Following  investigation, interrogation of fallens" and - most important proof  scraps of materials brought by assault parties from wreck of Galatea" convinced Dark Angels about fatal mistake. There was little that could be done- entire crew of cruiser has been posthumously added to lists of honored battle brothers lost in wars with Chaos, thus ending "Galatea's" history in official records.

On the surface of the planet, hidden from outside world, survivors tried to survive in deadly environment. What was left from original crew were 76 battle brothers, three sergeants, two chaplains, apothecary and techmarine. Geneseed gathered from some of bodies allowed to harbour hope of rebuilding chapter destroyed- as survivors believed- by followers of Dark Gods. During next ten years on high plateau overlooking jungle crude fortress- monastery has been built. Materials salvaged from wreck- shield generators, adamantinium plates, some of the cannons and modified torpedo launchers  have been used to secure new home of survivors.

Styga was a deadworld due to two factors- it's tropical weather with almost constant monsoon winds making any agriculture virtually impossible and deadly wildlife, which, combined with lack of mineral resources made colonization of the planet extremely hard and- after first attempt during  first crusade- planet has been left as poor and unimportant from both economical and strategical point of view.

First contact with local population was legendary now "walk through coals". Watch on outposts located on borders of jungle informed HQ about huge dark cloud of smoke slowly approaching monastery. Huge jungle fire started by volcano eruption left only one way of escape  through the plateau on which Penitents fortress has been located. For three days battle brothers have been fighting off constant attacks of fear-mad giant reptile-like creatures. At the end of third day, when fires were raging almost below armored walls a single human has been spotted. It's been a uncouncious, 8 years old child, strapped in crude saddle on the back of two legged beast. It's body has been painted blue and smeared with some kind of sharp-stinking mass, head protected by helmet made from scull of predator. Immediately after receiving info about this discovery chaplain ordered sending  party of twelve battle brothers encased in terminator armors in search for traces of any human activity. Fires were dying now, what was left from once mighty jungle was but a sea of gray coal, glowing red with each move of wind. Surprisingly after two days march rescue party noticed a spot of green on horizont. As they discovered later human settlements protected themselves by firing counter fires and remained in huge part intact by fire.  Clad in black armors, red eyed humanoid shapes coming out of ashes made god-like impression on tribal  population of Styga and very quickly perilous travel through the jungle to the "house of gods" replaced initial rites of old, thus ensuring flow of recruits to chapter. In exchange Penitents provide what must be god-like care, training and protection to their followers.


Having witnessed end of their world, being smashed by Imperial forces and left on forsaken planet without any knowledge about events of Horus Heresy and Fall of Caliban had immense impact on beliefs and organization of the new chapter.  Penitents believe that what happened to them is punishment for leniency and lack of zeal. Only way of escaping damnation is total and most utter devotion, combined with purification of body and mind by self-mutilation and countless trials. Members of chapter wear ritual robes in color of ash. Some say it signifies humility while others connect it as a reminder of ashes of Caliban or way of honoring twelve apostles sent to human tribes of Styga.
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Background and Origin:

History of Penitents chapter dates back to days of Horus heresy and legendary fall of Caliban. During gathering of loyalist forces ordered by Lionel Jonson as part of  preparations for  planetary assault, strike cruiser  Galatea" with 376 marines on board has been lost into warp, only to appear at original destination place 350 years after devastation of home planet of all Dark Angels. Survivors of the journey,  horrified  with disaperance of any traces of once mighty fortress of Dark Angels and having no knowledge of  what happened during their travel tried to make contact with would- be survivors of battle. Unfortunately first vessel to respond calls from  Galatea" was  Angel of Vengeance", battleship of  newly created successors chapter. Guided by zeal and desire of bringing glory to their young chapter, having no knowledge of reasons behind disaperance of Galatea" leaders of Angels of Vengeance ordered immediate, all out attack on what in their opinion was ship of Fallens. Short and unequal battle that followed is known to this days as duel of blind" and for all Penitents marks beginning of new era in history of their chapter. Bearing old markings heresy type cruiser had little chance  in open combat and after receiving full salvo in starboard it began to drift in direction of Styga, huge deathworld in Segmentum Obscurus. Assault parties from Angel" managed to capture 27 defenders of Galatea" ( 5 battle brothers and chaplain survived transportation) before crippled cruiser, dragged by gravity, begun it's fall onto surface of planet.
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EPIC Strategy
Gathering of Angels
Apocrypha Caliban
Codex Astartes Angelus Mortis
Legio Infitiales Venia
Battle Honours
By Marcin Radoslav Kurcewski
This article has been published with the kind permission of Marcin Radoslav Kurcewski. Planetary image created by Shadow Guard
Olympus Honoris: Participant in the "Ye Angels Gather" Competition 2004
Olympus Honoris: Participant in the "Ye Angels Gather" Competition 2004
Mourning for Caliban and supposed loss of entire chapter is central point of beliefs, thus giving a chapter it's second name- "Crows of Sorrow" as survivors of the "Galatea" reached battlefield only after fight was over- as crows and carrions- and all they found there was not a glory but pain and sorrow. Crow is a legendary bird in Penitents mythology as it is supposed to be soul of sinner which becomes paler and more white through years until it's penance is complete. Funerals of dead are through the air  bodies are left on platform at the top of tower until huge stygian crows will not clean them up to the bones which are burned to ashes during special ceremony. At the end of funeral rites Grand Master puts a pinch of ash on head of each battle brother which is supposed to remind all present about both necessity of penance for sins and constant re-birth of new life from ashes of old.

Traces of this belief can be found in color code used by chapter with black  for battle brothers, shades of gray for veterans, sergeants and specialists to snow white armors used by chaplains. Apotecaries are another exception, wearing blood red  as a reminder of blood covered armor of first apothecary of the chapter after gathering gene seed from bodies of those that died in "fight of blinds" and fall of "Galatea".