- "Despair, and you give yourself to the shadows. Believe, truly believe in the Emperor of Mankind, and you shall walk in His light no matter how dark the path you tread."
- — Saint Celestine
Saint Celestine is a revered Living Saint of the Adepta Sororitas' Order of Our Martyred Lady, a being of incredible psychic power and faith believed by many in the Imperium of Man to be have been resurrected as a tool of the Emperor of Mankind Himself. As a mortal, she was thought slain during a campaign against the Renegade Warmaster of Forrax, but has returned at various times since to rescue Imperial forces in danger of being destroyed by the enemies of the God-Emperor. Wings spread wide, halo blazing and Ardent Blade in hand, Saint Celestine is an embodiment of the God-Emperor's might. She shines like a star amid the smoke and fumes of the battlefield, radiating holy light. The faithful are filled with strength and courage by her presence even as Heretics recoil in terror. Those who ﬂee are wise to do so, for Celestine strikes like the Emperor's own judgment, smiting the unrighteous with a strength that belies her human form. With a gesture, the Living Saint calls fires of psychic retribution down from on high, or infuses her sick and injured allies with healing energies. The Geminae Superia fight at her side, the former Sororitas Canonesses Genevieve and Eleanor, hand-chosen champions who would lay down their lives -- and have, several times -- to protect the blessed saint from harm.
Celestine is borne aloft on a column of divine radiance and sometimes attended by cherubs and doves. She is clad in a suit of shining golden Sororitas Power Armour, and wields a blade wreathed in fire -- a blade so bright none can bear to look upon it. All of noble heart who gaze upon Celestine and dare meet her eyes are filled with adoration, whilst those whose souls harbour evil and corruption are struck with terror. Celestine's influence upon the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas, for whom she has become the focus of total veneration, is indeed miraculous. She is now a Living Saint, a mysterious warrior who appears in times of great need and whom the Sisters of Battle would willingly follow to the centre of the Eye of Terror were she to lead them there.
Saint Celestine has fought at the vanguard of numerous Wars of Faith, and hundreds of thousands of Heretics have met a bloody end at the hands of her armies. It is said that she has fallen in combat several times, having been dealt a mortal blow by one of the Imperium's many enemies. However, each and every time she has miraculously returned to life, rising like a phoenix from the ashes. To the astounded faithful that see her rise again, Celestine has stated that she will die only when the Emperor Himself claims her, and not a moment before.
Celestine's most recent and greatest intervention came in 999.M41, when she appeared on Cadia as it was under assault by Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade. She brought crucial reinforcements to the Imperial defenders and became one of the leaders of the Imperial survivors -- who named themselves the Celestinian Crusade in her honour -- after Cadia was destroyed by the forces of the Despoiler. With the aid of the newborn faction of the Eldar called the Ynnari, the Celestinian Crusade managed to flee the Cadia System through the Webway to the Realm of Ultramar and its capital world of Macragge. There, Celestine played an important role in the events that led to the resurrection of the Ultramarines Primarch Roboute Guilliman. Celestine joined the Terran Crusade that Guilliman proclaimed, and fought alongside it all the way to Holy Terra so that the Primarch could meet with his father, the Emperor. Once at the Imperial Palace, Celestine swore to stand with the Guilliman, now the Lord Commander of the Imperium, as he promised to unleash a great counteroffensive -- the Indomitus Crusade -- against the Forces of Chaos.
- "She was an angel, pure as righteous destruction. She laid low the twisted and lifted the righteous. At her passing, a million voices cried out her name. Shall we ever again see her like?"
