None; Chapter motto is "Victorus aut Mortis" ("Victory or Death")
First Founding (30th Millennium)
Deliverance (moon of Kiavahr)
Black and White
- "From the darkness we strike: fast and lethal, and by the time our foes can react... darkness there and nothing more."
- — Raven Guard saying
The Raven Guard is one of the original First Founding Chapters of the Space Marines and was originally the XIXth Space Marine Legion before the Second Founding and the adoption of the Codex Astartes. Named for a Terran avian seen by many cultures as the herald of fate and messenger of death, the Raven Guard have served the Emperor faithfully through out the glories of the Unification Wars, the Great Crusade and the dark days of the Horus Heresy and beyond. From its earliest days, the warriors of the XIXth Legion were known as cunning and patient hunters, adept at biding their time until the moment to strike was at hand. When the Legion was united with its Primarch -- Corvus Corax, the Raven Lord, the Deliverer, theirs was a form of warfare exemplifying speed, stealth and precision which was codified into their doctrine, and under the ivory-skinned, shadow-eyes and sable-haired Primarch, the XIXth Legion carved its name in the annals of the Great Crusade.
As the tragic histories of the Horus Heresy were recounted, however, the Legion's glories were to be scattered upon the black sands of Istvaan V during the Drop Site Massacre, and the Imperium was almost shorn of one of its greatest champions. Though severely decimated, the Raven Guard would rise from the ashes of betrayal and go on to continue to serve the Imperium of Man as its protectors. As masters of the unseen war, they fight their battles with stealth and speed rather than fury and flames. For thousands of standard years, across thousands of worlds, they have continued to stalk the enemies of the Imperium as shadows of death, waiting for the perfect moment to deliver the killing blow before melting back into the darkness once more.
The Raven Guard's homeworld is the planet called Deliverance, the airless mining moon of the Forge World Kiavahr, though its original name, before the Horus Heresy, was Lycaeus. The Raven Guard's fortress-monastery on Deliverance is known as the Ravenspire. The Raven Guard are known for their cool-headed, even intellectual temperament, their superb infiltration skills and skill at furious close-quarters engagements. The Raven Guard are the masters of unseen and guerilla warfare, only engaging in frontal assaults when no other option presents itself. The Raven Guard is also rightly feared for the potent units of Assault Marines they field, who use a pair of Lightning Claws instead of the usual Bolt Pistol and Chainsword. Captain Kayvaan Shrike, the famed commander of the Raven Guard's 3rd Company, is the commanding officer of just such a unit.
The Hidden Hand of the Emperor
Looking back upon the calamitous age through which Mankind has endured, few can claim to know but a fraction of the Emperor's vision for the galaxy. Some hold that each of the great Space Marine Legions was created with a specific role in mind, and certainly this assertation is born out of the deeds and deameanour of many. The Imperial Fists were in so many ways the Emperor's loyal praetorians and champions, while the Ultramarines were his dutiful, resplendent hosts. To the XIXth Legion would fall the sole of the Emperor's hidden hand, vengeful sentinels against recidivists and harrowers of those who would sooner flee than bend knee before their new master. Drawing on the demeanour of the techno-savages from which it recruited, the proto-Legion quickly demonstrated its skill at reconnaissance and target identification, and it ability to transition from inscrutable watchfulness to rapid attack in the blink of an eye. Its Legionaries waged war by infiltrating into position, studying their enemy and, when the time was right, striking from the least anticipated quarter and slaying the foe outright in a bloody, yet brief assault.
Confronted with the coming of the Emperor, some of the enemies of Unification foolishly decided to stand and fight, to deny His manifest destiny. That was until the moment that the XIXth revealed themselves as the gun already raised to the target's temple without him ever seeing his would-be assassin's approach. In the face of such infiltration, most enemies capitulated. Never given to wanton cruelty, the Emperor's emissaries would avail the target of His impending doom and offer them the choice -- kneel or die. Most chose to serve but many refused, and so the XIXth Legion would be unleashed. Emerging from the shadows, they would attack without warning, their methods enabling them to engage with forces far more numerous than themselves. Bereft of leadership after a campaign of targeted assassination, most enemy armies fell apart in short order. When they did not, the XIXth Legion withdrew back into the shadows, but not in retreat. Rather, they attacked again from yet another quarter, bleeding their enemy dry and denying him any chance to counterattack, regroup or take the initiative.
How many battles were won in this shadow manner throughout the last years of the Unification Wars cannot be known for certain, for so often the XIXth Legion's hand remained hidden even after the battle was won, Only much later, after the XIXth Legion united with its Primach, would it course forth into the light, but even then the Raven Guard shunned laurels and rarely courted adulation. The similarities between the Raven Guard known to later histories of the Great Crusade and the XIXth Legion before its unification with Corax are clear, but much of the tale remains untold. It is known that the Emperor recruited the first Legionaries of the XIXth Legion from a number of Old Earth's regions, the majority drawn from the Xeric tribes of the Asiatic Dustfields. These savage yet technologically adept warrior peoples made constant war upon one another and against the neigbouring and much larger Yndonesic Bloc with relentless fury, battling ceaselessly for possession of scant natural resources. Once brought to heel by the Emperor and His Thunder Warriors, the tribes were forced to render up their firstborn sons to the Emperor's gene-forges, and upon their ascension to the nascent Legiones Astartes, these same sons were then used to ensure and enforce the continued Imperial Compliance of their fractious kin. The Xeric warriors proved well-suited to the Emperor's vision, though some observed their propensity for cruelty when ordered to attack as well as a disdainful attitude to those they considered weak. The culture of the Xeric peoples demanded that a vanquished enemy be watched over with a cold, all-seeing eye and any hint of recidivism crushed utterly lest the subjugated rise up in strength against the victor. The XIXth Legion inherited this mindset and when coupled with the heritage of the Legiones Astartes, it became one of its most distinctive characteristics.
The Unification Wars
One of the earliest Unification campaigns in which the XIXth Legion participated was the conquest of the Central Asiatic region, much of which was ruled by the tyrant Kalagann of Ursh. Few detailed accounts survive, but it is known that the XIXth Legion played their part in it in a manner that would serve as an operational template until the time it was united with its Primarch. After an initial phase in which key targets and weak elements in the armies of Ursh were identified, the XIXth Legion insinuated itself throughout the region, small battle groups taking up positions from which to strike when the order was given. When the attack came, it was rapid, overwhelming and conducted with cold, ruthless efficiency. Kalgann's warlords were struck down and the XIXth Legion heralded their defeated armies into a vast prison camp at the heart of the blasted Central Asiatic region. It is said that Kalagann employed all manner of psyker-wrought weapons during that campaign and that the nascent XIXth Legion bore the brunt of many of the worst. Certainly, many veterans of that age were touched by a darkness from which they never recovered, some going on to sacrifice their lives in battle in suicidal charges while others became the solitary formation of the Legion Moritats.
Having earned itself many battle honours during the Unifcation of Old Earth, the XIXth Legion was committed to operations within the Sol System. When the Emperor's hosts encountered the xenos presence holding sway over many void settlements of the Jovian Range, the XIXth Legion was tasked with scouring the moon of Lysithea. If records of previous battles are incomplete, those relating to this one are near non-existent. Whatever occurred on that tiny satellite, the xenos were annihilated and victory claimed, but only at the cost of the settlers' lives as well as large numbers of the XIXth Legion's own. Many of the veterans of the Scouring of Lysithea were recalled from service by the masters of the Emperor's gene-forges, never to be returned to their Legion. What horrors they endured, or perhaps enacted, cannot even be guessed at, and certainly no similar instance of Legionaries being withdrawn from service in such a manner is recorded. For decades, many of those who had served in this battle bore upon their armour the ancient Jovian rune, surmounted by the numeral Xth as a reminder of their victory and their loss. During the closing years of the Great Crusade, the symbol was only ever seen adorning the metal skin of the Raven Guard's Dreadnoughts, amongst their number Shade-Captain Vholtaris, who was instrumental in the defeat of the xenos plaguing the Jovian Range. It was due to the injuries he sustained in that final battle that he was interred within the armoured sarcophagus of a mighty Furibundus Pattern Dreadnought, and served for many more decades before his true death upon the killing grounds before Gate Forty-Two.
In the Shadow of Wolves
The XIXth Legion was created in the latter stages of the Unification Wars, but it would be almost two standard centuries before it was united with its Primarch. Conversely, the Luna Wolves Legion was united with its sire -- Horus -- very early on. It was not unusual in those early campaigns for the XIXth Legion to fight alongside the Luna Wolves, he who would one day bear the mantle of Imperial Warmaster coming to value the skills of the sons of the Dustfields immensely, and the two Legions served well together, their nature complimentary. When the Luna Wolves launched their sudden and overwhelming assaults, the XIXth Legion were already in position, blocking off lines of retreat and cutting down any foe who attempted to escape. Those few able to break through the lines were hunted down relentlessly and captives were rounded up to be watched over by the brooding Legionaries until declared in Imperial Compliance. Its warriors' capacity to switch from cold, impassive scrutiny to swift, brutal action soon made the Legion the subject of dread amongst those who would deny Unity.
When Horus led his Legion in the opening campaigns of the Great Crusade, he often requested that the XIXth Legion serve alongside his Luna Wolves. In those earliest days, many worlds rejected enlightenment and refused Imperial Compliance, and so the blade of the XIXth Legion was there to strike, descending unseen almost before ordered to do so. Others accepted their place in the new galactic order with grace and wisdom, and so the blade was withdrawn, its presence not even noted. In time, Horus came to value the XIXth Legion greatly. While the ranks of the Luna Wolves swelled with recruits from Cthonia, the XIXth Legion remained comparatively small. Some observed that Horus treated the XIXth Legion like a Chapter of his own Legion rather than one with its own identity and destiny to forge. While the Luna Wolves developed their own culture, a product of its early Terran heritage, meshed with the savage gang culture of Cthonia, the XIXth Legion remained close to their Terran roots, their demeanour not deviating far from that of the savage Xeric tribes. Their armour remained grey, although Legionaries were observed to apply war paint made of Asiatic dust to their faces on the eve of battle. This, among other traditions, gave rise to the Luna Wolves bestowing several titles upon the XIXth Legion, the most common of which were the "Pale Noma" and the "Dust Clad."
Aside from their tribal markings, the appearance of the XIXth Legion was notable in other ways. Under the effects of the XIXth Legion's gene-seed, some found their skin growing unnaturally pale while in a few their already dark hair turned black as midnight. In small numbers, their eyes turned entirely black, lending them a fearsome aspect which suited their inscrutable, watchful mien. Only later, with the coming of the Legion's Primarch, would the full impact of the features become known and take hold throughout its warriors.
The Primarch Corax
Corax was separated from the Emperor while still an infant in the Emperor's gene-laboratory beneath the Himalazian (Himalaya) Mountains on Terra by the Ruinous Powers of Chaos. The Chaos Gods snatched the infant Primarch's gestation chamber and flung it through the Warp half-way across the galaxy. Corax was eventually discovered in a lightless chamber far beneath the surface of a barren moon called Lycaeus, the desolated but inhabitable moon of the planet Kiavahr. At this time, Kiavahr was a technologically advanced Forge World, providing its city-sized manufactoria with minerals extracted from the non-atmospheric moon by legions of mine slaves. Above the cavern was a mighty glacier, and the Primarch might never have been discovered at all were it not for the arrival of a team of Lycaean miners pursuing a mineral seam. To some, the appearance of the miners within minutes of the young Primarch attaining consciousness speaks of greater powers at work. Whatever the truth, the Primarch was taken in by the slaves and hidden from the mine's cruel overseers. Under the iron watch of heavily armed guards, the enslaved inhabitants of Lycaeus, who included criminals, political opponents and workers who had failed to meet their quotas, had long provided the rulers of Kiavahr with a free and unlimited source of manpower. As with many of the Primarchs, Corax matured in a preternaturally short span of time, the phenomenon serving to confirm the slaves' belief that he represented a great gift to their people. It was they who named him, using their word for "saviour" or "deliverer" in anticipation of future deeds.
Created with a wealth of knowledge already imprinted into his mind, the young Primarch nonetheless had much to learn from his protectors. Many of the prisoners were radicals condemned for holding views contrary to the interests of the guilds that ruled Kiavahr, the planet about which Lycaeus orbited, notions of justice and human dignity that had no place in their brutal regime. Corax swore to his protectors that he would liberate them from their cruel existence. Fortunately for Corax and the Imperium at large, the young Primarch's mentors counselled caution against overt signs of defiance or precipitous quests for vengeance. From these brave, wise men and women, he learned to bide his time and to observe his foes, to use his superhuman, gen-hanced faculties to plan far ahead towards the day he would lead the uprising and overthrow the hated slave lords of Lycaeus. It was during this time that Corax came to learn something of the abilities he had been invested with. Moving from one step ahead of the cold-hearted and bloody-handed wardens, he was never discovered. Even when directly in the line of sight of an enemy, by willing an observer not to see him, he somehow avoided detection. At length, Corax could utilise this uncanny ability to go where no other slave in the prison could go, moving about unseen beneath the hard gaze of the guards. There were limits to this ability, as Corax discovered to his cost; Auspexes and other artificial methods of detection remained able to see him. It appeared to be the mind of the observer that was somehow tricked into disregarding the Primarch's presence should he will it.
As Corax reached his majority, so the rule of the guilds drew to an end, though the overseers would not know of it until it was too late to avert their doom. Corax led a masterfully conceived campaign that bled the prison authorities dry, taking small cells of freedom fighters on a range of missions, some to steal weapons, others ammunition, still more to sabotage key systems so that they would fail at the moment of his choosing. Eventually, that moment came and Corax led the slave uprising that would cast off the shackles of centuries of oppression. In a necessarily bloody battle, Corax and his fellow freedom fighters took the prison. The bloodshed was great, for not all of the slave-prisoners had been imprisoned for their radical ideals; many were convicted killers and worse. The Primarch was forced by necessity to utilise their fighting abilities and overlook their previous crimes, on condition they never repeat them after their bondage was cast off.
In yet another convergence of great events, it was in the immediate aftermath of the liberation of the prison moon Lycaeus and the opening salvoes of the atomic bombardment of Kiavahr that the Emperor arrived to reclaim His lost son. Unlike events surrounding so many other such meetings, however, the Emperor came alone, and the next day left alone. While it is known that the Master of Mankind and the XIXth Legion's Primarch spoke for long hours, what passed between them remains a matter of conjecture. With the benefit of hindsight, some have claimed that the Emperor spoke to Corax of things men, even some other Primarchs, were not yet ready to hear; of the truth of those inhuman powers that seethe within the Warp and the darkness soon to come. Certainly, it appears that when the full horror of the Warmaster Horus' treachery unfolded there were elements of it Corax seemed to have been forewarend of, though he only ever passed such knowledge on to his forces as and when they needed and were ready to assimilate it. Whatever the truth, one thing is known to have passed between father and son that night. The Emperor would leave Corax to complete his mission and to defeat the tech guilds of Kiavahr. Only later would he be ready to assume command of his Legion. It was as if in leaving Corax to liberate Kiavahr on his own, the Emperor was ensuring the Primarch learned and assimilated the most vital lessons of war. The Emperor departed, leaving His son to complete his task using only those weapons he had to hand. Those weapons turned out to be a stockpile of atomic barrages and mining charges the masters of Kiavahr had secreted on Lycaeus, believing them safe from the multitudes they ruled over. In their hubris the guilds never imagined that the slave-miners might one day cast off their shackles and claim those weapons as their own.
Even as the guilds sought to launch a counterattack against the massively outnumbered freedom fighters, Corax knew the terrible order he must give. Using the steep gravity well that tethered Kiavahr and its moon, the Primarch committed to a full-scale atomic bombardment of the vast manufactory cities below. Even as the atomic fires blossomed on the face of Kiavahr, Corax demonstrated that by slaying thousands, millions would be saved. This, some would later claim, was the lession the Emperor meant Corax to learn, and one that would temper his nature against the numerous challenges few but the Primarchs of the Legiones Astartes can fully comprehend. Their greatest cities decimated, the Kiavahran guilds had no option but to capitulate. Kiavahr was liberated and Lycaeus renamed Deliverance. The Primarch had confronted that most terrible lesson of war -- oft times, the innocent must suffer for the sake of all. It was a truth the Emperor knew well, and one that humanity as a whole would experience on an unprecedented scale within a single standard century.
Soon the Mechanicum stepped in to retake control over their ancient colony world and the planet was rebuilt to the benefit of the Imperium while the black tower which had once housed the Kiavahran garrison of Lycaeus became the Ravenspire, the fortress-monastery of the Raven Guard Legion.
Under the Raven's Banner
By the time the Raven Lord took command of his Legion, the Great Crusade was over a century old. Corax was quick to impose the style of war he had perfected on Lycaeus over that which had come to define the XIXth Legion, melding stealth and guile with vigilance and swiftness. It was during these early years that much of the native demeanour of the old XIXth Legion, particularly the more cold-blooded ways of the Xeric tribes, was purged. The Legion had so often served in oppression, repression and occupation forces that Corax saw in some of the Terrans of his XIXth Legion something akin to the slavers of Lycaeus. Several of the Legion's highest-ranking officers were displaced or reassigned to non-command roles, including Lord Arkhas Fal, who had commanded the XIXth Legion as its Master for three decades before the coming of the Raven Lord. Under the Primarch's guidance, distilled into a series of battle-mantras, the Raven Guard developed their skills to preternatural levels. Corax is even known to have bested Roboute Guilliman in his brother-Primarch's notoriously testing strategio-simulcra, making use of several unconventional troop types his brother-Primarch had never before faced, including the forerunners of the Moritat. Corax only bested his brother three times in this manner, and once the master of the Ultramarines heeded the lesson and adjusted his tactics, the Raven Lord would never beat him again.
During its restructuring, the XIXth Legion commissioned several innovations from the forges of Mars, all of them cunningly wrought to further its master of the arts of stealth and speed. As the Thunderhawk gunship entered widespread service, the Raven Guard secured for themselves a variant known as the Shadowhawk, sporting all manner of technologies that made it invisible to all but the most sensitive of Augurs. In addition, the Legion gained access to the Whispercutter, an open airframe flyer constructed about a gravitic impellor and capable of dropping ten Legionaries into a war zone in utter silence and with practically no chance of detection. Such technology was created not by the Martian Mechanicum nor any of the Forge Worlds, but by those master artificers of Kiavahr who formerly served the tech guilds. Utilising strands of machine canon unknown to the mainstream of the Mechanicum, the Kiavahran guild artificers created all manner of systems at the behest of the Raven Guard and in time the Legion's Techmarines were inducted into the these mysteries, although it has been speculated that the Kiavahrans might have been declared outcast by the jealous lords of Mars, were it not for the patronage of so august a body as the Legiones Astartes and the Primarch Corax.
As the Great Crusade ground ever onwards, Kiavahr assumed its position in the Emperor's Imperium of worlds. While its output was not equal to that of a fully-fledged Forge World of the Mechanicum, with the aid of the Tech-Priests of Mars, its forges and manufactories produced and exported vast quantities of matériel as well as a number of the more specialised machines and weapons required by the Raven Guard Legion. The guild artificers attempted to retain their closest secrets from the Mechanicum with some small measure of success, and clung on to their independence from Mars. Having remained self-sufficient throughout the lonely dark ages, Kiavahr remained unwilling to cede its secrets to outsiders, the only authority it recognised being that of the Raven Guard. Of all of the Mechanicum's subsidiary domains, Kiavahr maintained relations with only one -- Gryphonne IV. The terms of this relationship remain unclear, but because the Legio Gryphonicus fought alongside the Raven Guard throughout several of its larger scale campaigns, it can be assumed that some manner of reciprocal pact was, and perhaps still, remains in place.
Istvaan Compliance Action
One of the more notable campaigns carried out by Corax and his Raven Guard Legion during the Great Crusade was the Imperial Compliance of the Istvaan System, located in the northern reaches of the Ultima Segmentum, far beyond the established heartlands of the Imperium. Though cut off, scout vessels ranging ahead of Corax's 27th Expeditionary Fleet had found evidence that human life on Istvaan III had managed to maintain a largely cohesive industrialised society that had endured the millennia intact, making it a high priority for contact and absorption into the Imperium.
A long-standing autochthonic culture was prevalent on Istvaan III, which included endemic local mysticism and religious practice. This, coupled with a history of independence, meant that once contacted by the forerunners of the Great Crusade, the Istvaanians had first demurred and then denied Compliance with the Imperial Truth. Given the strategic importance of gaining the life-sustaining and industrialised star system with its large human population for the Imperium, a priority was given to achieving the Compliance of the Istvaan System. The War Council had one caveat when issuing this order that precluded the use of overwhelming force in order to avoid excessive collateral damage that would spoil this valuable prize.
