House Raven is an Imperial Knight House of the Questor Mechanicus in service to both the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Imperium of Man. House Raven is the largest of the Knight Houses, with many hundreds of Imperial Knights at its disposal. The heraldry of this ancient House proudly displays their allegiance to the Mechanicus, for they have been allied to the Forge World of Metalica for over ten standard millennia. The bond between House Raven and their associated Forge World is particularly strong and mutually beneficial -- House Raven's homeworld of Kolossi's Sacristans are highly trained and the strength of the Legio Metalica Titan Legion is greatly bolstered by House Raven's knightly host.
Like an endless wall of red metal, the Knights of House Raven march forward. A lone Knight might shake the ground with its metallic stride; however, when House Raven deploys in force the sound of that advance is far more ominous, a thundering tramp that sends even the most fearless of foes over the edge. It is said that when House Raven sets forth its strength, a power that rivals that of a Titan Legion, then victory is sure to follow.
The great arsenal of Knights held by House Raven is unmatched. Only a handful of cities remain on the Questor Mechanicus Knight World of Kolossi, islands of steel and smoke amid the deep-core shafts and strip-mine canyons. Greatest of these is the Keep Inviolate, an immense stronghold whose glittering peak welcomes home the Nobles of House Raven as they descend from orbit into the planet's rolling banks of smog.
Deep within the Keep Inviolate, a stronghold so vast and well-defended it can be compared to the Imperial Palace on Terra, lies the Vault Transcendent. Dug deep into the bedrock of Kolossi, its heavily shielded halls house hundreds of Knight suits, each one ready to stride out to answer the clarion call of battle. Yet they would not be alone if they did so. Dozens of other households owe fealty to House Raven, swelling their might still further.
House Raven first allied itself with the nearby Forge World of Metalica during the early stages of the Great Crusade. Lord Gregor, Raven's ruler at the time, struck a deal with Metalica's Tech-adepts to ensure that his House had sufficient Sacristans -- the artificers of a Knight World trained and inducted into the Cult Mechanicus. For House Raven, these specialists became known as the "Iron Brotherhood." In return, Gregor swore eternal fealty to Metalica -- a pact that remains in effect to this day.
The motto of House Raven is, "Honour Inviolate, Kolossi Eternal."
House Raven has a long and proud history serving the Imperium, and has fought in countless conflicts from the heart of the galaxy to the stellar wilderness of the outer rim. Lord Grevan Raven, fourth of his name, is the Iron Duke of Kolossi and sits upon the Adamantium Throne of the Keep Inviolate, greatest of the knightly fortresses and capital city of House Raven's homeworld. It is his honour to command hundreds of Knights in battle, as well as dozens of Nobles drawn from some of the finest lineages in the Ultima Segmentum.
Kolossi, the Fortress World
Thousands of Terran years ago Kolossi was a virgin world of verdant plains and forested mountains. When the first human settlers arrived in the Age of Technology they found an environment conducive to life, with little in the way of natural predators. However, the settlers built legions of Knights, their industries strip-mining the Kolossi continents for materials. Ancient tales tell of an evil that lurked in the darkness of the Kolossi star system, or perhaps within the heart of the star itself, and it was against this evil that the settlers were protecting themselves.
If there is truth in these tales time has erased any evidence, leaving only rumour and conjecture in their wake. In time, the society of Kolossi stratified and House Raven rose to prominence among the settlers, becoming in time a title synonymous with the Knight World. As the rulers of Kolossi came and went each added to the world's armies and fortifications, stripping away more of the planet's mineral wealth. By the time that House Raven made its enduring alliance with the Forge World of Metalica, Kolossi had been reduced to open pits, towering slag heaps and smog-wreathed manufactoria lit only by guttering promethium flares from soot-stained chimneys.
This degradation of Kolossi has only worsened through the millennia. In addition to House Raven's own mineral needs Metalica has added its own demands upon Kolossi, endless shambling lines of mining Servitors slowly hacking their way toward the heart of the world. Only a handful of cities remain on the planet, islands of steel and smoke amid the deep-core shafts and strip-mine canyons.
Greatest of these is the Keep Inviolate, an adamantium-plated fortress over a kilometre high, its glittering peak welcoming home Nobles as they descend from orbit into Kolossi's roiling banks of smog. The work of centuries, the Keep Inviolate is a fortress to rival the Space Wolves' Fang on Fenris or the Emperor's Imperial Palace on Terra, its walls hundreds of feet thick and its Macrocannons capable of tearing voidships apart in orbit.
