- "We will not rest until every single Fallen Angel has been Hunted. Their suffering shall be but a beginning to their penance...their screams, the harbinger of their contrition."
- — Grand Master Althalos of the Black Knights
The Black Knights are a 9th Founding, fleet-based crusading Successor Chapter of the Dark Angels. They follow in the footsteps of the Lion and their Progenitors, and will not rest until every single Fallen Angel has been hunted down and brought back to the Rock, to be interrogated and granted extreme unction by the Interrogator-Chaplains of the Dark Angels. As a crusading Chapter, their doctrines, traditions, and organisation reflect their particular approach to prosecuting the Imperium's wars.
The Black Knights are an Unforgiven Chapter created during the 9th Founding, which occurred sometime between the mid-34th or mid-35th Millennium. Created during a great time of upheaval, the Imperium was rife with civil disobedience and outright rebellion, in the form of the Nova Terra Interregnum. This was when the Imperium of Man had been split into two separate interstellar empires after the rebellious Ur-Council of Nova Terra dismissed the authority of the High Lords of Terra and claimed separate rule over the Imperium's Segmentum Pacificus in 075.M35. This period of civil war would last for another nine centuries. During this time, there would be several linked Foundings of Adeptus Astartes Chapters (9th-12th) that would occur.
The Black Knights would be created during the first in this series, during the 9th Founding. They were sired from the most ancient and proud of the First Founding Chapters, the venerable Dark Angels. Despite persistent rumours of nepotism and legion building, the High Lords were usually reluctant to create new Successor Chapters from the lineage of Lion El'Jonson, despite the purity of their gene-seed and long list of battle honours. But desperate times called for desperate measures, and so, dispensation was eventually granted, and the Black Knights were created from the potent genetic stock of the Dark Angels. Following their inception, like many of their fellow Chapters of the Unforgiven, the earliest records of the Black Knights mysteriously vanished shortly afterward, once again leaving an uncertain number of Unforgiven Chapters that have been created.
Following their inception, a core group of senior officers were put in place to help stand up the newly-created Chapter. They were charged with forming their own Inner Circle to guard the knowledge of the Dark Angels' secret shame - to seek out and hunt those Dark Angels which had rebelled against their Primarch Lion El'Jonson and their own kin. Following the end of the Horus Heresy, the Dark Angels returned to their home world of Caliban, and were fired upon by those they once called 'brother'. Consumed by his jealousy of the Lion's glories, the heroic knight Luther -- formerly Jonson's closest friend and ally -- had embraced the Dark Gods of Chaos. Worse, his impassioned oratory had led all the Dark Angels on Caliban into heresy. The resulting struggle between the two factions of Dark Angels saw the I Legion's home world of Caliban engulfed by a furious Warp Storm, and scattered these rebellious Dark Angels across the time and space. Thus began the terrible, endless quest by the Lion's sons to find and silence those fallen Dark Angels who would become known as the Fallen, to secure their repentance and finally wash away the stain upon their Chapter's soul.
Though the Chapters of the Unforgiven claimed their own heraldry, doctrines and home worlds, in reality, their Grand Masters (Chapter Masters) would attend clandestine meetings on the Rock - the Dark Angels mobile fortress-monastery - with the Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels. There, they would receive orders from the master of the Dark Angels, so that the Unforgiven could continue their ongoing hunt for the Fallen in utmost secrecy. Like their peers, the Black Knights give every outward appearance of fighting their own wars for the Imperium, but in reality they would secretly continue to aid in the Dark Angels' hidden hunt for the Fallen.
Though the Black Knights rarely appear in the annals of the Imperium's history, on the few occasions when the Chapter's presence has been suspected or confirmed, it has deployed and acted according to its own agenda, appearing unheralded and departing as soon as its own, shadowy objectives are achieved. How closely the Black Knights align themselves with the Dark Angels and the Inner Circle is unknown. While the Black Knights have earned numerous battle honours prosecuting the Imperium's wars, they are considered an aloof Chapter, shunning all contact with their fellow Successor Chapters who are also descended from the Lion, choosing to bear the burden of Hunting the Fallen on their own. The Black Knights have very rarely been observed fighting in the same war zone as the Dark Angels or any other of their fellow Unforgiven Chapters. In fact, they have only been recorded in taking part in joint operations with their Progenitors a handful of times.
