|This article is about the Death Cult; for the Heresy-era specialized Space Marines, see Moritat.
The Moritat is an Imperial Death Cult of the Sanguinary subtype,[2a] that predates the Angevin Crusade in M39. Conflicting rumours in the Calixis Sector suggest that it was either brought into the sector by followers amongst the crusade fleets as worlds were being conquered in the name of the Emperor or conversely that it existed prior to the crusades and was already spread across space awaiting the arrival of Imperial rule.[1a]
The Moritat believes in a slightly adapted version of the Imperial Creed. They teach that only through bloodshed can the those who are corrupted or unworthy be removed and in doing so they honour the sacrifice of the Emperor.[1a]
Typically for a Death Cult, the Moritat place much spiritualism on blood; to them it represents the blood of the martyrs who have died in service to the those who are living and they believe that no lesson can be learned without blood being shed.[1b] Thus it is that the Moritat treat edged weapons as sacred and use them almost to the exclusion of any other type of weapon.[1a]
The Moritat does not accept applicants. It only recruits its members from amongst those who have been touched by conflict or misfortune, such as those from Feral Worlds, the depths of Hive Worlds or those who have survived in warzones.
These individuals are taken from a young age and are taught to use a blade spiritually and instictively to such a degree that they find it mentally difficult to use any weapon that does not have an edge, yet their skill in bloodletting with these weapons is so profound that blades inflict much more damage when in the hands of one who is trained by the Moritat.[1a]
During this time they are also initiated into the Moritat Cult; they are taught its secret language, which is said to have a million different terms for "death", and are instilled with the belief that only through living a life of endless conflict and bloodshed may they be worthy in the Emperor's sight. It is to this end that all members who survive their initiation are sent outwards into the greater Imperium to prove themselves in a process known as the Travail where they become assassins or killers for hire. It is at this stage that some occasionally find their way into the service of the Inquisition where they can test themselves against the greatest enemies of mankind.[1a]
The cult itself is highly decentralised. It exists as a number of small, independent cells each led by a single individual which operate in the cults recruiting locations. This makes it very difficult to track down or infiltrate.
However, Imperial authorities do have an unusual level of tolerance for the cult and for a reclusive society its existence is somewhat common knowledge amongst the nobility; this leads some to suggest that the Moritat may in fact be sponsored by the Officio Assassinorum.
During the Travail, members of the cult hone their skills through constant combat and murder. While they do this they are secretly observed by their superiors and mentors until such time as they feel the candidate is ready for further initiation. The member is then elevated to the position of Moritat Reaper and is considered to be a vision of death, trained to be the consummate assassin whose every kill is a prayer to the Emperor.[1b]
The High Reaper
Legends and myths believe that within the hierarchy of the Moritat, the individual who is at the highest point is known as the High Reaper and is the only member of the cult to have mastered all of the sacred methods of death (or the "219 cuts").
Supossedly instead of leading a cell of assassins, the High Reaper is only accompanied by his apprentice, to whom he teaches all but one of the sacred techniques, one which may only be granted through a vision of the Emperor and is the only technique which can slay the High Reaper. If the apprentice succeeds in their assassination attempt then they take the place of the High Reaper, otherwise the revelation will have proven to be false and the apprentice shall be slain instead, forcing the High Reaper to select a new apprentice to train and so the cycle continues.
Some Inquisitors believe that there is no High Reaper, that it is merely a lie created to shield the identity of the Moritat’s creators and patrons within the Holy Ordos. Others think that the High Reaper is all too real and that her master may be closer to them all than anyone suspects.
Known Moritat Cultists
- Esme Blackheart — Acolyte to Inquisitor Srax-Rhame.[2b]
- Nwana Zhankis — Also known as KXK-99. In service to the Tenebrae Collegium.[3a]
Known Former Moritat Cultists
- 1: Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook [Needs Citation]
- 2: Dark Heresy: Disciples of the Dark Gods:
- 3: Dark Heresy: The Radical's Handbook:
- 4: Dark Heresy: Ascension, pg. 23