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Imperial Fists: A Comprehensive History
Old 01 Mar 2009, 22:11   #1 (permalink)
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Default Imperial Fists: A Comprehensive History


This article has been work in progress for quite some time and I finally figured I might as well post it up and get some feedback on it and see if anyone has something to add to the article. If I'm missing a reference or something, like say you have a white dwarf with an article on the Imperial Fists, then don't just tell me about it, gimme the info! Post up a summary/paraphased version in this thread or send me a PM with the info so I can properly add it to the article and make sure its as comprehensive as possible! That said I hope everyone enjoys the read and finds the article useful.

The Imperial Fists have a long and glorious history dating back to the very founding of the Imperium. The Imperial Fists have stood at the forefront of many of the greatest campaigns in the history of the Imperium and the legends of their battles are known far and wide. The Praetorians of the Emperor the Imperial Fists of Rogal Dorn are exemplars of the values and ideals of the Adeptus Astartes to rival the Ultramarines and few can boast the resources, skills and accomplishments of the mighty Fists of Dorn. This article is an in depth look at the history and origins of the Imperial Fists and their Primarch Rogal Dorn.


The origins of the Imperial Fists are back during the Great Crusade, the Emperor sallied forth from Terra with the 20 First Founding Legions at his back, to re-unite the scattered colonies of mankind, locate his missing sons and cleanse the galaxy of the taint of the xenos and the mutant. Most of the Primarchs were discovered on a homeworld, leading the native population into new eras of peace and prosperity. Rogal Dorn however was unique among the Primarchs in that he presented himself to the Emperor, rather than the Emperor seeking him out. As the Crusade forces reached the Ice Hives of Inwit, Rogal Dorn met them aboard the mighty warship known as the Phalanx. The size of a small moon and capable of docking whole squadrons of cruisers and escorts, the Phalanx is reputed to be the largest warp capable vessel in the Imperium rivaling the Rock of the Dark Angels in size. Dorn presented this mighty ship to the Emperor as a gift. In return the Emperor gave command of the 7th Legion of the Adeptus Astartes to Dorn, the gene-sons of the Primarch and returned the Phalanx to serve as the Imperial Fists Fortress Monastery.

The Imperial Fists recruited heavily from Inwit and as they moved on over 70% of the Legionís strength was aspirants from the Ice World where Dorn was reputed to have grown up. The early join of battle brothers and Dorn forged a bond between Primarch and Marine closer than any of the other Legions managed during the Great Crusade.

The Imperial Fists recruited from Terra brought the traditions of earth with them, including honor duels fought with swords. To this day the Fists and their successors still practice these duels and even gather every century in a Feast of Blades where Champions duel for right to call themselves supreme.

The Imperial Fists won great fame and achieved many successes early in the Great Crusade. The 7th Legion acted as a strategic reserve, quickly bolstering forces where necessary and delivering decisive strikes against the Crusades greatest foes. The Imperial Fists careful planning let them excel at siege warfare and their endurance and stoic determination made them superb city fighters. Throughout the Crusade the Imperial Fists acted as the Emperorís Praetorians and when he returned to Terra to build a capitol worthy of the Imperium, Dorn and his Fists went with him. The Emperor charged Dorn with fortifying the Imperial Palace, a task that did not go unnoticed by the other Primarchs and was met with open hostility by Perturabo of the Iron Warriors who felt the honor should have been his.

Dorn did not seek glory or fame, unlike Horus or the Lion, and while some resented his closeness to the Emperor most of the Primarchs and commanders of the Great Crusade held Dorn in high esteem. Horus sought Dornís council on matters of politics and war when he was appointed Warmaster, and when other Legions had to save face the Imperial Fists would step in to get things done. It was the Imperial Fists who made up the honor guard for the burial of the ďEmperorĒ slain by the Luna Wolves during the later actions of the Great Crusade when the Luna Wolves honor dictated they could not perform such a function. On Macragge, the homeworld of the Ultramarines, a statue of Dorn stands aside that of Guilliman along with three others in the Hall of Heroes. Jaghatai Khan gifted Dorn with a dozen of his finest stallions after the defeat of Horus as a sign of eternal brotherhood.

A marked exception however is Dornís relationship with Perturabo and the Iron Warriors. Oh Schravann the Iron Warriors stormed the final refuge of the Badoon, breaching the defenses and holding them while the other legions cleansed the fortress. During the victory feast Horus claimed Perturabo was the greatest master of siege warfare in the Crusade. Fulgrim asked Dorn if he thought the Imperial Palace could resist the Iron Warriors to which Dorn replied after careful consideration that he felt the Palace was proof against any foe if well manned. At that statement Perturabo flew into a rage and screamed obscenities and accusations at Dorn so baseless that listeners were shocked. After this event Dorn and Perturabo never fought alongside each other, the Imperial Fists ever at the Emperorís side and the Iron Warriors at the vanguard of Horusí advance.

When the Imperial Fists achieved an impressive victory over the vile Orks in the ash wastes of Necromunda, the grateful Hive Lords gave Dorn permission to recruit from the population of Necromunda in gratitude for the Imperial Fists assistance. A Fortress-Chapel was subsequently built but the Fists remained as guests not masters. Dorn demanded no special rights or privileges. Some Primarchs such as Perturabo took every opportunity to garrison a world and demand its tithes but Dorn is famous for saying ďI want recruits not vassals,Ē and the Imperial Fists were satisfied remaining as a mobile military unit with none of the civil responsibilities that came with an official home world.

