Saturday, June 25, 2011

Xanthus bid to coerce Aethor fails

With the loss of Ares to his cause, inquistor Xanthus attempted to sway Aethor to his side during 06.011M42. Aethor lay on the critical Perseus Run warp route, and Xanthus desperately needed a secure supply route from sectors towards the Imperial Hub and his base on Sentinel. Hathek and Huron had made sure he couldn't have Ares, so Aethor would have to do. Xanthus' position was bolstered by the arrival of half a company of Blood Martyrs space marines, but the Inquisitor lord remained marginalised and isolated.

Lords Hathek and Huron hadn't been blind to the move on Aethor, and had made provisions for its defence should Xanthus try anything. So it cam as no surprise when on 1906.011M42 the Grey Knights discovered that a small squad of Blood Martyrs had attempted to force their way into Aethor's main communications array. They had no idea what the purpose of this raid was, but pursued the Blood Martyrs into the wilderness of the world, finding themselves bitterly opposed by the astartes chapter forces. In a brief skirmish the Blood Martyrs lost half their team, but the outnumbered Grey Knights disengaged first, realising they could not afford to lose men at the hands of fellow space marines, and the remaining Blood Martyrs escaped.

Only later did Hathek learn what Xanthus' agents had been up to. Without warning the population of Aethor suddenly found their normal vidcast programmes interrupted by an address from High Priest Garrett Van Buerden, extoling the virtues of the emperor and imploring all to follow His will. Realising this was turning into a propaganda coup for Xanthus, Hathek immediately asked the Grey Knights to shut down the broadcast. No-one outside the council yet knew of Van Buerden's rift with the Crusade and Hathek, and the wrong words now could uncover the rift and start a civil war as the general population of the world, or even the sector, took sides. This had to be stopped.

Unfortunately the communications station was defended by units of the Prozan Cavalry, leading to an unfortunate firefight between the two Imperial forces. The Grey Knights couldn't explain why they had to destroy the communications array, nor could they merely say it was on the orders of Hathek, or suspicions would be raised. The unfortunate Imperial guardsmen were slaughtered and the broadcast stopped before too much had been said, and Inquisitor Hathek "explained" the situation to the planetary governor. Suitably impressed and trusting of the high inquisitor, the world of Aethor pledged its support to Hathek's position and another world was lost to Xanthus' cause.

No comments: