The Blades of the Lion are a 3rd Founding Loyalist Successor Chapter of the lauded and venerable Ebon Knights, whose lineage hails from the ancient Dark Angels Chapter. Their adopted homeworld, Havenfell, lies near the southern rim of the Imperium, and their mountain-top fortress-monastery takes the form of a mighty Imperial cathedral, its great spire piercing the clouds.
This Chapter has garnered a reputation as being honourable to their allies and implacable to their foes. Their valiant record of heroic deeds stretches back several millennia and is enviable by even some Chapters of more ancient provenance. Despite their laudable record however, like their forbears, the Blades of the Lion are also considered outcasts amongst the Dark Angels Successor Chapters - collectively known as the Unforgiven - for they were one of the few Chapters to stand by the actions of their genetic forebears, when they had the temerity to disobey the orders of the First Founding Dark Angels during the lamentable Crimson Blade Campaign.
For their actions, the Blades have also been given an outcast status and are counted amongst those known as 'The Forgotten'. Despite their pariah status, the Blades of the Lion continue to be unusually active and seek to carve their own legends in the annals of Imperial history. A fleet-based Chapter, the Blades patrol the outlying borders of the Imperium, and are ever-vigilant against unknown threats from the outer dark.
The Blades of the Lion deeds over the millennium have become almost as famed as those of their Progenitors. They have fought in many campaigns and wars, both as a part of a greater Imperial force or as a single Chapter.
The Blades of the Lion have fought throughout the known galaxy, most often alongside their fellow Forgotten Chapter, the Ebon Knights. Joining forces in operations such as the Downfall of the Hereditatem, the Geryon Incursion, or the bloody suppression of the 7th Black Crusade. In doctrine and temperament, the Blades of the Lion are very close to the Ebon Knights. The two Chapters' equal chivalric code of honour and teachings are largely consistent with one another.
As a fleet-based Chapter, the Blades are a exceptionally active one at that. The Chapter's forces have been witnessed fighting in numerous war zones the length and breadth of the Imperium. Many of the wars the Chapter has become involved in appear to have been instigated by Fallen Angels, though the causes of some are simply inexplicable. In turn, the Blades of the Lion have become adept in tracking down the activities of the Fallen and of acting upon the slightest scrap of evidence. How many Fallen the Blades of the Lion have captured is not known.
- Oathur V Uprising (Unknown Date.M32) - One of the first recorded campaigns of the Blades of the Lion was the Oathur V Uprising. When the Imperial government was overthrown by heretics, the planet fell into bloody insurrection. Unbeknownst to the Chapter, the true threat behind the secessionist movement was instigated by agents of Tzeentch, of the Chaos Warband known as the Obsidian Suns. The Blades worked tirelessly to root out those behind the uprising and made brutal examples out of the secessionist leaders by hanging their bodies from the tallest towers of the Planetary Governor's palace for all to see - a reminder to those that would dare countenance insurrection and rebellion, that should they dare, this too, would also be their fate - a traitor's death. Since that time, Oathur V has remained a pinnacle of Imperial efficiency and loyalty, brutally rooting out rebellion and sedition at its root, before it can bloom into full-blown insurrection.
- Foundation of the Jericho Reach (Unknown Date.M32) - After an interregnum that has lasted for over 1,200 standard years, the Imperium of Man's hold over the Jericho Reach is finally fully cemented, and it is re-designated the Jericho Sector in the great Imperium Universalis. However, the foundation of the sector is not without incident, as a suppression campaign is fought against shadow xenos forces who had begun to prey upon the stars of the southern zone around the star system of Oertha. Several fleet-based Space Marine Chapters take part in this campaign. Though the menace is driven off, tragically, the Blades of the Lion's first Chapter Master - Knight-Commander Grimm - is tragically killed while leading his Chapter during the final battle of this conflict.
- The Yula Crusade (235.M33) - The Yula Crusade was an Imperial crusade carried out against the Tau Ka'Sha Sept upon the desert world of Yula, located in the Eastern Fringe of the Segmentum Tempestus. This vitally important Imperial world was defended by a combined force led by the Blades of the Lion's 2nd Company, the Persepolis Janissaries 12th ('Dancing Dervishes') Regiment and local Planetary Defence Forces. Though they finally managed to halt the inexorable march of the Tau, it was at a great cost to Yula itself.
- The Gorganos War (875.M33) - The Gorganos War was a sector-wide Imperial suppression campaign carried out against the Imperial worlds of the Gorganos Cluster that had declared their independence from the Imperium of Mankind. Several Space Marine Chapters, including the Blades of the Lion were despatched by the High Lords of Terra to carry out terrible and swift retribution against these recalcitrant worlds.
- The Downfall of the Hereditatem (278.M34) - The Blades of the Lion, along with their progenitors, the Ebon Knights, strikes expeditiously when the hive world of Korazon declares against the Imperial Creed in favour of the council of elders, known as the Hereditatem, whose charismatic oratory and persuasive powers allowed them to hold entire hives in their thrall. The renegades are exterminated, and the Hereditatem are hung until death from their own hive spires. The world of Korazon is brought back under Imperial compliance within three days.