The real power of the keep though lies in its Vault Transcendent. Dug deep into the bedrock of Kolossi, its heavily shielded walls house hundreds of Knight suits, each one ready to stride out onto the scarred surface of their world should it ever face invasion.
A Brotherhood of Iron
House Raven maintains its power only through the strength of its alliance with the Forge World of Metalica. Before the Nobles of Kolossi were reconnected with the Imperium during the Great Crusade, their arsenal of Knights, like their world, was slowly slipping into decay. Without skilled Sacristans to tend to their great war machines, many rusted within the shadows of the Vault Transcendent, rendered useless by mechanical fault, cursed Machine Spirits (artificial intelligences) or flawed repair.
The mines of Kolossi were also failing -- House Raven lacked the machines and knowledge to reap the mineral bounty of their world, the mines close to the surface long since scoured clean of useful ores. Indentured workers toiled in ancient pits, using archaic tools to chip ore from the unforgiving rock, hundreds dying each day for pitiful returns.
When Lord Gregor met the first ambassadors of the Imperium it was the agents of Metalica that cemented the alliance. A famous tale tells of Gregor leading the Metalica emissaries into the Vault Transcendent to show them the Knights of House Raven. Upon discovering so many of the Knights cold and unseeing, the Metalica Magi expressed their sorrow for the slumbering Machine Spirits.
Beginning to chant, the Magos then called out to the Machine God, entreating Plasma Reactors to burn brightly, sacred oil to stir within blessed hydraulics and neural nets to awaken once more. To Lord Gregor's surprise one of the venerable Knight Paladins, an ancient machine that had remained dormant for hundreds of Terran years, lifted its head toward the chant, its spirit finally stirred back to life by the presence of those with the blessing of the Omnissiah.
Lord Gregor swore an alliance with Metalica and for ten thousand standard years it has endured. The Sacristan sons of Kolossi are sent to the Forge World upon their naming day, to be trained in the rites of the Machine God. Well-versed in the secrets of Knight technology, those that serve House Raven excel at their craft, and a Knight never remains idle for long should it fall in battle or suffer some technical malady.
As might be expected, the Sacristans wield considerable power on Kolossi, and the "Iron Brotherhood," as they are known, divide their loyalties between House Raven and the Tech-priests of Metalica. There are those amongst the Nobles who are deeply suspicious of these returned sons and their motives, even though they must rely on them for upkeep of the Knights. Indeed, such is the change that comes over a Sacristan when he returns from his years of training on Metalica that his family and lords say he has been "cast in iron", changed forever from the tearful child which bade them farewell.
Trial of the Companions
Centuries ago, Lord Grunwald created the Companions, an elite formation within House Raven made up of its greatest heroes. Numbering only in their dozens, entrance into the Companions is a great honour, and competition between families of Kolossi is often intense. In the early years of the Companions, Nobles were often chosen because of their connections to the Iron Duke, or the status of their family within the hierarchy of the Order Inviolate, the capital city's complex social stata.
To combat nepotism over merit, or at least to ensure that a well-connected Noble was also a skilled warrior, in 621.M38 Lord Sukomvald created the Trial of the Companion. The Trial is an annual event in which those wishing to join the Companions must navigate a perilous series of tests each more challenging than the last. Though the Trial is shrouded in secrecy, rumours whisper that much of it must be completed without the benefit of a Knight suit. So the stories go, a Noble must prove himself an able warrior and cunning adventurer to overcome Sukomvald's tests.
Even before a Noble is allowed to embark on the Trial he must have made a name for himself, gaining glory in countless battles and bringing honour to House Raven. Each Terran year, the current lord of the house will review the deeds of his Nobles, and create a list of those he deems ready for the Trials, inviting them to compete. It is a rare privilege to be invited to attempt the Trial of the Companions, and a deep insult to turn it down. House Raven Nobles have been known to retire from solar-decade-long campaigns, even on the eve of battle against hated foes, to return to Kolossi to prove themselves should they receive the call of the Iron Duke.
The Master of the Trial is an office held by the lord's most senior Seneschal, and it falls to him to prepare the tests for aspiring Companions. The Trial takes place in the vast abandoned mine workings of Kolossi, and the Master will spend the year between each Trial changing the test from the previous year to ensure that each one is unique. Even though the Trial changes from year to year within the depths of Kolossi, what tricks, traps and opponents the Master of the Trial sets for them, those that fail -- and survive -- can only hope that the Iron Duke gives them a second chance to compete.
