"For Dorn!" or "For the Emperor and Freedom!" or "Cold and Fast, Soul Drinkers!"
Second Founding (31st Millennium)
Unknown; Once believed to be the Imperial Fists
Chapter is effectively extinct
Unknown; Once believed to be Rogal Dorn
Fleet-Based Chapter, uses the Space Hulk Brokenback
Purple, Gold, Bone
- "When all is darkness and every way out is lined with blood and lit with the fires of battle, there is still hope."
- — Daenyathos, from the Soul Drinkers sacred text the Catechisms Martial
The Soul Drinkers were a Renegade Chapter of Space Marines declared Excommunicate Traitoris by the Inquisition because of their extremely high levels of mutation and obvious corruption by Chaos, yet the Soul Drinkers still considered themselves to be loyal to the Emperor of Mankind, if not to His Imperium . The Soul Drinkers were a Second Founding Successor Chapter of the Imperial Fists Legion. The Soul Drinkers were ultimately destroyed as a Chapter in the late 41st Millennium when they worked with the Imperial Fists to end a Chaotic plot initiated by one of their own number, the Venerable Dreadnought Daenyathos, to seize control of the Imperial Fists' mobile fortress-monastery, the Phalanx, and spread the power of Chaos across the galaxy. Though the Chapter has ceased to exist, the Imperial Fists honour its Astartes' final sacrifice in the defence of Mankind.
The Soul Drinkers are believed to have been formed from the Imperial Fists' shock assault contingent during the Second Founding of the early 31st Millennium.
Assault on Terra
One of the Soul Drinkers' most famous campaigns occurred during the Wars of Apostasy, also known as the Terran Crusade, which was a series of battles and military campaigns fought against the forces of the Renegade High Lord of Terra Goge Vandire during the Age of Apostasy's Reign of Blood in the fourth century of the 36th Millennium by the Emperor of Mankind's Loyalists. In 378.M36 the Black Templars' High Marshal Sigenandus declared a Crusade against Vandire on Terra. The Black Templars, together with their parent Chapter the Imperial Fists, the Soul Drinkers, the zealous Fire Hawks and elements of the Martian Tech-Guard, took the fight to Terra itself and laid siege to Vandire's Ecclesiarchal Palace. The Crusade ended with the death of Vandire at the hands of one of his former bodyguards -- Alicia Dominica, the founder and future patron Imperial saint of the Adepta Sororitas. The Soul Drinkers also had many notable victories on other worlds against xenos races such as the Eldar during this era.
The Lakonia Star Fort Incident
The Soul Drinkers were declared Excommunicate Traitoris by the Inquisition after their obsessive need to retrieve a relic called the Soulspear (a Warp vortex weapon gifted to them by the Imperial Fists' Primarch Rogal Dorn) brought them into conflict with the Adeptus Mechanicus. The forces of the Mechanicus were ostensibly assisting the Adeptus Ministorum, but actually wanted to obtain the Soulspear for themselves so that they might examine and possibly reverse-engineer its ancient technology. The standoff between the Soul Drinkers and the other Imperial forces ended with the destruction of the Mechanicus' Star Fort Lakonia, and major damage to several starships of the Adeptus Ministorum and Adeptus Mechanicus. The remaining Soul Drinkers retreated in their Strike Cruiser to an asteroid field where they were beset by the combined fleets of the Inquisition and the Adeptus Ministorum until the Soul Drinkers' fleet, lead by Chapter Master Gorgoleon, arrived by Warp Route 931-c that had been closed for 600 standard years prior to this incident.
The First Chapter War
After the Soul Drinkers' Chapter fleet linked up with the survivors of the Soul Drinkers' assault on the Star Fort, Chapter Master Gorgoleon told his fellow Soul Drinker Captain Sarpedon of an offer the Inquisition had made, which required the deaths of the Space Marines involved in the Lakonia incident in exchange for a reprieve. Gorgoleon explained that he had refused this offer on the basis that the only person fit to judge a Soul Drinker was another Soul Drinker. This judgment would require Sarpedon to face Gorgoleon himself in a ritual duel to the death known as the Shield-Rites to determine the righteousness of Sarpedon's actions on Lakonia. During the height of the duel, Sarpedon seemed to be affected by some outside power and spontaneously grew eight arachnoid legs, giving him a crucial advantage over Gorgoleon and enabling him to tear his erstwhile commander to pieces and so claim the mantle of Chapter Master for himself. Although he did not know it at the time, his mutation was caused by the corrupting powers and influence of the Chaos God Tzeentch, who intended to make the Soul Drinkers yet another one of his countless pawns in Chaos eternal war against the Imperium. After a brief but bloody struggle with those who could not accept his mutation and those who still believed that Sarpedon was uncorrupted, Sarpedon became the new leader of the Soul Drinkers Chapter from that point on. Despite their rejection by and of the Imperium of Man itself as an utterly corrupt institution, the Soul Drinkers remained steadfastly loyal to the Emperor of Mankind, even after they had been exposed to the raw power of Chaos. This exposure subsequently began to manifest mutations in the Chapter's other Space Marines.
