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 XIX Space Marine Legion before the Second Founding and the adoption of the Codex Astartes. The Primarch of the Raven Guard was Corax, a name which is a play on the Latin binomial species name for raven, corvus corax. 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 Lycaeum. 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 Primarch Corax
Corax was separated from the Emperor while still an infant in the Emperor's gene-laboratory beneath the Himalayan 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 on the world of Lycaeus, the desolated but inhabitable moon of the planet Kiavahr. At this time, Kiavahr was a technologically advanced Forge World, providing its city-sized manufactorums with minerals extracted from the non-atmospheric moon by legions of mine slaves.
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: urban warfare, close combat and demolitions as well as political and philosophical matters. Ultimately, the Primarch's abnormally fast maturation comforted the slaves and fixed Corax in their belief that he was the savior they had long waited for.
Educated to be a leader of men as well as a rebel guerilla, Corax began his task by organizing the Lycaean workers into fight teams, promoting the best to squad leaders. He began building huge stockpiles of weapons, concealing them in numerous secret caches across the moon. He ordered a campaign of psychological warfare, launching riots and strikes to increase the number of followers for the workers' rebellion and to stretch the Kiavahran garrison's strength and morale to the breaking point. Waiting for the most opportune time, Corax's forces eventually launched their attack, taking key security points and destroying them by crude force or sabotage, killing every man of the Kiavahran defense forces stationed on Lycaeus.
When Kiavahr's rulers struck back, Corax was ready for them. He outmanoeuvred and ambushed their forces on Lycaeus with his battle-hardened warriors, crushing their supply lines and striking Kiavahr with atomic mining charges via a supply gravity well. Soon, their forces nearly destroyed, their vast factories unable to produce anything due to the minerals shortages, the Tech-Guilds of Kiavahr collapsed in civil war. Celebrating their victory, the inhabitants of Lycaeus renamed their rugged homeworld Deliverance.
It is said that the Emperor appeared on Deliverance that day and, after a day and a night spent with his son, appointed Corax the Primarch of the XIX Space Marine Legion that had been derived from his genome, which he renamed the Raven Guard. Nothing is known of the pair's conversation, but one condition of Corax's acceptance was the help of the Emperor in the task of bringing peace to Kiavahr. Soon the Adeptus Mechanicus 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.
The Great Crusade
During the Great Crusade that reunited all the worlds of Mankind beneath the rule of the Imperium, Corax's talents for planning and sabotage were put to great effect to add many new worlds to the growing Imperium. The Raven Guard frequently fought under the orders of the Warmaster Horus and over the course of the Great Crusade's campaigns became renowned for their unmatched ability amongst the other Space Marine Legions in covert operations, sabotage, guerilla warfare, infiltration and lightning strikes. But the pair never saw eye-to-eye, and after an argument, the two Primarchs nearly fought each other. Corax ultimately left Horus' command as a result of their continued clashes.
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 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 XIX 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 XIX 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 XIX Legion's badges, insignia, and armour. These tactics were only diversions intended to allow the Alpha Legion operatives already within the XIX 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 XIX 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 XIX 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 XIX 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."
- Istvaan III Compliance (Unknown Date.M30) - The world of Istvaan III was brought into Imperial Compliance by the 27th Expeditionary Fleet led by the Primarch Corax. 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 XIX Legion. They 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.
- Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V (ca.007.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.
- 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.M41 - 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.
While the Raven Guard are organized 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.
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 a 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 are as follows:
- 1st Company: Unknown
- 2nd Company: Shadow Captain Aajz Solari
- 3rd Company: Shadow Captain Kayvaan Shrike
- 4th Company: Shadow Captain Aethon Shaan
- 5th Company: Shadow Captain Corvane Valar
- 6th Company: Unknown
- 7th Company: Unknown
- 8th Company: Unknown
- 9th Company: Unknown
- 10th Company: Shadow Captain Korvydae, Master of Recruits
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.
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.
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 utilized 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 comes from Terra. Additionally the process of transformation into an Astartes is notably higher in the Raven Guard and 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, and 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.
- Commander Arendi - Commander of Corax's bodyguard 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 XIX 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Straedon - A survivor of the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V and a member of Corax's Honour Guard.
- 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 during the "Tyranocide" mission to Herodian IV and part of Captain Octavius' Kill-team.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 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.
- 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.
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 XIX 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 XIX 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.
- 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.
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 XIX 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 paints their Power Armour black with a white raven 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 stylized white raven.
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 25, 49
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition)
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 14-19, 98, 100, 104, 112
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions (Artbook)
- How To Paint Space Marines
- Imperial Armour Volume Eight - Raid on Kastorel-Novem, pp. 104-112
- Index Astartes IV, "Claws of the Raven - Raven Guard Space Marine Chapter", pp. 96-101
- Insignium Astartes, p. 59
- Warhammer: Rulebook (6th Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000: Planetstrike
- White Dwarf 326 (US), "Modeling Workshop: Space Marine Devastators", p. 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)
- Deliverance Lost (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
- Corax: Soulforge (Novella) by Gav Thorpe
- Cadian Blood (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, p. 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
- Swordwind, Part 3 - The Baran War