- "In life there is service!"
-"We live to serve!"
"To deny life is to deny service!"
-"To deny service is to betray the Emperor!"
"Do we choose service or betrayal?"
-"We choose life! We choose service! We choose blood!"
- — Rite of Holos, The Canticle of Blood
The Blood Drinkers is a Loyalist Space Marine Chapter and a Second Founding Successor Chapter of the Blood Angels. The name "Blood Drinkers" comes from the Chapter's craving for blood, the result of a mutated omophagea gene-seed organ. Though afflicted with a sinister moniker, the Blood Drinkers own an exemplary record and are considered among the most honourable of all Chapters. The Blood Drinkers keep good company, and among their most notable allies are several other Chapters also considered above reproach, such as the Crimson Fists and Novamarines. The Blood Drinkers Chapter Master is Orloc, who participated alongside his Battle-Brothers in the heroic defence of the Blood Angels' homeworld of Baal from the Forces of Chaos and the Tyranids in 999.M41.
What truly separates the Blood Drinkers from many of their brother Chapters is their willingness to engage in rituals that involve the consumption of blood, particularly massive quantities of human blood. Far from hiding this tradition, however, the Blood Drinkers openly embrace it through rites such as the Sanguis Excrucio and the Red Tears. There are many who wonder if such rituals and ceremonies are the cause of their resistance to the Red Thirst and Black Rage. Certainly, they experience a smaller proportion of their Battle-Brothers succumbing to the Black Rage.
This acceptance of their nature seems to have given the Blood Drinkers a unique level of control over the Flaw, but it remains to be seen if this achievement comes without a greater cost.
The Blood Drinkers were founded in the time following the Horus Heresy. They were Successors of the Second Founding raised in the early 31st Millennium. This occurred before the grim truth concerning their progenitors' flawed gene-seed came to light. Like their fellow Successor Chapters, the Blood Drinkers are strongly bound to the Blood Angels, united by the blood of the Primarch Sanguinius that flows through their veins and ancient traditions that outsiders find difficult to understand. Being one of the Scions of Sanguinius their loyalty to the memory of their Primarch transcends all other duties and concerns. Being born of the Blood Angels' gene-seed, the Blood Drinkers too carry the terrible Flaw inherent in their gene-stock. But rather than denying their blood-lust, the Blood Drinkers have learned to embrace it, making it a central part of many of their rituals. By doing so, the Chapter seems to have achieved an unprecedented level of control over the Flaw. It remains to be seen whether or not this is but the first step on a long road to eventual damnation. Despite the unnatural craving for blood that echoes through their souls, the Blood Drinkers ever aspire to be better than their corrupted flesh, striving endlessly to be judged as equals with the other Chapters of legend.
But a darker secret underpins this seeming control over the Flaw. In truth, by the 37th Millennium, the Blood Drinkers was a dying Chapter, brothers succumbing to the Black Rage as soon as they were fully initiated. The hero-saint Holos set out upon his journey, disobeying the will of the Chapter Council to fulfil his quest to find a cure. Holos experienced a dream, and after being secretly counseled by his Reclusiarch Shanadar, set out on a sacred journey to climb Mount Calicium, the mightiest volcanic peak on his Chapter's homeworld of San Guisiga.
As the brave Battle-Brother climbed the nearly insurmountable peak, he battled Lo-tan, the lord of the astorgai -- vile xenos creatures that infested the mountain's crags. This foul creature was a great monster five times the size of his subjects. Four great heroes of the Chapter had set out to slay him, and all four had died, their wargear and lives lost in his lair.
By the time Holos reached the summit his Power Armour had been broken by the violence visited upon him by the astorgai. So damaged was its Machine Spirit and actuator systems that it died and its weight soon became a burden. What armour Holos could free was thrown off. One of his arms hung uselessly at his side and his weapons were gone. But Holos' will remained. As the Astartes lay close to death upon Mount Calicium's peak, a winged, angelic figure appeared to him, reviving him at the point of death and giving him the secret that would enable the Blood Drinkers to keep the Thirst at bay, if they dared -- and Holos dared.
Brother Holos returned solar weeks later to the fortress-monastery on San Guisiga, long after he had been given up for dead. Celebrations at the hero's return turned to uproar when he revealed what he had been told. What the winged figure proposed nearly tore the Chapter in two, but those were desperate days, a time when more and more Battle-Brothers were falling into the Black Rage with every passing standard year, and the Thirst tormented them endlessly. Every measure to alleviate it had been attempted, all without success.
