- "You foster discord, Seth. You thrive upon it!"
The Flesh Tearer smiled. "I stand corrected. You do understand my kind after all. You've cut to the heart of me."
The Flesh Tearers is the smallest Second Founding Successor Chapter of the Blood Angels, numbering only four full companies of Astartes. They are Loyalists of the Emperor of Mankind though their heavy affliction with the genetic flaws of their Primarch Sanguinius and the resulting brutality has led to their investigation on charges of heresy by the Inquisition. They have been cleared of suspicion at present. Like their progenitors, the Flesh Tearers are known for their bloodthirsty nature in battle, bad temper and feared for the flaws like the Black Rage and the Red Thirst that they carry within their gene-seed.
The Flesh Tearers' blood-rage is infamous across the Imperium, as are the savage deeds said to have been performed by their Battle-Brothers. So divorced have the Flesh Tearers become from the rest of Mankind that most Imperial Commanders accept the Chapter's help only in the direst of circumstances.
The Flesh Tearers generally make use of the tactical organisation pioneered by the Blood Angels, though they favour close combat over ranged warfare and most Flesh Tearer Space Marines are skilled with melee weapons like Chainswords or Power Swords and bear them into battle. The Flesh Tearers call the Death World of Cretacia home. It is a violent, tropical world where the dominant forms of life are giant reptiles very similar to the dinosaurs who once existed on Terra during the Cretaceous Period more than 65 million standard years ago. It is a common right of passage for Flesh Tearers recruits to hunt these massive animals and bring back a trophy of their kill before they are made Neophytes of the Chapter.
- "Only in death does duty end.
This is the favoured axiom of the rulers of man and the craven orators who speak on their behalf. For our sins, we too have passed on such falsehoods to our own, instilling in them the notion that death is the end of all things.
We were wrong about the nature of our duty. We were wrong about death's place in the order of things.
It was only at the edge of madness, drenched in the blood of brother and foe, that we learnt the error of our thinking.
For only in death does duty begin.
It matters not in what colour we daub our armour or which symbol we carve on our pauldrons. Our purpose remains what it was always intended to be. We will kill the enemies of Mankind, and with blade and fire protect the Emperor's domain. We are harbingers of death, angels of vengeance, tearers of flesh."
The Flesh Tearers Chapter was created in the early 31st Millennium after the Primarch of the Ultramarines, Roboute Guilliman, who led the reformation sweeping the Imperium of Man after the Horus Heresy as its first Lord Commander, determined that all of the existing Space Marine Legions would be broken up into 1,000-man Chapters so that no single military commander could ever again wield the dangerous power of an entire Astartes Legion. This event is known as the Second Founding and the Flesh Tearers was one of the Chapters formed from the Blood Angels Legion, even as they continued to grieve for their fallen Primarch, Sanguinius, who had been slain by Horus at the climax of the Battle of Terra.
When the Flesh Tearers Chapter was brought into being during the Second Founding, Captain Nassir Amit, the commander of the Blood Angels Legion's 5th Company, was chosen to be its first Chapter Master. Of all the IX Legion's captains, Amit's reputation -- and that of his company -- was the most bloodthirsty. More than once, the 5th Company had been called to censure by Sanguinius for its zeal in pursuing enemy forces. It was not for nothing that the outspoken officer had earned the nickname "the Flesh Tearer," when serving in the gladiatorial pits of the World Eaters Legion alongside his Oath Brother Kharn and rather than deny the epithet, he had made it his own. Amit had a predatory way about him, a sense of aggression barely held in check that was often unleashed in full many times on the field of battle throughout the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. Like their commander, the Battle-Brothers of the 5th Company were known to bear Bolters and flaying knives in battle.
After their official formation, the Flesh Tearers immediately left Terra to embark upon a new Imperial Crusade to eliminate Traitor forces still loyal to the Warmaster Horus as well as continuing to purge Chaotic infestations from Imperial worlds during the period known as the Great Scouring. The Flesh Tearers were assigned the Battle-Barge Victus from their former Legion, which served as their mobile fortress-monastery for the next three thousand standard years. The Flesh Tearers' reputation for savagery in battle was soon well-known, and so the terrible flaws of the IX Legion's genetic legacy must have asserted themselves very soon after the death of the Blood Angels' Primarch Sanguinius. During this time, these Space Marines remained constantly on Crusade, destroying any Heretics whose path they crossed. Those they encountered, they defeated. Those they defeated, they utterly annihilated, leaving no stone left unturned and no living beings to continue any heresy. Some rumours circulated of their brutality, even going so far as to reach the High Lords of Terra. However, their degree of success in achieving compliancy was nearly unparalleled. During this period of strife, as the Imperium recovered from Horus' treachery, results were valued far more than technique. As such, there were no investigations into the savage rumours that accompanied the Flesh Tearers' implacable advance.
Over time, the Flesh Tearers continued to earn a reputation for savagery. These volatile Astartes revelled in each assault action and continued to cause unacceptable levels of collateral damage. Some reports indicated that during their mad frenzies, Flesh Tearers continued their battle actions against allied forces or even against the innocents whom they were assigned to protect. Their reputation for such savagery has spread through the millennia to the extent that some forces -- including several other Space Marine Chapters -- are no longer willing to engage in allied missions with members of the Flesh Tearers. In spite of this fact, there are numerous instances where the Flesh Tearers have worked in battle zones with other Chapters. On a number of occasions, these included other Chapters that were known to be part of the Blood Angels lineage.
The Flesh Tearers fall prey to the Curse of the Black Rage far more often than members of any other Chapter descended from Sanguinius' lineage. This is believed to be due to a mutation in their gene-seed, but their combat doctrines and military philosophy may also influence the frequency of the tragic psychogenetic syndrome. At the time of its formation, the Flesh Tearers Chapter discontinued the Blood Angels' practice of imbibing blood transfusions during a Neophyte's initiation using the artefact known as the Red Grail. Some Imperial savants speculate that this practice could have contributed to the horrific mutation of their gene-seed that worsened the Flaw of their lineage.
When Flesh Tearers Battle-Brothers show the characteristic signs that they are falling prey to this tragic flaw, they are inducted into the Chapter's Death Company and isolated from their healthier brethren. These Space Marines continue their service under the supervision of the High Chaplain of the Death Company, residing in their fortress-monastery's isolated Tower of the Lost when not called to battle.
Birth of Wrath
For over two standard centuries after its Founding, the Flesh Tearers was a mobile, crusading Chapter. Eventually, however, the Chapter chose to establish a permanent fortress-monastery upon a brutal Death World located deep in the galactic west. The Flesh Tearers named it Cretacia, a name taken from the ancient Baal sandscript meaning "Birth of Wrath." Cretacia was home to a small population of feral humans whose genes were pure and who had developed a remarkable Neolithic warrior culture that produced strong and able Flesh Tearers recruits. The Chapter had great need of this easy supply of manpower, for as the centuries passed, the Flaw in the Flesh Tearers' gene-seed gradually worsened and few Flesh Tearer Space Marines were able to avoid succumbing to the Black Rage after more than 200 standard years in service. By the end of the 41st Millennium, the Flesh Tearers were able to deploy only four fully combat-ready companies and the degradation of their gene-seed seemed to be only increasing, making it likely that unless a remedy can be found, the Chapter will ultimately cease to exist. The high incidence of the Black Rage in the Chapter has led the Inquisition to question the purity of the Flesh Tearers on multiple occasions and many other Space Marine Chapters refuse to fight alongside the Flesh Tearers because of their reputation for uncontrolled savagery and genetic corruption, as well as the fear that their bloodlust might be infectious. Since the terrible Kallern Massacres of the late 36th Millennium, the Chapter has essentially remained under the watchful eyes of the Ordo Hereticus.
- "By his Blood I am made.
By his Blood I am armoured.
By his Blood shall I triumph."
