Index Astartes: Flesh Eaters

Index Astartes: Flesh Eaters

“Every lie you tell, we shall bring truth. Every seed you sow, we shall unearth. Everything you build... we shall tear down.”
[//Brother Jael, standing atop a ruined statue of the Abomination Unto Him+]




The name 'Flesh Eaters' is amongst the most feared within the Imperium of Man – owing as much to the fear of the unknown as to their recorded deeds. A shroud of mystery occludes the Chapter, while a reputation of savagery and an undercurrent of bellicosity haunts their name. Mercurial, superior and quick to ire when questioned, reports of torture and cannibalism haunt wherever they make war. 

As with all descendants of Sanguinius, the Flesh Eaters bear a face of nobility, but the remnants that are evident in this successor Chapter are notably brittle; a mask that falls away rapidly in times of war. 

Such is the fell reputation that precedes them, Planetary Governors and Astra Militarium leaders request aid from them only in the darkest and direst of situations. For the High Lords, however, these qualities made this Chapter of 'reluctant angels' ideal for the purposes the Imperium would set them during the War of the False Primarch.



Warcry  The Chapter are recorded as using several warcries, ranging from 'Viscus Voro!' and 'For Sanguinius!' During the War of the False Primarch, the more direct 'Pray for death!' was their favoured motto.

Cognomen  The Chapter came to be known as the 'Night-haunters' by the nominally allied populace of Sector Heliopolis; a name that was neither encouraged nor proscribed by the Flesh Eaters. More broadly, they became known as the Angeli Luctans amongst the Imperial faithful. As the Chapter's excesses – on both the enemy and civilian populations – became more well-known, Ecclesiarchical apologists attempted to portray the Chapter's obvious savagery as a 'burden of conscience', rather than an indulgence of ill-discipline. In the famed Moral Play Velghor Fureans, for example, the Flesh Eaters were portrayed as weeping in sorrow for the innocent as they fulfilled their duty to the Emperor – the need to defeat the traitors superceding the possibility for restraint against bystanders. The Chapter's views on this, as they waded through blood, is not recorded.

Founding  Third [+//001.M32/+]

Gene-Seed  [+/IXsanguinius/+]

Successor Chapters  [//none on record+]

Chapter Master  Jan Velghor [//honorificval=TRUE: Grand Voivode+]

Homeworld  The people of mist-haunted Karpathia are a feral and superstitious people, yet hard-working, wily and resourceful. These qualities made them excellent candidates for the Adeptus Astartes, and the shuttered villages of the dark blue-green pine forests adapted quickly to the hardline and distant rule of the Flesh Eaters. The natives' fertility is reportedly high, yet their population never seems to grow excessively. This anomaly remains notably uninvestigated by the Administratum. Perhaps, as the Imperial Tithes are paid and all seems well, the Administratum regards it as best practice to let sleeping dogs lie...

[//ident: Karpathia Munda | tithegrade=Aptus Non+]

Located in the distant Eastern Noctem Aeternam Sector of Segmentum Solar, Karpathia is a small but mountainous planet covered in treacherous peaks and plunging, densely-forested valleys. Due to the location of its adjacent sister planet, most of the time Karpathia is bathed in darkness, its day-cycle limited to short gloaming hours of twilight. 

Certain warrior customs of the hardy population have continued within the ranks of the Flesh Eaters, including ritual impaling – sometimes in the thousands during particularly successful campaigns – as well as the beheading and claiming of skulls of particularly worthy foes. Some of the Flesh Eaters' most decorated champions are covered in skull trophies, and take great martial pride in seeking out and beheading enemy champions. Despite the savage trappings, a clarity born of twisted nobility and ruthless, tormented focus is perhaps the most terrifying aspect of the Chapter. Where one might hope to outwit a mere brute, to behold the dark majesty of a Flesh Eaters officer is to experience a fear both black and primal.

[//Voivode Nero, 5th Company Captain+]

Fortress Monastery  Atop the highest peak is The Desdoman Keep, sometimes known as The Brann. This mighty obsidian edifice, built into the mountain range itself, is the fortress monastery of the Flesh Eaters. Inaccessible to the mortals below, a constant eerie mist surrounds its lower reaches, and weapons systems etch its walls. Sightless, foreboding statues line its towers, pushing thoughts of heresy from the people of Karpathia. The Arch-Angel, Primarch Sanguinius, stands central over all on the largest, darkest tower, the Tower of Voro, his wings and arms outstretched  as he looks towards the stars, watching over his Scions who are away from their home. It is said that tortured screams can be heard in the distance from the tower's upper echelons, though nobody speaks of such things nor of what happens in this most haunted, desolate place.

