"I will die when the Emperor is ready to accept my soul, and not a moment before."
- — Sister Repentia Aemillia, Order of Our Martyred Lady
The Order of Our Martyred Lady is one of the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas, or the Sisters of Battle, founded in honour of Saint Katherine by the Ecclesiarch Alexis XXII (the long-lived successor of the great reformer, Sebastian Thor) in the 36th Millennium when the location of the Adepta Sororitas' primary convent was split between Terra and Ophelia VII, creating, among others, the Order of Our Martyred Lady.
Katherine was regarded as Alicia Dominica's second-in-command. Her order was originally titled the Order of the Fiery Heart, in reference to Katherine's fierce persona, but so deeply did the Battle-Sisters mourn her death that they renamed themselves the Order of Our Martyred Lady, and for many centuries thereafter they wore only black.
The red cloth of their livery was later adopted by the majority of the Order's Preceptories in remembrance of the losses the Sisterhood sustained during the Third War for Armageddon in 998.M41.
The Order of Our Martyred Lady was once known as the Order of the Fiery Heart. Like their fellow Adepta Sororitas Orders Militant, the Sisters of the Fiery Heart could trace their origins back to the teachings of the Daughters of the Emperor during the Age of Apostasy in the 36th Millennium, but soon small variances began to manifest amongst the newly founded Orders as the persona of the different founders asserted themselves.
The Order of the Fiery Heart reflected the vengeful nature of their first Canoness and eventual patron Imperial Saint, Katherine. She led her Order for many solar decades, enforcing the Emperor's will and prosecuting the wars of the Ecclesiarchy across the galaxy. Within her lifetime she was declared a Living Saint for performing legendary acts and led her Order to countless victories.
Eventually, Katherine met an ignominious end when she was murdered by the Witch-cult of Mnestteus. So deeply did her Sisters mourn Katherine's loss that they renamed their Order the Order of Our Martyred Lady.
The Order once operated a convent on the desolate, wind-swept world of Sanctuary, known as Fortress-Sanctuary 101. In 897.M41 the convent and all the Sisters of Battle within were destroyed by the awakening of the Necrons who had made Sanctuary one of their Tomb Worlds.
Twelve standard years later in 909.M41, Canoness Sepherina made a pilgrimage to the site of the massacre. Her task was to reconsecrate the hallowed ground of the former convent, which still bore the scars of the Necron attack. She erected a single statuette of their patron saint Katherine for each slain sister, to stand eternal vigil over the site of her sisters' martyrdom.
By the time of Sepherina's pilgrimage, the bodies of the slain Battle Sisters had yet to be returned from Inquisitor Hoth, who was studying them to learn more about the Necrons' weaponry, much to the chagrin of their Order.
- Massacre at Sanctuary 101 (897.M41) - On a world in the Vidar Sector located in the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy, the Order of Our Martyred Lady had founded a fortress-convent designated Sanctuary 101. The isolated convent had the misfortune of being the Imperium's first recorded contact with the Necrons, where the Battle-Sisters were massacred by Necron Raiders. Video logs recorded a furious battle between the valiant Sisterhood and the Necron Warriors, but little of worth was displayed as there appears to have been an artificial disruption introduced into the recordings. Subsequent investigations into the site of battle revealed nothing more than the mutilated corpses of the Adepta Sororitas, eviscerated in a hideously surgical manner. No signs of the true nature of Sanctuary 101's undying attackers were ever found.
- The Martyrdom of Praxedes (991.M41) - Canoness Praxedes of the Order of Our Martyred Lady reinforced the Regiments of the Imperial Guard serving the Cardinal World of Okassis, soon after the start of the Second Tyrannic War. As the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Kraken assaulted the Ecclesiarchal Cathedral, the combined fire of the Order's Retributor Squads and Exorcist tanks obliterated the first wave of Tyranid biomorphs, but the second managed to breach the fortress-walls of the cathedral. As Tyranids poured through, Praxedes confronted a Hive Tyrant. During the fighting the Canoness was dealt a mortal wound, but even as her blood ebbed away, she summoned the strength to land a final blow, caving in the hideous beast's skull with a thunderous strike from her Power Mace. With the Tyrant's destruction, the swarm lost all connection to the Hive Mind and thus all direction, with the biomorphs turning on one another in a cannibalistic rage. The Sisters of Our Martyred Lady wasted no time in pressing the assault, determined to avenge the death of their beloved Canoness. The remaining xenos were swept aside, buying enough time to evacuate the Ecclesiarchy's remaining priests before the Tyranids launched their next wave of attacks.
