Along with Chief Librarian Mephiston, Rafen is one of the very few individuals in the long history of the Blood Angels to have survived and mastered the Chapter's genetic Flaw known as the Black Rage.
The Arrogant Aspirant
The son of Axan, war-chief of the Broken Mesa Clan on Baal Secundus, Rafen had ventured to the Blood Angel's place of trials at Angel's Fall alongside his younger brother Arkio. Considered a firebrand amongst the tribe, it was suggested that many of the elders allowed him to make this journey not in the hopes that he would prove worthy of becoming a Space Marine, but so that the tribe might be spared his reckless nature. Before the two had left their father's side, Axan made Rafen promise that he would always look out for his younger brother, a vow he held to even solar decades later.
Bold and outspoken, Rafen was physically adept and completed the challenges assigned to him by the recruiting officer, Brother-Sergeant Koris of the 5th Company, though his arrogant belief that he could face all trials alone and unaided resulted in him abandoning his sibling and many of the other Aspirants in a reckless desire to prove his strength. Eventually, seeking to puncture the youth's pride, Koris offered Rafen one final challenge: defeat him, and his place in the Blood Angels would be ensured. Rising to take the bait, Rafen proved no match for the Veteran Space Marine, and was cast out of Angel's Fall in shame. Arkio, meanwhile, had shown the humility and restraint demanded of the Sons of Sanguinius, and was selected along with several of the other Aspirants to become part of the Chapter.
Realising what his arrogance had cost him, Rafen departed Angel's Fall, and wandered the deserts of Baal Secundus in search of his death. Guided by a vision of what he interpreted to be the face of Sanguinius, what he found instead was Koris' Thunderhawk, the vessel having been brought down by a storm on its way to the Blood Angels' fortress-monastery with the successful Aspirants. Koris had been rendered unconscious by the impact, and even worse, the craft had landed in the hunting grounds of a nest of fire scorpions, one of the Baal System's most dangerous fauna. Despite the demands from several of the Aspirants that this dishonoured youth leave their company, Rafen remained to assist, organising the Aspirants into a team which repelled the masses of fire scorpions and eventually slew their queen at the cost of one of the Aspirants' lives, sending the swarm into disarray.
With the danger passed, Rafen prepared to resume his exile, but the now-recovered Koris, seeing how the youth had redeemed himself and realised the value of brotherhood (a concept so critical to the success of Astartes), gave him the chance to take the fallen Aspirant's place. Accepting the offer gratefully, Rafen eventually became a Blood Angel, guided by both his promise to Axan and a realisation of his prior folly to become a warrior worthy of the Emperor and Sanguinius.
Blood Angels Civil War
Near the end of the 41st Millennium, Rafen had taken his place as a Tactical Marine of the Blood Angels' 6th Company, under the command of Brother-Captain Simeon. He had been assigned to serve as a ceremonial guard upon the Cemetery World of Cybele. A large moon orbiting a gas giant, Cybele was a world covered in the iconography of the God-Emperor and possessed few defences other than the Blood Angels contingent present there. Thus, it was a perfect target for the 9th Host of the Word Bearers Traitor Legion, commanded by the Dark Apostle Iskavan the Hated, who invaded in force to defile and claim Cybele in the name of Chaos Undivided.
With Simeon slain during one of the Heretics' attacks, the Blood Angels' defence seemed hopeless, until the arrival of the Battle-Barge Bellus. The vessel had carried the rest of the 6th Company on an endeavour to retrieve the Spear of Telesto, an ancient relic weapon, holy to the Blood Angels, that had been wielded by Sanguinius. The Spear was said to have been forged by the Emperor Himself. With their aid, including that of Arkio, who had been assigned to the expedition, the Word Bearers were routed and forced to retreat to the captured Forge World of Shenlong.
Unfortunately, Rafen's biological brother Arkio had been manipulated by Inquisitor Ramius Stele of the Ordo Hereticus who had turned to Chaos. With the help of his "patron", the Tzeentchian daemon Malfallax, Stele corrupted Arkio, mutating him into a likeness of the Blood Angels' Primarch Sanguinius. The illusion was further enhanced by the fact that Arkio was able to "awaken" the Spear of Telesto. This, and Arkio's tremendous feats in battle -- partly thanks to Stele's unseen efforts -- made many Blood Angels believe that Arkio was the resurrected Sanguinius, though Rafen was not convinced.
