Temperate to Arctic
- "Fenris breeds heroes like a bar breeds drunks -- loud, proud and spoiling for a fight."
Fenris is the Death World in the Segmentum Obscurus that is the homeworld and recruiting ground for the Vlka Fenryka, the Space Wolves Space Marines Chapter. It was also the homeworld of the Space Wolves' Primarch Leman Russ. Fenris is the location of The Fang, the Space Wolves' massive fortress-monastery, considered by many Imperial savants the greatest bastion of the Imperium of Man outside of the Imperial Palace on Terra itself. Fenris takes its name from the mythical Norse wolf fathered by the god of tricksters Loki that would assault the Norse gods during the Final Battle of Raganarok. Most of the names of locations on Fenris are also drawn from the Norse mythology and languages of Old Earth. Fenris is situated in the galactic south of the Segmentum Obscurus, at the end of the Warp rift known as the Eye of Terror, from which come the Forces of Chaos to raid and pillage. Fenris thus lies at the forefront of the Imperium's defence against Chaos. The Space Wolves maintain the vigil that began many millennia ago at the close of the Horus Heresy and watch over a hundred other worlds besides. Their demesne stretches far and wide across the scattered stars that girdle the Fenrisian star system, but it is the bitterly cold Death World at its heart that the Space Wolves proudly call home.
- The Primarch Departs (211.M31) - During the 197th Feast of the Emperor's Ascension on Fenris, Leman Russ gathers his closest retainers and departs for the Eye of Terror without explanation.
- The Battle for the Fang (742.M32) - Magnus the Red appears to Great Wolf Harek Ironhelm in a series of visions. Haunted by his dreams, Ironhelm becomes increasingly determined to bring the Thousand Sons to battle and finish what the Space Wolves started at Prospero more than a thousand standard years before. After receiving word that the Traitors are massing on the world of Gangava, Ironhelm launches a full attack without hesitation, leading eleven entire Great Companies into battle. Having laid his plans over hundreds of Terran years, Magnus the Red arrives on Fenris with the remaining fighting strength of his Traitor Legion. Only a single Great Company remains to defend The Fang, and Bjorn the Fell-Handed is roused from his slumber to lead a guerrilla campaign against the Traitor forces. The Thousand Sons breach the great gate of The Fang, but not before the Wolf Scout Haakon Blackwing escapes the siege to bring word to the rest of the Chapter. The Space Wolves return in force to drive their hated enemies from their homeworld. Harek Ironhelm faces Magnus in personal combat, but is struck down before mighty Bjorn banishes the Primarch in turn.
- The Plague of Unbelief (310-334.M36) - Having gathered a vast army of deluded zealots to his cause, the Apostate Cardinal, Bucharis of Gathalamor, leads his unholy crusade towards Terra during the time of turmoil known as the Plague of Unbelief. After spending many years carving a path across the galaxy, Bucharis lays siege to the Space Wolves' homeworld in order to secure a safe route towards the heart of the Imperium. Bucharis is confident that the seemingly inexhaustible forces at his disposal will soon secure him victory. He is mistaken. After a grueling three-year siege in which the Renegade forces suffer massive losses, Wolf Lord Kyrl Grimblood returns to Fenris following the conclusion of his campaign in the Eye of Terror and smashes into the rear of the Traitor lines. Caught between the impenetrable defences of The Fang and Grimblood's fleet, Bucharis' armada is forced to withdraw from Fenris, abandoning a large part of their fighting strength to their fate.
- The Ecclesiarchy Comes to Fenris (886.M41) - A delegation of Ecclesiarchy officials approaches Fenris, intending to assess the Space Wolves after hearing rumours of their worship of false gods. Logan Grimnar refuses to meet their demands when they command him to open the gates of The Fang and undergo interrogation. Foolishly, the Ecclesiarchy decide to press the matter and when their envoy Cruiser is destroyed trying to dock with The Fang the rest of the Adeptus Ministorum officials retreat, finally realising the Great Wolf is not be trifled with. However, it is not a lesson learned, and almost a standard year later the Ecclesiarchy and three Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas attempt to enter Fenrisian space in force. The resultant war lasts for three solar weeks before the Ecclesiarchy decides to let sleeping dogs lie and withdraws its forces.
