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The Blood Angels – who are they?


Today we catch up with Dunks61 to learn about some Blood Angels lore!

The Blood Angels, affectionately known by some as the Emperor’s space vampires, are one of the most well known chapters within the ranks of the Adeptus Astartes. 

But where did they come from? Who are their primary commanders? And what is their cursed secret that they keep from the wider Imperium? Let’s find out and delve into the history and lore of the Sons of Sanguinius.

Sanguinius – the ‘Great Angel’

Before learning about the Blood Angels Chapter, we need to take a look at the original Legion’s Primarch, Sanguinus. For those who don’t know, a Primarch is a genetically-engineered transhuman who was designed to be the ultimate warfighter, strategist and statesman. These ‘sons’ of the Emperor were used as genetic templates for the First Founding, a set of 20 Space Marine Legions each commanded by their respective Primarchs. 

Stolen by Chaos in his infancy, Sanguinus was found on a moon of the planet Baal in the Baal system and pledged his allegiance to the Emperor when discovered. He soon became one of the Emperor’s most beloved sons, and was even considered to be a potential successor Warmaster to the Primarch Horus. It was for this reason that his death at the hands of the now-traitorous Horus during the Horus Heresy was seen as a most-painful yet noble sacrifice to save the Emperor. However, his death sent psychic shivers throughout the Imperium and is considered to be a reason for part of the curse that Blood Angels keep hidden from the Imperium…more on that later…

The Blood Angels Chapter

Born from the gene-seed of their now-slain Primarch, the Blood Angels Chapter represents the spearhead of the Adeptus Astartes. First founded as one of the original 20 Legions of Space Marines (the Legiones Astartes), the Blood Angels are renowned for their aggressive tactics and skill in close combat. The Blood Angels are also one of the oldest Chapters, with some Marines serving the Emperor for well over 1000 years. Such is their lifespan that Dante, the current Chapter Master, is believed to be the oldest Space Marine in existence except for those interred in Dreadnought sarcophagi.  

The Blood Angels, despite their skill in combat, have faced incredibly damaging battles. The Devastation of Baal, one of the many battles in the legendary Indomitus Crusade, pitched the Chapter and its multiple successors (and some Chaos forces) against the largest concentration of the Tyranid Hive Fleet Leviathan that the Imperium had ever seen. Following a bloody battle and the loss of many chapter masters and chapters alike the Baal system was cleansed and the xenos eradicated. This victory could only have occured with the support from Reboute Guilliman and his Indomitus force, but not even he is fully aware of the Blood Angels’ greatest secret…

The ‘Flaw’

The ‘Flaw’ references two elements of the curse that every Astartes soldier within the chapter carries: the Red Thirst, and the Black Rage.

The Red Thirst is a near-constant need for blood, with its origins stemming from a deep yearning for battle and the spoils that come with it. Known to Sanguinius himself during the chapter’s time as a full legion, the Red Thirst was kept hidden for fear of shaming the legion, acknowledging the clear flaw in the gene-seed, and bringing discredit upon the Emperor. Some of the chapter, such as the Chief Librarian Mephiston, have managed to survive the thirst and free themselves, but others are not so lucky.

Those Astartes fully consumed by the Thirst are taken to the chapter’s fortress monastery on Baal, the Arx Angelicum, and their fate is known only to the chapter. Those unfortunate enough to hear their cries won’t say what horrors are made manifest in the fortress monastery, but the Red Thirst is merely one half of the Angel’s cursed secret… the Black Rage is something else much more harrowing…

The Black Rage is a psychic imprint left upon every Astartes after the death of Sanguinus. Etched into their psyches, the Black Rage emerges in times of war and manifests itself in an image of madness and a lust for an honourable death. Those on the battlefield don black armour with red saltires (crosses), are grouped into the Death Company, and let forth upon the enemy. 

The Death Company are restrained only by the chapter chaplains who can still contact their insane brothers, and they are let loose in only the most daring and dangerous assaults, often throwing themselves at the enemy for a chance to avenge their illustrious Primarch. Such is their level of madness that the Death Company have even been known to break through some of the most defended battlelines that the Imperium have charged against, and have only been stopped by their full descent into madness.

So there you have it, the Blood Angels and their impressive lore! They are truly one of the most feared of the Adeptus Astartes, but their reputation – and experience in battle – gives them the honour of being able to earn that fear.

Thanks very much Dunks61! Come back next time to read more lore!

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