- Slaughter on the Fireplains (246.M41) - Knights of House Raven crush WAAAGH! Smogbelcha on the world of Voth amid geysers of geothermal flame, despite suffering heavy losses of their own.
- Crushing the Mecha-WAAAGH! (572.M41) - Led by House Raven, five different knightly houses, along with no less than a dozen Freeblades, halt the mechanised hordes of WAAAGH! Gluttok. Across several star systems, the Imperial Knights are able to counter the armoured columns of Battlewagons and looted tanks employed by the wily Gluttok. It is on the factory planet of Blastoom that the Warboss' Stompa Mob is at last brought to final battle. Leading his Exalted Court into the thick of the fighting, Grevan, the Iron Duke, smashes into the wall of Ork walkers and uses his Reaper Chainsword to rip apart Gluttok's Stompa. It is later said that the Stompa's head was taken for display in the Keep Inviolate.
- The Battle of Burning Skies (998.M41) - A tendril of Hive Fleet Leviathan falls upon the Agri-World of Eireius, xenos bio-horrors rampaging across its floating jungles and vapour islands. A detachment of House Raven Knights are the first Imperial reinforcements to reach the planet, rallying the beleaguered defenders around the towering Eirebian spire-cities. In the micro-gravity of Eireius the Knights leap hundreds of metres from one spire to the next, their guns hammering Harpies and Hive Crones from the sky. Even the might of the Imperial Knights cannot save the planet, although their bravery buys time for its population to escape into the void.
Notable House Raven Knights
- Ferrous Maximus - Knight Warden of Lord Grevan Raven, current Princeps of House Raven, Iron Duke of Kolossi.
- Impenetrable - Knight Gallant of Baron Randul.
- Tempered Fury - Knight Crusader of Baron Daklorn.
- Adamantium Will - Knight Errant of Sir Ursumna.
- Blade of Fire - Knight Errant of Sir Lornarus.
- Glory Unblemished - Knight Errant of Sir Krewald.
- Hammer of Mars - Knight Errant of Sir Rommarus.
- Red Vengeance - Knight Errant of Sir Horlund.
- Steel Guardian - Knight Paladin of Sir Havlorn.
- Unyielding Iron - Knight Paladin of Sir Walkorn.
- Pride of Kolossi - Knight Castellan of Sir Omnitros.
- Hammerblow - Armiger Helverin of Sir Krewald.
- Triumphal - Armiger Warglaive of Sir Tolos.
Notable House Raven Personnel
- Lord Grevan Raven - Lord Grevan Raven, fourth of his name, is the current Princeps of House Raven, the Iron Duke of Kolossi and he who sits upon the Adamantium Throne of the Keep Inviolate. As a young pilot he joined the Order of Companions -- the fighting elite of the house -- where all noted his martial prowess. His meteoric rise continued to the highest level, as befitted his noble ancestry. Despite the many Knight suits available to House Raven, the majority of them are Knight Errant and Knight Paladin patterns. Ferrous Maximus, however, is a Knight Warden. As the legend goes, its Avenger Gatling Cannon was triply blessed by the Omnissiah Himself. Wherever the Knight's need is greatest, the pilot of Ferrous Maximus can recall that ancient stored memory, bringing forth a rapid burst of Gatling Cannon fire that is impossibly accurate, shredding even the largest foe.
- Lord Lucitas - Lord Lucitas was the leader of the detachment of House Raven Knights that accompanied the Titans of the Legio Metalica during the Subjugation of Nicomedua. During this campaign, Lord Lucitas piloted a precious Cerastus Knight-Atrapos that had survived through the fierce fights of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy.
- Baron Randul - Randul is one of the many Barons that serve beneath Princeps Grevan Raven. Baron Randul has been under a black cloud for the last solar decade, for his peers know him as "the cursed Baron", an epithet he has only been too eager to shake. Each time he has gone to battle, his Knight Gallant -- Impenetrable -- has been so badly damaged that it has tested even the skill of the Sacristans to repair it. Yet each mission assigned to Baron Randul, no matter how severe the odds against him, has been successfully completed. These triumphs are most often linked to the bold and impetuous heroics of the hard-driving Knight Gallant himself. The Baron's closest kin, those who serve as his court, know of their leader's curse, but are proud to serve beneath him. In the end, they know Baron Randul will make any sacrifice to achieve victory.
