Notable Military Force

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Transcription datum +++ Sat, 2016-05-28 10:41

House Temporis

Imperial Knight Household
Notable Military Force

Tainted, cursed, witchbloods. The scions of House Temporis have long been accustomed to such accusations and there is more than a smattering of truth to such claims. 

Their history begins during the Dark Age of Technology, when a small colonisation fleet was caught up by a warp storm. Their Geller Fields scant seconds away from overloading, the colonists’ ships were forced to break from the warp. As luck would have it, the warp’s tides had led them to a system with a world teeming with life. Their ships’ warp engines damaged beyond repair, the colonists wasted no time in making the world – now called Storm’s End – their home. 

Even in the first few hours of colonisation, the more sensitive among them realised that something was terribly wrong. Hunting parties would depart in one direction only to return from a route that failed to tally with their memories or even basic geometry. Strange stone carvings were found and the native lifeforms seemed to be utterly without symmetry. Time flowed strangely and strange voices could be heard at night near the chemical seas, whose waves against all exception rolled back from their shores.

The colonists lost many of their number in the first few years. Either they were swallowed up by the jungle, driven mad by the insanity of their surroundings or devoured by the arachnoi: huge deformed spiders with an unquenchable thirst for human blood. To fight back against the many terrors, the colonists constructed knights from the wreckage of their ships and so armed and armoured, they began to explore their world. They found that they were not alone. There were sentient creatures out there, five-limbed grotesques who ambulated on metre-high stilts. These xenos identified themselves as the Saruthi and initially aided the colonists, while trying to convert them to a religion that the humans quickly realised was utterly abhorrent, both in its practices and in the deities it venerated. 

War broke out and the Saruthi quickly became feared for the bolts of incinerating white-blue that they could seemingly manifest at will. It cost the colonists a full third of their population and reduced many of their knight armours to ruin, but eventually the last of the xenos fell. The Saruthi’s scattered ruins were too resilient to be destroyed outright, so became haunted places, only populated by outcasts, mutants and scavengers. As the generations passed, the colonists changed. Only a small portion of those who arrived on Storm’s End had the mental fortitude to cope with the tangled angles of space-time that blighted it and those that did were descended from the ships’ navigators. Soon, the bulk of the colonists were born with vestigial third eyes and the practice of removing them at birth quickly became widespread out of superstitious fear. The work of the Throne Mechanicum had come to fruition, reshaping the colonists’ society into one along feudal lines. 

The Horus Heresy
By the time the people of Storm’s End came into contact with the Imperium of Man, the Horus Heresy had already begun. By this point, the bulk of their knight armours were non-functional due to the ravages of time or lost during the war against the Saruthi. In a desperate attempt to restore their martial power, Lord Rocent Temporis led the last remaining knights in an expedition into the breeding grounds of the arachnoi, returning with a brood-queen encased in her own webs. The presence of the now sizeable human population seemed to mute some of the worst effects of the warping insanity that plagued their homeworld, so for the first time, arachnoi were born untouched by chaos and symmetrical in limb. The knights of Storm’s End quickly adapted to riding the arachnoi and learnt to use them to build structures of immense size and strength. 

Despite their intimate knowledge of Chaos and its temptations, House Temporis and its dependent houses, Llothica and Ananon, fought on the side of the Traitors during the Horus Heresy. Due to monstrous ill-fortune, the first fleet to make contact with their world, belonged to the Alpha Legion. At that point, almost all of the other Legions that had sworn their dubious loyalty to Horus Lupercal, were displaying signs of corruption, but not the Alpha Legion. With the duplicity honed through hundreds of years of deceit, it was almost child’s play for the sons of Alpharius to convince the knights of Storm’s End to take up arms against the Emperor. This task was made still easier by the significant presence of tech priests hailing from the neutral forgeworld Bezoa, who were acting as mercenaries. The Bezoans poured resources into refitting and resupplying the noble house’s knight armours (knowing full well that they would charge the traitors’ coffers for this service with interest) and before long the Houses’ might waxed greatly, each commanding more than a thousand knights. 

Houses Temporis, Llothica and Ananon fought in many of the major engagements of the Horus Heresy that took place within Segmentum Obscurus. All three quickly gained a reputation for being able to fight in the most disorientating or hostile environments and the fluid agility of their knight armours. As they fought rumours began to spread of impossible victories, of their knights sometimes appearing directly behind their opponents and of their armours disappearing from the sensor feeds of their allies only to reappear elsewhere. Despite the subtle manipulations of the Thrones Mechanicum, the knights also seemed to be possessed of a cold patience, one that excelled into luring their foes into traps. A particularly favoured tactic, made possible in part due to the superb intelligence relayed to them by the Alpha Legion, was to attack the loyalist forces when the Emperor’s armies were trying to traverse natural obstacles, be they rivers, ravines or even when deploying from orbit. 