- Battle for Midgardia (933.M41) - A Necron fleet led by Trazyn the Infinite descends upon the world of Midgardia in the Fenris System. The Necron Overlord seeks a shard of the C'tan Nyadra'zatha that slumbers in the core of the Fenrisian planet. Angered by the audacity of his foes, Logan Grimnar leads a huge force against the Necrons, turning the toxic jungles and subterranean cities of Midgardia into a bitter and brutal warzone.
- "It is said that in the Time of Making, the Allfather cast the sphere of Fenris into the Sea of Stars, reckoning it to be no place fit for life. Fenris felt the cold of the dark and ran back to the warmth of the Wolf's Eye. The heat of the eye proved too great, and Fenris fled into the outer dark once again. So it is each Great Year that Fenris races towards the sun in summer and flees again, plunging all into the cold embrace of winter."
- — The Telling of Haakon Yellow-Eye
There are many Death Worlds in the Imperium, whose wildlife, native flora or esoteric nature make them inimical to human life. Even in such baleful company, Fenris is amongst the very worst. It is a world of fire and ice, of wolves and dragons. It is one of the most inhospitable planets in the universe, yet the folk of Fenris not only endure, but thrive. A planet of fire and ice, dominated by extremes of climate, Fenris is listed in the Apocrypha of Skaros as one of the three most deadly and turbulent worlds inhabited by humanity in the Milky Way Galaxy. This Death World is the Chapter Planet of the mighty Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter. Fenris follows an elliptical orbit around its pale K-class sun, called the Wolf's Eye, that takes approximately two Terran standard years to complete. This period of time is known as a "Great Year" to the people of Fenris. For much of each long year the world is remote from even this feeble star, and its surface remains incredibly cold. The oceans freeze over as Fenris draws away from its sun, and at its farthest point even the equatorial seas are covered with ice. The volcanic activity of the bleak mountains that punctuate the waters are stilled so that at the height of the Fenrisian winter a man can walk between the many isles upon which the Fenrisians dwell. Indeed, it is said that Sigurd the Tall climbed from the girdle of the world to the peaks of the stable continent of Asaheim in the far north, and that this mighty deed earned him a place in the halls of the gods.
Towards the end of the Fenrisian Great Year, as the planet sweeps close to its sun once more, the Wolf's Eye swells in the sky and the brief spring warms the surface. During this period, the ice retreats to the world's poles and the gargantuan dwellers of the deep waters emerge to enjoy the bounty of sun-spawned kryll (a type of plankton), bladefish and other short-lived aquatic fauna. As Fenris reaches the point at which it is closest to its sun, the passage of the planet near the star produces tidal forces that break and twist the sub-oceanic crust, exposing Fenris' molten mantle to the frigid waters. It is then that the time of fire and water has arrived.
With explosive violence the world is torn asunder. Blazing islands rise from the steaming sea spewing flames, with lava pouring down their slopes. Below the surface, the waters boil into steam that engulfs Fenris with its sulphurous fumes. Great tidal waves scour the coastlines of Asaheim and the islands. Islands created in the upheavals of preceding years are cast into turmoil by this global transformation. Some endure, but many are broken apart or swallowed by the seas, engulfed in the churning waters and casting their unlucky inhabitants into the deeps. But the great lump of solid granite the Fenrisian tribesmen know as the continent of Asaheim always stands fast, a single, changeless continent on a world of fire, ice, ruin and torment. This extreme geography has resulted in the human population of Fenris becoming one composed largely of primitive, nomadic, pre-industrial barbarian tribes. The tribes constantly seek secure territory, and as a result skirmishes and feuds over land between rival tribes are common. The Fenrisian people are hardened to the changes in temperature and environmental extremes, and so is the fauna.
Fenris has little natural flora, being a world defined by immensely frigid winters and volcanically destructive summers.