- The Geryon Incursion (974.M35) – The Ecclesiarchy attempts to rebind the sundered Imperium during the Nova Terra Interregnum, into a religious state that transcends political differences. Billions die in the religious wars that follow when the Ur-council of Nova Terra rejects the Ecclesiarchy's teachings, unleashing a terrible new civil war, the likes of which have not been seen since the Horus Heresy. Still operating largely in the Segmentum Pacificus during the Nova Terra Interregnum, the Blades of the Lion and the Ebon Knights take part in the fierce fighting in the Geryon Incursion. They search for signs of the Fallen, in addition to putting down those who rejected the authority of the High Lords of Terra and the Ecclesiarchy.
- Burning of Ventos (128.M36) - The Burning of Ventos was an Imperial campaign involving the Blades of the Lion Chapter upon the Imperial world of Ventos, which they defended from a massive Ork WAAAGH! in the latter centuries of M36. Faced with an overwhelming tide of greenskin forces which seemed to be drawn to the brutal conflict on Ventos, and with two whole companies nearly destroyed, the Chapter was forced to enact Exterminatus upon the doomed world to prevent it from falling into the hands of the vile Orks.
- Trail of Sorrows (324-354.M36) - The Blades of the Lion and the Ebon Knights begin a three decades-long campaign that uproots hidden cults and corrupt officials across three sectors of Imperial space. In truth, the Chapters learned of twenty Fallen that were concealing themselves within the ranks of Osiris the Man Eater's Dark Core Chaos Warband operating within these sectors. Beset with many battles to hunt down these traitors, and despite several ambushes set by the Night Lords, the two Unforgiven Chapters eventually prevail as they located the Fallen on the plague-ridden world of Lithios Prime, capturing all of them at the Battle of Crimson Ridge.
- Bear's Encounter (442.M36) - The Bear's Encounters was an event that occurred while the Blades of the Lion Space Marine Chapter were in pursuit of the Aeldari known as the Nathlion in the Eastern Fringe. The Blades encountered the Chapter Fleet of the venerable Bears of the Claw. Both Chapters agree to work alongside the other, and swiftly purged the Nathlion from their midst.
- Cleansing of Ostara (575.M36) - While on routine patrol, the Blades of the Lion intercepted a call for aid from the Hive World, Ostara. The planet was engulfed in a civil war between the local Imperial Guard forces and Secessionist. Compounding and escalating matters worse was a collection of local Chaos Cultists enforced by the deadly warband of Chaos known as the Blood Jaws. Originally planning to dispatch other companies, the Chief Librarian detects that the leaders of the Chaos Forces are members of the Fallen, commanding from the fortress, Borrok. Thus the Chapter's elite 1st and 2nd Companies work together to put down the Chaos uprising, and later besiege the Borrok Fortress, to route the Fallen within. The planet of Ostara is pacified of chaos taint within seven days.
- 7th Black Crusade (811.M37) - The Forces of Chaos spewed forth from the Eye of Terror past Cadia and then disappeared. This event is what earned this conflict its informal name of the 'Ghost War'. The following years saw a game of hide-and-seek played between the Forces of Chaos and the Imperium of Man. The Blades of the Lion and the Ebon Knights launched a Crusade into the Segmentum Obscurus to help defend multiple beleaguered Imperial worlds across the sector.
- War for Frubia Prime (142-146.M38) - Frubia Prime, located within the Segmentum Obscurus was a campaign to cleanse the planet of Necrons known as the Zarkharth Dynasty. The Blades of the Lion received a distress signal from the Forge World of Frubia Prime. After a millennium long slumber, the reawakening of Necrons was eradicating the populists of the Forge World. The Blades sustained heavy losses and the lost of the planet to these vial xenos. After four long years of fighting, the Blades of the Lions had little choice but to enact Exterminatus. Cleansing the planet thoroughly and painfully of the Necrons.
- The Gothic War (139-160.M41) - The Blades of the Lions and the Ebon Knights are two of many Space Marine Chapters deployed to the Gothic Sector to protect it against the vile Arch-Traitor Abaddon the Despoiler and his Chaos forces during the 12th Black Crusade.
- 13th Black Crusade (999.M41) - A vast tide of Chaos worshippers pour forth from the Eye of Terror into the Cadian Gate. A tide of heretic filth comprised of daemonic legions, Chaos Cultists, Renegade Chapters, spearheaded by the Traitor Legions and led by Abaddon the Despoiler, begin to assail the fortress world of Cadia and its surrounding systems. Detecting many Fallen amongst the horde, the Ebon Knights deploy their Chapter in its entirety in order to launch a headlong assault against the renegade forces. Coincidentally, the Dark Angels risk all by ordering the Unforgiven to join them in their assault against the Forces of Chaos. Though the Blades of the Lion and the Ebon Knights' presence isn't acknowledge by their Progenitors or their fellow Unforgiven, they nevertheless perform their sacred duty and begin to hunt down the Fallen in earnest. Unlike the rest of the Unforgiven, who split their forces across the Cadian Sector, the Blaes and the Ebon Knights chose to fight as one, and soon take part in many battles. However, increasing warp storm activity ensures that their fellow Unforgiven cannot reunite as a cohesive force.