- The Purging of the Saint Garrat Scriptorum (Unknown Date.M41) - It is believed that it was the Order of Our Martyred Lady, acting in concert with the Witch Finder Inquisitor Tannenburg of the Ordo Hereticus, who descended upon the Saint Garrat Scriptorum, dragging hundreds of Adeptus Terra scribes screaming to the excruciation chambers of Nemesis Tessra and burning down the scriptorum. When the Adepts lodged a formal complaint with the High Lords of Terra, they were silenced when Inquisitor Tannenburg produced three hundred specimen jars; each contained the preserved remains of a scribe, their previously hidden mutations uncovered for all to witness.
- Third War for Armageddon (998.M41) - The Order maintained a strong presence within the Armageddon System, with its base of power at the Sanctorum of St. Katherine, which was built within the high walls of Hive Tempestora on the world of Armageddon. Then the largest Ork WAAAGH! ever raised, led by the Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka, assaulted the planet and began the Third War for Armageddon. In the initial Ork assault, the Battle-Sisters' positions were attacked by large Ork submersibles which emerged from the Boiling Sea. Caught unawares by the audaciousness and sheer ferocity of the Greenskins' attack, many of the Battle-Sisters were slain. The Battle-Sisters were the front line of defence for Hive Tempestora, but their battle lines soon were overrun. This enabled the vile Greenskins to take control of the hive city's underhive within only a few hours. With each successive wave of Ork attacks, the Sisters were continuously pushed back, until finally they found themselves with their backs to the great armoured doors of their Sanctorum. It was there that the Battle-Sisters made their final heroic (but futile) stand against the encroaching Ork hordes. This day became one of the darkest within the Order's history as their battle lines crumpled and they were scattered. Those few Sisters that survived the final assault attempted to form their lines again but were cut down by the massive green tide of Orks. After an hour of savage fighting, no humans were left alive as the vile Orks took Hive Tempestora and the Sanctorum. After this defeat, the Order could barely field three whole companies. The loss of their Sanctorum and the many valiant Sisters who had fallen was acutely felt throughout the rest of the Order -- many Novices began questioning their faith in the Emperor. Those Battle-Sisters that remained recovered quickly, swearing mighty oaths of vengeance against the foul Greenskins and vowing to retake Hive Tempestora, no matter the cost. But before they could do so, the surviving Sisters of the Order were spread across the rest of the planet to help solidify key Imperial positions. Their presence proved pivotal in preventing the Orks from overrunning several areas of Armageddon.
