Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Forgotten Sons raid Aether Striders

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+++Incoming Transmission+++

+++Subject: Mordecai, status update, addendum+++

+++ =][=+++

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Lord Inquisitor Hathek

We have picked up the trail of the Adeptus Astartes Chapter of seemingly the Ultima Founding who have attacked both Imperial, Xenos and traitor forces throughout the subsector. I have included a report of actions they partook in.

Sire I begin with a recap of the status of Mordecai. As you are no doubt aware the long drawn out stalemate on Mordecai has continued unabated. For every successful push the Imperial forces make we are driven back in another sector by the traitors. The situation on the eastern flank is particularly dire. Enemy forces had nearly broken through Kutuzov's lines a few weeks earlier and the situation has barely stabilised. 

Fort Abruphus’ continues to have both poor supplies and stretched resources - the soldiers are exhausted and there have been a number of mistakes made. Furthermore, the defending forces have been terrorised for weeks by four Renegade Knights.

The Knights claim fealty to the Aether Striders and are led by Sir Sinak Asmodor who pilots the Knight Tyrant “Machina Infernus”. His three companions are (or were); Hunt mistress Skasse Tyranthus piloting “the Hound of Souls”, the Witch Vortatha Krast, piloting “Infinite Hate” and Prince Tragget Griffith piloting “Blisslbringer”. The officers on the front line had, either through incompetence or through sheer exhaustion been unable to pin down the four rampaging knights, content as they were in destruction and carnage over a true battle strategy, or so it seemed.

Unbeknownst to the forces on the ground, the band of Knights had been rampaging with a specific purpose sire. The Witch Vortatha Krast had what, on further investigation a ritual that would tear a hole into reality, unleashing a daemonic host. The souls gathered, all that was needed was to cast the ritual. This is the point of interest to the Forgotten Sons.

On the morning of 1909.020M42 two Thunderhawks broke through the atmosphere, having deployed via Strike Cruiser. Quite how the Strike Cruiser was able to enter system undetected to us is a mystery. The Thunderhawks gave no hail or call sign, they just appeared at random to forces on the ground, who were not quick enough to shoot them down. Whether that was fortunate or not I would not dare say.

The Astartes deployed approximately 1.5 kilometres beyond the furthest Imperial front line, forming defensive positions. How they got the intel is unknown is unclear, however what is clear is they knew were the Witch was to perform the ritual and had deployed to stop the renegades succeeding.

Sire I took the liberty of deploying scout servo skulls and redirecting some orbiting assets to monitor the situation on the ground where the Astartes were, and so, can give a detailed report.

The Astartes deployed in a deliberately provocative manner, anchoring their right flank heavily while leaving their left flank undefended. Unbeknown to the Knights several stealth assets had deployed on the left flank, out of sight. The Hound of Skulls charged towards the Astartes defensive position at speeds I would not have thought possible, yet the Astartes seemed to have anticipated this move, rapidly pulling back into a crescent formation, which Skasse dutifully charged into, allowing herself to be encircled. Despite limited anti-armour the Astartes strategically targeted weak joints on the Knights in a manner other chapters often deem “dishonourable” with their bolters, staggering and throwing off the Hound of Souls charge. Skasse’s intended target – the Repulsor, was damaged but not destroyed by the things massive power claw.

Prince Tragget Griffith was able to destroy an Aggressor that was screening the main battle line. On the Astartes left flank the Infiltrator and Eliminator teams continually harassed Asmodor, not able to damage him, nor even trying, but rather simply slow him down. The Witch was casting her ritual, but the Astartes were clearly focussed upon the four Knights destruction, encircling Skasse and bringing her low with concentrated fire, finally ending her when a Redemptor Dreadnought charged and ripped her mutated body from her cockpit.

The left flank of the Astartes fared less well, with casualties mounting, which they seemed uncaring towards. Whoever these Astartes are, I must admire their dedication sire. Prince Tragget continued firing, however the Astartes had trapped and cornered him with low orbit drops of Supressor and Inceptor teams completing the trap and reducing his engine, and seemingly him to a broken mass. At the sight of two engines destroyed by the Astartes, who were moving to encircle the Witch, Krast abandoned her ritual and fled before she could suffer the fate of Skasse and Tragget. It is unknown if Asmodor and Krast are still working together, however it is believed that the Astartes in question are in pursuit of them. The ritual was stopped, and the east flank given some much needed respite.