The task of bringing the Istvaan System into Imperial Compliance fell to Corax and his Raven Guard Legion as the warriors of the XIXth Legion had a reputation for the use of surgical strikes and precision in such matters. The black-hulled Strike Cruisers and gunships of the Raven Guard attacked without warning, systematically destroying Istvaan III's military infrastructure and taking charge of its seats of governance. The military forces of the indigenous Istvaanians were professional soldiers who did not break easily, even when confronted with the might of Space Marines. There was some resistance, but the last elements of the aggressive faction were destroyed by the Raven Guard at the Redarth Valley on Istvaan III. An Istvaanian delegation formally surrendered before the Primarch Corax and the 800 companies of Raven Guard Space Marines that comprised his XIXth Legion.
The Istvaanians kneeled before the sable-armoured conquerors as a defeated foe but were welcomed into the fold as men of the Imperium. Though they had waged war against one another, the Imperial Truth had prevailed and the Istvaanians had sworn to accept its teachings. By proving themselves men of wisdom and civilisation, they were deemed fitting partners for the many other worlds of the nascent Imperium. The Remembrancer Order had not yet been foisted upon the Space Marine Legions by the Council of Terra at this time, but a substantial civilian contingent was left behind to begin the integration of the Istvaanian population with the Imperial Truth. Vardus Praal was left behind as the world's Imperial Planetary Governor to command Istvaan III in the name of the Imperium, to ensure continued Compliance and manage the dismantling of the traditional religious structures that defined the planet's autochthonous society.
The established capital located at the sprawling proto-hive of Khry Vanak -- Istvaan III's political and cultural capital ("Choral City" in translation) -- was chosen as the site of Imperial power. Unbeknownst to Corax and his Raven Guard, they would return fifteen standard years later to the Istvaan System, to the world of Istvaan V, to bring the rebel Horus to account.
The Battle of Gate Forty-Two
It was the need to conduct war in a more conventional manner that led to one of the greatest setbacks in the XIXth Legion's history, and one that would foreshadow the terrible events at Istvaan V only a few years later. Soon after Horus was declared the Imperial Warmaster, the Raven Guard were recalled from operations along the coreward edge of the Ghoul Stars and ordered to take their place in the line alongside several other Legions under the Warmaster's direct command. The Aukum-Sothos Cluster had been brought to Imperial Compliance by the Luna Wolves in the opening years of the Great Crusade, but its people had fallen to a form of mass-psychosis and violently rejected unity with Terra. This unheralded secession was later determined to have been caused by xenos parasites which matured within the eye sockets of their hosts, in this case the unfortunate population of the cluster. As they matured, the parasites gained rudimentary control over their hosts and formed what amounted to a wholly alien, gestalt consciousness focused on a cabal of primary hosts dubbed the "Unsighted Kings". The newly ascended Warmaster Horus refused to see the cluster of worlds he himself had brought to Compliance slip from the Imperium's grip and so he vowed an Oath of Moment to reclaim its worlds no matter the cost.
Horus had formulated a plan to cast down the Unsighted Kings in a lightning war that would purge the afflicted population while retaining the cluster's highly developed infrastructure for future re-population. Furthermore, a rapid victory would demonstrate to Horus' brother-Primarchs that the Emperor had been correct to elevate him so high a rank. The Warmaster's plan called for the bulk of four Legions -- the Luna Wolves, Space Wolves, Iron Warriors and Raven Guard -- to converge on the heavily fortified lair of the Unsighted Kings before a final, overwhelming assault was launched. Having brought the outer worlds of the cluster to heel in a matter of solar weeks, the Warmaster called a council of his brother-Primarchs, one part of his plan calling for the Raven Guard to make a frontal assault directly into the guns of the defenders of Gate Forty-Two. Corax argued against what he denounced as a waste of resources and a needless squandering of his warriors' lives, countering with a strategy of his own. The Raven Lord proposed that his Legion should draw off the enemy forces in a series of feints, allowing the three other Legions to overwhelm what defenders remained at the walls with comparative ease.
In answer, Perturabo accused Corax of seeking to avoid battle, a crime verging on dereliction for a Primarch of the Legiones Astartes. The two very nearly came to blows, with only the intervention of Leman Russ staying bloodshed. The Wolf King counselled Corax to heed the words of the Primarch who the Emperor had set above his brothers. Russ urged Corax to smother his bitterness, but not to extinguish it, and allow that guttering flame to kindle the fire mecessary to carry the battle through. Taking his leave of the council, Corax mustered the Raven Guard before Gate Forty-Two. Knowing their particular demeanour would carry them forward, Corax assigned many of his Terran-dominated companies to the van, in particular those whose captains appeared the most willing to play their part in the Warmaster's plan. The assault that followed was hailed as the Legion's darkest hour, a grim honour that, tragically, would be displaced just a few years later at Istvaan V. At the height of the battle, the assault companies decimated and the attack faltering in the face of overwhelming fire, Corax himself led the forlorn hope, his battle cry firing the XIXth Legion to such efforts that the breach was carried and Gate Forty-Two taken. The honour of slaying the Unsighted Kings was claimed by Horus as Warmaster and at the moment of their execution, the xenos' hold over the population was dispelled. The Akum-Sothos Cluster was delivered and the Warmaster's prize was reclaimed. The cost was terrible however, for not only had countless millions of hosts been crippled in mind and body, but thousands of Raven Guard, the bulk of them Terran-born, had given their lives before the shattered walls.
Though the Battle of Gate Forty-Two was counted a victory by (and indeed for) Horus, its effects were far-reaching. The XIXth Legion was sorely depleted, leaving only 80,000 Legionaries under the Primarch's command and making it the smallest of the Legiones Astartes. Corax removed himself and his Legion from his brother's command, swearing bitterly never to serve alongside Horus again. One last consequence of the Battle of Gate Forty-Two lingers still. In its aftermath, those line officers who, before the coming of the Primarch, had served for so long under Horus' command were gone, and so the Warmaster was able to exert little in the way of influence over the Raven Lord's Legion. Many of these Terrans had been inducted into the Warrior Lodges, and with their deaths these unseen bodies all but vanished from the Raven Guard. It has been claimed by his detractors that in assigning the Terran-born Legionaries to the assault wave that would suffer the greatest losses, Corax did his Legion a service, consolidating his power and paving the way for a future more in line with his own vision. As a result, the Legion was largely spared the wave of insurrection that was transmitted through so many of the Legions by the hidden auspices of the lodges.
The Scouring of the Scalland Sector
A two year engagement through a sector of space claimed by the remnants of the broken Eldar race, the Scalland Campaign was to serve as the original field test for the first thousand sets of prototype Power Armour that would later come to be designated as Mark VI; though at the time it bore the provisional designation Mark V. Small numbers of the Mark V armour had already been submitted to the Iron Warriors and Salamanders Legions, and both had expressed reservations about the lack of heavy plating when compared to earlier marks, pushing for the Mark V to be revised for a heavy assault role. It was deemed that a mass combat trial was required to determine the effectiveness of the original design before potentially abandoning it. Internal politics within the various Legion commands saw this honour bestowed upon the Raven Guard, depleted in number after the bloody fighting in the Aukum-Sothos Cluster. Speculation at the time suggest that a faction amongst the Primarchs and Legion commanders, led by Perturabo, intended this assignment to an under-strength Legion to be the death-knell of the Mark VI armour, leading to its replacement by a sturdier design.
If this was so then the plan was to backfire spectacularly, for the Raven Guard performed admirably in the verdant Eldar seed worlds of the Scalland Sector, utilising the advanced auto-senses and agility of the new armour to hound the Eldar in a series of strike-and-fade attacks that decimated their already battered military forces. Such was the success of the fighting in the sector, which eventually saw the expulsion of the Eldar and the Imperium claim its rich worlds, that not only was the Mark VI armour approved for final deployment, but the majority of the improvements suggested by the Raven Guard were adopted. The new armour, later dubbed "Corvus" Pattern Power Armour in honour of the Raven Guard, was placed into full scale production only a few solar months before the outbreak of Horus' rebellion against the Emperor, re-designated as Mark VI from Mark V by the Mechanicum to account for the inclusion of the many stop-gap field modifications and repairs into the Legiones Astartes order of battle.
The Horus Heresy
During the Horus Heresy, the Raven Guard were involved in the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V, where four Space Marine Legions, including the Night Lords, Iron Warriors, Word Bearers and the Alpha Legion, turned to Chaos under the banner of the Arch-Traitor Horus and unexpectedly betrayed their Loyalist Battle-Brothers, catching them off-guard in a terrible cross-fire. The Raven Guard fought ferociously alongside their fellow Loyalists among the Salamanders and the Iron Hands Space Marines against the Traitor Marines of Chaos, but suffered such heavy losses that they were effectively crippled and unable to play any further constructive role in the defence of Terra from Horus' assault during the Heresy. The Raven Guard had been all but annihilated at the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V, reducing the XIXth Legion's strength from some 80,000 Astartes to less than 3,000 survivors.
Taking stock of their dire situation, the Primarchs Corax and Vulkan differed over how to salvage what they could from the situation. The Salamanders' Primarch suggested that the Loyalists attempt to make a tactical withdrawal to their respective drop ships and dig in to resist any further attacks. Corax advocated instead that the Loyalists should do whatever they could to make good their escape from the slaughter as the battle was lost. Neither Primarch could agree with the other, and so Corax turned from Vulkan and ordered his Legion to retreat. A short while later, a direct artillery strike hit the Primarchs' position. By the grace of the Emperor, Corax somehow managed to survive, but as to the fate of his brother Vulkan, nothing was known.
In the meantime, the second wave of Traitor Legions turned upon their former allies and began to slaughter them in earnest. The Iron Hands were apparently slaughtered to man. In the midst of this brutal carnage two Primarchs from the opposing sides confronted one another in a final showdown. Fulgrim of the Emperor's Children and Ferrus Manus, once as close true brothers could be, fought a bitterly contested, titanic struggle. In the course of the heated duel Ferrus Manus lost and was beheaded by his former brother. Fulgrim was suddenly beset by grief as he stared down at his once beloved brother's headless body; in this moment of emotional weakness as the Emperor's Children's Primarch repudiated his allegiance to Chaos, the Greater Daemon of Slaanesh within his potent daemonblade tricked him into lowering his mental shields, and possessed him, crushing Fulgrim's soul into the recesses of his mind where he became a mute witness to the daemon's actions. The daemon would later present Ferrus Manus' head to a delighted Horus, though the Warmaster was less happy at the daemon's possession of his brother's body.
On the other end of the battlefield from the duel between Fulgrim and Ferrus Manus, the Raven Guard were confronted by the treacherous Word Bearers, with their Primarch Lorgar, the First Captain Kor Phaeron and the First Chaplain Erebus at their vanguard. The two Legions fought one another in bitter combat. In the midst of this battle, the Word Bearers unleashed the elite unit known as the Gal Vorbak -- Astartes who had allowed themselves to be possessed by daemons. They attacked the Raven Guard's Primarch en masse, but despite the advantage of their numbers, Corax's formidable abilities as a consummate warrior proved to be more than a match for the possessed Astartes, and he slew them with impunity. Seeing the slaughter of his most favoured sons, Lorgar intervened and prevented the death of the remaining Gal Vorbak Astartes. The two opposing Primarchs then duelled one another in close combat, and the Raven Guard's Primarch quickly gained the upper hand over his outmatched brother. Lorgar had always been more of a scholar than a warrior and Corax prepared to execute him for his betrayal of the Emperor. Lorgar was spared from execution by the intervention of the Night Lords' Primarch, Konrad Curze, at the last moment. The Night Haunter and the Raven fought a brutal melee. Curze quickly gained the upper hand over his battle-weary brother and prepared to slay him, but Corax managed to escape death by taking to the sky with his master-crafted Jump Pack.
The outnumbered Loyalists were then surrounded and brutally butchered. Refusing to surrender, the remaining Raven Guard and Salamanders Astartes stubbornly defended themselves, trying to hold off the inevitable slaughter for as long as possible. Though they suffered an atrocious number of casualties, the Loyalists managed to hold their own, until the Primarchs Mortarion of the Death Guard and Angron of the World Eaters joined the fray. Bolstered by the support of the infamous Imperator-class Titan Dies Irae, the Traitors killed tens of thousands of Loyalist Astartes. At the height of the massacre the Warmaster Horus entered the fray, at the head of the elite Sons of Horus Terminators known as the Justaerin, slaughtering the Loyalists in wrathful anger.
Any hope for escape for the Loyalists was quickly crushed when the traitorous Iron Warriors destroyed the first wave's drop ships. The Loyalist starships still orbiting the embattled planet were also largely annihilated by the vastly superior numbers of the Traitor's fleet. Despite the odds arrayed against them, some of the Loyalists on the ground managed to survive against these odds—they miraculously escaped through the tightening cordon of Traitors that surrounded their position. The Raven Guard fared better than the Salamanders in escaping the brutal massacre. But the Salamanders managed to assist a few surviving Astartes from the decimated Iron Hands Legion to also escape the slaughter. Imperial history does not record the fate of these surviving Salamanders or their missing Primarch Vulkan. The Raven Guard's Primarch just barely managed to board a fleeing Thunderhawk gunship to make good his escape, but was thwarted in the attempt when it was shot down almost immediately by the gunfire of the Traitors. The badly damaged ship crashed on the outskirts of the Urgall Plateau.
Corax had survived the crash and quickly ordered the remaining warriors of his Legion to regroup. He learned to his shock that a large percentage of his Legion had been utterly annihilated during the ensuing slaughter. They took to the highlands of the surrounding hills and took to the shadows, hiding from their relentless pursuers. During their flight, their position was nearly discovered by a roving armour column of traitorous Iron Warriors, but they were destroyed in a Raven Guard ambush and wiped out before they could report what they had learned.
Thirty days after the initial planetary assault, the future looked grim for the fleeing Raven Guard survivors. They had received no word from either the surviving Iron Hands or Salamanders Legions. Corax ordered his warriors to dig-in and hold position at Lurgan Ridge while he undertook a lone reconnaissance of their original drop site to determine their options. Utilising his innate psi-abilities to escape detection, Corax successfully conducted a reconnaissance of the Traitor Legions' positions around the heavily fortified drop site. Though the Primarch informed his men that his mission was to reconnoiter the drop site, his primary objective was to scour the Urgall Plateau for the bodies of his fallen sons, but he failed to find them.
After 98 days of relentless pursuit, the Raven Guard survivors were finally backed into a literal corner. Caught upon the windswept mountainside, Corax's Legion remained resolute. Behind the peak stretched the great salt plains that had forced them into this last, defiant stand. Ahead of them massed the might of the World Eaters, the rage-driven Astartes Legion of Angron, who strode at their head roaring for the blood of his brother. A sea of white and blue World Eaters Astartes spattered with the red of gore swept up from the valley intent on the destruction of the Raven Guard. Maddened by their neural implants and driven into a battle-frenzy by inhuman cocktails of stimulants, the berserk warriors of the World Eaters pounded up the sloping mountainside while their tanks and guns provided covering fire; every warrior bellowed his eagerness to fulfill the blood oaths he had sworn to his Primarch.
But before they could utterly eradicate the surviving Raven Guard Astartes, the World Eaters were attacked from an unexpected quarter. Broad-winged aircraft plunged down from the scattering of clouds, missile pods rippling with fire. A swathe of detonations cut through the ranks of the World Eaters, ripping through their advance companies. Incendiary bombs blossomed in the heart of the approaching army, scattering white-hot Promethium over the steep slopes. Corax looked on with incredulity as blistering pulses of plasma descended from orbit, cutting great gouges into Angron’s Legion.
The roar of jets became deafening as drop ships descended on pillars of fire: black drop ships emblazoned with the badge of the Raven Guard. The Legionaries scattered to give the landing craft space to make planetfall. As soon as their thick hydraulic legs touched the ground, their ramps whined down and boarding gateways opened. The Raven Guard met their rescuers in stunned disbelief. These drop ships were part of a desperate rescue mission that had been devised by Commander Branne, a Raven Guard Captain who had been left in charge of the Legion’s homeworld of Deliverance. Without further delay the Raven Guard survivors quickly prepared for embarkation and escaped aboard the drop ships, breaking for orbit and leaving behind the frothing berserkers of the World Eaters, their angry Primarch futilely baying for blood.
Meanwhile, the Alpha Legion had secretly infiltrated the Raven Guard during the Drop Site Massacre, surgically altering their own operatives to resemble dead Raven Guard Astartes and then inserting them into Corax's Legion during the chaos of the chase on Istvaan V. Alpharius Omegon had been told by the secret alien organisation known as the Cabal that the XIX Legion was going to receive an extremely valuable, top-secret asset that would be of great use to the cause of Horus. Impersonating Horus, the Alpha Legion Primarchs ordered a pursuing World Eaters fleet to stop all action against Branne's ships, so that the Raven Guard would survive the slaughter on Istvaan V and come into possession of the asset, which the Alpha Legion's infiltrators could then steal.
Corax never knew how Branne had managed to make his way to Istvaan V, but he was grateful for the rescue. Branne himself was reluctant to reveal what lead him to Istvaan V, and considered the topic sensitive since he had only acted after repeated, inexplicable prophetic "dreams" seen by Marcus Valerius, Praefector of the Therion Cohort, the Imperial Army regiment which was part of the Raven Guard's Expeditionary Fleet. Deadly absolution at the hands of Angron would have been a righteous end for the XIXth Legion, but with all things considered, Corax was glad that he would survive to fight in the Emperor's name again.
Following his and his Astartes' dramatic rescue from Istvaan V, Corax took the time to review the organisation of the remnants of his Legion. Including the companies of Commander Branne who had been left behind to command the garrison of Deliverance and had ultimately been responsible for rescuing Corax the Legion's survivors from the disaster at Istvaan V, he had fewer than 4,000 Astartes remaining of varying ranks and specialisations. The majority of these Astartes he formed into the "Talons" – tactical companies under Captain Agapito’s command. The survivors of the various assault platoons, along with several Dreadnought-interred Veterans, were formed into the "Falcons," led by Aloni Tev. Lastly, the handful of Raven Guard Bike Squads, Land Speeders and aircraft crews still remaining were combined under the command of Captain Solaro An, and were given the designation "Hawks." The Raven Guard's Apothecaries had suffered during the Drop Site Massacre as well. It appeared that the Traitors had specifically targeted them from the outset of the battle. Only seven managed to survive, and even with only fifteen years in the Apothecarion, Apothecary Vincente Sixx was appointed as the Legion's new Chief Apothecary by the Primarch himself.
Rebuilding a Legion
Consumed by the loss of over 75,000 of his Legion's Astartes, and obsessed with thoughts of revenge against Horus, Corax ordered his survivors to return to Terra, where he intended to ask the Emperor for help in rebuilding the Legion. Following a number of delays and setbacks, and despite the disagreement and displeasure of Rogal Dorn and Malcador the Sigillite, Corax psychically communed with the Emperor, who was devoting all his time battling Chaos within the Warp and what remained of the secret Imperial extension into the Webway in the aftermath of Magnus the Red's catastrophic psychic intrusion into the Imperial Palace. The Emperor revealed certain truths to Corax: the existence of the Imperial project to control portions of the Webway, the nature of Chaos, and the truth behind the outbreak of the so-called Heresy—which in reality was an all-out campaign by the Chaos Gods to defeat the Emperor and enslave Mankind, using Horus and the Traitor Legions as their pawns. The Emperor decided to help Corax, and had another, astonishing revelation to make: the Primarch Project's genetic assets had not been destroyed, as everybody thought, but still existed and were dormant—including living samples of the original gene-stock the Emperor had used to create the 20 Primarchs. The Emperor, who offered no explanation as to why such facilities and the gene-stock still existed, demanded only one thing: this genetic material could never be allowed to fall into the wrong hands.
Accompanied by several Raven Guard squads, a contingent of Adeptus Mechanicus specialists, and a number of Custodians to serve as the Emperor's "overseers", Corax managed to locate and enter the Emperor's well-protected gene-laboratories deep beneath the Imperial Palace in the Himalazian Mountains, after his strife force suffered a number of casualties. The Primarch gene-stock and related technical information was secured, and Corax and his Raven Guard warriors returned to Deliverance to begin remaking the Legion.
After several weeks of effort by Corax, Chief Apothecary Vincente Sixx, and Magos Genetor Nexin Orlandriaz, a breakthrough was achieved, and a new reservoir of stable Astartes gene-seed was extracted from the Primarch DNA. The gene-seed was more pure than "normal" Raven Guard gene stock as it came from undiluted Primarch DNA before it was broken down to the 20 different recombinant strands that gave birth to the Primarchs. It was implanted using an extremely accelerated development schedule within 500 Aspirants, with excellent results. The resulting Astartes, though lacking combat experience, were even more capable than typical Raven Guard Space Marines. They were assigned the name "Raptors", and placed under overall command of Captain Branne, who served as the Legion's Master of Recruits. Following a baptism by fire in a successful attack against a Word Bearers intelligence outpost/listening station, the prospects for the reconstruction of the XIXth Legion looked bright indeed.
