"We may be few, and our enemies many. Yet so long as there remains one of us still fighting, one who still rages in the name of justice and truth, then by the Allfather, the galaxy shall yet know hope."
Ragnar Blackmane is a Space Marine officer of the Space Wolves Chapter and the youngest Wolf Lord to lead one of the 12 Great Companies of that Chapter in the history of the Sons of Leman Russ. Blackmane's Great Company, "the Blackmanes," frequently has the honour of leading the Space Wolves' planetary assaults, a role at which Ragnar and his warriors excel, for his Packs are the undisputed masters of the Drop Pod assaults known as the "Claws of Russ."
Blackmane is the only Space Wolf to become a Wolf Lord without first becoming a Grey Hunter. Blackmane is the current Chapter Champion and bearer of the revered artefact known as the Wolf Helm of Russ, which he presented to Ulrik the Slayer as a sign of respect.
Blackmane prevented an invasion by the Forces of Chaos and the return of the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion to the Shrine World of Garm, a planet sacred to the Space Wolves because it was the home of the Shrine of Garm's Skull, by casting the sacred Spear of Russ into a Warp Gate, an action which for a time earned him the bitter enmity of his fellow Battle-Brothers before his later actions earned eventual redemption.
Ragnar is an incredibly powerful warrior; surpassed only by the Great Wolf Logan Grimnar and the Space Wolves' most powerful Rune Priest, Njal Stormcaller, in the Space Wolves Chapter. Ragnar Blackmane is exceptional in every sense of the word. He possesses unusually keen senses and a preternatural sixth sense for knowing when things are amiss. The youngest ever Battle-Brother to have been promoted to the exalted rank of Wolf Lord, Ragnar exudes confidence, skill and athletic ability from every fibre of his whipcord-fast body.
It is said that he is always the first to make planetfall during an invasion and the last to leave the battlefield, and to witness one of his berserk rages is to watch the fury of a storm come to life. Many believe that he will eventually succeed Logan Grimnar as the Chapter's Great Wolf, but the eldest of the Wolf Priests know that he will have to master his anger first. For though Ragnar's temper and capacity for raw hatred gives him great power and strength, it makes him impetuous, a trait which may yet prove to be his downfall.
Ragnar was born on Fenris, the homeworld of the Space Wolves Chapter. He was born to the nomadic tribe called the Thunderfists in the far reaches of Fenris. His personal saga says he has always been touched by glory. As a child he ran with young tribal warriors twice his age, and even as a youth his famous battle frenzies saw him reap a frightening tally of the rival tribes' menfolk.
His audacity and fierce spirit made Ragnar perfect for induction into the ranks of the Adeptus Astartes. His chance to join the "Sky Warriors" came when his tribe was attacked by a rival Fenrisian tribe, the Grimskulls. During the attack, Ragnar and Strybjorn (a member of the Grimskulls) were silently observed by the Space Wolves Wolf Priest Ranek Icewalker.
Both Ragnar and Strybjorn were mortally wounded in a duel that earned them a place as Space Wolves Aspirants. This rivalry would continue for the rest of their lives, although by the time they both became Blood Claws, they had come to respect and even like one another. Ragnar's clan was destroyed that night and Ragnar lost the first love of his life. Later her image and memory would be used to attempt to turn Ragnar to the service of Chaos.
After the battle, the two were taken to the Russvik training camp, and later the Space Wolves' fortress-monastery, The Fang, for training and their eventual transformation into Astartes Neophytes. After he received the gene-seed organ implantation and the painful transformation it wrought upon his body, Ragnar was dropped a long distance away from The Fang in the Vanaheim Mountains, and ordered to make his way back to the fortress-monastery or die trying.
It was during these punishing trials that every Space Wolves Aspirant must undertake that Ragnar's resourcefulness and skill came to the fore. As he roamed alone through the wilderness, Ragnar was hunted in turn by a giant Fenrisian Wolf, one of the much-feared Blackmaned Wolves, as dark and terrible as any night-daemon. Though it was many times his size, Ragnar managed to slay the wolf-beast with his bare hands. Though naked and burning with exhaustion, Ragnar subsequently hauled its carcass through the snowdrifts to The Fang.
This great deed was seen by the Wolf Priests as a good omen. From that day forward, Ragnar took the Blackmane as his totem and namesake, forever cementing his place in the legends of the Sky Warriors. Ragnar took the Blackmane Wolf's pelt to use as a cloak and would continue to wear it well into his days as a Wolfblade, and later during his time as a Wolf Lord. Such is his animal charisma he is often accompanied to war by two hulking Fenrisian Wolves -- Svangir and Ulfgir -- that lope in his wake, just as the legendary wolves Freki and Geri once followed Leman Russ himself.
