The Raulites, or 'Friends' as they refer to themselves, are a cult within the Cult Mechanicus. They enjoy the favor of Imperial authorities, but are regarded as Hereteks by many among the priesthood, and are unofficially banished from Mars and exiled to serve on the boundaries of the Imperium.
Amber Raul was an Enginseer aboard the cruiser Vanoc serving with the 856th Expeditionary Fleet of the Imperial Army. Noted by his superiors as an efficient Enginseer, but unlikely to advance any further through the priesthood due to his predilection for the Weakness of Flesh.
Raul had an unusual mind, giving him a unique view of the universe round him, making him an excellent Enginseer, able to compose simple solutions to problems other techpriests would not have thought of, but also called by his fellows 'odd' 'simple' and often, 'weird'. Nevertheless, Raul was an excellent worker and gained many friends among his fellow Enginseers and Imperial Army soldiers.
Often working for days or weeks alone, ferreting out even the most minor and obscure problems, Raul had much time to think alone, without the input of other Techpriests. He began to develop bixarre, heretical ideas, ideas that Machinery is not superior to flesh, that the Weakness of Flesh is a form of worship to the Omnissiah, and(most heretical of all) that the Enginseer, who maintains the great Machinery, is superior the Magos, who embarks on The Quest for Knowledge!
With simple-minded excitement, Raul spoke of his ideas to his friends: not taking his enthusiasm seriously, and wishing to spare him punishment, they did not speak of it to their superiors, and Raul was allowed to spread his heretical ideas for some time before he was caught out by the senior techpriests.
Raul was arrested; his superiors, also lenient toward the simple-minded enginseer, had no choice but to report him to the superior Magos aboard the Vanoc who was enraged by Raul's ideas and lenient treatment, had all of Raul's implants ripped out.
The 856th Fleet was then engaged in the cleansing of Hardeen Minor; shortly after Raul's imprisonment, the Xenos counterattacked. In a desperation measure, Raul was released and allowed to return to work; even crippled as he was, Raul performed vital repairs, and was credited by his fellows with helping to save the ship.
The superior Magos was killed by circuit-feedback when the Vanoc suffered damage, and Raul simply continued working, still stubbornly spreading his ideas: by the time a new Magos was assigned to the Vanoc, his heretekal ideas had spread widely, and the horrified Mechanicus discovered an entire cult forming round the one odd Enginseer.
Amber Raul and his followers(Raul persisted in referring to them as his 'friends') were brought to Mars and imprisoned prior to judgement being levied against them. But while they so waited, Fabricator-General Kelbor Hal opened the Vaults of Moravec and released a Chtic crapcode upon Mar, beginning the Schism of Mars.
Raul's followers escaped, bringing their leader, bewildered by the swift march of events, with them. The 'Friends' were caught up in the fighting of the Schism of Mars, and were driven into the forge complex of Fabricator-Locum Kane.
They joined Kane's loyal forces in repelling the Dark Mechanicum, welcoming the arrival of loyal reinforcements of the Imperial Fists and Imperial army under the command of Captains Sigismund and Camba-Diaz, but the traitorous forces were too numerous, and the loyalists were forced to retreat to Terra; Raul and most of his followers included.
In the chaos of preparing for the imminent arrival of Horus and his army, a small band of hereteks easily escaped notice, and joined in the monumental labor at hand, then took part in the epic battle of Terra.
According to Raulite teaching, Amber Raul was one of those who labored under the Emperor's directions to rebuild the Golden Throne. Whatever the truth of the matter, the 'Friends' were recognized by no less a personage than Roboute Guilliman for their service.
The Raulites escaped suppression, but the more orthodox priesthood still view them as hereteks. They are rarely permitted to remain on a forge world, any techpriest found to have converted to 'Raulism' being swiftly 'honored' to be chosen to serve with the Imperial Navy or Guard.
In general, the Raulites seem to take this in stride; they have a disproportionate number of Enginseers within their ranks, even senior members of the cult tending for many years to the Holy Machinery. They have served ably over the many generations since the Horus Heresy, and have won many converts to their philosophy.
Though denied the Forge Worlds, the Raulites have gained a few footholds in non-Mechanicus worlds, such as Yuguen, where Raulite Tech-Priests build and maintain the Yugueno space fleet.
The Raulites lack any real overarching philosophy or creed. Amber Raul confessing himself frankly puzzled by the complexity of the universe, permitted his friends to add their teachings to his core ideas, partly as a result of this, many different variations of Raulism have evolved over the centuries, and many other groups of hereteks have outwardly assumed the trappings of Raulism to evade persecution.
Weakness of Flesh
Amber Raul greatly enjoyed his weakness: he said that if Knowledge is the supreme embodiment of divinity -as is believed by all followers of the Cult Mechanicus- than it was heretical to forego experiences or refuse sensations, of any kind.
The Equality of Life
Working in the depths of the Vanoc, Raul came to view the crew aboard her as a part of her: if the crew who were ordinary biological beings were vital to the funcion of machinery, he reasoned, then how could it be believed that biologicals were inferior to Machiner?
The Quest for Knowledge
The Raulites also engage in the Quest for Knowledge, but generally view it as being not of overriding importance. Rather, Raul maintained, it was in the service, the tanding to Holy Machinery, that one showed one's devotion to the Machine God.