The Alpha Legion had other plans. Patiently waiting until the Raven Guard had achieved the genetic breakthrough, they were fomenting rebellion among the old tech-guilds of Kiavahr, the Forge World that the moon of Deliverance circled, while assembling an Alpha Legion force nearby, and simultaneously misleading both their nominal allies among the other Traitor Legions and their supposed allies in the Cabal about their true purpose. With the help of Adepts from the Dark Mechanicus the Alpha Legion operatives within the Raven Guard contaminated the pure Primarch gene-stock held by the Raven Guard with a virus that was tainted with daemonic essence. The nature of the virus was unknown to the Alpha Legionaries until after the gene-stock had been contaminated, as their Dark Mechanicus allies had insisted the virus could be easily extracted once the Primarch gene-stock came into their possession.
The next cadre of 2,000 Raven Guard Astartes was predictably a disaster. All manifested hideous Warp-related mutations after they were implanted with their gene-seed organs, and many had to be kept imprisoned. Corax announced that mutation or not, he considered them as much a part of the Raven Guard as the rest of his Astartes, and vowed to find a way to reverse the mutations. At the same time, the Alpha Legion's plans were reaching their climax. The Kiavahr rebellion was well under way, supported by the newly arrived Alpha Legion force, who were camouflaged as Raven Guard, bearing the XIXth Legion's badges, insignia, and armour. These tactics were only diversions intended to allow the Alpha Legion operatives already within the XIXth Legion to steal the Primarch gene-stock and to completely destroy the original Raven Guard gene-seed, crippling the Loyalist Legion. The first objective was successful: the Primarch DNA and all information about it was secured by Omegon, who had been secretly on Kiavahr all this time, manipulating events as needed. Yet the destruction of the Raven Guard's gene-seed was prevented by the Raven Guard Mutants, who were tasked by the dying Chief Apothecary Vincente Sixx to save the future of the XIXth Legion. Corax subsequently allowed the Mutants who could fight to join the Legion's Raptor Squads. They participated with the rest of the Raven Guard, a small force of Imperial Fists, and the reconstituted Therion Cohort in the first counterattack against the Traitors, and the Raven Guard's successful campaign against the garrison of an Emperor's Children-held planet near the Kiavahr System.
Unfortunately the attempt to rebuilt the XIXth Legion's strength was now in ruins. With a heavy heart, Corax decided that his attempt to use a shortcut to refill his Legion's ranks had been a mistake. He determined that the XIXth Legion would rebuild its ranks in the traditional way, slowly and painstakingly transforming human Aspirants into Space Marines over many years of genetic alteration and training. But the price would be that the Raven Guard would not be able to participated in a meaningful way in defending the Imperium against the Traitor Legions.
Following the later reorganisation of the Space Marine Legions into the Second Founding Chapters after the end of the Horus Heresy, the Raven Guard was left largely inoperable as a combat unit and was forced to spend decades recruiting new members and rebuilding itself. Finding itself woefully undermanned and under-equipped following the massacre on Istvaan V, the Raven Guard honed and perfected the use of covert small-unit, guerrilla tactics that utilised little fire support, armoured support or other heavy equipment that the Chapter and its Successors lacked. Even today, the Raven Guard's lack of Predators, Land Raiders, and the latest patterns of Power Armour reflect these conditions of the Chapter's past.
With his Chapter depleted following the Istvaan V Massacre and the Imperium teetering on the brink of destruction, it is rumoured that Primarch Corax ordered his Chapter's Apothecaries to use forbidden zygote acceleration and cloning processes to more rapidly replenish the Chapter's numbers. The methods used to accomplish this are lost to history, but the process allowed the creation of new Raven Guard Space Marines at the cost of the genetic purity of the Chapter's gene-seed. The process of implantation of the genetically modified Space Marine organs in new recruits suffered extremely high failure rates as a result of these genetic modifications, causing many Raven Guard recruits to become hulking, aberrant monsters who had to be destroyed. The results of this accelerated recruitment program were not always successful. Ninety percent of the recruits who underwent the accelerated treatments were unable to hold a standard Space Marine Bolter, let alone fire it. Of 100 recruits, perhaps one would have a genome stable enough to become a true Space Marine. Despite the inefficiency of this method, the Raven Guard was eventually able to add several hundred recruits and become combat-worthy enough to aid the other Space Marines in their continuing battle against the Chaos Marines both before and following the defeat of Horus at the Siege of Terra, despite fielding a much smaller force.
After the Heresy, Corax personally gave the Emperor's Peace to every surviving mutant that had resulted from their accelerated program of Space Marine development, an act that led him to lock himself in his personal chambers in the Ravenspire on Deliverance and beg the recently-ascended Emperor for forgiveness. Unable to alleviate his guilt, the Primarch left the Ravenspire exactly a year after he first went into seclusion in a transport that was headed for the Eye of Terror. Corax's fate remains unknown to this day. His last recorded words as he departed Deliverance were, "Never more."
- Battle of Hell's Anvil (Unknown Date.M30) - Before uniting with their long-lost Primarch, the XIXth Legion saw over a century of war. During this time they fought at the behest of Horus Lupercal, treated almost as a specialised detachment of the Luna Wolves Legion, one essential to many of the victories later claimed by them that often went unremarked by the Order of Remembrancers. Though their battles were unseen and unremarked on, they were telling in the shape of history. The Battle of Hell's Anvil was typical of many of the XIXth Legion's early engagements, a savage legend that Corax would later seek to repress, and one that exemplified both the similarities in tactics and the difference in character of the warriors that made up the XIXth Legion and later the Raven Guard. Hell's Anvil was the name given by Imperial strategos to a massive fortress situated on the planet of Baratrum. For almost five years the Imperial Army had fought a futile battle to destroy the overseers of the planet, who had long since surrendered their humanity, and capture the world's prodigious mineral wealth for the nascent Imperium. Thousands of lives had been lost and the Imperial Army was unable to secure any foothold in the sunken metropoli of Baratrum. The arrival of a fleet bearing three full Chapters of the XIXth Legion, under overall command of Shade Lord Arkhas Fal, then the Master of the Legion. Accompanied by a sizable contingent of Luna Wolves, this force changed the nature of the campaign. The taskforce's Strike Cruiser began a concussive bombardment directly above the previously unassailable sub-surface fortifications of Hell's Anvil, heedless of the collateral damage to the planet's subterranean population. The massive tectonic force of the bombardment shook the planet to its core, causing severe damage to many of the underground cities. Into this hellish landscape Shade Lord Fal ordered three regiments of Thorosian Voltigeurs, a unit attached to the Imperial Army detachment that had so far failed to assault the fortress, to lead the vanguard assault. Soon they were beset upon by hundreds of frenzied worker-drones. With casualties mounting and the fortress still spewing forth its berserk defenders, a desperate request relayed to the XIXth Legion for reinforcements went unanswered. Waiting until Hell's Anvil had emptied, the combined Space Marine taskforce descended into the bowels of Hell's Anvil. The head-hunter companies of the Ashen Claw Chapter, led by Shade Captain Kirine, were able to hack and blast its way into the interior of the beleaguered fortress, and ruthlessly hacked down the hulking Overseers. After hours of fighting, the XIXth Legion finally discovered Hell's Anvil's titanic plasma reactors. After facing the largest of the Baratrun Overseers, they planted Melta charges amongst the reactor's delicate containment fields, and retreated as suddenly as they had struck, back into the upper levels to detonate the charges. On the surface Shade Lord Fal and his forces had put the frenzied drones to the sword. The destruction of Hell's Anvil saw the swift collapse of the Baratrun resistance, and despite the damage the various factory-warrens had sustained, the envoys of the Mechanicum were able to restart production with only a minor delay, feeding the Imperium's expansion and continued conquest. The Thorosian regiments bore the brunt of the assault's bloody cost, losing over 100,000 soldiers, whereas the XIXth Legion and Luna Wolves had suffered only a few hundred casualties between them, mostly among the Ashen Claws. This cost, though high, was less than might have been expected from a drawn-out siege and the battle was lauded as a mighty victory for the advancing Great Crusade. It also established the reputation of the XIXth Legion as harbingers of death for those units of the Imperial Army assigned to their support. This remnant of their heritage as slave-masters and raiders in the dust plains of Old Earth did not find favour with the Raven Lord when he joined with the XIXth Legion, and this practice was only forgotten, both within and without the Legion, after long years of campaigning under Corax's guidance.
- The Compliance of Indra-sûl (Unknown Date.M30) - With the discovery of Kiavahr came the long expected union of the XIXth Legion and their Primarch, and the beginning of a subtle change to the Legion's character and reputation. Taking place almost fifty standard years after the Primarch had resumed command of his Legion, Corax's prosecution of the Indra-sûl Campaign is typical of many of the conquests undertaken by the Raven Guard, and displays how the melding of Deliverance-born insurgents and the brutal raiders of Terra's Asiatic Dustfields melded to produce the Raven Guard. The last years of the Great Crusade saw the majority of the Raven Guard assigned to Expeditionary Fleets in the far galactic north, pressing the Great Crusade's expansion past the reaches of the Segmentum Obscurus and into the dim stars of the galaxy's northern fringe. It was here that the Raven Guard discovered Indra-sûl. Once the planet must have served as a mighty Explorator port for the fleets of the Dark Age of Technology, but now it was reduced to a wasteland, with the exception of a vast glittering spire of silver many kilometres thick that reached from the ground to the void above, terminating in a series of branch-like docking tendrils that blanketed the sky of one hemisphere. Within this great structure the Raven Guard found the last survivors of Indra-sûl, and the creatures who now ruled them. In the dark years of the Age of Strife the xenos nightmares known as the Khrave had systematically harvested the population of Indra-sûl over the course of many centuries. Corax could not countenance the abject suffering of the people of Indra-sûl, no more than he could have left the people of Deliverance in bondage to the tech guilds of Kiavahr. Despite suggestions form some Terran-born Captains to release nerve-phage gas into the facility that would effectively kill both xenos masters and human slaves as the most effective solution, the Primarch laid plans for the salvation of Indra-sûl. Refusing to commit either his own Legionaries or the soldiers of the Therion Cohort to the war of attrition intended to take the spire level by level, the Raven Lord personally led a force of less than 2,000 Legionaries, selected from the ranks of the Raven Guard's reconnaissance and infiltration companies, into the structure. Infiltrating the massive spire at its midpoint by insertion from specially modified Shadowhawks and Darkwing gunships, the Space Marines were confronted with a vision of the past. The survivors of the human population of Indra-sûl were wretched and malformed, packed into chambers like cattle. Some detachments also encountered the Khrave, towering monstrosities gorged on centuries of captive bounty, impossibly strong and wielding foul Warp-glamours. Only with much slaughter were they able to slay such creatures. The Raven Guard both of Terra and Deliverance instinctively fell into the doctrines of guerrilla warfare, leaving their foes dazed and confused until they were finally slain. Discovering the hibernation chambers of the slumbering Khrave, soon the foul xenos began to stir form their slumber. The Raven Guard made a tactical withdrawal, while the Raven Lord and a demi-company of those who had fought at his side on Deliverance took the near-suicidal duty of providing a rearguard whilst the remaining Raven Guard accompanying him raced to deploy their teleport beacon array. Despite the slaughter that ensued, the Raven Guard held their ground, fighting to their last breath with only the desire to slay their foes until death claimed them. Finally, after an hour of non-stop combat, a flash of light announced the arrival of the Deliverers, a company of Terran-born Raven Guard clad in Terminator Armour, grim in aspect and wielding an array of fearsome weapons not usually favoured by the subtle tactics of the XIXth Legion. The Deliverers' massed firepower pushed the Khrave back and the Terran Legionaries advanced, the ferocity of the Terran Raven Guard finishing what the stoic determination of their brethren from Deliverance had begun. Within hours the Raven Guard had cleansed the spire of the xenos' foul presence. Now secured as a base for the Great Crusade's push into the Ghoul Stars, Indra-sûl was given into the custody of the Mechanicum, and the Raven Guard made preparations for their next conquest. Unknown to the Raven Guard, the Iterators and other Imperial servants following on the heels of the XIX Legion's advance would later condemn the survivors to a living death as Servitor labourers, seeing them as corrupted in both mind and body. It is perhaps fortunate that the Raven Lord never discovered this prior to the outbreak of the fighting on Istvaan V, for his reputation leaves little doubt over the response that would likely have followed.
- The Carinae Retribution (Unknown Date.M30) - The conquest of the Carinae Sodality remains a black mark on the record of the Raven Guard, a campaign whose details, long suppressed by factions within the Officio Militaris, show the Raven Guard as directly responsible for the campaign's delay and the excessive casualties recorded by Imperial Army units assigned to the fighting. The Raven Guard task force arrived in the Carinae System with a force of almost 30,000 Legionaries and twice that number of soldiers of the Imperial Army, and made swift progress with the conquest of the "Thousand Moons of Carinae" -- immense void-cities that circled the otherwise planet-less primary, remnants of a power long lost to Mankind whose isolationist inhabitants were ill-disposed to bend the knee to the Emperor. Directed by the keen tactical acumen of Corvus Corax, the Raven Guard turned the Carinae's greatest strength into a fatal weakness, for though the void-cities were many and their defences strong, each fought a solitary war, separate from aid and unable to support the defence of their fellows. Rather than attempt a grand campaign, besieging the entire star system at once or challenging the combined fleets of the Carinae Sodality for void-supremacy in the system, the Raven Guard used mobility and stealth to strike a single moon at a time. It was on one such moon, designated Zenith-312, that the combined taskforce assaulted in good order. All was well, until the cities' Arch-Comptroller unleashed a terrible weapon from the Age of Strife, long held in stasis in the depths of the city -- an anima-phage of terrible potency that rendered men into creatures of rage and hunger, bereft of all reason and memory. The Raven Guard suffered little ill-effect, but the ordinary citizens of Zenith-312 and the mortal soldiers of the Imperial Army were reduced to a frothing, mindless horde that numbered in the tens of thousands. Immediately the Raven Guard found themselves beset on all sides, and were forced to put down those who they once called allies, granting them the mercy of death as the XIXth Legion swept the void-city clean. In the aftermath of the fighting, it was discovered that the Arch-Comptroller Agarth had used the massacre of his own people to make good his escape aboard his personal shuttle. The Raven Lord was incensed, and vowed that the Arch-Comptroller would be forced to account for his actions. The taskforce abandoned the prosecution of Carinae's conquest, and instead focused all of its efforts into locating the escaped Arch-Comptroller. Discovering the object of their wrath, Argath was tracked to a remote outpost drifting in the outer reaches of a star's corona. The Raven Guard turned to its Moritat kill cadres to bring their murderous vengeance to the Arch-Comptroller. Once aboard, the Moritat quickly went on the offensive and methodically began to leave a bloody trail of corpses in their wake. Making no attempt to reach the Arch-Comptroller, the surviving Moritat made their way to the lone hangar and destroyed all of the station's transports, save one, to make good their escape. The void station took over four solar hours to fully break up as the sun's fiery embrace blistered and seared the station's hull plating. Corvus Corax stood and listened for all four hours as the Arch-Comptroller raged, blustered and finally pleaded over open Vox channels, only leaving when the station's molten collapse cut off his final screams. The Raven Guard had avenged those sacrificed on Zenith-312, but in doing so had granted the remainder of Carinae's defenders time to consolidate their defences, and without their support the Imperial Army and Crusade fleet assets had suffered badly as they had attempted to hold the line. The Carinae Campaign, which should have been swift and painless for the expanding Imperium, would rumble on for almost another seven solar months and would cost many thousands of lives as the price for the XIXth Legion's need for retribution.
- Istvaan III Compliance (994.M30) - The world of Istvaan III was brought into Imperial Compliance by the 27th Expeditionary Fleet led by the Primarch Corax some fifteen standard years before the Drop Site Massacre during the Horus Heresy. The military forces of the indigenous Istvaanians, including the renegade psykers known as Warsingers, were professional soldiers who did not break easily, even when confronted with the might of Space Marines. There was some resistance, but the last elements of the aggressive faction, including the Warsingers, were destroyed by the Raven Guard at the Redarth Valley on Istvaan III. An Istvaanian delegation formally surrendered before the Primarch Corax and the 800 companies (80,000 Astartes) of Raven Guard Space Marines that comprised his XIXth Legion. The Istvaanians kneeled as a defeated foe but were welcomed into the fold as men of the Imperium. Though they had waged war against one another, the Imperial Truth had prevailed and the Istvaanians had sworn to accept its teachings. By proving themselves men of wisdom and civilisation, they were deemed fitting partners for the many other worlds of the nascent Imperium. The Remembrancer Order had not yet been foisted upon the Space Marine Legions by the Council of Terra at this time, but a substantial civilian contingent was left behind to begin the integration of the Istvaanian population with the Imperial Truth. Vardus Praal was left behind as the world's Imperial Planetary Governor to command Istvaan III in the name of the Imperium, to ensure continued compliance and manage the dismantling of the traditional religious structures that defined the planet's autochthonous society. Unbeknownst to Corax and his Raven Guard, they would return fifteen standard years later to the Istvaan System, to the world of Istvaan V, to bring the rebel Horus to account.
- Battle of Gate Forty-Two (ca. 003.M31) - Soon after Horus was declared the Imperial Warmaster, the Raven Guard were recalled from operations along the coreward edge of the Ghoul Stars and ordered to take their place in the line alongside several other Legions under the Warmaster's direct command to retake the Aukum-Sothos Cluster, which had been brought into Compliance by the Luna Wolves early in the Great Crusade but had rebelled against Imperial rule due to the actions of controlling xenos. Horus had formulated a plan to cast down the Unsighted Kings, the xenos-possessed leaders of the insurrection, in a lightning war that would purge the afflicted population while retaining the cluster's highly developed infrastructure for future re-population. Furthermore, a rapid victory would demonstrate to Horus' brother-Primarchs that the Emperor had been correct to elevate him to so high a rank. The Warmaster's plan called for the bulk of four Legions -- the Luna Wolves, Space Wolves, Iron Warriors and Raven Guard -- to converge on the heavily fortified lair of the Unsighted Kings before a final, overwhelming assault was launched. Though Corax strongly disagreed and nearly came to blows with Perturabo over an accusation of cowardice, Corax mustered the Raven Guard before Gate Forty-Two. Knowing their particular demeanour would carry them forward, Corax assigned many of his Terran-dominated companies to the van, in particular those whose captains appeared the most willing to play their part in the Warmaster's plan. At the height of the battle, with the assault companies decimated and the attack faltering in the face of overwhelming fire, Corax himself led the forlorn hope, his battle cry firing the Legion to such efforts that the breach was carried and Gate Forty-Two taken. The honour of slaying the Unsighted Kings was claimed by Horus as Warmaster and at the moment of their execution, the xenos' hold over the population was dispelled. The Akum-Sothos Cluster was delivered and Horus' prize was reclaimed. The cost was terrible however, for not only had countless millions of hosts been crippled in mind and body, but thousands of Raven Guard, the bulk of them Terran-born, had given their lives before the shattered walls.
- Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V (006.M31) - Noted as one of the most devastating defeats in the history of the Adeptus Astartes, and certainly in the history of the Salamanders, the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V saw the Raven Guard, and Salamanders Legions nearly annihilated as effective fighting forces and only the quick thinking and initiative of the Salamanders allowed a bare few Space Marines of these two Legions to escape that dreadful day. In response to the treachery of the Warmaster Horus and his betrayal of the Loyalist Astartes in the Sons of Horus, Emperor's Children, World Eaters and Death Guard Legions at Istvaan III, the Primarch of the Imperial Fists Legion, Rogal Dorn, on the direction of the Emperor who had learned of Horus' actions from the Loyalist survivors aboard the Eisenstein, ordered 7 Loyalist Space Marine Legions to Horus' base on the world of Istvaan V to challenge the Traitors. They would attack in two waves and fall under the supreme command of the Iron Hands' Primarch Ferrus Manus. The Legions comprising the first wave were the Raven Guard, Iron Hands and Salamanders. The Legions comprising the second wave were the Alpha Legion, Night Lords, Iron Warriors, and a large contingent of Word Bearers that their Primarch Lorgar had stationed in the star system. Unknown to Dorn and Ferrus Manus, the Night Lords, Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors and Word Bearers had all turned from their service to the Emperor and secretly pledged their loyalty to Horus, and been instructed to keep their new allegiance to Chaos a secret. The Iron Hands, Salamanders and Raven Guard were deployed in the first wave of the assault on the planet while the Raven Guard Legion's flagship Shadow of the Emperor and the rest of the flotilla of Loyalist vessels provided overwatch of the planetary assault, standing by in case they needed to provide assistance to the attacking ground forces. After they secured the drop site, they were to have been followed by the arrival of the other four Legions. The first wave secured the drop site, known as the Urgall Depression, though at a heavy cost. Horus ordered his front line troops to fall back in a feint, tempting Ferrus Manus to overstretch his already thin lines. Against the advice of Corax and Vulkan, Manus led his Veterans against the fleeing Traitor Marines unsupported. Manus then brought his brother Fulgrim to combat. As the two Primarchs drew their weapons, the Raven Guard and Salamanders fell back to regroup and allow the second wave's Legions to advance and earn glory. However, as they returned they were mowed down by the four Traitor Legions that had landed to supposedly support them, thus revealing their new allegiance to Chaos. At the same time the apparent rout of the Sons of Horus, the World Eaters, Death Guard and Emperor's Children suddenly halted and the Traitors pressed their attack. As Horus pressed the counterattack he managed to sandwich the Loyalists between the two Traitor forces, killing most of them. As the black-armoured Astartes of the Raven Guard Legion were cut down by the Traitors' sustained volley, the traitorous Primarch Lorgar ordered his Word Bearers Legion to attack the Raven Guards' unprotected flank. Corax charged into the ranks of the Traitorous Word Bearers, a blur of charcoal armour and black blades, butchering with an ease that belied his ferocity. Argel Tal, the Crimson Lord and leader of the daemon-possessed Astartes known as the Gal Vorbak, Lorgar's "Blessed Sons," leapt forward to meet their end at the hands of the enraged Primarch. Lorgar soon noticed that Corax was wading through the Gal Vorbak, ripping his daemon-possessed crimson warriors apart. Despite the protestations of both Kor Phaeron and Erebus, Lorgar disregarded their counsel and sprinted forwards across the churned earth and dead bodies of his brother's Legion to engage in a battle he had no hope of winning. The two Primarchs fought in furious combat -- Corax fighting to kill, while Lorgar fought to stay alive. The Primarchs traded vicious blows, but the Raven Lord had the advantage not only of speed and finesse, but also of being a gifted warrior with decades of fighting experience. Lorgar did not, for he had always been more of a scholar than a warrior, and his lack of experience cost him dearly as Corax impaled Lorgar through his stomach and out his back. As Corax stepped closer, he raised his one functioning Lightning Claw to execute his brother, but was thwarted by the timely intervention of the Night Lords' Primarch Konrad Curze. Weakened by his battle with Lorgar, Corax took advantage when the Night Haunter was momentarily distracted and fired his flight pack, burning his fuel reserves to escape Curze’s grip, soaring skyward away from Curze’s rising laughter. As the Traitors wreaked a bloody toll upon the first wave of Loyalist Astartes on the planet's surface, in orbit, the Shadow of the Emperor received their stand-to and distress broadcasts. It was cut off within a matter of minutes, jammed by the Traitor warships in orbit. It was too soon for the vessel's cloaking Reflex Shields to be raised, and against the numbers that were arrayed against them, the use of that technology would have been the only defence. The Terminus Est, under the command of First Captain Calas Typhon, was one of the few capital ships of the Death Guard Legion. When the Traitors revealed their treachery, the Terminus Est suddenly engaged and treacherously destroyed the unprepared Shadow of the Emperor as well as its accompanying Escort ships. It is argued by many Imperial scholars that this engagement was the earliest recorded conflict between Battleships that were specialised to carry Attack Craft. The engagement was swift and brutal, depriving the embattled Loyalist forces on Istvaan V of any air support in the massacre that followed. The loss of the Shadow of the Emperor is remembered to this day as one of the greatest losses of the Raven Guard in the Horus Heresy and the Chapter maintains a long-standing grudge against the Death Guard as a result. Meanwhile on the surface, the Iron Hands were cut off and slaughtered to a man -- the veteran Morlock Terminators cut down while Ferrus Manus was beheaded by Fulgrim. The Salamanders and Raven Guard could do nothing to help the Iron Hands, and were forced to make a costly break-out with precious few of their forces. Those Thunderhawk and Stormbird gunships that lifted off and escaped Istvaan V were far fewer than those that had landed. Corax was badly wounded and Vulkan's fate was unknown for some time. The remainder of the Iron Hands Legion arrived to find their Veterans and Primarch dead and the Salamanders and Raven Guard reduced to a fraction of their full strength, with both Legions nearly wiped out. Corax and his Raven Guard returned to Deliverance in defeat, steeled to rebuild and take revenge on Horus and his Traitors.
- Assault on Iydris (006-007.M31) - In the wake of the terrible slaughter of Loyalists at the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V, a small fleet of Astartes from the ravaged Raven Guard and Iron Hands Legions managed to flee off-world. Among these vessels was the Sisypheum, a Strike Cruiser commanded by the mortally wounded Iron Hands Captain Ulrach Branthan. Determined to continue to strike against the Traitor Legions wherever and whenever they could, the crew of the Sisypheum eventually manged to intercept the encoded communications of the Traitors and learned that the Traitor Primarchs Fulgrim and Perturabo were leading their Emperor's Children and Iron Warriors Traitor Legions, respectively, into the Warp Rift later named the Eye of Terror by Perturabo in search of an unknown Eldar weapon known as the Angel Exterminatus which could decisively tip the balance of the Horus Heresy in favour of the Traitors. The Iron Hands eventually assembled a small fleet of similar Loyalist survivors of the Drop Site Massacre and made their way into the Eye to stop the Traitors from acquiring this weapon. Once within the Eye, Fulgrim led the combined Traitor Legion forces to the ancient Eldar Crone World of Iydris, into the citadel known as Amon ny-shak Kaelis where the Angel Exterminatus was supposedly located. The Traitors were forced to repel countless attacks by the ancient Eldar defense systems and by attacks from Eldar constructs animated by the ountless dead Eldar souls of the Crone World. In truth, the entire quest for the Angel Exterminatus had been a ruse perpetrated upon Perturabo and the Iron Warriors by Fulgrim and the Emperor's Children. Fulgrim, now a Champion of the Chaos God of Pleasure, Slaanesh, sought apotheosis to become a Daemon Prince of the Prince of Chaos. But he needed the power provided by the life force of a Primarch and the sacred energies of a place like an Eldar Crone World that was sacred to Slaanesh to complete his ascension to daemonhood. Fulgrim had given to Perturabo a cloak, to which was affixed a skull-shaped pin carrying a relic known as a maugetar stone. As long as Perturabo was within the confines of the Eldar citadel the stone slowly absorbed his life force and fed these energies to Fulgrim. Once Perturabo discovered his brother's perfidy, the Iron Warriors launched an assault upon the Emperor's Children, and a three-way battle soon developed as the Iron Hands from the Sisypheum and its small flotilla of Loyalists entered the fray against both Traitor forces, unaware of what was truly happening. In the course of the combat that followed, Perturabo slew Fulgrim's mortal body with the great warhammer Forgebreaker, which ironically had originally been forged for Fulgrim by Ferrus Manus. But this action was only the final component in Fulgrim's ritual of apoetheosis, and his body remade itself into the twisted, serpentine form of a Slaaneshi Daemon Prince. Fulgrim became the first of the Traitor Primarchs to ascend to daemonhood, but he would not be the last. His goal achieved, Fulgrim had teleported his Emperor's Children away from Iydris and the Crone World began to collapse as the potent life forces of the dead that had long sustained it were drained away by Fulgrim's ascension. The Iron Hands and Perturabo's Iron Warriors successfully fled the crumbling planet, though Perturabo escaped by taking his fleet deeper into the black hole that lay at the centre of the Eye of Terror. For the first time, one of the Traitor Legions had turned on another, a situation that was to become all too common as the Dark Gods of Chaos tightened their grip on Horus' followers.
- The Zypher Campaign (914.M40) - In 914.M40 the Ork Warlord Arbuttz the Incredible launched a massive Ork WAAAGH! that swept through dozens of uninhabited star systems on the far southwestern rim of the galaxy before eventually slaughtering their way through several Eldar Exodite colonies and smashing into an area of Imperial frontier space known as the Zypher Sub-sector. A dozen Imperial worlds fell to the Ork WAAAGH! before it ran out of steam on the Imperial Death World of Gorang and petered out. As the WAAAGH! came to an end the Orks had conquered the entire Zypher Sub-sector, which they subsequently inhabited and transformed into a new Ork empire. For nearly three hundred Terran years the Ork empire went uncontested until in 204.M41 the Imperium finally responded. A Crusade spearheaded by forces from the Marauders, Eagle Warriors, Revilers and Raven Guard Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes with more than two dozen Regiments of the Imperial Guard in support swept into the Zypher Sub-sector and initiated a long and grueling war against the Ork inhabitants. The campaign took twenty years to complete but by 224.M41 the Zypher Sub-sector was declared free of xenos taint. The Imperial Crusade was not content with merely retaking lost ground and chose instead to continue on into unexplored regions of space. The Imperial war machine tore across the systems conquered by WAAAGH! Arbuttz three centuries prior, laying claim to worlds where no man had ever set foot before, assigning each world the Crusade forces encountered a Regiment of Imperial Guard to cleanse and then settle. The 127th Death Korps of Krieg Regiment under the command of General Himmel von Paulus was assigned to cleanse the backwater world of Baran. The world was a savage place of wild forests, broad open steppe plains and craggy mountain chains overrun with tribes of now feral Orks. Driving the Orks from the open steppes proved easy for the Death Korps and the Raven Guard forces assisting them but it was nearly impossible to completely eradicate the greenskins in the depths of Baran's dense forests. Without the manpower to cleanse the forests of the feral greenskin tribes infesting them General Paulus decided to contain them instead, building a network of interconnected fortresses to bottle the Orks into their wilderness hideouts. Over time these fortresses grew into Baran's first cities, with urban sprawls built up within layers of ever expanding fortifications under constant assault from roving bands of Orks. In generations the colonies grew and prospered, though Baran's cities were never populous by Imperial standards they thrived, giving rise in time to new Imperial Guard Regiments to replace the long deceased Death Korps founders. These new Imperial Guard Regiments were dubbed the Baran Siegemasters, for the inhabitants of Baran were intimately familiar with siegecraft from their ever constant battles to hold off Feral Ork warbands. The Raven Guard chose to remain, building a fortress-monastery on one of Baran's orbiting moons, a black rock named Coron. From their keep a little over 100 Battle-Brothers of the Raven Guard kept watch over Baran and those nearby worlds of value, realizing that the harsh conditions of Baran might one day breed potential Aspirants for the Chapter. For decades the Raven Guard made little contact with the Baran Siegemasters, contenting themselves with hunting down and slaying any Ork Warbosses who they believed may have stolen Imperial technology during the initial WAAAGH! three centuries previously. With the consolidation of Baran and the other frontier worlds the Zypher Campaign came to a close.
- Reconquest of the Zypher Sub-Sector (204-224.M41) - For almost 300 years the Ork empire of WAAAGH! Arbutz ruled the Zypher Sub-sector and was left unmolested, until a campaign of re-conquest was finally begun in 204.M41. The re-conquest was led by troops of the Raven Guard, Marauders, Eagle Warriors and Revilers Space Marine Chapters, supported by over two-dozen Imperial Guard regiments. In a long, hard fought campaign, these troops battled to reclaim the planets lost to Warlord Arbuttz, until finally in 224.M41 the Zypher Sub-sector was declared free of the taint of alien infection.
- Baran Campaign (224.M41) - Decades after the colonisation of Baran the Eldar of Biel-Tan arrived to find the original Exodite colony on that world wiped out by Orks and their world infested with Greenskins and humans. Filled with a burning need for vengeance, the Fire Dragon Exarch Mauryon led a campaign against the Feral Orks of Baran, driving them from ancient Eldar sites in the deep forests. Unable to face the Eldar in battle, the Orks began a mass exodus from the forests that brought them into furious conflict with the human Baran Siegemasters and their Fortress Cities. As the colony cities came under ever more intense assault, the defenders realized their position was ultimately hopeless if they did not receive support. Governor Asaberra despatched what reserves he had from the capital city of Enderra to the most isolated colonies, but realized that this was only a delaying measure at best. Asaberra called upon the Raven Guard on their moon of Coron for aid. Shadow Captain Moradius chose not to deploy to the embattled Fortress Cities as his forces were too few to effectively aid in the defence of so many isolated sieges. Captain Moradius was more concerned with what was driving the Orks from the forests than he was with the Feral Orks themselves. Determined to discover the cause for the Ork attacks, the Raven Guard returned to Baran, making only brief contact with Governor Asaberra before they struck out for the deepest, wildest sections of Baran's forests. As they searched the forests for signs of the Orks, the Raven Guard discovered every Greenskin settlement had been destroyed, every lair rooted out and there was barely an Ork remaining to be found. Something had destroyed the Ork's camps and driven them from the forest. Captain Moradius knew that such spontaneous and orchestrated activity across the entire planet was not likely to have been the result of the Orks' own in-fighting. With little else to discover in the forests, Moradius recalled his scout teams and took his warriors into the Voltus Plains, a barren region of steppe-plains where even the Orks did not establish settlements, choosing instead to roam the plains riding giant boars, Squiggoths and other creatures as warring nomadic tribes. After a week of hard marching across the plains, the Raven Guard at last encountered the Orks, but Captain Moradius was not seeking to drive yet more Orks towards the Fortress Cities and so broke off contact after a brief skirmish. After withdrawing from combat with the nomadic Greenskins, Moradius ordered his Scout Marines to shadow the Orks and watch for signs of the force that had driven the Orks from the forests. Days later the Scouts reported back that the Greenskins were under attack. Without delay the Raven Guard rushed to the Ork tribe's location aboard six Thunderhawk Gunships. Despite their haste, the Orks were wiped out by the time they arrived. The Raven Guard instead came face-to-face with the Eldar of Biel-Tan. Well-versed in the slippery nature of the Eldar, Moradius ordered an immediate assault, striking the Eldar forces rapidly and reaping a heavy toll in xenos lives. The Eldar had apparently not planned on engaging the local Imperial forces so soon and certainly had not counted on the presence of the Space Marines. For hours the Astartes and Eldar fought a running battle as the Space Marine slowly began to outnumber the xenos forces, striking at them from all sides until the xenos at last fell back to a circle of standing stones, ancient monuments from the days of the Eldar empire's rule over Baran. Resolving to crush the Eldar army decisively, the Raven Guard committed to the attack, but this was what the Eldar had wanted. As the Astartes closed in on the remaining Eldar forces Webway gates opened up all around the ring of standing stones. The Raven Guard force found itself encircled by the entire Eldar Swordwind that had been rampaging across the surface of Baran. Though they fought bravely, the Space Marines held out for only a few hours before they were utterly exterminated. The Eldar managed to open an ancient Webway gate on Baran's plains from which Eldar Titans could emerge to join the battle. The defenders of Baran were swept from the world, which was reclaimed for the Eldar, though the Imperium—and the Raven Guard—vowed to retake it.
- Downfall of the Megarchy (748.M41) - In 748.M41 the Hive World of Thruskus denounced the Imperial Creed. The stirring oratories of the local ruling council of elders known as the Megarchy whose charismatic and persuasive oratory held the hives of Thruskus in their thrall. However their rule was short lived. The Raven Guard strike like lightning, defeating the Megarchs and hanging them from their own hive spires. Within a day of the Megarch's death the world of Thruskus is brought back to compliance.
- The Hunt for Voldorius (ca. 855-865.M41) - Honoured Kyublai, the Great Khan of the White Scars, announced during the feast celebrating his ascension that he intended to bring justice to one of the Chapter's greatest foes, the foul Daemon Prince Kernax Voldorius, the leader of a warband of the Alpha Legion. To accomplish this Hunt for Voldorius, the 51st Master of the Hunt, Kor'sarro Khan and his 3rd Brotherhood, was despatched to bring back the head of the foul daemon, or not at all. For more than a decade Kor'sarro and his warriors tracked Voldorius, as the warriors of the White Scars fought their way across Zoran, Kavell and Modanna chance always allowed Voldorius to escape. Finally Kor'sarro and his company found themselves on Quintus, a desolate rock to the galactic south of Chogoris. Before the coming of Voldorius, Quintus had been a bulwark against the Orks of the Jagal Stars. The Daemon Prince's warriors had infiltrated the military of Quintus and when the White Scars arrived they found not just the warband of the Alpha Legion, but a whole planet of soldiers ready to face them. Kor'sarro would not be deterred however and leaving his Strike Cruiser in the outer system, the Master of the Hunt and his warriors approached the planet stealthily via Thunderhawks and made their way through the planetary defense grid and landed in the blasted canyons to the south-west of the capitol. Despite their stealthy approach there are others more adept at such things than the White Scars and upon their arrival they were met by none other than Captain Kayvaan Shrike and the Raven Guard 3rd Company. For millenia the relationship between the White Scars and the Raven Guard had been strained. But the forces arrayed against them were too much for either force to deal with single handedly. Their hands forced by the situation the two Captains and their commands worked together. The following morning Shrike and his company led a dawn strike against an orbital defense battery to the west of Mankarra. Even before the complex was fully taken the Raven Guard were preparing to defend it as fully half of the Alpha Legion warband and much of Mankarra's garrison roared towards them as reinforcements. Outnumbered badly and stretched thin the Raven Guard held their ground with stoic determination, through they were slowly forced to give ground. Despite a counter-attack by Shadow Captain Shrike, the Traitors continued to force the Raven Guard back. But this was all according to plan, for the White Scars had secreted themselves in caves to the south and the moment the Traitors were over-committed the White Scars pounced. Roaring down on their foes on their Space Marine bikes the White Scars smashed aside all resistance. Within moments the Traitor Baneblade Ironsoul was crippled, its sponsons destroyed and crew slaughtered. With the loss of their largest war machine the backbone of the traitors broke and they were slaughtered piecemeal by the Raven Guard and White Scars. Despite the formidable defences of Mankarra, Voldorius had not bothered to spend much time on repair or maintenance. The Raven Guard Thunderhawks and the White Scars Vindicator known as the Thunderheart were able to blast a sizable hole in the curtain wall with little trouble and before the defenders could react the White Scars were loose in the city streets. Staying mobile the White Scars roared along roads and alleys, striking wherever they were least expected and slaughtering every traitor without mercy. Meanwhile the Raven Guard deployed from their Thunderhawks on the rooftops and beset their foes from above. Caught from multiple angles the defenders were butchered. Finally only Voldorius and his bodyguard remained, trapped and outnumbered in the shadow of the Cathedral of the Emperor's Wisdom. Though many fell to the foul daemon prince the outcome was never in doubt. At last Voldorius was broken and pinned to the fallen statue of the Emperor by Shrike's Talons. With one sweep Kor'sarro cut the head from Voldorius' shoulders and the battle was over. A month later, with the planet in the hands of Imperial Guard regiment from Tallarn the Space Marines departed. Shrike returned to the Targus battlezone and Kor'sarro returned to Chogoris with Voldorius' head. Each Captain took with him a newfound respect for the other and the relationship between the long-estranged brother Chapters took its first step towards healing.
- The Battle for Targus VIII (Unknown Date.M41) - Captain Shrike and an elite team of infiltrators found themselves cut off behind the lines of the Ork’s when their pickup Thunderhawk was shot down. For more than two years Shrike and his marines fought a guerrilla war deep in Ork held territory, stealing supplies and munitions, sabotaging Ork installations, ambushing and slaughtering the greenskins whenever they could, as well as relaying vital intelligence to the Imperium’s forces fighting in the campaign. Shrike’s actions brought the campaign to a successful conclusion decades earlier than predicted and earning the legendary captain the Laurel Imperialis.
- Battle for Empalion II (Unknown Date.M41) – When the Raven Guard laid siege to an Iron Warriors fortress on the world of Empalion II the task seemed hopeless, until a force of Brazen Minotaurs arrived to assist their cousins in their hour of need. The Brazen Minotaurs sacrificed an entire company to distract the Iron Warriors and allow the Raven Guard 4th Company to infiltrate the Iron Warriors fortress and destroy it from within.
- Mission to Kasharat (Unknown Date. M41) – During the war for the Sargassion Reach the Brazen Minotaurs Chief Librarian Theseon was captured by the forces of the Empyrion's Blight Chaos Space Marine warband and brought to the corrupted Mortuary World of Kasharat to be broken. A small team of Brazen Minotaurs mounted a rescue mission but would likely have failed without the intervention and assistance of a squad of Raven Guard Astartes led by Shadow Captain Koryn who deployed to the surface of the Mortuary World in advance of the Brazen Minotaurs' rescue mission and cleared the way for them. Though both Chapters suffered casualties, the mission was ultimately successful and a debt between the two Loyalist Chapters was repaid.