- The Great Rift (999.M41) - Despite the best efforts of Imperial forces, the Cadian Gate finally falls. Though the arrival of some unexpected Imperial reinforcements prevented Abaddon from personally sealing his victory by crushing Cadia's defenders, and led to the destruction of the Blackstone Fortress Will of Eternity, the Despoiler unleashed a brutal contingency plan. He had the massive fragments of the Will of Eternity hurled from orbit like an artificial asteroid onto the surface of Cadia. The strike destroyed what remained of Cadia's faltering defences and the network of Necron-built Cadian Pylons that had long prevented the Eye of Terror from naturally expanding into the Cadian Gate. Within only solar hours, most of Cadia was in the process of being consumed by the Immaterium when the tectonic instability caused by the impact of the Blackstone Fortress finally caused Cadia to tear itself apart. The thin veil between realspace and the Immaterium is finally broken, as a massive tear in reality forms from the Eye of Terror and stretches all the way across the width of the galaxy, to the Hadex Anomaly. Every realm is touched by the Cicatrix Maledictum, or the Great Rift, blighting them with intense Daemon storms - howling tempests that carry a thousand types of death upon their fell winds. Thousands of Chaos cults emerged, and soon, planetary-wide rebellions erupted, plunging hundreds of worlds into bloody insurrection. The Blades of the Lion and the Ebon Knights take stock of the dire situation, and though battered and bloody, they resolutely stand against the tide of Chaos that now rode the upon the winds of the Great Rift. Despite the loss of over one-third of their Chapter, the Blades begin to respond to the myriad distress calls that flood in from the isolated and warp-storm battered worlds of the galactic north. Though the Chapter continues their quest to hunt for the Fallen, the Blades of the Lion and the Ebon Knights ensure to put the needs of the desperate Imperial citizens before their own, and successfully break sieges and rescue several beleaguered populations.
- The Primarch's Summit (999.M41) - In the wake of the recent catastrophic events, Dark Angels Supreme Grand Master Azrael decided to convene an emergency council of the Unforgiven's Supreme Grand Masters, including the Renegade Manticores and 'The Forgotten' (the Blades of the Lion and the Ebon Knights), though Azrael was initially hesitant to do so. The Chapter's Librarians sent out a scattered astropathic summons - though several died in the attempt to pierce the veil of the Great Rift - and soon every available loyal son of the Lion prepared to embark on a perilous journey to the Rock. Not all found their way to that last fragment of their ancestral home, as entire Successor Chapters became lost in the Warp, while other found themselves bogged down in one of the galaxy's many raging conflicts. The battered Blades of the Lion and the Ebon Knights managed to find their way through the roiling storms, and soon arrived safely to dock with the Dark Angels' fleet, though they remained aboard their ships. Only Knight-Commander Tyrus Kane of the Blades of the Lion and Knight-Commander Marius Kyron of the Ebon Knights along with a small contingent of the Chapter's Inner Circle embarked to meet Supreme Grand Master Azrael aboard the Rock. After the Blades of the Lion and the Ebon Knights arrived, naturally they were treated with contempt by their peers. Nevertheless, a small Dark Angels Honour Guard were present to meet them as they disembarked from their Thunderhawk gunships. They accorded the two Chapter Masters and their delegation with the proper custom and courtesy and then reluctantly escorted the Blades of the Lion along with the Ebon Knights contingent to the Rock's command chamber to meet with their fellow Supreme Grand Masters. Not long after their arrival, Azrael was informed of a new fleet transitioning into orbit around the Rock - that of the new Lord Commander of the Imperium - the resurrected Ultramarines Primarch Roboute Guilliman and his forces of the Indomitus Crusade. The Lord Commander had brought the Chapters of the Unforgiven much needed reinforcements. From the depths of Archmagos Belisarius Cawl's vast freighter-hulk marched Primaris Space Marines, created from the purest genetic material ever taken from Lion El'Jonson. Rank upon rank of them entered the Rock clad in new variants of power armour painted in the colours of the Dark Angels and their successors - including the Blades of the Lion. At a brief war council, Guilliman outlined the threats facing the Indomitus Crusade. He also spoke of the updated Codex Astartes, and how his brother Lion El'Jonson's descendants had earned the right to maintain their specialised wings, as long as they continued to serve the Emperor well. So did Azrael and the other Supreme Grand Masters kneel before Guilliman, and pledged their Chapters to the new Imperium.