I, with some reluctance share the last element of this report. In post battle action, it appears the Astartes executed several Imperial Guard officers on the eastern flank. We have a vox recording, taken by a ‘Trooper Sidorov’ of the Novgorod Guard. The officers had just been executed, and there were viscera over the receiver as well as lowering power fields. I have done what I can to clear the interference.

+++ Recording starts+++

Astarte: “Mortal. Trooper Sidorov, you are spared this punishment as it was not you who failed the Imperium, rather your superiors. Carry this message to ‘your’ General Kutuzov. We tolerate your failings no longer, we offer this warning, and only this warning. Do better, or meet the judgement of the Emperor.”

Trooper Sidorov: “S-s-sire, I need a to know who is sending the message… P-please”

Astarte: “Brave. Very brave of you mortal to challenge your betters. But. Acceptable. Primum de Oblitus, tell them that.

++++ Recording ends ++++

Lord Inquisitor Hathek. I took the liberty of trying to find more about this ‘Primum’. I tried searching the archives for the name, with no results. I searched for the full term associated with the Ultima founding, no results. Then I considered the literal High Gothic “First of the Forgotten”. Again, sire, no results. Whoever this Astartes was, according to interrogation of Sidorov (who has since been administered the Emperor’s peace), the Astarte bore the livery of one of high rank, perhaps even a Chapter Master. There could not have been an Ultima Chapter of no record sire, it’s impossible is it not?  I shall continue to investigate.

Your humble servant 

Adept Luthor Maute

+++Transmission ends+++

+++ =][=+++

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Scrivener Gleon notes: Adept Maute’s location is currently unknown, he failed to report to handlers some days after this transmission was sent.

Chaos break through imperial defences on Mordecai Secundus

XXX





Thursday, September 10, 2020

Decisive fleet action at Mordecai

In early 09.020M42 the Imperial Navy knew they had to force a favourable action with the fleets of chaos in order to increase the amount of supplies reaching Kutuzov's troops on the ground at Mordecai Secundus. If they could not break the blockade, Kutuzov's situation on the planet would become untentable, and the war lost. Astralis was still effectively unassailable, and an attack on the fleet base would be suicide. However, Admiral Gorshkov decided to bait the enemy into an equal fight, by sending in a large convoy with his battlegroup lying in wait behind.
 
Seeing a large Imperial convoy trying to break the blockade, the chaos fleet moved in for the kill. As soon as they did, the Imperial fleet assessed the threat. The battlegroup was not the entire chaos fleet, but a sizeable force centred around a Despolier class battleship escorted by several cruisers, moving in close formation towards the Imperial convoy. Assessing the odds as somewhat even, Gorshkov closed aggressively with the chaos fleet.
 
The Emerald Serpent fleet was surprised by the appearance of Gorshkov's battlegroup, and the Imperial admiral focussed his fire on the Despoiler. The chaos flagship took heavy fire, impairing the enemy admiral's ability to control his fleet. Orders were sent but ignored, and the natural inclination for the chaos captain's to squabble with each other was exposed, as the chaos battlefleet became less of a coherent force with its flagship under heavy fire.
 
By the time the two fleets had closed with each other to exchange real fire, the Despoiler was already limping. This was followed by a catastrophic detonation of a carnage class cruiser, the destruction of which crippled the chaos fleet's second largest warship, an Acheron class heavy cruiser. Seizing his chance, Gorshkov manouevered his fleet even closer, launching a devastating set of teleport attacks against the crippled vessel. The chaos ship was reduced to a drifting hulk, and the chaos fleet, now having lost two of their capital ships with only one of their enemy more suffering any serious damage, attempted to flee. Gorshkov managed to launch a wave of attack craft to put the Despoiler out of action before the remaining chaos ships were scattered. The battle had been a decisive Imperial victory. A battleship and two cruisers had been taken out of action, while the Imperium had suffered significant damage to only one of Gorshkov's dominators. The convoy reached its destination unscathed, and while the odds were still favourable to the traitors, an entire battlegroup had been neutralised, effectively giving the Imperial navy a 3-2 advantage in ships in the Mordecai system.