- Battle for Fortane's World (Unknown Date.M41) – The Sargassion Reach was on the brink of destruction at the hands of the foul Chaos Space Marine warband known as Empyrion's Blight when the Fortress World of Fortane's World fell to the machinations of the Archenemy. Rather than having fallen to strength of arms the bastion fell to corruption from within. Even worse, the eccentric orbit of Fortane's World would bring it within a matter of days within the outer limits of the densely populated neighboring star system of Kandoor. Unwilling to allow the sickening plague of the Traitor Legions to infest another star system, the Brazen Minotaurs' 3rd and 5th Companies laid siege to the bastion of Fortane's World, determined to cleanse it of the Traitors before they could stage an invasion of the Kandoor System and doom billions to plague and death. With time running out and the siege protracted, the enemy, dedicated servants of the Plaguelord Nurgle, was able to swamp the Brazen Minotaurs with endless hordes of corrupted Traitor Imperial Guardsmen, delaying them until the planet's orbit reached its zenith and entered its neighboring system. Determined to aid their fellow Chapter, a strike force from the Raven Guard's 4th Company led by Shadow Captain Koryn came to the Brazen Minotaurs' aid. Three squads made planetfall and though they suffered significant casualties, the Raven Guard were ultimately able to infiltrate the bastion and open it for bombardment from orbit, destroying a massive Chaos army and protecting the colonists of the Kandoor System.
- Nimbosa Crusade, The Battle for Nimbosa (992.M41) - The planet of Nimbosa is a hotly contested world on the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy, where the Tau Empire and the Imperium have clashed on numerous occasions. Chapters such as the Imperial Fists, Black Templars and Ultramarines are all reputed to have fought the Tau on the planet at one time or another and the world has changed hands many times during the course of the Nimbosa Crusade. The Raven Guard's 3rd Company under the command of Captain Kayvaan Shrike assaulted the Tau positions on the planet and forced the xenos to retreat sometime during the Crusade. Though the current status of the planet is unknown, it is believed to still be contested.
- Raid on Kastorel-Novem (992-996.M41) - The Orks of WAAAGH! Garaghak invaded the Kastorel-Novem Sector in 952.M41, swiftly taking over the area and transforming Kastorel-Novem into a manufacturing center for all manner of Ork war-machines. In 988.M41 WAAAGH! Garaghak struck at the sector capital world of Forsarr and in 992.M41 the Raven Guard arrived to assist the Imperial defenders and launched a raid on the centre of the Ork WAAAGH!'s war production on the world of Kastorel-Novem. The Raven Guard task force is commanded by the renowned Shadow Captain Korvydae, who commands elements from the 1st, 5th, 8th and 10th Companies. The 10th Company alone provides seven full scout squads, a significant portion of the Chapters recruits. The raid on Kastorel-Novem had two primary objectives; the elimination of Big Mek Buzzgob, the WAAAGH!'s chief Mekboy, and the destruction of the Ork fuel depot and refinery complex which would cripple the Ork WAAAGH! and swing the war in favour of the Imperium. Chaplain Eitath commanded a deep strike assault against the fuel depot and refinery. Chaplain Eitath's forces encountered only light resistance and were able to plant their Melta charges and destroy the refinery in short order. With their task complete, Chaplain Eitath and his command extracted via Thunderhawk. Shadow Captain Korvydae and the rest of the task force were waiting for confirmation of Buzzgob's location from the Chapter's Scouts when word was received of a massive Ork force moving in on the hard-pressed Elysian positions. The 181st Elysian Drop Troops had been deployed to Kastorel-Novem to destroy a partially constructed Gargant and kill as many Orks as possible but would not be able to resist long under such a great assault. Korvydae was unwilling to stand by while the Elysians were slaughtered and immediately led his forces in an assault on the Ork column, which consisted of Orks from Garaghak's Goff clan. The Raven Guard assault proved devastating and stalled the Ork advance long enough to allow the Elysians to fall back to another defensive position and request evacuation. However the respite was only temporary, for the Orks merely paused to consolidate and bring up Stompas before striking at the Elysians again in force. Korvydae once again threw the Raven Guard against the Orks to give the Elysians more time, but hordes of Deff Dreads, Killa Kans and formidable Megadreads retaliated and cost the Raven Guard many lives. A the height of the battle Korvydae's Land Raider Prometheus was destroyed by a Megadred, yet Korvydae proved it would take more than that to kill him and dragged himself from the wreckage. With the battle turned so heavily against them Shadow Captain Korvydae issued the order to withdraw. Braving heavy ground fire, the Chapter's Thunderhawks extracted the embattled Raven Guard. The surviving Elysians withdrew in their remaining Valkyries to isolated airbases and evacuated the planet. In the end, over seventy Battle-Brothers of the Raven Guard lost their lives and of the 2,400 Elysians of the 181st Elysian Regiment that deployed to Kastorel-Novem, less than 400 survived. To make matters even worse, the Elysians were able to recover none of their more than 130 aircraft from the planet, abandoning all of them to the Orks. Determined to resist the Orks of WAAAGH! Garaghak, the Raven Guard deployed to the sector capital of Forsarr, but in 996.M41 the planet was lost to the Ork invaders. The fall of the Kastorel-Novem Sector left the Raven Guard's own Chapter homeworld of Deliverance in the warpath of the Ork WAAAGH!. Facing the threat of a full-scale invasion, the Raven Guard's Master of Shadows recalled the entire Chapter to the Ravenspire. For his failure, Shadow Captain Korvydae is now serving two years in the Deathwatch as penance for the failure of the Raid on Kastorel-Novem.
- 13th Black Crusade, the Reclamation of Kathur (999.M41) - When the Imperial Shrine World of Kathur fell to the Plague of Unbelief during the 13th Black Crusade, a force of Raven Guard from the 5th Company under Captain Corvane Valar and Codicier Zauren Kale was despatched to reclaim it for the Emperor. The Strike Cruiser Second Shadow swiftly brought the Astartes to link up with the vanguard elements of the reclamation force in time for the assault on the capital city of Solthane. The Raven Guard had originally brought Kathur to Imperial Compliance during the Great Crusade, and despite the hard fighting all around the Cadian System such a direct insult to the Chapter demanded a response. Ultimately all 50 members of the 5th Company that were involved in the fighting, as well as Captain Corvane and Codicier Zauren, were presumed lost, fallen in battle delaying the approach of Typhus the Herald of Nurgle and his forces, whilst the Second Shadow was destroyed in orbit as well. However, the mission proved to be a success in a manner of speaking, as the Daemon Prince of Nurgle formerly known as Sergeant Arlus was slain, Typhus' Battleship the Terminus Est was severely damaged, and well over a 100 Death Guard Plague Marines and a Death Guard Chaos Dreadnought were killed by the combined efforts of the 88th Cadian Shock Troops Regiment and the Raven Guard. Whether this costly defiance made any difference in the outcome of the 13th Black Crusade is not certain, but the Raven Guard took great satisfaction in the damage done to the Forces of Chaos.
- Battle for Ultramar (999.M41) - While the Ultramarines were obviously at the forefront of the battle to save Ultramar when the empire came under assault by a massive invasion force of the arch-enemy, they were not alone. Captain Aethon Shaan and a full squad of the Chapter's finest warriors were dispatched to recover the renegade Captain Ardaric Vaanes. Fighting alongside the Ultramarines 4th Company, the warriors of Captain Shaan proved to be an invaluable asset, turning the tide of battle multiple times when it swung against the forces of the Ultramarines and their allies. Most impressive was the destruction of the terrible Black Basilica, a massive mobile fortress of the arch-enemy with enough firepower to tear the heart out of the Imperial defenders. Captain Shaan and his warriors infiltrated deep behind the lines, stalking past the siege fortifications of the chaos forces and scaling the sides of the horrific mobile weapon and shrine to the dark gods. Shaan led his warriors deep within the Basilica and planted demolition charges within the mobile fortress' primary munitions magazine before working their way back out of the terrible war machine. Unable to get back to the Imperial lines without discovery the Raven Guard detonated the demolition charges, destroying the Basilica, breaking the back of the invaders and providing the Sons of Corax a large enough distraction to make their way back to the Ultramarines and their compatriots. Shortly after the destruction of the Basilica the Raven Guard joined Captain Ventris and a small strike force as they journeyed deep within the core of Calth. In a lost and ancient shrine the Ultramarines and Raven Guard faced the Blade Dancers of Xiomogra and the Iron Warriors of the Warsmith Honsou, who had engineered the invasion of Ultramar. Though all ten of Shaan's Raven Guard fell in the furious fighting for the shrine, they succeeded in foiling the Chaos plot, and the renegade Ardaric Vaanes at last redeemed himself in combat against the traitors. Shaan accompanied The Ultramarines as the 2nd and 4th Companies made a jump-pack assisted drop onto the contested world of Talassar to aid Chapter Master Marneus Calgar and was witness to the final defeat of the Daemon Lord M'kar the Thrice Born. Captain Shaan attended the honorary funeral of the Ultramarines who fell during the Battle for Ultramar, along with a black flag for every one of the Raven Guard who fell in the protection of Ultramar. The gene-seed of the fallen, including Vaanes, was recovered to be returned to the Chapter with Captain Shaan.
The XIXth Legion was founded according to the Emperor's far-reaching vision for the armies of humanity laid out in the structure of the Officio Militaris. The Legion was divided into Chapters, Chapters into battalions, battalions into companies and companies into squads. Most Legionaries considered themselves members of a given company rather than a Chapter, the company being the preferred level for most independent operations. From the earliest formation, the Legion's officers devolved command responsibility towards the lower echelons, allowing sub-commanders to take the initiative and make tactical decisions according to immediate needs without interference from higher up the chain of command. This mindset was a direct result of the practices of the Xeric tribes, who conducted their wars against far more numerous fores and were therefore well-practiced in a wide spectrum of unconventional tactics. Individual units tended towards the smaller end of the scales and passed down by the architects of the Emperor's armies, but each was a tightly-knit band of warriors trained and equipped to operate on their own for extended periods. They were well able to live off of the land, taking what few resources they needed from their environment or when opportunity or necessity dictated, from defeated enemies.
When the Legion expanded, its ranks were filled with the full panoply of war machines created for the Legiones Astartes. While its sub units remained relatively compact, the XIXth Legion integrated numerous smaller formations into its structure, allowing them to take its place in the hosts of the Great Crusade and to confront the countless enemies of Mankind that would deny the Emperor's manifest destiny to rule the stars. While retaining its expertise in stealth and infiltration, the XIXth Legion integrated formations of battle tanks, super-heavy war machines, artillery, assault vehicles and assets, mastering each with the skill engineered into them by the genius of the Emperor. Nonetheless, the XIXth Legion's favoured method of war focused on rapid strike, flanking, mobility and, where possible and desirable, stealth. Maintaining many specialised units, there were certain formations the XIXth Legion favoured over others. The Legion is noted in historical accounts as fielding more Legion Reconnaissance Squads than any others, every Legionary being cross-trained to fulfill his assigned role, as well as that of the reconnaissance units. Indeed, the line between Legion Tactical Squad and reconnaissance squad seems to have become blurred, the two often operating using similar tactics and even specialised equipment.
From the earliest days, the Legion employed more Moritat than did many others. The individuals assigned to this duty were often those considered extreme in their methods even by the cold-blooded Xeric and they were often used -- willingly -- to undertake missions from which they were not expected to return. It is likely that the Raven Guard engaged in far more assassination and sabotage operations than is widely known to the Order of Remembrancers. Invariably, the increasing numbers of Remembrancers accompanying the Expeditionary Fleets were only allowed to bear witness to the Legion's victories after they had been won, the imagists, historians and poets denied the opportunity to record the Raven Guard as they waged war on the Imperium's foes.
In the aftermath of the Council of Nikaea, which history does not record Corax attending, the Raven Guard obeyed the command to cease the employment of psykers and disband its Librarius. Many of the Legion's Librarians were reassigned to the line companies to serve in communication roles, although some may have served in the Legion Seeker Squads or as Vigilancers or Moritats. Whether or not these individuals obeyed the Decree of Nikaea where operating independently on missions not committed to any archive must remain unknown and it is likely that most were slain upon the bloody battleground of the Urgall Depression during the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V.
Legion Command Hierarchy
Upon assuming command of his Legion, Corvus Corax took upon himself to expand the methods of warfare he had employed against the slave-lords of Lycaeus with a series of tactical and strategic initiatives by which the Raven Guard would operate. In this regard, these doctrines meshed well with those the XIXth Legion had already been operating under throughout the Great Crusade, casting that particular aspect of the Primarch's assumption of command. It is remarkable that as soon as he was able, Corax assured that many of his senior commanders were drawn from Deliverance. Indeed, several of the Primarch's elevated advisors had served alongside him as resisting freedom fighters during the Lycaeus Uprising, having later undergone the implantation and conditioning process to turn them into warriors of the Legiones Astartes. After the costly Battle of Gate Forty-Two, the members of the Legion who were born of Deliverance increased still further, with only a handful of Terrans still serving in positions of high command.
The Primarch maintained a comparatively loose chain of command, and was known to value candid and honest counsel from his officers. His bearing made it clear he did not expect to be treated in the manner many of his brother-Primarchs demanded as their birthright. When he was their leader during the slave uprisings on Lycaeus, Corax's peers insisted he be watched over by a bodyguard lest the overlords or some other rogue element attempt to assassinate him. While he resented this, Corax allowed it, as much for his followers' peace of mind as for his own safety. Having joined his Legion, the bodyguard followed, being formed into an Honour Guard known informally as the Shadow Wardens. It was said that they were ever present, though often unseen when their Primarch went to war, and that none could avoid their gaze. Indeed, only one individual was ever able to do so, and that was Corax himself, giving credence to the stories that Corax was able to slip his own shadow should he choose to do so.
Perhaps more than any other Primarch, the Raven Lord frequently operated alone, or otherwise led very small bands of handpicked warriors who possessed gene-granted skills comparable to his own -- the Mor Deythan or Shadowmasters. This predilection might at least in part derive from his time as a freedom fighter, where circumstances dictated small cells of rebels were often more effective than larger numbers. It was not unusual for Corax himself to conduct extensive reconnaissance prior to a battle, while most Primarchs would leave such tasks to their warriors. Corax is also known to have led small forces on deep infiltration far behind enemy lines, striking directly at the heart of an enemy force, leaving his line officers to conduct the overall operation. Frequently, the actions of the main force were in fact a ploy to draw the enemy's attentions away from the Primarch's own mission, allowing him to strike the final blow and win the battle.
Raven Guard Armoured Forces
Though best known for the skills of its warriors in rapid assaults, reconnaissance and infiltration protocols, the Raven Guard Legion possessed and utilised the full range of engines of war produced for the Legiones Astartes by the genius of the Mechanicum. The Raven Guard maintained entire battalions of heavy armour of all types, the Legionary Armoury and Fleet Reserve held hundreds more, and individual companies were assigned individual war engines as and when required. The Raven Guard deployed every heavy armour formation it could muster to Istvaan V, committing the majority to a wide flanking manoeuvre launched along the base of the Lergahn Ridge against the Sons of Horus units guarding the extreme left flank of the Traitors' lines. Entire wings of Javelin Attack Speeders and Skyhunter Jetbike squads roamed ahead of the slower-moving tank companies, isolating enemy positions and harrying them mercilessly until the heavier units arrived to grind them into dust. When the Night Lords, Iron Warriors, Alpha Legion and Word Bearers revealed their treachery upon the Urgall Depression, most of these formations were cut off from the bulk of the XIXth Legion and ambushed by the Night Lords' units as they attempted to fight their way back to their Primarch's side.
Very few of the Raven Guard's heavier armoured formations were able to withdraw from the Drop Site Massacre, although those that did played a pivotal role in holding back the foe's pursuit in its immediate aftermath. Later on, all but the lightest formations were disbanded and their crews re-assigned to fight on as infantry, the survival of every last Legionary deemed of far more importance to the future of the Legion than maintaining its vehicles. Long after the Istvaan V Drop Site Massacre, it would be discovered that the Traitors recovered a large number of the vehicles left upon the black sands of the Urgall Depression and turned them against their erstwhile masters. Many also appear to have been crippled by Mechanicum war machines using ultra-high yield neutron weaponry so that, while the crews were slain by radiation deadly even to a superhuman Space Marine, the war engines themselves remained intact. Were it needed, this provided further evidence of the dark genius and far-reaching stratagems of Horus.
Wings of the Raven
The Raven Guard Legion made extensive use of a wide range of atmospheric, orbital and void-capable craft, from the heavily armed Fire Raptor gunship to the mighty Stormbird dropship. Many were equipped with unique stealth systems produced by the guilds of Kiavahr, allowing them to penetrate deep into enemy-controlled territory in order to deploy Raven Guard strike forces and to provide fire support once their passengers were on the ground.
The bulk of the Legion's orbital strike craft were committed to the assault against the Warmaster Horus' rebels at Istvaan V, many making repeated runs from ground to orbit as they ferried thousands of Legionaries to the surface. It is testament to the thoroughness of the Warmaster's treachery that when the second wave of the Loyalist retribution force turned upon the Raven Guard, Salamanders and Iron Hands of the first wave, the majority of the Legion's Thunderhawks and Stormbirds were on the ground in the process of disembarking warriors and thus at their most vulnerable. When the Iron Warriors opened fire on the landing zones with their super-heavy artillery, the devastation was total -- barely a handful of Thunderhawks and Storm Eagles, and not a single Stormbird, escaped the all-encompassing conflagration. When at last the Raven Guard serving directly under the command of Lord Corax were extracted from Istvaan V, it was the XIXth Legion's handful of surviving Thunderhawks and Stormbirds that bore them away from certain death at the edge of the Gular Salt Plains. It was thanks to the skill and courage of the crews of Commander Branne Nev's rescue force that the Primarch and the last few thousand of his sons lived to fight on against the treachery of Horus and the fallen Legiones Astartes.
At the time of the Istvaan III Atrocity, the Raven Guard Legion was committed almost in its entirety to ongoing operations in the Thetos-Groton binary star system. When at last prevailing conditions in the Warp made it possible for Lord Rogal Dorn on Terra to contact his brother-Primarch by way of astro-telepathy and inform him of the dire situation unfolding in the Istvaan System, Corax commanded his fleet to make for the nearest Warp jump point. Now that all of his Legion had departed for the Istvaan System, however, the Primarch decreed that a portion of his Legion remain behind to garrison Deliverance in order to guard it from any counterattack. None of the senior commanders wished to be absent when the Traitors were brought to justice, and so lots were drawn to decide who would return. A small detachment comprised of around 1,000 Legionaries, commanded by Commander Branne Nev, alongside their Imperial Army allies of the Therion Cohort, departed to Deliverance. As with much of the XIXth Legion, there were other elements detached to serve elsewhere. A small number of mostly Terrans of the Legion of old, had been assigned to many of these posts beyond the fringes of the Imperium, some in independent nomad fleets, other attached to various Rogue Traders Militum or other so-called "lone wolves." One of these fleets was in fact commanded by the Legion's former commanding officer -- Shade Lord Arkhas Fal -- on the direct order of the Primarch when Corax took over the Raven Guard. What became of the Shade Lord, his fleet and the other elements may never be known, and the fact that Corax appears to have made no effort to recall them suggests they were considered a body apart from the bulk of the Legion.
When the Raven Guard committed to the Istvaan V drop, they did so in numbers approaching their full strength, with all assets, both surface and spaceborne, in attendance. The events of the Battle of Gate Forty-Two had left the Raven Guard as the smallest of the Space Marine Legions, but they would be operating alongside some of their brother-Legions, or so they had every reason to believe. The truth, as described in numerous historical accounts, was otherwise. The Raven Guard were to lose nearly 75,000 Legionaries during the betrayal known as the Drop Site Massacre, and by the end of the ninety-eight solar days that followed, could muster but a fraction of their former strength. Leaving aside these unknown numbers operating alone in the outer darkness, the Raven Guard barely numbered around 4,000 Astartes, including those despatched to garrison Deliverance. For the first time in their glorious history, the Raven Guard were truly laid low. What the future would hold for the shattered XIXth Legion would be determined through a time of trial and misfortune.
Reorganisation for the Heresy
In the aftermath of the Drop Site Massacre, the number of Raven Guard Legionaries under the direct command of Corax numbered no more than 4,000. These grim survivors were mostly those raised into the ranks of the Legiones Astartes from the warriors of Deliverance, those who had fought through the hell of Istvaan V and those who had come to rescue them. In addition, there were distant Great Crusade fleets and varous small garrison units scattered throughout the Imperium, mainly composed of Terran warriors of the old XIXth Legion who would take months to return to bolster the Legion. As the Raven Lord had no intention of retiring from the fight against the arch-Traitor, he re-organised the tattered remnants of his Legion in an attempt to keep them combat capable at a strategic level. Unable to maintain the standard Chapter division of the old Legion days, he instead chose to separate his surviving warriors into divisions marked by their combat specialisation. The assembled tactical companies were named the Talons, assault companies became the Falcons, and light vehicle squadrons and air support were renamed the Hawks. In the campaigns to come this structure proved to be highly flexible, playing to the Raven Guard's inner strengths and allowing them to quickly redistribute their firepower and tactical capabilities to meet the threat of much larger enemy formations, though for many of their contemporaries it would no doubt have proven impractical.
