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This article, Sable Lions, was written by Algrim Whitefang. It may be linked to any page without asking for the author's permission.

The Sable Lions are a Successor Chapter from the line of Rogal Dorn, supposedly created during the 8th Founding, which allegedly occurred during the mid-34th Millennium. This Founding was undertaken amid the dark times of the Nova Terra Interregnum, when the Imperium of Man had been split into twin interstellar empires. Created alongside the Mantis Warriors and the Angels Revenant, the Sable Lions quickly garnered a noble if aloof reputation, even for the warriors of the Adeptus Astartes. For their role in the Nova Terra Interregnum, they were given the primitive world of Persepolis, located in the galactic north near the Pelegron Cluster, which lies near the edges of the Segmentum Ultima and the Segmuntum Obscurus. The hardy inhabitants of Persepolis formed the basis of new generations of Neophytes for the Chapter. While completely autonomous of sector authority they serve as protectors, guarding the Imperial routes to the Forge World of Mezoa, located in the nearby Gothic Sector, while their Chapter starships tirelessly ply the borders of the Pelegron Cluster, hunting down and slaughtering xenos corsairs and potential Chaos incursions that have long made this trackless region their lair.

The Sable Lions are highly active in the prosecution of the Emperor's wars, seemingly deployed according to the whims of their Chapter Master (Caliph) and only rarely answering calls to war from other Imperial authorities. Many of the operations in which the Sable Lions have been committed are notable in that they are often utilized in pacification and suppression campaigns. They have also been known to take part in brutal punitive actions against those who have violated Imperial law or broken faith with the Emperor, especially other Space Marine Chapters. Often these actions are taken against renegades or isolated elements within an otherwise loyal Chapter that refuses to suppress its own. The Sable Lions are zealous and uncompromising Astartes who have a deep and abiding faith in the Emperor of Mankind and their Primarch Rogal Dorn. They also possess a strong martial code of honour, and have no tolerance for those who repudiate their oaths.

In temperament, the Sable Lions are notoriously bellicose, their battle tactics almost entirely concerned with the application of overwhelming force to bring about the total and immediate destruction of the enemy. Despite their brutal approach to war, the Sable Lions are not mindless berserkers and never throw away their own lives in the pursuit of impossible objectives. While some allies have denounced the Sable Lions for this attitude, some coming close to calling them out as traitorous, it is in fact rooted in their overwhelming sense of superiority and self-worth. The Sable Lions simply refuse to sacrifice themselves for anything but the highest cause, and when they commit themselves to battle, the result is the total destruction of all who stand before them.

Chapter History

Sable Lions Title
"Suffer not a zindīq to live, for they are irredeemable in the eyes of the Al'Malik!"
— Raqīb Abil-Ishtar, 2nd Kárdake, 4th Rafiq (Tactical Squad)
Sable Lions Chapter Banner

Sable Lions Chapter Banner

The Sable Lions are a mysterious and enigmatic Chapter, having forged for themselves a brutal, if sometimes aloof reputation amongst the Adeptus Astartes. The exact origins of this infamous Chapter are hard to pinpoint in Imperial archives as the Sable Lions have left no records of their activities in recent history, although there is some indications that they might have been created much earlier than originally believed. Within the vast catacombs of the great Librarium Terra, the vast repository of Imperial records that goes back millennia, the Liber Angeli (or "Book of Angels"), an ancient text now lost, dating back to the unknown era that surrounds the Astropath Wars of the late 32nd and the early 33rd Millennia, references are made in this oft vague and incomplete work to a Space Marine Chapter identified as the Coracinus Leo. They were dispatched into the "...prohibited zone...upon an endless crusade...to smite the foes of the Emperor..." and to "...harrow them in their positions of strength and put them to the flame and sword. To bring the light of the God-Emperor to the outer darkness, and cast down the Apostate, the Renegade and the Xenos, without mercy." This era is now shrouded in both myth and allegory, and its true nature has been purged from Imperial history so thoroughly that less is known of it than of the Horus Heresy or the Great Crusade. What is known with any certainty, is that this Chapter of the 8th Founding, claim they are descended from the proud lineage of the Imperial Fists, having spent much of its long history on Crusade throughout the northern Imperium near the Pelegron Cluster - a region of space that has long been a haven to pirates, criminals and Renegades.

The Shadow Falls

Warhammer40kGalaxy

Departmento Cartigraphicae map showing the extent of the Great Rift that has sundered the known galaxy in the wake of the 13th Black Crusade, ca. 999.M41

At the close of the 41st Millennium, Abaddon the Despoiler, Warmaster of Chaos, has raised the greatest army in service to the Ruinous Powers since the time of Horus, and intends to bring an end to the Long War by driving on Terra, intent on slaying the 'Corpse-Emperor' upon his Golden Throne and at last completing the task the Traitor Legions had begun millennia before. Though the Imperial defenders of the besieged world of Cadia fought valiantly, making untold sacrifices in the process, the Cadian Gate has fallen, and the world of Cadia was consumed by the roiling tides of the Immaterium. The death knell of Cadia has been a temporary triumph for the servants of the Dark Gods. Due to the events of the Gathering Storm and the breach of the Cadian Gate and the titanic forces of the warp, the Materium could take no more, as a titanic warp rift tore across the galaxy, spreading from the Eye of Terror to the Hadex Anomaly on the Eastern Fringe. Known as the 'Great Rift' or the 'Cicatrix Maledictum', and a thousand other names besides, this vast tear in reality has essentially rent the territory of the Imperium of Mankind in half.

The Indomitus Crusade

As darkness descends across the width and breadth of the galaxy, whole sectors of the Imperium have gone dark, while others report the onslaught of rabid Greenskin hordes, aggressive Tau fleets or deathless hosts, seemingly driven to conquest in the face of the expanding Warp Storm fronts. Heretic Chaos cults and rogue psykers have risen up in their billions, and every Imperial world now seem set to burn in the fires of unending galactic war. To those on the Terran side of the rift, the Great Rift is a tainted scar stretching across the sky, but to those unfortunates on the far side of the galaxy, things have quite literally gone to Hell. There, the light of the Astronomican is obscured behind a psychic maelstrom of nightmares and the entire region has been dubbed the 'Imperium Nihilus', or the Dark Imperium. Cut off from the light of Terra, the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes caught on this side of the Great Rift stand unbowed against the myriad foes of Mankind, hoping they can weather the storm. But all is not lost.

Sable Lions Al-Qadir Al-Malik

One of the newly assigned Al-Qadir Al-Malik (Primaris Space Marines) of the 2nd Kárdake, 3rd Rafiq (Battleline)

Ever the optimist, but never a fool, Guilliman had learned from the mistakes of the Horus Heresy, and he foresaw that the Forces of Chaos would never relent in their aim to bring the Imperium low. He anticipated that devastating times would once again engulf the galaxy and knew that warriors resilient enough to stand against them would be needed as never before. For over ten millennia, the priesthood of Mars has been working diligently towards this goal, creating a new breed of transhuman warriors - the Primaris Space Marines. The time has surely come. Now, as the Imperium of Man is poised on the brink of annihilation at the hands of Chaos, Guilliman's task is at last complete. The Primaris Space Marine is a new breed of hero for this, the darkest age in the Imperium's history. These new warriors are the next step in the evolution of the Emperor's Angels of Death -- genetically altered from their brethren to be bigger, stronger and faster -- timely reinforcements for the Imperium's armies as their enemies close in for the kill in the wake of Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade and the birth of the Great Rift dividing the Imperium in two.