- — Sister Patricia of the Orders Famulous on the disappearance of Saint Celestine
Very little is known of the life of the Battle-Sister known as Celestine before she was declared a Living Saint, other than that she was once a Sister Repentia of the Order of Our Martyred Lady that fought alongside the multitudes of Imperial faithful during the protracted war against the Heretics of the Palatine Schism. Celestine was at the forefront of the first wave of the deadliest fighting and was thought to have been killed in battle before the capital city of the planet Eurytion. She fell that day, alongside every other Repentia, but despite her defeat, it was said that she accounted for the deaths of over one hundred Schismatics during the assault. As Celestine's body was reclaimed by her Sisters and set amongst the honoured dead, they saw that life still lingered within her, and the light of one touched by the divine will of the Emperor glowed within her eyes. Cleansing her body of the blood and filth of battle, the Sisters were astonished to find that her body lay flawless before them. The next solar day the assault resumed, with Celestine at the head of the Imperial forces. The Heretics fell within solar hours as Celestine wreaked her bloody vengeance. She was hailed as the Crusade's sacred figurehead as the entire sector was eventually scoured of Schismatics and others deemed unworthy of existing within the realm of the Emperor of Mankind.
The Crusade's leader, Lord Militant Ansgar, believed the Crusade would reach its conclusion on the capital world of the Palatine Sector, but Celestine insisted upon first liberating the small backwater planet of Sanctus Lys. Unknown to all but her, that world was home to the Shrine of Saint Katherine of the Order of the Fiery Heart, a holy place visited by that Living Saint in secret just before her death. Celestine's followers found a broken altar amidst some ruins and were ordered by Celestine to remove it. Beneath the shattered remains, a hidden crypt was found. Barring any from following her, Celestine descended the dusty steps that none had trod in millennia. As the dawn of first light broke above the ruined shrine, Celestine rose from the tomb, borne aloft on a column of divine radiance and attended by cherubs and doves. She was now clad in a suit of shining golden Power Armour, and wielded a vibrant blade that none could look upon -- the Ardent Blade.
After her apotheosis, Celestine was declared a Living Saint by Lord Ansgar and a conclave of Thorian Ecclesiarchy priests shortly thereafter. Saint Celestine was hailed as the "Hieromartyr of the Palatine Crusade," and praised for despatching thousands of Heretics at the vanguard of the Imperial forces as she prosecuted numerous later Wars of Faith. Her presence invested the faithful with an unprecedented fervour, and hundreds of thousands of Heretics met a fiery end at the hands of her armies. Many were fearful of her presence, for to stand before her was to submit to the judgment of one so pure in the eyes of the God-Emperor that her example could never be emulated. Her influence upon the Adepta Sororitas, for whom she became the focus of total veneration, was miraculous; she was a Living Saint, whom the Sisters would follow even to the heart of the Eye of Terror.
Alas, Saint Celestine was lost to the Imperium whilst fighting the Renegade Warmaster of Forrax. When the lunatic Warmaster triggered the meltdown of the ancient atomic pile at the heart of his fortress, an area many Terran miles across was blasted to ash. Many believed she perished during her moment of triumph, yet none survived to give a true account of the battle's conclusion. The mighty Tower of Heroes upon sacred Terra tolled once to proclaim her loss to the faithful, a billion souls pausing in their toil and looking towards the Emperor's Imperial Palace, united in their grief for the fallen heroine of Mankind. But the Sororitas, at prayer within the halls of the Convent Prioris, were gladdened by the mournful peal, for they knew that had she fallen, Celestine was now sitting joyfully at the right hand of the Emperor.
There are those amongst the faithful whom believe that Saint Celestine did not die all those centuries ago fighting against the Warmaster of Forrax, for there have been some confirmed sightings of the Living Saint throughout the ages. In one noticeable incident, during the Promethean War in 980.M41, the Order of the Ebon Chalice was sent to reinforce the Space Marines of the Salamanders Chapter in a brutal urban war against the dread Chaos Space Marines of the Black Legion on the Cardinal World of Heletine. The enemy was put to the torch as dozens of Immolators and Land Raider Redeemers burned a path through the war-torn cities. Despite the strength of their forces, the advance was halted when Lord Gralastyx -- the Daemon Prince leading the Forces of Chaos -- unleashed a swarm of Possessed Chaos Space Marines. As the frenzied Chaotic horde ripped through the Imperial ranks, Battle-Sisters and Space Marines alike fought back-to-back, their Bolters and Flamers blazing away as every warrior endeavoured to sell their life dearly. However, the allied forces were saved by the miraculous intervention of Saint Celestine, as she appeared out of nowhere, falling upon the Chaos horde like an avenging angel. The Living Saint carved a path through the horde towards Lord Gralastyx, before plunging her blade through his black heart. With the death of Gralastyx, the Chaotic horde was destroyed, but of Saint Celestine there was no sign, for she had vanished as mysteriously as she appeared.
The Fall of Cadia and the Celestinian Crusade
As Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade raged on the Fortress World of Cadia in 999.M41, Saint Celestine suddenly appeared once more, claiming she had been resurrected by the will of the Emperor in the hour of His Imperium's greatest need. She appeared swathed in flame above the bloody Cadian battlefields of Kasr Kraf. But she did not come alone, for she brought with her some five companies of Battle-Sisters of the Order of Our Martyred Lady, thought lost in the Warp some fourteen hundred standard years before. Her radiant light had served as a beacon through the Empyrean, drawing the wounded vessel into the path of another Imperial craft and binding the two until realspace claimed them both once more. With their arrival, the battle for Cadia shifted for a time in the Imperial defenders' favour. Celestine immediately engaged the Daemon Prince Urkanthos with two Canonesses of the Order of Our Martyred Lady he had recently slain. Celestine had used her power and their extraordinary faith to bring them back to life to serve as her honour guard. These were Genevieve and Eleanor, the Living Saint's Geminae Superia. Together, the Living Saint and her reborn warriors slew the over-confident servant of the Dark Gods. When they threw the Daemon Prince's broken body from the walls of Kasr Kraf, it helped to demoralise the Despoiler's forces, routing them and buying the Imperials some needed breathing space between constant Chaos assaults.
It was during this respite that another newcomer to the fight on Cadia, the Adeptus Mechanicus Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl, explained that the Despoiler's real goal was to destroy Cadia and the xenos pylons that were scattered in concentrations across its surface. The pylons kept the Warp from bleeding into realspace and maintained the only clear passage out of the Eye of Terror known as the Cadian Gate. With their destruction, the Forces of Chaos would be able to launch themselves out of the Eye and overwhelm the defences of the Imperium at the same time that they would be able to summon an endless legion of daemons until Terra itself had fallen, the Emperor cast down from His Golden Throne. Lord Castellan Ursarkar E. Creed, the commander of the Imperial forces on Cadia, ordered that the catacombs beneath the pylons under the Elysion Fields be reinforced to serve as a last line of defence to hold back the expected Chaos assault while Cawl worked to explore the pylons' systems and discover a way that they could be used as a weapon against Chaos.
Unknown to Creed and Celestine, Cawl had secretly been contacted by the Necron Lord Trazyn the Infinite, who had decided to aid Humanity in its fight against their common foe in the Warp. With Trazyn's knowledge, Cawl was able to determine how to use the pylons to cut off the local area of space-time from contact with the Immaterium. But as he worked, the Archenemy launched its expected assault against the catacombs, and Creed and Celestine led the defence. What was not expected was that Abaddon the Despoiler, frustrated beyond reason by Cadia's continuing defiance, led that assault himself. As the ground battle between the Despoiler's invaders and Ursarkar E. Creed's defenders reached its climax, Cawl activated the pylons. The Necron technology operated precisely as had been expected, cutting off Cadia from the Warp, banishing the daemons of Chaos, actually shrinking the Eye of Terror and giving Cadia's defenders a chance for yet another unlikely victory. However, the loss of access to the Immaterium also affected Celestine, whose own extraordinary powers of faith were also fuelled by the psychic currents of the Warp. Meeting the Despoiler head-on, in her weakened form she was defeated by the Warmaster of Chaos. Even as she sat at his feet, she promised him that Mankind would one day be free of his vile masters.
"There is no freedom," was his only reply.