Many studies conducted by the Adeptus Mechanicus have determined that the animal life of Fenris is the most dangerous found on any Imperial world, including that of Catachan. The most dangerous species of animal life on Fenris include:
- Drakes - Drakes are great flying reptiles that resemble the ancient Terran legend of the dragon who often hunt using the hot air currents generated by volcanic eruptions and lava flows.
- Fenrisian Elk - Fenrisian Elks are massive mammalian quadrupeds whose towering racks of antlers are razor sharp and can cut a man to pieces within seconds.
- Fenrisian Mammoth - The Fenrisian Mammoth is a gigantic shaggy quadruped evolutionarily similar to the ancient and extinct Terran Mastodon. It can crush a man beneath its great padded feet or skewer him on its long ivory tusks.
- Fenrisian Wolf - The Fenrisian Wolf is a semi-sentient carnivore similar in appearance to the Terran dire wolf that grows in size from that of a small horse up to that of an Imperial armoured vehicle. They are considered among the most intelligent and deadly of predators in the galaxy and make use of chillingly efficient pack-hunting strategies. The Primarch Leman Russ was said to have been raised as an infant by a female Fenrisian Wolf and to have kept as his companions two of the largest examples of the species, named Freki and Geri.
- Great White Bears - Fenrisian Great White Bears are monstrous carnivores similar to the Terran polar bear who are large enough to assault human buildings.
- Kraken - A Kraken is a massive carnivorous sea species similar to a giant Terran squid which some Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus believe may have evolved from a feral Tyranid bioform adapted for underwater combat that lost its connection to the Hive Mind.
- Ripperfish - A Ripperfish is an aquatic carnivorous fish similar to a barracuda but much larger in size that can flense the flesh from a man's bones in mere seconds.
- Sea Dragon - The Sea Dragon is a monstrously large reptilian predator that lives in the Fenrisian Worldsea. It is hunted by the Fenrisian tribes for its hide, which is used in the construction of longships and houses.
- Fenrisian Ice Fiend - The Ice Fiend is a great, bipedal, white-furred carnivorous primate very similar to the creatures known as the yeti in ancient Terran folk tales. They are approximately the height of an Astartes (about 7 feet) and their blood is known to be extremely acidic.
- Snow Trolls - Snow Trolls are even larger relatives of the Ice Fiend who dwell on the continent of Asaheim and are semi-sentient to boot. They present a constant danger to anyone moving openly across the glaciers of the northern continent, including Space Wolf Astartes and Neophytes.
- Ice Wyrm - The Ice Wyrm is a massive, white, fur-covered reptile similar to a giant snake that makes its lair deep beneath the glaciers of Asaheim. It emerges from the ice to strike at any prey that it senses walking across its frigid home.
Asaheim and The Fang
Native Fenrisians are used to the pattern of destruction that engulfs their planet every Great Year and have learned to love the endless mutability of their lands with a fierce warrior pride. Only on the northern polar continent of Asaheim are the human populations of Fenris protected from the extreme climate. Here there are many unique creatures not able to live elsewhere on the world. These include massive ice bears, gigantic elk and shaggy mastodons as well as stranger creatures such as the snow trolls, shape-changing doppegangrels and the great white wyrms that burrow through the glaciers and fjords. The deadliest creatures are the native semi-sentient Fenrisian Wolves themselves, for their wits are as sharp as their teeth and the largest of their number is the equal of any of the great predators that slither and stalk through the icy Fenrisian wastes. Yet Asaheim is remote, surrounded by towering cliffs that rise thousands of feet into the air above the seas and separate it from the oceans. Its fabled land mass provides no refuge for those that live beyond its rocky confines. To a Fenrisian tribesman, it is truly the land of the gods.
