Adrastapol is a Knight World of the Imperium of Man whose primary allegiance is to the Imperium itself as a member of the Questor Imperialis. Located in the distant Majestis System, Adrastapol is home to several households of Nobles which are ruled by a monarch who bears the title of High King. Throughout its long history, the title has been passed from House to House and currently resides with House Draconis.
As an ancient world settled during the Age of Technology, Adrastapol is home to its fair share of secrets. Many of these have been deliberately hidden for many generations and have recently come back to haunt the Nobles of Adrastapol. Like ancient Caliban, Adrastapol seems touched by Chaos, a taint that repeatedly spread to the Noble Households themselves. Buried for many Terran centuries, this taint recently emerged during the destructive conflict of the Donatos War, and has drawn the eyes of the Emperor's Holy Inquisition upon the Knight World.
Adrastapol recently successfully repelled a dreaded Ork WAAAGH!. During what is locally called the Second Ork War, Adrastapol was saved. The victorious Knight Houses recently began to mobilise once more, their destination unknown.
Much of Adrastapol's history has sadly been lost to the ravages of time and war. As a result, the only truly accurate source of historical information on Adrastapol's past is the memories of former Knights that still reside within the Thrones Mechanicum of the most ancient armours. As with most Knight Worlds, it is generally recognised that Adrastapol was colonised in the distant past of the Dark Age of Technology when most Colony Arks were outfitted with the sacred STC-systems that would lead the settlers to build the first Knight armours to aid in the defence of their new homes. Sadly, whatever threat initially prompted the STC-system to begin the construction of Knights has long since been lost to history. Over the long millennia of the Age of Strife, the Adrastapolian branch of humanity maintained much of its technological mastery, preserving the ancient suits of Knight-armour their forefathers had entrusted them with and defending their homeworld from exterior threats. During this time, each of the knightly households of Adrastapol developed extensive martial traditions, codes and customs that through accumulation have become almost impenetrable to outsiders.
But the Adrastapolians also maintained high levels of skill in mechanics, energy production and metallurgy, which resulted in the development of ingenious and highly unique weapons such as the Draconsword of House Draconis or the Chimersword of House Chimaeros.
For much of the world's history, the Households were left to govern themselves, each House operating from its own mighty fortress and watching over Adrastapol's population, which grew exponentially until it reached into the tens of millions. To ensure stability and prevent internecine conflict, the hereditary title of High King was created and awarded to the ruler of the strongest House of Adrastapol's seven confirmed Knight Houses. In addition to his crown, the High King was awarded an additional symbol of his rule, a coterie of seven Servo-Skulls which were covered in precious metals and fashioned to resemble each of the Houses' heraldic animals: the dracon, the minos, the wyvorn, the pegas, the hydra, the chimer and the medusa.
For Terran centuries if not millennia, Adrastapol prospered under the rule of the different dynasties of High Kings until it was absorbed into the Imperium of Man. Yet Adrastapol did not escape the Horus Heresy unscathed as during the rule of High King Rhoderic Tan Chimaeros, two full Houses of Imperial Knights -- House Hydrax and House Medusos -- sided with the Traitor Warmaster Horus Lupercal. This would be the first, but sadly not the last time that the Knights of Adrastapol would spill each others' blood.
In the wake of the Horus Heresy and the destruction of Houses Hydrax and Medusos, the remaining Houses divided the fallen Houses' territory and resources amongst themselves, consolidating their power and nursing their wounds. During this period, a pall of secrecy descended upon Adrastapol and what truly transpired on the Knight World is unknown. As was their Emperor-given duty, the High Kings of House Chimaeros led the Knights of Adrastapol into battle when called upon and for millennia their homeworld prospered and remained safe.
The Ork Wars and the Fall of House Manticos
Towards the end of the 40th Millennium, in the youth of the future High King Tolwyn Tan Draconis, Adrastapol became the target of one of the violent migrations of Orks known as a WAAAGH!. Led by the fearsome Warboss Skarjaw, the Orks assaulted Adrastapol in force. The Adrastapolians called this sombre chapter in their history the Ork Wars because the conflict lasted for many standard years and would see millions die. Skarjaw was a savage representative of his foul xenos-breed, a creature almost feral in his savagery.
