Setting:CloudburstHouseMatraxia

From 1d4chan

This house of Noble Knights in the service of the Adeptus Mechanicus of Cognomen is the newest noble house in the Cloudburst Sector. Its remit as a house of Mechanicus Knights is one of defense. Its Knights serve, or will serve, as the spears in the grip of the Mechanicus of Cloudburst.

Founded by Lord Fabricator Lister Beraxos and Magos Erin Ermincrole of Cognomen in M41.959, House Matraxia is a covert House, which is squarely counter to the perception of Knights in the minds of the Imperial military. However, its covert nature is an absolute necessity, for now. The House Matraxia is too small to withstand a real challenge from orbit or even a peasant uprising, although the ranks of the House are expanding quickly. The Mechanicus is recruiting people from the Forender Agri-worlds and from Foraldshold with the mental aptitude to pilot Thrones Mechanicum.

The other reason for the covert practices of the House is that it is technically against the law, or so Lord Fabricator Beraxos believes. There have been few new Knight Houses built by the Imperium since before The Scouring, and none outside Forge Worlds in over fourteen millennia. Martian practice is so steeped in ancient theology that the building of new Knight Houses on non-Forge Worlds may well be against their interpretation of the will of the Omnissiah, or so Beraxos fears.

He and the Magos responsible for actually building the House, Ermincrole, are interested in eventually making House Matraxia more public. They both recognize that keeping Knights secret forever is not feasible. Their hope is that the Mechanicus shall eventually recognize the potential of the House, and see it for being the gesture of worship towards the Machine that it truly is. To their cautious optimism, the Skitarii stationed on ABX202020 seem to agree.

House Matrxia’s reigning monarch and principal point of contact between the House and Cognomen is High Queen and First Princeps Remilia Matraxia, formerly of Foraldshold. Remilia is a pilot of immense skill and leadership. So far, most of her subordinates in the hierarchy of her House are her family, of whom her husband Cobus is the second in command. Eventually, the population brought in from Foraldshold and Forender (and possibly Underbar, if the Mechanicus thinks they can get away with it) will augment the House up to the numbers of older ones.

House Matraxia does not view this as an undermining of their power, as some Knightly Houses would. The non-Forge World Knightly Houses elsewhere in the galaxy are anywhere from fourteen to twenty-three thousand years old. Matraxia has no luxury of pedigree, nor special right of independence from the Mechanicus. In fact, the House is actually a Questor Mechanicus House, in direct allegiance to Cognomen. They wear the trappings of a normal Imperial House, using the titles of one and decorating their Knights as such, but this is nothing more than a means for Cognomen to pre-empt criticism of empire-building by Mars. Remilia Matraxia knows that and toes the line, for now.

The House bloodline family consists of Remilia Matraxia, her husband Cobus, and their four children. The six of them are all Knight pilots, bonded with their Thrones Mechanicum, and champing at the bit to get out among the stars and get to work. Other members of the House consist of people from Foraldshold and Forender, most of them Imperial Guard veterans selected, by Techpriests loyal to Lister Beraxos, for higher service. The Cognomen forges are working slowly enough that the House does not yet have more than a dozen Thrones Mechanicum. This irritates the Matraxia Sacristans to no end, but the Thrones are an ancient and complex technology that the Mechanicus does not have the means to mass-produce. The collection of the pilots is also slow going, although the pace has picked up since the completion of several terraforming projects on the Forenders.

House Matraxia has specific internal rules of conduct for its members to follow. The structure of these rules is more akin to the classic structure of an Imperial military institution, thanks to the House being so young, but the High Queen is a reader of history. Perhaps the rule structure one day will appear more chivalric.

The code of conduct of the House is as follows:

  • • All Knights must swear a binding Oath of Fealty to the Household Matraxia, to uphold and protect its values, and defend its citizen-subjects. To violate it on purpose is punishable by irreversible exile.
  • • All Knights must vouch their honor and freedom on the secrecy of the House and its construction until released from that duty by the Magos of the system. To violate it is punishable by imprisonment by the Mechanicus.
  • • Under no circumstances may any member of the House draw a weapon on another member of the House except in ordained duels of honor. Punishments vary by severity and intent.
  • • To deliberately sabotage the wargear or Knight Suit of another member of the House is punishable by sixty years imprisonment, plus the permanent forfeiture of rank.
  • • To disobey a direct order from the appointed Ruler of the House is to put one’s life in jeopardy of execution unless the order was given uninformed.
  • • At all times, the Knights of the House must put the wellbeing of the peasants of their world as a concern in their affairs of court, for no House can eat the air or drink well-wishes.
  • • No person from outside the House may enter the Crypt Matraxia. Unauthorized entry is punishable by death by electroflogging.

