"From Blood Born; to Blood Evermore Consigned."
- — Excerpt from the Libris Malefica
The Lamenters are an unfortunate Loyalist Chapter of Space Marines who perhaps more than any other Chapter of the present era seem to have been cursed by a dark shadow that has long determined their fate. The Lamenters' accursed and haunted legacy seems to have tainted much of what they have achieved and their victories often become bitter ashes in their hands. They found themselves on the wrong side during the Badab War and were thereafter devastated by the Tyranids. The Lamenters are a Successor Chapter of the Blood Angels created during the Cursed 21st Founding, and seem to have eliminated the gene-seed Flaws known as the Black Rage and the Red Thirst through unknown means, but this secret cure may have been lost along with the Chapter.
The Lamenters were created during the Cursed 21st Founding of Space Marine Chapters in the early 36th Millennium. The matter of the "curse" pertaining to the exact nature of this Founding has long since become shrouded in secrecy and myth. The various dark ends that have befallen many of this Founding's Chapters have entered it into the lore of the Inquisition and the Adeptus Astartes alike. Many consider those Chapters created under the auspices of the "Cursed Founding" as tainted from their very creation. The Lamenters are believed to have been created from the Blood Angels' gene-seed, genetically modified by the Adeptus Mechanicus' Tech-priests on Mars to remove the effects of the Blood Angels Flaws known as the Black Rage and Red Thirst. However, the Astartes of the Lamenters Chapter are noted to suffer from a kind of mental melancholy, although it is unclear if this is due to some unexpected Flaw in their gene-seed or if it is simply the result of the unfortunate events that have repeatedly befallen the Chapter. Although the Chapter numbered those few Astartes descended from Sanguinius to be spared an ultimate devolution into something no longer human or sane, the mark of the Flaw was still upon the Lamenters in the eyes of their fellow Space Marines, many of whom chose to shun the Chapter, regardless of their undoubted loyalty to the Emperor of Mankind and his Imperium and their noble efforts in defence of its people.
During the early 37th Millennium, matters worsened for the Imperium as corrupted Astartes of the 21st Founding and other dissident forces rose up against the rule of the Emperor in a series of bloody wars and purges. The Lamenters chose to depart to the Imperium's fringes rather than risk internecine conflict with their fellow Astartes of the 21st Founding. They used their mobility as a Fleet-based Chapter to crusade against the enemy without, rather than become ensnared in the quagmire of civil conflicts within the Imperium.
For the next millennium and a half, the Lamenters would remain on a continuous Crusade, conducting many campaigns against the various xenos races that plagued Mankind across the western reaches of the galaxy. Often the Chapter was recorded as intervening to aid isolated Imperial worlds under threat. Despite their enviable record of honourable victories and valiant defence of the Imperium's far-flung domains, the spectre of misfortune seemed to dog them at every turn. Dark rumours began to grow up to surround them as time and again the Chapter suffered from bitter reversals and dark turns of fate. Even when they were recalled into the interior of the Imperium along with a number of other crusading Chapters by the High Lords of Terra in the 39th Millennium to help deal with the rising threat of incursions from the Eye of Terror, many Imperial Commanders and other Space Marine Chapters continued to view them with suspicion.
Their reputation worked against the Lamenters often, but rarely with such consequences as during the Chaos attack on the Hive World of Corillia during the 9th Black Crusade. The superstition-bound Mortifactors Chapter refused to fight alongside the Lamenters, abandoning the planet rather than serving beside them. The Lamenters were unwilling to desert the Corillian population, holding out alone against the war bands of the Black Legion for six weeks, suffering horrendous losses until the Ultramarines and White Scars led a battle group that broke through the Chaos fleet blockade to relieve Corillia. The Lamenters Chapter had been reduced to barely two hundred surviving Astartes by the time they were relieved by their fellow Space Marines. The Lamenters were deemed lost when their fleet disappeared into a Warp Storm soon afterwards, only to reappear more than a century later on the edge of the Segmentum Solar having slowly battled their way back from the outer void.