After a time, the Chapter Apothecary Pallas managed to stop the spread of new mutations, and also to halt the progression of mutation in those Astartes already afflicted, thanks to the retrieval of information held on the planetoid Stratix Luminae. This information came at the price of the Soul Drinkers being forced to abandon Sergeant Tellos and his cadre of Assault Marines as they made their escape from the planetoid, though Tellos and his squad turned to the service of Chaos completely to save themselves.
Dealing with Tellos
The Soul Drinkers next came into conflict with the Crimson Fists' Force Commander Reinez and with Slaanesh-worshipping Dark Eldar in an attempt to bring the now Chaos-aligned Sergeant Tellos to justice. After a long battle between Chaos forces and the forces of the Imperium, Sarpedon fought Tellos in a duel. Sarpedon emerged victorious, and believing Tellos dead, withdrew the Soul Drinkers from the combat. Tellos survived, only to be killed when the Inquisition bombed the world where Tellos and his warband had taken up residence.
The Second Chapter War
The Soul Drinkers next had to face enemies from within and without as a promising Scout Marine, Brother Eumenes, usurped the Chapter's leadership from Sarpedon. Meanwhile, the Howling Griffons Chapter had vowed to destroy the ambiguous Chaotic force known as the Black Chalice which they believed to be the Soul Drinkers Chapter. In the end, Sarpedon killed Eumenes, declaring him unworthy of being Chapter Master. He then addressed the remaining Soul Drinkers Battle-Brothers, asking if any of them wished to take up the burden of the office of Chapter Master. When none of them responded, Sarpdedon declared he would remain the Chapter Master. Not satisfied with this, at least one squad of the newer Soul Drinkers recruits left the Chapter.
While fleeing from an Adeptus Mechanicus task force, the Soul Drinkers' Space Hulk was severely damaged and found itself low on fuel. Forced to run from the Mechanicus forces, the Soul Drinkers went deep into the veiled regions of the galaxy in search of fuel. They discovered the Necrons active on many worlds in this region of space, all with signs of previous human settlement, but now infested with the undying, ancient xenos. Eventually they came upon the last of the human worlds that the Necrons were still in the process of cleansing of all life, and the Soul Drinkers made a deal with the survivors. They allowed the humans time to retreat to their spacecraft while the Soul Drinkers held the Necron forces off, in exchange for the Soul Drinkers receiving fuel.
The Soul Drinkers held out against the Necrons, and the escaping human population reached their spaceport as agreed, but a Necron fleet arrived in-system, preventing them from leaving. The Adeptus Mechanicus fleet arrived shortly after, and the two fleets began fighting each other. It became obvious that the Imperial forces would soon be destroyed by the more potent Necron fleet, so they began a complex pattern of manoeuvres intended to delay the inevitable.
When the Soul Drinkers realised they could not beat the approaching Necron force on the ground, while the Mechanicus fleet would lose in space, Sarpedon offered an alliance to the Mechanicus. Chaplain Iktinos of the Soul Drinkers and his "flock" of Space Marines remained behind to help defend the spaceport and the surviving humans. It is revealed that Iktinos, and through him his "flock", is loyal to another master, and not the Emperor of Mankind, although the identity of this master was never clear.
Accepting the proposed alliance from the Renegade Space Marines, the Mechanicus and the Soul Drinkers set off for the main Necron hub world, Selaaca, planning to destroy the Necron Lord and leave the rest of the enemy forces in the region leaderless.
Arriving at the Necrons' Tomb World, the Mechanicus crashed their starship into Selaaca and deployed their forces alongside the Soul Drinkers. A long, bloody battle ensued as the unlikely allies sought to kill the Necron Lord before the Necrons' superior numbers overwhelmed them. Finally, the Imperials arrived at the Necron Lord's headquarters and Sarpedon duelled and defeated the undying creature. However, in typical Necron fashion, the Necron Lord soon resurrected itself, and began crushing Sarpedon to death. Only through the sacrifice of Techmarine Lygis was the Necron Lord finally defeated.
Gathering his forces, Sarpedon lead his remaining warriors towards the crashed Adeptus Mechanicus starship, where their promised transports off-world were to be awaiting them. Instead, they discovered three Imperial Fists Thunderhawk gunships deployed upon the surface of Selaaca, while twenty Imperial Fists of the elite 1st Company in Terminator Armour teleported onto the planet, lead by First Captain Darnath Lysander. He ordered the Soul Drinkers to surrender to Imperial justice or be destroyed. Sarpedon replied by invoking the right to challenge Lysander to a personal duel. Despite Sarpedon's Warp-enhanced strength, he had been badly depleted in the earlier fighting and was swiftly defeated by Lysander in single combat. Sarpedon had ordered the Soul Drinkers to surrender if he was beaten by Lysander in the duel and thus prevent the Chapter from being wiped out by the Imperial Fists.