- — Catechism of Blood
In 998.M41, news reached Baal that the Cryptan Shield, the Shield Worlds of the Cryptus System which stood as a bastion of the Blood Angels' homeworld, was endangered by a large tendril of Hive Fleet Leviathan reaching out towards the Cryptus System, and soon, every planet of Cryptus felt the talons of the Great Devourer. Knowing that the consumption of the Cryptus System would open the floodgates for an unstoppable Tyranid invasion of Baal, Lord Commander Dante took action. The Flesh Tearers was the first of the Blood Angels Successor Chapters to heed Dante's call to arms and quickly joined its parent Chapter in the defence of Baal and the surrounding sectors. Part of a grand alliance of the Blood Angels' Successor Chapters, the Flesh Tearers had taken their place in a thin crimson line standing against the Tyranids. The Chapter sought redemption for its many past misdeeds, and Chapter Master Gabriel Seth hoped that he might yet bring honour to his dying Chapter, tempering its Red Thirst in the blood of its enemies.
Many Chapters have become wary of the Flesh Tearers, with their dire reputation for unrestrained carnage and their excesses of violence. However, to Dante the Flesh Tearers were still his brothers, born of the blood of Sanguinius, and worthy allies in the war against the Hive Mind. The fact that Seth led the Flesh Tearers to the Cryptus System in such strength speaks volumes about the bond between his Chapter and the Blood Angels. There are scarcely four hundred Flesh Tearers left, and at the time of the Cryptan War more than half of the Chapter's number -- some five under-strength companies -- were deployed in the war zones of Armageddon. Even so, Seth mustered much of what remained for the defence of Baal and its nearby sectors, clinging to the belief that only through the blood of their foes and the manner of their deaths could his Chapter be redeemed. However, this righteous intention would be set against the Flesh Tearers' own dark nature, as they suffer the flaws of their gene-seed even more than the Blood Angels themselves.
Foremost of these flaws is the Red Thirst, a bloodlust that takes the Flesh Tearers Battle-Brothers in the heat of battle and transforms them into mindless killers. It is this effect of the Flaw that has given them a dire reputation for carnage, and one that continues to define them. Many worlds have lived to regret the coming of the Chapter, for the reckless destruction and rivers of blood and death it has spilled in the throes of its battle madness has sometimes been worse than the predations of the foes it bested. The Flesh Tearers would prove their reputation for ferocity many times over on the battlefields of Lysios, the Space Marines venting their fury upon the Tyranids in a maelstrom of blood. Supported by the Chapter's finest war machines, theirs would be a horrific war of annihilation upon which they would seek to quench their Red Thirst. At the head of a mighty strike force that comprised the 1st and 2nd Companies of the Blood Angels, Brother Corbulo, Captain Karlaen, Chief Librarian Mephiston and the bulk of Gabriel Seth's Flesh Tearers, Dante struck out for the Cryptus System and the battles to come.
- Zurcon Massacres (021.M31) - Prior to their settlement on Cretacia, the Flesh Tearers were a star-faring Chapter which travelled throughout the galaxy during their initial Imperial Crusade. Still struggling with their new identity as a separate Chapter, the former Blood Angels sought to vent their rage on the enemies of the Emperor. As part of their journey, they even visited the portion of space that would later become known as the Jericho Sector. At this time, the region remained an unconquered frontier, so the surviving records are only fragmentary at best. However, Imperial scholars of the Adeptus Administratum have successfully pieced together some of these data sources, using a combination of resources. Allegedly, the Crusading Chapter answered a distress call of the Zurcon System's main planet. The Flesh Tearers entered the Zurcon System in great strength. Upon their arrival they were immediately attacked by voidcraft belonging to the system's natives. Responding with typical aggression, the Space Marines engaged the enemy with overwhelming force, yet the Zurconians seemed to have accounted well for themselves, as the Flesh Tearers' flotilla was eliminated one-by-one until only the Chapter's Battle Barge, the Victus, and one of its escorting Strike Cruisers, the Shield of Baal, remained. Seeing proof in this aggression that the Zurconians were in fact Heretics, the Flesh Tearers engaged in a series of cleansings of the populations within the Zurcon System. The initial assault was apparently launched according to standard Adeptus Astartes patterns as traces of orbital bombardment could be found on Zurcon Primus. With the system's capital taken, the Flesh Tearers turned their attention to the other two settled worlds. The engagement apparently lasted several standard years, as settlements were active on multiple planets and moons within the region. By the end of their military action, there were no known surviving human inhabitants within the system. The Zurcon System was only resettled centuries later by colonists from other worlds of the Jericho Sector. The archaeological relics of the Flesh Tearers' assault only hint at its overall brutality, but it is clear that no planetary-scale attacks were used. Rather, the traitorous inhabitants were actually all slain in brutal close combat -- a Flesh Tearers' hallmark.
- The War of the Beast (544-546.M32) - The Flesh Tearers were one of many Space Marine Chapters to participate in the defence of the Imperium against the largest Ork WAAAGH! seen to that time during the War of the Beast.
- Kallern Massacres (Unknown Date.M36) - During the Imperial defence of the world of Kallern, the Flesh Tearers Astartes present on the planet were overcome by the Black Rage and slaughtered hundreds of innocent civilians as well as the foe. As a result of these massacres, the Flesh Tearers came under the close scrutiny of the Inquisition for potential heresy.
- Tosovic Pacification (201.M37) - The Flesh Tearers were decried for their part in the Tosovic Pacification, a war of such brutality that nothing now grows upon the wind-whipped plains of that planet.
- Eypharos Campaign (540.M38) - Over a thousand standard years later the Flesh Tearers' name would once again be linked to the worse excesses of the Imperium when Biel-Tan Eldar attacked human colonists on the verdant world of Eypharos. With unrestrained fury, the Space Marines purged the planet of Eldar, resorting to the use of incendiary bombs to clear ancient forests and poison rivers.
- Acata Uprising (371.M41) - The Flesh Tearers ruthlessly crushed what was later determined to be a xenos-inspired uprising amongst the void-clans of the Acata Ring. The Flesh Tearers utilised specialised void combat battle rites to fight across the airless surface of the asteroids and to cross from one to the next, systematically destroying the foe in a series of focused and coordinated, yet brutal and bloody assaults.
- Castigation of Acralem (799.M41) - The Flesh Tearers, working in conjunction with the Astral Knights, the Grey Knights of the 3rd Brotherhood (which included Kaldor Draigo) and nine regiments of the Astra Militarum, descended upon the Imperial world of Acralem to halt the daemonic incursion of the infamous Daemon Prince M'kar the Reborn and his daemonic army. What followed was one of the most terrible battles of that century, though ultimately the Imperial forces proved victorious and M'kar was banished back to the Warp for a time.
- Achilus Crusade (813.M41) - A Flesh Tearers strike force based around elements from the 1st and 2nd Companies arrived unheralded during the Achilus Crusade in the Jericho Reach around the world of Herisor, soon after the first tendrils of Hive Fleet Dagon hit the Orpheus Salient. The Chapter fought a series of actions trailing along the salient, intercepting tendrils of the Hive Fleet and buying time for other Imperial forces to muster a defence. The Chapter took heavy losses in these actions, yet refused to slow the pace of its operations, throwing itself into battle after battle against the ravening xenos monstrosities that were the Tyranids.
- A New Beginning (815.M41) - Gabriel Seth becomes the Chapter Master of the Flesh Tearers. His first act was to repair relations between his Chapter and the Blood Angels, as the tradition of brotherhood between the Chapters had been sundered for many standard centuries by the Flesh Tearers' bloodthirstiness.
- Honour's End (837.M41) - During the Eclipse Wars, the Flesh Tearers fought alongside the Space Wolves and the Angels Vindicant Chapters upon the Shrine World of Lucid Prime. Largely due to a ferocious Flesh Tearers' counterattack, Imperial forces were able to drive off the Chaos Space Marine forces terrorising Hive Ratspire. However, the Flesh Tearers continued their indiscriminate slaughter of civilians even after the Chaos Renegades had been driven away. Despite Chapter Master Seth's insistence that his men were purging those that had been tainted by the presence of Chaos, the Space Wolves were outraged and attacked the Flesh Tearers at once. The resultant battle saw brother fighting brother, with the death of many hundreds of Loyalists on either side. This terrible event was known forever after as Honour's End.