At this time, he also befriended Sven, another fellow Space Wolf Aspirant who had passed the trial of the Blooding. Their friendship would continue throughout their days within the Chapter. Later in his career, Ragnar would also end up unintentionally slaying one of his friends, who had succumbed to the Curse of the Wulfen.
Chaos on Fenris
Very soon after their transformation into Astartes, Ragnar's Pack was sent to investigate the disappearance of a missing Pack of Blood Claws on Fenris. They investigated a cave in the mountains, and discovered a shrine dedicated to the worship of Chaos. Soon afterwards, they were attacked by a group of Thousand Sons Chaos Space Marines led by Madox, a Chaos Sorcerer. The majority of the Pack and their Sergeant were killed by the Chaos Space Marines, with only Ragnar, Strybjorn, Sven and two others escaping.
Ragnar commanded the survivors to establish communications with the rest of the Chapter in order to alert them to the existence of the Chaos shrine and the presence of the Thousand Sons warband, while he stayed behind to help Strybjorn, who had been injured. Before Ragnar and Strybjorn could escape, however, Madox confronted them.
Ragnar duelled the Chaos Sorcerer with Strybjorn's help, and managed to defeat him. Both Astartes believed the sorcerer dead. The duo then escaped the cave, and the rest of the Space Wolves destroyed the heretical shrine.
Thunderfist Great Company
Winning great renown, Ragnar was inducted into the Great Company of Berek Thunderfist, a renowned warrior specifically chosen to mentor the up and coming Blood Claw. Ragnar's first mission occurred when his Blood Claw Pack was tasked to assist a pair of Inquisitors, Ivan Sternberg and Karah Isaan, a psyker, and the first woman since his transformation into an Astartes that Ragnar had developed romantic feelings for, an experience which he thought extremely "un-Wolflike".
The Inquisitors had come to Fenris to request the aid of the Space Wolves in reclaiming the three pieces of the Talisman of Lykos, an ancient Aeldari amulet, in order to save a dying Imperial planet, Aerius. The planet was suffering from a deadly plague, and Sternberg suspected that the Black Pyramid, a famous structure present on the world, which was once the site of a battle of the Space Wolves, the Imperial Guard and the Inquisition against the Aeldari, could save the people of Aerius. One piece of the Talisman was kept in the treasure rooms of The Fang, one was to be found on the planet Galt, and the third was lost in the Warp on a derelict Space Hulk.
Along with the survivors of his Pack, and Sergeant Hakon, who had been the training sergeant for the Neophytes at Russvik, Ragnar travelled into space for the first time. When they arrived at the planet Galt, they found that an Ork horde had invaded the system and the Ork Warlord in command was in possession of the needed piece of the Talisman.
Ragnar and his companions infiltrated the Ork horde, and battled against the Warlord to reclaim the piece of the Talisman. One of Ragnar's Pack, Lars, was killed by the massive Ork leader, but they managed to recover the piece of the Talisman and escape from the world.
After this, Inquisitor Isaan used her psychic abilities to discover that the last piece of the Talisman was aboard a Space Hulk near the dead sun of Korealis. Ragnar and the Inquisitor successfully recovered the final piece of the Talisman after battling the myriad dangers aboard the Hulk. When they travelled to Aerius to reunite and use the Talisman, they found nearly the whole planet had already been infected by the plague.
An Aeldari hologram warned them off as they entered the Black Pyramid, but the Space Wolves and the Inquisitors ignored it. They were shocked to find a Great Unclean One of Nurgle, a Greater Daemon named Botchulaz, inside, who had been controlling the Planetary Governor Sternberg's troops. Sternberg and one of Ragnar's Pack, Nils, fell battling the powerful daemon, and Karah Isaan sacrificed herself to seal the Pyramid, trapping the Great Unclean One within.
All of the recognition Ragnar received for this deed was lost, however, upon the planet Garm, the site of one of the holiest of all the Space Wolves' Chapter shrines. Indeed, the world had taken its name from Garm, mightiest of the First, one of the Wolf Lords who had risen in the service of the Primarch Leman Russ himself during the early days of the VI Legion.
The cairn marked the spot where he fell in battle with Magnus the Red, the Primarch of the Thousand Sons, during the battle that had freed the planet from the domination of the Traitor Marines. It had been a desperate moment, when Russ stumbled and the evil one had stood triumphant over him.
Garm had snatched up Russ's spear and launched himself to his Primarch's defence. Using Russ' mighty weapon he had wounded the Chaos Primarch, a feat considered near impossible for a mortal man, even the transhuman Astartes. The furious Magnus had burned him down on the spot with evil sorcery, but the hero's death had given Russ time to recover, and drive off the lord of the Thousand Sons.