To this day the Imperial Fists remain a fleet based chapter, and though their listed home world is Terra and the Chapter maintains many fortress outposts scattered across the Imperium they have no dedicated base of power and do not take direct charge over any world or system but draw recruits from many worlds. This allows the Imperial Fists to draw fresh recruits wherever they may be campaigning but means that they do not have to defend a static home world or have the threat of their home being invaded.

The Horus Heresy

When Horus showed his true colors at Istvaan III, it was Captain Nathaniel Garro of the Death Guard who carried word of the treachery to the Emperor. Garro escaped Horusí fleet aboard a frigate named the Eisenstein, but the Captain and his command squad numbering roughly 70 marines total found themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere, their ship crippled and the navigator dead. Garro was determined to warn the Emperor however and took drastic action, detonating the warp cores of the ruined frigate. This action had an unforeseen consequence for at the time Rogal Dorn and the Crusade Fleet of the Imperial Fists was trapped in the warp en-route to Terra. The detonating warp cores blasted a path through the warp, scattering the storms and allowing the Imperial Fists to locate the damaged frigate and escape the encircling storms. Destroying the shattered wreck of the Eisenstein Dorn took the loyalist survivors aboard the Phalanx and made best time for the Sol system, while the rest of the Imperial Fists fleet went to investigate the Istvaan system.

Prior to the arrival of Horusí forces, the Sol system was already rife with violence. Mars itself was wracked with warfare and the red planet was literally falling apart. A scrapcode virus ripping apart the infrastructure of the Forges of Mars with brutal effectiveness. Captain Sigismund led a force of four companies of Imperial Fists to capture as many suits of armor, weapons and as much munitions as possible before fleeing to Terra. The supplies Sigismundís party captured would be the last the loyalists would get until the forces of Horus were repulsed.

By the time Horus invaded Terra Rogal Dorn and the Imperial Fists were manning the defenses of the ruined Imperial Basilica, while Sanguinius and the Blood Angels stood with the Emperor in the Imperial Palace, and Jaghatai Khan and his White Scars sheltered in the labyrinth of habitation structures. When battle was joined the White Scars harried the flanks of Horusí forces and the Imperial Fists defended the basilica, but despite the entire Blood Angels Legion and three Titan Legions the defenses of the Imperial Palace could not defend against the fury of the combined might of Horusí forces. Facing the Thousand Sons, World Eaters, Emperorís Children, Death Guard, Sons of Horus and a force of Word Bearers the Blood Angels and the Imperial Army forces were horribly outnumbered, without even considering the horrific daemonic forces that ripped their way into the material realm to fight beside the traitors.

Sanguinius fought as a true angel of death, throwing back the attackers again and again and rallying the defenders against overwhelming odds but numbers began to tell in the end and as Sanguinius held the Ultimate Gate into the Palace itself Dorn and the Imperial Fists took the legendary Sky Fortress and made a daring breakthrough to join the Blood Angels in the defense of the Palace. The Sky Fortress smashed through the traitors lines and unloaded Dorn and his reinforcements but on its way to pick up Jaghatai Khan and his White Scars at the Lionís Gate Spaceport the Fortress was shot from the sky by the combined weapons of the Deaths Head Titan Legion. The loss of the Imperial Fists Sky Fortress was a devastating blow, as such technology would never be seen in the galaxy again but its death took a toll on the attackers, blasting a kilometers wide crater in the heart of Horusí forces. Nevertheless the White Scars and the Imperial forces remaining in action across Terra were now completely cut off from the Imperial Palace and the beleaguered defenders were on their own.

The defenders had just days left before Horusí forces would obliterate them but the Sisters of Silence, Arbites, Custodes, Imperial Army, Titans, and the Blood Angels and Imperial Fists Space Marines fought with a desperate fury, forcing the forces of Horus to pay a terrible toll in blood for every inch of ground.

Unknown to the defenders however a reinforcement fleet bearing the Space Wolves and Dark Angels Legions was just hours away. Horus managed to block all communications but he had to do something or the Siege of the Emperorís Palace would be broken, despite the attackers best efforts the defenders would take too long to break.

Horus hatched a daring plan and lowered the shields of his flagship, inviting the Emperor to attack him in his sanctum and it was a chance the Emperor could not pass up not knowing that relief was just hours away. Leaving first Captain Sigismund of the Imperial Fists in charge of the defenses, naming him the Emperor's Champion, Sanguinius and Dorn led their finest surviving warriors in a teleport assault on Horusí flagship alongside the Emperor and his Custodes. Horus was ready for them however and scattered the teleporting forces across the length and breadth of his massive flagship. Sanguinius was the first to reach Horus and in his weakened and wounded state he was no match for the infernally empowered Horus Lupercal. The Emperor came upon Horus shortly thereafter to see the broken body of Sanguinus cast aside. The Emperor and Horus fought a struggle in the flesh and in the warp, their minds and bodies locked in a titanic struggle. In the end Horus was slain, but the Emperor was broken, not truly believing his favored son had truly fallen the Emperor had held back and been grievously wounded until a lone Terminator of the Imperial Fists had stumbled upon the Throne Room. Seeing the Emperor broken on the floor the Terminator charged Horus only to be ripped apart by the Daemon Primarch in a brutal and callous psychic attack. Seeing the remorseless slaughter of the warrior the Emperor finally resolved to destroy Horus and unleashed his full psychic might.

It was too late to truly save the Emperor for his body was shattered, but when Dorn found his wounded father the Primarch of the Imperial Fists carried the Emperor back to the Imperial Palace where his body was interred within the Golden Throne. At the death of Horus the surviving traitors fled Terra, raging at coming so close to victory but too weak to withstand the wrath of the imminent reinforcements.

