The Sons of Malice are a Renegade Chapter of Chaos Space Marines who turned to the service of the Chaos God Malice some time prior to the start of the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41. They are the enemies of the Imperium of Man and the other Forces of Chaos alike and have battled both successfully during the recent campaigns fought against Abaddon the Despoiler near the Eye of Terror. They seek to reclaim their lost Chapter homeworld of Scelus and carry forth the plans of Malice to unleash the wrath of the Renegade God upon both his fellow Ruinous Powers and the "Corpse Emperor" of Mankind.
As with many Renegade Chapters, it is unclear during which Founding the Sons of Malice were created or what their original Chapter name was before their corruption. However, the Sons of Malice had once been a Chapter loyal to the Emperor of Mankind, their name long since erased from Imperial records.
They were originally one of the 20 Space Marine Chapters referred to as the Astartes Praeses, which, according to the Mythos Angelica Mortis, were founded with the express purpose of guarding the regions surrounding the Eye of Terror and devoted to keeping the Cadian Gate secure. For centuries they waged a tough and relentless war against the Heretics and daemons of the Eye of Terror. Their ferocious manner of war-making became a byword for the ruthless and relentless punishment of treachery and heresy, and they prided themselves on the cost they inflicted upon their foes, taking recruits from their homeworld, Scelus, where tattooed tribes indulged in cannibalism. It is alarming that the Sons of Malice were not brought to the attention of the Inquisition sooner, especially due to their widely-reported custom of cannibalistically consuming their defeated foes.
Fall to Darkness
The events leading to the Chapter's excommunication began following the successful end of the Cilix 225 campaign against Heretics who had threatened to depressurise three underwater hive cities on that world. Ultimately, the Chapter would declare itself the enemy of both the Imperium of Man and the Forces of Chaos even as it took up service to the Renegade Chaos God Malice, the Hierarch of Anarchy and Terror.
It was after millennia of devoted battle that an outside Imperial agent first witnessed the Chapter's flesh-eating ceremonies. Kathal, the Captain of the 1st Company of the Sons of Malice, was granted the honour of leading the Chapter's victory rites after the successful completion of the mission on Cilix 225. These rites bordered on cannibalism, and were observed by Inquisitor Solomon Pietas, a senior member of the Ordo Hereticus who had accompanied the Astartes to Cilix 225. Although flesh-eating rituals are not uncommon among the Space Marines, particularly among Successor Chapters of the Blood Angels, Pietas was horrified by the Sons of Malice's behaviour and he believed them to have been corrupted by some Chaos taint. Instinct told him that the Chapter had already fallen, and he brought in a strike force of Adepta Sororitas of the Order of Our Martyred Lady and five regiments of the Astra Militarum to eliminate the Chapter. The combined force caught the Sons of Malice in one of their eleven-year rites when their guard was down. The Sisters made planetfall on Scelus right in the midst of the Chapter at the height of their victory celebrations. The strike force found Captain Kathal and his company a horde of fevered maniacs, having worked themselves into a state of animalistic barbarity over the course of their celebrations. Kathal's armour was splattered in gore, and blood ran from his mouth as he presided over the ceremony. Kathal and his brethren fell upon the Imperial strike force with a savagery the Inquisitor was utterly unprepared for.
The Imperials attacked the Chapter with melta and fire and fury, but the assault utterly failed. The Celestians fought bravely, but their numbers were too few, and their faith, though strong, could not overcome the sheer fury of Kathal and his men. By the light of burning torches, Kathal cornered the Inquisitor, then dragged him to an altar within the Chapter's inner chambers, where he was ritually sacrificed and his flesh devoured by the Sons of Malice.
Following this direct and savage blow against the loyal servants of the Imperium, word was sent to the High Lords of Terra, who offered the Sons of Malice the chance to repent their sins with a fifty-year Penitent Crusade. But the Sons of Malice's Chapter Master refused. He would accept neither censure nor punishment. But he was a warrior with his own sense of humour. The Imperial envoy was allowed to depart unscathed, the low hiss of the Chapter Master's defiance ringing in his ears.
"We have done nothing wrong," the Master of the Sons of Malice had told him. "We shall not do penance to any."
In ancient times a snowstorm or inclement weather might have tilted the balance of battle. The victors were often decided by small, incidental facts. And in the case of the struggle between Inquisitor Solomon Pietas and the Sons of Malice, it was the Inquisitor's message that arrived at Holy Terra first. The Sons of Malice assumed that their long history of service to the Imperium would vindicate them of charges that they considered baseless. But the Inquisitor had sent urgent and skewed accounts to the High Lords of Terra, and with trouble so close to the Cadian Gate, the panicked response of the Imperium was swift and brutal and sudden. An Imperial extermination fleet arrived in the Scelus System within solar months of the Chapter Master's refusal of repentance.
