A spiritu dominatus,
| ~ Battle-Prayer of the Adepta Sororitas
Once, a Novice Cantus came to me, troubled and uncertain. A slip of a girl, only a few strides down the eternal path leading her to the Golden Throne. She asked me a question. She asked me how we can ever truly understand what faith is. I told her that there is no coin to measure what we feel in our hearts. There are no scales upon which we might weigh the faith of one woman against another. There is only duty and blood. There are only deeds and words. There is only the service to the God-Emperor, and the price that demands from each Sister can only be known by Him. But know that whatever fears must be faced, whatever hardships endured, that price is forever worth its full cost.
| ~ Saint Katherine, as written in the Hammer and Anvil
Should any Sister, in her deeds or thoughts, sin, she should willingly and immediately make her fault known to her Superior, and amend with a pure heart. If she does not usually fail in this manner, let her be given but a week’s penance, but if her sin is great, let her go apart from the company of her Sisters, so that she may not sit at table with them, nor kneel in prayer at their side. Let her go alone, submitting herself to the will of the almighty God-Emperor of Mankind. Let her don the hood of the penitent and take up the ceremonial Eviscerator, and seek her redemption upon the field of battle.
| ~ Rule CCCLIX, the Rule of the Sororitas, Volume VI
By bolter shell, flamer burst and melta blast, the mutant, the heretic and the traitor alike are cleansed of their sin of existence. So has it been for five millennia, so shall it be unto the end of time.
| ~ Words of Devotion, Verses IV-V, Chapter X, Volume LII
She was an angel, pure as righteous destruction. She laid low the twisted and lifted the hearts of the righteous. At her passing, a million voices cried out her name. Shall we ever again see her like? No, not now, nor ever again...
| ~ Sister Patricia of the Order Famulous, on the disappearance of Saint Celestine
The Adepta Sororitas, formerly known as the Daughters of the Emperor, are an all-female division of the Adeptus Ministorum. The Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas, more commonly known as the Sisters of Battle, are the Ministorum's only official military force, as the "Decree Passive" laid down by the reformist Ecclesiarch Sebastian Thor held that in the wake of the Age of Apostasy of the 36th Millennium, the Ecclesiarchy cannot maintain any "men under arms." This was supposed to limit the power of the Ecclesiarchy. However, the Ministorum was able to circumvent this decree by using the all-female military force of the Sisterhood's Orders Militant.
The Sisters of Battle are an elite sisterhood of warriors raised from infancy to adore the Emperor of Mankind. Their fanatical devotion and unwavering purity is a bulwark against corruption, heresy and alien attack, and once battle has been joined they will stop at nothing until their enemies are utterly crushed. Battle Sisters will stride through fire if need be, their bolters spitting staccato bursts of destruction every step of the way. Not even death can stay the wrath of the Adepta Sororitas—indeed, the blood of martyrs only strengthens the resolve of Battle Sisters, spurring them to greater acts of heroism in the name of the honoured fallen.
The Adeptus Ministorum—or the Ecclesiarchy as it is generally known in the Imperium—is a monolithic organisation founded on the worship of the Emperor as the saviour of Mankind and the preaching of the Imperial Creed throughout the whole galaxy. The Sisters of Battle are the army of the Ecclesiarchy. Clad in ceramite power armour, they carry an awesome array of weaponry with which to vanquish their enemies; the incredible wealth of the Ecclesiarchy ensures that they are equipped with the best wargear the Imperium has to offer. The Sisters of Battle are trained to the peak of human ability and stand amongst Mankind's most dedicated and disciplined warriors. Wherever there are foes of the Emperor, the Sisters of Battle will be found fighting with faith and steel. When not actively prosecuting the Ecclesiarchy's wars, the Battle Sisters of the Orders Militant divide their time between rigorous training and devout worship of the Emperor.