Skarjaw brought many of the Orks' great warbeasts, the towering Squiggoths, to Adrastapol. The foul creatures flourished on Adrastapol and the five remaining Houses of Imperial Knights were hard-pressed to hold the line against the Orks, as High King Gerraint Tan Chimaeros proved incapable of vanquishing the foe. Many are the tales of heroism forged during this conflict, until Skarjaw was finally defeated. Having broken through the defence lines of House Pegasson, the Orks sought to assault the Draconspire, the ancestral home of House Draconis but were unexpectedly attacked by a party of Draconis Knights led by Tolwyn Tan Draconis. These Knights succeeded in disrupting the Orks assault and killed Skarjaw who perished beneath the blows of Markos Dar Draconis. The scattered survivors of WAAAGH! Skarjaw would go on to provide the Knights of Adrastapol with welcome quarries for their great hunts and the training of their squires.
The Ork Wars left Adrastapol severely weakened as the conflict destroyed one of the noble Houses -- House Manticos -- whose keep had been razed by the Orks. But as he walked the scorched and blackened ruins of the former fortress, High King Gerraint Tan Chimaeros discovered a lone survivor, a beautiful girl on the brink of womanhood, whom he would save from the debris and eventually take as his consort. She was the Lady Alicia Kar Manticos, last scion of a lost House. Ultimately, for the Imperium, Adrastapol and House Chimaeros, it would have been better had the girl perished at the hands of the Greenskins.
While still recuperating from the Ork Wars, the Knights of Adrastapol were called upon to reinforce the Imperial troops of the Galhorn Crusade which would see the death of many Knights, including Gerraint's only son and heir. Gerraint himself was badly injured during the Crusade and would need to rely on an augmetic brace to walk. As mandated by the traditions of Adrastapol, the crown of the High King passed on to House Draconis as one of the central tenets of Adrastapolian dogma was that the ruling High King must have a living heir, the Kingsward, in order to ensure that the line of succession was not broken. While Gerraint had fathered a second son, Luk Tan Chimaeros, he was not eligible to succeed his father since his mother -- Lady Alicia -- was merely Gerraint's consort and not his lawful wife.
Feeding upon Gerraint's grief and outrage at the usurpation of his crown, Lady Alicia poisoned the mind of now-Viscount Gerraint into the service of Chaos. Through years of careful planning and the most subtle means, Alicia Kar Manticos began to corrupt the Scions of House Chimaeros and bind them into the service of the Changer of Ways, the Chaos God Tzeentch. Unknown to the other Houses, Alicia was a powerful psyker, a daemonologist and an expert manipulator, an utterly ruthless woman who would not shrink from communing with the denizens of the Warp and ally herself with other Traitors to reach her goal: the restoration of Gerraint to the throne of Adrastapol, with her at his side.
Through his influence as a former High King, Viscount Gerraint Tan Chimaeros sought allies within the other Households and was able to sway Archduke Duncan Tan Wyvorn to their cause. Patiently the would-be Traitors bid their time. It was not until the Donatos Uprising that House Chimaeros and House Wyvorn would reveal their true allegiance, dealing a crippling blow to the Loyalist Knight Houses and even killing High King Tolwyn Tan Draconis.
After the Donatos Uprising
Fortunately for the Imperium, the determined efforts of Tolwyn's son, the newly-proclaimed High King Danial Tan Draconis, foiled Gerraint's and Alicia's plans at Donatos, though at tremendous cost. Although the Renegade Knights of Houses Chimaeros and Wyvorn were hunted down, their keeps razed and every mention of their deeds purged from Adrastapol's records, the treason and corruption of two Households of Imperial Knights had shaken the Imperium's trust in the Knight World. An Imperial envoy in the person of Inquisitor Massata was despatched to Adrastapol to ensure that the three remaining Knight Houses remained loyal to the Imperium and the God-Emperor.
For five standard years, the Loyalist Houses eagerly awaited the Inquisitor's arrival. Expecting the envoy to have been delayed by turbulence in the Warp, High King Danial used his authority to profoundly change Adrastapol's society. Where once verdant plains had stretched as far as the eye could see, new settlements were constructed. All across Adrastapol, new keeps were erected and orbital defence silos hidden in deep valleys or high mountains.
In all but name, Adrastapol gained a Planetary Defence Force in the household armies of Houses Draconis, Pegasson and Minotos. Programs of rapid industrialisation, the construction of better housing and other efforts considerably improved the living conditions of Adrastapol's peasant class, leading to a rapid increase in the Knight World's population.
In the five Terran years of peace Adrastapol knew after the end of the Donatos War, the planet's face was changed and High King Danial implemented more changes in those short year than Adrastapol had known since the reign of House Chimaeros. The importance of these improvements to Adrastapol's infrastructure would soon become apparent to all.
Herald of the Storm to Come
Upon the invitation of High King Danial, all the Nobles and common folk of Adrastapol were invited to attend a great celebration, the awakening of the Machine Spirit of the Imperatus Dam. For five years, thousands of labourers had toiled according to the specifics of High Sacristan Polluxis Dar Mechanicus.