- Siege of Hypnoth (910-911.M41) - The Flesh Tearers took part in the Siege of Hypnoth against the Necron forces of the Sautekh Dynasty, led by the Phaeron Imotekh the Stormlord. The Necron Overlord's campaigns were temporarily halted by the Imperium's resolute defence of the Forge World Hypnoth as Astra Militarum and Space Marine reinforcements flooded into the battle zone. Despite a valorous defence by the Flesh Tearers and Iron Hands Chapters, Hypnoth was eventually conquered by the undying Necrons.
- Stromark Civil War (991.M41) - A political rivalry within the Stromark System led to a civil war between the two manufactorum worlds, Stromark Primus and Stromark Secundus, that coexisted within that star system. The escalating violence halted the flow of much-needed weapons and materiel from these planets to the wider Imperium, a situation that the Departmento Munitorum's Adepts determined could not be allowed to continue without adversely affecting the security of the Emperor's realm. As a result, elements of two Successor Chapters of the Blood Angels, the Angels Encarmine and the Flesh Tearers, were despatched to the Stromark System with the mandate to end the conflict by any means necessary. The fighting on Stromark Prime was the first to cease. The first engagement by the Flesh Tearers Chapter was also the last, as stories of unstoppable Space Marines hacking a vicious and bloody path through literally tens of thousands of Stromarkian warriors quickly terrified the planet's recalcitrant population into submission. Stromark Secundus took longer to be pacified, as the Angels Encarmine used less "direct" methods than their savage brethren amongst the Flesh Tearers. Several solar hours of difficult combat ensued that were brought to an end when five of the Chapter's Furioso Dreadnoughts smashed into Stromark Secundus' military headquarters and tore the planet's High Command apart. The surviving officers of the planet's Planetary Defence Force wisely agreed to immediately end the conflict with their neighbours and resume meeting the system's crucial production quotas.
- Third War for Armageddon (998.M41) - Five full companies of Flesh Tearers participated in the Third War for Armageddon, where the Chapter was nearly declared Excommunicate Traitoris and subjected to investigation by the Inquisition's Ordo Hereticus after they had, in a fit of the Black Rage, slaughtered Imperial citizen militia once they had run out of Orks to kill. Amongst the Orks of Armageddon, the Chapter became known as the "Eaters of the Dead". Later in the campaign, the Orks were known to have retreated when the Flesh Tearers attacked or faced them on the battlefield, a display of fear virtually unheard of among the Greenskins. The incident occurred after the Flesh Tearers were deployed in the Fire Wastes of Armageddon alongside the Sisters of Battle of the Order of the Argent Shroud. The Imperial forces were deployed against the artillery of the Ork Warlord Ruklum, who held positions besieging the civilian settlement of Gaius Point, the citizens of which had formed an irregular militia to aid the Imperial forces in their defence. The Flesh Tearers managed to deploy behind the Orks and force them into the guns of the Sisters of Battle and the Gaius Point militia. After slaughtering the Orks to a Greenskin, the uncontrollable Flesh Tearers assaulted Gaius Point themselves and killed every member of the mortal militia. Rather than fight their own allies, the Sisters of Battle withdrew from the field, but the Order of the Argent Shroud reported the massacre to the Ordo Hereticus and recommended that the Flesh Tearers Chapter be declared Excommunicate Traitoris for their actions.
- The Cryptus Campaign (998.M41) - News reached Baal that the Cryptan Shield, intended to hold back the might of Hive Fleet Leviathan, had collapsed. Already Lord Commander Dante had put plans in motion to defend the Blood Angels' homeworld, strike forces fighting hit-and-run battles with the Leviathan's smaller splinter fleets throughout the Red Scar. Meanwhile, the defences of Baal and her moons had been bolstered like never before; indomitable fortresses rose above the sweltering sands, and the might of the Blood Angels' Successor Chapters gathered from across the galaxy. Yet still it may not have been enough, for the Tyranids were seemingly without number, and Hive Fleet Leviathan was learning the weaknesses of its prey at an exponential rate. Knowing that the consumption of the Cryptus System would open the floodgates for an unstoppable Tyranid invasion of Baal, Commander Dante took action. At the head of a mighty strike force that comprised the 1st and 2nd Companies of the Blood Angels, Brother Corbulo, Captain Karlaen, Chief Librarian Mephiston and the bulk of Gabriel Seth's Flesh Tearers, Dante unleashed the Cryptus Campaign. He would see the defences shored up if such a thing was still possible, and if not would do battle with the Cryptoid Tendril directly in a desperate bid for the salvation of Baal.
- 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 of the 13th Black Crusade. 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 the well-known Adeptus Mechanicus Magos Biologis Haran Serpens, 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 lacked 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 Flesh Tearers, along with the Blood Angels and their fellow Successors successfully defended the 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. With the approval of the Flesh Tearers' taciturn Chapter Master Gabriel Seth, the rest of 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 on Baal itself.
- Devastation of Baal (ca. 999.M41) - After sacrificing the Shieldworlds of the Cryptus System to fend off the xenos' earliest advance on the Baal System, the planet of Baal itself came under intense attack by Hive Fleet Leviathan. The Tyranid Hive Fleet was of such mass, even after its considerable losses, that it blotted the stars from the skies. Lord Commander Dante bolstered the formidable defences of the Blood Angels' homeworld and its moons like never before. Not one to await attack, he also sent forth scores of preemptive strike forces to delay, mislead, and whittle down the living armada. Hundreds of splinter fleets were thus defeated. Dante's call, beseeching the Blood Angels' Successors to send immediate aid to their parent Chapter, did not go unheeded. The Flesh Tearers were the first to arrive, and ultimately all the Successor Chapters save the Lamenters answered the call. Even the Knights of Blood, who had been declared Excommunicate Traitoris by the High Lords of Terra, arrived to bolster the defences. It was still not enough. Learning at an exponential rate, Hive Fleet Leviathan could not be thwarted by the same strategy twice. Advancing steadily, their superior numbers cleared the entire surrounding sector of life before the xenos made planetfall upon Baal and her twin moons. The first nineteen waves, each larger than the last, were driven off at great loss to the Blood Angels and their Successor allies. Five Chapter Masters fell in that bitter fighting, three in the Battle at the Dome of Angels alone. The Tyranids began the process of absorbing all biomass from Baal and its moons, absorbing even the radiation-poisoned deserts of Baal Secundus. With their defences in ruin and Baal's moons stripped and broken, the remaining Space Marines retreated back to the rubble of the Blood Angels' sprawling fortress-monastery. There, they prepared for a last stand as the next wave swept downwards. Doom, it seemed, had at last come to the Sons of Sanguinius. It was then that the Great Rift cracked open the galaxy in the wake of the fall of Cadia to the 13th Black Crusade, and the withered Baal System was blasted by the aetheric storms. Although no further attack waves came from the Leviathan Hive Fleet, not a single Imperial defender remained alive upon the last moon, Baal Prime. On Baal itself there were already enough Tyranids there to destroy the Imperial troops many times over. Even with no chance of victory, Commander Dante led his troops, each fighting retreat seemingly more hopeless than the last. As the final perimeter was broken, the stars reappeared. Looking skywards, the Tyranids on the surface of Baal sought contact with their Hive Fleet, but it was gone, replaced by a newly arrived Imperial fleet. Like an angel of vengeance came Roboute Guilliman and his Indomitus Crusade. After many more battles, Baal was finally cleared of the xenos threat. A great rebuilding of both world and Chapter was undertaken, for the Blood Angels and their Successors were sorely needed elsewhere in the beleaguered Imperium. What became of the Leviathan is a mystery, although a clue was found upon the now-barren moon of Baal Prime. Xenos skulls were piled impossibly high in the much-reviled, eight-pillared symbol of one of the Blood Angels' most terrible and ancient nemeses: the Bloodthirster Ka'Bandha and his army of Khornate daemons.
