Kiavahr is the heavily industrialised world around which the former prison-moon of Lycaeus -- better known today as the Raven Guard Space Marine Chapter's homeworld of Deliverance -- orbits. A tumultous history ties Kiavahr to its moon, a history forever changed by the arrival of one of the Emperor's Primarchs, Corvus Corax, who would subjugate the powerful Tech-Guilds and lead Kiavahr into the fold of the Imperium of Man.
Although no true domain of the Mechanicum, Kiavahr and Deliverance together easily rival a Forge World's output in terms of quantities of goods, weapons and ammunition produced. Much of Kiavahr's output benefited the XIX Legion during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy.
Even today in the late 41st Millennium, Kiavahr still produces almost all the equipment required by the Raven Guard Chapter. While officially under the jurisdiction of the Raven Guard, Kiavahr largely governs itself -- toiling under the watchful eye of its masters from the Adeptus Astartes.
Little is known of Kiavahr's distant past save for the fact that it was settled sometime during the Dark Age of Technology. Ruled throughout Old Night by ruthless and entrenched guilds that controlled every aspect of Kiavahr's society, the surface of that world was long ago scoured to blasted wastes by many centuries of industrial exploitation. It was also during this age that Kiavahr rose to become a powerful hive of advanced technology, its city-spanning manufactoria providing many goods of high quality to star systems near and far. Kiavahr survived the Age of Strife with much of its advanced technology intact and succeeded in staying in contact with its neighboring worlds through interstellar void travel.
With these worlds Kiavahr established profitable trade agreements which served to further enrich and empower the Tech-Guilds that governed it. Each one of these powerful organisations was governed by a Guildmaster, an individual of immense wealth and whose power was almost unlimited. These Guildmasters cared little for the well-being of their workers and ruled over millions of souls by violence and strength of arms, employing a caste of guards whose brutality kept the workers at bay. As Kiavahr's own mineral wealth was slowly depleted, the Tech-Guilds were forced to impose ever harsher working shifts and conditions to meet the imposed production-quotas.
As a preemptive measure to ensure their people's compliance, the Guildmasters commonly decided to exile and imprison those that would speak out against them, try to negotiate better working conditions for their fellow coworkers or who didn't meet their allotted production-quota. To banish these dissidents and prevent any form of rebellion, the agitators were locked away on Kiavahr's moon, Lycaeus, where immense force-domes were erected to house several thousand political prisoners. Here, the slave-prisoners lived out what remained of their lives in forced labour. Soon after the establishment of the prison moon, a wealth of mineral deposits was discovered beneath its surface and so the prisoners found their every effort devoted to aiding the industries of the world they had been exiled from and furthering the staggering wealth of its ruling elite.
To feed the ever-hungry forges of Kiavahr, a stream of new prisoners was required. To meet this demand, even minor offences were soon punished by exile on Lycaeus. The amount of ore and other precious minerals harvested from Lycaeus soon required the construction of a gigantic mass-lifter, the towering structure using Kiavahr's and Lycaeus' gravity fields to continuously ship the refined ore from the moon to the Forge World's surface. The prison-moon's population soon numbered in the millions, as not only the condemned but also their children and grandchildren were forced to toil in Lycaeus' mines, constantly watched by a well-equipped and brutally effective corps of guards. It was into the midst of this ruthlessly oppressed and maltreated slave caste of Lycaeus that Corvus Corax came, and it was by his hand that the guilds were finally cast down.
The Coming of the Raven
When the nascent Primarchs were scattered across the galaxy, the nineteenth Primarch, Corvus Corax, manifested in a barren chamber, deep beneath Lycaeus' glaciers. If it hadn't been for the timely arrival of a team of Lycaean miners, the Primarch would likely have never been discovered. On Kiavahr this event passed unnoticed, as the newborn Primarch quickly killed the only Kiavahran present: the cruel overseer of the work detail. As the miners decided to hide the strange boy they had discovered deep within the mines, Kiavahr's ruling elite, blissfully ignorant of their final fate, continued to amass riches and wealth by exploiting the miners.
