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IO - Armies of the Machine God


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#151
Talonair

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Being unable and unwilling to exterminate the xenos would, at best, be seen as a sign of weakness amongst the rest of the Mechanicum, and given that the Mechanicum is an utterly ferocious meritocracy, the ruling powers of said forge world would be condemned to a lifetime of ridicule, poor standing and generally being looked down on by the rest of the Priesthood. At worst, Mars would take more direct control initially in order to deal with the xenos threat, and then never relinquish that control.

 

It would be even worse for the titan legion. The other legions would view them with nothing less than utter scorn for their weakness of will and lack of military might, and would be forever shunned



#152
Beren

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I'll drop it then. I actually don't mind the second part, but the first is unworkable with the current concept.

Edited by Beren, 25 January 2018 - 07:50 PM.


#153
bluntblade

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Title: The Legio Tonarum Ordo Titanica
Patent: Pre-Unification, Drolassar Explorator Fleet
Warden Domains: Iomin
Allied War Houses: None
Cognomen: The War Horses
Allegiance: Fidelitas Constantus

Proud and bellicose, the Legio Tonarum were an oddity among the Collegia, yet in a way that served them well in the Great Crusade. Taken from an Explorator fleet which had never established its own Forge World, they took to the unceasing campaigns with a nomad’s eagerness to range across the Galaxy. Serving alongside the Fire Keepers through the latter years of the Great Crusade, they would find themselves dragged into much of the Insurrection’s most brutal fighting.

Much of the Legio’s origins are unknown even to them and the magos whom they served, but what there is demonstrates how unusual they were. They originated with an Ark Mechanicus which sailed into the upper reaches of the Galactic east. A Forge World was duly founded, only to meet with disaster so severe that not even its name survives in the data-cores. Exactly what devastated them so is debated to this day, but in those days the Galaxy had no want of alien hordes and the culprits are most likely lost to posterity.

The Drolassar Cult, as the magos of the Ark came to refer to themselves, cannibalised what they could of the world’s defences and foundries into the Ark and other vessels. Then they fled their broken realm, beginning a nomadic existence. The fact that they maintained this way of life for centuries was taken by many in the broader Mechanicum as a sign that their near-downfall had scarred their collective psyche; a possible indicator of deviance from the Mechanicum’s sacred rationality.

However, when the archives were opened to outsiders, it emerged that the Drolassar had been severely affected by the loss of contact with Mars, and not a single Forge World had survived within reach of them. Their voyage was undertaken with the hope of returning to the Mechanicum’s borders, there to guard it against the horrors in the dark beyond. To this end they began to plunder the worlds they happened across, striking swiftly and withdrawing before reinforcements or a new enemy could threaten them. The Legio Tonarum, rebuilding itself along with the rest of the Drolassar Taghmata, believed in their quest as firmly as any of their forces. Unsurprisingly they were at the forefront of the cult’s wars, overwhelming the armies set against them with sheer force, that the worlds they assailed might be swiftly plundered.

Perhaps fortunately for the Imperium, it was their outriders who found the Drolassar fleet and not the other way around. In 927 M30 a Mechanicum Warp-runner began tracking the path of an aggressive fleet across three systems. It noted signs of Taghmata and especially Titan activity on several of worlds it surveyed, and communicated its findings to nearby expeditionary fleets. In the event it was Niklaas and his Fire Keepers who, deducing the fleet’s likely route through local Warp currents, intercepted the Drolassar at the Pholan Juncture.

The Steel Prince requisitioned elements from the regional garrison fleets, intent on negotiating from a position of strength. In addition, he sent for representatives from the nearest Forge World, who needed little encouragement to join him. Finding Mechanicum vessels among the Imperial fleet, the Drolassar proved amenable to negotiating, and were at length deemed fit for integration into the Mechanicum. They were given rights to the planet Iomin, which soon grew into a redoubtable Forge World. The Legio Tonarum, naturally, was foremost among its guardians, but the majority of the Legio went into active service alongside the Fire Keepers. Their princeps had been awed by Niklaas, this warrior and forge-master whose prowess demonstrated to them the touch of their Omnissiah, and they eagerly pledged themselves to his banner.

