The Imperial Knight Household of Makabius, more commonly named House Makabius, was once a loyal Secundus-grade Knight House aligned with the Imperium of Man and also held fealty to the distant Forge World of Mezoa. Transformed by the century-long civil war that had engulfed their homeworld of Baroda in the Grail Abyss, House Makabius was always known for its bellicose temper, and some would even say avarice and recklessness. Yet the battle-hardened scions of House Makabius would go on to distinguish themselves amongst the most bloody and savage battles of the Great Crusade, desperate to bring glory to their House and name.
So it was that fuelled by his own hubris and thirst for power, one of House Makabius' greatest Knights, Markan Hrotham, Hero of the Pacification of Skarron, would damn his House forever. Haloed by the glory he had gained on Skarron, Markan Hrotham would seek to add further to his legend by throwing in his lot with the Warmaster Horus. Returning to his homeworld of Baroda at the head of a younger generation of Makabius Knights, he all but deposed by force of arms the ruling elite of the Makabius Household before taking the mantle of the world's Lord Protector and pledging his House in support of the Warmaster's cause.
However, he would soon be betrayed, as instead of the Archtraitor Horus Lupercal it was Mortarion the Reaper, Primarch of the grim Death Guard Legion, who would come to Baroda to claim House Makabius' oath of fealty. Thus were the dreams of glory and conquest of House Makabius cast down and its path into ruin and damnation ensured.
It is one of the forgotten tragedies of the Horus Heresy that the bitter valour of the scions of House Makabius was to lead to both their utter destruction and eternal dishonour. Overshadowed even in death by the greater tragedies of an Imperium wracked by war and betrayal, the warriors of House Makabius were ever at the forefront of battles, eager to prove their courage and determined to forge a greater destiny for themselves. The grim determination in the face of impossible odds that was their hallmark was instrumental in the success of many Imperial campaigns in the northernmost regions of the galaxy, and yet this same determination and implacable desire for greatness was also to see those conquests broken and laid to ruin.
Born of the storm-wracked Knight World of Baroda, mired deep within the Grail Abyss, the Household of Makabius began the 30th Millennium in the grip of a slow and inglorious death. Through the vagaries of the unstable Warp currents in the Grail Abyss had sheltered the many Knight Households of Baroda from the terrors of Old Night to a large extent, they also held them prisoner on a world whose natural wealth had long since been stripped away. Where once the proud scions of the Houses of Baroda had ridden to battle encased in the finest Knight armours forged by Martian arts, now they strode the battlefields of that world in clumsy parodies of the ancient Knights, belching clouds of crude petro-chem fuel and ill-forged iron plating covering once gleaming ceramite. The ancient histories of House Makabius do not record which of Baroda's Houses first struck against their brothers, taking by force the resources they could no longer claim by labour, but they do tell of the ferocity of the conflict that followed, of battles that sundered the earth and set the sky ablaze. For Terran centuries the Houses of Baroda thus warred, spending the lives of their scions in the hundreds over the control of the few remaining bore-mines and storm-proof fortress refineries, and extinguishing the bloodlines of many of their number. As each House fell, the victor added its arms and lands to its own, until only one Knight House remained.
The assembled might of House Makabius overran the last holdout of House Wentorth in 831.M30, some solar decades before Imperial contact, ending almost eight hundred standard years of bloody civil war in a handful of final hours of internecine destruction. For a brief few Terran years the Makabius alone ruled supreme across the rugged hills and storm-tossed oceans of Baroda, secure in their assumption of what to them seemed a position of daunting power. With control of the remaining Knight armours on the planet, and the incorporation of many of the defeated scions of other Houses, the ranks of House Makabius swelled. Ritual combat for rank and position became commonplace and the ruling elite looked hungrily to the stars, seeking fresh conquests. However, such expansion was denied to them by the nature of the Grail Abyss and their own degenerate technology -- until the Imperium arrived at Baroda.