Once again, the Lamenters returned to full strength after slowly rebuilding their fleet and Chapter ranks. They now operated as a crusade force near the galactic core, and were soon requested by the High Lords of Terra to form part of the defences of the sorely pressed Maelstrom Zone in 587.M41 as one of the Chapters that served as Maelstrom Warders. Their duties were to patrol the wide expanse of the desolate wastes of the Maelstrom's western zones, responding to and neutralizing Chaotic and piratical threats as they were encountered, a duty the Chapter took to with great fervour. During this time, the Lamenters became close allies with the Astral Claws who held the strategic command of the Maelstrom Zone, and fought alongside them in may of their greatest battles. The Astral Claws Chapter, under its last Chapter Master, Lufgt Huron, offered the Lamenters a degree of honour and respect they had seldom received before from their fellow Astartes, as well as war materiel with which to build and maintain the Chapter's strength. It would be this unaccustomed friendship and the ties of blood spilt in battle alongside the Astral Claws that would ultimately prove to be the Chapter's undoing.
- Siege of Corillia, 9th Black Crusade (537.M38) - The 9th Black Crusade was a Black Crusade led by the infamous Chaos Champion Abaddon the Despoiler and his Black Legion, launched out of the Eye of Terror in 537.M38. During this time, the Lamenters Chapter was recalled along with a number of other Crusading Chapters by the High Lords of Terra to help deal with the rising threat of incursions from the Eye of Terror. But the Lamenters' fell reputation for suffering bitter reversals and dark turns of fate worked against them during the Chaos attack on the Hive World of Corillia during this campaign. The superstition-bound Mortifactors Chapter refused to fight alongside the Lamenters, abandoning the planet rather than serve beside them. Unwilling to desert the Hive World's population, the Lamenters held out alone against the Black Legion's onslaught for six standard weeks, suffering horrendous losses until the Ultramarines and White Scars led a battle group that broke though the Chaos warfleet to relieve Corillia. Reduced to barely 200 surviving Battle-Brothers by their sacrifice, the Lamenters were deemed lost when their fleet disappeared in a Warp Storm soon afterwards, only to reappear more than a standard century later on the edge of the Segmentum Solar, having slowly battled their way back from the outer void.
- Charadon Campaign (698.M41) - In 698.M41 the Lamenters took part in a combined Space Marine force led by the Ultramarines under the command of Chapter Master Marneus Calgar, which consisted of elements of the Angels of Absolution, Marines Errant, and the Silver Skulls. During a seven-year-long Imperial Crusade the force inflicted a series of major defeats on the Ork empire of Charadon which delayed the invasion of the Imperium by the WAAAGH! Argluk for thirty standard years.
- The Corinth Crusade, The Liberation of Slaughterhouse III (701.M41) - At the outset of the Corinth Crusade, the Ultramarines called for allies to aid them in their holy task of scourging the mighty Ork empires of the Charadon region of the Eastern Fringes of the galaxy. The Lamenters answered the Ultramarines Chapter Master Marneus Calgar's call, mindful of the ancient debt they believed they owed the Ultramarines for their intercession many years before during the disastrous Siege of Corillia. They despatched a task force of 300 Astartes along with the Battle Barge Daughter of Tempests and her Escorts to serve with the Corinth Crusade. The Lamenters prosecuted the Crusade tirelessly, driving back the Greenskin menace in a series of campaigns and separate battles throughout the sector. But it is the liberation of the world Slaughterhouse III that proved the decisive turning point for the Chapter in the campaign. This Ork Mining World had hundreds of thousands of human slaves funnelled into its mines never to return. Moved by their plight, the Lamenters petitioned the Crusade Command for the task of