What was intended as a show of unity had been marred from its very beginning by the absence of House Minotos. House Draconis and House Pegasson, by contrast, were very involved, with both their rulers and their respective courts present. To the pleasure of the High King, his sister and First Knight, Jennika Tan Draconis, had recently returned from an expedition and attended as well. Their reunion was cut short by an unexpected arrival.
Just as the ceremony of awakening entered its third solar hour, an unidentified voidcraft suddenly appeared on the Augur banks of Mount Imperius entering Adrastapol's orbit. In a matter of solar minutes, it passed into the atmosphere, following a course directly towards the Imperatus Dam.
As combat air patrols of Lightning Strike Fighters rushed to meet the unknown craft, the Imperial Knights of House Draconis and Pegasson guarding the perimeter readied their weapons. Evacuating the area in an orderly fashion, the High King's personal aircraft, a richly furnished Aquila Lander, set down directly on the dam, right before the great dais erected for the nobility.
With seconds to spare, the aircraft departed, banking hard to the right to avoid a mid-air collision with the still unidentified voidcraft, which crashed ten Terran miles deeper into the Valatane Plains. The perimeter guard quickly closed on the downed vessel. Expecting some kind of attack, both Noble courts mounted their own respective Imperial Knights before confirmation was relayed through the Vox that the voidcraft was of Imperial design.
By the time the High King reached the crash site in his own Knight, Oath of Flame, a group of survivors had exited the craft. One of them carried the vast assortment of parchment and had quills in place of hands that singled him out as a Lexmechanic, while the other two wore the form-fitting bodygloves bedecked in mortuary symbols commonly associated with the Imperium's many Death Cults.
A woman in the Carapace Armour of a Cadian Kasrkin was eyeing the downed aircraft alongside the simian form of a Jokaero. But the most striking member of the strange group was its leader -- a regal-looking man in pristine white Power Armour decorated with a cape of regal crimson.
As soon as the High King and his group of Knights had linked-up with the perimeter guard still pointing their weapons at the newcomers, the stranger in white armour produced an Inquisitorial Rosette and stated his name. He was Tane Massata, Inquisitor of the Ordo Malleus and envoy to Adrastapol. The Inquisitor next warned the gathered Knights that he was carrying dire news, news too terrible to be spoken aloud on a simple field.
Intrigued by the Inquisitor's words of caution, High King Danial granted Massata's request to relocate to a more private location, in this case the king's own hab-tent that overlooked the encampment for the workers who had built the Imperatus Dam. As trusted allies, High King Danial insisted that Marchioness Lauret Tan Pegasson and their respective Exalted Courts be present, but dismissed every other member of his council and serving staff.
The Inquisitor began with the tale of his own efforts to reach Adrastapol and the hardship he and his retinue of Acolytes had to endure to reach their destination. As the High King had correctly assumed, the Inquisitor's voidship had been trapped in Warp turbulence and while they spent several subjective solar months battling the tides of the Immaterium, Terran years had passed for Adrastapol and the wider Imperium. When the Inquisitor's ship finally escaped the tides of the Warp, it emerged in the middle of an Ork flotilla.
Fortunately for the Imperial voidship, the Ork flotilla was mostly comprised of Escorts such as Onslaught-class Attack Ships and Brute Ram Ships, vessels Inquisitor Massata's voidship outgunned. The Orks were fighting amongst themselves, which considerably improved the Imperial vessel's odds of survival. While the flotilla was destroyed, the smaller vessels had merely been the pathfinder for a considerably larger force now nearing the Majestis System's Mandeville Point. There could be no doubt -- the Orks intended to invade Adrastapol.
Not ready to trust the Inquisitor, both the Marchioness and the High King sought confirmation of the invasion, contacting their own fortresses and the facility at Mount Imperius. All of these sources confirmed the Inquisitor's story.
In fact, several Astropaths had fallen into a catatonic coma after suffering terrible visions of a great beast with giant jaws closing in on Adrastapol. The Eyrie's and Mount Imperius' Augur-scans also began tracking a number of larger objects approaching the Majestis System's outer planets.
High King Danial wished to see to his world's defences, yet Inquisitor Massata would not permit the gathered Knights to leave so soon. Massata argued that even during times of conflict, his sacred duty to investigate the purity and integrity of Adrastapol's Knights remained. Although the Inquisitor did not doubt the Knights or the Adeptus Ministorum's dedication when they scoured the fortresses of the Renegade Houses, he doubted that their efforts had been thorough enough to fully eradicate the taint of Chaos.