Indeed, to the Adepta Sororitas, the disciplines are nigh inseparable, for whilst combat drills and studies of battle tactics can hone the body and the mind, only penitent prayer can bolster the spirit, and all three are required to defeat the Imperium's foes. The combination of combat doctrine and prayer is most evident on the battlefield, where Battle Sisters loudly proclaim their faith in hymn and verse as they march to war, calling upon the Emperor to aid them in the fight against their enemies. The perfervid, unquestioning nature of this faith is a potent weapon indeed, manifesting as divine inspiration that drives the Sororitas to unprecedented feats of martial prowess. Sisters of Battle gripped with holy fervour banish worldly fears from their minds, shrug off mortal wounds, and summon preternatural strength to smite their foes. The Sisters of Battle believe their faith to be a weapon stronger than any steel, and those who witness their battlefield miracles are left in no doubt that the spirit of the Emperor indeed walks with these pious warriors. Once battle has been joined, the Adepta Sororitas will stop at nothing until their enemies are utterly crushed.
Powers and Stats
Tier: 9-B to 8-C with Power armor. 8-C to High 8-C with weaponry | At least 8-C with Power armor. 8-C to High 8-C with weaponry | 9-C physically, higher with Eviscerator | Likely High 8-C | Varies, up to 4-B
Name: Adepta Sororitas, the Sisters of Battle, the Sisterhood, the Daughters of the Emperor
Origin: Warhammer 40,000
Gender: All Female (The Decree Passive maintains that the Ecclesiarchy cannot posses men under arms, with the Adepta Sororitas being allowed to exist due to the loophole in the decree’s wording)
Age: The youngest are in their 20s, the oldest can be hundreds of years old with rejuvenating treatments
Classification: All-female subdivision of the Adeptus Ministorum, Chamber Militant of the Ordo Hereticus of the Imperial Inquisition
Powers and Abilities:
Superhuman Physical Characteristics (Due to their Power armor), Enhanced Senses (Their helms likely include some form of Auspex in them much like Astartes helmets do), Weapon Mastery (Sisters are trained from a very young age to be exceptionally skilled in a wide variety of weaponry), Martial Arts (The Sisters are similarly skilled in a variety of hand-to-hand combat styles, owed to years of grueling training), Heat Manipulation (Via Meltas), Fire Manipulation (Via Flamers), Explosion Manipulation (Via Bolt rounds, and grenades), Durability Negation (Via Power weapons, which disrupt the bonds of matter with their power field, and to a lesser extent Chain weapons, which possess blades sharpened to a monomolecular edge), Limited Flight (Via Jump Packs), Vehicular Mastery (As part of their training, Sisters of Battle will almost certainly be taught to operate their transports as effectively as the best troops among the galaxy), Probability and Statistics Amplification (Via Acts of Faith), Resistance to Corruption, Telepathy, Soul Manipulation, Madness Manipulation, Possession (Due to their sheer, unshakable faith, indoctrination, mental defenses and perhaps even the psychic helping of the Emperor, Sisters of Battle are far less likely to be affected by the taint of Chaos than regular humans), Radiation Manipulation, Poison Manipulation, Heat Manipulation (Much like Astartes armor, fully enclosed Sororitas armor also probably provides a certain degree of environmental protection, albeit to a lesser extent)
All previous abilities, along with Plasma Manipulation (Has access to Combi-Plasma Guns and Plasma Pistols), Forcefield Creation (Canonesses may posses a Rosarius, an amulet that incorporates powerful force field generators)
Peak Human Physical Characteristics (Sisters Repentia are superbly trained warriors driven to the brink of sanity by battle rage, and as such display abilities far above those of ordinary humans, such as wielding massive Eviscerator Chainswords), Durability Negation (Eviscerators, much like regular Chainswords, possess monomolecular blades that can cut through nearly anything), Berserk Mode
