- "Though we stand tall within our Knights, we are not above the laws of men. Let every tyrant tremble in my sight should he think himself immune. As long as I draw breath the guilty will be punished, be they xenos invader, cursed traitor or highborn criminal."
A Freeblade is an Imperial Knight who has forsaken their house to wander alone amongst the stars. With blade or cannon, these Freeblade Knights, as they are called, travel the void on their own personal missions of honour, vengeance or penance. Forsaking the heraldry of their former house, giving up their names and breaking their past, they become mysterious silent warriors to those they fight alongside. Often they will appear suddenly, drawn by the fires of war, only to depart as abruptly once the fighting is done; their temporary allies never learning their name. Even so, they can earn glorious reputations through their deeds, and their aid, though often unexpected, is always welcomed.
The ancient tradition of the Freeblade harkens back over ten millennia ago, during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. Known as Legendary Freeblades, these were Nobles who were drawn out from the ranks of their former Households, either willingly owing to the lure of adventure or the unquenchable lust for battle, or unwillingly as outcast, renegade or last survivor. These Freeblades were Knights Mendicant, owing no alliance and no fealty. Of these, many were drawn to the Great Crusade, lured by the thirst for glory or the unceasing clamour of war on the frontier, joining the Questoris Crusade forces and fighting on countless worlds in support of the Emperor's great work. Since that bygone era, the tradition has continued to be upheld by the knightly houses of the Questoris Familia.
The Path of the Freeblade
Becoming a Freeblade is always a monumental choice for a Noble, as it forces them to give up everything they have ever known. The bonds of blood forged by birth into a knightly house are no small thing, even more so once a Noble undertakes the Becoming and communes with the spirits of his ancestors that dwell within the Throne Mechanicum. It usually takes a great event or personal tragedy for a Noble to choose the path of the Freeblade, deciding that he cannot fulfill his destiny as long as he serves under the lord of the household. These Freeblade Knights are tragic heroes, driven to leave their houses to pursue a cause of their own, continuing to fight for Mankind, but call no man master. The reasons for a Noble to become a Freeblade are as varied as the Nobles themselves, and could spring from a burning need for vengeance by a lifetime of penance. Many of these reasons are tied to some kind of failure -- real or perceived -- by the Noble, something that he mighty take far more seriously than a common man. Should a lance-brother fall in battle through the negligence or misdeed of a Noble, it can be enough for him to feel he must devote his days to absolving himself for his lapse. Thus, the same sense of duty and obligation instilled in a Noble by the effects of the Throne Mechanicum can be transformed into an uncompromising drive to complete a personal quest, one that transcends the constraints of house and home world.
Not all Freeblades choose the life of the lone warrior because they feel they must hunt down a deserving villain or keep the memory of the fallen alive. Some are drawn to don the mantle of a Freeblade simply to answer the call of adventure and the glory of battle on far off worlds. These Nobles develop a taste for war that goes beyond many of their kin, until it overshadows their sense of obligation to their house. For them, casting off the constraining rituals and ceremony of being part of a knightly household means they can devote their lives completely to battle, wandering from one warzone to the next and seldom leaving their Knight suit. Other Freeblade Knights have made a personal oath or pact to carry out a certain task that requires they travel across the galaxy in order to fulfil it.
Company of Heroes
Every Noble has the right to become a Freeblade; it is an ancient tradition on Knight Worlds that should a Noble choose this path his lord must honour his choice. The Noble's name is often stricken from all house records, or sealed away where only the lord of the house might see it. It is part of the rite that a Noble's past is forgotten when he becomes a Freeblade -- all he was is washed away to be replaced with the identity he has chosen for himself and the personal quest he now chooses to pursue. Though different Nobles embrace this right to anonymity to varying degrees, all must accept that to take the title of Freeblade means giving up who they once were.
When a Noble becomes a Freeblade he will often take a name for himself, usually to hide his true identity and former house but sometimes also as proclamation of his intent. For instance, the Freeblade Justice earned a formidable reputation hunting down traitor Knights of House Darkon, his moniker leading many Nobles to believe Darkon must have wronged him in the past. Some names are not taken but are given, and more than one Freeblade is dedicated to concealing their identity to the point that where they never communicate or leave their Knight suit. Amaranthine is an example of such a Knight, given his name by allies because of the colour of his armour. The taciturn Knight has never once communicated openly, preferring instead to let his deeds of battle do all his speaking for him.
Many Freeblades move through history unremembered and unheralded, their deeds eventually lost to the long march of years. However, some stand out even centuries after their passing, the legends of their exploits passing from one generation of Imperial citizens to the next, reborn in prayers and parables. Over time, a Freeblade might be reduced only to a name and a single remembered battle, like Pale Reckoning, the avenging warrior that slew the terrible Daemon Prince Kor'talor, or the Knights known as Wrath and Blade of Finality, who stood against the Red Corsairs on the edges of the Maelstrom, turning back their bloody raid on Glorthos Starfort. Vigilantus, the slayer of the Lord of Skulls, Gorehaunter, or the trio of Freeblades known as the Crimson Glaives who opposed the Eldar pirates on Tarvel III, stand as heroes of equal stature, and like the others their names are destined to live on in rumour and legend for centuries to come.
A Lonely Death
Whether he is remembered or not, the ultimate fate for many a Freeblade is to die alone, unsung and forgotten. Even in those rare instances where Freeblades work together, the carnage and tumult of such titanic wars means that before long only one will remain. This sole survivor of years of bitter struggle will fight on, mourning his comrades until he too falls. Tales tell of the remains of Knight suits discovered on remote worlds under cold, dying suns, their rusting frames abandoned for centuries and their livery worn away by the elements. The skeletal remains of the Noble will still be encased inside, hooked up to the Throne Mechanicum, staring out with empty sockets across an ancient battlefield. Those that come upon such a sight cannot help but see that this is the resting place of a mighty hero who died in the heat of battle. On Feral Worlds the remains of Knights are an ominous symbol of the sky people, and often worshipped as gods or given offerings to appease the vengeful stars, so they might avert their baleful gaze. Even alien scavengers are wary when they chance upon the remains of a Knight, the ancient wards and seals deadly to those who break them without the Sacristans' skill.