In response to the emerging Forces of Chaos and other threats throughout the galaxy, the recently resurrected Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines, and now Lord Commander of the Imperium and its vast armies, has launched his Indomitus Crusade. Gathering his new armada, along with elements of the Adeptus Custodes, a small contingent of the Silent Sisterhood and a vast war host of Primaris Space Marines as he fights to liberate the scattered bastions of the Imperium. Some, Guilliman has forged into new Space Marine Chapters, whole brotherhoods comprised only of these new transhuman warriors. Others he has offered to the existing Space Marine Chapters. Many Chapter Masters have welcomed their Primaris brethren into their ranks, accepting the new reinforcements gladly. Others, though, view these new creations with suspicion or outright hostility, claiming that the Emperor's work should never have been meddled with by mere mortals.

At first the Sable Lions reluctantly accepted these new Astartes within their ranks. Though they are a step removed from their brothers, the Primaris Space Marines still bore the gene-seed of their Primarch Rogal Dorn. But as the Sable Lions were called upon to help aid beleaguered Imperial worlds, their Primaris Space Marine brethren were instrumental in breaking sieges and sweeping away invaders to bring hope back to the desperate Imperial defenders. The Sable Lions have taken to referring to their new brethren as 'Al-Qadir Al-Malik', a Persepolis term for "all powerful servants of the Emperor". A fitting appellation, and one they have earned nearly a hundred times over as worthy successors and Scions of Dorn.

Babylonian Border Patterns 4

Chapter Homeworld

Persepolis

Departmento Cartigraphicae data-file pict of Persepolis

The Sable Lions are shaped not only by the personality and deeds of Rogal Dorn, but also by the nature of their home world. Persepolis is a harsh desert world that lies within the borders of the Segmentum Ultima, near the Pelegron Cluster. In ancient times this region of space was known as the Xersinia Prohibited Zone – a vast area of the void whose dark renown long predated the birth of the Imperium. Few save the insane or desperate would venture within Xersinia's bounds. Long before the wars of the Horus Heresy, all Imperial shipping was under specific interdiction from entering the region. When it was first discovered by human settlers in the 29th Millennium it was classified as a civilised verdant Agri-World. In ancient days, Persepolis had an earth-like atmosphere. However, during the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium, dual Traitor fleets comprised of the World Eaters and Word Bearers Legions approached Calth, making good use of this forbidden region of space to conceal their approach to Ultramar.

Thus began the so-called Shadow Crusade, the joint military campaign that saw the two Traitor Legions proceed to lay waste to the Ultramarines' stellar empire in the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy, as they rapidly destroyed twenty-six worlds in quick succession. One of the first worlds to feel the wrath of the Traitors was Persepolis. Its relative isolation meant that its demise went unnoticed as it was swiftly razed to ashes by the combined fleets of Lorgar and Angron as a bloody prologue to their assault on Ultramar itself. Much of the world’s population was wiped out and many of Persepolis' once great cities were cast to ruin. The Traitors unleashed ancient weapons of terrifying potency which irrevocably changed the face of the planet forever. Verdant grasslands became arid deserts and the seas were flash-boiled away as they were vaporized by rad-caster saturation and pin-point lance strikes.

Kasr 2

Kasr el-Kullani, one of the fortress-cities of Persepolis

The few surviving inhabitants of Persepolis were forever after plagued by the horrors that the servants of Horus had unleashed, and quickly regressed into a feudal state. They struggled for their very existence against the corrupted environment and the harsh elements. The number of survivors dropped nearly to the point of extinction before the last remaining humans banded together in their struggle for their survival. The population devolved into nomadic tribes who constantly roamed the land seeking out the few remaining sources of food and water. Only the strongest of them survived. The nomads took to the mountains, where they were able to meek out a meager existence amongst the ruins of their once-great civilization. Soon, the survivors began to rebuild these ruins into massive fortress cities. The occupants lived in a complex feudal societies under the command of mighty warlords (Amir). These warlords rule the great fiefdoms called Kasr, which encompass both their colossal fortresses and any surrounding territory. Kasr also house great warrior hosts originally sworn to defend from occasional pirate attacks or xenos raids, but now more frequently from assaults by rival Kasr. In exchange for service within his armies and a tithe of any looted equipment, an Amir accords these warriors various hereditary rights based on the particular feudal clan to which they belong, as well as individual rewards for accomplishments in battle. As in all things, from dress to bestowed honours, the people of Persepolis follow the dictates of the ancient ways -- especially the legends surrounding the Annunaki Mitu, more commonly known within the Imperium as the "Angels of Death."

Warrior-Bred

Ancient sand dwellers sancient

Kasr Clan warriors march to war

The warriors of Persepolis are a proud and noble people who value courage and honour above all else. Only through combat and glory in battle can individuals advance within Persepolisian society, which means the clansmen must fight continuously to maintain their Kasr rights in a never-ending cycle of death and bloodshed. In addition to power and glory, the inhabitants of Persepolis also fight to honour the great warrior king of heaven referred to in clan lore as the Al-Malik (Emperor of Mankind). It is said that long ago, the celestial god-king sent his host of angels down from the sky on columns of flame to deliver the people of Persepolis from their enemies in a purifying baptism of blood. These legends also foretold that the Al-Malik's armies would one day return to Persepolis to convey the worthy to fresh conquests across the heavens.

From the time they are able to wield a blade, the children of Persepolis are instructed in the ways of war, in preparation for this glorious return. When a child reaches seven summers old, they are placed within one of the Kasr's Jannisaries, where they undergo rigorous education and training regimen as mandated for all male citizens of Persepolis. The training is brutal in the extreme, with only the most senior clan warriors allowed to instruct the new recruits. The training involves battle tactics, cultivating loyalty (Asabiyya), brotherhood (Ikhwan) and Persepolis tradition (Khabar), as well as military training, pain tolerance, hunting and basic survival skills. Discipline is strict and the males are encouraged to fight amongst themselves to determine the strongest member of the group. The aim of the Jannisaries is to produce physically and morally strong males to serve in Persepolis’ standing Planetary Militia Forces.

Each Kasr maintains its own militia force and is responsible for protecting their region from pirate attacks, xenos raiders, and even the occasional Chaos incursion. But the clans' sons are not the only ones who are forced into the Jannisaries. Every five years, the Amirs will send their Kasr's clan warriors to scour the surrounding deserts and mountains, to seek out any signs of the La Magiri -- the "Unconquered" -- the ancient nomadic tribes who long ago, were forced to adapt to the brutal environment of Persepolis. Their continuous fight for survival and cultural persecution saw them emerge as efficient and hardy warriors, who use their superb combat skills and deadly environment to fend off those with superior technology and formal training. The skills of these warriors are highly prized by the Amirs, for after their indoctrination and training at one of the Kasr's Jannisaries, their loyalty is absolute. They are often shown great favor and are relied upon for an Amir's personal guard.

La Magiri Fighter

One of the La Magiri, "the Unconquered"

The feudal clansmen of Persepolis wield a variety of weapons in combat, such as khanjar knives and curved scimitar blades. These weapons vary in condition and function, from jealously-guarded relics to blades that have been repaired countless times over the years. Many of these weapons are proudly maintained by a familial line, and are handed down from father to son. Persepolis tradition states that if a blade is drawn, it cannot be re-sheathed until it had drawn blood. These warriors believe that every weapon has a spirit within that yearns for battle, and that this spirit must be maintained if a weapon is to aid them in battle. For this reason, older, proven weapons are highly valuable to these warriors, both as relics of the Amir’s armies and objects of personal value to the fighter and his clan. Many go to great lengths to retrieve weapons that have been damaged in battle, though those which are beyond repair are ceremonially salvaged in order that the spirit within may live on.