Of course, the planet itself has laws, as does the Mechanicus, and so ABX2 residents do have their own codes of conduct they must follow. The peasants may not bear arms except in times of imminent invasion, the Skitarii are sworn to disclose the existence of the planet only in the direst emergencies (which Lord Beraxos notes with relief has been observed). Also, the members of the House may not enter battle until Magos Ermincrole specifically allows it. As with all Mechanicus Knight Houses that maintain loyalty to the Golden Throne, the House Matraxia takes efforts to obey the Sidon Protocols. As a young House, they have few oaths of fealty, but they are a loyal Fiefdom House of Cognomen. That said, they take more steps to appear independent than nearly any other House, and do so with the approval of Lord Fabricator Beraxos, who is concerned with the optics of crafting a House of his own on another planet.

The House bases from the unfinished Citadel Matraxia, a staggeringly vast fortress in the heart of an endless forest in the center of ABX202020’s largest continent. The planet’s sole working starport is located some forty miles away, connected to the Citadel by an underground tunnel network. The Citadel will eventually have fully five independent power sources, two of which are potent enough to power the Citadel by themselves: the thermoplasmic generator and the fusion plant. The geothermal tap, solar cells, and wind turbines are there to augment the power of the main sources in case of siege, or to help power mundane things like appliances and small vehicles. The Citadel itself is a sprawling structure, consisting of one huge arrangement of stone and metal walls that do not disconnect from each other to form discrete buildings. Except for the keep, the entire complex is one single building, technically, although not all the wall segments have been erected yet. When it is finished, the building will be over a mile square, with walls over fourteen stories high outside that. The complex will eventually have a second wall outside the first to serve as a killing field should something get past it. The complex Citadel will eventually also have extensive anti-air defenses, and a Void Shield capable of blocking a Frigate’s man gun, plus a Mechanicus-curated selection of anti-tank wall guns. Matraxia has toyed with the idea of a trench line between the two walls, but that is an idea for a later date. Inside the main building, the House Matraxia is building its strength. It caches its Knight suits in a great armored vault below the central keep. There, over a hundred Sacristans trained on Cognomen labor over the suits, keeping their Machine Spirits placated and ready for battle. The great Chamber in which the prospect Knight pilots undergo their Ritual of Becoming and emerge as true Knights is lower yet, near the geothermal core, and its interior walls hide the Crypt Matraxia. The Crypt is more than a tomb for the dead Matraxia House members, which it should be, given that no Matraxia has died yet. Although it is eventually to be a true tomb, it also serves as a vault, containing the accumulated wealth of the family, and also the original copy of the contract of fealty signed between Remilia and Lord Fabricator Beraxos.

Above, the Citadel houses a school for the family’s children, as well as a huge granary to hold the food of the nearby peasant settlements, which have carved out plots for themselves in the forest. The large population of farmers and other Menials from the four Cognomen satrap worlds have been able to make the world nutrient-surplus with only a few decades of work, and their lumber camps, food processing plants, and mines are almost paying for the planet’s development.

House Matraxia also has ties to a few other institutions. None of them include the Deathwatch. The Ordo Xenos Chamber Militant Watch Station Redshield hangs over ABX202020, keeping a weather eye out for aliens. House Matraxia is aware of this, but has made no effort to interact with their erstwhile defenders, nor is the Deathwatch inclined to extend the hand of friendship.

