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Inspirational Friday - 28/11/2014

Inspirational Friday

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#1
Tenebris

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Greetings and welcome to this week's Inspirational Friday. Maybe it is the holidays closing in or the rush to complete the Call of Chaos projects but I think we are loosing steam thus this week will be a special one.

 

The best post of this week goes to Marshal Sampson of Terra and his Star-Scryer Rona. I liked the independence he gave to his character and I am especially fond of interesting, particular and independent characters, especially when comes to Chaos, the definition of personal ambition and the exultation of individuality. All in all Rona strikes me as one of those characters which would fit very well in a short story or a novel, an interesting concept indeed.

 

Marshal, step forth and claim your reward.

 

friday-award.png

 

A honorable mention goes to the always amazing Kierdale and the up and running Carrack. Both of you did a great job with your Navigators and both of you have explored two different ways how one becomes a servant of Chaos. The gradual fall and corruption due to excess and addiction of House Du'Phras to the abduction of madame Tarabella Rossi into House Kaft.

 

Now it is a good time to put some wind into our sails and thus I am proposing for this week something people have been asking me for quite some time and I expect it will be a very interesting faction to explore...

 

Inspirational Friday - 28/11/2014 - CHAOS KNIGHT HOUSE

 

And here we go, straight into some of the most epic and "modern" concepts in the Warhammer 40k lore to explore, a Knight Household, a story of valor, ruin and eventual heresy which befell one of the many Knight Houses fallen to Chaos. 

 

I must say, I love Knights, I always had and always will. They were one of those concepts which I dearly hoped that someday we will get models and rules for and GW delivered. Now despite being a mostly Imperial faction across the thousands of years many noble Houses fell to the lure of Chaos. The first betrayal came at the hands of House Devine but the honor was sullied by countless more families which sided with Horus during the Heresy or rebelled against the Mechanicus and the Imperium in the following ages.

 

For this Inspirational Friday I will provide you with a hot topic, write about a Knight House, about their fall to Chaos, about their might and prowess in battle, about their history ranging as far as to the first humans who dared to explore the stars. A Knight House harbors many concepts, there is tradition, there is ritual, there are feuds and alliances as well as there are their inner workings and the strained relationship with the Cult of Mars and their Seneschals. 

 

In proper 40k fashion many Houses fell to Chaos, most were lured but some were willing. The might of a Knight household in battle is impressive, an apocalyptic event, a stain on the honor of the loyal houses, but also so much more. The Knight Worlds were always an insular culture, loyal to the Imperium more due to ancient pacts than from a sense of belonging, subservient in some cases to the Mechanicus since the Priesthood helps to maintain their Knights but even so the relationship is strained to say the least. 

 

A Knight House commands a might rarely equaled in the Imperium. Not only they command ancient technologies and the powerful Knights but they also call upon men-at-arms, levied conscripts as well as the wealth of an entire world. If such might, if such a House falls to Chaos, it is one of the direst events that can happen in the Imperium and thus such betrayal is met with absolute deadly force in order to contain the threat, an event that could very well ruin entire subsectors.

 

Thus fellow lords and knights, write about a Chaos Knight House, about their fall to Chaos, about their goals and their history. I would especially like to see your "corrupted" Knights as a visual reminder of their history and their merit in battle, thus feel free to post pictures about your Knight models. For those who do not feel to write about a Knight House then feel free to present us with your "Freeblade Knight".

 

 

Let us march together, our strides an inspiration to our "lesser".

 

 

Sir Tenebris


There is only the Truth. I do not know what it is, but I do believe in it!

Attributed to Dark Apostle Toren Mar, Chapter of the Broken Seal, 71st Host, Word Bearers Legion.

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#2
Kierdale

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Congratulations, Marshal.

A Knight House next? Exciting!

#3
Carrack

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Congrats Marshall, well done. I have been working on my Knight fragment off and on while I wait for my glue to dry on my models. I think I need better glue. Glad to get mentioned again myself.

#4
Carrack

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House Black Falcon

Dear Esteemed Logis-Curator Mansheel,
While conducting the purge of Poe V, following the successful liberation of said planet during the ongoing Cardinal Weaver Crusade, I discovered intelligence that may be of some use to your honored brotherhood. I was reviewing ex post facto field execution notes from the commissariat, when I stumbled across mention of what I believed to be a dreaded Black Knight, blessedly felled by mass lascannon fire during the Battle of Trihorn Pass.

Apparently a Munitorium Scribe was tasked with transcribing all identifying markings of destroyed enemy vehicles at the battlefield and took his tasking too literary. He would include a brief description of the vehicle along with pict recordings and then list all markings still legible on the vehicle in question. The intent, of course was just to ascertain what traitor units took part in the battle and adjust their perceived strength accordingly. This poor fool had been transcribing blasphemous chaos iconography for 3 days straight. Finally, a commissar walked up to him and in his words, "Put a bolt round into that gibbering lunatics hat holder." He included the data slate the scribe was using but confessed he didn't bother with reviewing it himself. I myself, could find no fault with the commissar's actions, as it is clear by the degrading quality of the scribes descriptions and even his penmanship, that his tasking was doing irreparable damage to his sanity. Interestingly his transcriptions remained spot on.

