------The Fall of Advent:
As I am one of the oldest, and most schooled members of our unit left, it has been passed down to me to tell of our past, where we came from, and why we go about doing the things we do the way we do. We always walk a fine line, and I believe our unit would have been dissolved long ago if it wasn’t for the efforts of the Inquisitor Lord Kregorus in using us to our utmost. I suppose I should start from the beginning then so this can make sense.
The planet of Advent was colonized in 223.M39 by 17 wealthy families. The Families were House Yorin, House Krieger, House Jocob, House Rafeel, House Fernandez, House Urin, House Talabec, House Inan, House Ornell, House Gregorin, House Felmann, House Vor’Inan, House Quelran, House Lupernal, House Verdictus, House Kalmin, and House Hykonen. The planet was rich in ore, mined from the mountain ranges that cover the planet. Thousands of miles of white capped peaks, with valleys filled with mirror lakes and pine forests. It was a beautiful world. The Families mined the mountains for ore used all over the Imperium, and became exceptionally wealthy, being able to amass their own personal armies. This of course led to conflicts as every Family was out for themselves, trying to mine more mountains. 300 years after the initial colonization the first full war broke out, named the Franconian Conflict, it occurred between almost 13 of the 17 major Families.
The Franconian Conflict revolved around the territory of Franconia, a newly discovered area, rich in rare metal deposits that was centered between 13 of the Families in a large valley. This war ravaged most of the House’s lands, lasting for nearly 100 years until the Imperium itself stepped in to end the fighting. The Imperium gave the families two options, make peace and hold it, or be destroyed. The Families, not wanting to lose their holdings, opted for the first option and the Council of Mount Jarneel was created. The Council’s purpose was to bring all the Families leaders together and come to peaceful resolutions to problems. Should a member of the Council go against the Council as a whole, or fail to report major changes, the rest of the Council would come down on them with each of the Families full military might.
With the Council of Mount Jarneel peace lasted for hundreds of years. Minor skirmishes between Houses were normally not noticed as none escalated further than a couple conflicts. Each House remained to its territory, continuing to mine the planet. It stayed this way until the Fall of House Vor’Inan.
House Hyknonen was not the most wealthy of the Families, as such they kept to their territory nestled deep within one of the largest mountain ranges. This protected them from most of the conflicts due to the difficulty of getting to them. This didn’t assure the House though, and as such trained their limited forces intensely in using the terrain to their advantage. They did not use heavy armor much, instead preferring the speed of Sentinals and Valkyrie Gunships. The forces of House Hykonan were light, fast, and sharp shots. Often other Houses hired out Hykonen sniper teams for covert missions and scouting. This led to one of their major exports, mercenary forces. Along with Houses Quelran, Lupernal, and Verdictus, they were known for trustworthiness and martial honor. These Houses held honor in high regard and were difficult to push from the field of battle because of this.
Among their own forces, House Hykonen made first contact with an abhuman race native to the planet, the Avias. This race of avian looking humans were friendly towards Hykonen and the two people developed a close friendship. This led to some humans adopting the Avias customs and life styles. These individuals were known as Ave’rangers, and were the best scouts that any House could call upon on the planet. They mastered traps, shooting, and guerilla style tactics. They could be left on their own for months at a time without resupply. They often worked closely with units of Avias on missions within the mountains. House Hyknonen was last to be assaulted during the Fall due in most part to their natural defenses deterring most tries.
------ Martial Customs of Many Houses
Many Houses have deep rooted and ancient customs. The most noteworthy of these, is martial honor. Many leaders in the House armies carried ancestral weapons, swords and long knives being the most common. These weapons were sacred to those they belonged too, so much so that separate laws were passed to allow the ritual killing of any found stealing these weapons. Should someone find their ancestral property taken, they stopped at nothing to track it down. The longest a weapon was missing was nearly 167 years, when the grandson of the victim finally tracked down the family that stole the weapon. Reclaiming this property, the head of the household was ritually slain.