These two events are known in the Chapter's histories as Holos' Return and the Blood Schism. Holos' solution, the rite and the way of being he brought back with him from the summit of the volcano, soon worked, putting an end to the demands of the Red Thirst and the madness of the Black Rage. The Blood Drinkers have since known an equilibrium that the other scions of Sanguinius could only pray for. The Rite of Holos is the Blood Drinkers' greatest secret and their greatest strength. Without it the Chapter would have descended into savagery and been lost. With it, the brothers remained stalwart defenders of the Imperium. There was, however, a terrible cost, which may yet damn the Chapter for all eternity.
- A Gathering of Heroes (266.M37) - A combined force of Blood Angels, Angels Encarmine and Blood Drinkers engaged with Traitor forces on the archeotech world of Hell's Hollow. Though the cultist hosts were swiftly put to death, the attack came too late to prevent their completion of a heretical ritual. The veil was pierced, and a tide of daemons spilled through into the planet's macrocities. The Blood Angels and their brethren reacted to this new development with typical courage and resolve. The main strength of the strike force was deployed in a series of holding actions, stemming the daemonic tide long enough for the Death Company to be hurled against the ritual site itself. Amidst an orgy of violence, the black-armoured Battle-Brothers slaughtered everything in their path, closing the rift at the price of their own lives.
- The Vaust Perfidy (670.M39) - When the insidious Dark Eldar used psycho-active poisons to sow anarchy and madness in the population of the Hive World of Vaust, a strike force from the Blood Drinkers Chapter vowed to restore order. Though 50,000 Imperial citizens were slain in the city fighting that followed, a number of Dark Eldar warband leaders were cornered in the heights of the central spire and made to pay for their crimes with their lives.
- Cleansing of the Death of Integrity (887.M39) - In 887.M39, the Space Hulk Death of Integrity was seen near the world of Vol Secundus. The ancient ruin had been encountered twice before in recent centuries, each time preceding the appearance of Tyranid forces upon nearby worlds. A general call for immediate Adeptus Astartes assistance was issued, with members of the 1st Companies of both the Blood Drinkers and the Novamarines Chapters responding to the call for assistance. Exhibiting a tremendous amount of co-operation, the two Chapters deployed nearly 200 Space Marines equipped with Terminator Armour to the massive Hulk. Over the course of two months, the combined forces thoroughly purged the Space Hulk of a rampant Genestealer infestation. Both Chapters suffered losses, as the xenos were well-suited for battle within the cramped and toxic environment. Though the battle was costly in terms of damage to armour and loss of life, the ultimate prize was stunning. Hidden deep within the Hulk's ruins was a remarkably well preserved Standard Template Construct (STC) database which contained data on a host of lost technologies. The Adeptus Mechanicus gladly accepted this priceless artefact and went so far as to repay each Chapter with a newly commissioned Strike Cruiser.
- Reign of Blood (802.M41) - The Blood Drinkers Chapter assisted the 35th Cadian Shock Troops Regiment of the Imperial Guard in the siege of the daemon-infested Hive World of Helios Alpha. The Blood Drinkers' powerful assault broke the stalemate, although the heavy collateral damage suffered by the Imperial Guardsmen while fighting alongside the Blood Drinkers left the Cadian High Command unwilling to accept aid from this Successor Chapter of the Blood Angels again.
- The Defence of Castobel (816.M41) - The Blood Drinkers came to the Jericho Reach at the close of 816.M41, mere months before the first tendrils of Hive Fleet Dagon struck the world of Castobel. Some say the Chapter was drawn to Castobel by the scent of blood, the two companies of Battle-Brothers taking up residence in the highest spire of Hive Ibellus and fortifying it as for a protracted siege. It was not long before the Tyranids struck, and when they did, the Blood Drinkers were waiting. Alone of all Castobel's hives, Ibellus stood firm against the billion-strong horde, the noble, almost beatific Battle-Brothers manning the walls and setting such an example for the hive militias that it is said that men sang with joy as they fought, knowing that they could never fail. It was only later that dark rumours began to circulate, despite the best efforts of the militia's commissars and the hive enforcers. Some claimed that xenos infiltrators were stalking the hives by night, but others spun a far more disturbing yarn. The rumours told of people dragged screaming from their beds late at night, and of terrible, blood-curdling cries emanating from the spire the Blood Drinkers used as their headquarters. Still later, it was said that enforcer patrols found exsanguinated corpses deep in the hive sinks, battered and pulped as if thrown from the greatest heights of the spire. None could locate the source of these dark tales, which many rumourmongers claimed was proof in itself that something was afoot. The people of Castobel were fighting for their very existence against a foe that might have overwhelmed them months ago were it not for the heroic deeds of the Blood Drinkers, and so for now, at least, a few blood-drained corpses easily blamed on alien stalkers were the least of their worries.