Some Freeblades manage to avoid an unmarked grave or resting place on a forgotten world, either falling close to the civilised planets of the Imperium and being recovered by the Adeptus Mechanicus, or becoming enshrined on the worlds on which they fall, chapels and churches built around the remains of the Knight to honour such a great warrior. Across the Imperium, there are worlds and outposts where the remains of a Knight have become a centre of worship for the Imperial Creed. Still sealed against the world, the remains of the Noble encased within, these Knight suits silently look down on the worshippers, the cold dead lenses of their faceplate reflecting the prostrate figures at their feet.
Freeblades that fulfil their penance may return to their house. The Noble lord of a knightly house is not obliged by ancient law to accept the return of a Freeblade: although a Noble always has the right to take up the path of the Freeblade, no such right exists to guarantee his return to his house. Thus it is always a risk for a Freeblade to return to his house, and he must be sure his deeds outweigh any ill will he has left in his wake. The lord of the house will carefully consider the reputation the Freeblade has earned, as well as his reasons for returning, before making his decision. Even so, it is rare for a returned Freeblade not to be welcomed back as a long-lost son, his glorious victories added to that of his house.
During the long history of the Imperium there have been tales of rival knightly hosues that have fallen to skirmishing and even full-blown war. Just as the houses of Knight worlds can come to blows over differences of honour or creed, so too can the same fate befall the Freeblade. There are rumours among the Nobles and their kin of long-running feuds between certain Freeblades, often those that are forced to fight in the same warzone or find that their own personal quests come to cross purposes. Examples of these rivalries are scattered through the annals of the knightly houses and the forge worlds which keep histories of such things. One recording tells of the personal war between the Freeblades Emperor's Voice and Fires of Wrath. During the Xalan Apostasy the pious Freeblade Emperor's Voice became a bitter foe of another Freeblade, known as the Fires of Wrath. Wrath considered all those touched by the Apostasy to be enemies of the God-Emperor, while the Voice saw that some were worth saving. During the battle of the Illuminated, when the Saint's Own regiment sided with the Imperium, it was the Voice that accepted their defection while the Wrath still considered them traitors for ever siding with the Apostate armies. Neither willing to back down, the two Freeblades squared off against each other. Though neither fell that day, hundreds were killed as they clashed, and their feud would become a reflection of the war and a warning to others of the unwavering principles a Freeblade can possess.
Another legend sheds light on the centuries after the Horus Heresy, a time of great suspicion between the Imperium and its allies, when some Knights stood on the brink of turning traitor or were discredited and defamed by their rivals. The fates of the Freeblades Truth of Mars and Dauntless Valour illustrate the distrusts of these times. These Nobles had become rivals over a perceived slight during the Allax Crusade victory processional, as to which of them was to be given the honour of marching first through the Arches of Triumph on Petrum V. Though both were staunch loyalists, and continually tried to outdo the other with their acts of devotion and piety, this incident would consume them both. In the years that followed they levelled accusations of treachery and heresy at the other, playing a cruel game of lies and defamation. Numerous times they even traded blows in battle, each citing the attacks as evidence of weak moral fibre and festering treachery in the other. Ironically, in the end the Freeblades were forced to fight and fall as one when their dire reputations drew the attention of the Inquisition and an attempt was made to bring them to justice.
The famous Freeblade Amaranthine was almost unwittingly drawn into a similar conflict in the closing years of the Tiberius Wars. The mysterious Freeblade was ever at the forefront of the Emperor's armies as they purged the heretic hordes and pushed back the malign influence of the Tzeentchian Daemon that wore the skin of Tiberius. Amaranthine's reputation for never speaking and for his brutal efficiency was a chink in his armour that the Daemon would use to discredit him. Through a web of lies and deceit, the Daemon spread rumours that Amaranthine was in fact an agent of the Dark Gods, a war machine possessed by a Daemon and sent from the Warp to do the will of Chaos. When the Freeblade purged a city of heresy, or destroyed a powerful warlord of fortress, the Daemon would spin the story that the Freeblade was killing innocents, sacrificing them to his Daemon lords, or that he was actually allowing the true villains to escape each time -- after all, why else would another foe always arise in the wake of his victories? The Daemon cited the Freeblade's silence as further proof of possession or compliance with the Ruinous Powers, saying that if Amaranthine were to speak, his true nature would be revealed in a second. So pervasive were these lies that several Inquisitors were drawn into the Tiberius Wars and onto the trail of the Freeblade to try to discern the Knight's true nature, though none risked outright conflict. In the end, Amaranthine's actions were to be the answer he would give to these vile lies. When he clashed in epic combat with his ever-changing foe, none of the Imperial Guardsmen, Space Marines or other Imperial warriors that fought at the Freeblade's side could doubt his conviction to the cause. When Amaranthine finally destroyed Tiberius's Daemon-form, he put paid to any other dissenters, and the Tzeentchian lies were banished for good along with their author.
Despite the fact that there have been many cases of Freeblade Knights working in concert –- even as part of a household detachment –- over the Imperium's long history, the vast majority of them choose to fight alone. The reasons behind this solitary existence are many and varied, but it is certain that each Freeblade would have a long story to tell if ever he chose to reveal his past, though it is unlikely that the truth would be a pleasant one. It is their mysterious history that leads many Freeblades to forsake the heraldry of their house when they take up the mantle of the lone Knight. Unlike household Knights, Freeblades commonly choose a single colour as their suit's livery, adopting simple designs or patterns if any at all. As most Freeblades maintain no house markings, and few show any sign of Imperial or Adeptus Mechanicus alignment, it can be difficult to ascertain their past. They choose new colours and icons to represent their own personal quest or their newly-crafted identity. In some cases this new heraldry will give hints to those who know how to read the hidden meanings, even if only by omission. Many choose to only show significant iconography on their tabard, though even these are symbolically selective in decoration. A Freeblade Knight's choice of livery and what passes for heraldry is unique, and no two Freeblades will ever look the same. Many of these Knights choose to hide behind a cryptic name, though whether or not it is possible to discern a glint of a Freeblade's past from his choice of title is an enigma in itself. It is likely that after many long years of relentless warfare, some Knights may even have forgotten why they took their first step along the path of the Freeblade.
