|This article is about the Space Marine, for the Battle Barge see Sigismund (Battle Barge)|
Sigismund was First Captain of the Imperial Fists Legion during the Great Crusade, and right-hand man to Primarch Rogal Dorn. During the Horus Heresy, Dorn appointed Sigismund the first Emperor's Champion, to defend the Imperial Palace during the Battle of Terra. After the Heresy, Sigismund became the founder and first High Marshal of the Black Templars Chapter.[1b]
The Great Crusade
Sigismund was born on Terra, in the drift camps on the Ionus Plateau. [7a]
Sigismund served during the Great Crusade as First Captain of the Imperial Fists and as Adjutant to Rogal Dorn.[2a]
During the Great Crusade, Sigismund demonstrated a cold, realist view of the future of the Imperium. While conversing with Captains Garviel Loken and Tarik Torgaddon of the Luna Wolves, he stated his belief that the Great Crusade would never end:
He also delivered a striking statement on the nature of the Imperium, perhaps even the nature of man:
At some point prior to the Horus Heresy, the Imperial Fists and World Eaters served together for a significant period of time. During their campaigns, Assault Captain Kharn and Sigismund became close comrades, even going as far to refer to one another as "Oath Brothers". It was during their frequent duels in the cages of the World Eaters' flagship, the Conqueror, that Sigismund earned the name the "Black Knight" and adopted the custom of binding his weapons to his wrists with chains from Kharn (after a duel with the Primarch Angron. This custom would later be adopted by members of the Black Templars.
The Horus Heresy
It was Sigismund who led the squad of marines that accompanied Rogal Dorn in a boarding action on the Eisenstein, under the command of Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro of the Death Guard, bringing word of Horus’s rebellion.[2a][2b]
Once Dorn had absorbed the news, he ordered Sigismund as his "strong, right arm" to go on a mission to the Isstvan System to assist any surviving loyalists and evaluate the situation.[2c] During the time Dorn spent in isolation Sigismund struggled with the dark news, and felt he lacked purpose. He met Euphrati Keeler who told him Horus would, in fact, go to Terra, and that Sigismund would have to choose where to stand. She gave him a vision of the death of the Imperium, as well as his own. One choice would result in his death in space, in the light of an unknown star, forgotten. The other, to war without end. She also told him that his father would need him before the end. His resolve shaken, Sigismund was deeply affected by the conversation. As a result, Sigismund requested that he be allowed to remain at his Primarch's side, and so command of the Retribution Fleet was given instead to another. Dorn did not know why Sigismund made this request, but trusted him and did not question it. [7b]
Sigismund led four companies of Imperial Fists on a mission to secure resources from the forges at Mondus Occulam and Mondus Gamma on Mars.[3a] Enemy resistance was too intense to maintain control, and Sigismund's mission was to evacuate as much material and personnel as possible then withdraw from the planet.[3b]
Soon after his return to Terra, Sigismund confessed to Dorn his reasons for asking to remain on Terra rather than command the Retribution Fleet. Dorn became enraged, and rebuked Sigismund. He showed Sigismund why he had erred out of pride, and that his error was not unlike the pride that drive some of the Primarchs to rebellion. Shamed, Sigismund offered his life to Dorn, but the Primarch declined to take it. He retained Sigismund as his First Company Captain to avoid demoralizing the men, but disowned Sigismund as a son. [7a]
During Horus's attack on the Imperial Palace, Rogal Dorn chose Sigismund as the Emperor's Champion, and gave him the best armour and weapons available. He went forward to challenge the traitorous leaders to single combat, and triumphed over all he met in battle.[Needs Citation] When Rogal Dorn accompanied the Emperor of Mankind and Sanguinius in boarding Horus's flagship, he left most of his Imperial Fists behind to look to the defense of the Imperial Palace. Considering him his finest soldier, Dorn placed Sigismund as the leader of the ground forces until Dorn returned.[1a]
The Second Founding
Sigismund was a mighty warrior and after the Horus Heresy and the breakdown of the Imperial Fists into Codex Chapters, Sigismund led the more zealous of the Imperial Fists as the Black Templars chapter and was elevated to the rank of High Marshal of the Black Templars. His personal heraldry, consisting of black and white, became the official colors of his new Chapter. Immediately following the Horus Heresy, the Imperial Fists and their primarch came under suspicion as heretics for their refusal to back the Codex Astartes and break down into smaller Chapters. In addition, the Chapters and former Legions were laden with strife. Recognizing that only an act of supreme faith could quell such suspicion and restore the integrity of the Space Marines, Sigismund declared an eternal crusade, vowing never to cease his prosecution of the Emperor's enemies. All subsequent High Marshals of the Black Templars have renewed this oath, and so the Black Templars have waged their crusade, unbroken, for more than 10,000 years.[1b]
Enraged by what the traitors had done to the fledgling Imperium, Sigismund spent the next several centuries hunting Abaddon the Despoiler. Though now elderly, he still burned with a passionate hatred of the traitors. During the First Black Crusade, Sigismund was finally able to corner the Chaos Warmaster and engage him in a duel. The duel's outcome is unknown, save that Abaddon walked away from it.
Description and Personality
Sigismund had dark blond hair and a patrician face. His build was thick and sturdy.[2a] He is described as having a face that "might have been handsome, but war and genecraft had carved it to a different end." He had a scar under his right eye that ran down his cheek to his jaw. His eyes were bright, sapphire blue.[7a] Sigismund also bears the Raptor Imperialis on the knee of his armour, indicating that he’s fought alongside the Emperor himself.
Sigismund was known for being volatile and hot headed, a reputation known widely enough that even Malcador the Sigilite remarked on it in conversation with Rogal Dorn.[3a] He was also known for his superior swordsmanship, being regarded as one of the best swordsmen in the Astartes Legions.
- 1: Codex: Black Templars (4th Edition):
- 2: The Flight of the Eisenstein (Novel) by James Swallow:
- 3: Mechanicum (Novel) by Graham McNeill:
- 4: [Needs Citation] - Age of Darkness (Anthology), p. 395
- 5: Horus Rising (Novel) by Dan Abnett:
- 6: Butcher's Nails, by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- 7: Crimson Fist (Novella) by John French
- 8: Horus Heresy Art Preview at Black Library.com (site last accessed 19/2/2014)
- 9: White Dwarf 72 (2015), The Scions of Dorn
- 10: Forge World (last accessed 17 June 2015)
- 11: White Dwarf 73 (2015), Forge World - Sigismund, First Captain of the Imperial Fists
- 12: The Talon of Horus (Novel) - Epilogue