"In death is the Emperor's love equally shared."
- — Brother Raphel of the Hospitallers Space Marines Chapter
The Hospitallers is a relatively young Successor Chapter of the Imperial Fists, raised during the 24th Founding a little over two Terran millennia ago. The Hospitallers is a fleet-based Chapter that famously rejected the teachings of the Codex Astartes by which most of its brethren among the Adeptus Astartes abide. The Hospitallers is also one of the few Chapters to recognise the Imperial Cult's teachings that the Emperor of Mankind is a god.
The Hospitallers are firm adherents of the Imperial Creed and maintain close ties with the Adeptus Ministorum upon whose behalf they frequently act. Since the battle for the Knight World of Fabris Callivant, the Chapter has harboured considerable ill-will towards the Iron Hands, who assaulted the Hospitallers' flagship and abducted their Seneschal, the Venerable Dreadnought Galvarro, for unknown reasons.
In many ways, the Hospitallers owe their existence to the inability of the Imperial Navy to protect the trade and pilgrimage routes that cross several sub-sectors of Imperial space in the Segmentum Obscurus. As illustrated by the later fate of the Trail of Saint Evisser, even worlds and star systems far from the front-lines of the Imperium's wars require careful monitoring.
Like the Black Templars, the Hospitallers were intended to serve as a Chapter of itinerant crusaders, continuously plying the routes of Imperial trade and pilgrimage, thus bringing prosperity to many worlds that would not have known it if an Imperial Saint had not set foot upon their soil. In the two Terran millennia since their founding, the Hospitallers' protection has benefited many worlds, even those further away from the pilgrims' routes like Fabris Callivant.
- Battle of Fabris Callivant (414.M41) - The Hospitallers took part in the defence of the Knight World of Fabris Callivant against an Ork WAAAGH!. During the battle, the Hospitallers' flagship Shield of the God-Emperor was assaulted by Clan Raukaan of the Iron Hands Chapter and their Seneschal, the Venerable Dreadnought Galvarro, was abducted. The Shield of the God-Emperor subsequently was lost under mysterious circumstances during the battle.
"To honour the Emperor who is God. To shield the faithful. To bring absolution through death to the heretic, the apostate, the unbeliever and the alien."
- —Sacred vows of the Hospitallers Chapter
The Hospitallers notoriously rejected the tenets of the Codex Astartes, a choice which reflects itself in the Chapter's internal organisation. Where a Codex-compliant Chapter would be divided into ten companies, the Hospitallers divide the full complement of their Astartes up into only three. Each Hospitallers company is specialised in upholding one of the three sacred vows each Hospitallers Astartes takes when implanted with the Chapter's gene-seed: to defeat the Emperor's foes, to protect the Emperor's people, and to be ever vigilant against those who would disrupt the Emperor's peace.
This means that most offensive actions will be carried out by the Chapter's 3rd Company, whereas the 2nd Company specialises in defensive engagements. Additionally, the Hospitallers do not possess an official 1st Company as part of their order of battle as other Chapters do. Instead, their Veterans form a secretive, elite company of warriors known simply as "The Vigil."
"Dream the Emperor's dream, brother. No man of the Imperium need fall by the Heretic's hand. Not where there is a Hospitaller to honour his final duty."
- —Brother Raphel to Lieutenant Caleb
The Hospitallers consider it their sworn honour to tend to the Emperor's fallen, defending the wounded and, as a last resort, granting them the Emperor's Peace to save them from dying agonising deaths at the hands of the enemy.
There is one aspect of the Hospitallers that sets them apart from other Chapters and that is the manner in which they honour the Emperor. While the Imperial Creed preaches that the Emperor is the one, true god of Mankind, the majority of Space Marine Chapters have their own, unique Chapter Cults, most of which regard Him as a mortal man, albeit the most potent and extraordinary ever to have lived.
For them, he is an individual worthy of veneration and emulation, though not worship in deference to His own wishes.
Uncommonly amongst the Adeptus Astartes, the Hospitallers' Chapter Cult adheres closely to the dictates of the Imperial Creed, sharing many of its teachings and beliefs, including the divinity of the God-Emperor.
