Sammael is the current and 348th Grand Master of the Ravenwing and Leader of the Hunt, the Captain of the elite 2nd Company of the Dark Angels Chapter of Space Marines who leads that Chapter's hunt for the Fallen Angels. As a senior member of the Dark Angels' Inner Circle, he fully understands the dangers that the Fallen present to the Chapter and its honour. The Leader of the Hunt and his warriors are at the forefront of the physical search for the Traitors that turned from the Lion, and the current incumbent, Sammael, epitomises the dynamism and élan required for the role.
Sammael is bold to the point of being reckless -- a trait required in order to head a mobile company whose success depends upon speed and hard-hitting surprise. Despite his well-noted audacity, Sammael's reign at the head of the company has already been unusually long and successful. Although masterful at orchestrating distracting manoeuvres and feints, if given a chance, Sammael much prefers to take matters into his own hands. From the saddle of Corvex, his Jetbike, a relic from the bygone Age of Technology, Grand Master Sammael cuts down any foolish enough to face him. In battle he wields the razor-honed Raven Sword, an heirloom that has served all Ravenwing Grand Masters before him. The blade -- one of three forged from a meteorite that struck The Rock long ago -- has a razor-sharp edge that never dulls. When swung, it makes a low keening sound that few foes hear and live to tell of.
Although the Ravenwing are known across the galaxy as the most elite mobile strike force in the Imperium, none but Grand Master Sammael and his trusted Ravenwing Black Knights know the full details of their company's true purpose. Sammael's task is to seek out and capture the Fallen, all the while ensuring that the majority of his black-clad hunters never learn too much about the nature of their quarry. It is a task that has grown much harder since the opening of the Great Rift, for never before has the Ravenwing had so many Fallen hunts in so short a space of time. While over two dozen have been captured, Sammael dwells endlessly upon the ones that got away, and seeks revenge upon the one named Marbas, the Daemon Prince who unknown even to the Grand Master, was responsible for the escape of the Arch-Traitor Luther from his imprisonment deep within The Rock.
Whilst serving in the Assault Squads of the 8th Reserve Company, Sammael quickly earned the admiration of his fellow Space Marines with his forthright tactical acumen and insatiable drive. Having only fought as a fully-fledged Battle-Brother for a handful of years, Sammael was bent on earning respect, and promotion to the Dark Angels' Battle Companies, as quickly as possible. Sammael was always the first to volunteer for additional duties and spent every moment when he was not in combat or on vigil honing his skills in the battle-halls of The Rock. Adeptus Astartes implants and training had boosted an already considerable natural talent and made him a fearsome bladesman. Sammael frequently placed high in the ritualised duels and tournaments that occur amongst the Dark Angels, building a comradely rivalry with Grand Master Belial, whom he has never been able to best. His insights on the battlefield were as incisive as his sword blows, garnering him the rank of Sergeant in only his fifth standard year as a full Battle-Brother.
Always adhering to orders from his Company Master and paying due respect to the chain of command, Sammael nevertheless had an instinct for positioning his squad at the forefront of any assault or counter-attack. Wherever an Assault Squad was needed to punch through a foe's weak point or respond to an enemy breakthrough, Sammael and his warriors were always the unit closest to hand for the mission. Such gifts do not go unnoticed, and the previous Master of the Ravenwing, Gideon, personally selected Sammael for observation. Gideon conducted the rites of preparation himself, and was pleased to find that Sammael was capable of handling the secrets of the Hunt as well as he handled his Chainsword.
In Blackest Sable
The youngest Dark Angel ever to be inducted into the Ravenwing, Sammael was treated as something of a talisman by his squadron-brothers. His natural flair for attack and mobile defence took him to the position of Sergeant in swift years once again, and Sammael's easy camaraderie ensured that there were none that served with him who begrudged the promotion. On Scarcis, Valindor IV, Neophastus and Pelaggian, against the Ork horde of Grishgor the Underfiend and the Renegade warbands of the Scabrell Cluster, Sammael's exploits continued to gain him renown amongst his Battle-Brothers. On Kaphon Betis, when Sammael was still a Sergeant in the Ravenwing, the future Grand Master first heard the name Cypher. Kaphon Betis had been subject to repeated assaults by Eldar pirates, and these had provided cover for Cypher and his band to destabilise the rule of the Imperial Commander.