When the lords of the Imperium turned their eyes back towards Persepolis in the 32nd Millennium, they soon realized the potential for such skilled fighters. Soon the Ecclessiarchy sent missionaries from the Missionarus Galaxia to begin the long and diligent process of indoctrinating the clansmen of Perseopolis into the Imperial Creed. Within a few decades the Amirs were shown the proper rites of devotion, and those who survived publicly swore new blood oaths to the Al-Malik. Shortly thereafter, Departmento Munitorum transport vessels arrived, and before long the first Imperial Guard regiments were raised, and the Persepolis Janissary regiments left their world behind to claim glory and honour upon the Imperium's countless battlefields.

The Lionhold

"Caliph Akkad, the Great Lion, fought the Daeva for many hours, but was sorely wounded, and so Kaos prevailed. The soldiers fought fiercely and saved the fallen Caliph from death, though many died for their efforts.
Some of the soldiers ushered him away into the night so that the minions of Kaos could not slay him.
For a long time they traveled, until they came to the far mountains where the Daeva would not find them. There, they built a great and secret fortress which they called Haydar al-qasr, the Lionhold, for it was stalwart and strong.
Caliph Akkad rested and tended his wounds, and grew stronger.
Certain of his soldiers, whom he found worthy, he made of the Heartblood also, and bade them make war upon Kaos and its minions, that their evil should not taint the earth.
"
— From the apocryphal Lay of Sargon Akkad
Haydar al-qasr

Haydar al-qasr (the "Lionhold"), fortress-monastery of the Sable Lions Chapter

Like other Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes, the Sable Lions maintain a mighty fortress-monastery, a sanctuary where it trains every new generation of Space Marines and keeps its secrets safe. On Persepolis, this great Imperial bastion is known as Haydar al-qasr, "the Lionhold" – a mighty citadel forged from the planet's tallest peak, Shadu Sargon (Mt. Sargon), located amongst the world's tallest mountains, the Asad Asnaan (Lion's Teeth). The Lionhold is an impressive fortification, rising hundreds of metres above the arid plains of Persepolis' northern polar continent. In the seven millennia since the creation of the Chapter, it has never fallen to a foe. The fortress-monastery is riddled with chambers, some of them enormous assembly grounds and sparring arenas, others tiny cells or shrines to Imperial heroes whose inscriptions are all that remains of them in the Chapter's memory.

As Scions of Dorn, the Sable Lions have an affinity for building formidable fortifications. Within the Lionhold, natural volcanic tunnels have been enlarged to form the interior of the fortress, each constructed with a mind towards defending against an invader -- dead ends, switchbacks and false gateways leading to killing zones. The Lionhold is clad in armour of immense thickness and strength. Across the entire structure stretches the citadel's void shields more powerful than those found on even the mightiest of the Emperor's warships, glistening faintly as the oblique sunlight slants through the clouds. Every aerial approach to the fortress-monastery is overlooked by potent Icarus Pattern lascannons, and a macro-laser known to the Sable Lions as the Lion's Fury which stands like a spear of vengeance to lance space-borne enemies from the heavens. These huge weapons are as ancient as the Chapter itself, the geothermal reactors that power them testament to the precious technology from the distant past.

The Lionhold possesses one external gate known as the Sunrise Gate, located to the rear of the main structure of the fortress-monastery. The Lionhold could not be taken by a host of enemies unless some foe was cunning enough to come behind and scale the lower skirts of the mountain, and so come upon the narrow shoulder that joins the termination of massive ridges between the peaks, allowing movement up towards them from the surrounding highlands. The ridges run up to the citadel gate itself. But this would be suicidal on the part of an attacker, as the gate overlooks entirely bare approaches, such that any massed advance on them would provoke a slaughter. The Sunrise Gate itself is wide enough for a hundred mortal men to walk through abreast. The colossal structure of adamantium, granite and ceramite bristles with twin-linked bolter turrets, rocket launchers and static plasma cannons.

Babylonian Border Patterns 4

Notable Campaigns

  • Pacification of Persepolis (Unknown Date.M34) - Following their creation, the Sable Lions Chapter were granted the primitive Desert World of Persepolis and its surrounding system as their demesne. Upon arrival, the Chapter's Librarians immediately detected the unmistakable taint of Chaos. Following a scan of the surface, the Sable Lions quickly determined that the planet was under attack by a large force of Chaos Space Marines comprised of the Night Lords and Word Bearers Traitor Legions, massed cult-hordes and waves of daemons. They attacked the planet's populated walled-cities, committing genocide on a massive scale. Seething with rage, the Sable Lions launched a planetary assault, deploying their entire Chapter to the planet's surface. Though many of the planet's cities were reduced to ruin, after many months of brutal and bloody fighting, the Sable Lions emerged bloodied but victorious, breaking the back of the Chaos forces, and forcing them into shameful retreat. In gratitude, the grateful populace built the Sable Lions' fortress-monastery, Haydar al-qasr (the "Lionhold") amongst the world's tallest mountains, the Asad Asnaan.
  • The Grief of Herodin (973.M35) - The numberless hosts of the Great Enemy descends from the Nightmare Rifts in a terrible wave of bloodshed and destruction on an epic scale. Only the stalwart defence of the Sable Lions and nine other Adeptus Astartes Chapters, helped to quell the violence and end the brutal conflict.
  • The Fury Crusade (456-466.M38) – Leading a frenzied mass of lesser Khorne Daemonkin warbands, the Skullsworn invades the Ixaniad Sector. In a series of psychotic assaults, this brutal Daemonkin warband slaughtered billions of Imperial citizens on multiple worlds in a celebration of wanton destruction and murder for the Blood God. The Sable Lions, the Death Templars and Iron Scorpions were called upon by the High Lords of Terra to halt the slaughter, and so, launched the Fury Crusade into the Ixaniad Sector. The war that followed lasted for long, bloody years. But eventually, the triumvirate of the Scions of Dorn Successor Chapters brought an end to the brutal slaughter, though at great cost in both battle-brothers' and Imperial lives.
  • 9th Black Crusade (537.M38) - Abaddon the Despoiler and his Black Legion launch the 9th Black Crusade out of the Eye of Terror in 537.M38, intent on bringing about the demise of the naval fortress of Cancephalus. Abaddon proceeds to ravage the sector at will. During this time a number of crusading Chapters are recalled by the High Lords of Terra to help deal with the rising threat of incursions from the Eye of Terror. The Sable Lions fight a relentless campaign against various encroaching Chaos Renegade warbands and xenos marauders from the nearby Pelegron Cluster. The brutal fighting results in the loss of nearly half the Chapter's number.
  • Scouring of Nosgoth (725.M38) - A Chaos Cult uprising upon the strategically important Hive World of Nosgoth engulfs the planet, until elements of the Sable Lions Chapter arrive unbidden, to reclaim the besieged world for the Imperium. In a series of well coordinated surgical strikes and scorched earth assaults, the Sable Lions decimate the cult's ranks, freeing Nosgoth from the insidious threat of the Ruinous Powers.
  • The Malachai IV Massacre (310-320.M39) - The Sable Lions conduct a ten year campaign on the hive world of Malachai IV, to eradicate rebellious factions and those believed responsible for the uprising -- Chaos-corrupted Imperial officials. The Sable Lions are censured by the High Lords of Terra for the widespread culling of the population that marked the end of the campaign and leaves the world unable to fulfil production quotas owed to the Administratum. Unremorseful, the Sable Lions voluntarily undertake a fifty year penitent crusade as recompense.
  • The Torment of Agamenthor (529.M40) - The population of the shrine world of Agamenthor falls prey to the secret nihilistic pleasure cults on the planet. With the arrival of the Slaanesh-devoted Renegade Warband, the Exquisite Host, the Dark Prince's followers take delight in the slaughtering of the planetary governor and his militia forces in an intense outbreak of violence. Only the unexpected arrival of the Sable Lions and the Obsidian Blades prevents the imminent loss of tens of billions of lives. The Sable Lions lead a brutal assault as the Obsidian Blades conduct a successful guerrilla campaign against the leadership of the Chaos warband and the pleasure cults. The Exquisite Host inflict fearful losses on their besiegers before being driven into the deeper darkness of the Warp.
Babylonian Border Patterns 4

