Sunday, November 30, 2008

More on the Night Lords...

Brother Pravis Caedo The Apostate.

Imperial files on the leadership of state that the company has always been under the command of Brother Captain Pravis Caedo. Pre-Heresy files are scant, as always, but what can be derived from these records suggests that Pravis was originally a Terran, drawn from the first innates into the original Legions. No further pre-heresy files exist and therefore any further information regarding his pre-heresy activities would be pure conjecture, although the lack of files may suggest he was not a high ranking member within the Legion.

During the Heresy it seems that he had risen to a notifiable rank; leading a sizable band of renegades from, the Legion. It would seem that he did not take part in the Siege of Terra, rather chose to rampage across Mars, presumably taking part in the slaughter of tech adepts and civilians across the planet. After the fall of Horus files suggest he followed the Legion into it’s genocidal rampage across the galaxy. The Port Maw atrocities can be attributed to his specific band of renegades, as there was no attempt to remove the data crystals after the incident. The surviving attendants on the station are reported to have developed serious psychological problems following the incident and had to be liquidated by the Inquisition pending further investigation into the reasons pertaining these changes to a humans mental psyche.

Files suggest that the polar ice caps incident on Jhanna was also attributed to Pravis Caedo. During the Age of Apostasy Lord Vandrie ordered orbital gun batteries to melt sections of the polar ice ring on his planet, resulting in the deaths of 4 billion people. Inquisition files claim that Vandries actions were under the influence of Caedo’s marines. Supposedly where Caedo acquired the name ’The Apostate’ after the ruling caste of Jhanna was found to be corrupted beyond redemtion. The planet was censed by the Ordo Hereticus after Imperial order had been restored. The **Department of Intelligence** has deemed that the intruding force in this case used this opportunity to incite a culture of free thinking into Vandrie before others were corrupted, then, as more of the ruling caste was brought on side, playing them off against each other to create an atmosphere of fear within the bureaucracy.

5th Company Night Lords Legion

How Caedo came to command an entire company of Renegades is unknown, although his exploits at Port Maw won him much, albeit unwanted, credit in the eyes of the Gods. The company itself lost it’s master in the age of apostasy, his cruiser crippled then boarded by dark angels while enroute to Rignat, near the Maelstorm in the Gates of Varl. After replenishing their umbers back to company size, by stealing gene seed from captured red corsairs and pacts with Bile, the 5th has been making it’s way slowly towards the Eastern fringe and reputably the largest contingent of Night Lords outside of the Eye. Currently the 5th has been involved in massacres in and around the Corinthe system, capturing a sizable force of imperial star ships by boarding action and long range lance exchanges, most notably the battleship Magistrate which has been sighted refitted for chaos use and now serves as the mobile base from which the company operates.

After the capture of the Magistrate Caedo was forced to initiate a larger number of non-marine adepts to crew the captured ships. These support sections usually form from the remnants of corrupted guard regiments or cruisers. Undoubtedly loyalist prisoners are also conscripted into service for much of the manual labour onboard these ships.

The 5th company was never stained by the murderers recruited from Nostramo Quintus to a significant extent and have kept to the original Night Lords tenants of Atheism and disdain from religion in general. Pravis Caedo also conforms to this standard and ruthlessly enforces this on his company and their attendants.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Stalemate on two fronts

The Catechism had left some of their elite forces in the south to help out their Night Lord “allies”, but also in order to ensure their continued“alliance”, as much as meaningfully helping out their military campaigns. However when the Orks of Waagh! Nazghat attacked they were in the forefront of the fighting, taking heavy casualties in Nazghat’s second concerted effort to rid the continent of Sartano of the Chaos presence. Once again Nazghat proved himself to be a competent Ork general, inflicting harsh casualties on the Chaos forces of Moonface and forcing the Catechism to withdraw. Unfortunately for the Ork warboss, other Ork forces on the same front found themselves in difficulty against the Marines of the Plaguelord and between 2011.008M42 and 2811.008M42 the net gains to the Orks were minimal and the stalemate continued on Sartano.