As Corax reached his maturity, so the rule of the guilds drew to an end, though the overseers would not know of it until it was too late to avert their doom. Corax led a masterfully conceived campaign that bled the prison-moon's authorities dry, taking small cells of freedom fighters on a range of missions, some to steal weapons, others ammunition, still more to sabotage key systems so that they would fail at the moment of his choosing. Eventually, that moment came and Corax led the uprising that would cast off the shackles of centuries of oppression. In a necessarily bloody battle, Corax and his fellow freedom fighters took the prison-moon. The bloodshed was great, for not all of the slave-prisoners had been imprisoned for their radical ideals; many were convicted killers and worse; the Primarch was forced by necessity to utilise their fighting abilities and overlook their previous crimes, on condition they never repeat them after their bondage was cast off.
In yet another convergence of great events, it was in the immediate aftermath of the liberation of the prison-moon Lycaeus and the opening salvos of the atomic bombardment of Kiavahr that the Emperor arrived to reclaim his lost son. Unlike events surrounding so many other such meetings, however, the Emperor came alone, and the next day left alone. While it is known that the Master of Mankind and the XIX Primarch spoke for long hours, what passed between them remains a matter of conjecture. Whatever the truth, one thing is known to have passed between father and son that night. The Emperor would leave Corax to complete his missions and to defeat the guilds of Kiavahr. Only later would he be ready to assume command of his Legion. It was as if in leaving Corax to liberate Kiavahr on his own, the Emperor was ensuring the Primarch learned and assimilated the most vital lessons of war.
The Emperor departed, leaving His son to complete his task using only those weapons he had at hand. Those weapons turned out to be stockpiles of atomic barrages and mining charges the masters of Kiavahr had secreted on Lycaeus, believing them safe from the enslaved multitudes they ruled over. In their hubris, the guilds never imagined that the slave-miners might one day cast off their shackles and claim those weapons as their own.
Even as the guilds sought to launch a counterattack against the massively outnumbered freedom fighters, Corax knew the terrible order he must give. Using the steep gravity well that tethered Kiavahr and its moon, the Primarch committed to a full-scale bombardment of the vast manufactory cities below. As the atomic fires blossomed on the face of Kiavahr, Corax demonstrated that by slaying thousands, millions would be saved.
This, some would later claim, was the lesson the Emperor meant Corax to learn, and one that would temper his nature against the numerous challenges few but the Primarchs of the Legiones Astartes could fully comprehend. Their greatest cities decimated, the Tech-Guilds had no option but to capitulate. Kiavahr was liberated and Lycaeus renamed Deliverance. The Primarch had confronted that most terrible lesson of war -- oft times, the innocent must suffer for the sake of all. It was a truth the Emperor knew well, and one that humanity as a whole would experience on an unprecedented scale within a standard century.
Under the Raven's Banner
By the time the Raven Lord took command of his Legion, the Great Crusade was over a century old. Corax was quick to impose the style of war he had perfected on Lycaeus over that which had come to define the XIX Legion, melding stealth and guile with vigilance and swiftness. During its restructuring, the Legion commissioned several innovations from the forges of Mars, all of them cunningly wrought to further its mastery of the arts of stealth and speed. As the Thunderhawk gunship entered widespread service, the Raven Guard secured for themselves a variant known as the Shadowhawk, sporting all manner of technologies that made it invisible to all but the most sensitive of Augurs.
In addition, the Legion gained access to the Whispercutter, an open airframe flyer constructed around a gravitic impellor and capable of dropping ten Astartes into a war zone in utter silence and with practically no chance of detection. Such technology was created not by the Martian Mechanicum nor any of the Forge Worlds, but by those master artificers of Kiavahr who formerly served the Tech-Guilds. Utilising strands of machine canon unknown to the mainstream of the Mechanicum, the Tech-Guild artificers created all manner of systems at the behest of the Raven Guard and in time the Legion's Techmarines were inducted into these mysteries, although it has been speculated that the Kiavahrans might have been declared outcast by the jealous lords of Mars, were it not for the patronage of so august a body as the Legiones Astartes and the Primarch Corax.
As the Great Crusade ground ever onwards, Kiavahr assumed its position in the Emperor's Imperium of worlds. While its output was not equal to that of a fully-fledged Forge World of the Mechanicum, with the aid of the Tech-priests of Mars, its forges and manufactoria produced and exported vast quantities of materiel as well as a number of the more specialised machines and weapons required by the Raven Guard Legion. As with many worlds upon which the Martian priesthood saw fit to defend its interest, a portion of its military might in the form of a sizeable detachment of the Legio Vindictus was detached to Kiavahr.