Since their inception, the Black Knights have undertaken a never-ending Crusade to hunt down every single Fallen Angel. Indeed, it is said that the Black Knights are one of the most active of all the Unforgiven Chapters. Their Chapter Master, Grand Master Althalos, is forever seeking opportunities to lead his Chapter on campaign against the enemies of Mankind. As a result, the Black Knights are rarely at full strength, their numbers worn down by attrition of constant warfare. What the Black Knights lack in numerical strength, however, is more than compensated for in fervour. Since their Founding the Black Knights have primarily operated in the regions of the Segmentum Pacificus to find any of the Fallen, as well as continuously fighting the enemies of Mankind. Most recently, the Black Knights fought against the Word Bearers Traitor Legion, as the Chapter found one of the Fallen amongst the traitor's ranks.
- Hrakon Campaign (495.M35) - The Segmentum Pacificus is the centre of unrest during the Nova Terra Interregnum and the Dark Angels' Inner Circle continues to follow the many clues that have led them deep into the internecine fighting in the region. This is the earliest recorded engagement of the Black Knights, and one of only a handful of accounts, when they fought alongside their Progenitors. Known as the Hrakon Campaign, these two Chapters systematically seek out Obidiah Hrakon, the despot ruler of an upstart planet which had been pivotal in its support of Nova Terra. In the Veiled Region, the Dark Angels finally cornered Hrakon, who took refuge on a piratical port world. Seeking to ensure that none escape, the Dark Angels and Black Knights blockade the planet and unleash the entire Deathwing and Lion Guard. Deploying in sequential teleportations, the Terminators prosecute an epic slaughter until only a single foe is left alive -- Obidiah Hrakon -- once a Standard Bearer for the ancient Dark Angels Legion. Refusing to give up, Obidiah is subdued after a duel with the Grand Master of the Deathwing and is transported back to The Rock to face the tender mercies of the Interrogator-Chaplains. His death is not an easy one.
- Cataclysm of Souls (975.M35) - Following waning of the Ur-Council's power on Nova Terra, and the inevitable end of their civil insurrection, the Ecclesiarchy attempts to rebind the sundered Imperium into a religious state that transcends political differences. The Ur-Council rejects the Ecclesiarchy's teachings, unleashing a terrible new civil war, the likes of which had not been seen since the Horus Heresy. Billions die in the subsequent religious wars that follows, which comes to be known as the Cataclysm of Souls. The Black Knights are one of several Chapters who take part in these religious wars. In addition to putting down those who reject the authority of the High Lords of Terra and the Ecclesiarchy, they also continue to search for signs of the Fallen.
- Hrud Rising (980.M35) - The Black Knights take part in the task force charged with cleansing Hrud infestations that erupt across the Imperium. With two of their three assigned sectors cleared, the Dark Angels and their fellow Unforgiven Chapter abruptly leaves the campaign to pursue their own objectives. Despite a formal grievance filed by the Chapter Master of the Ultramarines in regards to the Dark Angels and Black Knights behaviour, no action is taken against them.
- Age of Apostatsy and the Reign of Blood (100-600.M36) - During this time, warp storms increase in frequency and magnitude across the galaxy, making travel between between anything other than worlds in the same planetary system increasingly perilous. Seeing their foes tearing themselves apart, the myriad enemies of humanity struck. The Traitor Legions sallied forth from the Eye of Terror, while Orks traverse the Warp in ramshackle space hulks, and wreaked havoc on Imperial worlds in regions previously unreached. During this time, the megalomaniac - Goge Vandire - engineers his ascension to the ranks of the High Twelve, one of the sitting members of the High Lords of Terra. Through his cunning manipulations, back-stabbing and acts of outright murder, he becomes simultaneously both the Master of the Administratum and the Ecclesiarchy. An unheard of event in the annals of Imperial history, this makes Vandire the single most powerful person in the Imperium and a usurper of the Emperor's will. Vandire's Reign of Blood begins across the worlds of the Imperium and his tyranny, enforced by the blindly-loyal Divine Army, slaughter almost 14 billion innocents during the Purge of Lastrati. Both the Adeptus Astartes and the Adeptus Mechanicus become estranged from Terra, fortifying their own fiefdoms while undertaking their traditional duties as best they could. The Black Knights are one of the few beacons of light in a galaxy full of despair, as they attempted to protect the few star systems they could from the ravages of the Age of Apostasy and the carnage of Vandire's Reign of Blood.
