"I am the Warden of the Blade... It is my prisoner. I cannot destroy it, but I will contain it, and I can punish it. It will seek my suffering, but it will suffer too. The Blade will strike for the Emperor, and never for itself."
- – Castellan Crowe
Castellan Garran Crowe is both Captain and Brotherhood Champion of the Purifiers of the Grey Knights Chapter of Space Marines. The Purifiers are a group of specialists that burn shit with their minds and are the purest-hearted of the Knights. Castellan Crowe, needless to say, is both of these things, as well as being one of the best swordsmen in the Grey Knights.
Sounds like a Mary Sue, no?
Ironically, Castellan Crowe is the only Grey Knights character (aside from Brother-Captain Stern, Hyperion, Justicar Thawn, Justicar Alaric and the awesome Grand Master Mandulis) that has not earned the enmity of /tg/. Wait, that's almost all the prominent Knights. Maybe they aren't such Mary Sues after all?
Y He No Part of Ward's Dick Club?
Because he's a badass.
He's a badass because he wields a daemon sword.
A daemon sword called the Black Blade of Antwyr.
A daemon sword that could not be destroyed by the Inquisition.
A daemon sword that mindfucked every other guy that had ever wielded it.
A daemon sword that corrupted three full sectors and required the entire Grey Knights Chapter to step in and stop it.
A daemon sword that actively tries to murder Crowe every time he wields it.
A daemon sword that has near-infinite power and might possibly be a God in its own right, just waiting to be unleashed...
But Crowe just uses it as a regular sword, because using that near-infinite power would corrupt him.
Also, barely enduring the influence of a single daemon weapon makes a lot more sense (and is a lot cooler than)
not only surviving in the Warp, but actively destroying all the Chaos Gods' shit. than being able to stroll through the Warp unharmed, destroying things and killing daemons, without any of that shit actually happening for reals because it gets remade after the Draigo-Jack are done there - But then again, that is the Warp, so sense might not fair to judge upon.
Although, Especially in the 5th edition book Ward makes sure to note how Crowe is the purest Marine of the purest purifier order of the purest space marines that are the Grey knights, so uhh, while a cool dude, even he is not safe from Ward taint. To be fair though, you're going to have that with ANY specialized group. If we were talking about the White Scars it would read like "Khan is the fastest Marine of the fastest racing order of the fastest space marines that are the White Scars." Any time you have a group that does one thing specifically, you will have one person that does it exceedingly well. It would be Mary Sue-Matt Ward bullshit if someone from like, the Ultramarines was better at banishing daemons than Grey Knights were. It's only when someone from another specialized group's skill exceeds those of a specialized groups skill set that their validity is called into question.
7th Edition also adds and takes away from his sueness in equal measure by making him the leader of the Purifier Order (where the purest of the pure are grouped) and making him the most likely guy to take the place of Kaldor Titanfucking Draigo, but he keeps refusing because he has a bigger job taking care of the extremely foul blade and trying to keep track of what it says so he might find that one golden nugget of truth amongst a sea of insults.
Also, Crowe is one of only two named individuals in the Imperium of Man that currently carries the antiquated title of "Castellan" (it is used more commonly in the Black Templars). The other holder of the title is, of course, very well-known.
Samples of the Blade's True Power
Whatever entity is trapped inside the blade, it does not want to be under the control of the four known chaos deities. Though it is not beyond using their own machinations to engineer its escape, even working to partially fulfill the other deities' plans just to create an opportunity for it to take advantage of.
The Blade will call mortals and even other Chaos entities to it, promising invincibility and glory even to the servants of the other dark powers. This is almost always successful, as daemons are immediately drawn to the blade's call regardless of the orders of their former masters, and mortals take very little to convince.
When wielded by a mortal, the Blade's consciousness immediately and completely overwrites the consciousness of the wielder, beginning the process of transforming the physical body into a kind of armored shadow-like creature that only the blade knows the origins of. It likes to keep a portion of the wielder's soul intact, though, just so it can taunt it on its colossal gullibility and fuck-up.
In the presence of the Blade and its wielder, other people are constantly under assault by its influence. No longer needing to seduce potential pawns to help it escape, the blade simply overrides the will of whomever is unlucky enough to catch a glimpse of it. One look is all it needs to overwhelm any mental resistance.
The blade can incite violence and obscene rituals if it so chooses, but it does not need these in order to gain power. All it needs are more followers. The blade's capability multiplies with each mind it takes over (the more people it controls, the more people it can control), enabling it to bring millions of people under its will through a chain reaction of influence.
