Sven Bloodhowl was a Wolf Lord of the Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter, one of twelve legendary warriors who lead the Great Companies into battle. Leading from the front, Sven's warriors are notorious for their predilection for close combat, often equipping themselves with powerful Jump Packs in order to make powered jumps across the battlefield, allowing these warriors to cover ground quickly and unexpectedly drop into the midst of their foes.
He was slain during the 13th Black Crusade in orbit of Cadia, when he boarded the Blackstone Fortress Will of Eternity. Though he and his Space Wolves succeeded in disabling the massive star fort's shields, allowing the nearby Imperial Fists flagship Phalanx to fire upon and cripple it, the assault killed Bloodhowl and all of his Astartes.
Sven Bloodhowl is the fiery young Wolf Lord of the Great Company known as the Firehowlers. Unlike many of his compatriots, Sven still feels the joyous abandon of close-quarters fighting as keenly as he did when he was a Blood Claw. A formidable opponent, Sven is fairly young in comparison to the others who sit around the Grand Annulus. Though he may lack in years compared to most of the other lords, Sven's saga is legend across all of Fenris, partly due to his heroic deeds and partly due to the fact that they are inked onto his face. Even for a Blood Claw, Sven was wild and reckless. Almost immediately after being inducted, he requested the honour of serving as a Swiftclaw, and he would happily have done so for the rest of his days. Amongst his pack were the most headstrong warriors to have worn the grey of the Space Wolves. Through his martial prowess and confident personality, it did not take long before his brothers looked to Sven for leadership. When his Wolf Lord, Finn Goresson, drafted him into his Wolf Guard, few were surprised. What did surprise Sven's packmates was the sight of his body. The tales of his deeds were inked deep into his skin as a permanent record. In any other individual, this would have been seen as arrogant in the extreme, but for Sven, it seemed to enhance his energetic personality. The habit was quickly taken up by the Blood Claw and Skyclaw packs he was sent to fight alongside, then by his Wolf Guard brothers. As his saga grew, it spread from his skin onto his armour and weapons. So extensive are his deeds that Sven has now taken to using the skins of his victims as a canvas with which to chronicle his latest deeds.
Years later, Finn Goresson met his end battling the Traitor Marines of the Death Guard, Sven Bloodhowl by his side. A bloated Daemon of Nurgle was to be his undoing. Finn tore the beast apart with his bare hands, but it was through Warp-tainted pestilence that the beast got its revenge. For days, the Wolf Lord struggled with the disease that wracked his body, before finally succumbing to the fatal curse. Around Goresson's death pyre, the Wolf Guard elected Sven as his successor. While Wolf Lords tend to lead from the front, Sven Bloodhowl takes this tendency to extremes. The Space Wolves of Sven's Great Company often hear his raucous laughter as he swings his weapons, inspiring his followers with his bravery. Upon their return to Fenris, it is the Space Wolves' turn to laugh as Sven regales them with the tales of his victories. At feast Sven and his men practice ever more dangerous acts of fire-breathing and the infamous walking conflagrations, which Bloodhowl likes to say "warms his men up nicely." Afterwards they like nothing more than washing heavily spiced meat down with flaming liquor. Bloodhowl goes to war amidst a great horde of close combat specialists, and legend has it that his vanguard will breathe flame into the ranks of their foe, laughing evilly as they close in for the kill. Sven Bloodhowl is known to have a fierce rivalry with fellow Wolf Lord Kjarl Grimblood.
- The Daemonbane War (853.M41) - The Radical Inquisitor Lord Querrian turns Chaos against itself upon the daemon-infested world of Yaogeddon. Sven Bloodhowl's Great Company, themselves battling the daemonic hordes of Yaogeddon's molten core, are astonished when the legions of Khorne and Slaanesh turn on each other to the exclusion of all else. The astonished Sven orders his men to hold off, and when the dust settles Sven and Querrian join forces to mop up the remainder of the daemonic horde with ease.
- The Hunt for the Wulfen (ca. 999.M41) - During the Hunt for the Wulfen, Sven led his forces alongside the Dark Angels against daemons on Tranquilitus.