The poor quality pict along with the scribes description of the vehicle seems to point to a Knight Paladin, but I imagine your brethren will be better suited than I in identification of make and mark. The Black Knight was found on the, excuse my vagueness, third horn of the Trihorn Pass, a series of low saddles across the Trihorn Ridge. This marked the furthest advance of any enemy made in the defense of this pass.

The scribe transcribed one of what he believed to have been originally ten vellum scrolls affixed to the Chaos Knight with an amber wax. He was shot during this transcription and the battlefield was later shelled fore to rear as well as flank to flank by Earthshaker rounds and my flamer teams had completed their work the morning I got to this report. My apologies, but this sort of thing is what my purge is intended to accomplish. Here follows the last transcription of this nameless Munitorium scribe, may The Holy Throne protect even His foolish servants.

Hatreds Only Satisfied in Blood M41

004.M41 -Mars- reduced spare parts by half over 100 years in violation of Falcon House Accords.

111.M41 -Mars- demanded double tribute in grain and produce until further notice in violation of Falcon House Accords

114.M41 -Xenos Eldar-a cowardly ambush shot down 6 orbital lifters and slayed as many knights without chance for honorable combat

114.M41 -Mars- refused honor duel to settle violations of Falcon House Accords

137.M41 -12th Cadian Mechanised IGR- failed in promised infantry support during Assault of White River

145.M41 -Entire Family of Lord Marshall Lamont- involuntarily extended service without recompense

199.M41 -Mars- ignored pleas for complete refurbishment of all House Falcon Knights

211.M41 -House Gryphon- forced a Knight duel with drunken Lord Dalin despite Lord Dalin's extensive battle damage and non functioning systems

216.M41 - Xenos Eldar - raid on House Falcon stables destroyed vital equipment and slew House Sacristants

230.M41 - Mars - seized all reserve Knight carrier ships assigned to House Falcon

313.M41 - Senatorum Imperialis- denied and rebuked petition to enforce House Falcon Accords upon Mechanicum

315.M41 -Lord Inquisitor Pale- investigated House Falcon and abducted several members in violation of House Sovereignty

319.M41 -Imperium of Man- For violating every treaty, accord, or agreement with House Falcon. For whittling away our strength and insulting us at every level. For abandoning us upon the field of battle time and time again. For exposing our home world to predations of the Alien. For claiming to rule in the name of a man long dead seated on a throne of lies. Death to the False Emperor and his Martian Liars!

Post script. I have never heard of House Falcon before or after it's apparent fall. I understand the need for secrecy in these matters, but any information your Brotherhood can provide us may be vital to operational success in this ongoing crusade. It is difficult enough facing the Black Legion and their mobs of cultist and warrior covenants, but Knights rule battlefields. If you can't divine the threat we are facing can you see that your superiors mobilize Knights of our own. I know you find my emotional pleas disconcerting, but I am begging on behalf of my superiors for the Adeptus Mechanicus to take a direct action in this crusade.

Whatever the outcome, may this message find you well. I realize that emotions do not even register with you anymore, but I still consider you my friend.

Sincerely, Thomas


Reply. Ministorum Priest Thomas Hector,
Cease and desist all communications on the previous subject matter excepting any additional information you have to relay to me in regards to Knight House Falcon. Furthermore, purge all copies of the data slate in question immediately. A task force is being sent to ensure this is done and to assist in identifying any other alleged Fallen Knights. The Flesh is Weak. Logis-Curator Mansheel.

#5
Soldier of Dorn

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There once was a mysterious Knight of Chaos, cloaked in mystery.

 

The exiled Knight was called Absolutio Tyrax, that much was certain. That much, at least, was true. That fact was a single iota of truth in a sea of inconcistency and deception.

 

For no one knew what House it had called home, or if it was indeed a Daemon-Knight of Chaos, or even if it truely existed. Absolutio Tyrax was by many, considered naught but a myth.

 

But could a myth have fought alongside the trecherous Taghmata Atovan, at the Siege of Templis Primar? Could a myth have destroyed the fallen Third Company of the Frost Giants Astartes? If Absolutio Tyrax was a myth, then what was the scarlet and blue-clad war machine in the vanguard of the Fifth Black Crusade, marching alongside the traitors of the Collegia Titanica, resplendent in the heraldry of Chaos?

 

You wonder why I tell you this? Why I seek to trap you with lies and misdirection, just as we have the thrice-damned dogs of the false Emperor?

 

It is for one reason, and one reason only: So that the truth will set you free.

 

Absolutio Tyrax, the feared Knight of the Dark Mechanicum, was not a single engine, but a House, in its entirety! The damnable Adeptus Terra refuses to admit that a Knight could ever fall under the sway of the Primordial Annihlator, let alone a House. The idea that a Noble is any more pure or faithful than another man is propaganda, in its most despicable form. In the ten thousand years of our Long War, I have seen hundreds, nay, thousands of Knights and their Nobles betray the false Emperor and join the forces of the Warmaster. Devine was merely the beginning. For if a Primarch, truely an exemplar of the Emperor's "divine" intent if there ever was such a thing, what chance does a mortal man have? No man is without sin. No man is incorruptable. No man is truely pure.

 

Now do you understand? They did, when we cast down the gates of His palace. They understood our truth. They understood why it had to happen. They understood then, as we have always known, the truth that, in the end, we will always win.


