aidan Perdon, Knight-Commander of the Recruits, currently commands the 8th Brotherhood of the Grey Knights with Mithrac Tor as its Brother-Captain. When a newly forged Battle-Brother joins the ranks of the Grey Knights he will often be sequestered to the 8th Brotherhood. If he proves himself, he may then find a place within one of the other Brotherhoods, depending on his natural talents and the favour of the Grand Masters. In time, many of these Battle-Brothers remain with the 8th, understanding the importance of finding those rare recruits suitable to become Grey Knights and keep the Chapter alive.
- Grand Master Ganelon - Ganelon was one of the cadre of three Grand Masters that led the Grey Knights' attack on the world of Khorion IX to banish the Greater Daemon Ghargatuloth. Ganelon's forces were overwhelmed by the tides of Ghargatuloth's minions.
- Grand Master Malquiant - Unusually for a Grand Master of the Grey Knights, Malquiant's weapons of choice were Lightning Claws, which suited him well. Alongside Grand Masters Ganelon and Mandulis, Malquiant took to the field on distant Khorion IX, where he failed to reach Ghargatuloth first, his fighting wedge bogged down by the great numbers of Ghargatuloth's minions. His ultimate fate remains unknown.
- Grand Master Mandulis - One of the few survivors of the Grey Knights strike force that banished the Daemon Primarch Angron in the First War for Armageddon, Mandulis led a force of 300 Grey Knights onto the Chaos-corrupted world of Khorion IX in an attempt to vanquish the Greater Daemon Ghargatuloth back to the Immaterium. His Nemesis Force Sword played a critical role in a sequence of events that unfolded after he vanquished the daemon into the Warp for one thousand Terran years, though the victory took the lives of Mandulis and every one of his brothers. Only the body of Mandulis and his weapon were recovered by the Chapter. His sword is thought to be the only weapon capable of destroying Ghargatuloth when he inevitably returns to the material plane.
- Hammerhand - Focusing the raging power of their minds, Grey Knights can augment their already prodigious might. Even unarmed, such a warrior can crush flesh and bone in close combat -- given blade or hammer there is little limit to what they can slay.
- Psychic Communion - By concentrating his psychic potential, a Grey Knights commander can make contact with the minds of his fellows, guiding them on the battlefield at the very moment they are most needed. Many a battle has been won or lost based on such timely counsel.
- Artificer Aegis Terminator Armour
- Iron Halo
- Storm Bolter
- Nemesis Force Sword
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
- Psyk-Out Grenades
- Liber Daemonica - The Liber Daemonica is an enduring symbol of the Grey Knight's devotion to his mission, and contains the cardinal tenets of lore culled from the dark knowledge caged within the Sanctum Sanctorum's walls. Every Grey Knight carries a copy of the Liber Daemonica in a Ceramite case on his breastplate. These gnarled tomes contain the Chapter's rites of battle and detail the traditional duties of every Grey Knights' rank. The books themselves are also potent psychic talismans in their own right, with pages illuminated in silver and bound to a spine carved from the thigh bone of a martyred saint.
- Codex: Grey Knights (7th Edition), pp. 22, 27, 29-41, 50, 54, 57, 59-60, 68, 71, 84, 97-99
- Codex: Grey Knights (5th Edition), pp. 12, 22, 40
- Warhammer 40,000 - The Gathering Storm, Book III - Rise of the Primarch (7th Edition), pg. 17
- The Buried Dagger (Novel) by James Swallow, Ch. 7
- Grey Knights (Novel) by Ben Counter
- Pandorax (Novel) by C.Z. Dunn