Grand Master Gideon regretted deeply that the Dark Angels had been so close to catching their arch-foe. The Fallen had still been in-system when the Ravenwing arrived alongside warriors from the 3rd Company and the Deathwing, though the Dark Angels did not know at the time that their elusive quarry was still nearby. By the time the Dark Angels drove off the Eldar attacks, Cypher had slipped away once more. Sammael took several prisoners from pro-xenos cults and overheard their discussions of "Lord Cypher," learning that this mysterious individual had been the mastermind behind much of the upheaval. Faced with Sammael's questions, Grand Master Gideon chose to take Sammael into his confidence, inducting him unofficially into the Inner Circle of the Chapter; an induction that was formally ratified when they returned to The Rock. When Sammael and his squadron were instrumental in the capture of the Fallen known as Ecanus, during the Lustanstadt Uprisings, Grand Master Gideon again singled out the warrior for especial praise and elevated him to the ranks of the Black Knights.
Chaos at Kapua
When word reached the Tower of Angels of a Chaos-tainted uprising in the Kapua System, the Ravenwing was despatched to ascertain whether there was any Fallen involvement; the Chapter's bitter outcasts are accused of fomenting many such rebellions. The 2nd Company arrived at Kapua and performed a lightning-drop onto the storm-shrouded world of Kapua VII. The initial attack met little resistance -- mostly rebels and Chaos Cultists poorly equipped to take on the elite of the Dark Angels. However, this early success was soon reversed by the intervention of Traitor Marines from the Black Legion and Word Bearers. Though their numbers were small, their presence bolstered the resolve of the Chaos worshippers and Grand Master Gideon was forced to withdraw or risk his formation getting bogged down in a static battle of attrition with the Chaos Space Marines, an engagement for which the foe was better suited.
Over the course of the following days, the Ravenwing conducted several scouting forays and a reconnaissance-in-force to establish the extent of the foes facing them and to draw out and destroy such enemy elements as could be lured from their defensive lines. With this intelligence in hand, Gideon and his veterans identified the city of Vespengard as integral to the Traitors' plans and composed a plan of attack that would pull apart the defenders and see them destroyed piecemeal. The next phase of the campaign started well, as encircling Ravenwing forces baited squads of Word Bearers from their bastions and bunkers, opening up a gap in the approaches to Vespengard. Grand Master Gideon led the attack on the Chaos-held settlement with the bulk of his force, driving his Bikers and Land Speeders through the break in the enemy cordon.
Disaster struck upon reaching the inner reaches of Vespengard. The commander of the uprising had kept hidden his greatest weapon: a Reaver-class Titan corrupted by the promises of the Chaos Gods. The Traitorous Ire dominated the open spaces and wide thoroughfares of the city's heart, its Turbo-Lasers and Gatling Blaster driving back the Ravenwing advance. While they recoiled from this blow, the Dark Angels found that the errant Word Bearers had returned to their positions in a pre-planned move to ensnare the Ravenwing. They were surrounded. Gideon was convinced that the enemy was led by one of the Fallen -- for who else could have known the Dark Angels' way of war so well as to organise such an effective ambush. Rather than order a break-out from the city, he commanded his warriors to attack the Traitorous Ire. If the Chaos Titan could be removed from the battle, the city would again belong to the Dark Angels and the Traitors could be hunted down in the wilds.
The Grand Master led the attack with Sammael at his right hand, punching through the cultists that swarmed from the buildings to bar the Ravenwing's path and slow them down enough for the Titan to engage. As they reached one of the central squares, the Ravenwing were caught by a timely fusillade from the Traitorous Ire's Gatling Cannon. Massive shells slammed into the road and sent debris crashing down from the surrounding buildings. Gideon and his squad were caught on the edge of one such blast; Space Marines and Assault Bikes were flung through the air by the immense detonation. Flaming debris rained down onto the ferrocrete road and Sammael was momentarily knocked unconscious amongst the dead and wounded.
Rising From The Ashes
When he recovered his senses, Sammael pushed himself from the rubble to find his bike was smashed beyond use and the company was in disarray. Enemies were closing from the rear and the Traitorous Ire had the surviving Ravenwing pinned back in alleys and side roads where the cultists would be able to ambush them with ease. Gideon lay crushed beneath a slab of masonry, his armour cracked in a dozen places, bones broken and organs pulverised. Yet the Grand Master still clung to life as Sammael found him amongst the devastation. Sammael asked the mortally wounded Grand Master whether or not they should press the attack or withdraw. Gideon responded that he could not say, and with his last strength and breath he pulled the Raven Sword free of its scabbard, and told Sammael the company was now his to lead. With this final effort, Grand Master Gideon, a veteran of six Terran centuries of war, died.