Superhuman Physical Characteristics, Durability Negation (Via Power and Chain weapons), Fire Manipulation (Via Heavy Flamers), Explosion Manipulation (Via heavy Bolt rounds), Berserk Mode (Petinent Engine pilots constantly have combat stimulants drugs flowing through them, driving them into rampages that can hardly be stopped), Resistance to Pain Manipulation (Petinent Engines have such powerful pain dulling agents coursing through their blood that they can withstand an unreal amount of punishment before stopping or dying), Corruption, Telepathy, Soul Manipulation, Madness Manipulation, Possession (Petinent Engines are almost impossible to be taken over by the powers of Chaos, due to the very nature of their pilots)
Superhuman Physical Characteristics, Holy Manipulation (Due to the nature of possessing a portion of the Emperor's power), Flight, Immortality (At least Type 8), Resurrection (Of themselves and potentially even other people), Healing, Light Manipulation, Aura (The blessed aura of a Living Saint alone is usually enough to severely weaken the presence of the daemonic, as well as rouse forces loyal to them to dizzying heights of courage and hope), Teleportation via Dimensional Travel (Living Saints usually appear in the midst of the most hopeless battlefields, and being living constructs of Warp energy and the Emperor's will, they almost certainly use the Warp for the purposes of traveling), Extrasensory Perception (Being intrinsically tied to the Warp, Living Saints would almost certainly possess a connection to it similar to powerful psykers), Non-Physical Interaction (Living Saints can do battle with and defeat daemons both in realspace and the Warp), Resistance to Magic, Telepathy, Mind Manipulation, Empathic Manipulation, Soul Manipulation, Spatial Manipulation, Time Manipulation, Matter Manipulation, Reality Warping, Existence Erasure, Aura, Conceptual Manipulation, Corruption (Possessing of a portion of the Emperor's psychic power and being embodiments of his will, Living Saints are almost entirely unaffected by the powers of the daemonic, no matter how powerful they may be)
Attack Potency: Wall level to Building level with Power armor (Sororitas Power Armour at minimum can enhance a sister’s physical strength to levels far beyond that of any ordinary human. Strong Sisters of Battle are capable of harming each other in physical combat). Building level to Large Building level with weaponry (A sister’s Bolter, despite its decreased size, is no less effective and destructive than an Astartes’ own Bolter, reducing the enemy to a bloody pool. Flamers are capable of very quickly dissolving human flesh, muscle and bone into ash. Plasma weapons fire projectiles akin to a sun, and can also casually atomize large humanoids. Meltas are even more powerful than Plasma weaponry | At least Building level with Power armor (The strongest Sisters of Battle are capable of truly superhuman feats, such as defeating hordes of Orks despite being outnumbered 10 to 1, defeating Eldar Farseers and even holding their own against Grey Knights). Building level to Large Building level with weaponry (High-ranking Sororitas wield even better weaponry than their lesser sisters) | Street level physically, higher with Eviscerators (Eviscerators can tear through Terminator armor, although most of this comes from the durability negating properties of the blade's monomolecular edge) | Likely Large Building level (Penitent Engines are armed with Dreadnought-class close quarters weaponry, and are typically comparable to Astartes’ Dreadnoughts) | Varies, up to Solar System level (Living Saints can do battle with, and slay both Daemon Princes and Greater Daemons. However, the strength of said daemons is often variable. The strongest Living Saints, such as Celestine, can do battle with opponents on the level of the Warmaster)
Speed: At least Peak Human movement, reaction and combat speed (Superbly trained combatants pushed to the absolute limit of human ability and possibly enhanced by their armor), at most Subsonic movement speed with Hypersonic combat and reaction speed (Extremely experienced Sisters of Battle can be on par with an Astartes warrior) | At least Subsonic movement speed with Hypersonic combat and reaction speed (Should be on or above the level of an ordinary Astartes) | At least Peak Human movement, combat and reaction speed | Unknown | Varies, up to Massively FTL+ combat and reaction speed (Saint Celestine was able to keep pace with Abaddon the Despoiler himself)
Lifting Strength: Peak Human, at least Superhuman with Power armor (Can easily lift a grown man and hurl him 5 meters away with one hand) | Class 1 (Canoness Ludmilla could easily lift an armored Grey Knight of the ground and throw him several meters away) | Peak Human | Unknown | Unknown
