"Primarch-Progenitor, to your glory and the glory of Him on Earth!"
First Founding (30th Millennium)
Astral Knights, Black Templars, Celestial Lions, Crimson Fists, Crusaders of Dorn (Suspected -- Excommunicate Traitoris), Death Strike, Emperor's Warbringers, Excoriators, Executioners, Fire Lords, Fists Exemplar, Hammers of Dorn, Honoured Sons (Allegedly), Invaders, Iron Fists, Iron Knights, Knights of Dorn, Red Templars, Shadow Wolves, Sons of Dorn, Subjugators, Venom Thorns (Excommunicate Traitoris), and the White Templars
- "For others, the Great Crusade ended long ago. For us, it will not cease until all the worlds of Mankind are united once more and the Emperor's golden age returns."
The Imperial Fists are one of the First Founding Chapters of the Space Marines and were originally the VII Legion of the Legiones Astartes raised by the Emperor Himself from across Terra during the Unification Wars. The Imperial Fists stand out from other Space Marine Chapters since they possess no fixed homeworld, although they are most frequently based on Terra. Instead, the Imperial Fists rely on their 10,000-year-old mobile space fortress, Phalanx, to serve as their Fortress-Monastery. They maintain recruitment-chapels on various worlds spread throughout the Imperium. Part of the Imperial Fists' duties during the Great Crusade were to function as the Emperor's "personal praetorians," accompanying Him everywhere. The Imperial Fists were usually used to strike a decisive blow against the enemies He confronted during that time. The role of the Emperor's bodyguards since he was mortally wounded during the Horus Heresy and interred within the Golden Throne at the heart of the Imperial Palace on Terra has now been entirely taken over by the Adeptus Custodes. But the Emperor's ancient trust remains a potent honour for the Imperial Fists and their Successor Chapters in the present day.
The Imperial Fists are the inheritors of the proud traditions of their Primarch Rogal Dorn, his name venerated by countless trillions across the entire Imperium. History does not clearly record the details of the world on which the infant Dorn was cast when the Primarchs were scattered to the corners of the galaxy. What is known is that he presented himself to the Emperor as the Great Crusade reached the Ice Hives of Inwit, offering one of the mightiest space-going vessels ever constructed during the Dark Age of Technology as a sign of his fealty. The Emperor welcomed His long-lost son into the ranks of the Primarchs and granted him primacy over the Imperial Fists Legion. The Master of Mankind returned Dorn's vessel -- called Phalanx -- to the Primarch, and it became the base from which Dorn, and sometimes the Emperor Himself, commanded some of the most glorious campaigns of the entire Great Crusade.
Dorn and his Legion proved the masters of every aspect of warfare, but in particular the Imperial Fists excelled at siege craft, whether on the attack or the defence. This propelled them into a bitter rivalry with the Iron Warriors Legion and their jealous Primarch Perturabo, the ﬂames of which were wantonly fanned by Fulgrim, the Primarch of the Emperor's Children Legion. Fulgrim is said to have asked Dorn if a fortification of his design could withstand an assault by the Iron Warriors, and Dorn is said to have answered that it could. Perturabo took the answer as a boastful sleight, and the seeds of a hatred that would only grow more bitter as the millennia passed were sown.
Loyalty in time of betrayal was not easy to measure, for one cannot look at the face of an ally and know if he is truly a friend or an enemy. Even after Horus' treachery was made manifest upon the death plains of Istvaan III and the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V, the truth of who was Traitor and who remained loyal was far from clear. In this age of betrayal, one Legion stood as a pillar of loyalty amongst the sea of doubt. The Imperial Fists and Rogal Dorn, ever true, never swerving from the toll demanded by a war of brothers, bore the weight of loyalty without breaking, but not without cost. Sacrifice without limit changed those who survived.
As fate would have it, Dorn's prediction was put tragically to the test when, at the height of the Battle of Terra, the fortifications he had added to the Imperial Palace were sorely tested by the Traitor Legions. Though the World Eaters are said to have forced a breach, by sheer bloody savagery rather than any genuine skill at the siegemaster's craft, the Warmaster Horus fell in combat to the Emperor before the matter could be truly decided. It was only when the Imperial Fists and the Iron Warriors confronted one another in the hateful battle known as the "Iron Cage" in the days immediately after the Heresy known as the Great Scouring that both were able to give full vent to their rivalry. Accounts of what took place within the Iron Cage differ, and to this day, both the Iron Warriors and the Imperial Fists claim to have come away from it the victor.
Though Rogal Dorn was lost to the Imperium subsequent to the war-torn age of the Horus Heresy, his legacy remains one of the strongest of all of the Primarchs. The Imperial Fists sired three Second Founding Successor Chapters -- the Imperial Fists themselves, the Crimson Fists and the Black Templars. Between them, these three Chapters hold as many battle honours as dozens of later created Astartes formations, and their brethren have served with skill and distinction on countless thousands of battlefelds across the galaxy.
The Imperial Fists are one of the most valiant of all Chapters, held as paragons of the principles set down in the Codex Astartes and exemplars of everything to which a Space Marine is heir. The Imperial Fists stand as the steadfast defenders of the Imperium and the Emperor's unwavering shield; for ten thousand standard years they have been the bulwark against which the armies of Traitors and aliens have shattered. While Rogal Dorn is lost, his legacy remains amongst the strongest of all of the Primarchs'. Dorn's final moments were of courage and supreme sacrifice, and this example still drives the Imperial Fists onwards to fresh victories. Indeed, if the Imperial Fists have a fault, it is that they continue to strive when others would yield or withdraw. Such unquestioning steadfastness has rescued many a victory from the ashes of defeat, but only at a steep cost in lives.
Wars of Unification
If the Emperor was the father of the Legiones Astartes, then Terra was their mother. Just as the Emperor shaped His warriors with His will and intellect, so too did Terra leave her mark on the warriors raised from her soil. These marks, or scars it might be more accurate to say, often shaped a Space Marine Legion's culture, values and methods of war in ways as subtle and deep as the mysteries woven into their flesh. To understand how many of the Legions became as they were, one must first understand Terra. Soaked in blood, ignorance and atrocity, Ancient Terra in the time before the rise of the Emperor was devoid of hope and existed in a state of darkness. The only order was that of tyrants: fleeting and tainted by madness and petty ambition. The Emperor changed that -- first with His hosts forged from the techno-barbarian tribes, then with his army of gene-forged Thunder Warriors, then with the creation of the Legiones Astartes. With blood and fire he tamed Terra, bringing order and enlightenment where before there had been none. It was this transformation that the VII Legion was made to protect.
The first battalions of the VII Legion were raised from across Terra as shown by their earliest battle honour, "Roma". While many other Legions drew their recruits from a particular source, the flesh of the VII Legion came from Terra as a whole. Even in domains where other Legions had "Rights of Tithe", the VII Legion took some of the youths as Initiates. Often these would be those who exhibited the greatest capacity for endurance, both in mind and body. Many were of a taciturn nature, slow to talk but quick to act. Why so many of such a wide pool of recruits should be similar is unclear. Certainly, the processes used to activate the VII Legion's gene-seed seem to have inflicted intense pain, and so perhaps it was a purposeful selection of stock suited to surviving the process. It is also possible that a pattern of recruitment once formed perpetuated until it was tradition. No matter the reason, the grim nature of those recruited into the VII Legion was well-suited to their use.
In war the VII Legion was concerned with conquest. While all of the Emperor's forces fought and died to expand the Imperium, many saw only part of the greater vision. Defeat the enemy, tear down his strongholds, break his beliefs and still you would have a land that could turn against the Imperium in the future, or provide other enemies with a weakness to strike at. Victory was not enough, to conquer one had not only to defeat one's enemies, but to hold the fruits of that victory. This philosophy underpinnned every action of the VII Legion. In attack they would pay any price in their own blood to secure victory, and once they had victory they would begin to consolidate what they had taken. This pattern can be seen time and again in the later conquest of Ancient Terra. It was the VII Legion which broke the Cities of the Crystal Sea, and then raised the Fortress of the Fifth Circle from their ruins. In the ice-wrapped pinnacles of Himalazia they lost three battalions to secure the defeat of the witchery of the Wind Caller clans, but the first Imperial bastions began to rise against the cold sky within solar days of that victory. Across Terra the fruits of their fortress-craft gazed down on those who dwelt in the land around, a constant sign that the strength which had conquered them remained, rooted into the earth.
In the first decade of their existence, the Imperial Fists raised six hundred citadels upon the lands of the conquered. It is said that the dead of the Legion lie still in the foundations of each, their skulls and blood mingling with the stone and mortar of their walls. With these bastions pinning the conquered lands to the Imperium, order would spread amongst the people of these new domains. The old ways would change, fall or be replaced by the new, and if they did not then the looming fortress would answer the question of what the response to rebellion would be. The VII Legion were more than builders and castellans. At their root they were the most direct expression of the Emperor's design of uniting humanity, for they were crusaders. Fortresses solidified conquest, and the VII Legion sought conquest with a focused hunger. While fortresses and ordered domains sprang up in their wake, the VII Legion would never linger, but were always moving on, invading uncompliant domains and pushing the frontiers even as they reinforced what they had just taken. Massed shock assaults, using the full array of weaponry within the Legion, typified the VII Legion's approach to war. Multiple battalions often took to the field en masse, breaking enemies with hammer blow force. On the plains of Kennestar, the 5th Battalion of the VII Legion broke the lines of the Tyrancy with an arrowhead of fifty war machines. It is said that the dust cloud thrown up in their wake blotted out the sun. In the tunnels of Galabaz, they cracked the crust above the buried city and dropped into the exposed tunnels beneath while the explosions were still echoing across the mountains. But always, in the wake of the destruction they wrought, they replaced what they had broken with something stronger.
It was from these early conquests that the VII Legion acquired its name. When many looked on the lands taken by the VII Legion, they said that it was as if, "the hand of the Emperor had descended and gripped with an unbreakable fist." The description of the service done by the VII Legion must have pleased the Emperor, for He personally decreed that they would be known from then on as the Imperial Fists and bestowed on them the right to bear the Laurels of Victory as part of their heraldry. Dutiful and taciturn as ever, it is said that the renamed Imperial Fists accepted their honours in humble silence.
Primarchs are transcendent beings, holding a portion of the sublime and unknowable in their nature. All the qualities which seem strong in a warrior of a Legion exist more strongly, more deeply and with greater subtlety in a Primarch. Though spun from the seed of humanity the Primarchs are not human. This nature often seems to enhance and focus the qualities gifted to a Legion by their gene-seed. So it is that at the moment at which Primarch and Legion unite, there is often a point at which a Legion's character may seem to shift. In the case of the Imperial Fists, the discovery of their Primarch, and the planet which had raise him, only strengthened the character the Imperial Fists had shown since their creation. When the the 20 genetically-engineered nascent Primarchs were stolen from the Emperor's labs on Terra by the Ruinous Powers and cast into the Warp, they were scattered throughout the galaxy upon different worlds, which would come to shape the nature of each Primarch and later their individual Legions created from their genome. When the Primarch Rogal Dorn was restored to the Imperium, it was to be on the Ice World of Inwit located in the Inwit Cluster.
Inwit: Darkness and Ice
Inwit was, and is, a world of death and cold. Its star is old and withered, bleeding the last of its heat as cold, red light. Tidally locked against its dying star, perpetual darkness soaks one side of the planet, faded sunlight the other. Crevasse mazes, frozen mountain ranges and plains of frost dunes cover the planet's dark side -- this is the Splintered Land, the beast-stalked wilderness which shapes the bodies and beliefs of the human population that clings to life here. Under the ice crust, thick seas flow in sluggish tides and pale and sightless creatures swim the waters, hunting by vibration and a preternatural taste for blood. Far above this desolation, great and ancient space stations and shipyards look down on the cold-shrouded worlds through perpetual auroras -- created in a lost past, these citadels of the void have looked down on Inwit since before any records or tales can recall. Whilst on the planet, the light side of Inwit offers little more comfort than the dark, being a land of drift-crusted saline seas and sparse bare rock under the unblinking gaze of the red sun.
There is little of value on Inwit; its seas are buried or lifeless, its mountain bare of riches and its native species vicious. There is, however, one thing that this harsh world produces that led it to conquer a star cluster and endure as an island empire of order in the Age of Strife: its people. Though they are barbaric, they are far from unsophisticated. The warriors of Inwit are raised to endure and survive. The world that bears them teaches them to never relent and that the price of weakness is death, for them and the rest of their kin. Death comes in many forms on Inwit; in the ice storms that can freeze and cover a man in seconds, at the claws of the predators that roam the Splintered Lands, and in the lapse in concentration that allows the cold to penetrate the warmth-seals of a hold. These factors make a certain kind of people: strong, grim and dedicated to the survival of the whole rather than the individual. Much of the world's population is nomadic, moving between the subterranean ice hives to trade in weapons, fuel and technology. Conflict between the roaming clans is common and young warriors learn how to defend against their clan's enemies as early as they learn how to endure the death touch of Inwit's merciless chill. They know how to learn, have an innate sense of an object's functional value and, most importantly, they have the strength to conquer those who possess knowledge they do not.
Long ago, before the coming of the Emperor was even a dream on night-shrouded Terra, the people of Inwit began to create their own realm in the stars. On every world they took, they assimilated, realigned and reinforced. With each conquest their culture and learning grew, but Inwit itself remained unchanged even as it became the centre of a stellar empire. The ice hives and clan disputes remained and while their world birthed starships and ringed its orbits with weapon stations, its rulers kept to the old ways, the ways that had created their strength, the warlords and matriarchs who commanded armies amongst the stars still living lives little easier than their vassals. So it was, and so it is now.
It was as part of this burgeoning empire that Rogal Dorn grew to manhood, and then to rule its domains as emperor. Much of his early years remains unknown, or at least little talked about. What is known is that from the cold and darkness of Inwit the boy, named Rogal by his adoped kin, rose to lead the House of Dorn or the Ice Caste and then to the rule of the Inwit Cluster. The patriarch of the clan that raised Dorn became an adoptive grandfather to him, and taught him much of tactics, strategy, and diplomacy. Even after he discovered he was not blood-related to his "grandfather", Dorn held his memory in high value; he kept a fur-edged robe that had belonged to the man and slept with it on his bed every night. His qualities married perfectly with those of Inwit, and he pushed their empire further than any other, ordered and trained its armies, and fashioned spacecraft the like of which had not been seen before.
The Coming of the Emperor
- "Do not look to us for kindness. Do not look to us for hope. We are not the kind children of this new age. We are the rocks of its foundation. If you wish hope then look to what we make. If you wish kindness then look to those who will come after us."
- — Rogal Dorn, address to the Three Hundred Magistrates of Terra
Forty standard years after his grandfather's death, the outlying Imperial starships of the Great Crusade finally reached the Ice Hives of Inwit. When the true Emperor was reunited with Rogal Dorn, He regained not only a lost son, but the strength of a star-spanning society already forged into a tool of war. Dorn greeted the Emperor at the helm of the enormous starship constructed during the Dark Age of Technology called the Phalanx that he had discovered within Inwit's region of space. Dorn became the seventh of the twenty Primarchs who had been found by their father. The Emperor welcomed Dorn as his long-lost son, and returned the Phalanx to his care, transforming it into the mobile fortress-monastery of the VII Space Marine Legion that was also turned over by the Emperor to Dorn to lead, since all of its Astartes had been created using Dorn's own genetic template.
Dorn himself was fiercely loyal to the Emperor from the first moment that they met on the bridge of the Phalanx, and he never once sought any favour from his father. Dorn embodied the human quest for truth, and could never tell a lie, even if it would have aided his cause. Because of this quality, Dorn's statue stands as one of only four ever erected on Macragge, next to that of Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines. Dorn commanded the VII Legion and its Expeditionary Fleets with peerless devotion and military genius. It was said that he possessed one of the finest military minds amongst the Primarchs, ordered and disciplined but still inclined to flashes of zeal and inspiration. His record of achievements for the Imperium during the Great Crusade were innumerable, and indeed the Warmaster Horus thought of the esteemed Dorn and the Imperial Fists so highly that he reckoned if the Fists, noted masters of defence, were to hold a fortress against he and his Luna Wolves, noted masters of assault, the resultant conflict would spiral into a never-ending stalemate.
Dorn was possessed of a single-minded energy tempered by a reserved and stoic nature. Many have remarked on the dour and emotionless disposition of both this Primarch and his Legion, but such an assessment misses much. Reserved, but terrifying in anger, Dorn was both cautious and calculating, and capable of pursuing an end with relentless energy. While he would rarely show emotion, when he did it was capable of shaking the ground or darkening the sun. During the near-disastrous resurgence of the Xahelican breed in the Adonis Cluster, Dorn's cold rage was said to have held the battlements as much as the arms of those standing upon them. His admonishment of the reinforcements at Castoris is said to have echoes from the fire-touched sky to the still burning sea. "As swift and unforgiving as the falling edge of an axe", is how Leman Russ of the Space Wolves Legion is said to have described his brother-Primarch. Dorn was also capable of brooding and letting matters eat at him beneath his stone-cast demeanour. For as much as he was a warrior of absolute loyalty, he was also an idealist -- the reasons why he fought were as important to him as the outcome of his efforts. During the time of the Great Crusade few ever saw this quality in Dorn, for there was little cause, though those who knew him well could perhaps see hints of it in his near-fatal confrontation with Konrad Curze of the Night Lords Legion in the Cheraut System and his brief schism with Ferrus Manus of the Iron Hands Legion after one particularly brutal campaign. It is only immediately following the horrific events of the Horus Heresy, with so much lost never to be rebuilt, and blood still staining the birth of the Imperium which survived, that history could see that perhaps even in perfect loyalty there can be a flaw. At the moment that the Imperial Fists were united with Rogal Dorn, however, the shadow of eternal treachery still waited far in the future.
Few integrations of Primarch and Legion were as swift or as complete as that between Rogal Dorn and the Imperial Fists. The ideals of the Imperium, and the purpose of the Great Crusade fitted with Dorn's outlook and drive, and the warriors of the Imperial Fists were exemplars not only of everything that he had built in the Inwit Cluster, but everything he had dreamed of for its future. From the first moment Dorm met his gene-sons, he demanded of them everything that he would ask of himself. It is said that when he met Legion Master Matthias and Veteran contingents of the Imperial Fists he said nothing, maintaining his silence even when they had knelt and pledged him fealty. Only when he had observed them in battle did he break his silence and speak to them directly. He said that they had much to do, and more to learn. To Matthias he gave a single word of thanks for his service, and named him High Castellan of the Inwit Cluster. Such an honour was also a deep duty, for the next order he gave was to raise thirty regiments of new Imperial Fists from the Inwit System. Without waiting or looking back, Rogal Dorn and his sons plunged back into the stars.
Over the next sixteen Terran decades, the Imperial Fists fought in the burning edge of the Great Crusade. Relentlessly they pushed from war zone to war zone, were honoured by each of their brother Legions, and rose high in the estimation of many. In their methods of war, the ways of Inwit and the echoes of the VII Legion's victories combined. They drove ever on, without pause or respite. Just as on Terra they fortified and built to secure what they conquered, but just as before they did not linger to rule their conquests. While a castellan with a household of warriors might remain to maintain its defences, they did not administer, or draw up and enforce laws, for they were warriors of the Imperium, not its masters, and they existed to serve in war and die for its survival. What they did take from all the lands they conquered were recruits.
A famous example would be the Imperial Compliance action of Necromunda where the Imperial Fists won a major victory against the Orks on the ash wastes of the Hive World. The Hive Lords consented to recruits being drawn from their population in gratitude. A Fortress-Chapel was duly consecrated but the Imperial Fists were there as esteemed guests, not masters. Rogal Dorn asked no special rights on the worlds where the Imperial Fists recruited. Some Primarchs, such as the increasingly mercurial Perturabo, took every opportunity to garrison a world for their Legions and claim its tithes. Dorn is famously recorded as saying, "I want recruits not vassals", and was always satisfied to keep his Legion as a military unit with none of the civil or political responsibilities that came with governing a Legion homeworld.
During the Great Crusade, the Imperial Fists acted as the strategic reserve of the Emperor's forces due to their ability to rapidly redeploy to battlefields aboard Phalanx. They made use of detailed planning and as such were soon found to be supreme urban fighters and siege specialists. After several campaigns and thousands of conquered worlds being brought into the Imperium, the Emperor returned to Terra to build a capital from which He could run His new empire. He took the Imperial Fists with Him, set them up as His praetorians and charged Dorn with the construction of the Imperial Palace, something that did not go unnoticed by the other Primarchs. Perturabo flew into a rage upon hearing that Dorn thought the Imperial Palace would be proof against an assault by even as mighty siege-masters as the Iron Warriors and he unleashed a torrent of vitriol and accusations against his brother Primarch so unfounded that the onlookers from his own Legion were dumbstruck. After this outburst was reported to Dorn, the two Primarchs rarely spoke, neither Legion serving in the same campaign again. The Imperial Fists were ever at the Emperor's side and the Iron Warriors were part of Horus' vanguard.
Iron and Stone
Similarity encourages understanding, or at least some would claim so. In the case of Rogal Dorn and Perturabo, Primarch of the Iron Warriors Legion, this sentiment not only falls but shatters under the weight of reality. For rarely could there be said to be two beings on the surface who more resembled each other, yet were separated by a greater chasm. Both were reserved to the point of taciturn, both unyielding, both sublime artisans of war who prized indomitability and endurance; there was much that would suggest that they should see the world with one set of eyes, that perhaps they should be closer than any others. That bitterest loathing could arise between two such closely matched kin seems incredible, but it was a reality, some say from the first moment of their meeting.
The exact roots and cause of their enmity cannot be known to any save Rogal Dorn and Perturabo, but if one looks closely there appears a pattern both of behaviour and incidents which may offer a clue. Often it seems as though the pair's similarities were the cause of discord rather than understanding. Both were stubborn and more so when challenged, both spoke rarely, and brooded much behind their stone and iron masks. So it was that the silence of one would aggravate the other, the blunt honesty of one roused the other to anger, and the intractability of both ensured that once a dispute was begun neither would yield.
That there were differences between the two cannot be denied, and often these differences may have been the cause of disputes even if they were not the underlying cause. While both Rogal Dorn and Perturabo often favoured siege craft in war, they often differed in its execution. While both were pragmatic, Perturabo often displayed a brutal directness in waging war, applying overwhelming force or sustaining horrific casualties. While Dorn would never baulk at paying such a price for victory, he rarely accepted large numbers of casualties except through necessity. Dorn was an undoubted idealist above all else, Perturabo a pragmatist first and foremost. On such cracked foundations the decades of the Great Crusade heaped pleasures, honours, disparities and mischance, and from the result history reaped an enmity which would take both Primarchs and their Legions to the brink of destruction.
Triumph of Ullanor
The greatest of the nascent Imperium's victories during the Great Crusade came in the form of the defeat of the largest Ork empire ever encountered in the late 30th Millennium. The Ullanor Crusade was a vast Imperial assault on the Ork empire of the Overlord Urrlak Urruk. The capital world of this Greenskin stellar empire, and the site of the final assault by the Space Marine Legions, lay in the central Ullanor System of the galaxy's Ullanor Sector. The Crusade included the deployment of 100,000 Space Marines, 8,000,000 Imperial Army troops, and thousands of Imperial starships and their support personnel. The Ullanor Crusade marked the high point of the Great Crusade's vast effort to reunite the scattered colony worlds of humanity.
The Orks of Ullanor represented the largest concentration of Greenskins ever defeated by the military forces of the Imperium of Man before the Third War for Armageddon began during the late 41st Millennium. Following the defeat of the Orks of Ullanor, the Emperor of Mankind returned to Terra to begin work on His vast project to open up the Eldar Webway for Mankind's use. In His place to command the vast forces of the Great Crusade He left Horus. In the aftermath of this Ullanor Crusade, Horus was granted the newly-created title of "Warmaster", the commander-in-chief of all the Emperor's armies who possessed command authority over all of the other Primarchs and every Expeditionary Fleet of the Great Crusade.
Jealousies and Rivalries
Following his promotion to the exalted rank of Warmaster, Horus had solicited the opinions and advice of all his brother Primarchs on the subject since the honour had been bestowed upon him. Being named Warmaster set him abruptly apart from them, and raised him up above his brothers, and there had been some stifled objections and discontent, especially from those Primarchs who felt the title should have been theirs. The Primarchs were as prone to sibling rivalry and petty competition as any group of brothers. Guided by the shrewd political hand, it was likely, of his Equerry Maloghurst, Horus had courted his brothers, stilling fears, calming doubts, reaffirming pacts and generally securing their cooperation. He wanted none to feel slighted, or overlooked. He wanted none to think they were no longer listened to. Some, like Sanguinius, Lorgar and Fulgrim, had acclaimed Horus' election from the outset. Others, like Angron and Perturabo, had raged biliously at the new order, and it had taken masterful diplomacy on the Warmaster's part to placate their choler and jealousy. A few, like Leman Russ and Lion El'Jonson, had been cynically resolved, unsurprised by the turn of events.