- Rebulus Cleansing (439.M36) - Following a mysterious trail, the Dark Angels and several of their Successor Chapters - including the Black Knights - begin a 30-year campaign that uproots hidden cults and corrupt officials across three sectors of Imperial space. The battles against this network of subversion bring much suffering to the Rebulus System before the corruption is finally subdued, culminating in the destruction of the artificial moons surrounding the planet Ixx.
- Attack on Aemilius (678.M40) - The Black Knights deploy upon the hive world of Aemilius to put down a planet-wide insurrection that had been instituted by hidden Chaos cults. The Chapter strikes like a thunderbolt, deploying the entirety of the Chapter in a massive drop pod and gunship assault. They quickly make short work of the mortal cultists, crushing each ad hoc force in a series of brutal combined-arms engagements that sees the cultist and traitor PDF forces corralled into Aemilius' capital hive city. As the battle rages, the Chapter's Chief Librarian detects several Fallen ensconced within the hierarchy of the cult's leadership within the hive capital. He quickly determined that they had taken refuge within a massive industrial manufactorum. The Black Knights employ the entirety of the Lion Guard and the Ravenclaws during the final assault. A vicious battle erupts between the elite companies of the Black Knights and the traitor forces, but after two hours of brutal fighting, the traitors lay broken and bleeding. The few remaining leaders are taken back to their flagship, The Wrath of Caliban, to be taken to The Rock for slow, painful interrogation.
- Siege of Varak Fortress (578.M41) - While on routine patrol, the Black Knights intercept a call for aid from the Hive World, Halis. The planet is currently locked in a civil war, with one side being Imperial Forces, and the other being a collection of local Chaos Cultists enforced by Chaos Space Marines. Upon arrival, the Chapter's Librarians detect the unmistakable presence of their Fallen kin are leading the Chaos Forces, commanding them from Varak Fortress. Thus, the Black Knights' Inner Circle immediately despatches the elite Lion Guard and Ravenclaws Companies to capture their wayward foes. Upon arriving on the planet, they greet their fellow Unforgiven Chapter, the Manticores, who have also despatched their Deathwing, Ravenwing companies, as well as their elite unit, the Hunters Six. The two Unforgiven Chapters work together to put down the Chaos uprising, and later besiege the Varak Fortress, to route out the Fallen within. It is thanks to the Hunters Six that the fortress falls, as they sabotage its outer defences before capturing the three Fallen Angels. The Manticores give custody of the Fallen to the Black Knights, so that they may be judged, though the Black Knights give credit of the capture to the Manticores in return.
- The Titan Wars (920.M41 - 925.M41)
- The Fall of Perilliam (934.M41) - The entire first company of the Black Knights Chapter, en route to the Ork-infested warzones of Perilliam Primus, make an unscheduled detour to Demeter II, a small and unremarkable mining planet on the edges of the Perilliam System. Resplendent in their sable-coloured Terminator armour, the Lion Guard teleport en masse onto the planet and kill or capture every one of its inhabitants. Perhaps as a direct result of their delay in reinforcing the beleaguered planet of Perilliam Prime, the entire system buckles and falls under the crushing might of WAAAGH! Blud-Killa. The Black Knights are never called upon to account for their actions, as there is no one left to report what they had witnessed.
