- "I come now before you not as a Sister of the Sororitas, nor as one of the faithful, nor even as your judge. I come as an emissary of He who sits on the Golden Throne and I bring you His word: you have sinned and you shall pay for your sins."
- — Sister Famulous Esme to the Heretic Cardinal Galt
The Orders Famulous is one of the non-militant Order of the Adepta Sororitas whose responsibility is to serve amongst the households of the Imperium's noble families acting as consuls and chamberlains. They are responsible for brokering alliances, deals and marriages between the various nobility as well as utilising their formidable skills of diplomacy to ensure the peace between rival households.
The non-militant Orders Famulous of the Adepta Sororitas serve amongst the households of the highest of the Imperium of Man's nobility, acting as chamberlains, counsellors and consuls. They broker inter-house alliances, trade deals, and marriages, and their hand is ever at work amongst the highest echelons of Imperial power. The Sisters Famulous are skilled diplomats, able to reconcile the most bitter of rivals, but their true mission is often performed entirely behind the scenes. Where the Sisters Famulous have worked over the last several millennia, tithes have been maintained or increased, trade has improved, and in general the population has fared better than on other worlds. With such clear evidence of the benefits that they bring, the Sisters Famulous are in high demand amongst noble families throughout the Imperium.
Novice Sisters who display strong communication skills and a distinct ability to stay calm under pressure are often drafted into the Orders Famulous. Unlike most other Orders in the Sisterhood, Sororitas in this non-militant role are trained in critical thinking, etiquette, and the economics of interstellar trade and commerce in addition to their focus on devotional studies and service. As they learn, they are sent to noble houses and trade consortiums to help guide the nobility. From the nobility's point of view, the Sister's role is to help their house. For the Sisterhood, however, their efforts are intended to influence a noble's decisions so that his work will help the greater Imperium as well as advance his house's selfish interests.
Greatly concerned with the spiritual and genetic purity of the human race, through their arranging of alliances and marriages, Sisters Famulous are able to take a direct hand in the fate of humanity -- for those they counsel wield the power of whole worlds and control the fates of billions. The servants of the Orders Famulous do not openly discuss this element of their work, even with other members of the Sisterhood, but many do appear to have extensive contact with members of the Inquisition, especially the Ordo Hereticus. Within the ranks of that order, the Sisters Famulous seem to maintain the most extensive contacts with those who subscribe to the doctrines of the Thorian sect of the Inquisition.
The Sisters Famulous keep extensive records of the bloodlines and mercantile dealings of virtually every noble family within their assigned sector. Combined with the records of the Orders Hospitaller and the Orders Dialogous, Sisters Famulous have access to an extensive history of the noble families in their area of the galaxy. Their knowledge makes them very valuable to Ordo Hereticus Inquisitors, particularly the Thorians, as tracing the bloodlines of well-known Heretics has often uncovered leads on much larger conspiracies.
Much of the work of these Sisters also involves tracking the manifestations of saints, and they often become involved in the arcane process of determining whether or not an individual is to be beatified. They are also deeply involved in investigations surrounding the appearance of so-called Living Saints. Perhaps due to their connection with the Thorians and their manipulation of noble bloodlines, they have on several occasions predicted and prepared for the arrival of a Living Saint long before she was even born.
Like their fellow non-militant Orders, the Orders Famulous are divided between the Convent Sanctorum on Ophelia VII, which includes the Order of the Key and the Order of the Gate, and the Convent Prioris on Terra, which includes the Order of the Holy Seal and the Order of the Sacred Coin.
Becoming a Sister Famulous
To be a Sister Famulous is to be exposed to the licentious ways of the Imperial nobility. Though the Sisters rarely step outside of their official duties, they still find it difficult to avoid noticing the depravity that often serves as entertainment amongst the upper social echelons. They know that they have been deemed strong enough to withstand the pressures of this duty and have studied how to help those in need of their services. Unlike other Orders, they are likely to ask questions and listen first before smiting the unbeliever immediately. They typically wear the armoured robes of the non-militant Orders, though these are often tailored to reflect local clothing styles as befitting their station and duty.
