"These worlds were entrusted to us by the Omnissiah -- the Machine God's breath is in every gravitic ebb and flow. It is the will of the Omnissiah that we continue the Quest for Knowledge through all travails and all tragedies; the Calixis Sector is the Machine God testing us, my brethren, and we shall not be found wanting."
- — High-Fabricator Castellar
A trio of quasi-worlds at the hem of the Malfian Sub-sector, the Lathe Worlds are the foremost Forge Worlds of the Calixis Sector, rivalling Scintilla’s Gunmetal City for weapons manufacture. The three terraformed planetoids, Het, Hesh and Hadd, enjoy an irregular orbit around their star, intersecting to produce events of hyper-gravity. At such times, industry goes into frantic production, as the commingled gravitational urges of the passing planetoids allow for the specialist smelting of rare metals and alloys. Lathe-world blades are famed throughout the Calixis Sector for their unbreakable character. Gravitational duress also accounts for the dense, armor-piercing quality of Lathe-world ammunition. These so-called “body-blowers” are expensive and rare, and often purchased singly. The damage they can do to flesh is astonishing. Blades produced under gravitic circumstances on the Lathes are considered holy and special. Lord Marius Hax owns a rapier of Lathe origin, presented to him by Magus Luol Rho, the Lathe-world emissary to the court of Scintilla. It is rumoured that King Skull’s sword is also an unbreakable tongue of Lathe-world manufacture.
The workforce of the Lathes is surprisingly small but all those born and bred on those oddly tangled planetoids are meaty, squat and powerful in their demeanour, and built with heavy bones and mounds of flesh. As with all Forge Worlds held under the fealty of the Mechanicus of Mars, the Lathes are a secretive, closed environment. Visits require special permits and authority, and the Lathes are protected by a fraternity of warrior Tech-priests, who can call upon the power of Titans if the circumstances demand.
Most agencies of the Imperium in the Calixis Sector view the Adeptus Mechanicus as a singular, monolithic organization that thinks and acts with one logical mind, each Tech-Priest moving in lockstep with the others towards the inscrutable goals set down by the Cult of the Machine God. However, the truth is something more complex. In the Calixis Sector, the Adeptus Mechanicus has many internecine challenges of its own. Over the centuries since the Sector’s founding, the Calixian Mechanicus has been riven by factionalism and rarely has been truly united. It is said that even the machine altars of the Calixis forge worlds conspire and whisper with secrets amongst the formulae and schematics normally transmitted from one to the other.
Despite these difficulties, the Adeptus Mechanicus is nevertheless firmly entrenched in the Calixis Sector, a vital part of the operations of nearly every planet, and a distinct, significant power of its own that commands respect. This is due in no small part to the strong leadership that has guided the Calixian Mechanicus over a millennia, centred around the influential and tradition-bound Forge Masters of the Lathe Worlds.
"Like three glowing jewels within the crown of the Mechanicus are the Lathes. Their power is manifest, their importance is paramount, and their logical attraction beyond compare. Without these worlds the Calixis Sector would not exist, and without them it could not continue to exist today."
- — Fabricator-General Castellar at the Convocation of the 2431st Conclave of the Lathe-Covenant
As the Angevin Crusade ground on into its fourth standard decade, the Imperial forces pushing towards the planet Orendal through the Adrantis region met with greater and greater resistance, contending with more and more severe Warp storms and incurring staggering losses. Essential to those victories that were achieved were the Explorator fleets of the Adeptus Mechanicus, bravely providing reconnaissance and resupply services across all fronts. As the situation within the Calyx Expanse grew more and more grim, supply and support challenges for the forces of the Imperium were mounting. Mechanicus legends speak of the saviours of the crusade, the sudden appearance of a massive Adeptus Mechanicus fleet, complete with ancient Latheclass Fabricator vessels and full deca-legions of Skitarii. Supported with no less than a demi-legio of medium and light Titans to bolster the war machines of the Legio Venator already present, these forces proved indispensable for the final push to meet Lord Militant Angevin and his forces at Orendal.
Arch-Magos Mat Aleph Xenon, commanding the enormous might of the reinforced fleets and armies of the Adeptus Mechanicus, requested as reward for his efforts the stewardship of a small system, Pondus Impare, just inside the borders of the Imperial stronghold of the Golgenna Reach. The erratic orbits of its planets and the strange behaviour of gravity within the system rendered it nearly useless to most colonisation or mining plans. However, situated as it was in the borderlands between the pacified Imperial regions and the half-tamed expanse of Adrantis, and given the role of the requester himself, the Lord Militant did not hesitate to grant this request.
Having a massive friendly force garrisoning a system so close to the embattled frontier was ideal for the Imperial generals. The Lord Militant himself, sorely grieved with the terrible losses suffered in the latest push, had withdrawn from all command decisions, leaving his forces in disarray and confusion. General Drusus, rising to command the Crusade, maintained a strong relationship with Xenon, and the forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus continued to serve reliably throughout the remaining phases of the war. During the remainder of the Crusade three massive Fabricator ships landed on the three primary planets of the Pondus system, and began to churn out infrastructure needed to supply the material needs of the crusade through the final stages. The needs of the forces tasked with the pacification and policing of an entire fledgling Sector were vast, and only fully developed forge worlds would be able to meet the growing and desperate demand.
In less than two decades, the unceasing efforts of the Fabricator ships had laid the foundations for three independent forge worlds: Het, Hesh, and Hadd, named after the ancient ships now permanently residing on each world. With single-minded purpose, their inhabitants bent their every fibre towards the production of weapons, vehicles, and ammunition to feed the ravenous beast that was the Imperial war machine. Enormous autofactories stripped the planet surfaces for raw materials, crawling their slow, implacable way across the planets, leaving nothing but dry, ruined desolation in their wakes. Imperial soldiers and naval personnel, manning the vast cargo ships sent to collect the equipment and ship it to the front lines, could only stare in awe at the incredible changes being wrought upon the planets in such a short time. Upon seeing the vast canyon systems the criss-crossing pattern of the autofactories had knurled into the surface of the planets, many commented that they appeared to have indeed been turned on a lathe.
Arch-Magos Xenon referred to his new domain as “The System where the Lathes Dwell,” to honour the venerated machine-spirits bound within the ancient and powerful artefacts, but this proved to be cumbersome for official documentation. Soon the name was shortened to “The System of the Lathes,” and then simply “The Lathes System” towards the end of the Angevin Crusade. However, the tendency of Imperial personnel to refer to the planets, rather than the system, caused it to appear as the Lathes on most star charts. Over the course of the intervening centuries, even the Adeptus Mechanicus itself has come to refer to its domains across the entire Calixis Sector as the Lathe Worlds.
Exodus of Steel
Over the next thousand years the Adeptus Mechanicus consolidated its power over the Lathes and their surrounding system. Factories, orbital assets, and research stations spread throughout the system, taking advantage of the opportunities the various anomalies and variances existing within the system offered. The density of forge worlds alone was enough to set the Lathes apart. Controlling a system so rich in strange phenomena and material resources, with the full power of three ancient Fabricator ships at their immediate disposal, was nearly unprecedented in Mechanicus history, and much was made of the opportunity. Entire research groups were transferred from Mars and other outlying facilities to these fresh new holdings in the fledgling Sector.
One of the central aspects of the system that lured Mechanicus researchers were the three major asteroid belts, all situated at curious angles to the ecliptic plane, intersecting at various turbulent points. It was clear from the structure and composition of the three belts that they did not share a common origin, and thus each offered its own potential. In addition, in those regions where two, or even all three, belts converged, an extremely rare array of conditions held sway. Researchers from Mars and beyond were eager to come to the system to pursue lines of inquiry as varied as gravimancy, cryomantic mining, and kinetic discordance. Most prominent among the system’s many fascinating properties, however, were the tearing gravity storms and horrific pressure shears that had rendered the system all but useless to other servants of the Imperium. Vast cities in space were erected solely to observe these phenomena, poring over probable causes and effects, and into possible applications for any powers thus discovered. Arch-Magos expert in transportation, Warp technologies, communications, and weapons theory descended upon the system, swelling the ranks of the Adeptus Mechanicus within the Lathes.
In order to feed the countless millions now labouring throughout the system, enormous food manufactories and agrology platforms were constructed under the auspices of the Rustica Mandate. These vast complexes were established throughout the system to provide sustenance to all those servants of the Omnissiah who still required such basic needs. The stations were carefully placed throughout the region, so as to maximise the logistical impact of each station and its production. Empty and remote regions often existed amidst the research stations, weapons platforms, and agrology domes that sprang up across the system, the very gravitic anomalies that made the system so fascinating often causing these isolations. Many of these regions provided ideal storage locations and study facilities for captured crafts, exotic xenos vessels, space hulks of various provenances, and more, that had been brought to the Lathes for innumerable other reasons. The offices of Lord Inquisitor Caidin and his predecessors have filed many complaints and demands for information and even for the outright surrender of several specimens. There are no records of any such demands being approved, due in large part to the sovereignty of the Adeptus Mechanicus, especially within their own domain.
To ensure the security of the many assets that have since been brought under the protection of the Lathes, many Omni- Vigilens and Indoctrination Bases have been established throughout the system for the Crimson Guard and their Titan allies, the Legio Venator. Although the greatest presence of both the Crimson Guard and the Legio Venator is to be found in Adeptus Mechanicus holdings outside the Lathes System, both entities maintain strong forces within the system, including the Legio Venator fortress world of Lycosidae, and even the Panopticon Orbital Station. The Mechanicus know that should the Lathes fall, their own power within Calixis would soon fall with them.