Chapter Gene-Seed

The Curse

As the genetic inheritors of Rogal Dorn, the Sable Lions are not alone in their experience of genetic deviancy. The Space Wolves and the Blood Angels, as well as the brethren of other Foundings, carry the flaws of their blood heritage on to new generations. The Sable Lions, like their fellow Successor Chapter, the Excoriators, are afflicted by a genetic curse known amongst some Scions of Dorn as "Dorn's Darkness," which they simply refer to as "The Curse" or "Torpor." When Torpor takes one of their number it might appear to the untrained eye as merely a wretched palsy: a slackness of the jaw, a tremor of the limb, a blankness of the eye. But those who survive it report the experience as a living nightmare, a sleeping wakefulness in which they relive the bottomless woe of Dorn's most trying time -- the grievous loss of the Emperor during the Battle of Terra, at least as the ancient Astartes once knew him. This is both their Primarch's genetic blessing and a curse to his sons. The afflicted Astartes feels what Dorn felt when he stood over the broken body of the Emperor aboard Horus' flagship -- the paralysing fear that even a man as great as their Primarch experienced, for himself and for humanity -- to know the impossibility, for even a second, of an Imperium without the Emperor. While in the throes of Torpor, its victims cannot speak or communicate nor can they feed themselves or take water, and seem feverishly insensible to everything happening about them.

Those Sable Lions who fall victim to Torpor are left in the care of the Chapter's Amr, or Reclusiarch of the Chapter. These afflicted brethren are taken from the sight of their fellow Rafiq (Battle-Brothers), as no self-respecting Sable Lion would want to look upon their own weakness and invalidity. The afflicted are interred within a stasis casket and lined upright against the walls of a sacred chamber, located on their homeworld of Persepolis, within the bowels of their might fortress-monastery of Alamut. Here, the afflicted brethren lie in stasis within the dimly lit chamber, where they might summon the strength of will to banish the Curse of the Primarch and recover their sanity. This spiritual treatment, first utilised by their fellow Successor Chapter, the Excoriators, either cures the afflicted or ultimately results in their death.

The Sable Lions' gene-seed has obviously suffered some mutations from the original source that was given to them. The hostile conditions of their lives, coupled with the rituals and practices of the Chapter changed them drastically over time. Most notably is that they are quick to anger and slow to forgive past transgressions. They tend to be overzealous when dispensing the Emperor's will. They're brutal and vicious, following closely the tenet of 'might makes right'. These apparent aberrations most likely occurred when the genetic material from Persepolis' nomad tribes was introduced. The genome of the Sable Lions' gene-seed seems to have inherited their savagery and thirst for battle. As headstrong as they are fierce, the Sable Lions are experts at close-quarter fighting, and their warriors compete keenly for glory on the battlefield. The Sable Lions live to fight as death holds no fear for them.

Babylonian Border Patterns 4

Chapter Organisation

Despite being an Imperial Fists Successor Chapter, the Sable Lions have fundamental differences from most, more conventional, Scions of Dorn Chapters. Their bellicose nature and fiercely independent streak applies to the Chapter's overall organization. Although anecdotal evidence indicates the Sable Lions roughly conform to the Codex Astartes’ tactical and squad doctrines, this does not carry over to its command structure and company arrangements. Instead, the Sable Lions seem to split their Chapter into a number of Battle Companies (Kárdake) designed to operate independently. Each has an augmented auxiliary force of Scout Marines (Fida'i) for reconnaissance and evaluation of the enemy, and a dedicated spearhead of Terminator Veterans (Haidar) who serve as the company Captain's (Castellan) bodyguard. The Sable Lions have been observed to make use of Chaplains (Imams), Librarians (Jinn), Apothecaries (Asu) and Techmarines (Muhandis) with little deviation from their roles in other Chapters.

With the recent addition of Primaris Space Marines (Al-Qadir Al-Malik) within their Chapter's ranks, Intercessor Squads of these penultimate warriors have been spread throughout the various companies (2nd through 7th Companies), bringing with them their superior skills and superlative combat acumen, and to inspire their fellow battle-brothers to ever greater heights of glory in the name of Dorn.

Only a few intelligible accounts of the Sable Lions exist that tell of the Chapter's very disciplined order of deployment and combat, despite the evidence from casual observers that they are a barbarous and savage Chapter in nature. Their tactical deployments and use of shock-assault tactics is highly reminiscent of the Black Templars. Although these Chapters are diametrically opposed in character, they both tend to display an overriding desire to close with the enemy and shatter their foes in bloody personal combat.

Order of Battle

Like all Codex Astartes-compliant Space Marine Chapters, the Sable Lions are divided into ten companies of 100 Space Marines each when at full strength. Each company was led by an officer with the rank of Castellan who is a hero of the Sable Lions. Each Castellan -- in addition to his company command -- is in charge of a particular aspect of the Chapter's logistics. The following represents the order of battle of the Sable Lions Chapter as it currently stands:

Headquarters

Company of the Lion Who Roars


Lammasu Gold Icon 2
Personal icon of the Caliph - The Lion That Roars
*Gilgamesh Ishtari, Amir al-umara, Caliph of the Sable Lions Chapter
Equerry Haidar (Honour Guard) Du'at (Chapter Council) Troops
  • Castellan Dagan Enkidu, Baal of the 1st Kárdake - Muqaddam (Equerry) to the Amir al-umara ('Commander of Commanders')
Ashu goldr
Badge of the Ashu
  • 5 Haidar (Sternguard Veteran Squads)
  • 4 Adad (Assault Squads)
  • 5 Sparabara (Breacher Squads)
  • 4 Hadad (Devastator Squads)
  • 4 Fida'i (Scout Squads)
  • Vizier (Chief Librarian) Belteshazzar Nusku
  • Allamah (Master of the Forge) Nabu Balasi
  • Amr (High Chaplain) Berosus Irkalla
  • Ashipu (Chief Apothecary) Sumuel Enshag
  • Takabara (Chapter Serfs)
  • Servitors
Other Departments
Librarium Armoury Reclusiarchy Apothecarion Fleet Command
Adar Sacred Fire Gold

Belteshazzar Nusku, Ashipu (Chief Librarian)

Jinni (Epistolaries, Codiciers, Lexicaniums)

Acolytum (Scribes)

Sable Lions Cog Gold

Nabu Balasi, Allamah (Master of the Forge)

Muhandis (Techmarines)

Takabara (Chapter Serfs)

Servitors

Battle Tanks

Land Raiders

Gunships

Thunderfire Cannons

Faravahar Gold

Berosus Irkalla, Amr (High Chaplain) Imams (Chaplains)

Star of Shamash gold

Sumuel Enshag, Ashipu (Chief Apothecary)

Asus (Apothecaries)

Takabara (Chapter Serfs)

Servitors

Nergal gold

Castellan Anshar Shamash, Bel-Al-Hajj (Master of the Fleet)

4 Battle Barges (Dominus Leonis, Rex Felis, Dominatus Panthera, Leonis Indignatio)

7 Strike Cruisers

16 Rapid Strike Vessels (Escorts)

34 Thunderhawk Gunships

4 Thunderhawk Transports

Companies

Veteran Company Battle Companies
1st Kárdake (Company) 2st Kárdake (Company) 3rd Kárdake (Company) 4th Kárdake (Company) 5th Kárdake (Company)
"Lions of Akkad"
Battle Company

Castellan Dagan Enkidu

100 Haidar (Terminators)

6 Anunnaku (Dreadnoughts)

"The Immortals"
Battle Company

Castellan Arakhu Muranu "Little Lion," Bel-Sa Belet (Master of Rites)