Edited by YFNPsycho, 03 December 2014 - 01:40 AM.

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For the light of Sol, and the earth of Terra, we stand. For the oaths we made, we stand. For the blood in our veins, we stand.
For the stones laid by our ancestors, we stand. For the days that have passed and the days that shall come, we stand.
For the living and the honour of the dead, we stand.


#6
Kierdale

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House Dunsany

The fair lady Adelida Dunsany had apparently gone missing whilst riding in the countryside. Having given her custodian the slip (who now resided within the house Dunsany citadel dungeons) she had last been seen by hunters in the vicinity of the Ravenwood.
Such youth! Such bloody folly!
The augurs had deemed the fire in the sky the night before an ill omen; an understatement if ever there were one in young Ambrose’s opinion but such words could not be voiced, for lord Dullahan Dunsany hung the House’s fate on their prophesying, particularly that of old Kantada and his apprentice Delvir. Never the less, the girl had gone riding, and gone riding near no lesser place than the Ravenwood. Legends told of it being the den of ogres, trolls and worse; the denizens of Anwyn from before the coming of man, before living memory.
Ambrose halted his mount atop a hill overlooking the vast expanse of the Ravenwood. The sea of trees. The canopy was a dark green, the same hue used by the rival Barthiels (for beyond the Ravenwood lay their lands), while little could be seen of the trunks, so thick were the shadows. The young warrior’s attention was immediately drawn to a column of thin smoke rising from within the wood. Not a forest fire for it was too small, concentrated, but...something. A camp? But who would be foolish enough to camp within the Ravenwood? His mind went once more to the shooting stars of the previous night and he suppressed a shiver beneath his armour. He gripped his sword and drew it from its sheath, urging his horse onward. Into the Ravenwood.

Ambrose soon found he had to dismount as the entwined roots of the trees underfoot were too hazardous and uneven. Twice he would have been thrown from his saddle were he a lesser equestrian. The boughs hung low too. Progress was slow, and cold. Very little sunlight penetrated the canopy and he was glad for the thick tunic he wore under his platemail. Sword in his right hand, his shield in his left, its face displaying the Dunsany colours: his patron house - Azure et Or, a blue serpent upon a field of gold - he advanced in the direction of the smoke. Or as best in its direction as he could, for once within the Ravenwood, direction became capricious. The spirits of the Wood bewitched those foolish enough to enter, and few returned to the light.

The land rose and he was forced to tether his mount as the ground underfoot became too uneven, and the low branches of the trees obstructive. It was like no other forest he had ever encountered. For truth he was no woodsman, rather an aspiring knight, but he knew that trees quested for light as knights did for honour. There was as much light down here as a Sir would find honour in a tavern brawl. The trees merely sought to ensnare. He hacked at them with his sword, spiting curses at the imps residing within the trees and praying forgiveness for using his father’s blade in such a way. On his sire’s deathbed the young Ambrose had sworn to succeed where the elder had failed. He would win a title.
And he came upon a clearing before a cave. The ground before the cave was scorched black, the grass and trees at the edge smoldered: the source of the smoke. As he stepped out into the blasted glade the ground cracked underfoot: it was as smooth and as brittle as glass. What heat, greater than all the furnaces of the Dunsany smithies, could have done this?
He stepped as quickly and as quietly as he could across the ground toward the dark portal of the cave. Yet it was not as dark as Ambrose expected, for from within came a dull red glow.
The lair of a wyrm? His mind raced, awash with thoughts of monsters from the stories of his childhood and images from Kantada’s bestiary. The camp fire of a family of trolls, perhaps? He said a prayer asking his ancestors to preserve the lady Dunsany. If she had already been roasted and consumed then he would be denied his fate.
As if in answer to his prayers there came a scream from within the cave! She was alive! He raced toward the cave mouth, reaching it as the young princess rounded a corner deeper inside. Her pale blue dress was torn and he averted his eyes from her flesh, catching glimpses of many-coloured threads which appeared to flow from points on her limbs, chest and head, beaded with scarlet blood where they entered her plump body.
“This way, my lady!” Ambrose called out and his quarry pumped her short, stocky legs as fast as they would carry her.
As she collapsed into him, huffing and panting, her brown locks a tangled mess, knocking him to the ground and his helmet from his head, there came from the bowels of the cave a screeching cry. The bellow of some foul wyrm or daemon! Extricating himself from the stout girl’s embrace as best he could without disgracing her or himself, he raised his shield and his blade.
“Show thyself!”
The sound came again, a harsh, chittering cry, skipping up and down in tone like the cry of no beast Ambrose Darkmane had ever encountered before.
A serpent, no: a tentacle of the greater beast, slithered round the bend the lady Dunsany had just came round. It shone in what light penetrated this far into the cave passage and Ambrose realized that he was metal. Steel, like his arm and armour. He leapt at it with a cry, swung his father’s blade and severed it clean in a spray of sparks. Black ichor sprayed from the stump and it withdrew out of sight, only to be replaced by two, then four then six more as the beast came into sight.
Though its body seemed to be no larger than that of a man, it held itself aloft atop the writhing mass of tentacles which protruded from beneath the white-edged red robes it hung over its skeletal form. The young warrior caught a glimpse of an emblem upon the ghoul’s sleeve: a jagged marking resembling ebony and ivory crenellations surrounding a humanoid skull. Neither the markings of the Barthiels nor the Peveril. Some hidden house from ancient days, twisted by fell majicks? From beneath its voluminous hood glowed three eyes, one a baleful green, two as red as Anwyn’s own suns.
He raised his blade once more, his spirit steeled, prepared to face his fate, when the metallic wraith gave another blare of binaric before switching to Gothic.
“Invective: vulgar youth! Command: Cease your destructive activity and return the female to me. Supposition: The Magos will have my drives wiped if your people’s purity is not confirmed within two cycles!”