Snazteef continues south

In the north the Orks under Snazteef ground inexorably and seemingly unstoppably southward. Fierce and bloody battles continued to rage between 20-29.11.008M42, and the Imperial Guard forces, made up mostly of Librians, Zadocians and Tarsisians were unable to halt the Ork advance. General Du Pres wondered to himself just how the Orks were able to keep up the pace as no new reinforcements had been landed since the initial invasion. Even the steady retreat of his forces were surely inflicting enough casualties on the Orks to ensure the attack would inevitable flounder.

Chaos relieve Maybourne

Since the battles which pushed back the Night Lords away from the city of Maybourne General Cunningham had been shoring up defences in the south. Those defences were tested suddenly and without warning when the Night Lords went on the attack once more. In a combined anc co-ordinated frontal assault the Nurgle Marines attacked first towards the north of the sector, in the mountains of the Border Heights. This acheived its primary objective, pinning in place several Imperial Guard regiments and forcing the hand of the locally based Marine and Daemonhunter forces.

With Cunningham's elite forces now fully engaged in a bitter struggle, the Night Lords assaulted the southern defences, mostly Librian Guard regiments who were more concerned with the remaining Night lord garrison in Maybourne. Here the Librians were caught off guard, and at night the Traitor Marines were able to close to within a very short range of their enemy before attacking. The result was carnage. Between 2311.008M42 and 27.008M42 the Librian forces around the southern city were reduced by half, with two regiments losing their entire force of armoured vehicles. It was clear the Night Lords were attacking Imperial assets rather than attempting to hold ground, and this policy proved effective. By the 28th General Cunningham had ordered a withdrawal to the safety of the mountain defences and the forces of Chaos had successfully relieved their city of Maybourne.

Catechism encircles Montgate

On 2411.008M42 General Corchoran's intelligence identified that the "Catechism proper", a mix of ancient and threatening Traitor Legions, had arrived on Merrin and were moving against his forces defending the beleagured city of Montgate. This was a new twist. Up till now the elite cadre of marines making up the core of the Catechism had been absent, but evidently Moonface wanted to move the war on and was not happy simply using indentured troops and summoned daemons to do his dirty work.

Corchoran new he would be hard pressed to hold the Traitor Marines but was lucky enough to have the Captain of the Ultramarines 1st company on hand. The Ultramarines had arrived at the beginning of the crisis and had lent nearly half the chapter to the defence of Tarsis, since the planet lay on a direct route to Ultramar itself. With Corchoran's consent the Ultramarine captain agreed a moderately ambitious plan to use the Marine Strike cruiser to drop troops to the rear of the Catechism, catching them between the Adeptus Astartes and Corchoran's troops.

From the start things started to go wrong. The Ultramarine Strike cruiser which had been evading detection from the Tau fleet was spotted in the inner asteroids and was forced to put the plan into action immediately. Upon approaching the planet the crusier came under attack from Manta bombers, launched from a Tau Carrier, and was forced to release her drop pods early. This haste meant that instead of landing some fifty miles behind the Traitor Marine forces, they practically landed on top of them.

A violent firefight immediately erupted before devolving into a swirling close quarters melee. Loyal and traitor superhumans were loked in vicious hand to hand fighting so confused, that Corchoran's Guard units realised they could do nothing to help for fear of shelling their own side. Late on 2411.008M42 it became apparent that the Ultramarines had lost the brutal fight, and the Catechism were underway again. Seeing that the plan had come to nothing Corchoran began to retreat some 150 miles to the outskirts of Montgate, and prepared for a siege.

Worse was to follow. Overnight on the 27th Catechism troops were observed performing a strange and disturbing ritual to the south and west of the city. the next day more daemons than had previously been encountered assaulted and massacred the Imperial defenders. Space Marine forces were called in and held the creatures of the warp off for several hours but mounting casualties forced even the superhumans to retreat.

The resulting carnage only grew in intensity as the day wore on. This time, the Catechsim forces, due to take up positions in recently assaulted sectors, were unable to take their stations as marauding daemons rampaged entirely out of control. Suburban areas to the south-east of Montgate suffered appallingly and were set ablaze by uncontrolled energies. Walls melted and boiled and other aberrant obsceneties were observed taking place.

