The Sable Swords is a Loyalist Codex Astartes-compliant Space Marine Chapter of unknown origin and Founding said to have been created in the latter years of the 41st Millennium, making them one of the newest Space Marine Chapters to be raised.
There is some conflicting evidence on this in the Imperial records, with some references to the Chapter being created during the 4th Founding in the middle centuries of the 32nd Millennium, following the disastrous events of the War of the Beast. This was a campaign against the largest Ork WAAAGH! seen since the time of the Great Crusade, led by the mysterious Greenskin Warlord known only as The Beast.
The Sable Swords, alongside the newly-founded Halo Brethren and the venerable Imperial Fists Chapters, would later form a Space Marine retribution force to forcibly remove the mad tyrant Drakan Vangorich, the Grand Master of Assassins of the Officio Assassinorum and Lord Protector of the Imperium. Vangorich ruled the Imperium with an iron fist for nearly eight solar decades following the assassination of the entire Senatorum Imperialis, during the calamitous event known as The Beheading in 546.M32.
Following the disastrous campaign against the massive Ork WAAAGH! of the brutal Warlord known only as The Beast, the Imperium was left a shattered and brutalised realm. The Adeptus Astartes had sacrificed much in order to halt the advance of the massive Greenskin invasion force, and hundreds of Imperial worlds were left in ruin.
As the Imperium began the long process of rebuilding, so too, did the Adeptus Astartes begin to rebuild its sorely depleted ranks. The Sable Swords were supposedly created during the 4th Founding, alongside several other Chapters, to help bring order to an Imperium rife with civil discourse and insurrection, and to help restore Imperial law.
They would later take part in the campaign to remove Drakan Vangorich, the Grand Master of Assassins and Lord Protector, who had the entirety of the High Lords of Terra assassinated during the calamitous event known as "The Beheading". He then assumed power over the Senatorum Imperialis, and effectively the Imperium itself, for nearly a standard century. He was later forcibly removed by a Space Marine retribution force led by the Imperial Fists, with supporting forces from both the newly-created Sable Swords and Halo Brethren Chapters.
Later Imperial records in the 41st Millennium, however, indicate that the Sable Swords Chapter was also created following the valiant sacrifice of the entirety of the Astral Knights Chapter to stop the threat of a massive Necron World Engine on the outskirts of the Danorra System in 926.M41.
In the wake of the World Engine's destruction, the Astral Knights were struck from the roster of active Space Marine Chapters. The handful of Battle-Brothers who had not been present during the battle against the World Engine were too few to carry the burden of reconstitution. The Sable Swords Chapter was formed to fill the void and took up stewardship of the all-but abandoned fortress-monastery located on the world of Obsidia in the Ultima Segmentum.
It is not known from the records if this is one and the same Chapter, or two separate Chapters with the same name and heraldry created at two different points in Imperial history. Perhaps the early iteration of the Sable Swords was wiped out during some unrecorded calamitous event and reconstituted many millennia later. This is not an unheard of event, but until there is some kind of official confirmation, this discrepancy has yet to be reconciled.
- Fury of the Space Marines (626.M32) - In 546.M32, after the departure of Lord Commander of the Imperium Maximus Thane and his Imperial Fists Chapter, the internecine politics of the Imperium took a calamitous turn when the High Lords of Terra were slain to a man on the orders of Drakan Vangorich, the Grand Master of the Officio Assassinorum, and newly-instilled Lord Proctor. This lamentable period of history came to be known as The Beheading, which occurred in 546.M32. Though aware of the events that had occurred within the Senatorum Imperialis, Thane chose to temporarily ignore Vangorich's actions for the time being, and gave him a chance to rule the Imperium effectively, for once. At first, all was well, as the Imperium refortified itself and the 4th Founding successfully took place. But after nearly 80 standard years of rule, the Lord Protector had displayed troubling behaviour and paranoia. Seeing enemies everywhere, he called for unnecessary purges and massacres, which only seemed to grow in number on a daily basis. Receiving troubling reports from abroad, Maximus Thane decided that the Imperial Fists would return to Terra to remove the troublesome Vangorich. When the Crusade finally arrived back at Terra, four hundred Space Marines were dispatched to the capital world's surface. A company each from two of the newly founded Chapters, the Sable Swords and Halo Brethren, as well as two hundred Imperial Fists of the 1st, 4th and 5th Companies would take part in the efforts to remove Vangorich from power. The commander of the strike force, Qublicus Amar, lord of the Sable Swords, was assassinated by a Vindicare Assassin's bullet soon after making planetfall. Seeing no other choice, the remaining Space Marines commenced their attack nevertheless. Assailed by hundreds of Assassins, the Space Marines lost half their number securing the Imperial Palace from the agents of the Officio Assassinorum. Confronting the Inquisitorial Representative, the elderly Wienand, she convinced Maximus Thane of her loyalty, and gave the Chapter Master the necessary intelligence he needed in order to find and remove the mad tyrant Vangorich from power. The Grand Master of Assassins had taken refuge in the Eversor Temple at Terra's North Pole. Moving the retribution force there at once, the Space Marines proceeded with their attack. Within the Eversor Temple, the Space Marines were assailed by a hundred Eversor Assassins. Only Thane managed to survive, to reach the Grand Master and deliver the Emperor's judgement with his Bolt Pistol. In the aftermath of Vangorich's fall, the Imperium would proceed to descend into a period of anarchy for some time.