Striking Strength: Wall Class to Building Class | At least Building Class | Street Class | Likely Large Building Class | Varies, up to Solar System Class
Durability: Building level with Power armor (Sororitas Power armor is stated to be every bit as durable as an Astartes' Power armor) | At least Building level with Power armor | Street level (Sisters Repentia don't wear any form of protection when charging into battle) | At least Large Building level for the Penitent Engine itself (Comparable to Astartes' Dreadnoughts). Street level for the crucified person who pilots it | Varies, up to Solar System level (Saint Celestine was able to endure attacks from Abaddon himself)
Stamina: Peak human | At least peak human | Superhuman due to their combat frenzy | Superhuman (The pilots of Petinent Engines are overflown with all sorts of combat stimulants) | Varies
Range: Standard melee range. Up to kilometers with ranged weaponry | Standard melee range. Up to kilometers with ranged weaponry | Extended melee range | Several meters in melee. Up to kilometers with ranged weaponry | Varies
- Sororitas Power Armour: The Power armor worn by the Orders Militant is based upon the same archaic systems as that worn by their brethren of the Adeptus Astartes. It provides the same degree of armored protection, yet must forego the more advanced life-support systems and strength enhancing abilities used by the Space Marines, as the Sisters of Battle are not implanted with the Black Carapace that allows the Astartes to interface fully with their own armor. Despite this, the Sisters of Battle are one of the few Imperial forces outside of the Space Marines to be granted the right to wear such formidable armor, and they are trained to deadly effect to utilize it's abilities to the full.
- Sabbat Pattern Sororitas Helm: The standard pattern worn by the majority of Battle Sisters since the mid 38th millennium, this helm contains an integrated rebreather, allowing the Sister to operate in total vacuum for limited periods. The visor provides fullspectrum filtering and limited psycho-oculal buffering, allowing the Sister to fight on where a less well-equipped warrior would be rendered insensible by adverse battlefield conditions.
- Godwyn-De'az Pattern Bolter: The standard issue weapon for all Battle Sisters since the Orders Militant were formed, the Godwyn-De-az pattern boltgun has remained unchanged for millenia, largely due to its superior performance in comparison to other weapons of its class. Despite its reduced size, the Godwyn-De-az Bolter is essentially as powerful as an Astartes' Boltgun, capable of severely damaging or even piercing Power armor with its rounds.
- Purity Seals: Devotional scripts and declarations of the bearer's sanctity, many Sisters wear purity seals to further protect them from the taint of the impure and the sinful. In the course of her duties, a Sister may bear witness to the most terrible of sights and so the more purity seals borne, the more of such horrors she has had to endure. Each seal is a benediction against the forces of disorder, warpcraft, and mutation, a plea to the Emperor for deliverance from evil.
Intelligence: Above average (The Adepta Sororitas are generally selected from only the most exceptional individuals physically and mentally, typically going through years of strict education from childhood in the Schola Progenium, and are then taken to a convent and spend years as a Novice before finally joining the Sisterhood) | Above average (Canonesses are veteran warriors of the Sister of Battle, who rise to their position only through strong leadership, shrewd tactical genius and great combat skill) | At least average, though generally not applicable in combat (Sister Repentias are essentially brainwashed to lose all fear of death in combat and no remorse for the enemies of the Emperor, and to madly seek atonement for their sins through battle) | Below average (People strapped to Petinent Engines generally are flooded with chemicals to such a point that they can only engage in berserker melee combat, incapable of processing any higher forms of attacking) | At least gifted (Sororitas who become Living Saints were typically legendary Sisters in life)
Weaknesses: Sisters of Battle are unenhanced humans without their Power armor. Certain sisters are religious fanatics to the detriment of their common sense. Sisters Repentia are usually incapable of logical thinking in the midst of battle. Petinent Engines even less so.
