Kyrl Grimblood was a mighty Wolf Lord of the Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter whose deeds in the 36th Millennium during the infamous Plague of Unbelief saved the Chapter's homeworld of Fenris in its time of ultimate peril during the Second Battle of The Fang.
Within the Space Wolves' mighty citadel, The Fang, is the Hall of Heroes. Here, statues and trophies and relics honour the triumphs of the greatest champions of the Space Wolves Chapter. Here are commemorated those great warriors whose sagas stand as a record of the Space Wolves' most glorious deeds. Even amongst these most legendary of the Vlka Fenryka, Kyrl Grimblood holds a place of honour, for it was he and his Great Company that saved Fenris at a time of ultimate peril. Though Grimblood fought in a thousand or more battles and personally slew countless enemies of Mankind, in delivering The Fang, and by extension all Fenris, from the clutches of the Apostate Cardinal Bucharis' Renegade armies, Kyrl restored hope to the floundering Imperium and heralded the end to the tyranny and oppression that had been ravaging the Emperor's domain.
Plague of Unbelief
Kyrl Grimblood had come to command a Great Company of the Space Wolves at a time when the Imperium of Man was weak and all hope was drained from the great mass of humanity. For it seemed that the Emperor had forsaken Mankind, for no one could know that He was fighting His most deadly battle of all within the Warp, or that the very existence of humanity hung by a thread. During the long, dark Age of Apostasy of the 36th Millennium, several decades after the death of the infamous High Lord Goge Vandire, many false prophets appeared throughout this anarchic age; some little more than madmen leading rebel bands, others spiritual demagogues who commanded whole worlds and armies. The most powerful of these was the Apostate Cardinal of Gathalamor, Bucharis, whose heresies reached such proportions they became known as the Plague of Unbelief.
Gathalamor was not a rich diocese but Bucharis, driven by jealousy of his peers' achievements, vowed to build one of the largest temples to the Emperor's glory on his Cardinal World. After brutally enslaving the population of Gathalamor, Bucharis still needed more men and resources. Using an army of thugs and cut-throats, he conquered the nearby world of Rhanda. With access to the richer mines of that world, Bucharis' wealth grew. It was also here, in the Rhanda System, that Bucharis joined forces with the Renegade Imperial Navy Admiral Sehalla and Colonel Gasto of the 25th Rigellian Imperial Guard regiment. With these forces at his disposal, Bucharis was able to carve out a small stellar empire to the galactic west of Terra and within the next seven standard years, fifty star systems had fallen under his control.
Isolated from Terra by a great concentration of Warp Storms, Bucharis preached that Terra had fallen to the enemies of the Emperor, and set about establishing himself as the head of the Ecclesiarchy. Having no contact with the Imperium, the people of the region had no way of knowing the truth, and soon the armies of Bucharis were advancing on nearby star systems, imposing his cruel regime on every world they encountered. Bucharis preached a particular strain of the Imperial Creed which held that salvation was only to be found through personal strength and the casting out of the weak. Only through advancing his own interests at the expense of all others could a man attain divinity, Bucharis preached, a doctrine that ran counter to the Imperial Creed's assertion that only through sacrifice for the good of humanity would deliverance at the God-Emperor's hand be granted.
Armies fought for him, sick and depraved individuals gathered underneath his dark banners, xenos flocked to his court and the Chaos Gods doubtless worked their evil under his protection. His armies of fanatical devotees marched across the galaxy, conquering all before them, subjugating one world after another and growing stronger with every fresh conquest. In a single bold sweep, the forces of Bucharis leapt from the distant galactic east to the very heart of the Imperium. The armies of Bucharis continued to conquer world after world, and only when his conquests infringed upon the demesnes of the Space Wolves Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes did events turn against him. During this time of great upheaval, the Space Wolves had kept themselves aloof from the infighting and treachery infecting the Imperium, preferring instead to defend the systems around their homeworld. Bucharis' encroachment into the systems around Fenris, however, was all the cause the Space Wolves needed, and soon full-scale war erupted between the Space Wolves and the forces of the Renegade Cardinal. A massive invasion fleet soon arrived within the range of Fenris and a fierce space battle broke out. Though the Space Wolves' small picket fleet was grievously outnumbered, they succeeded in crippling many of the Renegade vessels before escaping, beginning a hit-and-run campaign against Bucharis' rebel fleet that would last for many standard years.
Braving the punishing fire from The Fang's many defence lasers, thousands of troop transports descended on Fenris. Though many were reduced to flaming wreckage, others arrived intact and disgorged troops and vehicles onto the continent of Asaheim. Bucharis' forces cut a bloody swathe across Asaheim, dogged at every turn by the vicious Fenrisian weather, the scout parties of the Space Wolves and even the indigenous human population of Fenris. Whole communities were butchered as Bucharis' savage army approached The Fang, villages were razed to the ground and thousands were enslaved. Soon The Fang was surrounded by a sea of traitorous soldiers that stretched off into the horizon. For all their numbers and brutality, however, the forces of the Apostate Cardinal were small match for the kindled fury of the Space Wolves. Enraged at the treatment of their fellow Fenrisians and the temerity of these Renegades at invading their realm, they struck back with all the savagery they could muster. Wolf Scouts severed lines of communication, assassinating leaders with pinpoint attacks, exploding munitions caches and sowing discord amongst the foe. Blood Claws emerged from hidden passageways beneath The Fang, hurling themselves at the Traitors in gore-soaked frenzy. Long Fangs executed careful ambushes, eliminating armoured convoys with heavy weapons fire, and collapsing mountainous valleys onto miles-long convoys of vehicles and enemy reinforcements.
