- "He must be humble of heart, strong of arm, be savage in war, loyal to hearth, and follow deeds of Glory. He must keep honour with all, banish cowardice from his doings, and bring his House no shame. He must serve the Emperor, and defend the Imperium. Thus should a Knight rule himself."
- — The Chivalric Duty, Aquitainus Malory Cadmus, M31
House Cadmus is an Imperial Knight House which formerly had strong ties to the Adeptus Mechanicus as part of the Questor Mechanicus but now owes allegiance directly to the Imperium as a House of the Questor Imperialis. House Cadmus hails far to the galactic south from the heavily forested Knight World of Raisa. Proud and autonomous, the Knights of Raisa have only ever accepted even allegiance with the Imperium as equals, never considering themselves completely beholden to the dictates of the High Lords of Terra.
When the first Rogue Trader set foot upon Raisa he received a cold welcome from its Nobles, and it was many Terran years before the first tentative alliances were formed. The Nobles of Raisa were equally resistant when forced to accept oaths with the Forge World of Gryphonne IV, in return for skilled Sacristans and the secret technologies of the ancient Mechanicum. Despite the enduring independence of its Nobles, House Cadmus has always honoured the Imperium's call to arms, and has ferociously fought its foes for millennia. In recent times, the fighting strength of House Cadmus has suffered greatly in defence of Gryphonne IV, supporting its Titan Legion, the Legio Gryphonicus, after it was overwhelmed by Hive Fleet Leviathan in 997.M41.
The Forge World's destruction has, in turn, freed House Cadmus from their ancient obligations to the Tech-priests. The current High King, known to all on Raisa as Baron Roland of Swinford Hall, has embraced this change of allegiance, and his Knights now go to war whenever and wherever their lord wishes it. The motto of House Cadmus is, "They who are not our allies are our prey."
The Knights of House Cadmus are peerless hunters. Indeed, the yearly so-called "Cull" has been central to Raisan society for millennia, an event in which the Nobles compete to eradicate the verminous Abhumans that infest their homeworld and, in doing so, hone skills that they put to use against the greater threats facing the Imperium.
The remote world of Raisa was isolated from Mankind for thousands of Terran years, perched on the edge of the galaxy and staring off into the void. This sense of far frontier is brought home each night to the men and women of Raisa when they look up and see one half of the sky glittering with stars, the other a void of empty space. For centuries only the Knights protected the people of Raisa from the dark things that crawled, stalked and slithered through its arboreal forests, and at night even the Nobles retreated to their plateau fortresses, leaving the wilds to the beasts and other, fouler things that prowled in the murk.
Most feared of the denizens of the dark Raisan woods were the golems. Elemental creations of wood and stone, each golem was a tangle of sentient vines and trees given life by strange energies from the void. With granite fists and obsidian talons a golem was capable of punching through the carapace of a Knight and tearing out its pilot. The only way to kill a golem was to rupture its stone heart, the living rock at its centre in which the resonating energies that held it together dwelt.
In a standard century-long conflict known as the Golem War, the Knights hunted down and vanquished the terrifying beasts, shattering the resonating spires from which they were birthed. It was from this war that Golem Keep, House Cadmus' ancestral home, earned its name -- its thick granite walls constructed from the dead stone hearts of the slain creatures.
With the golems gone, races of primitive Abhumans flourished in the forests of Raisa. Though these were little match for the Nobles astride their Knights, in large numbers the creatures could threaten the houses and their provinces if left unchecked. At times, whole communities would disappear overnight to the depredations of the mutants, who would melt back into the forests before the vengeance of the Nobles could find them. So it is that now, on Midsummer Eve each Raisan year, the Nobles gather at Golem Keep to take part in the great hunt known as the "Cull."
Born of necessity, the Cull was at first a way for the Nobles to ensure that nothing ever again challenged their mastery of Raisa, as the golems had done in times past. The Abhumans were the primary target of the Cull -- though primitive they would occasionally raid the edges of the plateau cities. Where these Abhumans came from is unclear, though there are tales told by superstitious peasants that they are a debased off-shoot of the original human settlers of Raisa during the Age of Technology, sharing a distant if dubious ancestry with the Noble houses. Whether there is any truth in this it does not stop the Nobles culling their numbers, the highborn families content not to speak of such matters or to consider what they might mean.
