"We live in a hostile universe, brothers. If we show just one second of weakness, we will be defeated. If we show an ounce of remorse, we will be destroyed. Our foes are ever looking for ways to take advantage of us, and we must give them none. Yet, as proud sons of Sanguinius, we must not forget our nobility. It is our duty to make sure the Imperium survives the Horrors that had slain our Father. Remember this brothers, and we shall survive. Forget this, and we are no better than those who seek to destroy it." ~Arkangilos
Homeworld: Damoria IV
"We have been defeated, my brothers. Our Primarch is dead, our own chapter master unable to cope with our losses, and our glorious future fading away. Let us crusade then, my brothers, so that we may find the grail of existence." ~Arkangilos
When the codex decreed that the legions would be split, the Blood Angels quickly stepped in line. One of the chapters created in this founding would become the Sanguinary Crusaders, under the command of Chapter Master Raphael, who was commander of the 143rd company, and master of the 15th Chapter during the latter days of the Great Crusader.
Dealing with the Primarch's death was difficult for all son's of Sanguinius, and Raphael was no exception. Following the split, he immediately embarked on a crusade of redemption, vowing not to stop until every last traitor was completely destroyed. However the chapter command quickly saw that without a home world and a chance to consolidate, it would be destroyed. Reluctantly, Raphael agreed to cease the endless campaigns and instead search for a place to call home.
Before long, they located a death world by the name of Taskus IV that was perfect for their needs, and began the process of building their monastery.
Seeing an opportunity for attack, the forces of chaos under the command of Edlan the Soul Thief launched a full scale war against the weakened and vulnerable chapter. The chapter held, but it was a Pyrrhic victory. In the battle, the planet was laid waste to, and Raphael was knocked unconscious, the Sanguine Blade of Valor, gifted to Raphael by the Primarch himself during the Great Crusade, was stolen. This was too much for Raphael, who fell into a deep depression. With their leader having lost the will to fight, the chapter was unsure what to do.
It was then that First Captain Arkangilos stepped forward and vowed that the Crusaders would find that holy relic and restore the dying chapter. Each of the surviving squads set out on a journey to find their lost sword. Years past, and Raphael sank deeper and deeper into his depression. What remained of the chapter command began losing faith in him, and with most of the chapter out searching, and many squads having gone silent, it seemed that the chapter would fade into memory.
Finally, after ten years, Arkangilos returned. With him the knowledge of where to find their lost treasure. This finally stirred Raphael. The chapter council, was reluctant to return command to Raphael, who had been unwilling to do anything for the past decade. Had it not been for his past accomplishments, and the support of Arkangilos, they would have denied it all together. But they did not, and so Raphael sent out a message to all Sanguinary Crusaders to return to the ruined home world. Less than a third of the chapter was left, but Raphael knew it would be enough.
Following the path of Arkangilos, Raphael led the chapter to the location of the blade and the one who had wronged their chapter. With deadly determination, the Sanguinary Crusaders struck a deathblow to Edlan's warband, and the blade was returned.
Raphael knew that he had lost the right to lead the chapter, and that Arkangilos, the one that had salvaged what hope they had left, deserved the blade that he had rescued. With the blade, he transferred command of the chapter, and stepped down. Raphael's next actions are still practiced today. Having let down the chapter, he left the chapter, embarking on a personal crusade to remove the stain from his honor.
Arkangilos decreed that once the chapter had rebuilt, it would once again embark on a crusade. He had said that only once they had stopped had they suffered the most. It was a sign from Sanguinius, and he vowed that until Sanguinius himself told them to settle on a homeworld, they would never stop moving.
"Upon this pedestal we shall build a new life"
For the ten years from the disaster of Taskus IV to the return of Arkangilos and the embarkation of the crusade, the Sanguinary Crusaders maintained their holdings on Taskus. Their incomplete fortress monastery had began falling apart, a reflection of the will of Raphael. As the years passed, the planet's condition deteriorated, having been unattended to after the battle against the chaos fleet. Life on the planet withered, the buildings of what civilizations remained collapsed into ruin. After ten years, the chapter finally left, never to return to the dying world, a memory of shame to be added to their records.