- War of Beasts (ca. 000.M41 - 015.M42) - The Sisters of Battle that fought upon Vigilus during the War of Beasts were a vital part of its defence. Without their faith, surety and swiftness of purpose, the hivesprawl of Oteck would almost certainly have fallen -- and likely Hyperia too. Some amongst the citizens have described the feats of martial prowess they exhibited as miraculous. The Adepta Sororitas have a proud tradition that saw their founders talk in person with the God-Emperor Himself. They are more than a mere military presence, for they embody the Imperial Creed, and back it up with fire and fury. On Vigilus, they kept the hivesprawls safe from countless threats, ranging from mundane rebellion to supernatural manifestation. The Order of Our Martyred Lady had fought to keep Vigilus unsullied by the scourge of Chaos for nearly four thousand Terran years. They had garrisoned Saint's Haven, the planetary capital and heart of the Ecclesiarchy on the world, ever since it was a simple basilicanum, and patrolled hundreds of kilometres of alabaster ramparts and tower-dotted boulevards in force. Being urbanised to such a degree, they fought almost exclusively in the built-up areas of the hivesprawls, and the Adepta Sororitas of Hyperia hivesprawl became a largely mechanised force. They had a great many transports at their behest, and were well-versed in the tactics of citizen control during times of strife -- so much so that the sight of their midnight-black vehicles sent the populace of Hyperia scrambling to move out of the way. Each Canoness and Sister Superior knew the city streets well, having made a study of them for her entire tenure. With the data-harvests of the Orders Dialogous predicting likely threat zones and guiding their optimal passage from one hivesprawl district to another, the Sisters of Hyperia were masters of their territory. Should the unbeliever, the Heretic or the abomination threaten a city district, the Sisters of Battle were swift to respond. It was this home advantage that saw them hurl back the Ork invaders time and time again in the War of Beasts' opening stages. Such was the influence of the Adeptus Ministorum over Vigilus that the Sisters of Battle under their command had priories and abbeys in every hivesprawl. They were initially placed there to further the reach of Saint's Haven -- or rather, the Ecclesiarchy's political presence there -- and for a time, the Planetary Governor Lucienne Agamemnus resented them. But as the Orks slowly closed on the planet's metropolises and the Genestealer Cult of the Pauper Princes rose up in dizzying numbers from beneath the streets, the true value of the Adepta Sororitas became clear. Where the Sisters of Battle walked, the grace of the Emperor held back unnatural magic and banished nightmares like the morning sun. Where they fought, the populace fought with them. The Canoness Superior in charge of the Adepta Sororitas upon Vigilus, a fiery and short-tempered individual known as Temperance Blaise, was so roundly feared that she was given free rein by the entire ruling Aquilarian Council to prosecute the Vigilus campaign as she saw fit. Beneath her was a network of trusted Canonesses and Celestian Superiors she had named "the Sacred Thorns," each of whom was entrusted with the defence of the Ministorum's interests in a different hivesprawl. When the Space Marines made planetfall upon Vigilus it was Temperance Blaise that dealt in person with the Chapter Masters. In the first few solar weeks of the war, Blaise had taken the invasion of her planet hard, and had led many a counterstrike in person, taking out her righteous indignation upon every malcontent and coward she could find, as well as the xenos invaders that threatened her cordons. Only when the war ground into more of a stalemate did she resume her role as war leader, coordinating the defence of Hyperia with lethal efficiency, and leaving the killing to her sisters. Used to all but ignoring the officers of the Astra Militarum, the Adeptus Astartes conversely worked closely with Blaise, for they saw in her a powerful ally with vital knowledge of each theatre of war in which they fought. Working together, they proved far greater than the sum of their parts. Though the Sisters of Battle kept largely to the hivesprawls, they held the line when even a whole regiment of Imperial Guardsmen would have been found wanting, defending the interior districts with Bolter, Flamer and Melta blast.
Notable Sisters of Our Martyred Lady
- Palatine Ariel - Palatine Ariel led her Sisters through the Warp-Gate and into the fallen Jericho Reach at the behest of Cardinal Cal. However, shortly after arriving she had a dream. In it she saw flesh-masked daemons cavorting atop fallen statues of the Emperor. Beyond them, a beam of light illuminated a tall mountain covered in interlocking aquilas. Beneath the mountain, a foul black cloud swirled. Even as she watched, the daemonic hordes grew closer to the mountain, and she knew that if they were to discover the evil beneath it, the consequences would be catastrophic. When Ariel awoke, she was convinced the Emperor had revealed her real duty. Following their Palatine’s vision, her commandery braved the warp storms around Eleusis and found the mountain she had seen. No one knows precisely what the Order of Our Martyred Lady found on Mount Sifr, but they are singularly devoted to protecting it from the unfaithful. Ariel has sworn a vow to allow only the confirmed faithful of the God-Emperor to pass through the gates of the Lethean Abbey, though her vision has made her suspicious of all who seek entrance. Since the construction of the defences around Mount Sift, Palatine Ariel has allowed no one to cross the threshold into the Abbey, not even the Cardinal himself.