The Cull has been undertaken for thousands of standard years, and is at the core of Raisan society. In the early hunts the Nobles would crash through the forests in their Knights, guns lighting up the shadowy paths and clearings as they cut down anything larger than a vine-vole. At the end of the hunt the Nobles would recount their kills, though there was never any true way of knowing how many actual Abhumans had been slain as little remained after Battle Cannon rounds and Reaper Chainsword blades had done their dreadful work.
Over time the Cull evolved and became more efficient, especially once alliance was made with Gryphonne IV. The use of sophisticated Augurs and bioscanners allowed the Knights to detect the Abhumans through kilometres of shrouded woodland, and kill-counters were added to the Knight suits to remove any doubt as to who reaped the greatest tally. Eventually the Cull grew in importance to become the means by which the ruling lord of the house, the High King, was chosen. This developed as a result of the favour bestowed upon the Noble who claimed the most kills, and the subsequent influence he had on Raisan politics. The reasoning was to formalise this recognition by granting him lordship, with the understanding it would last for only a Terran year until the next Cull.
For the last thirty-two years Baron Roland of Swinford Hall has led the tallies of the Cull -- a feat unprecedented in the annals of the event. The other Nobles of Raisa have recently entered into a rare accord, questioning whether it is right that prowess in the culling of base Abhumans should determine political might at all. To these dissenters Baron Roland has been heard to say that if they care so much who has lordship they should simply perform better in the Cull. It is well that a leader of such experience still rules, for the fighting strength of House Cadmus has suffered greatly in defence of the nearby Forge World of Gryphonne IV against the xenos menace of Hive Fleet Leviathan.
The Nobles of House Cadmus have a reputation as peerless hunters, and there are few other Knight Houses that can boast the same level of skill when it comes to running prey to ground. The development of hunting skills is a necessity in the wilderness of Raisa, and Cadman Nobles are experts in controlling their Knights in dense surroundings like jungles and woods. The thickly forested continents of House Cadmus' homeworld are the proving ground for its Knights, the huge green-armoured walkers crashing through the foliage and sending wildlife scurrying off in all directions. From above, the Knights are difficult to distinguish, their Adamantium plates blending in with the forest canopy, and making them appear like the ominous shadows of undersea predators gliding through dark waters.
Young Nobles sometimes disappear for solar months hunting in the woods of Raisa, taking with them a small company of retainers and a favoured Sacristan. This can become a rite of passage of sorts, as the Noble catalogues his kills and tries to out-do his peers by delving deeper into the wilds of the Knight World. Even in a Knight suit there are places that fathers warn their sons not to tread, though more often than not this only makes such sites more enticing.
The Tangle is such a place, a briar patch of twisted trees and knotted undergrowth so thick it can snare a Knight. Rumour has it that in the wake of the Golem Wars not all the beasts were slain, and some survived by fleeing into the farthest regions of Raisa. Some families believe that there is a nest of golems within the Tangle, and more than one young Noble has tried to find the truth for himself. Such hunts usually end with the Knights returning to Golem Keep, covered in mud and broken vegetation but empty-handed, though always with tall tales of "things" glimpsed through the trees or just on the edge of Augur range. These stories do nothing to sate the nobility and only ensure that a new generation of Nobles will take up the quest.
Even when on campaign, House Cadmus Knights will engage in hunts, forming what are informally known as "Hunting Lances" to track and kill local creatures. On the Death World of Dynak, Knights of House Cadmus aided the Catachan 217th in defeating a major assault by Eldar Corsairs from the nearby Carrion Rift. After the Eldar had retreated back into the Rift, the Nobles heard tales told by the Catachans of a great beast sighted deep within the swamp-caverns of Dynak.
