“There's one simple rule in war: Win and live, or lose and die. If the other tribes are too weak, we'll carve the blood eagle on their sorry carcasses and carry the remains as banners into battle.”
Heart of Darkness
Nicknamed "butchers" or “buzzards,” the Blood Eagle claim descent from an Order of Imperial Knights sent to pacify the tribes long ago. Their past is said to hide a dark secret, and the Blood Eagle still seem motivated by ancient shame and a deep, abiding fury. One story claims that the ancient Emperor Caanon I, on his deathbed, sent the Blood Eagle to find his immortal brother the Phoenix and return with him to Terra. After swearing a great Oath, the Order searched deep among the stars, but failed to capture the Phoenix by the time Caanon died. Suffering from the dishonor of failure, the Blood Eagle fell upon the so-called Children of Phoenix. The ensuing storm of war was the genesis of the Tribes of Man. The story ends by saying the Blood Eagle cover their shame with rage and exaggerated honor. It also says they still search for the Phoenix, and that if they ever find him, they will take him to Terra and thus fulfill their Oath.
The Blood Eagle maintain a formal military hierarchy marked by Byzantine politics. Succession always involves great uncertainty, as the rank of Great Eagle goes to the candidate who can best seize power. As with most other Tribes of Man, leadership passes by blood unless a rival family seizes power. Heirs to the Great Eagle find themselves under great pressure to build a reputation for strength early.
Some among the tribes say the Blood Eagle maintain close contact with the Imperial High Command, but the Blood Eagle vehemently deny these rumors. Nevertheless, Blood Eagle are a common sight on the world of the Imperial Legate, and they seem to have little difficulty in acquiring new equipment. Some stories whisper that one Blood Eagle faction has ambitions of returning to Terra and taking the Imperial Throne, but most tribesmen scoff at such outlandish tales.
In battle, the Blood Eagle display unbridled ferocity, raising the flayed bodies of fallen enemies as banners and following a scorched earth strategy. Their code of honor closely resembles that of medieval samurai from ancient Earth, and they never break their sworn word. They teach their enemies to fear them, and they obliterate their foes completely. Despite their brutality, Blood Eagle are surprisingly courteous hosts during a parley.
Blood Eagle units commonly adopt colorful titles, for example, the Second Pennant, Third Talon, is known within the Blood Eagle as "the Eviscerator Talon of the Wolfslayer Pennant."
On the Starwolf
"Don't waste my time. I have a wolfskin rug in my quarters."
On the Diamond Sword
"Words make poor weapons. The sandrakers pose little threat with their mumblings."
On the Children of the Phoenix
"Dreamers easily placated with honeyed words. Beware, though, for they fight almost as well as we do."
On the Empire
"We remember our roots, and the Empire respects our strength. It's enough... for now."
On lesser tribes
"Give me a break. My plascannon says no one's immortal."
Tribes Manual: Page 20