- "To live is to kill. To live for the kill is to be of the Blood."
- — Chaplain Zophal
Flesh Tearer's Vanguard Strike Force
- "Our flesh might be flawed but our will is strong, by the blood of our enemies will the Emperor know our deeds."
Decimated by centuries of war and madness, the Flesh Tearers Chapter has been reduced to less than half of its former strength. With so few Battle-Brothers at his command, Gabriel Seth has been forced to restructure the Chapter as best he can so that it can maintain its military commitments throughout the Imperium. With all of his companies under-strength, and few Captains to command them, Seth has divided his 1st Company Veterans to bolster each company's fighting strength. These Veterans form a solid core of leadership around which the diminished companies can be forged into more effective fighting formations. The Flesh Tearers call these new mixed demi-companies Vanguard Strike Forces, and in scores of war zones they have replaced the standard Codex Astartes organisation:
Vanguard Strike Force Formation
Flesh Tearers Librarians
Like their fellow Astartes Chapters, the Flesh Tearers also maintain a Librarium of potent psykers who are highly talented and trained to master the power of the Warp at the highest levels. Each Chapter selects its Librarians in its own way, either from seed worlds, as it does with the bulk of its Initiates, or from the ranks of gifted psykers brought to the Scholastica Psykana of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica. Most Chapters train and test chosen psykers following the ancient ways laid out in the Codex Astartes. Librarians of the Flesh Tearers are trained in this way, and, with few minor variances, have been taught to live by the word of the Codex. Flesh Tearers Librarians have a number of unique psychic abilities only used by the psykers of their Chapter:
- Depths of Rage - Librarians of the Flesh Tearers Chapter are well-versed in the use of psychic powers while struggling with the Black Rage and Red Thirst. Many have even developed powers which tap into the rage deep within them and use it to further fuel their other psychic powers or enhance their physical abilities in combat.
- Flensing - Flesh Tearers often live up to their name when engaged in combat, skinning their foes with well-practised blows from their blades and Chain Weapons. Librarians of the Chapter are no exception and the Flensing power has been developed with such hideous injuries in mind, allowing them to more effectively earn such grisly trophies with the precision that only the powers of the Warp can provide.
- Razor Blades - A Flesh Tearers Librarian, like the other Battle-Brothers of his Chapter, understands and appreciates the virtues of a good sharp blade. By focusing his psychic powers the Librarian can make edges keener and steel sharper so that it might more easily bite into flesh and bone.
- "Many died on that first day. But far fewer than would fall later, and fewer still than those who have died since.
We descended from the heavens, angels of fire and death, bent on vengeance. But the fourth planet was a Death World, a wildwood of wrathful fauna and barbed flora, an unforgiving landscape that sought to punish those who trespassed against it.
We named it Cretacia, from the ancient Baal sandscript meaning "Birth of Wrath."
Like us, Cretacia was a consummate killer. Violence lived in its very air. Its winds were the lash of a terrible beast, striking out to flay us from the skies, its clouds, void-dark phantoms whose acid tears stripped the crimson from our warplate. Death met us at every turn, tested our resolve and measured our strength. We were as the angels from old Terran legend, trapped in hell itself.
Yet for all our trials, Cretacia's wrath was far from spent."
- —Nassir Amit, Chapter Master of the Flesh Tearers, during the Declaration of Conquest, Cretacia, 238.M31
The Flesh Tearers' initial Crusade eventually led them deep into the western reaches of the galaxy. It only ended when the Chapter discovered an isolated Death World, which they named Cretacia. Their early contacts with the world suggested that, while it was in the habitable range for Mankind, a dense cloud cover and unusual atmospheric conditions might make it an unlivable environment. In spite of this, the Space Marine fleet entered orbit and sent an exploratory force to the surface.
Upon their arrival, the warriors discovered insectoid, reptilian, and amphibious life forms that were both malevolent and inordinately large. A few of the enormous insects wielded natural weapons capable of penetrating even Power Armour. Some of the other predators were nearly as large in scale as an Imperial Titan. The Battle-Brothers immediately began to enthusiastically hunt and slay a few of the creatures, both for security and to slake their inherent bloodlust. In the course of their examination of the planet, the Flesh Tearers discovered a native human population that had somehow managed to survive in spite of Cretacia's dangerous environs. These primitives exhibited inordinate levels of athletic ability and fitness -- a clear survival requirement among the massive native fauna. However, they also exhibited a substantial degradation of culture and social structure. At some point in their history, these beings must have undergone an event that left their society with a near-complete loss of human spoken language.
In spite of this unusual restriction, the Space Marine Chapter took prisoners from the native population. They then subjected the prisoners to a broad variety of tests to examine their physiological, genetic, and spiritual purity. Ultimately, the primitives were identified as a reasonably pure strain of humanity. Their instances of mutation were acceptably low, and their physical conditioning made them excellent candidates for gene-seed implantation. While the loss of language was clearly an inconvenience, all signs indicated that this was a cultural phenomenon and not a physiological change.
This combination of an environment that suited the Chapter's martial philosophy with a readily available supply of potential candidates made Cretacia an ideal world for the Flesh Tearers to make their home. With this realisation, the Chapter ceased its endless Crusade and established its fortress-monastery. For millennia, the world has provided an ideal residence for the Chapter. Nearby Imperial worlds benefited from the stability offered by a successful Space Marine Chapter. The Flesh Tearers maintained an adequate initiation pace so that their company sizes were well within the recommendations of the Codex Astartes. The Chapter's impending doom seems to have little to do with their choice of a homeworld and far more to do with the inherent failure in their gene-seed.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
- "We are fury! We are wrath! We are death!"
- — Chaplain Appollus, Flesh Tearers
As with all aspects of the Flesh Tearers Chapter, the Black Rage strongly influences its strategic approach towards military engagements. One of the most important ways that this can be seen is in its reduced numbers. As a consequence of their losses to the gene-seed curse, these Space Marines are incapable of organising companies in a manner consistent with the Codex Astartes. Instead, each of their four companies is organised to be fully and independently functional. To maintain this ability, all Battle-Brothers undergo constant functional cross-training so that they may effectively serve the role of a Scout, Tactical, Assault or Devastator Marine as the tactical situation necessitates. Due to the Chapter's constrained size, each company is capable of maintaining sufficient resources in its armoury to equip its members with the gear necessary to fulfil any of these roles effectively.
While this training is necessary and effective, some of its aspects are actually seldom used. This is, once more, due to the effects of the Black Rage. As Flesh Tearers prepare for combat and see the enemy, they often choose to directly engage their foes in melee combat. This proclivity extends throughout the Chapter from the leadership elements to the newest recruits. As such, when preparing for an engagement, the Flesh Tearers' commanders generally plan their tactics in a way that takes advantage of this tendency, instead of attempting to fight against it.
Consequently, the Chapter often fields an inordinate number of its Battle-Brothers equipped as Assault Marines. In contrast, they seldom field squads of Devastator Marines. Even among their tactical units, heavy weapons are often left behind, as many Flesh Tearers Sergeants are reluctant to hold their units at range long enough for the weapons to be used effectively. In many ways, this restricts the Chapter's tactical flexibility and ability to adhere to the tactics presented in the Codex Astartes. However, considering the overall efficiency of their Assault Marines, it is difficult to rationalise such a criticism considering the results of a Flesh Tearers unit in close combat.
Like other Blood Angels Successors, the Flesh Tearers field members of the Death Company as part of any significant conflict. However, due to the nature of their curse, this complement is often larger than the ones exhibited by other Blood Angels Successor Chapters. In many instances, the Death Company's membership includes some of the Chapter's most experienced warriors. This has often led to the Death Company being even more devastatingly effective than when used by other Chapters descended from Sanguinius' blood line.
