The Guardians of the Covenant is a Loyalist Space Marine Chapter and a Successor Chapter of the Dark Angels, thus making it one of the Chapters that comprise the Unforgiven. It is not known from what Founding the Guardians of the Covenant came, only that they too are descendants of the original Dark Angels Legion. Their adopted homeworld, Mortikah VII, lies near the western rim of the Imperium, and their mountain-top fortress-monastery takes the form of a mighty Imperial cathedral, its great spire piercing the clouds. The Guardians of the Covenant have fought most of their battles within the Segmentum Pacificus. They are known to have spearheaded a number of Imperial Crusades into the Halo Stars and the Veiled Region. The Guardians of the Covenant gained special honours for their deeds during the Lelith Incursion, when they saved an entire Sub-sector from a particularly appalling brand of xenos subjugation. The Chapter is known for its exceptionally monastic character.
True warrior-monks of the Emperor, the Guardians of the Covenant are assiduous in studying the teachings of the Emperor and of their Primarch. Their banners, armour and the flanks of their vehicles are covered in spidery, handwritten and illuminated High Gothic text extracted from the pages of the Codex Astartes, the Requiem Angelis and many other tomes held sacred by the Adeptus Astartes.
The Guardians of the Covenant are as dedicated to the scholarly arts as to the ways of war. Masters of both, the Battle-Brothers of this Chapter use their keen intellects as a weapon as sharp as their Chainswords. The Chapter's Astartes study the teachings of the Emperor and of their Primarch Lion El'Jonson in minute detail, attaining a unique perspective on the object of their diligent studies. Every shred of ancient wisdom is absorbed, debated and analysed, so that no ruse or stratagem is beyond the Guardians of the Covenant, and none may better them on the field of battle.
This Chapter is known for its exceptionally monastic character. True warrior-monks of the Emperor, they are assiduous in studying the teachings of the Emperor and their Primarch, and have penned several tomes that have been added to the Lore of the Lion over the millennia. This attention to the wise words of these and numerous other important figures carries over into more areas of the Chapter's identity, as many of the Chapter's brethren are masters of the calligraphic arts. These supremely skilled Artificers spend long hours adorning the Chapter's arms and armour, banners, and even the flanks of its war machines in spidery, hand-written text extracted from the pages of various tomes held sacred by the Space Marines. Exactly what drives these brethren to express themselves in such a manner is unknown, and much like the activities of many of the Unforgiven Chapters, is subject to mystery and deliberate misdirection.
The Guardians of the Covenant are known to be most active on the borders of the Segmentum Pacificus and as such have faced numerous alien threats emanating from the vast reaches of the unexplored void. The Halo Stars and the Veiled Region extend beyond the Imperium's outer frontiers for many hundreds of light years, and none can know what alien horrors might lurk in the depths of the void. The Chapter is known to have defeated an invasion by the race of the Lelith, as well as numerous xenos empires now thankfully extinct. They have faced and defeated threats from rampaging Orks and saved entire planetary populations from being dragged screaming into the Webway by the sadistic Dark Eldar. The Chapter has even faced the newly emerged Necrons, for many of their Tomb Worlds are to be found in the dark regions of the galaxy where the Guardians of the Covenant are most active.
- The Forlex Rescue (Unknown Date.M38) - A Necron stasis-crypt awakened beneath the Imperial colony of Forlex. Striking from orbit, the Guardians of the Covenant drove the xenos back below ground and, though the cost in lives was steep, well over one hundred thousand colonists were safely evacuated.
- Lelith Incursion (Unknown Date.M41) - The Lelith were an aggressive xenos species that assaulted an entire Imperial sub-sector in the Halo Stars of the Segmentum Pacificus. The Guardians of the Covenant engaged them in battle and despite heavy losses were able to drive this species back into the void and reclaim the sub-sector for Mankind. The exact date when this event occurred has been lost to Imperial records.
- Battle of Heltopia (Unknown Date.M42) - Since the inclusion of the Primaris Space Marines within the Guardians of the Covenant, these genetically superior warriors have proven their worth time and again. During the Battle of Heltopia, the Intercessor Squads of the Guardians of the Covenant were able to deploy out of their Repulsor armoured transports to quickly form firing lines in order to stem the flow of Plague Zombies that was overtaking the hive city hab-block by hab-block. After quelling the swarming advance at one intersection, the Intercessor Squads would reboard and race towards their next location, and by doing so successfully countered the slow-moving but inexorable foe.
- Massacre at Darkmor (Unknown Date.M42) - Elements of half a dozen Unforgiven Chapters descended upon the Shrine World of Darkmor, including multiple companies from the Angels of Vengeance, the Consecrators and the Guardians of the Covenant. All had followed their Librarians' scryings to the planet, searching for the newly materialised Fallen Angel Cypher. It was not long before they discovered that they were not the hunters, however, but the hunted. The Warp Storms that subsided to allow their armies into Darkmor's orbit returned in force. On the planet's surface, the Unforgiven found the world's vast cathedrals in ruins and its populace slaughtered. Awaiting in ambush were armies of daemons, Chaos Space Marines and Renegades. What followed was the worst single incident of losses suffered by the Unforgiven since the Forgotten Wars. Less than a hundred Space Marines from an original contingent of a thousand managed to escape, and they did so only because they pursued Cypher, who, in his attempt to flee, led them to a secret teleportation device.