Horus may have been slain but the Imperium was in turmoil. The Raven Guard and Salamanders Legions were shattered. Sanguinius and Ferrus Manus were dead and the fires of war and rebellion were raging unchecked. Those who could still fight threw themselves into battle with enthusiasm but the Dark Angels, Space Wolves, Imperial Fists, White Scars and Blood Angels had all taken a beating for one reason or another and it was Roboute Guilliman and his Ultramarines who did the most to stabilize the Imperium and who proved most influential in ordering the Imperium with the Emperor now stuck on the Golden Throne for all eternity.

While before Dorn had been ever true and just, with the downfall of the Emperor he became a vengeful son, leading the Imperial Fists dressed in black, ruthlessly leveling fortress after fortress, hunting down the traitors without mercy and slaughtering all those who turned their back on the Emperor. So it was that Dorn was absent from all the highest councils until he was summoned back when Guilliman presented his Codex Astartes and ordained the dissolution of the Legions.

Dorn was shaken to the core, shocked that the Imperium no longer trusted him or his Legion and that now after the loss of the Emperor and the failure of the Great Crusade the brotherhood of the Legion would be sundered as well. Without battle to focus them the Imperial Fists hovered on the brink unsure of their future, Dorn despairing that he had not seen the Imperium changing while he hunted down the traitors. Dorn, Leman Russ of the Space Wolves and Vulkan of the Salamanders all refused the dicates of the codex, and the Imperium seemed poised to tear itself apart in civil war again. The Imperial Fists Strike Cruiser the Terrible Angel was even fired upon by the Imperial Navy for the Fists supposed heresies. It was at this time that the Iron Warriors issued a clear challenge that Dorn could not refuse by building an immense fortress and daring the Imperial Fists to attack it.

The Iron Cage

Dorn meditated for seven full days in the pain glove until he saw a vision of the Emperor. Realizing that unlike he and the Fists had thought the Emperor was not dead and gone, he still watched over them from the Golden Throne. Decreeing that the Imperial Fists would all enter the pain glove as a Legion, and emerge as a Chapter, symbolically reborn, Dorn led his die-hard warriors in an assault on the Iron Warriors fortress. The battle known as the Iron Cage has gone down in history as one of great tragedy and remorse for the Imperial Fists. For not only was it a disaster, it also signaled the end of the Legion. Some however suspect that Dorn knew the outcome when he threw himself and his Legion into the assault. Some believe Dorn knew that many of his zealous warriors would never accept the dissolution of the Legion, and that by throwing themselves into the suicidal assault on the Iron Cage they would at least be granted an honorable death, for that is exactly what many of them got.

The Iron Cage was a fortress straight from the depths of hell. The Iron Warriors were masters of siege and defense and Perturaboís writings had been retained by Guilliman in the Codex Astartes. But Dorn was Perturaboís equal, and furious at the defiance of the traitors the Imperial Fists launched an all out assault straight into the heart of the Iron Warriors defenses, enraged that the enemy had dared raise their heretical banners over another Imperial world. Without any planning or strategy the Fists fought with zeal, endurance, and sheer grit determination, breaking out of every trap, fighting through every ambush and breaching every defense that got in their way. Dorn led the attack, a colossus who threw back every assault. While the battle should have favored the Iron Warriors in their network of trenches and redoubts the Imperial Fists matched the Iron Warriors guile with cold fury. Brother fought brother in half flooded trenches, tearing at each other with knives and chainswords when all ammunition was expended, neither giving nor expecting any quarter.

Eventually it became obvious that though the Imperial Fists suffered horrible losses, the Iron Warriors could not finish them, lacking the faith to make the ultimate sacrifice to achieve victory. During a pause in the fighting Roboute Guilliman and his Ultramarines intervened in the struggle, extracting the battered Imperial Fists and letting the Iron Warriors escape. Guilliman had decided that the destruction of the Iron Warriors was not worth the death of Rogal Dorn and has come with his Ultramarines to break up the brutal fight and drive the Iron Warriors off.

With their cleansing in the fires of battle at the Iron Cage over the Imperial Fists withdrew into seclusion, letting their successor Chapters take to the field in their stead. For two decades the Imperial Fists re-organized, under the direction of Dorn the Chapter absorbed the tenets of the Codex Astartes and by the time they reappeared on the battlefields of the Imperium their adherence to the Codex was second only to the Ultramarines themselves.

The New Imperium

Early in the Imperial Fists reorganization the Legion was split into four Chapters. The three new successors were the Black Templars, the Crimson Fists and the Soul Drinkers. The youngest battle brothers departed to form the Crimson Fists, strict adherents to the Codex Astartes for they had not had the time to absorb the stubborn traits of the more veteran Imperial Fists. The most zealous battle brothers under the command of Sigismund formed the Black Templars who embarked on a never ending Crusade against the heretic, the mutant and the alien. Finally the Soul Drinkers were from those battle brothers specializing in boarding assaults and ship to ship actions.

The Chapter that retained the title and heraldry of the Imperial Fists proved more amenable to the High Lords of Terra, as a mobile fleet based Chapter the Imperial Fists were capable of quick responses to requests for aid and Dorn proved more willing to assist other Imperial organizations than his brother Primarchs were. Because of this the Imperial Fists quickly built up an impressive amount of good faith with other Imperial institutions.

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The Death of Dorn

Rogal Dorn outlived many of his brother Primarchs, and while he grieved for each loss Dorn became wary of the unhealthy attention the Primarchs got as they became ever fewer. The Primarchs came to be deified more and more often and Dorn felt that only the Emperor was worthy of worship.