The Inquisition even considered ordering an exterminatus on the entire world, such was the depravity and unnatural wanton desctruction in the area.Fortunately the carnage only continued for one day and the daemons vanished. What they left behind this time however was no territory to be taken. The entire region of South East Montgate was gone, razed to the ground and rendered to a cloying stinking ash blowing in the wind. For the first time the full horror of a daemonic incursion had been witnessed and a new word passed into the lexicon of the people of Merrin. "Burnanated".

Elan Ro unable to hold Catechism’s Daemonic allies

While Star Fire was making progress against Ork and Imperial forces, the unenviable task of defending the Tau from the Catechism fell to Elan Ro, who had landed significant forces on Tarsis Major and left the running of Tarsis Minor in the hands of a trusted ubordinate. It was a quiet admission that the Tau position on the main planet had become grim.

The Catechism arrived a few days after Elan Ro had got his troops into position. As ever the cultist troops arrived first, with light armoured and a few heavy armoured vehicles. Bearing the icon of Moonface, and broadcasting an incessant and insidious chant, the Chaos army advanced towards the Tau positions with a complete disregard for their safety.

When in range the Tau opened fire, causing massive casualties, but retreated before the forces of the Catechism could get fully engaged. Elan Ro was hoping this would prevent them from being trapped, like so many others, with a daemon horde materialising amongst them. However they could only retreat so far and after a few days of sporadic engagements the Tau were forced to give battle with the same predictable, awful conclusion. The sky was rent with the sound of tearing as the daemonic horde leapt fro the warp, massacring the Tau and allowing Catechism armoured units to exploit the breakthrough. Another section of Tau held Tarsis had fallen to Chaos.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Current Tarsis Positions

Operation Deliverance

Although the Tau still had significant holdings on Tarsis they had not made the gains predicted during the planning stages of the campaign. After the prolonged attritional campaign of Melberg there was little will amongst the ruling caste for another protracted blood bath. With other commanders overseeing the Tarsis theatre beginning to voice doubts Shadowstrike formulated a plan to regain the initiative, Operation Deliverance.

The first step would be to significantly expand the Tau’s beachhead on Tarsis. Rather than drive the Tau’s limited forces against the elite Traitor Marines and their daemon allies the Tau would instead target the much softer Guard and Ork forces to the east. In this way the Tau could make significant gains in land without sustaining serious casualties, giving the Tau room to employ their traditional mobile approach to warfare, rather than be forced to stand and fight against the inexorable advance of chaos. The second step was already being prepared. A Tau fleet was assembling at Rhesius ready to strike at the Nightlords sector base at Typhon. Such a strike, if successful, would cut off the Night Lord’s supply route to Tarsis and give the Tau dominance in the Rim Worlds, allowing them to ship re-enforcements by a more direct route. The orbital docks at Tarsis were also earmarked as a priority target for a rapid strike. With these missions completed the Tau would find themselves in a much stronger strategic position to launch their own counter attack against the forces of Chaos.

Commander Star Fire was given the task of completing step one of the plan. Attacking at dawn two spearheads struck out to the east, one driving into the meandering and disorganised Ork hordes and the other into the lines of the Trebbian 9th, where intelligence indicated their were poorly supported with tanks and heavy equipment. In both areas the elite, mobile and well equipped Tau Cadres found opposition week. Employing the aggressive and stealthy tactics renowned of the Ksi‘m‘yen Sept the Tau struck from hiding, mowing down the enemy infantry with opportunist strikes by their Stealth Suites and Hammerhead formations and giving the enemy no chance to reply. The Tau quickly met all their pre-determined objectives and within the space of a single day the Tau all but annihilated the Ork presence on Merrin and claimed huge swathes of land from the Imperium. The Tau now had the breathing space they needed. Meanwhile the Tau invasion fleet had reached the edge of the Rhesius system and was preparing for its first warp jump…

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tau Uncertainty

While the Orks made steady gains and the forces of the Catechism swept all before them in 11.008M42, the Tau found themselves boxed in, and making little if any progress. Despite initial victories against the Imperial Guard, their new found stubborn resistance meant the Tau were having to pay for every inch of gound in blood. Meanwhile to their west the forces of the Catechism were advancing on average 30 miles a day, and the Orks had landed in the east.