The cairn had been raised by Russ himself with his own hands, in tribute to the first and greatest of his followers. The Primarch caused a jet of cold blue flame to mark the spot, and laid his enchanted spear on the cairn, asking his old friend's spirit to watch over the weapon until he returned to claim it. It was a place where one could still sense the presence of the Primarch on certain wild stormy nights. It was also a place that had once been sacred to the Thousand Sons, and the two rival Legions had fought many a battle over it in the days after the Horus Heresy. Never had it been allowed to remain in the hands of the Heretic Astartes.
As for the Spear of Russ, it had been forged for the man-god by the folk of Garm, the greatest artificers of the factory worlds that were common in Garm's sector. They had taken the fact that Russ himself had laid it in the shrine as a pledge of friendship with his people, and they had protected it ever since -- with the aid of a contingent of Space Wolves permanently stationed at the shrine.
By the late 41st Millennium, the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion once again assailed the Shrine World of Garm. Led by the foul Thousand Sons Chaos Sorcerer Madox, a Chaos Cult uprising on a planetary scale provided the necessary cover for the sorcerer to steal the sacred Spear of Russ. But the Space Wolves were determined that no slave of Chaos would be allowed to sully the shrine. The holy site had to be cleansed with fire and blood. The Spear of Russ must be waiting for the Space Wolves' lord on his return if the prophesies of the Final Days were to be fulfilled.
Soon the greater portion of the Space Wolves Chapter was deployed to Garm (11 Great Companies) to help quell the massive uprisings. One of these Great Companies was under the command of the Wolf Lord Berek Thunderfist. During a climatic battle between the Chaos Sorcerer and Ragnar Blackmane, the young Space Wolf hurled the sacred Spear of Russ into an open Warp portal to prevent the summoned Daemon Primarch Magnus the Red from entering realspace and turning the tide of battle.
Though even the Space Wolves' Great Wolf Logan Grimnar believed that Ragnar's actions had saved the Chapter from a potential disaster, many Space Wolves believed Ragnar had dishonoured himself and his fellow Battle-Brothers by losing one of the Space Wolves' greatest relics.
Berek Thunderfist wanted to have Ragnar made a Grey Hunter at the same time as his fellow Pack-mates Brother Sven and Brother Strybjorn, but Ragnar might have destroyed one of the Chapter's most sacred relics, an act which some of the elder Wolf Brothers in the Chapter's priesthood considered quite blasphemous. Though it had not been Ragnar's intention to lose the relic, intention mattered not.
The Spear of Russ was a most precious and sacred thing. It was created for Leman Russ, Lord of Lords, Wolf of Wolves. It was said to contain a part of his power. It was also prophesied that Russ would claim it to smite the Great Evil One in the last days of the Wolf Time. Ragnar felt a deep-rooted sense of shame take him. He had thought he had been a hero saving the world of Garm. Instead he had committed an act of blasphemy and sacrilege.
Though Berek Thunderfist agreed with young Blackmane's actions, there were those within the Chapter who saw discrediting the young Blood Claw as a means of discrediting his commanding Wolf Lord. This meant that Thunderfist's Great Company would go from being the one which saved the world of Garm well-nigh single-handed to being the one which lost their Chapter's most precious relic.
These Wolf Brothers pushed for punishment and exile. Some of the more devout brethren wished to see the blood eagle carved in Ragnar's back. If such a punishment was deemed fair by the Great Wolf, Ragnar would face his destiny like a true Son of Russ.
As "punishment," Ragnar was sent to Terra in exile by the Great Wolf Logan Grimnar to serve in the Wolfblade, an ancient Honour Guard comprised of Astartes from the Space Wolves Chapter who protect the Navigators' House Belisarius on Terra, in accordance with an ancient pact forged at the time of the Great Crusade over ten millennia ago. Grimnar informed the young Space Wolf warrior that though he agreed with his actions, he could not let them go unpunished.
Therefore, he was sending Ragnar to the Wolfblade, not only as punishment, but to protect him from potential attempts on his life by those Space Wolf Battle-Brothers angry over his actions on Garm. While on Terra, Ragnar was instrumental in foiling a plot of vicious racists within the Navigators' Houses themselves.
Shortly afterwards, Ragnar and his fellow Wolfblades found themselves embroiled in a Dark Angels plot to capture and kill one of the elusive Fallen Angels. Captain Jeremiah Gieyus led an elite Deathwing Kill-team that had long pursued and now prepared to capture one of the Fallen Angels known as Cadmus. This plot was secretly orchestrated by the Thousand Sons Chaos Sorcerer Madox, who intended to stir up old animosities that burned within and between both Chapters dating back to the time of the Great Crusade.