Soon after the disappearance of the Raven Guard Primarch Corax, Abaddon launched a Black Crusade that began to smash its way through the Cadian system. Dorn was called upon to aid the Imperial defense, however most of the Chapter and the Phalanx were engaged shadowing the Eldar Craftworld Ulthwe and were unavailable. However Dorn scrapped together three Companies and with three Strike Cruisers he brilliantly launched a surprise attack on the traitor anchorages in Pelenos Belt before they could strike. The Imperial Fists struck the very center of the Black Crusadeís forces, Thunderhawks doing incalculable damage to unprotected troop ships while the Imperial Fists themselves teleported onto the largest of the heretic warships before they could bring their shields online. Although the chaos fleet was able to overwhelm the Strike Cruisers one at a time, they were unable to stop the Imperial Fists strike teams. Wreaking havoc and rampaging through the enemy warships the boarding parties sought out the engine rooms and managed to succeed in disabling many of the ships warp drive systems. Their objectives achieved the strike teams called in roving Thunderhawk squadrons to shuttle them to another ship. Some even managed to use their victims own teleporters to transport themselves to another target and a few teams even succeeded in capturing weapons batteries to fire on other chaos ships.

The Imperial Fists were hopelessly outnumbered however and the battle could only end one way. But Dorn was absolutely determined to inflict every ounce of damage he could on the traitorous forces and the Imperial Fists did incredible damage to the chaos fleet before each team was finally cut down and each thunderhawk blasted apart. Rogal Dorn made his final stand aboard the crippled Despoiler Class Battleship the Sword of Sacrilege that had been rammed by the last Imperial Fist Strike Cruiser. The final report from the Librarian attached to Dornís party commended the Imperial Fists souls to the Emperor before Dorn led a desperate assault on the Sword of Sacrilegeís bridge.

In the end the Chaos fleet never managed to attack Cadia, the Imperial Navy arrived while the heretics were still licking their wounds. Released from their chase by the sudden disappearance of the Ulthwe Craftworld the Phalanx and the Imperial Fists led the Imperial counter-attack, and the Fists boarded the damaged Sword of Sacrilege, recovering what remained of Dornís body even as the Imperial Fleet routed the heretics decisively. To this day Dornís skeletal hand is kept in stasis, a reminder of the duty and sacrifice expected of every Space Marine. Each Chapter Master of the Imperial Fists ritually writes his name in minute script on the bones of Dornís hand, and the hand is the holiest relic of the Chapter.


The gene-seed of the Imperial Fists is incredibly stable and has never shown any sign of genetic mutation or deviancy. However over time the Imperial Fists have lost the use of several minor implants, the Sus-an Membrane that lets a Marine enter suspended animation, and the Betcherís Gland that lets a marine split acid at a foe.

"Do we bemoan such losses? No! We are the Fists! We do not need to hibernate or spit venom. We crush our enemies."
Teachings of Rhetoricus

But as the above quote of Rhetoricus shows the Imperial Fists do not grieve over such losses. The only strange traits the Imperial Fists show is a strange and unexplained need to scrimshaw the bones of dead battlebrothers while off duty, and a strange obsession with pain. The Imperial Fists make use of a form fitting device known as the ďpain gloveĒ a tunic of electrofibers suspended from a steel gibbet that stimulates the subjectís entire nervous system with incredible pain and Imperial Fists regularly test themselves in the pain glove as a form of meditation, penance and test of endurance. This practice has garnered some suspicion and scrutiny, for the Imperial Fists use the device far more often than would be expected for a unit that is famed for their legendary discipline. It is suspected that given the circumstances of Rogal Dornís death the Imperial Fists have an unending need for self-sacrifice that they must constantly struggle against.

"Pain is the wine of communion with heroes."
Teachings of Rhetoricus

Combat Doctrine

"Give me a hundred Space Marines. Or failing taht give me a thousand other troops."
-Attributed to Rogal Dorn, Primarch of the Imperial Fists.

Originally during the Great Crusade the Imperial Fists were an incredibly inflexible force. Each Company was organized exactly the same and Company commanders were notoriously unimaginative. However due to extensive, meticulous planning and the sheer determination of each individual Fist made the Legion incredibly effective at engaging static defenses. Throughout the Crusade the Fists were held in reserve while other Legions pinned a foe who would then be broken by an assault from the Imperial Fists. The Legion also proved brutally effective in blocking assaults and many counter-attacks were stopped in their tracks by the implacable Fists who showed a willingness to fight on that few foes could hope to match.

In the aftermath of the Heresy the Imperial Fists became more aggressive, assaulting enemies with little or no reconnaissance and fighting on when any other commander would order a withdrawal. Following the Iron Cage and the adoption of the Codex Astartes this ferocity became less evident but the Imperial Fists determination was utterly undiminished.

Alongside the Ultramarines the Imperial Fists have become the epitome of the Codex Astartes. Every rank has become flexible and makes use of combined arms strategies, working together and seizing the initiative at every opportunity. While the Imperial Fists have not lost their skills at urban combat or siege warfare they have become willing and able to engage a foe in any manner. The only weakness the Imperial Fists can be criticized with is a lack of acceptance for the possibility of defeat that can blind them to risk and lead the Fists to fight on well past the point where they should fall back and regroup.

"Rejoice! Let the glory of battle envelop us! Let our enemies fear us, for we are the Emperor's wrath!"
Chaplain Remataan, Imperial Fists Chapter


While the homeworld of the Imperial Fists is listed as Terra, the Fists recruit from many worlds across the Imperium. This means that the culture, traditions, and even the names of those marines that make up the Chapter will be vastly different and it is a testament to the discipline and brotherhood of the Chapter that so many varied individuals can be welded into such an effective fighting force. It is unclear however whether recruitment is done by the Phalanx alone or whether each Company performs recruitment trials at each recruiting world they pass individually. The Phalanx possesses many training facilities including entire simulated environments such as ice wastes and death world jungles deep in the ships interior and whether all recruits go through training within the Phalanx or are trained with each company separately is unclear.