Trial of the Soul DrinkersThe captured Soul Drinkers were brought aboard the ancient and massive starship, Phalanx, the mobile fortress-monastery of the Imperial Fists Chapter. The Imperial Fists intended to prosecute their brother Chapter for their apostasy. Though most Heretics would never have been granted such an honour, as former Scions of Dorn, the Soul Drinkers would have their day in court, for the Imperial Fists were a Chapter of honour. To them, a trial was more than a mere formality. It was their intention to see every correct procedure and tradition adhered to, so that no man would dare say that they did not give the Soul Drinkers every chance to redeem themselves. The Fists had collected evidence of the Soul Drinkers’ deeds, including many that had pitted them against the forces of the Imperium from which the Soul Drinkers had rebelled.
When the Soul Drinkers were first brought on board they recovered a copy of the Soul Drinkers' so-called Catechism Martial. They acquired this tome from one of the members of Chaplain Iktinos' flock upon the confiscation of his Power Armour, forcing him to give up the book along with the secrets it contained. These members of Iktinos' flock were the Soul Drinkers whose officers had died in the gradual erosion of the Chapter’s strength, and who had turned to Chaplain Iktinos for leadership. The treacheries and revelations revealed within the pages of the Catechism Martial made the Imperial Fists take an interest in interrogating Iktinos' Astartes themselves.
During the interrogation of Brother Kaiyon by the Imperial Fists' Lord Castellan Leucrontas, the Soul Drinkers revealed the Chapter's secrets to him. It was discovered that Daenyathos, the legendary Philosopher-Soldier and author of the Catechism Martial, still lived, despite evidence that he had died over six millennia before. Daenyathos had been interred within the adamantium sarcophagus of a mighty Dreadnought and hidden within a secret tomb on the world of Selaaca. This tomb was built with a series of ingenious traps put into place, ensuring that none save an Astartes would have the skill to discover the secrets contained within. When Daenyathos' crypt was discovered by a lone Imperial Fists Scout Marine, the resurrected Soul Drinker came willingly and let himself be brought aboard the Phalanx to face his fate alongside his fellow Battle-Brothers.
A conclave of Space Marines was formed to listen to the presented evidence and to pass judgement on the Renegade Chapter. This conclave was composed from various Imperial Fists Successor Chapters composed of representatives from the Crimson Fists, Howling Griffons and the Iron Knights as well as other Chapters with no connection to the Imperial Fists such as the Doom Eagles, Silver Skulls and the Angels Sanguine. There was also a representative from the Inquisition as well as a small contingent of Battle-Sisters of the Adepta Sororitas and Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
Brother Reinez, the former Captain of the Crimson Fists' 2nd Company, who had been dishonoured by the Soul Drinkers on Entymion IV after he lost his Company Standard to them in combat on that world, was appointed as the Soul Drinkers' prosecutor. Reinez had given up his rank and petitioned his Chapter Master to walk the path of the Warrior's Pilgrimage, one who wandered the galaxy seeking redemption outside his Chapter by looking for an enemy worthy of killing him, so that he could seek redemption in death for his failings. When Reinez heard that the Soul Drinkers had been captured and were to be tried on the Phalanx, he made haste for the Imperial Fists' vessel and presented himself before their Chapter Master Vladimir Pugh, and petitioned for the right to prosecute the Soul Drinkers so as to regain his honour.
The loyal servants of the Imperium had gathered to listen to evidence presented against the Soul Drinkers, while the Imperial Fists' Chapter Master Vladimir Pugh presiding as the Justice Lord of the court. During the trial evidence was presented by both sides that both defended the Soul Drinkers' actions as well as damned them. Multiple revelations were revealed during the course of the trial, including the fact that Daenyathos still lived within the body of a Dreadnought that had been hidden within a tomb on Selaaca's surface. Sarpedon had not been aware of this tomb's existence or that there were any surviving Dreadnoughts from his Chapter, as the last one had been believed to have been destroyed six millennia earlier.
Serving as prosecutor, Reinez condemned the Soul Drinkers, implicitly implying that they had been corrupt for millennia while under the guidance of Daenyathos. He charged that they had long been sworn to the service of the Ruinous Powers and had intended to carry out some plot at the Dark Gods' behest intended to damage the Imperium. During Reinez's presentation of the evidence against the Chapter Sarpedon finally realised that Chaplain Iktinos had been manipulating the Soul Drinkers Chapter along the path of damnation in order to fulfill some unknown destiny foreseen long before by Daenyathos.
Next, Commander Gethsemar of the Angels Sanguine Chapter called into question the validity of the Soul Drinkers' claims of being the genetic sons of the Primarch Rogal Dorn. The Angels Sanguine had captured a Soul Drinkers Space Marine and extracted his gene-seed for medical study to determine whether or not their heresy was a result of corrupted genetics and were startled to learn that the Soul Drinkers' genetic legacy could not be traced back to the Imperial Fists.
During the course of the trial, pilgrims of the Order of the Blinded Eye conspired to help the Soul Drinkers escape their bondage. They had been manipulated by the intricate machinations of Daenyathos to help him achieve his mysterious objectives. Not questioning their new-found freedom, the surviving Soul Drinkers made their last stand within the Phalanx's Librarium. The forces of the Imperial Fists and their Successor Chapter brethren converged on the Soul Drinkers' position, and a vicious firefight ensued.
