The Blood Ravens are a loyalist Chapter in search of thier past – but are they lost sons of Magnus the Red?
First some background on the Blood Ravens
The Blood ravens possess a cadre of powerful Librarians and are noted for their ability to predict enemy movements and fall on them with the precise application of force required. Their origins are unknown and a cause of much speculation to themselves and to others.
Currently, the Blood Ravens are reckoned to be on the verge of extinction, having lost their Chapter Master and a good part of their Chapter (either literally or to Chaos) in the decade-lasting Aurelian Crusade.
The precise Founding in which the Blood Ravens were created is unknown; their own chapter histories only begin in early M37, though other Imperial records contain some small references to the Chapter proving their existence before then. It is important to note that the Blood Ravens’ histories are completely absent before the M37 date; they are not just spotty or fragmentary records. As a result, the Astartes of the Chapter know absolutely nothing about their origins, including having no knowledge of their primogenitor legion or primarch. This absence of information about a primarch has resulted in the Blood Ravens focusing their spiritual reverence on the Emperor. However, they do have one particular mytho-historical figure of import in the form of Azariah Vidya, known as the Great Father of the Blood Ravens.
Azariah Vidya is reputed to have been a member of the Chapter during its first years. According to the legend (for actual records of this event apparently do not exist), during a disastrous campaign against a Chaotic uprising in the Gothic Sector, their Chapter Master, Master of Sanctity and most of their elite 1st Company were killed in action. The young Chapter, now without much of their senior cadre, turned to Chief Librarian Vidya for leadership. Vidya, already said to be an expert in the ways of the Ruinous Powers, turned to both research and guile to achieve victory; researching and documenting the enemies’ movements, tactics and histories for clues, as well as using his Space Marine and Imperial Guard forces to probe enemy lines, strengths and reactions. After some months of such scrying and research, Vidya claimed he had the full knowledge to defeat those arrayed against them, launching a counterattack of surgical Astartes strikes on apparently deserted enemy positions that turned out to be hiding critical Chaos staging bases. The strikes were perfect, sweeping aside those before them, leading to the quick and bloody close of the campaign. In the aftermath, it was discovered that the whole rebellion (and therefore the associated extermination of the Blood Ravens veterans) had been organised by the Alpha Legion.
Following the success of this campaign Vidya was asked by the ‘Secret Masters’ of the Chapter to officially become Chapter Master; something he did while retaining his position as Chief Librarian. This resulted in the tradition of the Blood Ravens whereby Librarians are sometimes afforded dual-roles as command officers.
Now the Thousand Sons Links
Direct in-universe mentions of a connection between the Blood Ravens and the Thousand Sons is scant, but a significant amount of allusion is made to the subject in a variety of sources. A summation of these incidences and their implications follows:
- The Blood Ravens are established to have enough similarities in battle doctrine (i.e. high number of psykers and the use thereof) to the Thousand Sons that it has been noted by observers within the fiction itself.
- The pre-Heresy heraldry of the Thousand Sons is similar to the heraldry of the Blood Ravens; specifically the Thousand Sons Corvidae cult, who as well as wearing the red armour of all Thousand Sons, also sport a black raven insignia (though admittedly of just the raven’s head rather than the whole bird).
- The psyker Kallista Eris had a vision concerning the fate of the Thousand Sons shortly before the Burning of Prospero. Among other things she mentioned “The Ravens. I see them too. The lost sons and a Raven of blood. They cry out for salvation and knowledge, but it is denied!” There are several possible interpretations of these words, but the language used is clearly pertinent to Blood Ravens speculation.
- The Blood Ravens’ motto “Knowledge is power” was uttered by the Thousand Son Corvidae member Revuel Arvida upon his decision to dedicate himself to discovering the true causes of his Legion’s destruction and combat them. Arvida was a member of the fleet-elements of the Thousand Sons who were sent into hiding by Magnus the Red prior to the Space Wolves‘ attack upon the Legion and therefore did not fall to Chaos during the Burning of Prospero. Thus we have a non-Chaos aligned Corvidae Son dedicating himself to fighting the Ruinous Powers in the future. It is also worth mentioning that his name, Revuel Arvida, has certain stylistic similarities to that of Azariah Vidya, Great Father of the Blood Ravens. This motto was also stated by the Thousand Son Mhotep whilst locked in combat with a daemon. A counter-point to this potential link is that the Blood Ravens motto is a tenet uttered by various, non-Blood Raven individuals in a variety of other sources.
- The Blood Ravens’ Rahe’s Paradise outpost was discovered to be built upon the ruins of a previous Astartes structure, one that dated from “ten millennia ago”. While no identification markings could be found upon it, a red-painted Astartes shoulder plate was excavated from these ruins. Additionally, these ancient Astartes were revealed to have allied themselves with Eldar forces present upon the planet to defeat a great evil, and to have agreed to maintain stewardship over the world in order to thwart this evil should it return. Ten millenia ago references the birth of the Imperium, although the Thousand Sons were not the only Astartes Legion to wear red as their primary colour at this time, seeing as the Blood Angels continue to do so (and one cannot dismiss the notion that this may include the two unknown Legions).
- During an incident on the planet Arcadia, Librarian Rhamah of the Blood Ravens suffered amnesia and fell in with the Prodigal Sons warband of Thousand Sons sorcerer-lord Ahzek Ahriman. Throughout this association Ahriman and his warband referred to Rhamah variously as “Son of Ahriman”, “friend of Ahriman” and as a “lost brother”. Furthermore, when Rhamah locates an ancient Eldar tome – called the Un-Founding – that bears the crest of the Blood Ravens upon its cover, Ahriman concedes that he once owned a copy of the book and that another one was in the possession of Azariah Vidya (of whom Ahriman states, “I knew Vidya better than you might expect”). He further states to Rhamah “We are not so different, you and I. We were not always so different…there was a time, long ago, before the Change, when the Thousand Sons of Magnus wore the blood-red armour of their Primarch.” No explanation is given for what any of this means, and it should be noted that Ahriman is a master of deceit and trickery who was attempting to use Rhamah for his own ends.
~Whose geneseed do you think flows through the Blood Raven’s veins?