A common symbol utilised by some Freeblades is the Icon Incognitus, depicted as a stylised "X" upon a Freeblade's Knight suit. An ancient symbol of anonymity, the X indicates a hidden identity, or a past identity that the bearer has chosen to discard. A prominent part of the Amaranthine's imagery is the Icon Incognitus. That Amaranthine wears this icon speaks not just of a past forgotten but one forcibly rejected by the Freeblade -- so disgusted was he with it that he marked himself with an X to wipe away the hate heraldry forever. Amaranthine is not the first Freeblade to make use of the Icon Incognitus, though he is by far the most famous. Over the millennia there have been many Nobles that have taken on the symbol to show their separation from their past. The Freeblade known as Hour of Reckoning bore the X upon his faceplate to show his hatred for House Miranor, to which he once belonged. Rumours say that rivals within his own house had killed the Noble's family. Choosing the path of the Freeblade, he cast off the distinctive golden faceplate of Miranor and replaced it with a sable Icon Incognitus. Another Freeblade known to bear the Icon Icognitus is Penitent Blade. The pale grey Knight appeared after the destruction of the Felcarn House, rumoured to have been corrupted from within by Chaos. Stories say that the Penitent Blade is the single surviving member of that family, the only one to escape the Inquisitorial purges and somehow proved his innocence. None now remember the heraldry or livery of House Felcarn, only the tireless efforts of Penitent Blade to vanquish the treacherous cults that plagued his home world, and the stylised X burned upon his hull.
Some Freeblades prefer to project an overwhelming sense of menace, by painting their Knight suits in ominous colours, reflecting the threatening, single-minded nature and fatal intent of the Noble pilot within. Memento Mori, sometimes feature heavily in such Freeblade's Knight suits. Skulls and crossbone motifs are often repeated, adding to the aura of death that hands around these Knights like a dark mantle. Often there are no other symbols beyond these symbols of death, which shows the importance of these icons to the Noble cradled within.
- The Defence of Tarnis (Unknown Date) - The Freeblade Vortigan, sole survivor of House Drakkus, fights alongside the Dark Angels Chapter of Space Marines to free his homeworld Tarnis of Ork taint and the machinations of Chaos Space Marines in thrall to the Blood God Khorne.
- Long-Awaited Return (784.M34) - After more than a century of self-imposed exile as a Freeblade household detachment, the Agaron brothers return to the Knight World of Silverdawn after the death of their father. The siblings are welcomed back as heroes after the disastrous reign of their sire. Basilio, the eldest of the three, re-establishes trade with the nearby Forge Worlds of Estaban III and VII.
- Justice (986.M38) - More than a thousand years after betraying their oaths of loyalty to the Imperium, the traitor Knights of House Drakon re-emerge at the head of a twisted host of Daemon Engines created by the Dark Mechanicum. The warp-forged monstrosities are finally defeated amid the desecrated ruins of the Forge World, Solemnium, after the Iron Hands Space Marine Chapter brings them to battle. However, it is the actions of a single Freeblade Knight that travels with the Space Marines that determine the course of the war. Known only as Justice, the Freeblade displays an incredible aptitude for destroying the traitor Knights, earning seven confirmed kills during the course of the war. Rumours abound in the wake of the conflict of quite how the lone Knight achieved such a mastery of combat against others of his kind. Of their enigmatic ally's past, however, the Iron Hands would not speak. Despite some of House Drakon's Knights escaping Imperial reprisal, their strength is now greatly diminished.
- The Red Harvest of Dalanthe (888.M39) - When a harvest moon hangs in the skies above Dalanthe, the agri-workers put the children's stories of the Gorehaunter to the back of their minds. Though many citizens deride him for it, the Freeblade known as Vigilantus stands on silent guard at Dalanthe's High Templus for three long months. When a Warp breach opens during a riot in Executioner's Square, a goliath of brass and bone rampages out through the populace. It is met in battle by Vigilantus. Though the Knight is torn limb from limb, his last act is to decapitate the raging Lord of Skulls with a blast from his thermal cannon, banishing it back to the Warp for another thousand years.
- The Dules of the Crimson Glaives (178.M41) - Eldar assault the agri-moon of Tarvel III, destroying hab-complexes in the search for ancient artefacts. Three Freeblades band together to defend the beleaguered citizens and become known as the Crimson Glaives. As soon as the last Eldar raider is driven from the moon, the Knights vanish without trace.
- Crushing the Mecha-WAAAGH! (572.M41) - Led by House Raven, five different knightly houses, along with no less than a dozen Freeblades, halt the mechanised hordes of WAAAGH! Gluttok. Across several star systems, the Imperial Knights are able to counter the armoured columns of Battlewagons and looted tanks employed by the wily Gluttok. It is on the factory planet of Blastoom that the Warboss' Stompa Mob is at last brought to final battle. Leading his Exalted Court into the thick of the fighting, Grevan, the Iron Duke, smashes into wall of Ork walkers and uses his Reaper Chainblade to rip apart Gluttok's Stompa. It is later said that the Stompa's head was taken for display in the Keep Inviolate.