- 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 Black 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. The Black Knights immediately heed their progenitor's call to arms, and make all haste to join them in the hunt for the Fallen. Like the rest of the Unforgiven, the Black Knights split their forces into several demi-companies across the Cadian Sector, 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 Black Knights took stock of the dire situation, and though battered and bloody, they resolutely stood against the tide of Chaos that now rode the upon the winds of the Great Rift. Despite the loss of nearly half their Chapter, the Black Knights began to respond to the myriad distress calls that flood in from the isolated and warp-storm battered worlds of the galactic north. The Chapter continues their quest to hunt for the Fallen, unabated, heedless of the calls for help by desperate Imperial citizens, putting their mission before the needs of the innocent. Several beleaguered populations are massacred and many worlds fall to the predations of Chaos due to the Black Knights' callous disregard.
- 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 Ebon Knights and their Successor Chapter, the Blades of the Lion), 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 severely battered Black Knights managed to find their way through the roiling storms, and soon arrived safely to dock with the Dark Angels' fleet. A small Dark Angels Honour Guard were present to meet Grand Master Althalos and his command cadre as they disembarked from their Thunderhawk gunship. They accorded the Chapter Master and his delegation with the proper custom and courtesy and then escorted the Black 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 Black Knights. 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 Black Knights once again 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 Black Knights' 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 Lion Guard.
The Black Knights have no home world to speak. As a Crusading Chapter, the Chapter Barque known as The Wrath of Caliban serves as the Black Knights' flagship and mobile fortress-monastery. This vessel of ancient provenance, is believed to be pre-Imperial in origin and constructed some time during the Dark Age of Technology. It is believed that the Black Knights were awarded The Wrath of Caliban by their Progenitors sometime in the past -- a gift for their diligence and uncomprimising nature in their pursuit and persecution of the Fallen.
As a fleet-based Chapter, the Black Knights are known to draw their recruits from a variety of different Imperial worlds within the Segmentum Pacificus, mainly those feudal worlds with pre-industrial level of technology like that of Caliban before the coming of the Emperor. Representatives of the Black Knights visit each recruiting world once within a normal human's lifetime, and take the strongest juveniles from the population. Each Aspirant is thoroughly screened, and from the moment he is accepted into the Chapter as a Neophyte Space Marine, his past becomes irrelevant. Once the recruit is accepted he will undergo the normal rites to become a Space Marine. However, should he fail, his mind will be wiped clean and his body converted into that of a servitor, the mindless cybernetic automatons that carry out the labourious tasks of the Chapter. Like their Progenitors, the Black Knights do not make use of human Chapter Serfs or bondsmen, only servitors, as they fear that human serfs could be compromised to reveal all of the Chapter's secrets.
As descendants of the Dark Angels, the Black Knights boast one of the purest and non-mutated gene-seed of all the Loyalist Primarchs, they are however, prone to the same stubbornness and resolve as their brother Unforgiven Chapters. The Black Knights are also notably more aggressive than other Unforgiven, and have at times shown a disturbing and callous disregard for the lives of the civilians of the Imperium as long as their mission objectives are obtained.
Primarch's Curse: The Strong are Strongest Alone
The Battle-Brothers of the Adeptus Astartes are the champions of Mankind, but in becoming so they have surrendered much of what makes them human. When extremes of stress and trauma stretch even the prodigious mental and spiritual strength of a Space Marine, those qualities that make him a glorious exemplar of Humanity may turn him into the very opposite. When the Chapter's genetic curse manifests in a Battle-Brother, in comes in three stages:
- Stage 1 (Contemptuous of Lesser Men): The Battle-Brother comes to regard all outside of the Adeptus Astartes as thankless curs, undeserving of the sacrifices he and his brethren have made in the name of Humanity.
- Stage 2 (Distrustful of his Brothers): Continued spiritual trauma causes the Battle-Brother to resent even other Space Marines, who he comes to believe are belittling of the deeds of his own Chapter. The Battle-Brother even comes to resent those drawn from his Progenitor Chapter, perceiving slights in all they say and do.
- Stage 3 (The Champion Stands Alone): Eventually, the Battle-Brother comes to believe that he alone can bear the weight of responsibility vested in the Adeptus Astartes by the Emperor of Mankind. He withdraws even from his own squad and his temper flares at the slightest provocation. If his counsel is not heeded, he might fly into a rage, and if he is not appointed command of a mission, he considers his skill and his honour gravely insulted.