Given the fleet based nature of the chapter and that Companies of Imperial Fists may be on the opposite side of the galaxy from the Phalanx at any given time it would make sense for each company to keep at least a small trickle of recruits in training to supplement battlefield losses even if the majority of recruits are brought in and trained by the Phalanx.

The Age of Apostasy

In M36 an era that later became known as the Age of Apostasy engulfed the Imperium in civil war. The insane High Lord Goge Vandire the High Lord of the Administratum declared himself the Ecclesiarch and with the power garnered by being the dual head of the two most powerful factions in the Imperium Vandire began the Reign of Blood. The Reign of Blood was a terrible conflict that swept the Imperium as Vandire's paranoia ordered the deaths of billions, if not trillions of Imperial citizens and the destruction of whole worlds. Many resisted and the armies of Vandire clashed with their enemies in open warfare across the Imperium. However factions on both sides of the conflict were unwilling to risk their relations with the Imperial Fists and not only did they leave the Fists unmolested while the Chapter campaigned against the Ebon League, the Imperial Fists were often able to bring both factions together to face a common threat that would otherwise have found the defenders divided and weak. Because of this the Imperial Fists and those they encountered weathered the storm of internecine war and political upheaval better than most. However eventually the neutrality of the Astartes could not continue and when the Black Templars returned to the Sol system to find their Chapter Keeps destroyed they declared a Crusade against the High Lord Vandire. The Imperial Fists along with the Fire Hawks and Soul Drinkers joined the Crusading Templars and laid siege to the Imperial Palace and Terra, though ironically this time around it was the loyalists who were the attackers, in a cruel twist of fate and an echoing repetition of the horrible events of the Horus Heresy.

2nd Siege of the Imperial Palace
-For months the armies of the Saint Sebastian Thor, the Space Marines and their allies laid siege to the Ecclesiarchal Palace without managing to breach its formidable defences. Eventually the Emperor's Champion Navarre of the Black Templars led a daring last ditch assault. At the height of the fighting the Chapter Banner Bearer fell, all eyes watched as the Chapter Standard began to fall but Navarre swept the banner up and carried it through the breach in the Palace's walls, inspiring his brothers to fight all the harder. After the battle Chapter Master Lazerian honoured Navarre with the title of Captain of the Banner as a reward for his exceptional courage.

With the outer walls breached the loyal warriors of the Emperor carried the fighting into the inner precincts of the Palace, something that had not happened since the dark days of the Horus Heresy when the Imperial Fists and the Blood Angels had stoicly held the traitors at bay. The situation was now reversed but despite the prowess of the Imperial Fists and their successors and allies the battle was brutal and ugly. The fighting only came to an end when the Custodes intervened. Bringing the leader of the militant sisterhood known as the Brides of the Emperor Alicia Dominica before the Golden Throne itself. The Brides of the Emperor was a militant sect of nuns that Goge Vandire had inlisted as his strong arm, equipped with Holy Bolters and cleansing flamers, and armored in sanctified power armor the Brides were a force to be reckoned with but it was their faith from which they drew their true power. No one knows what happened in the Emperor's throne room but when Dominica emerged she and a cadre of her most trusted companions marched straight to Vandire's Audience chamber, denouncing him as a heretic and traitor Dominica cleaved his head from his shoulders, ending the 2nd Siege of the Imperial Palace and the Reign of Blood. Sebastian Thor became the Ecclesiarch, the renamed Daughters of the Emperor became the Sisters of Battle, the militant arm of the Ecclesiarchy and the Ordo Hereticus and the victorious Space Marines departed, their mission complete. It is unknown however whether the Imperial Fists and the Black Templars rebuilt their Chapter Keeps within the Sol system, or whether they moved on immediately.

The 13th Black Crusade

During the 13th Black Crusade the Imperial Fists were part of a massive Adeptus Astartes reinforcement of the area. Five full companies struck the chaos forces at Cadia with brutal effectiveness, their Battle Barges and Strike Cruisers reaping a terrible toll on the heretic fleet before three of the companies launched a combat drop on Cadia itself. The other two companies went to bolster the defenses in other regions including the Iron Hands homeworld of Medusa where the entire Chapter was embattled against the heretic forces under the banner of the Great Despoiler.

The 1st, 2nd, and parts of the 3rd Companies all proved instrumental in holding various fortresses across Cadia. The 2nd Company in particular was noted for numerous acts of gallantry and incredible courage including overcoming a horde of mutants from the Stigmatus Covenant numbering over 10,000 strong and holding the walls of Kasr Vasan where Captain Tialo sacrificed himself to hold a breach in the defenses against a horde of mutants numbering in the hundreds before succumbing to his wounds. Tialoís body did not fully die however and is even now held in stasis awaiting internment within the armored sarcophagus of a Dreadnaught to continue to fight the enemies of the Imperium even after death.

The Campaign for Miral

When Hive Fleet Leviathan attacked the Imperium from beneath the galactic plane, the forces of the Emperor were caught by surprise and Terra itself was threatened for the first time in millenia with possible invasion. The Tyranid juggernaught smashed its way through all that stood before it, but a few brave souls stood resolute regardless. An Imperial Fists task force under the command of 1st Captain Lysander was one such force, intercepting a splinter of Leviathan on the verdant world of Miral. The Imperial Fists set up a fire base and dug in for the storm and the Tyranids did not dissapoint. For six days the Sons of Dorn threw back every assault, constantly under attack by countless alien monsters. By the end of the 6th day tactical analysts predicted that another day on Miral would see the Imperial Fists overrun and slaughtered.

