Rogue Trader House Calavna
Few Rogue Trader dynasties die as abruptly as House Calavna. The House was once the most militant Rogue Trader dynasty in the entire Cloudburst region, and possessed the attention and respect of multiple major Imperial institutions in their efforts to grind the primitive and Warp-tainted aliens of the Imperial borders to dust. Whole nations burned as the Calavna scions unleashed warheads and lances from high orbit, scorching worlds clean with the flame of the Emperor.
Eventually, the Calavna forces managed to become major players in the Hapster Subsector’s political sphere, and came to be seen with jealous eyes by the Imperial Navy officials who guarded what was then the Imperial outer border. Whether that jealousy, or envy, at least, played a role in the fall of the House is unknown, but what is known is that the Navy was quick to respond to the fall of the House.
As the Rogue Trader head of the family, Roger Calavna, was aboard his ship Lucre William, in orbit over Hapster, nine Infidel raiders never locally seen before or since abruptly attacked the system, and made a beeline for the vessel. To the shock of the system, the Cruiser was almost immediately captured by the force of black-clad pirates, armed with a motley assortment and human and alien weapons, which swept aboard. Roger Calavna himself survived only by shoving himself into a messenger pod and ejecting it in the atmosphere of the world below.
When rescue teams dug him out, most of his bones were broken, but his augmetic organs had kept him alive. Learning that his Warrant had been on the Cruiser at the time, he swore undying revenge against the pirates, which he did not live long enough to execute.
House Calavna bears the unwelcome distinction of being the last of the Hapster Rogue Trader families to be destroyed prior to the creation of the Cloudburst Sector as a formal body of government.
Rogue Trader House Richter
House Richter used to be a force of mercantile might in the Cloudburst Sector, but its primary source of prestige was always exploration. Clad in armor of Martian quality and outfitted with the very best instruments and auspexes, the House Richter fleet often spent years drifting through the void, scouring the hot gasses and radioactive wastes of the Cloudburst region for any signs of lost human life. They found Space Hulks, they found a dead Deep Void Platform, they found pirate nests built on the foundations of Terran Federation colonies, and they found aliens of every sort. Their close ties to the Mechanicus allowed them a certain precedence of authority and technoarcana to better prepare themselves for the rigors of deep space exploration, and for centuries, the House Richter succeeded in slowly coloring in the dark places of the map.
However, the House was eventually brought low, as most Houses have over the eleven thousand years of the institution. In the case of House Richter, however, they had nobody but themselves to blame. The House had always fought in the past against those who had a vested interest in the small size of the Imperium, whether Eldar protecting their out of the way colonies or pirates who did not wish their hidey-holes to be surrounded by Imperial territory. However, on the fateful occasion of the beginning of the end of House Richter, the usual tactics that the House had to employ to survive were simply not enough.
House Richter vessels, led by the second-in-command of the entire House flotilla, appeared in the depths of space near the Abhuman world today known as Crispin. The world had long been harassed by pirates of unknown origins, seeking to enslave the strong but simple Beastmen of Crispin for use as shock troops and slaves. However, the Mechanicus became aware of this during Explorator journeys into the region. While the Mechanicus would normally love to take credit for locating a habitable world for the Imperium, two factors weighed into their decision not to in this instance. First, the Mechanicus of the Naxos Sector is dreadfully overworked keeping the Celestial Knights and Battlefleet Naxos supplied, and the task of simultaneously subjugating a world of abhumans and conquering unknown alien pirates would be a daunting one. Second, the aliens seemed to have Warpcraft that were slower but more stable than Imperial ships of equivalent tonnage, and could thus navigate the area more easily.
Into the gap stepped House Richter, who took on the assignment of mapping the local Warp routes to aid in the locating of the pirates. However, they had barely begun the task when the aliens abruptly shifted their attacks to the House Richter fleet, and assaulted them without any transmissions or mercy.
The Richter ships began pairing up to avoid the power of the pirates overwhelming them, but the aliens simply redoubled their attacks, and assaulted the Richter vessels without skipping a beat. By the time the Richter fleet had regrouped and escaped the noxious radioactive gasses of the Oldlight Proximate Circuit, they had lost ten percent of their ships outright, with another one crippled. However, to their horror, regrouping and withdrawing was not enough. As they moved along the Warp and conventional travel routes out of the Circuit, the alien pirates kept coming, shooting down another thirty percent of the Richter fleet almost overnight.