Scepticism within the wider Mechanicum was countered with the argument that serving with the Xth Legion would help to slowly bring Tonarum and their masters into step with Mars. It was certainly noted that the Titans were quick to reorganise their military forces, giving several war maniples over to the Steel Prince and his Chiefs. Scrutinising the data-logs offered up to them, the masters of the Xth perceived a Legio whose propensity for impetuousness and sheer battle-lust approached that of Gryphonicus and Destructor, best used with caution against human targets. More troublingly, their particular history left them with little regard for baseline humanity, leading to tensions with the Army which rumbled throughout the early years of their service.

It was because of this that the appellation of “War Horses” was given to them by the Fire Keepers, rather than the Army. This stood for their undoubted potency, but also the disdain that mounted warriors so often showed for infantry on more primitive worlds. The War Horses’ reputation would only improve gradually until the Battle of Scunner’s Fall. Here, several Army regiments had been driven into retreat by the abhuman Vorlad and their tracked Titan-analogues. Cumbersome as they were, the largest of these machines rivalled even Warlord Titans with their sheer firepower. Armour columns were scattered by their attacks, and defeat threatened to become a massacre.

When the Fire Keepers arrived, Niklaas wasted no time in deploying all the Titans at his disposal, and the god-machines of Tonarum closed with their counterparts. Flanking the Vorlad columns with a speed almost unheard-of in Titans, they shattered the enemy advance. Then they formed up, barring the enemy from the retreating Army, and advanced into the teeth of their foe with the Fire Keepers beside them.

Such brutal fighting would always carry a steep cost, and of fifty Titans, thirteen lay in varying states of ruin on the blackened earth. Nonetheless, by their sacrifice, millions of lives had been saved and the Vorlad open to invasion by the reinforced Imperials. It was Daer’dd who best summed up the change of sentiment regarding Tonarum: “My brother… has saddled the feral destriers, and now their charges safeguard the spear-carriers as well as crush our foes.”

In the following decades, Tonarum would both anchor the Fire Keepers’ fast-assault armoured echelons (these having traditionally been small compared to their super-heavy and transport armoury) and form a major component in their siege-breaker operations. Many were the walls felled by Tonarum guns, and in hive-scale theatres, a War Horse Titan was often the first invader to pass through a breach. Their peculiarities never quite went away, and their pride remained easily inflamed if more conventional Legios questioned their fealty to the Omnissiah or their martial honour in general. Many of their fellows simply suffered their presence in the Crusade, deterred from outright criticism by Niklaas’ patronage of Tonarum.

Material Strength
Despite the gruelling role to which they had been assigned, Tonarum sat comfortably within the second rank of Titan Legions on the Day of Revelation, numbering 126 Titans with a further dozen close to battle-readiness on Iomin. These would be sorely needed in the opening years of the Insurrection, for the ___ Betrayal would see roughly 30 Titans lost, a large part of the Legio’s core strength. The remainder were split evenly between those who fought with Niklaas and those assigned to garrison duty, both of Iomin itself and key worlds fortified by the Fire Keepers.

It was a well-established fact, even before the Pact of Mars, that Warhound and Reaver Titans faced severe disadvantages when fighting in cities, whose confines made it possible to unleash massed firepower against them. Reluctant to consign proud machines to obscurity and finding Warlords too large for some operations, Tonarum adapted their tactics and their smaller Titans to better function in urban warfare. The most notable result was the Conqueror class, which stood roughly between the Reaver and Warlord in size and power. In siege warfare, these were often used to spearhead an attack on breaches in enemy defences, heavily armoured enough to weather the massed gunfire that could threaten a baseline Reaver or Warhound in the confines of a fortress.

Tonarum maniples overwhelmingly conformed to a well-established pattern, with most Titans fielding a mix of close and long range weaponry. Melta and plasma weapons were especially prized, being especially useful against static defences and enemy war machines alike. Quake cannon were likewise commonplace on the Legion’s Warlord Titans, these often being enough to batter down a gate or wall.