The Imperial Expeditionary Fleet that chanced across Baroda was a small one by the standards of the Great Crusade, barely a hundred voidcraft with only a few dozen regiments of the Exertus Imperialis and a thousand-strong company of Imperial Fists, yet it put to shame all the vaunted power the Makabius had gathered unto themselves. Conditioned by centuries of war to expect only violence from those not of their Household, and fearing the power of any force that could traverse the empty void, the Makabius launched what few long-neglected orbital defences they had. The pitiful handful of long obsolete missiles and ancient Servitor-guided drones were swatted aside by the Imperial fleet's guns and the skies of Baroda darkened under the approach of drop ships, disgorging an army on the lightning-scoured plains outside the fortified cities of the Makabius the likes of which Baroda had never seen.
Despite the overpowering force on display, the Lord Martial of the House, Sirus Lethale, refused to simply bow to Imperial authority. In an act typical of the grim pride of his House, the Lord Martial issued a challenge to the Imperial Fists' Seneschal -- an open battle to decide the fate of Baroda; the pride of his House against that of the VIIth Legion. Keen to avoid the wholesale destruction of a newly discovered Knight House, as well as the need to avoid being engaged in a protracted campaign of pacification, the commander of the Imperial Fists readily agreed. The two sides met in the midst of the ever-present storms that wracked the world, on Arbren Moor, the bright heraldry of the VIIth Legion's Fellblades and Terminators arrayed against the drab, clanking, steam-belching veterans of Makabius' long civil war. In a brief, horrifyingly one-sided battle, the Astartes destroyed the Lord Martial's hand-picked force of ancient, ill-maintained and under-equipped Knights, in many cases blasting them apart with short range Demolisher Cannon fire or dismembering them in massed Terminator assault as the warriors of Makabius refused to surrender while they could still move and fight. For this, the Imperial Fists praised the valour and determination of their foes, even as they granted them their hard-fought for and bloody end.
In the aftermath of what became known as the Battle of Arbren Moor, House Makabius and the world of Baroda swore loyalty to the Imperium of Man. Along with the traditional rights and privileges of an Imperial Knight Household, they also gained the patronage of the Forge World of Mezoa, which undertook to re-equip the battered Household with Knight armours worthy of an Imperial-aligned Knight House. However, this process was not to be completed overnight. Not only did the forge-fanes of Mezoa have to construct the required armours, a painstaking process of much ritual, as befitted such a complex expression of the Machine God's will, but they also had to transport them across the daunting Grail Abyss to Baroda. As a result, Baroda and the Makabius languished for many solar decades in a state of neglect, unable to join the glorious Great Crusade of the Emperor's armies across the stars and redeem their humbling defeat, yet forever tormented by news of grand victories won on distant worlds by other generals and Houses.
As new Knight armours were presented to the Household by the forge wrights of Mezoa, fierce competition arose to claim them and many of those who triumphed in such contests chose to join the Emperor's armies that passed by Baroda in small bands, seeking glory far from their world. The Lord Martial and the ruling body of the House, the Magna Concilium, imposed a ban on taking up the role of Questoris without the approval of a scion's immediate liege, hoping to stem the tide and keep their grip on the House's slowly growing military power. Yet this only served to see those young Makabius scions desperate to take part in the shaping of the new Imperium turn Freeblade and abandon their House.
Out amongst the stars of the expanding northern borders of the Imperium, many of the armies of the Imperium boasted a few errant scions of House Makabius amongst their ranks. Whilst these sons and daughters of Baroda often lacked the numbers to fight as a massed unit, they earned a fearsome reputation as shock troops and siege-breakers. Always first to volunteer to spearhead an assault and fighting with reckless courage in the face of overwhelming enemy forces, they were often known as the "Forlorn Hope" to the Great Crusade armies they fought beside, a gesture of respect and dark comment on the value some commanders put on the wandering scions of House Makabius. Despite the scorn their actions earned in some circles, moving as they did from army to army in their search for glory in battle, the scions of House Makabius fearlessly led Imperial assaults where others balked, buying fleeting glory with their blood and lives.