- The Redeemer's Quest (998.M41) - In 988.M41, Xander Krast murdered a fellow Knight following a quarrel over a noblewoman's hand. With ritual execution looming, Xander is freed by an unknown benefactor and flees his ancestral home of Chrysis. Xander's brothers, tainted by familial association, take ship after him. The pursuit rages across a dozen systems, but Xander -- now fighting as the Freeblade Iron Redeemer -- eventually trades his freedom for his brothers' assistance in defending the Agri-World of Tekara from WAAAGH! Garshok. Working together, the brothers stall the greenskin invasion long enough for a strike force from the Iron Hands Clan Raukaan to arrive. During the climactic Battle of Devil's Gorge, Xander performs a suicide run against the Stompa Mork Wantz Ya! and is presumed slain when the walker's reactor undergoes a devastating chain reaction. Many of Clan Raukaan's battle-brothers are slain in the explosion, and the survivors vengefully pursue the beaten remnants of WAAAGH! Garshok across the Deinora Sector. Scattered and harried, the Orks leave the Exodite World of Selesti -- the planet that would have been their next target -- wholly unmolested. Watching from deep within the Webway, the Shadowseer Sylandri Veilwalker sees her plan come to fruition, and allows herself a brief moment of satisfaction before turning her attention to other matters. The surviving brothers return to Chrysis, and report that Xander's crime has been washed away in blood. Xander's name is struck from the annals of House Krast, though the brothers are careful to make no mention of the Iron Redeemer.
- The Red WAAAGH! (443.998.M41) - Warlord Grukk of the Red WAAAGH! ploughs into the densely populated Sanctus Reach, his crusade's juggernaut momentum smashing past the Space Marine homeworld of Obstiria to plunder the planets beyond. The Imperium prepares to make a stand upon Alaric Prime, a Feudal World of linked archipelagos and crumbling gaols. When a flotilla of Ork rust-ships make planetfall, the knightly houses of Alaric lead their Cadian allies in a worldwide counterattack. Warlord Grukk's bullish tactics take a heavy toll on the human defenders before the legendary Freeblade known as Gerantius the Green Knight joins the conflict, tipping the war into a new phase of desperate battle.
- The Fall of Agrellan (757.999.M41) - The Tau Empire strikes the Hive World of Agrellan. The Imperium are hard pressed to counter the tactics of Commander Shadowsun, but the timely arrival of several detachments of Knights from House Terryn stems the tide. A number of Freeblades also distinguish themselves in the fierce fighting that follows, though Agrellan is still lost.
Notable Freeblade Knights
- Amaranthine - The lone Freeblade known as Amaranthine earned his name from the beleaguered Imperial defenders of Romaric VII. Most believe the name is a reference to the Knight's distinctive purple-red hull, but others claim it honours an Imperial saint. Silent and purposeful, the Knight never responds to the name Amaranthine, or to any hails, vox transmissions or other efforts to contact him. However, during the Tiberius Wars it was observed that the Knight heeded the voxed tactics of those he fought alongside, avoiding firing lines and vanquishing foes as per incoming requests. It led the defenders to believe that though he did not speak, he was always listening. Only invitations to stay once the battle was won seemed to go unheard.
- Atgos the Silent - There is little information in regards to the Freeblade known only as Atgos the Silent in official Imperial records, other than that he is one of four Imperial Knights in the Freeblade troupe known as the Sabres of the Emperor. Like most Freeblades, his former house heraldry has been erased. Atgos is currently serving as a part of Inquisitorex Countessa Bor'gia's Inquisitorial warband.
- Auric Arachnus - With blade and battle cannon, the Knight known as Auric Arachnus wades into battle against the Imperium's foes. With its distinctive bright yellow livery and contrasting stylised arachnid symbol, the bold Freeblade is designed to draw attention and the enemy's fire. From whence the Knight came there is no clue, nor does its pilot ever emerge. When the shadow of Hive Fleet Behemoth fell across the Ultima Segmentum, however, the legend of Auric Arachnus began. As Imperial armies rallied to repel the foe, the Knight Paladin was a tower of firepower, and when eventually overun, its reaper blade scythed down swarms of foes. As the Tyranids pressed in upon the Ultramarines, the Chapter was forced back to its home world and Auric Arachnus travelled with them. There, the Freeblade earned great renown by slaying a Dominatrix.
- Blade of Finality - Little is known of the origins of Freeblade Blade of Finality, other than his recent rise to prominence in the wars against the Red Corsairs striking out of the Maelstrom in great numbers.
- Blade of Redemption - The tale of Dyros of House Kamata is one tinged with betrayal, disgrace and sorrow. The second son of Hyram Kamata, Dyros was raised to bring favour to his house, one of Alaric Prime's chosen elite. When his older brother died, leaving Dyros the honour of taking over his Knight, the young man was only strengthened in his resolve to fulfil his duty. However, during the Ritual of Becoming he heard the whispers of his deceased brother from the Throne Mechanicum. In doing so he learned the truth of his brother's death at the hands of his father, and the deep lies and treachery which lurked in the heart of his house. Dyros immediately severed his ties to House Kamata, vowing to accept exile rather than fight beside his father, and became a Freeblade known only as the Blade of Redemption. With the arrival of Grukk and the Red WAAAGH!, Dyros has returned from the far reaches of Alaric to fight for his world alongside the Knights of Kestren and Degallio.
- Blood Lord - The Freeblade Blood Lord is piloted by Sir Marcel, who left the now forgotten House Octobus many years ago for unknown reasons. The years of exile have taken a harsh toll on his Knight. There is little information about this Freeblade in official Imperial records.
- Crimson Glaives - In 178.M41, when Eldar assault the agri-moon of Tarvel III in search of ancient artefacts, three Freeblades, who become known as the Crimson Glaives, band together and drive the Eldar raiders from the moon. Their mission complete, the trio of Knights soon vanish without a trace.