For three standard years the fanatical armies of Bucharis pounded upon the gates of The Fang. The Apostate Cardinal threw his best warriors against the mighty citadel, promising them wealth and glory beyond measure, should they be victorious. For three standard years the Space Wolves held them at bay, inflicting monstrous casualties every time they repelled an assault. Attack after attack, bombardment after bombardment fell against the walls and gates of The Fang and yet the citadel remained unbreached. Bucharis drew in more and more soldiers, until even his forces on distant Gathalamor were at a quarter of their normal strength. Believing his demesnes secure, he mustered his armies for one last assault to sweep all resistance before him. Millions died as the native Fenrisians fought a protracted guerrilla war against the invaders. Though they tried many times to penetrate the attackers' lines, the Space Wolves were unable to do anything to break the siege.
Fate intervened once more, but this time to deal a cruel blow to Bucharis' plans, for the salvation of Fenris had come in the form of the Wolf Lord Kyrl Grimblood. Grimblood's Great Company had departed from Fenris five Terran years before, returning from a Great Hunt within the Eye of Terror. Now he had returned just in time, as the besieging forces gathered for the final attack. Out beyond the furthest planet in the system, reality tore itself apart as a Space Wolves war fleet emerged from the Warp. As Bucharis' own vessels investigated, they were confronted by an armada of Space Wolves Battle Barges, returning to their home planet. The Space Wolves lost no time in attacking, smashing nearly half of Bucharis' Renegade fleet in their first strike. Caught between the newcomers and the attack of the remaining Space Wolves' vessels from the centre of the star system, Admiral Sehalla ordered a withdrawal and fled the system -- leaving the Renegade soldiers on Fenris to their fate. Almost half of Bucharis' fleet was annihilated in one perfectly executed engagement. Wasting no time in pursuit, the Space Wolves powered towards Fenris.
The counterattack of Kyrl Grimblood's Great Company smashed into the enemy's flanks, killing tens of thousands of Traitor Guardsmen and scattering thousands of their number into the forbidding forests of the continent of Asaheim during the first week. Driven by hunger, ravenous packs of Fenrisian Wolves fell upon the fleeing Heretic and consumed them. Drop Pods disgorged Grey Hunter Packs into the heart of the enemy, while Thunderhawk gunships deployed Predators and Land Raiders into dominating positions. Grimblood himself plunged into battle alongside the warriors of his elite bodyguard, the Oath Brothers -- more than fifty Wolf Guard veterans in Terminator Armour who tore the heart out of the Traitor's command structure. The besieged Space Wolves finally broke out, to seal the fate of the Traitors and the battle was won. Retreating and leaderless, the Renegades' fate was sealed. Of those few that escaped the wrath of the enraged Space Wolves, none survived the giant Fenrisian Wolf packs or vicious climate of Asaheim.
The Apostate Cardinal managed to escape on a shuttle to link up with Admiral Sehalla, who dropped back out of Warp to briefly rendezvous with his fellow conqueror. Leaving Fenris to the Space Wolves, Bucharis pulled back his northern forces and consolidated his hold on the rest of his demesne. Grimblood had saved not only Fenris but possibly Terra itself. By depleting the Apostate Cardinal's forces, Grimblood granted the chance to Confessor Dolan Chirosius to successfully instigate and lead his revolts against the corrupt madman. From that point on, star system after star system defied Bucharis, the faithful rising up to resist his forces by whatever means possible, even when they were slaughtered in the attempt. It was not yet the end of Bucharis, whose armies were as numerous as the stars, but it represented the turning point in the war against the Apostate Cardinal and the end of the Plague of Unbelief The victory of Kyrl Grimblood was heralded as the rebirth of a unified and powerful Imperium.
The Spirit Wolf is a badge that is not often chosen by the Wolf Lords, for it is considered a sign of ill-omen by many. Kyrl Grimblood is perhaps the most famous Wolf Lord to have chosen it as his sigil. For Kyrl, at least, this choice of badge was proven to be not just well-omened, but prophetic. Throughout his tenure as a Wolf Lord, Kyrl became renowned for attacking from an unseen quarter, swift and terrifying like a blood-soaked spectre.
- Codex: Sisters of Battle (2nd Edition), pp. 39-40, 42
- Codex: Space Wolves (2nd Edition), pg. 71
- Deathwatch: Blood of Martyrs (RPG), pg. 24
- White Dwarf 359 (UK), "The Plague of Unbelief", pg. 44