The Knights of Blood were a Renegade Space Marines Chapter who were declared Renegades and Excommunicate Traitoris by the High Lords of Terra on the advice of the Inquisition because of the terrible destruction they wrought against friends and foes alike, yet the Knights of Blood still considered themselves to be loyal to the Emperor of Mankind, if not to His Imperium. The Knights of Blood were a Successor Chapter of the Blood Angels, created during an unknown Founding.
The Knights of Blood were slaughtered to the last man during the Battle of Baal. They fought in defence of the moon of Baal Prime, alongside the Flesh Tearers and other Successor Chapters of the Blood Angels against the hordes of the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Leviathan and the daemons of Khorne. Their sacrifice allowed the rest of the scions of Sanguinius to flee the onslaught.
It is not known from which Founding the Knights of Blood Chapter was created, but they are an acknowledged Successor Chapter of the Blood Angels. They are more than likely to have been drawn from one of the later Foundings, for like so many other late-Founding Astartes Chapters, its gene-seed appears deeply and tragically deficient. Soon after their Founding, the Knights of Blood began a galactic Crusade to purge the Emperor's foes from the Imperium. Though many Blood Angels Successor Chapters have walked a precarious path between purity and damnation, the Knights of Blood committed so many excesses in the Emperor's name that at the beginning of the 41st Millennium they were decreed Renegades by the High Lords of Terra, and cast beyond the Emperor's light. This decision came after several centuries of rage-fueled carnage, perpetrated indiscriminately by the Knights of Blood against the Emperor's foes and their Imperial allies alike.
Following the declaration, the Knights of Blood largely disappeared from the records of the Imperium. Nonetheless, the Knights of Blood refused to be deterred by this edict, and they continued their galactic Crusade, purging the Emperor's foes from the worlds of the Imperium of Man. They have been noted on several occasions to have intervened to aid beleaguered Imperial forces, though they are unwelcome allies at best, arriving unannounced (and often unwanted) to lend their considerable might to a conflict or war. However, only the most desperate worlds accept their aid, for to do so runs the risk of an investigation by the Inquisition. Imperial commanders are especially loathe to accept their assistance, due to the Knights' reputation for carnage and the inherent dangers of fighting alongside these near-crazed Astartes. The Knights of Blood kept their distance from those they were ostensibly allied with, a fact that protects such forces from censure as well as the collateral damage often associated with the more extreme Blood Angels Successor Chapters. Nevertheless, the Knights of Blood were driven to continue to battle the enemies of Mankind across the galaxy despite their perceived betrayal by the Imperium itself.
- Achilus Crusade (777.M41-800's.M41) - Persistent rumours plagued the Jericho Reach for a number of years that the apostate Knights of Blood operated there, but they never appeared on any officially sanctioned order of battle nor did that Chapter have any communications with the High Command of the Achilus Crusade. Yet it has been reported, time and again, that the appearance of Space Marines in livery identical to that of the Knights of Blood had appeared unheralded and departed following a successful intervention in an ongoing battle. Though few in number, these unidentified Battle-Brothers were always deployed to great effect. There are incomplete gun camera feeds and orbital spy-lens pict captures which provided only incomplete details in regards to the identity of this mysterious Chapter.
- Knights Brought Low (999.M41) - The military forces of the Farsight Enclaves arrived at the same conclusions as the Tau Empire from which they had seceded. They begin fielding XV104 Riptide Battlesuits that had made their way into their possession alongside their veteran XV88 Broadside Battlesuit teams. The first opportunity for their deployment in a live-fire situation came when a Strike Cruiser full of battle-hungry Knights of Blood made transition from the Warp near the capital world of Lub'grahl. The red and silver-armoured Space Marines launched a terrible purge of the Earth Caste scientists that dwelled in the planet's living nodes, killing almost a thousand Tau before Commander Farsight's fleet appeared in low orbit. The vengeance of the Battlesuits deployed onto Lub'grahl was measured and logical, but pitilessly effective. Every time the Knights of Blood launched their attacks against the large, obvious targets of the Firebase Support Cadres, they were intercepted before they reached their targets by blistering salvos from Farsight's hidden Countercrisis Teams. In conjunction with the Broadsides and Riptides of the Support Cadres, Commander Farsight left the dusty surface of Lub'grahl littered with the smoking remains of power-armoured bodies.
- Devastation of Baal (Battle of Baal) (ca. 999.M41) - In 999.M41, the Knights of Blood assisted the Blood Angels in the defence of Baal against both the daemonic hordes of the Bloodthirster Ka'Bandha and the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Leviathan. Having been branded Renegades, they wisely kept their distance from their fellow Successor Chapters during the fighting. Despite that, their sacrifice to the last Astartes on the moon of Baal Prime was instrumental in holding the tides of daemons and Tyranids back long enough for the rest of the Blood Angels Successor Chapters that were present, particularly the Flesh Tearers, to flee the onslaught.