Like their fellow Unforgiven Chapters, the Guardians of the Covenant follow the Dark Angels' pattern of organisation, and so are considered to be in partial compliance with the Codex Astartes. This includes possessing formations similar to the elite Deathwing and Ravenwing, although they are not named as such. Though these elite formations have performed admirably, they have not garnered the recognition of their Dark Angels' counterparts. Like the Dark Angels, the Unforgiven Successor Chapters also have a clandestine group, comprised of the Chapter's elite and senior commanders, who possess knowledge of the Fallen and of the true events that occurred on Caliban. In the Guardians of the Covenant, this Inner Circle is known as the "Secret Order."
Due to the Chapter's home world being located on the borders of the Segmentum Pacificus, it is rare indeed for its Battle-Brothers to be encountered standing the Long Watch as far distant as the Jericho Reach. Only a handful of the Chapter's brethren are known to have served in the Deathwatch, though none have done so since the coming of the Achilus Crusade. Nonetheless, several items of Power Armour belonging to Battle-Brothers from the Guardians of the Covenant that have taken the Apocryphon Oath lie unclaimed in dusty niches of the Hall of Glory, their owners having fallen in battle whilst serving the Deathwatch.
The Guardians of the Covenant's Chapter homeworld of Mortikah VII, a Feudal World, lies close to the Imperium of Man's western rim in the Segmentum Pacificus and the Chapter often acts to defend the worlds of the Halo Stars in that region from the numerous xenos threats they face.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
Not much is known of the Chapter's combat doctrines, although by all accounts the Guardians of the Covenant seem to be a Chapter that shows a great deal more care for the common citizens under its protection than its parent Chapter.
The lifestyle and doctrines of the Guardians of the Covenant are even more monastic in nature than is normal for a Chapter of the Astartes. The Battle-Brothers of the Chapter devote as much time to intellectual study and the scholarly arts as they do to training for battle. They maintain scriptoriums in their fortress-monastery where every Astartes of the Guardians of the Covenant is expected to spend time learning as well as aiding the Chapter in the creation of illuminated manuscripts of sacred Imperial knowledge. Because of their respect for learning and the dissemination of knowledge, the Chapter is known to have close ties with certain elements of the Adeptus Mechanicus in their region of the galaxy and often gains access to stores of more advanced equipment and Imperial technology as a result.
- Record of Oblivion - The monastic Guardians of the Covenant have kept many records of secrets long lost to the rest of the Imperium. Among the archives and data-stacks of the Chapter's fortress-monastery on Mortikah VII is a massive data-tome known as the Record of Oblivion which contains a record of other civilisations brought down by the Imperium's might. These writings on now-extinct xenos races and long-defunct Renegade sects are now their only remnant, a source of immense satisfaction to the Space Marines who were the key instrument of their demise. Limited selections are occasionally transcribed from the tome and given to Battle-Brothers about to serve with the Deathwatch in the Jericho Reach, as a token of the great service they are summoned to perform. Possession of a fragment of the Record of Oblivion is a great comfort to a Battle-Brother in the hellish warzones where he must battle, reminding him of what folly it is to assume anything but the inexorable triumph of Mankind.
The Guardians of the Covenant's Power Armour is a dark silver with black shoulder plates. A black Aquila or Imperialis is worn on the chest guard. The red squad specialty symbol (Tactical, Assault, Devastator or Veteran) is indicated on the right shoulder guard whilst the Chapter iconography is painted on the left shoulder guard. Squad designation is indicated by a white Gothic numeral stenciled on the centre of the squad specialty symbol. Company colours are designated on the right knee guard.
Like their parent Chapter and fellow Unforgiven, Guardians of the Covenant are commonly found wearing crimson hooded cloaks and tabards; with the Veterans, this symbolises their shame over what the Fallen Angels had done near the end of the Great Crusade. Cloaks and hoods are worn by all ranks, but the Veteran Guardians of the Covenant and the Chapter's Inner Circle are most commonly seen wearing the crimson cloth, because they have learned enough about the Dark Angels Legion's history, and thus their shame, prior to obtaining their rank within the Chapter.
The Guardians of the Covenant's Chapter badge is a pair of white, crossed, double-edged swords pointed downward, centred on a field of black.
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Dark Angels (8th Edition), pp. 19, 21, 23, 36, 45
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Dark Angels (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 48, 53, 171
- Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pg. 17
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pg. 74
- Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter (RPG), pp. 108, 131
- White Dwarf 327 (UK), "Dark Angles - The Unforgiven", pg. 26