Despite their exemplary battle-record, fighting against their equals, such as House Taranis and the might of the Astartes, took its toll and all three houses soon found themselves reduced to a shadow of their initial strength. At the same time, Lord Temporis’ daughter, Mercurii Adamas had grown suspicious of their allies’ nature, due to small little details, such as the tech priests’ increasing tolerance to scrap code. An able knight pilot in her own right, she deliberately became estranged from her father, becoming a freeblade. At first, the Alpha Legion succeeded in manipulating her assignments, but as she travelled further and further towards Segmentum Ultima, to the very edges of the Ruinstorm, their influence diminished. One fateful day, she fought alongside Legion Mortis and the Bearers of the Word, filling her armour’s databanks with pics of savage god-pleasing rites and mutations, of flesh and of engines alike. 

Mercurii returned to her father’s fleet and wasted no time in showing him and his most trusted nobles the evidence she had gathered. It fell on deaf ears. Her father was too obstinate, his mind made rigid by the workings of the Throne Mechanicum and too conscious of the power promised him by the Alpha Legion should they succeed in overthrowing the Emperor. Denouncing her father as a fool and a traitor, Mercurii challenged him to a duel. Their knight armours clashed again and again, Rocent’s squatter, heavier, Knight Paladin an equal match for Mercurii’s Cerastus Knight-Castigator. Eventually, it came down to attrition. Rocent’s reaper chainsword had been rendered all but toothless from parrying Mercurii’s tempest warblade. Rocent made a last ditch attempt to fire his battle cannon at point blank range only to be wracked with sympathetic pain as that arm was shorn from his armour. Mercurii swiftly followed that blow with a thrust straight through Rocent’s ion shield, into his cockpit and through his torso.

Mercurii wasted no time in conducting a purge of all those whose sympathies lay with the traitors. Her forces mauled still further, she took them out of the war. Unfortunately, by the time they had regained some of their lost strength, the arch-traitor’s forces had reached Terra. Fully aware that the eventual victor would have no love for her and her kin, Mercurii spent the rest of her reign restoring Storm’s End’s ability to manufacture and maintain knight armours. 

During the Scouring, the wrath of the loyalists never came. Knowledge of House Temporis’ role in the Horus Heresy soon slid into legend and the growth of the Boten Cloud Nebula triggered Storm’s End slid into isolation. 

The Scouring and the years of splendid isolation (M31-M39)
Robbed of the ability to look without, the noble houses turned inward. Mercurii’s leadership of House Temporis led to a long-lasting change in attitudes and all the noble houses became increasingly matriarchal. Queens replaced kings and soon the privilege of becoming a knight pilot was only extended to the houses’ female scions. 

 A second age of exploration began as each house sought to claim more of their planet’s natural wealth. In doing so, they delved deep into its mantle and discovered the very things that had led the Saruthi to colonise Storm’s End so many aeons ago. Ancient ruins from a impossibly old, long dead civilisation were found and excavated. The earth gave strange jade-like sculptures and jewellery. The nobles of House Llothica and House Ananon were the first to wear the necklaces and rings openly, yet in a few short months, ceased to do so, blaming the ever-changing nature of fashion when asked. 

The truth was far darker. The halo devices had bonded with their wearers and their transformation into creatures with unfathomable appetites had begun. 50 years after the first artefacts had been unearthed, the Yu’vath and the Bale Childer – two foul xenos breeds united by their worship of the primordial annihilator – descended on Storm’s End. While the noble houses had become decadent in their isolation, fear of the Imperium’s retribution had not entirely faded. 

Consequently, wave after wave of bone wardens and shard spiders crashed against an unbreakable wall of adamantium and ion shields. However, the Yu’vath were nothing if not insidious. They called out to the already warped minds of the noble houses blighted by their use of halo devices. At the height of the battle of Mirk-forestra, Houses Llothica and Ananon turned their guns on their betters, foreswearing their allegiance to humanity in favour of the horrors that stalk the stars. House Temporis stood at the brink of annihilation. Queen Mortica aboard her knight “Black Widow” screamed in anguish as her daughters were cut down by xenos constructs and traitor knights alike. Only one desperate roll of the dice remained. At her signal, every knight armour still operational faced the traitorous knights and with a pneumatic hiss opened their cockpits. The daughters of House Temporis faced their fallen sisters, and for a brief moment, the battle stilled as their parasite-ridden counterparts stared in blinking incomprehension. Then in unison, every daughter smiled and opened her third eye.

In that instant, Houses Llothica and Ananon ceased to be, their putrid souls ripped from their bodies by the annihilating blackness of the warp. Young scions were quickly brought up from the rear and with the help of their Sacristans, quickly discarded the corrupt bodies of their foes and bonded with the knight amours. Now unified as a single house, the forces of Storm’s End turned and crushed the xenos. 