Appearance  Like most Blood Angels successors, the Flesh Eaters have some ties to their primogenitor Chapter. They wear all-red, in the manner of the Blood Angels, albeit with bone-white trim in place of the black. The Flesh Eaters' heraldic icon is a monstrous stylised fanged maw which does little to detract from their notoriety. While they follow the Blood Angels' lead in Codex-compliant Company and Squad markings, the Chapter is noted for their swift changes in iconography. New Codex markings and colours are frequently adopted for campaigns, helping to shroud and hide their numbers. Following the Battle of Feretory, for example, the Seventh Company began to bear a bold white bar across their helm and down the faceplate.


The Flesh Eaters' appearance cannot be discussed without mentioning the honour marking known as the Jaws of Doom. Later attributed to a successful campaign against 'a Rogue Trader House now cast to the winds of history', the marking had its origins in the War of the False Primarch. Adopted during the Delphurnean League Campaign, the marking was a taunt to the Silver Stars and their Partisan Allies – an indication that the Flesh Eaters would devour the enemy dead rather than allow their progenoids to be recovered. Death, so the marking suggested, was voracious.

It was a look that quickly gained notoriety within and without of the chapter as a result, and The Jaws became a prevalent honour marking throughout the chapter, most famously painted on Mk VI Corvus pattern helmets, but also on other helms, Dreadnought sarcophagi, and in one or two isolated instances, as facial tattoos. This latter is believed to have come about owing to cultural cross-pollination between the Flesh Eaters and Carcharadons during the Chapters' combined persection of the Firebreak and Wormwood Sons.


Origins and history

[//Second Company command, Forbearance Theatre+]

“They vilify us for our methods, yet nobody questions the results. We are the chosen Scions of Sanguinius, tempered weapons of the Emperor Himself. Our enemies quail with fear even before we draw first blood. They will soon know it is a fear well-founded! Let them fear the Angels of Death. Let them fear what is left of their short future. Let them pray for death. Brothers, we will answer those prayers.”

[//Scaraban, Voivode of the Flesh Eaters Second Company+]

Born of the 3rd Founding, on the first day of M32, the Flesh Eaters had a short but storied history prior to the War of the False Primarch. A swollen Company, all Veterans of the Great Scouring and of the extensive campaigns against the retreating Sons of Horus, had been budded off from the Blood Angels Chapter to form a kernel for the new Chapter. All were followers of a divergent sub-Chapter sect that had its origins in the Horus Heresy. 

Orfeo, a Legionary of the line, was said to have beheld his fallen Primarch and, in his grief and madness, devoured part of the Primarch's arm. As his brothers pulled him away, the flesh was miraculously shown to be unhurt; and Orfeo likewise was transfigured. While likely apocryphal, the story resulted in the cult of the Sanguinary Sacrament, in which Blood Angels ritually feasted on flesh carefully excised from their living brethren. Orfeo was held up by the group as a visionary; a sign of how the Blood Angels and their kin could overcome the increasingly dark visions that gripped them. The sect was tolerated, though discouraged; with most of the Legion – and later Chapter – referring to its adherents dismissively as 'Flesh Eaters'. Taking the light scorn and turning it on its head, the new Chapter defiantly adopted the name as it set out to its assignment to the eastern border of Segmentum Solar, where they had been granted suzerainity of Karpathia. 

[//ancestfiledub=Tactical Dreadnought Armour+]

The Chapter immediately began to prosecute the Emperor's fury against the numerous xenos species encroaching on nearby Imperial territory, as well as uprisings in Imperial sectors. Its reputation, however,  was forged over two centuries of ruthless and unending warfare, fighting resurgent Heretic Astartes in the so-called Bicentennial War. The Chapter's ruthlessness became entrenched, the cult worship being weaponised as the Flesh Eaters feasted on both their own and fallen enemies alike, inspiring fear and loathing in their enemies – and doubtless curtailing many campaigns as their foes surrendered.  The Chapter cult turned from one of introspection and farsight into a belief that one could demonstrate superiority and gain the strength of a fallen enemy through carnophagy. Thus began a reputation for extremity that has not waned over their long, bloody history. 

