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|This page contains spoilers for:||Soul Drinkers (Novel Series)|
The Soul Drinkers do not fit the standard template of Excommunicate Traitoris. Unlike most Renegade Space Marines, who have devoted themselves to the Chaos gods, the Soul Drinkers despise the Ruinous Powers as much if not more than they hate the Imperium that cast them out. Instead, they have developed an ideology that states that the Imperium has betrayed everything the Emperor has stood for; so they still fight the powers of chaos even though they disagree with what the Imperium now stands for. Some within the Chapter think that the Imperium should be destroyed for the good of mankind.
It began with an operation to obtain one of the Chapter's lost relics, the great Soulspear, a weapon used by Rogal Dorn during the Great Crusade, from a criminal organization that had come to possess it. Just as the 300 Soul Drinkers had taken the orbital defense platform where the relic was being held, and were about to reclaim the Spear, supporting Adeptus Mechanicus forces teleported into the vault it was stored in and made off with the Spear before the Soul Drinkers could react. The Soul Drinkers then fortified the platform and demanded the return of their relic, but it had already been passed along to another vessel that was en route to a Forge World. The Mechanicus then revealed a great siege cannon from their starship, and forced the Soul Drinkers to board and destroy the Mechanicus weapon before it could be used against them, slaying thousands of Tech-Guard in the process before fleeing aboard their two Strike Cruisers.
The Inquisition, caring not for the reasons why, saw only that the Soul Drinkers had attacked another Imperial institution and demanded they surrender themselves. After Sarpedon's refusal, the entire Chapter was declared Excommunicate Traitoris. Soon after, the rest of the Soul Drinkers and their fleet arrived to extract the two beleaguered Cruisers that they might answer for their actions to the Chapter Master, Gorgoleon.
1st Chapter War
Gorgoleon was obstinate, and saw the Soul Drinkers of Sarpedon at fault, and fought him for the fate of the Chapter. Sarpedon emerged victorious thanks to a set of mutations that granted him the power to overcome Gorgoleon, sparking a war within the Chapter. Most of the Novices and some others refused to follow mutant Sarpedon, and took up arms and barricaded themselves throughout the fleet. It took Sarpedon and his forces, who counted most of the Chapter's specialists amongst them, several months to root them out and kill them all.
Under the Sway of a Daemon Prince
Disillusioned by the Imperium, and unknowingly under the influence of a Tzeentch Daemon Prince in the guise of an aspect of the Emperor, Sarpedon opted to keep his Chapter renegade, scuttled the Soul Drinker fleet, and resettled the Chapter into a Space Hulk they dubbed the Brokenback. Soon after, the Daemon Prince Abraxes mislead the Soul Drinkers into attacking one of his rivals, the Nurgle Daemon Prince Ve'Meth. After slaying Ve'Meth, who took the form of a virus infesting several hundred ordinary people, Abraxes revealed his true nature. He handed Sarpedon the Soulspear and offered the Soul Drinkers the chance to serve as his personal retinue of Chaos Space Marines. Though Sarpedon considered his options, he ultimately refused, attacking Abraxes and his daemons and slaying them.
The Empire of Teturact
The heretic Teturact, a life-form produced by Adeptus Mechanicus experiments in Human mutations on desolate Stratix Luminae, was carving a vast empire out of the Imperium of Man. His ability to project noxious, mind-controlling viruses and even raise the dead with them won him godhood in the eyes of those he infected. He was able to claim several important Imperial worlds, including the Hives of Stratix, the Forge World Salshan Anterior, and several others including agri-worlds and other strategic targets. One of these worlds was Stratix Luminae, a world where the old Soul Drinkers had once fought, granting Sarpedon a knowledge of the experiments carried out there. Still in the grips of the mutations brought on by Abraxes, Sarpedon believed this facility and its research represented the best chance of curing the Chapter of those mutations. The Soul Drinkers sought out the surviving Mechanicus personnel from Stratix Luminae across several of the worlds under Teturact's sway, all the while dodging the efforts of the Inquisitorial Taskforce Thaddeus to track them down and bring them to justice, before finally collecting all the pieces of the puzzle that sent them to Stratix Luminae itself. Teturact intervened personally, intentionally breaking up his flag-battleship in orbit to rain debris and his undead followers down on the Soul Drinkers. Sarpedon was able to stun the powerful Teturact long enough for Inquisitor Thaddeus to shoot him, and Sarpedon extinguished Teturacts soul and brought about the ruination of his fledgling empire.