Lysander and his warriors stubbornly refused to accept defeat or give ground to the xenos menace. The Chaplains walked the battle lines calling on the battle brothers to give one more day for the honor of Dorn. Inspired by the memory of their Primarch the Imperial Fists fought with renewed vigor and though cassualties mounted and many brave warriors fell, by the dawn of the 8th day the banner of the Imperial Fists still flew high and the Tyranids were gone, fleeing before the unshakeable determination and might of the Imperial Fists, the Sons of Dorn!

"One more day on Miral, one more day for Rogal Dorn,"
-Attributed to Captain Lysander on Miral.

The Deathwatch

Many of the Deathwatchís most famous Captains have been from the Imperial Fists. The tactical skills of the Imperial Fists have made them equally effective at leading their more hot headed brothers in the politically tense environment of the Ordo Xenos, and in the ever shifting situations of Kill Team missions where less level headed leaders struggle. At least one Imperial Fist Captain has been seconded on a permanent basis so highly did the Deathwatch value his leadership.

The Emperor's Champion

The tradition of the Emperor's Champion began in the final hours of the first siege of Terra. When the Emperor, Dorn and Sanguinius teleported aboard Horus' flagship, they left First Captain Sigismund in charge of the defences of the Emperor's Palace. In recognition of this trust, Sigismund was named the Emperor's Champion, swearing that he would not allow the Palace to fall and would seek out and slay the champions of the enemy. So it was that Sigismund became the first Emperor's Champion. Following the Horus Heresy the Imperial Fists and their successors continued the tradition of naming an Emperor's Champion on the eve of a monumental battle. However the practice has become less and less common with the Imperial Fists and the Crimson Fists. Rarely does a marine take up the arms and armor of the Emperor's Champion in the Imperial Fists and the Crimson Fists have not done so at all in many years. Only the Black Templars still regularly maintain this practice.

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Famous Characters

First Captain Sigismund, the Emperor's Champion
-Captain Sigismund rose to the rank of First Captain by the outset of the Horus Heresy. Famed for his stern and harsh nature, Sigismund was a warrior almost without peer, what he lacked in tact and political savvy he made up for in sheer grit prowess and determination. A blunt instrument in the repetoir of Dorn, Sigismund was nevertheless the best warrior and leader in the 7th Legion and it was he who led the defences of the Emperor's Palace when Dorn, Sanguinius and the Emperor teleported onto Horus' flagship. Named the first Emperor's Champion on the walls of the Emperor's Palace, Sigismund later became the first Chapter Master of the Black Templars. Angered at the distrust the Imperium placed on the Imperial Fists, Sigismund swore to prove his loyalty and never fail in the prosecution of his duties. To this day all High Marshals of the Black Templars renew that oath and for 10,000 years the Black Templars have been on a never ending crusade against the mutant, the heretic and the alien, following the example set by the mighty Sigismund.

Chapter Master Vladimir Pugh
-Current Master of the Imperial Fists, Vladimir is famed for his level headedness and masterful use of strategy, though he is criticized as a not overly inspirational leader. Where some Chapter Masters like Logan Grimnar, or Dante often lead from the front, inspiring their warriors through action, Pugh is a war leader more effective behind a holo-chart organizing the actions of an entire theatre than he is leading the assault from the forefront. Though as a Chapter Master Pugh is not a warrior to be trifled with.

First Captain Lysander
-Lysander is a legendary figure in the Imperial Fists. His career first became famous when he was a simple Sergeant in the 2nd Company. He was awarded the Imperial Laurel by Captain Venatus of the 2nd in 567.M40 for defending the Colonial Bridge on Iduno for fourteen hours with just a single squad of battle brothers. Every assault was repulsed by disciplined bolter fire and when they were finally relieved the bridge had to be bulldozed clear of corpses before Imperial forces could properly use it.

During the boarding and capturing of the Eldar Cruiser the Blood of Khaine in 585.M40 he took command of the 2nd Company and was elevated to the rank of Captain. He became Captain of the 1st company after he led the Drop Pod assault on the highest peaks of Haddrake Tor. Having successfully completed the assault Lysander used teleport homers to call in the Terminators of the First Company to lead the assault into the lowest levels of the mountain fortresses. The heretic defenders used the power of the warp to disrupt the teleporters targeting however and many of the Terminators arrived off target, materializing in solid walls or over open chasms. Lysander witnessed the death of Captain Kleitus when he materialized with his left side merged into a wall of solid stone. Kleitus thrust the Thunderhammer the Fist of Dorn, a legendary relic of the Chapter into Lysanderís hands before he died. With the hammer Lysander rallied the Imperial Fists and led them into the heart of the Tor, crushing all those who stood before him.

Lysander now holds titles such as Master of the 1st Company, Overseer of the Armoury, and Watch Commander of the Phalanx and leads the 1st Company in teleport assaults from the Phalanx itself, armed with the Fist of Dorn and wearing an ancient suit of Terminator Armor Captain Lysander crushes the enemies of the Imperium without remorse.

For two centuries Lysander served with distinction as the 1st Company Captain of the Imperial Fists, earning much honor. But fate had something strange in store for Lysander. In the later years of M40 the Strike Cruiser the Shield of Valour, transporting Lysander and a sizeable portion of the 1st Company, was lost in the warp without a trace. As the centuries wore on and the ship did not appear the Imperial Fists eventually conceded Lysander's fate and his name was written down in the roster of the fallen and a statue of him was erected in the hall of heroes.