- Reclamation of Rynn's World (991.M41) - The Blood Drinkers Chapter participated in the effort to reclaim the Crimson Fists' Chapter homeworld from the Orks of WAAAGH! Snagrod in the latter part of the 41st Millennium.
- Scions of Sanguinius Conclave (999.M41) - Teetering on the brink of oblivion following the events on the Shrine World of Sabien, the fate of the Blood Angels Chapter now required the magnanimity of their Successor Chapters. Lord Commander Dante summoned all of the Blood Angels' Successor Chapters for a conclave on Baal following the near-disastrous Chapter civil war that nearly tore the Blood Angels apart. Dante called for the support of the Blood Angels Successors to help aid the Chapter in the protection of their common Primarch's homeworld and his remains from the attack of both the Tyranids and the Forces of Chaos. While Dante led the discussion at the conclave, the Apothecaria was working on a radical new procedure to replenish the ranks of the Blood Angels in one swift stroke: the lost art of replicae. Caecus was the Chief Apothecary or Apothecae Majoris of the Blood Angels. Disturbed by the dwindling numbers of his Chapter, and dreading its extinction, he was involved in fruitless experiments, which Lord Commander Dante ordered stopped, to clone Space Marines, thus eliminating the need to go through the arduous process of the maturation and implantation of the gene-seed in an Aspirant. However, Caecus disobeyed the order and secretly continued the experiments, prodded by an agent of the vile Chaos Space Marine Apothecary Fabius Bile. He was tricked into bringing Bile, who was disguised as a well-known Adeptus Mechanicus Magos Biologis, to Baal, mistakenly thinking the false "Magos" would help in cloning Space Marines to increase the Blood Angels' numbers. Through Bile's manipulations, Caecus was duped, and only managed to create monstrous, mutant clone-Astartes known as "Bloodfiends" who were consumed by the Red Thirst. These creatures were a shattered mirror reformed in the image of a Blood Angel, but lacking any of the qualities that could be thought of as human. The mutations that cursed the gene-seed of the Blood Angels had been enhanced by the machinations and Chaotic tech-heresy of Fabius Bile, and with each drop of blood they consumed, the thirst that dominated the Bloodfiends grew stronger. The mutants broke free from the confines of Caecus' laboratorium and began to run rampant through the sacred halls of the fortress-monastery of the Blood Angels. The Blood Drinkers, along with the Blood Angels and their fellow Successors successfully defended their most sacred of sites on Baal -- the Golden Sarcophagus of Primarch Sanguinius within the sacred sepulchre where the Great Angel lay for all time, sleeping in light, forever preserved. The Sons of Sanguinius destroyed the horde of mutants and erased the stain of Chaos from their midst. They had paid for the continued sanctity of the Great Angel with their blood, and in the aftermath of this misery, Lord Commander Dante took responsibility for what had happened and he accepted it without complaint. Dante believed that it was his hubris that had brought the Chapter to this dark place. The Successor Chapters took this into consideration as well as Lord Commander Dante's original request for the Successors to grant the Blood Angels a small tithe of their Chapter's Initiates in order to replenish the ranks of the Chapter. The Successor Chapters unanimously agreed to hand over to the Blood Angels some of their own Neophytes to help their ancestral Chapter rebuild its strength in the wake of the Chaos assault -- and in preparation for the oncoming assault by the Tyranids and the Forces of Chaos.
- Devastation of Baal (ca. 999.M41) - The Blood Drinkers were among the forces deployed by the Blood Angels Successor Chapters to defend their parent Chapter's homeworld of Baal from an assault by the Tyranid Hive Fleet Leviathan.