Dealing with Tellos
After the defeat of the heretic Teturact, the Soul Drinkers were forced to flee Stratix Luminae, leaving several assault squads, who were under Tellos' command, behind. Tellos, who had bordered on Khornate rage before this betrayal, quickly fell under the Blood God's influence, subverting his assault squads to the service of Khorne.
Chapter Master Sarpedon quickly caught wind of this heresy by his battle-brother and tracked Tellos to Entymion IV, an Imperial world held by a mysterious alliance of Dark Eldar and Slaaneshi Cultists. The Imperial Guard, with the assistance of the Crimson Fists, were at that moment trying to liberate the world.
The Crimson Fists force was initially small, serving as a spearhead for the array of Imperial Guard regiments attempting to retake the capital city of Gravenhold. However, they quickly fell afoul of Tellos' Soul Drinkers, clashing indecisively as the Fists took up overwatch positions in a cathedral. In the aftermath, recognizing the chalice emblem and believing the entire Soul Drinkers Chapter present, Crimson Fists Commander Reinez sent word of the Soul Drinkers presence to Rynn's World, who responded with the Fists 2nd Company under Chaplain Inhuaca, placing himself and the Company under Reinez's command with orders to destroy the Soul Drinkers and bring back Chief Librarian Sarpedon's head.
Upon their arrival on Entymion IV, Sarpedon's Soul Drinkers immediately began investigating the situation. Their method of infiltrating the world, hijacking a pair of landers from the Imperial Navy, quickly alerted the Crimson Fists as to their location. After securing the assistance of the Armoured Fist units of the Fornux Lix Fire Drakes Regiment, the Crimson Fists dove deep into the city and fought the Soul Drinkers in a brutal brawl within the city's Mercantile Chamber. The Soul Drinkers pulled back after capturing the Fists Company Standard and killing the company Librarian.
Throughout this fight, the Dark Eldar present on the world observed the Soul Drinkers fighting against the loyalist forces. The intervention of the brainwashed slave army of the Dark Eldar deterred Fists pursuit as the Soul Drinkers retreated beneath the city. They were quickly approached by the Dark Eldar- who, clearly bearing betrayal in mind - offered Sarpedon an Alliance, which Sarpedon - also planning betrayal - accepted.
Interested in nothing save finding Tellos, Sarpedon split the Soul Drinkers into two parts to blunt the Imperial Guard for the Dark Eldar, all the while the Soul Drinkers Scouts sought out Tellos in the city. The Scouts soon located Tellos and his retinue as they butchered through a Guard regiment, and Chaplain Iktinos and his flock were able to hold them in place long enough for Sarpedon to arrive and defeat Tellos, collapsing a span bridge on top of him. The Dark Eldar still benefited from this, buying time for a secret army of mutated human slaves to fully awaken beneath the city and begin a slaughter so great it would propel Entymion IV to the status of Daemon World, one ruled by the Dark Eldar as a second Commorragh. The Soul Drinkers would ultimately have the last laugh, using their Scouts to trick the Crimson Fists into attacking the Dark Eldar stronghold on the world, slaying all the xenos and preventing their plan from reaching fruition. Though prematurely stopped, the hole in reality leading into the Warp tainted the world beyond hope, and the whole world was destroyed by Exterminatus.