Many in the Tau high command now felt the invasion of Tarsis a folly. Too many lives lost, or wasted, for too little gain. Sunstrike, from his base in Cernunnos grew ever more concerned and reported his findings to the Ethereals. However the concensus agreement was to pursue the invasion, at least for the time being, no doubt a decision influenced by Shadowstrike.

The logistical problems were also causing the Tau high command serious headaches, with the drain on the merchant fleet particularly strained. Sunstrike, supported by his old friend Longstride, now commanding Melberg, argued that another full on invasion of a major world was foolish and that the tau would be better served by consolidating their recent gains and improvements to their infrastructure, while limited offensives against smaller, less well defended targets, made more sense. By 2011.008M42, with the invasion stalled and the intervention of Chaos and Ork forces on the same continent, this view was gaining ground.

Wider Sector Events

While the four major powers fought over Tarsis, each had their own logistical problems to overcome. In the Rim worlds and Shadow worlds the ever present threat of Necron and Tyranid had not disappeared and infact increased in 11.008M42. The Ork and Chaos bases, many newly acquired, found themselves under repeated attack from Necrons and Tyranids, and both launched operations to clear the threat from outlying worlds. After several bloody battles both were very successful, and maintained their lines of supply to their home planets.

Despite the lack of an Imperial presence in the Rim and Shadow worlds, the Space marines, led by the Ultramarines were also needed to clear a Necron threat from an uninhabited system near the main Terra spacelane. In this they were also successful, which meant raw materials sent to the Librian Forges kept up with the demand for new tanks to fight on Tarsis Major.

Librian Guard push back Tau

General Corchoran, sitting in his command post in Montgate now new the Tau were less than thirty miles from the city. General Du Prez contacted him on the 17th, telling him to relieve the situation or relieve himself of command. If the Imperium could prevent the Tau from taking the city, Imperial intelligence felt that the strength of the Catechism's army would wipe the Tau out, removing one of the three enemies from the planet.

Hardly an inspiring thought, but it was part of the Imperial high command's overall plan on Tarsis. For now however Corchoran had to push back the Tau from Montgate, inflicting as many casualties as he could. Reviewing his forces he chose to counter attack using the veteran Librian 11th regiment, stationed in Montgate. The operation was as simple as the Imperial Guard itself, and the white clad soldiers of Libria advanced on foot, supported by Leman Russ battle tanks and Basilisks, while sentinels scouted ahead, along with elite stormtrooper regiments.

The offensive was a cagey affair as Corchoran's army advanced through the tangled ruins of the outskirts of Montgate. Every house and building was cleared by infantry or by artillery. Unused to fighting in this manner the Tau, led by Commander White Fire, found it difficult to put up a meaningful resistance. The aliens took more casualties than the Imperium and were finding holding ground an unpleasant task. By the end of 2011.008M42 Corchoran's advance had removed the Tau from most of the suburbs and regained the Eastern coastal strip. Even so, some last ditch determined rushes (some suicidal) by Tau mobile units prevented the Imperial Guard from advancing further.

The Orks Advance

In the north between 1011.008M42 and 2111.008M42, despite the presence of several Imperial Guard regiments, at least three Space Marine companies from three chapters, the army of Waagh! Snazteef, with endless enthusiasm and apparent total disregard of casualties, continued to advance southward out of the beachead.

Meanwhile, Nazgaht has personally intervened in the war in the south, joining his armies on Sartano. His appearance immediately led to the Orks' forst victory against Chaos, defeating a daemon host summoned by the hapless Catechism defenders, and allowed the Orks on the Island in the south to gain on the Night Lord stronghold of Sapphire harbour.

His generalship was also utilised in the west, where he destroyed two Imperial Gaurd regiments and forced a passage over the Satro mountains. Once across thousands of Imperial troops and countless more civilians were massacred with their backs to the sea as the green tide poured out of the passes.

Only the Dark Angels 6th company, stationed in the city of Southbourne, put a stop to the rot on Sartano, destroying several Ork camps on the Sarton plains and forcing the Orks back a hundred miles. It was a small reverse in what had otherwise been a very useful week for the Orks.