And thus the priesthood of Mars came to Anwyn; a small feudal world orbiting a dying binary, until that point a lost colony of mankind settled before the Age of Strife. Deals were struck between the Mechanicus and the three ruling houses: the Dunsany, the Barthiels and the smaller Peveril: their lands a wedge almost entirely separating the two larger rivals, but for the expanse of the Ravenwood.
Young nobles and warriors were all too keen to take up the advanced arms of their new benefactors, in exchange for mining rights on household land. Those of particular skill, such as Ambrose Dunsany (he gaining the house’s family name upon his `rescue` of the lord’s only daughter) were chosen to become pilots of the towering walkers soon known as Knights. The best of their smiths were inducted and in time returned to Anwyn as sacristans, maintaining the towering warmachines.
The technology the Mechanicus brought to Anwyn, and the setting up of forges and orbitals, enabled the enginseers to venture forth to neighbouring worlds both within the same starsystem and surrounding systems. Knights were called upon to accompany (and provide groundside protection for) the Mechanicum assets on these `quests` as the Knights referred to the voyages. Often violent confrontations resulted: clashes with greenskin raiders, Eldar exodites and myriad other races the Knights crushed underfoot or blasted apart with their cannons.

Fas’thi Nine
At first the Knights of Anywn, gathered from all three houses believed themselves to be as gods until, facing a drop onto the planet Fasthi-9 to face a large greenskin colony, they came to fight alongside a true god of the battlefield: the Mechanicus deemed it fit to deploy a warlord titan, the Andarta. As they had learned to use their new mechanical mounts back on Anwyn to coral and herd that world’s great predators, so they did with the greenskin, both mobs of their brutal warriors and their ramshackle jalopies, Andarta raining down death in great swathes. It was on Fas’thi-9 too that they came to test themselves against enemies of similar size. Clanking monstrosities, lumbering shrines dedicated to the barbarian aliens’ gods some surmised, which stood as tall as their own Knights and were festooned with weaponry. This was the first test of the mettle of the knights of Dunsany, Barthiel and Peveril.
The knights of Anwyn did not ride to war alone for, as well as the skitarii and Mechanicum forces, the knights of the Dunsany were also accompanied by a coterie of seers assigned by their lord to advise and assist the baron. None of the Peveril or Barthiels were permitted within baron Aethrel’s tent whilst he discussed tactics with his knights, the Mechanicum representatives and these augurs. The rival knights spat at the feet of these wyches and would not meet their gazes.
Not all knights returned to Anwyn alive. Some of those who did did so after undergoing the ministrations of Adeptus Mechanicus apothecaries and cyberneticists. Many of these were restored to an imitation of the human form, while others would never again step from their mounts.
Whilst the knights of Anwyn would go to war for the priests of Mars on countless occasions in the following years, it was memories of the combat against the greenskin machines on Fas’thi that revived the old traditions of jousting on Anwyn. Though the priesthood representatives forbade the use of their boon for such sport, the houses struck new deals, offering the Magos more lands and lost secrets to turn a blind eye.
The first time Dunsany, Barthiel and Peveril knights faced each other in combat (and it would not be the last) was the tournament on Saint Aramathus’ Day.

Saint Aramathus’ Day
The three finest knights of each of the three houses gathered at the intersection of their lands, an area which had been used for the settling of interhouse disputes since man had come to Anwyn in the times before memory. Vast terraces were constructed for spectators, with elevated boxes for the nobility to view the tourney from the same level as the knights they sponsored, household standards and those of their vassal lords fluttering in the wind. The blue dragon upon gold of the Dunsany (the serpent’s pose changing with the ruling lord), the white axe on a field of dark green representing the Barthiel, and the Peveril crimson portcullis upon white.
It had always been the way of the Dunsany, even after the coming of the priests of Mars and their distrust of and advising against the unpredictable scrying arts, to maintain a coterie of seers who advised the reigning lord. This tendency was well known to their rivals also, and one of the conditions of the tourney was that no knight of any house should consort with diviners before or during the event. Thus it was that the jousting was fought fair, or as far as could be seen.
Ambrose Dunsany, champion of his house, came to face a young knight of the Peveril by the name of Arundel in one of the semi-final jousts. Afterwards there were rumours that the Barthiels had bought Arundel’s loyalty, for the hotheaded youth broke the rules of the joust: some argued he deliberately redirected his engine’s reaper chainsword at the last moment, others claim it was an accident. Dunsany’s engine was nonetheless struck a severe blow, his cockpit penetrated and Ambrose himself whisked away to the chirurgeons.
The lord Dunsany and his attendants, seer Kantada naturally accompanying him, immediately attended to their chosen knight and, fortuitously he was able to return to his hastily repaired engine for the final tilt against the Barthiel champion. Ambrose fought as a man possessed and never since has such a joust been recorded in Anwyn records. Derleth of Barthiel was unable to land a blow upon the Dunsany champion. It was as if he were toyed with before finally being struck down, Dunsany’s reaper somehow getting close enough to cleave straight through the right thigh of his foe’s engine.
It was a title Adelida Dunsany’s savior (and now spouse) would defend several times in following years, finally retiring from the sport, dedicating himself to serving the house on the behalf of the Mechanicum. Lord Dullahan Dunsany himself granted the victorious knight the favour of bearing a new crest upon his shield, of Ambrose’ own design. An ouroboros was decided upon, signifying his never-ended honour.
The St. Aramathus Day tournament continued as an annual event on Anwn attracting, in later years, offworld Freeblades and visitors from Knight houses on other planets.