- Acts of Faith: The Adepta Sororitas can draw upon the wellspring of their faith and call upon the Emperor to guide their actions. So does absolute belief in the Imperial Creed allow the Sisters of Battle to perform the seemingly impossible upon the battlefield. Yet miracles are not to be relied upon as a matter of course. At the heart of the Imperial Creed is the belief that the divine Emperor relies on his followers to create their own salvation, but also that if the situation is sufficiently bleak, he will intervene to deliver his true servants.
- Shield of Faith: The Sisters of Battle are taught that faith is a shield stronger than any armour. Such is the power of their belief that the Emperor will protect them that the Adepta Sororitas can shrug off the most severe of wounds and resist the witchcraft of enemy sorcerers.
- Martyrdom: The Sisters of Battle do not give in to despair when their leaders are slain. Instead, the blood of these martyred heroes only strengthens their resolve, the sacrifice inspiring them to great acts of heroism.
- The Passion: A Canoness leads her Sisters through the chaos of melee, striking at their foes with a speed and hatred born of holy fervour.
- Endless Crusade: Limbs do not tire when the spirit of the Emperor moves them, but find fresh strength in the righteous work to come.
- Hand of the Emperor: Celestians call upon the Emperor to grant them the strength to strike down their foes.
- Spirit of the Martyr: Desperate for redemption, the Sisters refuse to succumb to their wounds until their foes have been slain.
- Light of the Emperor: The Sisters of Battle are filled with the knowledge that the only thing they need fear is failing the Emperor of Mankind. Armed with such faith, they are driven to unprecedented feats of prowess.
- Holy Fusillade: Praying to the Emperor to channel his wrath through their weapons, the Dominions unleash a storm of firepower from which none can escape.
- Divine Guidance: Guided by the will of the Emperor himself, the Retributors’ shots shatter the armour of the enemy with contemptuous ease.
- The Emperor’s Deliverance: As the Seraphim recite rites of destruction, their aim faithfully falls where it will cause the most harm – every shot becoming a mortal blow that condemns another heretic to oblivion.
Key: Sisters of Battle | Canonesses | Sisters Repentia | Penitent Engines | Living Saints
Ranks of the Sisters of Battle:
A Canoness is the overall commander of one of the Orders Militant, a shining example of purity and dedication of purpose. Each is a veteran warrior of many hundreds of battles who has risen to her position through a combination of strong leadership, shrewd tactical genius and sheer overarching faith in the Emperor. When the Ecclesiarchy sounds the call to arms, a Canoness boldly leads her warriors into the fray, refusing to take one step backwards whilst her enemies still draw breath. Under their command, the Sisters of Battle have crushed the foes of the Imperium across the galaxy.
Though she is ostensibly answerable to the Prioress of her Convent, a Canoness’ superior knowledge of battle inevitably holds sway concerning military matters. A Canoness is also responsible for the spiritual well-being of the warriors under her command, and she is the principle guardian of her Battle Sisters’ souls. A Canoness’ non-military duties include leading the Order in its prayer services, performing rites of initiation and overseeing the running of the Order. As a result, a Canoness inspires intense devotion in her Battle Sisters, leading them from the fore whilst reciting the great hymns of the Ecclesiarchy.
Celestians are the finest and noblest warriors of their Order – inspirational figures whose refusal to yield, even in the direst of situations, is legendary. The presence of such warriors does much to bolster the fighting spirit of nearby troops, and as such, the Orders Militant allow these distinguished veterans to bear devotional markings. The Sigil Sororitas is a commonly depicted symbol, worn either as a tattoo or as a badge adorning the front of helmets – an honour reserved for those Sisters who have performed with exceptional courage.
Only Battle Sisters who prove themselves to be exceptionally proficient in the arts of war may be deemed worthy of induction into the ranks of the Celestians. These elite warriors are deployed together in squads where their superior experience and skill at arms can turn the tide of battle. Amongst their number are those Sisters who once served as Dominions and Retributors, meaning that Celestian Squads are supported with the weapons and wargear necessary to face a wide variety of threats. However, Celestians believe that such weapons are as nothing compared to the power of their faith. Celestians are fervent adherents to the Imperial Creed, shining examples of righteousness that many Battle Sisters aspire to emulate. Celestians harness this ardour in battle, and it lends them the strength to split the skulls of alien savages in a single blow and smite hideous Daemons back into the Warp.