Unable to prevent the Inquisitor from conducting his investigation and fully aware that trying to hinder him could be interpreted as an admittance of guilt, Danial assured Inquisitor Massata of his support and quickly offered to organise a mean of transportation for him as well as armed escorts. The High King's own sister, First Knight Jennika Tan Draconis, petitioned Danial to allow her to lead the Inquisitor's escort. Compelled by the Chivalric Code to assign a Knight of great reputation to the protection of his guest, High King Danial agreed. Massata and his retinue would travel in a Sacristan Land Crawler and Jennika would pick some of the finest Knights of House Draconis to accompany him into the wilderness.
And then the high king turned his attention to readying Adrastapol for the coming tide of Greenskins.
The Second Ork War
With a fury typical for their species, the Orks fell upon Adrastapol. Their ships were so numerous that the Bastion Fleet, a powerful warfleet in its own right, had no choice but to retreat, leaving Adrastapol's orbit undefended. As soon as the ramshackle vessels of the Orks reached orbit, the ground-based Lance-batteries and missile silos opened up. Conservative estimates place the initial losses of the Orks at one hundred ships, but so large was the WAAAGH! that those losses were barley noticed by the Greenskins. Nothing could prevent the Orks from landing on Adrastapol.
The first craft to reach Adrastapol's atmosphere were the hulking shapes of Roks, captured asteroids turned into rudimentary vessels by outfitting them with engines, Weapon Batteries, and controls. Hundreds of these crude vessels plummeted from the skies, several burning up in Adrastapol's atmosphere, their angle of descent too steep or too shallow to survive the entry. Yet more crashed into the surface at too great a velocity, their occupants instantly killed upon impact with the Knight World's surface. Yet even these casualties were but a drop of water on a hot stone.
Where the Roks landed in the wilderness, they instantly formed new fortresses from which the Orks could sally forth. Any settlement the Greenskins targeted were annihilated. The Umberan agriplex was destroyed in this fashion and even the towering Mount Imperius lost its Void Shields when one Rok collided with the mountain, the resultant shock wave killing half of the astropathic choir. Several other settlements and locations were hit in this fashion, snuffed from existence like candles in the wind.
Yet Adrastapol had some natural defences of its own. Where the Orks landed in the dense jungles of Adrastapol's polar regions, they were immediately beset by the local super-fauna which welcomed them with teeth and claw. No Orks ever emerged from those jungles to threaten Adrastapol's main continent, but in truth they had little impact upon the green tide.
The Orks that survived the landing wasted no time in attacking whatever location happened to lie closest to their Rok. Soon, reports began flooding the Draconspire's strategium, describing the enemy. The Orks assailing Adrastapol were from a mixture of different klans, but the overwhelming majority wore vivid, blue battle-paint and banners denoting them as the looters of the Death Skulls. Where High King Danial's father and indeed some of the Knights Danial was now commanding had once fought the savage Snakebites klan, the defenders of Adrastapol would now face a far more technologically advanced host of Greenskins.
Vast hordes of infantry marched out of the Ork landing vessels, chanting their Warboss' name, Gorgrok Killfist, as Fighta-Bommerz and Dakkajetz roared in the sky above them. Here and there, great plumes of dust kicked up by mechanised companies denoted the presence of the horde's fastest elements. But most impressive were the towering superstructures of Ork Stompaz and Gargantz which dwarfed the steeds of the Adrastapolian Nobles.
Thus did the conflict of the Second Ork War begin. For the second time in living memory, the Greenskins had come to Adrastapol and even the mighty battles of the ancient Ork Wars paled before the carnage that was unleashed. Thanks to the tenacity of its defenders and the fortuitous return of the Freeblade known as the Knight of Ashes, the Orks were ultimately vanquished and the destruction of Adrastapol once more averted.
- Betrayal of Houses Hydrax and Medusos (Unknown Date.M31) - Following the glorious expansion of the Imperium of Man during the Great Crusade, Adrastapol becomes one of the countless battlefields of the Horus Heresy when both House Hydrax and House Medusos declare for the Warmaster Horus Lupercal. Waging a war of conquest on their former brothers-in-arms, High King Rhoderic Tan Chimaeros leads an alliance of the remaining Loyalist Houses against the Traitors of Houses Hydrax and Medusos, annihilating them.
