"I will uphold the honour of my house, our brotherhood gives me strength. I will show no mercy to my foes, none shall withstand my fury. I will defend the sanctity of Sacred Mountain, no enemy shall tread Alaric Prime unpunished. I will never forsake my oath, only in death does duty end."
- — House Degallio's Oath of Becoming
House Degallio was a Loyalist Imperial Knight house that hails from the Knight World of Alaric Prime, located in the Sanctus Reach on the edges of the Segmentum Obscurus. House Degallio was an old and prominent knightly household that was once led by Neru Degallio, a master of scores of Knights and Nobles.
Neru was feared and respected in equal measure. He was an old and powerful Noble with dominion over much of Alaric Prime. A great political leader and warlord, Degallio built up his house on a planet known for its bitter rivalries and constant internecine conflicts.
Over long years of bargaining and politicking, and exploiting the mastery of the sea granted him by Isle Degallio, Neru Degallio eventually saw his fortunes eclipse those of the other Nobles of Alaric Prime. For much of his life, Neru enjoyed only success and glory. That came to end with the arrival of the Red WAAAGH! and the doom of his house.
Over the course of a single, blood-soaked campaign of unimaginable carnage, House Degallio would be brought low, its Knights destroyed and its power broken in countless battles to defend Alaric Prime. His losses would drive Neru and his Knight, the White Warden, onto the path of the Freeblade.
House Degallio was indisputably the most powerful Knight House upon the world of Alaric Prime, in part due to the strength of its ancient alliance with the Adeptus Mechanicus. However, none could deny that Degallio's influence was directly related to an advantage that no other Alarican house could boast -– unparalleled mobility in times of war.
House Degallio has a long and proud history of seafaring. Once, its steamships were little more than ugly hulks that conveyed the criminal elements of Alaric Prime to incarceration upon the volcanic hellscape of Isle Ignivitch. Since it opened a sideline in oceanic trade, the house has grown considerably in influence and wealth.
At the house's inception, it had but one solitary Knight active, known as the White Warden. By the time its trade routes were fully established across Alaric Prime, its seaborne sacristies held several dozen Knights, each a warrior of great repute.
Even the mightiest battle steamer of Lord Neru's fleet is a mere tug beside the fusion-powered superstructure known as Isle Degallio. Originally a mobile conglomeration of prison hulks, Isle Degallio has become far more than a conjoined fleet.
Over the centuries, layers of sea-mulch and captured turf have laid strata of organic matter over the adamantium stanchions of its foundations. It has come to resemble nothing less than a small landmass that roams the oceans of Alaric Prime under its own power.
In times of civil war, the titanic Isle Degallio makes haste for the coastline nearest to the battle, its fusion engines powering it through the ocean spray so fast that its attendant navy struggles to maintain its cordon around the island's perimeter.
Once land is sighted, the navy spreads out into a great battle line of heavily-armed ships, pounding the coastline with artillery shells once the enemy is in range.
Isle Degallio itself will power in close, its Knights striding across the bridges extruding from the isle's landmass into shallow waters before charging across the dunes and launching themselves into the fight.
Isle Degallio is so large that it has its own civilian population. Several teeming cities dot its skyline, supporting all manner of industries and ensuring the isle's pre-eminence as a trading hub.
Despite this, rival houses whisper that the islanders are inbred to a man, calling its warriors "sea-lions", "fish-eyes" and all manner of other unflattering nicknames.
The noble lineage of House Degallio remains free from genetic weakness, in truth -- there are always more than enough mamzels and consorts in each generation willing to exchange the boredom of their landbound houses for a life of seaborne adventure.
A Sundered House
"Two choices: we act now, or we sit here and rot, waiting for the beast's jaws to close. House Degallio chooses action! Arm thyself, sons of Alaric; gather thine allies. The war to end all wars is about to begin."
- — Lord Neru Degallio
For solar decades Neru Degallio oversaw the rise to power of his house, eclipsing all others until the name Degallio became synonymous with Imperial might and the ancient majesty of the Knights themselves. When the Red WAAAGH! attacked the Sanctus Reach, Alaric Prime was the last world to feel the wrath of the Orks.
After a long and terrible war, the Orks were repelled, though only at great cost to House Degallio. The house was left a shadow of its former glory, its strength lost with the deaths of scores of its finest nobles and the destruction of their Knights.
Though Neru Degallion had won victory over the Orks alongside his Imperial allies, it was at a terrible price. As the most powerful knightly house on Alaric Prime, it had fallen to Degallio to weather the brunt of the fighting, and of all the house's Knights and Nobles, only Neru survived.