Tau close in on Montgate

While the Tau were desperately trying to halt the apparently unstoppable tide of Chaos, Commander Star Fire, one of Shadowstrike's subordinates, was planning to build on Elan Ro's creation of a salient towards Montgate. If the humans could be forced to capitulate in the north then a much larger army could be used to face the Chaos in the west.Star Fire's assault began on 1211.008M42 and ended after just five days.

A true pupil of Shadowstrike the Tau commander's attack focussed on mobility, speed, surprise and envelopment, and the operation went almost perfectly. General Du Prez was woken on the 13th to learn that his commander in the north, Corchoran, was falling back to the city's defensive, to avoid having his army surrounded. Star Fire's planned flanking attacks went off like clockwork, and despite the loss of men and materiel, the operation was a complete success. The Tau even managed to partially surround the city on the eastern coastal side before a counter attack threatened.

Catechism Makes Gains on Merrin

Following their breakout in early 11.008M42, the Catechism consolidated their hold on the northern continent of Merrin by moving north into the passes of the Mertock Mountains, threatening to cut off several Imperial divisions defending the Horn Island peninsular.

Seeing the threat the Dark Angels moved in to cut off the narrow columns of advancing Catechism troops. Despite being heavily outnumbered the Space Marines were confident they could halt the advance and stabilise the front while more troops were moved from the front line against the Tau further east.

The Catechism were expecting the assault however and once again they unleashed a horde of daemons on the Dark Angels as they attacked their mortal forces. The daemons attacked in a frenzy and seemed strangely immune to the Dark Angel firepower. The Adeptus troops had no option but to withdraw, suffering horrendous casualties. Worse however was to face the inhabitants of the Horn Island peninsular, as the remaining loyalist forces crumbled as their supply lines were cut. On 1211.008M42 Horn Island itself fell, almost doubling the size of the Catechism's Empire on Merrin. And as before, the daemons disappeared having had their fill of mortal souls.

Meanwhile the front line against the Tau was not quiet. While the Dark Angels were massacred in the north and the west of the Island continent, crushed under the advancing Chaos forces, the Tau faced similar problems, forced back on a broad front as Chaos and Daemon forces assaulted the Tau defensive lines. By 1711.008M42 the Chaos army had driven a one hundred mile wedge into the Tau held territory.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Current Map

Warboss Dakkasun Snazzteef

He was spored on the moon of Keprok where he quickly discovered that the only thing he liked better than kickin' in 'eadz was getting a bunch of Sunz together and going and kickin' a whole lot more 'eadz in. With his natural flair for mustering forces ("Iz you gonna come wiv me and go kick Grimgutz boyz in or duz Snazzteef gotta kick you in as well?") and cool, collected talent for strategy ("If 'e's smalla than yez kick 'iz 'ead off and if 'e's bigga than yez shoot 'im inna foot, then kick 'iz 'ead off. Got it? Good. WAAAGH!") Snazzteef soon found himself Warboss of a large WAAAGH flying under the banner of the Evil Sunz. Growing weary of fighting only with the other Orks on (planet's moon) Snazzteef had his Big Mek Killit Wotzit get cracking on building an "Invayshun Armarder" to get them to the big fight on Tarsis that Snazzteef could feel in his bones.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Current Zadoc Map

Imperial Woe

By 0511.008M42 the Imperium on Tarsis was under attack on multiple fronts all across the planet, on all three continents. While Tuva's position looked strong and defensible, the situation on Merrin was going rapidly downhill following the arrival of the Catechism and its attendant daemons,and on Sartano the imperial forces had retreated to positions south of the Divider mountains and practically on the outskirts of Southbourne. Morale was low.

Overall Command was headed by Lord General Du Pres, while each theatre of war was assigned a full general. Tuva Army Group North (TAGN) faced off against the Orks of Snazteef, while Tuva Army Group South (TAGS) faced the Night Lords near Maybourne. Sartano had one army group, Sartano Army Group(SAG) while Merrin's defence was split into Army Groups North and South(MAGN and MAGS). Additionally the Ultramarines landed two companied inearly 11.008M42 and the Blood Ravens and Blood Martyrs also headed the call for aid.