The incoming fleet would not listen to any of the Sons of Malice's brief messages, for they had been declared Excommunicate Traitoris. There would be only war until the Renegade Chapter was destroyed. The Sons of Malice escaped aboard their Battle Barge, the Labyrinth, but they left their homeworld of barbarian tribesmen undefended, and it was on that Feral World that the forces of Cadia descended, scouring the planet of human life in a terrible campaign of fire and murder.
The Chapter was forced into the Eye of Terror. There, they fought both the Heretics and the Imperium, until at last Abaddon brought them round to his cause. Despite centuries of heresy, the injustice of their treatment by the Imperium still burned within them. After centuries of fighting and struggle, they had, through stupidity and alarm, been driven into the arms of the enemy whom they had been created to defeat.
The Renegade Chapter continued to wage a hate-fueled war against both the Imperium they believed betrayed them, as well as against all the other Forces of Chaos, for the Sons of Malice had become the instruments of Malice, the Renegade God of Chaos who grows in power by assaulting his fellow Ruinous Powers and their servants. For Chaos ever feeds upon itself.
- Cilix 225 Campaign (Date Unknown.M41) - The Sons of Malice successfully prevented a band of Heretics from detonating weapons that would have depressurised 3 underwater hive cities on the Ocean World of Cilix 225.
- The 13th Black Crusade (999.M41) - During Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade the Sons of Malice fought against the Imperial forces, trying to reclaim their Chapter homeworld of Scelus. They proved unsuccessful in this effort, though they engaged and bloodied both Imperial and Chaos forces during the campaign.
The Scelus Sub-sector is located in an isolated area of space on the western edge of the Eye of Terror in the Segmentum Obscurus. Scelus, the Feral World that was the capital planet of the Sub-sector, was the Chapter homeworld of the Sons of Malice, and was declared Perdita at the time the Chapter turned upon the Imperium. A cold, desolate place, Scelus is home to the savage and barbaric tribes of humans from which the Sons of Malice recruit their number. The native tribes were almost entirely eradicated by the Cadian 331st Regiment of the Imperial Guard in a planet-wide campaign of genocide after it was revealed that the grisly tendencies that led to the Sons of Malice's excommunication were found to be rooted in the barbaric religious practices of the feral population. The tribespeople of Scelus may have inadvertently become worshipers of Malice, a recognised Renegade God of the Ruinous Powers.
The Labyrinth, a massive Space Hulk, is the closest thing the Sons of Malice currently have to a permanent base, although they only visit it once per standard century. On this occasion, a small number of Battle-Brothers of the Chapter volunteer to participate in the "Challenge of the Labyrinth", an ultimate trial of skill and wits undergone by those who wish to prove their worth to Malice.
In comparison to the other Traitor Legions and Renegade Chapters of Chaos Space Marines, the general organisation of the Sons of Malice is not that far from the norm outlined in the Codex Astartes, though they maintain 11 companies of Astartes rather than the standard 10, as 11 is believed to be the sacred number of Malice.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
The Sons of Malice are vicious, brutal and bloodthirsty in the extreme. Perhaps the Chapter's most eerie quality is that the Sons of Malice reportedly fight in utter silence, and those who have fought against them cite this as the prime source of the deeply disturbing aura surrounding them.
The Sons of Malice are Chaos-worshipping Traitors, that much is known, however the aspect of Chaos that they venerate is not, for it is certainly not any of the four major known Chaos Gods. Ascertaining anything of the Sons of Malice's belief system is hard at best given the vow of silence they have apparently taken. The only established facts are that the number 11 is of great significance to them as is the taking of trophies (particularly those of other Renegade Chapters, Chaos Space Marine warbands and the Traitor Legions). That the Sons of Malice are known to only rarely be supported in battle by daemons is also considered relevant to their religious practices. It has been noted, however, that on those rare occasions that daemons have appeared alongside the Chapter, they appear to be of those types already documented by the Imperium (Bloodletters or Plaguebearers, etc.) but have been chastised or bound, and they often wear the distinctive black and white livery of the Sons.
Once every Terran century the entire Chapter returns to the ancient and scarred Space Hulk known as the Labyrinth to honour the Chapter's blood rites. It is consecrated ground for the Sons of Malice, the only place they can rally to as a Chapter since their homeworld of Scelus was so wickedly defiled by the Inquisition. No matter their commitments elsewhere, no matter the blood that had to be shed on other worlds, the Sons of Malice would always return there at the appointed time, ready to make their sacrifices. Their rites had to be strictly observed to the abandonment of all other concerns. Only one Chaotic deity is offered reverence in this cold, empty vessel: the exalted Malice, the Renegade God, the Outcast, the Lost, the Hierarch of Anarchy and Terror.