- Larical's Folly Campaign and the Defence of Obsidia (Unknown Date.M41) - While the bulk of the Chapter was engaged against the Aeldari Swordwind on the world of Larical's Folly, the Sable Sword's homeworld of Obsidia came under assault from the Twisted Convocation, a massive Chaos warband of mutants. The small group of Sable Swords left on Obsidia valiantly defended their homeworld, but were only saved from destruction by the heroic intervention of the Novamarines Chapter. For rendering aid, the Sable Swords swore a solemn oath of eternal debt, to one day repay the Novamarines when they needed aid.
- The Fall of Rogue's Spire (954.M41) - WAAAGH! Dethrekka descended upon the sparsely defended planet of Rogue's Spire. Only the courageous fighting retreat conducted by the Sable Swords Chapter allowed the Explorator and Adeptus Mechanicus research teams to escape the Greenskins.
- Cleansing of Eldritch (998.M41) - Three companies of the Sable Swords carried out an Exterminatus upon the world of Eldritch, which had been discovered to be a Necron Tomb World.
- Search for Noiran (998.M41) - The Sable Swords' Captain Noiran went missing at some time in the late 41st Millennium in a skirmish with Aeldari pirates in the Augran Nebula. All evidence pointed to his survival, and by 998.M41 Codicier Sundic was still searching for the missing officer.
- The Zeist Campaign (303.999.M41) - Though founded in the latter years of the 41st Millennium, the Sable Swords have swiftly proven themselves the equal of more established Space Marine Chapters with a series of decisive victories over the upstart Tau Empire. The Sable Swords heeded the call of the Ultramarines' Lord Macragge in the Eastern Fringes of the galaxy, and provided Tactical Squads to fight for the liberation of the Tau-occupied world of Augura (a staging point for the Tau forces during their Third Sphere Expansion campaign into Imperial space) during the Zeist Campaign in 999.M41.
Notable Sable Swords
- Chapter Master Qublicus Amar - Qublicus Amar was the Chapter Master of the Sable Swords in the mid-32nd Millennium and the commander of the Astartes strike force that removed the insane High Lord Drakan Vangorich from power. He was killed by a Vindicare Assassin's bullet soon after making planetfall on Terra.
- Captain Ethratan - Ethratan was the Captain of the Sable Swords' 2nd Company during the Beheading.
- Captain Daegan - Daegan is a Captain of the Sable Swords' 1st Company.
- Captain Noiran - Captain of the Sable Swords who went missing at some time in the late 41st Millennium in a skirmish with Aeldari pirates in the Augran Nebula in 998.M41. All evidence pointed to his survival.
- Apothecary Kaas - Apothecary of the Sable Swords.
- Company Champion Carden - Champion of the Sable Swords' 1st Company.
The white squad specialty symbol -- Tactical, Devastator, Assault or Veteran -- is located on the right shoulder plate. A black High Gothic numeral is stenciled in the centre of the squad specialty symbol, indicating squad number. The black Gothic numeral stenciled on the left knee guard indicates company number.
The Sable Swords' Chapter badge is a pair of white, crossed swords, the points of the swords pointing downwards, on a field of black.
The Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition) indicates the Sable Swords were founded in the 41st Millennium, but the Warhammer 40,000 5th Edition Rulebook states they participated in the hunt for Drakan Vangorich in the 32nd Millennium. Additionally, The Beheading by Guy Haley states that they were raised during the 4th Founding.
It is possible that there were two different Chapters named the Sable Swords at different times, though the conflict has not yet been resolved.
- Adeptus Astartes: Successor Chapters (Limited Release Booklet)
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 28, 30, 40, 44-45, 48-49
- How to Paint Space Marines
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pg. 118
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (5th Edition), pg. 124
- Obsidian (Short Story) by Graham McNeill
- The Beast Arises - The Beheading (Book 12) by Guy Haley, Ch. 16