In the aftermath of this pyrrhic victory, the families of the fallen sons placed the blame of so much death squarely upon Neru's shoulders. The lord of House Degallio found himself unable to answer their accusations or the predations of the other knightly houses, and when his own consort disappeared in mysterious circumstances, Neru turned Freeblade, taking the name of his Knight as his own and leaving Alaric Prime behind.
The world of Alaric Prime is an ancient and hidebound Feudal World of toiling peasants and haughty nobles. It is covered mostly in sulphurous seas, viscous chemical tides and currents devoid of all but the hardiest of lifeforms.
Dotted across the burning acidic oceans, the planet is made up of islands strung together in hemisphere-spanning chains or standing along thousands of miles from the nearest foreign shore. There are also a handful of larger land masses, their coasts scoured clean by the sea but their interiors are blessed havens of verdant life, fed by flourishing self-contained eco-systems.
On these islands, the black stone keeps of the nobles brood from rocky outcrops and coastal bluffs, thousands of indentured labourers toiling in their shadows. Unlike many Knight Worlds, Alaric Prime boasts numerous knightly houses, each masters of a different region of the planet. But this is a world of bitter rivalries and constant skirmishing between the various noble families.
Alaric Prime possesses a regressive society. Technology is limited as the result of ancient law, and most souls live simple lives of hard labour, scratching at the ground with tools of wood and iron.
For their part, the nobles pay little attention to the hard lives of their people, consumed as they are with their standing amongst the knightly houses or with gaining glory on the field of battle if they possess a Knight suit. Only the spectre of their ancestors and the foreboding presence of Sacred Mountain with its holy significance keeps the nobles in line.
Located on the largest of Alaric Prime's islands, on land owned by none of the knightly houses, the mountain is a shrine to everything a Knight should aspire to, a reminder to the Nobles of their honourable purpose and the lynchpin of their many laws and traditions.
When there is a serious dispute between the houses, they will gather in the shadow of the Sacred Mountain to resolve their differences, praying to the spirit of the planet's founding father to guide them.
Countless legends are woven into the lore of the mountain, speaking of a divine army that sleeps at its core, or of the souls of slain Nobles dwelling there to watch over their descendants. That it is the resting place of the Freeblade Gerantius the Forgotten Knight only adds to the significance of the mountain, and the place it holds within Alarican culture.
Beneath the mountain there is rumoured to be a vault of archeotech and lost lore, over which Gerantius stands guard. Ancient and mysterious, Gerantius has defended the vault, and the world of Alaric Prime, since time immemorial. Whenever the planet is threatened, legend says the Forgotten Knight will rise from his tomb, and march upon the enemies of Alaric.
Alaric Prime is a world repressed by law. Over the millennia, countless minor laws have been added to those first set down by the founding families, often when one house attempts to increase its power or diminish control of another. Often, laws end up hurting the peasants more than their masters, and while a house might decline in power it is the common folk that will pay with their lives.
Indeed, most Alarican laws do not apply to nobles, though they are honour-bound to enforce them. For this purpose each house employs numerous Justicars, men charged with ensuring the populace follow Alaric's many laws and punishing those that do not with incarceration in one of the world's many prisons.
This draconian enforcement of a system that has never seen a law repealed or changed means that more than two-thirds of the planet's population are imprisoned, many for crimes such as sneezing on the vernal equinox, stepping on the shadow of a convict, or drinking ale brewed by a bald man. Relatively few of those incarcerated in the island penitentiaries are there for offences such as theft or murder.
Ironically, the truly lawless within the antiquated legal bedlam of Alaric become overlords of its prisons and the de facto taskmasters of their more law-abiding brethren.
These criminal overseers rise to power through threats and violence, cowing the other convicts and knocking them into line. When the nobles need hands to farm their lands or craft their goods it is the criminal lords that answer the call.
The most notorious of the penal colonies on Alaric is the smoke-shrouded volcanic island of Ignivitch. In the basalt mines the convicts hack stone from blackened walls, filling steam-barges bound for fortresses across the planet.
If a convict should survive the years of backbreaking labour on Ignivitch he might rise to become an overseer himself, hardened by the criminal company he keeps. Houses like Degallio care not from where the stone, steel or grain comes, or who applies the lash to see it gathered, only that it fills their storerooms and warehouses.