When the tattered remains of the Richter House Fleet arrived at the edge of the Fabique Star Yards, Mechanicus alert sirens sounded at once. The pirates had actually followed the Richter fleet all the way to the Mechanicus’s territory, and pressed their attack to the very doorstep of the enormous Forge World. It took another seven weeks of brutal fighting at the heart of the Star Yards between Richter, Navy, Space Marine, Basilikon Astra, and Inquisitorial ships, and the alien raiders, before they were at last ground to dust.
House Richter never managed to overcome the damage done to their fortunes, and the House liquidated twenty years later. Their Warrant fell into the legal remit of the Naxos Sector, which eventually returned it to the Senate of the High Lords for reissuance.
Rogue Trader House Grenfoe
At one point in the Sector’s history, the House Grenfoe was an institution. Its huge central wealth concentrated in a vast bank, in which it was also the primary investor and customer. The bank was named after the founder of the House, and located on the main square of the city of Civitavecchia on Celeste. The House specialized in financing Imperial expeditions, to find new colonizable worlds in the Circuit and in the Oldlight Exo-zone. Its early claim to fame was in sponsoring the passage between what are now the Subsectors Rampart and Nauphry, and thus enabling a whole new wave of Warp travel to those regions.
However, the House eventually ran into extensive financial trouble. The laws of banking on Celeste may be stagnant, but they are not static. Eventually, groups of less reputable business combines began to hide their earnings in the guise of legitimate business with the bank. This blossomed into a full money-laundering scheme, one of which the House remained blissfully unaware.
When an investigation by a local journalism agency uncovered it all, embarrassed planetary government officials ordered the assets seized, which the startled House could not contest. With the core of their financial system in peril, the House made a show of funding several expensive trips by explorers and traders into the uncharted places of the Oldlight Exo-zone, hoping to strike it rich. They did not. The subsequent loss of several of their brightest beneficiaries brought ruin to the House, which were only slightly alleviated by the House selling the rights to Combine to the Mechanicus.
Eventually, the Warrant of Trade for the House fell into the hands of its scion, Vilheim Grenfoe, who could read the changing of the tides as well as anybody could, and sold the remaining House assets to a rival mercantile concern, then retired to enjoy the Celeste high society unburdened by responsibility.
Rogue Trader House Jiax
The fate of House Jiax is an object lesson, to be sure. What is unsure is precisely what that lesson is. Jiax, once a wealthy and prosperous house of explorers and traders, was eviscerated and crushed in five days by a force of Inquisitorial and Officio Assassinorum personnel on a scale more traditionally reserved for those who emulate Horus.
Once, Jiax was the name of a house of hereditary Rogue Traders and explorers who made the region of space between the trailing edge of the Sector and the border of the Oldlight Exo-zone their home. There, they looted ruins, charted Warp routes, skirmished with pirates, and generally expanded the borders of the Imperium as Rogue Traders are wont to do. Over time, they accumulated enough wealth to become de facto nobles on the planet Celeste, and even extended some of their ordinary trade routes into the nearby Drumnos Sector.
Then their world ended. The only hint of trouble that came in advance was that all of their Astropaths simply resigned on the same day, leaving the House abruptly unable to call for help or coordinate their efforts. The next morning, while the House was still desperately wondering what in the world had just happened, a fleet of Inquisitorial and Officio Assassinorum ships appeared in orbit over the House manor on Celeste. While the government of the planet flew into a terrified panic, dark arrowheads of Inquisitorial ships descended on the world, carrying shiploads of dead-faced men and grim combat servitors, who landed all around the Jiax residence compound. Two hours later, the facility was a smoking ruin, and the Inquisitorial vessels departed with no more explanation than they had provided upon arrival. For the next five days, Jiax ships and holdings around the Sector similarly disappeared or exploded. The members of their House that had escaped the initial Inquisitorial purge threw themselves on the mercy of their allies and friends in the Imperial peerage, but those friends wisely turned their backs on the House as the Imperial government mercilessly slaughtered them.
One week after the beginning of the purge, it concluded, with the few remaining Jiax assets turned over to the Sector Government, which then liquidated them. Even centuries later, there is no explanation forthcoming from any party involved to explain the Inquisition’s motives. Those few who even know it happened can only suppose that the heads of the House must have invoked dread treason indeed, to merit the simultaneous attention of the Inquisition and Officio Assassinorum, which could only act in concert as they did against Jiax with the express instruction of the Senate of the High Lords.