Major Elim Rawne was the second officer of the Tanith First and Only Imperial Guard regiment during the Sabbat Worlds Crusade. A fearsome fighter, Rawne is chiefly known for the long-standing murderous hatred he possessed towards his commanding officer, Ibram Gaunt. Promoted to Major from the rank of standard Guardsman after the Fall of Tanith, Rawne appeared to retain this rank even after the death of the regiment's Colonel and his assumption of many of the Colonel's duties.
Elim Rawne is described as being a handsome devil, being likened to a sharp knife or a lethal snake. Rawne has a blue tattoo of a starbust around his right eye.
A junior officer in the Tanith Attica Militia before being mustered into the Imperial Guard, it is rumoured in the Tanith regiment that Major Rawne may have committed a murder and joined the Guard as a dog-Trooper to escape the Arbites. Rawne has admitted that he ran a black-market business there, and knew Murtan Feygor through this business, but has so far remained non-committal on the rest of the rumour concerning his background.
Initially a standard Guardsman, Elim Rawne was promoted directly to the rank of Major after the Fall of Tanith. Despite this rapid promotion by his commander, Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt, Rawne fostered a hatred of his CO for many years, blaming him for the destruction of his home-world and coining Gaunt's sometimes nickname, 'Ghostmaker'. Rawne himself has been variously referred to as 'the snake' or 'Toxic-Eyes' behind his back. Rawne's hatred drove him to assault Gaunt during one of the regiment's first actions, an incident from which he was lucky to escape from without significant consequence. He later had the opportunity to let Gaunt die during a mission on Typhon Eight, but chose to save him instead, his reason being that he owed Gaunt his life; saving Gaunt in return would even the score and allow him, according to his own twisted sense of honour, to consider killing Gaunt with a clear conscience. Their relationship gradually softened over the years, with the two finally forging a strong bond during a traumatic mission on the Chaos-held planet Gereon.
Rawne was captured by the Jantine Patricians during the feud between the Jantine and the Tanith, and tortured by their sinister ally, Inquisitor Heldane, although he later got his revenge by killing the human puppet that Heldane's consciousness had taken root in, inflicting fatal feedback damage to the psychic Inquisitor. The psychic torture that Rawne suffered seemed to make him more aware of psychic activity than other non-psykers but also more susceptible to being mentally controlled himself. This became a particular concern on Herodor, when he was almost coerced into attempting to kill the Beati.
Although normally adept at escaping injury, Rawne was badly wounded during a trench-fight on Aexe Cardinal and was forced to spend a significant period recuperating. During this time he began a relationship with Sniper Jessi Banda, which was terminated by his enforced absence on Gereon. Upon his return to the regiment he discovered that Banda had transferred her affections to Captain Flyn Meryn, but did not seem particularly put out. Rawne has admitted that he has few friends in the regiment, but he did consider Dermon Caffran and particularly Murt Feygor, close comrades.
A handsome and even (when he wants to be) charming person on the surface, Rawne is in actuality a very dangerous and callous man. Always at the forefront of Gaunt's plans, due to his uncaring efficiency and tactical insight, the Major is a notably ruthless (to the point of being in favour of abandoning or mercy-killing the wounded) officer. Whilst not particularly more skilled than the average trooper in combat, Rawne is often picked for high-risk insertion missions (such as on Vervunhive and Gereon), where his prowess with stabbing weapons and explosives can come to the fore. Rawne has a blue star tattooed over his right eye, is fastidious about his appearance and knows that he is good-looking; he shaves every day with his silver Tanith warknife, which he keeps razor-sharp.
With the death of Colonel Colm Corbec, Rawne is now effectively the second-in-command of the regiment, and in fact led it for a time during the Jago campaign, when Gaunt was believed killed in action.