Davin was the prime world of the solar system of the same name, conquered during the Great Crusade by the Primarch Horus, his Luna Wolves Legion, and the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet alongside contingents from the Word Bearers Legion. Davin was one of two habitable worlds in its star system, the other was its moon.
Both Davin and its moon were desert Feral Worlds discovered in the 143rd year of the Great Crusade, where Horus' 63rd Expeditionary Fleet linked up with a lost strand of humanity on the surface of the planet. It was the eighth world conquered by that Expeditionary Fleet of the Great Crusade, and so for a time Davin had the designation "Sixty-Three Eight."
Davin is principally known in Imperial history for being the infamous world upon which Horus made his pact with the Ruinous Powers of Chaos and so began the Horus Heresy. This event took place in the Temple of the Serpent Lodge, an establishment secretly devoted to Chaos Undivided, where he was treated for injuries incurred while quashing a rebellious Chaos force dedicated to Nurgle on Davin's moon.
Davin's known history only covers the brief time of Imperial rule. The indigenous warriors at first attempted to resist the Imperial takeover, but quickly surrendered, completely outclassed in military terms. The warrior tribespeople were allowed to remain mostly intact after they surrendered to the Imperial forces, as they had impressed Horus with their battlefield courage and their willingness to learn and adapt to a new way of life.
The actual Imperial Compliance military campaign on Davin was short, and the Luna Wolves left soon after the surrender of the Davinite warriors, taking with them their concept of the Warrior Lodge which was established with several of the Astartes Legions against the express wish of the Emperor and the dictates of the Imperial Truth.
The re-education and shepherding of the Davinite people into the light of the Imperial Truth was left to a detachment of the Word Bearers Legion led by Kor Phaeron, while governorship of the planet itself was given to Imperial Commander Eugen Temba, a personal friend of Horus. When the Word Bearers later turned to the service of Chaos in the years before the Heresy, Davin would provide many of the twisted Chaos shamans who allowed direct communication with the Dark Gods and aided the Word Bearers in laying the foundation for the Horus Heresy.
Luna Wolves' Warrior Lodge
After Davin was brought to Imperial Compliance, the nomadic hunters of Davin taught the Luna Wolves of their tradition of creating a lodge for their tribe's warriors. The warrior lodge created by the Luna Wolves in imitation of this Davinite custom was a way for members of all martial classes to meet as friends, where captains could speak freely to their line Astartes, and vice-versa.
Though the Luna Wolves embraced this custom, it was kept as a secret gathering because of official Imperial disapproval for the creation of secret societies within the Legiones Astartes until after the 200th year of the Great Crusade when Captain Garviel Loken discovered its existence within the heart of the XVI Legion. At the start of the Horus Heresy, the Astartes of the lodge began to make decisions that would have far-reaching consequences for the Luna Wolves and then the Sons of Horus, ultimately leading them along the path of damnation.
Recalled to Davin at the request of the Word Bearers Legion, the Luna Wolves returned to the world in the 203rd year of the Great Crusade. Erebus, the First Chaplain of the Word Bearers who was accompanying the Luna Wolves as a representative of his Legion, had told Horus of how the Imperial Commander he had left behind as Davin's Planetary Governor, Eugen Temba, had turned Traitor.
Enraged that a man he had considered a friend and had personally recommended would turn on the Emperor, Horus attacked Davin's moon himself with a spearhead of 400 Luna Wolves Astartes, 3 Titans of the Legio Mortis, including the infamous Imperator-class Titan Dies Irae, and 4000 troops drawn from the Byzantine Janizars Regiment of the Imperial Army.
Heavy tanks could not be deployed, as mysteriously the deserts which had once dominated the moon's terrain had transformed into plague-ridden swamps, filled with the reanimated zombie-like corpses of the Imperial Army soldiers Horus had left behind on Davin with Temba. Horus led an assault into Temba's lair, inside his massive downed Imperial starship called the Emperor's Glory. While Horus and 200 of his Astartes were inside, the mighty ship's remaining superstructure collapsed, cutting Horus off from the rest of his warriors.
Alone now, Horus made his way through the bowels of the ruined starship in search of Temba. He found the Imperial Commander on the bridge of the ship, just as he killed Verulam Moy, one of Horus' captains. Horus killed the horrifically mutated Temba, but was struck by the Kinebrach Anathame, a Chaos-tainted xenos sword, in the process, a weapon that had been stolen from the Interex world of Xenobia by Erebus when the Luna Wolves had briefly made contact with the Interex before coming to Davin.
The Anathame, an artefact sacred to Nurgle, poisoned Horus until he was unable to walk and came close to death. The Mournival, a group of Horus' most trusted officers and advisers in the Luna Wolves, rushed him back up to his flagship to save the Primarch's life.
Appearing to be a dirty yellow-brown from orbit, Davin's moon had originally been identified as being similar to Davin in atmosphere and climate. Some time after the Imperial pacification of Davin, the warping effects of the Ruinous Powers, particularly that of "Nurg-leth" (Nurgle), had grossly altered the moon's once-temperate ecosystem.
Most of the forest cover vanished, and much of the formerly arid moorland transformed into a particularly noxious and fog-bound swampland which eventually would conceal the mass-graves of the Imperial Army garrison. A significant landmark was created by the wreck of the large Imperial starship Glory of Terra. After the death of Eugen Temba, Nurgle's power seemed to withdraw from the world, making it somewhat less foul in general, as well as clearing most of the murk and fog from the atmosphere.