Soon, the Dark Angels' Battle Barge assaulted the planet of Hyades, which was under the protection of the Space Wolves. Ragnar found himself and his companions in the midst of a great battle between the Dark Angels and the Space Wolves, led by the Wolf Lord Berek Thunderfist, who was passing through on a routine patrol of the star systems that lay under the protection of the Space Wolves. The natural distrust of the Space Wolves and the Dark Angels, which had been passed down since the days of the Great Crusade and the bad blood between their respective Primarchs, caused the two sides to assault one another.
Discovering Madox's involvement, eventually the two Chapters set aside their differences and went after the errant Cadmus. They tracked down the Traitor before he could make good his escape and succeeded in capturing the Heretic. With a newfound mutual respect for each other, Ragnar withdrew his forces and let the Dark Angels conclude their Chapter business in privacy.
Captain Gieyus then executed Cadmus. The two groups of Space Marines also worked together to defeat an approaching Chaos warfleet, although Berek's warship was more damaged than the Dark Angels', as they had retreated to repair while the Space Wolves battled the Thousand Sons warband under the command of Madox.
With the aid of his fellow Wolfblades, Ragnar later managed to also recover the Spear of Russ on the Daemon World of Charys with the aid of the Space Wolves' long-lost 13th Great Company. This act redeemed Ragnar in the eyes of his Battle-Brothers and he was reinstated as a member of Berek Thunderfist's Great Company after he returned from his time as a Wolfblade.
"Sons of Fenris! Now is the hour of blood! Now is the time to fight! By the end of this day, every warrior among you will have a new verse to add to your sagas! In the name of Russ and the Allfather, kill them all!"
- — Ragnar Blackmane
The next chapter of Ragnar's saga tells of Blackmane's elevation from the ranks of the Blood Claws directly to membership in his Great Company's Veteran Wolf Guard without first spending time as a Grey Hunter. This unique honour was given to Ragnar after he single-handedly slew the Ork Warlord Borzag Khan in close combat and subsequently dispatched the Warlord's entire retinue of Nobz one after the other.
Ragnar did not rest upon his laurels, however. He quickly proved himself a gifted leader of men as well as a talented warrior. When his Wolf Lord Berek Thunderfist met his end on the blade of the daemon-tainted axe of a Chaos Champion, it was Ragnar who led the bloody hunt for his master's killer, and eventually slew him in vengeance. For this deed, Ragnar was elevated to the rank of Wolf Lord and took command of Thunderfist's Great Company, making it his own. They quickly adopted the new moniker of the "Blackmanes."
As such, Ragnar became the youngest Space Wolf to ever become a Wolf Lord in the Space Wolves' history. Though Ragnar excels as the lord of his own Great Company, Ragnar has proved that his greatest skill lies in the execution of orbital drops and planetstrikes.
The Great Wolf Logan Grimnar regularly chooses Ragnar's Great Company to spearhead planetary invasions and, with an unrivalled success rate under his belt, Ragnar's deeds have spread across the galaxy. Ragnar was pivotal in gathering the newly returned Wulfen back to Fenris, and played a major role in halting the Dark Angels' assault upon the Space Wolves' homeworld and the wider Fenris System. Considering his young age, the Blackmane may yet go on to become the greatest Wolf Lord in history.
Hunt for the Wulfen
When the Wulfen of the 13th Great Company openly returned to the Imperium in the final days of the 41st Millennium to rescue the Space Wolves of Harald Deathwolf in the Battle of Nurades, they were immediately sent to Fenris to await judgement. Standing before Logan Grimnar himself, Ulrik the Slayer proclaimed that the return of the Wulfen was an omen that Leman Russ' return was imminent.
A fierce debate over the future of the Chapter and what to do with the Wulfen erupted. Ultimately, Ragnar Blackmane proclaimed that the Wulfen must be gathered and brought to Fenris before they were found by the Inquisition or other Imperial authorities. Thus the Great Companies of the Space Wolves set off to gather the Wulfen, which were now being spotted near Warp Storms, in the hopes they could lead them to the Space Wolves' lost Primarch.
During the Hunt for the Wulfen, Blackmane fell upon the world of Dragos, battling through daemon-haunted jungles to recover their former 13th Great Company brethren. After rescuing the Wulfen, Blackmane rescued Adeptus Mechanicus personnel who had also been stranded on the planet
The Deeds of Ragnar Blackmane
- Magdelon Incursion (712.M41) - The Magdelon Incursion began in 712.M41, when a warband of the Bleak Brotherhood made a compact with a daemon to secure its aid for their coming wars. The daemon's price however, was the destruction of the Crystal City on the Imperium world of Magdelon, a price the Bleak Brotherhood readily agreed to pay. When the Heretic Astartes attacked the Crystal City though, the warband attracted the attention of the Space Wolves Chapter and the two sides soon clashed admidst the city's shattered crystalline ruins. Disaster struck when their battle was so pleasing to the denizens of the Warp that a major daemonic incursion on Magdelon was triggered. Despite the daemons' sudden appearance, Ragnar Blackmane led the Space Wolves to victory against the forces of Chaos, and the survivors of the Bleak Brotherhood fled to the world of Lycanthos Secundus. There the Chaos Space Marines seized the mighty bastion known as the Widowmaker and held out against repeated assaults by Imperial forces for three solar decades. This warband's end finally came when they fell to an attack from the Astral Claws Chapter in 780.M41.
