The Shadow Wolves was a Codex Astartes-compliant, Loyalist Space Marine Chapter derived from the Imperial Fists' gene-seed. Created during an unknown Founding, these scions of Rogal Dorn were known to be a zealous and faithful Chapter by reputation, fighting for the honour of the Emperor of Mankind for thousands of Terran years, until they met their ultimate fate at the hands of a Tyranid splinter fleet in 987.M41 when their homeworld of Varadon was overrun by the xenos swarms. Even though the Chapter is officially considered extinct, a strike-force of Shadow Wolves was spotted on Cadia in 999.M41, fighting Abaddon the Despoiler's Forces of Chaos during the 13th Black Crusade.
In 987.M41 the Shadow Wolves' homeworld of Varadon was ravaged by the foul xenos of a Tyranid splinter fleet. The Shadow Wolves attempted to defend their homeworld from the predations of the merciless Great Devourer. Astropathic distress beacons were transmitted through the Warp solar weeks before the attack, before their fortress-monastery finally fell to the enemy. The Black Templars swiftly answered their brother Chapter's summons, and attempted to penetrate the swarms of Tyranids besieging the ruins of the Shadow Wolves' fortress-monastery, but the unrelenting ferocity of the alien tide hampered their efforts. In the end, only a handful of the Shadow Wolves remained, their blades broken and their Bolters spent. They died in honourable battle as they made their defiant last stand, still intoning the litanies of hate against the alien, chanting their bitter fury at their foes even as they were annihilated.
A lone Shadow Wolves Battle-Brother, though horrendously wounded and on his knees beneath the Chapter's standard, attempted to maintain his Chapter's honour to the last, for the Shadow Wolves' War Banner could not be allowed to fall whilst one of the Astartes of the Chapter yet lived. The doomed Space Marine held it aloft defiantly, keeping the banner upright and proud even as the xenos creatures tore into him. He died in a brutal and glorified manner -- which for an Astartes could only be described as a beautiful death.
Like their parent Chapter, the Shadow Wolves were the epitome of Codex Astartes doctrine. All ranks were able to make tactical decisions and were encouraged to act on their own initiative. In accordance with the Codex Astartes, the Shadow Wolves combined all arms in flexible, balanced battle groups, each of which could present an opponent with a diversity of threats. The Shadow Wolves would then press their attack so swiftly that the foe was overwhelmed before they could react. The Shadow Wolves retained the traditional skills of the Imperial Fists in urban and siege warfare, although they were quite willing to engage and defeat the enemy in open battle in any environment. They used fortifications when on the defensive, but only after all of the more aggressive options had been exhausted. Like the Imperial Fists, the Shadow Wolves' principal weakness was their reluctance to accept the possibility of defeat that sometimes blinded them to the risks inherent in their aggressive stratagems.
As with many early-Founding Chapters, the Shadow Wolves were also noted for bearing all manner of holy relics and ancient arms and patterns of battle-plate. They appeared to have inherited the most revered arms and armour of the original Imperial Fists Legion, and carefully preserved them down through the millennia against the foes of the Imperium. They had a propensity for making use of Mark VI Corvus Pattern Power Armour.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
The Shadow Wolves was a fairly pragmatic Chapter of Astartes, for it sought to cause maximum attrition amongst the foe whilst minimising its own casualties by any means necessary. Fluidity, timing and technique were all subservient to the Shadow Wolves' simple, primordial desire to be the last men standing in any fight. To them, survival was everything, for displays of prowess with Bolter or blade were worth little to the dead. They had no need for the Imperial Fists' bombastic last stands or the Black Templars' relentless advance and indiscriminate purges.
- The Purest Intent (Strike Cruiser) - This Strike Cruiser was constructed on the minor Forge World of Shevilar and granted to the Shadow Wolves Chapter. It was lost with all hands, captured by xenos raiders, in 966.M41, thirty-two standard years before the Third War for Armageddon began in 998.M41. The derelict hulk was later acquired by Orks, and it served as a part of the massive Ork WAAAGH! that threatened Armageddon. It was badly damaged by Armageddon's orbital defences after it drifted dangerously close to the planet and it crash-landed just outside the Hive City of Helsreach.
The Shadow Wolves' Power Armour was silver with dark purple shoulder pauldrons and backpack. The skull or double-headed eagle icon of the Imperialis or Aquila, respectively, on the chest guard was dark purple or sometimes replaced with a silver wolf's head in keeping with the Chapter's lupine iconography. A silver squad specialty symbol -- Tactical, Assault, Devastator or Veteran -- was worn on the right shoulder guard. A white Roman numeral was centred over the squad specialty symbol, indicating squad number. The company number was determined by the colour of the vertical stripe on the helmet as dictated by the Codex Astartes -- i.e. White (1st Company), Yellow (2nd Company), Red (3rd Company), etc.
The Shadow Wolves' Chapter badge was the profile of a silver wolf's head on a field of dark purple.
The Warhammer 40,000 author, Aaron Dembski-Bowden helped to invent the Shadow Wolves Space Marine Chapter, on behalf of his wife Katie. At the time of their creation, his wife had just started to become interested in the Warhammer 40,000 universe and after reading the first three books of the Horus Heresy novels, she fell in love with the Pre-Heresy Luna Wolves Legion. Inspired by this, Aaron proceeded to write a cameo for the Shadow Wolves in the novel Helsreach, making them a part of the official canon. He made them a Codex-compliant Chapter with lots of wolfish iconography. He did not give them the savage aspect of the Space Wolves, yet he inferred that the Shadow Wolves use lots of canine imagery, similar to the Luna Wolves beloved of his wife.
- Adeptus Astartes: Successor Chapters (Limited Edition Booklet)
- Helsreach (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Chs. 5, 19
- Space Marine Legends - Ragnar Blackmane (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Warseer Forum - Aaron Dembski-Bowden & the Shadow Wolves
- Katie's Blog (Katie Bowden) - The Shadow Wolves