The Black Knights are very close to their progenitor Chapter in both doctrine and temperament. The Black Knights are known for their stoic and intractable manner, unflinching against even the mightiest of foes. The Black Knights are paragons of stoicism, unwilling to take even a single step away from the enemy when battle is joined, their prowess honed across countless battlefields that they can weather any attack. Like their fellow Unforgiven, Black Knights Battle-Brothers are constantly warned against the words of the heretic and their Chapter dogma extols the virtues of the eternal hunt for those who would forswear the most powerful of oaths. The Company Chaplains preach sermons that tell of legendary figures betrayed by their own, often having fought in battles far from home. Numerous such tales exist, and each is revealed as part of a slow, deliberate pattern, the brethren monitored all the while for their reaction. Only upon his ascension to the Inner Circle is a Battle-Brother told anything approaching the truth, and even then, there are some secrets known only at the very highest tiers. The Black Knights fear spiritual damnation from the inter-Legion war known as the Fall, feeling responsible for meting out the punishment upon the Fallen who turned from the Emperor and the Lion as an act of repentance.
The Black Knights, like their Progenitors and their fellow Unforgiven, are not organised according to the dictates of the Codex Astartes, instead maintaining their own unique order of battle which is intended primarily to aid their continued hunt for all of the remaining Fallen Angels, and to maximize their secrecy in doing so. The Black Knights are organised exactly the same as their parent Chapter. Their 1st and 2nd Companies are specialist formations known as the Lion Guard and the Ravenclaws. Both of these specialist companies work closely with their Dark Angels' counterparts -- the Deathwing and Ravenwing, combining their resources in order to hunt far and wide in search of their nemesis, the Fallen.
- Grand Master (Chapter Master) - The Black Knights Chapter Master is known as the Grand Master. It is his duty to chair all meetings of the Chapter's Inner Circle, which serves as the Black Knights' replacement for the standard Chapter Council. Only the Grand Master is privy to all of the Chapter's dark secrets -- and even he does not know everything.
- Seneschal (Veteran Captain) - These are the senior Masters (Captains) within the Chapter that are members of the Inner Circle. They also perform additional duties: Master of Blades (Lord Executioner), Master of the Marches, Master of the Reliquary (Master of Relics), Master of Rites, Master of the Hunt (Master of the Fleet), Lord Castellan (Master of Sieges), Master of Squires (Master of Recruits).
- Master (Captain) - A Master serves as a Company Commander of the Chapter and is the Black Knights' equivalent to the standard Space Marine Captain of other Chapters. A Master leads each of the 10 companies of the Black Knights and ultimately falls under the command of the Grand Master. 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.
- Equerry - The Equerry serves as the right-hand of the Grand Master, serving as a trusted comrade and a confidant to the senior officers of the Chapter. Usually this position is reserved for he Master of the elite 1st ('Lion Guard') Veteran Company.
- Master of Sanctity - The Master of Sanctity serves as the Chapter's Reclusiarch, and oversees the duties of all of the other Chaplains of the Chapter. His most important duty is to train the Black Knights' special class of Interrogator-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.
- Chief Apothecary - The Chief Apothecary serves as the Chapter's Chief Apothecary and oversees the medical needs of all Black Knights as well as all biological research conducted by the Chapter. The Chief 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.
- Master of Secrets - The Master of Secrets serves as the Chapter's Chief Librarium and oversees the Chapter's ancient and secret knowledge. He is responsible for maintaining all of the Black Knights' 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.
- Master of the Reliquary - A Master that is assigned the additional vital duty of being in charge of all the Chapter's arms and equipment.
- Vicar (Chaplain)
- Librarians (Epistolary, Codicier, Lexicanium)
- Lancer (Pilot)
- Paladin (Veteran Marines)
- Preceptor-Sergeant (Veteran Sergeant)
- Armiger-Brother (Sergeant)
- Esquire (Battle-Brother)
- Squire (Scout Marine) - Probationary rank.
- Page (Initiate)
- Lay Servant (Chapter Serf)
- Lion Guard - The Black Knights' 1st Company of veteran marines is referred to within the Chapter as the Lion Guard. They are the Dark Angels' equivalent of the Deathwing. The Lion Guard are comprised solely of Black Knights veterans who only take to the field of battle in sable and red coloured Terminator Armour. The Lion Guard 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. Lion Guard Terminators feature a mix of weaponry, for both long-ranged and close combat oriented roles.