As with most Houses of the Noble Knightly orders, House Matraxia has implemented some elements of ritual behavior into their routine conduct. Unlike most, they have to make theirs from scratch, and have no combat experience upon which to base their activities. Therefore, they have few and they are not very formal. All involved expect this to change as the House ages. The most prominent ritual the House practices for now is the Procession, during which a new Noble is inducted to the House in a solemn ceremony. The candidate must complete their Becoming, after which they formally destroy their old Imperial identification documents and receive new ones from the Adeptus Mechanicus. When this occurs, the pilot then walks through the main hall of the unfinished Citadel under an arch made by the raised swords of the household guards, then kneel before the High Queen and formally receive their new title. The pilot then rises, and walks to a nearby ritual table, where the bond number of their first Knight is tattooed on the back of their left arm, and a simple cybernetic port is installed beside it that allows them to interface with the Matraxia House Vault in the basement of the Citadel, where the House’s last redoubt, crypt, and training hall are located. The entire process takes fifteen minutes, and the Noble stays silent through the whole procedure, until the last moment, wherein they take a binding oath to the Mechanicus and Terra.

As the House is a Questor Mechanicus House even if its attributes and titles are more Imperial, the House is technically bound to the same worship of the Omnissiah and Machine God as most other Questor Mechanicus families. However, Lord Beraxos has allowed the House slightly more leeway in the form and function of this worship, and has no objection to there being a shrine to the Emperor beside the one to the Machine in the chapel of the Citadel. Whether this remains the case indefinitely is harder to say. Certainly, Magos Ermincrole is less enthused by this than Remilia is, but she has brooked no discussion.

As is tradition for most Knightly orders that do not stage from an actual Forge World, there are some Adeptus Mechanicus personnel on ABX202020 that are present solely to liaise with their patron Forge. However, given the planet’s youth, secrecy, tiny population, and daily oversight by Magos Ermincrole, they do not yet have much to do in their official duties and capacity as negotiators, and have thus spent the majority of their time working on the actual Knights. As could be expected from a proponent of quality over quantity like Beraxos, the Knights the House has had delivered to them are naturally top of the line, even if their models are on the simple end. Each of their weapons was hand-blessed and personally sanctified by the presiding Magos of the factory on Cognomen wherein they were built, and each Knight has had their armor polished to a near-molecular level smoothness and shine, the better to be an un-ignorable force on the battlefield. Each is hung with draped pennants and banners with symbols of Terra and Mars, and the rust-colored icons of Cognomen. Pilots among the Matraxia Knightly cadre prefer a combination of Powered melee weapons and heavy energy weapons, both because those are Cognomen’s specialties and because their most likely inaugural targets are Orks and Glasians, against which these weapons are most effective. The Knights of the House anticipate that deployment soon. The top ten ranks of the House are now all filled, and there are enough Knights operational to fill two formations of them on the battlefield. Given the rapidly escalating Ork invasion of the Sector, it is very likely that the House will first field on Foraldshold against the Orks that are rampaging unchecked across the surface of the agri-zones, imperiling the human food supply and stuffing their faces on stolen victuals. After all, many Knightly orders have been continually protecting lumber and provision farms on some of their vassal worlds for seventeen thousand years, and what could be more apropos for the initial Matraxia deployment than protecting a Mechanicus farm from invaders? The first of the order’s transport ships is a modified Bratan transport for atmospheric lifting, and the second is a Galaxy transport starship, one similar in scale to the House Taranis transports that Mars fields when they want their Knights to escort the Legio Ignatum war titans. The Galaxy is officially named Dolomblen River, in honor of the huge canyon over which the Castle of the Forges looms on Cognomen. This ship is obviously vastly larger than a single cadre of eleven Knights could need in transport, being designed to transport eleven thousand troops and their vehicles for the Imperial Army so long ago, but the extra room is a promise: House Matraxia shall grow.

The sigil of the House is a classical plate armor helmet in profile and a metallic half-skull separated by a raised Power Bastard, and a pair of scrolls. The scrolls curve above and below the sword, and both say MATRAXIA. Behind the swords sit upturned steel-colored laurel leaves, while an infinity symbol is embossed on the side of the helm. The empty spaces around the skull and helm are metallic red.

Among the initial nobles of the House, six are members of the Matraxia family itself, and five so far are not.

The first Knights delivered to the house are the Warden and Errant that the founding family use, while most subsequent Knights have been of the Paladin and Errant patterns. The family has pointedly asked for more Icarus packages, and has not received them, leaving their forces somewhat vulnerable to aircraft assaults. The House but one non-standard model: a single Magaera given to them by the Cognomen Techpriesthood after recovering it from a battlefield in another Sector.

Thus far, the Knights of the House are as follows:

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