The Tech-Guild artificers attempted to retain their closest secrets from the Mechanicum with some small measure of success, and clung on to their independence from Mars. Having remained self-sufficient throughout the lonely dark ages, Kiavahr remained unwilling to cede its secrets to outsiders, and the only authority it recognised was that of the Raven Guard. Of all of the Mechanicum's subsidiary domains, Kiavahr maintained relations with only one -- Gryphonne IV. The terms of this relationship remain unclear, but because the Legio Gryphonicus fought alongside the Raven Guard throughout several of its larger scale campaigns during the Great Crusade, it can be assumed that some manner of reciprocal pact was, and perhaps still, remains in place.
The Seed of Dissidence
While it was widely believed that the power of the Tech-Guilds had been broken in the wake of the Lycaeus Uprising, unknown to the Raven Guard and the wider Imperium, some of the former Guildmasters still lived, their lifespans augmented by foreign techniques that were almost immediately outlawed by the Mechanicum when the Adepta's grip tightened on Kiavahr. Eeking out an existence in the inhospitable rad-wastes or hiding among the teeming multitudes of the planet's workers, the Guildmasters, some of them the very same individuals that were cast-down by Corvus Corax and his original freedom fighters, lurked in the shadows.
Yet, they still held a measure of power, commanding the respect of sizable parts of the population as not all had suffered under their rule to the same extend as the miners on Lycaeus had. To some, the Guildmasters had brought wealth, position and even prosperity, all of which was now threatened by the Imperium. These last survivors maintained an extensive network of spies within Kiavahran society and even commanded a semblance of military might, but never truly posed a threat to the Raven Guard, or indeed, the Mechanicum. But then came the Drop Site Massacre and things quickly changed.
As the Imperium began to tear itself apart, the Tech-Guilds and their supporters conceived a far different future for their planet -- Kiavahr reconstituted to its former influence, freed from the Imperium's yoke, freed from the watchful eyes of the Raven Guard and the Mechanicum's dominion. A power to rival that of Mars, some dared to hope. It is most likely that without outside interference, the Tech-Guilds' grab for power would have failed miserably, but as it was, with two influential organisations backing the uprising -- namely, the Order of the Dragon and the Alpha Legion -- the Guilds now posed a genuine threat to the severely depleted Raven Guard.
Unknown to Corvus Corax, some of the surviviors of the Drop Site Massacre had been replaced by infiltrated Alpha Legion Astartes, including one of the XIX Legion's senior commanders. These infiltrated agents were able to coordinate with other elements hiding within Kiavahran society, be they loyal to the Alpha Legion, the Order of the Dragon or the exiled Guildmasters. This potent coalition would band together in an effort to wrestle control of Kiavahr from the Raven Guard and declare its secession form the Imperium of Mankind. Chief amongst these conspirators was none other than one of the Alpha Legion's twin-Primarchs, Omegon.
Like the Lycaeus Uprising more than a standard century before, the Traitors planned their rebellion well, the Alpha Legion being rightly feared for its acumen in covert operations. Since their fall, the Guildmasters had always maintained an extensive network of spies and informants, a network which was quickly overtaken by the Alpha Legion and extended through its own agents and of course those Legionaries in disguise within the XIX Legion.
However it quickly became evident that while the Alpha Legion had little trouble in subjugating the Tech-Guilds -- either through bribery or the simple prospect of a bountiful future under the Warmaster Horus' disinterested reign -- dealing with the Order of the Dragon was much more complicated. Several clues indicate that not even Omegon truly knew how far the Order’s influence went or what goal they truly pursued. It was then fortunate for the Alpha Legion that the Order of the Dragon had so willingly aligned its own objectives with that of Horus.