In fighting at Boltarean sees Death Guard take control

In fighting on Boltarean sees Death Guard take control
While the war on Mordecai continued to drain Imperial resources, the forces of chaos were also fixed on the system and the prosecution of the war there. The Emerald Serpent in particular had focussed its resources in their mission to remove te loyalist presence from Mordecai Secundus, taking advantage of Warsmith Stahl's retreat into his lair in the Enceladus Subsector. The daemon princes, brothers millenia ago, would now seize their chance to become the dominant force of chaos in the Perseus Deeps.
 
This did however mean that the Hadron Expanse became a lesser concern, and while the Death Guard were happy to ally themselves with the Serpent in the Deeps, on the Eastern Fringe they had other ideas. Central to the plan devised by the sons of Mortarion was the ultimate destruction of Ultramar and the enslavement of the Ultima segmentum to the ruinous plagues of Nurgle. To facilitate this they had begun to create their own bases in the Hadron Expanse, and now wanted to claim the chaos world of Boltarean for their own.
 
The Death Guard gave the remaining Emerald Serpent forces on Boltarean fair warning, but the pride of the Thousand Sons prevented any amicable solution. The scions of Nurgle moved on the Boltarean capital in force, and a long drawn out battle ensued outside the city. Aeons old grudges were settled, as the brutal fighting continued for days. Neither side were quick to give any quarter to their opponents, but in the end the unnatural durability of the Death Guard secured victory. The sons of Mortarion raised their flag above the capital of the chaos world, claiming dominance over all chaos forces in the Hadron Expanse.

Federacy and Imperium clash in the Hadron Expanse

In the Hadron Expanse there was a shift away from Hexis throughout mid 020M42 as all factions began to realise the irrelevance of that theatre. the war would continue to ravage the inhospitable desert worlds and countless lives would continue to be lost, but the wider subsector now began to take a more prominent position in the struggle for dominance over the region. The Alliance, especially the Tau, had begun to attack worlds in line with their "Hadron Expansion Sphere". The Federacy, although allied with this cause, did not want their hard work and cooperation to lead to an entirely Tau based domination in the region. Already Mimir, the seat of Federal power in the Expanse, had Tau bases and complexes, and the new governor of the Federal mission to the Expanse, Grandt Naylock, wanted at least one system that could be claimed entirely for the Federacy.
 
To do this, the Federal explorers began identifying likely systems. One such system was Tanis, an inhabited human system with a wealth of exploitable resources and ideal colonisation prospects. Keen to jump on the opportunity before the Tau, Naylock authorised an expedition. The Federal fleet delivered a sizeable force of Librian and Tallaxian forces to the system, along with a small battlegroup of naval vessels. The inhabitants welcomed the visitors and immediately aligned themselves with the Federal cause, even if they still retained some vestiges of their prior loyalty to the Imperium from millenia ago when the Hadron Expanse had last been connected to the Aleph sector.
 
At least, most of them became aligned. Unfortunately for Naylock, a pro-imperial "cult" sent a message into the void appealing for aid. This was intercepted by General Percival's astropaths at Arawath. Pleased by the find, but alarmed by the Federal takeover, Percival began to draw up plans to intervene. Before the planning stages had even properly begun however, the Space Wolves intervened unilaterally themselves, landing on the inhabited worlds of Tanis and taking control. The federal regiments took up positions to face this new threat, but following a decisive strike against their armour by the Space Wolves' fliers, the federal forces struggled with inaccurate and ineffective fire against the imperial air power, wasting precious time and ammunition while the Space Wolves' ground forces closed the distance. The Librian Guard tried to put the astartes off balance by conducting an aerial drop of stormtrooper forces, but this failed, allowing the elite sons of Fenrir to make contact with the Librian lines and simply roll them up.
 