- Crimson Reaper - First sighted during the Rithguard Crusade, the Crimson Reaper has come to signify death itself. Relentless and devoid of mercy, the grim Knight Errant bears no other markings but those associated with death. Where house livery would be is black, and his personal heraldry is only the symbol of the reaper's scythe. The Knight is a single-minded destroyer, sending forth volleys of thermal blasts to melt tanks, crushing infantry underfoot and ripping apart anything within range of his roaring reaper chainsword. In the early stages of a campaign, Imperial forces cheer to see this deathly-marked avenging Knight laying waste to their foe. It is never long, however, before the Crimson Reaper's obvious disregard for those who fight beside him stifles this enthusiasm. His allies are forced to look away from his callous deeds, as their own soldiers are trampled underfoot or are caught too close to thermal cannon blasts.
- Crucible of Wrath - The Freeblade known as the Crucible of Wrath was an Imperial Knight from one of the Mechanicus-aligned houses who once fought beside the Dark Angels Space Marine Chapter during a terrible battle against the Forces of Chaos. During this campaign, Crucible of Wrath witnessed something so terrible that life with the House would be impossible ever after. Instead, the Freeblade swore himself to the service of Master Zephon and his 5th Company task force until their terrible duty is done. The Crucible of Wrath fights alongside two other Freeblade Knights, who have sworn the same oath to Zephon, and together they are known as the Three Witnesses.
- Lord Cyril, The Indefatigable - The Freeblade known as Lord Cyril the Indefatigable, was once part of a Knight House, but he felt they were too lax in their duties to the Imperium, so he left and became a Freeblade. He is zealously loyal to the Imperium, hence, the Imperial Eagles emblazoned on his armour. The number "87" on the tilted plate of his Knight suit represents that he's the 87th pilot of this particular suit of Knight armour.
- Dauntless Valour - Little is known of the Freeblade Dauntless Valour in official Imperial records, other than his fierce rivalry with the Freeblade Knight Truth of Mars. In the centuries following the Horus Heresy, there was great suspicion and distrust between the Imperium and its allies, when some Knights stood on the brink of turning traitor or were discredited and defamed by rivals. Following a perceived slight during the Allax Crusade victory processional over a disagreement as to who would be given the honour of marching first through the Arches of Triumph on Petrum V. The two Freeblades were consumed by their bitter rivalry for years, playing a cruel game of lies and defamation. In the end, the Freeblades were forced to fight and fall as one when their dire reputations drew the ire of the Inquistion.
- Desolation of Solitude - The Freeblade Desolation of Solitude was once a Noble of House Hawkshroud. Searching for honour and glory, he repainted his Knight suit in a stark quartered turquoise and bone colour scheme, but kept his heraldry, before marching off on his own crusade. He is currently fighting alongside the forces of the Dark Angels Space Marine Chapter.
- Domeenito Ohashi, The Unerring - Stranded across the galaxy from his home and forge world, the Noble Domeenito Ohashi began seeking ways to return. During the journey he became waylaid and trapped on the backwater planet of Traxon. There, Ohashi performed the ritual of the Freeblade, changing the armour of his Knight Errant, the Unerring. Although he had failed in his vow to return home, the local population worshipped the Noble as a hero, for he kept their settlements safe from rapacious Ork raiders. When elements of the Cadian 727th arrived on the planet, seeking to entrench before the oncoming might of an Ork WAAAGH!, they were surprised to find an Imperial Knight striding amongst the nomadic people. After aiding the Imperial forces in victory, Domeenito Ohashi hitched a ride off-planet, the first stage of a long journey towards his ancestral home. Thus far, he has staved off Eldar pirates and helped destroy a spur of a Tyranid invasion.
- Dyros Kamata, The Scorched Knight - When the young Noble Dyros rejected his family and became a Freeblade, he scorched off the symbols of House Kamata in a volcano. In the face of the Red WAAAGH! the Scorched Knight accounted for hundreds of kills, slaughtering Orks as he vented his rage. Already the fire-marked Knight was a legend amongst the defenders, the troops praying that the avenger would arrive to aid them once again. Unknown to the Cadians, Dyros did not fight for them. He fought to keep his world free, to purge the alien and to maintain his honour, but mostly he fought for revenge. Part of Dyros' slain brother's spirit remained within the Throne Mechanicum. It alerted Dyros to the madness in his family, showing him visions of the crimes his own father had committed. Eventually the Scorched Knight delivered his own justice, afterwards becoming a lone outcast.
- Emperor's Voice - Little is known of the Freeblade Emperor's Voice in official Imperial records, other than his fierce rivalry with another Freeblade when their own personal quests came to cross purposes. During the Xalan Apostasy, a personal war arose between the Freeblades Emperor's Voice and Fires of Wrath. The zealous Wrath considered all those touched by the Apostasy to be the ememies of the God-Emperor, while the Voice saw that some were worth saving. During the Battle of the Illuminated, when a formerly rogue Imperial Guard regiment sided with the Imperium, it was the Voice who accepted their defection. The Wrath still considered them traitors for ever siding with the Apstate forces. Soon, the two Freeblades came to blows, and hundreds were killed in the ensuing conflict. Their feud would become a reflection of the war and serve as a dire warning to others of the unwavering principles a Freeblade may posses.
- The Firebrand - The legend surrounding the Firebrand describes him as a foolhardy and impetuous knight who favoured direct action over the subtlety and tactics espoused by the Baron of his house. His legend purports that long ago the Firebrand led many Imperial Knights of his house into a foolhardy confrontation they couldn't hope to win -- they were outnumbered and decimated. Appalled at his lack of foresight and the loss of so many of their number, the survivors named him "Firebrand" and banished him from their doomed -- and now long since forgotten -- house. Scholars have speculated over the years which noble house the Firebrand brought so low, but none dare to ask it aloud. Now, the Firebrand can be seen where the fighting is thickest. Some say he is trying to pay penance for the destruction of his house; others say he still fights with the same wild abandon regardless of history. Of his name, the Firebrand bears no shame in it, instead embracing the venom with which he was labelled, and unleashing it in the crucible of battle against the enemies of Mankind.