- The Indomitus Crusade (999.M41-Early Centuries of M42) - Newly reinforced, the Blades of the Lion began to take the fight to the Forces of Chaos as they responded to the myriad distress calls that flooded in from the isolated and battered, war-torn worlds of the galactic north. Though there were some immediate concerns over their newly received Primaris Space Marine brethren, these initial misgivings were soon assuaged as the new warriors adapted to the Blades of the Lions' ways of war and performed well alongside their battle-brothers. As campaigns progressed and decades passed, many of the Primaris Space Marines gained veteran status, and it remained only a matter of time before a decision had to be made to initiate one into the ranks of the elite Palatines. The Blades of the Lion distinguished themselves time and again during the middle years of the Indomitus Crusade, earning much praise from the Lord Commander of the Imperium, and even reluctantly gained some admiration from their fellow Unforgiven Chapters, despite their pariah status. However, it remains to be seen whether or not the cold relationship between the Blades of the Lions and their Progenitors eventually thaws, and The Forgotten are allowed back into the fold of the Unforgiven.
The Blades of the Lion teachings are somewhat similar as those of their progenitors, with one minor divergence in regards to the Chapter's guilt concerning the Fallen. The Blades of the Lion feel that their shame in the eyes of the Emperor of Mankind has already been wiped away and they have earned His absolution. The Blades fears no spiritual damnation from the inter-Legion war known as the Fall, but they do feel responsible for meting out the punishment upon the traitors as an act of repentance. Despite the rift between themselves and their fellow Unforgiven, the Blades of the Lion along with the Ebon Knights feel bound to continue the Hunt for the Fallen, in honour of their gene-sire.
As well as their determined drive to capture the Fallen, the Blades of the Lion hold a equal chivalric code of honour as the Ebon Knights. They are fiercely loyal and honourable, who hold in high esteem the human values that many of their fellow Scions of the Lion have come to forget. The Blades of the Lion are resolute in all that they do, willing and able to make all sacrifices for the mission and for their fellow Battle-Brothers. The difference is, they hold that the life of an innocent is more important than obtaining an objective. To the Blades of the Lion, all other concerns are secondary. It has been observed on numerous occasions that the Blades show compassion for ordinary humans. This is primarily due to their heritage with their Successors, whose ancient chivalric codes have permeated throughout the Blades of the Lion' ranks down the millennia, and which the Chapter eventually adopted as their own. A Blades of the Lion is honourable to a fault, holding personal honour above all else.
As the Blades of the Lion are descended from the Dark Angels, their gene-seed is one of the purest and least degraded of all. The Blades of the Lion and the other Unforgiven chapters have an unusually close bond, often working hand-in-hand with one another. But often, these Chapters have a tendency to be highly suspicious of outsiders and often appear unreasonably aloof and intransigent.
Primarch's Curse: Blood of the Martyr
The genetic curse within the Blades of the Lions' gene-seed manifests divergently from their Progenitors and other fellow Unforgiven Chapters. This Chapter also possesses a secretive, even introverted nature. The idea that outsiders are not to be trusted is drilled into the recruits from an early stage, and they are tested continuously to ensure their compliance until it becomes second nature. Even though the Blades of the Lion will fight beside all of the branches of the Imperium's vast military, they prefer to stand beside other Space Marines.
Many, even brother Astartes, find the Blades of the Lion aloof and uncommunicative. The Blades of the Lion, for their part are impatient and unforgiving with strangers who pry into their affairs. In truth, those Blades of the Lion who are aware of the existence of the Fallen are ever watchful for any sign of their activity. With a culture that emphasises self-sacrifice and code of honour, the Blades of the Lions' taciturn nature and stubborn refusal to accept anything other than total victory over their foes has served them well.
When the Chapter's genetic curse manifests itself in an affected Battle-Brother, it comes on in three stages:
- Stage 1 (Honour Thy Code): The Battle-Brother weighs the facts of the situation, he sees his current course of action as the best one. Unwilling to let the innocents and defenseless perish. Holding to their chivalric code of honour and that the life of an innocent is more important than obtaining an objective.
- Stage 2 (No One Left Behind): The Battle-Brother will be unmoved and stand his ground against the enemy. He will not leave behind a fallen brother or imperial civilian even if the odds are stacked against him. The Codex Astartes doctrine and teachings might dictate retreat or flexible defence, but the Battle-Brother will be loathe to disengage until there is absolutely no choice, and even then, will only do so under extreme protest.
- Stage 3 (Death Before Dishonour): The Battle-Brother has come to accept that perhaps only the cost of his own life will be enough to secure victory and is gladly willing to give it up. This can have dire consequences should the circumstances present him with a chance to martyr himself for the Emperor and bring ruin to the enemies of the Imperium. Should a Battle-Brother suffer mortal wounds, he gains a fatalistic desire to sell his life for the cause and will choose to expend his own life for a chance at victory or the safety of his brothers. This means he will fight on regardless of his wounds and continue to attack or place himself in the path of attacks even though the next blow could mean his end. He will also gladly accept suicidal or near-suicidal tasks (such as disarming unstable warheads, leading a forlorn hope or holding a breach to buy time for his companions) without complaint.
The Blades of the Lion are organised along the same lines as the Dark Angels and so are considered to partially comply with the Codex Astartes. Like their progenitors, they maintain a pair of elite formations comprised of the 1st and 2nd Companies, known as the Palatines and Manticores, which are comparable to the Deathwing and Ravenwing. The Blades use the same terminology that the Ebon Knights use when referring to the Chapter's officers as compared to that commonly used by other Space Marine Chapters. This is because the Blades of the Lion have continued to draw upon the ancient military traditions similar to the Ebon Knights in organising the Chapter.