The Nobles immediately boarded their Knights and set off on a hunt that would take them across the drenched surface of the world and down into the vast network of fetid sunken caverns. Eventually the Cadman Knights cornered a gigantic leech-serpent, defeating the beast in a battle that raged for over a solar hour. The Catachan commander could only nod with approval when the Knights returned dragging the stinking, fanged head of the beast with them.
Edge of the Galaxy
Raisa rests upon the edge of the known galaxy, with nothing but darkness staring back at it from the intergalactic void beyond. It is little wonder then that it has suffered strange visitations from out of the Veiled Region. Over the centuries there have been scores of phenomena recorded by House Cadmus, each encounter or event carefully written down in the great Tome of Years held in Golem Keep.
In the Year of Dark Rain, millions of obsidian meteors came hurling out of the galactic void, crashing down into the jungles of Raisa. Men foolish enough to try and drag the meteorite fragments back to their homes -- thinking they might have some worth -- grew sick and died, terrible black lesions covering their flesh. Eventually House Cadmus decreed the meteors forbidden and gathered together all they could find using Knight suits, sealing them in the depths of Golem Keep. However, those few men who looked upon one of the meteorites and lived whisper that they were covered in strange script and the crudely carved images of Knights.
During the Year of Haunted Worlds, a light fell from the heavens and landed deep in the woods of the Arborous Basin. That same night the Baron left Golem Keep with a few of his men and took their Knights down into the forest. Rumours among the servants of the keep tell of the Baron returning with a luminous casket of strange and alien design. Through its transparent lid a willowy woman could be seen, slender of limb and fair of hair with gracefully pointed ears. The same servants say the sleeping maiden was carried down into the vault to be hidden among the most sacred treasures of House Cadmus.
In the Year of Shrouded Stars, a huge comet filled the skies of Raisa wreathed in blue and white fire. As it passed near the Knight World tiny burning stars broke off from the comet and fell through the atmosphere. As they fell into the forest the stars resolved themselves into the broken wrecks of voidships, the comet itself an ancient and decaying Space Hulk. From within each vessel alien monsters and mechanical devils crawled out into the forests.
That year the Cull hunted metal men and green-skinned xenos. Stories of the contents of Golem Keep have even reached the ears of the Inquisition. When Inquisitor Grumund took refuge on Raisa before travelling on into the Veiled Region, he casually asked Baron Roland about these whispers of alien objects and unknown obscura. Roland's response was merely a smile across the feasting table and a gentle reminder to Grumund that he was there as a guest, and should not trouble himself with the gossip of peasants. Glancing around at the room filled with House Cadmus Nobles, all with eyes on the Inquisitor, he wisely chose not to press the point.
- The Death of Traitors (ca. M31) - Horus lies dead at the hands of the Emperor. But so high is the cost of victory that many seek solace in hounding the fleeing Traitors across the stars rather than face the task of rebuilding the shattered Imperium. This campaign of vengeance is known as the Great Scouring. The surviving knightly houses with the strength to fight unanimously join in this crusade of retribution. Believing the honour of the many to be stained by the treachery of the few, the Imperial Knights hunt down the Renegade knightly houses that sided with Horus with extreme prejudice, seeking to redeem their tarnished reputation. Filled with righteous indignation, a combined strike force of Knights from Houses Cadmus, Terryn and Borgius annihilates the turncoats of House Devine as Imperial forces reclaim the world of Molech.
- Sport for Commorragh (154.M41) - A Drukhari raid captures a House Cadmus Knight for bloody sport in the arenas of Commorragh. He bravely duels the creations of the Haemonculi for thirty solar days before eventually being rendered down by three Engines of Pain.
- Disaster on Nalibraxis II (632.M41) - During the Yoladrian Crusade, detachments from House Cadmus land upon the swamp world of Nalibraxis II. Marching in support of Catachan Jungle Fighter infantry regiments of the Astra Militarum, the Knights are caught in a sorcerous ambush by the forces of the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion. With the Catachans dead or devolved into mindless Chaos Spawn, the remaining handful of Knights resolve to fight their way back to their extraction point. Power-armoured automata and scuttling Daemon Engines surround them, yet the surviving Nobles fight their way to freedom. After the battle, House Cadmus vows revenge upon the forces of the Thousand Sons, determined to expunge this stain upon their honour.