House of False Gods
Unable to cure Horus of the Chaos toxin injected by the Anathame using Imperial medical technology, the Luna Wolves' warrior lodge, now 300-strong, decided to bear Horus to the Temple of the Serpent Lodge on Davin, as Erebus, long a secret devotee of the Ruinous Powers like the rest of his Legion, told the Luna Wolves it was a house of healing.
The Temple of the Serpent Lodge was a massive building called the Delphos located inside a large crater. Within, Eberus corrupted Horus by exposing him to the will of the Chaos Gods, who manipulated Horus' emotions and his latent jealousy towards his father the Emperor, and ignited the spark of cruel ambition that would begin the Horus Heresy.
Emerging from the Temple apparently healed, the 63rd Expedition rejoiced at Horus' return to full health, never realizing that the seeds of corruption and treason had already been laid within his heart.
Destruction of Davin
Following the corruption of Horus, the Warmaster moved to spread the Chaos-corrupted populace of Davin throughout the Imperium in an attempt to maximise the growing influence of Chaos. During the formation of the Ruinstorm after the Battle of Calth, the world became the nexus of that great Warp Storm and was enclosed by a massive sphere comprised of the bones of trillions of dead organisms from across the galaxy.
Now a Daemon World of madness, Davin was visited several Terran years later in ca. 011.M31 by the combined fleets of Sanguinius, Roboute Guilliman, and Lion El'Jonson as they attempted to breach the Ruinstorm and reach Terra. All three Primarchs, as well as their captive, the Traitor Konrad Curze, went down to the surface and stood before the Temple of the Serpent Lodge where Horus had been corrupted.
However, the Imperials discovered that with the coming of the Ruinstorm, Davin had become the realm of the daemon of Chaos Undivided named Madail, and a massive battle between the Forces of Chaos and the Imperium erupted both above and on the surface of the world. During the fight, the Primarchs were able to evacuate their forces and then proceeded to destroy Davin by unleashing a hail of Cyclonic Torpedoes. The world that had set in motion the events of the Horus Heresy was no more.
In the long years of separation from Terra during the Age of Strife, the inhabitants of Davin physically altered from the baseline human norm. They became taller and more sinuous than Terran humans, and their features more bestial. Their pupils grew until they filled most of the eye. Despite these minor mutations, the Davinites retained their human intelligence, if not their civilised way of life.
They regressed to become pre-industrial, nomadic camp-dwellers, with each tribe constantly shifting location across the planet. Davinites characteristically wore animal hides and carried unsafe antique black powder revolvers and handguns, and made use of stone or poorly-forged metal knives.
Over time, the technological means to travel to the surface of their world's habitable moon vanished, and the nomadic cultures of both worlds grew further apart. When first encountered by the Luna Wolves and Word Bearers some 60 Terran years before the start of the Horus Heresy, the Davinites were keen to embrace the advantages of Imperial life, but their moon-based cousins hopelessly fought against the Space Marines, and were violently subdued.
In the aftermath of the fall of Horus on Davin, many Davinites took part in an exodus to the stars. Some of those fleets travelled as far as the planet Pythos in the distant Pandorax System.
Davinite Lodge Priests
Such histories that exist describing the roots of the Horus Heresy reserve a special place for the warrior lodges of the Feral World of Davin. Such descriptions are beyond the scope of this account and much remains lost to the horrors of that time, but any examination of the Warp cults of the ancient galactic civil war must also include some mention of the Davinite lodge priests who were often to be found serving alongside them.
These twisted Abhuman magi and demagogues each followed one of the animist and totemic warrior and mystic cults of Davin. Of these, one of the most commonly encountered were initiates of the so-called Serpent Lodge, into whose clutches the Warmaster Horus fell when wounded on Davin's Plague Moon and who would go on to act as his emissaries, but numerous other lodges were also recorded to a lesser extent.
The warrior lodge priests appeared to serve a higher interest than the individual cults and may have been acting in concert with certain conspirators at the highest levels of the Traitors' leadership, in particular the Dark Apostles of the Word Bearers, who it is apparent had a hand in countless atrocities across thousands of worlds. While some lodge priests served as advisors in matters of prophecy and the Warp, others acted as high priests under whom multiple cult bodies could be gathered together.
All were schooled in the darkest arts of Warpcraft and were able to call upon and wield the most terrible of Warp-born powers and aberrant psyker abilities, making them one of the most dangerous classes of the Warmaster Horus' allies outside of the Traitor Legiones Astartes.
Geography and Planetary Conditions
Originally classified by the Imperium of Man as a Feral World, Davin's deserts contained many ruins that indicate that it could once have supported a more advanced human culture before the Age of Strife. Davin also possessed notably high mountain ranges, riven with tomb-filled, deep valleys, that descended into wide savannahs and grasslands that in turn ran into the deserts.
Great numbers of horned beasts migrated across its plains, hunted by razor-fanged predators, while serpents were common in the deserts. The uplands had earth of a hard clay that supported scrub vegetation and tall trees, while the river valleys were more fertile and contained the townships that held most of the primitive human inhabitants of the world.
Those that did not live in the townships were likely members of one of the various nomadic tribes. The indigenous inhabitants included a fierce warrior caste that regularly warred with one another before the arrival of the Imperium. This warrior caste were organised into different warrior lodges that each venerated the animistic spirit of a particular form of local predator species, though in truth the people of Davin were strongly in the grip of Warp entities who would turn out to the Ruinous Powers.
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions (Artbook)
- False Gods (Novel) by Graham McNiell
- Horus Rising (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- The Damnation of Pythos (Novel) by David Annandale
- Mark of Calth (Anthology) edited by Laurie Golding, "The Shards of Erebus" by Guy Haley
- The Horus Heresy - Book Five: Tempest (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 138-145, 178-183, 209