The vast majority of the Flesh Tearers' vehicles are transports, specifically Rhinos and Razorbacks. Just as the Chapter seldom fields a significant number of squads equipped with heavy weapons, it also limits the number of armoured vehicles that it deploys. The Flesh Tearers prefer to charge forward into direct melee whenever possible as heavy infantry, eschewing the limitations imposed by a battle tank. The primary exception to their movement away from vehicles regards the numbers of Dreadnoughts that the Chapter maintains. Many of the Flesh Tearers' most respected heroes fall prey to the Black Rage before they can suffer a noble death in combat. Whenever possible, these respected warriors are assigned to a life-support sarcophagus where their abilities and knowledge can be preserved and used in future engagements. Many of these Old Ones enter combat with their fellows in the Death Company, charging directly forward to eliminate any foes that stand before them. Tragically, this results in an unacceptably high incidence of death among the pilots of these machines, but this does have the benefit of freeing new sarcophagi for the use of other Battle-Brothers that fall prey to the Black Rage.
As the Flesh Tearers often charge into battle, they have taken a number of specialised measures to assist them as they charge. The Flesh Tearers also have a unique battle cry that they let loose as they attack their foes. While the cry is created by the Space Marines' vocal cords, it is enhanced and amplified by their Power Armour's Vox-systems. First-hand reports confirm that opponents are often stunned into immediate submission when they hear the terrible sound as defenders come face-to-face with the savagery of these Battle-Brothers.
- "Remember the Primarch, for we exist only through his grace and love. Honour the Emperor, for it is His wisdom that must guide us and vengeance that we deliver."
- — Chaplain Rostalf of the Flesh Tearers 3rd Company
As the Black Rage continues to consume its membership, the leaders of the Flesh Tearers have come to the inescapable conclusion that their beloved Chapter may be doomed to eventual disintegration. They continue to seek a cure for this curse, but some consider their eventual depletion inescapable. Some among the leadership have begun to embrace the notion that if they cannot continue then their best approach is to make certain that they leave a bold legacy in keeping with the Chapter's proud traditions.
Most vital to these traditions is the way that they embrace savagery in combat. This is likely a combination of their susceptibility towards the Black Rage as well as the Blood Angels' tradition of excellence in assault actions. Even with their acquisition of Cretacia as a homeworld, the Flesh Tearers proudly exhibited this preference. For the natives' survival in the face of that planet's massive creatures requires an ability to overcome even the most extreme odds through constant warfare. Of course, the Flesh Tearers are tremendously unlikely to compromise with regards to their savagery. The Flesh Tearers have a long tradition of attempting to honour these memories by fulfilling the Primarch's and Emperor's wish for a galaxy under complete Imperial Compliance. In many instances, the only way the Chapter had a reasonable chance to achieve victory is by taking the most extreme of actions against its opponents. There are very few known instances where Flesh Tearers commanders ever hesitated to unleash weapons of cataclysmic proportions.
With each battle won, Battle-Brothers of the Flesh Tearers Chapter feel confident that their Primarch's legend has been preserved. This serves as the most effective method of preserving his glory as well as that of the IX Legion he once led. In many cases, the worlds targeted by the Chapter have strayed in some significant way from the Imperium. It is these conflicts that offer the greatest temptation for Flesh Tearers to fully engage their thirst for savagery. Those who show any taint of heresy, or who even choose to ally themselves, however briefly, with Heretics, are targeted for purging. In some instances, purges have continued well beyond a reasonable level, as Battle-Brothers of the Chapter continued their acts of savage brutality long after any justifiable conflict had been completed.
For many Flesh Tearers Space Marines, such frenzied battles represent a very real warning of the doom that encroaches upon their minds. With each period of savagery, their chance to return to a more normal state of consciousness can become increasingly difficult. This represents a very real sign to these Battle-Brothers that their final emotional and mental collapse approaches them.
The Black Rage and the Red Thirst
- "Do not fear the Black Rage, for it is a part of your essence. Learn to embrace the fury that comes with it, so that you may direct the savagery toward those foes of the Imperium who deserve our ire. This is our beloved Primarch's parting gift, and as with all he granted us, it must be proudly accepted."
- "Here come The Red, they stalk while you sleep."
"Here come The Red, your blood do they seek."
"Here come The Red, to your soul they lay claim, and you'll never be seen in sunlight again."
- — Nursery rhyme on the Imperial world of Merron, in regards to the Flesh Tearers
The gene-seed of the Flesh Tearers bears all the hallmarks of the Successor Chapters of the Blood Angels. Its best known characteristic is the psychic imprint of Sanguinius' final memories, which leads to the affliction known as the Black Rage. This can cause them to go insane and enter a berserker rage prior to or during battle as they feel the anger that Sanguinius himself felt during the Battle of Terra. The condition is largely irrecoverable and incurable. The Flesh Tearers are known to fall prey to the curse of the Black Rage far more often than members of any other Chapter descended from Sanguinius' lineage. This is believed to be due to a mutation in their gene-seed, but their combat doctrines and military philosophy may also influence the frequency of the tragic psychogenetic syndrome. At the time of their formation, the Flesh Tearers Chapter discontinued the Blood Angels' practice known as Insanguination which involved the drinking of a small sample of Sanguinius' own blood in an artefact known as a Red Grail to activate the implanted gene-seed within their Aspirants. Some might speculate that this practice could have contributed to the horrific mutation and degeneration of their gene-seed without the Primarch's blood to serve as a stabilising factor.
Unlike the Blood Angels and their other Successors, the Flesh Tearers are far further along in the descent into madness and their gene-seed carries a heightened version of the flaw which may well spell their complete annihilation within the space of a few short solar decades. This means that even the most mentally stable and strong-willed of the Flesh Tearers feels the touch of the Black Rage and the pull of the Red Thirst, knowing full well that it is only a matter of time before they succumb and the madness takes them completely. A Flesh Tearer who has begun to fall more heavily under the effects of the Primarch's curse begins a rapid and terrifying spiral into uncontrollable rage and fury which places not just himself, but everyone he comes into contact with in danger. A Flesh Tearers Battle-Brother knows that as soon as he becomes an Initiate of the Chapter it is not a question of if, but when, and how long he has until he completely loses his ability to tell friend from foe.
The Chapter's Apothecaries believe that their gene-seed also grants its recipients a significantly extended life expectancy, even for an Astartes, in keeping with its lineage. However, this point is largely moot. The life expectancy for most new Initiates to the Chapter is less than two standard centuries. While a few of these inductees may die from the exigencies of war, the vast majority fall prey to the Black Rage. For unknown reasons, the Flesh Tearers succumb to the Black Rage far more than any other Successor Chapter of the Blood Angels, and therefore these Astartes are dwindling in numbers. Numerous efforts have been taken to attempt to mitigate the sudden and severe onset of the Black Rage among the Chapter's Battle-Brothers. The adoption of nightly bloodletting and purification rituals have not been shown to assist Battle-Brothers in their efforts to resist the Black Rage, nor has it mitigated the syndrome's effects once a Space Marine has entered the latter stages of the curse.
The only treatment for those who fully succumb is reassignment to the Death Company and isolation within the Chapter's Tower of the Lost in its fortress-monastery. A fortunate few find solace in death, when they continue to serve their Chapter on the battlefield as members of the Death Company. Less fortunate Battle-Brothers are subject to permanent incarceration once the High Chaplain of the Death Company has lost the ability to control them. The combination of a rapid decline due to the Black Rage and their proclivity for brutal assaults has increased the Chapter's rate of decline. This is why the Chapter currently only has enough Space Marines in its ranks to deploy 4 full Battle Companies. In many instances, Flesh Tearers have died before their Progenoid Glands could be properly harvested. This combination has cut into the Chapter's available supply of gene-seed as well as limiting the number of Veteran Space Marines capable of training new inductees. For this reason, the number of members assigned to Apothecary training has recently increased, as has the prioritisation of recovering these precious glands from fallen Battle-Brothers. The cumulative effect may be that the Flesh Tearers could become a non-sustainable Chapter within a relatively short time frame unless some sorts of extreme measures are considered.
