"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 was 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.
Like all of Humanity, the Order of the Ebon Chalice has been faced with untold horrors since the Great Rift opened at the start of the Era Indomitus. Alongside their allies of old -- the Adeptus Custodes, Space Marines and Adeptus Mechanicus -- the spiritual descendants of Dominica fight to keep the unleashed forces of Chaos from overwhelming the Segmentum Solar.
The sisters have eradicated several warbands of Chaos Space Marines, most notably the Blades of the Despoiler -- a Khornate host of the Black Legion whose path of slaughter was headed directly for Terra. Yet the Ebon Chalice has also taken heavy losses.
Though the Schola Progenium proffers a constant stream of new recruits, only the most promising are accepted into the order, and of those only a small percentage prove themselves in the gruelling initiation rites to become Battle-Sisters.
This has left the sisters of the Ebon Chalice straining against the sheer weight of the heretical incursions -- but they are far from broken. Each is an expert in the ancient forms of battle established by the Daughters of the Emperor, a warrior who has mastered both their weaponry and their faith.
Those who prove themselves worthy enough to rise to the rank of Celestian or Zephyrim are amongst the most skilled veterans in the entire Adepta Sororitas. The most honoured of these sisters are even entrusted with a portion of the hallowed truth learnt by their Matriarch in the chamber of the Golden Throne.
"Darkness has descended upon us, but the light of the Emperor still burns bright. We shall not falter, in our duty or in our faith, and the enemies of the Ecclesiarchy shall be consumed by our fury. We are the spiritual descendants of Dominica, and we shall fight to the last."
- — Canoness El'sayem, Order of the Ebon Chalice
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 Matriarchs asserted itself.
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.
Under the guidance of their Matriarch, the Ebon Chalice quickly established itself as the exemplar against which all other orders would be measured. Dominica herself served as the military and spiritual head of the Adepta Sororitas. The sisters of the order displayed spiritual and martial discipline that was second to none, with their fortitude in battle matched only by the depth of their faith.
In their training and on the field of war they cleaved unerringly to the doctrines laid out by the Daughters of the Emperor, with the only adaptations being those that incorporated the use of modern Imperial weaponry and armour.
A desire to emulate the perfection of Alicia Dominica burned in the heart of every sister of the Ebon Chalice. Dominica repeatedly showed herself to be the God-Emperor's most worthy champion, displaying her strength, constancy and tactical acumen across myriad war zones.
While other orders battled the faithless in the distant reaches of the Imperium, the sisters of the Ebon Chalice dedicated themselves to safeguarding the sanctity of Terra and the Segmentum Solar. Planet by planet, system by system, the order expanded their parish, rooting out cults buried deep in the bowels of Hive Worlds and eradicating mutant conclaves that were infesting barren moons and isolated outposts.
Shrine Worlds that had long ago fallen to xenos invasions were besieged by waves of chanting warriors. Wherever the servants of Chaos were found they were met with damning oaths and cleansing flames. As they brought more territories under their care, the sisters of the Ebon Chalice were able to expose scores of planetary governors and Astra Militarum officers whose practices did not conform to the exact letter of the Imperial Creed.
Preachers and Confessors were called upon to make examples of the unrighteous, and where such efforts to enforce true faith were met with resistance, the sisters of the Ebon Chalice marched forth to purge the impure. No sinner was safe under the exacting gaze of Dominica's order.
After several centuries of faithful service to the Emperor and her order, Alicia Dominica was martyred, falling in combat during the Scouring of Frideswide's World. Not since the passing of Sebastian Thor had the bell tower of the Ecclesiarchal Palace tolled so dolefully.
Her martyrdom left a gaping void in the organisation of the Adepta Sororitas, for none amongst the ranks considered themselves worthy to follow in her hallowed footsteps. Eventually, Sister Palmiro -- a Dialogus of the Order of the Holy Word -- was chosen by her peers as the most suitable to take over from the fallen Matriarch and become Abbess of the Adepta Sororitas.
Palmiro accepted, but not before solemnly expressing that she could never hope to equal her predecessor's faith, vision or fortitude.
It was this humility that made Palmiro the obvious choice, for to serve the Sororitas, the Ecclesiarchy and the Emperor in Dominica's stead was regarded not as a mark of honour, but as the undertaking of a grave and thankless responsibility.
- Fall of Belatis IV (143-151.M41) - Faced with planetary death at the hands of Abaddon the Despoiler 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 Balthalamus 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 impossible 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 Chapters arrives, the Battle-Sisters have begun a determined counterattack 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. 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 Adepta Sororitas.
- Battle of the Penitent (938.M41) - The Order of the Ebon Chalice and the Order of the Valorous Heart suffered great losses against Warboss Blackaxe's Ork hordes. They were eventually pushed back to the walls of the Cathedral of Saint Dufaux. The attackers were held back only due to the determination and sacrifice of hundreds of Sisters Repentia. They bought enough time for the Battle-Sisters to open the vast cathedral gates, and the greenskins were slaughtered shortly after by two dozen Penitent Engines.
- 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 Chaos 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 Chaos 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.