The Drolassar armada, having cannibalised many of its terrestrial structures straight into its ships and spent centuries plundering the void, boasted an unusually powerful fleet. Much of this was given over to the defence of Iomin, its colonies and the principal worlds which supplied it. However, a considerable number of Titan-barques also sailed with the Fire Keepers, carrying with them an impressive strength of Mechanicum taghma. These too were unorthodox in their composition. In an echo of their order’s past existence as the pillagers of worlds, they boasted large numbers of fast-attack units such as Ruststalker killclades and Ironstrider units. Over time, these were supplemented by an impressive strength of heavy combat servitors, tanks and automata, the better to protect the Titans of Tonarum in escalades.

#154
Beren

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Small nitpick,the Ironstrider engine was only invented in M33.

#155
bluntblade

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Hmm. Reckon we could pass off an inferior predecessor?



#156
Beren

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As long as it doesn't use the perpetual motion thing.

#157
bluntblade

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Cool. Wonder if I can work that in elegantly somewhere, or perhaps we could just introduce that as a unit. Just a modified, not as powerful Ironstrider.



#158
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House Lorthryk
The Knights of House Lorthryk had been a proud and revered force for much of the Great Crusade, until some of its most brutal fighting dragged them into the orbit of the murderous VIIth Legion. They came to Raktra half-broken, and by his command they were reforged into something stronger than they had been before, but also far more sinister and brutal.

House Lorthryk arose on the world of Zalith in the Galactic north, establishing a firm alliance with the Forge World Vullad. For centuries they grew strong and lent their blades to the defence of the magos, until an Imperial Expeditionary Fleet made contact. New oaths were sworn, and Lorthryk marched as part of the Emperor’s armies, serving with the 3rd Chapter of the Morning Stars. While the IVth Legion changed greatly over the course of Lordryk’s service, the 3rd Chapter remained constant in dedication to their ideals even as they became Void Eagles.

As with so many of the Emperor’s armies, when the Rangdan Xenocides broke out anew the Knights of Lorthryk marched into the fires without hesitation. But such was the violence of the Rangdan that entire Expeditionary Fleets were annihilated, and many more forces were devastated. While broken Army regiments and Space Marine Chapters could be amalgamated, Knight Houses were more rigid in structure and their ranks less easily replenished. As a consequence many Houses were ground down to mere shadows of their former might or even further, leaving only Freeblades, haunted by the loss of their kin.

House Lorthryk suffered as much as any House could without falling into extinction. In the first year of the conflict, both Vamast and Zalith came under attack. Having agonised over their choice, Lorthryk abandoned their world to defend Vamast, but the sacrifice proved in vain. Vamast burned, it's forges and Danes broken beyond repair, the Void Eagles contingent all but wiped out in its defence along with the vast majority of its population. A handful of Knights, led by Baron Clegan Dalint, survived the battle to join the rest of their House, scattered elsewhere. However, there was no avoiding the fact that their future had now become deeply uncertain.

Three years into the Xenocides, the scions of Lorthryk deployed all their existing strength in defence of the Forge World Vamast. Placed alongside a war maniple of the Legio Destructor and half the strength of Vamast’s own Legio Nychus, they were assigned to hold the Forge World’s bastions in the neighbouring Quelan system. The Rangdan struck the borders of Vamast’s realm with such force that fighting raged on seven worlds simultaneously. Even as the defenders of Quelan engaged, astropathic messages told of other fortress-worlds stripped bare, and attacks on Vamast itself had to be repulsed. Dalint and his warriors gave battle in the knowledge that help would be slow in coming.

By the time a combined VIIth and XXth Legion fleet had made its way to Quelan, there was little left alive. The invaders were destroyed within a day, but the sprawl of corpses, flesh and metal, stretched to almost every horizon on Quelan. The fighting had gone on for weeks before relief came. Billions of Army soldiers, Skitarii and tech-thralls had perished, and among them lay the corpses of Titans. Only seven Legio Nychus machines had survived, the Beasts of Steel contingent and remaining Void Eagles having all been slain by the Rangdan and their war machines.