The End of the Peveril
Always the minor house of Anwyn, sandwiched between the Dunsany and Barthiel lands, house Peveril held one ace: the rana mines. A rare element, initially used simply in jewelry and greatly desired by the nobility of Anwyn, upon the coming of the Mechanicum it was discovered that rana crystals could be used in the construction of high-powered laser cannons. The Peveril, having traditionally always allotted a tithe to the Dunsany and the Barthiel were loath to continue this trade while the Mechanicum offered them so much more but the lesser house was unable to break with the tradition.
Thus, when Peveril agents met in secret with their opposite numbers of the Dunsany house, only for one to reveal himself to be Ambrose Dunsany, by this time lord of the house, the Peveril spies were intrigued by his offer.
”I seek to tip the balance upon which our world and our ways rest,” he began, leaning across the table in the dimly lit chamber, his guards with their hands resting on laspistol holsters, eyes on the door and the Peverils. “The Dunsany and the Barthiel have been rivals since mankind came to Anwyn. That ends.”
The Peveril spymaster was cautious, “And you are informing us because…?”
“Because an attack through the Ravenwood would be fruitless. Slow, cumbersome and the enemy could not fail to see it coming.” He turned the ring upon his right index finger, revealing the ouroboros signet.
“Your augurs have seen as much?”
The lord Dunsany smiled and sat back in his chair, “One does not need the second sight to make such predictions.”
“Then you intend to go via the western sea?”
The knight, champion of several tourneys and countless offworld battles shook his head. “I intend to march east.”
“East lies Peveril land, and beyond that mountains impenetrable to engines.”
The lord nodded knowingly.
The spymaster pursed his lips. All in the room realized what the master of the Dunsany suggested. It was treasonous. It was to spit on oaths that had held peace over the three houses for centuries.
“You would march through Peveril lands, to attack the Barthiel from their least-defended border.”
Another nod.
“You trust your seers in this?”
Yet another nod.
“And what would be the benefit of such treason to my house?”

The Dunsany pledged to not only release the Peveril from their rana tithe to the Barthiels, freeing it to be traded more profitably with the Mechanicum, but also to grant to the Peveril a portion of the lands which would be captured.
The pact was made with one condition: that lord Ambrose Dunsany himself be present in the Peveril capital at the time of the attack, overtly as a guest of the city’s dueling academy. Dunsany also realized that should his forces fail, the Peverils would immediately arrest him and offer him to the Barthiels in order to pardon their own treason.
And what of the priests of Mars? They cared not who permitted them to reap the wealth of the seas and the mountains, only that they could, though they refused to sabotage the engines of the Barthiel. It is not recorded whether such an action had been suggested by Dunsany or not.
And so it was that two dozen Knights: paladins and errants in the majority, though with lancers scouting ahead and on the flanks, a pair of Magaera, an Acheron and a single Styrix piloted by Dunsany’s own son, Tobias, marched at speed across the Dunsany-Peveril border and through Peveril lands. Moving wide past the neutral ground at the center of the houses’ territory, it was as the force passed closest to the rana mines that they halted.
”What is the meaning of this?” demanded the Peveril baron Arundel, rounding on lord Dunsany, his herald having received word via the vox built into his enlarged cranium.
“It is the end of the Peveril,” Ambrose Dunsany replied with a grim smile, his hands now outstretched to the sides.
“Whoreson!” spat Arundel, drawing his sword as Peveril guardsmen raised their lasrifles at the Dunsany head and his unarmed attendees.
Ambrose admired the fine point of the blade pointed at his face, and pushed it aside with finely manicured fingers.
“You shall not pierce me this time, baron Arundel, as you did on Saint Aramathus’ Day so long ago. Lower your arms, signal for your Knights to stand down...oh and send for that craven lord of yours. I’ll have his surrender within the hour.”
“Cocky bastard!” the baron spat though he did not raise his sword again, “You’re in no position to nego-“
“With my finest Knights within minutes marching distance of your cherished mines?”
“The Peverils would rather none have the rana!”
The Dunsany lord leaned forward conspiratorially and lower his voice, “Are you quite sure of that, baron? What would become of your people then?”

Thus the Peveril became a vassal of the Dunsany. Lord Peveril’s only daughter became the bride of Tobias Dunsany and, within the decade, the lord’s male heirs were forced to spearhead an assault during an offworld quest against the greenskin upon the planet Gasalae IV, to their deaths.