Amongst the highly devoted warriors of the Orders Militant there are those Battle Sisters whose faith burns so brightly that it appears as if the Emperor himself guides their actions. These angelic warriors are known as Seraphim, and they are exclusively trained to use jump packs. More importantly, they are also taught the co-ordination, dexterity and control to fire two pistols at once. These warriors dedicate many painstaking years to perfecting these arts. Time and again Seraphim have struck like avenging angels, descending into the thickest of fighting upon wings of fire, their bolt pistols spitting death at their foes.
Seraphim are schooled in their Order’s most ancient fighting techniques, learning to wield their sidearms in brutal melees as other warriors brandish knives and swords. Seraphim deflect the strikes of their foes with fluid grace before landing a killing blow of their own, typically with a point-blank headshot from a bolt pistol.
Seraphim Superior are highly respected warriors amongst the Order and their advice is rightly heeded by the Canoness in councils of war. As befits veterans of such standing, Seraphim Superior wield some of their Order’s most vaunted weapons, from golden bladed power swords inscribed with litanies of faith to sacred pistols once carried into battle by Living Saints. These revered heirlooms are irreplaceable and Seraphim Superior fight all the harder to ensure they do not fall into enemy hands.
Retributors are armed with the Order’s heaviest weaponry. Believing that the Emperor himself guides their aim, these Sisters annihilate the Ecclesiarchy’s foes with overwhelming firepower. Retributors are commonly armed with heavy bolters to provide long ranged support to squads of Battle Sisters, cutting down hordes of enemy infantry with a staggering rate of fire. However, in the close confines of urban warfare, or where the foe are wont to shelter behind armoured bulwarks, Retributors prefer to rely upon heavy flamers, unleashing searing infernos that burn their opponents out of cover and reduce them to charred corpses. Finally, completing the Holy Trinity of bolter, flamer, and melta, Retributors are also adept at wielding deadly multi-meltas, whose roaring thermal blasts can reduce the mightiest of battle tanks into molten slag.
Retributors are the most logical and level-headed of all Sororitas, a trait that serves them well on the battlefield as they prioritise and despatch their targets with calm efficiency. Although it is usual to attach individual Retributors to Battle Sisters squads, many Sororitas Commanders maintain a core of dedicated heavy weapon squads. By concentrating a disproportionate number of the Order’s biggest guns in this manner, the Sister Superior leading the squad is more readily able to direct their combined firepower to where it will cause the most damage to the enemy. Retributor squads often enter the fray in Immolators, further bolstering their firepower as they lay waste to any foes foolish enough to stray into their gunsights.
Battle Sisters who utilize specialized weaponry such as storm bolters, flamers and meltaguns are known as Dominions. They are amongst their Order’s most aggressive warriors, driven by the need to destroy the Emperor’s foes. Though their training has tempered the worse excess of their impetuosity, Dominions still yearn to fight at the fore of any Sororitas attack. As such the Orders Militant maintain several units who are almost solely comprised of such warriors. Dominion squads are the Sisters of Battle’s shock troops and they are primarily tasked with leading the vanguard of Sororitas assaults, breaking through enemy front lines, destroying heavily defended fortifications and blunting the spearheads of any counter-attacks. The importance of such missions is commensurate with the dangers involved, and as such, Dominions typically ride to battle inside Rhino or Immolator personnel carriers, protected from the worst of incoming gunfire by the transports’ armoured hulls. These tanks rumble to a halt mere yards from their target, and within seconds, a fully armed Dominion squad is storming their objective, annihilating the enemy with a deadly combination of bolter rounds, melta beams and searing flames.
Dominions do not hold objectives. Their task is simply to clear them of any enemy presence as quickly as possible and to lay down covering fire whilst other Sororitas squads move into position. The moment these locations have been secured by their fellow Battle Sisters the Dominions embark on their transports once more, eager to engage their next target.