Such was the case during the pacification of Skarron, where it was the actions of Markan Hrotham -- scion of the Makabius -- that turned the tide of battle, laying low several of the skittering multi-legged automata that defended the debased forge-crypt, and turning what seemed like a rare defeat for the Luna Wolves force into a resounding victory. This deed propelled Hrotham into favour with Ezekyle Abaddon, First Captain of the XVIth Legion, and earned him a place within the Expeditionary Force's upper echelons, many of whom Markan spoke at length to regarding the untapped potential of his neglected House. This was an elevation which in turn stoked Markan's already overweening hubris and lust for power.
Bled of their best and brightest over the course of a standard century and a half of rebuilding and exodus that followed Arbren Moor, a rot had set amongst many of the scions of the Makabius who remained on Baroda. Murmurs of discontent spread further with the dawning of the 31st Millennium, as other Knight Houses rose to positions of renown and importance in the Imperium while Makabius was stymied in near-exile by the slow trickle of new armours that Mezoa managed to ferry through the wild space of the Grail Abyss. Tensions with other nearby Knight Houses grew, in particular with the recently rediscovered House Vyronii on Dametus III/II, which was seen by the Makabius as a rival both in Imperial favour and in influence over the few inhabited outposts of humanity in the Grail Abyss. Only the lack of available armour suitable for off-world campaigns amongst the forces of Baroda averted an outbreak of hostilities between the two Households, such was the avarice with which the Lord Martial and the Magna Concilium looked upon the estates of the Vyronii.
Into this strife Markan Hrotham returned in glory to Baroda in the solar months before what was to become the Istvaan III Atrocity, accompanied by many of his brethren who had left their homeworld solar decades before. He bore with him sealed missives from the Warmaster, who secretly sought to court the loyalty of House Makabius with promises of future glory and revenge on those they perceived to have slighted them. Though rebuffed by the Magna Concilium and Lord Martial, who feared the implications of Markan's ambition, Markan found support among the younger scions of the Makabius; many of whom yearned for the same fame Markan and his companions had enjoyed. With the support of these members of the House, Markan forced the old guard from power, through means both fair and foul. With the recalcitrant members of the House eliminated or driven into exile, he took the title of Lord Protector and secretly pledged his House to the Warmaster's personal service. In return, agents of Horus contrived to divert shipments of Knight armour and other armaments to Baroda, an action that served to both reinforce and bind the Makabius to Horus' hidden cause as well as weaken possible Loyalist elements on the front lines of the Great Crusade.
On Baroda, Lord Protector Markan quickly issued a summons to those of his kin off-world with the various fleets of the Great Crusade, covertly gathering them to their homeworld to await Horus' call to arms. By the time of the battles in the Istvaan System and the opening salvoes of Horus' rebellion, Markan had gathered the vast majority of House Makabius to Baroda to receive the gifts of Horus' largesse. However, not all of his returning kin were willing to countenance the price of Horus' favour, many having forged binding ties with now-Loyalist elements among the Great Crusade fleets. Adopting the title of "Knights of the Covenant," recalling the oaths of allegiance they had sworn to the Emperor, these warriors took up arms and seized the Black Tower, Baroda's astropathic sanctum. In a brief and brutal conflict that was a grim echo of the Istvaan massacres, history repeated itself as the Lord Protector led both those Knights loyal to him and the dark emissaries of the Warmaster to destroy the Loyalists, whose sacrifice would go unknown until long after the end of the Heresy.
Only a few solar months later, in 006.M31, a great war fleet arrived in orbit of Baroda, dark and terrible of aspect. As the Knights of House Makabius assembled, ready to join the army of the Warmaster, they were instead confronted by Mortarion -- lord of the Death Guard Legion, fresh from the corpse-strewn plains of Istvaan. Granted the Warmaster's authority, Mortarion took command of House Makabius and all its assets, ordering Baroda stripped of all remaining resources, both mineral and human, in order to supply his fleets and he assigned the warriors of the Knight House as shock assault troops for his grim Legion. Lord Protector Markan was summoned to attend the Primarch personally, never to return to his brethren, though his gene-seal countersigned all of Mortarion's decrees to the House and his personal Knight armour, its Throne Mechanicum chamber sealed from the outside, was sighted in several battles during the Heresy, fighting with a measured savagery. Lacking Markan's direct leadership, the only option for the Makabius was participation in Dark Compliance actions, despite the dire reputation of the XIVth Legion and the rumoured fate of other auxiliary units in the wake of their campaigns. As the warriors of House Makabius left Baroda behind, its gutted carcass remained as a grim example of the Reaper's methods, all their dreams of glory subsumed instead by Mortarion's campaigns of genocidal destruction.