The Flesh Tearers also suffer from the Red Thirst, an overwhelming desire to physically taste their enemies' blood. Unfortunately, when this trait is combined with the Black Rage it can devolve into outright cannibalistic assaults by the enraged Space Marines. The cursed Astartes of the Flesh Tearers seem doomed to watch the ongoing collapse of their beloved Chapter. Even as they revel in the destruction of the Emperor's foes, they must also watch as their comrades give in to the curse of Sanguinius' gene-seed. In spite of this, they remain valiant servants of the Imperium. Rather than give in to woe and despair, they constantly strive to fight against the curse as bravely as they fight those who oppose Mankind. As true tragic heroes, the Flesh Tearers remain devoted to their cause, even in the face of ultimate defeat.
Notable Flesh Tearers
- Chapter Master Nassir Amit - Nassir Amit was the former Captain of the Blood Angels Legion's 5th Company during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. He carried the nickname of the "Flesh Tearer" as a result of his time serving alongside the World Eaters Legion and engaging in combats in their infamous gladiatorial pits, a name which he would pass on to his Chapter. Amit became the Flesh Tearers' first Chapter Master millennia ago during the Second Founding and conquered the Death World of Cretacia for the Imperium and then established his Chapter's fortress-monastery there.
- Chapter Master Gabriel Seth - Gabriel Seth is known as the "Guardian of the Rage," and serves as the current Chapter Master of the Flesh Tearers. Gabriel Seth became Chapter Master of the Flesh Tearers as his Chapter stood upon the brink of annihilation. Millennia of unrelenting savagery had left the Chapter shunned and distrusted by many of the Imperium's fighting forces. Seth knows that he cannot realistically curtail his Battle-Brothers' bloodlust -- indeed he himself is as prone to rage-soaked savagery as any of his brethren. Yet by striking first, and in isolation from other forces, the Flesh Tearers' worst excesses are concealed, as is the collateral damage amongst allies that once was the hallmark of the Chapter's assaults. Now, worlds that once reviled the Flesh Tearers praise them as saviours. It is too early to tell if Seth's strategy will ultimately bear fruit. Despite his intentions, Seth has done little to dispel the mistrust of his staunchest critics. Yet such things are of little concern to the Flesh Tearers Chapter Master, for, in his heart, Seth has never truly abandoned hope that the Flesh Tearers can be spared from ultimate oblivion. It is a desperate hope, at best.
- High Chaplain Carnarvon - Carnarvon is called the Watcher of the Lost, for he is the Flesh Tearer who commemorates every member of the Chapter who dies in combat or ultimately succumbs to the Black Rage. He alone bears the terrible responsibility to watch over the remaining 400 Battle-Brothers of the Flesh Tearers Chapter for the onset of the Black Rage. He has occupied this position for nearly 250 standard years and it is whispered by many that the strain of watching so many of his friends and comrades descend into this dreaded affliction has started to take its toll on his sanity. Carnarvon has the final word as to who is to be inducted into the Flesh Tearers' Death Company and who amongst these afflicted brethren must be permanently incarcerated in their fortress-monastery's Tower of the Lost because they have fallen so far into madness that even he cannot control them. During the Devastation of Baal Carnarvon ultimately succumbed to the thirst and was inducted into the Death Company where he perished in battle with the forces of Hive Fleet Leviathan.
- High Chaplain Andras - Andras served as the first High Chaplain of the newly-created Flesh Tearers Chapter in the 31st Millennium for an unknown period.
- Chaplain Zophal - The secretive Chaplain Zophal served the newly founded Flesh Tearers Chapter at its inception in the early 31st Millennium. Zophal maintained unusually close ties to Chapter Master Amit, openly blaming him for having selected Andras over himself to act as High Chaplain, yet the two warriors visibly had struck some kind of bargain and managed to get along despite their personal differences. Speculations and second-guessing as to the nature of this pact have been ripe, but the Flesh Tearers have always refused to shed light on the matter.
- First Captain Barakiel - Barakiel served as the First Captain of the newly created Flesh Tearers Chapter in the 31st Millennium for an unknown period.
- Captain Gorn - Captain of the Flesh Tearers' 4th Company. Gorn was also the Flesh Tearers' Force Commander responsible for the terrible Kallern Massacres carried out by the Chapter when many of its Asartes fell prey to the Black Rage while defending the world of Kallern some time during the 36th Millennium. The Flesh Tearers slaughtered hundreds of innocent civilians as well as their foes. As a result of these massacres, the Flesh Tearers came under the close scrutiny of the Inquisition for potential heresy.
- Captain Kamien - Captain Kamien was a Captain of the Flesh Eaters and was part of the Chapters forces that were sent to reinforce the Blood Angels prior to the Devastation of Baal. It is unknown whether he survived the siege.
- Master Librarian Baros - Baros served as the first Chief Librarian of the newly created Flesh Tearers Chapter in the 31st Millennium for an unknown period.
- Lexicanium Nuriel - Nuriel served as a Lexicanium within the Librarius of the newly-created Flesh Tearers Chapter in the 31st Millennium. Born on Baal Secundus, Nuriel was already a formidable warrior at an early age, as he killed a fire scorpion at the age of eleven. Inducted into the Blood Angels Legion, he became one of the elite warriors of the Legiones Astartes, and went on to serve during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy eras. During the Second Founding, when the Space Marine Legions were sundered into Chapters, like many of his fellow Battle-Brothers, Nuriel resented being a Flesh Tearer, as the newly-created Chapter did not bear the true colours or noble countenance of the IX Legion. Often he would unleash his rage and frustration, but in the process, lose control while fighting in the training cages. Nuriel was very angry with Chapter Master Amit, as he resented the fact that he had appointed Baros as Chief Librarian, instead of him. During the Flesh Tearers encounter with rebellious forces on the world of Zurcon Primus, Nuriel was overcome by the fell powers of Chaos, and was ultimately corrupted, becoming a host for a Greater Daemon of Khorne in exchange for power. After a hard-fought battle, Chapter Master Amit and the honoured Dreadnought, Ancient Grigori, slew the corrupted Lexicanium.
- Librarian Balthiel - Balthiel serves as a Librarian in the Flesh Tearers Chapter. A potent psyker of considerable skill, he was sent, alone, to kill the traitorous Planetary Governor Kadi Aren, who had recently led the world of Spheris into insurrection against the Imperium of Man. Despite insurmountable odds, Balthiel managed to achieve his objective and kill the Heretic and his retinue of bodyguards, though the monumental effort and strain from overusing his psychic abilities left him in a temporary Sus-an-induced coma. Centuries later, Inquisitor Corvin Herrold of the Ordo Hereticus and his Inquisitorial retinue boarded the Flesh Tearers' flaship to search for evidence of the Flesh Tearers' long-suspected heresy. Utilising a decoy, the Inquisitor managed to covertly make his way into the bowels of the mighty Chapter vessel. There he discovered a Battle-Brother chained to the bulkhead walls, lost in the throes of the Black Rage -- proof, in the Inquisitor's eyes, of the Chapter's corruption. The Inquisitor was discovered in his investigation, and knocked unconscious by Chaplain Apollus, as the rest of the Inquisitorial retinue were subsequently slaughtered by the Flesh Tearers. Upon regaining consciousness, Inquisitor Herrold was subjected to a brutal punishment meted out by Balthiel, under orders from his Chapter Master, Gabriel Seth, to teach the prying Inquisitor an abject lesson. Utilising his psychic abilities, Balthiel created a mind-link with the recently fallen Battle-Brother, and exposed the Inquisitor to the full horror that is the Black Rage. Though only exposed for a span of solar minutes, it nearly broke the Inquisitor's mind. Seth explained to Herrold that this was the inner daemon his Chapter struggled with daily, and through their indomitable will, were able to harness it to use as a weapon against the enemies of the Imperium, or, at worst, have their lives and their sanity stolen as they continued to faithfully serve the Emperor. The Inquisitor was allowed to leave the flagship. As he did so, he purposely dropped his Inquisitorial Rosette to the warship's floor. He had decided that he no longer had faith in his own judgement and thus compromised, that his career as an Inquisitor was effectively over. Balthiel, like his fellow Battle-Brothers, was among the forces that answered the Blood Angels' call for aid prior to the Devastation of Baal and participated in the defence of that world from Hive Fleet Leviathan.