Path of the Lathes
The birth of the Lathe Worlds began with the birth of the Calixis Sector itself, during the Angevin Crusade. A memorable amalgamation of brilliant victory and tragic setback, the Crusade set out in the fourth century of the 39th Millennium to conquer the region then known as the Calyx Expanse. Praetor Golgenna Angevin was placed at the head of this grand military force consisting of millions of loyal Imperial souls, and directed his efforts to cleanse the Calyx Expanse from debased human cultures and several minor xenos cultures that opposed the Emperor’s glory. Angevin’s remit was to purge the Expanse of these obstacles to pave the way for Imperial colonisation. Naturally, such a prospect intrigued the Tech-Priesthood of Mars, and a sizable contingent of Adeptus Mechanicus forces accompanied the Crusade.
Lathe Worlds Timeline
- The Angevin Crusade (322.M39) - Lord Militant Angevin’s grand strategy included a sweep through the Calyx Expanse on two fronts, pushing the enemies of the Emperor who chose flight over destruction before him, and then trapping them all together in the Adrantis Region. Here, the full power of the Crusade would come crashing down in one masterstroke. Ahead of the forces of the Lord Militant raced a score of ships, such as Rogue Traders vessels and the Explorator fleets of the Adeptus Mechanicus. These ships helped identify potential targets and scouted enemy strongholds for the more powerful naval units arriving in their wake. At the sharp end of Angevin’s thrust into the Calyx Expanse, these Rogue Trader and Explorator fleets saw furious action on a regular basis. Acts of heroism and sacrifice were common, and on many occasions, the Lord Militant acknowledged that his decisive successes would have been impossible without the services and sacrifices of these irregular forces. The glory the Explorator Fleets gained in these actions helped set the Adeptus Mechanicus a position of honour in the Calixis Sector for centuries to come.
- Conquering Adrantis (359-369.M39) - The first actions of the Crusade proceeded exactly as planned by the Lord Militant, and the greater part of the Calyx Expanse had been brought under the control of the Imperium in a few short decades. Unfortunately, after the enormous successes of these early phases, the commanders in charge of the final push into the Adrantis region failed to make allowances for the desperation of foes pushed to the very edge of extinction. The Crusade’s offensive ground to a bloody halt, and Imperial forces suffered far more grievous losses in four years than had been inflicted during the first two decades of the Crusade’s advance. These losses were so devastating that the Lord Militant was obliged to order his forces to regroup in defensive positions within the Golgenna Reach. Shaken by the defeat, Lord Militant Angevin abdicated command of the Crusade to a council of his generals as he himself went into seclusion to mourn. Lacking coherent leadership, the council of generals began to quarrel over the authority that the Lord Militant set aside. The Adeptus Mechanicus forces accompanying the Crusade considered their agreements to lie with the Lord Militant, and held themselves apart from these squabbles for power. The situation worsened as the enemies of Mankind began to exploit areas thought safely subdued; ravaging warbands of Orks, the Warp-worshipping Yu’vath race, and a mysterious group of shadowy, xenos pirate raiders were amongst the greatest of these opportunistic enemies that threatened the Crusade’s flanks. When it seemed that the Crusade was on the verge of losing all the territory gained by Lord Militant Angevin, command of the main Crusade was seized by Lord General Drusus. A leading personality amongst the followers of the Lord Militant, Drusus was a popular and gifted commander, and he organised a daring series of counter-attacks that pushed the enemy forces back long enough for the Crusade to gather its considerable strength. Drusus’ strength of character was apparent to the Adeptus Mechanicus forces, and they swiftly agreed to lend their forces to his command. Once more, the Rogue Trader dynasties and the Explorator fleets of the Mechanicus led the way for the redeployment and reinforcement of the Crusade’s offensives.
- Dawn of the Lathe Worlds (380.M39) - The Adrantis region was finally subdued through great acts of valour and much struggle. The victory could not have been assured without the assistance of the Adeptus Mechanicus. A major force under the leadership of Arch-Magos Mat Aleph Xenon turned the tide, and in gratitude, High General Drusus signed a pact with the Adeptus Mechanicus ceding control of several worlds in the Sector to the Tech-Priesthood of Mars. These worlds included Hadd, Het, and Hesh, a trio of worlds that were declared unsuitable for other Imperial agencies due to the unusual gravimetric effects of the system upon all three planets. The effort of transforming the Lathe Worlds into their present forge world status was the work of many centuries. Layer by layer, building by building, the planets evolved. The bones of infrastructure were joined by a viscera of pipelines, tram-tracks, and transportation tunnels. Soaring into the atmosphere rose the towering structures of the Adeptus Mechanicus, its cogwheeled iconography glaring down from scaffold-enshrouded factories, research facilities, and transmat altars alike. As the Lathe Worlds and their system developed, so too did the Mechanicus holdings throughout the newborn Calixis Sector.
- The Praecursator Aftermath (580.M39) - Two centuries after the establishment of the Lathe Worlds, the system was only partially tamed and the far-flung holdings of the Adeptus Mechanicus were still in the turbulent process of consolidation. It was then that the fledging Calixis Sector was thrown into violent disarray. A conspiracy soon emerged that reached tendrils into many different power bases, from the Governor’s Council to the Imperial Guard. Even the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Inquisition were not spared. The ultimate goal of the conspiracy was never revealed (although it is rumoured that entire data-vaults in the Tricorn contain detailed theories and evidence), but what is known is that the conspiracy centred around a group of agents known only as the Praecursators. According to official reports, no upper level members of the conspiracy were captured alive. Agents of the Praecursators had infiltrated their target organisations at the highest levels, which meant that rooting out the conspiracy was extremely difficult, even after the agents were discovered. An uneasy alliance of mid-level Administratum functionaries, Adepts, and specialists from the various infiltrated groups was formed and tasked with tracking down the Praecursators, isolating them from their power base, and then taking them into custody. The Adeptus Mechanicus was essential to this effort, providing transportation, cogitator support, data-sifting, and tailored meme-viruses to help root out the Praecursators. Ultimately, the Tech-Priests of the Lathes concluded that a rogue Inquisitor Lord was at the heart of the conspiracy, although much suspicion was also cast upon sects of the Mechanicum as well, due to the heretical tech-rituals the Praecursators’ activities displayed. The Praecursators had gone to great lengths to isolate the command structures of the Sector governance from several key Mechanicus facilities. Theories amongst the Lathes suspect that the conspirators were attempting to preserve these facilities for general use by Calixian citizens. This populist element of the conspiracy was particularly abhorrent to all of the affected organisations. In the years following the unravelling of the conspiracy, the Fabricators of the Lathe Worlds bent every effort to lessen the strength of the Inquisition, within the Calixis Sector in generaland over the holdings of the Mechanicus in particular. A great deal of infighting arose from the collapse of the Praecursator plot, and the Arch-Magos of the Lathe-Covenant demanded that the Sector Governor cede control of the planet Synford. Since then, Synford has become the primary producer of Baneblade super-heavy tanks for the Sector. Despite the ancient nature of the plot, there is still lingering ill will among some members of the Inquisition who trace their ideological roots back to the lords and masters of that earlier time. Some Inquisitors still hold suspicions that the entire plot originated in the Lathe Worlds, in an effort to consolidate and expand their control within the Calixis Sector. Centuries after the end of the conspiracy, reports from the Inquisition claimed that the Praecursators eventually evolved into a particular cult of tech-heresy known as the Logicians.
- The War of Brass (738-740.M40) - Over a thousand years after the initial founding of the Lathe Covenant, the hive worlds of the Gelmiro Cluster fell into apostasy. Their leader in this descent into heresy was a charismatic ruler who called himself the Emperor of Brass. This mysterious figure led his followers into the foul worship of the Ruinous Powers. Loyal to the Emperor of Brass, frenzied fanatics from the wealthy and powerful worlds of the Gelmiro Cluster murdered every functionary of the Adeptus Administratum, ritually desecrating the bodies of the fallen. Significant portions of the affected planetary populations accompanied their new overlords into treachery beyond redemption. Dissatisfied with holding the powerful worlds of the Gelmiro Cluster in his augmented fist, the Emperor of Brass sponsored bloody uprisings on several other nearby worlds. Soon after, a full-scale rebellion threatened the wider Calixis Sector. The death toll continued to rise as he publicly tortured and executed loyal Imperial servants and citizens. The Sector Governor was forced to call upon all available forces to stem the bloody tide. From across the Calixis Sector and beyond, loyal units converged upon the Gelmiro Cluster. These Imperial forces first pushed through the neighbouring regions, and crushed the nascent rebellions there with heartless efficiency. Amongst these forces that rose to answer the Governor’s call were several battle Titans of the Legio Venator, and an entire Explorator fleet with support from the mysterious Ordo Reductor. The campaign against the Emperor of Brass and his burgeoning rebellion, known as the War of Brass, lasted just over three years, but even in that short time the fighting proved especially vicious. In the end, several companies of Space Marines were needed to reduce the final hives to rubble. In the final, desperate battles at the heart of the Gelmiro Cluster, several records were discovered hinting that support and reinforcement had been supplied directly from the Eye of Terror itself, linking the Emperor of Brass to far more dangerous threats. At the end of the conflict, the once-rich worlds of the Gelmiro Cluster had been reduced to smoking remnants of ruin and shame. Many planetary populations had become nothing more than scav-mutants, doomed to wander across the devastated wastes, surviving off the rotting remains of their once-great civilisations. The Imperial agencies of the Calixis Sector avoid the haunted worlds of the Cluster, now classified as war worlds, to this day.