- The Choosing (941.M41) - During an especially bloody Fenrisian summer, the Thunderfist tribe are ambushed by the Grimskull tribe in the wake of a victory feast. Flying into a berserk rage, the young Ragnar Thunderfist -- something of a prodigal child amongst his tribe -- butchers a great swathe of the attacking warriors. Though he eventually succumbs to his wounds, Ragnar's efforts draw the attention of the Wolf Priests. Ragnar's barely living body is unceremoniously dragged from beneath a mound of the dead, and he is taken to join the Sky Warriors.
- Morkai's Due (942.M41) - During his Trial of Morkai, the young Ragnar finds himself the prey of a great Fenrisian Blackmaned Wolf. Rather than succumb, Ragnar successfully battles and slays the beast, hauling its carcass back to The Fang in victory. With this heroic deed, Ragnar Blackmane is born.
- Blackmane's Fury (949.M41) - While en route to the Angelsfall warzone, the Space Wolf Strike Cruiser Stormdrake is boarded by Dark Eldar pirates. Ragnar's Pack of Blood Claws are amongst the warriors who charge through the warship's corridors to repel the boarders. After Ragnar's Wolf Guard Pack Leader is felled with a virulent neurotoxin, Blackmane sees red and leads a maddened charge into the enemy guns. Though several of his packmates are slain amid a storm of crystalline splinters, the xenos are overrun before they can sabotage the Stormdrake's primary generatorum.
- The Price of Victory (952.M41) - Ragnar Blackmane's Pack are among those chosen to launch a punitive assault on the world of Henloth. Here, rebel factions have staged an uprising in the name of the Ruinous Powers. The situation swiftly escalates as the influence of Tzeentchian Daemons is revealed. As the Space Wolves struggle to prevent a full-scale daemonic incursion, Ragnar Blackmane is forced to strike off the head of Rune Priest Bulvai Runemakke, whose erratic decisions have led to one disaster after another. Ragnar's instincts are born out as a glamour fades to reveal a Thousand Sons Chaos Sorcerer lying slain by Blackmane's hand. Yet many claim that Ragnar's behaviour was dangerously impulsive, for he had no proof beyond his own convictions that the venerable Space Wolf psyker had been somehow compromised by the foe. Some amongst the Chapter take to calling the impetuous Blood Claw "Ragnar Packslayer", and his reputation is left badly tarnished.
- Destiny Reclaimed (970.M41) - The Bladestar Cluster is overrun by the Ork hordes of a Blood Axes Warboss calling himself Borzag Khan. Fresh from a bloody, system-wide war against elements of the White Scars Chapter, this cunning Greenskin has learned much about hit-and-run warfare. His fast-moving, hard-hitting warbands wreak havoc through the Cluster until the arrival of Berek Thunderfist's Great Company. In a series of bloody skirmishes, the Fenrisians curtail the Ork advance and eventually corner Borzag Khan himself on the Antillian Plateaux. Here, amid the blood and thunder of battle, the frenzied Blackmane single-handedly hacks apart Borzag's bodyguards before slaying the Blood Axe Warboss in a crunchingly violent duel. Their leader slain, the remaining Orks are easy prey for the Space Wolves, the war drawing to a close just solar days later. Ragnar is lauded for his heroic part in the victory, the stain on his honour erased with an unprecedented promotion straight from Blood Claw to the ranks of Lord Berek's Wolf Guard.
- Thunderfist's Bane (983.M41) - During fierce fighting against Khornate Traitor Space Marines on the Forge World of Bhakhar, Ragnar is consumed by battle rage and plunges into the fray. He is thus far from Lord Berek's side when the Wolf Lord is slain by the Khornate Chaos Champion, Ghorox Bloodfist. Blaming himself for Berek's death, Blackmane vows to find vengeance or death.
- An Oath Fulfilled (983.M41) - Ragnar Blackmane finally runs Ghorox Bloodfist to ground on the Shrine World of Perfidium. Their ensuing duel is long and violent. It ends with Ragnar hurling Bloodfist's broken body from the Templum Incarnadus to smash a crater in the pearlescent cobbles three thousand feet below. Having avenged his slain lord, Blackmane is elected by his Battle-Brothers as the new master of Thunderfist’s Great Company. This announcement amazes all, the new Wolf Lord included.