Haidar (Honour Guard)

Al-Qadir Al-Malik (Primaris Space Marine Intercessor Squads)

Rafiq (Tactical Squads)

Adad (Assault Squads)

Hadad (Devastator Squads)

Anunnaku (Dreadnoughts)

Fida'i (Scout Marines)

"Golden Asuras"
Battle Company

Castellan Hassimir Daon, Bel-Allik (Master of the Marches)

Haidar (Honour Guard)

Al-Qadir Al-Malik (Primaris Space Marine Intercessor Squads)

Rafiq (Tactical Squads)

Adad (Assault Squads)

Hadad (Devastator Squads)

Anunnaku (Dreadnoughts)

Fida'i (Scout Marines)

"The Sabu Lords"
Battle Company

Castellan Istar Sumesses

Haidar (Honour Guard)

Al-Qadir Al-Malik (Primaris Space Marine Intercessor Squads)

Rafiq (Tactical Squads)

Adad (Assault Squads)

Hadad (Devastator Squads)

Anunnaku (Dreadnoughts)

Fida'i (Scout Marines)

"Bloody Scimitars"
Battle Company

Castellan Silani Amarud

Haidar (Honour Guard)

Al-Qadir Al-Malik (Primaris Space Marine Intercessor Squads)

Rafiq (Tactical Squads)

Adad (Assault Squads)

Hadad (Devastator Squads)

Anunnaku (Dreadnoughts)

Fida'i (Scout Marines)

Reserve Companies Scout Company
6th Kárdake (Company) 7th Kárdake (Company) 8th Kárdake (Company) 9th Kárdake (Company) 10th Kárdake (Company)
"Dervish Devils"
Reserve Tactical Company

Castellan Samir Urukh

Haidar (Honour Guard)

Al-Qadir Al-Malik (Primaris Space Marine Intercessor Squads)

Rafiq (Tactical Squads)

Annnaku (Dreadnoughts)

Fida'i (Scout Marines)

"The Karkadann"
Reserve Tactical Company

Castellan Yanzu Makru

Haidar (Honour Guard)

Al-Qadir Al-Malik (Primaris Space Marine Intercessor Squads)

Rafiq (Tactical Squads)

Anunnaku (Dreadnoughts)

Fida'i (Scout Marines)

"The Yuan-Ti"
Reserve Assault Company

Castellan Buvalu Ninlil, Bel-Daku (Lord Executioner)

Haidar (Honour Guard)

Adad (Assault Squads)

Sparabara (Siege Assault Specialists)

Fida'i (Scout Marines)

"The Hadad"
Reserve Devastator Company

Castellan Jalal Ramman "The Thunderer," Bel-Hadad (Master of Relics)

Haidar (Honour Guard)

Hada (Devastator Squads)

Anunnaku (Dreadnoughts)

Fida'i (Scout Marines)

"Mamluk"
Scout Company

Castellan Shala Druaga, Bel- Amir (Master of Recruits)

Haidar (Honour Guard)

Fida'i (Scout Marines)

Jannisaries (Aspirants)

Chapter Command

  • Caliph – The Chapter Master of the Sable Lions; one of the Du’at.
  • Vizier – Chief Librarian of the Chapter; one of the Du’at
  • Amr – Reclusiarch of the Chapter; one of the Du’at.
  • Ashipu – Chief Apothecary of the Chapter; one of the Du’at.
  • Allamah – A Persepolis honorary title carried by only the highest scholars; the Sable Lions’ designation for a Master of the Forge.
  • Du'at – The quintumvirate of senior leaders of the Chapter – the Caliph, Vizier, Ashipu, the Allamah and Amr – who are the Chapter Master’s closest advisors.
  • Castellan – A Sable Lion company commander; equivalent to the Codex-rank of Captain.
  • Bel-Al-Hajj – Rank designation for Master of the Fleet.
  • Bel-Daku – Rank designation for Lord Executioner.
  • Bel-Allik – Rank designation for Master of the Marches.
  • Bel-Hadad – Rank designation for Master of Relics.
  • Bel-Sa Belet – Rank designation for Master of Rites.
  • Bel-Amir – Rank designation for Master of Recruits.

Specialist Ranks

  • Imam – The Persepolis term for a holy man; the Sable Lions’ designation for a Chaplain.
  • Asu – The Persepolis term for a healer; the Sable Lions' designation for an Apothecary.
  • Jinn – Jinn is the Persepolis term that means "those" or "things hidden from sight"; a term used by the Sable Lions when referring to their Chapter’s Librarians. These individuals are known as a jinni or djinni.
  • Muhandis – A Persepolis term that literally means "engineer"; the Sable Lions' designation for a Techmarine.

Chapter Ranks

  • Al-Qadir Al-Malik - The Persepolis term for "all powerful servants of the Emperor"; the Sable Lions' designation for their Primaris Space Marine brethren.
  • Raqīb – The Persepolis term for an "overseer"; the Sable Lions' designation for a Sergeant rank.
  • Muqaddam – The Persepolis term for an "assistant"; the Sable Lions’ designation for an assistant squad leader.
  • Fida'i – The title given to Neophytes, who are serving their mandatory time amongst the 10th Scout Company.
  • Jannisary – The title given to Aspirants, who are recruited from Persepolis' young boys to become potential candidates for the Sable Lions' Chapter.

Squad Designations

  • Haidar – A Persepolis term that means "lion"; a term utilized by the Sable Lions when referring to their Sternguard Veteran Marines.
  • Adad – A Persepolis term that means "storm" or "lightning"; a term utilized by the Sable Lions when referring to their Assault Marines.
  • Hadad – A Persepolis term that means "thunder"; a term utilized by the Sable Lions when referring to their Devastator Marines.
  • Rafiq – "Comrade(s)" the Sable Lions’ word for themselves – fellow battle-brothers. Also used by the Sable Lions when referring to their Tactical Marines. As all battle-brothers are warriors and Tactical Marines are the backbone of any Space Marine Chapter, this term is interchangeable.

Formations

  • Kárdake – A Persepolis term for a heavy infantry unit; a term utilized by the Sable Lions when referring to a Company.
  • Sparabara – A Persepolis term meaning "shield bearers"; a term when referring to Siege Assault Specialists.
  • Takabara – The human serfs who garrison Alamut when the Chapter is called away to war, as well as the standing Planetary Defence Force.

Sable Lions Librarians

Like their fellow Astartes Chapters, the Sable Lions also maintain a Librarium of potent psykers who are highly talented and trained to master the power of the Warp at the highest levels. Each Chapter selects its Librarians in its own way, either from seed worlds, as it does with the bulk of its Initiates, or from the ranks of gifted psykers brought to the Scholastica Psykana. Most Chapters train and test chosen psykers following the ancient ways laid out in the Codex Astartes. Librarians of the Sable Lions are trained in this way, and, with few minor traditional variances, have been taught to live by the word of the Codex. Sable Lions Librarians have a number of unique psychic abilities only used by the psykers of their Chapter:

  • Dervish Devil – The Librarian calls forth the avatar of the great desert in the form of a massive swirling pillar of sand, like a small tornado that consumes all in its path, stripping both armor and flesh from bone in a matter of seconds.
  • Flying Scimitar – The Librarian conjures a mighty scimitar of psychic power, glowing with a golden glow. On a single-word of command, the scimitar flies from his hands, hurling the blazing golden scimitar towards his enemies, which skewers everything in its path.
  • Flaming Sword – The Librarian’s force weapon becomes surrounded by cleansing psychic flames as he imbues it with his inner hatred for the foes of the Emperor.
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Chapter Recruitment

It is often said that in the dark future of the 41st Millennium there is only war. No world is untouched by bloodshed and death and for many human societies war is a permanent state of existence. No more is this truer, than on the war torn world of Persepolis, whose warrior Kasr's constantly vie with one another for resources, territory and water. Often the Chapter's Imams will watch from afar, as they witness the deeds of the clan's Jannisary warrior-youth, and select the victors as Aspirants, even if they are near-death. In most cases, the Sable Lions need do little more than watch the conflicts, but in some instances they actively take a hand in fomenting conflict and strife. By limiting the technology levels of Persepolis society, curtailing its access to natural resources, and having Chapter serfs spread hate, lies and paranoia, the Sable Lions ensure there is no break in the constant state of warfare that produces potential Astartes candidates. Recruitment for the Sable Lions starts when a Jannisary reaches the age of 12 Terran years, though sometimes, they will select a youth as old as 18 years of age.