- The Iron Wall of Silence Descends (740.M40) - The Calixian Mechanicus forces suffered staggering losses during the War of Brass. In the end, the battlefields of the Gelmiro Cluster were strewn with countless corpses of Skitarii and the scattered remains of many more combat servitors. Indeed, so high was the cost that the High Fabricator of the Lathes, Arch- Magos Kovikal Quietus, declared the imposition of the “The Iron Wall of Silence,” a steadfast rule of segregation from all other groups within the Calixis Sector. From that point onwards, any cooperation, beyond minimal requirements of existing pacts, were strictly forbidden in an effort to preserve the Calixian Mechanicus forces and allow for a period of rebuilding.
- The Meritech Wars (211-226.M41) - Roughly five centuries after the final collapse of the Emperor of Brass and the scouring of the Gelmiro Cluster, a far more insidious danger arose from the Merates Clans. Rebelling against the Imperium of Mankind, the Clans drew many renegades and other malcontents to their cause. They declared independence from the Imperium, and began a systemic series of raids and heavier incursions into surrounding Imperial space, threatening both the Calixis and Ixaniad Sectors. At the height of the conflict, the very survival of both sectors was thrown into doubt as the seeds of rebellion and anarchy were sown far and wide by the forces of the Merates Clans. Such confusion and violent resentment was unleashed throughout the regions afflicted by the Clans that civil war threatened to soak both sectors in blood. Production across the affected regions ground to a halt, as those who were not dragged into the conflict withdrew to defend their holdings and hope for intervention. Trust was an impossible hope in the wake of the Clans’ attacks, as entire populations that had seemed docile and loyal for generations rose up to support the rebels. When all appeared lost to those loyal few who remained within the beleaguered systems, the leadership of nowlegendary Calixis Sector Governor Myram Harvala surged to the rescue. A coalition of forces brought together from across the Calixis and Ixaniad Sectors swept into the advancing rebels along multiple fronts, crushing their forces and knocking their reserves back into the Merates Cluster. Imperial Guard, Imperial Navy, Adeptus Astartes, and Inquisition forces ground the opposition to tatters as they pushed them deeper and deeper into the heart of the now defunct rebellion. With victory all but assured, the High Fabricator of the Lathes, Forge Master Kovikal Quietus, sent three full Explorator fleets directly from the Lathe System. The centuries-old Iron Wall of Silence was finally broken, without prior notification or coordination. The Explorator fleets, with support from the Legio Venator, were at the forefront of the purification of the Merates Cluster. From that point on, there was no mercy and no quarter. Entire worlds were cleansed with weapons of such enormous destructive power that many of the planets were shattered into asteroids. By the time the forces of the Imperium and the Mechanicus were finished sweeping through the Merates Cluster, not a planet remained that had not been scoured of all life. A thorough Inquisitorial investigation was conducted after Sector Governor Harvala declared the rebellion at an end. While laudable, the brutal zeal with which the forces of the Imperium, and the Adeptus Mechanicus in particular, had conducted the final phases of the counter-attack, had left not a single witness or prisoner to be questioned or paraded before the victorious processions along the avenues of Scintilla. Even those prisoners who had been taken prior to the arrival of the Mechanicum’s elite Crimson Guard were eventually lost to a rash of unusual malfunctions and sudden, mysterious deaths. The Inquisitors exhausted all possible avenues of inquest, and soon followed whispered rumours of the Logician Tech-Heresy to the very doorstep of the Lathe System itself. However, rather than cooperate with the forces of the Governor, Fabricator Davos Phar responded with a brittle show of icy indifference, imperiously dismissive of the envoys’ requests, and accused the Inquisitors, their masters, and the very Sector Governor himself of blatant disrespect and towering hubris. Referring to them as “the miserable curs of a thankless master”, the Fabricator ordered the frontiers of the Lathe System and all other Adeptus Mechanicus holdings in the Calixis Sector closed, and all the force at the Fabricator’s disposal was bent to keep outsiders from penetrating the sovereign territory of the Omnissiah. The ancient Iron Wall of Silence was re-instituted, and stood again unbroken for over five hundred years with brief exceptions, until the Malygrisian Tech-Heresy erupted across the Calixis Sector, forcing the Adeptus Mechanicus once again into the affairs of the Sector at large.
- The Second Siege of Vaxanide (507.M41) - Three centuries passed after the conclusion of the Meritech Wars and the re-establishment of the Iron Wall of Silence before the forces of the Lathes once again ventured forth, answering the call of the Sector Governor to stop the incursion of the Ork-infested space hulk Pinnacle of Savagery. Ninety years earlier, a similar attack had cost the system greatly, and the lack of response from the Lathes lessened their standings amongst the notable rulers of the Sector. In response to this fall from grace, and its attendant loss in trading status and support, the Calixian Mechanicus sent out two full Explorator fleets to assist Battlefleet Calixis in facing the Ork menace. The Pinnacle of Savagery and its supporting fleet were met at the edge of the Vaxanide system. A dramatic battle ensued as the massive space hulk pushed deeper and deeper into the system towards planets that still bore the scars from the earlier Ork assault. The loyal ships of the Battlefleet Calixis Squadrons peeled away attending Ork vessels from the enormous space hulk and defeated them in detail. Meanwhile, the brutal weapons of the Ordo Reductor and the Explorator fleets pounded into the space hulk itself, ultimately shattering the vessel’s spine and spilling its vile contents into the void. The danger to the system was not yet halted, however, as the significant chunks of the space hulk continued to hurtle through space towards the vulnerable planet. Again the Adeptus Mechanicus moved to intervene, putting lives and ships at great risk to slow the wreckage down, and ultimately bring it to a halt. However, when the ranking admiral of the Battlefleet suggested that any intact wreckage be destroyed, Arch-Magos Haverill Gemm, commander of the Mechanicus forces, denied the request, and the remains were claimed for the Lathe Worlds as recompense. With no further consultation of the Imperial Navy, the Explorator fleets secured several ships to each chunk of wreckage, fired their engines, and brought the largest sections back to the Lathe System for reasons unknown. The Imperial Navy, concerned that xenos hostiles might still pose a threat, lodged several complaints against this action, to no avail. The disposition of any salvage from the Pinnacle of Savagery was never released, and its present location is listed as “unknown” in all Administratum sources. Though ancient treaties grant the Mechanicum rights to new technological discoveries, claiming the hulk while it still was categorised as a threat was singularly uncommon in the Sector. Many amongst the Inquisition and Imperial Navy suspect that the Calixian Mechanicus had planned all along to secure the space hulk’s secrets for themselves.