- Fires of Wrath - Little is known of the Freeblade Fires of Wrath in official Imperial records, other than his fierce rivalry with another Freeblade when their own personal quests came to cross purposes. During the Xalan Apostasy, a personal war arose between the Freeblades Fires of Wrath and the Emperor's Voice. The zealous Wrath considered all those touched by the Apostasy to be the ememies of the God-Emperor, while the Voice saw that some were worth saving. During the Battle of the Illuminated, when a formerly rogue Imperial Guard regiment sided with the Imperium, it was the Voice who accepted their defection. The Wrath still considered them traitors for ever siding with the Apostate forces. Soon, the two Freeblades came to blows, and hundreds were killed in the ensuing conflict. Their feud would become a reflection of the war and serve as a dire warning to others of the unwavering principles a Freeblade may posses.
- Fortitude - Sir Dennis Gladiomanus was once a Knight of House Curtana, the Swords of Justice. A tactful orator, Sir Dennis was selected to meet with an Adeptus Mechanicus delegation in the hope of securing better materials and technology for their Sacristans. Though an agreement could not be reached, Sir Dennis chose to leave his homeworld of Karastus with the Adeptus Mechanicus in the hope that spending time with them would help him understand them better and, perhaps, come to a more fruitful trade agreement. It has been over 500 years since Sir Dennis left his homeworld, yet his Knight Warden Fortitude has appeared on countless military rosters during that time, fighting alongside the Skitarii of Mars, against Orks, Eldar, Tyranids and even the Dark Mechanicus. House Curtana have enquired about this on several occasions, appealing to the Adeptus Mechanicus to return the surely long-dead Noble's suit to them, but have been assured that Sir Dennis is alive and well and still very much in command of his Knight suit. Some whisper that he's been rewarded with life-extending augmetics, others claim he's been completely replaced by a fleshless cybernetic pilot. What's for sure is that the Knight Warden continues to this day, fighting with distinction alongside the Skitarii and maintaining excellent trade relations between the Adeptus Mechanicus and House Curtana.
- Hawk's Duty - Sir Torjef, piloting the Oathsworn Hawk's Duty, is a proud knight of House Hawkshroud who found himself fighting alongside my Howling Griffons Space Marines strike force against the Lufgt Huron, the Tyrant of Badab. During that campaign many of the campaigning Imperial forces adopted a double-quartered pattern as their campaign markings, but when the fighting ended and the Tyrant remained at large, the small Hawkshroud strike force refused to repaint their armour. Sir Torjef was impressed by the duty and diligence of the Space Marines and pledged himself to the same oath: until they had hunted down and avenged themselves upon Huron Blackheart, he would remain with the Howling Griffons, his Knight suit painted in the mutual heraldry of house and Chapter.
- Gerantius, The Forgotten Knight - Known as the Forgotten Knight or Green Knight, Gerantius resides at the centre of Sacred Mountain, a blessed peak that rises from the heart of Alaric Prime's largest island. There is rumoured to be a vault of archeotech and lost lore there, over which he stands guard. Ancient and mysterious, Gerantius has defended the vault, and his world, since time immemorial. Whenever the planet is threatened the Forgotten Knight will rise from his slumber and march upon the enemies of Alaric Prime. Rumours abound about the enigmatic figure, but the truth is that none know who or what the Green Knight is, as no one has ever spoken with the Noble that pilots it, if indeed there is anything inside to reply to their hails. All that is certain is that in times of need, the Green Knight arises to drive back the enemies of Alaric Prime with reaper and thermal cannon.
- Hour of Reckoning - Though little official information is known about the Freeblade known as the Hour of Reckoning in official Imperial records, what is known is that this Knight bore the Icon Incognitus, the stylised "X" that represents anonymity, upon his faceplate to show his hatred for House Miranor, to which he once belonged. Rumours say that rivals within his own house had killed the Noble's family. Choosing the path of the Freeblade, he cast off the distinctive golden faceplate of Miranor and replaced it with a sable Icon Incognitus.
- Impervious Rex - Trusting in its superlative ion shield, the Knight Warden known as Impervious Rex strides straight into the thick of the enemy's firepower. With shells flashing and ricocheting in all directions, the bright red Freeblade lifts high both weapons, clashing them together in ritual salute. Whatever knightly house this battle ceremony came from, they are forgotten now -- only Impervious Rex remains to continue the tradition. In its wake, the Knight has left many to speculate the mysterious Freeblade's origins. The red livery and numerals perhaps associate Impervious Rex with a Mechanicus-aligned house, but if there is a connection, neither the Freeblade nor any member of the Adeptus Mechanicus ever makes mention. All that is known is that, with its sweeping gatling cannon fire and the relentless fury with which the Freeblade swings its reaper, Impervious Rex ensures no enemies escape alive.
- Iron Redeemer - Xander Krast was once a former Noble of the esteemed House Krast. When he murdered fellow Knight following an argument over a noblewoman's hand in marriage, he was slated to be executed for his crime. He was freed by an unknown benefactor and fled his ancestral home of Chrysis. Tainted by their blood-ties, Xander's brothers pursued their erstwhile brother across a dozen systems. Now fighting as the Freeblade Iron Redeemer, Xander willingly traded his freedom for his brother's assistance in defending the world of Tekara from WAAAGH! Garshok. The three brothers worked together, and successfully stalled the greenskin invasion long enough for a strike force of Iron Hands to arrive. During the climactic final battle of the campaign, the Iron Redeemer performed a suicide run against an Ork Stompa, and was presumably slain when it's reactor ruptured in a devastating chain reaction. The surviving brothers return to their home world, and report that Xander's crime has been avenged in blood, making no mention of the Freeblade.
- Kappa Mu - There is little information about the Freeblade known as Kappa Mu in official Imperial records.