- Knight-Commander (Chapter Master) - The Blades of the Lion Chapter Master is known instead as the Knight-Commander. It is his duty to chair all meetings of the Chapter's Inner Circle, which serves as the Blades of the Lions' replacement for the standard Chapter Council. Only the Knight-Commander is privy to all of the Chapter's dark secrets -- and even he does not know everything.
- Consul-Master (Lieutenant Commander) - Senior Captain who performs additional duties: Lord Executioner, Lord of Marches, Lord of Relics, Lord of Rites, Lord of the Fleet, Lord of Squires (Recruits).
- Captain-at-Arms (Captain) - A Captain-at-Arms serves as a Company Commander of the Chapter and is the Blades of the Lions' equivalent to the standard Space Marine Captain of other Chapters. A Captain-at-Arms leads each of the 10 companies of the Blades of the Lion and ultimately falls under the command of the Knight-Commander. Every Captain within the Chapter serves as a member of the Inner Circle, although even at this rank he is not privy to the entire truth surrounding the Chapter's dark past or all of the Chapter's many secrets.
- Seneschal (Lieutenant) - An ancient feudal rank, this honoured position is equivalent to the rank of Lieutenant, an officer rank utilised by the Space Marine Legions of ancient times. With the influx of newly created Primaris Space Marines into the Chapter, this rank has been reconstituted amongst the hierarchy of the Chapter. A Seneschal serves as a Demi-company leader, with two assigned per full company of 100 Space Marines. These junior officers are considered 'Captains-in-training', and are accorded the proper respect and treated as such. Seneschals act as the right hands of their Captains by providing flexibility and helping to direct their Battle-Brothers in engagements. Space Marine Battle Companies are frequently divided into two Battle Demi-companies of 50 Astartes each in order to spread their forces across multiple combat zones. Command of each Demi-company falls to a Seneschal, who leads his brothers unflinchingly into battle.
- High Tormentor - The High Tormentor, also known as the Master of Chaplains, serves as the Blades of the Lions' Reclusiarch, or High Chaplain, and oversees the duties of all of the other Chaplains of the Chapter. His most important duty is to train the Blades of the Lions' special class of Tormentor-Chaplains and he is usually a master of their art of interrogation and psychological manipulation. He is a member of the Inner Circle and is thus one of the only members of the Chapter privy to the whole truth surrounding the Fallen.
- Palatine Apothecary (Chief Apothecary equivalent) - The Palatine Apothecary serves as the Chapter's Chief Apothecary and oversees the medical needs of all Blades of the Lion as well as all biological research conducted by the Chapter. The Palatine Apothecary's most important duty is to preserve and maintain the purity of the Chapter's stock of gene-seed. He is a member of the Inner Circle and is thus one of the only members of the Chapter privy to the whole truth surrounding the Fallen.
- Grand Vizier (Chief Librarian equivalent) - The Grand Vizier serves as the Chapter's Chief Librarian and oversees the Librarium. He is responsible for maintaining all of the Blades of the Lions' Chapter records and the security of its secrets. He is a member of the Inner Circle and is thus one of the only members of the Chapter privy to the whole truth surrounding the Fallen.
- Tormentor-Chaplains (Interrogator-Chaplain equivalent) - The Blades of the Lion maintain a very special cadre of Chaplains known as Tormentor-Chaplains who are tasked with getting any Fallen Angel who has been captured by the Blades of the Lion to admit their sins and repent of their betrayal of the Emperor. Tormentor-Chaplains are as skilled in the arts of interrogation, torture and psychological manipulation as the most experienced members of the Inquisition. Tormentor-Chaplains are not members of the Inner Circle, though their duties require that they have knowledge of many more of the Chapter's secrets than is normal for Blades of the Lion of their rank.
- Librarian (Epistolary, Codicier, Lexicanium)
- Knight-Veteran (Veteran Marines)
- Knight-Sergeant (Veteran Sergeant)
- Preceptor-Sergeant (Sergeant)
- Armiger-Brother (Battle-Brother)
- Brother-Ensign (Scout Marine) - Probationary rank.
- Squire-Brother (Initiate)
- Intendant (Chapter Serf)
- Palatines - The Blades of the Lions' 1st Company of veteran marines is referred to within the Chapter as the Palatines. They are the Dark Angels' equivalent of the Deathwing. The Palatines are comprised solely of Ebon Knights veterans who only take to the field of battle in sable and gold-coloured Terminator Armour. The Palatines are tasked with the mission of continuing the Hunt for the Fallen, which takes precedence over all other missions for the Chapter, even though they may be called upon to fight a wide range of foes. The bulk of the 1st Company is composed of Terminator Squads, indefatigable warriors who blast apart their enemies with Storm Bolters whilst advancing into melee assault range. Palatine Terminators feature a mix of weaponry, for both long-ranged and close combat oriented roles.