The sheer speed at which the blade can bring more people under has no equal even among the other dark powers. Meanwhile, the people the blade enslaves do not become blood-thirsty fanatics or raving pleasure seekers either, they march as a single force, silent and mindless. These armies are under the blade's direct control, aiming with the blade's supernatural precision and cutting with the blade's weapon mastery.
Inside the blank-staring bodies with their mouths contoured into silent screams, the souls of the enslaved are trapped; constantly taunted by the blade's laughter and telepathically tortured.
Which begs the question of why neither Horus nor Abaddon were 'called' to use the Blade?
(It would have won the Horus Heresy right then and there without allowing Horus to rebel or give the Emperor the chance to blow up Terra)
(Abaddon's 12th Black Crusade would have conquered the Imperium within a year if he was controlled by the Daemon Sword)
Even Huron Blackheart and Kranon the Relentless as well as their Chaos Warbands would have conquered the Imperium own their own if they were corrupted by the Blade!
The answer is probably that the Chaos Gods don't want the blade to control anyone and would actively take steps to prevent it, considering that the entity in the blade itself takes control over even demons from their masters and creators.
The blade may also not call to those because if you are a Chosen of a Chaos God (and a Primarch to boot), your will is probably strong enough to resist it. The idea that it would reach out to those corrupted by Chaos presupposes that the leaders of Chaos are easily swayed. It can be argued that if your mind is weak enough to be swayed you never would have survived long enough to make it as far as Abaddon.
Additionally, it may be that the Blade itself does not want to call to Huron or Abaddon, or that it was not close enough to bring its full influence into play. We know that to completely take over the host body it needs physical contact. Once taken over, the host itself functions like a walking antenna for the blade's influence. One look at the host and the blade will overwhelm most mortal minds.
Duel with Skulltaker
For all the martial prowess that he has that he is the 40k version of Sigismund (except with Psyker Powers) he isn't capable of defeating every foe that he fights.
See, the Chosen Bloodletter of Khorne was going to turn a planet into a Daemon World. Seeing that none of his buddies are one the same level in swordmanship as he and Skulltaker, Crowe had no choice but to challenge the Daemon to single combat (instead of shooting him from orbit or spamming Psych-Out Grenades or calling in a Blank/Pariah Assassin). But even he knew that the odds are against him (considering that Skulltaker has fought and killed Grey Knights before, he had every reason to be worried) and that he had to CHEAT just to survive dueling the Daemon! So he threw Super Holy Water at Skulltaker in order to weaken him and thus their duel began. Despite being weakened, Skulltaker was able to match Crowe swordstrike to swordstrike and the duel continued on for HOURS! But those hours were all the time the Grey Knights needed as the rest of the team purged the Daemonic Horde from the planet. Crowe leaves the planet alive and still retaining the cursed sword (Imagine how much CHAOS it would have done had Skulltaker taken it).
An alternate viewpoint on that duel: A nemesis force weapon is supposed to be supernaturally light, supernaturally hard, and psychically-attuned to its grey knight wielder so that its mere touch has the potential to destabilize daemonic flesh. A master-crafted nemesis weapon, like the one Castellan Crowe should possess by right as the Brotherhood Champion, brings those qualities to a whole other level. So, to fight a being like Skulltaker, a weapon such as that is not only a necessity, but the mere thought of using anything less would mean you deserve whatever happens to you... Unfortunately, Castellan Crowe does not have a master-crafted nemesis force weapon, nor even a regular nemesis weapon. No, in this epic duel of duels, he was forced to use the fencing equivalent of a lead pipe -- A lead pipe that actively resists his every swing, consistently tries to break his focus, and repeatedly attempts to get him killed in every battle. To spite this near-impossible handicap, he still managed to fight toe-to-toe with a 'slightly weakened' Skulltaker for several hours. It bears to iterate again that he took on the personal champion of the deadliest warrior in existence and beat him by improvising any means at his disposal while wielding a shitty weapon actively trying to kill him.
CHEAT, they say?
Give Crowe the Titansword -- Grand Master Draigo's Relic nemesis force blade (S+4/AP-4/D3). Then and only then, would the Chaos Gods have the right to file a complaint about "Cheating".
- This plays every time he polishes his daemon blade. Not only is it called "Black Blade", it shifts from dark and gloomy to light in tone, and ends up like a conflict with a lot of energy... So it fits fucking great.
- And then there's this.
- Castellan Crowe's story is expanded here. Note: The book is written in the same vein as the old Ben Counter books about the duty of the Grey Knights; with solemn diginity and a kind for resigned determination; that though their job does tremendously suck beyond the universe's ability to contain, they still have to do it. That no matter how pure their purpose or how much they prepare, Chaos can still lead them on a merry chase that may sometimes end in the Grey Knights' failure. And when that happens, there is really no other choice for them but to keep cracking on regardless.