Famulous in the Calixis Sector
- "Of course, my dear, I bow to your greater knowledge of the particular inclinations of your charge, but I wonder at your naiveté in expressing the view that these will affect our programme in the slightest. Margrave Honorious de Caul will marry the Lady Elissiabetta von Draag, and they will bear children who will serve our divine calling. Their own views are immaterial. There is no more to be said on the matter."
- —Coded correspondence between Sisters of the Order Famulous, Calixis Sector 766.M40
Every noble in the Calixis Sector has servants, advisors, sisters, or sages to guide his decisions. Lesser nobles may hire scholars or sages, but the elite trust their business dealings to no one else other than sisters of the Orders Famulous. Canoness Goneril has offered the services of her Order to every major noble family in the sector as well as many other lesser nobles and mercantile houses. Very few have refused their services when offered, as it is a sign of future prosperity. One notable exception is the recent decline in numbers at the Lucid Palace. Within the last thirty years, the number of advisors from the Sisterhood serving Sector Governor Marius Hax and his immediate subordinates has dropped by a third. While her sisters have always been politely refused, Goneril has found the emerging trend very disturbing.
What is not commonly known is that the Orders Famulous serve the Imperium in another way. They keep extensive records of the bloodlines and mercantile dealings of virtually every noble family in the Calixis sector. Combined with the records of the Orders Hospitaller and Dialogous, Sisters Famulous have access to an exhaustive history of the noble families in this area of space. Their knowledge has made them very valuable to Ordo Hereticus Inquisitors, particularly those of a Thorian persuasion, as tracing the bloodlines of well-known heretics has often uncovered leads on much larger conspiracies.
While the Sisters Famulous try to stay above the machinations of the political arenas, they have been occasionally known to mediate disputes and moderate councils. Legatine Christal, from the Abbey of the Dawn, is often away from her Iocanthos fortress and has been spotted in recent years re-establishing a mission on Malfi and arranging a marriage between Friedrich Krin of House Krin and Josi Cestelle of the Cestelle Alliance on Scintilla. It is rumoured that the Legatine even officiated at the actual ceremony and blessed the union on behalf of the Order.
- Order of the Gate
- Order of the Holy Seal
- Order of the Key
- Order Sabine
- Order of the Sacred Coin
- Order of the Veiled Mantle
- Shield Robes - When not clad in their well-known power armour, the Adepta Sororitas will often wear their armoured robes. These are consecrated mesh robes designed for both devotional study and martial training. Traditionally worn by the Orders Non-militant in their support roles and by novitiates as they are being instructed in the ways of the Sisterhood, they act as secondary clothing for a Battle Sister while their power armour is being maintained or when they return to their Convent. Eschewing regular clothing, the robes and the power armour are typically all a Battle Sister will wear. Shield Robes are not limited to the Adepta Sororitas. Clerics who find themselves in combat or who bring faith and fire to the enemies will also wear them. Often these robes are stylized and detailed with images from the lives of Saints or with iconography meaningful to a single cult.
- Chaplet-Ecclesiasticus - With each bead on the string representative of an act of penance performed by a Sister, the Chaplet Ecclesiasticus is often worn around the neck or waist depending on its length and preference of the wearer. In some cases each bead represents ten or even more acts of penance going as high as a thousand acts per bead. The Chaplet is combat ready, each bead made of adamantium.
- Ring of Suffrage - Designed to cause minor discomfort when twisted, a Ring of Suffrage is utilised as a form of corporal mortification, to remind the individual of the burdens they bear as a citizen of the Imperium, as well as the trials and tribulations endured by the Saints and the God-Emperor Himself.
- Scoriada - A flail used for self-mortification.
- Stub Revolver with Two Reloads
- Dark Heresy: Blood of Martyrs (RPG), pp. 77, 94-95
- The Inquisition (Background Book), pg. 65
- Sons of the Hydra (Novel) by Rob Sanders