- First Ork War (Unknown Date.M41) - Initially known as "The Ork Wars", this first invasion of Adrastapol by xenos was recently renamed in the wake of the Second Ork War. Unprepared for an attack on their world, the Nobles struggled to respond adequately to the invasion of WAAAGH! Skarjaw. Belonging to one of the most savage and feral tribes of his race, an off-shot of the Snakebites klan, Skarjaw and his Greenskins rode to battle on towering warbeasts known as Squiggoths, great beasts which can easily pose a threat to Imperial Knights. The defenders of Adrastapol became painfully aware of this fact when House Manticos' ancestral home and fortress were destroyed by the invaders. Under the aegis of House Chimaeros, the remaining Knight Houses revived their ancient alliance and met the Orks on the field of battle. Much to its shame, the Knights of House Pegasson failed to stop Skarjaw's progress towards the Draconspire, the mighty fortress of House Draconis. With many House Draconis' Nobles in the field, the Draconspire was left virtually undefended. Only Squires and a handful of Knights residing there under the authority of Gatekeeper Tolwyn Tan Draconis remained. Recognising that if Skarjaw attacked, the Draconspire would fall, the young Gatekeeper decided to launch a suicidal attack on the Greenskins in the hope of slaying Skarjaw and thus fracturing the WAAAGH!. Bolstering his meager forces with several dozen Squires who were forced to take their Ritual of Becoming early, Tolwyn Tan Draconis took to the field and completely surprised the Orks. Warlord Skarjaw and his personal Squiggoth mount were slain and Skarjaw's underlings began to fight amongst themselves for leadership of the WAAAGH!. Although the remaining Orks were leaderless, it took several Terran years to track and eradicate the Greenskin survivors of the First Ork War, many of whom turned feral and scattered. The Knights of Adrastapol mercilessly hunted down the remaining Orks and Squiggoths until their homeworld was declared purged from the xenos filth which had tainted it.
- Second Ork War (Unknown Date.M41) - Barely five standard years after the successful conclusion of the Donatos War, Adrastapol was invaded by the hordes of WAAAGH! Killfist. The Ork Warlord Gorgrok Killfist of the Deathskulls klan was a far cry from the savage Skarjaw responsible for the First Ork War. Great Ork combat walkers, from Gorkanauts and Morkanauts to Stompaz and even Gargants, marched behind hordes of Orks in blue warpaint; whole squadrons of captured Imperial tanks kicked up dust alongside the Orks' own ramshackle creations. While High King Danial Tan Draconis' attempt to modernise the planetary defences and infrastructure of Adrastapol had considerably bolstered his world's defences, the reluctance of House Minotos to comply with these initiatives left the Knight World vulnerable. Given fair warning of the Orks' arrival by the unexpected appearance of Inquisitor Tane Massata of the Ordo Malleus, the defenders mustered themselves for war and evacuated the countryside. While their actions inflicted significant casualties on the Orks, the Knight Houses soon found themselves cut off from each other and beleaguered in their primary fortresses. As the Greenskins landed in greater numbers, the Knights' secondary fortresses either had to be evacuated or were overrun. First House Minotos, then House Draconis were forced to fall back to the safety of their ancestral keeps, the Iron Maze and the Draconspire, both of which quickly come under siege. Defending the highlands and the mountainous plateaus of the Adraspotine Mountains, House Pegasson fared little better. It was then that the Knight of Ashes returned to Adrastapol. Leading a small band of Freeblade Knights, Luk Kar Chimaeros found the Draconspire already beleaguered but managed to briefly contact his friend High King Danial Tan Draconis. Tasked with lifting the siege of the Draconspire, the Knight of Ashes and his small army travelled to the seat of House Pegasson, the Eyrie, where they were received by Marchioness Lauret Tan Pegasson. Quelling the dissensions within her own Exalted Court, the Marchioness agreed to personally accompany the Knight of Ashes and pledged the support of her 50 Imperial Knights and the entire Pegasson Air Force, reputedly the finest pilots on Adrastapol. Using House Pegasson's fleet of heavy bulk-landers to transport their Knights to the lands of House Minotos, the Imperial reinforcements reached the Iron Maze, just as the Orks penetrated its outer defences. Disembarking on Heroes' Ridge, a tall hill overlooking the Ironfields, Marchioness Lauret led her Knights in a daring shock-assault, trapping the Orks between her force and the walls of the Iron Maze whilst her household air force made sure the Orks could not escape the hammer and the anvil. Despite heavy casualties, by the end of the afternoon the siege of the Iron Maze was lifted and the victorious Knights of House Minotos, humbled by the support of House Pegasson and the determination of the Knight of Ashes, joined the counterattack. Redeployed swiftly with the help of the Pegasson Air Force, both Houses attacked Killfist's great horde as it lay siege to the Draconspire where Imperial resistance was on the verge of collapse. Just as the Knight of Ashes and the Adrastapolian Knights launched their attacks, Killfist's personal retinue of Meganobz broke through the final ring of fortifications. The Ork Warlord and the High King clashed in the Draconispire's throne room. While Danial Tan Draconis ultimately killed the Ork Warlord, this was only possible because the Knight of Ashes had broken through and routed the Orks in the throne room. While House Pegasson and House Minotos pinned the enemy's reserve in place, the surviving House Draconis Knights mounted up and led the final counter-charge which defeated the Orks' super-heavy reserves and routed the horde. Although follow-up operations lasted for well over a Terran year, Adrastapol was saved on that day and a new unity of purpose was forged between the three victorious Houses.