Unlike the other Blood Angels Successor Chapters, the Blood Drinkers are strict followers of the holy writ of the Codex Astartes and are organised accordingly. From all outward signs, the Blood Drinkers appear to have overcome the worst aspects of the flaw of Sanguinius, and while they still maintain a Death Company it appears that far fewer of its Battle-Brothers fall to the Black Rage.
The Blood Drinkers hail from their Chapter homeworld of San Guisiga -- a hot, volcanic world, criss-crossed with lava rivers as bright as blood. The planet is a literal furnace and is virtually uninhabitable, as the extremes of its environs make it inimical to most lifeforms. San Guisiga's suns burn exceptionally bright. During the height of daylight hours, the red giant, Krov A, is a baleful presence, washing the world with angry red light. Its white dwarf companion, Krov B, is a point of light the size of a fingernail, many times smaller but brighter by far than its dominant partner. At certain times of the San Guisigan year the two suns are close in the sky, with only a handspan between them. Yet, for all their brightness, the warmth the twin suns provide is negligible. San Guisiga's ferocious heat is provided by the tidal forces of its large moon, Haemos, pulling at its guts. Churning geology wracks the planet with endless earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The planet is phenomenally active, its entire surface remade once every ten thousand standard years, sheeted over by fresh rock spewing from its many volcanoes like Mount Calicium. The harsh environs provide an ideal recruiting ground for the Chapter's Neophytes, making the world's population ideal warriors for the Blood Drinkers.
One of the lifeforms that thrives upon this inhospitable world is known as the astorgai. The origins of these curious creatures are unknown, although there were certain ruins on the moon of Haemos' forbidden, poisoned surface that hinted that the astorgai might be devolved remnants of a civilised xenos species, but that was hotly disputed by the Chapter and the Adeptus Mechanicus xenologians both. No one was sure if they were truly sentient, or animals keyed into the psychic space of the Warp. How many of them there were, where they nested, how they bred -- all was unknown. All that is certain is that they had been on San Guisiga longer than men, and had defied every attempt to exterminate them. To the Space Marines who made their home on San Guisiga they are a nuisance, to the small baronies the Blood Drinkers draw their recruits from, they are a deadly menace.
- "Celebrate the blood. To deny the blood is to deny life, to deny life is to deny duty. To deny duty is to betray the Emperor. Betrayal is worse than damnation. Service has its price, and we willingly pay it."
- — Catechism of Holos
While the Blood Drinkers appear to have attained a level of control over the Blood Angels' flaw exceeding even that of their Progenitor Legion, such appearances are deceptive. The entirety of the Chapter's rituals and observances are based on the consumption of massive quantities of blood, though the source of the blood used in these ceremonies is unknown, as is the form these rituals take. It is assumed that this blood is taken from the individual Battle-Brothers, or some sort of slain predator whose qualities are coveted. Some detractors whisper that this blood is taken unwillingly from captives, fallen enemies or even from innocents. The Blood Drinkers go to great lengths to conceal these blood rites from any and all outsiders, for none have witnessed their sanguinary rites, not even their brethren amongst the other Blood Angels Successor Chapters. Though they appear to have attained control over the flaw, the Blood Drinkers may have more than likely doomed themselves in some other, unforeseen way. Their future remains just as uncertain as that of the remainder of their fellow Scions of Sanguinius.
The Rite of HolosEdit
The Rite of Holos is the rite that is ritually practiced by the Astartes of the Blood Drinkers Chapter. This rite of blood involves the assembly of Battle-Brothers of the Chapter within their individual vessels' or fortress-monstery's Reclusium that was called the Hall of Life. Standing shoulder to shoulder, dressed in simple scarlet trousers with black tabards embroidered with the yellow blood drop and chalice of the Chapter, the decorated belts they habitually wear, denoting their role and rank within the Chapter, are absent. Techmarine stands with Battle-Brother, Neophyte with Initiate; stripped of their badges, all are equal for the Rite of Holos. For the duration of the ritual the matter of their brotherhood is paramount. Distinction of rank or suborder is unimportant, a distraction from their fundamental sameness in the face of the Thirst. Only the Sanguinary Priests and Chaplains stand apart, all bearing their marks of office; Crozius and chalices gleaming in the chamber's febrile light. They flank the major portal leading into the main room. Ten Sanguinary Guards stand behind them, armed and armoured also, five with the Chaplains, five with the Sanguinary Priests. Through the use of ritual bloodletting, Chapter Serfs willingly offer their precious vitae to their ravenous masters. During the ritual the Battle-Brothers take their assigned positions in outlying alcoves all along the chamber's walls. The Serfs all have thin, metal tubing all over them; the ways to their arteries and the fluids that sustain the Chapter. From the alcoves, the Serfs have their metal tubes connected, draining their precious blood, which flows freely into channels cut into the stone floor and pour into the large depression sunk into the granite floor in the centre of the chamber, its shape cut into the blood drop of the Chapter.