Visions of the End
With the Peveril lands now theirs, the Dunsany held some sixty percent of the land on Anwyn, and with the rana mines theirs they struck new deals with the priests of Mars to their advantage. The surviving knights of the Peveril, now houseless, were given the choice of either riding in Dunsany colours or being exiled as Freeblades. The majority chose the latter option, leaving aboard Mechanicum freighters, many swearing secret oaths against the Dunsany, their witchcraft and their treachery.
Their old foes now having risen to a preeminent position, the Barthiel were quick to renew standing treaties and push for peace before war truly broke out. Thusly Anwyn entered a state of détente which lasted a century.
Though there was no outright warfare during that century, it was an uneasy peace. Many of the Dunsany household called to finish what they had started with the Peveril, claiming that they would gladly ride out and seize the world for their lord to hold in its entirety. But Tobias Dunsany, now lord, always looked to Delvir and his other augurs. They had the lord’s ear and he made no move without their say so. Similarly the Barthiels doubted their neighbours could rein in their warlike knights forever. The Dunsany had grown greedy and envious. Voices called for a preemptive strike on the behalf of the Barthiels, for Dunsany treachery was inevitable.

The Standard of lord Tobias Dunsany
Serpents, wyrms and dragons had always featured upon the household standards of house Dunsany, legend being that the first Dunsany noble to lead his people to Anwyn slew a great Azure beast in the southern deserts. Until Dullahan Dunsany’s granting of a unique ensign to the knight Ambrose, all had flown the flag of the ruling lord. Ambrose Dunsany’s ouroboros would set a precedent for future lords and their chosen champions: the household flag henceforth featured variations on the ouroboros such as Tobias Dunsany’s twisting Mobius-Strip-like serpent (and millennia later another fine example is Alixaren Dunsany’s trio of valknut wyrms). Each lord also granted his champion permission to fly an unique banner of their own design.


It was one hundred years to the very day when old Delvir whispered his hoarse words into lord Dunsany’s ear. The old prophet claimed to have foreseen the priests of Mars allying with the Barthiels against the Dunsany in a vision.
While in his youth Tobias had been a blood-thirsty warrior, far more impetuous than his father, he had with his years learned the benefit of cunning and preparation. Taxes were raised on shipments bound for the Mechanicum - the Dunsany would squeeze what they could from the cybernetic bastards before they betrayed them - and fewer smiths were sent for sacristan training. Brigands looted rana and other shipments bound for the Barthiels, forcing them to use more expensive means of transport, escorted by knights (and having to pay a tithe to have those knights step on Dunsany soil).
As Tobias Dunsany piled levies upon the Mechanicus and the Barthiels, Delvir and the other seers only saw the house’s future darkening. He ordered his agents - for did not all houses, no matter how honourable they were within the sun’s light, keep scores of deniable intermediaries for less tasteful duties? - to step up their acts of sabotage, while his own knights trained harder.
It was at that time that word of the Edict of Nikaea was disseminated across the Imperium. Whist the Legiones Astartes were to no longer operate Librarius departments, it also applied to the knight houses. But for navigators and astropaths none were to draw upon the power of the Warp.
The Barthiel were all too keen to call attention to the scryers of house Dunsany, believing that if their old rivals could be forced to give up their witchcraft and its inherent advantage, matters could be returned to a balance upon Anwyn. But Tobias Dunsany was not yet as patient nor as devious as the Crimson King, nor were Delvir and his kin keen to give up their sorcerous ways. This was the final straw for the Dunsany. They now believed the entire Imperium was trying to trample them down and so they went to war.
During the preparations of the Dunsany knights and other war machines, several key members of the priesthood of Mars on Anwyn were persuaded to join the cause. Once Anwyn was entirely theirs those enginseers who sided with the Dunsany would rise to the highest positions within their order on the planet, the war painted as a Barthiel uprising. Unknown to these traitors within the Mechanicum, the wizened Delvir revealed a secret to his lord. The visions of betrayal he and his scryers had been following had in fact been granted to them by a sentience from beyond the veil, one who claimed to serve the Architect of Fate. Upon the cusp of war, this being offered them more: powers beyond those of mere divination...
House Dunsany knights of all kinds marched on the Barthiel lands supported by lesser war machines: tanks, artillery, turncoat Mechanicum automata, skitarii and APCs filled with levy troops. Delvir’s sorcerors - for they were mere diviners no more - too went to war. No longer merely supporting the knights but casting bolts of fell warp energy which twisted the metal and flesh of that which they impacted. Sheets of fire were conjured from thin air. Time flowed and reversed at their will. The knights of house Dunsany were inscribed with baleful runes and despite the best marksmanship of Barthiel’s own warriors many precise shots failed to down the blue and gold war engines, shells vanishing into rifts in reality meters before they would impact. Lord Tobias Dunsany too rode out, his chainsword wreathed in lethiferous fire.
Victory finally came as the Dunsany knights strode through the Barthiel capital of Nalnye, towering over its buildings and pushing down those which they could not trample underfoot. The life and rule of lord Barthiel too was ended beneath the foot of lord Tobias Dunsany.
But fate had one more twist to play out, for the Mechanicum priests who had sided with the Barthiels had managed to broadcast a psychic distress call. The Dunsany believed they had played their last card and the game was up when Astartes vessels entered orbit overhead. On the planet their knights ruled supreme but they had naught to counter the potential bombardment of voidships.
Fortunate they were, then, when the ships announced they were vessels of the Sons of Horus, bound for Terra and the end of the Imperium...