But others, like Roboute Guilliman, Jaghatai Khan and Rogal Dorn had simply taken it in their stride, accepting the Emperor's decree as the right and obvious choice. Horus had ever been the brightest, the first and the favourite. They did not doubt his fitness for the role, for none of the Primarchs had ever matched Horus' achievements, nor the intimacy of his bond with the Emperor. It was to these solid, resolved brothers that Horus turned in particular for counsel. Dorn and Guilliman both embodied the staunchest and most dedicated Imperial qualities, commanding their Legions' expeditions with peerless devotion and military genius. Horus desired their approval as a young man might seek the quiescence of older, more accomplished brothers.
Following his promotion, Primarch Dorn had come to the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet at Horus' behest, so that the two of them might discuss in detail the obligations and remit of the role of Warmaster. Rogal Dorn possessed perhaps the finest military mind of all the Primarchs. It was as ordered and disciplined as Roboute Guilliman's, as courageous as the Lion's, yet still supple enough to allow for the flash of inspiration, the flash of battle zeal that had won the likes of Leman Russ and the Khan so many victory wreaths. Dorn's record in the Crusade was second only to Horus', but he was resolute where Horus was flamboyant, reserved where Horus was charismatic, and that was why Horus had been the obvious choice for the position of Imperial Warmaster. In keeping with his patient, stony character, Dorn's VII Legion had become renowned for siegecraft and defensive strategies. The Warmaster had once joked that where he could storm a fortress like no other, Rogal Dorn could hold it. "If I ever laid assault to a bastion possessed by you", Horus had quipped at a recent banquet, "then the war would last for all eternity, the best in attack matched by the best in defence." The Imperial Fists were an immovable object to the Luna Wolves' unstoppable force.
The Favoured Sons
As the Great Crusade progressed, the Imperial Fists had risen high in honour and in the favour of the Emperor. Ever dependable, they were often used to reinforce flagging campaigns, to hold crumbling fronts and break deadlocked sieges. The Emperor also frequently called on both Rogal Dorn and his sons to fight beside Him, bestowing this honour on the Imperial Fists more than on any other Legion. When the Imperial Fists descended on Ophelia VIII, the Emperor led the assault at the head of 100 Custodians and 100,000 Imperial Fists. Again during another campaign, the Emperor called on not only Horus and the Luna Wolves, but Dorn and the Imperial Fists to form His vanguard in breaking the Shrouded Dynasties. The Emperor also used Dorn to ensure war and Imperial Compliance was achieved according to His wishes and vision. Time and again, in ways large and small, the Imperial Fists acted at the direct order of the Emperor. Other Primarchs and their Legions blazed a more brilliant trail or spread the Imperial Truth on more worlds, but to many the Imperial Fists were the rock on which the foundations of the Imperium were built.
High in favour and honour though they were, the Imperial Fists' status did not sit well with some of their brother-Legions. The animosity between the Imperial Fists and Iron Warriors was well known, but Perturabo and his Legion were not alone in their resentment. Though few reached the Lord of Iron's pinnacle of spite, others did chafe at the trust placed in the Imperial Fists. Dorn's nature did not amellorate matters. Truth speaking, blame and uncompromising in both his ideals and their expression, his manner often aggravated his peers as much as it drew their admiration. It was perhaps this quality which caused the Emperor to pass over Dorn as Warmaster when He withdrew from the Great Crusade. Horus, unlike Dorn, was a master of diplomacy and maintaining a coordinated balance between fractious forces. Where Dorn would cause conflict, Horus would unify, where Dorn would not compromise, Horus would find a way of satisfying all. But even as Horus took up the reigns of the Great Crusade, Dorn was invested as the Praetorian of Terra. Even as Horus would push the Great Crusade on, the Imperial Fists would withdraw with the Emperor to Terra. And with that decision, the fate of the Emperor and all His sons was set.
Fortifying the Imperial Palace
When the Emperor returned to Terra to build a capital world worthy of ruling a million planets, Rogal Dorn went as well, commanded by the Emperor to return to the Imperial homeworld and establish a guard around Him there. The Imperial Fists Legion had been chosen as the Emperor's Praetorians. Having always excelled in the construction of fortresses, Dorn was tasked with designing the defences for the Imperial Palace. These would prove to be magnificent, and would be well-tested in the following years as the storm of the Horus Heresy broke over the Imperium. The Primarch Fulgrim once asked if Rogal Dorn thought the Imperial Palace could withstand an assault by the Iron Warriors Legion. Dorn's truthful answer, that it could, infuriated the Iron Warriors' Primarch Perturabo to such a degree that they would almost destroy each other in battle years later during the Heresy. Dorn and the entire Imperial Fists Legion were later recalled to Terra by the Emperor to take up garrison duty there near the end of the Great Crusade. Once the Horus Heresy began, this garrison duty would transform into responsibility for preparing the defences of Terra and the Imperial Palace for the coming invasion of Horus and his Traitor Legions.
Before the Imperial Fists could arrive at Terra in full complement, the events of the Horus Heresy overtook them. Stranded for some considerable time by severe Warp Storms , the Imperial Fists' fleet eventually discovered the badly damaged Loyalist Death Guard frigate Eisenstein, and so learned of Horus' betrayal. However, at first Dorn did not believe Captain Nathaniel Garro and nearly killed him when Garro said that his Brother-Primarch Horus was a traitor to the Imperium and the Emperor. Rogal Dorn was eventually convinced by several members of the Eisenstein survivors of the Istvaan III Massacre, notably Captain Garro, Iacton Qruze of the Luna Wolves and Remembrancer (later Imperial Saint) Euphrati Keeler, that his brothers the Primarchs Horus, Fulgrim, Mortarion, and Angron were staging a full-scale rebellion against the Emperor's rule. Dorn therefore dispatched the bulk of his Legion to the Istvaan System on a war-footing. He himself returned to Terra with his Veteran Space Marine companies to bring word of the terrible events personally to the Emperor of Mankind.
Mission To Mars
For those still loyal to the Emperor on the Red Planet, their salvation arrived in the form of a great Imperial expeditionary fleet. Malcador the Sigillite, the Regent of Terra, charged Rogal Dorn with a mission of the most vital importance -- to secure the forges of Mars for the Imperial war effort. Dorn informed the Sigillite that he would send his Legion's Champion and First Captain Sigismund, 4 companies of Imperial Fists and a large force of Imperialis Auxilia soldiers to secure the forges of Mars. Within the northern hemisphere of the Red Planet lay an arc of Loyalist control -- the important munitions manufactorums of Mondus Gamma and Mondus Occulum. Within these two vast industrial complexes the Mechanicum fabricated the weaponry and Power Armour for the Legions of the Space Marines. The forges of Mondus Occulum and Mondus Gamma alone produced the bulk of the armour and weapons of the Astartes. Dorn intended for his force to strike there and capture those forges and once they were occupied, the Imperial Fists and their allies would push outwards and secure the others.
Sigismund's companies landed at Mondus Occulum as the rest of the Imperial expeditionary force was fighting all across the surface of Mars. After a rapid deployment under fire in the shadow of Pavonis Mons, 13 companies of the Imperial Army's Saturnine Hoplites advanced on the Traitors' lines surrounding the forge of Ipluvien Maximal. Further south, 2 of the companies of Imperial Fists and 4 regiments of Jovian Grenadiers (nearly 15,000 Imperial Army soldiers in total) under the command of the Imperial Fists' Captain Camba-Diaz made planetfall in the Mondus Gamma forge complex.
Nothing of the Imperial Fists' mission to Mars panned out the way it had been expected. Camba-Diaz and the Jovian regiments soon became embroiled in a fight for their lives at Mondus Gamma forge, and the Saturnine Hoplites companies tasked with breaking the siege at Ipluvien Maximal's forge had been repeatedly turned back by the horrifyingly altered weapon-creatures of the Dark Mechanicum. Though the fighting was desperate, Camba-Diaz eventually secured the armour forges and the ammunition silos, but his company was outnumbered a hundred to one. The Traitor Chrom's troops pushed him back to the landing fields and his losses were grievous. Sigismund knew the Imperial expeditionary force would not be able to hold the forge, but a great deal of essential supplies had been secured for transit to Terra.
Sigismund's companies had descended upon Mondus Occulum not knowing whether they would have to fight to secure the forge, but it was a relief to find that Fabricator Locum Zagreus Kane still held true to the Imperium. Sigismund secured vast quantities of munitions for transport back to Terra, including nearly 12,000 suits of Mark IV Power Armour and twice as many Astartes weapons. But the Loyalists had run out of time. Despite the locum's Servitors working at full capacity, it still was not rapid enough, for Sigismund's ship masters informed him of a sizable enemy force closing in, composed of infantry, armoured vehicles, Skitarii and at least two Traitor Titan Legions comprising nearly 60 war engines in all.
Sigismund's desire to wreak a bloody vengeance on the heads of those who had rebelled against the Emperor warred with the necessity of the mission his Primarch had given him to secure the vital armour and weapons of Zagreus Kane's forge that would be needed to defend the Imperial Palace at a later date. Reluctantly he knew that he must stay true to his mission, for the forces arrayed against the Imperial strike force were simply too many and his orders did not allow for the pursuit of futile gestures of defiance. Locum Kane warned the Imperial Fists' First Captain that if both the Mondus Occulum and Mondus Gamma forges fell, the Imperium would have no way of replenishing the combat losses they would sustain in any meaningful way.
After barely a few hours worth of fighting both Mondus Occulum and Mondus Gamma were burning, with vast swathes of their industrial machinery and manufacturing capacity destroyed. The loss of such irreplaceable technology and knowledge, would be felt by the Imperium for many millennia to come. Like comets launching from the surface of Mars, the Imperial starships fled for the heavens. Astartes and Imperial Army vessels jostled in the sky in their haste to depart the Red Planet. Barely a thousand Loyalist warriors were able to escape from the planet's surface before the manufactorums fell into the hands of the Traitors. The desperate rearguard action of the Astartes and other Loyalists on Mars and the sacrifice of many thousands of lives at least had secured tens of thousands of suits of newly-fabricated Mark V and Mark VI Space Marine Power Armour and other vital materiel that would ultimately prove to be the edge for the forces of the Imperium in the campaign against the Traitor Legions of Horus Lupercal.
The Wall Without & The Wall Within
As the Horus Heresy raged throughout the galaxy, Lord Dorn fortified the defences of the Throneworld and the Sol System for the inevitable push on Terra, that the Warmaster and his Traitor Legions would make. Terra had been made a fortress but it was a fortress with two walls: the wall within, and the wall without. The wall within was the gate from the Imperial Dungeon to the Emperor's mysterious Great Project. Here stood the Master of Mankind Himself, at the head of the Custodians and the Sisters of Silence. The wall without were the spheres of the defence that extended from the literal walls of the Imperial Palace to the darkness beyond the edge of the Solar System. On this outer wall stood the Praetorian of Terra, Rogal Dorn, and his Imperial Fists. If either wall fell, then everything would be lost.
The Imperial Fists' defence of the Solar System was divided into Spheres. All the defences and forces within each Sphere were commanded by a senior Imperial Fist raised to the rank of Lord Castellan by Rogal Dorn. The First Sphere was the outermost, and came under the command of Sigismund. The Second was commanded by Halbrecht, while the Third, under Efried, enclosed the Martian battle sphere and had the traitorous Dark Mechanicum Tech-Priests fully bottled in. Terra was marshalled by Lord Dorn himself. The Imperial Fists forces in the Solar System were divided between each of these commands, along with thousands more ships, void defences and millions of mortal troops. Separated by millions of kilometres, signals sent between the forces assigned to each sphere took hours to reach each other. When the Traitor invasion finally came, word would pass by a single astropathic flare, a psychic message passed as fast as thought that said that the Traitors had come to the walls of Solar -- "Fire on the mountains".
The Solar Campaign
With its network of operatives and bonds-men and -women, it is believed that even in the state of civil war that the Imperium had fallen into, the Alpha Legion had the means and opportunities to transfer materiel and personnel between sectors, including the Segmentum Solar and the strategically vital Sol System, whose defence had been entrusted to the Imperial Fists and their Primarch, Rogal Dorn, the newly proclaimed Praetorian of Terra. Under the tireless efforts of the Imperial Fists, the Sol System had become a fortress, each strata of the Solar System being turned into a perfectly organised defence zone to break the Warmaster Horus' eventual assault. Given the Alpha Legion's tendency to prove its own superiority, it would not simply suffice to break open Terra's outer defences, but to humiliate the VII Legion, they would have to infiltrate the most secure location of the entire galaxy -- the Imperial Palace.
Activating assets that had been dormant and hidden on Terra for several standard decades, the Alpha Legion would eventually succeed where all others had failed before, infiltrating several agents within the Imperial Palace and especially the Investiary, where great statues had been erected to commemorate the Great Crusade's greatest generals -- the Primarchs of the twenty Space Marine Legions. Two plinths had stood empty for a long time, the statues adorning them destroyed when their respective owners were cast into oblivion and their history erased -- the Lost Primarchs. But the statues of the nine Primarchs who had turned against the Emperor were merely covered up. This was to be the Alpha Legion's target. Infiltrated Legionaries succeeded in penetrating into the Investiary and destroyed all the statues except two of them -- those of Alpharius and Rogal Dorn. Intended as both a challenge and a message, this feat was deliberately kept secret from the other Adepta within the Imperial Palace. Even the Regent of Terra, Malcador the Sigilite, and the Emperor's own bodyguards, the Legio Custodes, were forbidden to enter the Investiary and witness the shaming of the Imperial Fists. By what means the Sigilite still discovered the presence of the Alpha Legion on Terra remains a mystery, but Rogal Dorn was adamant that he would deal with the treacherous XX Legion in due course. Shortly after this act of sabotage, an Alpha Legion fleet, led by Harrowmaster Kel Silonius, attacked the Sol System's outermost defences, and managed to capture several of Pluto's moons, the very heart of the outermost defence perimeter. What truly occurred there remains a well-guarded secret, one only kept by Rogal Dorn himself and his Huscarl-bodyguard.
The Battle of Pluto
In order to prepare for Horus' advance towards Terra, the Alpha Legion was charged by the Warmaster to carry out vital acts of sabotage and preparation, which would plunge the Solar System into complete chaos. Though heavily defended by the Imperial Fists Legion, led by the Praetorian of Terra, Rogal Dorn himself, the Primarch Alpharius, aboard his flagship Alpha, led his fleet towards the Sol System. He managed to successfully infiltrate the outer defences of the system by putting himself, and the entirety of the personnel within his fleet, into stasis. Meanwhile, the Alpha Legion fleet approached at minimum speed and powered its vessels down to the bare minimum, in order to reduce their overall heat signature. Thus it took an entire standard year for the Alpha Legion fleet to drift towards Sol and successfully reach the outskirts of Terra's defences undetected, as Warp travel had been strictly forbidden.
Meanwhile Alpha Legion Sparatoi (augmented and highly adept human agents) as well as Alpha Legion operative teams activated throughout the Sol System. These "sleeper" cells had been planted standard years earlier before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, and upon activation, performed their primary functions of sowing destruction and diversionary terrorist acts, causing panic and anarchy. Multiple acts of murder and sabotage were conducted on a number of planets to distract the beleaguered Imperial defenders from the Alpha Legion's true objective -- Pluto -- the lynchpin of the Loyalists' surveillance network within the Sol System. As Rogal Dorn was distracted by these diversionary attacks across the system, Alpharius' fleet, comprised of over 200 vessels, led by the Alpha, struck Pluto and its moons Charon, Kerberos, Nix, Styx and finally Hydra. As the fleet arrived, a further uprising, instigated by Alpha Legion infiltrator teams, erupted across the Sol System.
The Alpha Legion's primary objective was Hydra, a fortress moon that orbited Pluto and was a major astropathic monitoring station. Alpharius himself led a team of Alpha Legion warriors in the attack on the moon. Meanwhile, the Loyalist defenders, led by First Captain Sigismund, had just 30 ships to defend against the massive Alpha Legion fleet. Due to the unexpected and brutal assault, the severely outnumbered Loyalist fleet was badly mauled by Fire Ships hidden among the Alpha Legion fleet, to wreak havoc on the Imperial Fists defenders. The captured fortress moon of Kerberos rained down deadly fire upon Charon, Nix, and Styx with heavy weapons. Despite facing overwhelming odds, the Imperial Fists resolutely stood their ground in the face of the Alpha Legion's overwhelming assault.
Death and Rebirth
Meanwhile, Archamus, Rogal Dorn's Master of the Huscarls, was eventually able to deduce the Alpha Legion's true intentions -- to sabotage the Imperial astropathic monitoring network centred on Hydra. During the fighting, Archamus led a Huscarl contingent in a daring assault upon the Alpha Legion force led by Primarch Alpharius himself. In the subsequent fighting, the Huscarls were killed and Archamus was left mortally wounded. All seemed lost, as the battle seemed to swing in favour of the Traitor forces. But miraculously, the Imperial Fists' mobile star-fortress Phalanx, led by Rogal Dorn himself, arrived with a massive Imperial Fists fleet in tow. They were boosted by additional reinforcements from the Armada Imperialis. Utilising the competing gravity wells throughout the Solar System, the Imperial Fists fleet managed to arrive quickly by slingshotting itself towards Pluto. The Imperial Fists reinforcements immediately pacified the captured guns on Kerberos, as Rogal Dorn led his Huscarls in an assault upon the astropathic chamber on Hydra.
Dorn and his remaining Huscarls teleported directly into the locked chamber, and soon joined battle against Alpharius and his elite Lernaean Terminators. Archamus looked on helplessly, as the two Primarchs fought one another in an epic life-or-death duel. When Alpharius was about to impale Dorn with his Pale Spear, the now-dying Archamus grabbed the hilt of the weapon and deflected it harmlessly into a non-vital area of Dorn's chest. This gave Rogal Dorn the opening he needed, to grab the weapon's hilt, and using his deadly Chainsword, Storm's Teeth, he sliced through Alpharius' wrists, severing his hands from his arms, before slashing his former brother across his chest, and then impaling him with his own spear. Finally, Dorn finished off Alpharius with a deadly chop of his mighty Chainsword into the top of his skull. With the death of their Primarch, the Alpha Legion fleet withdrew and retreated from Pluto. At the moment of his twin-Primarch's death, Omegon sensed the demise of his sibling and became distant. Shortly thereafter, he was notified that the Warmaster demanded that Alpharius speak with him so that he could know the status of the Alpha Legion's attack on the Sol System. Like he had done many times before, Omegon immediately took upon himself his brother's name, and permanently assumed the mantle of sole Primarch of the XX Legion.
Battle of Terra
Along with the White Scars and the Blood Angels Legions, the Imperial Fists put up a heroic defence of the Imperial Palace from the Forces of Chaos during the Battle of Terra, that has since passed into legend. Having originally constructed the Imperial Palace, it was also Rogal Dorn who prepared the Palace's defences at the Emperor's request to face the Traitor Legions of Horus. Then, when all hope seemed lost, they accompanied the Emperor in his last battle aboard the Warmaster Horus' Battleship Vengeful Spirit. It fell to Dorn to discover the bodies of the Emperor, Horus and Sanguinius after the final drama had run its course. His grief was immense. Until that point Dorn had been true, noble and enduring, but now he became an avenging son. While the Ultramarines maintained order within the battered Imperium, the Imperial Fists hunted down the Traitor Legions, levelling fortress after fortress. Dorn led them, dressed in the black of mourning, his customary mercy set aside until the guilty were punished. While others like the Ultramarines' Primarch Roboute Guilliman shaped the new Imperium's institutions during the Reformation, Dorn immersed himself in implacable justice. It was rumoured that he saw the Emperor's death as his personal failure and his crusade as penance. After all, were the Traitors not his brothers? Whatever the cause, Rogal Dorn was absent from the highest councils until he was summoned back to Terra when Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines, presented his Codex Astartes as the future of the Space Marines and the Imperial military machine.
Pillar of Bone
The Pillar of Bone is believed to be a monument raised on Terra to the Imperial Fists' courage in an unnamed campaign. But in reality it is actually a sacred holy relic to those privy to the truth within the Imperial Fists. The Pillar is the last remnant of the once-great Imperial Fists fortress-monastery on Terra. It was destroyed during the Horus Heresy in the midst of the Battle of Terra, but, to most of the huddled masses of the Imperium, the Heresy is now no more than a legend and few would dare to openly claim that the Forces of Chaos had ever set foot on the sacred ground of Terra. In the holes torn from the column by the Bolter fire of the Traitor Legions were the scrimshawed hands of Imperial Fists Battle-Brothers. Part of the sacred duties given to Imperial Fists Chaplains was to bring new relics of the Chapter to the Pillar, but at times they would also recruit those pilgrims who came to Terra from all across the galaxy into the Chapter if they were deemed worthy of becoming Aspirants. It was at this sacred site that future-Captain (and Imperial Fists' hero) Darnath Lysander was recruited after he had survived multiple misfortunes, including the slaughter of his entire family, to make it to the holy soil of blessed Terra. It seemed to the Imperial Fists Chaplain that recruited him that the young pilgrim surely had the blessings of Rogal Dorn upon him. Such intuition would be proved right again and again during Captain Lysander's career.
Column of Glory
Another of the greatest relics of the Imperial Fists Chapter also rests on Terra. Known as the Column of Glory, this structure is a massive crystalline pillar half a kilometre high close by the Emperor's own throne room, which was embedded with the shattered armour of all those Imperial Fists Legionaries who had fallen in defence of Terra and the Imperial Palace during the final battle of the Horus Heresy. Within those broken suits, their bones; and inside the open faceplates, their grinning skulls. There was no finer sepulchre of honour that any Astartes could aspire to. The Column of Glory stands as an eternal testament to the sacrifice the Sons of Dorn made in defence of the Emperor of Mankind and the homeworld of humanity.
The Codex Astartes Crisis
It was Rogal Dorn who discovered the bodies of the Emperor, Horus and the Blood Angels Primarch Sanguinius after the final drama had run its course aboard the Vengeful Spirit. Dorn's grief was immense. Until that point, he had been true, noble and enduring, but now he became a reckless avenging son. While the Ultramarines Legion maintained order within the wounded Imperium, the Imperial Fists hunted down the Traitors that had turned their back on the Emperor, levelling fortress after fortress during the Great Scouring. Dorn immersed himself in implacable retribution until he was summoned back to Terra when Roboute Guilliman presented the Codex Astartes as the future of the Space Marines.
The Second Founding
While many Primarchs welcomed the Codex Astartes, Rogal Dorn initially refused to have his Legion broken down into Chapters. Leman Russ and Vulkan agreed with Dorn, but Corax and Jaghatai Khan supported Guilliman. Tension rose as neither side backed down, and it seemed inevitable that civil war would once more engulf the Imperium. Only at the brink, when the newly founded Chapters and the old Legions were preparing for battle, did Dorn realise that his self-imposed quest for vengeance had blinded him to wisdom. He realised that the Ultramarines, the other Space Marine Chapters, the Imperial Navy and the newborn Imperial Guard would all initiate another civil war with the Imperial Fists rather than allow them to avoid accepting the dictates of the Codex. Despite his love for the Space Marines of his Legion, Rogal Dorn loved the Imperium the Emperor had created too much to subject it to another terrible conflict in the wake of the horrors of the Horus Heresy. With a heavy heart, he acquiesced to the reforms ordained by Guilliman. So it was that Dorn finally relented and agreed to the Founding of four new one-thousand-man strong Chapters from his Legion -- the Crimson Fists, Black Templars, Fists Exemplar and the Soul Drinkers. Rogal Dorn's willingness to swallow his pride and embrace the Codex Astartes did much to reassure the High Lords of Terra, and when the Imperial Fists emerged from the Second Founding, their adherence to the tenets of Guilliman's tome was matched only by the Ultramarines themselves.
