The Wolf Brothers were the only known Second Founding Successor Chapter of Space Marines created from the gene-seed of the Space Wolves Legion. The Chapter was eventually forcibly disbanded by the Inquisition as a result of the rampant genetic instability and resulting mutation that appeared in the Chapter's Battle-Brothers.
Some Wolf Brothers, however, chose to go Renegade rather than be liquidated. These Astartes eventually became Chaos Space Marines in service to the Space Wolves' greatest enemies, the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion, and later to other Heretic Astartes warbands such as the Red Corsairs. Some of these Renegades remain at large in the 41st Millennium, though the vast majority of the Chapter was eliminated millennia ago.
The Second Founding of the Space Marines occurred seven standard years after the end of the Horus Heresy, in the early 31st Millennium. This Founding involved the division of the existing 9 Loyalist Space Marine Legions into the far smaller, 1,000-man autonomous Chapters as decreed by the new Codex Astartes, written by the Ultramarines' Primarch, Roboute Guilliman. Instead of 9 Legions, there were now many hundreds of Chapters. There were no Primarchs to guide them and the Adeptus Astartes now fought in the image of their gene-fathers, making use of their capabilities in service to a dark future very different from the one the Emperor had envisaged when He had created the first Astartes.
That was the way of things during the dawning of the Age of the Imperium. Chapters no longer marched in ranks of ten thousand Astartes or more. They created Successor Chapters, off-shoots governed by the same gene-seed, so that their Primarch's legacy was maintained across the stars. The more Successor Chapters drawn from the original Legion's gene-seed, the greater the legacy.
The scions of Roboute Guilliman were the ancestors of hundreds of Chapters, as were the sons of Rogal Dorn, and so it was that the Imperium was ultimately modelled in their image. Without Successors, no Chapter lived to exert influence. Successor Chapters -- these were what the Vlka Fenryka (the Space Wolves) aspired to create, to ensure that warriors of their temper flourished and endured.
The Space Wolves created from the genetic legacy of Leman Russ a Successor Chapter known as the Wolf Brothers, led by its first Chapter Master, Beor Arjac Grimmaesson. The Wolf Brothers were intended to be as numerous as their genetic forebears, and as powerful. They were gifted a homeworld, Kaeriol, a planet of ice and fire, just as Fenris is. They were given half of the Space Wolves' Legion fleet, half their armouries and half their Priests.
They were to have been the first of many Successors, a whole line of descendant Fenrisian Chapters -- the "Sons of Russ," capable of carving out a star empire the size of Ultramar. That was the vision of the Space Wolves: to be powerful enough to encircle the Eye of Terror completely, to prevent the Traitors from daring to leave it ever again. It was hoped that the Wolf Brothers and other Space Wolves Successors would fulfill their destiny and find a new purpose in the Age of the Imperium.
But something went terribly wrong and the Wolf Brothers were disbanded, scattered to the six points of the compass. They were disbanded for the same reason there could be no further Successors to the Space Wolves -- the existence of the Wolf Within. The genetic code of the Space Wolves Astartes known as the Canis Helix was far too dangerous to be copied. The heritage that made the Space Wolves powerful also made their genomes unstable and prone to rapid mutation.
The Wolf Brothers, located far from Fenris, fell quickly into the state of beasts, manifesting in large numbers of Wulfen and other, more terrible, abominations within their ranks. So it would be with any attempt to splice new sets of gene-seed from the genetic legacy of Leman Russ. Shortly after their creation the Chapter was disbanded by the Ordo Astartes, the Ordo of the Inquisition tasked with watching the Adeptus Astartes, its stores of gene-seed destroyed and its surviving Battle-Brothers given the choice between a death in glorious battle or a shameful execution.
However, before the Ordo Astartes' orders could be fully carried out much of the Chapter disappeared, the Wolf Brothers vanishing into the depths of space. Some within the Adeptus Terra accused Leman Russ of warning his Successor Chapter or even aiding their escape, though no proof was ever uncovered. To this day rumours persist of small bands of Wolf Brothers fighting with Renegade Chapters or living as pariahs in the shadow of the Eye of Terror.
The Space Wolves shelved their plans to create any further Successor Chapters after the disastrous failure of their previous attempt, but in the 32nd Millennium, a Wolf Priest named Thrar "Wyrmblade" Hraldir believed he was close to a breakthrough. Hraldir had come closer than any other since the time of the Emperor Himself at understanding the genetic nature of the Canis Helix.
Hraldir came close to figuring out how to reproduce the gene-seed of the Space Wolves without any of its inherent flaws. The Space Wolves' dream of emulating the Ultramarines, Imperial Fists and the other First Founding Chapters in the creation of a legion of Successors seemed close at hand. But unknown to the Space Wolves, their ambitions were also known to their ancient enemy, the Daemon Primarch Magnus the Red of the traitorous Thousand Sons Legion.
The First Battle of The Fang
The program for eradicating the genetic flaws from the legacy of Leman Russ was known as "The Tempering." For a generation, Hraldir worked on a cure for the Space Wolves' genetic flaws. No fleshmaker had ever discovered more than the Wolf Priest about the nature of the Canis Helix. It had become clear to him the Curse of the Wulfen could be eradicated while preserving the glory provided by the integration of animal DNA into the Space Wolves' gene-seed.
Hraldir refined the gene-sequences of the Helix, altering them to deliver the supernatural strength of the Adeptus Astartes without unleashing the ravages of the Wolf Within. The products of these experiments created within the flesh labs of The Fang with the altered Canis Helix were as powerful as a true Space Wolf, as quick in the hunt and as skilled with a blade, but they did not degenerate into the Wulfen, nor did their personalities take on bestial characteristics.
