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Ritual of Becoming

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"I will uphold the honour of my house, our brotherhood gives me strength. I will show no mercy to my foes, none shall withstand my fury. I will defend the sanctity of Sacred Mountain, no enemy shall tread Alaric Prime unpunished. I will never forsake my oath, only in death does duty end."
House Degallio's Oath of Becoming
Imperial Knights Heraldry

Heraldry of the Imperial Knights

The Ritual of Becoming is the bonding process that young nobles of the Knight Houses undergo that imprints their personality into a Throne Mechanicum, the cybernetic control platform utilised by nobles to control their Imperial Knight suits. This process takes place in a special room known as the Chamber of Echoes, located at the heart of every knightly stronghold, a single massive building called the Sanctuary. It is here that the suits of Knight armour are stored when not in use and where the nobles undergo the ancient rituals and procedures that allow them to bond with their Thrones Mechanicum. Having been physically prepared to integrate with a Knight, the prospective pilots must face the Becoming. In this barbaric rite they are bonded to their Knight in mind and soul, or else prove unworthy and pay the ultimate price. Led to the Chamber of Echoes, the aspirants are presented with a number of empty Thrones Mechanicum. Each is set well back within a torchlit alcove, looming menacingly from amid a dense cowl of squirming shadows. The aspirants are instructed to seat themselves in the Throne of their house. Once all of the aspirants are seated, hooded Sacristans connect each to their assigned Throne Mechanicum. As the ancient devices whisper into life, the Sacristans extinguish the torches and withdraw. They leave the aspirants in utter, pitch darkness, at the mercy of the ghosts bound within their Thrones.

Over the course of the long, horrifying night that follows, each aspirant must attempt to bond successfully with his chosen Throne Mechanicum. These Thrones retain echoes of the many previous pilots that have imprinted their psyches upon them, echoes that now race to the fore and induce hallucinations, waking nightmares and shuddering fugue states within the aspirants. Strange nerve impulses race through the young nobles' bodies, causing them to moan, twitch and convulse. High, terrified laughter and sudden, spontaneous sobs of misery cut through the darkness, accompanied by grunts, muttering and the occasional sudden, chilling scream. As the night wears on, the aspirants will depart the realm of the real altogether, falling into the churning sea of ghosts that resides within the neural network of their Throne. During this strange trance state, each prospective pilot must find within themselves the strength of character to subdue the echoes of the past and drag themselves back to the present. So desperate a trial is this that one aspirant in ten does not survive, their minds burned out by neural feedback or their sanity shattered by hallucinatory trauma. Those who live will imprint their personality upon their Throne Mechanicum, seizing its neural space as a general seizes a fortress and planting their flag for all to see.

When the torches are lit the next morning and the surviving aspirants are freed from their Thrones, it is a changed group of youths-become-men who march from the Chamber of Echoes. The very neural chemistry of their brains has been altered, the tapestries of their souls unpicked and rewoven just as their own psychic imprint has been branded upon the soulspace of their newly-claimed Throne. Forced to fall back upon their dominant personality traits to survive, the young nobles will find these characteristics forever exaggerated by the actions of their Throne. The programming of the Throne -- and the influence of its possessing prior echoes -- leaves the nobles with a lingering sense of duty, fealty and almost mystical reverence for their ancestors that will colour their deeds and decisions forevermore. At the same time, their own emotions and personality characteristics during the night of the Becoming will affect the Throne they have claimed and the Knight into which it melds. This leaves some suits skittish and twitchy, while others become sombre, aggressive, stubborn or unflinchingly courageous. Over time, a Knight suit will absorb dozens of neural imprints from generations of nobles, each one becoming a different aspect of the suit's personality. Whatever the case, the Knight suit will awaken only at the behest of its newly imprinted pilot, until such time as that noble is slain and becomes just another ghost in the machine.

SourcesEdit

  • Codex: Imperial Knights (6th Edition), pp. 12, 138
  • The Imperial Knight Companion (6th Edition), pp. 7, 80-81

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