Specialist Ranks and Formations
- Mor Deythan - The Mor Deythan was an elite unit of the Raven Guard Legion during the era of the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy in the late 30th and early 31st Millennia. Created by the Raven Guard Primarch Corvus Corax, the Mor Deythan were used as elite reconnaissance troops or scouts. Nicknamed "Shadow Masters", these elite Legionaries were rumored to have inherited a modicum of the unique trait of their genetic father that allowed them to "Shadow-Walk", enabling them to deny their presence to anything with a mind, making them effectively invisible. The Mor Deythan utilised Chainswords and Bolt Pistols as their primary weapons but often deployed Sniper Rifles, Shotguns or other rare weaponry such as Volkite Chargers. In battle, they utilised a specially developed battle-cant called "Stalk Argot", that consisted of a series of sighs and whispers that were nigh-distinguishable from wind and other environmental sounds. Corvus Corax was separated from his father the Emperor of Mankind while still an infant in the Emperor's gene-laboratory beneath the Himalazian (Himalayan) Mountains on Terra by the machinations of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos. The Chaos Gods snatched the infant Primarch's gestation chamber and flung it through the Warp half-way across the galaxy. Corax was eventually discovered on the world of Lycaeus, the desolate but inhabitable moon of the planet Kiavahr. At this time, Kiavahr was a technologically advanced Forge World, providing its city-size manufactoria with minerals extracted from the non-atmospheric moon by legions of mine slaves, and was home to a guild of Tech-masters who were open in their hatred towards the Mechanicum. Under the iron watch of heavily-armed guards, the enslaved inhabitants of Lycaeus, who included criminals, political opponents and workers who had failed to meet their quotas, had long provided the rulers of Kiavahr with a free and unlimited source of manpower. When they discovered the pale-skinned child who became Corax, "The Deliverer" in the Kiavahran tongue, they kept him from their masters, training him in the various skills they believed a leader and warrior needed. Educated to be a leader of men as well as a rebel guerrilla, Corax began his task by organising the Lycaean workers into fight teams, promoting the best to squad leaders. The first Mor Deythan were formed from the best warriors who followed Corax during his shadow crusade to free the moon of Lyceaus from the rule of the Kiavahran Tech-masters. Corax fought a hard and bloody guerrilla war against these tyrants, and afterwards, when the Emperor came to the newly renamed moon of Deliverance, those young enough to withstand the augmentations became the first Space Marines of the XIXth Legion. Amongst the ranks of the first Deliverance-born Astartes were those who displayed the same unique ability as their Primarch, enabling them to "Shadow-Walk". Through some genetic quirk of their gene-seed, a small percentage of these Astartes had inherited more of their Primarch's genome than any of their Terran-born brethren. Forming a specialised unit known as the Mor Deythan, Corax utilised his formidable knowledge of stealth and sabotage to the fullest extent, training these specially selected Legionaries to be called upon to perform highly dangerous reconnaissance and guerrilla missions deep behind enemy lines. Nicknamed "Shadow Masters", this elite unit was not known even amongst the members of their own Legion. Only the Primarch himself and a select group of Legion Apothecaries were aware of the Mor Deythan at the time of the Horus Heresy. Often times Corax would call upon the Mor Deythan to test highly temperamental thermal technology to help further their goals and objectives against their enemies. By the time of the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V, very few Mor Deythan were left alive. Many were too spread out across the galaxy performing their missions when the deadly events of Istvaan V transpired. After carrying out countless missions on behalf of their Primarch, attrition began to take a serious toll on their numbers. Following the bloody events of Istvaan V, in which a large proportion of the Raven Guard Legion were lost, only a few dozen Mor Deythan were left alive. These few specialised warriors continued to fight on against the treachery of the Warmaster Horus and his Traitor Legions until the last of their numbers finally fell in service to the Emperor. It is not known if the Mor Deythan still exist in the late 41st Millennium.
- The Deliverers - Despite the favour shown to the Tactical Dreadnought Armour project by Horus himself, who acted as patron to the XIXth Legion in the absence of their Primarch, many of the warriors of the XIXth Legion were ill-disposed towards the slow and bulky Cataphractii Pattern Terminator Armour. Some did adopt their use, mainly those Chapters of the XIXth Legion who had long served in the shadow of the Luna Wolves siege and heavy assault companies, becoming adept at close range and shock assaults from both mutual support and teleport deployment. The Legionaries of the XIXth Legion came to refer to these detachments as Deliverers. In the wake of Corvus Corax's return, the Deliverers were rarely called upon by the Primarch. Most were assigned to distant Crusade fleets and those who remained at Corax's side became the avatars of his carefully controlled anger, loosed when an enemy proved itself worthy only of utter destruction.
- Shadow Wardens - When he was their leader during the slave uprisings on Lycaeus, Corax's peers insisted he be watched over by a bodyguard lest the slave overlords or some other rogue element attempt to assassinate him. While he resented this, Corax allowed it, as much for his followers' peace of mind as for his own safety. Having joined his Legion, the bodyguard followed, being formed into an Honour Guard known informally as the Shadow Wardens. It was said that they were ever present, though often unseen when their Primarch went to war, and that none could avoid their gaze. Indeed, only one individual was ever able to do so, and that was Corax himself, giving credence to the stories that Corax was able to slip his own shadow should he choose to do so.
- Shadow Killers - Amongst the Raven Guard and the XIXth Legion that preceded them, there was a tendency amongst combat veterans placed in situations of extreme stress to forsake all pretence of self-preservation, fighting with a terrifying silent determination and the sole aim of causing as many casualties and as much destruction as possible before succumbing to their foe. This strange blood-soaked ennui that drove many amongst the Raven Guard to sacrifice themselves in battle was known among the Terran XIXth Legion as becoming "Ash Blind", while the Raven Guard native to Deliverance knew it as the "Sable Brand", a condition heralded by the darkening of the entire eye to black. Those warriors who survived their suicidal furies sometimes recovered, their brethren never mentioning the incident in a typically Raven Guard display of reticence, but more often were evermore plagued in combat by the urge to slay until death took them, paying no heed to tactical plans. The XIXth Legion, in the days before Corax's return, made little attempt to organise the Ash Blind on the battlefield, relying on the flexible nature of their tactical doctrines to make the maximum use of their suicidal urges when they took hold. The Raven Lord turned this aberrant effect of his gene-seed into a valuable weapon in his tactical arsenal, forming those afflicted by the Sable Brand into units of Shadow Killers and employing them as shock assault troops and assassins. It was the employment of such troops that allowed Corax to best his brother Roboute Guilliman in several simulated battles, an unexpected tactic that the lord of the Ultramarines was quick to adopt into the Legiones Astartes order of battle, creating the Moritat as it was later known amongst the Legiones Astartes.
- Dark Fury Assault Squads - The Dark Fury Assault Squads were utilised by the Raven Guard Legion to conduct focused decapitation strikes upon specific, pre-designated enemy leaders against the backdrop of the carnage of battle. Far from subtle assassins striking unseen from the shadows, the Dark Fury ascended into the very midst of the battlefield, equipped with vicious Lightning Claws fashioned after those carried by their Primarch Corax. These squads were often deployed form the holds of specialised transport vessels such as the Darkwing Pattern Storm Eagle Gunships or the open frame Whispercutters, leaping from great heights to descend upon silenced retro thrusters of their Jump Packs directly onto the heads of their unsuspecting target. Their squad leaders, known as the Choosers of the Slain for good reason, engaged the target while the warriors cut down any retainers who dared attempt to intervene. The result of a successful decapitation strike was utter confusion in the ranks of the foe, and the complete breakdown of the enemy's chain of command.
While the Raven Guard are organised along the guidelines of the Codex Astartes, their application of its principles are subtly different. Following the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V the Legion just did not have the resources remaining to re-equip properly and had to make due with older arms and patterns of Power Armour. Because of this reality, even at present the Raven Guard uses a significantly larger number of the more ancient patterns of Power Armour than most Chapters and the individuals that are lucky enough to be gifted with these suits view themselves as blessed by their Primarch.
The officers of the Raven Guard are known as Shadow Captains and the Chapter Master is called the Master of Shadows. Corax is reputed to have ordered the use of these titles before he disappeared and the Chapter has made use of them ever since.
Raven Guard Captains are fiercely independent, and it is incredibly rare for the Chapter to fight as a whole. Individual companies are completely autonomous and are quick to lend their aid to Imperial commanders across the galaxy, with or without the sanction of their Chapter Master. Such behaviour has led some in the other Space Marine Chapters to question the Raven Guard's soundness as a military force, but most recognise that such fluidity of command only proves the presence of the Chapter's formidable discipline, not its absence.
During the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy the Raven Guard Legion was organized into specialized companies such as the Falcon Assault Company and the Talon Tactical Company, which were organized much like the Reserve Companies of later Codex Astartes-compliant Chapters.
The Raven Guard Chapter makes wide use of the "beaked" older versions of the standard Space Marine Power Armour (Marks IV-VI, with a heavy reliance on the beaked Mark VI helmet pattern). After their near-destruction as a force on Istvaan V during the Drop Site Massacre of the early Horus Heresy, the Raven Guard have had to make to do with the older Power Armour patterns and equipment that remained in their reserve armoury. The available resources were too few to re-equip them up to the most advanced technological standards of the Imperium and even today there is a higher percentage of ancient suits of Power Armour amongst the Chapter than for most others. The Raven Guard's homeworld of Deliverance and its fortress-monastery on that planet, the Ravenspire, has the production capacity of a small Forge World (since it can draw upon the resources of the actual Forge World of Kiavahr that Deliverance orbits), ensuring that the Raven Guard now rarely lacks for the materiél needed to prosecute its campaigns.
Recruitment and Wraith-Slip Training
Owing to the instability of the Raven Guard's gene-seed due to the experiments of Corax, much of the Chapter's genetic stock has been irreparably damaged. Now, much of their genetic material comes from stored supplies held on Terra by the Adeptus Mechanicus. This means the cycle of recruitment for the Raven Guard is much slower than for other Chapters while they wait for purified samples of gene-seed to be sent from Terra and fewer Raven Guard Neophytes prove able to survive their training and genetic modification than is the norm in other Chapters. This means the Chapter is constantly short-handed. The Raven Guard's recruits are almost all drawn from the hardy population of miners that has called Deliverance home for millennia.
As masters of stealth, infiltration and sabotage, all Raven Guard Neophytes are trained by the finest Shadow Masters of the Ravenspire. Despite their Astartes-enhanced physiology and their cumbersome armour, they are taught to move with silence and invisibility, shifting from one pool of darkness to another within the shadows. This art of silent and stealthy movement particular to the Chapter is known as wraith-slipping. Raven Guard Neophytes were taught this art in the labyrinths of the Ravenspire, and they learn how to muffle the noise they make, first with rags and packed earth, then with acoustic dampeners and pure skill at movement. They later use these techniques to baffle the sounds created by their own Power Armour, in what are known as the secret rites of silence, as every Raven Guard must have mastered these abilities once they become full Initiates of the Chapter. Each Raven Guard warrior moves silently in his own way, and it was each warrior's understanding of the empty spaces between sounds that allowed them to occupy them. Every Raven Guard who practiced the arts of wraith-slipping tested themselves, for without test the ability to wraith-slip began to erode. Only by becoming one with the shadows could a warrior move through them without revealing himself. Only by being hunted could he reach that place within himself that allowed the wraith-slip to become perfect camouflage. Such protection was not infallible, and no member of the Chapter was ever truly invisible, but veteran Raven Guard Astartes, such as the Shadows Captains, possessed such an affinity for the dark that they might as well have been.
Raven Guard Librarians
Like their fellow Astartes Chapters, the Raven Guard also maintain a Librarium of potent psykers who are highly talented and trained to master the power of the Warp. 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 chosen psykers following the ancient ways laid out in the Codex Astartes. Librarians of the Raven Guard are trained in this way, and, with few minor traditional variances, have been taught to live by the word of the Codex. Raven Guard Librarians have a number of unique psychic abilities only used by the psykers of their Chapter:
- Corax's Ingenuity - A Raven Guard Librarian can plunge his mind into the Warp, harnessing its power. He is infused with power, embodying the pure ideals of Corax, and emanating this power to those around him, increasing their skill in battle and fortitude in the face of the enemy's blows.
- Curse of the Raven - When a Raven Guard Librarian employs this ability he curses his opponent, condemning him to death at the hands of the Emperor's champions. Warp energies eat at the target’s mind, and reveal weaknesses in his defences that the Battle-Brothers can exploit. This power only works on a single target.
- The Unkindness of Deliverance - The Raven Guard Librarian is able to manifest his psychic power as an unkindness of ravens. Black as night, these ferocious birds swarm over his opponents. The Librarian can either have the ravens target one individual or swarm a number of opponents, blinding them temporarily.
Order of Battle
Like all Codex Astartes-compliant Space Marine Chapters, the Raven Guard are divided into ten companies of 100 Space Marines each when at full strength, a standard which Raven Guard companies rarely achieve because of their constant manpower shortage. Each company is led by an officer with the rank of Shadow Captain who is a hero of the Raven Guard. Each Shadow Captain -- in addition to his company command -- is in charge of a particular aspect of the Chapter's logistics. The current company commanders of the Raven Guard and the order of battle of their companies, are as follows:
- Chapter Command
- Chapter Master
- Master of Sanctity
- Chapter Armoury
- Fleet Command
- Chapter Support Personnel
- Chapter Serfs
- Other Administrative Personnel
- 1st Company (Veteran Company): Unknown Shadow Captain
- 2nd Company (Battle Company): Shadow Captain Aajz Solari
- 3rd Company (Battle Company): Shadow Captain Kayvaan Shrike
- 6 Tactical Squads
- 2 Assault Squads
- 2 Devastator Squads
- Dreadnoughts (Number Unknown)
- 4th Company (Battle Company): Shadow Captain Aethon Shaan
- 6 Tactical Squads
- 2 Assault Squads
- 2 Devastator Squads
- Dreadnoughts (Number Unknown)
- 5th Company (Battle Company): Shadow Captain Corvane Valar
- 6 Tactical Squads
- 2 Assault Squads
- 2 Devastator Squads
- Dreadnoughts (Number Unknown)
- 6th Company (Reserve Company): Unknown Shadow Captain
- 10 Tactical Squads
- Dreadnoughts (Number Unknown)
- 7th Company (Reserve Company): Unknown Shadow Captain
- 10 Tactical Squads
- Dreadnoughts (Number Unknown)
- 8th Company (Reserve Company): Unknown Shadow Captain
- 10 Assault Squads
- Dreadnoughts (Number Unknown)
- 9th Company (Reserve Company): Unknown Shadow Captain
- 10 Devastator Squads
- Dreadnoughts (Number Unknown)
- 10th Company (Scout Company): Shadow Captain Korvydae, Master of Recruits
- Scout Squads (Number Unknown)
Chapter Combat Doctrine
The Raven Guard generally follow the dictates of the Codex Astartes, though there are some differences in how they choose to carry out tactical deployments. The Chapter specialises in guerrilla tactics behind enemy lines, using precisely coordinated attacks and refraining from frontal attacks or protracted attrition warfare. The Raven Guard are known for hitting weak points in enemy defences hard and performing lightning strikes upon locations of tactical importance to cripple their enemy. The Raven Guard disdain the notion of recklessly charging into the enemy's ranks. This differentiates their tactics particularly from those of the Blood Angels. The Chapter also relies heavily on their Scout Marines for pinpointing enemy positions and for reconnaissance to identify good drop sites for the rest of the Chapter's deployed forces.
Raven Guard companies and their captains are often fiercely independent of one another and it is rare for the Chapter to deploy as a whole. Raven Guard companies often operate completely autonomously from one another and will move to support Imperial Commanders who request their assistance wherever they are in the galaxy with or without the Raven Guard Chapter Master's permission. This behaviour leads some Imperial observers to question the tactical utility of the Chapter since its officers seem to lack a unified respect for command and are thus prone to dilute their efforts, but in fact this method of operation displays the extraordinary discipline of the Raven Guard's captains and the trust that the Chapter places in them, not the lack of these qualities.
The Chapter's typical tactical doctrine consists of rapid maneuver engagements consisting of the deployment of Assault Marines, Land Speeders and Attack Bikes aimed at harassment, sabotage and the destruction of key strategic targets over the frontal engagement of enemy forces at large. The Raven Guard's Tactical Marine Squads are deployed via Thunderhawk gunship insertions, supported by Drop Pod-deployed Dreadnoughts. The Chapter maintains few and fields even fewer armoured fire support vehicles such as Predators and Land Raiders, preferring to make use of an infantry-heavy force. The Raven Guard relies heavily on its Scout Marine elements, which operate without support for extended amounts of time, even by Space Marine standards. The Chapter, by and large, operates as something of a cross between a mechanised infantry and a series of special forces units, combining small unit tactics with their preference for covert, behind-enemy-lines operations. Because of their preference for hit-and-run guerilla tactics, the Raven Guard also make extensive use of Assault Marine Squads. The Tactical Marine Squads of the Raven Guard are often deployed via Thunderhawks or Drop Pods. The favorite weapons of Raven Guard Force Commanders are Lightning Claws and it is a common sight for their command squads to also be equipped with these weapons in addition to their Jump Packs. Due to their specialised combat style, the Raven Guard make less use of heavier vehicles and tanks (such as the Land Raider and Predator) than most other Space Marine Chapters.
Like many other Chapters, the venerable Raven Guard maintain long-standing rituals and beliefs assimilated by the cultural beliefs of their homeworld. One such example are the fetishes worn by warriors of the Raven Guard Chapter, known as Corvia. During the long, arduous initiation process of a prospective Neophyte, all must undergo an initiation in the form of a meditative trance or spirit quest to hunt the miniscule avians of their homeworld that are native to the forests of Kiavahr. Trained by the finest Shadow Masters of the Ravenspire in the arts of stealth and infiltration, it takes many months for Neophytes to master the fine art of "Wraith-slipping", in order to hone the necessary skills to sneak up on the small and alert ravens, snatching them up with their bare hands and quickly snapping their necks. Known as Corvia, the skulls of these small birds are worn as potent totems which hang from small chains from an Astartes' belt or battle plate. These fetishes represent an individual warrior's honour, and when one falls in battle, one of his fellow Battle-Brothers will recover the Corvia from their fallen brethren and continue to carry it in battle, and thus, carry their fallen brethren's honour until such time that they can return to Kiavahr and bury the small avian skulls in the soil of their Chapter's homeworld. The claiming of a fallen warrior's Corvia goes hand in hand with stripping the body of the deceased Battle-Brother of all equipment and Chapter trappings, which includes the harvesting of the all-important gene-seed. Once the Chapter has claimed its due, the stripped corpses are then left for the local carrion birds to feast upon.
The Raven Guard do not venerate the Emperor with the fervour or zeal of many other Astartes Chapters, viewing him as a distant figure, the master of the galaxy and the founder of the Imperium but little more. Corax is viewed as a mighty leader capable of making tough decisions when the need was great. The Raven Guard still follow the path that Corax set for them, reviewing the data collected from each battle to learn its lessons and a great deal of the tactical doctrines of the Raven Guard were learned and laid out from such examinations. As for the leaders of the Raven Guard, they emphasize initiative and tactical skill as much or more so than personal martial prowess. The Raven Guard are much more likely to use a swift surgical strike, than to engage in long, protracted battles or sieges. However this tendency causes some tension with other Astartes Chapters who the Raven Guard consider blunt and clumsy, such as the Blood Angels.
The genetic material of the Raven Guard was greatly damaged by the accelerated processes utilised by Corax to rebuild the Legion following the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V. Much of the gene-stocks of the Raven Guard were lost or irreparably damaged and as such a significant portion of the Chapter’s genetic material now comes from Terra. Additionally the process of transformation into an Astartes is notably more difficult for Aspirants in the Raven Guard and so many casualties early in training only add to the slow and limited recruitment process of the Chapter. Even further degeneration in the gene-seed has caused several of the implants to fail. The Betcher’s Gland and Mucranoid gene-seed organs are no longer functional for Raven Guard Astartes and other defects within the gene-seed cause Raven Guard Space Marines' skin to become paler over time until it is as white as their Primarch’s. The eyes and hair of all Raven Guard Astartes will eventually become a deep black.
Notable Raven Guard
- Corvus Corax - Primarch of the Raven Guard. Corax was a taciturn and subtle warrior but a true warrior nonetheless. During the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V, Corax assumed a terrible and vengeful aspect, his winged jump pack and razor claws reaping a heavy toll on the ranks of the vile Word Bearers. When their Primarch Lorgar dared confront his brother, Corax nearly killed him. The Primarch of the Word Bearers proved unable to face the killing frenzy of Corax even with the psychic might provided by the power of Chaos. Corax scarred Lorgar's face during a prolonged weapon lock, as the talons of his Lightning Claws drew so close to the Aurelian's face that their combined power fields burned deep gashes in Lorgar's countenance. Though Lorgar struck a single solid blow on Corax and shattered one of the Raven Guard Primarch's powered claws, the other tore into Lorgar's gut, shredding the Traitor Primarch's entrails. Lorgar was only saved from death by the timely intervention of the Night Lords' Primarch Konrad Curze. After the Drop Site Massacre had nearly destroyed the Raven Guard, Corax was desperate to rebuild his Legion. With the Emperor's permission, he delved deep beneath the Imperial Palace to recover the advanced genetics knowledge that the Emperor had used to create the Primarchs. Corax then made use of these techniques and a recovered original Primarch genetic template to accelerate the development of new Raven Guard Astartes. The repercussions of those actions came back to haunt him, leading Corax to eventually to grant the Emperor's Peace to all the twisted, mutant spawn who emerged as the result of his experiments. Corax then vanished into the Eye of Terror in search of penance for his shame. His current whereabouts and status remain unknown to the Chapter and the Imperium.
- Shade Lord Arkhas Fal - Arkhas Fal was the Terran-born Master of the XIXth Legion before they were united with their long-lost Primarch on the world of Deliverance. Once given command of his Legion, Corax began to impose the style of war he had perfected upon Lycaeus over that which had defined the XIXth Legion of old, particularly by purging the more cold-blooded ways of the Terran Xeric tribes which had once defined the Legion culture. The Legion had so often served in oppression, repression and occupation forces that Corax saw in some of the Terran members of his Legion something akin to the slavers of Lycaeus. Several of the Legion's highest ranking officers were displaced or reassigned to non-command roles, including Shade Lord Arkhas Fal, who had commanded the XIXth Legion for three decades before the coming of the Raven Lord. Under the Primarch's guidance, distilled into a series of battle-mantras, the Raven Guard developed their skills to preternatural levels. A small number of mostly Terrans of the Legion of old, had been assigned to many of these posts beyond the fringes of the Imperium, some in independent nomad fleets, other attached to various Rogue Traders Militum or other so-called "lone wolves". One of these fleets was in fact commanded by the Legion's former commanding officer -- Shade Lord Arkhas Fal -- on the direct order of the Primarch when Corax took over the Raven Guard. What became of the Shade Lord, his fleet and the other elements may never be known, and the fact that Corax appears to have made no effort to recall them suggests they were considered a body apart from the bulk of the Legion.
- Chapter Master Corvin Severax "Lord of Shadows" - Corvin Severax serves as the Raven Guard's current Chapter Master. As the Chapter's commander, Corvin Severax's honorific, the "Lord of Shadows", is well founded. Seldom is the enigmatic commander seen -- even by the Space Marines of his own Chapter -- yet his authority is absolute. Despite his covert style of leadership, Severax fights as a consummate predator in battle. The Lord of Shadows strikes with the speed and ferocity of a thunderbolt, his form a blur of motion as he carves his foes to bloody ruin without hesitation or remorse before disappearing into the shadows once more.
- Commander Arendi - Commander of Corax's bodyguard, the Shadow Wardens, during the Horus Heresy, who was killed during the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V.
- Commander Alconi - Commander of the "Falcon" Assault Companies of the Raven Guard during the Horus Heresy era.
- Commander Branne Nev - Branne was a Raven Guard Captain during the Horus Heresy era, and Captain Agapito's biological brother. He joined the other Raven Guard officers in drawing lots to see which amongst their number would take part in the campaign on Istvaan V against the Traitor Legions of Horus. Captain Branne lost and so was assigned as the commanding officer of the Raven Guard garrison that remained on Deliverance while the rest of the Legion deployed to Istvaan V. Eventually he led the mission that resulted in the successful combat extraction of Corax and the few Raven Guard Astartes who survived the Drop Site Massacre. Commander Branne essentially saved his Legion from extinction at the hands of the Traitor Legions. As the XIXth Legion began to rebuild itself following the massacre Branne was appointed by Corax to serve as the Legion's new Master of Recruits. Upon the induction of the first cadre of new Raven Guard Astartes, he was named the Commander of the Raptors, the name given to the new Raven Guard companies raised using the pure Primarch DNA and the accelerated growth protocols
- Captain Agapito Nev - Agapito was a Raven Guard Captain and the Commander of the "Talon" Tactical Companies of the Horus Heresy-era Raven Guard Legion. Agapito was the biological brother of Commander Branne. Both of them were part of the original rebel group of Lycaeum prisoners that was lead by Corax to freedom before the arrival of the Emperor in the Kiavahr System. Agapito was suspicious of the unusual actions of some Raven Guard Astartes who were actually Alpha Legion agents, and he confronted the infiltrators.
- Captain Aloni Tev - Aloni was a Raven Guard Captain and the Commander of the "Falcon" Assault Companies of the Horus Heresy-era Raven Guard Legion.
- Captain Solaro An - Solaro An was a Captain of the Raven Guard who took part in the Istvaan V campaign. He led Raven Guard Bike Squads in an ambush against the Traitor Legions. However, he was slain during the Drop Site Massacre. His face was grafted onto an Alpha Legion infiltrator operative, along with some of his organs which were implanted in the impostor, who was then reinserted back into the Raven Guard during the confusion of the campaign on Istvaan V. After the remnants of the Raven Guard were extracted from Istvaan V, he became the commander of the Raven Guard's "Hawk" Companies, which included the Legion's remaining Bike Squads, Land Speeders and aircraft. He took part in the scheme to steal the pure Primarch DNA and destroy the Raven Guard's remaining stocks of untainted gene-seed, mortally wounding Apothecary Vincente Sixx in the process. He and another Alpha Legion operative killed each other after they were discovered and apprehended rather than submit to interrogation.
- Commander Nuran Tesk - Commander Tesk was appointed command of the "Talons," after the death of the infiltrator posing as Commander Solero An, who was slain in the Battle for Ravendelve.
- Captain Torisian - Torisian was the Captain of the 29th Company of the Raven Guard during the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V. Torisian and his men were amongst the first warriors to reach the barricades around the drop site erected by the Loyalists' second wave and were cut down in the first volley of treacherous gunfire from the newly-revealed Traitors.
- Moritat-Prime Kaedes Nex - A dark figure of gruesome repute amongst the tightly knit survivors of Deliverance, Kaedes was seen as an ill-omen by his brothers. On Kiavahr in his youth he was known as the "Blood Crow", an infamous murderer condemned to rot on the moon prison. There he remained, until Corvus Corax offered him freedom and a pardon if he fought alongside the other rebels and limited his targets to those chosen by his new master. After enduring the painful late transformation to a Space Marine, it was only by the continued favour show to him by Corax that he remained within the ranks of the Raven Guard, with few of his brothers willing to tolerate his macabre obsession with the hunt. Yet, in the grim shadow wars fought by the Raven Guard in furtherance of the Emperor's grand plan, his murder-honed skills were employed with grim regularity. When the Raven Guard came to Istvaan V, Kaedes came with them, vanishing into the wastes to stalk the Traitors on his own terms. Nothing is recorded of his role in either the retreat from the massacre or the days that followed, and some maintain that not all of the Traitor craft to later leave Istvaan V carried only the followers of Horus, and that Kaedes continued his private war in the shadows of the Horus Heresy.
- Strike Captain Alvarex Maun - Known as "Nightfall One", Alvarex Maun served as the Master of Descent during the Great Crusade and opening days of the Horus Heresy, commanding his Legion's planetstrike operations. Alvarex, however, performed his duties from the front lines, descending from orbit with the first wave of drop ships and leading the action to secure the dropzone in person. He was present during the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V, leading from the front, until the perfidy of Horus was fully revealed. When Lord Corax ordered the Raven Guard to break out of the Urgall Depression, it was Strike Captain Alvarex who responded instantly, ordering his Thunderhawk to descend through the torrent of fire and to extract his Primarch. After extracting the Primarch, one wing of the gunship was shot away and the pilot was killed. Alvarex took the controls of the aircraft, determined to save the Primarch even at the cost of his own life. Bringing the severely damaged gunship down in a controlled crash landing, he saved the life of the Raven Lord even though five of the crew were slain and he himself was badly injured.
- Shadow Captain Aajz Solari - Captain of the Raven Guard 2nd Company, Solari is famous as a very erratic but mostly successful officer, often going into battle at the head of the Assault Marines. Few Astartes better exemplify the image of the Angels of Death descending on fiery wings of flame to deliver the Emperor’s wrath to the foes of the Imperium. Recently Captain Solari commanded a victorious raid to destroy the Ork Kill Kroozer the Fang of Rukbad. Solari is currently in overall command of the Hive Fleet Leviathan Containment Operation, a massive undertaking with fully two dozen Chapters participating.
- Shadow Captain Kayvaan Shrike - Captain of the 3rd Company, Shrike is a legendary figure in the Imperium for his many stunning victories throughout his career, emphasizing the very qualities at the core of the Raven Guard's combat doctrine with honor and prowess. Shrike also wields "The Raven's Talons" a pair of Master-Crafted Lightning Claws, said to have been forged by Corax himself following the Istvaan V Massacre, and are reputed to be unbreakable. After his success at Targus VII Shrike went on to assault the Orks in the Donara and Yahkhee systems. By the time he had finished there Shrike had become nothing short of a savior and a legend to the beleaguered and hopeless. Shrike now leads his company across the regions under assault by Waaaagh! Skullkrak. Not to aid the desperate Imperial commanders struggling to contain the Ork threat, but to the worlds abandoned by the overstretched and uncaring Imperial commanders. On those worlds Shrike and his Company are revered as heroes as great as those of old. On every world struggling against the Ork horde, Guardsmen clutch their weapons tighter knowing that Shadow Captain Shrike and the Raven Guard 3rd Company may be on their way and the Orks glance twice at every shadow, wondering if the Space Marines are there, just waiting to strike. During the rise of Waaagh! Garaghak Shrike was given command of the strike force dispatched to the Capitol of Forsarr in exchange for the Elysian 181st Regiment's aid in the Raid on Kastorel-Novem.
- Shadow Captain Aethon Shaan - Current Captain of the 4th Company, Shaan and a squad of Veterans were charged with returning the Renegade Ardaric Vaanes to Deliverance to face the judgment of the Master of Shadows, the Chapter Master of the Raven Guard. Shaan was instrumental in the battle against the Chaos invasion in which Vaanes was serving, as most notably Shaan and his Veterans destroyed a monolithic battle-fortress of the arch-enemy known as the Black Basilica. A towering monstrosity of enormous power, Shaan and his warriors managed to infiltrate the massive mobile fortress and plant explosives in the Basilica's main store of munitions. The destruction of the Basilica was the turning point in the Battle for Calth, as its destruction also ended the life of the Dark Mechanicus Adept Cycerin, who had plagued the defenders with scrapcode attacks throughout the invasion. Shaan and his warriors accompanied Captain Uriel Ventris into the heart of Calth to track down the Renegades, led by Ardaric Vaanes, a Chaos Space Marine who had allowed himself to be captured in a last bid for redemption. Despite his misgivings, Shaan fought alongside the Ultramarines and the renegade against the Iron Warriors. All of the Raven Guard but Shaan were killed in the battle with the Traitor Astartes and their allies, but their sacrifices were not in vain for the Traitors failed in their mission and were purged from Ultramar with Bolter and blade. Shaan was given permission to attend the honourary funeral service in memory of the 347 Ultramarines and 10 Raven Guard Astartes who had died to protect the Imperium on Calth. Shaan returned to Deliverance with the gene-seed of the fallen, including that of Captain Vaanes, who had earned the redemption he had sought. During the mission to Ultramar Captain Shaan and his men frequently proved the superiority of the Raven Guard in matters of stealth, managing to remain hidden under the very scrutiny of the legendary Scout Sergeant Torias Telion and the 10th Company's Captain Antilochus. Without the skills of the Raven Guard the battle for Calth, and perhaps all of Ultramar, might well have been lost to the Forces of Chaos.
- Shadow Captain Aremis Koryn - Captain of the Raven Guard 4th Company, Koryn was recruited from the forests of Kiavahr centuries ago and covets what memories of his youth remain after his elevation as a post-human warrior of the Adeptus Astartes. Operating far out on the wild and backwater rim of the Imperium, the 4th Company, under Shadow Captain Koryn, had not returned to Deliverance in nearly a century by the time of the Battle for Idos. Unlike some members of the Chapter, Captain Koryn actively seeks to improve relations with other Chapters, namely the Brazen Minotaurs whom the Raven Guard have served alongside many times. In particular, Captain Koryn harborued a debt of honor to the Brazen Minotaurs after the Battle for Empalion II, where an entire company of the overly agressive warriors gave their lives to distract a garrison of Iron Warriors Chaos Space Marines, allowing the Raven Guard to infiltrate the Traitors' fortress and destroy it from within. Since then, Koryn has led his forces in several covert missions to aid the Brazen Minotaurs fighting in the Sargassion Reach. Captain Koryn wears an ancient suit of Mark IV Imperial Maximus Pattern Power Armor dating back to the time of the Great Crusade that is inscribed with the names of all of its previous bearers. He wields a pair of Lightning Claws in close combat.
- Shadow Captain Ardaric Vaanes - Former Shadow Captain of the 4th Company, Ardaric Vaanes was a highly skilled officer within the Chapter and skilled in the most secret combat arts taught at the Ravenspire. He was honored by Captain Shrike when the legendary Captain of the 3rd Company personally tattooed the Chapter heraldry on Ardaric's left shoulder. Disillusioned with the Imperium, Ardaric Vaanes turned renegade and was declared Excomunicate Mortis in 934.M41. Fighting the Iron Warriors, along with a band of fellow renegades from various Chapters on the daemon world of Medrengarde within the Eye of Terror, Vaanes encountered the exiled Captain Uriel Ventris of the Ultramarines. But despite an offer of redemption Vaanes allied with the Warsmith Honsou and served as one of his chief Lieutenants until the Iron Warriors led a massive warband to the Realms of Ultramar. Vaanes caught the attention of a daemon of Slaanesh while serving Honsou and the close brush with absolute corruption brought about a change in the former Captain, who aided the Ultramarines in defeating the Chaos invasion, personally slaying the possessed Iron Warriors officer known as Grendel and grappling with the Warsmith Honsou himself. His gene-seed was returned to the Chapter by Captain Shaan.
- Shadow Captain Corvane Valar - Captain of the Raven Guard 5th Company during the 13th Black Crusade. Valar led half his company to the Shrine World of Kathur when it fell to the plagues of the Death Guard. Fifty Raven Guard Astartes sacrificed themselves and their Strike Cruiser the Second Shadow to deny the Death Guard their price and accounted for roughly seventy-five Plague Marines in the process.
- Shadow Captain Korvydae - Captain of the Raven Guard 10th Company and the Chapter's Master of Recruits. Shadow Captain Korvydae is renowned as an efficient raider and saboteur, using Scout Marines and Assault Marines to launch devastating lightning assaults seemingly from nowhere. Shadow Captain Korvydae led the disastrous Raid on Kastorel-Novem against the Orks of WAAAGH! Garaghak. Despite Korvydae's skills and heroism, the Raven Guard lost over 70 Battle-Brothers on Kastorel-Novem, and for his failure Korvydae is now serving a two-year penance with the Deathwatch.
- Shadow Captain Moradius - Captain Moradius commanded the Raven Guard fortress-monastery on the moon of Coron orbiting the Imperial world of Baran. When the local Feral Ork populace was stirred up by an unknown force, Captain Moradius led his men to Baran to investigate, discovering the presence of an Eldar Swordwind from the Craftworld of Biel-Tan. Despite fighting valiantly, Captain Moradius and his forces were encircled and greatly outnumbered, eventually dying to the last against the viperous Eldar xenos.
- Captain Torisian - Captain of the 29th Company of the Raven Guard Legion during the Dropsite Massacre of Istvaan V. Torisian and his men were amongst the first warriors to reach the barricades around the drop-site, erected by the second wave, and were cut down in the first volley of treacherous bolter fire.
- Chaplain Cordae - Cordae is the formidable Chaplain of the Raven Guard's 4th Company. He wears ancient Power Armour that dates back to the time before the great Heresy, bearing the pits and scars to prove it, but it is now largely obscured by the skeletal fetishes with which it is embellished and adorned. These totems are the carefully preserved remnants of one of the giant avians known as rocs that inhabited the bleak crags of the Diagothian Mountains back on Kiavahr, fashioned to resemble a grisly, humanoid exoskeletan. The bird's ribcage forms a brace over the Chaplain's chest plate, while the finer bones of its wings fanned out across the bridge of his jump pack like two sets of spread fingers. Long, hollow femurs are held by clasps to each of the Chaplain's black-armoured thighs, and smaller bones hang from tattered ribbons and chains, attached to every surface, from vambraces to pauldrons. Most disturbing of all, the bird's skull had been fashioned into a mask that covered Cordae's entire head, the relic now incorporated into the very fabric of his helm. The ivory beak juts forwards monstrously, accusingly, while its empty eye sockets seem to peer directly into his Battle-Brothers' souls. It was Cordae's belief that the spirit of the deceased roc still inhabited its long dead bones, and that this spirit, tied to his totemic armour, accompanied Cordae into battle, serving as both a guide and a stark reminder of the Chapter’s spiritual doctrines. Whether or not it was true, many senior Battle-Brothers knew the impact it had on the morale of their men, and whatever the truth, Cordae was a fearsome, iron-hearted warrior with few equals. To hunt and kill a roc in unarmed combat was a task that few could achieve. The birds were rare creatures, eking out a harsh existence in isolation, high in the craggy peaks of the Raven Guard's homeworld. Cordae would have had to live off the land for weeks at a time, remaining unseen and unheard during his long search for the nest. Then there was the precarious approach along the precipice, not to mention the battle with the creature itself. Most hopeful initiates of the Chaplaincy who set off with such a goal in mind never returned.
- Chaplain Eitath - Eitath was the Chaplain of the 8th Company and was attached to the forces of Shadow Captain Korvydae during the Raid on Kastorel-Novem. He personally led the Raven Guard's deep strike assault against the Ork fuel depot and refinery complex.
- Epistolary Kyaneus - Librarian attached to Shadow Captain Korvydae's Raid on Kastorel-Novem.
- Codicier Zauren Kale - Librarian advisor to the 5th Company during the reclamation of Kathur. Zauren's reading of the Imperial Tarot brought the Raven Guard to Kathur in time to shift the momentous events that occured there in the Imperium's favour. Unfortunately, Kale and all fifty of the Battle-Brothers from the 5th Company involved died in the process.
- Techmarine Dyloss - Chief Techmarine assigned to Captain Shrike's forces during the Battle for Quintus V. Brother Dyloss was responsible for detecting and successfully decoding the highly encrypted data-streams the White Scars were using to infiltrate the planet.
- Techmarine Stradon Binalt - Stradon Binalt was a rare survivor of the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V and a member of Corax's Honour Guard. Stradon Binalt and his fellow Techmarines developed many of the jury-rigged parts, alterations and fixes to the Legion's badly damaged battle plate following the Drop Site Massacre that led to the creation of the Mark V "Heresy Pattern" Power Armor designation for all non-standard Power Armour marks. Techmarine Stradon was also able to unlock the secrets of the Traitor's prototype Vengeance Bolt rounds and developed a multi-layered Ceramite plating to better protect the Loyalists from the Traitors' deadly ammunition. In the months following the retreat from Istvaan V, Stradon worked to rebuild Corax's destroyed Jump Pack and presented the finished device to the Legion's Primarch just before the assault on Narsis.
- Techmarine Dyloss - Chief Techmarine assigned to Captain Shrike's forces during the Battle for Quintus V. Brother Dyloss was responsible for detecting and successfully decoding the highly encrypted data-streams the White Scars were using to infiltrate the planet.
- Deathwatch Watch Captain Servais - A Battle-Brother of the Raven Guard Chapter, Servais has been a part of the Deathwatch for less than a standard year. A master sniper and infiltrator, he and the Kill-teams under his command are frequently called on to perform or consult in targeted assassinations. His quiet, calculating mannerisms have isolated him from some of his Battle-Brothers, although he has never refused training to anyone who sought it from him. Servais speaks quietly, and prefers to analyze and evaluate before striking. His fellow Watch Captain Tarran Cearr's dislike of his tactics is entirely reciprocated, and the sniper constantly seeks to prove that forethought triumphs over frenzy. Servais can be difficult to get to know, but is intensely loyal to Watch Commander Mordigael of the Jericho Reach, and indeed anyone -- Space Marine or not -- that makes the effort to pierce his withdrawn exterior.