After that the Sanguinary Crusaders were a fleet based chapter until the 40th millennium, when it came across the world of Damoria IV. The world, a radioactive wasteland caused from a war centuries before their arrival, was almost a sick irony. Having aided the neighboring world of Damoria II in a fight against invading forces of chaos, the Sanguinary Crusaders landed on Damoria IV to insure it was free from chaos taint. In doing so, they uncovered a statue of Sanguinius, a statue with the inscription that changed their fate. Who the statue was actually referring to is unknown, but the Sanguinary Priests believe this to have been a prophetic vision from Sanguinius to the Sanguinary Crusaders. From this point forward, Damoria IV would be their home.
"Yesterday you underwent the hardest trials of your life. Today you begin the hardest life of trials!" ~Scout Sergeant Antone
The Sanguinary Crusaders, once every two years, assess the eligible recruits. Those who meet the qualifications are brought to the Fortress of Angels, where they begin their tests. The tests try their patience, cognitive skills, and ability to cope with stress. Those who continue to excel are then taken to various training camps, where they undergo physical trials.
Once the trials are complete, the recruits are split into groups of twenty. Keeping with the traditions of the chapter, each group is given an objective for a crusade. They are given only the bare necessities to begin their crusade. They are also given a single map, with various regional warnings and routes. The only weapons provided are the short swords that the battle brothers will carry for the rest of their lives.
The recruits are given no leadership or special officers. They must figure out how to work as a team or die, sometimes bringing the entire group to their deaths as well. Those recruits that take charge are noted for their leadership abilities, and those who show exceptional faith and watch over their brothers are also noted, and those recruits are destined to be either Chaplains are Sanguinary Priests, depending on how they display their faith and how later tests turn out.
This initiation crusade is a perilous one, and though the groups set out with twenty, they usually complete their crusade with fewer than five. However, those that complete it are immediately inducted into the chapter and begin the implant and scout phase of their new lives. Usually, those who survived the crusade are kept with their groups as they join their scout squads.
Those that survive, yet are unable to complete the crusade due to ill fate such as injuries, are given the great honor of joining the chapter’s serfs. This also gives them the hope that one day their descendants may yet join the ranks of the Sanguinary Crusaders Chapter.
"Honor the codex, believe in the tactics and the teachings, remain open minded, and we will prevail." ~ Captain Venitus
The Sanguinary Crusaders follow the Codex almost to a letter, as much as their flaw allows. They are flexible in their approach, and uphold the spirit of Guilliman's teachings, as they believe Sanguinius would have wanted.
They, like their progenitors, enjoy close combat, but place a high value on devastators, and see them with respect, as they must control their rage even more, so that the support lines will not falter.
The favored weapon of the Sanguinary Crusaders is the flamer, and almost every squad will have one. They see it as a means to purge mass amounts of enemy in swaths of holy fire.
Before a lengthy campaign is launched, the Sanguinary Crusaders send out an advance force consisting of a contingent of scouts and chapter serfs. While the scouts are conducting advanced recon and deploying beacons, the serfs are spreading prophecies of the "Divine Justice." Many are prosecuted and die at the hands of heretics, but still the seeds of righteousness are planted in those that would be on the fence. When the main invasion from the Sanguinary Crusaders comes, it comes following the steps of the prophecy. The "prophets" and those that follow them begin to chant and recant the prophecy as the trumpet blares over the communication systems, and vibrates through the air. Following the first trumpet blow, fire rains down from the heavens, burning away first layers of xenos filth or heretical corruption. Upon the second blow of the trumpet, the Crusaders of Sanguinius begin their decent. It is also at this time that all those loyal to the Imperium, or all of those swayed by the preaching of the "prophets" rise up to fight, creating a mass of fanatical redemption cults in an attempt to save their lives and souls from the Emperor's Wrath. When enemy is finally broken and victory is achieved, the third and final blow of the trumpet will be heard, and all of those who had joined the Redemption Cult are assembled to await judgement. The judgement is not as indepth as one passed by the Inquisition, and if the inquisition in present, the chapter will always defer to the Inquisition for judgement. At times they would execute a number of them, at other times the redemption cults would work out their own punishments as the "Prophets" return to the chapter and their chosen replacements from the local populations are given their instructions. Regardless, the world is usually left in a state of fanatical fervor towards Sanguinius, Dorn, and the Emperor, a fanatical fervor matching that of the Crusaders.