The battle had been a shambles for the Federacy, who abandoned the system for the time being, chased out of it by the Space Wolves' strike cruisers and escorts. The astartes notified Percival of their actions, and began establishing a base on Tanis, which they immediately renamed "Canis" for their efforts. Now they would have to wait and see if the Alliance or other forces took interest in this newly discovered system.

White Scars hold the line on Mordecai Secundus

By 09.042M42 general Kutuzov had stabilised the eastern front on Mordecai. His guard regiments had dug in, but the supply situation was still dire. The forces of chaos knew this, so did not let up in their attempt to break down the imperial defences and break through to Kutuzov's command HQ. By now this HQ had become a sprawling complex controlling the entire war effort. If this was compromised the war on Mordecai Secundus would be over.
 
While the Emerald Serpent continued to pressure on all fronts, in early 09.042 the Death Guard did manage to penetrate Kutuzov's lines in the south. A force of elite traitor astartes managed to established a position splitting Kutuzov's defences, opening up a gap between two Novgorod Regiments. Held in reserve, the loyalist astartes now struck against this new threat. A force of White Scars, using their greater mobility, advanced on the Death Guard positions on two flanks, keeping their distance while peppering the traitors with constant fire. To deal with this threat the Death Guard units were forced to split up and attempt to deal with both attacking forces. They did manage to close the distance and make contact with some of the White Scars' bike squads, but the loyalist space marines had deliberately engineered a layered formation.
 
Now pinned by their engagement with the White Scars' advance units, the remaining space marines delivered their countercharge, encircling the Death Guard forces and reducing each pocket in turn. By 0509.M42 the chaos bridgehead across Kutuzov's defensive line had been eliminated, and the White Scars withdrew, allowing the Novgorod Guard to restore the unbroken defensive lines facing off against the Nurgle threat.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Hobbiton invaded by Death Guard

While the focus of imperial attention remained firmly fixed on the Mordecai theatre, general Percival remained in overall command of the Hadron Expanse theatre. Overall his forces had been depleted, with most guard formations being concentrated with Konev's army on Hexis. Hussaria had been lost, but the Imperium still held onto Goreen, Arawath and Vanir. Although the strategically important system of Palantir now had a chaos presence on Dale, Percival had his eyes fixed towards the Tau empire and its allies, as his intelligence suggested that the Emerald Serpent at Boltarean was no longer a threat.

Percival was unaware however of the Death Guard's ambitions in the Hadron Expanse. Rather than simply aid the forces at Mordecai, Mortarion's children had decided to spreadh their forces widely to maximise the pressure - and plague - they could spread. It came as a complete surprise to Percival when in late 08.020M42 the garrison commander of Hobbiton reported an invasion by plague marines.

The Death Guard were supported by the fleets of Thok, not the Emerald Serpent, and Admiral Craddock was forced to withdraw. The Imperial Navy could not risk a space battle with so much of their strength supporting Kutuzov at Mordecai. The garrison was quickly overun but fortunately the Space Wolves were in the vicinity and organised their own counter offensive. The Wolves initially surprised the traitor astartes who had not been expecting such a response from the Imperium, but the stubborn and unnatural durability of the plague marines eventually carried them to victory, and the Space Wolf counter attack faltered. By the end of 08.020M42 much of Hobbiton had once again been overrun by chaos forces, and Percival was facing a war on two fronts, with limited resources.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Malkaor's Tau establish foothold at Boltarean

In the Hadron Expanse the Tau and alliance forces had been regrouping and refitting following their success at Hussaria. Now they were once again ready to prosecute the war once more, establishing the Hadron Expansion Sphere for the greater good. On their list were the imperial systems of Arawath and Palantir, but the war between the chaos forces and the Imperium on Hobbiton indicated to the Tau command that the chaos forces in the subsector could not be ignored.
Malkaor suggested a considered plan. Instead of an all out assault against the chaos forces, he proposed to set up a base in the Boltarean system on the outer planet of Portega. Weakly defended, this world should fall rapidly, as the ice planet only had a few inhabited zones. If a base could be set up here, then a way-station built, the chaos forces of Boltarean could be effectively bottled up, allowing the Empire to expand without interference.

