"We are beset by many terrible foes in these dark times, but we walk in the light of the Emperor, and we shall not let a single foe stay us from our duty. We are the Sisters of the great Ecclesiarchy, and we will fight to the bitter end."
- — Canoness Palmiro, Order of the Ebon Chalice
The Order of the Ebon Chalice is one of the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas, or the Sisters of Battle, founded in honour of Saint Alicia Dominica by the Ecclesiarch Alexis XXII in the 36th Millennium when the Convent Sanctorum was split between the Convents on Ophelia VII and Terra, founding the Orders of the Ebon Chalice, the Valorous Heart, the Fiery Heart and the Argent Shroud.
The Order of the Ebon Chalice is the oldest of the Orders Militant, founded at the birth of the Adepta Sororitas by Saint Alicia Dominica. The Order was created at the decree of Ecclesiarch Alexis XXII (the long-lived successor of the great reformer, Sebastian Thor) in the 38th Millennium when the Convent Prioris was split between the Convents on Ophelia VII and Terra into two separate Orders Militant.
Both of these Convents are massive fortresses housing tens of thousands of Sisters of many different Orders. The Convent Prioris was divided between the Order of the Ebon Chalice, whose founder was Dominica, and the Order of the Argent Shroud, led by Silvana.
The Convent Sanctorum was separated into the Order of the Fiery Heart, led by Katherine, and the Order of the Valorous Heart, led by Lucia. Though all these Orders of Battle-Sisters could trace their origins back to the original teachings of the Daughters of the Emperor, a small degree of variance in terms of organisation and combat doctrine began to manifest as the outlook and persona of the founding leaders asserted itself.
By the late 36th Millennium, the Adepta Sororitas had become synonymous with the power of the Ecclesiarchy, implementing its dogma and prosecuting its wars across the galaxy. The Orders Militant spread, establishing subsidiary convents on key worlds across the Imperium. Dominica, Katherine, Silvana and Lucia, all of whom had been declared Living Saints in their own lifetimes, performed legendary acts and led their Orders in countless, bloody victories. But such legends seldom end happily, and first Dominica, then Silvana and Lucia were martyred at the hands of Chaos worshippers and barbaric aliens.
- Fall of Belatis IV (143-151.M41) - Faced with the planetary death at the hands of Abaddon the Despoiler's Planet Killer warship, the Imperium is forced to abandon the world of Belatis IV. Even as key units and assets are withdrawn, cultists hiding amongst the population rise up against the servants of the Emperor, sparking a widespread and desperate struggle for liberation. The Battle-Sisters of the Order of the Ebon Chalice comport themselves with skill, courage and honour, successfully evacuating numerous key Ecclesiarchy officials and recovering several irreplaceable relics before departing upon the last transport to leave Belatis IV.
- Magdellan Prime Civil War (143-151.M41) - When the followers of the Cult of Balthalmus plunge Magdellan Prime into anarchy and bloodshed, the Battle Sisters of the Order of the Ebon Chalice bear the brunt of the fighting. The order's Preceptory Reclusium is repeatedly targeted by the maddened hordes, but holds out against seemingly possible odds until relief eventually arrives. By the time a relief force consisting of Space Marines of the Fire Angels, Sons of the Kraken and Red Seraphs arrives, the Battle Sisters have begun a determined counter-attack and victory is ultimately won.
- The Bloodtide Martyrs (876.M41) - Chaos comes to the Basilica of St. Mariel on the world of Van Horne in the shape of the Bloodthirster known as the Lord of the Bloodtide. The first to oppose the daemon's ravening legions are the Battle-Sisters of the Order of the Ebon Chalice, but soon after battle is joined, all contact is lost with the Adepta Sororitas. The daemons are eventually vanquished with the arrival of the 4th Brotherhood of the Grey Knights Chapter. Upon the Space Marines' victory, contact with the Imperium is re-established and it is discovered that every Battle-Sister on the planet has been killed. The slain are officially elevated into the ranks of honoured martyrs in the eyes of the Sisterhood.