- The Malygrisian Tech-Heresy (742-770.M41) - In the middle of the seventh century of M41, the insular and isolationist Calixian Mechanicus was again thrust into the spotlight when one of their own turned violently, irrevocably renegade and dragged the Lathe Worlds into a sector-wide path of carnage. Explorator Arch-Magos Umbra Malygris was a militant renowned for his dedication to the destructive potential of technology. Malygris devoted decades to studying the weapons and munitions of bygone eras, poring for years over ancient tomes and datastacks of ancient and suspect provenance. A devotee of the Divine Light of Sollex, the Arch-Magos attracted many of the most gifted weaponsmiths and researchers under the aegis of his organisation. Leery of the growing popularity of the militant adept, High Fabricator Castellar moved to sanction Malygris and attempted to break up the cabal he had surrounded himself with, fearing a recurrence of the False Fabricator affair several decades earlier. However, Malygris refused to relinquish any of his power, and declared Castellar as nothing more than an “ineffectual bureaucrat.” Thus, the stage was set for a massive conflict that would reach across the breadth of the Calixian Mechanicus. Castellar attempted to use the Forge Guard to force compliance upon the errant Arch-Magos. However, bizarre system failures and binary invert-afflictions—themselves creations of the inventive and insane mind of Malygris— rendered even the vaunted and mighty Forge Guard ineffectual. Warned of the imminent attack, Malygris fled the Lathe System with a fully provisioned Explorator fleet containing vast amounts of research, ancient weapons, and blasphemous examples of his own tech-craft. A surprising number of Tech-Adepts rose up in support of Malygris, swayed by his charismatic data-cants and heretical approach to advancing technology. As a result, many of the ongoing works of the Calixian Mechanicus became abandoned, threatening a full dogmatic schism within the Lathe Worlds and the far-flung holdings of the Omnissiah’s Cult. Aware of the danger posed to the entire Calixis Sector by the renegade Arch-Magos and his deluded followers, the High Fabricator formally declared Malygris and all who obeyed him as Apostate in the eyes of the Omnissiah. Next, Castellar contacted Lord Sector Marius Hax upon Scintilla, and requested assistance. This unprecedented outreach from the formerly isolationist Mechanicus quickly drew Hax’s attention to Malygris’ threat. Convinced of the seriousness of the situation, Hax used his influence to dispatch several major concentrations of Battlefleet Calixis to assist in the search for the missing Explorator fleet. No less than five full battle groups of ships, comprising both loyalist Explorator vessels and detachments of the Imperial Navy, formed the pursuit of the heretical Arch-Magos. Malygris and his followers fled to the furthest reaches of the Sector, always managing to stay at least one step ahead of his pursuers. Along the way, Malygris tested his research and weapons systems in a series of attacks that laid waste to several planets in his path rimwards towards the Halo Stars. Malygris and his followers subjected Xeiros Prime, Loss, and world-designate MMX215 to terrifying experiments. Orbital apostasic arrays drove entire planets into raving insanity. Bio-forged horrors stalked formerly-bountiful wastelands, transgenic atrocities ravaged entire cities, and enormous gene-lathes processed entire populations into ulcerous, writhing seas of living tissue. The renegade Arch-Magos’ pattern was broken when his fleet arrived at Synford II. Many of his materials exhausted, Malygris turned to raiding Mechanicus facilities to acquire the technology and resources he needed to continue his mad schemes. The raids were indiscriminate and widespread, and it was the Synford system that suffered Malygris’ attentions the most—after scouring Synford II down to bare rock for raw materials, the renegade’s fleet bombarded the planet to destruction, leaving only a shattered husk in their wake. However, the Calixian Mechanicus and Battlefleet detachments had tightened the noose. Malygris was cornered at the edge of the Synford system, caught between the advancing Mechanicus Explorator fleets and the flanking Imperial Navy detachments. At the forefront of the assault was High Fabricator Castellar’s flagship, Iron Promise. One of the Adeptus Mechanicus’ few true battleships, Iron Promise was a heavy combat vessel bearing a proud and long lineage. Malygris’ fleet opened fire, attempting to overwhelm Iron Promise with a storm of macrocannon batteries and lance weapons. However, Castellar’s vessel had been retrofitted with several unusual devices of war from the High Fabricator’s personal vaults, and it was the blessings of these modifications that granted the mighty ship a chance to survive the attack. Void shields shorted out one after the other, and the massive vessel trembled under repeated hammer blows of nova cannon fire. Reeling in flames, with several decks exposed to the void, the ship seemed nearly crippled, but Iron Promise had finally reached optimal range for its killing blow. The jutting prow split like a blossoming flower and gaped wide, exposing an enormous weapon that rapidly gathered corposant energy from the system’s sun. In moments, Iron Promise struck back with one final, searing blast of unspeakable power and blinding light. The weapon’s scything beam engulfed the enemy fleet and shattered all but the largest ships in one blow. The battle did not last much longer, as the Imperial Navy and the Mechanicus fleets ruthlessly destroyed any surviving enemy ships—including any intact pieces of debris large enough to support survivors. With a curt message of gratitude to the Imperial Navy, Castellar and his forces turned about and headed for their home port in the Lathe System. Whilst Malygris and his followers had been decisively dealt with in the Synford system, extensive purges of sympathisers and secret partisans of the renegade Arch-Magos shook the Calixian Mechanicus for years afterwards. The Divine Light of Sollex sect was severely scrutinised, with many suspect Tech- Adepts quietly replaced and sent back to the Lathes for reindoctrination. The taint brought through Malygris’ actions kindled a distrust of the more militant groups of the Calixian Mechanicus that exists to this day. Many fear that the tech-heresies of Umbra Malygris most likely live on, hidden in secret laboratories and locked away in dark stasis chambers throughout the Malfian sub-sector.
Dominions of the Lathe
"The Imperium is a vast and divine machine, with each cog, wheel, belt, and pin serving all the others in a complex and sanctified pavane of advantage and support. Today, we usher in a new era of cooperation and prosperity for all within the domains and demesnes of this newly established Calixis Sector, as we cede these worlds to our brothers of the Adeptus Mechanicus, to hold and bend to their will in perpetuity, to the betterment of all."
- — Imperial Governor Drusus addressing the first Cynod of the Lathes
Found near the centre of the Sector, along the border of the Golgenna Reach and the Drusus Marches, is an entire system the Adeptus Mechanicus dominate and rule: the Lathes. Its three main planets, ceded to the Adeptus Mechanicus during the final stages of the Angevin Crusade and since transformed into massive forge worlds in their own right, have been vigourous furnaces of production and research at the core of the Sector for over two thousand years.
Since their founding, the Mechanicum of the Lathes have converted nearly every object in the system to the purposes of the Machine God. They have occupied almost every stable anchor point in the system with research stations, agrodomes, and Skitarii garrison bases. Reaching out from the central system, the Magos of the Lathes have stretched their power and influence across the Sector using all manner of coercion and manipulation. From the Lords Dragon conducting their diligent interrogations on the prison planet of Sheol-17 to the Magos Biologis of the Hippocrasian Agglomeration labouring over the churned devastation of Morwen VI, the Adeptus Mechanicus has spread throughout Calixis, and the Arch- Magos of the Lathe-Covenant drive to maintain firm control over their far-flung holdings. These Lathe Worlds, the common title given to the various stations, planets, and systems the Adeptus Mechanicus of the Lathes claim rule over, represent an enormous power within the Calixis Sector.
Unfortunately for the Arch-Magos of the Covenant, controlling the ambition and thirst for knowledge of countless adepts, scattered widely over the vastness of the Sector, is nearly impossible. Factions and sects vie for control of their own individual fiefdoms, secret research cabals operate with furtive aims, and forbidden experiments occur wherever the endless desire for knowledge overrides control or sanity. Added to this litany of difficulties are the caprices of Astropathic communication and the insurmountable vagaries of Warp travel, as countless stellar phenomena and other, stranger anomalies wreak havoc with all attempts at interstellar command, often rendering even the most careful and diligent leadership efforts completely fruitless. Entire tech-heresies might rise, Explorator ships become lost in their travels and forgotten, and research outposts fall to disuse and decay, and worse, as the Lathes strive in this impossible task.
"There are no greater treasures in the Calixis Sector than the Lathes. Without the power and production of the Lathes, the Sector would never have been conquered. Without the wisdom and the guidance of the Lathes, the Sector could never have been held. Only a fool would deny the eminence of the Omnissiah in the Order of the Sector."
- — Omniprophet Alea Jhet addressing the Civil Council on Scintilla
The spiritual core of the Lathes System, and, in fact, all the Mechanicus Calixis, are the three forge worlds built upon the bones of ancient Fabricator ships landed thousands of years ago. Now consisting of layer after layer of construction and infrastructure, the original topography of each planet is hopelessly buried to time. Wreathed in the noxious fumes of a thousand thousand factories, unaugmented humans are barely capable of surviving upon their surfaces, but the servants of the Machine God toil ceaselessly for the Glory of the Omnissiah and the Lathes, and anything else is triviality to be ignored.
First of Equals, Lathe-Het is the home of the Lathe-Covenant’s Nidus Omega, the massive structure that houses the ruling councils of the Mechanicus Calixis. Lathe-Het was the first world in the system to receive its massive Fabricator ship during the Angevin Crusade and thus the first to be fully developed into a forge world, rising to prominence over the first thousand years of consolidation within the System. Most of its manufactories have since been moved off planet, however, into orbital stations and other holdings across the system. Forge Master Samekh on Lathe-Hesh eagerly claimed the last major production facilities to be removed, those assembling the enormous Valdor Tank Hunters and mounting their priceless main weapons. The planet is now almost totally given over to data-vaults, Ludus TechnoMats, and Scriptoriums, as well as the mechanics of governance for the Lathe Worlds. In addition, vast data-vaults store enormous amounts of information, collected over millennia, which the adepts of Lathe-Het hoard as a further source of power and influence. Most Explorator fleets operating under the aegis of the Lathe Worlds are also coordinated, resupplied, and supported through the tireless efforts of the adepts and minions of Lathe-Het.
Lathe-Het is referred to as the First of Equals, home of the Lathe-Covenant’s Nidus Omega, from which the adepts who rule over the Adeptus Mechanicus’ vast holdings conduct their daily business and management. The Nidus Omega is a huge hall deep within the core of Lathe-Het, constructed far beneath the first ancient Fabricator ship. Countless offices, lecture halls, generatoria, assembly vaults, and data repositories fill this cold warren of steel and stone. At the centre of the Nidus sits the Grand Atrium of the Lathes, a vast assembly hall where the official work of governing the Lathe Worlds is conducted. An enormous bowl of a room, the Grand Atrium contains enough seating, both public and private, to accommodate every adept of the rank of Magos or higher within the system and all of its far-flung holdings. Only twice has this been attempted: after the death of Sector Lord Drusus for a formal reading of sealed grants and directives, and during the Malygrisian Heresy.
Beneath the Grand Atrium is the Covenant Elogium, a secure storage facility for primary source documents and records from the age of the Angevin Crusade. Although various agencies across the Sector have cast serious doubt on the accuracy of this data, the Lathe Worlds maintain their veracity. Included within the Elogium are the original agreements between the Adeptus Mechanicus and General Drusus that formed the Lathe Worlds and the foundation of the Lathe-Covenant millennia ago.
The very portrait of a classical forge world, Lathe-Hesh is covered with enormous factories, towering production lines, and vast assembly yards that churn out specialised weaponry and vehicles for the Sector militaries and for the Adeptus Mechanicus itself. Huge plains of marshalling yards and tank parks hold a generation’s worth of fighting vehicles and massive artillery waiting to be deployed where needed. Picking up more of the overall production as its sister worlds shift more to management or fall fallow, the adepts of Lathe-Hesh are the most ardent followers of the Omnissiah within the Lathes System and, indeed, possibly all of the Lathe Worlds. Lathe-Hesh consists mostly of construction facilities for large or specialised combat vehicles, such as battle tanks and larger war machines. The most recent additions to the august roll of manufacture are the enormous Valdor Tank Hunters, whose facilities were moved entirely from Lathe-Het very recently. Home to the most conservative adepts, Lathe-Hesh looks at those of Lathe-Het as manipulative politicians, and Lathe-Hadd’s as indolent layabouts.