At the narrow end of the drop, an altar soars high. A relief of helmetless armoured Battle-Brothers circles it, carved of red carnelian, each one with a skull for his head, bowed over hands clasped around the hilts of swords and axes. Upon the altar channels are also cut, below manacles of bright adamantium, leading from places that would correspond to the major arteries of the human body's limbs should a person be laid out upon it: carotid, femoral, ulnar and radial. The channels run from these points to gather, then as one lead to the apex of the blood drop. This is where the Blood Drinkers ritually sacrifice a hapless mortal in service to the Emperor -- the Chapter's monstrous price for their ravenous bloodlust, known as the blood-tithe. Later, when the Thirst is quenched, the Chapter's Reclusiarch will lead them in prayers of atonement and then of preparation. They will reaffirm their oaths to the Emperor, and beg forgiveness of one another for the lives they have taken. The Techmarines will take a measure of blood from the brothers themselves to placate the Chapters' weapons and armours. Only then, with the beast inside them tamed, will the brothers' minds turn fully to battle and the destruction of man's foes.
The Blood Drinkers firmly believe that blood is the key and that denial was not the answer. They will not quake before their appetites as their brother Chapters do. Though they believe that the monster within them can not be defeated, it can not be denied either. They believe that it can be sated, its strength borrowed. Through the Rite of Holos, the Blood Drinkers believe they have found their salvation from the genetic flaw that raves the Scions of Sanguinius.
But the truth behind the Blood Drinkers' supposed "salvation" is far more insidious. When Brother Holos ascended Mount Calicium and spoke with the angelic vision, some within the Chapter believed this to be none other than their Primarch Sanguinius, who imparted to his genetic son how to save his dying Chapter. However, the truth behind the Rite of Holos is that the brother-saint was visited not by an angel, but rather a Daemon. Though the identity of this Neverborn is unknown, it is highly suspected that it was most likely the Daemon Lord Kairos Fateweaver, Tzeentch's vizier and the first amongst the Great Conspirator's pantheon of Greater Daemons.
Holos made a devil's bargain with the Daemon Lord -- in exchange for the knowledge of the blood drinking ritual that would grant his Chapter salvation, saving thousands of his Chapter's Battle-Brothers from the dark fate of the Death Company, Kairos would gain the ability to alter the visions of a select few Death Company Astartes. Instead of receiving the usual visions of their angelic Primarch's death they would instead receive visions of Holos and the Daemon Lord himself. The Blood Drinkers firmly believe that the Black Rage is a blessing, not a curse. Those few great heroes within their Chapter granted these visions did not see what the other scions of Sanguinius saw. Though there were few who were "blessed" with these visions, they were believed to be gloriously blessed. While their brothers all saw the cause of their damnation with the death of their Primarch at the hands of Horus, the Blood Drinkers who were granted these daemonic visions witnessed the moment of their supposed "salvation"; the climb of Brother Holos, the very thing that set them free! This was what the Blood Drinkers believed, and among all of the sons of the Blood Angels, they felt hope.
By the 39th Millennium, eighteen brothers had witnessed these visions, and Kairos had spoken to each of these Battle-Brothers through these memories, tempting them with the power of Chaos. If one Battle-Brother even so much as contemplates accepting the Daemon Lord's offer, the Blood Drinkers would be damned and fall to the Ruinous Powers. Thus far, all have refused the Daemon Lord's offer, but Fateweaver is patient, waiting for only one Battle-Brother to utter a single "yes", and damning the Chapter forevermore. Only the Chapter's Reclusiarchs know the truth behind the Rite of Holos, though it is not known if they truly wish for the Chapter to fall.