The enmity between the Iron Warriors and the Imperial Fists began in the Great Crusade; Perturabo was ever jealous of the esteem in which Rogal Dorn was held, seeing conceit and arrogance where others saw nobility. When Perturabo sided with the rebel Horus, the seeds of rivalry grew into bitter loathing. The Imperial Fists, like the Iron Warriors, were masters of the siege and as such relied greatly on the use of artillery and heavy weapons in combat, although not to the extent of their traitorous former brethren. Their shared specialisation led to the development of a great rivalry and eventually hatred between the two Legions and their Primarchs during the Great Crusade, and after the Heresy the Imperial Fists continued to pursue the Iron Warriors for some time, culminating in the incident known as the battle of the "Iron Cage" on the world of Sebastus IV.
Perturabo, the Primarch of the Iron Warriors Traitor Legion, was a master of fortification whose writings had been retained by Roboute Guilliman in his Codex Astartes. Dorn had always been Perturabo's match in the arts of siege warfare and combat engineering, and, what was more, his honest warrior's soul was indignant. The Iron Warriors had rebelled against their rightful lord and lost. Their master, Horus, was dead and the Emperor still ruled over the galaxy. Yet still they dared raise their heretical banners over another Imperial world as if they had some right to be there. Dorn would not tolerate this. Without his customary caution and planning, Dorn led his Legion into the heart of the Iron Warriors' fortifications, a massive set of interlocking defences designed to look like an 8-pointed Star of Chaos that was known as the Eternal Fortress. The fortress was located on Sebastus IV, a world that became known in legend as the Iron Cage. The battle should have favoured the treacherous trench-fighters of the Iron Warriors, but the Imperial Fists endured. They countered every ambush and fought their way out of every trap set by the Chaos Space Marines. Rogal Dorn was a colossus who personally turned back attack after attack. Ammunition expended, the Battle-Brothers of the Fists fought in half-flooded trenches with combat knives, giving and expecting no quarter. Eventually it became apparent that the Iron Warriors could not finish them. For all their skill and ferocity, as devotees of Chaos the Iron Warriors lacked the faith to make the ultimate sacrifice that victory demanded. While they paused, the Ultramarines intervened; Guilliman had decided that Perturabo's destruction was not worth the loss of Rogal Dorn and had brought his Legion to drive off the Iron Warriors.
Cleansed by their sacrifice in the Iron Cage, the Imperial Fists immediately began their reorganisation into separate Chapters as required by the Codex Astartes. For the next two decades the remaining Imperial Fists went into retreat to rebuild their numbers, their Successor Chapters taking to the field in their stead. Dorn used this time to retrain the Chapter to embrace all aspects of the Codex Astartes. When the Imperial Fists later emerged, their adherence to the Codex was matched only by the Ultramarines.
Rogal Dorn's Death
Rogal Dorn is believed to have "died" in 781.M31 whilst fighting a Chaos Fleet during the 1st Black Crusade that had emerged from the Eye of Terror under the command of the returned Abaddon the Despoiler, with a vastly outnumbered Imperial force. Seeing the importance of attacking the enemy fleet while they were still preparing to invade Imperial space, Dorn relied on hit-and-run attacks until his reinforcements could arrive. Dorn "died" onboard the Chaotic Despoiler-class Battleship Sword of Sacrilege after leading a desperate attack on its bridge. The only trace of the missing Primarch uncovered by the Imperial Fists' subsequent searching was a single fist. Dorn's skeletal hand was returned to the Phalanx where, over the years, it has been scrimshawed, the bones intricately engraved with the heraldry of all the Imperial Fists Chapter's previous Chapter Masters. Only the current Imperial Fists Chapter Master has the right to engrave his name upon the bones. Even with minuscule script, ten thousand standard years of history have left the bones covered with names, giving a list of the Imperium's greatest heroes. Each bone corresponds to former commanders of the Chapter. For instance, the left hand first metacarpal contains the names of Chapter Masters Bronwin Abermort, Maximus Thane, Kalman Flodensbog and many others, while the first phalanx of the thumb bears the name Ambrosian Spactor, and so forth. The Hand of Dorn is the Imperial Fists' holiest icon and it serves as a reminder of sacrifice and commitment. So it is that, throughout the Imperial Fists' history, from the Ork Onslaughts of the 32nd Millennium to the 13th Black Crusade, they have drawn inspiration from their Primarch's remains and resolved to defeat their foes or die in the attempt. Whether the fist actually belongs to Rogal Dorn or his remains lie elsewhere, is unknown. It is even possible that Dorn survived the assault upon the Sword of Sacrilege; whatever his fate, its truth is known only to the Emperor at present.
- First Pacification of Luna (ca. 790.M30) - This early Imperial campaign was the first operation mounted by elements of the early Space Marine Legions beyond the skies of Terra. The Unification Wars were still raging across the surface of Mankind's birth world. Luna was the bastion of a conglomeration of resurrectionist gene-cults whose members believed that human nature was both fractal, fractured and transcendent. Each of these Selenar gene-cults clung to a different set of archetypes. Every cult member was a product of creation by the Selenar gene-wrights according to formulae crafted in the Dark Age of Technology. Resurrected in body time and time again they sought to distill the true personification of a single human archetype. In their subterranean complexes the cults were powerful, insular and resistant to the Imperial Truth. The Imperials would have normally dealt with these insular cults in the usual matter they handled all of the other Terran factions and techno-barbarian states that refused to accept the rule of the Emperor of Mankind -- by obliteration. The fact that the Selenar gene-cults had something that the growing Imperium needed complicated such action. The Selenar responded to the Imperial entreaties for alliance with silence. As the threats of the Imperium soon began to outnumber its offers, the Selenar cults began to gird themselves for war. So it was that the Emperor finally ordered Luna to be pacified by the sword, their superstitious beliefs cast down before the Imperial Truth and their gene-craft yoked to the needs of the Imperium. To this task the Emperor set three of his newborn Space Marine Legions most suited to this purpose on what some Imperial chroniclers name as the first true battle of the Great Crusade. The combined force of the VII, XIII and XVI Legions (later named the Imperial Fists, Ultramarines and Luna Wolves) lifted from the surface of Terra in a scattering of rocket flame. The as yet unnamed XVI Legion had been chosen to serve as the Space Marine force's vanguard, and had brought its full strength to bear. Cutting power to their assault craft, the Astartes of the XVI Legion drifted silently towards Luna through the void like arrows fired into the night. As the smaller wave of assault craft belonging to the VII and XIII Legions approached the airless world, the Selenar defensive weapon systems embedded in Luna's surface lashed the oncoming Imperial force. The XVI Legion's assault craft, unlooked for and unseen, struck their targets like a dagger in the night. Within six hours of the first shot being fired, Luna had been pacified and brought into Imperial Compliance, the first off-world conquest of the Imperium of Man. Faced with annihilation, the surviving Selenar cultists bent the knee instead, their surrender communique transmitted to Terra calling for the Emperor to "call off his wolves". Broken and humbled, the enslaved gene-wrights of Luna would help forge the next generation of Space Marine who would carry out Mankind's conquest of the stars. As for the XVI Legion, they had earned their name -- the Luna Wolves.
- The Unheard War (ca. 798.M30) - This terrible conflict was fought in the Azurite Stations of Uranus in the days before the Great Crusade broke the bounds of the Sol System. Named for the corroded blue of the inner surfaces of their hulls, the Azurite Stations were a linked crescent of void citadels. Having cast off the rule of bloody-handed princelings, madmen and prophets several centuries before the coming of the Great Crusade, the Azurites had become a community of artisans and near-space scavengers. Despite their independence, the Azurites greeted the Emperor's convoy courteously and agreed to kneel to Imperial authority. The newly Compliant Azurites were turned to fuelling the ever-hungry machine of the Great Crusade. Significant numbers of their civilisation were inducted into the crews of the expanding fleet and their unique technology began to flow into the hands of Great Crusade forces. But soon the Azurites faced their doom at the hand of an ancient enemy in the form of the Solar Pirates -- remnants of a confederation of Renegades comprised of vile mutants, witchery and abomination who had risen to power as the Age of Strife broke. Scornful of the Imperium, and fearing its might, they circled the new-born realm like jackals at the edge of the firelight, and as the bulk of the Emperor's forces were sucked into the spiraling wars for Neptune's moons, the pirate clans' hunger finally overcame their prudence. The Azurite Stations were set upon by the Solar Pirates and their station's defences were torn apart and the Azurites screamed into the void, calling on their new masters to help them. Though focused elsewhere, the Imperium was not deaf to the violation of part of its newly claimed domains. In answer to the cries of the Azurites, it sent the Imperial Fists Legion. When they arrived, a squadron of heavily-gunned system craft bored its way through the sphere of pirate ships and launched Assault Craft into the beleaguered station. Fifty Imperial Fists disgorged into the battle-filled passages of the void station and quickly broke the first wave of pirate hoarders. Within an hour they had configured the station's defences and depleted garrison into a bulwark which broke three more pirate assaults. The pirates, sensing defeat, cut their losses and ran back into the dark to lick their wounds. They did not flee, though, without one final parting act of spite. In a last suicidal attack, a ship broke through the Imperial lines and fired three boarding torpedoes at the station. One made it through -- damaged but still intact -- and deposited a wizened man with no eyes, fingers or ears. He spoke one word, "Silence". Only then did the Azurites who found him realise that he had no tongue. He had released an ancient psy-plague, known as the "The Screaming", that was thought eradicated during the Unification Wars since the Emperor's rise to power. As the psy-plague gripped the Azurite Stations, the fifty Imperial Fists knew that they stood alone against a threat which could wound the Great Crusade itself. As one they deafened themselves, and having reduced their world to silence, they fought their way through the maddened waves of infected Azurites. They could not allow the psy-plague to escape the confines of the void stations. All it would take is one person, one cry across a Vox heard beyond the station and the Screaming would spread. The fifty Imperial Fists ordered their warships to withdraw, renewed their oaths and went to meet their deaths. Setting the reactors to overload, the handful of remaining Legionaries transmitted one final message, telling the Imperium of what they had done and why. A solar hour later, the reactors detonated. Within hours of receiving the last message from the Azurite Stations, fleets of ships and forces from the newly expanded Space Marine Legions were sent to hunt down the pirates. A solar month later, all that existed of the Solar Pirates were gutted wrecks and corpses floating in the airless night. The Screaming was never visited on Mankind again, and it is said that when the Emperor heard of the sacrifice of the fifty Imperial Fists, He ordered the newly-raised Bell of Lost Souls in the Imperial Palace tolled for the first time.
- The Consus Drift Compliance (ca. 800.M30) - The Consus Drift was a belt of stellar debris which lay in the dark between stars close to the Sol System. Stranded far away from the warmth of suns or the life sustaining cycles of planets, it was nonetheless home to billions of humans who had been stranded there for millennia, caught in the Warp tides, whirpools and flats of dead calm. The Mirror Race was such a pattern, and voidships caught in it were flung through its turbulence to emerge in the Consus Drift. Those who had been stranded in this region of space had managed to build a civilisation grown from lost souls -- vast strings of asteroid cities lay across the Consus Drift, connected together by tunnels made from the metal entrails of shipwrecks. Willow limbed, black eyed and pale skinned, the people of the sprawling archipelago were divided into warring Drift Clans, who continuously fought one another for salvage, territory and resources. The Imperium discovered the Consus Drift by accident, when the 3rd Expeditionary Fleet, under the command of the Imperial Fists, was caught in the Mirror Race and thrown into that region. As the fleet rolled in the void, damaged and confused, the Drift Clans attacked. Though severely outmatched, this was not totally true, for the archipelago of void cities mounted weapons scavenged over thousands of solar years. More significantly, the Drift Clans were schooled and blooded in the brutal arts of void warfare. The first assault waves hit the most damaged vessels and battles swarmed through the Imperial warships even as they tried to return fire, but even as the Drift Clans made progress, they met the first of the Imperial Fists and the battle changed. The Imperial Fists counterattacked, driving the Driftborn from their ships, and then continued their assault by launching gunships, boarding torpedoes and breaching pods into the void cities. Battering their way into the heart of each city, the Imperial Fists stopped only when their hands held the controls of the cities' life support systems. Across every Vox channel and speaker, the commander of the Imperial Fists gave the people of the Consus Drift an ultimatum: Imperial Compliance or extermination. The Clan Warriors immediately surrendered. The 3rd Expeditionary Fleet left after repairs were made, but not before the Imperial Fists had taken the youngest and strongest male warriors of each of the Drift Clans. Of those who survived initiation into the VII Legion, all were inducted into a single unit; the 356th Company. Over the next century, the 356th Company's reputation for excellence in out-hull void warfare and starship assaults was without peer, and the clustered star heraldry and tradition of elaborate full body tattoos amongst their warriors still speaks to the traditions of the ancient clans of the Consus Drift.
- Praxil Reblllion (800s.M30) - When the worlds of the Praxil System were first discovered, the Imperium was pleased by the prospect of adding them to the Imperium. Though bringing Praxil into Imperial Compliance would bring the Imperium great renown, this formidable civilisation refused to bend the knee to the light of the Imperial Truth, and instead was prepared to fight to maintain its independence. Its warfleet was formidable, and managed to push back the initial invasion of the Imperial Expeditionary Fleet. The Imperium wanted Praxil's wealth and resources to harness to the needs of the Great Crusade, and so the securing of Praxil fell to an Army-Group-sized force of the Emperor's Children, supported by selected elements of the Imperial Army and the forces of the Mechanicum. But the initial campaign did not go well, as the Imperial forces sustained severe casualties and faced opposition at every turn, despite changing their tactics. Too prideful to ask for help, the War Council of Terra sent a force of Blood Angels and Imperial Fists to assist. the beleaguered Imperial forces. Despite his misgivings and slight to his personal honour, the Lord Commander accepted his cousin Legions' assistance and immediately drew up plans for prosecuting the second offensive against the Praxil. With their combined strength, the Imperial forces launched a successful second offensive against the Praxil that soon saw an Imperial victory.
- Pacification of Schravaan (ca. 850s.M30) - This was a joint Imperial Compliance action conducted by the Imperial Fists, Iron Warriors, Emperor's Children and the Luna Wolves Legions against the xenos Badoon on the world of Schravaan. The Iron Warriors won a great victory when they stormed the final refuge of the Badoon. They breached the defences and held while the other Legions carried the city beyond. During the following victory feast, Horus proclaimed Perturabo the greatest master of siege warfare in the Great Crusade. Fulgrim, the Primarch of the Emperor's Children then inquired to his brother Rogal Dorn whether he thought even the defences of the Imperial Palace could resist an assault by the Iron Warriors, in which Dorn replied that he regarded the defences as being proof against any assault if well-planned. Perturabo flew into a rage and unleashed unfounded accusations against his brother. After this the two rarely spoke, and their Legions would not serve in the same campaign for the remainder of the Great Crusade.
- The Two Wars of Araneus (Mid 800s.M30) - The worlds of the Araneus Continuity were a series of planets close to the Sol System which had maintained links to one another due to the existence of a series of ancient Warp Gates of unknown origins. Ruled by a caste of Technobility from the world of Araneus Prime at the heart of the network of Warp Gates, the Continuity was a kingdom of iron and hungering industry. Contact between the Imperium and this pocket of humanity occurred by accident. A lost squadron of warships returning from the Gehenial Prosecution was forced from the Warp into one of the Continuity's peripheral star systems. Before they could jump back into the Warp, the squadron was surrounded, boarded, and overwhelmed by cybernetically-grafted warriors. The cries of the squadron's Astropaths echoed through the Immaterium, and far away the Imperium heard and turned its gaze upon the worlds of the Araneus Continuity. An envoy fleet was sent, and was allowed to return bearing the Continuity's answer to the Emperor's demand of fealty. The Technobility flatly refused to bow to the Emperor, but instead invited Him to join their empire as a tributary. For its response, the Imperium turned to the Imperial Fists. It fell to Hashin Yonnad, Commander of the 39th Household (Chapter) of Inwit, to prosecute the war. A superlative warrior, Yonnad was reckoned by many to be one of the Imperium's greatest strategists. Called upon many times as a fleet commander and siege master, he planned meticulously and executed his plans with brutal swiftness. Marshalling his fleet at Tallarn, thousands of warships carrying over 20,000 Imperial Fists, alongside millions of troops of the Imperial Army and the Mechanicum launched their assault upon the unsuspecting systems of the Araneus. Within two solar months the Continuity was reduced to the single core world of Araneus Prime. Their empire cut from around them, the Technobility in their iron towers looked to the night sky and saw the darkness stolen by the light of the Imperial fleet. They surrendered then, and the sun rose the next day on the seat of another stellar empire brought to Imperial Compliance. But even as the Imperium moved in to claim their prize, the worlds of the Araneus Continuity were beset by an unknown menace. A few accounts speak of a darkness deeper than the void, of living lightning and flame-wreathed chrome. Six star systems of the Continuity burned, their stars igniting to terrible life before crumbling to cold embers. Commander Yonnad made the terrible decision to defend only some of the worlds, otherwise they would lose all. As the unknown enemy appeared in system after system, they met the Imperial Fists. As more of the enemy came, the Imperial Fists detonated warheads they had attached to each Warp Gate. Without their gates, the unknown enemies simply vanished. Their advance had been halted on Araneus Prime when its gate exploded. All but one of the systems of the Continuity had died, and at the cost of thousands of Imperial Fists and billions of humans Araneus Prime survived, but barely. The death of the Warp Gate and the cluster of xenos craft which had penetrated the Imperial Fists' lines had changed the shape of the planet. Its surface had been ravaged by unnatural fire, its world-city cracked and rendered to dust and ash, from which the shattered roots of its great towers rose like broken teeth. Looking upon the charred remains taken from the pyre, the Imperium gave it a new name, one that echoed with a world brought to the threshold of death but still lived -- Necromunda they called it.
- Battle of Rennimar (865.M30) - This was a massive Imperial Compliance conducted by the Imperial Fists Legion against the massive Ork WAAAGH! of the Over-Tyrant of Grel in the Rennimar System, who himself, was already under siege by both the Death Guard and Space Wolves Legions. Rogal Dorn, alongside Captain Archamus, the commander of his Huscarl Honour Guard, led a force of 10,000 Imperial Fists against the greenskin forces. Typical of the VII Legion, they established heavy-walled bulwarks on the planet Rennimar, which enticed the Orks to hurl themselves and futilely smash against the Imperial Fists' stalwart defences. This enabled the Legiones Astartes to utterly crush their xenos foes.
- Defence of Necromunda (900s.M30) - At some unknown date later in the Great Crusade, the Imperial Fists won a major victory against the Orks upon the ash wastes of the Hive World of Necromunda. The Hive Lords consented to recruits being drawn from their population in gratitude and a Fortress-Chapel was duly consecrated, but the Imperial Fists continued to refuse to accept any special rights on the worlds where their Legion recruited. Throughout the Great Crusade they refused to garrison or claim tithes of newly conquered worlds, instead opting to remain a military unit with none of the responsibilities that came with ruling a single homeworld.
- Battle of Gyros-Thravian (900s.M30) - The Battle of Gyros-Thravian was a massive joint Imperial Compliance action carried out by three Space Marine Legions, composed of the Luna Wolves, Death Guard and Imperial Fists against the extremely powerful Ork Warboss Gharkul Blackfang, one of the most powerful Ork warlords ever encountered up until that time. Despite the strength arrayed against the vile Greenskin, it were the Imperial forces who were soon on the verge of defeat. It was then that the Emperor Himself, aboard His flagship Bucephelus, came to the aid of His sons. He personally led a force composed of 1,000 Legio Custodes into the heart of the mighty Ork horde. Blackfang was confronted by the Emperor and killed atop his Gargant while the Custodians proceeded to lay waste to the rest of the Greenskin horde. The Custodians accounted for the slaughter of the Orks, slaying over 100,000 of the savage xenos, with the loss of only three Custodians. Following their momentous victory, the Emperor commemorated the Custodians' sacrifice by engraving the names of the three fallen Custodians into His own personal Power Armour.
- Pacification of the Cheraut System (984.M30) - This was an Imperial Compliance action during the Great Crusade jointly conducted by Astartes from the Imperial Fists, Night Lords and Emperor's Children Legions. As the Primarch of the Night Lords Legion suffered from one of his violent fits, Primarch Fulgrim rushed to Konrad Curze's aid. The Night Lords Primarch confided to his brother of the dire visions that he had seen; his death at the hands of their father, that many of the Primarchs would die fighting amongst themselves, and that the light the Emperor brought to his homeworld of Nostramo would destroy it forever. Troubled by these dire portents, Fulgrim confided in his brother Rogal Dorn. Dorn took exception to this slight on the Emperor's name and confronted Curze. Shortly thereafter, Dorn was found unconscious and bleeding with great gouges of flesh ripped away from his torso. Crouching above his fallen brother was the pallid form of the Night Haunter, weeping. Wracked with self-loathing and guilt, Curze was taken into custody and exiled to his chambers, while his brother Primarchs discussed what actions to take against their deeply disturbed brother. Hours later, when the council of Primarchs finally disbanded, they found Night Haunter missing and the Imperial Fists' honour guard watching over him butchered. By the time the Primarchs gave chase, Night Haunter had already disappeared with his Legion into the Warp.
- Battle of Phall (007.M31) - During the Horus Heresy, at the command of the Warmaster Horus, a large Iron Warriors contingent was sent to halt the encroaching Imperial Fists Retribution Fleet that had originally been sent to Istvaan III to reinforce the beleaguered Loyalists. However, the Retribution Fleet had proven unable to reach its destination due to the Warp Storms created by the Chaos Gods to prevent Imperial reinforcements from reaching the Istvaan System. As such, the Retribution Fleet, containing approximately one-third of the Imperial Fists Legion's total forces, had established itself within the nearby Phall System while it waited for the Warp currents to stabilise. The Traitors could not allow such a strong complement of Loyalist Astartes to infiltrate the area of space under their control, for they could seriously disrupt preparations for the attack on Terra. Commanding hundreds of warships, the Primarch Perturabo led his fleet in a sudden and devastating attack upon the Imperial Fists fleet. Over a dozen vessels were ripped apart by the brutal hail of fire from the Traitor vessels. The Imperial Fists fought back, devastating the lead ships of the Iron Warriors' fleet, tearing them apart in a vicious firestorm. The Loyalists gained the initiative in what would be remebered as the Battle of Phall and managed to repel the Traitors' surprise attack, despite severe losses at the start of the engagement. Unfortunately, at that same time, the Retribution Fleet's Astropaths managed to make contact with Terra and received a direct order from Rogal Dorn recalling the Retribution Fleet to Terra to prepare the defences of the Imperial Palace. Launching a counterattack, the Imperial Fists drove off the embattled Traitor fleet and managed to break orbit and manoeuvre to their jump points, where they entered the Warp and made for Terra.
- World Prince Campaign (999.M30) - This was one of the final campaigns fought by the Imperial Fists during the waning years of the Great Crusade upon an unnamed Hive World against a non-Compliant civilisation ruled over by a monarch known as the World-Prince. Initially, the World-Prince had refused to surrender to the Imperium and stubbornly resisted the efforts of the Imperial Fists led by Lord Dorn himself. The Imperial Fists systematically fought one hive at time, and were making slow, by study progress, until the Alpha Legion arrived unexpectedly. Informing their fellow Legion that they were there as allies, the Alpha Legion immediately began to begin operations against the intransigent world. Though no Alpha Legion warriors were encountered by the Imperial Fists during the campaign on the ground, their signature passing was abundantly clear, as soon, uprisings and coups began to erupt across the remaining hives, which threw the beleaguered world into absolute anarchy. This culminated in the assassination of the World-Prince's entire family by native human assassins, believed to be Spartoi operatives working for the Alpha Legion, as each assassin was someone who was close to their target. At least 401 members of the planet's ruling family were killed, and in the bloody aftermath, the World-Prince was a broken man. He eventually surrendered before Lord Dorn personally, as he believed that the Primarch was responsible for the misery that had been visited upon him. In the aftermath of this campaign, Rogal Dorn confronted Alpharius in the World-Prince's throneroom. Accompanied by his closest lieutenants, First Captain Ingo Pech and Kel Silonius, he attempted to obfuscate his true identity. However, Dorn was able to correctly guess his identity, as he threw a punch towards the Legionary sitting in the World-Princes's throne, who was able to block it with his Primarch-like reflexes and strength. Dorn then proceeded to dress down his upstart sibling and scolded him for his deceitful way of waging war. He ordered Alpharius to cease all operations on the planet and to pull out his Legion. Alpharius calmly replied that the Emperor had created him to wage war in this way, as was true with Dorn and all their other Primarch siblings. After criticising the Imperial Fists' seemingly ineffective methods of waging war, Dorn proceeded to lay out the Alpha Legion's entire plan and poked holes in its overall effectiveness before leaving his brother's presence, in disgust.