There are more temples and sites sanctified to the Omnissiah on Lathe-Hesh than on any of the other Lathe Worlds. Of all the holdings of the Adeptus Mechanicus within the Calixis Sector and neighbouring regions, it is upon Lathe-Hesh that the Lords Dragon are most fervently feared, and entire sermon-cants are made to massed congregations in the hopes that an agent of the Lords Dragon are listening. The most holy construct on the planet, the Curia Mechanicum, is a towering bastion of faith in the Machine God, piercing the foul clouds of noisome pollution that cling to the planet’s surface. Built to enclose the planet’s sacred Fabricator ship, the entire complex is a maze of black basalt and burnished brass. The Curia is the centre of worship on the forge world, but also houses the offices and manufactories directly under the supervision of the Fabricator of Lathe-Hesh. Also housed within the Curia are the offices of the Officio Vigilis, a unit of the Crimson Guard unique to Lathe-Hesh. Some of the most gifted Artificers working within the Calixis Sector call the Curia home, lavishing years of doting attention on a single weapon system in the name of the Divine Light of Sollex.
Although most adepts consider the heart of the planet to be the Curia Mechanicum, the soul is almost certainly the Ordinatus Yards, a continent-sized array of fabrication sheds, manufactories, assembly halls, and detailing amphitheatre, all dedicated to the refurbishment, rebuilding, and repairing of the enormous Ordinatus Platforms. It is here that these ancient and enormous creations are brought back to life after battle, imbued with the most powerful and responsive machine spirits, and lavished with the utmost care upon every rivet and seam. Adepts from near and far visit the Yards merely to honour the mighty machine-spirits that have been resurrected there over the millennia, even though they are almost always silent, as the call to resurrect an Ordinatus platform only comes perhaps once in a generation.
In the earliest days of the Lathes, Lathe-Hadd was home to several enormous info-temples that had been set down around the Hadd Fabricator ship. The data stored within these temples was essential to the operation of all three Lathe Worlds at the height of the Angevin Crusade. For production, Lathe-Hadd was responsible primarily for the ammunition and ordnance that the Crusade desperately needed. Although such production was honourable and instrumental, for reasons lost to time, these duties came to be construed as belittling to the Magos of Lathe-Hadd. Unrest and centuries of discord followed as the adepts petulantly went about their appointed tasks, many petitioning to leave the world at their earliest opportunity. A growing movement on the planet agitated for the production of such expendables to be taken off planet to make way for more prestigious works. The dissemination of much of the data held within the info-temples further lessened the prestige of Lathe-Hadd.
In the 6th century of M41, Arch-Magos Villem Warik Wahh was named Forge Master of Lathe-Hadd. Rumours claiming he had manoeuvred himself into that position through manipulating the simmering feelings of resentment and bitterness among the tech-adepts were never proven. These feelings had developed over centuries as Lathe-Het rose to a position of prominence, and the factories of Lathe-Hesh provided waves of vehicles and enormous weapon systems famed throughout the Sector. Wahh declared that he would see Lathe-Hadd rise to a position of equal importance within the Sector.
This position, and the dissatisfaction from which it stemmed, was inconceivable to most of the Calixis Mechanicus. One of the greatest satisfactions within the Adeptus Mechanicus is to see an important job well-done, and without the ammunition and armaments Lathe-Hadd provided, the Crusade would never have succeeded. The vast majority of the Magos on the forge world, however, followed their new Forge Master in his demands that the production of these mundane products be moved to offworld facilities, so that room could be made for greater projects more befitting one of the three original Lathe Worlds. Over the next two hundred years, almost all major manufacturing and assembly plants were moved off planet, causing gaping holes in the planet’s surface, and leaving the vast ancient info-temples, now sadly bereft of any but purely symbolic power and importance, crouching alone around Fabricator ship Hadd.
The stage was set for Lathe-Hadd to rise to equal prominence with its sister worlds, and to prove its artisans and manufactorums the superior of any in the Sector. Unfortunately, this did not come to pass. Forge Master Wahh had pursued his agenda of division and discontent too well, and the adepts of Lathe-Hadd had fractured into countless minor factions, none of which could agree upon the most basic of tenets with any of the others. Proposal after proposal went before the Adunatio of Lathe-Hadd, and the other factions vociferously struck each down. The Fabricator of the Lathes finally granted the request for the relocation of the many manufactorums, to see it removed from his docket; the facilities were soon moved off planet, into orbit, or to several of the stations along the Praeclusio Anchor Points. Soon Lathe-Hadd was stripped of the vast majority of its manufacturing capability and paralysed in its search for a new identity. Somehow (many speculate through manipulating the various factions against each other) Wahh was able to avoid blame for the dissolution of his planet’s capabilities, and maintain his position as Forge Master.
The Fabricator of Lathe Hadd rules from the Halls of Ignavus, built around the now-defunct Fabricator ship on Hadd Nord. Within the hall, all adepts of the forge world come together in a constant dance of subterfuge and manipulation, hoping to bring their own projects to the fore. Despite the silencing of the major manufactorums, the planet is still home to countless smaller workshops and laboratories housing the experiments and projects of thousands of adepts, all eager to see their work rise to the prominence of global production. Debates and discussions within the Halls can become quite heated, another uncommon trait surfacing among the adepts of Lathe-Hadd. It is not uncommon for visiting adepts to surround themselves with bodyguard servitors or other security measures. Since the stripping of Lathe-Hadd’s manufacturing capability, the world has been in a state of flux, constantly searching for the one project or product that can raise the planet back to a position of prominence. Desperation is endemic, and those Magos who have stubbornly stayed are frantic to find a new path to distinction. Any path, in fact, is seen as better than the current state of unproductive stagnation.
In this reckless search for a new identity, any number of strange beliefs, theories, and cults have taken root among a feckless ruling class despairing of ever recapturing their old status. For decades now, the vast majority of the factories and manufacturing works have lain still, internal squabbling and political machinations paralysing the planet even at the cost of productivity. Recently, many adepts have taken to referring to Lathe-Hadd as the Silent Forge. Though it might be silent, it still holds its secrets, such as the ancient and mysterious construct known as the Baltean Maze. What appears to be the surface of the planet, still covered in layers of construction and infrastructure despite centuries of neglect, is in fact a man-made construct, an artificial crust formed of many steel platforms, each attached to the others through a labyrinth of girders, sliding connectors, and gasket-like adamantium mesh. Each platform is suspended above the mantle of Lathe- Hadd upon enormous gravitic generators, the likes of which man has not constructed for thousands upon thousands of years. Between the false surface and the hidden mantle lies the Baltean Maze, a network of supports, power conduits, and energy transfer channels that tie the gravitic platforms and the planet’s actual surface together. Many believe that beneath the maze are the legendary deep infotombs, enormous receptacles of faulty or heretical data, relegated to the permanent dark to protect the very Mechanicum itself. Whispers cant of malign data-spirits rising from the deeps, capable of possessing all forms of technology. The Lathesmasters deny that these schimsaticals, as the legends call them, actually exist, and act quickly to suppress any evidence that might suggest their presence.
The Lathes System is subject to a unique array of stresses and stellar phenomena that make it fascinating to the full spectrum of Mechanicus adepts. This, combined with the alluring density of planetary bodies suitable for conversion into forge worlds, and the presence of multiple resource-laden asteroid belts, made the system irresistible. The inhabitants of the Lathes are the standard cross-section of any active forge world, but have expanded to occupy nearly every niche possible in the system. After thousands of years of acclimation and adaptation, however, there have been two primary genetic divergences from the standard Imperial norm.
Due in large part to the crushing and indiscriminate gravitic shears that buffet all three of the primary worlds, as well as the rest of the entire system, adepts and menials alike descended from the original colonial stock have generally low, powerful bodies. Most Magos Biologis theorise that these alterations make these deviations, dubbed Lathesmasters, the ideal workers for this harsh, chaotic environment. A second, less well known, genetic offshoot, however, caused a branch of inhabitants that are massive in stature, often more so than Ogryns. These giants, unfortunately, cannot leave the system or their bodies soon collapse. Whether it is the gravitic anomalies, some sort of mineral dependency, or perhaps even a strange symbiosis with the system’s sun, these huge creatures die within days of leaving their home system. There are many whispers within the Calixis Sector concerning the daunting size of this secondary branch. Rumours abound concerning their dimensions and strength, and the possible causes of such deviation from the genetic norms. It is when outsiders witness these large specimens that fresh rumours of mutation or genetic experimentation once again arise. A constant struggle is waged between the Lexmechanic Canonicus of the Lathe-Covenant and the Calixian Conclave, who seem determined to categorise the larger genotype of the Lathe World as Abhuman.
