On the Blood Angles
23/03/2011 in Warhammer 40K
Author’s note: I think what set this one off was seeing a post on a forum where the poster repeatedly referred to the “Blood Angles”. Once off, I can understand, but after seeing that name upwards of 8 times, it kinda got to me. One thought led to another, and so here we are. I think it’s humour, but I’m not quite sure…
On the Blood Angles
During the 21st founding, the Lamenters were not the only Chapter founded by the Blood Angels. A lesser known Chapter was also created and named the Blood Angles. The existence of this Chapter is often disputed, and marines or deeds from one Chapter are sometimes incorrectly attributed to the other. Not only may a careless scribe or a faulty servitor describe a battle won by Dante of the Blood Angles, but less learned scribes may correct spelling “errors”, only knowing of the Angles’ more famous parent Chapter.
The Blood Angles were founded by Pythas, and were unique in that their first Chapter Master was, while very skilled in the arts of war and leadership, a Techmarine. As with all Blood Angels, he had a highly refined aesthetic sense, but above all prized geometry and precision as twin gifts of the Emperor-as-Omnissiah. This view was passed on to his new Chapter with the result that all their works would be distinctly angular with the right angle being the most common. Conversely, a greater-than-normal hatred of the Warp arose and in particular a hatred of Tzeentch and all his creations, being seen as a challenge to the sovereignty of the Emperor-as-Omnissiah. These beliefs would later lead to one of the darkest events in the history of the Blood Angles.
Like the Lamenters, the twin curses of the geneseed of the Blood Angels were removed. However the Black Rage resurfaced early in the Chapter’s history, but in a different form, the Right Rage. Those afflicted see a target as utterly void of the gifts of the straight line and the angle, and have an overwhelming conviction to bestow those gifts on them. Invariably, this involves the sculpting of the enemy with their chainsword or other weapon into a geometric shape. This is most commonly a cube, but other more complex objects have been seen: a marine named Mecescher was once recorded as carving an Eldar Wraithlord into a perfect icosidodecahedron. The tenacity and fury with which they perform this most holy of duties means that the target rarely survives, but a Rector, as the warrior is called, may also focus his attention on shaping a single Grot for an entire battle, unaware that the pulped remains cannot hold any shape for more than a few seconds. Curiously enough there have never been observed instances of Rectors attacking Necron monoliths or pylons.
This reverence for such geometric properties has also led to several curious titles. As such, to describe a marine as “Square” is to praise his ability to use any weapon with the utmost precision, regardless of whether he is given a chainsword or a lascannon. Along similar lines, the title “Blockhead” is used to refer to one who is unshakeable in battle, not yielding an inch in the face of impending death. Regrettably, this has led to more than one brush with more highly-strung organisations, the most famous of which was with Inquisitor Garath of the Ordo Hereticus. After the pulverisation of the heretics on Aphopus IV and the 20 Word Bearers who corrupted them, the Inquisitor was greatly taken aback and enraged when a sergeant referred to him as “a great Blockhead”. Subsequent investigations exonerated the Angles, but to this day the Inquisition still scour all the despatches of the Angles for potentially heretical messages.
One lesser known advantage the Blood Angles possess is their ability to transport materials efficiently. Inspired by their sense of geometry, they have modified their power armour and their entire fleet of vehicles such that when they are packed, a tessellation is formed. While some of the more zealous Mechanicus observers have complained that these machines deviate from their STC origins, the Angles have pointed to the continued functioning and efficiency of their vehicles as testimony that the Machine Spirits approve, or at least do not mind the changes. This more efficient use of space has been used to fool those not familiar with the Blood Angles, a Thunderhawk Transporter may carry not only a Land Raider, but a Dreadnought as well.
This efficiency, however, is a double-edged sword as the loss of a single ship will inevitably mean the loss of more Astartes than normal. One of the blackest such incidents in the history of the Blood Angles was the loss of the 3rd and 7th companies. While travelling in the warp, the Strike Cruiser Obtusus encountered a calming of the warp. As the ship lay there, a single point of order in the infinities of the Immaterium, its Gellar fields failed. Whether through chance or design is unknown, but regardless of its cause fail they did, and in the process expose the ship to the Sea of Souls. As fate would have it, the Obtusus was dragged into the Maze of Tzeentch, and no one was to see her again.
However, this was not the end of the two Companies. As Horus, the best of the Emperor’s sons was corrupted, so too were the most devoted of the Blood Angles. Gone was the geometric order of their armour, gone was the logic of their minds, gone was the absoluteness of their faith. What emerged from the warp was change made manifest, each and every marine a swirling and phase-shifting mass of ceramite and flesh, more akin to Horrors but still recognisable as Astartes. Some conjecture that they were infected with a version of the Obliterator virus, others see the machinations of Tzeentch causing the ultimate insult to his foes. Nevertheless, regardless of their history or their current state, these fallen Astartes are now known by only one name: the Dark Angles.