But Celestine was saved at the last moment when the Inquisitor Katarinya Greyfax of the Ordo Hereticus, recently freed from one of Trazyn's Tesseract Labyrinths, psychically assaulted Abaddon, forcing the Despoiler to back away. Before he could resume the advance, the pylons' strike upon the Immaterium intensified, banishing the Despoiler's daemons and weakening his forces. A massed attack on the Despoiler by Creed and his 8th Cadian Regiment of Cadian Shock Troops failed when Abaddon and his Chaos Terminators broke the charge and badly wounded Creed, severing one of his arms. But just as the Despoiler moved to put an end to the Lord Castellan by cracking his spine, Celestine, though much diminished, managed to stab him from behind with the Ardent Blade.
"The Emperor protects," Celestine promised the wounded Despoiler.
Abaddon lurched away from Celestine, her blade ripping free of his flesh. It had been millennia since he had last been so wounded, and his spirit boiled with vengeance. But as the remaining troops of the Cadian 8th surged to reclaim their beloved general, Abaddon realised he had no time for the luxury of pride. The last vestiges of the Warp were retreating before the pylons' arcane energies. If he were to depart, it would have to be now. Reluctantly, his eyes never leaving Celestine's, Abaddon gave the order to withdraw.
As his flagship's teleport anchors engaged, the honourable warrior Ezekyle Abaddon had once been so long before acknowledged the feat Cadia's defenders had managed. They had lost, though they did not yet know it. But they had also won. He had sought to break Cadia's spirit, send the vanquished souls of its garrisons screaming into the Warp. He had not done so.
Unfortunately, the Despoiler would not be denied the prize he had sought for millennia so easily. Foreseeing the need for a fail-safe, Abaddon had the damaged bulk of the Blackstone Fortress Will of Eternity, its systems disabled by an assault from the Imperial Fists' star fort Phalanx, hurled from orbit as an artificial meteor into the surface of Cadia. The massive kinetic strike destroyed what remained of the world's defences, ensuring its envelopment by the now rapidly-expanding Eye of Terror. Perhaps the only positive outcome was that the destruction of the pylons also restored Celestine's own strength and vitality as her connection with the Empyrean was re-established.
The badly wounded Lord Castellan Creed ordered an evacuation of the dying world. The Imperial survivors of Cadia -- led by Cawl, Saint Celestine, Inquisitor Katarinya Greyfax and Marshal Marius Amalrich of the Black Templars -- now calling themselves the Celestinian Crusade -- used every voidship at their disposal, including Cawl's massive Ark Mechanicus, the Iron Revenant, to ferry the three million survivors off Cadia. Unable to enter the Warp because of the roiling instability of the Immaterium near the Cadian Gate, the Imperial fleet was forced to flee through the Cadia System at sub-light speed, and the Chaos warfleets gave chase. The largest and most powerful remaining Imperial capital ship, Cawl's Iron Revenant, heroically sacrificed itself in battle against Abaddon's flagship the Vengeful Spirit so that the Celestinian Crusade could escape to Klaisus, the nearby ice moon of the world of Kasr Holn. It was Celestine who explained that she had experienced a precognitive vision that their salvation -- and that of the Imperium itself -- lay on that barren, frigid planetoid.
Celestine's vision proved prophetic, for the surviving Celestinians were rescued from Chaos attacks and the unforgiving arctic environment at the last by the arrival of the Ynnari through Klaisus' hidden Webway gate. Though his flagship was lost, Belisarius Cawl had rescued its most precious cargo -- the Armour of Fate, key to the resurrection of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman.
The Terran Crusade
The Reborn Eldar guided the Celestinians through the Webway to the Realm of Ultramar in the Eastern Fringes of the galaxy, now also under ferocious assault by the forces of the Despoiler. After some initial distrust, the Celestinians were ultimately taken by the Ultramarines who called Ultramar home to the realm's capital world of Macragge. Once in the Ultramarines' Fortress of Hera, Cawl revealed the identity of the artefacts in his accompanying auto-reliquary. He declared that they were intended to resurrect Primarch Roboute Guilliman from the mortal wound that had seen him trapped in stasis in the Temple of Correction for the last ten millennia. While the Celestinians and the Ultramarines were under potent assault by the Forces of Chaos within the Primarch's final resting place, Cawl worked with Yvraine, the Daughter of Shades and priestess of Ynnead, the Eldar God of the Dead, to restore the Primarch's life force while Cawl's technology healed his grievous wound.
