Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dark Eldar raids

Although the colonisation initiative was proceeding with some urgency Paratea remained the Tau Empire's most vulnerable outpost in the Perseus Deeps. Whilst the Earth Caste were absorbed in the task of transferring materials from the constant stream of transports making orbit the Fire Caste maintained a watchful eye. Their vigilance paid off – the newly installed planetary surveillance network detected a raiding party of Dark Eldar heading towards an incomplete settlement in the planet's southern hemisphere. A hunter cadre quickly moved to intercept and the Dark Eldar flew headlong into a storm of rail gun and missile fire that lit up the pre-dawn darkness.

Despite having lost the element of surprise and suffering heavy losses in the initial ambush the Dark Eldar pressed home their attack, leaping from their transports into the heart of Tau task force. Thrown off balance by the speed and ferocity of the close quarters attack the Tau managed to maintain their fire discipline. At some point the Aarchon leading the raiding party was gunned down in the confused fire fight and the Eldar raiders at last broke off. Wary of the possibility of follow up raids the Tau accelerated the construction of the colony and increased their military presence on the world.

The Dark Eldar continued to make a nuisance of themselves in the second half of 04.012M42. Their raid on the major Chaos world of Calliden was less than successful, as the Catechism were ready for them. Once again the Dark Eldar had chosen to attack a world which, days later, the Necrons invaded a pattern which became of interest to Inquisitor Huron. Why would they chose to weaken worlds which were about to be attacked by their mortal enemy? Or were they testing their defenses, seeing which worlds were weakest and likely to fall to the Necrons?

Huron was convinced that the Dark Eldar attacks were following this pattern, but he was cautioned by his superiors against jumping to conclusions. Members of the Ordo Xenos were already working on a theory involving a mysterious Eldar Craftworld, about which little was known. In any case, the next hammerblow fell on Corticant, Veers' former headquarters before the conquest of Bastien, but the forces deployed on the Imperial base were still significant, as the world was now being used as a major staging post for expeditions into the Deeps.

The Shattered Silence Kabal attacked Fort Bastion, heart of the Imperial defences, while another Kabal began reaving near the settlement of Ironhaven. The Shattered Silence were quickly intercepted by a company of Space Wolves, but the aliens appeared unperturbed, forcing the Astartes warriors to retreat before completing the sacking of Wildgate. Even so, the Space Wolves' intervention meant damage to fort Bastion was light.

Meanwhile the small garrison at Ironhaven had been destroyed, but not before they had sent a distress signal. Within minutes of hearing the call, the Prozan 9th Cavalry responded, charging into the fray mounted in Valkyries and Vendettas, sweeping over the Veers' Mound and launching a hail of fire into the Dark Eldar reavers, who were forced to cower behind what cover they could find.

The Dark Eldar, unused to fighting such a mobile and well equipped foe, found themselves pinned down and unable to engage in the way they would have liked. After initial success however, General Stonewall found his enemy difficult to root out of their hiding places, and he was forced to commit his troops to ground assault. Even fighting outside their comfort zone, the Prozans conducted themselves with bravery and enthusiasm, and vicious hand to hand fighting eventually led to the scattering of the final Dark Eldar defenders. The survivors scattered, slipping quietly back into the webway. The Prozans had proved themselves in battle against a new foe, and Ironhaven had been saved from total destruction. Meanwhile Inquisitor Huron requested access to the Ordo Xenos theories about the Dark Eldar actions in the Deeps.

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