The breakout of the Soul Drinkers from their holding cells was merely a distraction, as Daenyathos used this diversion to carry out the final phase of his meticulous plan. His most loyal follower, Chaplain Iktinos, kidnapped Captain N'Kalo of the Iron Knights, and brought him to his master. Using the blood of the battered Astartes, the genetic code of Rogal Dorn was the key to unlock an infamous Warp Gate known as the Predator's Eye that was actually hidden within the Imperial Fists' fortress-monastery. Unable to destroy it outright, the Primarch Rogal Dorn had sealed this Warp Gate nearly ten millennia before, and had vowed that one day, when the countless other threats had subsided, he and his Chapter's Librarians and other champions would finally destroy the Predator's Eye. The Warp Gate had originally been located in the Kravamesh System within the Veiled Region until Daenyathos had stolen it and hidden it within the confines of the Phalanx itself millennia before during the assault on Terra to topple the Renegade High Lord of Terra Goge Vandire at the end of the Age of Apostasy in the early 36th Millennium.
From the newly opened Warp Gate emerged the various foul denizens of the Immaterium, including the master architect of the Soul Drinkers' fate, a Daemon Prince of Tzeentch named Abraxes. Daenyathos intended to use Abraxes' power to travel the galaxy, with the Phalanx as his personal chariot, spreading the power of Chaos throughout the Emperor's realm. Now Abraxes would be able to use the Warp Gate as a doorway into the Empyrean from which would spill the legions of daemons under his command. Daenyathos wanted to fundamentally transform the Imperium, freeing its people from the shackles of oppression and fear and installing himself as the new master of all Mankind. Abraxes was merely a tool, to be manipulated like everything else in the galaxy.
In the meantime, Sarpedon had escaped from his captors and reunited with his remaining Battle-Brothers. Leaving them behind to face a glorious death in the Librarium, Sarpedon sought out the whereabouts of Daenyathos, but was waylaid by Iktinos's flock. The small squadron of Soul Drinkers that were with Sarpedon were killed in the carefully executed ambush. Enraged, Sarpedon slew the entire flock and then sought to confront Iktinos.
As the remaining Soul Drinkers valiantly defended themselves within the ruins of the Phalanx's Librarium, they knew that it was only a matter of time before they were wiped out through attrition. At the height of the vicious battle, the encroaching forces of the Imperial Fists and their allies unexpectedly withdrew their forces. Sensing that something was awry, the Soul Drinkers' Captain Luko led the remainder of his Battle-Brothers out of the Librarium. Monitoring the Imperial Fists' Vox-traffic, they soon discovered that Abraxes was leading a massive daemonic force that was assailing the Imperial Fists from within their own fortress-monastery. They bravely presented themselves before the Imperial Fists' Chapter Master Vladimir Pugh, and begged of him to be given the chance to fight and die by their side against a common enemy that threatened them all. Reluctantly, the Imperial Fists agreed to the Soul Drinkers' request to face the daemons, as they understood that this was in itself a death sentence.
In the meantime, Sarpedon discovered Iktinos and confronted him in a vicious hand-to-hand battle. Sarpedon was gravely wounded, but not before he managed to subdue the wayward Chaplain. Using his innate psychic ability known as "The Hell," Sarpedon brutally wrested the information from Iktinos' mind concerning Daenyathos's true intentions and learned to his dismay what Daenyathos had planned across the long millenia and how he had been but an unwitting pawn in that ancient game.
His task completed, Sarpedon took the mortally wounded Chaplain, whose mind had been utterly shattered by his psychic assault, and launched him out of an airlock into the void of space. He then made his way towards the main bridge of the Phalanx to confront Daenyathos. Daenyathos confirmed Sarpedon's suspicions of what his grand scheme for the galaxy would entail. Daenyathos believed that the Imperium was corrupt and that its people were damned. Six millennia earlier, Daenyathos had learned that the Imperium was a dark and savage place—a breeding ground for the desperation that gave the Forces of Chaos the chance to do their wickedness in the material universe. It was through suffering that the Imperium would be remade—great suffering, on a scale beyond the imagining of lesser minds. Thanks to the plan crafted by him and executed by so many others he had manipulated across the bounds of space and time, including the Soul Drinkers, Sarpedon and Abraxes, the Phalanx would spread such suffering in its wake that the Imperium would be remade stronger and more just, with Daenyathos as the new ruler of the galaxy.
Sarpedon bravely confronted the corrupt Dreadnought in combat, attempting to stop Daenyathos's mad ambitions from coming to fruition. During the combat that ensued, Sarpedon sustained multiple mortal wounds from the Dreadnought's missiles and Storm Bolter. The Dreadnought smugly plucked the mortally wounded Chapter Master from the floor with its Power Fist, intent on crushing him to death. The Dreadnought brought the Chapter Master closer, so he could get a better view as he crushed his victim to death. Sarpedon quickly enacted his desperate plan, reaching into an ammunition pouch that hung from his belt from which he pulled the Soulspear. He had reclaimed this ancient archeotech weapon from Iktinos during their confrontation in the Phalanx's hangar. Using the artefact's deadly vortex field-encased twin blades, Sarpedon whipped the Soulspear upwards through the heart of Daenyathos' cybernetic sarcophagus, separating it from the body of the Dreadnought.