Another method of selection is held every five years, when the Chapter's Imams and a squad of Rafiq walk amongst the people of the Kasrs, and hold a challenge trial for those Jannisaries who have come of age. Each Sable Lions Kárdake is usually recruited entirely from one of these clan settlements so that the Rafiq of a company will share their clan as well as Chapter loyalties and will also feel strongly connected to their home world's common people. The challenge trial is comprised of a contest of strength, stamina, speed, skill, mental strength and faith in the Al-Malik. This challenge involves potential Aspirants to compete against a full Astartes, who in truth, they are not expected to better a full Battle-Brother. The youths' success is more often measured in the degree of their failure.

This type of challenge can prove deadly. Even though an Aspirant will inevitably fail the trial, as long as he performs to the Sable Lions' satisfaction, he is rescued from the jaws of death by the Chapter's Apothecaries (Asu) and judged worthy of progressing on. Those selected as Aspirants are first apprenticed to a Sable Lions Astartes who will be their mentor and guide them through the process and teach them the ancient ways of the Chapter. As their training progresses they are required to undergo even more trials of strength, stamina and endurance. Those Aspirants who survive to complete all of these tasks are taken for biological enhancement and implantation of the Chapter's gene-seed at the Sable Lions' fortress-monastery of Haydar al-qasr.

When the Sable Lions are away from their Chapter home world on campaign, it is not unusual for a campaigning Kárdake to harvest an entire generation of recruits from a local world to renew their losses, forcing those they select to fight to the death to prove their worth in order to survive as Sable Lions Neophytes. Thus paid in blood, the Sable Lions fleet will then depart for Persepolis, so that the newly selected Jannisaries can be trained back at the Lionhold.

Following their training and gene-seed and organ implantation process, the Aspirants will forever after be irrevocably changed -- taller, stronger and superhumanly powerful -- their restructured transhuman bodies possess keener senses and muscles stronger than tempered steel. They are finally ready to begin their training as Space Marines. They are now Sable Lions Neophytes (Fida'i), having only completed the first stage of becoming a full Sable Lions Astartes. There is then the typical tradition of serving in the Chapter's 10th Kárdake Scout forces before joining one of the other Kárdakes as a fully-fledged Rafiq.

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Chapter Combat Doctrine

"Hard pressed on all sides. My center is yielding...impossible to manoeuvre. Situation excellent! I have them right where I want them! I am attacking! Insha'Malik!"
— Raqīb Aloros Nusku, 8th Kárdake, 1st Adad (Assault Squad), vox recording

The Sable Lions' tactical doctrine has always erred towards the use of shock tactics, close-quarters combat and above all, the brutal application of focused and overwhelming force to obliterate the enemy. The companies of the Sable Lions generally fight according to the precepts of the Codex Astartes, employing the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Kárdake (Battle Companies). These four companies form the bulwark of the main battle lines bearing the brunt of the fighting. The specialist companies (the 1st, 8th, and 10th) are kept in reserve and only deployed when necessary. The 6th, 7th, and 9th Kárdake (Reserve Companies) are kept on standby, ready to deploy in a moment's notice. The Chapter's Dreadnoughts are often used as fire support units, if not, Furiosos.

However, these Companies cannot be relied upon to fight in the structured and disciplined ways of other purely Codex Chapters, for even the most taciturn veteran becomes infected with battle-lust, wishing only to release their calculated brutality and savagery upon their foes. A Sable Lions Astartes in the heat of battle seeks nothing more than to get to grips with the enemy and tear them asunder in a hail of blood. Imperial allies have made numerous complaints to the Inquisition, reporting that the Sable Lions have continuously committed numerous wanton acts of brutality and barbarity. Never before have they witnessed such bloodthirstiness and savagery committed by an Astartes Chapter. Often, the charnel violence left in their wake has made many other Imperial forces, including numerous other Space Marine Chapters, refuse to fight alongside them.

Though the Sable Lions demonstrate a highly unusual grasp of military strategy, and excel in many theaters of war, they are completely oblivious to the subtleties of negotiation and parlay, as anything less than total and decisive force to achieve their objectives has become their accepted modus operandi. Over many millennia, this tendency has been accepted without question and has become standard operating procedure. In situations when a surgical strike would suffice, the Sable Lions attack with the full force of a hammer blow. The regular use of excessive force to achieve their goals has become the norm. The Sable Lions have expressed on more than one occasion that by crushing the offender in full view of his compatriots, an enforcer not only solves the original problem beyond all doubt but ensures that those who witness it dares not stray from the path of Imperial law.

The Chapter also vehemently refuses to make use of camouflage (even Codex-approved patterns) as the "livery of curs," for they believe in boldly wearing the chosen livery of their Chapter proudly, as a visible sign to their foes of the destruction and cleansing they bring. The Sable Lions are cunning and fearless in battle, and will never use subterfuge or trickery to defeat an enemy. They believe that the only honorable way to face an opponent is up close and personal. Therefore, they tend to eschew the use of heavy weapons and armored vehicles of most kinds, but understand their necessity on occasion. They will often employ Rhinos and Razorbacks, as this enables the Sable Lions to surge forwards and take the enemy with bolt pistols and power swords.

Once unleashed, the Sable Lions will permit nothing to stand in the way of the gratification that can only be found in close combat. Their dogged resistance in combat has become legendary. In situations where even other Space Marines would fall back, the Sable Lions will fight on to the bitter end, always pressing forwards, never back. 'No retreat, no surrender' has become their watchword. This is reflected in their stubborn refusal to move in the face of the enemy, even in situations in which it would be beneficial for them to do so.

The Sable Lions are notoriously intolerant of non-humans and will refuse to fight alongside armies that include alien races. But the Sable Lions reserve a special abiding hatred for Chaos and those who would willingly follow the Ruinous Powers. After all, it was the through the machinations of Chaos that the Emperor's most-favoured son, Horus, and those Space Marine Legions that followed him, were corrupted and eventually split the Imperium asunder, which resulted in the death of hundreds-of-billions of innocents, and ultimately, the death of the Emperor's mortal shell.

The Chapter holds the Traitor Legions with the utmost contempt, and will go to any lengths to prosecute them and bring them to meet the Emperor's justice if there is even a whisper of their presence in local space. An aloof and intolerant Chapter they are highly suspicious of outsiders often times refusing to fight alongside even other Space Marine Chapters. Because of their bloodthirsty nature they have been put under constant Inquisitorial and Ministorum scrutiny.

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Chapter Beliefs

"The 'Zindīq' comes in many forms: man, woman, or child...it matters not! They are all guilty by association and therefore, have blasphemed in the eyes of the Al-Malik! They will beg you for mercy, to spare their pathetic lives, but listen not to their pitiful cries! Grant the kafirs the 'mercy' of oblivion!"
— Castellan Shala Druaga, Baal of the 10th Kárdake, and Bel-Amir (Master of Recruits)

The Sable Lions, unlike most Adeptus Astartes Chapters, are notably strict adherents of the Imperial Cult, believing in the Emperor's divinity. They also adamantly believe it is Mankind's manifest destiny to vanquish all the vile and wicked alien races, and to take their place as the rightful inheritors of the galaxy. The Sable Lions hold those Imperial citizens who do not fight corruption or allow Chaos Cults to take hold on their world, with the utmost contempt. They also feel that those who cower behind others have no right to live because their freedom is bought with anothers' blood.