- Ravenclaws - The Black Knights' 2nd Company is called the Ravenclaws. They are the equivalent of the Dark Angels' Ravenwing. The members of the Ravenclaws 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 Ravenclaws, which is to hunt down and capture every last member of the Fallen. Like the Palatines, the Ravenclaws 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 Ravenclaws 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.
- Lion Guard Knights (Deathwing Knights Equivalent) - A Lion Guard Knight is a fell-handed warrior of the Black Knights, 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. Lion Guard Knights are a truly imposing sight, for in them lives on some semblance of the Lion himself. Only the most veteran Lion Guard are given the title of Knight, the uppermost level of the order before being named a Master. They become the ultimate upholders of ancient Chapter traditions and the most skilled fighting unit of the Black Knights. In the stratified Chapter organisation of the Black Knights, the Lion Guard Knights represent the elite -- only the Masters of each Battle Company rank higher -- and they are only chosen from among the company of the Lion Guard Knights, who are also members of the Chapter's Inner Circle.
- Talon Knights (Ravenwing Black Knights Equivalent) - Mounted on powerful, heavily customised Mark IV Assault Bikes, the Ravenclaws Talon Knights of the Chapter's 2nd Company, are heavily armed shock cavalry. Those who survive in the Ravenclaws 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 Raven, they will be inducted into the Talon Knights, 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, Talon Knights carry Corvus Hammers, which are patterned after an ancient Calibanite weapon used to hunt the Great Beasts. The Talon Knights' 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:
Grand Master Athalos 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 Grand Master.
The Master of The Wrath of Caliban 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.
|Lion Guard||Ravenclaws||Battle Companies|
|1st Company||2nd Company||3rd Company||4th Company||5th Company|
|Reserve Companies||Scout Company|
|6th Company||7th Company||8th Company||9th Company||10th Company|
The Black Knights are so utterly dedicated to its duty, that other Imperial forces often shun their presence and eschew their aid, for they are cowed by these Battle-Brothers' cold-blooded determination and icy single-mindedness. They are driven to performing their duty to the point of all-consuming obsession. The Black Knights are so relentless and stubborn in their approach to battle they refuse to flee in the face of overwhelming odds, and instead chose to fight on, regardless of the high cost in lives, but often emerge bloodied by victorious. Though other Chapters often regard the Black Knights as tactically inflexible and stubborn, none can gainsay their roll of battle honours they have earned over the millennia of their existence.
With such an attitude, it is perhaps surprising to some that several Battle-Brothers bearing ebon and red heraldry appear at the gates of Watch Fortress Erioch unbidden, requesting the honour to stand a Long Watch in the Jericho Reach. Their drive to succeed, not matter the odds, and their utter refusal to concede defeat often earns them great honour for their Chapter and all the Unforgiven. Often, a Black Knights Battle-Brother willingly undertakes the most arduous of missions with solemn dedication.
Despite possessing a well-earned reputation for resolute devotion to duty, it is whispered by their detractors that the Black Knights are not always wholly altruistic in seconding Battle-Brothers to the Deathwatch, and it is undeniable that doing so greatly aids the Unforgiven's ongoing hunt for the Fallen. Most Deathwatch Kill-teams are made up of but a handful of Battle-Brothers, sent alone into the far reaches of the void to pursue objectives unknown to even the highest tiers of the Imperium's government. With the net cast so wide, it is believed that several Fallen have been captured by the Inner Circle following reports passed on by a Black Knight serving in the Deathwatch. Yet, the Black Knights must ensure that they observe the Apocryphon Oath or risk bringing dishonour to their Chapter and earning the wrath of the Deathwatch and the Inquisition.
The Black Knights follow the standard combat doctrine of the Codex Astartes, and like their Progenitors, their dogged resistance against overwhelming odds is legendary. Holding little to no regard for strategies by other ally forces, the Black Knights will relentlessly pursue their own battle plans regardless of other schemes others might have set in motion. On numerous occasions, this behaviour has led to battles being won at the expense of an entire campaign, for the Black Knights care little for their allies goals, only that their own immediate objectives are achieved, regardless of the overall picture.
