Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Battle for Hylas

Shadowstrike's fleet had repulsed the Space Wolf task force coming to support their battle brothers on Hylas before landing ground troops, retaking almost half of the planet. For weeks the Tau and Space Wolf task forces engaged in a game of cat and mouse, threatening to attack and then withdrawing when the other manoeuvred to counter them. It soon became apparent there could be no easy victory on Hylas – both sides were too canny, too experienced and too mobile to allow for a quick and total victory.

It was the Space Wolf commander who proposed a solution – that both forces meet on neutral ground and settle the matter in honourable combat. Although primarily governed by pragmatism the xenos Tau have a concept of honour of a sorts and had no more desire for a long and inconclusive campaign than the Space Wolves so they accepted the challenge.

The two armies met amidst an abandoned settlement at dawn and the battle began. The conflict unfolded much as the campaign had, with both sides launching a series of thrusts, parries and reposts. When one faction seemed to be gaining an advantage a sudden counter attack would reverse the situation. When the dust settled the battle had been fought to a stalemate with neither side seeming to have a clear advantage. The Tau however had lost much of their anti armour capability. They could hold the Space Wolves for weeks, perhaps months, but eventual defeat would be inevitable. Rather than waste further lives the Tau withdrew their forces. For now Hylas would be abandoned to the Imperium, a token victory to salve Imperial ego after the loss of Tyndareous, but the conflict had destroyed what little remained of the peace treaty drawn up between the Tau and Imperium. Further conflict between the two empires seemed inevitable.

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