attacking Slaughterhouse III, which Calgar reluctantly agreed to, with the proviso that he could grant no further support to the Lamenters' mission. The Lamenters slipped through the Ork's lines and quickly obliterated their orbital defences, and then quickly swept away any organised Greenskin resistance in a remorseless assault. Seeing their brutal captors cast down, the prisoners rose up and joined the fray and in a few short hours the planet was in the Lamenters' hands. But their victory had unforeseen problems; they had liberated 3,000,000 human prisoners who now looked to their saviours to deliver them from the hands of their enemies. Reluctant to leave the prisoners behind and unable to transport them away from the planet, the Lamenters resolved to fight and if need be nobly die while any chance remained, their Techmarines desperately trying to restore the captured Ork starships to operational flight status. The single Battle Barge and less than 200 surviving Lamenters Battle-Brothers stood against the nightmarish odds as waves of Ork starships and Fighta-Bombas attacked, only to be beaten back by the Lamenters' savagery. Unprecedented numbers of the Lamenters succumbed to the Black Rage in the bloody struggle. The freed slaves took it upon themselves to end the impasse; after a last prayer of thanks to the Emperor they signalled the Lamenters' Battle Barge and requested a merciful death, knowing that at least they would die as free men and women rather than as the pawns of the bestial Greenskins. With another Ork fleet massing for the attack, the Lamenters had no choice and granted the former slaves the Emperor's Peace by detonating a series of hundreds of seismic charges that had been honeycombed through Slaughterhouse III's mines and collapsing the tunnels. The explosions laid Slaughterhouse III to waste within minutes, creating one of the largest planetary tombs in Imperial history. With fewer than 100 Battle-Brothers left standing, the battered but unbowed Daughter of Tempests escaped the Slaughterhouse System, trailing a handful of converted Ork slave transports, carrying with them less than a tenth of the liberated slaves. In operational terms the liberation of the Ork mining world had been a resounding success; the destruction of the mines had set back the Orks' build-up of war materiel by years and caused internecine conflicts amongst the various Ork clans vying for the star system's mineral wealth. The Lamenters' success was only marred by the unfortunate losses incurred in the battle's aftermath. Yet their "victory" tasted like bitter ashes to the Lamenters. When offered the honour of an Iron Halo in reward for their efforts from Marneus Calgar, the Lamenters took the almost unprecedented step of refusing this esteemed Chapter honour. This caused some of their Imperial allies to accuse them of deliberately insulting the Crusade's commander, further breeding suspicion and dark rumour among those already ill-disposed towards the Chapter.
- The Jericho Reach (812.M41) - The Lamenters first became involved in the Achilus Crusade when the Chapter provided an escort to the Rogue Trader Kazandus Lan, settling a thousand-year old honour debt to the dynasty. The four squads of the escort fought alongside the Rogue Trader’s own vassal regiments for a decade, and undertook a number of highly effective boarding actions against archenemy war ships in the Outer Reach. In 812.M41, the vessel on which the Lamenters were travelling suffered a catastrophic drive failure during real-space translation, forcing it to be abandoned on the outskirts of the Falon’s Lament system. Only a handful of the Battle-Brothers survived the accident. Learning of the tragedy and recognising the survivors’ limited application as a conventional force, Watch Commander Mordigael of the Deathwatch, sought them out and procured their service in the Long Vigil. The bulk of the surviving Lamenters in the Jericho Reach have formed a single Kill-team under Watch Captain Brand Mac Lir of the Storm Wardens Chapter, while several more serve in other cells alongside the Battle-Brothers of other Chapters.