The plan was approved, and Malkaor's appearance at Boltarean caught the defenders completely by surprise. A Darrantine regiment had been posted to defend the outer world, equipped with a Deathstrike missile system intended to obliterate anything that came too close for comfort. Malkaor's troops were too swift and too brutal however, and the battle was over before the countdown sequence had even completed. The Deathstrike never fired, and the outer planet of Portega fell to the Tau. Part one of the Tau plan to neutralise chaos in the Hadron Expanse had been completed.

Mordecai: Novgorod and Imperial Fists stabilised eastern front

 

Following the loss of territory on Kutuzov's eastern front, the forces of chaos were keen to keep up the momentum before the imperial armies could regroup and form a new defensive line. The Emerald Serpent forces were already over extended to the north, so it fell to the Death Guard to keep raining blows on the beleaguered Mordecai Invasion Army. 

The Death Guard advanced from the south, but their advanced was slowed by the difficult terrain of lava fields to the north of the Abrax mines. This allowed Kutuzov to react, and he began to deploy his faster moving Novgorod Cavalry regiments to oppose the enemy axis of advance, but even that would not be quick enough. The imperial armies needed time to prepare their lines, and only the astartes could blunt the traitor legion's advance and prevent a breakthrough that would threaten Kutuzov's HQ and supply areas.

The Imperial Fists took up the challenge, fighting a series of defensive engagements culminating in a major battle to the north of the Abrax lakes. The Death Guard attack was halted, giving the Imperium enough time to prepare their own counter offensive. The Fists withdrew from the line and Kutuzov gave the order for the cavalry regiment to attack. After a sustained artillery bombardment and an armoured push which softened up the already weakened Death Guard army, the Novgorod general deployed his cavalry and charged.

On the imperial left the cavalry made good progress, overrunning the chaos forces and penetrating deep into their rear areas. However, on the right, a unit of Myphitic Blight-hauler, blessed by the psychic energies of nurgle broke the imperial charge. This posed a serious threat, but the second line of infantry held firm until the Novogorod colonel could swing his cavalry around to help ease the pressure. By 2908.020M42 it was clear that the Death Guard had not achieved their objectives. Kutuzov's new line had held, and the Imperial Fists began helping the creation of a series of fortified positions. Meanwhile, the Imperium looked for ways to improve Kutuzov's desperate supply situation.

Tyranids beaten back on Hexis

On Hexis, the battles continued to rage despite the fact the world itself was no longer of any value. The Lysis system still marked an important way-station astride two warp lanes however, and control over the system would allow further expansion in the Hadron Expanse in the future. More importantly the armies of general Konev were under orders to prevent the tyranids from gaining any method of leaving the planet. R'lyeh appeared to be without a hive fleet, but was searching for a way off the world. If they found one, and managed to reach a world or worlds with rich biomass, the end results could be catastrophic for the Imperium.

In order to secure his own defensive position, Konev ordered his Gregorian airborne regiments to secure the hotly contested no mans land between Menthoteph and Praxis. The airborne regiments went in, hoping for a swift success, but what followed was an attritional struggle described by the Gregorian commander  as a "hot mess for the ages". The battle was bloody and expensive for both sides, but eventually the Scions, helped by the support of an Imperial Knight, were eventually able to secure the corridor between the two cities, joining up the two imperial sectors and forcing the tyranids back to the badlands to the north of the ruins.

Aeldari continue search for Nexus Arrangement

Xxx

Friday, August 14, 2020

Mordecai: Kutuzov's east flank collapses

Following on from the assault in the south, the chaos forces on Mordecai struck again in mid 08.020M42. Having secured the Sathugar mines, they now faces significant defences on Kutuzov's southern flank. In order to continue the advance, the Emerald Serpent led by Ahriman himself disguised a number of troop movements to the eastern front of Kutuzov's lines. Here, away from the strategically vital locations near the lava fields near the equator, the imperial defence was more thinly spread, defended by screening patrols with the Imperial Fists acting as a rapid reaction force in case any offensive should come from this quarter. The Emerald Serpent intended to take a swathe of territory in the east, which while having no strategic value in itself, would force general Kutuzov to divert forces away from the vital southern front, or risk his headquarters at Fort Vengeance being outflanked.

