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An Arco-flagellant is a heretic deemed worthy of redemption by the Ecclesiarchy, sentenced to arco-flagellation, and turned into living weapons.


Arco-flagellants in action.

Arco-flagellation is a method of penitence administered by the Adeptus Mechanicus but appointed by the Ecclesiarchy. It is used to punish any heresy not terrible enough to warrant immediate execution. The point of such extravagant punishments is to physically expunge the sin from a heretic's soul so that they may strengthen the Emperor when they die.[Needs Citation]

In arco-flagellation, the heretic undergoes extensive physical surgery and mental reconditioning, turning them into frenzied berserkers. The guilty person can be implanted with a variety of weapons, such as cutting claws, pneu-mattocks and electro-flails. The Arco-flagellant is fitted with a sealed pacifier helm containing implants that connect into the cerebrum and spinal cord, which keeps them in a calm, barely conscious state. When in this mode the Arco-flagellant's mind is filled with sacred images and verses, such as symbols of the Ecclesiarchy, pictures of Saints and looped hymnals and prayers, which enter directly into the heretic's subconscious. The helm can be deactivated by means of a trigger word, releasing inhibitors and unleashing the full fury of the Arco-flagellant. Another trigger word activates the pacifier helm again, rendering the Arco-flagellant passive once more.[Needs Citation]

Arco-flagellants are almost unstoppable once activated as their bodies become stimmed with combat drugs and pain killers, making them heedless of most injuries they sustain. Arco-flagellants are normally used by the Ecclesiarchy's fighting forces in suicide attack units. However, an Inquisitor can request (or demand if they are confident enough) that a Cardinal turn over an Arco-flagellant or two to their authority. An Arco-flagellant is not a subtle weapon, and they are much appreciated by the more bloody-minded Inquisitors, who are not afraid of some collateral damage and a few innocent casualties.[Needs Citation]

They can be unleashed in packs, while fighting beside armies of the faithful, though, the Sister of Battle typically use them more sparingly. An exception is the Order of the Valorous Heart, however, who have drawn great inspiration from the redemptive suffering of their Arco-flagellant kill-throngs. While most Arco-flagellants live short and violent existences, some manage to survive multiple battles. Known as an Endurant, such a warrior is judged to have earned a measure of redemption from the God-Emperor, and fights with even greater ferocity than their kin. As a result, they are the first of their Arco-flagellant pack to spill blood, and often the last member left standing at the end of a battle.[7]


A higher order of Arco-flagellant used by the Inquisition, these living weapons are created from those rare individuals possessing the Pariah Gene, to combat the warp. Seraphs serve as bodyguards and weapons for their masters and are clad in red robes woven with sacred names, infused with warding circuits crawling with symbols and words of dead tongues and equipped with both pacifier helms and null limiters to keep them docile and contain their dampening aura. Even Sorcerers as old and powerful as Ahzek Ahriman were forced to flee in their precence, lest they be rendered utterly helpless.[8a][8b]

Notable Characters


See also



Grey Knights Forces
Command Supreme Grand MasterGrand MasterBrother-CaptainBrotherhood ChampionLibrarianTechmarineChaplainApothecaryAncient
Elites Paladin SquadPurifier SquadJusticarsDreadnoughtVenerable Dreadnought
Troops Terminator SquadStrike SquadInterceptor SquadPurgation Squad
Vehicles RhinoRazorbackLand RaiderLand Raider CrusaderLand Raider RedeemerNemesis Dreadknight
Aircraft StormravenStormtalonStormhawkThunderhawk
Characters Kaldor DraigoCastellan CroweAldrik VoldusArvann Stern

Adepta Sororitas Forces
Command CanonessSororitas Command SquadPalatineSister SuperiorSister HospitallerSister DialogusSister FamulousImagifierReliquant at ArmsDogmataHagiolaterMinistorum Priest (ConfessorMissionary) • Ecclesiarchy Battle Conclave (CrusaderDeath Cult AssassinArco-Flagellant)
Elites Celestian (Celestian Sacresant) • Sisters Repentia (Repentia Superior) • Sister Oblatia
Troops Battle SisterSeraphimZephyrimDominionRetributorNovitiate
Walkers Penitent EngineMortifierAnchoriteParagon Warsuit
Vehicles Castigator Battle TankRhinoImmolatorRepressorExorcistMobile Cathedral
Aircraft Avenger Strike FighterLightning StrikeThunderhawkAquila LanderArvus Lighter
Characters Saint CelestineMorvenn VahlAestred ThurgaAgathae DolanUriah JacobusEphrael SternGeminae SuperiaJunith Eruita

Forces of the Inquisition
Inquisitors Lord InquisitorOrdo Xenos InquisitorOrdo Malleus InquisitorOrdo Hereticus InquisitorOrdo Minoris Inquisitor
Acolytes Interrogator
Assassin Death CultCallidusCulexusEversorOrdo Sicarius InitiateVanusVenenumVindicare
Chiurgeon ExcoriatorSister HospitallerTorturer
Desperado Bounty HunterScum
Familiar CherubimPsyber-EagleServo-Skull
Hierophants/Fanatics BanisherCrusaderDrill AbbotEnlightenerHexorcistOblationistPriestRedemptionistQuestkeeper
Mystic AstropathDaemonhostDivinerNavigatorSanctioned PsykerWarp-Seer
Sage AutosavantLexmechanicMalefic ScholarSister DialogousReclaimatorServitorTech-Priest
Seeker ArbitratorCult-StalkerEnforcerJudgeMortiurge
Warrior Chrono-GladiatorCrusaderImperial Guard Veteran/Death World VeteranInquisitorial StormtrooperInquisitorial PyroclastPenal LegionnairePistoleerTempestus ScionCombat-ServitorGun-Servitor
Other Retinue Arco-FlagellantMutantPenitentRogue TraderSpace MarineXenos
Ordo Militants DeathwatchGrey KnightsSisters of Battle
Vehicles ChimeraLand RaiderLand Raider CrusaderLand Raider RedeemerRazorbackRhinoValkyrie
Fleet Inquisitorial Black Ship