Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chaos on the backfoot

As 02.011M42 wore on the battle for Ares raged on without showing signs of the swift conclusion the crusade council, particularly General Veers, were hoping for. Veers' prosecution of the campaign had now come under the close scrutiny of a new shadowy inquisitor lord who refused to divulge his identity, who began to suggest that another leader may have taken the minor planet by now.

Irritated, Veers requested aid from the Astartes, and the Dark Angels agreed to help, sending in a company of marines and quickly taking the capital, Ares City. The Dark Angels fleet around the planet soon found themselves under attack however, as Admiral Thokk's forces suddenly appeared without warning on 1902.011M42. Fortunately the commander of the Dark Angels' fleet, consisting of five strike cruisers and a multitude of escort craft, was well experienced with the renegade admiral's tactics. The brief fleet battle which followed saw the chaos fleet come of much worse, losing a cruiser and having several other capital ships crippled before it fled back to Mordecai.

Although a failure, Thokk's attack bought the chaos forces much needed time on the surface, as the Dark Angels pulled back to protect their fleet. A company of Blood Angels was quickly rushed in to take up the vacated defences but before the handover was fully complete Lorek's daemonic forces launched a powerful counter attack ejecting the Imperial Astartes warriors from the settlement of Hephath station. It seemed that the capture of Ares would drag on for some time yet.

Meanwhile Lorek was planning a new campaign. Growing increasingly frustrated at losses to both Imperial and Necron armies, the Master of Chaos turned his attention to the disorganised and disunited ork worlds of the Cerrack nebula in the nearby Vastrid sector. If these could be taken or the orks convinced to follow him, the strategically vital hive world of Vastrid would be at his mercy. Where Moonface had failed at Farport, Lorek could succeed at Vastrid.

The initial invasion was however a fiasco. Lorek's troops landed in force on the sparcely inhabited human world of Glossop V. Here he intended to set up a base and launch further attacks on the ork minor world of Aspaster, then if successful use this performance as a bargaining tool with the main ork forces on Magark. Glossop V was nominally Imperial, but the few hundred thousand backward inhabitants and the planet's proximity to ork space meant the Imperial forces hadn't been here in centuries. The landing proceeded well, but just days after the initial invasion, Da Verminator arrived.

Although the Ork warlord was by no means in charge of the Orks of the Cerrack Nebula, he knew Lorek, or at least had encountered the chaos forces before while losing all his holdings in the Perseus Deeps. Now Lorek's armies had arrived in the Vastrid subsector, and presented Da Verminator with an opportunity for revenge, to prove himself and above all for a good fight.

The greenskins landed in a haphazard manner but were able to form up into a cohesive army before launching themselves on Lorek's forces. In two days of battle no quarter was given, but the short supply lines of the Orks compared to the overstretched ones of the chaos forces was telling. After just two days the Claws of Lorek and their daemonic allies were wiped out, and Lorek's grand strategy had fallen apart before it had even begun.

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