Because of this altered but stable genotype, Tech-Priests, Skitarii, and menials alike originating from the Lathes are shorter than average, but stronger and more durable. In fact, most standard humans would require some form of augmetic enhancement or gravitic support to survive for long in the Lathes System. However, there are many out-system humans that call the Lathes home as well, called to the system from all over the Imperium. Because of this diversity, there are even more factions within the structure of the system than would usually be expected, even among the fractious, individualist adepts of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
At the very top of the feudal hierarchy of the Lathes and their vassal territories are those adepts belonging to the Lathe-Covenant. Following the original documents of confederation—called the Pact of Blood and Oil—and these adepts control the web of relationships, obligations, and enmity that define the position of the Adeptus Mechanicus within the enormous power structure of the greater Sector. Power within the Covenant is slow to shift, but when there is an adjustment it often involves varying translations of the responsibilities, duties, and claims contained within the Pact and their relationship to the governors of the Calixis Sector. The two most obvious factions vying for control of the system and its far-flung holdings are the Disciples of Thule and the Followers of the Divine Light of Sollex. Devoted to the teachings and example of Explorator Arch-Magos Paracelsus Thule, his Disciples are utterly focused on the search for ancient technologies from ages past, often to the exclusion of all else. Those adepts who follow the Divine Light of Sollex, on the other hand, are weaponsmiths without compare, devoting all of their time and energy to the development and production of the most destructive technologies imaginable. These adepts are truly ruthless in their pursuits, and are suspected of several incidents of genocide, as well as the sudden and complete deaths of entire biospheres in more remote corners of the Calixis Sector.
Serving as the native defence force, and the armed wing of the Adeptus Mechanicus within the Sector, is the Crimson Guard. A massive weapon, forged from the ranks of loyal Skitarii, combat servitors such as the famed Spatha-pattern creation, and skilled Secutor warriors, the Crimson Guard is scattered across the Sector. They are deployed in units that range in size from individual squads guarding outlying stations to regimental combat units stationed on major bases and fortress worlds watching over the most sensitive and important assets of the Mechanicus. Under the auspices of the Crimson Guard within the Lathes System itself are units that have not actually been contained within the standard chain of command for centuries, including the Brazen Guard Praetorii. Ostensibly, the Crimson Guard serves the Lathe- Covenant first and foremost, but the reality is much more complex than this, with various commanders and Arch-Magi commanding the fealty of various units and divisions, including the Grandmaster of the Legio Venator and the Forge Masters of the Lathes.
Within the ranks of the adepts are whispered even darker schisms, factions whose existence sits on the shadowy border between hearsay and legend. The implacable Lords Dragon are said to stalk hereteks throughout the Sector, while the fabled mech-assassin cults haunt the darkest fears of the most faithful servants of the Omnissiah. The adepts of the Ordo Reductor, in their blood-red robes, threaten destruction to any who stand against the Covenant, while the adepts of the Hippocrasian Sect are said to study life to the very edge of death and beyond. Many other cabals, more sinister or mysterious, lurk around the edges of rumour and innuendo, shaping the relationships and patterns of fealty within the Lathes System like the violent and incomprehensible shears of local gravity.
The current balance of power within the Lathes System is difficult to decipher, even to those adepts who must daily contend with it. Nominally standing atop the furiously burning forges of the Adeptus Mechanicus in the Calixis Sector is High Fabricator Castellar, ruling from the forge-temples of Lathe-Het and leading the adepts of the Lathe-Covenant as the first among equals, for the greater glory of the Omnissiah. However, tensions abound between the Fabricator General and his deputy, Arch-Magos Ralwure. While the bureaucracy of the Covenant grows and grasps for power in pursuit of the quotas and production levels of their past, Forge Master Janden Samekh Alpha of Lathe-Hesh also burns with indignation at this betrayal of the foundational ethics of the Mechanicus. And over all, lies the eerie stillness of Lathe-Hadd, the Silent Forge, where political conflict has forced nearly every factory and workshop on the planet to fall still, waiting for a revelation that refuses to arrive.
The Rule of the Iron Law
The Lathe Worlds comprise every planet the Mechanicus claim rule over within the borders of the Calixis Sector and beyond into the Koronus Expanse (though the latter is without any Imperial recognition, given the nature of that lawless region). The challenges of leading such a diverse and individualistic group as the adepts of the Omnissiah are manifold, ranging from the eternal problems of void communication and transportation, to the more insidious issues of oversight and tech-heresy. Over time, an elaborate structure has evolved within the rigid confines of the Pact of Blood and Oil to assist the Lathe-Covenant in managing its holdings.
The Lathe-Covenant requires a careful balance between three distinctly separate offices: the High Fabricator of the Lathes, the High Council of the Arch-Magos, and the Consilium Magos. The High Council is a small cabal of Arch-Magos drawn from all the Lathe Worlds, responsible for every facet of production in the Mechanicus Calixis. The Consilium Magos, on the other hand, is a much larger body, again made up of adepts from throughout the Lathe Worlds. It is the duty of the Consilium to interface with outside agencies of power such as the Sector Governor’s council and the Holy Ordos. The Consilium hears petitions from these bodies, analyses their cases, and then advises the High Council. Ancillary to these assemblies are the Magos Vagus, the remaining magos in the Sector. Any magos may attend Covenant sessions, call for a hearing before the High Council, or request an audience with the High Fabricator, although this will most likely be denied unless they are able to pique his interest.
In theory, the Lathe-Covenant is independent of the High Fabricator, and he, in turn, is only one among equals within the High Council. However, over the past several hundred years, the balance of power has slowly shifted away from the Covenant and into the hands of the High Fabricator, effectively anointing him, unofficially, as the sole ruler of the Lathe Worlds and marking the Covenant as little more than an advisory body.
Power Factions and Sects
"Put three of them in a sealed chamber and you would find no less than five factions and two secret sects. I swear to you, I believe I have met Tech-Priests whose left brain and right brain belonged to two different splinter groups."
- — Rogue Trader Choras Donagal, First Trader of the Golgenna Reach
The Lathe Worlds are, in theory, one seamless, perfect mechanism where all serve in unity of purpose under the rule of the Lathes. On a practical level, however, they are nothing more than a loose conglomeration of factions, each consisting of millions of insular, isolated adepts, most far distant from their masters. Each adept pursues their own Quest for Knowledge with which to enrich the Omnissiah and the greater glory of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Occasionally, they find themselves capable of working in unison towards their disparate goals. However, quite often, Tech-Priests across the Sector find themselves at odds with their brethren, with those for whom they should maintain the highest esteem. It is in those moments, when loyalty to the Omnissiah, loyalty to one’s self, and loyalty to one’s faction or chosen sect collide, that the true measure of an adept is often known.
History is replete with examples of adepts who have pursued their own Quests for Knowledge against the better judgement of their peers. The False Fabricator of Cyclopea and his elaborate Servitor army, the dangerous allure of the Pharrian Profanation, and of course, Arch-Magos Malygris himself, all stand as ready examples of the danger that can be posed from abjuring the teachings of the Omnissiah in favour of personal advancement or power. It is, therefore, extremely important for any adept entering the crucible of the Lathes to exercise a certain amount of awareness towards the various factions and sects that comprise the Lathes System and the diverse feudal holdings of the Lathe Worlds.
The ruling body of adepts that preside over the Mechanicus Calixis, the Lathe-Covenant is the first and foremost faction throughout the Lathe Worlds. The Magos Vagus, adepts who adhere strictly to Lord Militant Angevin’s Pact of Blood and Oil, marking the confederation and independence between Governor Drusus and the representatives of the Adeptus Mechanicus over 2000 years ago, are also included within this powerful bloc. The power of the Lathe-Covenant is derived not only from the documents that established the Mechanicus Calixis, but also from the mere fact of their present possession of authority. This position allows them and their allies to apply a great deal of pressure in the pursuit of material, personnel, and other resources.
Even among the Covenant, however, one cannot find a monolithic coalition. Varying translations of the rights, responsibilities, and duties of the Lathe Worlds to the governors of Calixis and indeed, to each other, strain the various sub-factions. There are divisions that believe fervently in the Mechanicus Calixis’ duty to support and raise up the more benighted sub-sectors of Calixis, while others render unto the Sector Lord only grudgingly, seeing the Adeptus Mechanicus as more of a senior power to the rest of the backward Imperium than an integral, co-equal part.
Disciples of Thule
One of the most numerous factions within the Mechanicus Calixis, the followers of Arch-Magos Paracelsus Thule believe that the eternal Quest for Knowledge is best pursued in the field. Disciples of the itinerant Arch-Magos are the most fervent supporters of the Explorator fleets. They believe the best way to serve the Omnissiah and utilise the limited resources on hand is to seek out the ancient technologies of the past and to follow the paths of the ancients wherever they may lead. Such concerns as fame, political ramifications, and even personal safety matter nothing to the Disciples of Thule as they pursue their quest into the deep, cold recesses of space in the hopes of pushing the boundaries of knowledge further and further back.
The Disciples of Thule are not a proscribed or radical sect, although they are not entirely welcomed into the Mechanicus body politic due to their singular focus on exploration to the detriment of all else. Others look upon these dedicated adepts with bemused tolerance for the most part, unless one of their expeditions claims the resources or personnel of a rival adept, at which point the conflicts can quickly escalate.
Among the many factions of the Mechanicus Calixis are those adepts who believe that the fracturing of the Lathe Worlds has grown out of hand. They look upon the petty bickering, empire building, and general discord sown throughout the Sector as a waste of precious resources that could be better served going to any of a number of more legitimate causes, most often their own. A loose confederation of like-minded adepts rather than a formal faction, the Magos Fidelis nevertheless hold considerable power, as quite often the merest threat of intervention from Mars is enough to cause a wayward adept to back down.