Geography and Climate
Fauna and Flora
The jungles, plains and woods of Adrastapol are the natural habitat of a spectacular variety of predators of all size. Some of the most dangerous and common species include:
- Gurghols - A gurghol is a large saurid creature that preferably hunts within Adrastapol's thick forests where the Imperial Knights have trouble following it. Gurghols are therefore hunted with the help of Huntsman tanks, a local variant of the Leman Russ Tank equipped with a turret-mounted Inferno Cannon. A Huntsman's crew won't hesitate to torch an entire forest to flush out the gurghols so their feudal master can hunt them properly.
- Wulfdenkyne - Wulfdenkyne are feral canids not unlike the fearsome Fenrisian Wolf. Adrastapol's oral history carries numerous examples of isolated settlements beleaguered or destroyed by roaming packs of Wulfdenkyne and although many predators are far larger than these carnivores, the menace of a hungry pack of Wulfdenkyne is always taken seriously. Wulfdenkyne preferably hunt in the large agri-plains south of the Adrapotine Mountains, on the ancestral lands of House Chimaeros that have now been abandoned and are quickly being reclaimed by nature. Since the destruction of the Chimaerkeep, House Chimaeros' former seat of power, entire patrols of the local PDF tasked with guarding the ruins have vanished while patrolling its former grounds. The assumption of a Wulfdenkyne attack seemed so plausible that no one chose to investigate the matter until the arrival of Inquisitor Massata, who uncovered a sizeable Chaos Cult living in the catacombs and crypts of the Chimaerkeep.
The Adrastapolians value honour and decorum to the extent that addressing a Scion with the wrong form of address can quickly lead to an honour duel being called. To complicate matters further, the name of a Scion as well as his formal title may change over time.
In its most basic form, an Adrastapolian Knight will have a prefix before the name of his House that will denote his relationship to the House's ruler. In this regard, the most valued prefix is that of "Tan," which denotes direct kinship to a Noble House's ruler without considering the Knight's position in his own House's hierarchy.
In general terms, this prefix would indicate that everybody bearing the prefix of "Tan" is a member of royalty and should be treated with the greatest respect. For example, the current ruler of Adrastapol bears the name of Danial Tan Draconis, son of the former High King Tolwyn Tan Draconis and brother to Jennika Tan Draconis.
The most common prefix is "Dar" -- which could loosely be translated into Low Gothic as "of House" or "belonging to House." The prefix "Dar" indicates to which House a Knight's allegiance is given. This prefix is of great symbolic value and only upon completing his Rites of Becoming and being formally ordained as a Knight may a squire claim this prefix.
During his training, a squire may be referred to simply by his first name and rank, such as Squire Willem, and may be called Willem Dar Minotos only after having survived his Becoming rituals. Should a Knight choose or be forced by circumstance to become a Freeblade or have his House destroyed, he would automatically bear the prefix of "Kar" which would replace any prefix that came before it. Seldom has this been seen as anything other than a mark of shame.
Each Knight House is governed by a ruling council of the House's most trusted and most notorious Knights which is usually designated as the "Exalted Court." Each member of the Exalted Court has been hand-picked by the ruler of the House and been rewarded with one of the many honorific positions that form the council. On the Exalted Court, the most coveted position is that of "First Knight," which is awarded only to battle-hardened veterans of impeccable reputation and conduct, closely followed by the positions of Herald and Gatekeeper of the House's ancestral fortress.
Other titles such as "Kingsward," the heir-designate to the High King's throne, exist but carry no formal power. As a matter of tradition, the Exalted Court is completed by the High Sacristan of the House in recognition of the Sacristan's technical expertise and his or her tireless efforts to keep the Knights battleworthy.
In marked contrast to other, more conservative Houses, the knightly households of Adrastapol do not distinguish between men or women, with the notable exception that a woman may not be proclaimed High King. Yet female Knights are a common sight within Adrastapolian society, including in ruling positions. For instance, House Pegasson has been ruled by women with the title of Marioness for many standard centuries.