Like their predecessors, the Blood Drinkers are a dying breed, for they suffer from the same dreadful genetic flaws -- the Black Rage and the Red Thirst. The Blood Drinkers especially suffer from the Red Thirst -- the overwhelming desire to physically taste their enemies' blood. This is more than likely due to a mutation in the Chapter's Omophagea implant, which causes an insatiable craving for human blood. Another notable flaw in their gene-seed is the mutation of what the Chapter refers to as the "Weaver," the Mucranoid Gland, unique to the Blood Drinkers, turning a gift into a hindrance. As a result of the mutation, the Blood Drinkers' skin glands atrophy, causing the pores to close. This change to the epidermis was not one originally sought by the Emperor when He crafted the gene-seed of the Adeptus Astartes. But there is no treating it, and it is the Blood Drinkers' own particular quirk of the Flaw. Lacking sebum as well as sweat, all the Astartes of this Chapter bear its mark; the dry, insufficiently nourished skin that afflicts every Blood Drinker.
Notable Blood DrinkersEdit
- Chapter Master Orloc - Current Lord of San Guisiga and Chapter Master of the Blood Drinkers in the late 41st Millennium. Orloc is known to be a pious and respectful Space Marine.
- Chapter Master Caedis - Lord of San Guisiga and Chapter Master of the Blood Drinkers in the 39th Millennium, he personally led a large strike force comprised of Blood Drinkers to fight alongside the Novamarines Chapter in a ferocious assault on the Genestealer-infested Space Hulk Death of Integrity. During the height of the fighting, the genetic curse known as the Black Rage came upon him, and he was overcome with visions of Brother Holos. During the subsequent fighting, as the Blood Drinkers 1st Company cleared their assigned sector of any Genestealer taint, his sense of reality was obscured by visions of Holos' trials during his ascent up Mount Calicium to reach its summit. On the edge of perception, Caedis passed through deeper and deeper into the Space Hulk in Holos' fugue. While in this fugue state, Caedis experienced reaching the summit of the volcano, and saw the indistinct vision of a mysterious entity that his mind could not quite grasp. As he conversed with this mysterious entity that claimed to be his Chapter's salvation, a sense of terrible horror gripped him as he realised that it was not an angel that he spoke with, but a Daemon of Chaos! All Space Marines had some knowledge of the Ruinous Powers. Few among their number were fully aware of the Dark Gods' actual influence on the material universe, or the nature of their servants, or how those servants could manifest themselves. But Caedis knew, for he was a Chapter Master, and thus the most awful secrets of the universe had been laid open to him. Caedis refused the Daemon Lord's offer, willingly suffering the torments of the depths of the Black Rage. The Daemon Lord warned the Chapter Master, that though he may defer his fate, those like him would continue to follow Holos in his trek up the mountain. They would fight, and they would struggle, and they would come to the Daemon Lord. Many would say "no", but inevitably one would say "yes". As promised, Caedis did indeed suffer the torments of the Black Rage, his body transforming into a monstrous form. Before the Novamarines that were present could inquire to the Chapter Master's transformation, they were forced to flee, as the sentient Death of Integrity translated into the Warp, taking the mutated Chapter Master with it. Caedis' ultimate fate is unknown.
- Chapter Master Ganlan Sang - Lord of San Guisiga and Chapter Master of the Blood Drinkers in the 37th Millennium, during the Chapter's darkest days when it waned dangerously close to extinction. The genetic curse of the Flaw seriously affected the Chapter's Battle-Brothers and a large proportion of their warriors fell into the throes of the Black Rage and were placed within the Death Company. At that time the savagery of the Chapter's large Death Company and the constant desire for death and sacrifice to sate the Thirst bedevilled every brother, their stoic resistance burned away in a cloak of insatiable bloodlust.
- Captain Carnifus - Captain Carnifus was the commander of the Blood Drinkers' 3rd Company prior to the Devastation of Baal and was among the forces sent to reinforce the Blood Angels in the face of Hive Fleet Leviathan's assault on Baal. It is unknown whether he survived the siege.
