In essence, it is an exile from the chapter, with the condemned Marine(s)' last order to travel on a near-suicidal mission to bring death to the enemies of mankind.
The Ultramarines treat violation of the Codex Astartes' teachings as heresy, punishable by death. However, as Chapter Master Marneus Calgar said, the simple execution of warriors who might still bring grief to mankind's enemies is a waste and a sin.
Before setting out on a Death Oath, condemned Marines have their power armour stripped of their Chapter symbols, golden eagles, purity seals and honour badges, and their chapter and company tattoos are burned from their skin. They are allowed to retain these weapons and armour for their quest, but are not allowed access to resupply or repair facilities.[Needs Citation]
Notable Death Oaths
Captain Uriel Ventris and Sergeant Pasanius Lysane were exiled from their chapter for their controversial actions on Tarsis Ultra, which were reported to the chapter command by Uriel's other Veteran Sergeant, Learchus Abantes. Before Uriel and Pasanius departed the Fortress of Hera, Lord Calgar told them of a vision by Chief Librarian Tigurius, "of a place where twisted monsters expelled monsters, dark mirrors of their own glory." He ordered them to seek this place out and destroy it.[2a]
Uriel and Pasanius were abducted and taken to the Iron Warriors' homeworld of Medrengard, inside the Eye of Terror. The place Tigurius had seen was the fortress of Khalan-Ghol, now occupied by the Warsmith Honsou, who had stolen a supply of Imperial geneseed from Hydra Cordatus.[2b]
Through a convoluted series of events, Khalan-Ghol was torn down, and the Heart of Blood, a Greater Daemon of Khorne imprisoned within its walls, was released to wreak havoc on its former captors.[2c] Their mission accomplished, Uriel and Pasanius escaped Medrengard in the same Daemon Engine that had brought them there, and eventually made their way back to Macragge.[2c]
Although they had completed their Death Oath, Uriel and Pasanius had been to the Eye of Terror, and would have been refused reinstatement to the chapter, had they not been examined, and pronounced free of taint, by the Grey Knights, and by the Ultramarines' Apothecarion, Chaplaincy and Librarius.[3a][3b]
After the Second Battle of Prospero during the Horus Heresy, members of the White Scars who had conspired against their Primarch Jaghatai Khan surrendered themselves and given the option of forming suicidal units known as the Sagyar Mazan, seeking atonement through death in combat.
- 1: Consequences (Short Story) by Graham McNeill
- 2: Dead Sky, Black Sun (Novel) - The Ultramarines Omnibus by Graham McNeill
- 3: Courage and Honour (Novel) - Ultramarines: The Second Omnibus by Graham McNeill
- 4: Eye of Vengeance (Audio Book) by Graham McNeill: Track 3
- 5: The Path of Heaven (Novel)