The plot by Tzeentch to turn the Chapter to Chaos through Malfallax and Stele was thwarted by Rafen, who had to kill Arkio, and wielding the Spear of Telesto, banished Malfallax back to the Warp. Stele, whose body was by then used as a Daemonhost by Malfallax, was utterly destroyed in the same action.
Upon returning to Baal, Rafen escorted the Spear of Telesto to the Regio, the Blood Angels Techmarines' underground base on the planet, where the spear was to be held for safekeeping in one of its Reliquary chambers. While there, he was confronted by High Chaplain Astorath the Grim, who was not convinced that Rafen had actually overcome the Black Rage, and was ready to execute him. Astorath finally stayed his hand after his attempt to goad Rafen into the Flaw failed, and told Rafen that he was reserving judgement on him for the time being.
The Fabius Bile Incident
Rafen also proved instrumental in defending the assault on the Blood Angels' fortress-monastery on Baal by Fabius Bile, the Chaos Space Marine Apothecary who was a Renegade even from the Emperor's Children Traitor Legion in his quest for genetically engineering the perfect warrior. The assault was a ruse by Bile, who was in reality trying to steal a sample of Sanguinius' blood.
Bile succeeded in taking a phial with the Primarch's blood and escaping the planet. Rafen was then assigned a mission by Lord Commander Dante, the Blood Angels' Chapter Master, to recover the blood of the Blood Angels' Primarch Sanguinius and to punish Fabius Bile with death for his transgressions against the chapter. Having followed Fabius Bile futilely for some time on board the Blood Angels cruiser Tycho, Rafen received assistance from his blood-cousin Noxx of the Flesh Tearers Chapter.
Together, the two Space Marine sergeants combined their squads to hunt down Bile, launching a strike against a powerful Magos of the Adeptus Mechanicus named Matthun Zellik. Zellik had been making deals with Bile, who had usurped the identity of another Mechanicus tech-priest named Haran Serpens, the same alias used by Bile to infiltrate the Blood Angels Chapter on Baal. The battle against Zellik took place on board the Archeohort, an ancient and unusual Adeptus Mechanicus excavation starship manned by Servitors and members of the Mechanicus' elite cybernetic warriors, the Skitarii.
By taking advantage of a turncoat within Zellik's ranks, however, Rafen, Noxx and their men found their way to Zellik's trophy room, where they destroyed the relics recovered by the Magos and forced his surrender, lest his work be undone. During the battle, Rafen had lost his Bolter to a trap laid by Zellik. But among the relics and goods in Zellik's collect was a Plasma Pistol bearing the name and Chapter markings of Aryon, a long dead hero of the Blood Angels, which Rafen took as his new side arm.
With the Archeohort, the Tycho and the Gabriel (on loan from the Flesh Tearers), Rafen and his men traveled to the planet of Dynikas V, where Zellik had last had dealings with Bile. The planet itself was unusual in that it had suffered an attack by the Tyranids, but the events had left the oceans intact as well as several aquatically mutated Tyranid specimens leaderless on the planet. Sacrificing the Archeohort, Rafen, Noxx and their men descended to Dynikas V using a submersible to approach the suspected base of operations of Primogenitor Fabius Bile.
During the approach, Rafen and his allies battled large Tyranid creatures similar in size to mighty krakens. During the underwater battle, Rafen was separated from his allies and floated to the surface, where mutated slaves of Bile captured him and took him to Bile's laboratory and fortress. Rafen, disarmed and implanted with a strange maggot that prevented him from moving, was taken before Fabius Bile himself. Bile, lost in grandeur, explained to Rafen his plan to clone none other than the Emperor of Mankind himself. Though wounded and weakened, Rafen managed to assault the Primogenitor, and killed him by tearing out his neck.
However, Bile was not truly dead. Immediately after the Heretic Astartes' death, Rafen suddenly found himself in a strange arena where he raced against mutants and captured Space Marines of other Chapters, lest he be killed. There, amongst the audience, Rafen saw Bile alive. During the race, Rafen convinced the morose Tarikus of the Doom Eagles Chapter to side with him in an uprising against Bile. At the same time, Noxx and the remaining men under his and Rafen's command made landfall against the fortress. It was then that Ceris, a Librarian in Rafen's squad, mentally contacted Rafen and bade him to attack a strange Warp signature to prevent Bile from escaping.