The pressure on Sarpedon relented as the Dreadnought's Power Fist fell inactive. Sarpedon freed himself from the Power Fist and stood before what remained of the Dreadnought's body. The front of the walker had been completely sheared away, revealing the life support cradle in which Daenyathos had spent the last six thousand years. Reaching inside, Sarpedon tore away the cabling and wiring and grasped Daenyathos around what remained of his scrawny neck, pulling him out of the sarcophagus. Sarpedon had a fate in mind that befitted the treachery enacted by Daenyathos.
Meanwhile, Captain Luko and Sergeant Graevus of the Soul Drinkers, along with a small squad of Imperial Fists, Librarian Varnica of the Silver Skulls and a Battle-Sister of the Sororitas made their way towards the Predator's Eye in order to close the Warp Gate and confront Abraxes himself. Along they way they were waylaid by the daemonic horrors of the Warp and many of their number were slain. In a final confrontation, the surviving Astartes and Sister Aescarion managed to overcome the vile Daemon Prince and cast him back though the Warp Gate. The Predator's Eye then began to slowly seal itself shut.
At the height of the pitched battle between the beleaguered Imperial forces and the massive daemonic host, the sudden closing of the Warp Gate dramatically affected the daemonic army. The daemons dropped to their knees or began to scream in pain as their link with Abraxes and the Immaterium itself was broken. The Imperial forces quickly took advantage and charged into the ranks of the bewildered daemonic horde, cutting them down where they stood. The Imperial defenders drove the daemons forward, through the Phalanx's forges and on towards the cargo bays where the heart of the daemonic infestation had been planted.
Librarian Varnica, Sister Aescarion and two Soul Drinkers were the only survivors of the great battle to seal the Warp Gate. When First Captain Lysander arrived to take custody of the Soul Drinkers the Soul Drinkers Captain hauled the gravely wounded Graevus over towards the closing portal. The two Soul Drinkers knew there was no place left in the galaxy for them. Not in the cells of the Phalanx, or in the grip of whatever punishment was decided for them. Not even in freedom. The whole galaxy had been set against them for so long that there was nowhere they could go and nothing they could do. They would not hand themselves over to the Imperial Fists' custody. The two surviving Soul Drinkers stepped through the portal, into the Warp, and into whatever fate awaited them there. The portal than closed completely, cutting off the madness of the Immaterium from realspace.
As the Imperial Fists and Howling Griffons were killing off the last of the daemons running loose on the vessel, Sarpedon made his presence known. The Chapter Master was near death, wounded, but not defeated. Sarpedon then held up the atrophied remains of Daenyathos before Chapter Master Pugh and the Imperial Fists and explained that it was he who had brought Abraxes forth from the Warp. Daenyathos had been the architect of their damnation, manipulating the Soul Drinkers Chapter into the destiny he had foreseen. Sarpedon explained that it was because of men like Daenyathos that innocents suffered and that he had been a fool for not seeing that Daenyathos had manipulated him into the role he wanted him to play. He challenged the Imperial Fists to succeed where he had not and to help stem the suffering of Mankind, or else do nothing and watch the human race fall. Though moved by his words, Chapter Master Pugh still had to take Sarpedon into his custody, but the Chapter Master refused. Sarpedon instead, somehow managed to reopen the Warp Gate. As Sarpedon stepped towards the portal, Daenyathos grew fearful of his fate within the Realm of Chaos and screamed in terror, for the Dark Gods were unkind to those of their servants who failed. Sarpedon stepped over the threshold and into the portal, dragging the screaming Philosopher-Soldier into the Warp and out of reality. The portal then slammed shut behind them.
Despite everything that had passed between them, the Imperial Fists recognised the sacrifice of the Soul Drinkers and had their names chiseled on vast stone columns within their Apothecarion. One column bore the names of the Imperial Fists who had died in the valiant defence of the Phalanx, whilst alongside it, another column bore the names of the Soul Drinkers, listing them as brothers in death. The Soul Drinkers were gone, but not their legacy, for their tale would serve as a caution to all those who do not see that the hand of Chaos is ever-present and ever ready to lead Men to their unwitting damnation.
The Soul Drinkers loosely followed the Codex Astartes but were similar to the Blood Angels in that their preferred tactics were shock assaults. The Soul Drinkers suffer heavy losses at several points after they went Renegade. After their First Chapter War and the Battle on Ve'Meth's planet, they numbered approximately 700 Astartes. After the fighting on Stratix Luminae, they were reduced to approximately 450 Space Marines. Though they were able to increase their numbers by being able to recruit Neophytes again, their numbers were reduced to 300 Astartes after the losses on the world of Entymion IV and the Second Chapter War. The exodus of most of Eumenes' Traitors at the end of that conflict dropped the number of Soul Drinkers to 250 Astartes. By the time they struck down the Necrons within the Veiled Regions, there were scarcely 100 Soul Drinkers left, all them having been captured by the Imperial Fists and taken aboard the Phalanx.