- Sir Kenrick - The Freeblade known as Sir Kenrick was once a Noble of House Hawkshroud. This knightly house has a reputation for honouring any and every call for aid, travelling far and wide to battle against the enemies of Mankind, and to defend their allies within the Imperium. He was seconded to the Black Templars Space Marine Chapter during the Second Purging of Lastrati in 543.M36, as a part of the Athalor Crusade, under the command of Marshal Gervhart. Admiring his Space Marine allies' single-minded dedication and zealous devotion, Sir Kenrick foresoke his former house, and decided to permanently attach himself to his Space Marine allies.
- Justice - When traitor Knights of House Drakon re-emerged at the head of a twisted host of Daemon Engines in 986.M38, the Iron Hands Space Marine Chapter brought them to battle within the desecrated ruins of the forge world of Solemnium. During this campaign, the Freeblade known only as Justice appeared, and helped to single-handedly turn the tide against the traitor Knights, earning seven confirmed kills during the course of the war.
- Klorian Saiche, The Forgotten Warrior - Klorian Saiche belongs to House Trainor, who long ago threw in their lot with the Adeptus Mechanicus, though they remain justifiably suspicious of them. Having fought alongside Titan Legions and the Imperial Guard on Betalis III, Klorian's phalanx was virtually wiped out in an ambush by Eldar Aspect Warriors. His suit battered and broken, Saiche spent weeks in the icy wilderness making repairs before limping back to the Imperial lines. By the time he returned, the war on Betalis III had ended and many of the troop ships had already left for new war zones, leaving Saiche behind. Seeking assistance from the Mechanicus artisans and tech-priests that still remained, Saiche was able to repair his Knight armour and seek passage to a new war zone, where he would fight alongside them until he could make his way back to his home planet of Mancora. The price was costly, however: unfettered access to his armour's high technology.
- Knight of Dark Shadows - The Freeblade known as the Knight of Dark Shadows was known to have fought during the brutal period known as the Reign of Blood in the 36th Millennium, against the traitorous forces of the the power-hungry tyrant, the Renegade High Lord of Terra, the Apostate-Cardinal Goge Vandire.
- Living Litany - Something has gone wrong with the Knight Gallant that is known only as the Living Litany on the planet of Tellerax Prime. Unfortunately for the Imperium, the Freeblade Knight once known as the Living Litany fell from grace and turned to worshipping the Chaos Gods. No one knows what happened to corrupt this once-valiant hero, only that it has renamed itself Litany of Destruction and has been leaving a trail of devastation in its wake ever since.
- The Lost Knight - Little is known of the origins of the Freeblade known as The Lost Knight, except that he has served with the Black Templars Space Marine Chapter since their inception, during the Second Founding in the early 31st Millennium.
- Madrigal The Night's Watchman - A tragic figure, Madrigal's status as a Freeblade is a result of great loss. The last line of defence against a massive Daemonic incursion, Madrigal was unable to halt the murderous predations of the servants of Chaos, and so his homeworld of Stygia fell. As the lone survivor, Madrigal's guilt at his failure led inexorably to a self-imposed penance that has no end in sight; rejecting the heraldry of his house, Madrigal relentlessly patrols the benighted remains of Stygia, a dark figure outlined against a pale moon, striding through blackened forests and the empty shells of dead cities. As a result of the Daemonic invasion, Stygia is a victim of fell sorcery and the dead rest uneasily beneath its surface. Madrigal haunts the dark places of his world to ensure the victims of his failure stay in their graves, and he watches warily for fresh Warp taint, ever vigilant for signs of the Daemon.
- Manifest Fury - The Freeblade Knight known as Manifest Fury is piloted by Sir Yardan. There is little official information on this Freeblade Knight in official Imperial records, other than he has recently joined forces with an Astra Militarum Vostroyan Firstborn regiment, having sworn an oath of loyalty after they came to this beleaguered Knight's aid.
- Mydos Almighty - The Knight world of Mydos was fabulously wealthy -- one of the reasons that the Forge World of Antax was founded nearby. It was not xenos invaders that brought about the ruin of Mydos, however, but the greed of Mankind itself. As the knightly houses of the world tore themselves apart in vicious civil wars to control that wealth, one Knight alone left Mydos, taking with him transport and retainers. Soon afterwards catastrophic explosions blew the world apart. Renaming himself after his lost home world, and replacing his house's iconography with a skull symbol, Mydos set out into the stars. The Freeblade joined any battle where Mankind was beset. There, with his two cannons, Mydos sought to redeem his own kind with acts of valour. However, it was never long before he was forced to move on -- the gold plating of his archaic armour always brought forth the same old weakness of greed in his fellow man.
- The Oathsworn - Such is the unusually tight association between the Knights of House Hawkshroud and their brothers in arms that it is not uncommon for a Knight to remain on campaign far beyond the length of service that was initially offered or requested of him. In doing so, these Knights are, in theory at least, walking the path of the Freeblade Knight. Unlike many Freeblades, however, these lone Hawkshroud Knights, or Oathsworn, as they are often called, still proudly display their house's heraldry and livery. Unless they are slain in battle, these Knights will one day seek to return to Krastellan, where they will be welcomed back with honour.
- The Obsidian Knight - Little is known about the Freeblade that some of the Astra Militarum call the Obsidian Knight. The first recorded sighting came during the Damocles Gulf Crusade over two hundred years ago. Out of nowhere strode the dark behemoth, covered in fell symbols. He single-handedly halted a Tau river crossing, and appeared in dozens of battles. The Knight disappeared by campaign's end, remembered only in legend. Two centuries later, when the Tau general Commander Shadowsun launched her invasion of Agrellan, the Obsidian Knight appeared once again. Whether or not it was the same Knight is unknown, but it fought with the same zeal, leaving behind a wake of crushed and blasted Tau. Although the xenos eventually triumphed on Agrellan, the Obsidian Knight has since been sighted elsewhere, fighting alongside the Imperium.