- Manticores - The Blades of the Lions' 2nd Company is called the Manticores. They are the equivalent of the Dark Angels' Ravenwing. The members of the Manticores are chosen not only for their skill at fast assaults using bikes and Land Speeders but also for their resilience to the heretical rantings of members of the Fallen Angels. All but the highest members of the Chapter's Inner Circle are oblivious to the true purpose of the Manticores, which is to hunt down and capture every last member of the Fallen. Like the Palatines, the Manticores does not conform to the ideal of Space Marine Chapter organisation as laid out in the Codex Astartes, though the other Ebon Knights' companies are considered to be Codex-compliant. The Manticores Company is mostly composed of Bike Squads and squadrons of assault Land Speeders. These vehicles are then divided into two groups; one serves as an attack squadron and the other as a fire support squadron.
- Ebon Paladins (Deathwing Knights equivalent) - A Ebon Paladin is a fell-handed warrior of the Blades of the Lion, a member of the elite 1st Company whose glorious deeds on the field of battle are matched only by his unflinching devotion to the Chapter. Ebon Paladins are a truly imposing sight, for in them lives on some semblance of the Lion himself. Only the most veteran Palatines are given the title of Ebon Palatines, the uppermost level of the order before being named a Knight-Veteran. They become the ultimate upholders of ancient Chapter traditions and the most skilled fighting unit of the Blades of the Lion. In the stratified Chapter organisation of the Blades, the Ebon Paladins represent the elite -- only the Captain-at-Arms and Consul-Masters of the Chapter rank higher, and they are only chosen from among the company of the Ebon Paladins, who are also members of the Chapter's Inner Circle.
- Knights-Errant (Ravenwing Black Knights equivalent) - Mounted on powerful, heavily customised Mark IV Assault Bikes, the Manticores Knight-Errants of the Chapter's 2nd Company, are heavily armed shock cavalry. Those who survive in the Manticores long enough learn to take the doctrines of mobile warfare to the next level of mastery. If they can pass the Seven Rites of the Manticore, they will be inducted into the Knights-Errant, the Inncer Circle of the 2nd Company. There, they will learn the real reason behind their hunt for heretics and the truth about their Chapter's history. To signify their exalted status, Knights-Errant carry Corvus Hammers, which are patterned after an ancient Calibanite weapon used to hunt the Great Beasts. The Knights-Errants' riding skills are supreme, and they can drive at top speed through almost any impediments to close on their foes.
Order of Battle
The current Chapter order of battle as of 999.M41, is as follows:
Knight-Commander Kane leads a council of officers drawn from the senior-most members of the Inner Circle. This council's composition changes depending upon the wishes of each Knight-Commander.
|Inner Circle||Librarius||Knights of Castellum Tenebrae Angelicum|
The Master of the Chimaera serves as the Chapter's Master of the Forge; he is NOT a member of the Inner Circle because of his shared allegiance to the Adeptus Mechanicus.
|1st Company||2nd Company||3rd Company||4th Company||5th Company|
|Reserve Companies||Scout Company|
|6th Company||7th Company||8th Company||9th Company||10th Company|
- "If you want to be a fellow Lion, you must train with Lions!"
- — Chaplain of the Blades of the Lion talking to new Aspirants
Though the Blades of the Lion still draw many recruits from their home world of Havenfell, they typically draw the majority of their recruits from a variety of different Imperial planets, mainly those feudal worlds with a pre-industrial level of technology, like that of Caliban, before the coming of the Emperor. Representatives of the Blades of the Lion visit each recruiting world once within a normal human's lifetime. Initiates are chosen through a bi-annual process of trial by combat, fear and endurance known as the "Ordeal of the Angels." The Chapter's Master of Recruits conducts these series of bloody tournaments and they are carried out under the supervision of the Ebon Knights' Chaplains. They then take the strongest juveniles from the population.
Each Aspirant is thoroughly screened, and from the moment he is accepted into the Chapter as a Squire-Brother, his past becomes irrelevant. Once the recruit is accepted he will undergo the normal rites to become a Space Marine. However, should he fail, he will be made into an Intendant (Chapter Serf) to carry out the labourious tasks of the Chapter. Unlike other Unforgiven Chapters, the Ebon Knights make use of human Chapter Serfs or bondsmen. The Chapter's Tormentor-Chaplains maintain a strong vigil, ensuring that the Chapter's human serfs are not compromised to reveal the Chapter's secrets. If one is suspected of breaking their vows of loyalty or suspected of corruption, they are converted into a mindless servitor, and taken away to work in the Chapter's forges.