- Saint Katherine - Saint Katherine is the patron of the Order of Our Martyred Lady. Originally, she was the founder of the Order of the Fiery Heart. She was one of five companions of Alicia Dominica, the patron and founder of the Adepta Sororitas. Known as the Shield Bearer, Katherine was regarded as Alicia Dominica's second-in-command having been the bearer of Dominica's Praesidium Protectiva - a large shield said to contain a shard of the Emperor's own personal Power Armour, and said to be impervious against physical attacks. Katherine was well known for her fiery determination and vengeful spirit, ever leading her Sisters at the forefront of innumerable battles and leading the prosecution of numerous Wars of Faith against Heretics in the name of the Emperor of Mankind. She was the founder of the Order of the Fiery Heart. Her Sisters reflected her vengeful and fiery nature. Leading her Order for many decades, she was declared a Living Saint within her lifetime for performing legendary acts. Eventually, Katherine met her end at the hands of evil men, when she was murdered by the Witch-Cult of Mnestteus. So deeply did her Sisters mourn Katherine's loss that they renamed their Order the Order of Our Martyred Lady. Unknown to her fellow Sisters, sometime before her untimely death, Saint Katherine visited the world of Sanctus Lys in the Palatine Sector. Beneath an Imperial shrine, in a hidden crypt, she interred her golden Power Armour and her legendary sword, the Ardent Blade. These powerful artefacts were found centuries later and retrieved by another Living Saint, Saint Celestine.
- Miriael Sabathiel - Miriael Sabathiel was a former Sister-Superior of the Order of Our Martyred Lady and is the only acknowledged Battle-Sister to have willingly chosen to serve Chaos in the history of the Imperium of Man. Canoness Olga Karamanz tried to apprehend Miriael, proclaiming a desire to help her, but was murdered by Miriael for her troubles. Miriael now serves as a servant of the Pleasure God Slaanesh and is one of his finest and most prized Chaos Champions.
- Sister Piety - Born on the world of Jove's Descent, Sister Piety was an early convert to the Imperial Creed, and as a young girl (recently graduated from the Schola Progenium) served the Ecclesiarchy’s mission throughout her home system. The mission’s preacher took the pious girl under his wing and blessed her with a new, more befitting name. Eventually he sponsored her admission into the Convent Sanctorum, and Piety has proved a most devoted Daughter of the Emperor. Piety bears the heavy title of Ward Sentinel; see the description of Javar’s Watch for what this entails. Sister Piety’s duties have made her a shrewd and insightful woman. While her faith in the God-Emperor is unwavering and she trusts Palatine Ariel implicitly, the Ward Sentinel does not disdain the help of the Ecclesiarchy or the Inquisition as her Palatine does. In fact, Sister Piety has been in contact with Inquisitor Deschaine for several years—a fact that she has not shared with Palatine Ariel. In the course of her duties as Ward Sentinel, Sister Piety has permission to leave the Lethean Abbey and is encountered among the shrines of Vermillion's Grace far more frequently than any other member of the Adepta Sororitas.
