Into the Heart of Darkness
The Divine Worlds of Devaraj
Unlike the other two dominions encountered by the Expeditionary Fleet the union of world known as the Devaraj was a newcomer to the Northern Marches, having converted or conquered large swaths of territory merely hundred years prior. The Devaraj was a religious union, an empire of worlds united through a shared religious authority and system of beliefs. The origins of the Divine Worlds appears to have been deep in the heart of the Ouroboros Constellation, and quite how it initially came about, let alone how these worlds survived the Age of Strife is still not known. Indeed their very existence at first eluded the leadership of the 312th expeditionary fleet. Their simple faith seems to have taken shape millennia before the founding of the Imperium and the stories of the Devaraj suggests that they venerated a large pantheon of deities. 669 years before the founding of the Imperium however a great change appears to have come about within the superstitious belief system of the Devaraj worlds. They claim that a new deity, known only as the Devakadath, devoured their other gods. This legend is clearly but a later tale meant to explain some major shift in doctrine, likely also leadership, within the Devaraj, but it also appears to have fuelled a remarkable expansion. Countless worlds are said to have been converted to, or been consumed by, the faith of the Devaraj, their expansion eventually reaching the Northern Marches around 850.M30. Several worlds quickly converted to the newcomers’ faith, glad perhaps for an ally to aid them in their fight against the Yilderin. Within the span of three decades the Devaraj had won two defensive wars against the fading Yilderin and occupied the Prasada, establishing them as the prominent power within the Northern Marches.
Due to the unusual governance of the worlds of the Devaraj the planets under their rule are varied and diverse, ruled by local rulers yet overseen and controlled by the many temples and priests of the Devakadath. The temples, in addition to acting as local garrisons of the substantial armies of the Devaraj, also served as administrative sites tying the many worlds together. Each planets faith was headed by a Kali, a head-priest of sorts, all of whom answered to the distant Khadita. The Khadita, translating roughly into “she who is eaten”, was the distant head of the Devaraj’s strange faith, though little was at the time known of this accursed individual.
Already during the early planning however it had been believed by Expeditionary command that the Devaraj would resist compliance and the Imperial Truth, bound as they were by their ancient superstitions. Reports from the Rogue Trader de Winter furthermore suggested that much of the faiths leadership was made up of psykers, making it likely that at least a level of telepathic manipulation held the faithful together. For this reason the initial trust of the Expeditionary vanguard was initially aimed towards the worlds of the Devaraj and in particular the world of Katch and the orbiting Prasada in the Firtina system.