- The Death of Dominica Minoris (007.M31) - House Makabius' first action alongside the traitorous Death Guard Legion would be the utter annihilation of the defenders of Dominica Minoris' starport. Here the Loyalists had succeeded in throwing back the Death Guard's first assault through the use of Titan-class mining engines. Landing with a force of only thirty Knights, House Makabius broke the deadlock and ensured the Traitors' total victory.
Notable House Makabius KnightsEdit
- Black Saker - Questoris Knight Errant of Scion Bendrik Makabius. Claimed after the assault on the Black Tower against the Loyalist self-stylised "Knights of the Convenant" during which Bendrik slew the armour's former pilot in combat, Black Slaker became Bendrik's bonded mount until the time when he himself was slain only a few solar months later on Dominica Minor when Mortarion ordered House Makabius to force a breach in the Loyalist defences.
- Vindex Magnar - Cerastus Knight Lancer of Scion Julius Makabius. Lauded for its role in the defence of Akre Primaris during the Great Crusade, where the armour's title was granted it by the Primarch of the Ultramarines, Roboute Guilliman himself, Vindex Magnar was to gain a far darker renown in later years, notably for its role in the genocidal assault on Lascal, where hundreds of the bodies left to rot were rendered unrecognisable by the tread of its metal feet.
- Gloriam Eternus - Unknown Knight class of Scion Sirus Arkhen. Destroyed during the Third Siege of Mezoa.
Notable House Makabius PersonnelEdit
- Sirus Lethale - Lord Martial of House Makabius at the time of its reunification with the Imperium.
- Markan Hrotham - Hero of the Pacification of Skarron and later Lord Protector of House Makabius at the beginning of the Heresy was -- and perhaps still is -- an emblematic figure of his House's downfall. Through his bond with First Captain Ezekyle Abaddon he would bind the future of his House to the Warmaster Horus' fate and lead it to its destruction. Bold and borderline reckless when at the command of his personal Knight armour, Markan Hrotham was a consummate killer, having both forced rulership from his House's Magna Concilium by force and crushed the open rebellion of the self-appointed Loyalist "Knights of the Covenant" within his own House. When in 006.M31 Mortarion the Reaper came to claim House Makabius' pledge to the Warmaster, Lord Protector Markan was summoned to attend the grim Primarch of the Death Guard, never to be seen again. Still his Knight armour, its throne chamber sealed from the outside, would sometimes take the to the battlefield and his gene-seal could be found countersigning each one of Mortarion's decrees, further fuelling the rumours about his new servitude -- or as some even state, enthrallment -- to the Primarch of the XIVth Legion.
- Bendrik Makabius - Bendrik Makabius was the short-lived pilot of the Questoris Knight Errant Black Saker.
- Julius Makabius - Julius Makabius was a feared Aucteller of House Makabius, pilot of the Cerastus Knight Lancer Vindex Magnar.
- Sirus Arkhen - Notable hero of the younger generation of Makabius Knights who followed in Markan Hrotham's footsteps and joined the Great Crusade. Vanquished and killed by Magister Thenus Apeo in the Crucible of Enlightenment of House Hermetika.
In the earliest years of House Makabius' incorporation into the Imperium, it fielded few Knight armours considered battle-worthy, as most of those armours that had survived the Age of Strife and Baroda's decline were barely functional, mis-repaired amalgams of several different machines. What House Baroda did not lack was warriors or experience -- most of the surviving scions were veterans of the civil strife that had engulfed Baroda for centuries, including those bitter warriors incorporated into the Makabius from fallen Houses -- yet without armour, these warriors were forced to wait out many of the battles of the Great Crusade in near-exile on that world.
