The Sanguinary Guard are the most elite Veteran Astartes of the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter and all of their Successor Chapters whose lineage can be traced back to the dark days of the Horus Heresy. They are essentially the Blood Angels' version of a Chapter Honour Guard. They fight with the weapons traditional to their honoured position, wrist-mounted Angelus Pattern Bolters that leave the hands free to wield a master-crafted Power Sword known as a Glaive Encarmine. The commander of the Sanguinary Guard is known as the "Exalted Herald of Sanguinius."
The lineage of the Sanguinary Guard can be traced back to the bygone era of the Great Crusade when they acted as the elite bodyguard of the Primarch Sanguinius, fighting alongside the Great Angel through the most terrible of battles on such worlds as Dalos, Blindhope, Signus Prime and countless others. They served with the Primarch until he perished in the assault on the Warmaster Horus' Battle Barge Vengeful Spirit during the final hours of the Battle of Terra. Only a lone member of the Sanguinary Guard survived that final confrontation.
Sanguinius' prescient vision of his own fate led him to insist that his Herald Azkaellon remain on Terra so that should he fall, the Sanguinary Guard would not be entirely extinguished. Once reconstituted by Azkaellon, the Guard would go on to serve as a beacon of hope for the Blood Angels and the wider Imperium in the dark days ahead.
Though he had yearned to fight at his Primarch's side one final time, with a heavy heart Azkaellon had acceded to Sanguinius' wishes. For he knew that he could not jeopardise the sacred duty entrusted to him. Following his Primarch's final orders, the Sanguinary Guard managed to survive when the Blood Angels' Primarch did not, for Azkaellon made certain that their legacy was maintained, not just in the Blood Angels, but in every Successor Chapter that arose from the dissolution of the IX Legion during the Second Founding.
The deeds of each Sanguinary Guard are recorded with reverent diligence. At high feast days, those rare occasions when the entire Chapter is gathered together, the Sanguinary Guard's deeds are recounted, delivered with gusto and pride by battle-steeped Veterans to attentive Scout Marines and Aspirants. They speak of Blind Erephon, who claimed he fought better without his eyes than he ever did with them, and who sealed the seven daemon-gates of Derios IV. Of Andrastor, who stood alone against the Tyranid swarm on Cripple Ridge. Of Saronath, whose coming was so terrible it set WAAAGH! Rokchewa to flight, and of Sepharan, who entered the gates of hell itself to battle for his Chapter's soul. Of these warriors they tell, and of countless others, past and present. To join the ranks of the Sanguinary Guard is therefore no mere battlefield assignment, nor even an honour. It is to enter a brotherhood of mortals-become-gods, to continue a legend already ten thousand standard years old.
After the formation of the Great Rift in 999.M41, the Sanguinary Guard again faced annihilation when the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Leviathan attacked their homeworld of Baal. In the ensuing campaign known as the Devastation of Baal, only a single member of the Sanguinary Guard, Caraeus, survived the Great Devourer's massive assault. Following the Blood Angels' victory with the aid of the forces of the Indomitus Crusade, the Sanguinary Guard's ranks were soon fully reinforced thanks to the arrival on Baal of Primaris Space Marines of Blood Angels heritage with the Indomitus Crusade fleet.
Chosen before the commencement of each conflict by a council of peers, one amongst the Sanguinary Guard may be given the honour of bearing their Chapter standard into battle. It is only during times of greatest need that such a banner is released from the Arx Angelicum, for these magnificently crafted relics are links to the Chapter's oldest days, and some were borne to war during the Great Crusade itself. Yet the vision of a golden angel soaring into battle with a storied banner of the Blood Angels held high can inspire fervour beyond words in the warriors of the Imperium, and transform even the direst rout into glorious victory against the odds.