- Siege of the Fenris System (ca. 999.M41) - During the Siege of the Fenris System, Sven led those of his Astartes who were suffering from the Curse of the Wulfen against the Bloodthirster Vor'hakk.
- Abbadon's 13th Black Crusade (999.M41)- Sven led a boarding party composed of 200 Astartes, including 58 from his own Great Company, as well as the remnants of the Cadian 13th Regiment and a full maniple of Martian Skitarii onto the Will of Eternity with the goal of disabling its shields. Though he was ultimately successful, he and his boarding party were killed when the Phalanx fired upon and fractured the Will of Eternity.
Each Great Company has its own nuances, be they in fighting style, organisation or battle-tactics. Sven Bloodhowl's battle-brothers are the closest in nature to the tribesmen of Fenris, facing the trials of combat with joyful exuberance. The Blood Claws in Sven Bloodhowl's Great Company are as daring as those in any other Space Wolves force. Their glory-hunting may be seen by other Great Companies as a flaw, but Sven considers them to be the fighting heart of the Sons of Fenris. Many of the initiates of the Space Wolves still carry their tribal rites and traditions with them. It is the greatest honour for a Fenrisian to be selected to join the Sky Warriors, and their pride at their selection often leads to an abundance of ambition to prove themselves worthy of this honour. It is this determination that Sven values.
Where a Blood Claw pack who have proven their combat efficiency in another Great Company will be promoted to Grey Hunters, many in Sven Bloodhowl's Great Company refuse to leave the vanguard. Instead, they will choose to join the Swiftclaws or Skyclaws -- an unusual selection usually reserved as a "reward" for particularly unruly and headstrong individuals. Many of those who do progress to the rank of Grey Hunter still feel the draw of hand-to-hand combat. It is common for Grey Hunter packs in Sven's Company to openly encourage their enemy to charge them, so that they might once again test their blades.
Those who seek the rush of close-quarters fighting risk dying gloriously, even amongst so efficient a breed of killers as the Adeptus Astartes. As such, it is rare for a Grey Hunter of the Firehowlers to live long enough to become a Long Fang. Those few individuals who do fulfil the fire-support role of the Long Fang pack are still influenced by their tribal heritage. It is for this reason that when Sven Bloodhowl deploys a Long Fang pack they are most often armed with Multi-Meltas. These shorter-ranged weapons fire blasts of super-heated air, which the Space Wolves liken to the eruption of the mighty Fire Breather.
The members of Sven Bloodhowl's Great Company who display the greatest skill in hand-to-hand combat may find themselves honoured by elevation to the Wolf Guard. It is to these warriors that Sven entrusts the most dangerous of missions: destroying the elite of the enemy forces. Only the strongest amongst the Firehowlers can hope to accomplish what their lord asks of them, but those who do have their deeds woven into their sagas for all to remember.
Deeds Worthy of a Saga
A Space Wolf's saga is his legacy. The tale of his deeds, if glorious enough, will live long through the generations. Many Space Wolves hand down their sagas by recounting their deeds to the younger generations; others chisel their victories onto the rough stone that surrounds their great fortress-monastery, The Fang. For those inducted into the Great Company of Sven Bloodhowl, even this is not enough. The members of the Firehowlers tattoo their bodies and engrave their armour with the runes of their sagas, allowing them to proclaim their victories during every waking moment. Sven Bloodhowl himself has covered almost every inch of his skin with tales of his deeds, and his armour is a rune-covered shell. The many deeds written there spur Sven on to even greater acts of heroism, as he constantly strives to outdo his past glories.
Forces of Sven Bloodhowl
The Bloodguard battle alongside Sven Bloodhowl, where the fighting is at its most brutal. These hand-picked heroes serve as Sven's Wolf Guard. Loyal and ferocious, each has forged his reputation in the crucible of war a hundred times over, fighting the enemies of the Chapter. Eschewing the heavy suits of Terminator Armour that typify the bodyguards of other Wolf Lords, the Bloodguard are instead equipped with powerful Jump Packs. These fearsome warriors are the hammer of the force, despatched to deal with the greatest threats the enemy has to offer.