The Chapter's attitude might long ago have led to it being entirely ostracised by any of the Imperium's armies beside which it might take to the field. This is not the case however, for the Chapter's total devotion has on numerous occasions led to it achieving stunning victories and achieving objectives others have written off as unobtainable. The Chapter's all-consuming dedication to its mission translates into a total rejection of the notion of failure. The Black Knights are so relentless and stubborn in their approach to warfare that they are known to stubbornly stand their ground in battle, refusing to yield ground to the enemy, even if it is tactically beneficial to do so.
The primary driving force of the Black Knights is the Hunt for the Fallen. Only by forcing every single one to repent do the Black Knights believe they can restore the honour of the Scions of the Lion. If a member of the Fallen or someone who may know of the location of one, is present on the battlefield, the Black Knights will ignore their objective and do all in their power to capture this individual. Everything else is second to the capture of a Fallen Angel, including any other human life. It is not unknown for Black Knights to fire upon friendly targets in order to prevent them from discovering the secret of the Fallen. Those friendly units that survive are often taken to The Rock to be turned into Servitors, to silence them forever.
The Black Knights are also notoriously intolerant of non-humans and mutants, even Abhumans such as Squats, Ogryns or Ratlings who are considered benevolent by the Imperium of Man. They are also highly mistrustful of the Imperial Inquisition, and will refuse to fight alongside any force that incorporates members of the Inquisition, or non-human soldiers, except in the most dire of circumstances.
Notable Black Knights
- Grand Master Althalos - Current Chapter Master of the Black Knights.
- Lord Marshal Brom Aetius - Current Commander of the elite 1st Company (Lion Guard) and also serves as Equerry to the Grand Master.
- Huntmaster Ramos Themistocles - Current Commander of the elite 2nd Company (Ravenclaws).
- Marshal Azrael Drakarus - Master of the 3rd Company who also serves as the Chapter's Master of the Arsenal.
- Senschal Cassiel Dumah - Master of the 4th Company who also serves as the Chapter's Master of the Hunt.
- Master Nakir Zepholos - Current Master of the 5th Company who also serves as the Chapter's Master of Rites.
- Master Remiel Elyan - Current Master of the 6th Company who also serves as the Chapter's Master of Relics.
- Master Eremiel Blackthorn - Current Master of the 7th Company who also serves as the Chapter's Master of Marches.
- Master Maalik Leonheart - Current Master of the 8th Company who also serves as the Chapter's Master of Blades.
- Lord Castellan Zachariel Mabon - Current Master of the 9th Company who also serves as the Chapter's Master of Sieges.
- Master Vortigern Accalon - Current Master of the 10th Company who also serves as the Chapter's Master of Squires.
- Hierarch Modred Fellbane - Current Reclusiarch who serves as the Chapter's Master of Sanctity.
- Chief Librarian Bran Vortimer - Current Chief Librarian who also serves as the Chapter's Master of Secrets.
- Seneschal Lucan Peredor - Current Chief Apothecary who also serves as the Master of the Apothecarion.
- Paladin Turel Alisander Current Warden of the Wrath of Caliban.
- Brother Lyr Breunor - Current Master of the Wrath of Caliban who also serves as the Chapter's Master of the Forge.
- Paladin Apollyon Caradoc - A bellicose and ferocious warrior, this robust Astartes serves as the current Chapter Champion and personal bodyguard to the Grand Master himself.