The Imperial Guard strategy was not an unusual one. Seeing how the Tau had nearly exhausted themselves on Melberg General Du Pres, a realist and a pessimist, decided on a war of attrition against this foe. Limited attack sand tough defensive lines. He would bleed the Tau into retreat.

His strategy was similar against the Orks. With only haphazard supplies and no real reliable space fleet he would make his army a wall against which the Orks would batter themselves, until the Waagh! fell apart and his forces could cut them down at leisure.

Against Chaos General Du Pres employed almost the same tactic initially.How many Night Lords could there be? How many traitors? Surely they too would succumb to the awesome and limitless forces of the Imperial Guard.

There were two initial flaws to the plan. For it to work he needed a line of supply and that meant Space superiority. Unfortunately, despite victory over Chaos again and again the fleet was in no position to remove the Tau from orbit around Tarsis in 11.008M42. The General had to hope that the Tau were not willing to pay a high price for Tarsis. In addition, the strategy did not take into account the arrival of the Catechism and Daemons. Against his the general had little answer and he fell into a deep malaise for aweek after their first appearance. He had to hope the Adeptus Astartes could deal with this new and deadly threat.

The only thing going for the Imperium in 11.008M42 was the fact that despite multiple enemy bridgeheads, they still controlled 80% of the planet,and their enemies' were fighting each other. The Imperium would once again have to prepare for the long haul only this time, unlike Melberg, Aleph 4and hartak before it, General Du Pres was hoping the Imperial forces on Tarsis Major would hold out.

Elan Ro pushes on Montgate

Just before the Daemonic incursion on Merrin the Tau high command, led by Shadowstrike and Elan Ro, launched their first major offensive against the Imperium since the landings. Their plan was to destroy Imperial war assets south of Montgate and to get near the city, before encircling it and taking it for the Tau Empire. The Imperium meanwhile, dug in and awaited the inevitable attack.

Using his usual tactics which had served him so well on Taris Minor, Elan Ro at first advanced at dawn on 0111008M42 with his armoured skimming tanks. The Librian 88th were caught off guard by the sudden appearance of Tau in their lines and were initially ineffective in their return fire.

The battle developed at pace after the initial contact, with Elan Ro reading the situation in real time to throw in his reserves, many deepstriking from low flying Mantas, into the heart of the most critical fire fights.

General Cochrane, in charge in the North of Merrin, was less able to react as he tried to form a credible defence with Librian, Zadocian and Tarsis forces, however the Librians did put up a strong resistance. This resistance however was broken when the Librians began taking heavy casualties from Tau pulse weapon fire, which proved accurate and deadly.

One notable problem for the Librians was the stability of their plasma weaponry. Almost all the plasma guns in use widely by the 88th malfunctioned, incinerating their users and making the remaining special weapon carrying guardsmen less than confident in using them. The lack of plasma weaponry became decisive when Tau Devilfish and crisis suits were used en masse late on the 6th. Following a stand at Millner, a small but vital town on the crossroads to Montgate, the Imperial Guard forces were taking casualties at a rate of 4/1, high enough for Cochrane to order a general retreat to the defences of Montgate itself.

Elan Ro began preparing his attack on the city, while Shadowstrike moved his forces into position to cut of a large proportion of the Tarsis PDF in a pocket, trapping them between the Tau and the recently arrived Ork forces. The Orks were in fact pinning the Tarsis troops in place so they could not manoeuvre out of the trap. All was going to plan - then the daemons arrived.

Snazzteef advances south

While the Ultramarines were fighting hard against Chaos in the south it appears they were taken by surprise themselves in the north as Waagh!Snazteef overran Imperial positions before the Ultramarines could strike.Forced to attempt an ad-hoc defence of the northern front the Marines did their best, but it soon became apparent amid the chaotic retreat of a broken Tuva Army Group North (TAGN) that they could not turn the tide of the advance. They withdrew along with the Imperial Guard legions to the next line of hastily prepared defences.