As new Knight armours began to arrive on Baroda from the Forge World of Mezoa, the Makabius entered a period of slow rebuilding, and by the dawn of the 31st Millennium had received nearly a hundred new Knight armours, including several of the more advanced Cerastus pattern. However, due to the inherent difficulties of Warp travel through the treacherous Empyrean currents of the Grail Abyss, these armours arrived in small consignments via Explorator Cruisers rather than large Ark Mechanicums, which the Mezoans would not risk in the region. Worse, once bonded to a Makabius scion, the Knight in question often left Baroda at the first opportunity, either alone or as small Households, to join the vast forces of the Great Crusade.
Thus, by the time of Markan's return to his homeworld, barely two dozen fully-equipped Knights were present as its garrison, and these were mostly controlled by members of the old guard and the Magna Concilium, whilst the vast majority of House Makabius' strength was scattered in small contingents across dozens of Expeditionary Fleets.
With the installment of Markan as Lord Protector of Baroda, the House of Makabius cut its tenuous ties to the Forge World of Mezoa, and began a covert relationship of supply via the Warmaster's agents, whose sources not even they truly knew. Within a few short solar months, their ranks had swollen to nearly two hundred fully equipped Knights, and a sizable host of retainer troops and support war machines. Most likely these arms were largely diverted from shipments intended for other sources, and it is notable that several convoys of munitions and armour bound for Damaetus III/II vanished in the months prior to the events at Istvaan III.
House Makabius has always been known for their austere appearance, disdaining the use of the more colourful heraldries of other Houses. As such the Makabius official colours are recorded to be a bisected heraldry of cream and shadow, although some sources also claim them to be quartered sable and shadow. This may well be a consequence of their Household's neglected state at its implementation amongst the Knight Houses of the Imperium or a shortage of chemical compounds needed for the production of more colourful drabs on Baroda.
The Makabius coat of arms represents a crossed pair of sable warhammers centred over a crimson four-pointed star on a pale field. Due to its personal affiliation to the Warmaster Horus starting immediately after the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V, House Makabius also wore the personal sigil of the Warmaster, the Eye of Horus, as part of its heraldry, the latter being prominently displayed on armorial shield, banners and the armour itself as a revered campaign badge.
House Personal HeraldryEdit
As befitting such a severe and austere House as that of the Makabius, the heraldic rules that developed on Baroda during the Age of Strife are of a very strict nature. As is often the case on Knight Worlds that had to traverse a time of internecine warfare, these rules emphasise unity of purpose and submission to the will of the House over the flamboyant display of personal icons and honour markings.
In accordance to this set of rules, the Knight's armour is given over to House heraldry, the personal heraldry of the pilot being limited to banners and sometimes the armorial shield. Personal heraldry invariably convenes a martial rank such as the diamond pattern of the Aucteller or the barbed bar reserved to members of the Implacable Order. Most personal emblems figure a distinctively military signification: swords and other weapons as well as skull motiffs being the most common. As a matter of tradition these personal emblems are rendered in black, perhaps to better echo the House sigil. The personal emblem is usually chosen by the Knight after his or her Rite of Becoming.
As an exception amongst the Knight Houses, House Makabius incorporated the Eye of Horus into its heraldry, most notoriously in the aspect of a campaign badge showing the House's arms beside the Eye of Horus party-per-pale. It is also notable that despite siding with the Warmaster, House Makabius retained the symbol of the Imperialis on the armoured cowl of their Knights.
With their induction into Mortarion's dread fleet and the innumerable atrocities the House was later party to, the heraldry of House Makabius was increasingly simplified until only the sigils of Horus and the House remained, which meant that in the latter years of the Heresy, many Barodan Knight armours featured so few identifying marks that they were difficult to tell apart.
- The Horus Heresy - Book Four: Conquest (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 33-34, 106-113