"The Reverend Mother must combine the seductive wiles of a courtesan with the untouchable majesty of a virgin goddess, holding these attributes in tension so long as the powers of her youth endure. For when youth and beauty have gone, she will find that the place-between, once occupied by tension, has become a wellspring of cunning and resourcefulness."
The Orders Famulous are a group of non-militant orders of the Adepta Sororitas dedicated to guiding the elite of the Imperium into positive paths.
They are somewhat analogous to the Bene Gesserit sisterhood within the Dune universe, without the spectacular kung-fu skills, subliminal voice control, access to communal ancestral memories, or a catalogue of sex powers (probably). However they do share similar goals and methods in that they seek to manipulate bloodlines and perform religious engineering while avoiding direct power for themselves.
The Famulous Sisters are chosen from the novices who present strong communication skills and an ability to stay calm under pressure. In fact much of their job requires them not to submit to the Red Rage the moment something heretical occurs in their presence and instead calmly and collectedly get to the root of the problem and guide the perpetrator back onto the righteous path. They are trained in etiquette and protocol, as well as matters of trade, and are installed into noble households under the guise of mentors, advisors, and diplomats.
That's not to say that a Sister Famulous is incapable of kicking ass when required, because they will have still undergone the same combat training as novices that the battle sisters underwent, on top of whatever training the sister might have received before that if they had attended the Schola Progenium. The Sisters Famulous are also entitled to undertake the oaths of the Sisters Repentia or Sisters Oblatia if they feel that they have transgressed and/or require to undertake penitence; though this is an uncommon occurrence. As mentioned, the Sisters Famulous are exposed to the seedy politics and backstabbery of the Imperial nobility on a daily basis, so their tolerance for "unacceptable" behaviour will be considerably wider than most sisters of other orders.
Their outward mission statement is effectively that "strong and stable government" is good for the Imperium and that by accepting the services of the sisterhood the government gains a useful resource in keeping itself in the good graces of the Imperium at large. Therefore while embedded, they work with the households masters to broker alliances, marriages, and trade deals by hinting at particular bits of information they know, or providing contacts that they so happen to be in touch with, as well as providing the younger sons and daughters of the house a proper Imperial-approved education so that they grow up to become LOYAL and productive members of society. The sisters breadth of talents would be invaluable to any ambitious world leader, and the fact that it comes with very few strings makes having them around an attractive prospect.
The "true" mission of the Orders Famulous is to monitor the same world leaders for spiritual and genetic purity. They keep huge volumes of records regarding family bloodlines and histories, keeping details on positive or negative traits that they cross reference with each other in order to combine traits through arranged marriages in the hope of producing their very own
Kwisatz Haderach Imperial Saints. Many Sisters have extensive contact with the Ordo Hereticus so if they ever have to use their records as evidence against their employer then they have a quick link to the exterminatus hotline should they ever need it; though if they have done well it should never come to that. These manipulations to bloodlines, coupled with the upbringing they provide to the children; occur over many generations and long periods of time, so the sisterhood already know who is worth watching. It also puts the Orders Famulous in a position where they have been able to predict the rise of saints on multiple occasions and typically they will get involved in the process of beatifying a potential saint whenever one arises. Such methods are of particular interest to the Thorian branch of the Inquisition.
A minor subgroup of the Orders Famulous who work hand in hand with the Missionarius Galaxia on worlds that have been disconnected from humanity and need to be reintegrated (or rarely straight up integrated) into the Imperium. Their role is much the same as their mainstream sisters by acting as advisors to local leaders, except they are dealing with heathen cultures on a daily basis so they need to be even more restrained regarding matters of heresy.
They will have little exposure to offworld politics and trade and instead work to subvert the existing belief structure of the world towards one more tolerant of the Imperial Creed.
The children raised by the Famulous sisterhood are usually the best of the best. They have all the privileges of aristocracy combined with the favour of the Ecclesiarchy. They stand apart from the noble scions of other families in their unusual devoutness, are less likely to get involved in the petty squabbling of the traditional nobility and instead are guided onto more productive paths, often becoming high ranking Ministorum priests or confessors.
However, in many cases the proteges of the Orders Famulous have had their bloodlines directed over a very long period of time which can produce some odd genetic traits. Instances of increased intelligence, wit, or natural beauty are common, but also come with significant drawbacks such as insanity, mental health disorders, sterility, and other health defects. The sisters do their best to prepare their charges for the lives they will go on to lead, so the negatives are outweighed by the benefits of a tailored education and the expansive network of connections that come with having a Sister Famulous in the household.
|Forces of the Sisters of Battle|
|Command:||Triumph of Saint Katherine - Canoness |
Ecclesiarchy Battle Conclave - Imagifier
Ministorum Priest - Palatine - Dogmata
Sororitas Command Squad
|Troops:||Avenging Angel - Arco-flagellant - Battle Sister Squad |
Celestians - Crusaders - Death Cult Assassin
Dominion Squad - Retributor Squad - Seraphim Squad
Sisters Repentia - Zephyrim Squad
|Vehicles:||Castigator Tank - Exorcist - Immolator |
Paragon Warsuit - Penitent Engine
Repressor - Rhino - Mortifier
|Special Vehicles:||Pulpit of Saint Holline's Basilica|
|Flyers:||Avenger Strike Fighter|
|Spacecraft:||Aquila Lander - Drop Pod|
|Saints:||Living Saint - Geminae Superia|
|Non Militant||Orders Dialogous - Orders Famulous - Orders Hospitaler |
Orders Pronatus - Hagiolater