#7
Tenebris

Tenebris

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House Arcadius

 

The Red Lords of Barbicanis, The Dataeaters, The Scavenging Host, The Lords of the Hidden Gate

 

The history of House Arcadius is hidden, as many things are nowadays, under layers of lies, half-truths, ancient pacts and in some cases myths and obscure legends. The story begins in the early exploration era of mankind, when the species was able to work wonders, devise magnificent machines and thus sail the stars. As many settler colonies so did the legend of House Arcadius begin as a colony ship sailing across the stars, safe in its knowledge of technology and with the will to use it to better themselves. For thousands of years the settlers are said to have voyaged across the stars, battling hideous xenos and also their own species, but despite the courage of this ancient star sailors tragedy befell this brave settlers when their ship was lost in the Warp, only to be regurgitated on the remote planet of Barbicanis. 

 

Barbicanis is a mysterious planet on the remote north of what we know nowadays as Segmentum Obscurus, plagued by the presence of the Eye and the baleful influence of its denizens. It is unknown why but Barbicanis resonates with an unusual magnetic field, soothing the wild currents of the Warp and thus allowing for one of the rare safe entry points into the Realm of the Eye. Despite this natural wonder the planet itself is a graveyard, a graveyard of ship wrecks, space hulks and the myriad forms of space detritus which is constantly regurgitated by the Warp. 

 

Among this shipwrecks there is the mighty Sigma Theta Rho, an ancient colony ship which in its days of yore explored the vast galaxy and nourished human life on many planets. Legends say that from the wreck of Sigma Theta Rho mighty Knights strode forth to claim Barbicanis for mankind but they were only one of the many shattered crews and ships which wrecked on the asteroid fields surrounding Barbicanis. Thus the War of Return begun. 

 

House Arcadius begun as a force of Knight Titans ordered to defend the people of Sigma Theta Rho and under the inspiring leadership of its scions and scientists the Knights of Arcadius conquered many opposing factions like the Ghoul Prince and his kingdom of necro-servitors, the Ogryn tribes of Mount Grond and so on. As centuries passed the unrivaled might of the forges from Sigma Theta Rho became to dominating faction on Barbicanis but war, war never left the planet. 

 

Every few years the Warp regurgitated one or more horrors upon the planet, ranging from eldar corsair ships to ork infested space hulks, but despite the dangers and the fierce opposition this derelict void vessels became the life line for the people of Barbicanis. House Arcadius fought always at the forefront of this Wars of Reclamation in order to replenish their ranks as well as restore the many technological wonders of Sigma Theta Rho, now their fortress and home. In this reclamation wars countless xenos were destroyed and hundreds of lost crews were enslaved to the banner of House Arcadius, providing their masters with fierce warriors and a wealth of resources. 

 

So life went on on Barbicanis, every dozen years or so another horror shattered on the surface of the planet, the factions and tribes of survivors fighting over the wrecks and slowly building a crude but highly technologically advanced society on the planet. With so many materials scavenged from the many wrecks the various factions of Barbicanis evolved into a techno-feudal society for which technology was the life line and constant war a daily occupation. Tribes of technobarbarians fought in the Steppes of Hjaln over a massive space hulk, petty kingdoms evolved around the derelict ships and hordes of mutants and beasts as well as bacteria and pollen from a thousand worlds were released upon the planet, forming a strange but highly adaptable flora and fauna. 

 

On this ruthless world those who commanded the most impressive technology survived, those who did not, perished or were enslaved by the many factions. In time the surviving Priests of Mars as well as other, less savory individuals who understood the "Way of the Cog", became the masters of Barbicanis, their cabals the authority on the planet and their services the trading coin for every faction present on the planet. 

 

So House Arcadius became installed as the most powerful faction on Barbicanis due to its ancient allegiance to the Priesthood of Mars and the massive technological wealth which sprung from Sigma Theta Rho, one of the legendary "Foundry Ships" as the modern archeotech savants describe it. The Throne Mechanicum of House Arcadius was engineered to instill a sense of loyalty to the Mechanicum and to temper the fiery dispositions of the noble riders with cold logic and understanding. Thousands of years of exposure to this influence shaped the scions of House Arcadius into cold, ruthless tech-warriors who were willing to go to any length in order to embrace the Machine Animus of their steeds. 

 

The pivotal event which shaped the destiny of House Arcadius was when an Explorator Fleet happened to be regurgitated upon the asteroid fields of Barbicanis but somehow escaped the dire magnetic pull of the planet unscathed. The first meeting with the scions of the Mechanicus was an event of great celebration and joy for the people of Barbicanis and House Arcadius was the first to step forth and embrace the compact with the Priesthood of Mars as a Mechanicus affiliated Knight House.