- Adrasal and Adoropae - Because of its unorthodox rotation, the polar continents of Adrastapol are markedly warmer than the rest of the planet. Named Adrasal and Adoropae, respectively, these continents are covered in tropical jungles and are mostly left on their own. Because of their teeming wildlife, the existence of local super-predators which warranted the creation of Imperial Knights in the first place and tectonic instability, these continents have not been populated by humanity and are left as undisturbed wilderness zones.
- Adrapotine Mountains - The Adrapotine Mountains are the principal mountain chain of Adrastapol's primary inhabited continent and stand as a natural barrier between the territories of the different Knight Houses. It is from these mountains that the many streams combine into the mighty Valatane River which carved out the fertile heartland of House Draconis' territory. The higher peaks are the domain of House Pegasson.
- Chimaerkeep - As ancestral domain of its world's most noble Knight House, the Chimaerkeep was once a thing of towering beauty. At the peak of its power, the Chimaerkeep was a sprawling complex of interlinked fortresses and demi-castles that covered several Terran square miles, each bastion and battery linked through labyrinthine caponiers. Through long periods of peace, the killing fields between the fortifications had been turned into ornamental gardens and devotional shrine-coves, but all this beauty was destroyed following House Chimaeros' betrayal. Together with the Adeptus Ministorum, the loyal Knight Houses bombarded the Chimaerkeep until nothing but ruins remained, torching the remains and salting the ground to purify it. A permanent watch comprised of portions of the three House armies dubbed "the Wardens" was stationed there to ensure that evil should never return. These guardians were all slain by a large population of mutants and Beastmen which was clandestinely living in a subterranean network of caves and crypts located beneath Chimaerkeep. Unearthed by the investigations of Inquisitor Massata, the degenerate subterranean kingdom was only purged after victory over the Orks of WAAAGH! Killfist was assured.
- Draconspire - The Draconspire is the ancestral home of House Draconis. To describe it as a mere fortress does not capture its grandeur and scale. The Draconspire is not a fortress but a manmade mountain, constructed around and above an active volcano whose magma is used both in the weapon forges and to power the geothermic generators located at the Draconspire's base. Its towers reach so high that they graze the planet's stratosphere and so need to be enviro-sealed accordingly. Like the legendary home of the Space Wolves Chapter on distant Fenris, The Fang, the Draconspire has its own spaceport at the top of these towers. At ground-level, the Draconspire is protected by three concentric rings of fortifications. The equivalent of a small hive city is crammed between these towering edifices of adamantium and stone.
- Ancestral Armoury - The Ancestral Armoury was a secret weapons cache hidden deep within the crypts of the Draconspire. Who first established it is now lost to history, but its ultimate discovery helped House Draconis to hold out against the Orks once the Greenskins had overrun the outer defence wall.
- Chamber of Ghosts - The Chamber of Ghosts derives its name from the Thrones Mechanicum housed there and the voice of the ancestors the Knights can hear when connected with them. By extension it also designates that part of the Armorium where the Knight armours of House Draconis are located.
- Eastern Gates - The Draconspire counts several gates, all of them carrying their own history. On the eastern part of the towering fortresses, Firemaw, Ironclaw, Drakeswing, Blackenfang and Draconseye Gate permit the Knights of House Draconis to cross the towering exterior wall and enter directly into the Valatane plains. It was through these gates that High King Danial personally led the charge against one of Killfist's most powerful lieutenants, Warboss Drogg of the Goffs klan.
- Drakesclaw Mines - The Drakesclaw Mines are House Draconis' main source of ferric ore.
- Eyrie - The Eyrie is the name given to the ancestral home of House Pegasson, a network of fortresses established on the highest peaks of the Adrapotine Mountains, hence its name. The Eyrie is a striking example of Imperial architecture, several sub-fortresses established on neighbouring mountains surrounding its even larger central keep. The central keep and its sub-fortresses are linked together at various heights by countless sky-bridges, walkways of transparent armourglass and armoured overhangs which from orbit give the Eyrie the appearance of a gigantic, if asymmetric, snow-flake or a spider's web.
- Fort Charon - Fort Charon was one of the secondary fortresses erected by House Draconis to protect their land. It was the first major fortress to fall before the Orks of WAAAGH! Killfist although thanks to its air force House Draconis was able to evacuate most of the fort's garrison before it fell.
- Fort Redfang - Fort Redfang is one of the secondary fortresses of House Draconis.
- High Kelt - High Kelt was one of the larger settlements of the southern Valatane region. Like every outer settement, High Kelt was evacuated before the coming of the Orks, the xenos destroying the settlement even in absence of its inhabitants.
- Golden Swathe - The Golden Swathe designates a region of fertile plains and valleys to the south of the Draconspire renowned for the quality of its livestock. These fertile pastures are especially suited for the raising of Grox.