The Warp signature turned out to be a captured and harvested Tyranid Zoanthrope, whom Bile had bent to his will to create Warp portals and keep the Tyranids still on the planet away from his fortress. Curiously, the Zoanthrope welcomed its death by Rafen's hand.
During the ensuing battle, Fabius Bile was killed no less than four times, and the truth was revealed when Rafen and a handful of his allies encountered two copies of Bile at once: they were merely clones of the true Fabius Bile, who was not even on the planet. Still, the last clone of Bile did possess the coveted vial of the Primarch Sanguinius' blood he had stolen from the Blood Angels fortress-monastery, which Rafen managed to take from Bile and inject into himself to defeat him. By exploiting Bile's last ditch escape attempt, Rafen and his men and Bile's Space Marine slaves managed to teleport away from Dynikas V while the Tyranids ravaged the fortress.
Power of the Bloodline
The extreme power of Sanguinius' blood that he had injected overcame Rafen, who collapsed as soon as he set foot on Baal. In a delirious state, he was taken to the Amareo Tower, where those Blood Angels deemed too far gone to even be inducted into the Death Company were kept, and had to be restrained, as the potent qualities of the Primarch's blood wreaked havoc on both his body and his mind. While Rafen's condition was deteriorating by the minute, Chaplain Lemartes and Chief Sanguinary Priest Corbulo argued over his fate. Finally Corbulo decided to try one last, desperate move to save Rafen's sanity and life: he ordered that Rafen be again placed in the sarcophagus he incubated in during the final stages of his becoming an Astartes. Corbulo was hoping -- not without reason -- that the ancient technologies of the sarcophagi (where Blood Angels Aspirants actually received a miniscule amount of the Primarch's blood) would somehow heal Rafen by reversing the process and draining the excess Primarch blood from his system.
After several months of agony, the process was indeed successful. Fighting terrible hallucinations in a nightmarish environment, Rafen found himself in a hellish mindscape where he allied with another Astartes who had incubated in the same sarcophagus millennia earlier, the First Founding Blood Angels Apothecary Meron. During the Great Crusade, Meron had been similarly placed in the incubator sarcophagus again, in hopes of healing a wound by a biologically and psychically poisonous Dark Eldar weapon. It is thought that the sarcophagus which incubated both warriors, combined with their common bloodline, acted as a mystical link between their psychic mindscapes within the Warp, transcending time and space. Helped by the Sanguinor, who was present in their common mindscape, they each managed to defeat the other's daemons -- this was the final clue of Brotherhood forged by the Bloodline, as neither could defeat their own daemons alone. They finally emerged in their respective real time environments, Meron in the Great Crusade, Rafen in the late 41st Millennium, with their sanity intact, their survival assured.
Other Notable Personalities of the Blood Angels Civil War
- Alactus - A Battle-Brother and former comrade of Rafen. Originally a member of Rafen's squad, Alactus came to the banner of Arkio after the battles on Cybele and Shenlong convinced that Rafen's brother was the reincarnation of the Primarch Sanguinius. Rafen was reluctantly forced to kill Alactus when he attempted to prevent him from boarding the Battle Barge Bellus.
- Arkio - Also known as Arkio the Blessed, the Reborn Angel. Son of Axan and younger brother of Rafen, Arkio was born on Baal Secundus as part of the Broken Mesa Clan; an honest and open youth, Arkio was selected by Brother-Sergeant Koris to become a Blood Angel initiate and in later years became a fine example of his Chapter. Sibling rivalry between Arkio and Rafen forced the younger brother to strike alone to find his own course, and he took a posting on the Bellus Expedition, a mission to recover the fabled Spear of Telesto. During the mission, Arkio was promoted to the position of honour guard for the Sanguinary Priest Sachiel. However, Arkio was unaware that he had been chosen for manipulation by Inquisitor Ramius Stele, and Stele's association with the Chaos God Tzeentch allowed him to slowly transform the young Space Marine into a false avatar of the Primarch Sanguinius. Overwhelmed by this "miracle", for a time Arkio truly believed he was Sanguinius Reborn, unaware that his every move was being controlled in order to cause a civil war within his Chapter. With only his sibling standing against him, Arkio was finally killed in single combat with Rafen and died begging forgiveness for his folly.