- Holos - Holos is an ancient Chapter hero, revered by the Blood Drinkers as a saint -- the one who delivered the nearly extinct Chapter the secret to surviving the ravages of the Black Rage and bringing a measure of peace to the Blood Drinkers and saving them from damnation. By the 37th Millennium, the Blood Drinkers was a dying Chapter, brothers succumbing to the Black Rage as soon as they were fully initiated. The hero-saint Holos had set out after a dream, disobeying the will of the Chapter Council to fulfil his quest. Holos had experienced a dream, and after being secretly counseled by Reclusiarch Shanadar, had set out on his sacred journey to climb Mount Calicium, the mightiest volcanic peak on his Chapter's homeworld of San Guisiga. As the brave Battle-Brother climbed the nearly insurmountable peak, he battled Lo-tan, the lord of the astorgai -- vile xenos creatures that infested the mountain's crags. This foul creature was a great monster five times the size of his subjects. Four great heroes of the Chapter had set out to slay him, four heroes had died, their wargear and lives lost in his lair. Holos' mind was clear on the matter -- this was the only way to the top of the mountain. By the time Holos reached the summit his armour had been broken by the violence visited upon him by the astorgai. So damaged were its Machine Spirit and aiding systems that it died and its weight soon became a burden. What armour Holos could free was thrown off. One of his arms hung uselessly at his side and his weapons were gone. But Holos' will remained. As Holos lay close to death upon Mount Calicium's peak, a winged, angelic figure had appeared to him, reviving him at the point of his death and giving him the secret that would enable the Blood Drinkers to keep the Thirst at bay, if they dared -- and Holos dared. Brother Holos had returned solar weeks later to the fortress-monastery on San Guisiga, long after he had been given up for dead. Celebrations at the hero's return turned to uproar when he revealed what he had been told. What the winged figure proposed nearly tore the Chapter in two, but those were desperate days, a time when more and more Battle-Brothers were falling into the Black Rage with every passing year, and the Thirst tormented them endlessly. Any measure to alleviate it was attempted, all without success. These two events are known in the Chapter's histories as Holos' Return and the Blood Schism. Holos' solution, the rite and the way of being he brought back with him from the summit of the volcano, soon worked, putting an end to the demands of the Red Thirst and the madness of the Black Rage. The Blood Drinkers have since known an equilibrium that the other scions of Sanguinius could only pray for. The Rite of Holos is the Blood Drinkers' greatest secret and their greatest strength. Without it the Chapter would have descended into savagery and been lost. With it, the brothers remained stalwart defenders of the Imperium. There was, however, a terrible cost, which may yet damn the Chapter for all eternity.
- Epistolary Guinian - Epistolary of the Blood Drinkers.
- Reclusiarch Mazrael - Chapter Reclusiarch and successor of Quiniar. Mazrael was the Blood Drinkers Reclusiarch in M39.
- Reclusiarch Quiniar - Chapter Reclusiarch and successor of Doloros.
- Reclusiarch Doloros - Chapter Reclusiarch and successor of Curvin.
- Reclusiarch Curvin - Chapter Reclusiarch and successor of Solomael.
- Reclusiarch Solomael - Chapter Reclusiarch and successor of Canandael.
- Reclusiarch Canandael - Chapter Reclusiarch and successor of Gurian.
- Reclusiarch Gurian - Chapter Reclusiarch and successor of Dravin.
- Reclusiarch Dravin - Chapter Reclusiarch and successor of Melios.
- Reclusiarch Melios - Chapter Reclusiarch and successor of Shanandar.
- Reclusiarch Shanandar - Chapter Reclusiarch of the Blood Drinkers in the 37th Millennium. It was his counsel that Brother Holos first sought when he began to experience the first signs of the Black Rage. Sharing his vision of the angelic entity upon the summit of Mount Calicium, Shanandar colluded with Holos, advising him to seek out the truth of this vision. After Holos returned from his quest, he shared the whole truth with the Reclusiarch about the Rite and the Daemon whom he spoke with. From that time forth, the Chapter's Reclusiarch passed down the truth of Holos' "vision" to each successive Reclusiarch, the truth of the Rite their burden to bear.
- Forgemaster Quaeston - Forgemaster Quaeston was the Blood Drinker's Master of the Forge prior to the Devastation of Baal and was among the forces sent by the Blood Drinkers to reinforce the Blood Angels in the face of Hive Fleet Leviathan's assault on Baal. It is unknown whether he survived the subsequent siege.
- Sanguinary Priest Teale - Sanguinary Priest of the Blood Drinkers in the 39th Millennium.
- Metrion - A Standard Bearer of the Blood Drinkers.
- Dreadnought Endarmiel - Endarmiel is ancient, even by the standards of the Blood Drinkers, crippled in a long ago war and entombed inside a towering Dreadnought walker. Within his giant body of metal, Endarmiel had fought on with distinction for more than a thousand years, his wisdom helping guide generations of Blood Drinkers to victory after victory.