- Ephrael Stern - Known as the "Thrice-Born" and the "Daemonifuge," Ephrael Stern had been promised by her parents before her birth to the Adepta Sororitas. She was raised on the planet Antigone's Harbour by the Saint Sabbat Schola Progenium. The Arch Drill-Abbot of the school submitted the young Ephrael for induction within the Sisterhood and was accepted by Sister Patricia from the Order of the Holy Seal. The Novice Stern excelled at her new monastic duties as a Battle-Sister-in-training. She eventually completed her training and along with 500 other Novices took her sacred Oaths of Adherence at the Ecclesiarchal Palace on Terra. Sister Stern was then chosen to become a member of the Order of Our Martyred Lady. Shortly after her induction into the Order, she was sent to the Ecclesiarchy Cardinal World of Ophelia VII. Whilst stationed there, her exemplary service record helped elevate her to the esteemed ranks of the Order Seraphim within record time. Only three years later she would be ordained as a Sister Superior. Sister Stern was eventually sent on a mission on behalf of the Order, to investigate a lost convent of Sisters of the Orders Pronatus on the world of Parnis. There, Stern and her Sisters discovered what had become of their fellow Sisters. A powerful Greater Daemon of Slaanesh, a Keeper of Secrets named Asteroth, had been freed from its bonds and destroyed the convent. He then took the ruined bodies of 700 Battle-Sisters and forged them, body and mind, into a terrifying construct of living flesh known as the Screaming Cage. Though the fallen Sisters were forced to share their torment and suffering, the daemon failed to take into account that they were also able to inadvertently share their faith as well. As the daemon sought to kill the remaining Sisters sent to investigate the convent, Ephrael Stern fell in battle. Seizing this one chance, the fallen Sisters within the Screaming Cage used their combined powers to bring her back to life -- filling her with the full might of their combined faith in the God-Emperor to combat the Forces of Chaos. Once returned to life, the resurrected Stern was told to flee as the fallen Sisters hid her presence from the daemon and its Chaotic servants. Stern's memory of these events was erased. She was the only one who managed to return to her Order on Ophelia VII, being the sole survivor of the expedition to Parnis, her sanity stretched to the limit. Her seemingly unnatural power made her the object of suspicion amongst members of her Order, with many of her Sisters viewing her as having been corrupted by the Ruinous Powers. Stern was placed within a holding cell for four years until her exact nature could be determined. At this time she was attacked by a Sister who was being controlled by a daemon of Slaanesh to silence her. But the enraged Ephrael managed to defeat her attacker with her bare hands. This set new events into motion. An Inquisitorial investigation, under the command of Inquisitor Silas Hand, was sent to the Order on Ophelia VII to investigate the sole survivor of the Parnis Expedition. Whilst at the Sanctorum, Stern underwent numerous trials to test her purity and her soul for corruption. Not found wanting during these trials, Sister Stern was declared uncorrupted and was reinstated within the ranks of her fellow Battle-Sisters, and granted her former position of Seraphim and rank of Sister Superior. Inquisitor Hand, not fully trusting Sister Stern, nevertheless took her with him to investigate the former convent on Parnis. During the investigation the fallen Sisters of the Screaming Cage finished their holy work -- pouring all of their remaining knowledge and power into Sister Stern to fight the corruption of Chaos. Inquisitor Hand sacrificed himself to defeat Asteroth and banish the daemon back to the Warp. Sister Stern went missing after this second expedition, once again being the sole survivor. Hunted by both the Imperium as well as the Forces of Chaos, Stern remains aloof from both. She even sacrificed herself, stabbing herself in the heart, to escape the foul machinations of the vile Chaos Sorcerer Ahriman of the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion. Resurrected once again by the power of the faith within her, Stern finally embraced her power and used it freely for the first time. She has even been able to use her newfound abilities to defeat a Culexus Assassin that had been sent to kill her by the Inquisition. Her current whereabouts remain unknown.
