|Battle Cry||"We burn so others may live" (pre-reformation), "We rise on burning wings" (post-reformation), "The Emperor Condemns!" (since the Undying-Martyr)|
|Successors of||Blood Angels|
|Original Name||Angels Resplendent|
|Chapter Master||Varzival Czervantes (missing, presumed dead)|
|Specialty||Being self-flagellating killjoys, punishing sinners.|
|Colours||Orange & Black (pre-reformation), Blue & Gold (post-reformation), Black with umber streaks (since the Chapter's adoption of the Testament of Thorns).|
They were once known as the Angels Resplendent, and were some of the prettiest, noblest, and all-around greatest of the sons of Sanguinius. They wore orange armor trimmed with red and silver, they were also notable for being one of two Blood Angels successor chapters who didn't have any issues with their Marines suddenly developing a craving for the red stuff or going bugshit berserk. Things were pretty good for the chapter for a while.
"We Burn so others may Live!"
Alas, whilst the Resplendent were pretty nice guys in general and had the Black Rage / Red Thirst pretty much locked down, it turned out that they were still susceptible and occasionally one of their brothers would go off the chain, with far more gribbly results than a usual Blood Angels blood blowout.
One day, in a town called Vindarnas, one of the escaped brothers performed some unspeakble atrocity and caused a rift in the immaterium that would spill over the woods and contaminate the entire region. The fallen champion's rampage in the town left but a single survivor: a young psyker who would be found by chief Librarian Xoren Castaneda and inducted into chapter. Together, they would lead the Angels Resplendent towards a new rebirth... a reformation.
"We Rise on Burning wings!"
Castaneda and his disciple pushed the entire chapter to embrace Sanguinius's idea that his sons ought to be just as good at art as they were at war. Many traditionalists resisted, but when the Chapter Master of the Resplendent sucumbed to the Black Rage, most of the chapter finally sided with Castagneda and the reformation truly began. It started with the repudiation of the Codex Astartes, and was followed by Castagneda's elevation to the first Chapter 'Magister'. (Hmm... this sounds familiar, I wonder if it could bring devastating consequences to the chapter) Finally, the chapter changed it's heraldry too. In order to mark its spiritual rebirth, the Resplendent eschewed the orange colours of old, and replaced them with blue of the Librarium.
The traditions and creed of the chapter were remade from the ground up. Where other chapters excelled in close combat, fast attack, long-range firepower, or armored assault, the Resplendent made themselves into warrior-artisans, believing that by creating art, they would become better warriors and defenders of mankind. Their Fortress-Monastery was filled with magnificent paintings, tapestries, and statuary created by the chapter's warriors. The battle-brothers even decorated their pauldrons with beautifully painted individual heraldry, meant to represent their soul.
In order to gauge their merit and creativity, the Librarius decreeed that the final trial for Resplendent Aspirants would be to enter the snowy forest surrounding the Fortress-Monastery of Kanvolis, known as "The Reverie". You know, the one tainted with chaos shit. Exactly what they had to do in there varied per aspirant; the woods were partly immersed in the warp, so an aspirant could be gone for a few days or a few decades or not return at all, with no time passing on the outside. (Similar to "The Coil" in Phaedra) What each one experienced varied wildly. Gradually, the Resplendent noticed that the effects of the Reverie were slowly getting worse. The chapter's Librarians attempted to seal the rift in the woods but accidentally ended up making the problem worse, along with compounding it by not telling the rest of the chapter. In order to protect the woods and any future aspirants, a cadre of their Librarians were tasked with watching over the woods. Occasionally, gribbly things would escape the Reverie, causing big problems for the Resplendent.
At some point, a detachment of the Angels Resplendent, led by then-Captain Varzival Czervantes, took part in a crusade launched by a charismatic preacher named Father Deliverance to bring the worlds of the Providence System into the Imperium. The crusade quickly collapsed into a quagmire when the inhabitants of Providence rejected the word of the God-Emperor and the Imperial forces responded by scourging and purging. The Angels, who'd advocated for a diplomatic approach, got fed up and bailed out almost immediately. Some of them eventually wound up on Vytarn, a remote Shrine World inhabited by a reclusive Adepta Sororitas Order Minoris known as the Last Candle. Unfortunately, the Last Candle's entire shrine complex, the Koronatus Ring, had been built over what was essentially a sewer drain for the Webway, and as a result Chaotic corruption had slowly seeped into the place to the point where an entire spire had been lost and some of the Sisters were going squirrelly and doing things that strongly resembled Chaos worship. When all hell finally broke loose and the place started being torn apart by daemons of Tzeentch and Nurgle, the Angels fortified one spire of the Ring and held it against all comers, sheltering anyone who managed to escape the small chaos and reach them. Among the refugees was a young psyker named Athanazius Calvino, who would one day become the chapter's greatest Chief Librarian.
