The Watchers in the Dark are a strange race of humanoid creatures of small stature native to the lost world of Caliban who inhabit The Rock, the mobile Fortress-Monastery of the Dark Angels Space Marine Chapter. They are often utilised by the Chapter and its Unforgiven Successor Chapters as favoured servants. They possess a unique and powerful psychic talent which enables them to protect themselves from most forms of attack. Although they may accompany their human masters onto the battlefield, they never take an active part in combat themselves.
Perhaps the strangest facet of the Dark Angels Chapter is the presence of the Watchers in the Dark. These diminutive, hooded attendants cluster around the highest-ranking warriors of the Chapter, often forming eerie processions behind them during their archaic rites, or bearing ancient artefacts into battle at their side. None can say for certain what manner of creature lies beneath the robes of these strange figures, but whatever they are they never speak a word. Their presence is solemnly accepted, if never acknowledged, by the Dark Angels; they simply linger, like some omnipresent manifestation of guilt clad in cowled monastic robes.
The Watchers are able to access areas of The Rock that even the other Dark Angels cannot. They come and go as they please, and from their first days as Novitiates all Dark Angels are warned not to interfere with or obstruct the Watchers in any way. Cautionary tales persist, whispered by Scout brothers, of those who ignored these warnings and soon disappeared, never to be seen again. The air of mystique and menace that surrounds these strange beings is only heightened by their propensity to haunt the winding passages and dusty scroll-chambers of the Rock's Librarius, though what strange business they have there is a mystery to all.
These diminutive, hooded attendants cluster around the highest-ranking warriors of the Dark Angels and have long been a mystery to onlookers. What manner of creature lies beneath a Watcher's long robes none can say, not even the other Chapters of the Unforgiven. The nature of the creature under the robes is unknown to even the Battle-Brothers of the Dark Angels. Perhaps the Watchers are simply vat-grown Servitor-constructs of an unusual size and form. Perhaps they are some manner of hitherto unknown xenos creature who were native to the Dark Angels' lost homeworld of Caliban. Perhaps they are something more sinister, a corporeal manifestation of the Unforgiven's collective guilt.
During the Great Crusade era, a Knight of The Order by the name of Zahariel (who would later go on to become a Librarian of the Dark Angels Legion) first encountered these mysterious creatures while undertaking a Beast Quest. He recognised these entities as the Watchers in the Dark, creatures who had existed in the ancient legends of Caliban for as long as anyone could remember, living in the darkest regions of the wild hinterlands of Caliban's forests. These humanoid entities warned the young knight to cease in the pursuit of his goals. Undeterred, Zahariel continued to undertake his quest. The Watchers in the Dark appeared to oppose Chaos and seemed, on some level, to be attempting to limit the power of Caliban's Great Beasts.
It is said that the Watchers in the Dark are the heralds of troubled times ahead. They appeared before Lion El'Jonson's discovery by the Emperor on the world of Caliban and just before the eventual betrayal of the Dark Angels Legion by the Dark Angels left behind on Caliban by the I Legion who became the Fallen Angels. During the Fall of Caliban, the great conflagration between the Arch-Heretic Luther and the Primarch Lion El'Jonson that caused the destruction of the Dark Angels' homeworld, the Watchers in the Dark carried away the mortally wounded Primarch, as the Fallen were swept up in a great vortex and cast into the Warp and scattered throughout time and space.
Since that time, the Watchers in the Dark now haunt the lower levels of The Rock. These silent figures have been seen bearing the Battle-Brothers' weapons into combat and seem near immune to all acts of violence or use of psychic powers. Any Battle-Brother of the Dark Angels or the other Unforgiven Chapters who gains the honour of being accompanied by one of these strange beings is incredibly fortunate and is clearly destined for great things.
Deep within the bowels of The Rock, known only to the Watchers in the Dark and the Emperor Himself, lies the final and greatest secret of the Dark Angels. Hidden inside a secluded chamber at the heart of the what was once the planet of Caliban, unreachable by all save the cryptic Watchers in the Dark, the mighty Primarch Lion El'Jonson lies slumbering in a coma, his wounds long healed, waiting for the time when he will be needed once again, when the clarion call of battle sounds for the final time to defend the Imperium of Mankind against its enemies.
- Perfidious Relic of the Unforgiven - Borne by the mysterious Watchers in the Dark, these are ancient relics of the First Legion that have been recaptured by the Deathwing and sometimes carried into battle by the wraith-like figures. The exact nature or function of most of these revered relics is unknown, for they are as mysterious as the cowled figures that bear them. What is known is their effect on the battlefield, for their presence alone dampens the power of enemy psykers and fills the Dark Angels' opponents with feelings of dread.
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Dark Angels (8th Edition), pg. 29
- Codex: Dark Angels (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Deathwing Knights", "The Watchers in the Dark"
- Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pp. 9, 12-13, 26, 29, 45, 52, 64
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pg. 60
- Deathwatch - First Founding (RPG), pg. 106
- Descent of Angels (Novel) by Mitchel Scanlon
- Fallen Angels (Novel) by Mike Lee
- Grey Angel (Audio) by John French
- Angels of Caliban (Novel) by Gav Thorpe, Chs. 9-10