However Lysander was not finished, almost a thousand years after its dissapearance the Shield of Valour emerged from the warp, far off course. In fact the ship materialised in the outer orbit of the Iron Warriors fortress world of Malodrax, situated in the western outskirts of the Eye of Terror. Facing the firepower of three orbital defence fortresses the Shield of Valour was quickly dissabled and the surviving Imperial Fists including Lysander were captured. The Imperial Fists were tortured mercilessly for weeks by their hated enemies until only Lysander and a handfull of others survived. Though broken of body Lysander's will and spirit remained strong and he broke free from his prison, along with his fellows he tore a bloody path of destruction through the capitol of Malodrax, stole a shuttle and escaped.

For more than six months after his return to the Imperial Fists, the chapter's Librarians and Apothecaries tested every fiber of Lysander's being for the trace of taint. though they used every means at their disposal to test the purity of the Captain they found not a trace of either mental or physical corruption. To the adulation of the chapter's battle brothers who had all been yet to be born when the Shield of Valour was lost, Lysander was restored as the 1st Captain of the Imperial Fists.

Before six months had passed Lysander led the Chapter in an assault on Malodrax, laying waste to the fortress world and taking blood payment for every torture and indignity inflicted. Before the flames were extinguished on Malodrax Lysander was off once more, gathering warriors to him from across the galaxy for a crusade to wipe the Iron Warriors from the face of the galaxy forever.

"I have travelled far and seen much. Yet nothing warms my heart so much as the sight of a gun so massive that its fury makes the very world tremble."
-Attributed to Captain Darnath Lysander of the Imperial Fists 1st Company commenting on the Thunderfire Cannon.

Chaplain Lo-Chang
-Lo-Chang is a veteran of the Imperial Fists, his grizzled face featuring many scars and craters from wounds earned through countless battles and duels. His fiery sermons extol the Imperial Fists to exemplify the teachings of Dorn and inspire the battle brothers through his own passionate faith.

Librarian Franz Grenstein
-Franz is an intense and often preoccupied individual who takes his responsibilities with the upmost seriousness for it is he who watches over the purity of the Imperial Fists minds and bodies whenever they come into contact with the infernal powers of the warp. He helps his battle brothers regain their sanity after encountering the daemon and the witch and ensures that they do not bring the taint of the warp back to the Chapter with them.

Captain Lexandro D'Arquebus
-Captain featured in the book Chaos Child, and a warrior recruited from one of the levels of Necromunda's Hives, a main character in the book Space Marine.

Biff Tundrish
-Another off the 3 primary characters in the book Space Marine, recruited from one of the levels of Necromunda's Hives.

Yeremi Valance
-The third main character in Space Marine, also recruited from Necromunda.

Deathwatch Captain Bannon
-Captain Bannon was the leader of the Deathwatch team in the book Warriors of Ultramar, tasked with assisting Inquisitor Kryptman in fighting the Tyranid xenos on Tarsis Ultra. Bannon and his team aided the defences alongside marines of the Mortifactors and Ultramarines chapters though Bannon himself and half of his team died during the course of the events. Their death was not in vain however as the Tyranids were eventually fought off.

Deathwatch Captain Octavius
-Leader of the Deathwatch Team in the books Warrior Brood and Warrior Coven. Octavius led a team that included three invididuals seconded temporarily from the Mantis Warriors Chapter, previously disgraced the heroic actions and sacrifice of the Mantis Warriors proved their honor without a doubt. After his actions on Herodian IV Captain Octavius was given the rare honor of remaining seconded to the Deathwatch permanently. However his tenure was cut short when he fell in battle against a Dark Eldar Talos. His shoulder pad was all that was recovered by his team though their mission was accomplished and no other members fell in battle, managing to escape their Dark Eldar captors and reach their grounded Thunderhawk.

Captain Alaric Eshara
-Commander of the Imperial Fists 3rd Company. Eshara led his company against the Iron Warriors on the planet of Hydra Cordatus. Unknown to the defenders the world of Hydra Cordatus was one of two storage facilities for Space Marine gene-seed possessed by the Adeptus Mechanicus. The genetic material used to test all active chapters for purity and to create new chapters during each founding. While the defenders fought with faith and skill they were defeated in the end and most of the gene-seed was captured. The Imperial Fists fought to the last and Eshara himself was cut down by the ascendant Daemon Prince.

Librarian Corwin
-Librarian attatched to the Imperial Fists 3rd Company under Captain Eshara. Corwin sacrificed himself to open a portal through the warp. He did this to allow a horrific daemon of Khorne to leave the fighting on Hydra Cordatus and hopefully spare his comrades from death at its hands. Where the daemon went or the result of this action on Corwin's soul are unknown but his sacrifice did buy the Imperial defenders some time, though in the end the battle was still lost.

Sergeant Vermaas
-Sergeant Vermaas was attatched to the Strike Cruiser the Justitia Fides during the battle for Hydra Cordatus. Afterwards the Adeptus Mechanicus tried to errase all evidence of their presence on Hydra Cordatus but Sergeant Vermaas located the sole survivor, Guardsmen Julius Hawke, when he took a Thunderhawk to the planets surface to investigate. The results of any intelligence gained from Guardsmen Hawke, or what happened to Hawke are not yet known.

Chapter Master Lazerian
-Chapter Master of the Imperial Fists during the Age of Apostasy and present during the 2nd Siege of the Imperial Palace where the Black Templars, Imperial Fists, Soul Drinkers and Fire Hawks fought to depose the insane High Lord Goge Vandire.