House Temporis had not been idle during the long years of isolation. Intent on regaining space travel, they had ploughed their resources into rebuilding a vessel capable of warp travel and husbanding their genes, in an attempt to breed true navigators once more. 

While they had succeeded, only a small fraction of their number were born with the third eye fully developed and those that did suffered from a disease that could only be alleviated by frequent blood transfusions, leading to frequent rumours of vampirism.

Long millennia passed and still House Temporis seemed no closer to its goal of once more sailing the stars. Despite their great failure, the Yu’vath and the Bale Childer, launched raid after raid, forcing the planet’s rulers to divert precious resources towards building yet more knight armours. 

It was around this time, that the mad monk, Vasputi, almost became ruler of House Temporis in all but name, thanks to his powers of healing that alleviated the scions’ endless need for human blood. Fearful of his growing influence, Princess Elsa arranged for him to be shot, stabbed and poisoned, but to no avail. When even turning her third eye upon him had no effect, she was forced to flee her ancestral home, the hall echoing to his deranged laughter and threats so dire that it said, the great silver mirrors in the Queen’s ballroom turned black. Eventually Vasputi’s arrogance proved his downfall. Following her outside, Vasputi ran into a Cerastus Knight-Acheron, drawn by the princess’s screams. The monk showed no fear leaping at the warmachine, his hands twisting into great talons capable of shredding ceramite. However, Lady Anna, the knight’s pilot was an experienced veteran and her blood was up. Despite the small size of her target, she plunged her reaper chainfist into the monk’s slight frame, spraying her mount with black blood each time she did so. It was only when she exhausted the reservoirs of her flame-cannon, that Vasputi ceased to move, the animating power of what must have been a halo device overwhelmed by cleansing flame. 

Return to the fold (M39-M41)
It wasn’t until M39 that House Temporis was able to resume space flight, in part thanks to a failed raid by pirate forces. The pirates saw Storm’s End as just another backwater world, ripe for the plunder. Their initial raiding parties were quickly overpowered by knights and arachnoi riders. Shuttles were filled with boarding parties and after hours of hellish fighting, House Temporis had control of the pirates’ ships. 

The initial voyages of discovery were notable for three reasons. First, they established contact with Forgeworld Bezoa, now firmly part of the Imperium of Man. Trade in archeotech and exotic materials greatly benefited both planets and pacts of mutual aid were swiftly made.

Around that time, the affairs of House Temporis began to increasingly be associated with Germax Sahawat and rumours persist that the House had shared a great deal of esoteric knowledge with the mad inventor as part of their combined effort to ceate a new form of warp engine. These whisperings attracted the attention of the Adeptus Mechanicus, but despite full infiltration of House Temporis’ Sacristans, no conclusive evidence could be found. 

Last but not least, while the House’s few full-fledged navigators had a unique gift for transversing warp storms and navigating through other exotic phenomena without harm to their vessels, it became known that they were pained by the light of the Astronomicon. Superstitious crews began to refuse to sail with a House Temporis Navigator on board. At around this time, navigator House Nostromo began to rise to providence and the renowned painter, Rapheon D’Gelgento, was overheard discussing the unusually strong likeness between the navigators of both houses, shortly before his death from apparent fright in 716.M40. 

Following the foundation of the Calixis Sector, House Temporis’ fel reputation attracted the notice of the Inquisition and for a time it looked like it would be purged out of existence. Many inquisitors argued that the combination of a Imperial Knight Household and Navigator House ran counter to the separation of powers enforced since the Scouring, while Monodominants and those closely aligned with the Ecclesiarchy openly accused House Temporis of witchcraft. In response, Queen Elizabeta highlighted the all-female nature of her house while arguing that the Ecclesiarchy was seeking to gain control of House Temporis as a means of further violating the spirit, if not the letter of the Degree Passive. Her words fell on deaf ears and for a moment, it looked as if House Temporis would fall to the ignominious stroke of a quill.

It was then that the mysterious Ordo Chronos intervened. Whatever its representative said to the conclave is unknown, but from that day until the Ordo’s disappearance, House Temporis seems to have acted as the Ordo’s Chamber Militant. 

Some speculate that House Temporis still acts in this capacity, citing its long-term use of naval assets provided by Battlefleet Australis and several recorded incidents where House Temporis knights appear to have fought long before their birth. However, with Storm’s End and the surrounding subsector, now under ceaseless attack from the Rak’Gol, most among the Inquisition are content to let House Temporis stand as a bulwark against xenos aggression.

Livery and heraldry
House Temporis knight armours wear livery of black and bone-white, with flashes of red. Web and spider heraldic marks are extremely common as is the House’s sigil, a red hourglass on a sable background. Many of the House’s knight armours have a unique configuration of optical lenses: four sensors, with the central two larger than those mounted nearer the sides of the armour’s head.