The chaos assault started well, as the Emerald Serpent made swift gains, but the Imperial Fists put into action a well drilled counter offensive in order to block this move, surround the attacking forces then reduce them peicemeal. Ahriman saw the threat as the astartes took key objectives in this counter assault. Unless he acted personally and immediately, the chaos offensive would collapse and his plans would be undone.

Ahriman and his trusted exalted sorcerer travelled to the heart of the fighting. By this stage the Imperial Fists were in control and the chaos assault had stalled. Making himself as visible to his troops as possible, Ahriman personally took the lead, cast psychic spells to propel him into battle with a squad of Primaris marines, and cut down his enemies with a mix of tzeentch sorcery and his own will. Meanwhile, his sorcerer comrade was equally valiant, using his own mastery of the warp to materialise next to a squad of bikes that held a vital flank, charging them with aplomb and cutting them apart with his martial skill.

Seeing the acts of the two sorcerers of Tzeentch, the forces of chaos rallied, and the Imperial Fists knew their plan to envelop the attacking enemy forces had been undone by the timely intervention of two heretics. The astartes withdrew, ordering the rest of Kutuzov's eastern front to retreat to a more defensive line. Ahriman smiled, knowing that Tzeentch himself has been with him on the battlefield in order to change fate itself.


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Ynnari uncover necron secrets on Grimlock

In the Zadoc subsector the Ynnari had finally established the location of the missing device. They already had the device from Corticant, the one located previously at Hexis and they had gained control of a third at Einmyrria. Yvraine knew there were five in total, and that the last would be the hardest to retrieve, the device taken and perverted to the service of the dark gods by the forces of chaos. Once she had all five, the next phase of her plan could start, using the devices against her true foe, the chaos god Slaanesh. It pained her to have to use the artefacts of the ancient enemy in this way, but for the Ynnari to obtain the last Crone Sword from the Palace of Slaanesh, they represented hope of achieving the Seventh Path.
 
Before tackling the problematic fifth device, the Ynnari needed to locate the fourth missing device, lost by the inquisition during a space battle with the Emerald Serpent. By 08.020 the Aeldari faction had located the missing artefact, which had phased out to it's ancestral resting place on Grimlock. Now, they only had to defeat the forces of chaos to retrieve the inactive device.
 
The Ynnari struck the chaos forces around the entrance to the tomb complex on Grimlock. Realising at last what Yvraine was pursuing, the Thousand Sons under the direct orders of Magnus the Red, immediately countered this move. The tzeentch worshippers had no particular love for Slaanesh, but the Master of Change did not want the Ynnari to succeed in their plans. The Thousand Sons attacked the Ynnari but were soon counter attacked themselves by the sudden appearance of Harlequin forces. These supreme elite warriors of the Laughing God used their superior mobility and agility to run rings around the Rubric Marines, and the force sent to intervene in the Ynnari plans was wiped out. Yvraine now controlled four of the necron devices, only one remained. First however, the Ynnari needed to stop the other races from obtaining the Nexus Arrangement.

Chaos offensive retakes the Kuneus coast on Mordecai

With Kutuzov's armies strangled by lack of resources, the forces of chaos once again launched a series of powerful offensives as 08.020M42 progressed, pressing hard against the imperial defences. In the south, on the coast of the Kuneus Traps, Death Guard and Thousand Sons forces managed to make a breakthrough, pushing the imperial army away from the shore and retaking much of the Sathugar mines.

The Death Guard forced the opening in Kutuzov's lines by battering the imperial defences held by the Valdograd mechanised guard regiments. Hosts of nurglings were thrown into the attack, and despite the Valdorgrad being equipped with heavy flamers on their chimeras, they were unable to clear the diminutive daemons fast enough. While occupied with the nurglings, the Death Guard Artillery conducted particularly effective and accurate counter battery fire, neutralising the imperial Basilisks and Manticores. With the Valdorgrad army tied up with daemons and unable to effectively counter the traitor legion from afar, the Death Guard had forced an opening in the imperial defences.