- The Sangraal Campaign and the Salvation Run (009.M31) - A hand-picked Imperial Fists assault force despatched from Terra launches a daring raid to capture the antidote to a slow-burning Exterminatus-class viral weapon deployed against the Loyalist holdfast of Gramercie on the contested Hive World of Herkaliaum. After recovering the antidote stocks from the Traitor Mechanicum-Bioligis gene-labs, the heavily outnumbered Imperial Fists then fight their way through massed Traitor forces, running a deadly gauntlet through the underhives of Herkaliaum to deliver the antidote to Loyalist medicae detachments, thus saving the population of the Gramercie sub-hive. Viral overspill ravages the Traitor forces now unable to contain or cure the contagion in their own ranks, and within weeks, Herkaliaum is liberated. The legend of the "Salvation Run" becomes a rallying cry for Loyalist support in the sector, turning the Sangraal Campaign in the Loyalists' favour and cementing their hold on the Segmentum Solar.
- The Battle of Pluto (010.M31) - The Alpha Legion carried out multiple diversionary attacks of sabotage and preparation, which plunged the Sol System into complete chaos. Their true target however, was the fortress moon of Hydra, which orbits Pluto. First Captain Sigismund and a small fleet of Imperial Fists stubbornly defended Pluto against the larger Alpha Legion fleet until help arrived, in the form of the Phalanx and a large fleet of Imperial Fists and Armada Imperialis warships. At the height of the battle, Lord Rogal Dorn led an assault on the fortress moon and confronted his brother Primarch Alpharius and engaged him in melee combat. Alpharius was killed by Dorn, and the Alpha Legion forces were forced to withdraw.
- The Solar Wars (010-015.M31) - The Battle for the Sol System, long threatened, began as infiltration forces and probing raids from without, and Mechanicum attacks and attempted break-outs from besieged Dark Mechanicum Traitors on Mars tested the defences of the Throneworld of humanity. Conflict within the system was not concluded until the eventual lifting of the Siege of Terra.
- Battle of Terra (014.M31) - After the infamous Drop Site Massacre on the world of Istvaan V, the Imperial Fists' Primarch Rogal Dorn was charged by Malcador the Sigillite to prepare the defences of Terra and the Emperor's Imperial Palace. During the closing days of the Horus Heresy, the Warmaster Horus and his Traitor Legions attacked Terra, the seat of the Emperor's Imperium of Man, in a final attempt to overthrow his father and usurp the throne for himself. During the Battle of Terra the Imperial Fists, Blood Angels and White Scars were the three Loyalist Space Marine Legions that helped defend the Imperial Palace from the hordes of Chaos. Three entire Titan Legions of the Adeptus Mechanicus and close to 2 million soldiers of the Imperial Army stood alongside the Loyalist Astartes to face the Traitors in a battle that would determine the fate of Mankind for the next 10,000 standard years. After nearly two months of constant siege, the Warmaster made one last gamble and lowered the Void Shields of his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit. Taking advantage of this opening, the Emperor, a cadre of Legio Custodes, the Primarchs Rogal Dorn and Sanguinius and a force of Imperial Fists and Blood Angels Astartes teleported aboard the Warmaster's Battle Barge. It fell to Dorn to discover the bodies of the Emperor, Horus and Sanguinius after the final drama had run its course. He returned the mortally wounded Emperor to His palace. Following the Master of Mankind's final instructions, Dorn helped inter his father within the Golden Throne, where the Emperor has sat for the last ten millennia.
- Great Scouring (ca. 014-021.M31) - Following the end of the Horus Heresy, Dorn became an avenging son. Whilst the Ultramarines Legion maintained order within the battle-scarred Imperium, the Imperial Fists hunted down the Traitor Legions, leveling fortress after fortress during the Imperial campaign of vengeance against the Forces of Chaos known as the Great Scouring. Dorn led his Imperial Fists, dressed in the black of mourning, his customary mercy set aside until the guilty were punished. Whilst others shaped the new Imperium, Dorn immersed himself in implacable justice. Rogal Dorn remained absent from the highest councils until he was summoned back to Terra when Roboute Guilliman presented his Codex Astartes as the future of the Space Marines.
- The Iron Cage (Unknown Date.M31) - Upon the world of Sebastus IV the traitorous Iron Warriors, bitter archenemies of the Imperial Fists, laid an ingenious trap to ensnare Rogal Dorn and his Legion. Heedless of the inherent danger, the Primarch ordered the Imperial Fists to attack the Iron Warriors' Eternal Fortress -- later referred to as the Iron Cage by the surviving Imperial Fists. The battle should have favoured the treacherous trench-fighters of the Iron Warriors, but the Imperial Fists endured. For all their skill and ferocity, as devotees of Chaos the Iron Warriors lacked the faith to make the ultimate sacrifice that victory demanded. While they paused, the Ultramarines intervened; Guilliman had decided that Perturabo's destruction was not worth the loss of Rogal Dorn and had brought his Astartes to drive off the Iron Warriors.
- 1st Black Crusade (ca. 781.M31) - Abaddon the Despoiler, the new Warmaster of Chaos Undivided, made his first attempt to launch a new offensive against the Imperium of Man following the Horus Heresy, and when he unleashed the 1st Black Crusade and the First Battle of Cadia. Rogal Dorn "died" fighting aboard a Chaos Space Marine vessel after attacking a Chaos warfleet that emerged from the Eye of Terror and vastly outnumbered the Imperial defenders. Seeing the importance of attacking the enemy fleet whilst they were still preparing to invade Imperial space, Dorn relied on hit-and-run attacks until his reinforcements could arrive. Dorn "died" aboard the Chaotic Despoiler-class Battleship known as the Sword of Sacrilege after leading a desperate attack on its bridge. When Dorn and his elite Honour Guard stormed the bridge they were cut down to a man. Later, the Imperial Fists would pick up an escape pod from one of their own ships present at the battle, which contained the weapons and Power Armour of their beloved Primarch. The only sign of Dorn was a single skeletal fist that the Imperial Fists believed belonged to the Primarch. What fate ultimately befell Rogal Dorn, and whether he truly died or not, has yet to be determined with absolute certainty.
- The Rise of the Beast (544.M32) - The Imperial Fists fought on Ardamantua against a metallic insect-like xenos species called Chromes. During the battle, an Ork Attack Moon of the WAAAGH! of The Beast appeared in orbit, bringing thousands of greenskins to the surface and using a mysterious gravitational technology to devastate the entire planet. The High Lords of Terra, including Drakan Vangorich, ordered the deployment of the entire Chapter on Ardamantua, but the Orks won the battle destroying both the Chromes and the Imperial Fists. There were only four survivors. Three of them died while a team of tech-priest tried to cure them, the last one was Koorland, second captain of the Daylight Wall Company. A large fleet of Imperial Navy vessels engaged an Ork Attack Moon at Port Sanctus. In the meantime, as the last surviving Imperial Fist, Koorland was now in effect the new Chapter Master. The "Last Son of Dorn", arranged a meeting between several of his fellow Scions of Dorn in the Phall System, which included representatives from the Black Templars, Crimson Fists, Excoriators and Fists Exemplar. Koorland invoked the "Last Wall Protocol", a contingency established by Lord Dorn himself, that was only to be enacted in the event Terra was under grave threat, or perhaps even fallen. Then the Scions of Dorn would come together to deal with the matter as one. Even if the Imperial Fists Chapter itself were to be destroyed, the old Legion would remember. On Terra, tensions between the bickering High Lords of Terra threatened the stability of the Senatorum Imperialis. To make matters worse, an other Ork Attack Moon appeared in orbit over the Throneworld itself. High Marshal Bohemond led his Black Templars Chapter in the attack alongside his fellow Scions of Dorn Successor Chapters against the greenskins' massive Attack Moon in orbit over Terra. In the battle's aftermath, a tense meeting was held between the Last Wall Chapter Masters and the Lord Commander of the Imperium, Udin Macht Udo. The outspoken High Marshal expressed his disdain for both the squabbling and weak-willed High Lords of Terra as well as the Lord Commander. After Lord Commander Udo passed a motion to ban the Inquisition from the Senatorum, Koorland led a political coup in cooperation with several members of the Senatorum Imperialis. The Chapter Master was then named the new Lord Commander of the Imperium. Desperate to defeat The Beast, soon Koorland was told by the Inquisitorial Representative that the Salamanders' Primarch Vulkan, who disappeared nearly 1,500 years ealier, had been witnessed waging a one-man war against a massive Ork horde on the world of Caldera. The newly-appointed Lord Commander of the Imperium Koorland, led an expedition to the world to recruit the Primarch to fight against The Beast. He initially refused to join the crusade, until he was able to save Caldera from destruction, honouring a vow he made long ago. With help from Koorland they were able to destroy an Ork Attack Moon in Caldera's orbit, thus averting catastrophe. After the world of Ullanor Prime was identified as where The Beast and his massive WAAAGH! originated from, Vulkan led the Crusade to Ullanor. Together, the Last Wall Chapters invaded The Beast's capital world, upon the capital city of Gorkogrod, fighting alongside the Primarch. At the battle's epic conclusion, Vulkan charged into The Beast's massive temple-Gargant, intent on facing the Ork Warlord alone. During their epic confrontation Vulkan slew The Beast and destroyed the temple-Gargant in a massive explosion, which seemingly obliterated both Vulkan and The Beast. Not long after, the situation drastically changed when the long-dormant Attack Moon over Terra reactivated. With its sub-space gate seemingly repaired, a massive force of Ork reinforcements soon swarmed the Attack Moon, as The Beast announced that he would slaughter all of humanity. After Vulkan seemingly failed to slay The Beast on Ullanor, Koorland was instrumental in the creation of the Deathwatch, the future Chamber Militant of the Ordo Xenos, despite the reluctance of the High Lords of Terra. A Kill-team successfully teleported on the Attack Moon and reverse engineered the Orks subspace-technology. The Adeptus Mechanicus was unable to master the Ork technology, and as a result, when they attempted to teleport the Attack Moon out of the Sol system, they inadvertently teleported half of the massive Attack Moon, which caused the remaining half to shatter. The debris rained down upon Terra, with some of the flaming wreckage damaging the Imperial Palace. Undeterred, Koorland realised that in order to defeat The Beast and his WAAAGH!, they neeedd to counter the greenskin's potent psychics. He followed a lead by the High Lords of Terra's Inquisitorial representative, Veritus, to the world of Nadriries, located in the far reaches of the Segmentum Pacificus. It was here, that the last forgotten bastion of the Sisters of Silence had remained for 1,500 years. When Lord Commander of the Imperium Koorland arrived, he found Nadiries under siege by the Orks, who feared the pariah psyker-killers. Koorland led the effort to lift the siege, and once inside, he attempted to convince the reluctant Sisters to join him in his crusade. The leader of the Sisters explained that they had been cast out by a distrustful Imperium, and although they were fiercely loyal to the Emperor and the Primarchs, they would rather see the now-corrupt Imperium burn, rather than aid it in its time of need. Koorland convinced the reluctant Sisters to join him only after he revealed that he had the blessing of the Primarch Vulkan himself. Devising a new plan to defeat The Beast, the Deathwatch captured several Ork psykers on Eidolica, Plaeos and Valhalla. Koorland intended to use the null effect of the anti-psyker Sisters of Silence to create a reverse-WAAAAGH! effect through the Ork psyche, and essentially decimated the greenskin hordes of The Beast. Leading a massive Imperial crusade during the Second Battle of Ullanor, Koorland's plan succeeded, but after leading a strike force that barely slew the WAAAGH!'s leader, a larger, even more vicious Ork appeared. It was revealed that the creature Koorland killed, was in fact, one of six "Prime-Orks", each a Beast in its own right. After this revelation, Koorland was soon killed by this new Beast and with his death, supposedly the "Last Son of Dorn" died. Eventually the greenskin forces of The Beast were defeated as the Imperium resorted to the most extreme measures, and at great cost to the Adeptus Astartes. At some point, it is believed that the Imperial Fists Chapter was reconstituted with Aspirants from the various Scions of Dorn Successor Chapters and reserve gene-seed stock from the vaults on Terra.
- The Beheading (546.M32) - The internecine politics of the Imperium take a calamitous turn when the High Lords of Terra are slain to a man at the orders of Drakan Vangorich, the Grand Master of the Officio Assassinorum. This lamentable period of history comes to be known as The Beheading. A Space Marine retribution force is drawn from the Imperial Fists, Halo Brethren and Sable Swords Chapters, who track the renegade Grand Master to an Assassinorum temple. The commander of the strike force is assassinated as soon as he makes planetfall, but the Brother Marines commence their attack nevertheless. Within the temple they are assailed by a hundred Eversor Assassins. A single Space Marine survives to reach the Grand Master and deliver the Emperor's judgement with his Bolter. The Imperium proceeds to descend into anarchy.
- Age of Apostasy (378.M36) - At the height of the Age of Apostasy, an elite Space Marine strike force composed of the Imperial Fists, Black Templars, Fire Hawks, Soul Drinkers, and the forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus assaulted the renegade High Lord Goge Vandire's seat of power -- the Ecclesiarchal Palace on Terra -- effectively ending Vandire's "Reign of Blood" and his attempts to assume dictatorial control of the Imperium.
- The Dawn Hammer (766.M37) - Strike Force Ultra Myriadon, led by the Captain of the Imperial Fists 1st Company, destroyed the Ork Space Hulk of Warboss Sunspitta in the early stages of the Orks' assault on the Imperial world of Rylan. The Strike Force Ultra landed on the cratered surface of the hulk and fought its way into the vessel's rusted heart before destroying its crackling power core. Captain Myriadon timed the explosion precisely to match Warboss Sunspitta's descent through the atmosphere of Rylan. The resulting meteor storm, created by the space hulk's demise, accounted for more than half of Sunspitta's army.
- Siege of Balle Alpha (755.M38) - When the Orks of WAAAGH! Gogard besiege the walled capital of Balle Alpha, they find themselves drastically outmatched. Bolstered by a detachment of Imperial Fists, the defenders inflict grievous losses upon the advancing greenskin horde and when a Blood Angels relief force arrives, the barbarous aliens' destruction is assured.
- The Blood of Khaine (585.M40) - Captain Lysander and the Imperial Fists' 2nd Company successfully board and capture the Eldar Cruiser Blood of Khaine.
- Siege of Haddrake Tor (659.M40) - The Imperial Fists take part in the three-year-long campaign to recover the world of Haddrake Tor from the clutches of Chaos. In the course of the campaign, the 1st Company's Captain Kleitus is mortally wounded, but passes on a Imperial Fists' relic, the Thunder Hammer known as the Fist of Dorn, and the command of the 1st Company to Darnath Lysander before his untimely death. The newly elevated Lysander leads the remaining Imperial Fists against the Chaos defenders, earning a glorious victory. On his return to the Phalanx, Lysander is formally elevated to Captain of the Chapter's 1st Company.
- Lost in the Warp (970.M40) - The Imperial Fists Strike Cruiser Shield of Valour is lost in the Warp, taking with it Captain Lysander and a bodyguard of 1st Company Veterans.
- The 102nd Feast of Blades (749.M41) - All twelve competing Chapters who are successors of the Imperial Fists Legion are in attendance at this year's Feast of Blades. The Iron Knights' champion, Hervald Strom, wins the competition after narrowly defeating the Imperial Fists' champion, Demitrius Valor, in a ritual duel.
- The Saviours of Cadia (777.M41) - A sizable Black Legion warband exits the Eye of Terror. Cadian Shock Troops Imperial Guard regiments slow the Traitors' onslaught, but it takes a determined counter-attack from the Imperial Fists to throw the Chaos Space Marines back into the Warp.
- Conquest of Uttu Prime (Unknown Date.M41) - Nemesor Zahndrekh's ultimatum had given the Imperial defenders of Uttu Prime one solar month to withdraw, as was required by the ancient Necron codes of battle. Yet, when the deadline had passed, the foolish humans had not availed themselves of this most generous of offers. Indeed, whilst the Necron fleet held in intentional abeyance in orbit around Uttu Prime's desert moon, four regiments of the Imperial Guard's Catachan Jungle Fighters and three companies of Imperial Fists Space Marines had come to reinforce the contested world. So it was that when Zahndrekh finally launched his assault and began the campaign later known as the Conquest of Uttu Prime, he did so against a planet with formidable defences. However, when his courtiers argued against prosecuting the war to completion, the Nemesor merely issued a grating laugh and sent the interstitial command that set his fleet in motion. Zahndrekh initially ignored Uttu Prime's outlying cities, focussing his assault on Fort Anan, the planetary capital. Zahndrekh's first attack wave was a dozen squadrons of Doom Scythe fighter craft. They swarmed over Fort Anan's fortifications, death rays raising great furrows of twisted metal and stone as they ploughed through bastions, ferrocrete walls and the luckless human defenders therein. To their credit, the humans put up a spirited resistance. Hydra Flak Tanks and Defence Lasers scoured the skies, driving off or blasting apart many of the swarming Necron aircraft. Yet each time a Doom Scythe was destroyed, another immediately peeled off from the main group to exact vengeance. Soon, Fort Anan was stripped of aerial defences, and the landings began. Transport craft followed in the wake of the first attack wave. Night Scythes flew low over the wreckage of crashed Necron flyers and Imperial bastions. Small arms fire scattered across the Night Scythes' armoured hulls as their flickering teleportation invasion beams delivered Zahndrekh's assault troops into the heart of the humans' defences. Phalanx upon phalanx of Immortals and Necron Warriors stalked through the fresh ruins, Gauss Weapons blazing in unnaturally precise volleys as they drove the Catachans back. Here and there, an officer's barked orders held the Guardsmen in line, but where those commanders fell, the Imperial lines went into full retreat. It was as the attackers' lines reached the Planetary Governor's citadel that the Imperial Fists finally made their presence known. Thunderhawk gunships screamed through the skies, shredding the oncoming Necron Warriors with Heavy Bolter fire and blasting Immortals limb from limb with missile strikes. As the gunships touched down amongst the rubble to disgorge Space Marines into the fray, the Necrons shifted to defensive protocols and awaited reinforcements. Alas for the Imperial Fists; from his vantage point in orbit, Zahndrekh had marked the approach of the Thunderhawks long before they had made their presence known planetside. Thus, even as the roar of Bolter-fire echoed through Fort Anan's ruins, a shadow fell over the battlefield as the massive Necron Megalith descended. The Megalith was no ordinary war engine, but a vast floating fortress. Green fire lanced out from its flanks, blasting Thunderhawks from the air or crippling them on the ground. As the shadow grew larger, chunks of the Megalith's understructure broke away, the blocks falling lazily to the ground. They were no mere wreckage, but Monoliths detaching from the mothership's hull. As each touched down, it added firepower to the barrage assailing the Imperial Fists. The Space Marines must have determined that they were doomed, but duty and stubborn tenacity made them redouble their efforts. Lascannon and Multi-melta fire flickered through the ruins, the beams converging to pierce the Monoliths' necrodermis hulls. Assault Squads threw themselves at the Necron phalanxes, Chainsword teeth screaming as they ripped through living metal bodies. However, the Megalith was now close enough to the ground to bring its invasion beams into play. Ghoulish viridian light flickered over the battlefield as the teleport beams activated, delivering Doomsday Arks, legions of Necron Immortals, as well as Zahndrekh and his personal Lychguard, into the thick of battle. Those Space Marines that yet survived now withdrew to the Planetary Governor's citadel, but three Doomsday Arks converged their fire on the great adamantium gate. For a handful of moments it glowed an angry red, then burst into fragments with an ear-splitting crack. As the Imperial Fists fell back deeper into the citadel, Zahndrekh raised his Warscythe in salute to the doomed foe. Then the scythe swept down and the Nemesor led his triumphant army of the undying through the ruined gate. Shortly thereafter, Fort Anam had fallen. The rest of Uttu Prime would soon follow, and another world would be added to the territory of Gidrim -- and the growing personal domain of Nemesor Zahndrekh.
- The Tyros Gulf Campaign (830.M41) - The Imperial Fists' Chapter Master, Vladimir Pugh, leads two-thirds of his Battle-Brothers into the Tyros Gulf to retake a string of worlds conquered by Rogal Dorn during the Great Crusade and subsequently lost to the Imperium during the Horus Heresy. Illic Nightspear, an Eldar of Craftworld Alaitoc, launches a surprise attack against the Imperial Fists on the world of Lobas. Pugh is only saved from a sniper's bullet when the Chapter Champion, Demitrius Valor, heroically sacrifices himself. The Eldar are forced to withdraw shortly thereafter, when the Imperial Fists' 6th Company deploy via Stormraven to reinforce their Chapter Master's position.
- The 103rd Feast of Blades (849.M41) - Despite suffering heavy wounds in the Vinculus Crusade, Hervald Strom emerges triumphant once more. Never before has one Chapter, let alone one champion, prevailed in two successive Feasts of Blades.
- The Krandor Rebellion (853.M41) - The Krandor Rebellion escalates when Alpha Legion forces arrive and the Planetary Defence Forces crumble. The Imperial Fists, Fire Lords and Revilers launch a counterattack to secure vital Imperial artefacts before Exterminatus is declared.
- The 104th Feast of Blades (949.M41) - The ravages of war dictate that only eight Chapters are in attendance at this year's Feast of Blades, but the tradition is still observed. Supremacy is tied between the Imperial Fists and Crimson Fists Chapters when their nominated champions simultaneously ram their swords through each other's primary heart in a closely fought duel.
- The Siege of Fort Mork (955.M41) - The Imperial Fists' 4th and 9th Companies lay siege to the Ork mega-stronghold of Fort Mork, and are nearly overwhelmed when thousands of Orks pour out of the gates to meet them. As one, the Imperial Fists level their weapons and lay down a withering hail of fire, every shot punching an Ork off its feet. The horde finally breaks after three days of throwing themselves at the Fists' lines, only to be annihilated by the combined fire of a dozen Thunderfire Cannons before they can reach the safety of their fortress.
- A Hero Returns (963-966.M41) - The Imperial Fists' vessel Shield of Valour re-enters normal space after being lost in the Warp for nearly a millennium, only to be disabled by the firepower of three Iron Warriors orbital fortresses above the Daemon World of Malodrax. Captain Lysander and his bodyguard are captured, taken back to the Iron Warriors' fortress and tortured by the Chaos forces. It is several solar months before Lysander and his fellows, with no armour or weapons, manage to escape and find their way back to the Chapter, which had long since accepted their deaths. Lysander spends nearly a standard year undergoing ruthless tests of his identity and purity before being reinstated as Captain of the 1st Company.
- Scouring of Malodrax (966.M41) - The 1st Company's Captain Darnath Lysander leads the Imperial Fists to the Chaotic fortress-world of Malodrax and successfully scours their ages-old enemies, the traitorous Iron Warriors, from the planet.
- Khai-Zhan Uprising (968.M41) - The Imperial Fists 5th and 9th Companies are deployed alongside four Cadian Imperial Guard Regiments to the world of Khai-Zhan to suppress the heretical Khai-Zhan Uprising against Imperial authority. The Imperial Fists force is instrumental in countering the warband of Night Lords Chaos Space Marines taking part in the uprising, laying siege to the heavily fortified citadel called the Palace of Peace.
- The Ghallamore Cleansing (975.M41) - The daemon legions of the Daemon Prince Skulltaker overrun the world of Ghallamore. The 2nd Company of the Imperial Fists join forces with Brother-Captain Arvann Stern and his Grey Knights Brotherhood to scour the planet of the daemonic taint.
- Nimbosa Crusade (993.M41) - The Imperial Fists took part in the Nimbosa Crusade alongside one of their Successor Chapters, the Black Templars, reclaiming the Imperial world of Nimbosa from the encroaching Tau Empire.
- Defence of Miral II (997.M41) - Captain Lysander and his battle group intercept a tendril of Hive Fleet Leviathan on the world of Miral II. The Imperial Fists establish a series of fortifications in time to meet the Tyranid onslaught, holding firm against constant attack by overwhelming numbers of Tyranid bioforms. Tactical and Devastator Squads rain fire upon the swarm whilst Lysander leads 1st Company Veterans to bolster the battle-line wherever the Tyranids are on the verge of breaking through. Though the Imperium's tacticae predict the Imperial Fists can hold out for no more than six solar days, they stoically fight on until the last Tyranid dies to Bolter fire at the walls of Bastion XVII on the seventh, and final, day of the war.