- Baron Daklorn - Baron Daklorn serves as Forge Master in the Exalted Court of Princeps Grevan. To the Forge Master falls the defence of the Keep Inviolate, one of the largest strongholds in the Imperium. He ensures that the immense fortress, long a symbol of House Raven's dominance, can repel even the most aggressive of assaults. Amongst his duties are the protection of entire armies of Sacristans and the mustering of the household Knights should the Iron Duke of Kollossi call. Only those Barons with proven loyalty and the highest battlefield honours are asked to join the Exalted Court, and Daklorn had proven himself in both regards many times over. His Knight Crusader, Tempered Fury, is a walking arsenal, allowing the Forge Master to lay down withering firepower with unerring accuracy. When not fighting as part of his Princeps' Exalted Court, Daklorn leads the Gateguard of the Keep Inviolate. Of late, he has faced -- and crushed -- numerous Heretical armies.
- Sir Ursumna - Usrumna is the current pilot of the Knight Errant Adamantium Will.
- Sir Lornarus - Lornarus and his Knight Blade of Fire, won much honour defending the floating city of Eirebian on the Agri-World of Eireius. For ten days Lomarus stood before the gates of the city, holding back a tide of flying Tyranid bio-horrors even as the Hive Mind consumed the world's vegetation, buying enough time for its people to escape into the void.
- Sir Krewald - Krewald and his Knight Errant Glory Unblemished served with distinction in the ranks of Metalica's Legio Titanicus. Fighting alongside the Imperator-class Titan Hand of Judgement, Krewald protected the towering machine from lesser threats while its gargantuan guns hammered apart a Traitor city's walls and enemy fortifications in a storm of fire. It is not uncommon for a Titan Princeps or Tech-adept of Metalica to be so impressed by the deeds of a Knight or household detachment that they petition House Raven for them to be permanently seconded to the Titan Legion. It is deemed a great honour to serve the Forge World, yet no matter how far a Knight travels, he will always maintain the keep as a symbol upon his armour. This is a declaration of House Raven's might and a reminder for its Nobles to never forget their origins on Kolossi and the Keep Inviolate. Krewald is served by two Bondsmen, Sir Karstin and Sir Tolos.
- Sir Rommarus - Rommarus is the current pilot of the Knight Errant Hammer of Mars.
- Sir Horlund - Horlund is the current pilot of the Knight Errant Red Vengeance.
- Sir Havlorn - Havlorn and his Knight, Steel Guardian, defended the lord of Praxia when his lander was shot down over the Gorlumda Warzone. While the Imperial Navy struggled to break through to the crash site the Knight stood over the wreck, keeping relentless waves of Necron Warriors at bay until reinforcements arrived to push back the foe.
- Sir Walkorn - Walkorn and his Knight Paladin, Unyielding Iron, have been inducted into House Raven's revered Order of Companions, chiefly for their actions against the Ork worlds of the Heloeum Drift. During the battle for the Wilted Bastion, Walkorn personally destroyed the Rok Eye of Mork. Like all the Companions, Unyielding Iron bears no mark to distinguish its elite status, for House Raven holds that such iconography only benefits their enemies. Despite this, Raven are proud adherents of the chevron designs that mark many Knights. Originally chevrons were used to mark the age of a Knight suit: those with the largest and widest marks were ancient pieces of archeotech. In time, the chevrons took on another meaning for House Raven, identifying the age and experience of its Nobles.
- Sir Omnitros - More than any other knightly house, House Raven is able to use sledgehammer tactics and weight of numbers to crush their enemies underfoot. Sir Omnitros has become adept at supporting these tactics, constantly absorbing battlefield data and cogitating the optimal strategic solution with up-to-the-minute accuracy. His Knight Castellan, Pride of Kolossi, has been augmented with additional auspicator arrays and data-looms to aid Omnitros' efforts. With such a wealth of auto-analysed information flowing through his mind, Sir Omnitros lays down pinpoint volleys to support his comrades' advance, and projects his Ion Shields to cover them as they retreat. Whether attacking or defending, Pride of Kolossi operates as a lynchpin for the House Raven battle line, utilising predictive fire-patterns to blast each emergent threat as it appears and paving the way for overwhelming victory in the name of the Omnissiah.
- Sir Karstin - Sir Karstin is a minor Noble who submits willingly to the mental dominance of Sir Krewald in return for greater standing as pilot of the Armiger Helverin Hammerblow.