When the treachery of the Dreadnought Daenyathos was finally revealed and the Phalanx suffered an incursion of a massive daemonic host, the majority of the Soul Drinkers died in the valiant defence of the Phalanx. In the end, Daenyathos' plans were thwarted and the Daemon Prince Abraxes was defeated. The last known remaining survivors of the Soul Drinkers Chapter are the Philosopher-Soldier Daenyathos, Chapter Master Sarpedon, Captain Luko and Sergeant Graevus. These surviving Soul Drinkers Astartes stepped through a Warp Gate and into the Immaterium and out of reality. Their ultimate fate remains unknown.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
The Soul Drinkers Chapter was once believed to have originally been raised from those Space Marines in the Imperial Fists Legion who specialised in ship-to-ship actions and high speed insertion assault. Hence, the Chapter's combat doctrine was formed around this specialty, emphasising quick, highly coordinated assaults upon any percieved weak points in the enemy defense line. The Soul Drinkers preferred to use shock assault tactics against the enemy. They favoured the use of boarding actions and Drop Pod assaults so that they could use their mobility and heavy firepower to overwhelm the foe quickly and not get bogged down into an extended fire fight or slugging match, always staying very mobile, and if necessary, whittling the opposition down through attrition during repeated lightning strikes. The revelation that the Soul Drinkers were not a Successor Chapter of the Imperial Fists has altered the perception of why this Chapter pursued this combat doctrine, but not that they were true experts in the arts of mobile assault and void combat.
There is some doubt as to the origin of the Soul Drinkers' gene-seed. During the Soul Drinkers' trial aboard the Phalanx, Commander Gethsemar of the Angels Sanguine presented evidence that his Chapter's Sanguinary Priests thoroughly examined the gene-seed of the Soul Drinkers Chapter. They performed this medical examination as part of their research into the link between the gene-seed and their supposed Primarch and also to determine if the Soul Drinkers' fall was due to some form of unforeseen corruption of their genetic material. Much to their shock, the Soul Drinkers learned that Rogal Dorn was not, in fact, their Primarch. The Soul Drinkers' Chapter name derives from an early mutation to the gene-seed of their Omophagea organ. Normally this organ allows a Space Marine to absorb and experience some of the memories of a creature by consuming its flesh. The Soul Drinkers ritualised this function in the "Ceremony of the Chalice." In addition to gaining the consumed creature's memories, the Soul Drinkers could also experience the creature's emotions during the events recorded in their memories as a result of their mutation. Metaphysically speaking, they were able to "see into the creature's soul."
Notable Soul Drinkers
- Philosopher-Soldier Daenyathos - A revered Soul Drinker of some renown, Daenyathos was the former Reclusiarch (senior Chaplain) and later a Venerable Dreadnought of the Chapter. He lived sometime in the 36th Millennium and in his time wrote the Catechisms Martial, which was considered a nearly sacred tome by the Soul Drinkers and was still in use during the late 41st Millennium by the Chapter. Unfortunately, Daenyathos was also corrupted by Chaos in his intense desire to combat the corruption of the Imperium. He concocted a plot to use his own Chapter as pawns in a scheme stretching across the millennia with the aid of the Daemon Prince of Tzeentch Abraxes. Daenyathos intended to maneuver his Chapter into a position to bring him aboard the Imperial Fists' massive mobile fortress-monastery, the Phalanx, and open up an ancient Warp Gate that secretly existed within the gigantic starship's bowels called the Predator's Eye. Once Abraxes and his daemonic horde had seized the vessel from the Imperial Fists, Daenyathos intended to use the great vessel as his own mobile base to spread the power of Chaos across the galaxy and end the Imperium's hypocrisy and corruption. Daenyathos' mad plan was stopped by the Soul Drinkers' final Chapter Master, Sarpedon, who learned the truth of Daenyathos' machinations, defeated the Dreadnought in single combat using the artefact called the Soulspear, and then took Daenyathos' broken body with him into the Immaterium through the Warp Gate on the Phalanx to face whatever judgement awaited at the tender mercies of the Dark Gods.