- A Tragedy Out of Time (792.M39) - Six regiments of Astra Militarum make the translation from Warpspace on the outskirts of the Sanctus Reach System, heading to Alaric upon orders to intercept and destroy the Malefactors. Unbeknownst to them, the fickle tides of the Warp have dislocated their arrival time. They arrive several millennia too late. The Astra Militarum instead wage war upon the incarcerated masses of the Alarican prison isles, believing the criminals there to be the renegades they have been ordered to kill. The intervention of Gerantius complicates matters just as the Alarican knightly houses are trying to prove their loyalty to the Imperium. War breaks out, but only for a few days -- the Degallio household successfully brokers peace after its messenger-skulls make it to the Imperial Guard high command. The death toll still numbers in the thousands.
- Defence of Alaric Prime (443.998.M41) - In 998.M41, Warlord Grukk of the Red WAAAGH! ploughs into the densely populated Sanctus Reach, his crusade's juggernaut momentum smashing past the Space Marine homeworld of Obstiria to plunder the planets beyond. The Imperium prepares to make a stand upon Alaric Prime, a Feudal World of linked archipelagos and crumbling gaols. When a flotilla of Ork rust-ships make planetfall, the knightly houses of Alaric lead their Cadian allies in a worldwide counterattack. Warlord Grukk's bullish tactics take a heavy toll on the human defenders before the legendary Freeblade known as Gerantius, the Forgotten Knight, joins the conflict, tipping the war into a new phase of desperate battle.
Notable House Degallio Knights
- White Warden - The formidable Knight Errant suit of Lord Neru Degallio.
Notable House Degallio Personnel
- Neru Degallio - The former patriarch of House Degallio, Neru Degallio, known to his men as the "Seablade," and to his closest friends as the "Old Warlrus," was both feared and respected amongst the Knight houses. Neru Degallio's flair in the arts of battle is legendary, as is his alarming facial hair. His consort, the svelte and skull-masked Lady of the Keys, is a powerful political force in her own right. She has been instrumental in the meteoric rise of House Degallio to the pinnacle of influence on Alaric Prime, possessing a fearsome intellect and considerable charisma. Anyone who so much as hints that Neru or his consort might be past their prime is given the honour of fighting alongside the White Warden, Degallio's battle-scarred but indomitable Knight suit. As the battle rages, the patriarch's detractor is forced to reassess his opinion -- no one can argue with a kill count that is more than double that of the next Noble. But alas, his house was eventually brought low by the predations of the Red WAAAGH! that attacked Alaric Prime. Held primarily responsible for the deaths of many of the Knights he fought alongside of, Neru opted to become a Freeblade. Taking the name of his Knight White Warden as his own, the newly-dubbed Freeblade sought out battlefields across the Imperium, venting his anger upon Heretics and xenos in the name of the God-Emperor. The Ork race in particular felt the wrath of the Freeblade, the grudge he held against them from Alaric Prime having become a burning splinter in his heart.
- Sire Garrett Degallio - Sire Garrett Degallio fights in one of House Degallio's Alabaster Lance formations, and is renowned for his courage and prowess in combat. Trained in the use of the sword by his uncle, the lord of the house, Garrett has won countless honours both on the field of battle and in ritualised combat with his fellow Nobles. As Warboss Grukk the Face-rippa and his Red WAAAGH! armada approached Alaric Prime, Garrett stood ready alongside his kin to drive the xenos invaders from his homeworld with righteous fury and the indomitable might of his Knight Errant.
- Sire Phyne Degallio - Sire Phyne Degallio was the favoured progeny of the Great Lord of the Sea, Neru Degallio, and was skilled at both blade and lance. During the valiant defence of Alaric Prime from the greenskins hordes of Warboss Grukk, Phyne Degallio was taken by the treachery of the enemy while defending the citizens of the Smouldering Isle, he drowned in his Knight and was borne to the sea floor by an Orkoid war effigy.
House Degallio's are off-white, yellow and black.
The heraldry of House Degallio was a sea creature rampant on the right side of the house's shield, halved, with the Imperial eagle on the left side.
The same dual-split used throughout most Knight house heraldry symbolised House Degallio's loyalty, which was equally divided between their house and the Imperium.
The anchor symbols harkened back to House Degallio's mastery of the sea, during better days.
- Codex: Imperial Knights (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 13
- The Imperial Knight Companion (6th Edition), pp. 122-123, 125, 130-131
- Warhammer 40,000 - Sanctus Reach: The Red Waaagh! (Campaign Supplement) (7th Edition), pp. 11, 14-18, 23, 38, 41-43, 49, 54, 93, 108-109, 113-114