He was later elevated from his Marshal's Sword Brethren and inducted into the mysteries of the Reclusiam after the Battle of Fire and Blood. Such was his faith and devotion to the Emperor that the Chaplains saw in the young Grimaldus the makings of a powerful warrior priest. He was mentored by Mordred, whom Grimaldus would eventually succeed as Reclusiarch.[3a]
He took his vows before the broken Sword of Dorn aboard the Battle Barge Eternal Crusader and has since justified the Chaplains' faith, zealously leading the warriors of the Black Templars in battle.
Third War for Armageddon
For his first command as Reclusiarch, High Marshal Helbrecht charged Grimaldus to lead one of the three Black Templars Crusades that had been dispatched to Armageddon, specifically the Helsreach Crusade.[3c][3d] Grimaldus led a hundred Black Templars in the defence of Hive Helsreach. They were besieged by millions of Orks, who attacked from land-side but also from a vast fleet of submersibles launched from the icy Deadlands far to the south.[3d][3f] Towards the end of the siege, a great horde of Orks attacked the Temple of the Emperor Ascendant, a vast basilica that had stood since the earliest days of colonisation, and was held at bay for nearly two months before they finally penetrated the temple precincts, looting and destroying priceless holy relics as they went. The Imperial Guard units and the hive militia fled, but the Black Templars refused to yield. The battle degenerated into bloody melee combat in the heart of the temple, where Grimaldus bellowed his now famous cry: "I have dug my grave in this place and I will either triumph or I will die." The battle only ended when the entire Temple collapsed. All were thought lost, but a day later, Grimaldus crawled out from underneath the ruins, carrying the last relics of the Temple. Apothecaries who later treated Grimaldus' wounds claimed that it was a miracle that he still lived, let alone had the strength to crawl from the rubble of the destroyed Temple.[3i]
Upon commencement of the Season of Fire, Grimaldus was given the title "Hero of Helsreach", the greatest honour its inhabitants could grant.[3i] Grimaldus's next assignment was to have been to return to the Eternal Crusader and stand with High Marshal Helbrecht and Commissar Yarrick in their pursuit of Ghazghkull, who by this point had left the Armageddon Warzone.[4b] However, Grimaldus had uncovered evidence that a hidden enemy was attempting to systematically eliminate one of their brother Chapters, the Celestial Lions.[4a][4b] Helbrecht gave Grimaldus leave to remain on Armageddon to investigate these troubling findings.[4b]
Grimaldus travelled to the Lions' forward base near Hive Volcanus, where he met with only 96 surviving Space Marines out of the 983 that arrived on Armageddon.[4c] After speaking with the highest-ranking surviving Celestial Lion, Pride Leader Ekene Dubaku, he learned of the Lions' plight - they had challenged the Inquisition over the conduct of Inquisitor Apollyon during the Khattar Massacre and the Inquisition had decided to make an example of the Chapter by grinding them down and letting others witness their shameful death. Dubaku and his remaining Brothers were determined to die in a final blaze of glory against the orks infesting the Mannheim Gap and avenge the deaths of those Lions that had perished in the Third War. Dubaku asked Grimaldus to perform a ceremony of last rites to bless them for the coming battle.[4d]
Grimaldus, however, refused. He believed that the Celestial Lions could and should rebuild themselves.[4e] To that end, he called upon Astra Militarum forces from Helsreach and joined the Lions when they returned to Mannheim.[4f] The Imperial forces were victorious and Grimaldus earned the gratitude of Ekene Dubaku - now Chapter Master of the Celestial Lions. Grimaldus would later depart from Armageddon alongside Helbrecht in their pursuit of Ghazghkull.[4g]
In the wake of the Great Rift's creation, Armageddon has been invaded by Daemons. This has caused a climate of fearful and superstitious fervor and its major population centres have become rife with Imperial sub-cults and worshipful creeds. The same is true for the people of Hive Helsreach and Grimaldus has, perhaps unsurprisingly, become the focus of one particularly large Imperial Savior Cult within the Hive. Due to his efforts to save its people, during the Third War for Armageddon, the Cult attaches spiritual significance to the Hero of Helsreach and a talismanic notion of protection to him. To worship the Reclusiarch, Grimaldus' Cult will gather at the ruins of the Temple of the Emperor Ascendant and perform several rituals in his name. These include lighting huge pyres, where the Cult burns alive citizens that they have accused of witchery, mutation or heretical thought. Many of the Cult's members will also dig ceremonial graves and then cover them over with shrouds of industrial tarpaulin. They do so in the belief that - just as he reputedly dug his grave in the Temple's grounds once before - Grimaldus might rise from such a ritual pit, to defend the people of Helsreach as he did previously. A high ranking member of the Imperium has his servants watching these Cults, and the one that worships the Reclusiarch in particular. So far, however, it is unclear if there is anything excessively divergent in the Cult's beliefs. They do wonder, though, what the pious Grimaldus would make of the Cult, if he knew about it.