- Imperatus Dam - Begun and finished under the reign of High King Danial Tan Draconis, Imperatus Dam was a mighty edifice designed and constructed under the aegis of High Sacristan Polluxis Dar Mechanicus of House Draconis. Located in the foothills of the mighty Adrapotine Mountains, the dam is powered by the waters of the Valatane River. Its primary function is the generation of electricity for both civilian and military installations across the Valatane Plains. The dam sported a gigantic, carved Aquila that spread its wings across its entire length. Constructed over the course of five Terran years, the great celebration marking the awakening of the dam's Machine Spirit was notoriously interrupted by the impromptu arrival of Inquisitor Massata. The Inwuisitor's arrival heralded the beginning of the Second Ork War. In that conflict, Imperatus Dam was destroyed by the Orks of WAAAGH! Killfist, the tidal wave of water and debris annihilating both Orks and Imperials fighting in the valley below.
- Iron Maze - The Iron Maze, sometimes also referred to as "the Labyrinth," is the ancestral home of House Minotos. As it name might indicate, the Iron Maze is a vast fortress that shared many similarities with the now razed Chimaerkeep. Its fortifications, redoubts and firing lanes are spread out over a large area to form a defence in depth. The Iron Maze forms a labyrinthine network of sub-fortresses, armoured buttresses and protected courtyards designed to confuse, disorientate and trap assailing enemies into deadly crossfires. The Iron Maze is the largest military structure on Adrastapol as it covers more than thirty Terran square miles. Located at the foot of the Kulrikh Peaks, the back of the Iron Maze is protected by sheer cliffs which make it impossible to outflank. While the Nobles reside in the Iron Maze, the attending civilian population of serfs inhabits the nearby city of Minosaal which is separated from the fortress by a plain called the Ironfields.
- Minotane Throneroom - The throne room of House Minotos is an impressive display of architectural grandeur. The floor forms one giant mosaic depicting Imperial Knights marching to war. Behind the throne of the Grandmarshals stands a towering statue of the God-Emperor in His aspect as a warrior god. The statue supported the Gothic ceiling whose fresco depicted great heroes battling Heretics on a stylised star field. Huge statues of marble and iron lined the processional route to the throne, each a replica of one of the past Grandmarshals of House Minotos. In accordance with its traditions, House Minotos preferred to depict its heroes in the fire of battle, roaring their warcry, wielding their warhammers or standing victorious over a slain foe. Many of the statues incorporated industrial machinery so that flames flickered in their eyes and black exhaust fumes rose from their mouths. This smoke tended to gather beneath the high ceiling like menacing clouds.
- Iron Sanctum - Accessed through an ornate door located directly behind the throne of House Minotos, the Iron Sanctum is a private hall where the rulers of House Minotos and their guests retreat in order to discuss important matters of state. Far from the prying eyes of the courtesans and courtiers, the Iron Sanctum is heavily protected by great blast doors and Servitor-controlled Heavy Bolters that guard the hall's only access. The sanctum itself is a large hexagonal chamber approximately one hundred Terran feet across. It derives its name from the massive iron conference table that takes up most of its length. A complement of iron, high-backed thrones surrounds the table.
- Lanceway - The Lanceway is a macro-highway that links the Draconspire to the furthest reaches of House Draconis' lands.
- Longmarch - Longmarch is one of the larger settlements in the northern Valatane region, which belongs to House Draconis.
- Mount Imperius - Mount Imperius harbours the headquarters of Adrastapol's orbital surveillance and planetary defences as well as the world's astropathic choir. Like the Draconspire, Mount Imperius is no mere fortress but a hollowed-out mountain which has been built upon by countless generations of Sacristans until its defences rivaled those of the great knightly estates. Yet, despite its impressive garrison and Void Shield-generators, Mount Imperius would fall against the savagery of WAAAGH! Killfist, the Orks butchering both the garrison and the refugees who had sought shelter inside the mountain. In particular the horrible death of the astropaths, killed by a cabal of Ork Weirdboyz, caused the inhabitants of the neighbouring regions to suffer from terrible nightmares for Terran years after the end of the Second Ork War.
- South Valley - As the name indicates, South Valley is a settlement in the southern portion of the valleys carved by the mighty River Valatane. It is counted as one of the many possessions of House Draconis. South Valley was evacuated at the beginning of the Second Ork War and entirely destroyed by the raging tides of the Valatane River when the Orks destroyed the Imperatus Dam.
- Valatane Plains - The Jousting Plains of the Valatane are an ancient location where the Knights of Adrastapol meet to prove their skill at arms or settle scores during peacetime. The site has hosted many tournaments since the dark days of the Horus Heresy.
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