- Years of Blood (984-998.M41) - With the Imperium beset on all sides by terrible foes, Ragnar Blackmane proves himself a capable Wolf Lord in numerous bloody wars. Blackmane's Great Company specialise in crushing orbital assaults, and though Ragnar's elders express concern at the young World Lord's ferocious temper, they cannot fault the results. Yet matters are to come to a head on the bloody fields of Alaric Prime, where his wrath may yet prove to be his downfall.
Though the warriors of Ragnar Blackmane show as much disregard for the Codex Astartes as any other Space Wolves Great Company, they still adhere to the general heraldic code adopted by the Space Wolves.
As is typical of their kin, they bear their Pack marking on the right shoulder plate and the Great Company marking of their Wolf Lord upon the left. The following is the order of battle of The Claws of Russ as of the Battle for Alaric Prime in ca. 998.M41:
The Wolf Lords rule from the heart of the Space Wolves Chapter, each leading a Great Company comprising a mighty host of the most lethal warriors Fenris can breed. They epitomise what it is to be one of the Sons of Russ, and each carries the mark of greatness in his own fashion. When a Wolf Lord dies, his body is burned at sea or sent into the heart of a nearby sun in a great funeral rite, and his successor is elected by his Wolf Guard.
To be selected in this way, to have one's name etched into the Wolfstone under that of Leman Russ himself, is an honour beyond measure. Every command a Wolf Lord gives is obeyed without question; though he has walked the path of the warrior, he commands with the authority of a king.
A Great Company will thrive or dwindle as a direct consequence of its Wolf Lord's decisions, so the fate of his brothers now lies in his hands. Wolf Lords are more than just commanders -- they are the alpha wolves, the mightiest of warriors, and where they lead, the Space Wolves follow.
- Wolf Lord Ragnar Blackmane
The Wolf Guard are an elite band of seasoned warriors comprising the mightiest champions of each Great Company. Heroes all, every member of the Wolf Guard is personally handpicked by their Wolf Lord to be one of his trusted huscarls. It is his deeds that mark a Wolf Guard rather than his age, so there are hot-blooded young warriors as well as sturdy Veterans amongst their ranks.
Each has fought hard to earn his place, for only those that consistently prove their heroism through acts of valour and skill are deemed worthy to join such hallowed company. In battle, they form their Wolf Lord's sharpest blade; bearing their choice of specialist wargear, they lead the Great Company's battle line or seize vital targets in strength.
- Olvec the Wise - Wolf Guard Battle Leader
- The Blackpelts, Ragnar's Wolf Guard - Tor Wolfheart, Alrydd the Bard, Uller Greylock, Hrolf Longspear and Svengril the Younger
Ragnar's Blood Claws
From his earliest years as a Blood Claw, Ragnar Blackmane earned a fearsome reputation for his unrestrained ferocity in battle. Since his elevation to the exalted position of Wolf Lord, the gifted young warrior has lost none of the savage, berserker fury that earned him such renown and contributed to his meteoric rise to leadership of his Great Company. Indeed, Ragnar can be found leading Packs of fiery young Blood Claws into battle as often as his trusted Wolf Guard, for he revels in their desire to take the fight to the enemy.
Though replete with his Grey Hunters, Wolf Guard and Long Fangs, Ragnar Blackmane's Great Company has ever been famous for the exploits of its Blood Claws. Despite the unprecedented speed of his climb through the ranks, Ragnar himself is still comparatively young and hot-headed, engendering a sense of kinship with the Blood Claws under his command.
It is for this reason more than any other that his Great Company always throngs with Packs of wild-eyed Blood Claws looking to earn glory beneath the Young Wolf's banner. In the heat of battle, when surrounded by so many eager and aggressive warriors, it is easy for Ragnar to give in to his murderlust and forget his wider responsibilities. His dauntless courage and warrior spirit are his greatest strengths, but also his greatest weaknesses.
- Asgeir's Allslayers - 10 Blood Claws
- Einar's Glorywolves - 10 Blood Claws
- Merec's Bane - 10 Blood Claws
- Hostor's Spears - 10 Blood Claws
- Maegar's Pack - 10 Blood Claws
The most headstrong troublemakers from each Blood Claw Pack are often "rewarded" by reassignment to a Skyclaw Assault Pack. There they are entrusted with a Jump Pack so that they might better indulge their desire to plunge headlong into battle. The promotion to Skyclaw is seen as a dubious honour at best by more mature brethren, yet such disapproval only serves to make the Skyclaws more determined to prove themselves in the eyes of their elders.