The vast majority of an Order Militant is made up of Battle Sisters. Every Battle Sister is an orphan raised from birth to believe in the righteousness of their cause. They are the most physically adept and martial members of the Adepta Sororitas, and they form the mainstay of the Ecclesiarchy’s fighting forces. Battle Sisters are well disciplined and highly devoted to the Emperor. Their greatest strengths are their superb weapons and armour, which they are trained in the use of from an early age. Battle Sisters fight in small units at close quarters, favouring bolters, flamers and meltaguns to eradicate their enemies utterly. When combined with their unquenchable faith, they are a force to be reckoned with, forming an army of totally incorruptible and highly motivated warriors who enforce the will of the Emperor, as interpreted by the Ecclesiarchy, with precise volleys of bolter fire.
Each squad of Battle Sisters is led by a Sister Superior. These warriors are ranked beneath the Canonesses of the Orders Militant and each is directly responsible for the conduct and training of her squad. When a Sororitas joins one of the Orders Militant, she will be adopted by a Sister Superior, and as she learns the ways of battle, it will be this mentor who looks after her physical and spiritual training. The most experienced Sisters Superior also assist the Canoness in the running of the Order, and many have specific duties and associated titles, including the Abbess of the Armoury, the Mistress of Recruits, the Ordinator of the Reliquary, and many more.
Confession and prayer are as much a part of a Battle Sister’s everyday existence as bolter drills and military discipline. Those who fall short of the Sisterhood’s rigorous codes are subject to many punishments, but in the more serious of cases the transgressor may be exiled from their Order. These warriors, known as Sisters Repentia, are each cast out with only a handful of rags, a hood to cover their face and a ceremonial eviscerator with which to strike down the Emperor’s enemies. Sisters Repentia band together into groups that seek redemption in the fires of battle, and they are led to war by a Mistress of Repentance – a harsh warrior who drives her charges onwards with a pair of neural whips. The Mistress judges each exiled Sister’s deeds and occasionally, at battle’s end, she may declare her sins atoned for. Although extremely rare, those few who return to the fold of their Order are held with great esteem by the Sisterhood.
To the Adepta Sororitas, those who seek forgiveness in the Emperor’s eyes by treading the path of a Sister Repentia occupy a state of grace that many aspire to, yet few ever attain. Indeed, some Battle Sisters willingly exile themselves, finding fault in the smallest imagined transgression in order to join the ranks of the Repentia. These Sisters are possessed of a righteous zeal that knows neither pain nor fear. They will die when the Emperor is ready to accept their souls, and not a moment before. These Sisters’ maniacal fervour inevitably means that they martyr themselves fighting against the most hopeless odds, finding in death the absolution denied to them in life.
Penitent Engines are towering, bipedal vehicles that rampage through the enemy’s battle lines, leaving death and carnage in their wake. The machines’ arm-mounted flamers blaze a trail of fiery destruction as they thunder towards their foes, and their gigantic, razor-edged buzz saws carve through armour, flesh and bone with every frenzied swipe.
To be a pilot of a Penitent Engine is to have committed a terrible crime, one so heinous that punishment such as imprisonment, exile, arco-flagellation or execution is deemed too lenient. Many of the unfortunates sentenced to pilot a Penitent Engine were once members of the Ecclesiarchy priests fallen from grace or Battle Sisters who have, through failure of duty or faith, caused the deaths of their fellows. A multitude of wires and chemical injectors are implanted into the condemned pilots’ spines, and when they are not ripping through the ranks of their enemies, lances of pain and images of guilt shoot directly into their brains, reminding them of their sins. Driven by their pilots’ frantic need for forgiveness, Penitent Engines charge towards the closest foe in sight heedless of any danger, knowing that only in death – theirs or the enemy’s – can forgiveness finally be earned.
Penitent Engines often charge into battle beside the ranks of the Orders Militant. The Sisters of Battle consider it their sacred duty to witness these great machines in the fires of combat, observing the actions of their fallen brothers and sisters as they atone for past sins and seek redemption.