Weapons such as these that were won on the battlefield were well known as well, and such prizes were coveted more than anything, often becoming ancestral to the family that took them from the field.
In the year 467 of M.41, the Council of Mount Jarneel met like usual. The only difference was the absence of House Vor’Inan. This was unusual as Vor’Inan was the most powerful House currently, boasting the largest military and economic holdings. As such they were recognized as the Head of the Council. The Leaders went on with their normal business after some time, and it was decided to send a message to House Vor’Inan to question their absence from the Council. The question went unanswered for over a year. At the second Council meeting it was decided to send an emissary to House Vor’Inan.
The Emissary came back a week later and went into deep conference with the leaders of several other Houses in private. Its unknown what happened behind those closed doors, but only a month later 10 Houses held a banner of Chaos with House Vor’Inan, proclaiming their loyalty to the ruinous powers. Houses Talabec, Inan, and Ornel quickly fell due to their close proximity to the 10 Ruinous Houses. Houses Quelran, Lupernal, Verdictus, and Hykonan retreated into the steep, labyrinthine mountains surrounding their holdings, calling themselves The Exemplars of the Emperor, and for nearly 15 years fought the other 10 Houses to a bloody stalemate. The superior knowledge of the mountains and their superior fighting skills aided them in holding back the ruinous powers. Around 20 years into the fight though, House Lupernal and Verdictus were cornered in a valley and wiped out. The staggered remnants of Quelran retreated to Hykonans lake stronghold, the longstanding, impregnable island city of Hykonan Prime.
The last battle of The Fall was bloody, both sides fighting down to tooth and nail. The ruinous powers laid siege to Hykonan Prime for 2 years, and tried invasion 5 times, all times they were repelled. Finally, on the 6th invasion they made a landfall in a breach of the cities crumbling wall. From landing craft the forces of Chaos took to the city. Hykonan and Quelran forces fought them block by block, bidding time to try and activate a failsafe plan. Amazingly though, The forces of chaos began to run out of space to pour their troops into and the Exemplars of the Emperor fought them back to their landing area, booby trapping the streets and buildings, before finally withdrawing to the secondary walls. The ruinous powers then finally surged into the city with as many as they could, surrounding the inner walls and laying siege again. 7 days later with the secondary walls crumbling, help from the Imperium arrived.
Led by the Inquisitor Lord Kregorus, a fleet of ships arrived at Adventus. Communications were opened with the defenders on the ground and the Imperial forces were surprised to hear from survivors. Lord Kregorus had been planning to initiate Exterminatus onto the planet, but suddenly rescinded his order. To the Imperial Commanders surprise he ordered an evacuation force to take out all the surviving military units that could be gained. Lord Kregorus had discussed with Lady Seras Hykonen, the last living member of the Hykonen family, and defacto military leader and Head of the House, their Final Plan. Within 24 hours after issuing orders, the last unit was pulled from the planet with as many supplies as they could afford, and a few units of Avias scouts.
After another day, Chaos forces broke through the last wall only to find nothing but empty defenses. A few hours later the Final Plan was triggered as the Imperial forces left the system. A powerful reactor sent electrical charges into the core of the planet, powerful enough to radiate out and instantly turn the unexcavated ore into molten, super heated metal. The sudden change in the planet itself, the heat, the tectonic instability, and the raw power, flash vaporized lakes, collapsed mountains, and created toxic fumes that filled the air as temperatures on the surface rose so much that forests combusted. In a manner of hours the planet was destroyed.
We felt lost for a time. Any man and woman would after losing their home in such away, and knowing you will never be able to go back to it. It was an empty feeling. That emptiness though began to fill with rage. Why does everything in this galaxy want to kill us? Why do they always have to kill humans, or manipulate them? Why must humanity always be at war over petty ideals? This rage grew in us and fueled our war scarred spirits. No man or woman that escaped was a civilian any longer. Every one was a battle hardened veteran. The Inquisitor Lord saw the potential in this and used it. We knew we were being used, but it was a just and worthy cause and were happy to have use. A few Quelrans survived, only a handful, and they were quickly taken in as brothers and sisters. House allegiance turned into an almost devotional trust and love.