To their surprise, the Berserkers of Uran found that two dozen Knights of Lordryk still stood, fighting alongside a handful of freeblades. Yet while their machines were largely intact, something inside the pilots was irrevocably altered. Few ever got close enough to make an assessment, outside of the Berserkers’ own Mechanicum allies, but it has been suggested that the destruction of so many god-machines, on top of the loss of their fief, traumatised the machine-spirits of the Knight walkers and the souls of the House’s scions.

Regardless, the old idealism of Lordryk had been burned away with their old heraldry. What remained was bitter steel and a disgust for the weak, and the Berserkers knew they had found warriors who shared something of their worldview. Even as the war ground on, they began to rebuild the House. Retainers were transported to the Forge World Gulaka, allied to the Berserkers, there to oversee the creation of new sacred armours.

Other walkers were salvaged from the field of battle and offered up by the magos of Vamast, either in gratitude or out of fear of the Berserkers, and put at Lordryk’s disposal. Thus equipped, and now fighting alongside the Berserkers and the Legio Yharma, House Lordryk endured the remainder of the Xenocides. They took further losses, but their numbers were sustained by new recruits and Knights from elsewhere who, pressed into carrying out the grim programme of bio-pogroms, found themselves with little care for the Great Crusade’s ideals.

Under Raktra’s overlordship, the old strictures of bloodline fell away. Lorthryk took on promising individuals from the Berserkers’ elite Army contingents, or those Aspirants physically unable to undergo Ascension. Gulaka and its satrapies bent their energies toward rebuilding the House, in a very different image to their original form. Gone were the green and silver of old, replaced by the ashen white, charcoal and blood red with which the Berserkers painted their armour, and the baroque contours of their sacred armours became jagged and brutal.

A decade after the end of the Fourth Xenocide, House Lorthryk had regained much of their former strength, though ever after their wars were fought in the shadow of greater armies. No more were they the proud force that had anchored so many offensives, serving instead the will of the Ashen King with grim fervour. Not only did they fight alongside his Legion, but on Uran and several of his lesser fief worlds, they became castellans, exactors of tithes and brutal suppressors of unrest. Great holdfasts were raised to house them on the Ashen Kingdom's seven principal worlds, distorted reflections of Zalith’s handsome spires. It was not uncommon to find a Knight striding the walkways of Gulaka’s forges or the manufactoria of Kaztoun, reaching out to make an example of any who forgot their allegiance or grew slack in their labour.

Outside the Kingdom and its armies, the scions of Lorthryk behaved with cold courtesy to those they deemed worthy of respect, and with outright belligerence to the rest. Often it seems that they actively sought to provoke duels over slighted honour, and these were often mortal affairs. Often the offence was so grave as to occasion mortal combat, and whether the initial intent of the Lorthryk was to test themselves or demonstrate their superiority, it seems to have become pathological. Before long, only the most restrained of Houses or those controlled by the Mechanicum would share a battlefield with them, a situation worsened by Lorthryk’s willingness to salvage Knights from other households.

As with all Raktra’s armies, House Lorthryk was reluctantly acknowledged as a potent force in the Great Crusade. They served prominently in the Taghurun War, wiping out hundreds of tanks with ravenous violence. Just as they savoured conflict with their fellow Knights, they most relished combat against war machines and beasts of similar or even greater stature to themselves. There exist several records of Lorthryk grappling with packs of Ork Stompas and fighting like pack hunters to bring down even Gargants, actions that brought both grudging respect and some apprehension at their naked battle-lust. With the Insurrection, Lorthryk followed the Berserkers into treason, and the full extent of their brutality was visited on a hundred Imperial worlds.

Material Strength
House Lorthryk operated a wide range of sacred armours with Cerastus, Questoris and even Atrapos walkers featuring in their line of battle. These often strayed from standard patterning, as melée weapons were especially favoured by the House's scions, and many of those that wielded weapons such as flamesr and bolters were modified to make use of alchemical munitions as well.