2nd Chapter War
The Soul Drinkers found another Chapter War brewing between Sarpedon, and the new Sergent Eumenes, taken from a planet that hated the Imperium, to restock the Chapter. Eumenes felt that the fight should be taken directly to the Emperor. He wanted to take out the Astronomican, and blot out the light that guides the Emperor's ships through the warp to start the Imperium over. Sarpedon, however, struck a new course for the Chapter after being given advice from Chaplain Iktinos that a planet called Vanqualis was under attack from a horde of Orks and needed their protection. Afterwords, the Soul Drinkers would be able to benefit by taking on supplies for their new home, the Brokenback. Sarpedon led the Soul Drinkers through the jungles of Vanqualis to battle the Orks, but in his absence Eumenes took control of the Brokenback and started a coup that included a great deal of the forces on the planet. After consolidating, Sarpedon's Soul Drinkers set out to take an old fortress from the rebels. Once there, Librarian Gresk warned Sarpedon to leave. Sarpedon did, before Eumenes bombarded the land surrounding the fortress from the Brokenback.
The Howling Griffons Chapter had sent three Companies under Lord-Librarian Mercaeno to the world to honor an old debt the Chapter owed Vanqualis. The Griffons had also allowed Inquisitor Thaddeus, now disfavored within the Inquisition, to tag along on the suspicions of the Soul Drinkers involvement. Though he realized that Mercaeno didn't comprehend what the Soul Drinkers really were, he could not convince him of this fact. Thaddeus tried to leave the Strike Cruiser and warn Sarpedon of the Griffons, but had to kill one of the Griffons in a close-quarters firefight before he could escape. Mercaeno and his Griffons landed shortly thereafter, and did battle with Sarpedon's group while the traitors watched bemusedly from the sidelines. It was during this that Mercaeno killed Thaddeus for killing his battle-brother.
Sarpedon could not get off Vanqualis, and conceded to Eumenes' wishes. Eumenes became the new Chapter Master. Sarepdon led the loyal Soul Drinkers to Techmarine Lygris, loyal to Sarpedon, but was stuck on the Brokenback until Eumenes let him shuttle Sarpedon and his forces back to their ship in time to repel a boarding attack from the Howling Griffons. Sarpedon and Mercaeno engaged in a titanic psychic duel, tiring each other out until Eumenes struck down Mercaeno from behind and throwing Sarpedon in the brig. Sarpedon then attacked psyker-latent Scout Scamandar in the Brokenback's brig, incapacitating him. Sarpedon then made his way to the bridge, where he duels Eumenes. Though Eumenes had both the Soulspear and Mercaeno's force axe, Sarpedon impales him with his mutated legs, and wins back the Chapter he won from Gorgoleon.
While fleeing from a Adeptus Mechanicus task force, the Soul Drinkers Space Hulk is severely damaged and low on fuel. Forced to run, the Soul Drinkers go deep into the veiled regions in search of fuel. They run into the Necrons on many worlds, all with signs of previous human settlement, but now infested with the undying xenos. Eventually they discover the last of the human worlds that the Necrons are still in the process of cleansing, and the Soul Drinkers make a deal with the survivors. They allow the human's time to retreat to their space-craft while they hold the Necron forces off, in exchange for the Soul Drinkers receiving fuel.
The Souldrinkers hold out aganist the Necrons, and the human population reach their spaceport but a Necron fleet arrives in-system, preventing them from leaving. The Adeptus Mechanicus fleet arrives shortly after, and the two fleets begin fighting against each other. It is immediately obvious that the imperial forces would be destroyed, so they began a complex pattern of manoeuvers to delay the inevitable.
When the Soul Drinkers realized they could not beat the approaching Necron force on the ground, and the Mechanicus would lose in space, Sarpedon offered an alliance with the Mechanicus. Chaplain Iktinos and his "flock" remained behind to help defend the spaceport and the surviving humans. It is revealed that his "flock" is loyal to his secret master as well, and no longer consider themselves Soul Drinkers.