- Veteran Sergeant Tilonas - Tilonas served as a Veteran Sergeant in the newly created Flesh Tearers Chapter in the 31st Millennium for an unknown period.
- Sergeant Androeus - Androeus is a squad leader of a squad of 1st Company Veterans of the Flesh Tearers who are some of the most battle-hardened warriors within the Chapter. Veteran Vanguard Squad Androeus is lethal in close combat, using Jump Packs and Chainswords to meet its enemies head-on as it leads the Flesh Tearers into battle.
- Sergeant Danatael - Danatael is a squad leader of a squad of 1st Company Veterans of the Flesh Tearers. Armed with deadly Lightning Claws and clad in ancient Terminator Armour, Squad Danatael makes a devastating assault force capable of tearing apart almost any foe.
- Sergeant Lucien - Lucien is the squad leader of a squad of 1st Company Veterans of the Flesh Tearers. Tactical Space Marines, like those of Squad Lucien, form the solid foundation upon which Chapter Master Seth creates his strike forces. Sergeant Lucien, distinctive in his pale tabard and laurelled helm, carries a powerful Combi-Melta -- an ancient artefact of the Chapter.
- Sergeant Noxx - Noxx is a squad leader from the 4th Company.
- Veteran Brother Druel - Druel was a Veteran Battle-Brother who served in the elite 1st Company of the newly created Flesh Tearers Chapter in the 31st Millennium for an unknown period. Even without his Terminator Armour, Brother Druel was huge for a Space Marine. Clad with it, he more closely resembled the idealised statues of Space Marine heroes that adorn the plazas of Imperial cities.
- Veteran Brother Raeloen - Armed with paired Lightning Claws, Brother Raeloen is a warrior of the Flesh Tearers Terminator Assault Squad Danatael. Well protected by his heavy armour, Raeloen was able to wade into the Tyranid swarm, ripping apart his foes in sprays of ichor. Having served in Squad Danatael for almost a standard century, Raeloen had fought on countless worlds before setting foot on Lysios during the Cryptus Campaign. Each time he had emerged from battle covered in dripping gore, his Red Thirst sated for a while by the relentless butchery.
- Veteran Brother Garth - An accomplished Assault Marine prior to his membership in the Deathwatch, Veteran Brother Garth has consistently earned the respect of his peers for his talents with Bolter and Chainsword. Through numerous engagements, particularly on worlds near the fringes of the Hadex Anomaly, the Battle-Brother has defeated hundreds of mutants who bore the taint of Chaos. In fact, members of the Watch Fortress' other Kill-teams have trained with Garth on numerous occasions. This is generally at the behest of those who wish to have first-hand experience with his savage approach to melee. After ten standard years of service within the Jericho Reach, dark rumours have begun to circulate that Veteran Brother Garth may be showing early signs of the Black Rage. The most commonly cited reasons are his shortened temper and an increased savagery during training. After a recent mission, he was the only member of his Kill-team to safely return to the Watch Fortress. Since that incident, he has not been assigned to a new team, but has been sent on missions with other established teams. A number of Battle-Brothers are concerned that if Garth were to fall prey to the Black Rage without a Death Company Chaplain to calm him, the consequences could be grave.
- Helorius - The Flesh Tearers' genetic flaw leads to a high proportion of their Battle-Brothers falling to the spiritual sickness of the Black Rage. On Lysios during the Cryptus Campaign, dozens of Battle-Brothers like Helorius would succumb when the madness of battle finally unhinged them, robbing them of their reason. When Helorius was taken by the Black Rage his armour was painted black and symbols were daubed upon his shoulder plates and weapons in an ancient and sacred ritual. This was to show Helorius' new status as one of the damned, so that others might bear witness to his sacrifice.
- Skoraen the Bloodied - The ancient Dreadnought Skoraen the Bloodied was a relic of a time when the Flesh Tearers had been at the height of their glory. Skoraen fought for the Flesh Tearers many Terran centuries ago, before he was mortally wounded and interned within the armoured hull of a Dreadnought. As a Space Marine, Skoraen had been part of the Bloodiron Charge at Vetix IV that broke the back of the World Eaters Bonescar warband, and personally held the line against the Heretics of the Taunhaus Rebellion. These deeds, and the many that had come after, would be recorded upon the hull of his Dreadnought in icons and symbols, the meaning of many of which was known only to Skoraen himself. Furious in combat, Skoraen's rage is born not just of the blood of Sanguinius that still courses through his flesh, but also from having been forced to witness the slow death of his Chapter. Skoraen can do nothing to stop the madness and decay that is eating away at the Flesh Tearers, and so instead vents his anger upon his foes.
- Renegade Battle-Brother Krayth - Krayth was once a Battle-Brother of the Flesh Tearers. Ironically, it was his attempt to overcome his Chapter's overpowering battle lust that led to Krayth's fall. He always despised the lack of self-control that his flawed gene-seed imposed on him. As he grew older, he became devoted to discovering a cure, or at least protection from this Flaw. After many years, a trail of false promises led him into the Screaming Vortex, one of two malefic Warp Storms that separated the Calixis Sector of the Imperium from the Koronus Expanse in the Segmentum Obscurus, and finally to the Slaaneshi Daemon Prince Seiyr. By the time he concluded that there was no cure for the Flaw, he had already slaughtered so many loyal servants of the Emperor in his single-minded pursuit that he saw no going back. Betrayed by his genetic legacy and with no home remaining for him in the Imperium, Krayth bitterly betrayed his heritage in turn. Krayth now harbours a burning resentment for the Emperor who made him with flaws he cannot escape, and for all of the Emperor's works. Although he despises the base, weak nature of most of the wretches in the Screaming Vortex, they are allies in his great crusade of revenge. More than one of his new comrades is curious about his origin, but they have also been witness to the painful end awaiting anyone foolish enough to broach the subject with him.
- Bloodreaver - Bloodreaver is the massive, two-handed Chainsword wielded in battle by the Flesh Tearers Chapter Master Gabriel Seth.
- Bones of Baelsor - Baelsor was a great hero of the Flesh Tearers, both when he walked as a Space Marine and then later when he had been encased in the sarcophagus of a Dreadnought. Though he ultimately fell during the Bloodiron Charge against the World Eaters, his armoured shell endured. An ancient composite of ceramite and plasteel, it was passed down to other Dreadnoughts, and most recently to Skoraen the Bloodied.
- Grisly Trophies - While all Space Marine Chapters have been known to collect trophies from their vanquished foes, such as battle standards, skulls, or battered suits of armour and weapons, in the heat of battle a Flesh Tearer may claim a more grisly trophy from those he kills, such as bloody heads or bleeding hearts. These trophies are a primal symbol for the Flesh Tearer of his dominance over the foe -- an animalistic response to triumphing in battle and proving one's strength. While they might fill the Battle-Brother with righteous rage and purpose, calming his Black Rage for a time, they can be repellent to other Space Marines and alarming to lesser warriors who might well wonder if it is to be their head that will adorn the Battle-Brother's armour next.
- Memor Nihilis - This massive Eviscerator is intricately worked, with each tooth of the roaring chainblade inscribed to a level of detail few artisans could manage. This ornate work was done by the hand of a Sanguinary Priest, to commemorate the loss of the Chapter's warriors claimed by the Black Rage. Barely visible script details the history and heraldry of dozens of warriors along the length of the blade, ever reminding its wielder of the peril of losing control of himself.