- Pale Reckoning - There is little information on the Freeblade known as Pale Reckoning in official Imperial archives, other than the avenging warrior's noteworthy feat of defeating the Daemon Prince Kor'talor in personal combat.
- Penitent Blade - Though little official information is known about the Freeblade known as the Penitent Blade in official Imperial records, what is known is that this Knight also bore the Icon Incognitus, the stylised "X" that represents anonymity, burned upon his hull. Rumours abound that this Noble was once a member of the fallen House Felcarn, which became corrupted from within by Chaos. This single surviving member of that family somehow escaped the subsequent Inquisitorial purges, proving his innocence, and went on to prove himself through his tireless efforts to rid his world of the Chaos Cults that plagued it.
- Sir Ranulf - There is little information on the Freeblade known as Sir Ranulf in official Imperial archives.
- Retribution Incarnate - Chaosbane and hammer of heretics, the Knight Errant known as Retribution Incarnate has aided the Imperium in battle since the days of the Macharian Crusade. Although the pilot is rumoured to be the last of House Reinharn's Nobles, the Knight bears no trace of that house's livery or heraldry. Only the markings of a Freeblade remain, with the vow "Death or Glory" prominently displayed upon its armour. And thus far, Retribution Incarnate has reaped much glory. Since the Knight was first pict-captured on the planet Synn Secundus, the red colossus has appeared in six different war zones, always allying itself to Imperial forces. Retribution Incarnate seems especially drawn to campaigns against traitor forces, battles in which he exacts a bloody toll. The Knight stamps over cultists, hunting down Chaos Space Marines, especially those of the Alpha Legion, for whom Retribution Incarnate's wrath can never be sated.
- Truth of Mars - Little is known of the Freeblade Truth of Mars in official Imperial records, other than his fierce rivalry with the Freeblade Knight Dauntless Valour. In the centuries following the Horus Heresy, there was great suspicion and distrust between the Imperium and its allies, when some Knights stood on the brink of turning traitor or were discredited and defamed by rivals. Following a perceived slight during the Allax Crusade victory processional over a disagreement as to who would be given the honour of marching first through the Arches of Triumph on Petrum V. The two Freeblades were consumed by their bitter rivalry for years, playing a cruel game of lies and defamation. In the end, the Freeblades were forced to fight and fall as one when their dire reputations drew the ire of the Inquistion.
- Victus Mortis - There is little information about the Freeblade known as Victus Mortis in official Imperial archives. This Knight Paladin still wears the Machina Opus of the Adeptus Mechanicus and the bold chevron pattern favoured by Mechanicus-aligned Houses.
- Vigilantus - When the foreboding omen of a harvest moon hangs above the skies of the Agri-World of Dalanthe in 888.M39, the Freeblade Vigilantus stands silent guard for three long months, though many citizen's deride him for it. When a Warp breach opens, the Lord of Skulls known as Gorehaunter emerges and rampages out through the populace. Vigilantus meets the Khorne daemon engine, and though, eventually torn limb from limb, still manages to blast the Lord of Skulls with his thermal cannon, banishing it back to the Warp for another millennium.
- Vortigan - Vortigan was the sole survivor and youngest scion of House Drakkus, who now fights alongside the Dark Angels Space Marines for the freedom of his homeworld Tarnis from Chaos Space Marines in the service of Khorne and the an Ork WAAAGH!.
- The White Warden - Once, the Noble Neru Degallio was the ruler of House Degallio. His Knight, the White Warden, was a symbol of the power and influence of his extended family. All of that was lost when the Red WAAAGH! descended upon his planet. As the most powerful knightly house on Alaric Prime, it fell to House Degallio to weather the brunt of the fighting, and of all the house's Knights and Nobles, Neru alone survived the fierce fighting. In the wake of this pyrrhic victory, the lord of House Degallio found himself made a scapegoat by lesser houses seeking political gains. After the mysterious disappearance of his consort, Neru turned Freeblade, taking the name of his Knight and leaving Alaric Prime far behind. Since that time, the White Warden has fought countless enemies of the Imperium, each time proving himself a lethal warrior and a canny tactician.
- Wrath - Little is known of the origins of Freeblade Wrath, other than his recent rise to prominence in the wars against the Red Corsairs striking out of the Maelstrom in great numbers.
- Codex: Imperial Knights (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 62-75
- Codex: Imperial Knights (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 31-32, 40, 44-45, 88-100, 103-105, 107
- Imperial Knight: Renegade (7th Edition), pg. 3
- The Horus Heresy - Book Four: Conquest, pg. 296
- The Imperial Knight Companion (6th Edition), pp. 103-143
- Warhammer 40,000 - Sanctus Reach: The Red WAAAGH! (Campaign Supplement), pp. 23, 56, 95-96
- Warhammer 40,000 - Sanctus Reach: Hour of the Wolf (Campaign Supplement), pp. 27, 29, 124
- Warhammer: Visions #12, "Imperial Knights," pp. 80-83
- Warhammer: Visions #8, "Blanchitsu," by John Blanche, pp. 198-199, 204-205
- Warhammer: Visions #7, "Parade Ground," pp. 174-175, 178-185
- Warhammer: Visions #3, "The Freeblades," "Parade Ground,' pp. 170-179, 188-205
- White Dwarf Weekly #66 (02, May 2015), "Parade Ground," pp. 59-60
- White Dwarf Weekly #23 (05, July 2014), "Knights of the Household - Sir Torjef the Oathsworn," pp. 46-47
- White Dwarf Weekly #14 (03, May 2014), "Hobby in the White Dwarf Bunker," pp. 61, 69-70
- White Dwarf Weekly #11 (12, April 2014), "Hobby in the White Dwarf Bunker," pp. 85-86
- White Dwarf Weekly #7 (15, March 2014), "Joining the Crusade," by Adam Troke & Matt Hutson, pp. 19-25
- White Dwarf Weekly #5 (01, March 2014), "Creating your own Freeblade," pp. 27-34
- Freeblade (Video Game)