They possessed the qualities that made the Space Wolves superb warriors, and purged the genetic factors that prevented them from creating Successors. Yet they lived for only a short time. None survived for more than a matter of solar hours. Their deaths were difficult, and yet Hraldir had demonstrated to the Great Wolf Harek Eireik Eireksson that their goal was within their grasp. Given just a little more time, Hraldir would have set the Space Wolves on a new path.
After the end of the Horus Heresy, Magnus the Red was determined to have his revenge for the devastation of his homeworld of Prospero at the hands of his former brother, the Primarch Leman Russ and his Legion. He devised a cunning plan to lure the Space Wolves into a trap in order to enact his final vengeance against them.
The Thousand Sons Legion had not been destroyed during the Burning of Prospero, only crippled. Despite the grievous damage Russ had inflicted on them, the Thousand Sons still had the potential to launch raids into protected Imperial space, and the knowledge of that burned within Great Wolf Harek Ironhelm. It had angered him for solar decades, until nothing else seemed important.
Magnus continuously taunted the Great Wolf on world after world. After many fruitless efforts by his Great Company to catch up with the Thousand Sons, Harek became obsessed, and took to searching worlds along the edge of the Eye of Terror itself. Eventually he found what he believed to be the Thousand Sons' secret base on the world of Gangava Prime and launched a full-scale attack against it, leaving behind only one Great Company to defend the Space Wolves' homeworld.
The cunning Daemon Primarch made it appear to the Space Wolves that he was rebuilding his devastated Legion. But the situation on Gangava Prime was merely a feint, with the bulk of the Thousand Sons prepared to descend upon the Space Wolves' homeworld and level The Fang itself, ostensibly in retaliation for the Burning of Prospero. The real reason behind this retaliatory strike was not to simply strike at the Space Wolves out of revenge -- although most of Magnus' Legion were lead to believe this -- but to prevent the Space Wolves from successfully creating any Successor Chapters.
To the Daemon Primarch, the future that Wolf Priest Hraldir had envisaged was worth striving to prevent, and so what remained of his Thousand Sons Legion would be sacrificed to put an end to the Space Wolves' dream. When Harek Ironhelm finally led the Space Wolves assault on the surface of Gangava Prime, he discovered, much to his shock, that the warbands of Chaos Space Marines he encountered there were actually remnants of the lost Wolf Brothers. They were Space Marines in profile, but horribly altered and mutated by the twisting corruption of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos.
Though the Great Wolf wished to destroy the abominations personally, he had received word of the Thousand Sons' treacherous assault against the Space Wolves' homeworld, and so he destroyed the Renegades from orbit. Ironhelm left behind an Escort squadron to ensure that the devastation was complete. Magnus had known that Ironhelm would not refuse combat with corrupted Astartes of his own lineage. Had news not come of the battle on Fenris, Ironhelm and his Space Wolves would have hunted the last of the corrupted Wolf Brothers for many solar days, and The Fang would have fallen in their absence.
During the First Battle of the Fang, Magnus the Red personally destroyed the Space Wolves' gene-laboratories within The Fang. He shattered the birthing tubes and trampled and tore apart the experimental Sons of Russ. The vials of altered Space Wolves gene-seed were all destroyed, broken into glistening shards of glass, while the Cogitators containing the data on their creation were consumed by flames. Irreplaceable equipment, some of it dating back to the days of the Unification on Terra, had been entirely devastated, and priceless inner mechanics were now nothing more than useless wreckage.
During the Daemon Primarch's rampage in The Fang's fleshchambers he was confronted by Wolf Priest Hraldir. Though the valiant Space Wolf faced the Primarch, he proved no match for the might of one of the genetic sons of the Emperor, and was slain.
With his death and the destruction of The Fang's laboratories and data storage, The Tempering could not be completed. None now lived within the Chapter who understood Hraldir's work, and the necessary genetic alteration equipment had been utterly destroyed. After this catastrophe, the Space Wolves believed they would forever remain alone, the sole inheritors of the legacy of Leman Russ.
Yet, during the Ultima Founding of 999.M41, the first Successor Chapter of the Space Wolves in ten thousand years was raised. This was the Wolfspear, a Chapter composed entirely of Primaris Space Marines bearing the gene-seed of Leman Russ.
Notable Wolf Brothers
- Svoljard - Svoljard was a Space Marine of the Wolf Brothers who had been stranded on the Daemon World of Medrengard, the Iron Warriors Traitor Legion's homeworld within the Eye of Terror. He was one of the Astartes stranded on that benighted planet who gathered around Ardaric Vaanes. Both he and Vaanes later pledged themselves to the service of the Iron Warriors Warsmith Honsou. Svoljard was later killed by a fellow Iron Warrior.
- Prayd's Squad - A squad of Renegade Wolf Brothers fought under the command of the Chaos Champion Oneius Prayd of the Red Corsairs warband during the Scouring of Makenna VII.
The Wolf Brothers' Chapter colours are not listed in current Imperial records.
The Chapter Badge of the Wolf Brothers is not listed in current Imperial records.
- Champions of Fenris - A Codex: Space Wolves Supplement (7th Edition), pp. 15-27
- Codex: Space Wolves (2nd Edition), pg. 9
- Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse (4th Edition)
- Battle of the Fang (Novel) by Chris Wraight
- Dead Sky, Black Sun (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Planetkill, "The Heraclitus Effect" by Graham McNeill
- Dark Imperium (Novel) by Guy Haley, Chs. 6, 15