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Known to be a savage House, the Knights of Ærthegn hail from a desolate region of Ultima Segmentum rife with barren planets and pirates. Descendant of a long-lost Knight House whose world was destroyed in an unknown calamity, their predecessors becoming reaver lords by enslaving psykers and navigators in order to allow interstellar travel and establish a petty kingdom for themselves. Becoming known as the Wræken Dreor (or pilgrims of blood and ashes in proto-gothic), after the Ullanor Crusade Warmaster Horus dispatched the Luna Wolves to finally deal with them.
Battling the Dreor on the frozen seas of Altus Ferro, Horus himself tore apart the Knight of the enemy commander. After the battle Horus traveled into the heart of the territory and was able to pledge the Knights to their service, renamed as House Ærthegn and taking up a region of space known as the Hrethmael Drift as their domain. Despite being officially pledged to the Imperium, the House continued their old ways and pillaged non-compliant sectors of space. They did little to change their brutal ways and established a vicious and undisciplined reputation in Imperial service under the command of their chieftain, Kynerak Gravewalker. They would frequently provoke duels with other Knight Houses and Freeblades just for an opportunity to spill their opponents blood. For his part, Horus dismissed the Knight's sour reputation as the work of "rogue elements". The Household faced no discipline for their behavior despite calls to, particularly after the slaughter and enslavement of 100,000 citizens on Altus-Legia.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the House quickly joined the forces of Horus during the Horus Heresy and took part in the Battle of the Coronid Deeps. They fought beside Legio Suturvora and Legio Fureans in the Battle of Beta-Garmon.