Grimaldus often went to battle accompanied by his Reclusiam Command Squad, known as Squad Grimaldus.[3b] Over the course of the siege of Helsreach, the squadron suffered losses, with the remaining members being wiped out in the defence of the Temple of the Emperor Ascendant.[3f][3i]
Grimaldus elected not to reform his Command Squad following their deaths.[4b] In the aftermath of the siege, however, High Marshal Helbrecht provided Grimaldus with an apprentice, Initiate Cyneric, who was under consideration for elevation to the Chaplaincy.[4a][4b]
In addition, Grimaldus is occasionally accompanied by a trio of Cenobyte Servitors, each bearing one of the surviving relics from the Temple of the Emperor Ascendant - a broken aquila statue, the remains of the founding charter of Helsreach and an orb containing the last of the Temple's holy water.[4f]
As a Chaplain, Grimaldus wields a crozius arcanum that was forged for him upon his induction into the Chaplancy. He also possesses a plasma pistol recovered from the body of a Sergeant of the Imperial Fists who saved his life in the Battle of Alfava Metraxis.[3g]
He wears a relic helmet, worn by every Reclusiarch in the Chapter's history since their very founding.[3g][Conflicting sources] He also has a Chaplain's rosarius made out of bronze and red iron and shaped like a heraldic cross.[3h][Conflicting sources]
Grimaldus (9th Edition)
Multiple characters in the novel Helsreach note that Grimaldus has very kind-looking eyes, notably Princeps Zarha of the Legio Invigilata[3e] and Prioress Sindal of the Order of the Argent Shroud.[3h]
While the book Helsreach claims that Grimaldus wears a Skull Helm[3g] like those commonly seen on modern Astartes Chaplains, all artwork and other depictions of the helmet (such as in the cover art of Blood and Fire) show it to be closer in appearance to a MkV pattern helmet.
Grimaldus states during the Helsreach Crusade (part of the Third War for Armageddon) that his Rosarius was destroyed in battle. He later says, "I am still alive three years after its destruction..." Since the Third War for Armageddon started in 998.M41, this would mean the Rosarius was destroyed around 995.M41.[3h] However, during the events of Blood and Fire, Grimaldus has his Rosarius.[4a]
- 1: Helsreach (Novel), Cover Illustration by Jon Sullivan
- 2: Codex: Black Templars (4th Edition), pgs. 46-47
- 3: Helsreach (Novel) — Armageddon (Anthology)
- 4: Blood and Fire (Novella) — Armageddon (Anthology)
- 5: Helsreach (Novel) - Cover Art (Masterworks rerelease)
- 6: Warhammer Community: Grimaldus, the Relic-Saving and Ork-Smashing High Chaplain of the Black Templars, Is Back (posted 27/9/2021) (last accessed 9th October 2021)
- 7: Codex: Black Templars (9th Edition), pg. 19 - War Zone: Armageddon