- On the Trail of Traitors (883.M41) - Three entire knightly houses join forces with the renowned Astra Militarum tank ace Commander Pask, and his Cadian 423rd Regiment to exterminate a Renegade Titan Legion. All of the Knights at Pask's disposal are deployed in one of the largest armoured conflicts in the Imperium's history. Knight Anthonis, of House Cadmus, wins much honour during the final battle, preventing Pask's Leman Russ tank from being crushed beneath the mighty tread of the Traitor Warlord-class Titan Endless Hate by blasting apart the war engine's descending leg scant moments before impact. Pask survives to lead his force to a great Imperial victory.
Notable House Cadmus Knights
- Coward's Bane - Baron Orlando's Knight Crusader.
- Hunter's Fury - Baron Roland's Knight Errant, piloted during the Cull.
- The Beast Killer - Sir Malcolm's Knight Errant.
- Hound of Raisa - Sir Roderick's Knight Paladin.
- Bloody Broadsword - Sir William's Knight Paladin.
- Baron Godfrey - From the foundation of their knightly house, the Nobles of Cadmus were a fiercely independent breed, each family proud of their honour, deeds and heritage. It was this fact that made it all the more surprising when, in the early years of the 31st Millennium, Baron Godfrey signed a concordat swearing fealty to the nearby Forge World of Gryphonne IV. Their High King's decision was met with unanimous uproar throughout the Noble families of House Cadmus, who deemed the treaty to be a heinous betrayal of all that they stood for. Godfrey's most damning act of all was in changing the heraldry of House Cadmus. According to the knightly house's new patronage, it now bore the cog of the Adeptus Mechanicus at its heart. With the full might of the Cult Mechanicus behind him, none dared to oppose Godfrey openly, and he lived out his days like a feudal king.
- Baron Orlando - Orlando is next in line to become one of the Twelve Barons of Raisa, and would likely be considered a rival to the ruler of House Cadmus. However, his disregard for the Cull -- the yearly event in which Raisa's Nobles hunt their planet's mutants -- ensures that he could never claim lordship of his house. For Orlando, slaying the beasts is an everyday task, not a sporting event. Thus, Orlando is content as ruler of Patton Hall, a keep in the most isolated province of Raisa. When called to war, Orlando pilots Coward’s Bane, his Knight Crusader. One of the eldest of Raisa's Knight suits, Coward's Bane still flashes emerald when its ancient Ion Shield repels a powerful incoming shot. Orlando's Nobles all know well the thunderclap roar emitted when his Knight's gauntleted fist strikes home. It is a sound heard often enough, for Orlando is tasked with leading many campaigns -- a tribute to his fighting prowess.
- Baron Roland of Swinford Hall - The current ruler of House Cadmus hails from Swinford Hall, a cavernous and luxurious wing of Golem Keep. Born of an old and powerful baronial family, Roland is an uncompromising man who does not lightly suffer the presence of fools. His courage in the face of adversity is legend. Baron Roland is a bold explorer and peerless warrior among the people of his homeworld, often spending long solar months on campaign. At his heart the old Noble is a hunter and will seek out any chance to hunt a new prey or test his skills, even taking up alliance with the Adeptus Mechanicus despite his fierce independence. In times of war, Roland leads the Knights of House Cadmus from the front, resplendent in his modified relic Cerastus Knight-Lancer armour, to lay low all who oppose him. Unusually, Roland chooses to pilot a suit of Knight Errant armour when competing in the Cull, unwilling to claim an unfair advantage over his rivals by using the bespoke suit of armour afforded him by his rank. However, his unbroken run of thirty-two victories has long since silenced any critics who claimed he did not take the Cull seriously.