"That is an understandable question, neophyte. Why are we inflicted with the terrible curse of the Black Rage? Because of our Father's Sacrifice. He sacrificed himself so that humanity may endure, so that it could be saved. The Black Rage is a reminder of that sacrifice, a pure vision of that monumental decision. We too, must sacrifice ourselves in honor of him, despite how unworthy those mortals are of it. We must die so that they can live. However, when our appointed time to make that sacrifice comes we often miss it. It is when we miss it that the Black Rage takes hold. We failed to live up to His example, and so He reminds us, through the Black Rage. It is not a curse, but a blessing. It is a salvation for us, it is for us to atone for the Sin of Life. Remember that, and do not be afraid." Brother Chaplain Geraldi to Neophyte Corvo after a member of his squad fell to the Black Rage.
Unlike the Blood Angels, the Sanguinary Crusaders often do not think of the Black Rage as a curse. Rather, many of them think of it as an atonement for living when their appointed time of sacrifice has come and passed. They believe that Sanguinius' sacrifice set a precedent for them to follow, and that each of them has an appointed hour in which they will make the ultimate sacrifice for the benefit of the Imperium. It is widely held by the priesthood that living through that appointed hour means that they have selfishly denied the work of their father, and that to have survived it is a great sin. They therefore consider the Black Rage to be the spiritual reminder of their duties, and that it is the path to redemption. In this sense, those that fell to the Black Rage were already damned, and that the Black Rage is actually the only means of salvation.
Like their parent chapter, the Sanguinary Crusaders suffer from the Red Thirst and Black Rage. It stains their noble and pure ways, but they have, through their crusades, found ways to better themselves.
The Sanguinary Crusaders have found that an art can sometimes settle their thirst, as it requires a large amount of concentration. All free time is spent either perfecting arts of combat, the arts of tactics, or visual art. Their armor and weapons will often times be engraved with extravagant visuals, their armor engraved with prayers and litanies of concentration.
However, they understand that the thirst cannot be overcome without a cure, and the Sanguinary Priests consulted with the Blood Drinkers and Blood Angels. The Sanguinary Priests, observing the measure of control the Blood Drinkers have obtained over their thirst have determined that they would try it in moderation. As a result, on the eve of every major campaign, and after the campaign, during the Great Feasts, instead of wine, purified blood is offered as a drink to those who manage to resist the thirst throughout the battles. In theory, it will reward those with self-control, and punish those who lack it.
This system is closely monitored however, and should one still succumb during a time not deemed appropriate, or in front of others, he is severely punished. It is also kept secret from all but those who share their lineage.
The First Chapter Master Raphael's depression seemed to be an isolated event at first. Yet, as time and generations passed others began to suffer the same effects. As the marines gained more responsibilities of command, the toll of defeats seemed to weigh more heavily on their shoulders. Every loss of a battle brother, every lost battle, and every setback would see the motivation of the commanders edged away.
Why this happens no one is sure, but the Sanguinary Priests of the chapter believe that their chapter has inherited the guilt of failure from Sanguinius. They have come to refer to this as The Guilt.