- Olaf Blackstone - Nominal leader of the Bloodguard, Olaf's saga is second only to Sven's in length. His armour and skin are almost completely covered in tales of victories won in the service of his Wolf Lord. Armed with a pair of Wolf Claws, he is a devastating opponent. The influence of the Canis Helix is obvious in Olaf; his hair is long and grey, and his eyes are the same yellow as those of the wolves of Fenris. It is appropriate then that his Pack marking is a great wolf's head.
- Torvind Morkai - Torvind Morkai is the youngest member of the Bloodguard. Promoted directly from his Blood Claw pack after slaying the Ork Warboss Gorkksmak, his name is now legend in the halls of Sven's Great Company. His single wedged-shaped pack marking is as direct as his temperament, endearing him even more to his Wolf Lord.
- Kregga Longtooth - One of the two remaining Wolf Guard from Goresson's own pack, Kregga is Sven's most trusted advisor. While Sven is vibrant and reckless, Kregga is calm and insightful. His pack marking is based on the ring of mountains surrounding the Fire Breather -- an apt symbol for this stalwart bodyguard. In battle, Kregga will wait patiently for the opportune moment to strike with his Power Fist.
- Istun Firestorm - The other member of Goresson's Wolf Guard still fighting alongside Sven, Istun is a kindred spirit. The first of the pack to begin inscribing his saga on his armour, Istun will always be at his Wolf Lord's side, roaring his battle-lust as he swings his Power Axe around in violent arcs of destruction. His pack marking is a stylised aerial view of the Fire Breather as it belches forth its fury.
- Uuntir Wolfskull - When promoted to the Wolf Guard, the solemn Uuntir Wolfskull vowed to protect his Wolf Lord with his life. Uuntir's Storm Shield has since stood countless times between Sven Bloodhowl and his enemies. His pack marking is reminiscent of the mountain shield protecting the Fenrisian tribe from which he hails.
Not every member of the Firehowlers is equipped with a jump pack. Bloodhowl's Riders are a squad of Swiftclaws, each riding into battle atop a Space Marine Bike. Sven deploys his riders either as a screen for his assault troops, where their armoured bikes offer them extra protection against enemy fire, or as a hard-hitting flanking force. In this latter role the bikes will sweep around an enemy formation before thundering into the fray, ensuring that the enemy has nowhere to run.
The first of the two Skyclaw packs, the Stormbringers' pack marking is a jagged lightning bolt. The Fire Breather is constantly assailed by furious thunderstorms, and any who have witnessed the brutal charge of the Stormbringers know that these Space Wolves have chosen their device well. Using their jump packs to launch themselves into the largest concentration of enemy troops, the Stormbringers lay down a barrage of Bolter shells and burning Promethium, before carving up any surviving foes with their revving Chainswords. For tougher enemies, the pack sports a mighty Power Fist -- a weapon more than capable of tearing holes in battle tanks. They are led to war by Jorri Iceblade, who, like Sven, is as reckless and hungry for battle as he was when he first joined the Chapter.
The Firestones are the second pack of Skyclaws in Sven's Great Company. As with all Skyclaws, they still feel the call of close-quarters fighting, and use their jump packs to join the battle as swiftly as possible. While the Stormbringers are reckless and individualistic in their approach, each seeking to prove himself above the others, the Firestones work in unison. Led by Asgar Rockshard, the Firestones have had their wild nature honed and shaped to a single purpose. The grizzled Wolf Guard guides his packmates towards the enemy's transports before unleashing their wild spirits -- and the squad's Meltagun. Any unfortunate passengers who stumble from the wreckage are soon torn apart by the whirring teeth of the Swiftclaws' chainblades. The Firestones follow their pack leader without question, and each member bears Rockshard's pack marking as their own.
