Feast of Blades
The Feast of Blades is a centennial honorific competition between Space Marine Chapters formed from the bloodline of the Primarch Rogal Dorn. Each member Chapter is invited to participate by sending a Champion to compete, usually chosen from amongst their Company Champions, presumably in tests of swordsmanship and other measures of combat prowess. It is a great honour to be chosen to represent the Chapter, and those who are frequently find that their Chapter Master has an eye on them for promotion in the near future. The Feast has been occurring for 8,140 years and tradition mandates the Feast be held no more than every one hundred years; though the hosting Chapter may hold the feast sooner.[2a][Note 1]
The first Feast of Blades was held by Rogal Dorn shortly after he broke up the Imperial Fists Legion in accordance with the Codex Astartes.[2b] The purpose was to ensure good relations and cult brotherhood between each of the Imperial Fists' successor chapters.[2b]
The Feast of Blades is held in an arena that is an architectural interpretation of The Iron Cage. Not only does the layout change in between matches, but during them as well. Contestants are wearing only carapace armour in the colors of the Imperial Fists. Within the arena are two gladii coated with a paralytic toxin designed by the Adeptus Mechanicus specifically for the event. Matches go on for as long as needed until one contestant is incapacitated.[2b]
The victorious chapter of the Feast of Blades is awarded with the Sword of Sebastus, also known as the Dornsblade. They hold the honour of retaining the blade, and presenting at the next Feast of Blades which they will host, no more than one hundred years later.[2b]
The Feast is attended by the progenitor chapters of the Imperial Fists.[2b] Chapters known to have attended include the Crimson Fists, Iron Knights, Black Templars, Fire Lords, Excoriators, Death Strike, Venom Thorns and the White Templars.[Needs Citation]
Known Feast of Blades Competitions
- 546.M32: During the War of the Beast, Chapter Master Maximus Thane of the Fists Exemplar declares a Feast of Blades on Inwit during the funeral of Koorland, last of the Imperial Fists, while Thane himself serves as the champion for the Fists Exemplar. After defeating Sergeant Dathan Tychor of the Excoriators, Thane is declared the winner of the Feast of Blades.
- 749.M41, The 812th Feast of Blades: All twelve member Chapters are in attendance. The Iron Knights' champion, Hervald Strom, is victorious..
- 849.M41, The 813th Feast of Blades: Despite having suffered grievous wounds during the Vinculus Crusade, Hervald Strom of the Iron Knights once more wins the competition. Never before has the same Chapter, much less the same champion, won two consecutive competitions.
- Unknown.M41, The 816th Feast of Blades: Defeating an Imperial Fist and Black Templar in a three-way duel, Zachariah Kersh becomes the first Excoriator to win the Feast of Blades.[2a][2c]
- Unknown Date: The Feast of Blades is subjected to a massive World Eaters invasion. The sons of Dorn quickly unite against the World Eaters assaulting the chosen world's defences. Though the Chaos Space Marines finally fall to superior numbers, Khorne nonetheless approves as the feasting halls are awash with the blood of champions.
- Note 1: The timeline of the various Feasts implies that the clause to call the Feast of Blades more frequently than once every century has been invoked many times - if the Feast only occurred once every one hundred years, then (since the most recent known Feast was the 816th) this would mean the Feast of Blades would have been occurring for 81,600 years, not 8,140 years.
- 1: Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 49
- 2: Legion of the Damned (Novel)
- 3: Index Astartes: Company Champions, pgs. 5–6
- 4: Shadow of Ullanor (Novel), Chapter 3
- 5: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (8th Edition), pg. 44