The resurrection of the Primarch was held to be a miracle brought about by the will of the Emperor. Celestine's unrelenting faith in the Master of Mankind had been spectacularly rewarded, and this resulted in the end of the rift that had existed between her and the Puritan Inquisitor Greyfax, who had believed the Living Saint to be a fraud and dupe of Chaos. But the return of a living Primarch, one of the Emperor's own sons, revealed the depth of Greyfax's own errors of faith. She, too, now came to believe that Celestine was a true servant of the Emperor and instrument of His will.
With Guilliman resurrected, he drove the invaders from Ultramar before deciding to make his way to Terra through the Warp anomalies roiling the galaxy to an extent not seen since the Horus Heresy. Celestine joined the Primarch on this Terran Crusade, her combat prowess and unwavering faith aiding the Imperial forces of the Crusade in all their trials and tribulations in the Warp rift known as the Maelstrom.
More than once when trapped in the Maelstrom, the Imperial ships were forced to fight off opportunist raids by sleek hunting packs of Traitor warships. Amidst a thousand-mile-wide cloud of corrosive spores, the Terran Crusade ships found themselves beset by swarms of vast plague flies as large as frigates. The monstrous insects took a savage toll upon the smaller ships of the Crusade, until Celestine took to the Navigator's observation blister of the Ultramarines flagship Macragge's Honour. Unleashing her holy light in a blazing psychic shockwave, the Living Saint purged the hideous daemon beasts from the void.
The survivors of the Terran Crusade finally arrived in the Sol System at Luna through the Webway after being freed from imprisonment in another Blackstone Fortress belonging to the Red Corsairs. Following the Crusade's rescue by the Fallen Angel Cypher and a troupe of Harlequins, Celestine was one of the few Imperials present at the fall of Cadia to survive both the Celestinian and Terran Crusades. After aiding in the defeat of the forces of the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion and the Daemon Primarch Magnus the Red on Luna, Celestine and her allies were finally ferried to the Imperial Palace on Terra. There, before the Eternity Gate of the Inner Palace leading to the throne room of the Emperor where Guilliman would meet his father for the first time in ten standard millennia, Celestine moved to minister to the frayed hordes of desperate pilgrims and penitents. Always determined to spread the light of the Emperor wherever she went, Celestine became a beacon of hope to all of Terra's oppressed and downtrodden. Guilliman emerged a solar day later from the Palace and was soon restored to his former position as Lord Commander of the Imperium. As he prepared to launch a massive counteroffensive against the gathering forces of the Ruinous Powers, there was no doubt that Celestine would stand at his side once more.
- Armour of Saint Katherine - Ever since this revered suit of golden Sororitas Power Armour was anointed with a vial of blood from the martyred Saint Katherine, it has been believed to have sacred powers of protection.
- The Ardent Blade - This flame-wreathed Power Sword is said to be the Emperor's wrath made manifest. The blade is long and double-edged, the hilt worked into the shape of the Imperial Aquila, and a skull is carved into the pommel. The sword is usually depicted wreathed in flowers, as it was when Celestine first emerged from the crypt of Saint Katherine on Sanctus Lys carrying it. The blade can also unleash a jet of flames at her mental command.
- Wings of Faith - Saint Celestine can soar aloft on a pair of feathered, angelic wings which spread from her back, created from the potent psychic power of her faith in the God-Emperor. The wings allow the full range of flight and mobility as an Astartes Jump Pack.
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
- Codex: Adepta Sororitas (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 66
- White Dwarf 379 (US), pg. 93
- Codex: Witch Hunters (3rd Edition), pg. 47
- Gathering Storm - Book One - Fall of Cadia (7th Edition), pp. 6-88, pg. 122
- Gathering Storm - Book Three - Rise of the Primarch (7th Edition), pp. 4-93