- Keepers of the Faith (Unknown Date.M41) - Dialogi of the Order of the Lexicon are called to the refinery world of Vangore's Folly to study a cache of ancient texts discovered deep within the planet's crust. While the sisters engage in their research, the Vangorian promethium barons begin speculating that the texts may constitute an account of the Emperor written during the Great Crusade. After more than a solar decade, the Dialogi report their findings to the Ecclesiarchy. Shortly after, a preceptory of the Order of the Ebon Chalice appears at Vangore's Folly and destroys all four of the planet's spaceports. Through orbital macro-laud hailers, Canoness Intolerance speaks a prayer of passing for the promethium barons and their serfs. She then enacts Exterminatus by releasing auto-combustion pathogens into the atmosphere.
- 13th Black Crusade (999.M41) - The Order of the Ebon Chalice contributed four 4 preceptories to the defence of the Imperium from Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade.
- Indomitus Crusade (Unknown Date.M42) - Roboute Guilliman, the newly instated Lord Commander of the Imperium, launches the Indomitus Crusade to save Humanity from total annihilation. Through this grand campaign he is able to reinforce the embattled Adeptus Astartes Chapters, bolstering them with Primaris Space Marines. The Order of the Ebon Chalice is instrumental in the crusade's opening manoeuvres, fighting alongside Guilliman's forces to save the most strategically vital planets in the Segmentum Solar. Other orders lend their might on many of the crusade's multiple war fronts.
- Road of Martyrs (Unknown Date.M42) - The Road of Martyrs was an early battle of the Indomitus Crusade. The campaign was launched by the crusade's Fleet Tertius, which was spearheaded by Sisters of Battle forces from the Order of the Ebon Chalice and the Order of Our Martyred Lady towards the Eye of Terror in the Segmentum Obscurus. Their dangerous assignment was to rollback Chaos advances in the region that became known as the "Road of Martyrs."
- War of Beasts (001.M42-025.M42) - The sisters of the Order of the Ebon Chalice took part in the defence of the Hive World of Vigilus in the Imperium Nihilus to protect that strategic planet at one end of the Nachmund Gauintlet from assaults by xenos and Chaos forces. Vigilus must be defended if the Imperium is to maintain the only known clear passage through the Great Rift from the Imperium Sanctus.
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 Ecclesiarch 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.
- Canoness Preceptor Persphone Sheng - Sheng served as a member of the senior command staff of Fleet Primus' Battle Group Haephestus during the Indomitus Crusade and led a full perceptory of the order during that conflict.
Relics of the Order of the Ebon Chalice
- Annunciation of the Creed - The traditionalists of the Order of the Ebon Chalice eagerly grasp any opportunity to apply the undeniable letter of the Imperial Creed. Upon the craven heretic who shirks his sentence, or the witch hiding behind her puppets, this sacred condemnor boltgun announces their deviancy in unavoidable utterances of destructive justice.
- Blade of Admonition - This blessed power sword is the very blade carried into battle by Alicia Dominica -- the founding saint of the Adepta Sororitas -- and was famously used to cut the head from the traitor Goge Vandire and bring an end to the Reign of Blood. Saint Dominica wielded this blade in the decades following the reformation of the Ecclesiarchy, and a thousand more false prophets and heretics were slain upon its razor edge before Alicia’s eventual martyrdom.
- Grail of Ages - During the order's early Wars of Faith, Alicia Dominica carried the Grail of Ages with her to war -- the goblet of black stone that was created to be the embodiment of the Matriarch's spiritual communion with the Emperor. Little is known about the Grail and the power it held. Few accounts exist of this relic's holy energy being unleashed on the battlefield, and the details they provide range between the miraculous and the heretical. Awed Ecclesiarchal scribes wrote that when Dominica poured out the vessel's contents, the God-Emperor's voice boomed, and with a single word shattered whole armies. Well-guarded records of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica show instances in which every psyker on a planet spontaneously burst into flames when the Matriarch of the Ebon Chalice carried the Grail into battle. It is believed that there are tales of the Grail of Ages within the eldritch tomes of the Black Library, and possibly even in the writhing pages of the Book of Magnus. As for the sisters of the Ebon Chalice, they do not speak of its powers, but have always professed that the relic symbolises their sacred duty and eternal burden -- that they are the bearers of the secrets learnt by Dominica before the Golden Throne, and are the vessels of the God-Emperor's holy truth. This goes some way to explaining why the order has ever sought to destroy any texts concerning the Grail, and have immolated their scribes as Heretics.
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 military training -- have remained largely unchanged for four thousand standard years.
The Battle-Sisters of this order wear black Power Armour covered by white vestments. The vestments have red piping and are also lined in red.
The weapons of the Ebon Chalice are also often painted a deep red.
The symbol of Dominica's order is the skull-filled and flaming Ebon Chalice, a representation of the terrible knowledge imparted to Alicia Dominica when she was brought before the Golden Throne.
Few are aware of the significance of this symbol in Sororitas art.
- Codex: Adepta Sororitas (8th Edition), pp. 24-25, 38-39, 108-110
- 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 293 (UK), "Liber Sororitas - The Matriarchs of the Sisterhood," by Andy Hoare, pg. 56
- White Dwarf 35 (July 2019), "Indomitus Crusade Fleets," pg. 45
|Adepta Sororitas Orders Militant|
|Orders Majoris||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|
|Orders Minoris||Order of the Black Sepulchre • Order of the Blue Robe • Order of the Crimson Oath • Order of the Bleeding Heart • Order of the Fiery Tear • Order of the Glowing Chalice • Order of the Thorn • Order of the Iron Veil • Order of the Ashen Shrine • Order of the Wounded Heart • Order of the Golden Light|