Sammael wasted no time in taking command of the demoralised Ravenwing. Securing himself a functioning steed from amidst the wreckage, he commanded the Land Speeders to conduct harrying raids on the enemy Titan while the bikes and attack bikes regrouped under the shadowy veil of a Darkshroud. The situation was grim. Communication from the fleet announced that Traitor vessels were closing on the Ravenwing's Battle Barge Implacable Justice and no orbital support could be expected. The company had lost nearly a third of its warriors and machines. Sammael did not expend any time worrying about reorganisation, but left it to his Veterans and Sergeants to form such squadrons as were needed.
Wishing to see Gideon's plan to fruition, Sammael led a fresh attack on the Traitorous Ire, using the Land Speeders and Darkshroud to feign a rear attack, while a second force was sent to the east, forming a diversion on the war engine's augur returns. Their energy signatures masked by burning buildings, sparking power lines and venting reactors, a handful of the Ravenwing's most adept riders followed Sammael through the ruins created by the Titan's weapons. They burst from their cover as the Traitorous Ire turned to confront the feint from the east. Bike-mounted weapons, even the plasma talons of the Black Knights, were little use against the void shields of a Titan. Instead, Sammael put his faith in speed, tearing across the square at the head of his warriors to strike from within the energy defences of the war machine.
Cultists in the surrounding buildings opened fire on the charging Ravenwing but they dodged and jinked with reckless abandon, and all survived to reach the Titan. Barely slowing, each sped past the machine's lumbering feet in quick succession, hurling all the Melta Bombs and charges the force possessed as they raced between the Titan's legs. Even before they were clear, Sammael detonated the bombs, shearing away the lower right leg of the Traitorous Ire. As the behemoth collapsed, its reactor exploded, levelling the buildings still standing on the square and showering flaming metal and ceramite onto the swiftly-retreating Ravenwing.
Following the loss of their Titan, the Chaos forces struggled to regroup. Sammael kept the Ravenwing mobile, always attacking and harassing, fighting continuously for seven weeks until reinforcements from the Deathwing, and the Dark Angels' 4th and 5th Companies arrived to purge Kapua VII of the Chaos taint once and for all. Much to Sammael's disappointment, no member of the Fallen was ever located, but the destruction of the Traitorous Ire is still remembered as one of the Ravenwing's greatest achievements. On returning to the Rock, Sammael's promotion was endorsed by the other Masters of the Chapter and he has led the 2nd Company for more than a century.
Leader of the Hunt
Sammael has discharged his duties as Grand Master of the Ravenwing with a blend of careful planning and audacious bravery. Under his leadership the 2nd Company has perhaps gained even more of a reputation for recklessness and independence, but their numerous victories stand as testament to his skill as a commander and his talent for leadership. Though bound by sacred duty to pursue the Fallen, Sammael is the most relaxed of the Inner Circle; confident that with Supreme Grand Master Azrael's guidance, Belial's determination and his daring, the Hunt has entered a decisive phase. There are those amongst the Inner Circle, Interrogator-Chaplain Asmodai most vocal amongst them, who wish Sammael's company exercised more discipline at times, but such criticism does not diminish the Grand Master's achievements.
As the newly-appointed 348th Grand Master of the Ravenwing, Sammael's first action came when he led his company in the initial invasion of the world of Rastabal. This action was quickly followed during the Fourth Quadrant Rebellion, when Sammael led the Dark Angels' assault upon the fortress of the pretender Kaligar, one of the Fallen, whose presence Sammael personally ferreted out. He ran the Traitor to ground after a mighty duel that is said to have lasted nearly a day and a night. His next action was leading the 2nd Company against the Orks of Charadon near Rynn's World and Bad Landing to assist the beleaguered Crimson Fists Chapter in retaking their homeworld from WAAAGH! Snagrod. During the orbital drop on Rynn's World, Sammael's Thunderhawk was struck by unusually accurate Ork anti-orbital guns. Sammael did the unthinkable, staging the only recorded successful orbital-drop separation manoeuvre, flying out of the stricken gunship on his Jetbike before the crippled Thunderhawk crashed onto the surface of the planet.