Accepting the alliance the Mechanicus and Soul Drinkers set off for the main Necron hub, planning to destroy the Necron Lord and leave the rest of the enemy forces leaderless.
Arriving at the Tomb World, the Mechanicus crash their ship into the planet and deployed alongside the Soul Drinkers. A long bloody battle begins as they race to kill the Necron lord, before the Necrons superior numbers begin to change the odds. Finally they arrive at the Necron Lord's location and Sarpedon duels with it and wins. However in typical Necron fashion it gets back up, and begins crushing him to death. Only by the sacrifice of Techmarine Lygis was the lord defeated.
Gathering his forces Sarpedon lead his remaining troops towards the crashed Adeptus Mechanicus ship, where their promised transports were to be awaiting them. Instead three Imperial Fists thunderhawk gunships deployed upon the surface, while twenty terminator armoured elites teleport onto the planet, lead by First Captain Lysander. He orders the Soul Drinkers to surrender or be destroyed. Sarpedon replies with the challenge of a personal duel. Despite Sarpedon's warp enhanced strength, he was tired from the earlier fighting and was swiftly beaten. The book ends with Sarpedon hoping that Luko follows his last order to surrender if he was beaten.
During the subsequent trial, it was learned that Daenyathos was in fact still alive as a Dreadnought, and had laid down the seeds of a Chapter which would rebel against the Imperium, using the Chaplaincy as his agents in his absence. Knowing that the Imperial Fists would try to claim authority over their supposed successor, Daenyathos had himself brought aboard and the Phalanx and freed by a cult he had seeded millennia earlier. Escape, Daenyathos used the Predator's Eye warp gate within the Phalanx to release a daemon (which by chance was Abraxes). Daenyathos planned to have Abraxes bring the Imperium into a new dark age, believing that a stronger Imperium (which he would rule over) would emerge from the ashes.
While Iktinos and his flock joined Daenyathos, the majority of the surviving Soul Drinkers refused to be Daenyathos's pawns, and joined the Imperial Fists in fighting off Abraxes's army and closing the warp gate. By the battle's end, Abraxes had been defeated by Captain Luko and Sarpedon had destroyed Daenyathos's Dreadnought, taking him prisoner. In the process, however, all the remaining Soul Drinkers except for Sarpedon, Daenyathos, Luko, and Graevus were killed. Luko, Graevus, and Sarpedon chose to walk into the warp gate, with Sarpedon dragging a screaming Daenyathos with him, bringing an end to the Soul Drinkers chapter, their ultimate fates are unknown. Now convinced that they were in fact loyal servants of the Emperor, the Imperial Fists inscribed a column in the Phalanx's Apothecarion with the names of the fallen Soul Drinkers, holding them as worthy and honourable brothers in death.
After their capture, the remaining Soul Drinkers were brought to trial on board The Phalanx, and a conclave of Imperial Fist successor chapters and other concerned parties gathered to pass judgement on them.  During the trial Commander Gethsemar of the Angels Sanguine states that the Sanguinary Priests of his Chapter have examined the gene-seed of the Soul Drinkers, as part of their research into the link between the gene-seed and the related Primarch and also to see if the chapters fall was related to corruption of the gene-seed, and they discovered that Rogal Dorn is not the Chapters' Primarch.
Notable Soul Drinkers
- Daenyathos - Philosopher-soldier & Dreadnought. Wrote Catechisms Martial, the standard all Soul Drinkers live by.
- Sarpedon - Current Chapter Master and Chief Librarian. First to break ties with the Imperium. A powerful psyker able to transmit but not receive thoughts. Half-arachnid form.
- Tellos - Raving psychopath, assault sergeant turned to Khorne, abandoned by chapter.