The Skyclaws soar fearlessly through the skies in great leaps, landing with stone-splintering force in the foe's midst. With their fangs gnashing, Chainswords roaring and their Bolt Pistols slaying those beyond the reach of their blades, the Skyclaws rejoice in seeing the enemy crumble under the reckless fury of their assault.
- The Thunderfists - 10 Skyclaws
- Dreskor's Skybolts - 10 Skyclaws
- The Twice-Proven - 10 Skyclaws
Swiftclaw Biker Packs are formed when the Space Wolves Chapter needs a fast, mobile strike force that can plunge like a spear into a vital part of the enemy army, and the battle-hungry temperament of the Blood Claws is perfectly suited to the role. Because of their acute senses, a fully equipped Swiftclaw Biker Pack can track its quarry across hostile terrain for solar months on end if necessary, sniffing out the foes' fear-laced sweat on the breeze.
Like the Fenrisian Wolves that accompany the hunt, Swiftclaw Packs have near-endless stamina and would rather die than give up the chase. When they finally find their quarry, a Swiftclaw Biker Pack will release its pent-up aggression in an especially brutal display of destruction. After all, nothing whets the appetite for a violent kill better than several solar weeks spent bringing the foe to bay.
- Ornolf's Giantslayers - 5 Swiftclaws
Grey Hunters Packs
The Grey Hunters form the fighting heart of each Great Company, and it is from amongst their number that future heroes will rise. Though they are as hungry for honour as their younger brethren, their raw aggression has been tempered by hard-won experience. Every Space Wolf knows that finely-honed cunning is a better weapon than the keenest blade, and the Grey Hunters exemplify this trait.
Only when a Blood Claw Pack has emerged victorious from the fiercest of battles do the company's Wolf Guard consider them worthy. Even then, each warrior must prove himself as a fully-fledged Grey Hunter by tracking one of the grey wolves of Fenris and killing it with his bare hands before the new status is awarded.
- Graegor's Battleborn - 10 Grey Hunters
- Thierwulf Bloodhanded's Pack - 10 Grey Hunters
- Soergar's Swordkin - 10 Grey Hunters
- Dolfen Wyrdbane's Pack - 9 Grey Hunters
- Graehar Slyaxe's Pack - 9 Grey Hunters
- Raegrec's Blades - 8 Grey Hunters
In most Chapters, new Space Marines are initiated into the Scout Company and only once they have proven themselves do they become fully-fledged Astartes. Not so the Wolf Scouts, who are usually taken from the seasoned ranks of the Grey Hunters.
Packs of Wolf Scouts are expected to operate far in advance of their fellows, sniffing out the forces of the foe, slinking into fortified positions and picking off isolated elements of the enemy army. Such covert operations suit the Wolf Scouts perfectly, for they revel in the freedom to wage war their way –- namely that of the silent hunter.
Many a foe has underestimated the Space Wolves, expecting a frontal assault when all the while their escape routes and supply lines are being cut off by the silent blades of the Wolf Scouts.
- Drekka's Nightblades - 10 Wolf Scouts
- Olovec's Deadeyes - 10 Wolf Scouts
Some Space Wolves are indomitable enough to endure centuries of active service in the name of the Allfather. Their individual sagas are long and filled with bloody deeds, and each has earned wisdom and insight from innumerable battlefields. These Packs of Veteran Space Wolves are known as Long Fangs.
Their temperament is unyielding, their aim unshakable. The discipline and determination of these venerable warriors is legend, and they are entrusted with supporting their brethren in battle by utilising the heaviest weaponry found within the armouries of The Fang. The Long Fangs say that they know the soul of every weapon in the armouries of the Iron Priests, and will take every opportunity to prove it in battle.
- Wyvald's Wyrmblades - 6 Long Fangs
- Sunprowler's Whitebeards - 6 Long Fangs
- Ashenbeard's Wise Few - 5 Long Fangs
Despite all of their skill and valour, the Space Wolves do not always emerge victorious. It is not uncommon for Packs to suffer losses with every new campaign, and even the most inexperienced youth understands that this is the natural order of things; a process that sorts the truly exceptional from those who are merely strong. Every Pack slowly diminishes in size as the centuries of war take their inevitable toll on their fighting strength, though they continue to fight as Grey Hunters and later Long Fangs in their reduced capacity.
Sometimes, though, a Pack suffers such terrible losses that it is reduced to a single survivor; one who has lost his brothers to a man. One who has no Pack. One with nothing left to him but to seek bloody vengeance on those who claimed the lives of his kinsmen -- a Lone Wolf. Over the bodies of his fallen packmates, should they remain, a Lone Wolf will swear a great oath of vengeance, painstakingly etching the names of his kin upon his blade, or even into his flesh. Thus does he honour their memory and keep his hatred for the enemy burning bright.
