Millennia before the Adepta Sororita, a more sinister female organization served the living Emperor of Mankind – The Sisters of Silence.
The Sisters of Silence, also known as the Silent Sisterhood, were the anti-psychic militant arm of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica during the Great Crusade, and were internally referred to as the organization’s Departmento Investigates. Its ranks consisted entirely of Blanks.
Operating from the Somnus Citadel on Luna, the Sisters of Silence have a long history (their organisation predates the Horus Heresy). They were an all female order, in much the same way as the Adepta Sororitas; the major difference is that the Sisters were all Blanks. Recruited from Untouchable stock, the Sisters were anathema to psykers. Their very presence disrupted psychic activity and they are presumed to have been immune to most forms of psychic assault. The main purpose of the Sisters of Silence was therefore to seek out and apprehend psykers. As warrior-investigators they could involved in all aspects of the capture and transportation of psychic individuals and could almost always be found among the crew of the Black Ships.
The organization of the Sisters involved the splitting of its members into numerous cadres such as the Storm Blades each of which contained a different armour schemes. A major base of operations for the Sisterhood was the Somnus Citadel on Luna.
Each Sister swears an oath of silence known as the Oath of Tranquility upon being nominated for Sisterhood; before this, when they are novices, they are allowed to converse normally. Amongst their other duties novices sometimes act as interpreters between senior Sisters and other agents of the Imperium. Full Sisters converse in their own sign-language, but there is at least one example of them being conversant in other forms of sign-communication, such as Astartes battle-signage.
-ThoughtMark – A symbolic sign-language that uses small gestures and conveys complex ideas and subtlety.
-BattleMark – A symbolic sign-language used in combat. Less flexible than ThoughtMark, it is also less ambiguous and it’s larger gestures can be seen from farther away. This makes it a better choice for a command language on the field of battle.
-Orsköde – A machine readable version of ThoughtMark.
-Novice-Sister – An aspirant, that has not taken the Vow of Tranquility.
-Null Maiden – A sister that has taken the Vow of Tranquility.
-Vigilator – Unspecified rank. Accompanied an Oblivion Knight on a mission.
-Oblivion Knight – high ranking Sisters who lead the Witchseekers on their missions.
-Excrutiatus – Sisters wearing red coats and ruby implants on their eyes and are said to require personally burning 100 witches before attaining this position. (see top image)
-Witchseeker Pursuivant – High ranking sister (above that of Oblivion Knight).
-Sister-Commander – Highest ranking Sister of Silence.
During the years of the Great Crusade, a cadre of Sisters were dispatched by the Emperor to aid the Death Guard in an attack on a Jorgall cylinder ship. Once there, they managed to wound a Jorgall mutant Psyker and capture it for transport to Terra
The Sisters of Silence participated in some of the major actions of the Horus Heresy, including the defense of the Imperial Palace. They were perhaps most successful during the assault on Prospero, where a force of Sisters were deployed to provide specialised support for the attacking Space Wolves Legion. Due to their Untouchable nature, the Sisters were proof against the psychic attacks of the defending Thousand Sons Legion and provided a stable bulwark for the assault to be anchored upon. The Sisters of Silence were also vital in preventing Terra from being overrun by Daemons during the War Within the Webway.
The Sisters of Silence in the 41st Millennium
The eventual fate of the Sisters of Silence is unknown. By M32, only a single force of fifty Sisters on the world of Nadiries were discovered, and these stated that the Imperium had discarded them out of mistrust following the Heresy. Despite being fiercely loyal to the Emperor and Primarchs, this last bastion of the Sisterhood expressed disdain for the modern Imperium, stating they would rather see it burn than be of aid. Nonetheless, Lord Commander of the Imperium Koorland was able to convince them to help in against the Orks during the War of the Beast.
At the end of the 41st Millennium a surviving group of Sisters of Silence appeared on Luna during the last stage of the Terran Crusade. These Sisters were from their few remaining strongholds across the galaxy, called back to Terra due to the Thirteenth Black Crusade at the behest of the desperate High Lords. Alongside Custodes from Terra these Sisters proved vital in the defeat of Magnus in the battle. After the return of Roboute Guilliman, he ordered that the remaining strongholds of the Sisters of Silence be gathered and expanded. Since then the Sisters have returned to the frontlines, forming Orders in every Segmentum and often operating in fleet-based forces.
The new Sisters of Silence fleets have used their null abilities in conjunction with the Navis Nobilite to penetrate the new fierce Warp Storms that ravaged the Imperium. They have also taken part in the Indomitus Crusade.
If only the could speak they would have such stories to tell.