- Chapter Master Sarpedon - Sarpedon was once a Librarian of the Chapter. He became the Chapter Master of the Soul Drinkers after killing the former Chapter Master Gorgoleon in single combat because Gorgoleon claimed that the Soul Drinkers were in the wrong since the Imperium had declared them Excommunicate Traitoris. Sarpedon disagreed, and held that the Imperium was corrupt through its actions, not the Soul Drinkers, a position he maintained to the end. Sarpedon was capable of telepathically sending but not receiving thoughts and was also able to generate a mass psychic illusion called "the Hell," which was fed and shaped by the psychological fears of his enemies. His Chaos-granted mutation provided him with eight arachnid limbs (allowing him to scuttle along ceilings and walls), incredible physical strength and enormously increased his psychic power. Sarpedon defeated such notable foes as the Inquisition's Interrogator K'Shuk, his own former Chapter Master Gorgoleon to claim leadership of the Soul Drinkers after they were declared Renegades, multiple daemons and Daemon Princes, Sergeant Tellos, Chapter Master Eumenes and the Necron Lord of the Tomb World of Selaaca. Sarpedon was most recently defeated in single combat by Captain Lysander of the Imperial Fists' 1st Company, and finally taken into Imperial custody aboard the Imperial Fists' mobile fortress-monastery known as the Phalanx. During his trial, it was revealed to Sarpedon that the famed Soul Drinker Philosopher-Soldier Daenyathos, the author of the Catechisms Martial, yet lived, and that he had been interred within the near-indestructible body of a Dreadnought millennia before. Sarpedon also learned that the Soul Drinkers Chapter was not the genetic successor of the Imperial Fists' Primarch Rogal Dorn. Daenyathos then enacted the final phase of his plan and opened a Warp Gate aboard the Phalanx and summoned forth the Daemon Prince Abraxes. In a final confrontation with Daenyathos, Sarpedon was nearly slain but ultimately succeeded in defeating the Dreadnought with the artefact known as the Soulspear. He then dragged the broken body of Daenyathos from his cybernetic sarcophagus and carried him through the closing Warp Gate on the Phalanx, disappearing from the annals of Imperial history.
- Chapter Master Gorgoleon - Gorgoleon was the former Chapter Master of the Soul Drinkers before Sarpedon claimed the office from him. He saw the actions of Librarian Sarpedon and his men against the Adeptus Mechanicus, the incident that precipitated the Soul Drinkers' eventual Renegade status, as being at fault, due to their responsibility for the Chapter's excommunication from the Imperium. Sarpedon challenged Gorgoleon for the right of leadership of the Chapter and its future fate as a Renegade Chapter. Gorgoleon nearly defeated Sarpedon, but the Librarian emerged victorious thanks to the timely intervention of the Ruinous Powers, who granted him an arachnoid mutation that imbued him with the power to overcome and kill Gorgoleon. With the death of the former Chapter Master, a civil war was sparked within the ranks of the Soul Drinkers. Most of the Chapter's Novices and several of the older Battle-Brothers refused to follow their new mutant Chapter Master Sarpedon, and took up arms against their former brethren. It took Sarpedon's forces several months to root them out and exterminate them.
- Captain Luko - Captain Luko commanded one of the Soul Drinkers' Battle Companies and was known to utilise a pair of Lightning Claws in combat. Luko was promoted to the rank of Captain following the battle on Entymion IV and remains one of Sarpedon's most loyal supporters. Luko pretended to love warfare to inspire his followers, but told only Eumenes and Sarpedon the truth of his heart, which was that he actually hated warfare and craved nothing more than peace.
- Veteran Sergeant Graevus - Graevus was an Assault Squad Sergeant. His mutated right arm allowed him to deftly wield a Power Axe with one hand.
- Brother Augustus - Augustus was an Astartes new to the Soul Drinkers' ranks who kept an open mind about the Chapter's beliefs. But when he learned about about the Chapter's conflict with the Howling Griffons, he was deeply reluctant to fight other warriors of the Imperium. After Sarpedon took counsel with him, the new Chapter Master decided that the Emperor was watching over Augustus. With a name like Augustus, Sarpedon reasoned, the young Astartes was clearly someone destined for great things.
- Scout Sergeant/Chapter Master Eumenes - Eumenes was the Scout Sergeant in charge of Nisryus, Scamander, Raek and other members of a Soul Drinkers Scout Squad during the hunt for Tellos, the former Soul Drinkers Assault Sergeant who had been corrupted by Khorne and become a Khornate Berserker who had to be slain by the Chapter. Eumenes was the Soul Drinker who ultimately found Tellos. Eumenes eventually challenged Sarpedon to a duel over the control and direction of the Renegade Chapter. Shortly afterwards, he masterminded the rebellion within the Soul Drinkers' ranks that began the Second Chapter War in which he gained the title of Chapter Master. Eumenes saved Sarpedon's life by killing Lord Librarian Murcaeno of the Howling Griffons. Sarpedon later killed Eumenes in another duel over control of the Chapter.
- Tyrendian - Tyrendian is a Soul Drinkers Librarian. He is able to project powerful lightning attacks from his body by drawing on the power of the Immaterium.
- Gresk - Gresk was a Soul Drinkers Librarian who possessed the psychic ability to speed up the combat reactions of his Battle-Brothers by enhancing their neurotransmitter functions. Gresk was slain by Eumenes' rebel forces after he warned Sarpedon of an imminent orbital bombardment during the Second Chapter War.
- Chaplain Iktinos - The Chaplain Iktinos was the Master of Sanctity for the entire Chapter. Iktinos had been corrupted by Chaos and manipulated the Chapter's course and its eventual damnation and excommunication from the Imperium in accordance with Daenyathos' plans to dominate and then mold the galaxy into the image that he foresaw as being beneficial for all Mankind. Iktinos met his ultimate fate aboard the Phalanx at the hands of Chapter Master Sarpedon, when they fought hand-to-hand. Sarpedon subdued the erstwhile Chaplain and then ripped Daenyathos' secrets from his mind using his own potent psychic abilities. Iktinos was then blown out of an airlock and into the void of space, a fitting end for the ruination he had brought upon his Chapter.
