"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 is a Loyalist Knight House that hails from the Knight World of Alaric Prime, located in the Sanctus Reach on the edges of the Segmentum Obscurus. This is an ancient world of bitter rivalries and constant skirmishing between the Noble families. House Degallio was once led by Neru Degallio, a master of scores of Knights and Nobles. Neru was feared and respected in equal measure. Neru 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.
A Sundered House
For decades Neru Degallio oversaw the rise to power of his house, eclipsing all other 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 cost. As the most power 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 and leaving Alaric Prime behind.
The world of Alaric Prime is an ancient and hidebound Feudal World of toiling peasants and haughty Nobles. 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. 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. Only the spectre of their ancestors and the foreboding presence of Sacred Mountain with its holy significance keep 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 tradition. 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 down upon the 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 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, becoming overlords of its prisons and de-facto taskmasters.
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 that 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 is fills their storerooms and warehouses.
- White Warden - The formidable Knight suit of Lord Neru Degallio.
- Neru Degallio - The former lord of House Degallio, Neru was both feared and respected amongst the Knightly Houses. But his house was 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, 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 a burning splinter in his heart.
House Degallio's colours are not listed in current Imperial records.
The heraldry of House Degallio is 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 Knightly Houses heraldry displays House Degallio's loyalty which is equally divided between their house and the Imperium. The anchor symbols harkens to House Degallio's mastery of the sea, during better days.
- Codex: Imperial Knights (6th Edition), pg. 13
- The Imperial Knight Companion (6th Edition), pp. 122-123, 125, 130-131