Lorehammer: Those Bloody Blood Angels
The Blood Angels Have Fallen (into our laps with new rules and a new supplement). Now, there has been much “spirited discussion” (read: complaining) that this arrival means the lore of this exalted chapter is going to be overlooked. You see, the supplement that tells you how to play the game with this army will contain mostly rules on how to play the game with this army. Apropos of nothing, here is a link you can check out.
I’m (mostly) joking. The parts of the supplements that I like the most are the lore parts, obviously. So, that being said, shall we dive in?
That’s My Secret, Blood Angels, I’m Always Angry…
Well-known and revered, the Blood Angels are pretty old – both in Chapter and in person. Once of the first 20 founding legions, the Blood Angels also have exceedingly long life-spans, even in Space Marine terms. The Blood Angels however, for all their poise and angelic grace, have had a pretty hard time of it, to be honest. From the fate and legacy of their beloved Primarch, Beautiful Bright One Soft Boi Sanguinius (I’m not sorry, no), to their depleted numbers and inevitable, inescapable fate, the Blood Angels have a dark and stories past that doesn’t bode well for their future.
The Red Thirst Trap
To understand the current plight of the Blood Angels, we have to throwback to the Horus Heresy (because when don’t we have to do that?) and the fate of Sanguinius.
Horus one day happened upon his brother, loved and cherished by most, not just me, committing and act intriguing and troubling – killing one of his own Astartes in a desolate chapel on Melchior. The two brothers were close, the kind of close that you see on YouTube Family Blogs. When Horus asked what he had walked in on, murder and all, Sanguinus explained that within his genome, from which all the Blood Angels were derived, he had discovered a fatal flaw, insidious and deep. Once awakened, it would be an unstoppable force. This would become known as the Red Thirst.
Sanguinus had known for some time about this flaw (which he called….The Flaw), and was keeping it on the down low from the Emperor and his brothers. Horus, being best brother friend to Sanguinius (enjoy that while it lasts) promised not to breathe a word. He promised to let Sanguinus deal with this slight hiccup in his own time and in his own way, offering to support him how he could (while that lasted).
Then came Chaos. That’s what they always say. Upon Horus’ corruption at the hands of Chaos decades later, he manipulated his desperate brother into doing his bidding under the guise of having found a way to purge the Blood Angels of their curse. Actual bastard. Don’t start me.
Blood Angels and Chaos Demons
As you would imagine, Sanguinius thought that his loyal, beloved brother had finally found a way to free him and his sons from the wicked curse. Well, Sanguinius, men lie. Horus had found no such escape. He had doomed the Blood Angels to fight a battle bristling with Chaos. After many bloody battles, and after The Black Rage (an unstoppable wave of visceral and unstoppable bloodlust that overtakes the Blood Angels in battle), made itself know, AND after Sanguinius steps in to cover Horus after his desertion – the two brothers met again.
Horus, again, tried to manipulate the loyal Sanguinius into betraying the Emperor in exchange for a position of power. No dice. Sanguinius was not to be moved. A good, loyal boy. Horus, at this revelation, attacked his brother. Despite the pretty rough few years our angelic boy had suffered, he gave Horus a run for his money. That is, until Horus unleashed his psychic power. The strength of this attack was so intense that it would be felt by all of Sanguinius’ sons for every generations to come, echoing through their bloodline like a scream in a hallway.
In the fateful battle, Sanguinus’ sword dinked Horus’ armour. Without that dink, that small point of weakness afforded to the Emperor in the final moments of Sanguinius’ life by his own hand, Horus would not have been defeated. Your Primarch could never.
Black Rage Against the Machine
All of that was not just an excuse for me to talk at length about Sanguinius (though I am always available for that, hmu). It’s a fundamental part of who the Blood Angels are. The brutal death of their revered Primarch is a burden each of his sons bear for the rest of their life. When the Red Thirst descends, their frenzied bloodshed knows no bounds. Despite hours spent purging their blood of their fatal flaw, sooner or later, should battle not take their life, the Black Rage will. Eventually, their violent urges arise even when they are not on the battlefield, and all Blood Angels know that this is the Black Rage taking hold. It is at this point that they are destined for the Death Company; a specialised unit comprised of the Blood Angels gripped by the Black Rage.
I’d say that there is no coming back, but there’s always one. This time, his name is Mephiston. Previously a Librarian, Calistarius of the Blood Angels, Mephiston fell to The Flaw, but somehow managed, after much time, to overcome this condition in mind and body. Twice. Maybe there is hope yet, for the Blood Angels? Or just him, who knows. This would be even longer if we spoke about him too – keep an eye out for the future…
Recruited from the people of Baal, the planet where Sanguinius was raised before his re-discover by the Emperor, the Blood Angels couldn’t look further from their source material. From the short and stout inhabitants are born chiselled and ethereal beings straight out of a Renaissance painting or a church fresco. The Insanguination process used to create new Blood Angels has, by some, been considered a reason that the chapter are susceptible to The Flaw. Insanguination involved new recruits being injected with blood from their Primarch. However, Sanguinius is not really able to acquiesce to this request any longer. That didn’t stop anything – remaining vials of his blood were subsequently injected into Sanguinary Priests, to keep it…fresh? Naturally, drinking a tot of their blood is par for the course when it comes to initiation into the Blood Angels. C’mon, they are called Blood Angels after all…
Blood Angel, Blood Angel, Will You Be Mine?
I know it seems like we have barely scratched the surface, but cut me some slack, they have been around for ages, they have a lot under their belts. With the arrival of the new supplements next week, I know for a fact the Blood Angel buzz won’t be going anywhere. Stay tuned and we might just drop back in on these lot and some of their famous faces…
I know I don’t need to tell you, but you can get your pre-order in now for the new supplement from GW or from your FLGS! Until next time, FOR SANGUINIUS!
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