While the Alpha Legion usually do not shirk from the thankless task of information gathering and sabotage operations, on Kiavahr Omegon left those tasks mainly to his allies of the Tech-Guilds. It was clear that the Primarch would promptly sacrifice his allies to ensure that his Legion would reach its goals. From the start, the Alpha Legion had planned on betraying its allies, necessary sacrifices to ensure the Raven Guard would be looking elsewhere when the XXth Legion struck. For instance, Omegon did not hesitate to sacrifice an entire Guild purely to ensure that one of his infiltrators would gain leave from Ravendelve and would thus be able to secure the means to sabotage the precious Primarch gene-seed the Raven Guard was now using to rapidly expand their forces.
While alerting the Raven Guard to the activity of the Guilds, this action was only a minor event for what the Alpha Legion had planned next: the seizure of the Primarch gene-seed. As a diversionary measure, the Order of the Dragon would reveal its hand and try to assissinate the Mechanicum‘s most powerful representatives within their own temples. However, even the Alpha Legion was not prepared for the devastation the Order would unleash. Omegon had expected a military coup, an uprising at best, but what the Order of the Dragon delivered was a full-out civil war.
The uprising began under the roar of the Magnus Casei’s guns, the Legio Vindictus Imperator-class Titan. Unfortunately for the XIX Legion, they, or to be precise, Ravendelve, was the target of the Titan’s anger. The Raven Guard promptly responded, Ravendelve's Macrocannon defence turrets responding quickly to this new threat. However, it quickly became evident that the Magnus Casei was not the only god-engine of the Legio Vindictus to be controlled by the Order of the Dragon as no fewer than four Warhound-class Titans approached the complex, shielding an armoured column of insurrectionist forces.
Simultaneously an Alpha Legion Battle Barge, supposed to be the Beta, arrived covertly at the Starfall Docks that were controlled by the Order of the Dragon, ready to ship yet more Legiones Astartes in disguise to the surface of Kiavahr. These Astartes would then join up with those having already infiltrated the XIX Legion. These infiltrators had been tasked with securing the landing pads as to better allow the extraction of the recovery team, once they had taken possession of the Primarch gene-seed. While the Alpha Legion concentrated their attention on Ravendelve, the Order of the Dragon's main objective was the elimination of the Mechanicum Synode. In this, however, their initial attack failed miserably. With the element of surprise now lost, time began to run in the Raven Guard’s favor as the XIX Legion and their Mechanicum-allies mobilized.
Local Flora and Fauna
As a fairly terrestrial world, Kiavahr still counts numerous regions of wilderness where plant and animal life have survived the eons unharmed. Despite the continuous works of its forges, Kiavahr's atmosphere remains largely pure and breathable, the toxins in the air being filtered through Kiavahr's vast forests, which still cover the majority of the planet's surface. The mountainous terrain and high oxygen levels seem to have favoured the evolution of several hundred species of birds, ranging from well-known species such as the common Kiavahrian raven to the mighty rok which lives in the Diagothian Mountains.
With a wing-span of over four metres, the rok is a powerful raptor. A predator more than a scavenger, roks are intelligent animals, known to be able to operate in groups and even ambush those foolhardly enough to try to hunt them down. Like all raptors, roks possess sharp talons that can pierce even the Black Carapace of a full grown Astartes and a powerful beak that is rumoured to be able damage even the enhanced bones of a Space Marine. It is no surpise then that the rok is highly respected amongst the tribes of Kiavahr and indeed serves as a Raven Guard totemic animal.
Hunting a rok is a highly respected quest, for many Space Marines have perished trying to fulfill it -- but those who succeed gain a very special status amongst the Chapter as the bird's bones are then incorporated into the wearer's armour. The last Raven Guard to have achieved this feat was Chaplain Cordae who even took the rocs skull as his armour's deathmask.
Since the times of the Great Crusade, Khiavarian society has been notable for its lack of homogenity. The streets of Kiavahr are crowded with figures ranking from vat-grown slaves, half-machine Servitors and the augmetically-enhanced forms of the priesthood of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The mighty Tech-Guilds that once ruled Kiavahr still exist today, although their true power has long been subdued by the Imperium.
However the Tech-Guilds are still powerful organisations which have benefited for the last ten thousand Terran years from the protection and patronage of the Raven Guard. So far this patronage has allowed the guilds to retain some of their independence towards the intrusive nature of the Martian Mechanicus and allowed them to keep some of their greatest technological achievements for themselves.