- Chapter Master Mirkal Alfaran - Mirkal Alfaran is the current Chapter Master of the Hospitallers. By all accounts an extraordinary swordsman, Mirkal Alfaran is the Master of one of the most pious Chapters of Space Marines in existence. Covered in Purity Seals, his armour is a penitent's white as is that of all Hospitallers, but inlaid with precious gold. Hand-crafted votive Aquilas at the end of strings clatter as he moves. While his armour can be described as almost angelic, Alfaran's face is a mask of death, his bald head powdered white and his eyes ringed with kohl to resemble a skull, embodying the Space Marines' role as the Emperor's Angel of Death. Only the single, simple earring the Chapter Master wears, breaks with the severity of the Chapter Master's appearance. Mirkal Alfaran's favorite weapon is an exquisitely crafted, two-handed Power Sword which bears the Hospitaller Cross as its guard. Alfaran is rumoured to be able to determine the moment and the manner of someone's death simply by looking into their eyes.
- Venerable Augustine Sangreal Galvarro - Galvarro is a Venerable Dreadnought who has served as Seneschal to the Chapter Masters of the Hospitallers since their founding. As befit a hero of his Chapter, Galvarro's Dreadnought frame was heavily decorated, the pearl white ceramite covered in highly valuable plates of ormolu bearing mezzotints of Imperial frescos, including Ollanius Pius and the Emperor, Rogal Dorn on top of the walls of the Imperial Palace, the Emperor and Horus Lupercal. Perhaps most striking, Galvarro carried a carillon of golden bells on top of his armoured sarcophagus, an artfully crafted assemblage of angelic wings surmounted by a skull, a panegyric for the fallen hero within the Dreadnought's chassis and every brother of the Hospitallers slain by the enemy. At the height of the Battle of Fabris Callivant, Venerable Galvarro was abducted by Iron Hands Space Marines of Clan Raukaan who boarded the Hospitallers' flagship, the Shield of the God-Emperor, and massacred their way to the bridge. They paralyzed the Venerable Dreadnought with Haywire Grenades before teleporting him back to their own flagship, the Omnipotence, originally intending to use his Dreadnought chassis to save the life of First Sergeant Telarrch of the Iron Hands. However, Telarrch was instead later resurrected using the forbidden technologies of the Keys of Hel and transformed into one of the Iron Hands' sinister Helfather cyborgs.
- Raphel - Raphel is a Battle-Brother of the Hospitallers Chapter.
- Shield of the God-Emperor (Battle Barge) - From the very inception of the Hospitallers as a Space Marine Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, the mighty Battle Barge Shield of the God-Emperor was intended as a flagship for the Chapter's sizeable fleet. Several thousand Terran years old, this magnificent vessel had become as much a relic as a warship. Its outer hull was elegantly decorated with golden Aquilas and the words of the Corpus Divinatatus, each letter taller than several men. The Gothic architecture within was a curious mix of cathedral and mausoleum, a place to celebrate both the glory of the divine Emperor and the achievements of the Chapter. The entire Battle Barge was a mobile reliquary, its corridors harbouring countless alcoves where behind armourglass or Stasis Fields the bones of fallen heroes, mighty weapons, war-torn banners and ancient scriptures were preserved. Perhaps most impressive was the bridge, a gigantic strategium illuminated by a million candles where a thousand-strong choir of gene-eunuchs perpetually sang hymns to the glory of the Emperor. The bridge-crew numbered in the hundreds whilst leaving enough room for the Chapter's Seneschal -- the Venerable Dreadnought Galvarro -- to move comfortably. The Shield of the God-Emperor was lost under mysterious circumstances during the Battle of Fabris Callivant in 414.M41.
- Golden Soldier (Strike Cruiser) - The Golden Soldier was a Hospitallers Strike Cruiser that travelled to the Knight World of Fabris Callivant to face an Ork WAAAGH!. Harassing the enemy as they emerged at the system's Mandeville Point, the Golden Soldier was responsible for the destruction of several Ork vessels before the sheer overwhelming numbers of the Orks forced the Imperial fleets to retreat. Designated to act as the rearguard of the main battlegroup led by the Shield of the God-Emperor, the Golden Soldier was boarded and destroyed while covering the Hospitallers' withdrawal.
This Chapter is known to incorporate personal heraldry with an unusual checkered-pattern iconography on the shoulder plates and lower right leg.
The red squad specialty markings -- battleline, close support, fire support, Veteran or command -- are located on the left knee plate.
The Hospitallers' Chapter badge is a red Maltese cross on a field of white, which is worn on both shoulder plates and also repeated on the right knee guard.
The Hospitallers Chapter is pictured on the inside back cover of How to Paint Space Marines. The Chapter's iconography are symbols taken from the real-world Knights Hospitaller of Malta.
- How To Paint Space Marines, "Hospitallers Space Marines", pg. 97
- White Dwarf 299 (UK), "Creating a Chapter," pg. 77
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