- Chaplain Iktinos - Master of Sanctity for the entire Chapter (and only Chaplain left). Clearly has hidden motives and designs upon the Soul Drinkers. Fought Sarpedon during the Battle of the Phalanx and was mentally shattered by The Hell, then ejected into space to die.
- Pallas - Senior Apothecary of the Chapter. It was Pallas who halted the rampant mutations within the Chapter, but had become disillusioned with Sarpedon's leadership and sided with Eumenes in the 2nd Chapter War. Slain by Abraxes on the Phalanx.
- Karraidin - Captain of the old Soul Drinkers who supported Sarpedon's break with the Imperium. The Soul Drinkers new Master of Novices, he was killed by his charges at the outset of the Second Chapter War. Possessed one of the only suits of Terminator armour in the Chapter.
- Eumenes - Senior Novice. A new Soul Drinker, created after the Soul Drinker's split with the Imperium. Disagreed with Sarpedon's leadership and revolted against the new Chapter, sparking the 2nd Chapter War. Killed by Sarpedon.
- Graevus - Assault squad sergeant. Right mutated hand allows him to wield his poweraxe with ease. Later promoted to Captain. Survived the Battle of the Phalanx and left with Luko through the Predator's Eye. Fate Unknown.
- Luko - Tactical squad sergeant. Utilizes a pair of Lightning Claws with built-in bolter in right one. Was promoted to Captain following Entymion IV and remains one of Sarpedon's most loyal supporters. Survived the Battle of the Phalanx and left with Graveus through the Predator's Eye. Fate Unknown.
- Tyrendian - Soul Drinker's Librarian. Able to project powerful lightning attacks (bolts of lightning). Slain during the Battle of the Phalanx after being devoured by a Great Unclean One, sacrificed himself to destroy the Daemon by unleashing his power from within it.
- Gresk - Soul Drinker's Librarian. Able to quicken the reactions and movements of his battle brothers (quickening). Sided with Eumenes in the 2nd Chapter War but was killed by Eumenes' forces after warning Sarpedon of an imminent orbital bombardment.
- Lygris - Senior Techmarine and very close with Sarpedon. Without Lygris the Brokenback would not have been nearly as functional. He sacrificed himself to destroy the Necron C'tan who was in control of the veiled region.
- Salk - Tactical Sergeant since Stratix Luminae. Fought on Gravenhold, Vanqualis and Selaaca and on board the Phalanx where he was killed by The Flock. Died in Sarpedon's arms.
- Scamander - Novice Librarian. Sided with Eumenes during the 2nd Chapter War and was the only novice who remained with the Chapter after the conflict. Apprenticed to Tyrendian and fought on Selaaca against the Necrons. Killed during the Battle of the Phalanx by Captain Borganor of the Howling Griffons.
Chapter strength note
The Soul Drinkers suffer heavy losses at several points in the series. After the 1st Chapter War and the battle of Ve'Meths planet, they number about 700[1a]. After the fighting on Stratix Luminae, they are down to about 450[1b]. Though they are able to swell their numbers by being able to take recruits again, they fall back down to 300 after the losses of Entymion IV and the 2nd Chapter War. The exodus of most of Eumenes' traitors at the end of that conflict dropped the number of Soul Drinkers to 250[6a]. By the time they struck down the Necrons within the Veiled Regions, there were scarcely 100 Marines left[6b], all were captured by the Imperial Fists at the end of Hellforged. Through the events of Phalanx, their numbers dwindle due to infighting and attrition to 0.
- 1: The Soul Drinkers Omnibus by Ben Counter
- 2: Soul Drinker (Novel) by Ben Counter, [Needs Citation]
- 3: The Bleeding Chalice (Novel) by Ben Counter
- 4: Crimson Tears (Novel) by Ben Counter
- 5: Chapter War (Novel) by Ben Counter, [Needs Citation], pg. 398
- 6: Hellforged (Novel) by Ben Counter
- 7: Phalanx (Novel)