- The Badab War (901-912.M41) - During the final century of the 41st Millennium, the Lamenters became involved in the Badab War as allies of the Secessionist Astral Claws, Mantis Warriors and Executioners Chapters. By 908.M41, the Lamenters had suffered significant losses through attrition. The continuous deployment defending the southern Badab Sector as well as serving as escort duty for many Secessionist supply convoys had taken its toll on this fleet-based Chapter. Yet they were still be a force to be reckoned with, and so the Loyalists put a plan into action to isolate them and take them out of the war. The ferocious Minotaurs Chapter gathered its forces to strike where it would be most effective. Their opportunity finally came when the location of the Lamenters' Chapter Barque Mater Lacrimarum was discovered in orbit over the Feral World of Optera taking on supplies. The Minotaurs launched a lightning attack and succeeded in catching it and crippling its main drives, preventing it from fleeing. The Lamenters were forced to defend their Chapter Barque at all costs, as it contained both their recovering battle casualties as well as their precious resource of gene-seed. With the continued attacks upon the barque, the majority of the Lamenters' fleet was drawn back to the Optera System. Once there, the Minotaurs laid bloody siege for 17 standard hours of brutal ship-to-ship fighting. Though the Minotaurs suffered heavy casualties, they eventually overpowered the Lamenters by virtue of their brutality and sheer weight of numbers. Their forces shattered, the few remaining Lamenters were forced to surrender rather than risk the annihilation of their precious barque. The majority of their fleet was left ruined or drifting in the void. The Minotaurs claimed salvage rights to the crippled Lamenters fleet and the wargear of the fallen to replace their own serious losses. The surviving Lamenters were incarcerated on a prison hulk orbiting the nightside of Sagan II amid rumours of their growing insanity in confinement. Only 311 Lamenters Battle-Brothers survived to be interned on the prison hulk orbiting Sagan for the rest of the war. Less than 100 (estimated) Lamenters were deployed elsewhere during the fighting that still remained. The Chapter's severe losses effectively removed them from the Secessionist order of battle. Not long after, Inquisitorial missions were sent to the homeworlds of the Mantis Warriors and the Executioners, but no separate mission was despatched to contact the Lamenters. Whatever findings the Inquisition uncovered from the Lamenters' Chapter Barque after the battle at Optera remained sealed, even from the knowledge of the Inquisitorial reports made available to the Segmentum Conclave at the time. One year after the death of Badab Primaris and the end of the war, in 913.M41, the remaining Secessionists from the Astral Claws, Executioners, Mantis Warriors and Lamenters Chapters were put on trial before a specially convened Consistorial Court of their peers in the Adeptus Astartes. The very existence of these Chapters was at stake. Despite the attempts of the Inquisitor Legate to have the matter placed fully under Inquisitorial remit, a conclave of five Space Marine Chapter Masters whose forces were not part of the conflict were convened in judgement in accordance with Astartes tradition. The Consistorial Court found all of the Chapters who had taken part in the Badab Secession guilty in breaking with both the Codex Astartes and the ancient covenant with the Emperor that it represented. The Lamenters had not rebelled against the Imperium out of treachery or following a turn to Chaos, but because of pride. They saw the attacks by the Inquisition on the Astral Claws as infringing upon the traditional autonomy of the Maelstrom Warders and the Adeptus Astartes. The Lamenters were eventually granted forgiveness for their actions by the High Lords of Terra and were required like their fellow Secessionists to undertake a 100-year-long penitent Crusade to atone for their transgressions and would have to do so without the right to recruit Neophytes to replace their losses during this time of punishment. Their future survival would therefore be left in their own hands and to the grace and benevolence of the Emperor. After the Lamenters' participation in the Badab War, their Chapter banner was a tattered remnant. When they were granted the Emperor's forgiveness, the banner was given to the Adepta Sororitas to be repaired and purified. The Sisters' handiwork was said to be inspired by the Emperor, and it is said that they wept as they wove, contemplating the Emperor's great sacrifice for humanity at the end of the Horus Heresy. The banner became an artefact known as the Banner of Tears and was taken with the Lamenters on their subsequent Crusade.
- Second Tyrannic War (992.M41) - Unfortunately, the Lamenters seemed to carry their bad luck with them, as their Penitent Crusade led them straight into the path of the Tyranids' Hive Fleet Kraken. Although they were instrumental in slowing the advance of this terrible alien menace, the Lamenters took devastating losses. In one particularly notable battle, a number of Lamenters Space Marines fought a heroic last stand on the planet Malvolion which was being rapidly consumed by Tyranid organisms. The actions of the Lamenters allowed for many Imperial civilians to escape the doomed world, but they lost their lives in the process. As a result of the horrific losses suffered in their many battles with the Tyranids, barely four whole companies of the Lamenters still remain, while they are prevented from recruiting new Neophytes because of their continuing Penance Crusade. Whether the Chapter will survive long enough to begin recruiting once more or will have its banner and badge entered into the Hallway of Heroes in the Inner Imperial Palace on Terra remains to be seen.