 The Emerald Serpent now exploited this gap in Kutuzov's lines, breaking through and rushing into the imperial rear. As the imperial guard withdrew to a defensive line further north, the Hammers of the Emperor tried to blunt the advance of the chaos forces. At the spearhead of the chaos advance were the two daemon primarchs themselves, Mortarion and Magnus. their appearance together on Mordecai showed the power of Astralis and the determination from the chaos side to retake the system for the dark gods. The Hammers pressed their attack anyway, managing to force both daemon primarch's back into the warp, but this was not enough. Later on, Kutuzov threw in his own mobile reserve in the form of airborne Scion formations, but these two were cut to ribbons by the chaos forces now moving up through the breach in the imperial lines. The Sathugar mines had been lost, and imperial command was forced to hastily prepare new defences facing the new threat to the south.


Ynnari raid Imperial bases

Even thought the Ynnari were now well on their way to finding the secrets of the Nexus Arrangement and the missing chaos device, the psychically attuned perception detected that the Imperium may still impede them. In order to tip the skeins of fate in their favour, the Ynnari launched a series of raids against the Imperium, with the main action falling upon a growing build up of Tempestus Scions forces on Hexis, who they believed were guarding important information as to the overall imperial intentions. To ensure the battle went favourably, the Ynnari sent in Aeldari forces, who deftly and deliberately gave away their positions, inviting the Scions to launch an attack.
 
The Scions took the initiative, moving their aircraft aggressively into the Aeldari lines. However, they found the Xenos vehicles to be surprisingly durable and hard to hit and merely scratched their paint work. The Aeldari counterpunch was swift and brutal taking out several air assets and the scions that dropped from their transports. The imperial forces reacted, trying to regroup and execute a  second all out push with reinforcements joining the main force. Just like before however, their efforts failed to gain them any ground, only managing to fell a small hover craft and a single small wraith construct.
 
The Aeldari once again capitalised on their opponents' vulnerable position, and their shooting was so devastating as to allow no further resistance from the elite Scions. The Aeldari mopped up the remaining imperial units and acquired the vital intelligence from the data terminals at the site. Everything was once again going according to the Ynnari plan.

Fleet action at Mordecai throttles Kutuzov

As Kutuzov struggled to keep the forces of chaos at bay on the ground, the imperial fleets at Mordecai had been in a tense standoff with the battlegroups of the Emerald Serpent for some time. Only limited supplies were getting through, as the Mordecai space docks prevented the imperium from asserting any kind of control over the inner system. With the arrival of the daemon world Astralis, this became all the more difficult.
 
In early 08.020M42 Admiral Gorshkov decided to run the blockade, hoping that a small battlegroup would be able to draw off the Emerald Serpent's fleet long enough for a significant convoy to get through. As his battlegroup travelled towards the inner system, an enemy force came out to meet him from the protection of the docks. Gorshkov attacked agressively, but his carriers and cruisers mistimed their launches, and instead of a combined wave of coordinated torpedoes and bombers, the imperial ordnance went in piecemeal. The bombers were subject to heavy turret fire, and many of the torpedoes were shot down before impact. Having failed to land a decisive blow, the imperial cruisers were now subject to a withering hail of return fire from the heavy guns and lance batteries of the Emerald Serpent vessels. Using an asteroid field, Gorshkov was able to escape the vice he now found himself in, but three capital ships recieved heavy damage.
 
On the chaos side, their was only light damage. Realising this battlegroup now threatened the convoy, Gorshkov abandoned the operation. Kutuzov's forces on Mordecais Secundus would remain desperately short of food, fuel and ammunition, just as the chaos pact of the Emerald Serpent and Death Guard prepared to launch another major offensive.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Mordecai "Battle of the Bulge" straightens Imperial line

Following the chaos breakthrough in the middle of the Imperial line, a dangerous salient had developed that threatened to cut the Imperium off from the southern part of their controlled territory, isolate the southern forts and deliver the Sathugar mines back into chaos hands. Kutuzov knew that a major offensive was out of the question given the state of the Imperial strategic situation, but a local counter attack was possible, and the salient gave him the opportunity to do so.