- Miriya - Miriya was a Celestian Elohim (equivalent to the rank of Sergeant) who was originally tasked with passing judgment upon a newly rediscovered world of Hollos, which had been lost for two millennia, due to being cut off by a Warp Storm. During initial investigation she uncovered that Hollos was once a research colony that studied Replicae technology (cloning), and that Replicaes were utilised as soldiers to defend their world from incursions by the Forces of Chaos during the time Hollos was cut off from the rest of the galaxy. But over time, the chemical processes within their bodies that gave them red coloured skin and made them subservient, dissipated, until they developed free will. They rebuilt Hollos to be a pacifist society, shunning their role as soldiers in which they had been designed and forced to fulfill. Initially, Miriya was going to turn over all Replicaes to the Adeptus Mechanicus, per Imperial decree, which stated Replicae did not hold citizenship, therefore they had no civil rights. But she also uncovered a plot by the human citizens of Hollos who wished to overthrow the Replicae. These revolutionaries proved to be a cult of Tzeentch, who ended up staging a revolt. Declining to utilise orbital bombardment that would see the death of millions, Miriya instead ordered the Adeptus Mechanicus representative to release the chemical agent within the Replicae's neural chemistry that would make the them subservient and denied of free will once more. Unfortunately this process would be irreversible. Once this process was completed, the Replicae were ordered to stop the revolt, and did so without hesitation, fighting alongside Miriya and her fellow Battle-Sisters. Following these events, Miriya would later be assigned to bring the psyker, Torris Vaun, to justice. When he escaped her custody and murdered one of her comrades, Lethe, and tortured another, Iona, Miriya pursued him to the world of Neva. There, she and her remaining comrades discovered a greater plot threatening the entire Empire, and ultimately saw Vaun and his compatriot, Viktor LaHayne, defeated. Through interrogation, they learned of an even greater plot -- that Vaun was actually a product of experimentation of psykers. Miriya, her assistant Verity, and Battle-Sisters Cassandra and Isabel later uncovered and destroyed this plot. However, due to the methods utilised by Miriya and the ordeal with Vaun, she was relived of and stripped of her position as a Celestine elite and reduced to the rank of a line Sister of Battle by Canoness Galatea. Following this event, she later accepted a post as part of a mission to reclaim the abandoned Adepta Sororitas fortress-convent on Sanctuary 101, which had the misfortune of being the first to have contact with the marauding Necrons, who subsequently massacred all the Battle-Sisters that were present. Her assistant Verity agreed to accompany Miriya to help reconsecrate the convent.
- Temperance Blaise - Temperance Blaise was the Canoness Superior in charge of all Adepta Sororitas forces on Vigilus during the War of Beasts. She was known to possess a fiery temper and was so roundly feared by the powers that be on Vigilus that she was given free rein by the entire ruling Aquilarian Council to prosecute the Vigilus campaign as she saw fit. Beneath her was a network of trusted Canonesses and Celestian Superiors she had named "the Sacred Thorns," each of whom was entrusted with the defence of the Ecclesiarchy's interests in a different hivesprawl. Temperance was so enraged by the assault upon her world by foul xenos scum that in the early days of the war she did much of the fighting herself. Only as it became clear that the conflict would not be won by the Imperium quickly and would drag on as a stalemate for quite some time did her wrath cool. She resumed her duties as war leader and began to coordinate very closely with the elements of the Adeptus Astartes that came to Vigilus.
The Order of Our Martyred Lady wore black Power Armour with black vestments that possessed red linings from the death of Saint Katherine until the end of the Third War for Armageddon in 998.M41. They currently wear black Power Armour and red vestments, with the red intended to honour the sacrifice of the Battle-Sisters who died on Armageddon. In the past their weaponry has also been painted a distinctive red.
The iconography of the Order is that of a red-coloured ankh, with a white skull placed in the centre of the ankh's circular head.
- Codex: Adepta Sororitas (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 15, 20, 139
- Codex: Necrons (3rd Edition), pp. 11, 22
- Codex: Sisters of Battle (2nd Edition), pp. 18-19, 35
- Codex: Witch Hunters (3rd Edition), pp. 6-7, 19, 43
- Dark Heresy: Blood of Martyrs (RPG), pp. 80, 85-86, 88
- Deathwatch: Rising Tempest (RPG), pp. 46-47, 56, 124-125
- White Dwarf Magazine 293 (UK), "Liber Sororitas - Matriarchs of the Sisterhood," by Andy Hoare, pg. 56
- White Dwarf Magazine 379 (UK), "Codex: Sisters of Battle (5th Edition), Parts 1 and 2"
- Daemonifuge (Graphic Novel)
- Faith and Fire (Ebook) by James Swallow
- Cain's Last Stand (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell:
- Tales from the Dark Millennium (Anthology) , "The Invitation" by Dan Abnett
- Third War for Armageddon Worldwide Campaign - Forces Disposition, Imperial Forces: Order of Our Martyred Lady
- Imperium Nihilus - Vigilus Defiant (8th Edition), pp. 94-95
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