- Lux Rubrum (Battle Barge) - The Blood Drinkers Chapter flagship.
- Encarmine Dread - The master-crafted Power Sword of the revered Chapter hero Brother Holos.
- Scyphus Vitae - The Scyphus Vitae is a two-handed master-crafted Astartes Power Sword which enables a Blood Drinkers Battle-Brother who wields it to drink the blood of any target to which the sword deals wounds, averting the negative effects caused by the unnatural cravings of their Chapter. The unique curse of the Blood Drinkers is a carefully kept secret, and one the Chapter has gone to great lengths to keep. From some perspectives, the true worth of the mighty blade known as the Scyphus Vitae is not in its killing edge or fearsome length, but in the shame it can avert. The Scyphus Vitae has a unique power field permeable to the blood of foes, which it channels down a deep fuller in the centre of the blade, and from there, to an injector linked to the med-ports of the Astartes' Power Armour. The weapon thus allows the curse of the Red Thirst to be slaked in battle, with no outsiders gaining knowledge of this secret stain on the Chapter's honour.
The Blood Drinkers' Power Armour is carnelian red, with golden yellow trim on the shoulder pauldrons. The Imperialis or Aquila on the chest guard is also yellow. Unlike their progenitors, the Blood Angels, the Blood Drinkers are strict followers of the Codex Astartes. The white squad specialty symbol (Tactical, Assault, Devastator or Veteran) is indicated on the right shoulder guard. A black Low Gothic numeral is stenciled in the centre of the squad specialy symbol, indicating the squad number. The shoulder plate trim displays the Company colour in accordance to the Codex -- i.e. White (1st Company), Yellow (2nd Company), Red (3rd Company), etc.
Sanguinary Priests of the Blood Drinkers have the entire right side of their Power Armour painted white and have a golden yellow vertical stripe painted down the centre of the helm. Blood Drinkers Librarians have blue armour with the left shoulder plate painted red. The Chapter badge is located on the right poleyn (knee guard).
Company and Squad MarkingsEdit
The Blood Drinkers also utilise the same heraldic symbols as the Blood Angels to show company and squad designations. Most unusual for a Blood Angels' Successor Chapter, instead of using the same heraldic symbols to represent squad specialty and number, they instead use the Codex-proscribed squad specialty symbols (Tactical, Devastator, Assault or Veteran) which are white and located on the right shoulder pauldron. A black Low Gothic numeral is stenciled in the centre of the squad specialty symbol, which designates squad number.
The Blood Drinkers' Chapter badge is an ebon chalice with a single, black droplet of blood falling into it, denoting their Chapter's name, the Blood Drinkers.
The 5th Edition Codex: Blood Angels stated on page 54 that that the Blood Drinkers were of an unknown Founding, rather than the Second Founding.
The Blood Drinkers Chapter Master Orloc is named after the first vampire ever to appear on film, Count Orlok, portrayed by German actor Max Schreck (1879–1936) in the classic 1922 silent film Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens. Orlok was himself based on Bram Stoker's character Count Dracula.
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Blood Angels (8th Edition), pp. 11, 19-20
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Blood Angels (7th Edition), pp. 56-58, 63
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pp. 14, 54
- Codex: Space Marines (3rd Edition), pg. 47
- Codex: Angels of Death (2nd Edition), pg. 34
- Deathwatch - Honour the Chapter (RPG), pp. 75-76, 133
- Deathwatch - Rites of Battle (RPG), pg. 64
- How to Paint Space Marines (2004), pg. 82
- Imperial Armour Volume Two, Second Edition - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pg. 18
- Index Astartes, "Angels of Death"
- Warhammer 40,000 Compendium (1st Edition), pg. 31
- Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1st Edition), pg. 169
- White Dwarf Weekly 85 (12 September 2015), "Codex: Apocrypha Extra - Blood Drinkers"
- White Dwarf 98 (UK) (1988), "Chapter Approved: The Origin of the Legiones Astartes" by Rick Priestley
- Death of Integrity (Novel) by Guy Haley
- Red Fury (Novel) by James Swallow, pp. 120-121
- Space Marine (Novel) by Ian Watson
- The Rites of Holos (Short Story) by Guy Haley
- The Devastation of Baal (Novel) by Guy Haley, pp. 179, 401