As a true Angel of Death, Sammael is privileged to ride to war on an Imperial Jetbike, an ancient war machine left over from the days of the Great Crusade. Armed with a ferocious Plasma Cannon, the Jetbike is feared by the Dark Angels' foes almost as much as Sammael himself. This nigh extinct anti-gravitic archeotech is highly prized, as it has not been seen in the service of the Imperium in millennia. Launching lightning fast assaults and riding down the enemies of the Chapter from astride his ancient war machine, Sammael cuts down all those foolish enough to oppose him with the infamous Raven Sword. This mighty blade is said to have been cut from the same meteorite as the infamous Dark Angels Sword of Secrets and the other Heavenfall Blades. Sammael is rightly honoured by his brethren and feared by his foes. And now, following the uncovering of a Fallen plot at the Chapter's recruiting world of Piscina IV and the destruction of a Fallen star base at Port Imperial, Sammael is on the trail of Cypher once more. This time, Sammael swears, the thrice-cursed Fallen will not elude the Ravenwing.
- Corvex - The Grand Master of the Ravenwing is privileged to ride into battle upon a venerable Mark XIV Jetbike, a nearly extinct form of archeotech that dates back to the earliest days of the Imperium of Man. During the Horus Heresy, many of the ancient Space Marine Legions fielded similar Jetbikes. This formidable and sleek craft allowed its riders to soar at great speed across the battlefield, held aloft by archaic anti-gravitic technology lost to the Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus in the waning days of the 41st Millennium. The Grand Master of the Ravenwing rides into battle upon a Jetbike, a prized vehicle known as Corvex. Sammael's Jetbike is as deadly as its master, for it is armed with front-mounted Storm Bolters and an underslung Plasma Cannon, itself an example of ill-understood ancient technology, its fusion generator capable of powering many hundreds of shots. Many times Corvex has been thought lost or destroyed, but always it returns, as does its master. Whether the Dark Angels maintain a cache of such relics or have retained possession of a long-lost STC template for the vehicle is unknown, as they do not share their secrets with others, including the Mechanicus.
- Sableclaw - Sammael sometimes makes use of an Imperial Land Speeder built to the highest standards. His personal conveyance Sableclaw is equipped with twin-linked Heavy Bolters and a twin-linked Assault Cannon. The Grand Master of the Ravenwing's personal Land Speeder also incorporates a protective device known as the Shield of Night. This device generates a powerful defensive gravitic energy field around the vehicle, deflecting enemy small arms fire.
- Adamantine Mantle - Sammael wears a cloak blessed by the Dark Angels' Interrogator-Chaplains within the Inner Sanctum beneath the Tower of Angels on The Rock. This cloak is interwoven with rare minerals and fibres from the fabled Cloak of the Lion.
- The Raven's Cuirass - The Raven's Cuirass is a finely crafted and heavily modified Mark V Heresy Power Armour breastplate utilised as part of Sammael's panoply of war.
- Night Halo - This Dark Angels icon is a symbol of bravery and a ward against the weapons of the enemy. It has served many grand Masters of the Ravenwing and Sammael's faith in its protective powers has proved well founded over his many years of battle. The Night Halo is able to ward against the weapons of the enemy, as it incorporates a powerful Conversion Field emitter that can turn aside even the most deadly attacks.
- Raven Sword - This infamous master-crafted Power Sword is one of a quadrumvirate of legendary swords collectively known as the Heavenfall Blades. These formidable weapons are only carried by the highest-ranking members of the Dark Angels' Inner Circle. Chapter lore states that these blades were forged from the core of a meteorite that struck The Rock in orbit around the Feral World of Al Baradad. The mightiest of these blades is the Sword of Secrets, carried by the Supreme Grand Master of the Chapter, and the current wielder of that sword is Azrael. The blades wielded by the Grand Master of the Deathwing and the Grand Master of the Ravenwing also utilise small amounts of the obsidian taken from the meteorite in their working. It is also said that a small portion of this meteoric substance was despatched to each of the Dark Angels' Successor Chapters, so that the senior members of the Unforgiven's own Inner Circles would also bear the same heritage forged in steel as those borne by the Masters of the Dark Angels.
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Dark Angels (8th Edition), pp. 42, 78
- Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pp. 58-59
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pp. 43-45
- Warlords of the Dark Millennium: Sammael, pp. 3-5, 7-11, 13-17, 19-25, 27-34