- Deathwatch Apothecary Damias - Apothecary Damias served on Deathwatch Captain Bannon's team during the Tyranid invasion of Tarsis Ultra.
- Deathwatch Techmarine Korpheus - Korpheus was a Techmarine in service to the Deathwatch as a part of Captain Octavius' Kill-team during the "Tyranocide" mission to Herodian IV.
- Deathwatch Brother Siefer "Ghost" Zeed - A charismatic and enthusiastic member of the Deathwatch's Talon Squad. Armed unsurprisingly with a pair of Lightning Claws, Zeed adds a mixture of humour and straightforward problem solving to the otherwise stoic members of Talon Squad.
- Ancient Krahzen - Ancient Krahzen was once a Legion Moritat in the 3rd Battalion of the 4th Chapter, and well known for his particularly dark demeanour and callousness in battle. He was laid low by a hideous xenos horror while scouring a Space Hulk threatening star systems along the coreward marches of the Segmentum Solar, and subsequently interred within the armoured sarcophagus of a Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought. Though no longer able to pursue the mission of a Legion Moritat, Krahzen adapted to his new existence well, and instead of lone reconnaissance, Krahzen soon led savage frontal assaults, seeking out and striking down the mightiest of enemies. Ancient Krahzen survived the murderous violence of the Drop Site Massacre, leading a combined force of the remnants of several different companies northeastward, smashing aside countless enemy formations before linking up with the Primarch on Day 3. He then led countless attacks throughout the Raven Guard's ninety-eight solar days on Istvaan V, but he was not to be counted amongst the ranks of those liberated on the final day. Instead, he gave his life in battle against a Sons of Horus Legion death squad so that his brother Legionaries might fight on and, ultimately, endure.
- Venerable Dreadnought Kraai - Kraai was the oldest Dreadnought within the Raven Guard and a former Chapter Master, Kraai has served the Chapter for more than 4,000 Terran years. Ancient Brother Kraai participated in the Raid on Kastorel-Novem as part of the Chapter's 1st Company detachment.
- Dreadnought Skele - One of the Chapter's honored Dreadnoughts, Ancient Brother Skele participated in the Raid on Kastorel-Novem.
- Terminator Sergeant Heklan - Sergeant Heklan served as a Legion Terminator Squad Sergeant in the Assault Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Chapter during the Great Crusade and opening days of the Horus Heresy. Sergeant Heklan's squad fought with honour throughout the Legion's operations on Istvaan V and is noted to have fought alongside the Lord Primarch Corax himself on several occasions, in particular during all three major engagements with the forces of the Iron Warriors Legion attempting to hunt the Raven Guard across the Urgall Wastes. Sergeant Heklan fell in glory the very day the Legion was delivered from Istvaan V, he and his warriors willingly selling their lives at enormous cost to the World Eaters as the Traitors closed in upon the Raven Guard's final position at the edge of the Gular Salt Plains.
- Veteran Sergeant D'Kestrel - D'Kestrel was the Sergeant of a squad of the Raven Guard's elite 1st Company.
- Veteran Sergeant Aibek - Officer of the 4th squad of the 8th Company and Veteran of 56 Missions, Brother Aibek wielded his Power Axe and Storm Shield against the Orks on Kastorel-Novem and was wounded in action during that operation.
- Sergeant Alcorax - Assault Sergeant during the Horus Heresy.
- Sergeant Gallovax - Tactical Sergeant during the Horus Heresy.
- Sergeant Alenpo - Instructor Sergeant, 4th Company.
- Sergeant Revys Kyre - Senior Sergeant under the command of Captain Shaan during the mission to Ultramar. Killed in action against the renegade Iron Warriors.
- Sergeant Kylanek - Assault Squad Sergeant under Shrike's command during the Battle for Quintus V.
- Sergeant Indis - Sergeant under Shrike's command during the Battle for Quintus V. Sergeant Indis commanded Shrike's Tactical and Devastator Squads during much of the fighting while Shrike himself led the Chapter's Assault Squads. Sergeant Indis served in the Deathwatch for a decade and the many scars he received during that time are a testament to the many deadly foes he faced in service with the Deathwatch Kill-teams.
- Sergeant Morior - Assault Squad Sergeant under Shrike's command during the Battle for Quintus V. Sergeant Morior and three of his men were killed by a laser-net trap when attempting to assault a Traitor heavy weapons position.
- Sergeant Enriso - Assault Squad Sergeant under Shrike's command during the Battle for Quintus V.
- Sergeant Sohen - Assault Squad Sergeant under Shrike's command during the Battle for Quintus V.
- Sergeant Rhenesi - Sergeant under Shrike's Command during the Battle for Quintus V and fought as part of Sergeant Indis' detachment during the attack and subsequent defence of the South Nine Defence Installation.
- Sergeant Ayaan - Sergeant under Shrike's Command during the Battle for Quintus V and fought as part of Sergeant Indis' detachment during the attack and subsequent defence of the South Nine Defence Installation.
- Sergeant Ayssal - Sergeant of a Tactical Squad of the 4th Company during the Battle for Fortane's World, Squad Aysaal's Drop Pod was struck by enemy artillery fire during the insertion and landed far of course. Even so Sergeant Aysaal led his squad towards their objective and eventually managed to regroup with Shadow Captain Koryn's squad and successfully complete their mission.
- Sergeant Grayvus - Sergeant Grayvus led a Scout Squad during the Battle for Idos, later he was assigned to Captain Koryn's squad of the 4th Company. A veteran of many campaigns Sergeant Grayvus participated in the infiltration of the mortuary world of Kasharat and the Battle for Fortane's World alongside Shadow Captain Koryn. Brother Grayvus often serves as the squad's Auspex operator.
- Sergeant Syrion - Sergeant Syrion led one of the three squads of the 4th Company charged with infiltrating the bastion of Fortane's World to assist the Brazen Minotaurs assault. Squad Syrion's Drop Pod was the only one to land on target, giving Sergeant Syrion the opportunity to infiltrate the bastion ahead of the rest of the strike force. Unfortunately his squad was captured and executed, their bodies strung from an ancient statue of an Ultramarines hero in the central square of the bastion.
- Sergeant Khalen - Legionary Khalen served with the Recon Company of the 2nd Chapter during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. He deployed as a part of the Istvaan V operations and records indicate that he survived the ninety-eight solar days aftermath of the Drop Site Massacre.
- Sergeant Kerrania - Sergeant under Shrike's Command during the Battle for Quintus V and fought as part of Sergeant Indis' detachment during the attack and subsequent defence of the South Nine Defence Installation.
- Sergeant Pallisan - Sergeant under Shrike's Command during the Battle for Quintus V and fought as part of Sergeant Indis' detachment during the attack and subsequent defence of the South Nine Defence Installation.
- Scout Sergeant Uirroth - Sergeant of the 2nd Scout Squad of the 10th Company, participated in the Raid on Kastorel-Novem.
- Legionary Ghelt - A veteran of two decades of service to the Raven Guard Legion, Legionary Ghelt was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 5th Chapter. He was marked for ascension to the position of squad sergeant at the time of the Istvaan V operation. That ascension came far quicker than anticipated, as his immediate superior, Sergeant Lyso, fell in battle during the Drop Site Massacre, slain by the abominations known as the Gal Vorbak of the Traitor Word Bearers Legion. Ghelt took command of what remained of his squad and led his brother Legionaries in the breakout from the Urgall Depression, commanding them until he himself fell in glory around Day 28.
- Brother Gesar - Member of a Raven Guard Task Force despatched to the world of Coruna to prevent its occupation by the Tau xenos. Brother Gesar was cut off from his brothers and felled in a treacherous ambush, his blessed remains debased and devoured by the Kroot xenos.
- Brother Meleriex - Member of Kayvaan Shrike's Command Squad and the Shadow Captain's second-in-command.
- Brother Dhantin - Member of Shrike's Command Squad, killed in action during the assault on Defence Installation South Nine. Brother Dhantin was killed when a lucky Heavy Stubber round struck the weaker armour between his gorget and helmet. Despite the prodigious healing capabilities and endurance of an Astartes, the wound was too severe and Brother Dhantin was dead within moments. Captain Shrike and the other members of his Command Squad avenged the fall of their brother swiftly and mercilessly.
- Brother Keed - Member of Shrike's Command Squad. Brother Keed attempted to go to Brother Dhantin's aid when he was brought low by Traitor heavy weapons fire during the assault on Defence Installation South Nine. Captain Shrike ordered him back into cover, however, Shrike allowed Keed an opportunity for vengeance by leading the assault on the heavy weapon position responsible for slaying Brother Dhantin.
- Brother Rydulon - One of the two warriors Captain Shrike despatched to infiltrate the prison cells adjacent to the Cathedral of the Emperor's Wisdom and search for the Prisoner during the assault on Mankarra. Brother Rydulon was equipped with a Flamer and nearly depleted the weapon destroying the great mass of Blood Tide nanytes.
- Brother Sallas - The second warrior to accompany Brother Meleriex.
- Brother Fereld Laotz - Member of Squad Kyre during the mission to Ultramar. Killed in action against the renegade Iron Warriors.
- Brother Melierax - Member of the 3rd Company who fought alongside the White Scars in the Hunt for Voldorius and taught the White Scars some of the Raven Guard's knowledge of stealth.
- Brother Anuri - Veteran of 48 Missions and second in command to Veteran Sergeant Aibek. Brother Anuri led the second Combat Squad of the 8th Company's 4th Squad during the Raid on Kastorel-Novem.
- Brother Jadyr - A member of the 4th Squad of the 8th Company, veteran of 21 Missions and wounded in action on Kastorel-Novem.
- Brother Kalyk - A member of the 4th Squad of the 8th Company and veteran of 23 Missions.
- Brother Nironen - A member of the 4th Squad of the 8th Company and veteran of 16 Missions.
- Brother Deyth - A member of the 4th Squad of the 8th Company and veteran of 9 Missions.
- Brother Yiraka - A member of the 4th Squad of the 8th Company, veteran of 19 Missions. Brother Yiraka was killed in action on Kastorel-Novem.
- Brother Artaibo - A member of the 4th Squad of the 8th Company, veteran of 18 Missions. Brother Artaibo was wounded in action on Kastorel-Novem.
- Brother Naasori - A member of the 4th Squad of the 8th Company, veteran of 31 Missions. Brother Naasori was killed in action on Kastorel-Novem.
- Brother Kobaeh - A member of the 4th Squad of the 8th Company and veteran of 22 Missions.
- Legionary Sallahn - Legionary Sallahn served with Squad Numas, 31st Shadow Company during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. Legionary Sallahn's reconnaissance squad began the Istvaan V operation serving in the 31st Shadow Company -- a formation directly under the Legion Command instead of serving in the line. The 31st suffered such heavy losses at the height of the Drop Site Massacre that when the breakout order was issued, Squad Numas was one of only a handful of units capable of responding. Legionary Sallahn was instrumental in identifying viable extraction vectors and communicating these back to what remained of the Legion Command, covering the Legion's withdrawal throughout and saving the lives of hundreds of his brother Legionaries. Much later, Squad Numas would receive the praise of Corax himself for the pivotal role it played in the Legion's survival through that darkest hour.
The Raven Guard's Legion fleet during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras and the Raven Guard Chapter fleet after the Second Founding, was known to contain the following vessels:
- Shadow of the Emperor (Battle-Barge) - The Shadow of the Emperor was the flagship of the XIXth Legion which led the 27th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade, but was ultimately destroyed by the Death Guard Traitor Legion's Battleship Terminus Est, commanded by First Captain Calas Typhon during the Drop Site Massacre while it was in orbit of Istvaan V, an act of betrayal the Raven Guard has long sought to avenge.
- Avenger (Battle-Barge) - The Avenger was commanded by Commander Branne Nev, whom the Primarch Corax had left as the custodian of the XIXth Legion's homeworld Deliverance. Disobeying his Primarch's orders, Branne led a daring rescue mission of the battered Raven Guard survivors of the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V.
- Aeruginosus (Strike Cruiser) - Vessel in service to Captain Korvydae during the Raid on Kastorel-Novem.
- Raven’s Valour (Strike Cruiser) - The Raven's Valour was one of three starships that were a part of Commander Branne's flotilla that rescued their beleaguered Battle-Brothers from the surface of Istvaan V after the events of the Drop Site Massacre.
- Second Shadow (Strike Cruiser) - Named after the former flagship of the Raven Guard Legion during the Great Crusade, the vessel served the 5th Company during the 13th Black Crusade. The Second Shadow was destroyed by the infamous Death Guard vessel Terminus Est above the Shrine World of Kathur.
- Triumph (Strike Cruiser) - The Triumph was one of three warships that were a part of Commander Branne's flotilla that rescued the XIX Legion's beleaguered Battle-Brothers from the surface of Istvaan V after the events of the Drop Site Massacre.
- Fearless (Light Cruiser, Unknown Class) - The Fearless was a Light Cruiser belonging to the Raptor-contigent of the Raven Guard. During the years of civil war known as the Horus Heresy, it was also the flagship of Lieutenant Navar Hef and his Battle Company. Equipped with stealth technology, the Fearless often performed extended patrols and infiltration missions, the belliciose temper of its commander ensuring that it saw much action.
- Oenanthe Primus (Gladius-class Frigate) - Escort vessel for the Strike Cruiser Aeruginosus during the Raid on Kastorel-Novem.
- Oenanthe Secundus (Gladius-class Frigate) - Escort vessel for the Strike Cruiser Aeruginosus during the Raid on Kastorel-Novem.
- Drop-Pod Assault Group Strike Eagle - A Drop Pod Assault Force deployed to the surface of Kastorel-Novem.
- Drop-Pod Assault Group Eitath - Drop Pod Assault Force deployed to the surface of Kastorel-Novem. None were recovered from the surface after the failure of the raid, and a self-destruct signal was transmitted by the Strike Cruiser Aeruginosus prior to the Raven Guard departure from the system so that no Greenskins could get their hands on Astartes Drop Pod technology.
Additionally, the Raven Guard's Legion fleet comprised of at least two other Battle Barges identified as Dagon-class Grand Cruisers whose designations are unknown. Captured by the Sons of Horus above Istvaan V, these two vessels would however play a major role in the later stages of the infamous Treachery at Port Maw-incident where they would be used as an ablative shield for Horus' own flagship, the Vengeful Spirit.
Reflex Shield Technology
During the time of the Great Crusade, the Raven Guard Legion fleet made use of a variant of Void Shield technology known as Reflex Shields that had been developed on the Forge World of Kiavahr, the planet which the Raven Guard's homeworld of Deliverance orbited. Reflex Shields acted as a form of cloaking device for Raven Guard warships, preventing them from being seen either by sensors or even the naked eye. A Void Shield worked by using the power of the Warp itself to displace incoming projectiles and high-energy attacks through gravitic manipulation. Reflex Shield technology altered the modulation of the Warp-Drive cores that powered a Raven Guard warship's standard Void Shields, calibrating them to a much higher tolerance and also directing them inwards, so that all of the matter and energy emitted by the vessel was redirected instead; all forms of electromagnetic radiation emitted by the Raven Guard’s starships could be displaced, rendering them undetectable to almost all forms of scanning equipment.
The advantages of the Reflex Shield technology fitted well with the XIXth Legion's ethos of war, allowing Raven Guard starships to approach their targets unseen and strike swiftly and decisively before withdrawing. The low energy requirement for the use of the technology meant that such stealth could be maintained almost indefinitely. There was, however, a serious downside to the use of Reflex Shield technology. By employing its Void Shield generators for the projection of Reflex Shields, a Raven Guard vessel had no defence against physical attack and it took time to switch the generators from one state to the other, leaving a warship vulnerable for several minutes with neither its cloaking field nor its energy barriers fully operational.
To the Augurs and scanning arrays of an orbital base or starships throughout a star system, any starship activating Reflex Shield technology would seem to melt away into the stars. To the naked eye it would appear to shimmer, as the Reflex Shields engaged and reflected all visible light from the ship's surfaces, until eventually all such energy was dampened and the vessel was rendered effectively invisible to sensors and the naked eye alike. Another problem with Reflex Shield technology, one that Corax had unsuccessfully laboured to overcome for many years, was the relatively low amount of energy emissions it could cloak. A vessel's reactors could only be run at half power without generating too much energy to be displaced by the Reflex Shields. Thus, when operating under the cloak provided by the technology, a Raven Guard starship had to reduce its top speed and make do with decreased sensor capabilities.
It is unknown if the starships of the post-Heresy Raven Guard Chapter still have access to this ancient cloaking technology.
Raven's Talons - The Raven's Talons are a lethal pair of Lightning Claws wielded by Shadow Captain Kayvaan Shrike of the Raven Guard's 3rd Company. These ancient, master-crafted Artificer Lightning Claws are said to have been crafted by the Primarch Corax himself on Deliverance, after the Raven Guard retreated there following the Istvaan V Drop Site Massacre. The Raven's Talons can rend even Terminator Armour as easily as silk, in addition to the normal potent effects of Lightning Claws. Wings of the Raven - The Astartes Jump Pack is an integral part of the Raven Guard doctrine and image. Over the centuries, the Chapter’s Techmarines have recovered and restored many variant and forgotten examples of the Jump Pack, and among these is the relic known as the Wings of the Raven. With long, curved air intakes and oversized thrusters, this jet-black artefact Jump Pack is significantly more powerful than a standard pattern Astartes Jump Pack. This relic has seen heavy use by several Raven Guard Astartes in the Canis Salient of the Jericho Reach, its powerful thrust helping close the distance to the Tau’s deadly Fire Warriors.
Due to the degeneration of the Raven Guard's gene-seed, several of the genetically-engineered organs normally implanted in Space Marines no longer function properly or simply no longer even develop after they are implanted as zygotes. For instance, Raven Guard Astartes do not possess the Mucranoid organ which allows a Space Marine to survive extremes of heat, cold or even exposure to the vacuum of space or the Betcher's Gland organ, which allows them to spit a venomous toxin. The Raven Guard's Melanochromic organ that allows an Astartes' skin to adjust to variable levels of solar radiation has a unique mutation that causes the skin of a Raven Guard to lose its pigment, regardless of its original hue. Eventually the Space Marine's skin becomes pure white while the hair and eyes darken until they are jet black, which was the pigmentation carried by the Raven Guard's Primarch Corax.
The Raven Guard Chapter wears black-coloured Power Armour. Their Chapter iconography consists of a large white raven painted on their left shoulder plate. The left shoulder plate's trim is black. The right shoulder plate's symbol and trim colour denotes which type of squad the Astartes serves in. Green trim indicates a Raven Guard Space Marine is a member of a Tactical Squad, red an Assault Squad, yellow a Devastator Squad and black trim is worn by Veterans. Some Raven Guard Force Commanders or high-ranking Veteran officers and Sergeants have all-white shoulder plates, as well as helmets and sometimes the armour covering their entire arms.
The Raven Guard Chapter badge is a stylised white raven.
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 8, 16, 38, 60-65, 67, 70, 73, 78, 113, 148-149
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 25, 49
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition)
- Deathwatch: Game Master's Kit (RPG), pp. 26
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 14-19, 98, 100, 104, 112
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions (Artbook)
- How To Paint Space Marines (2004), pg. 79
- Imperial Armour Volume Eight - Raid on Kastorel-Novem, pp. 104-112
- The Horus Heresy - Book Four : Conquest, pg. 49
- Index Astartes IV, "Claws of the Raven - Raven Guard Space Marine Chapter", pp. 96-101
- Insignium Astartes, pg. 59
- Warhammer: Rulebook (6th Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000: Planetstrike
- White Dwarf 326 (US), "Modeling Workshop: Space Marine Devastators", pg. 90
- White Dwarf 276 (US), "Index Astartes: The Raven Guard"
- White Dwarf 166 (US), "Space Marines: Codex Imperialis Extract - Legions of Adeptus Astartes", pp. 8-19
- Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- The First Heretic (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Age of Darkness (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, "The Face of Treachery" by Gav Thorpe
- Raven's Flight (Audio Book)
- Raptor (Audio Book)
- Deliverance Lost (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
- Corax: Soulforge (Novella) by Gav Thorpe
- Cadian Blood (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, pg. 62
- Chapter's Due (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Dead Sky, Black Sun (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Fear the Alien (Anthology), "Unity" by James Gilmer
- Heroes of the Space Marines (Anthology), "Headhunted" by Steve Parker
- The Hunt for Voldorius (Novel) by Andy Hoare
- Warrior Brood (Novel) by C.S. Goto
- Warriors of Ultramar (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Labyrinth of Sorrows (Audio Book) by George Mann
- The Unkindness of Ravens (Novella) by George Mann
- Helion Rain (Novella) by (Audio Book) by George Mann
- Damocles (Apocalypse Anthology), "Blood Oath" by Phil Kelly
- Swordwind, Part 3 - The Baran War