- "We are concerned with the future. The victory of mankind depends on those who lead and those who serve. That responsibility is ours; that future is ours to bring to pass."
- — Abbot Bernar Skrayling, Maccabeus Quintus Schola Progenium
The Schola Progenium is one of the many divisions of the Ecclesiarchy, the Adeptus Ministorum of the Imperium of Man. It is responsible for the upbringing and training of orphans, predominantly those of officers who have died in the service of the Imperium, often those who once served in the Imperial Guard. These children are known as the Progena, and most of them will end up serving the Ministorum or in other branches of the Adeptus Terra. Others will go on to become military leaders and special forces troops within the Imperial Guard or Imperial Navy such as elite Storm Troopers or iron-willed Imperial Commissars. Some may take office in a planetary government, the Administratum, the Ecclesiarchy, the Adeptus Arbites or even become Acolytes of the Inquisition on the path to assuming the duties of a full Inquisitor. Many girls of the Progena are destined for one of the Orders of the Adepta Sororitas. Those Progena who display psychic aptitude are often killed or used to meet the Emperor's levy of Psykers, but may sometimes be handed over to the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, or, in rare cases, receive further training as Inquisitor Acolytes.
The Schola Progenium takes children who were orphaned when their parents perished in the service of the Emperor of Mankind, from daughters of Imperial Guard officers killed on the battlefield, to sons of Imperial administrators lost in the far reaches of space, and trains them to become the backbone of Imperial society as servants of the various branches of the Adeptus Terra. Those who pass through the Schola Progenium are called Progena, and they receive an education like no other. The fundamental cornerstone of life in the Schola Progenium is harsh discipline. From the day they first don their grey garb, the Progena learn that the God-Emperor has no use for infirmity of purpose or weakness, and pain is merely an illusion of an untrained mind. Swift correction, prayer, fasting and contemplation are the tools by which a mind of rigid purpose and faith is formed, and the cornerstone of the Schola's teaching. A Progena's education moves through predetermined phases, beginning with literacy and the basic theology of the Imperial Creed, and progressing on through history, politics, the contemplation of Imperial saints, rhetoric and leadership skills. The curriculum does not stop at honing the intellect either as all Progena are trained in physical endurance and skill at arms by the infamous Drill Abbots. The Drill Abbots are hardened veterans and have usually spent half their lives in Imperial military service. Stern, stoic, unforgiving and relentless, the lessons imparted by the Drill Abbots will stay with Progena for their entire lives.
During the Age of Apostasy in the 36th Millennium, most of the Schola Progenium were corrupted and rife with slavery and depravity. Orphans were used as slave labour in factories and mines making goods for the Ecclesiarchy. Particularly promising individuals were sold to Imperial Commanders as slaves and servants, and the most attractive became concubines for Imperial nobles. The most physically adept were sent to be trained as Frateris Templars or Brides of the Emperor, swelling the corrupt and tyrannical Apostle-Cardinal Goge Vandire's armies with the best recruits. The habitats themselves became associated with licentious practices, and their money was put to questionable ends. In direct contrast, each habitat now maintains a strict separation between the two genders and contact between them is restricted purely to religious ceremonies. Only with this purity can the Progena hope to be elevated to a position within the Emperor's domain.
As they mature, the Progena are groomed for the place they shall take in the service of the Imperium. Many are taken into the Ecclesiarchy, Administratum or some other division of the Adeptus Terra, while others of martial leanings find their place in the officer cadres of the Imperial armed forces or as an Arbitor of the Adeptus Arbites. The finest Progena are recruited into the most specialised of the Imperium's elites, such as the Commissariat or Adepta Sororitas, and a very few of the most talented are inducted directly into the Inquisition.
- "No no no! By the Throne, boy, how many times? Depress the loading catch before removing the drum feed, not while removing the drum feed! You'll jam the weapon! (smack) Oh stop bawling, child. You're ten years old, you should have learned basic Autogun procedures by now. Fifty press ups and fifty Pax Imperiums. And certainly there will be no dinner."
- — Drill Abbott Kross Vorgt
A Drill Abbot (or Drill Abbess) is a priest of the Adeptus Ministorum and a decorated veteran of the Imperium's wars who tirelessly works at converting the orphans of martyred Imperial servants into driven and dedicated fanatics in the service of the God-Emperor prepared for the trials of Imperial life. The Drill Abbots are technically full Preachers of the Ecclesiarchy, but are excused from a Preacher's normal duties of ministering to the faithful in favour of a more specialised role in teaching the future leaders and special forces troops of the Imperium. This sacred duty is fulfilled through the focused application of devotional teachings, exercise and weapons training. Drill Abbots stalk the hallways of the Schola, striking the fear of the Emperor into the hearts of youths who one day shall have the power of life and death over millions. Even the most ruthless Inquisitor Lord may still, centuries later, remember his time in the Schola Progenium with a mixture of fear and awe due to the work of these fearsome individuals.
Coming from a wide variety of backgrounds, most Drill Abbots have served at least half their lives in one branch or another of the Imperial military. They have seen first hand the enemies of the Imperium, and are anxious to impress upon their young charges the absolute necessity of faith in the Emperor and skill at arms. They are charismatic and inspiring, caring for their young charges in their own harsh way, and famed for their unbending stubborness and strength of will. They will seek to maintain their fighting edge throughout their lives, and remain fierce and skilled combatants and warriors. Many Drill Abbots forge lifelong bonds of mutual respect with Progena in their care, which can result in useful contacts years later with some of the most senior figures in the galaxy. Indeed, it is not unknown for Inquisitors to recruit their old tutors for their retinues of Acolytes, as a sign of the tremendous debt they owe for the gift of the light of the Emperor.
So harsh are many of the methods employed by Drill Abbots that many students fear for their lives. The more fearsome Drill Abbots have been known to employ branding, freezing cold and sleep deprivation to motivate their charges, which is the source of the understandable terror that some Progena feel. This fear is not typically necessary, however, as Drill Abbots wish to prepare their charges for service to the God-Emperor and it is well known that such service ends only in death. Regardless of their pasts, Drill Abbots are well known for their uncompromising and stubborn natures. Coupled with their faith in the God-Emperor of Mankind they have considerable martial prowess and the respect of even the most seasoned Imperial Guardsman. A Drill Abbot has suffered and knows how to administer suffering in turn; they are not people to be trifled with.
- Codex: Sisters of Battle (2nd Edition), pg. 33
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pp. 32, 46
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pp. 41, 43
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), pp. 6, 13
- Codex: Imperial Guard (2nd Edition), pp. 20-21, 78, 84
- Codex: Witch Hunters (3rd Edition), pg. 34
- Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 19, 50, 247, 260
- Dark Heresy: Ascension (RPG), pp. 43, 86, 111, 165
- Dark Heresy: Blood of Martyrs (RPG), pp. 17, 61, 68-69, 77
- Dark Heresy: Book of Judgement (RPG), pp. 7, 16, 22, 54
- Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook (RPG), pp. 18, 40, 42
- Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 62, 86-87, 96-97, 373-374
- Only War: Final Testament (RPG), pp. 136, 189
- Warhammer 40,000 Compendium (1st Edition), pg. 151
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pg. 138
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (3rd Edition), pg. 7
- White Dwarf 115 (UK), "Commissar Training Squads"
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