- 13th Black Crusade (999.M41) - The Imperial Fists arrived at the Cadian Gate as part of the massive Adeptus Astartes reinforcement of the region during the 13th Black Crusade, five companies smashing into the forces of the Archenemy at Cadia as soon as contact was made. After an initial void engagement that saw the Chapter's Battle Barges and Strike Cruisers take a fearsome toll on the Chaos warfleet besieging the Cadia System, three of the companies carried out a combat drop on Cadia itself, while the other two dispersed to bolster the defences in surrounding sectors, including reinforcing the Iron Hands Chapter at their homeworld of Medusa. The 1st, 2nd and elements of the 3rd Companies were instrumental in the defence of key points on Cadia, manning the walls of a number of fortresses with the steadfast resolution for which they are famed throughout the Imperium. In these actions, the 2nd Company was noted for exceptional acts of gallantry, overcoming a horde of mutants from the notorious Stigmatus Covenant Chaos Cult that numbered almost 10,000 traitorous fanatics. At the height of the assault on the walls of Kasr Vasan, the company commander, Captain Tialo, gave his life holding a breach in the fortifications, repelling a mob of mutants numbering several hundred before succumbing to the terrible wounds inflicted upon him. The Captain's body refused to die, however, and was held in stasis by the Chapter's Techmarines, who hoped to inter it within the mighty form of a Dreadnought so that the renowned warrior might continue to battle the forces of darkness beyond the death of his mortal body.
- Second Siege of Hyrdra Cordatus (565.999.M41) - The Imperial Fists 3rd Company suffers shocking casualties holding the Adeptus Mechanicus world of Hydra Cordatus against the hated Iron Warriors. In time, every one of the defenders is slaughtered and the Iron Warriors claim a tithe of precious, uncorrupted Imperial Fists gene-seed which they will use to replenish their dwindling numbers.
- Battle for the Phalanx (999.M41) - The Phalanx, the brutish supervessel the Imperial Fists use in lieu of the Fortress-Monastery, was in orbit around Terra when the Iron Warriors Warsmith Shon'tu and his daemonic allies emerged from a Warp rift in the vast warship's heart. Battle erupted as the newly-forged Imperial Fists 3rd Company, under the command of newly promoted Captain Garadon, fought to repel the boarders; their Bolter fire booming through the corridors but ultimately failing to halt the onslaught of the Daemon Prince Be'lakor. Shon'tu headed for the gun decks, intending to use the mighty vessel's continent-wrecking firepower to assail the Imperial Palace upon Terra's surface. Without enough men enough to stop him, the Imperial Fists made an emergency translation into the Warp , and battle was joined once more as the Phalanx plunged through the screaming tides of the Empyrean. Just as it looked like the infested vessel might be lost, the lower decks were suddenly awash with spectral fire that burned back the daemons capering in its corridors. When the fire faded, an unprecedented number of the Legion of the Damned stamped through the star fortress' iron corridors, pitilessly exterminating those daemons that survived their initial attack. The Imperial Fists, prepared to fight to the last man if necessary, took heart and launched a spirited counter-attack on Shon'tu's forces, but the battle's outcome remains far from certain.
The Imperial Fists were and are makers and breakers of fortresses, but the greatest fortresses they built were amongst the stars. The Legiones Astartes were warriors of the stars, but the Imperial Fists made the cold void their battlefield of choice. While there were great and grand fortresses on the ground both to defend and assault aplenty in the Great Crusade, the greatest sieges and defences were in fact fought in the murderous environment of space. The defence of star systems, the creation of kill zones and intersecting orbits were skills that the Imperial Fists honed to a keen edge on the grindstone of thousands of battlefields. To them the methods of defending or taking a position, whether terrestrial or void-borne, were the same in principle even if different in application. After all, what were starships but fortresses of stone and metal broken free of gravity? It was an approach which saw them become the pre-eminent masters of high-intensity void warfare among the Space Marine Legions, and peerless in the spheres of boarding assault and close quarter ship-to-ship combat.
Of these war bastions of the stars, the greatest was the Phalanx. A pre-Imperial relic of vast size and unimaginable power, Rogal Dorn rebuilt the cold wreck, found orbiting Inwit, where it had drifted dead since the Dark Age of Technology, and presented it to the Emperor on their reuniting. Although ponderous and a difficult voyager in the Warp, this titanic star fortress was nevertheless a space-curried weapon whose firepower dwarfed entire attack fleets by comparison. The might of the Phalanx alone broke the back of dozens of xenos species during the Great Crusade, hammered worlds to burning cinders and served as an impregnable fortress against the horrors of the void. The Phalanx served both as the Imperial Fists' principal base of operations and a lynchpin fist of the Great Crusade and later, during the terrors of the Horus Heresy, in the defence of the Sol System and Terra.
The Imperial Fists are unique among the Space Marine Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes because they have no fixed home planet and are officially based on Terra. This is because of their Terran origins, as well as their pre-Heresy role as the praetorian custodians of the Emperor, following Him wherever He went in their vast, 10,000-year-old mobile space fortress, the Phalanx. They have transformed the Phalanx into their primary fortress-monastery, although they also maintain recruitment fortress-chapels on various worlds throughout the Imperium. It is known that the Emperor had reached the ice hives of Inwit when Rogal Dorn showed himself to the Emperor aboard the Phalanx.
The Phalanx is the massive starship that serves as the mobile Fortress-Monastery of the Imperial Fists and was constructed many millennia ago by unknown hands during the Dark Age of Technology long before the Age of the Imperium. Officially, the homeworld of the Imperial Fists is always listed as Terra, but in reality, the Phalanx serves as the Imperial Fists' true base of operations. Originally discovered adrift in space by the Imperial Fists' Primarch Rogal Dorn, the massive vessel was given as a gift to the Emperor of Mankind when Dorn was discovered near the Ice Hives of Inwit by his gene-father. The Emperor then returned the massive spacecraft to Dorn after he was appointed as the commander of the Imperial Fists Space Marine Legion.
Phalanx itself is gigantic, the largest starship known to have been constructed by human hands, and something of its magnitude has not been seen since the Dark Age of Technology. The size of a small moon or large asteroid, its foredeck can dock a dozen Imperial Navy Cruisers around its circumference. The vessel is essentially a hive city in space, with its great spires reaching towards the stars, giving it the appearance of a giant mace-head. In many ways, Phalanx is the only vessel ever built by Mankind that comes close in size and complexity to that of the Eldar's Craftworlds. Phalanx is so large that it reflects light like the stars themselves, and it served as a symbolic representation of the Emperor Himself during the time of the Great Crusade. The vast starship is completely mobile and capable of travel through the Warp and often follows the Imperial Fists Chapter as it moves throughout the galaxy.
At the time of Horus' betrayal, much of the early Legion structure remained in the Imperial Fists. Ever a practical leader, Rogal Dorn most likely saw little reason to change what had been proven to work. So it was that the base components of the VII Legion and the system of hierarchy used were little changed from its early days. As the Great Crusade progressed, however, the Legion's particular role and developing preferences for waging war began to change this. Along with the Legion's bias for recruitment, these factors created a number of key differences at every level of the VII Legion. At the squad level, the Imperial Fists showed a noted schism in their dominant unit types as time passed. Firstly of note was the number of assault-configured units, which was very high, as were auxiliary units armed with specialised weaponry suited to the destruction of amour and fortifications.
The second notable dominance was that of heavy weaponry -- whether mounted on vehicles or carried by Legionaries -- which was selected not only for raw power but also for its accuracy and adaptability in the field, with, for example, the multi-purpose Missile Launcher preferred over the arguably more indiscriminate Autocannon and the precision and range of the Lascannon over the shorter-ranged Multi-Melta. The Imperial Fists were also amongst the strongest proponents of the development of Tactical Dreadnought Armour, and fielded a large number of squads equipped in all patterns of the so-called Terminator Armour. Notably, they also were amongst the first to field significant numbers of the Indomitus Pattern Terminator Armour produced by the forges of Deimos. At the time of the Great Betrayal, they alone fielded Terminators armed with prototypes of the Absinio and Iliastus Pattern Assault Cannon, retrofitted and rescaled from the Kheres Pattern which had proved such a powerful addition to the Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought chassis.
Above the squad was the company, in this case a formation which could vary in size from a few squads to several hundred Imperial Fists. The strength of companies often waxed and waned as they took casualties, or were bolstered by fresh recruits. No matter their size, each company was grouped into a battalion, and two battalions paired together were often referred to as a regiment, but latterly also called a "Crusade" or "Household". Larger formations comprised of multiple companies were formed as needed for a particular task or deployments, rather than as standing units. Within the Imperial Fists, there are many formations from squad to Household where names and deeds shone bright in the days of the Great Crusade. To list the histories of them all would demand more than the text can bear, but even such an abbreviated inspection cannot pass over the Templars.
Raised by Rogal Dorn during the first decade of his command, the Templars were the warriors charged with guarding the Temple of Oaths aboard the Phalanx. No fane of superstition or misguided religion in violation of the Imperial Truth, this secular Temple was dedicated to the ideals of the Great Crusade and the sacrifices it demanded. There, beneath the tattered and burned banners of defeated enemies and amidst the statues of dead heroes, the Imperial Fists returned to renew their perpetual oaths of loyalty to the Emperor and their Primarch. Each oath made by a son of Dorn was carved on the walls, floor and ceiling etched for all eternity in black granite. Besides Dorn and the Emperor, only the Templars were permitted to enter the Temple unbidden.
Nominally the 1st Company of the Imperial Fists, the Templars' strength never fell below 1,000 warriors, and their members were drawn from Veterans across the Legion. Skill at arms was not enough to earn such a responsibility, for each Templar was a warrior to whom the Crusader light had come to burn with undimming brightness, and zealous, remorseless and tempered by decades of war, they were exemplars of what it was to be an Imperial Fist of the Great Crusade.
At the time of the Istvaan III Atrocity, the bulk of the Imperial Fists were returning to Terra with Rogal Dorn. Though the Emperor had called all of the Imperial Fists to Terra, in practice such a total withdrawal of forces from the Great Crusade would have been impossible. Some forces stayed on the edge of the Great Crusade to complete campaigns or unfinished duties. Other forces remained scattered across the Legion's fortresses and bastions and still others had yet to rendezvous with the bulk of the Legion. The strength of the Imperial Fists was never large in numbers. Though not small, their tallies of warriors during the Great Crusade never rose above 100,000 Astartes. At the time of the withdrawal to Terra, the Legion records show that the Temple held the outset of its living warriors, although such a number cannot be taken as accurate. The vagaries of Warp travel, Astropathic communication and the volume of space across which the Great Crusade was fought means that all that is certain is that this tally is nothing but plausible estimation.
Aside from the number of its Space Marines no review of the strength of the Imperial Fists can be complete without testing the strength of their fleet. At the time Horus Heresy, the Imperial Fists had over 1,500 warships under their direct command and many more bonded by oath and fealty. This naval might was the greatest of any of the Legiones Astartes, and was further enhanced by the fact that many of the warships were the largest in the Imperium. Even the Sons of Horus and the Ultramarines could not rival such fleet strength alone.
Specialist Ranks & Formations
- Templar Brethren - The Templar Brethren, or Templars, were the elite of the VII Legion. They were the Guardians of the Temple of Oaths aboard the great fortress-ship Phalanx, and the Legion's most highly accomplished warriors. Warriors of unequalled zeal, the Templar Brethren's relentless determination and matchless skill were the hallmarks of this deadly company, whose punishing recruitment protocol ensured that only the finest Imperial Fists bore their proud heraldry. Though their duty bound them to the Temple of Oaths, these dauntless warriors were found wherever the Imperial Fists carried the Emperor's Great Crusade to unify Mankind. They bore the best wargear that the armouries of the VII Legion could provide: ancient archaeotech, the newest creations of the Mechanicum and more common marks of weapon forged with exacting precision. With their superior skill in battle and the finest weapons at their disposal, they were at the spearhead of the Emperor's Great Crusade to unify Mankind. Excelling in close combat, the Templar Brethren wielded Power Swords in battle, whilst their Combat Shields provided much-needed protection as they fought on the frontline in addition to their ornate Artificer Armour. Few enemies of Mankind seldom survived the first shattering charge of the Templar Brethren and had little chance of overcoming their defences.
- Phalanx Warder Squad - Selected from amongst the ranks of the Imperial Fists Legion Breacher Siege Squads, the Phalanx Warders were a reinforced company assigned to the defence of the Imperial Fists flagship, the Phalanx. Armed with a variety of deadly close range weaponry, and guarded by a formidable, slab-like Legiones Astartes Boarding Shield, the Phalanx Warders presented a wall of Ceramite to any aggressor that defied any assault, and counterattacked with grim determination once the attack was blunted. Phalanx Warders were trained to fight from behind their shield wall to deadly effect; its armoured protection and the immense firepower at their command providing a deadly match for any foes who dared to assail them. Even among the ranks of the Imperial Fists, the Warders were renowned for the stark regime under which they trained and served, eschewing any duty save their training, the protection of the Phalanx or the prosecution of war on the foes of Mankind. The Warders displayed few battle honours and practised no vainglorious rituals to mark achievement, holding the honour of continuing their service as the only mark of distinction they required. Staunch and immovable, they are the last line of defence when attack threatens and the first into the fray when the Legion boards enemy vessels.
Legion Command Hierarchy
Rogal Dorn was the complete master of his Legion. Every warrior under his command knew that above all else they served their Primarch, and beyond him the Emperor. All others, be they Primarchs or Imperial lords of high renown, were nothing besides the clear line of authority which descended from the Master of Mankind. Complete and total obedience was demanded by Dorn and given by each Imperial Fist from the lowest warrior to the most exalted captain. Beneath Dorn were the senior captains of the Legion's regiments, Crusades and Households. Unlike other Primarchs, Dorn maintained no fixed inner circle of advisors and senior lieutenants. Ever the pragmatist, he is said to have once remarked to Horus that his counsellors were whoever were there to stand beside him in battle. Beneath the senior captains were the line captains and Centurions who led the Legion's battalions and companies. This technically made the captains of the Legion the most senior ranks beneath the Primarch himself. In reality a second layer of authority existed above them, that of the Fleet Masters, Siege Masters, appointed theatre commanders and marshals and ultimately the First Captain of the Legion.
A master of a fleet held complete authority over it for a fixed time or until a campaign was complete. Selected for their skill in void warfare in a Legion which excelled in that theatre, the Fleet Masters represented many of the Imperial Fists' finest strategists. Likewise, Siege Masters were charged with arraying and overseeing the forces engaged in a siege, and had total authority over units engaged in that action. It is a mark of the importance Rogal Dorn placed on these two methods of warfare that those who commanded in such theatres were raised to positions that could only be overruled by the Primarch himself.
Besides the Primarch, only one other position commanded unconditional authority over the Legion as a whole. The First Captain of the Imperial Fists was also always the commander of the Templars, and by tradition the finest proven warrior within the VII Legion. As guardian of the oaths of every Imperial Fists warrior, the First Captain held not only great authority, but commanded respect from all of his brothers. Additional titles existed for those who commanded permanent fortresses built by the Legion. Such stewardships were concerned chiefly with the maintenance of defences and the raising of recruits, but also command in time of siege. Such duties were usually temporary, with the incumbent returning after a time to the main forces of the Great Crusade. The titles of Castellan and Legion Seneschal were subtly different in both the honour and duties they discharged, but both were of sufficient weight that the bearers retained the title even after they had returned to the rest of the Great Crusade.
After the losses incurred in the Iron Cage, what remained of the Imperial Fists was a hardened, veteran force fully able to embrace the concepts of the Codex Astartes; alongside the Ultramarines, the Imperial Fists have become the epitome of Codex doctrine. All ranks are able to make tactical decisions and are encouraged to act on their own initiative. The Imperial Fists combine all arms in flexible balanced battle groups each of which can present an opponent with a diversity of threats, then press their attack so swiftly that the foe is overwhelmed before he can react. The Imperial Fists since the Heresy have retained their traditional skills in urban and siege warfare, although they are quite willing to engage and defeat the enemy in open battle in any environment. They will use fortifications on the defensive, but only after all of the more aggressive options have been exhausted. The Fists' only weakness is perhaps a reluctance to accept the possibility of defeat. This sometimes blinds them to the risks inherent in their aggressive stratagems.
Following the dissolution of the old Legions, Rogal Dorn also secretly established a contingency known as the "Last Wall Protocol." This contingency was only to be enacted in the event Terra was under grave threat, or perhaps even fallen, then the sons of Dorn would come together to deal with the matter as one. Even if the Imperial Fists Chapter itself were destroyed, the old Legion would remember. This protocol would be enacted nearly 1,500 years later in mid-M32 during the War of the Beast.
Order of Battle
Like all Codex Astartes-compliant Space Marines Chapters, the Imperial Fists are divided into 10 companies comprised of 100 Space Marines each. Each company is led by a hero of the Chapter with the rank of Captain, who -- in addition to his company command -- is in charge of a particular aspect of the Chapter's logistics:
|Veteran Company||Battle Companies|
|1st Company||2nd Company||3rd Company||4th Company||5th Company|
|Reserve Companies||Scout Company|
|6th Company||7th Company||8th Company||9th Company||10th Company|
Imperial Fists Librarians
Like their fellow Astartes Chapters, the Imperial Fists 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. Most Chapters train and test their chosen psykers following the ancient ways laid out in the Codex Astartes. Librarians of the Imperial Fists are trained in this way with few minor traditional variances, and have been taught to live by the word of the Codex. Imperial Fists Librarians have a number of unique psychic abilities only used by the psykers of their Chapter:
- Into the Crucible - The Librarian calls upon the spirits of all those Imperial Fists who gave their lives at their Primarch's side during the battle of the Iron Cage. The blows of his enemies are turned aside or healed by the incarnate force of his ancestors.
- Noble Praetorian - Rogal Dorn is remembered by many as the right hand of the Emperor, His most faithful son who stood watch over Him and enacted His every command with unshakable loyalty. Reaching into his soul and his genetic inheritance, the Librarian channels a portion of Dorn's noble spirit, making himself a champion of the weak and a defender of the just, greatly enhancing his physical abilities and morale in combat.
- Stonebane - No wall or fortification can stand against the will of Dorn made manifest. The Librarian channels his powers into an attack so terrible that no stone will be left standing upon another. The ground quakes, the skies darken and the air itself screams as a mighty etheric hammer manifests itself in the Librarian's grip. Stonebane may be used when the Librarian is faced with a wall, fortification, bunker or similar structure that he wishes to smash asunder.
- The Golden Son - The Librarian is transformed into a radiant figure suffused with the power and nobility of his Primarch. Friends witness a glorious sight not seen since Rogal Dorn himself walked amongst Men, while enemies see the fiery harbinger of their doom.
- Ultimate Sacrifice - The Imperial Fists are possessed of the most selfless spirit of any Chapter, willing to lay down their very lives for causes others would abandon as hopeless. The Librarian channels this spirit into himself, causing fate to deliver blows meant for his fellows to strike him instead.
- Wave of Penance - The Librarian reaches into the aether and draws forth all of the pain suffered by his ancestors in the self-imposed atonement of the Pain Glove and a hundred other such rituals. In an instant, ten thousand standard years of penance is unleashed upon his foes, and every iota of pain ever felt by the Chapter is turned back upon its foes in an unstoppable blast wave.
Being a space-borne Chapter, the Imperial Fists recruit from a variety of worlds, including Terra and Necromunda. The Chapter maintains a great number of Fortress-Chapels on planets across the Imperium. Such places are staffed by small, dedicated cadres of Veterans, perhaps Imperial Fists warriors wounded so grievously they can no longer fight, but are still well able to serve their Chapter. However, the Imperial Fists have no special political rights on the worlds where they recruit their Neophytes as other Chapters do. The staff of these facilities keep a watch upon the peoples around them, seeking potential candidates for recruitment. On some worlds they hold tournaments and contests to ascertain suitability, while on others they actually instigate combat in order to test potential recruits in person. On some Hive Worlds, the Imperial Fists conduct purges of the down-hive slums, ostensibly to clear out undesirable elements on behalf of the planetary government, but they often return with captives they have judged such worthy fighters they will be invited to undertake the trials to become a Neophyte of the Chapter.
The Imperial Fists are unusual in making few, if any, demands of the peoples of the worlds they recruit from, other than the right to test those who believe themselves worthy of entering the ranks of the Battle-Brothers. Whatever the source of the recruit, whether he comes from a brotherhood of warrior-knights or a band of hive-gang psychopaths, the Chapter instils its noble doctrines in him, retaining his essential martial qualities but overlaying them with the qualities that the Imperial Fists have inherited from their Primarch and their ancestors. The Chapter is not especially shaped by the mores and character of the worlds its warriors are drawn form, and instead draws heavily on its own traditions and the values instilled in it by its Primarch.
Once Imperial Fists Aspirants are selected, their criminal record is examined, and they undergo a battery of tests determined to measure their musculature, psychological profile ("psychosis level"), psychic level, eye reflexes, intelligence, the ability to shoot, pain resistance, and dexterity. Recruits spend six months in the Phalanx where they learn proper Imperial Low Gothic through the use of a hypnocasque before undergoing their initiation in the "tunnel of terror". In the latter, they face extreme heat, cold, empty space, etc. The severity of the trial increases along the way. If the Aspirant passes, he becomes a Neophyte cadet and the symbol of the Imperial Fists is tattooed on his buttock. Then begins the psycho-indoctrination, training and the actual surgery and implantation of the gene-seed organs that will make the Neophytes into true Astartes. To celebrate the introduction of the Preomnor implant, cadets eat poisonous plants, venomous animals, etc. For the Omophagea, they consume meat and must divine from the meat a few details about the nature of the actual animal. After the initiation ceremony, the Neophyte's family is informed that their child has become a Space Marine in service to the Emperor so that they may rejoice at their offspring's great fortune.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
The Imperial Fists adhere to the doctrines of the Codex Astartes as strictly as their brothers of the Ultramarines. Squads, companies and Chapter household are all organised according to the standards set forth in that mighty tome, and the Chapter is capable of prosecuting every type of warfare, from orbital drops to mechanised assaults -- they are the epitome of a Codex-compliant Chapter.
There is one particular method of warfare to which the Imperial Fists' stubbornness makes them naturally suited: the art of the siege. This specialty can be counted as the result of the Chapter's character and doctrines, rather than an adherence to particular tactics or equipment. The Imperial Fists are utterly immovable in defence, and their mastery of the scientific aspects of war makes them peerless as well as dogged when holding a fortified position. The same is true in the attack. The Imperial Fists are able to identify weak points in an enemy's defences, and through relentless application of force reduce them to ruins. The Chapter is quite willing to engage the enemy in open battle though, and does not seek out urban or siege engagements above any other method of war.
The Imperial Fists' single-mindedness does have a side effect, however. The Chapter's refusal to accept that a position cannot be held or the enemy cannot be cracked has on numerous occasions resulted in far greater casualties being suffered than other Chapters would accept. Nevertheless, the position will be held, or the enemy broken, no matter the cost, making the Imperial Fists one of the most celebrated and honoured Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes.
Though Rogal Dorn was lost to the Imperium in the years following the Horus Heresy, his legacy remains amongst the strongest of all of the Priamrchs'. Dorn's final moments were of courage and supreme sacrifice, and this example still drives the Imperial Fists onwards to fresh victories. Indeed, if the Imperial Fists have a fault, it is that they continue to strive when others would yield or withdraw. Such unquestioning steadfastness has rescued many a victory from the ashes of defeat, but only at a steep cost in lives.
The Siege of Terra -- the final battle of the Horus Heresy -- had a profound effect upon the Imperial Fists. Their entire Chapter culture became defined by this epic struggle between the forces of order and disorder. Due to their tendencies to obediently observe ritual, ceremony and honour, the Imperial Fists took to renaming their Shield Companies in the aftermath. Their new designations were named for the walls that each respective company held in the defense of the Imperial Palace during the Siege of Terra (i.e. 1st "Hemispheric Wall Company", 2nd "Daylight Wall Company", "Lotus Gate Company", "Anterior Six Gate Wall Company", etc.). A second custom was the taking of a "nom de guerre". When an Aspirant was inducted into the Chapter, they forgot their given names, their pre-breed names. Their fellow battle-brothers bestowed upon each of them a name that suited their bearing or character: a "wall-name" (i.e. Captain Koorland -- "Slaughter", Captain Sauber -- "Severance", "Firefight", "Dolorous", "Killshot", "Cleaver", "Arm's Length", "Coldeye", "Lifetaker", "Bleedout", ect.). These were earned names, names within the brotherhood. Battle-Brothers were henceforth referred to as "Wall Brothers".