The Space Wolves' fortress-monastery, known widely across the Imperium as The Fang and the Aett by its inhabitants, is a massive citadel built atop the tallest mountain of Asaheim. This mountain is known by many names, including The Shoulder of The Allfather, and volda hammarki, the World Spine. The Fang is the home base of the Space Wolves and extends into the surrounding mountain range as well as into orbit, drawing energy from the geothermic source of the planet's molten core. The complex includes huge ground-based anti-ship orbital defence laser weapons concealed as nearby peaks, docks at the summit for the Space Wolves' Battle Barges and Strike Cruisers, numerous shrines to the Emperor along the lower slopes, and massive fusion and geothermal reactors deep underground. Outside of Terra itself, the Fang is considered one of the most impregnable fortresses in the galaxy, constructed by the Adeptus Mechanicus during the Great Crusade using technology that has long since been lost. It has never been conquered, although the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion, the Space Wolves' most hated foes, did manage to briefly occupy the outer slopes of the Fang after luring the bulk of the Space Wolves' forces away during the First Battle for The Fang in the 32nd Millennium.
Most of the creatures of Fenris live within the planet's single global ocean, called the Worldsea by the Fenrisians, and it is on that vast grey ocean that the Fenrisians must live and fight if they are to survive. It is not an easy life at the best of times. Many deadly creatures inhabit the Worldsea, ancient and scaly reptilian behemoths that are as large as small islands and can swallow a Fenrisian longship in a single gulp. Others are long and serpentine, with boiling acidic blood and scales that glint like pearls in the sun. These sea monsters will sometimes pluck a sailor from the deck of a ship and drag him down to his death in the deep, cold waters. Still others are too uncertain in form to describe, as they are many-tentacled monstrosities with razored beaks and cold black eyes that hide in the depths until they rise to the surface to feed. It is against these creatures that the warriors of Fenris match themselves and those that emerge triumphant live forever in the oral legends of their tribe. To survive on such a world the Fenrisians must be warriors from the time of their birth to the day of their deaths. This is why the child-gift for both boys and girls is always the axe and why those children that are not able to grasp it are cast outside to die quickly in the freezing seas. Their survival, and the survival of their fellows, depends upon their wits and determination as much as their skill with sword and spear and axe. Because their world is almost entirely covered in water, Fenrisians must be masters of the waves, able to fight, navigate and endure through ice storms and tropical squalls. For a large part of each Great Year the tribes endure a savage seaborn existence which often ends in a watery death or in battle against the monstrous creatures of the deep. The competition for food is great and tribes are often drawn into conflict over the planet's precious resources.
Of the resources available on Fenris the most valuable is the land itself. No man knows how much the land will change with the turning of the Great Year. Sometimes old islands survive the changing seasons and good fortune may preserve a tribe's territory intact for many Great Years, but it is more likely that the archipelagos will be broken and destroyed, submerged beneath the oceans by the vast upheavals of Fenris' crust. When this happens there will be vicious wars between the tribes and only those who succeed in finding new land and establishing themselves on it will survive. Once the time of fire and water has passed, the Fenrisians must settle the newly formed lands quickly, for soon their supplies will run out. If they can find no new land they must resume their wars for the territories of other tribes. So it is that the life of a Fenrisian is one of constant seaborne migration and warfare. The people of Fenris speak their own distinct dialect of Low Gothic called Juvjk which is very similar to the ancient Scandinavian languages of Terra and represents the culture of the world's original colonists.
Vlka Fenryka, the Sky Warriors
Despite the hardships that define their lives, the Fenrisians consider themselves blessed, for it is only warriors forged by such ordeals that can become the greatest of the Emperor's warriors and the Imperium of Man's defenders. It is from these hardy Fenrisian tribesmen that the Space Wolves recruit all of their kind. Although Fenris is the homeworld of the Space Wolves and held by them as a fief of the Imperium, the Chapter occupies only the island continent of Asaheim, whch rises from the polar oceans like a continental pillar, sheer and shrouded by thick white clouds. The remainder of Fenris is left in its wild and feral state and the people survive as best they can amidst the constant battle between fire and ice. The Space Wolves maintain a careful watch over their tribal kin, but never appear openly amongst the warrior tribes. To uninitiated Fenrisians, the Space Wolves are known only as the "Sky Warriors," glimpsed only occasionally from afar, possessing powers both magical and divinely granted. To them, the Sky Warriors are the warriors of myth, the companions of Leman Russ who will fight alongside the legendary Primarch in the final battle at the end of time. To them, the lands of Asaheim are the forbidden realms of the divine, where their native traditions forbid any man to walk uninvited. Only a warrior chosen by the gods can enter the fortress of Russ at Asaheim's peak. Thus the Fenrisians have become accustomed to the bravest of their young warriors earning a place beside the gods, vanishing from the everyday world and going to live in the high realm of Asaheim. So it has ever been for the people of Fenris. So will it ever be so long as the Emperor of Mankind sits upon the Golden Throne of Terra.