The Attack Bike, Bloodhowl's Wrath, plays an essential part in Sven Bloodhowl's battlefield strategy. Although ferocious in assault, the force is lacking in anti-armour capability to combat the heavily armoured tanks of the foe. So it is that Sven sends Bloodhowl's Wrath to counter such threats, leaving the Wolf Lord and the rest of the Firehowlers to the joys of the melee. The Attack Bike is ridden by two fearsome individuals: Jossi Bloodfang and Helmgard Iceclaw. While Helmgard skillfully guides the vehicle through the treacherous conditions of the warzone, it is Jossi who fires the bike's powerful multi-melta. Jossi and Helmgard have brought so many enemy war machines low that their skin is covered in tattoos; indeed, it might be said that their skin is now more blue than flesh-hued. The pack marking that these two warriors bear is that of three blades sweeping forward, symbolising the piercing winds that they emulate as they take the fight to their target.
The pair of Land Speeders that complete the roster of Sven's Great Company are as vital as any part of the force in ensuring that the Firehowlers emerge victorious. Both Land Speeders are armed with multi-meltas, allowing Sven to despatch his Ravens to deal with any heavily armoured threats before the battle begins in earnest. Often the craft will swoop in to deliver the killing blow before the enemy can even respond. As with all the vehicles in Bloodhowl's Great Company, the craft do not bear the sagas of their pilots or gunners. Instead, each is marked by its crew whenever they deem the Machine Spirit within to have saved their lives. Each line of script is testament to a time when the armour plates deflected an incoming salvo, or the control shaft seemed to twitch in the pilot's hand, moving the craft out of harm's way. The Firehowlers, like many in their Chapter, are highly superstitious, and read great meaning into events that would be dismissed as mere coincidence by other, more "civilised" warriors.
- Artificer Armour - Sven's Power Armour is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece suit with gilt edging. The vents on his backpack are a pair of stylised wolf heads.
- Terminator Armour (Optional)
- Longbound - Sven Bloodhowl's expertly crafted Jump Pack is known as Longbound. The Wolf Lord has had this priceless artefact overcharged to ensure maximum speed and lift, claiming that he is borne into battle upon the burning breath of the Firehowler itself.
- Belt of Russ - Each Great Company has in its Armoury a single Belt of Russ. A mighty ward against enemy attacks, these powerful girdles incorporate potent gravitic force fields that protect the wearer. Forged by the master Iron Priest Stef Blacksoul after the disappearance of Russ, these belts are important relics of the Chapter.
- Frostclaw - In battle, Sven wields the great Frost Axe, Frostclaw. The weapon is the height of a man, but Sven carries it with one hand -- a testament to both his strength and the unnatural balance gifted to the weapon by its creator. It is boasted amongst the ranks of the Firehowlers that no armour forged can stop the edge of this Frost Axe. Certainly, none of Lord Bloodhowl's many opponents has yet lived to disprove this claim.
- Firefang - Alongside Frostclaw, Sven wields his Chainsword, Firefang. The flame motifs adorning its casing are a bright contrast to the metal the teeth are forged from. The whirring teeth of this weapon are made from tempered obstinite mined from below the mighty volcano from which Sven's Great Company take their name. When spun up to speed, these crystal teeth glow with the fiery wrath of the volcano itself.
- Bolt Pistol
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
Sven's Great Company marking is a stylised motif representing the vast volcano known as the Fire Breather. The tribes living within sight of this indomitable landmark are shaped by its fickle nature. When Fenris draws close to its sun, the mountain spews forth fiery devastation; as the world freezes over in winter, the geysers surrounding the volcano release vast jets of steam, blanketing the region in a scalding mist that burns the skin. It takes a hardy folk to survive within sight of this angry giant.
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pp. 15, 17, 19
- Companies of Fenris - Space Wolves Painting Guide, pp. 6-17
- War Zone Fenris: Curse of the Wulfen (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), "The Firehowlers," pp. 142-144
- Gathering Storm - Part I - Fall of Cadia (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Dramatis Personae - Defenders of Cadia," Ch. 1 - "The Might of the Despoiler", Ch. 2 - "The Emperor's Light"