This does not mean that the Sanguinary Crusaders are less fierce in battle than their cousins, as once the battle begins they unleash their rage and hatred. However, as campaigns weigh on the leader of the crusades will become more hesitant in their tactics, they will second guess their decisions, and begin to doubt their own worthiness. On the most extreme, the sergeant of a squad or the captain of the battle force will enter into an exile like Raphiel, or will shut out the world around them in their sorrow. Some have found ways of coping, such as self mutilation and flagellation, or an obsession of fine art that is never satisfactory. This has led many to believe that the chapter has become mentally unstable, and some that it is only a matter of time before it's destabilized emotions open the gateway for corruption.
Therefore the Sanguinary Crusaders are doubly cursed, and must master the Thirst and the Guilt, as well as battle the Black Rage.
The Sanguinary Crusaders are broken up as the codex dictates, with the same variations as the Blood Angels.
Among the differences are where seniority lies.
The majority of the Company Captains do not hold the special titles that their cousins would. The Master of the Watch, Master of the Arsenal, Master of the Fleet, Lord Executioner, Master of the Marches, and Master of Rites are all given to captains whose only roles are to fulfill those positions. Usually they are captains who have served with distinction and are too injured to continue in a battlefield role.
The Reserve Company Captains are the senior of the captains, though not by much, who have been taken off of the front lines in order to better train those in the reserve companies. The reserve company captains do hold the similar titles as their Blood Angel cousins, such as Master of Sieges, Lord of Skyfall, and Caller of Fire. The tenth company maintains the Master of Recruits.
All of those with special titles, including the First Company Captain, are part of the Chapter Council. The only captains that are not part of the council are the Battle Companies, whose primary duty is to the crusades they are waging. That is not to say that they have no weight in the running of the chapter, as the chapter council has rarely turned down the advice from those who are on the front.
Amongst the slight differences, even with others of the gene line, are the roles of the Sanguinary Priests and Chaplains. Unlike the Blood Angels, they are not separate organizations. Sanguinary Priesthood is a dual faced organization, with the Sanguinary Crusaders serving as the wardens of the living and righteous, and the chaplains serving as the wardens of the dead and the damned. This also means that Chaplains have a rudimentary knowledge of collecting geneseed and training as an apothecary. However, this is mostly utilized in collecting the geneseed of those in the Death Company.
The Sanguinary High Priest is the highest ranking member of the priesthood, and stands as an equal to the Chapter Master. The Sanguinary High Priest is in charge of all matters involving the priesthood, and has the power to veto and override the Chapter Master at any time. All matters of faith, war, and promotion must first be submitted and reviewed by the priesthood.
To be selected for the priesthood is a great honor, and every squad recognizes two members based on merit. One will be marked with a white cord, and one with a black cord. Each will receive additional training as potential additions to the priesthood. When a Sanguinary Priest or Chaplain dies, one of the brothers with the respective cord will be selected to be admitted into the Priesthood.
The Sanguinary Crusaders also have a position known as the Angel of Remission. Rather than wait for Astorath to execute those who have fallen, they have dedicated a single, strong willed battle brother. His duty is simple, he executes those that cannot be saved in life.
Because of the Burden of Guilt, this position is an extremely difficult one. In the past, the Angel of Remission would quickly lose his sanity, and so the chapter council got together and decided on a course of action. The Angel of Remission would have his memories wiped upon taking the mantle, and wiped again after each execution. However, this only delays the inevitable, as while the mind can be cleansed, the soul cannot.
Once chosen, the identity of the brother is recorded onto the scroll of sacrifice, where all names of those who have made noble sacrifices to honor Sanguinius would go. His identity is destroyed, his memories erased, and his face permanently covered. The Angel of Remission is not any one man, it is an immortal that releases tortured souls, and sends them to the embrace of Sanguinius and the Emperor.
"Victory through sacrifice!"
Edited by Arkangilos, 17 October 2016 - 06:49 PM.