While the Flesh Eaters began to become infamous amongst allies as a result of their actions, this distasteful reputation also led to the attention – and favour – of the High Lords of Terra themselves. They were loosed a number of times on Imperial forces which the Senatorum Imperialis judged to have strayed too far from the Emperor's light – including, famously, the destruction of the Calumnators Chapter. With hindsight, this action, scant decades following the end of the Bicentennial War, can be seen to be a precursor to their deployment to the War of the False Primarch; and perhaps why they were granted field command of the Pentarchy.

The Flesh Eaters attended to such tasks not with a sense of reluctance, but rather as an opportunity in which to revel. They came to cultivate their reputation and developed an air of superiority, making veiled hints to rival Chapters regarding their elevated status, and as the High Lords' own executioners of Astartes. Prior to the War of the False Primarch, they believed themselves favoured as the Imperium's shock troops, elevated above even their Astartes peers. It is likely that the patronage of the High Lords not only kept them well equipped, but also historically spared them Inquisitorial investigation over their methods of war.



The Curse

By the onset of the War of the False Primarch, the Flesh Eaters were going through a period during which they largely withdrew from their fellow Blood Angels successors, attending fewer honour feasts and events. Records from the Blood Angels themselves hint that this was believed to be owing to the circumstances of their creation, or perhaps due to a growing sense of superciliousness amongst the Successor. In fact, the Flesh Eaters had begun to suffer the burden of the curse more than most, their Chapter having developed  a slow mutation of the Omophagea Gland. 

[//Flesh Eaters Chaplain Dosteo, on the eve of the Alwicc Liminal Campaign+]

As the demands of the Red Thirst began to affect the Chapter more pressingly, this already inward-looking Chapter became still more private. The Flesh Eaters' rituals became not merely favoured, but the sole method by which they felt they could control the flaw that afflicts all scions of the Great Angel. The mutation had the catastrophic result that the Flesh Eaters developed not merely a desire for, but a dependency upon the blood and flesh of the living. A battle brother who did not indulge in their craving began to waste away to a shrivelled husk. During the period, many Marines of the Chapter – already bloodthirsty warriors suffering lapses in self-control – became consumed by delusional psychosis. The Chapter's Death Company – the Forlorn Hope – grew ever-larger.


Sacrificial Feast of The Lost

Not all Death Company Brothers are destined to meet a glorious death at the hands of the Emperor's enemies. Those that do not may be put in stasis until a suitable time when they can be unleashed and find peace at the side of The Great Angel through glorious sacrifice. For some, the peace that is death at war does not come. These Brothers are released from their mortal form during what became known as the Sacrificial Feast of the Lost, where they are consumed by their own brethren. It is a solemn feast that takes place atop the Tower of Voro, and it is quite unlike the crazed victory feasts that take place after successful campaigns. This is meant not only as a sign of respect, but also to help The Lost find an honourable peace and to ensure that they live on in the Chapter forever. 

[//dennis_k/@the_iron_within et paul_h/@the_midnightmare+]


Combat Doctrine

Being Blood Angels successors, the Flesh Eaters excel as close assault shock troops. Every Flesh Eater seeks to get to grips with his enemy as soon as possible, leaving only the most stalwart and strong-willed to hold tactical positions in Tactical or Devastator Squads. Most marines bear chainsword and bolt pistol; and boltguns are often fitted with vicious serrated combat blades or grisly chain bayonets. 

Their battles usually result in a close assault and rout of their foe, with marines gripped by the Thirst rending enemies apart with chainsword and pistol, fist and teeth. After the bloodshed, their post-battle actions – intended as much to ward away allied observers as to terrify surviving enemies – include sickening Karpathian rituals of dismemberment, and callously brutal executions such as impaling and crucifixion. This has done little to enhance the Flesh Eaters' unsavoury reputation. While many enemies have been broken through witnessing such sights, many allies have equally refused to fight along side them. 

The Flesh Eaters themselves regard the main weapon in their extensive arsenal as fear itself.

[//Flesh Eaters during the Chernobog Invasion+]

First we must make them fear us. We are the terror from the skies. We are the monsters of the night. We are coming for them. Make them afraid of what will happen. Cultivate their terror that it will cause them to surrender to themselves before we move. Then, when we strike down upon their soiled and terrified selves, they will realise what they feared does not even come close to the reality.