 

Conserving most of its military might due to the wealth of technology and resources on Barbicanis as well as the legendary forges of Sigma Theta Rho, House Arcadius was able to second a full complement of over a hundred Knights from its household to the efforts of the Great Crusade and in return it received numerous supplies and new Knight steeds. All went well until the orthodox elements of their new Mechanicus masters begun to question the many applications of technology on Barbicanis and were not so subtle in claiming the massive shipwreck debris for themselves. This was the turning point which consolidated the many disparate factions upon Barbicanis against their new overlords and the shadows of rebellion were already lurking around the corner when the news of Istvaan reached the mecha-diviners of House Arcadius.

 

It is still unknown how it happened but thousands of lightyears away from their remote home of Barbicanis, the Knights of House Arcadius opened fire as one upon the regiments of the Imperial Army which were fighting the forces of the Warmaster on the Forge World of Castramundus IV, their allies reeled in shock but were soon shattered by the combined might of the Sons of Horus and the treacherous Knights. In a ruthless coup Castramundis IV fell to the Warmaster and a bond of blood was forged between the two faction.

 

Five years after the betrayal on Castramundis IV, the strange tech-arks of the Mechanicum appeared in the orbit of Barbicanis. The first were destroyed by the ancient laser weapons of Sigma Theta Rho but when the survivors made themselves known the defenses of Barbicanis fell silent. It is unknown what happened next but a score of ships descended upon the planet and since then House Arcadius has been fighting for the forces of Chaos with its full might and commitment. 

 

All this years of constant bloodshed and brutal wars of reclamation tempered the Knights of House Arcadius into a ruthless engine of war. Bionic augmentation and various degrees of tech-heresy are the common marks of a noble from House Arcadius. Their pale skin clad into baroque suits of armor and covered with red robes, their brain cortex pierced with augmentations and implants, their flesh and bone riddled with arcane technologies. A scion of House Arcadius has left his humanity behind when he for the first time was selected for the integration in a Throne Mechanicum, the oldest specimens of their breed interred into their Knight steeds for eternity. This incredible degree of augmentation allows House Arcadius to fight with a coordination rarely seen among the Knight households, their tactics passed in binary cant, their steeds as much part of them as their limbs and neural nodes. Mutations are curbed with bionics, augmentations are usually as ancient and sinister as the fabled mysteries of mankind's domain over past technology.

 

Yet it is not only the might of their Knights that makes House Arcadius a deadly adversary but also the might of their tech-savants and the resources of Sigma Theta Rho. Each Knight is accompanied by a menagerie of tech-thralls, mecha-augurs, augmented ogryn eunuchs and a host of technobarbarian warriors as well as by the elite Arcadius Guard, a complement of a highly augmented and advanced form of Skitaari. House Arcadius is a fierce opponent in battle for their ancient allegiance with the Dark Mechanicus and the numerous archeotech resources of their home world keep this Knights well supplied and deadly, especially when their lords decide to unleash the true horrors of Barbicanis upon their foe. 

 

In the age following the Horus Heresy the scions of House Arcadius have become an insular faction but their might in battle as well as the safe route which their home planet Barbicanis provides for the hosts of traitors and renegades are highly sought commodity in the Empire of the Eye, and only a fool would wish to anger the Red Lords of this graveyard planet. Yet Barbicanis and its people never changed, still massive space wreck shatter on the planet surface, still dire wars are fought over the wreckage and still House Arcadius benefits from this dark technology. The secrets of Sigma Theta Rho are fiercely guarded and it is said that only the Sacristans of House Arcadius know them, but there is also another who glimpsed them...

 

 

A host of black ships with jagged prows commanded the orbit of Barbicanis, patiently waiting for their master, the only soul allowed to reach the surface of this dark and somber planet. Thousands perished in the storm of fire and laser which cut the would be conquerors of the dusty plains of Barbicanis, only a soul, a single soul was allowed to step on the planet.

 

"... will you unleash it then...?" the dark figure asked, a council of red robed individuals observing him, cataloging him, studying him... their many coils and limbs humming with repressed energy, scalding the air around...

 

"We will, Warmaster, we will, as the Laws of Relativity and the Cant of Nil One One attest, you were said to come one day before us... and here you stand." the figure shrouded in voluminous red robes perched atop a strange, octopus like body, answered... "We will unleash the Curse, the dataphage will eat trough their machine animus, it will pave the road for the Black Leviathan and when the time will be nigh, our Knights will stride once more in its shadow, you can be assured... Abaddon"

 

"Will you grant me passage then oh Lords of Barbicanis, the passage for my armies and for my Black Host, so that I may render justice upon the Imperium and shatter the soul of their Machine God?" Abaddon asked...

 

"Not only we will grant you passage this time Abaddon..." said Ardanis Arcadius Gamma Delta, Lord of House Arcadius, as he answered to the dark figure before him, "but we will walk alongside your warriors Warmaster, and see to it that this Machine God of theirs is shattered beneath the shadow of my Knights... We grant you the right to summon the Knights of House Arcadius, Warmaster Abaddon, see to it that it is employed as rituals demand and the Algorithms of Thule predict... Now return to your ships and never again have the arrogance to deploy your warriors against us, better generals than you have tried, and all have failed... Barbicanis is not welcoming to outsiders who willingly shatter upon its dunes...


Edited by Tenebris, 04 December 2014 - 03:24 PM.

There is only the Truth. I do not know what it is, but I do believe in it!

Attributed to Dark Apostle Toren Mar, Chapter of the Broken Seal, 71st Host, Word Bearers Legion.

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