Despite their avowed defence of the Imperium, their religious zeal and strength of purpose, a shadow has long hovered over the Chapter and allegations of excessive use of force by them against civilian populations have often been levelled. They have been reprimanded on many occasions when confronted about their brutal battle stratagems which have resulted in the deaths of innocents. The typical Sable Lions' response is, "It is the will of the Al'Malik." This Chapter firmly believes that there is no such thing as innocence, merely degrees of guilt.

The Sable Lions also firmly perceive themselves to be the self-evident superiors to their fellow man. The Inquisition has noticed that this is a worrying psychological trait that has not only brought about the deaths of nearly thousands of innocents, but shows a disturbing egotistical streak in the command structure of the Sable Lions' Chapter. The Sable Lions do not ask for, or grant mercy to their opponents beyond a quick (though often brutal and bloody) death. In a way, they seem to see the universe very much in terms of black and white - enemy and ally. Anyone who stands against the Imperium, for whatever reason, can only expect a brutal demise at the hands of the Sable Lions.

This Chapter's Astartes are also rigid believers in the Imperium of Man's established status quo, and they take a singular interest in the destruction of Renegade Imperial commanders, Apostate Cardinals and other wayward Imperial lords, regularly consigning entire cities and colony worlds to the sword and flame in order to achieve their aims. The Chapter has often been held in higher regard among the High Lords of Terra and their agents than by many of their other wartime allies, particularly amongst other Astartes. Because of this, it is known to be the case that several other Space Marine Chapters consider the Sable Lions somehow darkly tainted, bellicose and wanting in brotherhood. Many of the Sable Lions' detractors have gone so far as to suggest that they have been corrupted by some flaw in the Chapter's collective psyche or gene-seed, though none would gainsay their efficiency and brutal effectiveness in battle.

The Sable Lions are a Chapter that is long renowned for their focus on the individual battle-prowess and martial pride of their warriors. Honour duels with traditional swords and heated iron brands is actively encouraged between the ranks by the Chapter's Imams when not engaged on campaigns, both for honour and to settle grievances between battle-brothers (Rafiq), and sometimes, these duels are fought to the death, though this is a rare occurrence. This tradition is thought to originate from the warrior rituals of their homeworld, which has been deliberately preserved by the Chapter over time and arbitrated by the Chapter's spiritual leaders.

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Notable Sable Lions

  • Caliph Sargon Akkad "The Great Lion" – First Caliph of the Sable Lions Chapter.
  • Caliph Gilgamesh Ishtari – Current Caliph of the Sable Lions Chapter.
  • Amr Berosus Irkalla – Reclusiarch of the Sable Lions Chapter.
  • Ashipu Sumuel Enshag – Chief Apothecary of the Sable Lions Chapter.
  • Vizier Belteshazzar Nusku – Chief Librarian of the Sable Lions Chapter.
  • Allamah Nabu Balasi– Master of the Forge of the Sable Lions Chapter.
  • Castellan Dagan Enkidu – Baal of the 1st Kárdake.
  • Castellan Arakhu Muranu "Little Lion" – Baal of the 2nd Kárdake, Bel-Sa Belet (Master of Rites) of the Sable Lions.
  • Castellan Hassimir Daon – Baal of the 3rd Kárdake, Bel-Allik (Master of the Marches) of the Sable Lions.
  • Castellan Istar Sumesses – Baal of the 4th Kárdake.
  • Castellan Silani Amarud – Baal of the 5th Kárdake.
  • Castellan Samir Urukh – Baal of the 6th Kárdake.
  • Castellan Yanzu Makru – Baal of the 7th Kárdake.
  • Castellan Buvalu Ninlil – Baal of the 8th Kárdake, Bel-Daku (Lord Executioner) of the Sable Lions.
  • Castellan Jalal Ramman "The Thunderer" – Baal of the 9th Kárdake, Bel-Hadad (Master of Relics) of the Sable Lions.
  • Castellan Shala Druaga – Baal of the 10th Kárdake, Bel- Amir (Master of Recruits)
  • Castellan Anshar Shamash – Baal of the Sable Lions Chapter Fleet, Bel-Al-Hajj (Master of the Fleet).
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Chapter Fleet

  • Dominus Leonis (Battle-Barge) - Ancient flagship of the Sable Lions Chapter.
  • Rex Felis (Battle Barge)
  • Dominatus Panthera (Battle Barge)
  • Leonis Indignatio (Battle Barge)
  • Tempestus Diaboli (Strike Cruiser)
  • Sanguis Felis (Strike Cruiser)
  • Pride of Vrykul (Strike Cruiser)
  • Ignis Leonis (Strike Cruiser)
  • Albus Felis Mortis (Strike Cruiser)
  • Veloces Victus (Strike Cruiser)
  • Custos Vrykul (Strike Cruiser)
  • Tenebris Leonis (Escort)
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Chapter Appearance

Sable Lions Helmet Markings

The various ranks and markings utilised by the Sable Lions

Chapter Colours

The Sable Lions primarily wear metallic golden coloured power armour. The power pack, helmet, shoulder guard trim, gauntlets and sabaton are black in colour. Company is designated by a golden colour Perseopolis cuneiform writing upon the forehead of the helmet. The black coloured squad speciality symbol (Tactical, Assault, Devastator or Veteran) is indicated by the standard Codex Astartes-approved iconography on the right shoulder guard. A white coloured Gothic numeral is stenciled on the centre of the squad speciality icon, which designates squad number.

Chapter Badge

The Sable Lions Chapter Badge is a black coloured stylised Persepolisian shedu (winged lion) passant, centred on a field of gold. The shedu represents the Emperor, who protectively watches over his children, but will pounce upon his foes if provoked.