Lady Seras Hykonen was young. Only 20 years of age, she had taken command of the Hykonen forces because she was the only one of her House left. She was smart though, clever. She learned during her childhood, and through the war to trust the experiences of those older than her. While she led the newly formed 17th Adventus Light Rifles, she leaned heavily on the experiences and knowledge of Major Konin. The Major took personal attention to everything in the unit. He was in the drills, the training, the supplies, and the maintenance of the motor pool. He was akin to the Emperor, being everywhere at all times. He knew each and every person under his command, and looked after them.
Now we fight across the galaxy, Imperial commanders using our guerilla tactics against those who would see the Imperium fall. We range ahead of armies, scouting and cutting supply lines, and for coming up onto the flank or rear of the enemy at critical times of a battle. We have lost many in our time, and I doubt our unit will see more than 50 years of this, but I believe the 17th Adventus Light Rifles will make that time well worth it.
To say the Adeptus Mechanicus and we, have had some scrapes would probably be like saying the Emperor has been around for only a little bit. We have probably fought each other as much as we have fought the enemies of the Imperium. Our ideals clash you see, we are innovators, thinkers, a people who marvel at and hold technology in great awe. The Adepts of Mars are frauds who try and keep such power to themselves, much to the Imperiums downfall. We unlocked the secrets of technology several hundred years ago. We all needed an edge you see, and the Enginseers of Mars couldn't be bothered to help out humanity. Finally, in frustration we went off on our own, to discover the secrets of this Omnissiah.
What we discovered angered us only further, feeding out resentment and hatred of Mars. We found no god, no holy secrets, no spirits. We found bolts, wires, and cogs. So we learned. Through trial and error, we unlocked the secrets of technology, learning how to make it more reliable, more robust, easier to manufacture and maintain. When we came into conflict with a Tau Expeditionary fleet, our sprouting crop of engineers and researchers jumped at the opportunity, stealing much of the Tau tech off the battlefield, hiding it. When we fought alongside a force of Skitarii, an Priest of Mars saw some of the things we had done. After the battle he and his force confronted us. Our forces were at each others throats, killing one another, and the fight lasted until a commissariate force was called in by the Lord General of the campaign.
Since then we have had many scuffles with the Adeptus Mechanicus. they know little of our progress, which is good. If they knew the full extent I fear even the Lord Inquisitor couldn't save us from Mars's wrath. During a campaign on a forgeworld, our unit stumbled upon an STC. It was damaged but our engineers were able to backwards engineer it enough to determine how to make an advanced artificial being. We knew of the Iron Men, the Dark Age of technology. We had thought we found the STC to an Iron Man, but it turned out to be some research from that time, a prototype. We constructed three of these beings, using a labratory deep in the heart of the black ship of the Lord Inquisitor. He was apprehensive to our plans, such a piece of technology, but his curiousity and the power of the weapon were too much to resist for him. We constructed Ursin, Durin, and Helena.
What was produced was unexpected. Human looking in all proportions and covered by a synthetic skin, these creations were as strong as a space marine. But only as durable as a normal human. Their skeletal structure was dense and strong, but they had human like organs. They were almost an advanced cybernetic suit rather than the Iron Men we were expecting. The effort and time and resources far outweighed the effect these three individuals had in a fight and so the plan to make a platoon of them was scrapped. These three individuals became well known in the company, and closely guarded secrets. Out of the three made, only 2 still remain. Ursin was destroyed in the explosion of his squads Valkyrie.
Our engineers are working on the plans for these beings, trying to make them stronger, and we hope one day we can produce one that is stronger and tougher than a marine. We also dread that day the Mechanicus uncovers our plan for we know it would be the end of us.