Notable Sanguinary GuardEdit
- Exalted Herald of Sanguinius Azkaellon - The venerated hero and founder of the Blood Angels' Sanguinary Guard, Azkaellon served as the first Exalted Herald of Sanguinius during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. He continued to serve with his Primarch until Sanguinius perished in the assault on the Warmaster Horus' Battle Barge Vengeful Spirit during the final hours of the Battle of Terra. He would be the lone member of the Sanguinary Guard that survived that final confrontation due to his absence from the battle. Sanguinius' prescient vision of his own fate led him to insist that his Herald remain on Terra so that should he fall, the Sanguinary Guard would not be extinguished. Once reconstituted by Azkaellon, they would go on to serve as a beacon of hope for the Blood Angels and the wider Imperium in the dark days ahead. Though he yearned to fight at his Primarch's side one final time, with a heavy heart Azkaellon acceded to Sanguinius' wishes. He knew that he could not jeopardise the sacred duty entrusted to him. Following the death of Sanguinius, there was no clear line of succession, and soon factions within the Blood Angels formed around potential candidates. In addition, the Flaw slowly made its presence felt, further muddying the Legion's future. Ultimately, it was Azkaellon, sole survivor of the Sanguinary Guard, who drove the Blood Angels' destiny onwards. Azkaellon -- who saw clearly that the Blood Angels had more pressing worries than organisational doctrine -- ensured the division of the Blood Angels Legion into the Chapters that endure today. These were the Blood Angels themselves, who maintained the old Legion's heraldry and traditions, the Flesh Tearers, the Angels Vermillion, the Angels Encarmine and the Angels Sanguine. What became of Azkaellon himself after this point is unrecorded, but his legacy lives on in the Chapters he created. Following his Primarch's final orders, the Sanguinary Guard also managed to survive when the Blood Angels' Primarch did not, for Azkaellon made certain that their legacy was maintained, not just in the Blood Angels, but in every Successor Chapter that arose from the dissolution of the Blood Angels Legion during the Second Founding. The Sanguinary Guard believe the spirit of their founder lives on in the form of the golden angel of vengeance known as the Sanguinor, preserved against the withering millennia by the Emperor's grace.
- Brother Aratron - Having served under Captain Azkaellon for many years, Brother Aratron was selected to become the very first Herald of the new Emperor Sanguinius, the Primarch of the Blood Angels having been selected by his brother, Roboute Guilliman, to become the new leader of Imperium Secundus. In the end, Brother Aratron was chosen over Brother Hakael to become the second Emperor's new Herald, although his true fate was only known to the innermost circle of the IX Legion.
- Brother Hakael - A true hero of Baal, Brother Hakael was one of the original Sanguinary Guard, one of the few blessed souls to have served under Captain Azkaellon in the distant past of the 30th Millennium. Brother Hakael's tale ends abruptly at some point during the Blood Angels' stay on Macragge. Shortly after Hakael's disappearance, a new iconic figure of the Blood Angels would emerge: the Herald of Sanguinius -- the Sanguinor.
- Brother Neria - A Sanguinary Guard during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy.
- Brother Vual - A Sanguinary Guard during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy.
- Brother Donotriel - Dontoriel has been a Blood Angel for five centuries, and a Sanguinary Guard for the last two. His many heroic deeds are listed upon his scroll of record in the Reclusiam on Baal. The most glorious among them was Dontoriel's slaying of the Butcher of Borghan. In a battle that lasted for a day, he hacked apart the Daemon Prince and ended the Monsoon of Blood that had gripped the world of Viscydra for a decade. It was this deed that would earn him the Aureate Honour -- the icon of a golden blade he would wear upon his armour with pride. Despite this recognition, Dontoriel remains humble, seeking only to win glory for the Chapter that he serves.
- Exalted Herald of Sanguinius Caraeus - Much like his predecessor Azkaellon in an earlier era, Caraeus was the sole member of the Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard to survive Hive Fleet Leviathan's assault on Baal. After the Devastation of Baal was won by the Blood Angels and their allied forces, he was raised to become the latest Exalted Herald of Sanguinius, the commander of the Sanguinary Guard. With the arrival of the Indomitus Crusade at Baal during the battle and the Primaris Space Marine reinforcements it brought, the Sanguinary Guard was expected to soon be back at full strength and under Caraeus' command.