At the beginning of the Insurrection House Lorthryk is thought to have operated around 260 Knights, and although it is impossible to estimate with any certainty their numbers at the time of the Blood Crusade, it is reckoned that 150 walkers participated. Certainly it is known that Gulaka continued to produce walkers in large numbers, and as during the Crusade, Lorthryk were quick to scavenge and refit fallen walkers for their own use. It is notable that they kept a smaller reserve than many Houses of similar size, as pilots were recruited from the VIIth Legion’s pocket armies as well as the old bloodlines of the House. This had its drawbacks, the House lacking but a handful of the veterans who so often anchor these forces, and often they would be commanded by a senior princeps of Yharma.

The battles around Vamast and Quelan had seen the effective annihilation of Lorthryk’s fleet. Thus in this context they were treated as an extension of Legio Yharma and the Berserkers, billeted aboard their mightiest mass-conveyors and battleships. These, dispersed among the VIIth Legion’s Hordes, proved adequate to house their entire fighting strength if necessary. Retainers war assigned to them from among the priesthood of Gulaka and the Berserkers’ vast ranks of thralls, though fighting alongside the VIIth Legion and Yharma’s Secutarii, Lorthryk had little need of dedicated support elements.
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#159
bluntblade

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Coming soon, the Acastus (actually Grifft, are you sure you didn't mix that bit up with our idea for a melee Acastus? I pictured it more on par with the Castellan) Vigilant. Also a Cerastus(?) Jaeger and the Acastus Euremydon (going by the naming convention that gave us Porphyrion).

Edited by bluntblade, 28 July 2018 - 10:16 PM.


#160
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House Rakham

 

Title: The Imperial Knight House of Rakham

Household Rank: Primaris
Patent: Autonomous, Warrant of Ancient Domain and Arms (recognised 937.M31, ratified 949.M31)
Warden Domain: Formerly the Velthame Collegiate: Post-Vremalkyr Incursion the Piraeus System, granted by authority of Icarion Anasem and Governor Nalhem Ferthas
Cognomen: The Velthame Warders, the Reforged
Allegiance: Traitoris Perditas
 
  A House of long-held renown, House Rakham endured cruel trials and rose again to even greater strength. Yet in that resurgence they were dealt a cruel hand, tied by fealty to the Harbingers and ultimately led down the road to damnation. Once an exemplar of Knightly honour, they would in time be twisted by unspeakable powers until nothing remained of their former grandeur.
 
  Unlike some of their kin, House Rakham persevered through the trials of Old Night with a strong industrial base to maintain their strength. Making their home on Ilkayla and serving a small alliance of systems in the galactic south, they became the lynchpin of the Velthame Collegiate which rose up from the agonies of Old Night. This region prospered, for their relative isolation shielded them from much of the Age of Strife’s horrors. However, those forces that did brave the daunting Warp channels that led to Ilkayla and its neighbours were inevitably possessed of great strength, and Rakham’s Knights fought many a valiant defence against these interlopers. In this they were abetted by Navigators whose knowledge of the crooked channels was unrivalled, using this to intercept invading enemies or to swiftly marshal their forces on whatever planet might be threatened.
 
  In the waning centuries of the 30th Millenium, the turbulence in the aether began to diminish, and the hosts of enemies grew larger, battering at the borders Rakham patrolled. However, there was something else at work, though only the most perceptive of the Collegiate’s scryers and tacticians saw it at first. Something to the north was rapidly laying claim to vast tracts of territory, and such was its power that alien empires, centuries old, were buckling or fleeing before it. One thing that might have been expected was lacking, however; human refugees. Rakham’s lords took council, torn between hope and fear, and resolved to discover the oncoming force rather than be discovered by it.
 
  Duke Grastus Celot led the small fleet that set course from Ilkayla. Trusting to their Navigators’ mastery of the Warp passages, they slipped past the borders of hostile powers which still lurked at the Collegiate’s edge. Finding and establishing astropathic contact with a flotilla of the newcomers, he arranged to meet their leader. In the dark between stars, Celot alighted on the massive husk of a long-derelict Dark Age construct, known only to his House. Here they received the other party’s embassy, led by a giant who named himself as Gwalchavad, general of the Imperium of Man, master of the XIIth Legion. 
 