- Shield of Cretacia - For long centuries the Apothecaries of the Flesh Tearers have tried in myriad ways to mitigate the curse that sleeps within the flesh of their Battle-Brothers. The Shield of Cretacia is one of these failed experiments. A suit of Power Armour, it incorporates a complex system of blood filters to process the Battle-Brother's vital fluids, in the hope that it could slow the progress of the Red Thirst. Though this proved not to be the case, an unexpected side-effect of the armour was the protection it afforded the wearer from poison, above and beyond that of a normal Space Marine's enhanced physiology and the abilities of his battle-plate.
- Slayer's Wrath - For millennia the Flesh Tearers have defended the Imperium and its worlds, and they earned great honour and gratitude from their allies before the Chapter's gradual decline. Slayer's Wrath is a relic of this time, gifted to the Chapter by the Inquisitor Hyboran of the Ordo Xenos, for aiding her in crushing the Xorln Infestation. Crafted by some unknown master artisan of the Imperium, this Bolter has minute inner technological workings of unknown design that create frozen rounds impregnated with a mix of rare and deadly poisons.
The Flesh Tearers possess a number of Strike Cruisers that have been modified to gain an extended transport capacity for their vehicles. Other than that, the following vessels are known to have been or still are part of the Flesh Tearers Chapter Fleet:
- Victus (Battle Barge) - The Victus is a truly ancient starship, having been in service with the Blood Angels Legion during the Great Crusade ten standard millennia ago.
- Shield of Baal (Strike Cruiser) - An ancient Flesh Tearers vessel commanded by Captain Eligus following the Chapter's formation in the early 31st Millennium.
- Bleeding Fist (Strike Cruiser) - Flesh Tearers vessel commanded by Captain Aamon following the Chapter's formation in the 31st Millennium. The Bleeding Fist was destroyed in the early years of the Great Scouring.
- Mortis Wrath (Strike Cruiser)
- Merciless (Gladius-class Frigate)
- Butcher (Gladius-class Frigate)
- Redeemer (Gladius-class Frigate) - Flesh Tearers frigate commanded by Sergeant Namtar following the Chapter's formation in the 31st Millennium. The Redeemer was destroyed in the early years of the Great Scouring.
The Flesh Tearers have a two-tone colour scheme with crimson red covering the torso, arms and legs of their Power Armour, while the helm, shoulder pauldrons and backpack are jet black. Like the Blood Angels, the Flesh Tearers' company designation is displayed on the right shoulder plate in the form of a skull (for the Veteran 1st Company) or a differently-coloured drop of blood for the other companies. A Flesh Tearers' squad designation is determined by a Low Gothic numeral placed on the right knee plate. Librarians of the Chapter wear blue Power Armour with only the left shoulder plate painted black.
Heraldry of the Host
Like their predecessors, the Blood Angels, the Flesh Tearers adhere to a strict heraldic system, allowing them to recognise what company and squad any given Battle-Brother belongs to at a glance. The advantages of such swift recognition amid the madness of battle are obvious. More than this, however, the Sons of Sanguinius revere their heraldry, and bear these markings as badges of pride.
The Flesh Tearers make use of symbols from the Codex Astartes for squad specialty designation. They favour a white symbol, indicating either Tactical, Assault, Devastator or Veteran, on black with contemporary markings over the top.
Unlike the Blood Angels, the Flesh Tearers use simple Low Gothic numerals to identify individual squads, commonly presented on the warriors' right knee guard.
Like the Blood Angels, the Flesh Tearers use variations of the blood drop to denote company, even though their four existing companies are often divided into ad-hoc battle groups:
- 1st Company (Veteran): A white skull over black background on the right shoulder plate. On Terminator Armour (Tactical Dreadnought Armour), the left shoulder plate shows the First Company's specific heraldry, the right shoulder guard displays the Chapter badge in white.
- 2nd Company (Battle): A single yellow blood drop.
- 3rd Company (Battle): A single red blood drop.
- 4th Company (Battle): A single green blood drop.
- 5th Company (Battle): A single black blood drop.
- 6th Company (Reserve Tactical): Twin yellow blood drops, side by side.
- 7th Company (Reserve Tactical): Twin red blood drops, side by side.
- 8th Company (Reserve Assault): Twin green blood drops, side by side.
- 9th Company (Reserve Devastator): Twin black blood drops, side by side.
- 10th Company (Scout Marines): The Flesh Tearers' Scout Company wears a black skull on the right shoulder plate, and the Chapter badge on the left.
The Flesh Tearers' Chapter badge is a circular, white saw blade with a crimson blood droplet at its center. The blade is centred on a field of black.
Earlier editions of the Flesh Tearers' history states that they spent thousands of standard years as a fleet-based Chapter after their formation and that it was a Chapter Master named Amit who finally settled the Chapter on the world of Cretacia. However, Amit appears as a Captain of the Blood Angels Legion in the Horus Heresy series of novels who was the founding Chapter Master of the Flesh Tearers. Amit has a vicious and savage reputation, even by the standards of the World Eaters and his Oath Brother, Kharn. It was during his frequent fights in the World Eaters gladiatorial pits that Amit earned his nickname the "Flesh Tearer." During the Blood Angels' Signus Campaign, Captain Amit of the Blood Angels served as the Captain of the Battle Barge Victus. This Battle Barge would later find service with the Flesh Tearers Chapter as their only known vessel of that class, and is rumoured to have been in their possession since the Founding of the Chapter.
- Black Crusade: Games Master's Kit (RPG), pg. 8
- Blood Angels Painting Guide - Sons of Sanguinius (Supplement), pp. 50-63, 146-172
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Blood Angels (8th Edition), pp. 11, 14, 18, 21-23, 39, 51-52, 56
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pp. 14, 54-55, 71
- Codex: Angels of Death (2nd Edition), pg. 34
- Codex: Grey Knights (5th Edition), pg. 38
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition) pg. 26
- Codex: Space Marines (3rd Edition), pg. 47
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pg. 19
- Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter (RPG), pp. 50-57, 130
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pp. 62-63
- Imperial Armour Volume Two: Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pg. 47
- Imperial Armour Volume Two, Second Edition - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pg. 20
- Index Astartes I, "Blood Frenzy - The Flesh Tearers Space Marine Chapter"
- Shield of Baal: Exterminatus (Supplement), pp. 10, 18-20, 54-56, 58-63, 66, 71-79, 127, 171, 173-176, 178, 181-182, 185-189, 195-196, 231, 267, 284, 296, 304, 309, 337-352
- Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1st Edition), pg. 168
- Butcher's Nails (Audio Book) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Fear to Tread (Novel) by James Swallow
- Death and Defiance (Anthology), "Virtue of the Sons", by Andy Smillie
- Crimson Night (Short Story) by James Swallow
- Virtues of the Sons (Short Story) by Andy Smillie
- Sins of the Father (Short Story) by Andy Smillie
- Flesh of Cretacia (Novel) by Andy Smillie, pp. 7, 22
- Helsreach (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Red Fury (Novel) by James Swallow
- Black Tide (Novel) by James Swallow
- Know Thyself (Short Story) by Andy Smillie
- Gabriel Seth: The Flesh Tearer (Novella) by Andy Smillie
- Flesh Tearers Quick Reads - Fury and Rage (Anthology)
- Beneath the Flesh (Novella) by Andy Smillie
- Immortalis (Novella) by Andy Smillie
- The Quickening (Special Advent Issue) by Andy Smillie
- Legends of the Space Marines (Anthology), "At Gaius Point", by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Blood In The Machine (Audio) by Andy Smillie
- Trial By Blood (Novel) by Andy Smillie
- Sons of Wrath (Novel) by Andy Smillie
- At Slaughter's End (Audiobook) by Andy Smillie
- The Last Son of Dorn (Novel) by David Guymer, Ch. 1
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (8th Edition), "Devastation of Baal", pg. 52
- Third War for Armageddon Worldwide Campaign - Forces Disposition, Imperial Forces: Flesh Tearers
- The Devastation of Baal (Novel) by Guy Haley, pp. 380-384, 385, 425-435, 440-443, 493-496, 497