- The Promethean War (980.M41) - The Order of the Ebon Chalice reinforced the Space Marines of the Salamanders Chapter who were engaged in a brutal urban war against the dread Chaos Space Marines of the Black Legion on the world of Heletine in 980.M41. The enemy was put to the torch as dozens of Immolators and Land Raider Redeemers burned a path through that world's war-torn cities. Despite the strength of their forces, the advance was halted when Lord Gralastyx - the Daemon Prince leading the Forces of Chaos -- unleashed a legion of Possessed Chaos Space Marines. As the frenzied Chaotic horde ripped through the ranks of the Imperial forces, the Battle-Sisters and Space Marines fought back-to-back, their Bolters and Flamers blazing away as every warrior endeavoured to sell their life dearly in the Emperor's cause. However, the allied forces were saved when Saint Celestine appeared, falling upon the Chaotic forces like an avenging angel. The Living Saint carved a path through the horde towards Lord Gralastyx, before plunging her blade through his black heart. With the death of Gralastyx, the Forces of Chaos on the world were destroyed, but of Celestine there was no sign, for she vanished as mysteriously as she had appeared.
Notable Sisters of the Ebon Chalice
- Saint Alicia Dominica - The Patron Saint of the Sisterhood, Bearer of the Grail of Ages, and Founder of the Order of the Ebon Chalice, Alicia Dominica is revered throughout the Imperium as both the founder and patron saint of the Adepta Sororitas. In the 36th Millennium, she ended High Lord Goge Vandire's Age of Apostasy after condemning him for his crimes against the Emperor and beheading him with her Power Sword. Shortly after, under the instruction of the newly appointed reforming Ecclisiarch Sebastian Thor, Dominica established the Sisterhood -- the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas, with the Sisters later divided between the Convents on Terra and Ophelia VII. She herself became the first Canoness of the Order of the Ebon Chalice. In 650.M36, Alicia Dominica fell at the Battle of Frideswide's World, surviving hundreds of blows but falling to a single Traitor's lasgun blast to her heart. She was declared an Imperial Saint by the Ecclesiarchy soon after.
- Palatine Rhiannon - Palatine Rhiannon was the Sister Superior put in charge of a small task force or Mission composed of fifty Battle-Sisters of the Ebon Chalice sent from the Convent Prioris on Terra to the far-off Calixis Sector of the Segmentum Obscurus. The Mission's destination was the lawless world of Iocanthos. The Mission's reason for its deployment to Iocanthos remains mysterious and was initially considered a slight on the Canoness General of the Ebon Chalice already within the Sector, bringing with it many unanswered questions. Only the influence of the Ordo Hereticus has managed to smooth things over between the two factions of the Ebon Chalice now present.
- Seraphim Aescarion - Seraphim Aescarion was the sister who witnessed the fall to Chaos of Sergeant Castus of the Ultramarines 2nd Company. She made it her life's mission to bring this Heretic to justice. She prevailed after many standard decades and returned the Chaos Champion of Nurgle to the fold of the Imperium. She gave him a chance at redemption by sacrificing himself in the service of the Emperor. Castus carried an Exterminatus-grade weapon within his own body which he used to purify the world of Saafir of the Lord of Plagues' taint and send the Daemon Prince Parmenides howling back into the Warp.
The vestments of the Order of the Ebon Chalice are based on the original garments worn by the Daughters of the Emperor and their combat doctrines -– based on equal parts religious devotion and training -– have remained largely unchanged for four thousand standard years. The Battle-Sisters of this Order wear black-coloured Power Armour covered by white vestments. The vestments have red piping and are also lined in red. The weapons of the Battle-Sisters of the Ebon Chalice are also often painted a deep red in colour.
The symbol of Dominica's Order is the skull-filled and flaming Ebon Chalice, a representation of the terrible knowledge imparted to Dominica when she was brought before the Golden Throne. Few are aware of the significance of this symbol in Sororitas art.
- Codex: Adepta Sororitas (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 13-14, 18, 20, 144
- Codex: Sisters of Battle (2nd Edition), pp. 19, 35
- Codex: Witch Hunters (3rd Edition), pg. 6
- Dark Heresy: Blood of Martyrs (RPG), pg. 78
- Imperial Armour Volume Two, Second Edition - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pg. 19
- "Daemonblood" by Ben Counter in Dark Imperium (Anthology) edited by Marc Gascoigne and Andy Jones
- The Inquisition (Background Book), pg. 65
- White Dwarf Magazine 293 (UK), "Liber Sororitas - The Matriarchs of the Sisterhood," by Andy Hoare, pg. 56
|Order of the Argent Shroud • Order of the Bloody Rose • Order of the Ebon Chalice • Order of Our Martyred Lady • Order of the Sacred Rose • Order of the Valorous Heart • Order of the Black Sepulchre • Order of the Blue Robe|