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Not to be confused with Khornate Knights or Skullcrushers
Basically one story in the 5th Edition Grey Knight Codex, "The Bloodtide Returns", lists the Grey Knights as coming across a planet wherein a powerful Dark Age of Technology nanite weapon controlled by a bloodthirster resided - one so powerful that it was corrupting the populace by flying into their pores and driving them crazy. There was a convent of Sisters that were being slowly wiped out near the site whose faith was keeping them pure and untouched by the taint except for all the ones who were corrupted, and instead of asking for the Sisters' assistance the Grey Knights proceeded to slaughter them all and make wards from their blood, then go about banishing the daemon. Read the fucking fluff some time. All after the codex stating literally that their faith is strong enough to protect them from any kind of daemonic corruption, so they wouldn't have even needed those wards.
Think about this, for just a minute. The Sisters' faith protected some of them from being corrupted. Yet, as has been shown before, there have been a few Sisters of Battle that have fallen to Chaos. In come the Grey Knights, whose faith is so powerful it is quite literally their strongest weapon and their most potent protection. These Grey Knights' faith is not strong enough to withstand the NANITE WEAPONS of Chaos, while the Sisters' is? Does that make ANY sense at all?
This is a classic case of not just heresy, but of extra heresy; canon to this point had explicitly detailed 3 things:
- That the Grey Knights greatly loathe Chaos and are completely immune to its corrupting influence. They wouldn't need wards made on the spot to withstand daemonic corruption, given that just their Aegis armour's own built-in wards would deflect any corrupting influence that would try to tempt them (assuming that it COULD tempt them at all).
- That no Grey Knight in the history of the chapter has ever fallen to the temptations of Chaos due to the massive amounts of spiritual and physical indoctrination and training they go through that would make the Space Marines' training and creation regimen look like the Guard's conscript training, along with their anti-daemon Aegis armours. In addition, in older fluff, the Grey Knights COULD fall to Chaos, in theory. However, in addition to their intense faith and rigorous physical and mental training, they closely regulate themselves. If a Battle-Brother's reaction to Chaos was anything less than "NO FUCKING WAY!", they would have a force halberd to the face in record time.
- That very few sisters have ever fallen to Chaos.
And yet we have this - evidence of the darkest kind of heresy, if not outright Khorne worship, and it's canon.
Fucking Matt Ward. Next thing you know, Kharn will be working for the Tau or something.
Yeah about that...in the novelization of Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior, it was revealed that the protagonist was actually being aided by Khorne...*nervous laugh* *BLAM* HERESY!!!!!
And the Sisters of Battle get mutilated a lot whenever Ward comes near them.
Seriously, what the fuck?
The very fact that we were even having the above conversation means that even in a best-case scenario, something has gone horribly wrong in the storytelling department.
Within the context of the 40k verse, there is some basis that Knight would do something that we would otherwise consider being pants-on-head retarded. Note that GW isn't shy of inventing reasons to justify otherwise allied forces to kill the fuck out of each other. First, the GKs are stone cold pragmatists who burn planets just to keep secret something particularly heretical some guardsmen might have witnessed. Second, is that they are all-around stone cold motherfuckers, despite the whole incorruptible nobility thing and finest-of-the-Emperor's-finest thing. There's a pretty good reason that they aren't really trusted by the other factions that would fight Chaos too, since the Knights seem to think everybody else as a bit more expendable than themselves. Killing the SoB in that story was just one story of dicking around the other Imperial elements, and the Knights apparently do this sort of thing at least semi-regularly.
Why the GKs killed the SoB for extra protection is a plot hole that they really don't fill in. Remember, this is in a book that played up the Knights as literally impossible to corrupt. Might have been for extra physical protection to make sure they don't get killed by the Bloodtide rather than for spiritual protection, but that makes no sense; how the blood of the innocent provide any extra PHYSICAL protection at all, let alone to someone already wearing blessed POWER ARMOUR?
On GK/Ordo Malleus Teamkilling
"Only the Grey Knights survive in the service of the Ordo. All other troops die when given over to them. The reason for non-survival among military units attached to the Ordo Malleus is simple. Any troops that an Inquisitor Ordinary has commanded have been exposed to Daemons. They are privy to one of the most closely-guarded Imperial secrets: that daemons are real and Chaos is a terrible threat. Those that survive a battle or campaign are executed, with full honors, shortly afterwards. They are expendable, and entire Imperial regiments and corps have been dispatched by the Ordo Malleus."
This is from Realms of Chaos (1988) and paraphrased in Codex: Grey Knights. Ordo Malleus and Grey Knight types are not nice. They euthanize or mind scrub nearly anyone who finds out about Chaos/Daemons. No reason was needed to kill the SoBs at all. The Ordo Malleus/Grey Knights kill practically everybody they run into no matter how you cut it.
In Incorruptible, by David Annandale, the GK teamkill their own after falling to genestealer/tyranid corruption. Only slightly better than their initial assumption of having to kill their first in-chapter heretics. That's a plus.
So we still blame Matt Ward, just for bad conveyance instead of continuity errors.
Except that explanation still doesn't make any sense, considering SoB already know about Chaos/Daemons, fight them now and then and are part of the
Inquisition, which lords over both factions Ecclesiarchy, which maintains some knowledge of daemons so they can be exorcised. Also, consider that a battle force of SoB sent to purge a heretical cult may encounter daemons and request the Grey Knight's presence.
This also doesn't make a whole lot of sense when considering that the Guard regularly fights off Chaos warbands and the like who frequently make use of daemons, and they most certainly do not purge the entirety of Cadia every so often, nor do they purge the various Cadian armies that are going around the Imperium whenever encountered, despite said Cadians almost certainly having at least some knowledge of Daemons. So this whole concept really doesn't work to start with.
On 7th Edition
As of the 7th Edition Grey Knights Codex, there have been some minor revisions to the fluff. While Supreme Grand Master Kaldor "Sue to end all Sues" Draigo is still around, the Bloodtide incident also still exists...albiet, all mention of the Sisters being turned into paint is removed (so this is now likely retconned). Instead, the Sisters get to share in another short story within the new Codex, entitled "The Plague of Madness". Where they are not used as Armour Paint by the Grey Knights at least. Instead, they get a good (by W40K standards) death after actually saving the Knights' asses. In fact, the Sisters manage to rescue Kaldor from a horde of Plaguebearers via purging flame. This could probably be seen as overcompensation on the part of GW for the Bloodtide Incident, but no one seemed to mind, since Sisters could desperately use a win.