For a time, in observance of ritual and ceremony, the Imperial Fists seemed to waste their immense potential, serving out their time as Astartes in the one place in the galaxy that war would never visit again -- upon the very walls they had defended during the dark days of the Heresy. The Imperial Fists would observe this honourary custodianship of the defence of the Imperial Palace for nearly 1,500 years, until the mid-32nd Millennium.
These practices were discontinued after the Imperial Fists were nearly wiped out in 544.M32 on the fields of Ardamantua whilst battling a race of metallic insectoid xenos known as the Chrome. These strange alien creatures existed between realities, and had attacked the Imperium as they desperately fled the Ork Warboss known as The Beast. As the Imperial Fists were unaware of the true threat that the Imperium would soon face, they battled the encroaching xenos, until eventually both forces were destroyed by the arriving massive Ork vessel known as the Battle Moon. Only a single Astartes managed to survive the engagement.
In temperament, Imperial Fists are driven and focused. They study the tenets of the Codex Astartes with almost as much dedication as the Ultramarines, yet there are certain passages their very nature makes it hard for them to fully comprehend. Whereas the Codex teaches the wisdom of a tactical re-deployment, the Imperial Fists will fight on, all but blind to the consequences. While the Ultramarines might consider this characteristic a weakness, it is nonetheless the root of their selfless devotion to the ideals of their Primarch. When not engaged in battle, the Imperial Fists are often driven to undertake one of several pursuits, or else be consumed by thoughts of potential imperfections or even failures. The same drive that propelled Rogal Dorn to undertake his post-Horus Heresy crusade still slumbers in the hearts of his sons, waiting to emerge in moments of quiet. In order to silence such doubts, the Imperial Fists immerse themselves in the teachings of their Primarch, the histories of their Chapter, and the study of the art and science of war.
Junker Model of Behaviour
Imperial Fists are dedicated to fastidious and meticulous detail, by the grace of Dorn -- detail in military tactics, and in personal conduct too. That is why they adopted the Junker model of behaviour, an ancient Prussic code, named after Prusse, on Ancient Terra. This model demands dedication to absolute detail in both military operations and individual conduct.
One of the Imperial Fists traditions is thought to date back to the earliest days of the old Legion, before it even left Terra on the Great Crusade. The Imperial Fists engage in ceaseless duels against one another, sometimes to settle a point of honour but more often to test themselves and their swordsmanship. Only a fully-fledged battle-brother is permitted to duel. Two duellers will enter an arean, stripped to the waist, donning protective eye-wear and having their feet locked into boots encased in heavy steel. Once ready, they will salute the cloaked umpire with their thin duelling tungsten epees; then one another. The umpire will then invoke and activate some instruments attached to a notator machine, and then the steel blocks will glide forward to within two squares of one another -- epee range -- and lock magnetically to the floor. Sublime grace and accuracy, a ballet of two blades almost dancing together in an aerial pas de deux is the aesthetic of the duel, which will last a matter of minutes until a single quicksilver cheek wound decides the content. The duelists will then salute one another. Once they step from the duelling blocks, servitors will hurry to them bearing great foaming stone steins -- one red, one black -- to drink in one draught, then smash together into shards. The umpire will then step forward to scrutinise the pattern of the fallen pieces, to divine how well the two battle-brothers have knitted their friendship. The most experienced and long-serving Imperial Fists sport numerous duelling scars all over their bodies, each a reminder of a hard-won victory, or a salutary defeat.
- "Fists of beauty,
Fingers of death;
With death is our tryst."
- — Imperial Fists mantra when scrimshawing
When memories of fallen comrades overtake them, some Imperial Fists indulge in the scrimshawing of their bones, honouring the memory of those long-passed. It is said that as an Imperial Fist grows older and sees more of his Battle-Brothers fall in combat, his urge to master the practice of scrimshawing the bones of his fallen kin becomes all but irresistible. Often, this devotional act serves to belay any sense of failure the Battle-Brother may feel for his own part in the death, whether real or imagined, and in some cases is an act of penance imposed by the Chapter Chaplains or by the Imperial Fist himself.
Their work accumulated over millennia, and can be seen everywhere within the halls of the Imperial Fists' mighty chapter ship, Phalanx. Examples are mounted in tooled silver reliquaries in niches, or displayed in rococo gilt cases which cyborged servitors dust. Officers wear scrimshaws as jewellery along with the most noble, holy decorations incorporating tiny slivers of the Emperor's own armour from aeons ago, prior to the time when that Divine Immortal was imprisoned in His prosthetic Golden Throne. Some of the polished, engraved scrimshaws, so mellow in lustre, depict weapons; others armour or miniature cameos of battle.
- "Pain is... a lesson that the universe teaches us. Pain is the preserver from injury. Pain perpetuates our lives. It is the healing, purifying scalpel of our souls. Pain is the wine of communion with heroes. It is the quicksilver panacea for weakness -- the quintessence of a dedicated existence. Pain is the philosophic vitriol which transmutes mere mortal into immortal. It is the Sublime, the golden astral fire!"
When other pursuits fail to quiet the mind, the Imperial Fists are known to don the pain-glove and subject themselves to hours of excruciating nerve-shriving, emerging hours or even days later cleansed of all doubt and pure of mind. A pain-glove is comprised of a steel framework suspending within it a transparent cling-tight one-piece tunic elegantly embroidered with fine silvery wires so that an exposed human nervous system seems to be hanging within, a semi-collapsed anatomy of nerves. The tunic only lacks a head and the tops of the shoulders. The framework slowly stretches the fabric apart. An Astartes strips himself naked and then enters within. The glove cleaves to the whole body, save for the head. Elastic fabric clings to an Imperial Fist's legs, loins, trunk and arms. The mesh of electrofibres stimulate excruciating pain signals in all the nerves in the flesh without any physical harm being caused to the flesh. Though the Astartes feels all the agony, and more, of being roasted and incinerated alive, no actual damage results. Thus, those agonies might continue unabated.
It is likely that the roots of this practice lie in the period immediately after the Horus Heresy, when the Imperial Fists sought to atone for their perceived sin in failing to intervene in the Emperor's battle against Horus. The pain-glove's archaic systems keep the subject conscious as every nerve in his body is shrived raw by agonising stimuli. When he first joins the Chapter, the Battle-Brother may undergo such treatment as both a punishment for shortcomings and failures, and as a means of inuring himself to bodily pain. Yet, even at the very pinnacle of his abilities, a veteran Imperial Fist will periodically don the pain-glove, testing, punishing and purifying himself in ecstatic neural flagellation.
Most troubling, over the millennia it has been noted that some Imperial Fists have a tendency to become obsessed with conquering pain through sheer force of will. This is a good quality in that an Astartes is able to fight on despite terrible injuries. Yet subconsciously if they invite such injuries, such an invitation of injuries can imperil battle planning, risking loss of personnel and materiel. An Imperial Fist must be aware of this tendency, even when he exploits it.
The Imperial Fists as a Chapter might have largely withdrawn from the Jericho Reach, but they are well represented in the ranks of the Deathwatch. The Sons of Dorn are known to have contributed Battle-Brothers to the Deathwatch since its earliest days, and given the Chapter's reputation and character it is hardly surprising that this should be so. Many of those standing their Vigil at Watch Station Erioch took the Apocryphon Oath as their Chapter began redeploying to other warzones, choosing to remain and complete the obligations that had brought the Imperial Fists to the region in the first instance.
One such individual is Chaplain Magno Stoan, who served as a Chaplain to the Imperial Fists' 3rd Company for the best part of two standard centuries before the deployment of five of its squads to the Jericho Reach in 801.M41. Chaplain Stoan was present at numerous great victories, including the fall of Fort Crimson, the breaching of the 48th Parallel, and was instrumental in the destruction of the Space Hulk Scion of Vehemence. It was during a mission into the Slinnar Drift that Chaplain Stoan encountered a new and deadly foe -- the Dark Eldar. Despite the ferocity of the Imperial Fists' defence, they found themselves surrounded and impossibly far from any hope of reinforcement. The details of the battle are known only to Chaplain Stoan himself, for no others survived to describe it. Stoan has vowed to keep his own counsel on the matter, but it is known that he was taken alive, having been struck by dozens upon dozens of toxic projectiles, his superhuman constitution finally overcome by the xenos poisons. Dragged back to the Dark Eldar's fell demesnes, Stoan was tortured and prepared to fight in the gladiatorial arenas of a Wych Cult for the entertainment of the bloodthirsty masses. Though he has never recounted how, Chaplain Stoan not only resisted the tortures his captives inflicted upon his flesh, wounds he still bears the scars of to this day, but he broke his bonds and escaped, capturing one of his tormentors in the process. At length, Stoan made it back to the Jericho Reach, his captive in tow.
Making straight for Watch Station Erioch, Chaplain Stoan presented his prize to the Deathwatch and declared that he would take the Apocryphon Oath. This he did, and while the captive withered and died within a matter of weeks, Stoan and the Deathwatch learned much from the sadistic Dark Eldar before it met its end. The Chaplain stands his Vigil to this day, ministering to the spiritual needs of his Battle-Brothers, regardless of which Chapter they hail from. It is also said that he harbours a special hatred for the Dark Eldar, and that he has tutored numerous brethren in the mental and spiritual disciplines required to resist their torments. This is perhaps Chaplain Stoan and the Imperial Fists' greatest legacy to the Deathwatch, for thanks to the suffering of one man, all are ultimately made stronger.
The Imperial Fists' gene-seed is very stable and has never exhibited signs of mutation. However, over time they have lost the use of two of the special organs produced by the basic Astartes genetic template: the Betcher's Gland, which allows a Space Marine to produce poisonous/acidic spittle, and the Sus-an Membrane, which allows an Astartes to enter a state of suspended animation.
Another peculiar and unexplained quirk of the Chapter is the Imperial Fists' pathological need to scrimshaw the bones of their dead when off-duty. Scrimshaw is considered a solemn undertaking to the Astartes of this Chapter. It is seen as a way to practice mental discipline, focus, and attention to detail. Oftentimes the finished scrimshaws are worn as jewelry and ornamentation, particularly by the Chapter's officers. None know the roots of this practice, which for many Imperial Fists becomes an obsession they must indulge every hour they are not fighting or training. The bones of slain kin are engraved in minute detail, every surface lovingly covered in lines of devotional script and illuminated scenes depicting the deeds of the fallen. Even the bones of the Chapter's Primarch have been engraved in this manner, preserved as the most sacred relic the Chapter possesses.
Death Before Dishonour
All Space Marines are the product of their genetic inheritance, benefiting from its blessings as well as suffering from its shortcomings, and the Imperial Fists are no different. The Chapter's Primarch was a deeply devoted warrior who fought tirelessly at the right hand of the Emperor, but even this towering exemplar had his flaws, as he himself is known to have acknowledged. Perhaps because of his dedication, Dorn was devastated when the Emperor fell, and shouldered far more than his fair share of the blame. He cast himself into a crusade of redemption that only ended in the terrible crucible of the Iron Cage, re-forging the Legion in the bloody furnace of war. Dorn's glorious legacy lives on through the Imperial Fists, but so too does his curse. This usually occurs in three levels:
- Level 1 (Suffer Not Failure) - The Battle-Brother believes himself deficient in some manner, whether real or imagined, and becomes truculent and obstructive when ordered to redeploy in the face of a stronger foe. When acting as a squad leader or Deathwatch Kill-team leader, he makes demands of his squad that others might consider unreasonable, and views any disagreement as outright disobedience.
- Level 2 (Beware Hubris) - The Battle-Brother spends his every waking moment brooding on past battles, seeking even the slightest flaw in his own deeds, and those of others. While he stops short of outright criticism of his Battle-Brothers, he condemns his own actions as falling short of the example set by his Primarch, and seeks to redeem himself in the fires of battle.
- Level 3 (None Are Flawless) - The Battle-Brother obsessively reviews every detail of every mission he takes part in, finding fault with his own actions and those of his squad. He becomes withdrawn, maudlin and confrontational, and unwilling to accept or issue any order that does not result in imminent battle.
This worrying trait has attracted scrutiny from Imperial authorities, most especially the Imperial Fists' over-zealous use of self-castigation. They often make use of a device called the "Pain Glove", which encases the whole body and stimulates its pain neurons. The Imperial Fists constantly feel the need to punish themselves for the smallest inadequacy, failure or infraction. The last remaining relic of Rogal Dorn, his skeletal hand, is displayed in their fortress-monastery on the Phalanx as a reminder of the ultimate dedication their duty and the Emperor require of the Space Marines. Considering the circumstances of Rogal Dorn's eventual death, it is clear that the Imperial Fists have a drive for self-sacrifice that they must continually battle to overcome.
Although the Imperial Fists have a preference for long-range engagement and specialise in siege warfare, they are also well-known for their passion for dueling, a tradition thought to date back to the earliest days of the old Legion, before it even left Terra on the Great Crusade. The Imperial Fists engage in ceaseless duels against one another, sometimes to settle a point of honour but more often to test themselves and their swordsmanship. The most experienced and long-serving Imperial Fists sport numerous duelling scars all over their bodies, each a reminder of a hard-won victory, or a salutary defeat.
Another genetic deficiency that afflicts at least one of the Imperial Fists' Successor Chapters is known as Dorn's Darkness. Most notably, the Second Founding Chapter known as the Excoriators are afflicted by this genetic curse. When Dorn's Darkness takes one of their number it might appear to the untrained eye as merely a wretched palsy: a slackness of the jaw, a tremor of the limb, a blankness of the eye. But those who survive it report the experience as a living nightmare, a sleeping wakefulness in which they relive the bottomless woe of Dorn's most trying time -- the grievous mortal wounding of the Emperor of Mankind during the final hours of the Battle of Terra. This is both the genetic blessing of the Sons of Dorn's Primarch and a curse upon his sons. It is to know the possibility -- for even a second -- of an Imperium without the Emperor. To feel what Dorn felt. The profound misery of a Primarch. The paralysing fear that even a man as great as Dorn experienced, for himself and for Mankind, over the Emperor's broken body after the end of His battle with Horus. Whilst enthralled by the Darkness, its victims cannot speak or communicate. They cannot feed themselves or take water and seem feverishly insensible to everything happening about them.
Those Excoriators who fall victims to the Darkness are left in the care of the Chapter's Santiarch, or Senior Chaplain. The Santiarch Balshazar offers the victims of the Darkness a spiritual treatment that either cures them or ultimately results in their deaths. Since the Excoriators are often a fleet-bound Chapter, he has the afflicted interred within a decorative stasis casket that is transported from the Chapter's Reclusiam on their homeworld of Eschara. The casket is beaten from dull Adamantium and the box has the dimensions of a sarcophagus and the extravagant garniture to match. Its frontispiece features a raised depiction of the Emperor. Even though the casket stands upright, it represents the Emperor as prone, maimed and broken, as he was immediately following His confrontation with Horus at the end of the Battle of Terra. Balshazar's solution to the affliction of the Darkness is to create a spiritual darkness of his own within the stasis sarcophagus. It is the most solitary of confinements, where no self-respecting Excoriator need look upon his own weakness and invalidity and where he might summon the strength of will to banish the Darkness of the Primarch and recover his sanity. It is not known whether or not the Excoriators are the only Imperial Fists Successor Chapter afflicted by this genetic deficiency.
Notable Imperial Fists
Heresy Era Personnel
- Rogal Dorn - Rogal Dorn was the Primarch of the Imperial Fists Legion and one of the greatest heroes in the history of the Imperium of Man. Dorn constructed the defences of the Imperial Palace in the Himalayan Mountains on Terra that would be sorely tested by the Forces of Chaos during the climax of the Horus Heresy, the terrible Battle of Terra. He is presumed to be deceased after leading an assault against a Chaotic flagship during the 1st Black Crusade. His supposed remains are now sacred relics of the Chapter kept aboard their mighty Chaptership Phalanx.
- First Captain Sigismund - Sigismund was the First Captain of the Imperial Fists Legion during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. Sigismund was a name that echoed through the Great Crusade even before the darkness of the Horus Heresy made him the stuff of legends. Born on Terra and raised to the Legiones Astartes as the Great Crusade was at its height, he ascended in rank and renown thanks to a simple fact: he was a warrior of unparalleled lethality and ability. Beneath the Primarchs there has perhaps never been a more skilled warrior in combat. Across the battlefields of hundreds of worlds and the duelling floors of every Legion, he was never defeated. The fire of the Crusader always burned brightly in him and if one warrior could embody the Great Crusade's spirit of noble conquest it was Sigismund. Those who faced him in the circle of blades, or stood beside him in battle, speak of a fury shackled by an iron will and an inherent genius for dealing death that bordered on the supernatural. It was his skill and fire that brought Sigismund to command the Templars of the legion's 1st Company, and the most exalted position in the Imperial Fists beneath Rogal Dorn himself. Following the tragic events of the Heresy, the Space Marine Legions were broken down into smaller Chapters. Sigismund would go on to lead the more zealous elements of the Imperial Fists and was elevated to the esteemed rank of High Marshal (Chapter Master) of the newly formed Black Templars Chapter.
- Captain Archamus, "Last of the First" - Never so volatile as First Captain Sigismund, Archamus was the master of Rogal Dorn's Honour Guard retinue known as the Huscarls during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. It was said that Captain Archamus was more in-tune with his gene-sire's emotions than that of First Captain Sigismund. Archamus was also regarded as a highly suspicious and careful individual, and often acted disdainful towards members of the Word Bearers Legion even before they had revealed the full extent of their treachery and allegiance to the Ruinous Powers. Born Kye, on the ice world of Inwit in the early 800's.M30, Kye was one of the original members of the influx of Inwit-borne recruits inducted into the ranks of the VII Legion, that would become a part of the honoured fraternity known as "The First". The members of The First were the first to make their oaths to Rogal Dorn, and their names were the first to be etched on the walls of the Temple of Oaths aboard the Phalanx. By the time of the latter years of the Horus Heresy, Archamus would be the last of this honoured brotherhood. While training as an Aspirant, he formed strong bonds of friendship with two fellow recruits, Archamus and Yonnad, and as part of their brutal training, were forced to fight against combat servitors. During one such training session, Archamus was killed while saving Kye's life. When Kye was later inducted as a fully-fledged battle-brother and took his oaths before his Primarch, he subsequently took the oath-name "Archamus" to honour his former squad mate. Archamus would eventually rise to become the trusted praetorian of Lord Dorn and the captain of his Huscarls Honour Guard. As the Great Crusade proceeded for the next two centuries, and with the outbreak of hostilities during the subsequent Horus Heresy, all the original members of The First had been killed, save Archamus, which led to him earning the moniker "Last of the First". During the latter years of the Heresy, during the Solar War, Archamus was charged with investigating Alpha Legion activity across the Sol System. He was able to track the Traitor Legion's whereabouts to the planet Pluto, where the Imperial Fists engaged the traitors in battle inside a locked chamber within the Hydra Fortress Moon in Pluto's orbit, a major Astropathic monitoring station. During the fighting, Archamus led a Huscarl contingent in a daring assault upon the Alpha Legion force led by Primarch Alpharius, himself. In the subsequent fighting, the Huscarls were killed and Archamus was left mortally wounded. With the timely arrival of a massive Imperial Fists fleet, led by Lord Dorn himself, the Imperial Fists Primarch and his remaining Huscarls teleported directly into the locked chamber, and soon joined battle against Alpharius and his elite Lernaean Terminators. Archamus looked on helplessly, as the two Primarchs fought one another in an epic life-or-death duel. When Alpharius was about to impale Dorn with his Pale Spear, the now-dying Archamus grabbed the hilt of the weapon and deflected it harmlessly into a non-vital area of Dorn's chest. This gave Lord Dorn the opening he needed, to grab the weapon's hilt, and using his deadly Chainsword Storm's Teeth, to slice Alpharius' hands from his wrists, before slashing his former brother across his chest, and then stabbing him with his own spear. Finally, Lord Dorn finished off Alpharius with a deadly chop of his mighty chainsword into the top of his skull. With the death of their Primarch, the Alpha Legion fleet withdrew and retreated from Pluto. As Archamus lay mortally wounded, uncharacteristically, Dorn shared a rare emotional moment with the dying Archamus, stating that he had failed his son. With his last breath, Archamus replied that he was not Dorn's son, but his praetorian.
- Captain Camba-Diaz - During the Horus Heresy era, Camba-Diaz was the Second Captain of the Imperial Fists Legion. Due to his fighting prowess and ability to stay cool under fire, Primarch Dorn often deployed Captain Camba-Diaz beside First Captain Sigismund. The resolute and taciturn Captain was a soothing balm to Sigismund's fiery temper. They complemented one another in battle. During the Horus Heresy Camba-Diaz played an instrumental role in the vital mission to obtain armour and munitions from the forges on Mars during the great civil war known as the Schism of Mars which had erupted between the Loyalist Mechanicum and Dark Mechanicus forces.
- Captain Efried - Efried was the Third Captain of the Imperial Fists Legion during the Horus Heresy. Captain Efried served as adjutant to Rogal Dorn during the fortification of the Emperor's Imperial Palace. Captain Efried had previously served alongside the Luna Wolves' 3rd Company in the Great Crusade during a year-long Imperial Compliance campaign. With the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, Captains Efried and Halbrecht served alongside Primarch Dorn during the early days of the fortification of the Imperial Palace and the preparation of Terra and the entire Sol System for the invasion of the Traitor Legions of Horus.
- Captain Amandus Tyr - Captain Tyr was the Sixth Captain of the Imperial Fists Legion during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. The 2nd Assault Echelon of the 6th Company was amongst the first of the Imperial Fists Legion to be issued with Cataphractii Pattern Terminator Armour, as its members were masters in a range of heavy assault doctrines. At the Battle of Phall, all of the Legion's Tactical Dreadnought Armour-equipped warriors were gathered into a single body and gathered under the command of Captain Tyr. When Tyr led the attack against the Iron Warriors warship Iron Blood in a desperate mission to slay the Primarch Perturabo, the 2nd Assault Echelon went into battle at his side. Practically nothing is known of the attack, for contact was all but impossible once it was underway, meaning those brave souls counted amongst its ranks could not be recalled when the remainder of the Imperial Fists fleet disengaged from the Iron Warriors in the final stages of the Battle of Phall.
- Captain Alexis Polux - Alexis Polux was the Captain of the 405th Company of the Imperial Fists Legion during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy in the 30th and early 31st Millennia. Polux was a warrior of unique promise both elevated to greatness and condemned to bear great sorrow by the events of the Horus Heresy. A tactical genius with a talent for void warfare, he was the protégée of the Legion's greatest fleet masters, although before the dark betrayal of the Warmaster Horus, he was yet to reach his full potential. Inwit-born, he was a physical giant even among his brothers of the Legion, and of a character as if cast in stone, emotionless and unyielding, whose reputation before the Battle of Phall rested as much on his strength in the bloody melee of close quarters combat as in command. When Primarch Rogal Dorn sent his Retribution Fleet to aid the beleaguered Loyalists on Istvaan III, Polux would likely still have had many years of proving ahead of him before he attained high command, but cruel chance and the death of his mentors saw such command thrust upon him, and with it the fate of much of his Legion lay in his hands. Polux went on to win Dorn's respect countless times during the dark days of the Great Betrayal. Following the events of the Heresy, the Space Marine Legions were broken down into smaller Chapters, and Polux was selected to lead the newly formed Crimson Fists Chapter. He went on to lead the Crimson Fists for the first 800 standard years of their existence. During this time, he did much to shape their interpretation of the Codex Astartes and their combat doctrines.
- Captain Fafnir Rann - Fafnir Rann was a ruthless and bellicose Captain of the Imperial Fists Legion during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. By the opening days of the Heresy, Rann had risen to the esteemed rank of Seneschal. When Rogal Dorn mustered the Retribution Fleet to be sent to assist the beleaguered Loyalists on Istvaan III, Rann's Chapter was selected along with a third of the Legion. During the Battle of Phall, Rann's Chapter participated in the Blade of Perdition's hit and run action against the Iron Warriors Heavy Cruiser Sire of Sabaktes, teleporting into the warship's central armoury and planting a Melta charge that, when it detonated, set off a chain reaction and destroyed the entire vessel and its crew. By the time the survivors returned to the Blade of Perdition, Fleet Master Alexis Polux had issued the order to withdraw and it was characteristic of Seneschal Rann and his warriors that the Blade was one of the very last to obey. Following the tragic events of the Great Betrayal, the Space Marine Legions were broken down into smaller Chapters, each with their own unique name, heraldry and traditions, with the originating Primogentor retaining the original name and heraldry. Rann would continue to serve in the Imperial Fists Chapter until the Third Founding which occurred in 001.M32. Rann was selected to become the patriarch and first High Executioner (Chapter Master) of the newly founded Executioners Chapter.