  The Primarch was honest in explaining his purpose, for it was his solemn duty to bring all men to his father’s banner. Yet it was never his way to achieve this by conquest if another way was possible, and in Celot he saw the nobility and duty that characterised the best Knight Houses. Prudently, he had brought with him several scions of House Vyronii, who affirmed his words and ultimately witnessed the Primarch’s oath: if the forces of the Collegiate would join the Imperium in destroying the alien powers that lay between them, they would be welcomed into the fold as worthy defenders of Mankind, with all their existing rights guaranteed.
 
  Six months later, the armies of the Collegiate sallied forth to conquer for the first time in centuries, forming a great pincer with Gwalchavad’s 11th Expeditionary Fleet and thereafter fighting alongside them as thirty systems were swept clean of their xenos masters. Glory and renown came to them swiftly, and with the campaign’s end in 936.M30 they took their place in the Great Crusade, striking out for distant warfronts. In the following decades, Knights of Rakham variously served with the Lightning Bearers, Eagle Warriors and Godslayers, as well as a plethora of Imperial Army fleets. Their position seemed unshakeable.
 
  But then even the Imperium itself was not immune to reversals, as the terrible days of the Rangdan Xenocides and the early onslaught of the Qarith make clear.  Twenty two years after Rakham formally joined the Imperium’s hosts, a xenos race of fiendish strength and malevolence made itself known at the Galaxy’s southern edge. The Vremalkyr styled themselves as deities, few in number but possessed of truly godlike power both physical and psychic. Billions of humans lived in thralldom, worshipping these towering figures of horn and stone scale, raising up vast engines of conquest that rivalled the mightiest Titans of the Imperium. These juggernauts, and the host of lesser machines with which the Vremalkyr made war, were invested with bestial minds crafted by the god-pretenders through the sacrifice of millions.
 
  It is theorised that some ancient device or power may have contained the Vremalkyr, or that they came from the fathomless dark between galaxies. The concrete facts can tell us only that they overran one world, then a dozen and then fifty after that before they could even be slowed. Worlds thought to be invulnerable were consumed. Psychic fire licked at the edges of Yamatar, threatening to spill over and consume even Iona and Obsailes. The Imperium’s armies closed ranks and stood firm against the terror - records suggest that an unknown Primarch broke an invasion force at Sondheim, slaying one of the Vremalkyr - but they bled for every victory.
 
  Redactions such as the above Primarch’s identity, make it difficult to ascertain the full scale of the war, but Legiones Astartes Chapters are recorded as being shattered and hastily recombined, and the Legio Destructor are known to have sacrificed two full war maniples at Ghidor and Mori. The Scions Hospitalier and Fire Keepers, led respectively by Seventh Captain Glaucus and Chief Shaltak, took charge of the defences across forty worlds west of Sondheim, but the full weight of the xenos attack was yet to fall. No relief would come soon enough, it seemed, to prevent the southern sectors of Tempestus from being crushed.
 
  At this time, the bulk of House Rakhan was serving either with the Ist Legion or dispersed elsewhere in the Imperium’s uncounted campaigns, with only two hundred Knights stationed in the Collegiate under Grastus Celot, now Castellan of Ilkayla. Owing to the maze of Warp passages, which had remained difficult even for Imperial Navigators to traverse, they had been spared the initial wave of slaughter. Now they saw an opportunity to strike at the adversary’s soft underbelly, one they must take lest their inaction doom billions more - and indeed themselves in time. One hundred and fifty Knights boarded the warships that would take them into enemy space, joined by six million men at arms. Once more, Duke Celot assumed command and once more the crooked paths served to deliver them unseen to a world where a number of the Vremalkyr were performing one of their abhorrent rituals, slaving and devouring the minds of the population to raise a new horde against the Imperium.
 
  What we know of that battle comes from the final astropathic messages sent by the fleet and pict-logs from fallen machines, retrieved years later. Their target was identifiable to every psyker aboard the fleet, a swell of aether of energies like a building storm. It called for the swiftest response and so Celot’s attack was nothing short of suicidal, ships sacrificing themselves simply so that their comrades could sell their lives soon afterwards. The other ships turned their guns on the surface to the exclusion of all else, administering the Emperor’s Peace to the captive souls below. Then, as the cruisers and battleships were overcome, transport craft spilled out into the void and shot down to the surface.
 