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Chapter Glossary

  • Al-Malik – A Persepolis term that literally mean 'the King'; this word is commonly used when referring to the Emperor of Mankind. This word is often used in the Persepolis phrase "Insha'Al-Malik" or "Insha'Malik," which means, "Emperor willing" or "if the Emperor wills."
  • Amir al-umara – The Persepolis term for "Amir of Amirs" or "Commander of Commanders," a term utilized by the people of Persepolis when referring to the Caliph of the Sable Lions.
  • Annunaki Mitu – The Persepolis term for "Angels of Death," used when referring to the Sable Lions Astartes.
  • Asabiyya – The Sable Lions' tradition of loyalty to the Chapter and to other battle-brothers.
  • Baal – A Persepolis word, meaning "Lord," which is applied informally by the Sable Lions when referring to a Chapter officer of senior rank. (i.e. Baal-Belteshazzar instead of Castellan Belteshazzar)
  • Daeva – A Persepolis term for "wrong gods" or "false gods" or "gods that are (to be) rejected"; a term used by the Sable Lions when referring to Daemons of Chaos.
  • Emir – A Persepolis term when referring to Imperial aristocrat or noble of high office.
  • En'esh Ur – The First City, capital city of Persepolis.
  • Haydar al-qasrHaydar al-qasr literally translates as "Lionhold," the name of the fortress-monastery of the Sable Lions’ Chapter, built into their planet’s highest peak. Also, a metaphor for the Sable Lions’ as a whole, especially the Chapter’s spirit and ideals.
  • Heartblood – The collected blood of fallen Sable Lions, kept at Alamut and used in the Chapter’s most holy ceremonies.
  • Hijra – "Emigration"; the current state of the Chapter as it establishes new power bases and works to free itself from the Curse.
  • Ikhwan – The Persepolis tradition of brotherhood.
  • Jihad – A term applied to any holy war. The Sable Lions use the word to describe their legendary task of destroying all the enemies of Mankind.
  • Kadd – The Persepolis tradition of vengeance.
  • Kafir – Literally "infidels"; the Sable Lions apply this term to heretics and renegades.
  • Khabar – Literally "tradition": the Sable Lions belief system and code of honour.
  • Kufr – A term for heresy, unbelief, and ingratitude. The Sable Lions use the word to refer to the principles of aliens, Chaos Cults or the Traitor Legions.
  • Mumin – The Persepolis tradition of faith.
  • Munafiqun – Literally "hypocrites"; the Sable Lions nickname for the Inquisition.
  • Muruwa – The Sable Lions code of honour.
  • Mushir – The Persepolis word meaning "counsellor" or "advisor,” commonly used by the Sable Lions when referring to the elder Serfs of the Chapter, who are held in high regard for their wisdom and experience.
  • Scribe – A contemptuous term applied by the Chapter’s warriors to a non-warrior.
  • Silsila – The elder battle-brothers and other respected individuals of the Chapter, who act as the senior leadership of the Sable Lions.
  • Tajdid – Literally "revival"; the research program dedicated to freeing the Sable Lions from the Curse.
  • Taqiyya – The Sable Lions art of disguise and concealment (especially Scout Marines); also, the Chapter tradition of secrecy.
  • Umma – The Persepolis tradition of community.
  • Zindīq – A Perseopolis term applied to those who are considered to hold views or follow practices that are contrary to the Imperial Cult; a term the Sable Lions apply to heretics and renegades.
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Notable Quotes

Feel free to add your own

By the Sable Lions

"Even the brave are scared by a lion three times: first by its tracks, again by its roar, and one last time face to face."
— Amr Berosus Irkalla
"He that flees from the roaring lion will be set upon by the crouching lion."
— Raqīb Jafar Arakhu, explaining the Sable Lions' tactics to a brother-Astartes, while serving in the Deathwatch
"You don't go searching for bones in a lion's den. Stupid munafiqun...he doesn't know how close to death he actually is. The brains of a fox will be of little service if you play with the paw of a lion."
— Rafiq Susuda Kinziru, verbalising his disdain to a fellow Rafiq, about a visiting Inquisitor that is investigating allegations of "atrocities" committed by the Sable Lions
"Camouflage is for cowards! We do not disguise ourselves or use subterfuge to confuse our enemies! We face them like warriors, our colors bold and true! Black - to show our deadly intent to our foes; that death has come for them. Gold - to show our enemies that we are not cowards! It is the raiment of our blinding faith!"
— Caliph Gilgamesh Ishtari to newly inducted Jannisaries
"Never show mercy! Mercy is for the weak! We do not train to be merciful!"
— Mudaris-Raqīb (Instructor-Sergeant) Anu-Malik to newly inducted Fida'i
"Let these assassins slink in the shadows and strike their foes from behind, like a thief in the night. I prefer a more direct approach. I'm a firm believer in the ancient Persepolis proverb, 'You may know a lion by his claw.' How will my enemies know whom they face, if I do not face them personally, to deliver the Al-Malik's divine justice to the kafir with my sword? Though I do not agree with the Obsidian Blades' methods or how they conduct warfare, I would daresay -- the dark brethren of this Chapter maintains a strong asabiyya to each other, and to their comrades-in-arms. I cannot gainsay their effectiveness at dispatching the Emperor's foes -- their aim is true and their knives are sharp...that's good enough for me."
— Castellan (Captain) Dagan Enkidu, First Captain of the Sable Lions Chapter and Baal of the 1st Kárdake, commenting on the Obsidian Blades Chapter
"The Rhinos live up to their namesake - thick skinned, short-sighted, and always ready to charge. I admire their warrior spirit and would proudly call them rafiq."
— Raqīb Sallah Faisal, Sable Lions Chapter, 5th Kárdake, 1st Tactical Squad, talking about his admiration for The Rhinos Chapter

About the Sable Lions

Feel free to add your own

"They are febrile of mind and feral in nature. Though brutal and savage their faith is stronger than tempered steel. They dispense the Divine Emperor's Will with swift justice and furious anger. Woe unto the enemies of Mankind! 'Tis better to be an ally of these Sable Lions rather than a foe who stands in their path!"
— Imperial Guard Colonel Demitrius Zarkov, Commander of the XXIIIrd Kurgan "Widowmakers" Regiment
"Ahh, impressive! You have not failed to be interesting, loyalist. I have not seen a warrior of your like since Istvaan! I look forward to seeing if your Battle-Brothers will fight to avenge you with the same zeal as you have shown here!"
— Malak Blackspawn, Chaos Lord of the Storm Draugar, facing the furious Castellan Hammurabi, "The Sixth Son," Sable Lions 4th Kárdake, during the infamous Sobvast Raids
"Ensure that the sabotage is clearly visible from orbit. Our bellicose kin won't attack unless we make it clear that the fortress is breached."
— Lophess Ovair, First Captain of the Obsidian Blades.
"I remember them from the time I was still an Iron Hand. Their effectiveness is great indeed, and their ferocity is but a veil to fool their foes. Beware the shifting sands, for they can hide a Lion more bloodied than the one we know (White Lions)."
— Comech Tallumen, Master Archivist of the Sons of Iron
"Literal weapons of war on the battlefield -- these Astartes fight with equal fury of the animal in their title. They are the epitome of what a Space Marine should strive to be; they are loyal, relentless, and deliver justice without mercy."
— Caesar Maximus, Chapter Master of the Tempered Souls
"To me Lions of the Emperor! To my axe! To my hammer! To my hungry jaws! I thirst for glorious combat!"
— Wudka Purm, Chaos Lord of the Crusade Eternal during the Sobvast Raids
"Sable Lions! We have seen your sins! You worship a false and malevolent god! You keep Mankind trapped in a empire of sin and infidelity! The price for worshiping the Anathema is death! You will know the mercilessness that you so easily dole out! Abyssus Vult!"
— Signal from The Consecrated before a vicious, brutal attack on the Sable Lions, fighting alongside a large daemon horde
"We may not share their formal, unapproachable nature - we are as different as our namesakes. But in battle we are kin. They are the sword, where we are the hammer. They are the claw, where we are the horn."
— Akachi Masego, Chapter Master of The Rhinos
"Boasting pride of tar pitch black, their golden plate hides the heart they lack. Silent secrets in the shadow, bones of glass, and dust for marrow."
— Unknown Mortarchs Serpentia Marine
"All these not-lion lions are making me confused. The Lion's children don't look like lions at all, but these lions look quite a lot like lions with their pa looking like a pile of angry gravel. Back in my day everyone knew everyone else, and everyone knew who, and who were not, lions."
— Calios Kottel, Lord of the Void Sirens
"We call for peace, they bray for war. We let cooler heads prevail, they honor the hot-tempered. We fight to one day end the bloodshed, they fight while claiming bloodshed is the ultimate end. We are indeed both Lions, but we are as different as black and white."
— Anton Durant, Veteran-Sergeant of the White Lions Chapter
"Yes brother, I saw him, a true experts in melee combat, able to land a fast killing blow with his infamous black mace. When the nob orks advanced to our position, this brother quickly jumped towards the enemy leader and smashed the skull of the Nob leader. He stole my kill counts, but at the same time he earned my respect."
— Deathwatch Veteran Eidar Cohen of the Storm Zealots, noticing the Deathwatch-assigned Haidar (Sternguard Veteran) Mohsen of the Sable Lions at Watch Fortress Damaroth after the Gromedium Wars (998.M41)
Babylonian Border Patterns 4

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