The Lamenters remain at their heart a Blood Angels Successor Chapter, heir to the glorious and unique martial traditions and brutally effective art of war practiced by the Sons of Sanguinius. They adhere to the basic tenets of the Codex Astartes with a notional strength of 10 companies each comprising 100 Astartes, with the usual division of one Veteran Company, one Scout Company, 4 Battle Companies, 1 Tactical Reserve, 1 Assault Reserve and 1 Devastator Reserve Company. However, like all their fellow Scions of Sanguinius, there is a very great deal of fluidity between the companies and they very rarely fight in full cohesion, save the 10th Scout Company whose members have yet to complete their training and become full Astartes. Instead, the Lamenters employ strike forces which are created as needed from across all the units of the Chapter, giving them a high degree of flexibility in shaping their forces to meet operational needs. Chapter recruitment was also carried out on a practical basis, with likely Aspirants culled from feudal worlds and far-flung colonies from wherever the Chapter fleet's roving course took it. The Lamenters' order of battle favours shock assault tactics, often delivered through a close air assault utilising the Chapter's Thunderhawk and Stormraven gunships.
In terms of operational equipment and insignia, the Lamenters cleave more to the standard panoply of the Space Marines than their Blood Angels forebears and their fellow Blood Angels Second Founding Successor Chapters, although this may be a matter more of ease of resupply and maintenance for a fleet-based Chapter with no home port that is forced to rely largely on its own Artificers. The Chapter does retain a few cherished examples of Sanguinary relics, but aside from their large number of air units, heavy tanks such as Land Raiders and Baal Pattern Predators are less common with the Lamenters than any of the other Blood Angels Successors, while suits of Terminator Armour are particularly rare in the Lamenters' Armoury and are valued beyond price by the Chapter.
As with their progenitors, the Lamenters' Chaplains operate as part of their overall Chapter command rather than subordinate to it in each company as is the case with most Codex-compliant Chapters. This enables the Chaplains to watch for the growing problem of the Red Thirst in the Chapter's ranks, while the Sanguinary Priesthood (the Chapter's Apothecaries) holds a particularly prominent role and is know by the Lamenters as the Calix. It has often been observed that it is the Calix that has had the greatest part in holding the Chapter together through its many trials and misfortunes, as the Apothecaries of the Lamenters tend not only to the physical health of the Chapter's Astartes but also the spiritual stigmata they bear.
It appears that the Lamenters' gene-seed may have been tampered with during their creation process by the Adeptus Mechanicus. The full extent of the modifications performed during its creation on Mars were likely kept concealed even from the High Lords of Terra and other Adeptus Astartes Chapter Masters of the day, a theory easily given weight by the political turmoil and division that was rife throughout the Imperium during the early 36th Millennium. It is also likely that the experimental procedures performed on the Lamenters' gene-seed during its creation were done with at least their progenitor Chapter's tacit approval. The Blood Angels have long sought an answer to their dual afflictions of the Red Thirst and the Black Rage. The goal of reducing the effects of the Flaw were at least partly successful, with such record as remain concerning the 21st Founding showing that the number of the Lamenters Chapter's Astartes succumbing to the Red Thirst over the centuries was very few.
However, it was quickly noted that certain idiosyncrasies of mind and temperament developed within the Lamenters, factors that only grew more pronounced as the years passed: a dark melancholia seemed to take hold of the Chapter's soul and it was said amongst their fellow Scions of Sanguinius that the Lamenters bore the grief of their Primarch's death more keenly than any other of the other Blood Angels Successor Chapters. Whatever the truth of this, ill-fortune had already begun to follow the Lamenters like an unwanted shadow. As the years passed, there has been a continued and observable increase both in the Lamenters' predilection for melancholia and in the frequency which with the Red Thirst affects Lamenters' Astartes. By some reports the Blood Angels Flaws have been worsening to varying degrees in all of the Blood Angels Successor Chapters over time. It remains to be seen whether the Lamenters will survive long enough to begin recruiting new Neophytes to replace their steep losses to Hive Fleet Kraken.