The Blades of the Lion have been committing Battle-Brothers to the Deathwatch for millennia. In most cases however, the Space Marine has stood but a single vigil before returning to his parent Chapter. It is whispered by some that the Chapter only ever allows its brethren to stand the Long Watch if and when it suits them. But the truth of the matter, is that their Progenitors have several of their brethren who serve in the Deathwatch, with many of them occupying senior appointments. Due to the sour relations their Progenitors, the Blades of the Lion will only send a handful of their battle-brothers to the Deathwatch.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
Like their Progenitors, the Blades of the Lion nominally follow the standard combat doctrine of the Codex Astartes. Like many Scions of the Lion, the Blades of the Lion have a reputation for stubbornly standing their ground, even if it is not tactically beneficial for them to do so. They are stubborn in defence and relentless in attack, though this sometimes leads to them taking disproportionate casualties when others would have withdrawn to pursue alternative tactics. Though the Blades of the Lion are driven to capture all of the remaining Fallen Angels and force them to repent for their sins, unlike their Progenitors and their fellow Successor Chapters, they will not do so at the expense of innocent lives. The Blades of the Lion maintain a strong chivalric tradition of protecting the weak and defending those who are unable to defend themselves. Everything else is secondary to the protection of the innocent, as the Blades of the Lion hold in esteem all human lives.
Notable Blades of the Lion
- Knight-Commander Heronimus Grimm - Knight-Commander Grimm was the first Chapter Master of the newly created Blades of the Lion. He was both a veteran of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. He served as a Lord Commander and was a well known figure of the I Legion, whose actions during the Great Crusade brought him much honour. As the commander of the 7th Expeditionary Fleet, he was instrumental in the reconquest of much of the region of the Segmentum Obscurus known as the Coronid Deeps. It was also under Lord Grimm's command that the xenos empire known as the Mitu Conglomerate was destroyed, freeing the Coronid Deeps from their inhuman rule. In recognition of the long dedicated service to the I Legion, and later, the Ebon Knights Chapter, following the sundering of the original Legion into separate Chapters, Heronimus Grimm was granted the honour of becoming the first Knight-Commander of the newly created Blades of the Lion Chapter. He would go on to establish the newly created Chapter upon the world of Havenfell, as well as leading his Chapter on a neverending Crusade, to bring the light of the Emperor to the darkest corners of the galaxy. Knight-Commander Grimm successfully performed his duties as Chapter for nearly two centuries, until his tragic death while leading his Chapter in a suppression campaign against shadowy xenos forces within the newly rediscovered Jericho Sector.
- Knight-Commander Tyrus Kane - Tyrus Kane is the current Knight-Commander of the Blades of the Lion. Known throughout the Imperium, he is a warrior of great courage and battle experience, having served as a hero of his Chapter for four centuries. He has fought the slavering darkness of the daemon, xenos, mutants and the heretic, across the width and breadth of the galaxy. Throughout his career, he has displayed steadfast dedication to his Chapter through his great fortitude and uncommon valour. Renowned as an inspirational leader of unimpeachable bravery, the former 2nd Company Captain was unanimously selected by acclamation by his fellow battle-brothers following the tragic death of the previous Knight-Commander. Under Kane's skilled guidance, the Blades of the Lion have earned a well deserved reputation for acts of heroism that are equally inspiring and terrifying to behold.
- Boratos Raxus - Current High Tormentor and Master of Chaplains.
- Kyrus Farax - Grand Vizier and Master of the Librarius.
- Mordalan Alvera - Palatine Apothecary and Master of the Apothecarion.
- Brother Daberos Titus - Current Master of the Chimaera. Serves as the Chapter's Master of the Forge. Most notably, he is not a member of the Blades' Inner Circle due to his shared allegiance to the Adeptus Mechanicus.
- Consul-Master Koda Cerax - Commander of the Blades' elite 1st 'Palatines' Company.
- Consul-Master Gabriel Berai - Commander of the Blades' elite 2nd 'Manticores' Company.
- Captain-at-Arms Willhelm Calderia - Current Commander of the Blades' 3rd Company and Master of the Arsenal.
- Captain-at-Arms Judes Ces - Current Commander of the Blades' 4th Company and Master of the Fleet.
- Captain-at-Arms Azaradel Marrick - Current Commander of the Blades' 5th Company and Master of Rites.
- Captain-at-Arms Zephon Rohland - Current Commander of the Blades' 6th Company and Master of Relics.
- Captain-at-Arms Maurus Ragar - Current Commander of the Blades' 7th Company and Master of the Marches.
- Captain-at-Arms Timon Haduriel -Current Commander of the Blades' 8th Company and Master of the Blades.
- Captain-at-Arms Athonius Regalo - Current Commander of the Blades' 9th Company and Master of Sieges.
- Captain-at-Arms Cassyon Scala - Current Commander of the Blades' 10th Company and Master of Scouts.
- Brother Severiah - Current Warden of Castellum Tenebrae Angelicum.