- Captain Aleph - Aleph was a Captain of the Imperial Fists who was present during the defence of the Emperor's Imperial Palace on Terra at the climax of the Horus Heresy. He was the ancestral source of the gene-seed used in the transformation of Captain Demetros in the 41st Millennium, and was eventually slain by the Black Legion's Captain Scaevolla, a former comrade-in-arms of Aleph. Scaevolla allowed Aleph's Progenoid Glands to be recovered by the Imperial Fists, however, so that another would inherit Aleph's genetic legacy. The Black Legion Captain would then one day face this new recipient of Aleph's genetic legacy, thus starting the cycle of confrontation and death all over again.
- Captain Halbrecht - Halbrecht was a Captain of the Imperial Fists Legion who served during the Horus Heresy. Along with Captain Efried, Halbrecht was the only other captain of his Legion to accompany Rogal Dorn to Terra with former Death Guard Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro and his heroic 70 Astartes survivors of the virus-bombing of Istvaan III. The rest of the Legion went to investigate Istvaan before returning to Terra. In the meantime, Halbrecht and Efried served Dorn during the early days of the fortification of the Imperial Palace and the preparation of Terra and the entire Sol System for the invasion of the Traitor Legions of Horus.
- Captain Demetrius Katafalque - A former Captain of the Imperial Fists Legion, Demetrius Katafalque had once fought at Rogal Dorn's side during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy that followed. During the Battle of Terra, it was Katafalque who bled with his men before the walls of the Imperial Palace, under the horrific onslaught of the Warmaster's siege, putting his body between the enemy and his Emperor. He made them pay in blood for every treasonous step. During the Second Founding, Rogal Dorn designated Demetrius to become the first Excoriator; the first Chapter Master of the Successor Chapter of the Imperial Fists, known as the Excoriators. He also took part in the post-Heresy Crusades of penitence against the Traitor Legions during the Great Scouring. Katafalque scribed the sacred tome, The Architecture of Agony, a treatise dedicated to devotional suffering. Demetrius favoured their Primarch's practice for his brother Excoriators. On their Primarch's foster world of Inwit, the winters were cold and the lash was hot. Such instruction was adopted across Dorn's early empire and was favoured by the Primarch personally as a form of martial communion and as purification for the soul.
- Captain Learchus - Learchus was an Imperial Fists Captain who served with the Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. He was present at the defence of the Emperor's Imperial Palace during the Battle of Terra, and was killed fighting against Death Guard Plague Marines.
- Captain Noriz - During the Horus Heresy, Captain Noriz was a commander of a company of Imperial Fists detached to the Raven Guard's homeworld of Deliverance to present the XIX Legion with a precious gift: the newest model of Power Armour, the Mark VI "Corvus"-pattern, named in honour of their Legion's valliance. Although under orders to return to Terra once his mission accomplished, Noriz was convinced by Corvus Corax to renounce his original orders and to fight alongside the Raven Guard in their war of vengeance. Under Noriz, this lone company of Imperial Fists would distinguish itself greatly in battle. Most notoriously the Imperial Fists talent for counter-siege warfare was put to good use to reinforce Deliverance's and Kiavahr's defences.
- Captain of the Banner Navarre - Navarre was the Emperor's Champion of the Black Templars Chapter who carried the Chapter Banner across the breach in the walls of the Imperial Palace during the height of the fighting during the Second Siege of the Imperial Palace in the 36th Millennium. For his actions, he was granted the honorary title "Captain of the Banner" within the Imperial Fists Chapter by the Imperial Fists' Chapter Master Lazerian.
- Chaplain Akrida - Akrida is a Chaplain of the Imperial Fists who served during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. He was present at the defence of the Imperial Palace during the Battle of Terra.
- Veteran Sergeant Ahmand - Veteran Sergeant Ahmand served as a member of the 55th Company, 62nd Squad within his company's Breacher Squads. He served aboard the Tribune when the Retribution Fleet was formed to assault Istvaan V in the early days of the Horus Heresy. When, at the height of the Battle of Phall, Captain Alexis Polux ordered the seizing of the Iron Warriors vessel Contrador, only the 55th's Breacher Squads were included in the counter-boarding action, the remainder remaining on the doomed Tribune to exact a heavy a toll on their attackers. The 62nd Squad teleported onto the Contrador alongside Polux himself and Ahmand was at his side throughout. Ahmand survived the Battle of Phall, though it was many long years before accounts of it were recounted to and recorded by the Order of Remembrancers.
- Veteran Sergeant Valtus Moran - Veteran Sergeant Moran served with the 21st Occupation Echelon, 42nd Company during the Great Crusade and early years of the Horus Heresy. His company was part of a small contingent posted at Lethe to forewarn the Manachean Commonwealth of attack, when it was utterly outnumbered when the Sons of Horus came to claim it for their gene-father. Struck from orbit by sustained bombardment, only its deep, triple-shielded bunkers built into the bedrock yet endured. The few survivors were quickly assailed by a full cohort of Cthonian Headhunter Auxilia and Sergeant Moran and his Terminator brethren led a breakout attempt, successfully seizing several short range void craft and escaping the death of Lethe at high cost in lives. It would prove a cruel irony of war that their blood-bought warning was without purpose, as Manachea itself had already fallen. Of the fifty-two Imperial Fists that survived the orbital bombardment, only twenty-three were able to fight their way to freedom, all of them wounded. Sergeant Moran's ultimate fate is unknown.
- Sergeant Reinor - Sergeant Reinor served with the 28th Squad, 135th Demi-Company, a detached Imperial Fists unit based at Bastion Kvet on Manachea Lux during the opening years of the Horus Heresy. This was a fortress designed to hold out against attack until relief arrived. The 135th was configured around a core of Tactical and Heavy Support squads, supplemented by Tactical Support squads such as the 28th. The bastion came under heavy attack when the Warmaster's hosts smashed into the Manachea Commonwealth. The Traitors pinned the small garrison units down with wave after wave of human troops, driven by demagogues later identified as Warrior Lodge serpent priests, prior to attack by Sons of Horus assault units. On the ninth day, Reinor assumed command of the dwindling bastion. Of his fate, little is known, other than he continued to lead the 135th Company, fighting atop the sundered fortifications until the end, by which time the Imperial Fists were the last Loyalists to give their lives in the Manachea system.
- Assault Legionary Gunther - Legionary Gunther served within the 64th Squad, 344th Company, a veteran counter-assault formation, specialising in the active defence of fortresses. Configured as a Legion Assault Squad, such units were adept at sallying forth from fortifications in order to deny any attacker the initiative. Gunther's unit was hurriedly recalled from its assignment to serve on the Oath of Stone as a part of the Imperial Fists' Retribution Fleet early in the Horus Heresy. When the Iron Warriors attacked at the Battle of Phall, Gunther and his brothers were mustered to void assault against the Grand Cruiser Atropos, using their Jump Packs to propel themselves across the void as the enemy vessel closed. Within minutes of the assault however, the Oath of Stone was herself destroyed, casting any member of the 64th Squad who had survived the explosion to the void. Nothing more is known of the Atropos, and so the fate of Legionary Gunther, like so many thousands of his brothers, must remain known only to providence.
- Legionary Arnfried - Legionary Arnfried served in the 34th Squad, 140th Company. Serving aboard the Lacedaemon, he took part in the Battle of Phall. Legionary Arnfried and his Battle-Brothers are known to have defended the Lacedaemon against several Iron Warriors boarding actions during the Battle of Phall, but further accounts of their stoic deeds went unrecorded. The Lacedaemon was destroyed during the Imperial Fists' disengagement from the Iron Warriors fleet and it is held as extremely unlikely that Arnfried, or any warriors of the 140th Company, could possibly have survived the carnage.
- Legionary Baldur Kord - Legionary Kord served within the 6th Company, 2nd Assault Echelon, a senior vanguard assault formation, adorned in Cataphractii Pattern Terminator Armour. The 2nd Assault Echelon was amongst the first units of the Imperial Fists Legion to be issued with these formidable suits of Tactical Dreadnought Armour. He most famously took part in the Battle of Phall against the traitorous Iron Warriors Legion. Gathered under the command of Captain Amandus Tyr, he took part in the suicidal assault of the Iron Warriors' flagship Iron Blood in a desperate mission to slay the Primarch Perturabo. Practically nothing is known of the attack, for contact was all but impossible once it was underway.
- Legionary Fasolt - Serving within the 4th Company, 12th Squad, Legionary Fasolt, armoured in his Cataphractii Pattern Terminator Armour, fought under his Primarch's stern gaze throughout the dozens of wars of Imperial Compliance during the Great Crusade, travelling the length and breadth of the rapidly expanding Imperium aboard the Phalanx. He most famously took part in the Battle of Phall, serving aboard the Imperial Fists' vessel Blade of Perdition during its hit and run action against the Iron Warriors heavy cruiser Sire of Sabaktes. Teleporting into the enemy vessel's armoury and planting a Melta charge, it detonated, successfully setting off a chain reaction that destroyed the entire vessel.
- Legionary Justici Ghunfried - Ghunfried was an early recruit of the VII Legion and a veteran of the earliest campaigns of the Great Crusade. He rose to the rank of Veteran Sergeant of one of the Terran Household Guard and it was in this role that he fell in glory during battle. Recovered from the aftermath of the apocalyptic battle, life was found to linger yet and Ghunfried was interred within the armoured sarcophagus of a mighty Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought.
- Chapter Master Vorn Hagan - Vorn Hagan is the current Chapter Master of the Imperial Fists following the death of Vladimir Pugh in 970.M41, when he was slain battling Tyranids deep within a crashed Space Hulk during the Infestation of Drashin. Captain Darnath Lysander of the 1st Company was initially elected to lead the Chapter, but refused the honour. Instead, Captain Vorn Hagan, the commander of the 5th Company, became the Imperial Fists' new Chapter Master.
- Chapter Master Vladimir Pugh - Vladimir Pugh was the predecessor of Chapter Master Vorn Hagen. Whilst not a particularly inspirational leader, Pugh was considered as meticulous a planner as any Chapter Master in the Imperial Fists' history. Chapter legends state that he despised sensual gratification so much, that he had his taste buds excised. Forever after, his every feat was also a feast for his senses. But in reality, this was a private penance -- the result of 170 Imperial Fists that were lost in one terrible action, and because the Emperor could no longer taste or smell or touch. Pugh was slain battling Tyranids deep within a crashed Space Hulk during the Infestation of Drashin in 970.M41.
- Chapter Master Lazerian - Chapter Master of the Imperial Fists during the Age of Apostasy in the 36th Millennium and present during the Second Siege of the Imperial Palace where the Black Templars, Imperial Fists, Soul Drinkers and Fire Hawks fought to depose the insane High Lord Goge Vandire.
- Chapter Master Bronwin Abermort - One of the Imperial Fists' early Chapter Masters.
- Chapter Master Kalman Flodensbog - One of the Imperial Fists' early Chapter Masters.
- Chapter Master Ambrosian Spactor - One of the Imperial Fists' early Chapter Masters.
- Captain Darnath Lysander - Darnath Lysander is the Captain of the 1st Company, Overseer of the Armoury and Watch Commander of the Phalanx. The famous Imperial Fist Captain first appeared in the Liber Honorus Imperial Fists in 567.M40 as a Sergeant in command of a unit of the 2nd Company where he was victorious over a group of Heretics on Iduno at the Battle of Colonial Bridge. He was then promoted to command of the 2nd Company in 585.M40 after successfully boarding and capturing an Eldar Cruiser. During the three year siege of the world of Haddrake Tor to retake it from the Forces of Chaos, Lysander witnessed the death of the Captain of the 1st Company, Kleitus, and from him received the Imperial Fists' sacred relic Thunder Hammer, the Fist of Dorn, which he used to go on and conquer the Heretics. Lysander was soon after promoted to command the elite 1st Company, which he led for many years. Whilst leading a force of Imperial Fists, they disappeared into a Warp Storm and were feared lost, though the Chapter patiently waited for his return for quite some time. The Chapter ultimately pronounced Lysander and his men dead in absentia. In truth, Lysander's starship re-emerged into Chaos-held space where it was captured by the Imperial Fists' bitter enemies, the Iron Warriors. Lysander and the survivors were captured and taken by the Traitors to one of their accursed Fortress Worlds, known as Malodrax, and were tortured for years. Eventually Lysander, without weapons or armour, effected his escape and fought his way off the accursed Chaos world to freedom. When he returned to the Imperial Fists Chapter, many centuries had passed in the material universe. Fearing that he might have been tainted by the Ruinous Powers, Lysander was thoroughly screened by the Chapter's various specialists and found free of Chaotic taint. Afterwards, Captain Lysander was reinstated to his position as Captain of the 1st Company. Lysander then lead a force to raze the Iron Warriors from Malodrax and laid the world to waste, achieving his vengeance at last.
- Captain Taelos - Taelos was the Captain of the 10th Company, and the former Captain of the 2nd Company. Whilst in command of the 2nd Company, Captain Taelos played a vital role against the Tau's expansion during the Nimbosa Crusade. The contested planet of Nimbosa on the outskirts of the Tau Empire had been fought over several times before and the Imperial forces there were stretched to the brink of collapse. Captain Taelos and Imperial Ambassador Palmatus traveled to the Tau world of T'olku in an attempt to stall the Tau invasion. They were unsuccessful, but with the arrival of the Black Templars, Ultramarines, Raven Guard and several other Astartes Chapters, the tide quickly turned and the Tau were driven from the world without mercy. The Black Templars established a Chapter keep on the world. Elements from the 2nd Company were present during the Koloth Gorge Massacre, where Commander Brightsword of the Tau Empire ambushed and slaughtered an entire regiment of Imperial Guard and many of the Imperial Fists present. Captain Taelos himself was severely wounded and following the massacre, Taelos was incapacitated for the rest of the campaign and another took his place to command the 2nd Company. After the campaign, Captain Taelos sought leave to go on a Warrior Pilgrimage, a lone trip across the Imperium to fight the enemies of the Emperor alone until death claimed him, to atone for the loss of so many Space Marines under his command, but Chapter Master Pugh refused and instead appointed Taelos to command of the 10th Company. It was Captain Taelos himself who recruited s'Tonan, du'Queste and Zatori and watched them rise through training and their trial as Scout Marines to become full Battle-Brothers.
- Captain Alaric Eshara - Eshara was the Captain of the Imperial Fists' 3rd Company. Eshara led his company against the Iron Warriors on the planet of Hydra Cordatus. Unbeknownst to the defenders, the world of Hydra Cordatus was one of two large storage facilities for their tithes of Space Marine gene-seed possessed by the Adeptus Mechanicus. The genetic material at these centres was used to test all active Chapters for genetic purity and to create new Chapters during a Founding. While the defenders fought with faith and skill they were ultimately defeated in the end, and most of the gene-seed was captured by the Traitors. The Imperial Fists fought to the last and Eshara himself was cut down by the ascendant Iron Warriors Warsmith who became a powerful Daemon Prince of Chaos following this victory.
- Captain Koorland - Koorland was the second captain of the Daylight Wall Company and his wall-name was Slaughter. He was a great friend of Magos Biologis Phaeton Laurentis and the last survivor of the Battle of Ardamantua.
- Commander Hashin Yonnad - Commander of the 39th Household of Inwit during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras, Yonnad was a warrior of vast experience, a son of one of the Inwit Cluster's greatest vassal worlds before it had become part of the Imperium, and reckoned by many to be one of the Imperium's greatest strategists. Called upon many times as a fleet commander and siege master, he planned meticulously then executed his plans with brutal swiftness. It was Yonnad who executed the campaign to capture Aranaeus Prime during the Great Crusade, the future Imperial world of Necromunda.
- Lexandro D'Arquebus - Former Captain of the Imperial Fists. A high-habitat resident of the Trazior Hive on Necromunda before his recruitment into the Imperial Fists, Lexandro rose rapidly through the ranks of the Imperial Fists. He is the only surviving one of the "Three Brothers" of Trazior; the finger bones of his left hand are inscribed with the names of his two deceased Battle-Brothers from the hive city of Trazior as a permanent memorial to them. He is one of the main characters of Ian Watson's recently re-released non-canon 1993 novel Space Marine, and also appears in his Inquisition War trilogy.
- Deathwatch Captain Bannon - Captain Bannon was the Imperial Fists Astartes who served as the leader of the Deathwatch Kill-team present during the defence of the world of Tarsis Ultra, tasked with assisting Inquisitor Kryptman in fighting the Tyranids. Bannon and his team aided the defences alongside the Space Marines of the Mortifactors and Ultramarines Chapters, though Bannon himself and half of his team died during the course of the events on Tarsis Ultra. Their death was not in vain, however, as the Tyranids were eventually fought off after the death of one of their Norn-Queens.
- Deathwatch Captain Octavius - Captain Octavius was the Imperial Fists Astartes who led a Deathwatch Kill-team that included three individuals seconded temporarily from the Mantis Warriors Space Marine Chapter. These Astartes, previously disgraced due to their actions during the Badab War, proved their honour with the Deathwatch following a series of heroic actions and sacrifices. After his actions on Herodian IV, Captain Octavius was given the rare honour of remaining seconded by his Chapter to the Deathwatch permanently. However, his tenure was cut short when he fell in battle against a Dark Eldar Talos Pain Engine. One shoulder plate from his armour was all that was recovered by his team, though their mission was accomplished and no other members fell in battle. The team managed to escape their Dark Eldar captors and reach their grounded Thunderhawk gunship.
- Instructional Officer Rhetoricus - A legendary figure within the Imperial Fists Chapter, Rhetoricus was a contemporary of Chapter Master Vladimir Pugh and the author of The Book of Five Spheres. In his later years, after his injuries placed him in a hover chair and rendered him unable to serve in the field, Rhetoricus was involved in instruction of Imperial Fists Neophytes during training and implantation of their gene-seed.
- Chaplain Lo Chang - Lo Chang is the moon-faced Chaplain that serves as his Chapter's Master of Sanctity and Reclusiarch. He has a countenance that is badly scarred by crater-like wounds incurred when his helmet failed him in combat. When Lo Chang preaches, he is swept up in devout ecstasy wherein his passion can inspire any Imperial Fists Space Marine to strive to be a true child of Rogal Dorn and servant of the Emperor of Mankind. Lo Chang appeared in the recently re-released non-canon novel Space Marine by Ian Watson.
- Chaplain Carnark - Chaplain Carnak was the Keeper of the Shrine of Mithron for centuries, having served the Chapter for more than four hundred standard years. Chaplain Carnak and his assistant Brother Nidon were the only survivors of the Shrine Guard stationed on the planet, as the rest of the Imperial Fists' 5th Company was wiped out by a force of Chaos Space Marines. Chaplain Carnak was killed by the possessed body of Ultramarines Captain Severus aboard the 2nd Company's Strike Cruiser in orbit over Mithron, the daemon within Severus executing Carnak before he could reveal Severus' possession to the other Space Marines present.
- Chaplain Dominicus - Chaplain Dominicus was attached to the Imperial Fists' 10th Company during its recent recruiting mission aboard the Strike Cruiser Capulus. Dominicus is a stern but inspiring man, charged with first introducing Initiates to the Chapter to the Pain Glove, and instructing them in the Imperial Fists' Cult of Dorn.
- Deathwatch Chaplain Magno Stoan - Magno Stoan served as a Chaplain to the Imperial Fists' 3rd Company for the best part of two standard centuries before the deployment of five of its squads to the Jericho Reach in 801.M41. Chaplain Stoan was present at numerous great victories, including the fall of Fort Crimson, the breaching of the 48th Parallel, and was instrumental in the destruction of the Space Hulk Scion of Vehemence. It was during a mission into the Slinnar Drift that Chaplain Stoan encountered a new and deadly foe -- the Dark Eldar. Despite the ferocity of the Imperial Fists' defence, they found themselves surrounded and impossibly far from any hope of reinforcement. The details of the battle are known only to Chaplain Stoan himself, for no others survive to describe it. Stoan has vowed to keep his own counsel on the matter, but it is known that he was taken alive, having been struck by dozens upon dozens of toxic projectiles, his superhuman constitution finally overcome by the xenos poisons. Dragged back to the Dark Eldar's fell demesnes, Stoan was tortured and prepared to fight in the gladiatorial arenas of a Wych Cult for the entertainment of the bloodthirsty masses. Though he has never recounted how, Chaplain Stoan not only resisted the tortures his captives inflicted upon his flesh, wounds he still bears the scars of to this day, but he broke his bonds and escaped, capturing one of his tormentors in the process. At length, Stoan made it back to the Jericho Reach, his captive in tow. Making straight for Watch Station Erioch, Chaplain Stoan presented his prize to the Deathwatch and declared that he would take the Apocryphon Oath. This he did, and while the captive withered and died within a matter of weeks, Stoan and the Deathwatch learned much from the sadistic Dark Eldar before it met its end. The Chaplain stands his Vigil to this day, ministering to the spiritual needs of his Battle-Brothers, regardless of which Chapter they hail from. It is also said that he harbours a special hatred for the Dark Eldar, and that he has tutored numerous brethren in the mental and spiritual disciplines required to resist their torments.
- Epistolary Borgos - Borgos is a Chapter Librarian who holds the rank of Epistolary. He was attached to the 10th Company during its recent recruiting mission aboard the Strike Cruiser Capulus. Though Borgos is physically blind, he refuses augmetic implants. This is because his blindness does not hinder him in the slightest as his Warp sight is far superior to whatever mortal sight might provide him.
- Librarian Corwin - Corwin was a Librarian attatched to the Imperial Fists 3rd Company under Captain Eshara during the relief of beleaguered Imperial forces on the world of Hydra Cordatus which was under siege by a large warband of Iron Warriors Chaos Space Marines. Corwin sacrificed himself to open a portal through the Warp to allow a horrific Greater Daemon of Khorne to leave the fighting on Hydra Cordatus and hopefully spare his comrades from death at its hands. Where the daemon went or the result of this action on Corwin's soul are unknown, but his valiant sacrifice did buy the Imperial defenders some time, though in the end the battle was still lost.
- Librarian Franz Grenstein - The Imperial Fists Librarian Franz Grenstein is described as dusky-skinned, with cris-crossed duelling scars on both cheeks from numerous honour duels. An intense and preoccupied Imperial Fists Librarian, Grenstein takes his responsibilities to keep the Imperial Fists safe from psychic or daemonic enemies very seriously. On the rare occasions an Imperial Fists Space Marine is in contact with Chaos, it is Grenstein who will be assigned to help them regain their mental stability and ensure they have not brought Chaos' taint with them. Grenzstein was killed during a search-and-destroy mission against the Tyranids; he appeared in the recently re-released non-canonical novel Space Marine by Ian Watson.
- Techmarine Lysol Blane - In 812.M39, Techmarine Blane wrote the Liber Proditor Armorum, a text containing his insight into the use of armoured units by the Traitor Legions. The Liber was set to be an approved addition to the sacred Codex Astartes when its inclusion was blocked for unknown reasons by the Iron Hands Space Marine Chapter.
- Deathwatch-Dreadnought Szobczak - Szobczak is an ancient and cantankerous Deathwatch Dreadnought formerly of the Imperial Fists 5th Company. Inducted into the Chapter in the late 34th Millennium, he served with distinction. Eventually he became a Techmarine and was attached to the 5th Company, distinguishing himself as both a gifted siege engineer and tech-priest. For nearly two centuries he served the 5th Company. In early M35, Brother Szobczak was seconded to the Deathwatch at a long-lost Watch Station in the galactic East of Ultima Segmentum. At the end of his vigil, he petitioned to be allowed another, feeling that his work was far from complete. He was granted his request and completed three more vigils, acting as an infiltrator and sapper, until he was grievously wounded in a campaign supporting the Imperial Guard against an Ork Waaagh! His wisdom and unique skill-set were deemed too valuable to waste, and so, the Deathwatch honoured him by interring him within the Adamantium sarcophagus of a Dreadnought. Though he can remember his early days with the Imperial Fists and his first Vigils with the Deathwatch, he remembers little to nothing about his time as a Dreadnought. Records at Watch Fortress Erioch mention no Imperial Fists matching his name or description, nor is he listed amongst the Battle-Brothers slumbering in the Watch Fortress's Chamber of Elders where the few Dreadnoughts officially attached to the Deathwatch are kept.