With its extremely high pollution levels, Kiavahr also harbours a sizable population of mutants which, at least in theory, exceed the tolerance levels established by the Adeptus Ministorum, but the quality of the goods produced on Kiavahr has always spared the planet from the brutal purges this branch is rightly famed for.
- Diagothian Mountains - The Diagothian Mountains of Kiavahr are one of the many sites where the Chapter's Neophytes undergo their Aspirant Trials, also known within the Chapter as the Corvia. The Neophytes are tasked with finding the great avian birds, killing the creatures and making decorative trophies out of the birds to prove their worth to become a Space Marine.
- Nabrik - Nabrik was Kiavahr's former planetary capital, the city from which the Tech-guilds ruled before their submission to Corvus Corax and the installment of the Raven Guard as the new rulers of both Kiavahr and its moon. Nabrik is both the largest and most productive city on Kiavahr, its many forges toiling day and night to provide the Imperium and the Raven Guard with goods ranking from Bolter-shells and power-couplings to entire gunships. The former political power resided within the Wellmetal district, one of the oldest quarters of the city which consisted of important manfactoria-complexes that were both factory and palace. Much of the city has been undermined, offering countless hiding places to the last scions of the Tech-guilds, tech-heretics and mutants that hide in the deep vaults and abandoned cellars of Nabrik. Most notoriously, one of the twin-Primarchs of the Alpha Legion, Omegon, would hide within these cellars and tunnels during the infiltration of the Raven Guard Legion during the dark days of the Horus Heresy.
- The rad-wastes - During the Lycaeus Uprising, Corvus Corax ordered his freedom fighters to use the atomic mining charges as improvised bombs, which he subsequently used to bombard Kiavahr. The atomic fire unleashed by this bombardment burnt for almost a century, a daily reminder to the world not to defy their new master. When the fires mostly died down, they left gigantic bowls of glass-fused rock and heavily polluted ruins and rust-plains. One of the first bombs to fall had been aimed at Nairhub where the orbital elevator's twisted stump still accusingly points at Deliverance. The rad-wastes are a broken landscape with ruined buildings, rad-lakes and sluggish river, illuminated by still-roaring fires where the nuclear blast had ignited gas or fuel mains. Closer to the blast, nothing remained and the soil which is covered in heavily contaminated rust-dust that Kivahr's dominant winds mould into ferocious sandstorms. It is a landscape profoundly inimical to life, but yet some chose to live there: the outcasts, the mutants, the heretics and those that still seek to bring about the return of the Tech-guilds, all those forced to hide from the gaze of the Imperium and its allies. In 10,000 years, little has changed as the Raven Guard always have more pressing matters at hand than purging these wastes and the Adeptus Mechanicus has equally shown little to no interest to reclaim the lost and forgotten technology which might still rest in within the heavily polluted wastelands.
- Ravendelve - Continuously bathed in the noxious fog of rad-wastes, a single three-storeyed building stood out, defended by armoured towers and lascannon batteries but otherwise unremarkable. The slab-sided building was named Ravendelve and was one of the Raven Guard Legion’s training facilities. What made Ravendelve so valuable was its location, deep within the enormously dangerous and inhabitable rad-wastes. During the Great Crusade, Ravendelve’s primary utility was as a training ground, where Raven Guard Legionaries and aspirants both learned to cope with the harsh environment of a nuclear wasteland. Its isolation would later lead the Primarch Corax to select it to harbour his most secret endeavour: the accelerated rebuilding of the XIXth Legion following the crippling losses sustained during the Dropsite Massacre. Most of the complex was subterranean, and the parts which were not were well-defended and located in the most inhospitable region of the planet - isolated and secure - this must have been how Ravendelve had seemed to the Ravenlord, and yet, by a cruel twist of fate Ravendelve would become one of the Raven Guard’s most humbling defeats.
- Imperial Armour Volume Eight - Raid on Kastorel-Novem, pg. 104
- The Horus Heresy - Book Three: Extermination (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 133-134, 136, 151-153, 282
- White Dwarf 276 (UK), "Index Astartes: First Founding Chapters - Raven Guard Space Marine Legion," by Graham McNeill & Erick Kilmer, pp. 96, 100
- Deliverance Lost (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
- Prey (Short Story) by George Mann