- Malakim Phoros (Chapter Master) - Malakim Phoros is the Chapter Master of the Lamenters, and is also known as the Lord of Ruin and the Watcher of the Deeps. Phoros is a living example of both his brethren's grief and their resilience. A figure of awe and reverence for his Chapter, Phoros struggled to contain the Black Rage that permeates his Chapter's soul. In battle he is a fierce sight to behold, his control slipping as he goes to the brink of being consumed by the Black Rage several times only to pull himself back from the abyss. He willingly followed Lufgt Huron and his Renegade Astral Claws into the Secession of the Maelstrom Zone from the Imperium, which devolved into the infamous conflict known as the Badab War. Phoros was believed slain during the destruction of his Battle Barge when the Lamenters were battered into submission by the Minotaurs Chapter. Rumours persist that he has since rejoined his Battle-Brothers in exile, but such stories cannot be confirmed.
- Chyron (Dreadnought) - Chyron is one of the few Dreadnoughts within the Lamenters Chapter. He avoided the ultimate fate of the Lamenters at the hands of Hive Fleet Kraken due to being temporarily assigned to the Ordo Xenos' Deathwatch, and he currently believes himself (erroneously) to be the last surviving member of his Chapter.
At the outset of the Badab War the Lamenters were known to possess the massive mobile star fortress called the Mater Lachrymarum which served as their Chapter's mobile fortress-monastery and repair dock, two Adeptus Mechanicus Forge Ships and a dozen other support vessels. The Chapter also possessed 2 unusually powerful Battle Barges, 6 Strike Cruisers and 3 Vanguard-class Cruisers as well as 22 Escorts of various classes. The Lamenters' current fleet disposition after being engaged by Hive Fleet Kraken is unknown at this time.
- Mater Lachrymarum (Chapter Barque) - This mighty vessel, a mobile Imperial Star Fortress known as a Chapter Barque, serves as the Lamenters Chapter's mobile fortress-monastery and gene-seed/relic repository.
- Daughter of Tempests (Battle Barge) - The Battle Barge Daughter of Tempests served during the Corinth Crusade.
- Catechist - The Catechist was an ancient Infernus Pistol used by Chapter Master Malakim Phoros in battle during the Badab War era.
- Glaive Encarmine - The Glaive Encarmine is a two-handed, master-crafted Power Weapon in the form of a powerful glaive once wielded by Chapter Master Malakim Phoros during the Badab War era.
- Victory's Price - Victory's Price was a master-crafted Astartes Power Spear. Bearing this Power Spear is viewed as both a great honour and a heavy burden by the warriors of the Lamenters Chapter. It has been wielded at the forefront of many great victories and mighty battles. However, more of its wielders have fallen in their moment of triumph than have lived to return to the Chapter’s halls. Though the Adeptus Astartes know no fear, the wielders of this spear tend to become concerned with ensuring that they will sell their life as dearly as possible when the time comes to pay for their success.
The Power Armour of the Lamenters was originally bright yellow except for a red helmet stripe and the right shoulder plate, which was decorated with white and black checks, upon which rested the Chapter's badge: a bleeding heart. The most recent Chapter colours includes a Mark VII Aquila pattern Power Armour scheme that darkens the Lamenters' armour to a mustard yellow, and transfers the Chapter badge (and the checked pattern) to the left shoulder plate. The helmet stripe was dropped completely.
The Lamenters' Chapter badge is a bleeding heart against the background of a black-and-white checkerboard pattern.
- Chapter Approved: The Fourth Book of the Astronomican (2004), "The Cursed Founding by Andy Hoare, Graham McNeill & Phil Kelly, pp. 4-9
- Codex: Tyranids (5th Edition), p. 22
- Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter (RPG), p. 136
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), p. 63
- Hammer and Bolter 2 (UK), "Exhumed" by Steve Parker
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 14, 17, 21, 26, 42, 48, 106-115, 170
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 11, 54, 56, 59, 61 109
- Warhammer 40,000: Compendium, "The Badab War" by Rick Priestley, pp. 33-35
- White Dwarf 260 (UK), "Index Astartes: The Cursed Founding"
- White Dwarf 101 (UK), "Index Astartes: From The Imperial History Archive - The Badab War: The Uniforms and History of the Badab Uprising" by Rick Priestley, pp. 71-73
- Red Fury (Novel) by James Swallow, p.89