- Sir Malcolm - One of the few surviving veterans of the war on Gryphonne IV, Sir Malcolm was instrumental in the defence of the Forge World's manufactorum district, eventually holding out alone against wave after wave of Tyranid assaults long after the Skitarii phalanx stationed alongside him had been overwhelmed. The hero of the Battle of Thunderhead, Malcolm slew a Tyranid Bio-Titan and was one of the few survivors of the fighting on Gryphonne IV.
- Sir Roderick - Sir Roderick is a skilled and pitiless hunter, and the favoured lance-brother to Baron Roland. Though he has yet to beat Roland's impressive tally in the Cull, this Noble has consistently ranked second behind the master of House Cadmus. This could be attributed to Roderick's unusual upbringing. Many years ago, Abhuman savages killed Roderick's Noble parents while they were travelling to a council at Golem Keep. The young Roderick alone escaped to be raised by a hermit in the wild Raisan woods. For over a solar decade Roderick learnt to survive with only the weapons he could fashion from wood and stone. He was eventually rescued by Roland during a Cull, where the Noble lord mistook him for an Abhuman and almost killed him. Roderick went on to reclaim his birthright and has risen to a prominent position within the Knights of House Cadmus. Roderick has put his hunting skills to good use on dozens of worlds, using his Knight to hunt down the foe relentlessly. The skills he learnt against the Tyranids on Galfranus would later serve Roderick well during the defence of Gryphonne IV. He would be one of the few survivors of that war, taking a heavy toll upon the Hive Fleet.
- Sir William - When a Noble joins with the Throne Mechanicum especially young, as William did, it can alter his temperament, the feeling of invincibility that comes with being in command of a Knight suit filling his young mind with visions of glory. William's reckless nature brought him close to defeat numerous times -- his actions during the defence of Gryphonne IV against the swarms of Hive Fleet Leviathan won him great glory but almost cost him his life. Having learnt little from the fall of the Forge World, William would repeat his mistakes on the Hive World of Vaen while fighting against hordes of Orks. Supporting a force comprised of Dark Hunters Space Marines in a first strike against the ruined hive city of Hyrdaxion, they at first faced no resistance. Instead, they were lured into an uncanny trap located in a great central vault, where the whole structure was rigged into a vast mechanical slaughterhouse. Though William and his Knight Paladin suit Bloody Broadsword laid down a devastating barrage against the charging Ork mobs, there was no chance of victory. Only warning whispers from his Throne ultimately saved William and the Space Marines. Turning his gun on the hive wall, he blew a hole out into the dusty plain. At that moment the commanding Space Marine Captain ordered an orbital bombardment. William leapt his Knight clear at the last possible moment, crashing to the ground, shattering its legs and knocking himself senseless. When he came to, the mental voice of the Throne was for once blissfully quiet, and he enjoyed the sight of the xenos-infested hive burning brightly against the sky.
The arboraceous Knight World of Raisa undoubtedly inspired the bottle green of House Cadmus' livery. The Knights are difficult to spot from above as they stride beneath the vast forest canopies of their homeworld -- an advantage they have utilised whenever faced with the threat of invasion. However, should Hive Fleet Leviathan ever encroach upon Raisa, not even the forests will offer the Knights sanctuary.
When Badron Godfrey signed a concordat swearing House Cadmus' fealty to the nearby Forge World of Gryphonne IV in the early years of the 31st Millennium, their coat of arms was changed, to bear the cog of the ancient Mechanicum at its heart. They bore this symbol for the next ten millennia. However, the recent demise of Gryphonne IV beneath the onslaught of Hive Fleet Leviathan in 997.M41 has freed House Cadmus from their obligations to Tech-priests. To the horror of Raisa's Sacristans, but the delight of its Noble families, Baron Roland has since reinstated the original heraldry of House Cadmus, replete with wings and the crest of a slain mutant.
- Codex: Imperial Knights (8th Edition), pp. 26-27
- Codex: Imperial Knights (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 40-41
- Codex: Imperial Knights (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 20, 42-43, 52-57, 103-106
- The Imperial Knight Companion (6th Edition), pp. 34-43