Night Lords defeated in south

On 0211.008M42 the Ultramarines, keen to take advantage of the success of General Cunningham and rid the planet of Chaos Marines, landed on Tuva to a rapturous welcome from the populace and the Imperial Guard regiments. They immediately took up positions in the north and south and planned their nextmove.

In the south they attacked the Night Lords directly, dropping a company from orbit using drop pods, catching the Night Lords, commanded by Lord Raziel, rather by surprise. The fighting was bloody and at exceptional close quarters, with neither side willing to give an inch. Gradually however the ancient abilities of the Chaos Marines started to show and the Ultramarines began taking horrendous casualties. They began to withdraw,apparently attempting to disengage from the fight and escape. At that moment Raziel made a mistake.

keen to smite down the Emperor's finest the millenia old lord of the Night Lords let anger and resentment get the better of him, and his troops left their tactically sound positions to assault the apparently fleeing enemy.Shortly after, they were surrounded, as the Ultramarines gladly occupied the positions abandoned by the Night Lords while they were caught up in a hateful melee. Angered, and outplayed, Raziel withdrew, allowing Imperial forces to encircle the last defenders within the city of Maybourne.

Daemonic Outbreak on Merrin

Ever since their landing on the shores of Merrin, the Catechism had been preparing to break out of their small and vulnerable bridgehead. To the east, on the broad plains of the central continent, the Tau had all butvanished, waiting for the Chaos attack before striking back in a lightning counterstroke.

To the west, General Corchoran's combined force, known as Merrin Army Group North (MAGN), comprised of Tarsis PDF, Cadian, Zadocian and Librian regiments. In contrast to the Tau defence the Imperial Guard had dug in strongly, constructing defences in a line just south of the Noroway hills.

The Catechism considered its options and decided on a double strike,attacking Tau and Imperial assets simultaneously. Moonface's generals were gambling, in his absence, that the new "toy" he had given them would prove most decisive. The devices Moonface had gifted his generals were in fact daemonic artefacts, forged in the warp itself and given to Moonface by an unknown greater Deamon of Tzeentch. Moonface had made a pact with the Daemon that if his forces merely agreed to attack and slaughter targets of his and his generals wishes, they would be able to assume a corporeal form for a temporary period. This the devices, acquired by Moonface over many long millenia, would make possible.

The Daemon accepted the offer and agreed that his forces would attack Moonface's enemies. After all while the devices were under the control of Moonface and his generals, the Daemon could not manifest at will. Even so both sides began plotting and counter plotting, the Tzeentch Daemon setting in motion a plan it hoped would damn all of Tarsis to eternal Chaos.

With the pact in place the forces of the Catechism first moved into Tau held territory, just north of New Southwick. The Tau immediately detected this attack and prepared a limited response. Though numerous the Chaos forces were ill equipped and not backed up by Marine Legions. Shadowstrike,unaware of the Daemonic pact, determined the greater threat still lay with the Imperium, and continued with his planned assault on Montgate to the north, providing only a limited number of Hunter Cadres to meet the Chaos threat.

At first this looked like a sensible move as the Tau forces easily ambushed and halted the lead elements of the Catechism. However once Shadowstrikehad engaged the bulk of his Tau units, disaster occurred. Up and down the length of the front Daemons manifested as the ancient device was activated.Daemons of all powers, greater and lesser poured into reality, striking the Tau troops with little warning. Somehow they managed to survive the Tau firepower and ripped into Shadowstrike's lines, wiping out at least three whole Cadres before the Tau commander ordered a general withdrawal. The Tau then fled over a hundred miles as the Daemons disappeared back into the warp, leaving the Catechism foot troops to mop up and occupy the groun dgiven up. It had been a huge breakthrough for the forces of Chaos.

Meanwhile, while reports were coming in of daemonic incursions against the Tau the Catechism moved against the forces of General Corchoran. Here however the Daemons were expected, and when summoned the Imperial Guardwere waiting. The result was a much more tightly contested confrontation,with daemons being banished back into the warp by battle cannon and lasgun fire as often as making it to the Imperial line. However, once there the daemons proved themselves vastly superior to the mortal humans, ripping them and their tanks apart. By the end of 0211.008M42 General Corchoran's troops had been forced to retreat towards the mountains.