  The Knights and their allies descended to a world already wracked by orbital bombardment and found three of the Vremalkyr. They were wounded, having poured much of their power into the ritual only to be cheated by the bombardment, yet much of their dread vigour remained. They towered over the greatest of Rakham’s sacred armours, and for every wound they were dealt Knights fell, hewed down or simply unmade by psychic energies. Fallen mortal soldiers carpeted the blasted landscape, bodies broken or minds destroyed. Through it all, however, Celot’s Knights were uncowed, slashing and blasting away at the Vremalkyr. The first of the aliens fell, then a second, though it took Celot’s death to achieve it, his Paladin gutted with stone claws. With only eleven Knights remaining, the final Vremalkyr was dragged down and slain, the last survivors dying under the blades of its frenzied slaves.
  Such an awful cost might seem sufficient for a victory as great as this, but House Rakham had an even greater price to pay. The Vremalkyr were overcome with rage at the death of their kindred, and broke off their invasion of the main body of Segmentum Tempestus to seek out the upstart mortals who had lain their brethren low. The rigours of the Warp passage mattered nothing in their wrath, and it is likely that they sacrificed considerable amounts of materiel and thrall-soldiers in reaching their target. Velthame perished in fire and blood, leaving only bare rock where the proud scions of Rakham had stood vigil for so long. 
 
  Whether by design or chance, the destruction of the Collegiate had bought the Imperium time to rally and launch their own attack. The Emperor Himself, with Icarion, Yucahu and Koschei at His side, led an armada that threw back the Vremalkyr and put every one of the god-pretenders and their thralls to the sword in a year of brutal warfare. Among the host were those Knights assigned to fight with the Lightning Bearers, who waged war with desolate fury. Lost to their grief and anger, when the foe was finally cast down they were forced to reckon with the loss of their home and an uncertain future. Icarion made an overture as soon as it was decent to do so, offering them a domain in the Madrigal Sphere and, implicitly, the prospect of an alliance with Akira.
 
  The offer was accepted soon enough, with House Rakham installed on Piraeus and arrangements made with the Akiran Mechanicum. Their strength returned gradually as that mighty Forge World and its colonies crafted new sacred armours, and their renown waxed even greater than before. As far as anyone could tell, the House had defied cruel fortune. However, from this moment the fate of Rakham was tied to Akira and, by extension, Madrigal. Their lords would follow Icarion down the bloodstained road to rebellion, conducting purges and readying themselves to make war upon former allies. When the renamed Harbingers began to descend on Loyalist worlds, the Knights of Rakham were beside them. Like their allies, corruption would in time twist them until all memory of the House’s former honour was blotted out.
 
Material Strength 
  Several decades drawing on the bounties of the Madrigal Sphere - to say nothing of Icarion's efforts to bolster forces loyal to him - ensured that House Rakham entered the Insurrection as one of the mightiest Houses in the Imperium. Over five hundred Knights stood ready in their vaults, putting them comfortably within the Primaris grade. At least a hundred more were acquired from other sources, most likely the Kyorek tech-enclaves in the low central reaches below the Galactic plane, to judge by fallen armours recovered at Plinos in 46.M31. 
 
  House Rakham boasted an impressive range as well as number of sacred armours, with esoteric weapons such as volkite and arc guns supplied by the forges of Akira. Such diverse and rare patterns as the Styrix, Porphyrion and Atrapos were unusually common, though never truly frequent, among their Households. The Households themselves were increasingly assigned to Maniples of the Lightning Bearers and similar bodies among the Legio Telesto, although only the latter pacts were ever explicitly ratified. 
 
  Incorporation into the Akiran line of battle ensured a bountiful supply of battle-automata to aid Rakham in battle, while they drew on Piraeus for retainer troops which took the place of their old Collegiate allies. Icarion saw to it that some measure of independence was preserved for the House, and they were equipped with a number of barques and non-transport ships, ranging from destroyers to a handful of powerful strike cruisers. In practice, however, Rakham’s ships were as much a part of the Stormborn’s fleets as their Knights were a part of his armies, and unquestionably accepted the commands of Ist Legion voidmasters. 





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