- Sir Tolos - Sir Tolos, pilot of the Armiger Warglaive Triumphal, is a more grudging Bondsman of Sir Krewald, but his recently diminished status allows for no other option.
The deep red of House Raven honours the ancient world of Mars and their formal alliance with the Adeptus Mechanicus, while the silver and iron on the edges of their Knights' plates hark back to the industrial might of the house and shows that under its heraldry hides tons of metal.
As a house of the Questor Mechanicus, the Cog Mechanicum features heavily on the Knight suits of House Raven, along with arrows, warning and binding sigils and other industrial icons that would be meaningless to those not raised in the service of the Machine God. The complex inner workings are also apparent, making it clear that only the Adeptus Mechanicus could have created such a machine.
Every inch of a Knight of House Raven is dedicated to the Omnissiah's living prayer to the god of the Adeptus Mechanicus and His infinite wisdom. Alongside the many devices that comprise the house heraldry, House Raven Knights show the symbol of the Keep Inviolate, the vast adamantium fortress of the house on Kolossi.
The keep is a symbol of might and Nobles bear it on their Knight suits as a declaration of the size and strength of House Raven. It is important to all Nobles of the house that they never forget their origins. No matter how far a Noble might stray from Kolossi, he need only look upon his Knight to see his homeland, the image of the Keep Inviolate forever emblazoned upon his war machine.
The crest of House Raven depicts their colossal adamantium-clad stronghold, the Keep Inviolate. Not only is this magnificent structure a mighty fortress, but it is also the capital city of Kolossi. There are few fortifications in the Imperium besides the Emperor's Imperial Palace and The Fang on the Space Wolves' Chapter homeworld of Fenris that are as impressive to behold. So does Raven's crest depict its greatness, their house icon a symbolic pillar of strength that bears the cog of the Adeptus Mechanicus, for they can field enough Knights to rival the battlefield power of a Titan Legion.
The evolution of House Raven's crest stretches back many millennia to the 24th Millennium, when Alistar Raven laid the first mighty foundations of the Keep Inviolate. For millennia each ruler added to this massive edifice, and it would one day rival the Imperial Palace on Terra.
Four millennia later in the 28th Millennium, Lord Grunwald Raven introduced the honourable institution of the Companions. Its first leader was Lady Syrtana Raven, who saved Grunwald's life during the Kortasa Blitz. The crossed blades symbol of these veterans was incorporated into the crest of House Raven. To this day, the most meritorious of Raven's Nobles endure the Trial of the Companions to join the order.
In the 31st Millennium Lord Gregor Raven met the first emissaries from Metalica and swore enduring oaths of alliance with the Mechanicum. In exchange for skilled Sacristans the Knights of House Raven would take their place beside the Legio Metalica. This is represented by the other side of the crest, which displays the Cog Mechanicum of the Adeptus Mechanicus, for it was to them, and specifically to the Forge World of Metalica, that House Raven pledged allegiance, and its strength grew under the Forge World's patronage.
House Raven Personal Heraldry
Underneath the sacred symbols of the Omnissiah and observances to the Adeptus Mechanicus, every House Raven Knight is unique to its Noble. One of the key elements that differentiates one Knight from another are the use of black and yellow chevrons. These appear primarily on the canopy plate but can be used almost anywhere on the hull of the Knight suit.
Originally the chevrons were used the mark the age of a Knight suit, those with the largest and widest ones ancient and precious pieces of archeotech. In time the chevrons took on another meaning for House Raven, identifying the age and experience of its Nobles. This continues even outside the Knight suits where the Nobles will wear robes and cloaks emblazoned with markings identical to their war machines.
In contrasts to the more archaic-looking face plates of the Knight houses of the Questor Imperialis, the Knights of the Questor Mechanicus use face plates in the image of the Machine God. The stylised mechanical skull prevalent on many Knights mirrors those on Adeptus Mechanicus Automata and Servitors. It is always a personal choice of a House Raven Noble whether or not to wear this face plate, many arguing that their Knights "see" better without them.
- Codex: Adeptus Mechanicus (8th Edition), pp. 28, 57
- Codex: Imperial Knights (8th Edition), pp. 36-41
- Codex: Imperial Knights (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 50-55
- Codex: Imperial Knights (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 18, 39, 43, 70-75, 105, 107, 122
- The Imperial Knight Companion (6th Edition), pp. 68-79
- Warhammer 40,000: Forgebane (Boxed Set Book), pg. 31
- Imperator: Wrath of the Omnissiah (Novel) by Gav Thorpe, pg. 94