- Bennek - A Battle-Brother and a comrade of Rafen. Bennek was a member of Rafen's squad who perished on the cemetery world Cybele at the hands of the Word Bearers. When Rafen's armour was destroyed in battle with the Dark Apostle Iskavan the Hated, part of the wargear given to him to replace it had belonged to Bennek.
- Corvus - A Battle-Brother, member of the Bellus Expedition crew. Corvus was influenced to join the cult of Arkio the Blessed after the battles on Cybele and Shenlong convinced him that Rafen's brother was the reincarnation of Sanguinius; however, when Rafen forced Arkio's followers to witness the corruption in his brother's body, Corvus recanted and begged forgiveness. Corvus was among many Battle-Brothers who completed a series of rigorous punishments to reaffirm his loyalty to the Chapter.
- Crucius - Blood Angels Space Marine who died in battle on the planet Ixion; Crucius was a comrade and friend of Rafen.
- Delos - A Chaplain serving aboard the Bellus, Delos was one of many Blood Angels who believed that Rafen's brother Arkio was the reborn avatar of the Primarch Sanguinius. Delos learned the awful truth of Arkio's manipulation during the battle on the Shrine World of Sabien. He confronted Ramius Stele over the Inquisitor's alliance with the Ruinous Powers, but was killed for his audacity.
- Gallio - A Captain, Gallio was a ranking officer whose prowess and ability had been noted by both Commander Dante and Mephiston. Under Dante's orders Gallio took a contingent of Space Marines to the planet Shenlong to confront Arkio over his claims to be the reincarnation of Sanguinius; but when Gallio's comrade Vode attacked Arkio in a blind rage, the resulting firefight took the Blood Angel's life and that of his men.
- Ideon - A Captain, Ideon was the long-serving commander of the Battle Barge Bellus. However, Ideon allowed himself to be swayed by the promise of Arkio the Blessed. Ideon was killed when the Bellus was destroyed.
- Koris - A Veteran-Sergeant and mentor to Rafen. Koris was an uncompromising and forthright Astartes who often encouraged his subordinates to question all around them, even the core tenets of Imperial dogma. A trusted teacher and close friend of Rafen's, Koris was one of several Veteran Space Marines who questioned the so-called "ascension" of Arkio the Blessed. However, Koris died from injuries incurred in battle with a Word Bearers Chaos Dreadnought after Ramius Stele induced the Black Rage in him, forcing the old warrior into the pits of madness. His last words were a warning to Rafen of Stele's duplicity.
- Sachiel - A Sanguinary Priest and a member of the Bellus Expedition crew, Sachiel was a youthful rival of Rafen and the two shared a dislike for one another throughout their lives. Sachiel's vanity and ambition were his weaknesses, and Ramius Stele manipulated the priest into doing his bidding. Sachiel perished on Sabien, but not before he understood the grave errors he had made in following a false idol.
- Simeon - A Captain and commander of the Blood Angels' 5th Company. A respected and highly decorated officer, in the past Simeon had served as adjutant to Captain Tycho. Simeon was killed on Cybele by a pair of plasma shots from the Word Bearers.
- Solus - A Veteran-Sergeant, second-in-command aboard the Battle Barge Bellus and aide to Brother-Captain Ideon. Solus, like the rest of the task force, believed that Arkio was the reincarnation of Sanguinius. Solus was killed when the Bellus was destroyed.
- Turcio - A Battle-Brother and a member of Rafen's squad. Turcio joined the loyalists of Arkio the Blessed, but when Rafen showed him the corruption in Arkio's body he sought forgiveness.
- Axan - The leader of the Broken Mesa Clan, one of the larger scavenger tribes on the moon of Baal Secundus. Axan was the father of the siblings Rafen and Arkio. Axan's wife died giving birth to Arkio, and on that day he ordered the child's elder brother Rafen to take on the duty of protecting the boy's well-being.
- Blood Angels Omnibus (Novel) by James Swallow
- Blood Angels Second Omnibus (Novel) by James Swallow, combining "Red Fury" (Novel), "Black Tide" (Novel), "Redeemed" (Short Story), and "Bloodline" (Short Story)
- Blood Angels Novel Series:
- Deus Encarmine (Novel) by James Swallow
- Deus Sanguinius (Novel) by James Swallow
- Red Fury (Novel) by James Swallow
- Black Tide (Novel) by James Swallow
- Bloodline (Chapterbook) by James Swallow