|This article is about the Space Wolves Librarian; for the Adeptus Mechanicus Rank, see Rune Priest (Adeptus Mechanicus).|
Like the Librarians of Codex Chapters, Rune Priests are combatant psykers, using their psychic abilities to aid their brothers on the battlefield; off the battlefield, they are the keepers of the chapter's librarium and store of knowledge. The major difference is that Rune Priests do not believe their psychic abilities are derived from the Warp, but rather from the animistic spirits of their homeworld, Fenris, channeled through totems and runes on their armour. These traditions are descended from the shamanistic rituals of Fenris's native tribes, and have remained unchanged for countless centuries.
In a way, the Rune Priests do not consider themselves to be psykers at all; during the Great Crusade, Leman Russ, the primarch of the Space Wolves, was among the voices in favour of disbanding the Librarius in each Space Marine Legion and prohibiting the use of psykers in any of them.[Needs Citation] Yet after the Emperor of Mankind issued his Decree at the Council of Nikaea, the Rune Priests continued to serve among the Space Wolves, stubbornly insisting that their powers had nothing to do with psychic ability.
Rune Priests preserve their Chapter's entire history not in written form, but memorize it in great sagas. A Rune Priest who begins his training as a Skald is usually assigned to a single Great Company where he is taught its tales. With every new Great Year he joins another Company until he has learned the Chapter's full history and can be sent to whichever Rune Priest needs an apprentice.
The Space Wolves' sagas are chanted at their feast days and during the Festival of the Wolf Time which celebrates the Chapter's founding. This festival is held every twelve Great Years and each time great contests of saga-telling and psychic duelings are held to determine if a new High Rune Priest will be chosen. The High Rune Priest is the leader of the entire Chapter's Rune Priests and adviser to the Great Wolf. The Space Wolves field one Rune Priest per company, according to the novel Grey Hunter
Speakers of the Dead
During the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy the Speakers of the Dead were a specialized Order of Rune Priests, then simply known as Priests of Fenris. These priests were the most strong-willed and self-controlled Priests, serving as masters of discipline, instillers of culture, and wardens of both the gene-seed and memory of the Legion. It was they who encoded the Legion's history within 'sagas' and record and judge the deeds of the living and the dead.
The Speakers of the Dead were also responsible for training new recruits and instilling them with discipline while also keeping watch for any genetic instabilities.
Abilities and Equipment
The basic weapon of Rune Priests are their physically charged Runic Weapons. A common power among Rune Priests is the ability to summon storms across the battlefield which can cover the armies advance. Furthermore, they can cast runes which predict the ebb and flow of future events. These runes are usually carved from the bones or teeth of totem animals. 
Many Rune Priests are psyker-linked to Ravens which are known as "Choosers of the Slain" to the Space Wolves. Their link enables them to see through the Ravens eyes and control them, thus allowing them to use them as scouts and messengers.
The 13th Company
Within the lost 13th Company of the Space Wolves, the Rune Priests must guide their brothers through the perils of the Eye of Terror. They have learned how to open small, temporary Warp gates. These allow the Priests to step through them in order to divine the path ahead. The 13th Company has a disproportionately higher number of Rune Priests, as constant exposure to the Warp inside the Eye has endowed many of their battle brothers with psychic ability.[Needs Citation]
Notable Rune Priests
- Aun Helwintr
- Bodvar Bjarki
- Gnaerold Ghostwolf
- Heimdall Wyrdstorm - former Rune Priest, later - Dreadnought
- Hengir Stormhowl
- Irnist the Wise, twin brother of Wolf Lord Erik Morkai[Needs Citation]
- Ifor Darkpelt
- Kva - Chief Rune Priest during the Horus Heresy
- Leif Hemligjaga
- Njal Stormcaller
- Ohthere Wyrdmake
- Kjalter Stormcrow
- Skœdir Hangdrot
- Svangthir Ashbeard - fought on Fenris during the Siege of the Fenris System in 999.M41
- Torrvald Orksbane
- Ulvurul Heoroth
- Valtar Skyclaw
- 1: Codex: Space Wolves (2nd Edition), [Needs Citation]
- 2: Codex: Space Wolves (3rd Edition), pgs. 6, 30
- 3: White Dwarf 246 (UK) - Wolves of Fenris
- 4: Index Astartes II - Space Wolves
- 5: Codex: Eye of Terror - Space Wolves 13th Company, pg. 35
- 6: Index Astartes I - Psykana Librarius - The Rune Priests of the Space Wolves
- 7: Fear to Tread (Novel) by James Swallow, Chapter Three, pgs. 114-115
- 8: The Horus Heresy Book Seven pg.234
- 9: War Zone Fenris: Wrath of Magnus - pg. 71 The Cursed Warriors of Fenris