- "Zeal makes all things possible, duty makes all things simple."
Sigismund was the First Captain of the Imperial Fists Legion during the Great Crusade and would go on to become the first High Marshal (Chapter Master) of the Black Templars Space Marine Chapter after the Second Founding in the early 31st Millennium.
Sigismund served beside the Imperial Fists Legion's Primarch Rogal Dorn himself, and would fight throughout the entirety of the Great Crusade. Famously brash and headstrong, he had a tendency to attack the enemy head-on, no matter the danger or mission he had been sent to accomplish. This tendency might have been a problem if he had not been such a superb warrior who could defeat almost any opponent. He was present when Dorn learned of his brother Horus' treachery aboard the Phalanx after the Imperial Fists rescued the survivors of the Eisenstein as he served as Dorn's closest advisor and most trusted lieutenant, and was the first Emperor's Champion of the Imperial Fists.
Mission To MarsEdit
In the opening days of the Horus Heresy when the Schism of Mars erupted, open warfare raged across the Red Planet between the forces of the Loyalist Mechanicus and the traitors of the Dark Mechanicus. Malcador the Sigillite, the Regent of Terra, charged the Primarch Rogal Dorn with a mission of vital importance -- to secure the forges of Mars. Dorn informed the Sigillite he would send First Captain Sigismund and four companies of Imperial Fists to carry out the task. The forges of Mondus Occulum and Mondus Gamma produced the bulk of the armour and weapons of the Astartes. He would have them strike there first and when they were in Loyalist hands, the Imperial Fists would push outwards and secure the others.
Sigismund's companies landed at Mondus Occulum as the rest of the Imperial expeditionary force was fighting across the surface of Mars. After a rapid deployment under fire in the shadow of Pavonis Mons, thirteen companies of the Saturnine Hoplites regiments of the Imperial Army advanced on the lines of circumvallation surrounding the forge of Ipluvien Maximal. Further south, two companies of Imperial Fists and four regiments of Jovian Grenadiers (nearly 15,000 Imperial Army soldiers) under the command of the Imperial Fists' Captain Camba-Diaz made planetfall in the Mondus Gamma forge complex.
Nothing of their mission to Mars panned out the way it was supposed to. Camba-Diaz and the Jovian regiments were embroiled in a fight for their lives at Mondus Gamma, and the Saturnine companies tasked with breaking the siege at Ipluvien Maximal’s forge had been repeatedly turned back by the horrifyingly altered weapon-creatures of the Dark Mechanicus. Though the fighting proved desperate, Camba-Diaz secured the armour forges and the ammunition silos, but his company was outnumbered a hundred to one. The Traitor Chrom’s forces pushed him back to the landing fields and his losses were grievous. Sigismund knew the Imperial expeditionary force would not be able to hold the forge, but a great deal of essential supplies had been secured for transit to Terra.
Sigismund’s companies had descended upon Mondus Occulum not knowing whether they would have to fight to secure the forge, but it was a relief to find that Fabricator Locum Kane still held true to the Emperor. Sigismund secured vast quantities of munitions for shipment back to Terra, including nearly 12,000 suits of Mark IV Power Armour and twice as many weapons. But the Loyalists had run out of time. Despite the locum's Servitors working at full capacity, it still was not fast enough to load the bulk transports, for Sigismund's ship masters informed him of a sizable enemy force closing in, composed of Traitor infantry, armour, Skitarii and at least two Titan Legions comrprising nearly 60 war engines in all.
Sigismund's desire to wreak a bloody vengeance on those who rebelled against the Emperor warred with the mission his Primarch had given him of securing the armour and weapons of Kane’s forge. Reluctantly he knew he must stay true to his mission, for the forces arrayed against them were too many and his orders did not allow for futile gestures of defiance. Locum Kane warned the Imperial Fists' First Captain that if both the Mondus Occulum and Mondus Gamma forges fell, the Imperium would have no way of replenishing the combat losses they would sustain against the Traitors in any meaningful way.
After only a few hours' worth of fighting both Mondus Occulum and Mondus Gamma were burning, and vast swathes of machinery and manufactorum capacity had been destroyed. The loss of such irreplaceable technology and knowledge would be felt by the Imperium for millennia to come. Like comets launching from the surface of Mars, the Imperial transports fled into the heavens. Astartes and Imperial Army vessels jostled in the sky in their haste to depart the crimson world. But the mission was successful and the Loyalist Astartes had secured a large number of the new marks of Power Armour in preparation for the oncoming campaign against Terra by the Traitor Legions of Horus.
Battle of TerraEdit
At the conclusion of the Horus Heresy during the Battle of Terra, Sigismund was chosen to serve as the first Emperor's Champion. Personally singled out by Rogal Dorn himself, Sigismund was bestowed with the high honour of serving as the personal champion of the Emperor. Though humbled by the honour, he was disturbed by only one thing -- it seemed wrong to him to obscure the sacred colours of his Legion. The Imperial Fists Reclusiarch who bestowed the sacred blessings upon his armour and wargear told Brother Sigismund to fear not, for Dorn himself had ordered it to be so. Sigismund's heraldry had been changed to black to show that he served the Emperor directly, as did the Reclusiarch and his fellow Chaplains. As such, he had been marked out in the sight of the Emperor. Reassured, Sigismund strode across the war-torn scenes of carnage, of hell on Earth, challenging any and all Champions of Chaos to single combat as well as anyone else unfortunate enough to cross his path. Since that time, the Black Templars Chapter has continued to honour Sigismund by continuing the practise of naming an Emperor's Champion.
Emperor's Champion Sigismund, the First Captain of the Imperial Fists Legion, was chosen by his Primarch as the first High Marshal (Chapter Master) of the newly created Black Templars Chapter during the Second Founding. The Chapter took upon themselves the black and white panoply of Sigismund's personal heraldry. Chosen as the Emperor's Champion for his fervent faith in the Emperor and his undying devotion to Mankind, those zealous warriors who became Black Templars sought to emulate their former First Captain's heroic example. Seeing the strife that beset the Legiones Astartes during the days of the Second Founding, he determined that a gesture of supreme faith was needed. As High Marshal of the Black Templars, Sigismund swore a mighty oath that upon leaving Terra, he would prove his loyalty, never resting in the prosecution of his duties against the enemies of the Emperor. It is an oath that every subsequent High Marshal has renewed, and so the greatest and longest Space Marine Crusade in Imperial history was begun, a Crusade that has continued unbroken for ten thousand Terran years.
- Codex Black Templars (4th Edition)
- Chapter Approved 2003, "The Emperor's Champion", p. 76
- Mechanicum (Novel) by Graham McNeill, pp. 286-287, 320-323
- Shadows of Treachery (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, "The Crimson Fist" by John French