- Thorfin Doomseeker - Lone Wolf
- Skolgrim of the Blackbrow - Lone Wolf
- Korvoc of the Red Mist - Lone Wolf
Gift of Blackmane
Like most Space Wolves, Ragnar only had contempt for an Astartes Chapter like the Blood Ravens which relied so heavily on psychic powers in combat like their ancient enemies the Thousand Sons. Ragnar refused the gift, remarking, "Let them keep their trinkets."
Ragnar Blackmane and his Great Company bear the potent totem of the Blackmane. Blackmaned Fenrisian Wolves are usually only seen in the dead of winter when packs descend from the mountains into the lands of the Fenrisians to feed, leaving little more than scraps of bloody bones in their wake.
They are famously intractable -- the Fenrisians refer to the act of attempting an impossible task as "taming the Blackmane." In the myths of the Fenrisian tribes, the Blackmanes serve in the afterlife as the minions of the Deathwolf Morkai, the two-headed guardian of the Gates of Death. Legend has it that one who crosses into the afterlife with a Blackmane at his side will never truly die.
According to the ancient legends of Fenris, Leman Russ fought and tamed the great wolf packs of the Fenrisian continent of Asaheim. He cast down the two-headed wolf Morkai, and made him the guardian of the gates of death, a task which Morkai has endured ever since.
There are many stories of how Russ fought Morkai's lieutenants, and banished each in turn to an appointed place. The most fearsome of all was Blackmane, a terrifying black-maned giant known as the "Howler in the Night," whose long howling cry calls the souls of dead warriors from their graves.
Russ fought Blackmane and slew him, making his pelt into a magic cloak that allowed him to pass into the realm of the dead. The spirit of Blackmane still calls to the dead, but can no longer summon them into the world of the living.
- Power Armour
- Belt of Russ - Each Great Company possesses a single Belt of Russ. These were crafted by the Master Iron Priest Stef Blacksoul following Leman Russ' disappearance and are said to have been based on the mighty belt the Primarch himself wore.
- Bolt Pistol
- Frostfang - Ragnar wields the powerful relic Frost Blade Frostfang in battle that was given to him by Lady Juliana Belisarius, the Celestarch of the Space Wolves' allied noble house of Navigators, House Belisarius. This relic Frost Blade was crafted centuries ago by the Master Iron Priest Fergus Forgrim, its chainsaw teeth fashioned from a rare metal whose secret died with its maker.
- Melta Bombs
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
- Blackmaned Wolf Cloak - Ragnar took his name form the Blackmaned wolf he slew as part of his Trial of Morkai. This deed won him great honour and promised future success.
- Wolftooth Necklace - A Wolftooth Necklace is an Honour Badge unique to the Space Wolves Chapter. Created from the teeth of Fenrisian Wolves, a Wolf Tooth Necklace is reputed to grant the wearer strength and ferocity in combat like that of the wolf it was taken from. Whether or not there is any true power in such tokens (like those talismans crafted by the Rune Priests) the effects on a Space Wolves Battle-Brother cannot be denied. Such necklaces are awarded as prizes in the tests of martial strength held in The Fang.
- Wolf Tail Talisman - Space Wolves are highly superstitious and carry a collection of talismans which they feel will somehow protect them in battle. A Wolf Tail Talisman is a charm crafted from the tail of a Fenrisian Wolf that is known to provide its bearer with resistance to attacks by enemy psykers.
In the Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition) Ragnar Blackmane is said to have been trained by the venerable Wolf Priest Ulrik the Slayer. However, in the Space Wolves novels Ragnar's mentor is said to be the Wolf Priest Ranek Icewalker.
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Space Wolves (8th Edition), pg. 31
- Codex: Space Wolves (7th Edition), pp. 42-43, 54-59, 68, 105-107
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pp. 17, 55, 67, 80, 82
- Codex: Space Wolves (3rd Edition), pg. 28
- Codex: Space Wolves (2nd Edition), pp. 34, 63, 72-75
- Warhammer 40,000 - Sanctus Reach: Hour of the Wolf (Campaign Supplement), pp. 12-13, 15, 22, 27-29, 45, 48, 51-54, 59, 63, 80, 96, 116, 119, 122, 165-166
- Space Wolf (Novel) by William King (2003)
- Wolfblade (Novel) by William King (2003)
- Grey Hunter (Novel) by William King (2004)
- Ragnar's Claw (Novel) by William King (2004)
- Sons of Fenris (Novel) by Lee Lightner (2007)
- Wolf's Honour (Novel) by Lee Lightner (2008)
- Imperial Armour Volume Thirteen - War Machines of the Lost and the Damned, pg. 24
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Second Edition, pg. 20
- War Zone Fenris - Curse of the Wulfen (7th Edition), Ch. 1
- Dawn of War II (PC Game)