- Chimaera (Maelstrom-class Galleass of War) - Named in honour of the ancient Ramilies-class Star Fort that served as the heart of the Alaxxes Outpost during the dark days of the Horus Heresy, this mighty vessel serves as the current flagship of the Blades of the Lion, as well as their de facto, mobile fortress-monastery when the Chapter is on Crusade. Originally named the Angelicus Tenebrae, this was a vessel of ancient provenance, constructed some time during the outset of the Great Crusade, following the Treaty of Mars. A noteworthy but relatively uncommon type of warship, a Galleass of War is the equivalent of a Grand Cruiser ("pocket battleships") which are often much larger physically. Much of the fabric of these mighty vessels were given over to freight and transport capacity, while still maintaining formidable armaments and defence. In times past, they made for ideal support vessels for deep-range explorations into unknown regions of space and as the flagships of the most powerful Rogue Traders Militant. The Angelicus Tenabrae is recorded to have participated as a vessel of the venerable I Legion in numerous Compliance campaigns of the Great Crusade and was one of the few vessels that managed to survive the horrors of the final xenocidal campaigns known as the Rangdan Xenocides. This vessel was gifted to the newly incepted Blades of the Lion by their progenitors, the Ebon Knights, following their Founding.
- Sword of Sorrow - One of the legendary power swords collectively known as the Heavenfall Blades, this formidable weapon is carried by the current Knight-Commander of the Chapter. 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 blade of the Sword of Sorrow was cut from this single block of obsidian, and is said to be able to bisect even a Chaos Terminator in a single blow or shatter granite without so much as marring the blade's mirror-like finish. This potent weapons has not chipped nor lost its keen, razor-sharp edge over its many millennia of bloody use.
- Blades of Havenfell - Blades of Havenfell are Chapter relics and each has its own honourable heritage. Only the Champions of each Company, having performed heroic and faultless duty, earn the right to wield one of these unique Power Swords.
- Blades of Purpose - Interrogator-Chaplain Boratos uses an ancient and horrific device known as the Blades of Purpose, full of arcane cruelty and the sorrow of Mankind. Its many sharply honed and well-polished blades are etched with scriptures of repentance in the tongue of Old Havenfell, and criss-crossing the weapon's head are cables and fine neural-wires, mystic science that amplifies pain to agonies beyond endurance. With this archaic weapon of torture, Boratos attempts to extract confessions from captured Fallen Angels during interrogations in an attempt to save the doomed prisoner's soul through his expert and painful ministrations.
- Shroud of Heroes - The rites of the Blades of the Lion dictate that when one of their mightiest is slain in glorious battle, his recovered remains are wrapped in a death shroud until he can be interred within the crypts of the Lion's Sanctum deep within the fortress-monastery on their homeworld of Havenfell. Pieces of this fabric, stained in the blood of heroes, are then continually stitched into a single set of robes known as the Shroud of Heroes. It is customary of the Shroud of Heroes to be presented to a duration of a battle or ongoing campaign before passing the revered robes on to another worthy aspirant of the Chapter. Those who wear the Shroud of Heroes claim they can feel the protective powers of their predecessors swirling around them, still eager to aid the Chapter.
The Blades of the Lion wear primarily gold coloured power armour. The shoulder pauldron trim, wrist armour, tops of the gauntlets and greaves are black in colour. The Aquila or Imperialis on the chestguard is also black in colour. A black-coloured, open-faced squad specialist symbol on the right pauldron indicates Tactical, Assault, Devastator or Veteran. A black-coloured gothic numeral stenciled in the center of the squad specialty symbol indicates squad number. A black coloured gothic numeral stenciled on the right poleyn (knee guard) designate company number.
The Blades of the Lion Chapter badge is a stylised black-coloured lion's head, a pair of crossed swords centered behind it.
Like all Dark Angels Successor Chapters, the Blades of the Lion loathe those renegade Space Marines who were once members of the Dark Angels Legion that spat upon their oaths to the Lion and followed the Arch-Betrayer Luther into damnation. The Blades of the Lion relentlessly pursue the Fallen across the breadth and width of the galaxy, determined to capture them and force them to repent, in order to achieve forgiveness in the eyes of the Emperor.
Dark Angels & Fellow Successor Chapters
Though not 'enemies' per se, the relations between the Blades of the Lion and their Progenitors and fellow Successor Chapters has been noticeably sour. They are not even recognised as being fellow Scions of the Lion, and when on campaign within the same region, are treated with cold indifference.
By the Blades of the Lion
- "There can be no peace if the enemies of the Emperor still draw breath! Our death will not be in vain if we give our lives in service to the Emperor! We may not be remembered and we may never be buried beneath Havenfell, so we will build our own memorial here. The Chapter might lose us and the Imperium might never know we existed, but the Enemy - the Enemy will know. The Enemy will remember! When our Enemy is dying, its last thought will be of us! We have already won this day! Our memorial - carved into the hearts of our Enemy! Here we stand and here we shall fall, unbroken and unbowed, though the very hand of death itself come for us, we shall spit our defiance to the end!"
- —Knight-Commander Heronimus Grimm, during his last stand in the final battle of the Jericho Reach Sector
- "If they stand behind you, protect them. If they stand besides you, respect them. If they stand against you, defeat them."
- —Grand Vizier and Master of the Librarius Kyrus Farax
- "What defines us is how we rise up after we fall"
- —Master of Chaplains Boratos Raxus
- "Warriors are not the ones that always win, but they are the ones that always fight!"
- —Consul-Master Gabriel Berai
- "The most important thing every Battle-Brother should know, is what he would die for."