On the eve of battle, the Blood Angels pray and remember the sacrifice of their primarch Sanguinius while the Chaplains bless and study each battle-brother for signs of the Black Rage. Those who collapse into the Chaplains’ arms during the chanting of the moripatris are taken away to form the Death Company. Their Power Armour is repainted black with a blood red saltire symbolizing the wounds of Sanguinius and hung with devotional scrolls and records of honours earned before the madness took them. From this point on, these battle-brothers are considered dead men walking.[1a]
It is known that before the battle members of the Death Company gained access to the Chapter armoury so they may fight their last fighting with a weapon of their choice.
Consumed by the Black Rage, the Death Company fights without fear, heedless of the quality of their opposition or the wounds they suffer. Under the watchful eye of their Death Company Chaplains, the Death Company fights terrible odds to claim one last honour for the Chapter. Many of the Blood Angels’ finest victories have come after the Death Company devastated the enemy forces. The Death Company’s fearsome reputation has even spread to worlds that have not seen the Blood Angels in battle.[1a]
Those few members of the Death Company who survive an engagement usually perish shortly after, either from their wounds or by the hand of the Redeemer of the Lost. Since the Red Thirst inevitably follows the Black Rage, the Chapter considers it a better fate than turning into a mindless flesh-hungry beast.[1a]