The adepts of the Magos Fidelis are among the most conservative and traditional members of the Mechanicus. Faithful followers of the Omnissiah, often characterised as excessively orthodox within the Cult Mechanicus, most of the tech-adepts and lesser Lathesmasters nevertheless afford them great respect for their dedication and the force of their belief. The most fervent members of the Magos Fidelis believe that a more firm hand, directly from Mars, is needed to set the Lathe Worlds to rights, although at present all petitions for direct intervention have not garnered any response.
Divine Light of Sollex
A fanatical group of Secutors whose roots were lost to the ravages of time, this cult devotes all of their energy and effort towards the development of more and more devastating weapons and the martial doctrines that best utilise them. Adepts who worship at the altar of Sollex care nothing for the more productive or peaceful applications of technology, and only for the destruction that may be wrought, bending these weapons against those who would misuse the teachings of the Omnissiah.
Within the Lathes System the Cult of Sollex works openly, the devotion of Lathe-Hesh and its charismatic Forge Master a strong support in their various works. Members of the cult operate throughout the system, working on various projects and systems, digging through the archives of Cella, manning the Sagitarium Platforms orbiting Desideratum, and the workshops and storage bays of Lycosidae. Among the most contentious efforts of the followers of the Divine Light are the various gravimancy research stations, where the Cult insists the strange powers ravaging the system could be harnessed to create truly apocalyptic weapon systems. No such system has been perfected, but the research and testing for such a weapon is ongoing across the entire system. Those who look askance at the followers of the Divine Light most likely do so as a result of various rumours and whispered reports planet-wide eradications in the name of weapons testing. Although the Ordos Calixis have investigated these rumours rigourously, so far no proof of such errant waste of biological resources has been found.
A recent development on Lathe-Hadd, rumours place this loose association of adepts far from the centre of control on the planet, and rather in the more desolate region of Hadd Sur. The brutal removal of production facilities, theoretically to make way for some grand project as the Forge Master decreed, ravaged this area very harshly. But as years pass and still no advancement is made, the populace of the Silent Forge has grown more and more restive, searching farther and farther afield for purpose and guidance. The Cult Achanum, the whispers suggest, offers exactly this.
Preaching from the rust-streaked, hollow shells of now empty fabrication halls, the leaders of the Cult Achanum speak in strident tones of the Omnissiah. These compelling speakers claim that the Omnissiah holds a special fate for each of His consecrated brethren, from the highest Forge Master to the lowliest menial. Fate is preordained, and the Machine God, knowing all, wishes only that His followers accept these paths and walk them in courage. The Cult interprets desire and ambition as dangerous aberrations, counter to the wishes of the Omnissiah. A loyal follower of the Cult should not strive to break from their path, but rather accept what has been handed down to them. The present state of affairs on Lathe-Hadd is part of the Machine God’s plan, they say, and thus should not be fought, but rather accepted in quiet contemplation awaiting his design to unfold. Many wonder if this exists more to ensure the placidity of the natives than to affirm the Cult.
Among the most conservative and traditional adepts of the Mechanicus Calixis are those who claim membership in the Alium Union, the Calixian chapter of the Imperio-cognosticians. The members of the Union staunchly believe that those who toil quietly, for the betterment of the Omnissiah, can serve the Quest for Knowledge just as well as the more vainglorious adepts who dash about the stars seeking ancient secrets. Members of the Alium Union see great benefit to the Omnissiah and, indeed, the Imperium itself, in the daily duties every member of the Mechanicum, from the High Fabricator of the Lathes to the lowliest menial, performs.
Ironically, there is a backlash effect occurring on Lathe- Hadd, in direct reaction to the grinding silence the hubris of the planet’s magos has brought about. In this environment, the Alium League has gained support and sympathy from many divergent quarters. Seeing the Silent Forge as the price paid for overreaching, these members of the Union seek to reestablish the credibility of their home through small tasks of renovation and production, hoping to bring the planet back into service one small manufactorum at a time. Although only a small number of adepts on Lathe-Hadd are openly members of the Alium Union, there is more and more support within the Halls of Ignavus for this humble approach.
Scions of the Iron Sphere
The Scions of the Iron Sphere are a brotherhood of rabidly devoted adepts who look upon the Omnissiah as the pinnacle of human evolution and development, and see all flesh as not only a weakness in the face of time and adversity, but as a prop that keeps Mankind from achieving his full potential. The Scions believe that the Adeptus Mechanicus alone has been vouchsafed the future of humanity, and, in fact, they see all other humans as an inferior sub-species, an evolutionary dead end that has proven itself too weak to deserve the Omnissiah’s blessing. This sect is not formally recognised within the halls of the Nidus Omega, but nevertheless wields a surprising amount of power within the inner sanctums of the Mechanicus Calixis.
The devotion of the Scions of the Iron Sphere is such that most ascendant adepts of the order undergo a procedure known as the Rite of Pure Thought, in which the right lobe of their brain is removed, and replaced with a bank of cogitators and micro data-stacks to enhance the adept’s ability to process and store information, while removing the distractions of emotion and the false paths of creative thought. Those Scions who have undergone the procedure epitomise the cold, detached persona that many followers of the Omnissiah project, save that the Scions are actually incapable of human warmth or original thought.The Scions of the Iron Sphere hold to the belief that no agreement with other human agencies need be honoured; after all, there can be no binding agreements between thinking men and unreasoning animals. This aspect of the Scions’ belief system is the best-kept secret of their fellowship. If the agents of the Sector Governor or the Holy Ordos should ever become aware of the cult’s beliefs and influence, the damage to relationships that are essential to the operation of the Lathe Worlds would be incalculable.
Consisting primarily of Magos Biologis and Genetors, the Hippocrasian Sect is a fellowship of like-minded Adepts. The Sect itself has never been clear as to the end use of their research, and has responded to inquiries from the Lathe-Covenant and even the office of the High Fabricator himself with vague statements of prolonged life, improved augmetic implantation, and the like. To date, however, the Hippocrasians have filed no official findings or discoveries regarding these fields, or, in fact, any others.
Although the vast majority of the followers of the Sect can be found in the haphazard collection of spacecraft and observation stations orbiting the Death World of Morwen VI, there are adherents of the sect spread throughout the Lathe Worlds. Any research station with a Biologis cadre most likely has at least one Magos sympathetic to the fascinations that drive the Hippocrasians. Reports indicate that the Ordo Hereticus holds certain suspicions of the sect, and the Lathe-Covenant has received warnings that Chaos taint might fester without proper Inquisitorial oversight. To date, however, absolutely no proof of any heretical influence has been found, and there is no reason to believe the Adepts of the Hippocrasian Sect are anything other than what they appear; simple researchers merely studying the frailties of the flesh.
Among the diverse members of the Mechanicus Calixis are many who harken back to the heady days of Martian independence, many thousands of years ago when the red planet was free. Those adepts yearn once again for Mechanicus autonomy, for a galaxy where the adherents of the Omnissiah stand as allies, a body separate from, but equal to, the Imperium. These adepts often refer to themselves, and their philosophy, as the Ferrous Whisper.
The High Fabricator of the Lathes, the Lathe-Covenant, and most Forge Masters working within the Mechanicus Calixis deny the existence of the Ferrous Whisper. Sympathy within the halls of power is high, however. Particularly susceptible to this line of thinking are those lower in the hierarchy of the Mechanicum, who seek ways to raise their own station at the cost of others. Within the Tricorn Palace and the Ordos Calixis, the movement is seen as a dangerous heresy, alarmingly seductive to weaker adepts, and thus something to be watched and controlled at every opportunity. In fact, the rulers of the Calixis Sector are acutely aware of the danger this philosophy poses, as they would sever the close ties between the Mechanicus and the Imperium. More worrisome still, they do not know if this sect is only local to Calixis, or perhaps a tendril reaching across Imperial space. Surely if so, the often fragile relationship between Mars and Terra could one day falter, leaving the Imperium ripe for a new civil war of devastating consequences.
In direct opposition to the Ferrous Whisper is a Tech-heresy abhorrent to almost all members of the Adeptus Mechanicus, that of the Levelists. These rare progressive adepts believe that the Omnissiah never intended that the Mechanicus be the last repository of all technological knowledge, to be hoarded and parcelled out to the rest of humanity in tiny packets. Levelists believe that the dusty gates of the Machine God should be opened wide, and that all of Mankind should be allowed the full spectrum of the Omnissiah’s bounty.
Of course, these populist, egalitarian views horrify the vast majority of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Most adepts, in their own unique ways, are devoutly loyal to their conception of the Omnissiah, and feel that the very eyes of the uninitiated upon the mysteries of the Cult Mechanicus sully those mysteries nearly beyond cleansing. Further, the idea of surrendering power accumulated over the course of millennia strikes the overwhelming majority as utterly unthinkable. While many within the Imperium’s ruling castes would welcome such sharing of technology and knowledge, the common man has become accustomed to unknowable mysteries and the even more mysterious adepts to wield them. Most see technology as frightening and strange, and untold generations have winnowed out any desire to know more.
There is, within the psychological foundation of every forge world, a deep-seated fear of Abominable Intelligences. Tales from millennia gone by, of ages now more impossible legend than story, speak of the near-extinction of the human race at the hands of legions of faceless iron golems, crafted sentiences that dared not only to think, but to think they were equal to Man. The Omnissiah and the Fabricator-General have forbidden the study of such fields, and any adepts who delve into this illicit branch of research are branded as Khamrian hereteks and hounded from the society of the Mechanicum, if not immediately rendered to Servitude. There are those adepts, however, who skirt the proscribed disciplines, seeking to better understand the hallowed machine-spirits that serve Mankind without, hopefully, falling into tech-heresy. The Tenninites are one such a group that exists in Calixis, though there are undoubtedly others even more furtive in their research.