[//Ostroth the Terrible, prior to the Morgant Suppression+]


Disposition during the War of the False Primarch

[//Flesh Eaters assault forces outflank and destroy Silver Stars defenders on Morgant+]

This episode in Imperial history is as dark and bloody as the Flesh Eaters themselves, and similarly shrouded in myth and mystery. The Pentarchy of Blood was convened by the High Lords of Terra to enact their judgement; and never was a force name more apt – the Flesh Eaters were joined by the Carcharodons, Charnel Guard, Death Eagles and Red Talons; ruthless and dutiful all. Under the increasingly erratic leadership of Grand Voivode Velghor, the Pentarchy were unleashed to destroy what turned out to be eleven Chapters judged traitoris perdita and to lay waste to their homeworlds. 

Velghor's strategy, ratified by the other Chapter Masters, was engage across a broad front, preventing traffic between the 'infected' Morqub Sector and the nominally secure Heliopolis. To this end, the Delphurnean League worlds were amongst the first to feel the wrath of the orthodox Imperium, with the Flesh Eaters leading the reaving towards Ishim, homeworld of the Red Fish. Along with their Astartes allies,  the Chapter's warriors fought the Silver Stars, Red Fish, Inheritors, Void Barons, Riven Lords and elements of the Jade Talons over dozens of planets. Systems from Acylus to Ishim suffered the Chapter's ruthless assaults, most famously during the later Alwicc Liminal, Pao Fung – where the Inheritors and Flesh Eaters fought a brutal and highly mobile campaign across the choking jungles and ice plains – and Phraenos campaigns, but also on Forbearance and Oblitus Vega.

[//The Forlorn Hope in action on Morgant+]

The Chapter's actions drew disquiet and censure from the populations of Heliopolis, and it was a subject of much debate as to whether the excesses of the Flesh Eaters were creating as many potential Partisans in Heliopolis as they were killing in Morqub. A blanket propaganda bombardment campaign was begun by the Ecclesiarchy in Heliopolis to attempt to address and salve the concern. Neverthless, the Red Talons and Death Eagles garrisons across numerous worlds found themselves forced to engage roving militias declaring themselves for the Primarch.

As the war ground on, the Wormwood Sons, Marines Saturnine, Firebreak and Argent Heralds were drawn in for various reasons detailed in their own Indices. As the strength of the Partisans revealed itself – and the sheer size of the Silver Stars became apparent – Velghor announced that such a task was beyond even the might of the Pentarchy. Even with the colossal might of the Extinction Armada, he believed the war would become an interminable stalemate that would inevitably draw increasing attention. It was at this fateful point that Master Enoch proposed the Diet of Fools, a moment that would have consequences none could have foreseen. 

The Diet is detailed elsewhere, but as the Pentarchy's ranks swelled, they were able to move from a holding action back onto the offensive, and the war reached its height. The fighting at this point decimated the Sectors of Helipolis and Morqub; and brought in the so-called 'Steel of Heliopolis' – the Star Wardens, Iron Guard and Storm Tyrants – as they rose up in support of the 'Returned Primarch'.

[//Velghor and his Sanguinary Guard are attacked during the Firebreak's ambush on Jonai, in the Qorabbas system.+]

Alas, Velghor himself fell to the death visions of Sanguinius in latter stages of the war. He took his place within the Forlorn Hope, and met a glorious end in blood and honour. According to the Chapter's own records, his sacrifice was against the Abomination himself. What is known is that the High Council of the Chapter led the Flesh Eaters in his wake for the remainder of the war, and shortly after, until a replacement was found.


The Flesh Eaters were ever a brutal Chapter, and their own hierarchy made full use of the tools of fear and terror during the war. The Chapter's ancient scrolls and sacred texts point to how they utilise the practice in war; overcoming enemies made easy prey by fear. Assaults were presaged by terrifying vox transmissions warning of impending doom. Leaders were captured and made examples of; tortured in public. The loss of entire, often innocent, populations was – rightfully, in my view – dismissed by the Chapter's leadership as collateral damage. 

The Chapter's symbol of The Maw; the Jaws of Doom; lightning fast raids using jump troops to break enemy lines; gore-drenched warriors covered in skulls and flayed trophies... All are elements intended by the Flesh Eaters to evoke primal fear in enemies and work to the goal: absolute victory. 

The war saw entire systems brought to their knees in a matter of days. The Flesh Eaters were masters of total warfare, and a truly terrifying to behold once unleashed.

[//Master Aramis Enoch+]