- 4-10 Sanguinary Guard
The Sanguinary Guards, unlike other Chapter's Veterans who serve in the Honour Guard, do not select wargear according to their expertise. Instead they fight with the weapons and wargear traditional to their post. These include:
- Artificer Armour - Members of the Sanguinary Guard wear golden Artificer Armour which are relics of the Chapter, each one belonging to a handful of surviving suits from the times of the Great Crusade whose secrets of manufacture have long since been lost. These few revered relics are a tangible reminder of the very greatest days of not only the Blood Angels, but of the Imperium of Man as a whole.
- Death Mask - The Death Masks worn by members of the Sanguinary Guard are highly ornate masks modelled on the fear-inspiring features of Sanguinius himself. These masks crackle with terrifying haloes of golden light, terrifying their enemies who have to face this fearsome aspect of the Great Angel. The machine spirit of each mask bonds closely with its wearer, its loyalty to him absolute. When a Sanguinary Guard falls in battle, his Death Mask is removed with much ceremony and placed within the Sarcophagus of Sorrows on Baal. The mask is left in its dark tomb for seven days and seven nights, by the end of which it will have taken on the stylised features of its former wearer. These transformations are claimed by the Blood Angels to be miracles, and none has ever proven otherwise.
- Winged Jump Pack - A modified version of the standard Astartes Jump Pack that is designed to emulate Sanguinius' own angelic wings, these relics were used almost exclusively by the Chapter's Sanguinary Guard, the Winged Jump Packs of these formidable warriors an awe inspiring sight to behold. When leaping down from above, it is as if the Battle-Brothers have taken flight on broad angelic wings like the avenging angels of legend, thus striking fear into their foes and bringing hope to their allies.
- Angelus Pattern Bolter - The Angelus Pattern Bolter is a variation on the ubiquitous Space Marine Bolter used exclusively by the Blood Angels and their Successors. Its magazine is loaded with very rare and potent Bloodshard Shells, whose razor-filament payloads make a mockery of most armour.
- Glaive Encarmine - The Glaives Encarmine are broad two-handed Power Swords wielded by the Sanguinary Guard. Each Glaive Encarmine is a Chapter relic in its own right; indeed, some of these venerable weapons have been in service since before the Horus Heresy. Crafted long ago using forgotten methods and techniques, few weapons in the Blood Angels armouries approach the elegance and mastery of manufacture embodied in a Glaive Encarmine. Forged from an alloy known as "angelsteel," whose secrets are known only to the Artificers of the Blood Angels, these blades never scratch, warp or break, no matter what violence they are subjected to. The Glaives Encarmine take a variety of forms, though the majority are either long-bladed swords or heavy axes. In battle, a skilled Battle-Brother can wield such a weapon as easily as he might a Combat Knife, sweeping it back and forth in swift, graceful arcs of death and taking a life with each effortless blow.
- Inferno Pistol or Plasma Pistol (As replacement for Angelus Pattern Bolter)
- Power Fist (As replacement for Glaive Encarmine)
- Encarmine Axe - A Power Axe similar in function to the Glaive Encarmine which can be substituted for the Power Sword by those Sanguinary Guards who prefer the axe as a melee weapon to the sword.
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Blood Angels (8th Edition), pp. 29, 93
- Codex: Adeputus Astartes (7th Edition), pp. 12, 16, 37, 42, 62, 129-130
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pp. 50, 80, 85
- The Devastation of Baal (Novel) by Guy Haley
- Herald of Sanguinius (Short Story) by Andy Smillie, in Eye of Terra (Anthology)
- Shield of Baal - Exterminatus (7th Edition), pg. 33