Grim Dark Corners is back to shine a light on some of the lesser-known lore from the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Today, we’re looking into the Schola Progenium, the institution of military academies responsible for training many of the finest, most disciplined warriors in the Imperium. Read on to learn more about how the gruelling religious regimens of the Schola Progenium serve to forge the very finest soldiers, officers, scholars and more besides.
Faith Breeds Duty
The Schola Progenium is populated by the progeny of highly respected and celebrated families from across the Imperium, whose noble forebears have met heroic or unfortunate ends in the Imperium’s endless wars. Upon being orphaned, the young children are callously whisked away to their nearest Schola Progenium facility, where they will learn to overcome their grief through strict regimens of physical, mental and spiritual training.
The academies of the Schola Progenium are traditionally run by ministers of the Ecclesiarchy. They oversee the induction of the highborn orphans – of which there is never a shortage of supply – into the Schola Progenium programme and ensure that they are raised in the way of the Imperial Cult. Relentless daily schedules of punishing exercise, education and religious indoctrination instil an unbreakable faith in the God-Emperor and the undeniable belief in the righteousness of Mankind within the young students.
Throughout the course of their training, each student is tested and judged, not only to weed out the weak but also to determine the path for which they are best suited. The most physically gifted among them will be guided towards more martial pursuits, while those who show sufficient academic skill will find themselves engaging in more scholarly activities that will tax their minds rather than bodies.
Destined for Greatness
Graduates from a Schola Progenium academy are known as Progena. Each embodies the ultimate ideal of an Imperial citizen – faithful, dutiful and ready to fight and even die in the name of the God-Emperor without hesitation. Demonstrating the very highest physical and mental calibre, Progena make perfect candidates for a number of Imperial institutions or positions of authority upon their graduation. Many will be recruited into the Imperium’s various military organisations almost as soon as they complete their training, while some will be spirited away in secret to join altogether more sinister orders.
Here are a few examples of the careers that await newly qualified Progena…
The cream of Imperial soldiery, the Scions of the Ordo Tempestus are the most rigorously trained and disciplined Imperial warriors short of the Adepta Sororitas and Adeptus Astartes. The Ordo Tempestus recruit exclusively from graduates of the Schola Progenium, earmarking those who show an implacable resolve, unflinching brutality and the ability to carry out orders to the letter under the most extraordinary duress during their training. By the time they emerge as fully fledged Progena, they will already share many of the attributes that make Tempestus Scions such capable battlefield soldiers.
The Commissars who accompany regiments of Astra Militarum and Ordo Tempestus into battle are drawn from the most steely, rigidly determined graduates of the Schola Progenium academies. Yet a Cadet Commissar of the Ordo Prefectus must earn the allegiance of the regiments to which they are assigned through their skill at arms and leading by example. Only Progena who display these qualities in abundance and show that they have the ruthless streak of an ultimate disciplinarian throughout their time at the Schola Progenium will progress in such an esteemed career.
Officers of the Astra Militarum and Imperial Navy
Many of the Astra Militarum and Imperial Navy’s most famed and respected military officers began their storied careers as graduates of the Schola Progenium programme. Officer candidates are hand-picked from Progena who stood out from their peers by showing the greatest leadership qualities during their training. Such individuals accept nothing less than excellence and ensure that their subordinates are also held to the most exacting standards.
Female graduates of the Schola Progenium who express the most fervorous religious devotion are commonly initiated into the Adepta Sororitas, where they can fully dedicate their lives to the worship of the God-Emperor and the destruction of His enemies. The Holy Orders select budding Sisters according to the character and specialisms of the Progena themselves – their zeal, dedication, stoicism and other such attributes.
With the notable exception of the High Lords of Terra, the agents of the Inquisition hold some of the highest positions of authority in the Imperium. The rights granted to them by their Inquisitorial Seal allow them to condemn worlds to death and command entire battle fleets. More so than any other institutions in the Imperium, those selected to be given such power must be beyond reproach in all things. The academies of the Schola Progenium are therefore perfect recruiting grounds for such individuals.
The deadly killers of the Officio Assassinorum are recruited almost exclusively from the Schola Progenium, with only their most highly capable and promising students being selected for this dubious honour. Yet the training they have already undergone as Progena is nothing compared to the trials they will face on their journey to becoming one of the Imperium’s most lethal and instrumental assets. In fact, many would-be initiates to the Officio Assassinorum don’t even survive the journey to the secret clade temples on Terra, such is the intensity and hazardous nature of the ordeals they face from the moment of their selection.
Not all of the Progena go on to earn storied careers as heroes or loyal soldiers of the Imperium. The most scholarly among them are often destined to become little more than servile scribes and administrators, the workhorses of the endless bureaucracy that mires so much of the Imperium. After leading dedicated lives of service in the Emperor’s name, they will nonetheless die unremembered by an uncaring Imperium.
Black Library offers plenty of other thrilling tales about the many career paths of the Progena, such as Braden Campbell’s Tempestus and James Swallow’s Sisters of Battle omnibus. If you’d like to learn more about the secretive assassins of the Imperium, make sure you give Joe Parrino’s novel on the subject, Assassinorum: Execution Force, a read. Browse the range today and get reading!
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