Captain of the Banner Navarre
-Black Templars Emperor's Champion who carried the Chapter Banner across the breach in the walls of the Imperial Palace during the height of the fighting during the 2nd Siege of the Imperial Palace. For his actions he was given the honorary title Captain of the Banner by Chapter Master Lazerian.

Captain Taelos
-Captain in command of the Imperial Fists forces engaged in the Campaign for Nimbosa. The contested planet on the outskirts of the Tau Empire had been fought over several times before and the Imperial forces there were stretched to the brink of collapse. Captain Taelos and Ambassador Palmatus traveled to the Tau world of T'olku in an attempt to stall the Tau invasion. They were unsuccessfull however with the arrival of the Black Templars, the Ultramarines, the Raven Guard and several other Chapters the tide turned and the Tau were driven from the world without mercy and the Black Templars established a Chapter Keep on the world.

Known Ships of the Imperial Fists Fleet

The Phalanx
-One of the largest ships in the Imperium the Phalanx is the size of a small moon and looks like it was carved from one. A mighty warship able to dock whole fleets of Cruisers and escorts and with enough firepower to devastate worlds the Phalanx boasts technology so ancient and arcane that the secrets of its functioning or manufacture have long been lost. The teleport arrays of the Phalanx are also second to none and many Imperial Fists Chapter Masters and 1st Captains have made extensive use of these arrays to launch massive teleport assaults by the 1st Company's Terminator squads. The Phalanx also serves as the Fortress Monastery and headquarters of the Imperial Fists, the spiritual home of the Chapter no matter where it may sail. The Phalanx has been at the forefront of the Imperial forces in many of the most infamous campaigns in Imperial History, including the terrible Black Crusades of Abaddon the Despoiler, the Horus Heresy, the First Siege of Terra and more. Few vessels in the Imperium can boast a roll of honor or time of service as extensive as the Phalanx.

Strike Cruiser Justitia Fides
-Strike Cruiser carying the Imperial Fists 3rd Company during the battle for Hydra Cordatus.

Strike Cruiser Shield of Valour
-Strike Cruiser carying Captain Lysander and a sizeable portion of the 1st Company late in M40, lost in the warp for nearly a thousand years before returning in the orbit of the Iron Warriors fortress world of Malodrax.

Strike Cruiser Terrible Angel
-Strike Cruiser that was fired on by the Imperial Navy following the Horus Heresy for Rogal Dorn's refusal to accept the tenets of the Codex Astartes and the dissolution of the Space Marine Legions.

Legendary Relics of the Imperial Fists

Raise the flag high. Let those degenerates know who comes to claim their lives this day!"
-Sergeant Adar Geronan Imperial Fists 4th Company.

The Fist of Dorn
-The Fist of Dorn is a legendary Thunder Hammer traditionally wielded by the Captain of the 1st Company.

The Armor of Dorn
-Fragments of Dorn's armor are kept by the Black Templars 2nd Founding Chapter.

The Black Sword of Sigismund
-The Black Sword wielded by 1st Captain Sigismund is kept in place of honor in the most sacred chapel of the Black Templars.

Dorn's Arrow
-This ancient and venerated Storm Bolter is wielded by Chapter Master Pedro Kantor of the Crimson Fists 2nd Founding Chapter and is one of the few relics to have survived the destruction of the Crimson Fists Fortress Monastery.

Dorn's Skeletal Hand
-The now skeletal hand of Dorn recovered from the Sword of Sacrilige is one of the Imperial Fists most sacred relics and is kept in stasis in the inermost chapels of the Phalanx. Each Chapter Master writes his name in minute script on the bones of the hand, a symbolic reminder of the Chapter Master's duty to the Primarch. When Rogal Dorn was still alive he and any new Chapter Master would slit their palms and and clasp hands, the sacred blood of the Primarch mixing with that of the new Chapter Master. A symbolic and physical representation of the duty and responsibility of the new Master. With Dorn's death the ceremony has ceased but by writing the names of the Chapter Masters on the bones of Dorn's hand the Chapter honors the memory of their bond with their Primogenitor.

The Sword of Dorn
-The blade carried by Rogal Dorn was shattered when Dorn broke it over his knee after returning from Horus' flagship with the broken body of the Emperor. Dorn vowed never to wield the blade again for his failure to protect the Emperor. First Captain Sigismund kept the shattered blade however and had part of it forged into the weapon known as the Sword of the High Marshals, as a reminder of the duty and sacrifice expected of the sons of Dorn. The broken blade resides in the halls of the Eternal Crusader, the Battle Barge and Flagship of the Black Templars fleet.

"The Emperor Commands us. Dorn Guides us. Honour shields us. Fear our name, for it is vengeance."
-From the teachings of Rhetoricus.


First pronounced by the Chaplains and then repeated by the Battle Brothers before going into action:

"Primarch - Progenitor, to your glory and the glory of Him on Earth".


Codex: Space Marines 3rd, 4th & 5th Editions
Codex: Black Templars
Codex: Armageddon
Codex: Witch Hunters
Codex: Tau
Index Astartes: Imperial Fists
Index Astartes: Terminator Armor
Index Astartes: Chaplains
Codicium Imperialis: Siege of the Imperial Palace
Index Astartes: The Eye of the Storm
Warriors of Ultramar
Warrior Brood
Warrior Coven
Space Marine
Chaos Child
Soul Drinkers Series
Storm of Iron
Horus Heresy: Flight of the Eisenstein
Horus Heresy: Horus Rising
Horus Heresy: Mechanicum
Horus Heresy Artbooks

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