Though originally compliant with the dictates of the Codex Astartes, the Knights of Blood have been ravaged by the genetic flaws of their ancestral gene-seed. Though the Chapter once tried to adhere to the Codex, adjustments to the structure of its Battle Companies were necessitated by the Chapter's depleted numbers. Due to their predilection for close-combat, most if not all of the Knights of Blood preferred to deploy as dedicated assault troops instead of in a tactical role like most Codex-compliant Chapters.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
The Knights of Blood were considered by the military forces of the Imperium to be the epitome of a dedicated assault force. Those who have actually witnessed them in action report a Chapter consumed by savage butchery and carnage on an unparalleled scale. A Knights of Blood force in combat sought nothing more than to come to grips with an enemy in close combat so they could rend them apart in a hail of blood with Chainswords and Power Fists and, if need be, their bare hands and teeth. As the Knights of Blood's barely controlled blood lust rises in battle, heavy weapons and armoured vehicles are eschewed so that these Astartes can rush forward to destroy their enemies in close combat. It is assumed that the Chapter had extremely limited vehicle resources, which more often tended to be used as transports, since the Knights of Blood preferred to surge forwards and take the enemy with Bolt Pistols and melee weapons.
Once unleashed, these bloody-handed Sons of Sanguinius permitted nothing to stand between themselves and the gratification they could only find in close combat. There have been many documented occasions where allied forces found themselves the victims of the Knights of Blood's unrestrained savagery in combat. The Knights of Blood remained unrepentant to the end regarding these supposed incidents of fratricide. The reported carnage that usually followed a Knights of Blood engagement earned them the enmity of many an Imperial commander as well as of their fellow Astartes Chapters. This growing political wrath from many corners of the Imperium resulted in their continuing censure by the Inquisition and their ultimate status as Renegades following a decision of the High Lords of Terra arranged by the Chapter's many powerful political enemies on the Throneworld.
Created as they were from the Blood Angels' gene-seed, like their fellow Chapters who share the heritage of Sanguinius, the Knights of Blood also carried the Blood Angels' Flaw within their genetic make-up. The Chapters most strongly affected by the Flaw are those Successor Chapters of the Blood Angels founded in later centuries, at times when the Blood Angels Chapter Council had thought the Flaw eradicated from its remaining gene-stocks. In reality, the Flaw has merely degenerated into new and even more worrying forms and so the Battle-Brothers of those Chapters founded recently do not suffer slight lapses of control, but teeter on the brink of full-blown insanity when the Black Rage and the Red Thirst manifest themselves. The Knights of Blood were one such Chapter, which contributed greatly to their eventual declaration as Renegades.
Notable Knights of Blood
- Chapter Master Ousten Galael - Ousten Galael was the founder and first Chapter Master of the Knights of Blood. Born on Baal, he was one of the original Captains of the Blood Angels Legion. Galael was a considerate man and a great scholar in his own right, and although he had no psychic ability of his own, the Librarius was always his passion. Galael's chronicle was at the heart of the Knights of Blood's collection of scholarly works. In it he wrote extensively of what he learned from his people, before time and circumstance separated the Knights of Blood from Baal forever.
- Chapter Master Sentor Jool - Sentor Jool, Firstblade of the Knights of Blood, was the last Chapter Master of the Knights of Blood and led his forces to Baal in an effort to aid the Blood Angels, the Knights of Blood's parent Chapter, during the Devastation of Baal. Wary of his Chapter's status as Renegades, Jool ordered his forces stay away from the other Blood Angels Successor Chapters that had also come to help. When the Tyranid tide turned against the defenders, Jool and the remains of his Chapter decided to sacrifice themselves to allow the Flesh Tearers to retreat.
- Librarian Ser Koth - The Librarian Ser Koth was the head of the Knights of Blood delegation that was sent to meet a Blood Angels squad led by Sergeant Rafen and Librarian Ceris, to return the remains of a fallen Blood Angel to his parent Chapter.
- Eternal Vigilance - Eternal Vigilance is a two-handed sword masterfully forged of an alloy of rare metals, granting it hardness and sharpness surpassing any blade not otherwise enhanced by the projection of a power field. Despite its simple appearance and lack of technological enhancement, it is a formidable weapon of unsurpassed abilities. Shortly before the Jericho Reach's Age of Shadow, one of the Knights of Blood's most gifted Artificers presented the blade to the stewards of Watch Fortress Erioch. By this gift, the Chapter reaffirmed their oaths to support the Deathwatch.
The Knights of Blood had a two-tone colour scheme with dark red covering the helmet, shoulder pauldrons, Aquila, and part of the backpack, whilst their torso, arms, legs and backpack exhausts were silver in colour. Like the Blood Angels, the Knights of Blood's company designation is displayed on the right shoulder plate in the form of a skull (for the Veteran 1st Company) or a different-coloured blood drop for their other companies. A Knights of Blood's squad designation was determined by symbols commonly used by the Blood Angels and their Successor Chapters and placed on the right knee plate.
The Knights of Blood's Chapter badge was a white shield with a red blood drop at its center, with two crossed black swords behind it.
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Blood Angels (8th Edition), pg. 7
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pp. 54, 80
- Codex: Tyranids (8th Edition), pg. 29
- Dataslate: Tau Firebase Support Cadre (Digital Edition), pg. 9
- Deathwatch - Honour the Chapter (RPG), pg. 127
- Deathwatch - Rites of Battle (RPG), pg. 65
- Reflection in Blood (Short Story) by James Swallow
- The Devastation of Baal (Novel) by Guy Haley, pp. 115-117, 233-240, 241-247, 378, 388-390, 429-440
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (8th Edition), pg. 52