On the nothern flank of the salient the the semi mechanised Novogorod Hussars were employed, striking a deep thrust into the chaos held territory with their tanks followed for the first time with large cavalry formations. As they pushed south towards their objectives, the imperial forces soon met major resistance in the form of the Death Guard, and air support was used extensively, with Voss pattern lightnings swooping down to destroy the traitor astartes rhinos. This allowed the plague marines to be whittled down by imperial guard armour and general fire, before the cavalry dealt the final blow. The Hussars reached their objective on time, and half the salient was cut off. Now everything hinged on the southern pincer attack.

In the south of the "bulge, the Hammers of the Emperor had to contend with a lance of chaos knights. Charging in using their impulsors, the Hammers took punishment from the longer range chaos weaponry, and the lead repulsor executioner was unfavourable exhanged for just one War Dog. However, once the Hammers had closed the range and were able to engage in close combat, the superhuman strength and combat weapons of the combined astartes company were more than a match for the chaos war engines. With the chaos knight lance defeated, the chaos defences were penetrated, and the Hammers met the Novgorod on the shores of lake Talissa on 0108.020M42. The net had closed, and within a week the trapped chaos forces in the pocket, mostly cultists, had been eradicated. Kutuzov's line was straightened, and the Imperial general once again began entrenching his forces in order to resist further attacks. Meanwhile, the Imperium searched desperately for a way to improve the strategic situation.



Fort Diligence falls to Death Guard

On Mordecai the forces of chaos continued to pile on the pressure as 08.020M42 began. Fighting was incessant along the entire front, but generally the line in the south had held. In order to prevent Kutuzov from moving reinforcements for a counter attack at the newly created salient in his lines, the Death Guard once again attacked along the southern coast of the lava sea known as the Kuneus Traps. Here the fighting reached a crescendo around the first line of defence at Fort Diligence, as the elite forces of the Death Guard were opposed by the Hammers of the Emperor.
Preferring to meet the attacking traitor astartes in open battle rather than risk a prolonged seige, the Hammers blocked the only path to the fort. The Death Guard, eager to take the fight to their bitter loyalist enemies obliged, and a bloody struggle erupted in front of the gates af the fortress, as the Hammers' indominus bladeguard fought to the death against Death Guard terminators. Plague Marines and even a Daemon Prince of nurgle joined the fray, and gradually the Hammers' defence was worn down. As chaos units on the flanks mopped up any other resistance, they too joined the colossal struggle in the centre. Eventually the Plague worshippers, with their unnatural resilience, outlasted the loyalist astartes, and with no way to supply the fort, Kutuzov ordered it to be abandoned.

The loss of Fort Diligence was a blow, and the fort itself was turned over to the ruinous powers, becoming a sick parody of its former self, a plague fort. The penetration by the chaos forces was however limited by Kutuzov's strategic planning, and now the focus shifted north, to the chaos "bulge" that had developed.

Ynnari prevent Imperial Fists accessing Webway

While the Ynnari were preparing their raid on Grimlock, the Imperial Fists were making their own attempts to wrestle back control of the Device stolen from Hexis. The Fists had intelligence of the location of the device, deep in the webway. However, this did not stop the astartes chapter from attempting to invade the secret realm of the Aeldari, and as luck would have it they came across the location of a webway portal. Intending to use their own librarians to navigate the strange alien dimension, the Space Marines prepared a force to make an entry into the webway.

The eldar, being psychically attuned, were pre-warned of the intentions of the astartes and launched their own preemptive strike against the insolent humans who would dare violate their realm. Sending in a host of fast moving Ynnari warriors, the followers of Ynnead ambushed the Imperial Fists as they approached the portal. A protracted engagement ensued with the loss of the Fist's company commander, before the Aeldari forces called of the attack. After the battle, what was left of the astartes force found no trace of the webway portal, and any chance to take back the Hexis device had been lost.