Slaves from every race and ilk are brought back to the Labyrinth to be ritually sacrificed to the Renegade God. Each Battle-Brother then retreats to their cells where they begin their oblations by eating their captives alive -- the massive halls echoing with the din of their unheeded screams for mercy. Each century, when the Sons of Malice returned to the carcass of the huge and ancient vessel, a select few will volunteer to face the Challenge of the Labyrinth. None are ever seen again, but it is said that those strong and cunning enough to overcome the trials of the Labyrinth are elevated to become members of the Doomed Ones -- Malice's elite sept of holy warriors. Every member of this elite coterie is granted Malice's divine gifts of untold power and sent off to walk the dark paths of the galaxy, slaying their enemies among the servants of Order and Chaos alike with cold efficiency. The failures either die in the attempt or are transformed into the foul mutant beasts that inhabit the bowels of the ancient Hulk, the vessel's close proximity to the Warp slowly corrupting them.
Each victor, after joining the Doomed Ones, carries on the business of the Renegade God. Only recently were their ranks finally filled when Brother Invictus became the 11th Doomed One. Soon, he and his fellow Doomed Ones will be ritually sacrificed by the Chapter in order to summon their patron lord Malice into realspace. With their God by their side, the Sons of Malice will begin their Crusade to take back that which was stolen from them -- Scelus, their former Chapter homeworld. They will not let any forces of the foul Ruinous Powers nor servants of the Corpse Emperor stand in their way. Not with their Dark God by their side.
The gene-seed of the Sons of Malice does not appear in any official Imperial records or Adeptus Mechanicus geno-archive. It is not known if this was intentional or by design. Being one of the twenty recorded Chapters of the Astartes Praeses, it is hypothesised that they may be of Ultramarines stock. Another more likely (and sinister) possibility is that they may be descended from Blood Angels gene-stock, due to their similar cannibalistic tendencies and brutal blood rites that are often carried out by the Blood Angels Successor Chapters (including the Blood Drinkers, Flesh Eaters, and Flesh Tearers). These unfounded suppositions are hotly debated by Imperial scholars. Those that agree with this hypothesis point to the damning evidence against the Lamenters Chapter, who have recently been confirmed to be descended from the Blood Angels, especially the similar baleful aura that seems to surround them, much like the Sons of Malice.
Notable Sons of Malice
- Kathal - Once the Captain of the Sons of Malice's elite 1st Company, Kathal was granted the honour of leading the Chapter in its victory rites after the successful Cilix 225 Campaign. It was these rights that led the Inquisitor Pietas to declare the Sons of Malice Heretics and ultimately to her death at the hands of the Chapter. It was Kathal who ritually sacrificed the intruding Inquisitor and ate her remains alongside his Battle-Brothers before they turned Renegade and found a new home in the service of Malice. After the disappearance of the Chapter Master Ba'kel Draak, Kathal replaced him as the Sons of Malice's new and current Anarch.
The Sons of Malice paint their Power Armour quartered black and white, with silver and black trim. Their Imperialis is golden, however after becoming Renegades most Sons of Malice painted the skull portion of the Imperialis half-white and half-black to mirror the symbol of their patron God Malice.
The Sons of Malice Chapter badge is a skull that is white on its left side and black on its right, very similar to the Mark of Malice. An arrow, which is coloured the opposing colour of either the black or white side of the skull, runs down the forehead portion of the halving line. This imagery is centred on a field of black.
- The first servant of Malal, whose name would be ret-conned to "Malice" after a dispute over intellectual property rights, published in Warhammer 40,000 materials was Kaleb Daark. A previous Chapter Master of the Sons of Malice Renegade Chapter was named Ba'kel Draak. Ba'kel Draak is an anagram for Kaleb Daark.
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition), (2nd Codex), pg. 76
- Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition)
- Imperial Armour Volume Thirteen - War Machines of the Lost & The Damned, pg. 77
- Index Astartes IV, "Rogue Sons - Renegade Space Marine Chapters"
- White Dwarf 303 (UK), "Index Astartes: Rogue Sons - Renegade Space Marine Chapters," pp. 72-73
- White Dwarf 281 (UK), pg. 72
- Heroes of the Space Marines (Anthology) edited by Nick Kyme and Lindsey Priestley, The Labyrinth (Short Story) by Richard Ford
- Cadia Stands (Novel) by Justin D. Hill, Chs. 2-7