- Sergeant Ludvos Tarn - Sergeant Ludvos Tarn is the sole survivor on the losing side of a battle between his Imperial Fists squad and a Dark Eldar raiding force. Tarn is a veteran of lifetimes of war, and his face is covered in deep, biting scars but his eyes are still sharp. A great prize, he was first presented to Archon Zaergarn and his Haemonculus Drecarus, though after the Haemonculus failed to break his will, he was sent to the pits and the care of the Wych Cult of the Withered Blade to die in the arena. His strength and stature are legendary among the denizens of the Nexus, and many xenos come to watch the warrior fight while buying and selling their slaves. The human slaves of the Withered Blade stand in awe of this giant, and he has become revered as an icon of hope and Imperial might by many of them. Tarn fights so that he does not dishonour his Chapter by accepting defeat, and hopes that one day he might escape and return to his brothers.
- Scout Sergeant Zed Juron - Juron was the first Astartes squad leader to have Tundrish, d'Arquebus and Valance under his command. Juron led the Scout Marines during the Karkasson Campaign where the squad, code-named the "Wolverines", performed spectacularly. He orchestrated the capture and control of an Imperator-class Titan on that rebel-held world and took the throne of the Princeps during the battle. Later, he led a squad of Battle-Brothers under the command of Lieutenant Vonreuter in one of the Imperium's first boarding actions against a Tyranid Hive Fleet.
- "If you bear the honour and glories of the past, you must also bear its duties."
- — Danarth Lysander, Imperial Fists Captain
- Angel of Sacrifice - During the Great Crusade, and the Heresy that followed, many thousands of Imperial Fists fought for Mankind. In those days, every company's banner bore a golden crest, forged at the Emperor's decree and presented by Dorn himself. When the Imperial Fists Legion was dissolved, Dorn forbade that the crests be carried into battle until the Emperor Himself returned to lead the reconquest of the stars. Since that day, the crests have lain within Phalanx' stasis vaults, waiting for a day that may never come. The one exception was the Angel of Sacrifice. During the infiltrator Macellanos' attempt to assassinate the Emperor during the Siege of Terra, Garos Hargrim took up his company's splintered banner and slew the traitor. Hargrim perished even as he struck Macellanos down, but Dorn ordered the golden crest be reforged as a crozius to honour the warrior's memory. The Angel of Sacrifice has been wielded by favoured Chaplains ever since, a weighty burden and an honour both.
- Armour of Dorn - Fragments of Dorn's golden Artificer Power Armour are kept by the Second Founding Black Templars Chapter.
- Banner of Staganda - The Battle for Staganda was one of the most gruelling campaigns ever undertaken by the Imperial Fists 3rd Company. Staganda had been severed from Mankind since the Dark Age of Technology and, by the time an Explorator Fleet rediscovered the world in M34, the population had been living under brutal Ork occupation for millennia. Avan Gorr, the Imperial Fists' Chapter Master in those times, determined that it was the duty of his Chapter to ensure that the Emperor's light fell anew upon Staganda, and that the greenskin yoke was cast from the world's shoulders. Though the entire Imperial Fists Chapter was mobilised to reclaim the planet, it was the 3rd Company that bore the brunt of the fighting, and its captain that slew the Ork warlord at the pivotal point in the campaign. In the aftermath, a new company standard was fashioned in honour of the victory.
- Bones of Osrak - The legends concerning Chief Librarian Malandar Osrak lie greatly shadowed by the passage of time, dating as they do from late M32 -- a period on which Chapter records are notoriously silent. The stories of Osrak's defeat of the nine Daemon Lords of the Maelstrom may well be apocryphal, as might his cleansing of the plague vessel Morbiditus. Even the tale of the Exorcism of the Phalanx is questioned by many, for few are prepared to believe so holy a vessel could fall to daemonic possession. Whatever the truth of these stories, none contest Osrak's sheer psychic might. Even now, centuries after his death, the scrimshawed remains of his skull radiate a formidable power. With proper training, a Librarian of the same gene-seed can bend the Bones of Osrak to his will, accomplishing feats beyond the ken of his fellow.
- Dorn's Skeletal Hand - The now skeletal hand of the Primarch Rogal Dorn recovered from the Chaotic warship known as the Sword of Sacrilege duing the 1st Black Crusade is one of the Imperial Fists' most sacred relics and is kept in stasis in the innermost chapels of the Phalanx. Each Chapter Master writes his name in minute script on the bones of the hand, a symbolic reminder of the Chapter Master's duty to the Primarch. When Rogal Dorn was still alive he and any new Chapter Master would slit their palms and clasp hands, the sacred blood of the Primarch mixing with that of the new Chapter Master. A symbolic and physical representation of the duty and responsibility of the new Master of the Chapter towards the Astartes of one of the Imperial Fists' Successor Chapters. With Dorn's death, the ceremony has ceased but by inscribing the names of its Chapter Masters on the bones of Dorn's hand the Chapter honours the memory of its bond with the Imperial Fists' progenitor.
- Duty's End - Duty's End is a powerful relic Storm Shield. Brother Sergeant Artor and his squad were posted on the world of Deepcut IX, guarding a mine colony, when Ork raiders attacked. Despite assurances of assistance from the hundred or so miners, their chief foreman convinced them to flee and hide deep in the tunnels. The ten Space Marines were left to defend the mine head unaided against a horde of nearly a thousand Orks. The mine entrance was an excellent place to defend, but inevitably the Ork numbers overwhelmed the Imperial Fists. Artor was last to fall, countless Slugga shells impacting on his great Storm Shield as he hacked down Greenskin after Greenskin.
- Eye of Hypnoth - The Eye of Hypnoth was presented to the Imperial Fists in late M39 in honour of the assistance they provided in defending the forge world of Hypnoth from Waaagh! Kromak. This device is a highly sophisticated and long-ranged auspex array; tradition dictates that it is best employed to detect hidden weaknesses in enemy fortifications during planetary assaults. Techmarine Karazan has made frequent use of the Eye since 956.M41, and has formed such an accord with the device's machine spirit that no other can operate it with the same precision and efficiency.
- The Fist of Dorn - The Fist of Dorn is a legendary master-crafted Thunder Hammer traditionally wielded by the Captain of the Imperial Fists' 1st Company. The weapon is shaped to resemble a gauntleted fist that is holding each end of the warhammer's head. The arcane technologies built into the Fist of Dorn allows it to strike with far more powerful blows than that of a normal Thunder Hammer, and was designed to be most effective when used to assault heavily armoured vehicles and fortifications. It is currently carried into battle by Captain Darnath Lysander, who received it from his predecessor Kleitus when the latter was killed in a teleportation accident during the siege of Haddrake Tor.
- Icon of the Iron Cage - Legend says that in memory of the Imperial Fists' great battle against the Iron Warriors Traitor Legion and their rebirth as a Chapter, a handful of survivors of that time crafted Icons of the Iron Cage. No one knows if these stories are true. However, there are a few talismans used by the Imperial Fists in the Jericho Reach Deathwatch that bear a resemblance. Whether or not they are the very same Icons crafted millennia ago there is no way of telling, but their inspiring effects on the Battle-Brothers that wear them cannot be denied. Named for the infamous siege of the Imperial Fists against the Iron Warriors Traitor Legion, the Icon is a talisman worn on Power Armour that reminds the Battle-Brother of the strength of faith and unity his Chapter displayed against the Traitor Legions, and how that strength still flows through his Chapter today.
- Ossific Relic - Many Imperial Fists bear small tokens of lost Battle-Brothers, engraving their bones with descriptions of their deeds so that they may never be forgotten and will live on forever. Ossific Relics take the form of small bones, normally finger or hand bones, carried in a small pouch near the Battle-Brother's heart, or sometimes on a chain around his neck or wrist. Far from grisly or barbaric, this practice is the ultimate act of remembrance for an Imperial Fist, and the relics of his fallen brethren are his most valued possessions.
- Pain Glove - A tool of both torture and penitence, the Pain Glove is a cage of ancient technology and cunning design that the Imperial Fists have used for centuries to test their strength, punish the unworthy, and cleanse themselves of sins, weakness and guilt.
- Roma - The Roma was the first Imperial battle honour won by the VII Legion at the start of the Great Crusade in the late 30th Millennium. The honour exists now only as a Ceramite icon, as it is too precious to be displayed in even the most heavily protected Inner Reclusium aboard the Phalanx.
- Scrimshaw Tools - It is said that as an Imperial Fist grows older and sees more of his Battle-Brothers fall in combat, his urge to master the practice of scrimshawing the bones of his fallen kin becomes all but irresistible. Often, this devotional act serves to belay any sense of failure the Battle-Brother may feel for his own part in the death, whether real or imagined, and in some cases is an act of penance imposed by the Chapter Chaplains or by the Imperial Fist himself.
- Soulspear - The Soulspear was an ancient Chapter relic wielded by the Primarch Rogal Dorn during the Great Crusade. It was forged from lost archeotech by the hand of the Emperor Himself, and gifted to His son. In battle it acted as a Warp vortex weapon, able to cut through anything. This sacred artefact was entrusted to the Imperial Fists' Successor Chapter, the Soul Drinkers, when the Legion was split during the Second Founding. The spear was lost for over ten thousand years before the Chapter discovered its whereabouts on an old derelict starfort. Upon destroying the starfort's defenders, the Soul Drinkers made their way to a treasure room in which the Soulspear was kept, where it was then stolen from their grasps by the Adeptus Mechanicus. In their obsessive need to obtain this sacred relic, the ensuing crisis resulted in a chain of events that saw the Soul Drinkers' declared Excommunicate Traitoris by the Inquisition. The Soul Drinkers eventually recovered the Soulspear, which was used by their Chapter Master Sarpedon to slay a Greater Daemon of Tzeentch named Abraxes.
- Spartean - Captain Garadon's bolt pistol is a true work of the artificer's art. Since its forging in M35, hundreds of warriors have used the pistol to slay the enemies of Mankind. Every wielder has said the same of the weapon: if the marksman's eye is true, then the Spartean's shot will be too, whatever obstacles lie in the way.
- Strikers of Allerox - These heavy gauntlets were worn by Captain Allerox in the purging of Hive Greyreach. The hive was infested by daemons who had slaughtered nearly half of the workforce populace. Allerox himself strangled the daemonic Herald of Khorne who had led the bloody rampage.
- The Sword of Dorn - The blade carried by Rogal Dorn was shattered when Dorn broke it over his knee after returning from Horus' flagship Vengeful Spirit with the broken body of the Emperor at the end of the Battle of Terra. Dorn vowed never to wield the blade again as a penance for his failure to protect the Emperor. First Captain Sigismund kept the shattered blade and had part of it forged into the weapon known as the Sword of the High Marshals that is a relic of the Black Templars Chapter, as a reminder of the duty and sacrifice expected of the Sons of Dorn. The broken blade resides in the halls of the Eternal Crusader, the Battle Barge and flagship of the Black Templar Crusade Fleet.
- Liber Mithrus - The Liber Mithrus was an ancient tome of knowledge granted to the Imperial Fists Legion at its Founding by the Emperor of Mankind Himself. The Imperial Fists Chapter later inherited the artefact after the Second Founding and held it as a sacred relic, placing it in a special shrine erected on the desolate Shrine World of Mithron. There it was protected by a perpetual honour guard composed of an entire company of Space Marines drawn from the Imperial Fists. During an incursion by the Forces of Chaos led by the Chaos Space Marines of the Black Legion, the book was nearly captured until the surviving Imperial Fists were aided by the arrival of the Ultramarines 2nd Company's Ultima Squad. Unfortunately, a daemon possessed the commander of the 2nd Company, Captain Severus, after the Ultramarines recovered the Liber Mithrus from its shrine. The daemon intended to use the arcane knowledge contained within the tome to open a Warp portal on the Ultramarines homeworld of Macragge and unleash its daemonic brethren upon that bastion of the Imperium. The daemon was defeated by Battle-Brother Proteus within the Reclusium of the 2nd Company's Battle Barge by wielding the sacred Hammer of Macragge. It is unknown if the Liber Mithrus was returned to the Imperial Fists following this incident.
The space fleets and warships of the Imperial Fists were the greatest of the age. While the Phalanx may be the greatest warship ever built, there were other warships, both great and small, whose renown reaches down through the annals of history even to this day. The Imperial Fists' Chapter fleet includes the Gothic-class Cruiser Imperial Power, as well as Cobra-class Destroyers which are used as Escorts. At least three Imperial Fists Strike Cruisers took part in the attack on the Chaos forces located at the Peleon's Belt Heretic anchorage.
Known Imperial Fists vessels within the Chapter fleet include:
- Phalanx (Mobile Fortress-Monastery) - The flagship and mobile fortress-monastery of the Imperial Fists, the Phalanx is like no other warship in the Imperium and has waged war across the galaxy for more than ten thousand standard years, being itself an artefact of the Dark Age of Technology.
- Hammer of Terra (Battle Barge) - The Hammer of Terra was destroyed in combat during the opening days of the Horus Heresy at the Battle of Phall.
- Spear of Vengeance (Battle Barge) - One of the oldest and most venerable Battle Barges within the Imperium which dates back to the glory years of the Great Crusade.
- Storm of Wrath (Battle Barge) - One of the oldest and most venerable Battle Barges within the Imperium which dated back to the glory years of the Great Crusade.
- Sword of Terra (Battle Barge) - Destroyed by the fleet of the Iron Warriors Traitor Legion around the world of Phall during the Horus Heresy.
- Tribune (Victory-class Battle Barge) - Temporary flagship of Captain Alexis Polux of the Imperial Fists Retribution Fleet, it was destroyed during the opening days of the Horus Heresy at the Battle of Phall.
- Sulla (Grand Cruiser) - Destroyed during the opening days of the Horus Heresy at the Battle of Phall.
- Lachrymae (Thunderbolt-class Heavy Frigate) - One of three honoured vessels that made up a trio of augmented Thunderbolt-class Heavy Frigates known as the Three Sisters of Justice, that were created by the will of Roboute Guilliman of the Ultramarines Legion as a gift to Rogal Dorn and his Legion. These vessels were black hulled and gold-prowed, and were said to have cut the void like daggers. Built for speed, they were intended to deliver a large payload of torpedoes to an enemy ship or fleet and outrun any guns which might answer, but they also proved particularly adept at hunting down fleeing foes. The ship masters of the Imperial Fists put these qualities of the Three Sisters to such consistent use that they were popularly renamed the Three Sisters of Spite by the auxiliary mortal forces who fought beside them.
- Ophelia (Thunderbolt-class Heavy Frigate) - One of three honoured vessels that made up a trio of augmented Thunderbolt-class Heavy Frigates known as the Three Sisters of Justice, they were created by the will of Roboute Guilliman of the Ultramarines Legion as a gift to Rogal Dorn and his Legion.
- Persephone (Thunderbolt-class Heavy Frigate) - One of three honoured vessels that made up a trio of augmented Thunderbolt-class Heavy Frigates known as the Three Sisters of Justice, they were created by the will of Roboute Guilliman of the Ultramarines Legion as a gift to Rogal Dorn and his Legion.
- Capulus (Strike Cruiser) - The Strike Cruiser assigned to Captain Taelos and the 10th Company during its most recent recruitment mission.
- Halcyon (Strike Cruisder) - The Halcyon was destroyed during the opening days of the Horus Heresy at the Battle of Phall.
- Justitia Fides (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser assigned to the 3rd Company during the disastrous Hydra Cordatus Campaign.
- Shield of Valour (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser carrying Captain Lysander and a sizeable portion of the 1st Company late in the 40th Millennium that was lost in the Warp for nearly a thousand Terran years before returning near the orbit of the Iron Warriors Fortress World of Malodrax, where the vessel and its Astartes were subsequently captured by the Traitors.
- Terrible Angel (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser that was fired on by the Imperial Navy following the Horus Heresy for Rogal Dorn's refusal to accept the tenets of the Codex Astartes and the dissolution of the Space Marine Legions into Chapters.
- Titus (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser that carried Task Force Gauntlet to the Vernalis System. The Titus also earned much renown for its participation in the Gothic War.
- Truth (Strike Cruisder) - Sister ship of the Halcyon, it was also destroyed during the opening days of the Horus Heresy at the Battle of Phall.
- Unity (Strike Cruisder) - Sister ship of the Halcyon, it was also destroyed during the opening days of the Horus Heresy at the Battle of Phall.
- Vengeance Incandescent (Strike Cruiser)
- Veritas (Strike Cruiser) - Destroyed during the opening days of the Horus Heresy at the Battle of Phall.
- Wrathful Vanguard (Strike Cuiser) - The Wrathful Vanguard was the ship despatched by the Imperial Fists Legion to Deliverance in the early years of the Horus Heresy. Her orders were to deliver a complement of advanced Mark VI-pattern power armours to the rebuilding XIX Legion and then return to Terra. Her fate however would take quite a different turn when Captain Noriz decided to fight alongside the Raven Guard rather the obeying his orders. The Wrathful Vanguard fought in dozens if not hundreds of smaller engagements, often being used as bait for the enemy to chase while the Raven Guard's ships ambushed convoys and destroyed or captured freighters and merchantmen's vessels.
- Imperial Power (Gothic-class Cruiser)
- Redemption of Fire (Capital Warship, Class Unknown) - Unknown-class warship despatched to Duras III to halt an Ork incursion.
- Crusader (Escort) - Destroyed during the opening days of the Horus Heresy at the Battle of Phall.
- Legate (Escort) - Destroyed during the opening days of the Horus Heresy at the Battle of Phall.
- Lacedaemon (Battleship, Unknown Class) - This vessel had carried the first Imperial Fists beyond the Sol system during the Great Crusade, but met its ultimate fate when it was destroyed during the opening days of the Horus Heresy at the Battle of Phall.
- Oath of Stone (Battleship, Unknown Class) - This vessel was old before it served the Imperium, and it had aged in scars and honours during the Great Crusade. Destroyed during the opening days of the Horus Heresy at the Battle of Phall.
- Oathbound (Unknown Class) - Ordered by First Captain Sigismund to seek out surviving Iron Hands splinter forces and rally them to the defence of Terra, the Oathbound was under the command of Shipmaster Casterra, a non-Astartes human captain, who sailed out from the Segmentum Solar with the Iron Hands representative to the Crusader Host onboard. Through his knowledge, they would discover the ravaged Iron Hands Battle Barge Thetis and the resistance group of Iron Hands survivors, known as the Ignarak, crewing her. Confronted by a hunter-squadron of the Sons of Horus, the Oathbound succeeded in destroying the enemy vessel Dawnstar before succumbing to the Spear Strike. Her mission however, was a success, as the Thetis survived and would answer the call to arms when the time came.
- Endeavour of Will (Imperial Starfort) - The Endeavour of Will was a powerful Starfort with a quasi-sentient Machine Spirit that is used by the Imperial Fists, along with its sister Starfort the Bastion Inviolate, to guard an area of Imperial space around the Eye of Terror. The Endeavour of Will was attacked by an Iron Warriors warband led by the Warsmith Shon'tu in 998.M41, leading to the destruction of the Bastion Inviolate and the narrow defeat of the Warsmith's forces.
- Bastion Inviolate (Imperial Starfort) - The Bastion Inviolate was a Starfort of the Imperial Fists that, along with its sister Starfort the Endeavour of Will, were used to guard a region of Imperial space around the Eye of Terror from the Traitor Legions. The Bastion Inviolate was destroyed during the Battle for the Endeavour of Will in 998.M41.
The Imperial Fists' Power Armour is a golden yellow while company is designated by shoulder trim colour in accordance with the Codex Astartes (i.e. 1st Company - White, 2nd Company - Yellow, 3rd Company - Red, 4th Company - Green, etc.). Squad speciality (Tactical, Assault, Devastator or Veteran) is indicated by the standard Codex Astartes-approved iconography in black, and the squad number is designated by a small black Roman numeral placed to either side of the squad speciality icon. The rank of Sergeant is indicated by a red helmet, while Veteran status is displayed by a white stripe painted down the centre of the helmet.
The Imperial Fists' Chapter badge is an armoured, grey or black fist on a white or yellow roundel with a grey or black circular border.
Ian Watson's novel Space Marine, the first fictional representation of the Space Marines ever written, revolves around the recruitment, training and combat experiences of an Imperial Fist Astartes. Unfortunately, the content of the book is no longer considered to be canon and in fact the tale has been deemed outright heretical by Imperial authorities.
- Cities of Death (Supplement)
- Codex: Angels of Death (7th Edition) (Supplement), pg. 83
- Codex: Astartes
- Codex: Black Templars (4th Edition), pp. 6, 19
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), pg. 32
- Codex: City Fight, pp. 74-78
- Codex: Imperialis
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 8, 40-45, 47, 49, 93, 114, 150-151
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 8, 27, 31, 45, 49, 91, 151
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition), pp. 47, 77, 81
- Codex: Space Marines (3rd Edition)
- Codex: Tau (4th Edition)
- Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition)
- Collecting and Painting Wargames Armies
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 38-39,
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 54-56, 104
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pp. 44-51, 53, 66-69, 157
- Epic: Battle Book
- How To Paint Space Marines
- Horus Heresy: Collected Vision, pp. 249, 342-343, 353, 359
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pp. 30, 138, 150, 160
- Imperial Armour Volume Two (Second Edition) - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pg. 18
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War, Part Two, pg. 84
- Imperial Armour - The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal, pp. 80-81
- Index Astartes, Imperial Fists, Games Workshop Website
- Index Astartes II, "Emperor's Fist - The Imperial Fists Space Marine Chapter", pp. 12-17
- Index Astartes IV, "Bloodied Fist - The Crimson Fists Space Marine Chapter"
- Insignium Astartes
- Rogue Trader: The Soul Reaver (RPG), pg. 59
- The Art of Clint Langley
- The Horus Heresy - Book Three: Extermination (Imperial Armour), pp. 52-53, 56-67, 266-273
- The Thirteenth Black Crusade
- To Cleanse The Stars by Andy Chambers and Matt Keefe
- Warhammer 40,000: Dataslate - Space Marines Strike Force Ultra (Digital Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition), pg. 219
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (5th Edition), pg. 142
- Warhammer 40,000: Sentinels of Terra (Imperial Fists Supplement)
- White Dwarf 302 (UK), "Heroes of the Imperium", pp. 84-85
- White Dwarf 286 (UK), "The Eye of Terror", pp. 69-70
- White Dwarf 249 (US), "Index Astartes - Emperor's Shield"
- Horus Rising (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- The Flight of the Eisenstein (Novel) by James Swallow
- Mechanicum (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Nemesis (Novel) by James Swallow
- Tales of Heresy (Horus Heresy Anthology), "Blood Games" by Dan Abnett
- The Dark King - The Lightning Tower (Audio Book), by Graham McNeill and Dan Abnett
- Age of Darkness (Anthology), "The Last Remembrancer" by John French
- Deliverance Lost (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
- Shadows of Treachery (Anthology) Edited by Christian Dunn & Nick Kyme, "The Crimson Fist" by John French, pp. 7-56
- Legacies of Betrayal (Anthology), "Riven" by John French, pg. 161-202
- Praetorian of Dorn - The Defences of Terra (Novel) by John French
- Burden of Duty (Audio) by James Swallow
- Binding (Ebook) by Ray Harrison
- Daenyathos (Novella) by Ben Counter
- Herald of Oblivion (Novel) by Jonathan Green
- Harlequin by Ian Watson (Inquisition War Trilogy)
- Heroes of the Space Marines (Anthology), "Honour Among Fiends" by Dylan Owen, "One Hate" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, & "Gauntlet Run" by Chris Roberson
- Victories of the Space Marines (Anthology), "But Dust in the Wind" by Jonathan Green
- Phalanx (Novel) by Ben Counter
- Salamander (Tome of Fire Novel Series) by Chris Kyme
- Sons of Dorn (Novel) by Chris Roberson
- Storm of Iron (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Space Marine (Novel) by Ian Watson (no longer considered canon)
- Sentinels of Terra - A Codex: Space Marines Supplement (6th Edition) (Digital Edition)
- Titanicus (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Harlequin (Novel) by Ian Watson
- Chaos Child (Novel) by Ian Watson
- Warrior Brood (Novel) by C.S. Goto
- Warriors of Ultramar (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Endeavour of Will (Ebook) by Ben Counter
- The Beast Arises (Series):
- Predator, Prey - The Beast Arises, Book 2 (Novel) by Rob Sanders
- The Emperor Expects - The Beast Arises, Book 3 (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
- Throneworld - The Beast Arises, Book 5 (Novel) by Guy Haley
- The Beast Must Die - The Beast Arises, Book 8 (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
- Forge World - Imperial Fists Legion Templar Brethren Upgrade Set
- Forge World - Imperial Fists Legion Phalanx Warder Squad Upgrade Set
- Forge World - Imperial Fists Legion Contemptor Dreadnought