- Wrath of Caliban (Chapter Barque)
- Angels Redemption (Battle Barge)
- The Lion's Fire (Battle Barge)
- Lion's Rage (Strike Cruiser)
- The Angels Crusade (Strike Cruiser)
- Armour of The Lion - Crafted by the Master-Artificers on The Rock, this relic Mark III battle-plate was crafted shortly after the Horus Heresy and gifted to the first Grand Master of the now-extinct Second Founding Lions Sable Chapter. Upon their destruction during the Forgotten Wars in 632.M32, this master-crafted set of power armour was recovered by the few survivors of the Lions Sable, following their hellish sojourn into the Eye of Terror. The Armour of the Lion was locked away, deep in the darkest corner of the Dark Angels' armourium upon The Rock. Following the Black Knights' creation sometime in M35, this relic battle-plate was gifted to the newly created Chapter's first Grand Master, who proudly bore it in honour of the fallen Lions Sable. This finely wrought suit of power armour has been faithfully maintained by the Chapter's master craftsmen over the long millennia, and is said to provide even more protection and durability than the usual protection of a standard set of power armour, and is notable for its exceptional ability to shrug off the most lethal of blows.
- Lion's Roar - The exact origins of this relic weapon is unknown, but this ancient master-crafted plasma pistol is said to contain the power of its heavy weapon counterpart in a small casing. When this weapon is fired, the weapon's discharge produces a unique sound reminiscent of a predatory feline from which Lion's Roar derives its name.
- The Lion Spear - The Lion Spear is one of the greatest of the weapons forged by the Black Knights to hunt their traitorous kin. This ancient power spear possesses a well-honed blade empowered by a force generator of magnificent strength, able to strike down the greatest of foes. This formidable weapons is said to be able to pierce even the thick ceramite plates of Terminator Armour. As an ancient Chapter relic that possesses a long and honourable heritage, only the Chapter Champion, having performed heroic and faultless duty, earns the right to wield this unique power spear in battle.
The Black Knights primarily wear black coloured power armour. The exhaust ports on the backpack, shoulder pad trim and lower leg armour is red in colour. The Aquila or Imperialis on the chest guard is also red in colour. The white coloured squad specialty symbol (Tactical, Devastator, Assault and Veteran) are indicated on the right shoulder pad. The black coloured Roman numeral is stenciled in the centre of the squad specialty symbol designates squad number. The heraldry on the left knee guard indicates company number. For the most part, the Black Knights utilise nearly identical heraldry for their battle companies as their Progenitors, with the exception of their 1st and 2nd Companies, which maintain their own unique heraldry.
Veteran Black Knights are commonly found wearing black coloured hooded cloaks and tabards; this symbolises their shame over what the Fallen Angels had done near the end of the Great Crusade. Cloaks and hoods are worn by the Veteran Black Knights and the Chapter's Inner Circle because they have learned enough about the Dark Angels' history, and thus their shame, prior to obtaining their rank within the Chapter.
The Black Knights Chapter badge is a red-coloured styalised sword pointing upwards, surrounded by flames, centred in an open-faced roundlet on a field of black.
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By the Black Knights
- "You are a renegade and a traitor. Your actions have damned you in the eyes of the Lion and brought shame upon him and the Unforgiven. You shall suffer unimaginably at the hands of our forebear's Interrogator-Chaplains. Your screams shall echo within the halls of the Rock, a harbinger of your contrition for your fallen kin."
- — Black Knights Vicar Uriel to the notorious Fallen, Balberith the 'Thrice-Cursed', as he is taken into custody by the Dark Angels
- "Do not speak of the Forgotten in my presence whelp, lest I cut your wagging tongue from your mouth! We do not speak of those who turned their backs on duty, their kin and the Lion."
- — Brother-Sergeant Taraziel chastising a Scout Marine, who had the temerity to inquire about the hated Ebon Knights Chapter
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About the Black Knights
- "Hm? Black Knights? I wouldn't pay them much heed brother, they wont be here long. They are singular in their obsessions, and resolute in their secrecy."
- — Idria Salaman, 2nd Company Captain of the Obsidian Blades
- "Greetings Brothers, how can I 'not' be in your way?"
- — Brother-Captain Xylian Viestox of the Silver Knights Chapter, after meeting a Black Knights Company in pursuit of a suspected 'Fallen' in his custody.
- "However frequent their military re-directs may be, it is not our place to question them or their motives. We are servants of the Emperor, as they are; they are subject to His judgement only, not ours. You will learn this in time, brother. However... pray their 9th Company attachment arrives in time..."
- — 5th Captain Uldor of the Ghost Raiders Chapter, in the last days of his Company's involvement in the Demulion Conflict