"The Emperor Condemns!"
Sometime after the Last Candle incident, Czervantes was promoted to Chapter Master and set out on campaign with the entire 1st Company. While they were gone, a mysterious man with a huge scar across his stomach and glowing eyes showed up at the Angels' fortress-monastery, somehow crosseing the impassable river that surrounded it, and sat down for a friendly chat with one of their Chaplains. For nineteen days. At the end of this marathon discussion, the Chaplain in question, one Icharos Malvoisin (which translates to "evil neighbor" in French in case you couldn't see where this was going), emerged and proclaimed the stranger to be the Undying Martyr, a prophet of the God-Emperor, who bore terrible new insights into the Imperial Creed. These truths were dark indeed, for the Martyr had revealed that humanity was corrupt beyond any hope of redemption and that its greatest guardians, the Adeptus Astartes, were the basest of all sinners, for they had faltered and fragmented in the war against the arch-betrayer Horus. There could be no hope of ascension into the Emperor's light, only penitence and pain for humanity's collective sins past and future. The war was already lost and the only course was to fight on in the knowledge of certain defeat.
With that, Malvoisin and the Undying Martyr instigated a purge of the chapter. They tore down and destroyed all the art they had ever made, and left the wreckage to rot in the corridors as a monument to treacherous pride. Then they confronted Athanazius and the rest of the chapter's Librarius, who were the only Angels Resplendent to reject the Martyr's bitter, nihilistic creed. The Librarians greeted their overzealous brothers unarmed and unarmoured, and Athanazius nearly managed to defuse the whole thing by standing forth and speaking the chapter's battle cry --"We rise on burning wings"-- only for Malvoisin to shout "The Emperor Condemns!", at which point the chapter descended upon the Librarians and murdered them.
In the aftermath, the chapter renamed itself to the Angels Penitent and changed their colour scheme and heraldry again. This time from the blue of the Librarians to the black of the Chaplains. Malvoisin declared Czervantes and the 1st Company to be either lost or heretics, as nothing had been heard from them since the Great Purge, and he and the other Chaplains took control of the chapter, forming the Council of Thorns to enforce their new decrees. Creating any kind of art was banned under pain of death, and the Chaplains encouraged their brothers to snitch on each other for any violation of the new rules. Many of the chapter's Astartes took to committing acts of self-mutilation and extreme denial as penance for their "sins". Sadly, this caused the Black Rage to manifest in their ranks for the first time with a vengeance, and within a short time over half the chapter had fallen to the Rage and been inducted into the Death Company. Even the Scouts were beginning to manifest the Rage, meaning that the chapter was now threatened with extinction.
As a result of all this, a few holdouts became convinced that the Martyr was an agent of Chaos who had bewitched the Chaplains, and hoped that Czervantes would one day come to reclaim the chapter and drive out Malvoisin and those who adhered to his new dictates. As of now, this has yet to happen, and the Angels Penitent have continued on their merry way as a band of bitter, overzealous assholes who live only to punish everyone in the galaxy for being filthy sinners.
This being said, the recent fluff about them has revealed that the Resplendent weren't quite as shiny as they might've appeared and that the Penitent might not have been entirely wrong. One must remember that the recruitment ritual of the resplendent was basically to walk in some scary chaosy woods (The Reverie), which occasionally resulted in unspeakable things emerging and using the artistic obsessions of the Resplendent and their serfs against them.
Despite their newfound devotion to hating themselves and everyone else, they answered the call when Dante sent word to the IX Legion's successor chapters that there was going to be a rumble with Hive Fleet Leviathan at Baal and everyone was invited. It is currently unknown whether they were completely wiped out or just sustained massive losses, or if they were rebuilt with Primaris Marines (although some official artwork shows their heraldry in Primaris armour).