The Primarch of the Space Wolves, Leman Russ, was flung across the galaxy through the Warp from the Emperor's gene-labs beneath the Himalayan Mountains on Terra by the Chaos Gods to the distant planet of Fenris, a snow-covered death world inhabited by primitive warlike tribes of humans possessed of only Iron Age technology. He was raised by a pack of the massive, semi-sentient Fenrisian wolves that prowled the snowy lands because they sensed an unusual genetic kinship to him as the bearer of the Canis Helix. Among them, he grew to adulthood in only a few short years as a result of his genetic modifications.
The young Primarch was eventually discovered by a Fenrisian tribesman named Thengir, the King of the Russ. Thengir had organized a party of hunters to clear the Fenrisian wolf packs from his lands. Most of the wolves were slaughtered, and the massive young man was captured amongst their number and brought to Thengir. Thengir took the young man into his care, giving him the name ‘Leman of the Russ’. Leman learned the ways of mankind quickly, and many legends sprung up about him, such as how he could defeat a hundred men in only three minutes, or consume an entire aurochs when sitting at a feast in the long hall. Upon his adopted father's death, the kingship of the Russ passed to Leman. Leman became a mighty leader, winning many victories, often fighting alongside packs of Fenrisian wolves, led by Freki and Geri (the names of the Norse god Odin's wolves), two of his own Fenrisian wolf-brothers who had escaped Thengir's hunters.
Eventually, word of his exploits reached beyond Fenris, to the ears of Leman's gene-father, the Emperor of Mankind, who recognized the tales as concerning one of his lost sons. He traveled to Fenris with a fleet of the Great Crusade and became certain that the exploits spoken about among the tribesmen of the primitive world could only be the work of a Primarch. Traveling in disguise and then challenging Leman Russ to combat, the Emperor eventually won him over to his side and gave Leman command of the VI Astartes Legion whose Space Marines had been created from his own genetic stock.
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 6-7
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 81
- Codex: Space Wolves (7th Edition), pp. 9, 11, 13, 16-17, 20-25
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pg. 6
- Champion's of Fenris - A Codex: Space Wolves Supplement (7th Edition), pp. 59-67, 69-76
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 57-66
- Index Astartes II, "Wolves of Fenris - The Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter"
- Warhammer 40,000 Compilation (1st Edition), "Leman Russ"
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 183, 187, 356
- White Dwarf 388 (US), "Battle Missions: Death Worlds - Death Worlds of the Imperium," by Phil Kelly, pg. 77
- White Dwarf 156 (US), "The Space Wolves," pp. 8-25
- Prospero Burns (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Tales of Heresy (Novel), "Wolf at the Door" by Mike Lee
- Battle of The Fang (Novel) by Chris Wraight
- Legends of the Space Marines (Anthology), "Twelve Wolves" by Ben Counter
- The Emperor's Gift (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- The Space Wolves series:
- Space Wolf (Novel) by William King (1999)
- Ragnar's Claw (Novel) by William King (2000)
- Grey Hunter (Novel) by William King (2002)
- Wolfblade (Novel) by William King (2003)
- Sons of Fenris (Novel) by Lee Lightner (2007)
- Wolf's Honour (Novel) by Lee Lightner (2008)
- Thunder from Fenris (Audio Book)
- Warzone Fenris: Wrath of Magnus, pg. 41