Working primarily in small stations scattered throughout the Lathe Worlds, the Tenninites focus primarily on ancient machine-spirits, coaxing them back to active service and seeking ways to enhance their awareness and performance. They have achieved several minor breakthroughs that some might consider tech-heresy, but few outside adepts dare utilise these implementations given their source. Many assume there are also major discoveries that the Tenninites dare not reveal, lest they face the full wrath of the Lords Dragon. The sect assumes they are under constant surveillance, and likely infiltration as well, but so far has not faced outright action against them. This is surely an indication of their skills in keeping their other results all carefully hidden, until the proper time of revelation.
Within an abandoned assembly vault, only a few levels above the Baltean Maze on Lathe-Hadd, a small group of disaffected adepts began a project in secret that soon caught the imagination of entire hab blocks of Hadd Nord. Starting with the smallest of components, diligently repaired, cleansed, and purified, a humanoid effigy began to take form on the scarred floor of the vault. The brotherhood accepted only the purest materials, and each piece was meticulously refurbished before joining the statuary. Over the past few years it has grown and expanded. Datanets have been incorporated into the pristine structure, repurposed Servitors plugged into the form, and even as it grows, the possible shape of its completion cannot be guessed. Those performing the construction only say that an invisible hand guides their action, each action taken without fully conscious thought.
Recently these activities have gained wider notice, and individual adepts from across the Lathe Worlds, many hungry for a purpose that has so far eluded them, have sought out the fellowship gathering on the Silent Forge. There are accusations of Omnissiad heresy, but the adepts say that the form being constructed far beneath Lathe-Hadd’s surface is only an experiment in purity of form. Such focusing of idle hands to a purely academic task is ideal for honing skills that otherwise may rust from disuse, and nothing more. The quality of the components being incorporated into this academic exercise, however, has raised the suspicions of several different agencies within the Mechanicus Calixis.
Over a decade ago, a schism erupted within the adepts of the Hippocrasian Sect, as several research vessels of the Hippocrasian Agglomeration pulled away from Morwen VI and sought less crowded skies in which to pursue an independent program of research. The Carnicula are not solely fixated on mortality and decay, but rather on multifarious approaches to lengthening the lifespan of various vat-grown constructs. Even their Hippocrasian brethren see the adepts of the Carnicula as unwholesomely fixated on the flesh and, in fact, many of them have augmented their bodies with new biological components. Although not heretical by the strictest of definitions, most of the Mechanicus Calixis find these fleshly augmetics inefficient, terribly distasteful, and even an affront to the Machine God.
The Carnicula has become loosely aligned to the Organicists of wider Mechanicus recognition. Although most of the Lathe Worlds do not look upon them with great favour, whenever an ageing Arch-Magos finds his biological components going into final system shutdown, they waste no time in seeking out the Carnicula and its dedicated Biologis research ships.
Notable Tech-priests of the Lathes
- Fabricator of the Lathe-Hesh, Forge Master Janden Samekh Alpha - Forge Master Samekh is an ardent and open follower of the Divine Light of Sollex, despite the relatively recent actions of Arch-Magos Malygris that cast suspicion upon that fellowship. He dedicates more and more of the manufacturing power of his world to the production and perfection of weaponry each year. Although nominally only responsible for the production of Lathe-Hesh, he has become the figurehead for the followers of the Divine Light throughout the Lathe Worlds. The prestige the presence of the Fabricator ship affords, and the of Ordinatus Yards themselves, cannot be underestimated as sources of Samekh’s growing power within the sect. Forge Master Samekh is a cold, detached man, even for those within the Mechanicus. Exceedingly resentful of any concerns that pull him from the manufactorums and laboratories within the Curia, he nevertheless wastes no time in confronting any possible issues that might disrupt the operation of his forge world or challenge his understanding of the vision of the Omnissiah. Within the halls of the Nidus Omega, Samekh is a constant opponent of Fabricator Castellar and a sometime ally of his second, Ralwure the Golden. His utter contempt, in fact, for both High Fabricator Castellar and Forge Master Wahh of Lathe-Hadd is well-known, and those seeking to undermine or counteract the influence of either Arch-Magos often come to Lathe-Hesh seeking Samekh’s guidance and assistance.
- High-Fabricator of the Lathes Arch-Magos Castellar - At the apex of authority for the Adeptus Mechanicus in the Calixis Sector is a singular title: the High Fabricator of the Lathes and the Forge Master of Lathe-Het. Currently, Arch-Magos Castellar holds this position. A well-respected Arch-Magos who ascended to his current title through diligence and shrewd political manoeuvring, he took over from the disgraced High Fabricator Garamond. However, during his lengthy tenure as High Fabricator, Castellar has grown increasingly aloof and detached from the Mechanicus interests within the Calixis Sector, preferring to focus on the Explorator fleets and expansion through the Koronus Passage. It is commonly suspected that Castellar, a former daring Explorator himself, has distinct leanings towards the somewhat radical beliefs of the Disciples of Thule. Whatever the truth, Castellar’s vision seems to be firmly fixed beyond the concerns of the Calixian Mechanicus and directed towards exterior operations. One of the High Fabricator’s accomplishments include the establishment of a sophisticated network of vox-heralds throughout the forge worlds of the Sector, and in many important Imperial planets as well, such as Scintilla, Malfi, and Sepheris Secundus. Chrono-gladiators are another particular interest of Castellar’s, and it is he who helped establish the great slaughterwheels of Hive Volg. The High Fabricator selects a new cadre of bodyguards from the champions of the Chrono-gladiators every decade. These matchless warriors serve with fanatical loyalty, due in no small part to the knowledge that the High Fabricator’s continued function is tied directly into the life-timers of each Chrono-gladiator. Nominally, these timers are kept stilled as a reward for the Chrono-gladiators’ service. However, should the High Fabricator come to any harm, his bodyguards soon see their lifespans measured in a handful of seconds.
- Arch-Magos Ralwure the Golden - The High Fabricator selects a single Arch-Magos to serve as his second, an heir-apparent to share the burden of organising and ruling the varied interests of theMechanicus in the Calixis Sector. Currently, this Arch-Magos is Ralwure the Golden, Keeper of the Prime Logis Key. The appointment of Ralwure was a surprise to the Lathe- Covenant council. Previously infamous as an extremely conservative Suspensor Magos, Ralwure’s elevation polarised the council between those welcoming his positions and others displeased at his growth in personal power. He represents the Imperio-Cognostician faction on the Lathe-Covenant council, and has escalated the signifificance of his role more and more over the last few years, as the High Fabricator pulled away, obsessed with events outside the core of the Calixis Sector. Ralwure the Golden is not as politically astute as many would wish, and has made enemies amongst the various sects of the Calixian Mechanicus. It is well known, for example, that Ralwure considers the Techsorcists and Secutors to be misguided at best, and it is rumoured that the Arch-Magos reserves a particular distaste for high-level support requests from the Inquisition.
- Magos Hiscere - Much like the agents of the Officio Vigilis, the Magos Hiscere are an elite unit of the Crimson Guard assigned to Lathe- Hadd. Over the centuries the unit has evolved, forming its own doctrine and method of operation, taking much of its identity from the current Forge Master. The current Crimson Guard of the Magos Hiscere are more agents provocateur than Arbitrator or palace guards. These adepts specialise in infiltrating the various cults, sects, and factions at work across the planet, and bringing Forge Master Wahh the information necessary for him to maintain his control of the planet and his position within the Covenant.
- Fabricator of the Lathe-Hadd, Forge Master Villem Warik Wahh - Adepts serving elsewhere among the Lathe Worlds see Arch- Magos Villem Warik Wahh as either dangerously incompetent or suspiciously ineffective. Seeming to never cease in his work to bring together the divided adepts of his world, he nevertheless has yet to manage any consensus among them. Suggestions and suspicions abound around Wahh, as many believe that any being capable of rising to rule over a forge world could not possibly be as ineffectual as he appears to be, and thus darker motives are often implied. Perhaps, go the infra-cants, he works for some other, more ruinous master, and perhaps the silencing of an entire forge world is only the beginning. Forge Master Wahh, contrary to the standard image of the cold, aloof Fabricator, is a gregarious and approachable personage. He projects an air of helpful and energetic efficiency that was instrumental in his earning his present position. It has only been time and experience, however, that were able to prove these traits false, and no matter how energetic the Forge Master seems to be in the pursuit of his duties, nothing ever seems to be resolved. As a result, Lathe- Hadd is awash with frustrated ambition and desire, awaiting only the right spark to leap into open rebellion. Watching over this straining energy conduit is the Crimson Guard stationed on Lathe-Hadd, the Magos Hiscere.
Departmento Cartographicae Planetary Database
- Galactic Position: 7-2/34/CS/NNW
- Contact with Other Worlds: Stable Warp routes run from The Lathes to Landunder.
- Codex: Adeptus Mechanicus (8th Edition), "Bastions of the Machine God," pg. 12
- Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 324
- Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook (RPG), pp. 133, 136
- Dark Heresy: The Lathe Worlds (RPG), pp. 14-20, 72-87
- Fantasy Flight Games The Calixis Sector