"The Machine-Men march!"
Dark Age of Technology
- "The Arithmetic of War is clear, let thine blades be guided by the blessed calculations of the Omnissiah! "
- —Baron Heinrich Bauer leading his fellow Knights in the Burning March of the Callpeen Campaign circa M37
A fearsome Adeptus Mechanicus Knight House, the Knights of House Rhinehof have been known as the Reapers of the Omnissiah since the days of the Great Crusade. In the centuries of the Long Night, House Rhinehof earned the dubious distinction as one of the most destructive of the belligerent forces involved in the ancient Knight Wars and as a near apocalyptic force upon the theater of the Great Crusade.
As practitioners of their strange techno-chivarlic code known as the Arithmetic of War, the Knights of House Rhinehof are known for cold, machine like tactical decisions. Caring not for emotion or moral implications so long as their actions lead to a greater victory for the Imperium and honor the perfection of the Omnissiah. Thus, while willing to spend the lives of their allies for the sake of victory, the Knights of House Rhinehof are equally well known to throw themselves into the teeth of the enemy if such a sacrifice would serve a greater purpose. It is in this selflessness that they often win allies, but is also in this callousness that the vast majority of their detractors find their ground to protest against fighting alongside the "Machine Men of Draklund".
The Age of Fire and Darkness
Safeguarding their holdings on their Knight World of Draklund with stalwart distinction, House Rhinehof had long become inured to the relentless brutalities of war, having transformed their world into a post-industrial hellscape of bombed out factories and annihilated cities. Unlike most Knight Worlds, the people of Draklund never regressed fully into an agrarian society, the pressing needs of warfare against xenos invaders and internecine warfare between the early Knight Houses of the world necessitating the ardent preservation of technology.
Many Houses became obsessed with the preservation of the means to produce and preserve their Knights and their armaments, and often considered other resources such as the civilian workforce and common foot soldiers as fully expendable when it came to the well being of these technologies. This selective hording of certain technologies set off an arms race that was finally won by the neo-aristocratic group of industrialists that would eventually become known as House Rhinehof.
Era of Expansion/The Knight Wars
Their toxic, war torn homeworld finally in hand, House Rhinehof set to the stars, searching for much needed resources to support their dead world and keep the fires of industry burning. It is in this endeavor that they first came into conflict with their fellow Knight Houses, their sub-light warships coming across the frontier colonies of House Makadon and Petrov, already embroiled in a brutal territorial dispute. House Rhinehof chose to strike while both factions were off guard, unleashing their Knights armed with the most terrible weapons of their fell archotech arsenals. Phosphex and Virus Bombs rained from the skies, Knights armed with esoteric tools of unspeakable horror tore into both civilian and military targets with unflinching zeal and the fires of war consumed the stars.
Following House Rhinehof's intervention, Houses Petrov and Makadon formed a temporary alliance, fearing that House Rhinehof would render the entire sphere a lifeless void of burnt out worlds. However, House Petrov's betrayal of the alliance at the infamous Sobvast Bloodbath caused the entire conflict to spiral out of control. The massive losses accrued by all sides created a temporary cease fire as the Knight Houses of the Exile Sector recouped their losses and saw to the defense of their fiefdoms from elements of raiders from the River. It was only with the arrival of the Ultramarines Legion that the Knight Wars came to an official end, though House Rhinehof was the last to join the Imperium, threatening war with the Ultramarines until representatives of the Adeptus Mechanicus negotiated a secondary treaty in which House Rhinehof would receive the direct support of the newly established Forge World of Okentos Primarius.
The Great Crusade
When brought into the Imperial fold by the Adeptus Mechanicus of Forge World of Okentos Primarius, House Rhinehof made easy converts to the will of the Machine God, their practice of placing purely pragmatic value on technology swiftly warped into a fanatical love for the tools of war. Unlike many Knight Houses, then General Elect Gunter Rhinehof saw both the pragmatic and the philosophical value to adopting the creed of Mars in full, and converted to the Machine Cult. Thus, while House Rhinehof does not have as much trust with Imperial forces outside of the Adepts of Mars, their Sacristans are noted as some of the finest in the Exile Sector and their ranks boast the largest numbers of Questoris Knights of the Exile Houses. Knights of House Rhinehof are noted to bear extensive and often extravagant bionic enhancements to show their dedication to the creed of the Omnissiah, though it should be noted that the Rhinehof Tech-Cult is a far more militant breed of devotion than that of the average Techpriest.
House Rhinehof is infamous for their ruthless conduct, however this is often misinterpreted as malicious intent by outsiders. In truth, the Knights of House Rhinehof are simply pragmatists, operating on an ancient philosophy known as the Arithmetic of War. This ancient code of conduct and battle rites is equal parts religious text and honor code for House Rhinehof and dictates that a Knight is to be, above all, efficient. For efficiency is the breath of the Omnissiah and to act without first consulting the sacred mathematics of every action is to sin against the almighty Machine God and bring dishonor unto the name of House Rhinehof.
Ironically, the Knights of House Rhinehof are often noted as holding less animosity towards their historic rivals, House Petrov and House Makadon, and instead saving most of their ire for the "upstart" House Hawke-Castor. This is due to House Hawke's interference in Rhinehof's early assault and House Castor's raids upon Rhinehof's holdings, not to mention the actions of the then united Houses against them during the lull in the Knight Wars. Though Rhinehof responded with the Virus Bombing of the world of Tenthis and would have no doubt followed such an atrocity with a savage assault, their actions were halted by the arrival of the forces of the Imperium.
The Machine-Men of Draklund also hold a current rivalry with House Faramond, though this is a recent grudge when compared to the Houses other traditional greivences, as the incident which sparked this animosity was at the Battle of Kephis in M41, in which the House Faramond Knight Gloria et Virtute accidentally struck the House Rhinehof Questoris Knight Apparatus Vindictae with its Reaper Chainsword.
House Rhinehof is unique in that their Knights do not inherent the title and mount by hereditary lines but by a vote of House members. Young aspirant Knights are put through the public trial of combat and strategic acumen, the finest of their ranks elected as the next generation of Knights by popular vote. This is similar to the Trial of Election, which decides next lord of the house, known as the General Elect. The candidates of the Trial of Election are often the most venerated and devout members of the House and the General Elect reigns until death.
House Rhinehof's current General Elect, Ludwig Rhinehof the Elder, has distinguished himself and his House in several conflicts across the front of the River of Exiles. His Questoris Knight Magaera, Glaive of the Omnissiah, has become a spectre of terror to the enemies of the Imperium. House Rhinehof is a sizable House, constant repairs maintaining their older Knights and favoritism of the Adeptus Mechanicus ensuring that their ranks are kept at a considerable one-hundred.
Varghof Heist the Younger
Pilot of the infamous Questoris Knight Magaera Apparatus Vindictae, this young Knight has earned great glory as of late for his House and the Omnissiah in recent engagements against the Tryanid Hive Fleet Orthros and heretical uprisings on the worlds of Krashaun and Megis Secundus.
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