A trio of quasi-worlds at the hem of the Malfian Sub-sector, the Lathes are the foremost Forge Worlds of the Calixis Sector, rivalling Scintilla’s Gunmetal City for weapons manufacture. The three terraformed planetoids, Het, Hesh and Hadd, enjoy an irregular orbit around their star, intersecting to produce events of hyper-gravity. At such times, industry goes into frantic production, as the commingled gravitational urges of the passing planetoids allow for the specialist smelting of rare metals and alloys. Lathe blades are famed throughout the Calixis Sector for their unbreakable character. Gravitational duress also accounts for the dense, armour-piercing quality of Lathe-world ammunition. These so-called “body-blowers” are expensive and rare, and often purchased singly. The damage they can do to flesh is astonishing. Blades produced under gravitic circumstances on the Lathes are considered holy and special. Lord Hax owns a rapier of Lathe origin, presented to him by Magus Luol Rho, the Lathe-world emissary to the court of Scintilla. It is rumoured that King Skull’s sword is also an unbreakable tongue of Lathe-world manufacture.
The workforce of the Lathes is surprisingly small but all those born and bred on those oddly tangled planetoids are meaty, squat and powerful in their demeanour, and built with heavy bones and mounds of flesh. As with all Forge Worlds held under the fealty of the Mechanicus of Mars, the Lathes are a secretive, closed environment. Visits require special permits and authority, and the Lathes are protected by a fraternity of warrior Tech-priests, who can call upon the power of Titans if the circumstances demand.
Warriors of the Machine God
In the Calixis Sector, the fiefdoms of the Machine God maintain a strong martial tendency as befits their origins as domains first conquered and won during the Angevin Crusade. As well as the awesome might of the legendary Titan Legions, it is the Skitarii Tech-Guard, also known as the Forge Guard, that form the rank and file of the armed forces of both the Adeptus Mechanicus and the ancient War Houses linked to the Cult Mechanicus. The Skitarii serve to defend their master’s domains and carry the Priesthood of Mars’ wrath to their enemies. The Lathe System and their dominion territories are known to maintain large and heavily armed Tech-Guard forces to protect their interests, commanded by the feared Secutors and Magi Militant of the Auxilia Myrmidon, Tech-priests devoted purely to the science of war and the art of destruction. It is also whispered amongst the Omnissiah’s faithful that more ancient and terrible forces than the Skitarii can also be found in the secret holdfast of the Panopticon orbital station hidden at the centre of the Lathes’ treacherous asteroid belts. There it is claimed the Myrmidons walk; masters of the mysterious Ordo Reductor, they are said to be towering and fearful figures decked out in blood-red and black robes, bearing the forbidden weapons of a bygone age. Even wilder legends speak of this place as the home of mech-assassin covenants and the dread Magister Samadhi – beings who most Magos consider no more than a dark myth. Some even speculate that the Panopticon’s rulers are members of a secret order known as the Lords Dragon, an ancient and powerful cabal of Archmagos tasked with policing the Mechanicus itself, much as the Inquisition does the wider Imperium. Whatever the truth of these tales, the Panopticon is regarded as a bellicose and dangerous place, and a destination of perilous pilgrimage for those of the Omnissiah’s faithful who wish to perfect the lores of weaponcraft. Not all who journey there return, and those that do are often darkly changed by the secrets they have learned.