- Techmarine Lygris- Techmarine Lygris was the Captain of the Brokenback and one of Sarpedon's most favoured counselors. Lygris was the only Chapter member loyal to Sarpedon who remained on the Brokenback during Eumenes' rebellion in the Second Chapter War. Lygris sabotaged the starship's Thunderhawks and hid from Eumenes' rebels in the network of maintenance tunnels that catacombed the Brokenback 's hull. Lygris gave his life to defeat the Necron Lord on Selaaca, after losing his sanity when he joined with a Necron Harvester on the world of Raevenia.
- Apothecary Pallas - Pallas was an Apothecary of the Chapter who developed a way to halt the rampant mutations prevalent amongst the Soul Drinkers following their excommunication from the Imperium. He joined Eumenes' rebel faction in the Second Chapter War, because he proclaimed that he could not bear to watch his Chapter dwindle and die out in Sarpedon's constant wars. Pallas chose to remain with the Chapter in the aftermath of the Second Chapter War to atone for his sins. When they were captured by the Imperial Fists on the world of Selaaca, along with his fellow Battle-Brothers he was taken aboard the Phalanx as a captive to await trial and likely execution. When Daenyathos's treachery was finally revealed, and he summoned a horde of daemons aboard the Phalanx, Pallas fought valiantly but was eventually killed.
- Assault Sergeant Tellos - Once a promising Soul Drinker, Tellos was corrupted by Chaos and became a servant of Khorne. He was an extremely talented close melee combatant like most Khornate Berserkers and he led a group of Soul Drinkers who turned wholly to the service of the Dark Gods and had to be hunted down by the rest of the Chapter. Sergeant Tellos led his Assault Squad during the Soul Drinkers' attack on the Van Skorvold Star Fort of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Under Librarian Sarpedon's command, he fought through the starfort to retrieve the artefact of the Chapter known as the Soulspear, but it was stolen right in front of Sarpedon by the Tech-Guard of the Mechanicus, which wanted the artefact for itself for study. When the Soul Drinkers attacked the Mechanicus platform to reclaim the aretefact from the duplicitous Mechanicus Adepts, Tellos was seriously wounded after both hands were wrenched off at the wrist by an Adeptus Mechanicus Electro-priest. His life was saved by the Soul Drinkers' Apothecary Pallas who dragged him to safety. Whilst recovering on the Soul Drinkers starship Gundog, Tellos was found to be jamming metal shafts into his amputated stubs and destroying Servitors at random in the ship's Librarium. This marked the end of Tellos' sanity as a Space Marine and the beginning of his pronounced mutations as he fell to the Chaotic corruption of the Blood God. Tellos had the most obvious Chaotic mutations in the Chapter, second only to those of the Chapter Master Sarpedon. Refusing to accept any other fate, he always wanted to fight on no matter the odds; he had Chainblades grafted into each end of his arms whilst his accelerated healing mutation held them in place and allowed him to regenerate almost any damage he took instantaneously. His second mutation was a grossly enhanced muscular system and semi-translucent skin. During the time Sarpedon was looking for a cure to halt the Chapter's rampant mutations, Tellos disobeyed Sarpedon on numerous occasions. When the cure was finally located, the Soul Drinkers were forced to abandon Tellos and forty Assault Marines on Stratix Luminae. They were last seen taking on tens of thousands of mutants and undead creatures from Teturact's heretical army. A few years later Sarpedon received word that Tellos and his Assault Marines had wiped Stratix Luminae clean of life, and had pledged loyalty to Khorne, the Chaos God of blood and war. Tellos was eventually tracked to Entymion IV where he and Sarpedon engaged in a final duel over a bridge. Sarpedon was barely victorious, but during the battle the bridge collapsed, burying him in rubble. As the remaining Soul Drinkers Astartes evacuated Entymion IV, an Exterminatus of the planet was ordered by the Inquisition because the world was being over-run by daemons and Heretics. Tellos survived Sarpedon's assault and sat amidst the ruins of the bridge where he had fought the Soul Drinkers' Chapter Master, as Cyclonic Torpedoes intended to carry out the Exterminatus bored into the surface of Entymion IV and ignited the world's core. His final thought was "More blood for the Blood God," as the planet broke apart beneath his feet.
The Soul Drinkers' Chapter badge is a golden chalice with five spirals of soul energy rising out of the top and the two blades of a golden laurel wreath sprouting from its base. This is centred on a field of purple.
- Warhammer 40,000: Chapter Approved - Book of the Astronomican (1st Edition), pp. 65, 68
- Soul Drinkers Novel Series by Ben Counter:
- Soul Drinker (Novel)
- The Bleeding Chalice (Novel)
- Crimson Tears (Novel)
- Chapter War (Novel)
- Hellforged (Novel)
- Daenyathos (Novella)
- Phalanx (Novel)
- The Soul Drinkers Omnibus by Ben Counter
- The Black Library - Art & Soul, Soul Drinkers Artwork