House Devine fell under the sway of Slaanesh, the Prince of Pleasure, and was the first of the Knight Houses to betray the Imperium of Man and the Mechanicum. On the world of Molech, the sudden defection of House Devine proved to be the pivotal factor in the defeat of the Loyalist forces seeking to halt Horus' relentless advance on Terra.
The Knight World of Molech was located very close to Terra, only several light years from the Imperial throneworld. Molech was reclaimed for the Imperium in a bloodless Imperial Compliance action by the Space Marine Legions in 869.M30, and was visited by no less than three of the Primarchs, Lion El'Jonson of the Dark Angels Legion, Horus of the Luna Wolves Legion and Jaghatai Khan of the White Scars Legion, all of whom left their mark on the world. It was rumoured that the followers of an outlawed native religion on Molech performed vile practices and possessed misguided beliefs in old gods and their abhorrence of all forms of authority. Prior to Imperial Compliance, the people of House Devine worshipped beings known as the Serpent Gods, until the practice was outlawed in favour of the Imperial Truth. Serpent cults devoted to these gods still existed underground on Molech up until the outbreak of the Warmaster Horus' corruption and betrayal.
The golden age of the Great Crusade was to be cut short by the supreme act of betrayal known as the Horus Heresy, during which the galaxy was gripped by the most bitter civil war humanity had ever seen. Across the nascent Imperium, Traitors clashed with Loyalists for the fate of Mankind. Space Marines fought Space Marines, Titans fought Titans and, alongside them, Imperial Knights fought Imperial Knights. In those dark days, nobody was to be trusted and treachery was as much a part of warfare as Bolter shells, Volcano Cannons and Drop Pods. One of the most horrific betrayals of the war occurred on the planet of Molech. As the Warmaster Horus led his armies to Terra, he left a trail of destruction in his wake hundreds of light years wide. His forces seemed unstoppable as Loyalist garrison after garrison fell before his might, or changed allegiance and sided with the traitorous commander. It was on the planet of Molech that one of the most determined stands was to be made. Loyalist Titan Legions and over a hundred Imperial Army regiments and Knightly Houses stood ready to bear the brunt of the Warmaster's attack in an attempt to halt his inexorable advance. When it came, it was like a hurricane unleashed upon the verdant world.
Horus' initial assault devastated many cities and strongholds, and amongst the victims were Molech's rulers –- House Devine. Dispossessed and unable to fight back, the Knightly House slowly succumbed to the temptations of Chaos. Over the following solar months, the insidious whisper of Slaanesh -– Dark Prince of Chaos and god of indulgence and excess –- spread through their depleted ranks. Their officers became lethargic, interested only in their sports, using their mighty Knight suits to hunt the towering reptilian beasts that stalked Molech's lush jungles. The seductive grip of Slaanesh grew stronger, as the Prince of Pleasure bent the force of his will to corrupting the noble Devines. Soon, they met in secret cabals, performing depraved rites and ceremonies within the heart of the Loyalist camp. No act was too shameful or disgusting; the sensations of the moment became their only desire.
When Horus launched a massive offensive, the Knights of House Devine committed an act of brazen treachery and turned on the troops who remained loyal to the Emperor. As the Warmaster unleashed a massive coordinated assault, the planet's defenders were thrown into disarray when the plasma reactor of the Imperator-class Titan, Paragon of Terra, was destroyed. Thousands of Loyalists were immolated in a blinding flash as a miniature sun erupted from the Titan's core to leave a smoking crater half a mile wide. In the wake of the catastrophic blast, a spearhead of Traitor Titans marched through the gap in the Imperial lines. Caught between the treacherous Knights of House Devine and Horus' rampant forces, the shattered remnants of Molech's defenders were slaughtered without mercy. They were totally defeated, so brutally that only one in a hundred of the troops of the Imperial Army survived the campaign. Since that first betrayal, only a handful of Knightly Houses have been corrupted by Chaos, even when the Forge Worlds to which they owed fealty became part of the Dark Mechanicum.
As the events of the Horus Heresy neared their tragic conclusion seven standard years after the fateful betrayal at Istvaan III, Horus was confronted and defeated by the Emperor aboard his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit, though the Master of Mankind was mortally wounded and had to be interred within the cybernetic life support mechanisms of the advanced psychic augmentation technology known as the Golden Throne. Though Horus lay dead at the hands of the Emperor, so high was the cost of victory that many Loyalists sought solace in hounding the fleeing Traitors across the stars rather than face the task of rebuilding the shattered Imperium. This campaign of vengeance is now known as the Great Scouring. The surviving Loyalist Knightly Houses with the strength to fight unanimously joined in this crusade of retribution. Believing the honour of the many to be stained by the treachery of the few, the Imperial Knights hunted down the Knightly Houses that sided with Horus with extreme prejudice, seeking to redeem their tarnished reputation. Filled with righteous indignation, a combined strike force of Knights from House Cadmus, House Terryn and House Borgius annihilated the turncoats of House Devine as Imperial forces reclaimed Molech. But there were rumours that some of the traitorous Knights of House Devine went unaccounted for. Presumably when Horus was defeated and Molech was reclaimed by Imperial forces, the survivors of this Chaos-corrupted Knight House fled alongside the Traitor Legions into the Eye of Terror, where they remain to this day.
None listed in current Imperial records.
Notable House Devine Knights
- Banelash - The Knight Errant mount of Albard Devine
- Argent Vindicator- The Freeblade Knight Paladin mount of Leoke Argent
Notable House Devine Personnel
- Lord Cyprian Devine "The Hellblade" - Imperial Commander of Molech and Knight Seneschal and head of House Devine at the time of the Horus Heresy.
- Cebella Devine - Adoratrice Drakina consort of Lord Cyprian Devine, mother of twin siblings Raeven and Lyx Devine and secret occult practitioner of the forbidden faith of the Serpent Gods of Molech.
- Albard Devine - First scion and heir of Lord Devine.
- Raeven Devine - First Knight and second scion of Lord Devine, half-brother of Albard.
- Lyx Devine - Daughter of Cebella Devine, half-sister and Adoratrice Sybaris to Albard, twin sister and lover of Raeven Devine. Lyx is an unsanctioned psyker and secret occult practitioner of the beliefs of the Serpent Gods of Molech.
The colours of House Devine are black and green.
The original arms of House Devine was a naga (a serpentine creature native to Molech) that stood rampant. The adopted heraldry of the entwined Imperial eagle-and-naga was incorporated following the nearly bloodless Imperial Compliance action that brought Molech into the Imperial fold in 869.M30. This dual heraldry symbolised House Devine's equally divided loyalty between their House and the Imperium. But some of the more haughty nobles of Molech viewed this updated heraldry as a monstrously arrogant means of control, one which seemed to suit the emergent galactic human empire perfectly.
- Codex: Imperial Knights (6th Edition), pp. 28-29, 102-103
- White Dwarf 190 (UK), "Epic: Slaanesh War Machines," by Gav Thorpe, pg. 27
- The Imperial Truth (Anthology), "The Devine Adoratrice" (Short Story) by Graham McNeill
- Vengeful Spirit (Novel) by Graham McNeill