Monday, October 29, 2012

Necrons close to victory on Carnage & Gamordal

As 10.012M42 came to an end, the news from the Mabb Nebula was all to familiar. The Harakhty Dynasty showed no signs of slowing its assault on its targets in the Perseus Deeps, and military victories continued to be delivered by the necron armies against all their foes. Progress on Parataea was slow and steady, in contrast to the speed of the fall of the chaos world of Carnage, while the war against the Imperium on Gamordal seemed almost as one sided.

On Carnage there was utter chaos. The traitor legions, divided and weak, could put up little resistance to the chaos threat. Resistance in the eastern hemisphere collapsed as soon as Lorek's forces were defeated, but in the west the Iron Warriors had kept the remaining major settlements of Geskōṉ, Karez-e Khārī and Kōṟaw under their control for over a week despite continued necron pressure by 2810.012M42. On the following day they launched a counter offensive in the hope of easing the pressure on the cities, but were defeated on the Plains of Parsha in a vast swirling set piece battle. Hundreds of thousands of cultists died in the battle, buying time for the traitor legions to get to the heart of the necron army in an attempt to decapitate it. The attempt failed and the forces of chaos were obliged to retreat once more. All of the major cities on Carnage were abandonned by military forces, and a vast train of refugees choked the road to Shayrābād, the last remaining chaos controlled settlement on the world by 0111.012M42.

On Gamordal things were little better for the Imperium. The planet, invaded by necrons in 04.012M42 had held out longer than the major chaos world of Calliden, but it was clear to all that the Harakhty Dynasty had regarded the world as a side show. When Calliden fell, the necrons had made fresh gains on Gamordal, as the invasion of the imperial world was given more military attention. Even so, the necrons continued their wars against chaos and the alliance at the same time, so the Imperium had never faced the full might of the necrons against them.

General Veers, now distracted by operations to invade Grimlock in the Upper Perseus Deeps, had little time and scant resources to spare for his commander on Gamordal. General Potter, an able if unspectacular officer, had been leading the defence of the world since its invasion, and had complained time and time again of lack of equipment and men to do the job effectively. The Imperium also suffered because their supply lines from Corticant and Farport were long and far from major warp routes, and supplies often failed to get through - often due to necron raids from the neighbouring system of Enaloth.

In any case Gamrodal simply wasn't important enough for Veers to waste valuable resources over, despite Potter's insistance that the necrons needed to be resisted fiercely everywhere. When the aliens launched another major offensive on 2710.012M42, Potter appealed again, and was declined.

The necrons launched a two pronged thrust east from the Pellareia plains, quickly isolating imperial guard units in Port Tersius and Callagreick, where vicious street fighting had been going on for weeks. The necron push quickly reached the Rasheik peninsula overlooking the Kerash Bay, trapping some imperial forces in the region of Ventrax, while the rest were increasingly bottled up in the Gamordal valley. Crucially the ports of Gamordal had been lost, making the trasfer of supplies even more difficult.

On 3010.012M42 the Red Angels provided General Potter with assistance, launching a lightning raid on the Eastwier Farming Collective in an attempt to open the road to Port Tersius. The under equipped Astartes fought admirably against the aliens, but the forces of the Harakhty Dynasty had access to overwhelming numbers and equipment beyond the reckoning of mankind. The Red Angels assault was brushed aside by the necrons, who continued their advance east. By 0611.012M42 the situation had become desparate, and talk of "evacuation" became open for the first time in Imperial HQ.

Nemesis progress on Fort Sparcos

The war on Fort Sparcos had been raging for months, with Nemesis slowly making gains in the ork held territory surroudning the main installation itself. The orks had made several modifications on the original Imperial fortification, although their military worth was debatable. In late 10.012M42 the tyranids launched another assault against the greenskins, attacking in force and encountering more of Thrugnik's boyz, clear evidence that the ork warlord was joining the waagh! in the Mabb Nebula.

The orks did what they always do, attacking the tyranids as the vanguard of Nemesis reached the ork front line. The battle was intense, but Nemesis emerged victorious, taking more territory from the greenskins and homing in on the main fortified area of the planet. Imperial spies were quick to note the differences between this tyranid force and the xenos usually encountered. While still clearly part of the Nemesis hive fleet, it appeared this latest attack was lead by a new strain of aliens, possibly mutations made possible by the consumption of Alphe and Betor. In any case, it seemed that eventually the orks would lose Fort Sparcos, unless they reversed the trend of defeats to the aliens.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Slow Necron advance on Parataea

With the capture of T'Varsh the necrons kept up the pressure on the tau forces on Parataea as 10.012M42 continued. The tau were sorely pushed to hold their lines, and the arrival of eldar forces was certainly welcome. The eldar support allowed the tau to secure the front line against the necrons, protecting Kau'tra, a vital communication settlement on the shores of lake Shik'shra.

The eldar took up positions near the tau settlement of Y'osh'toki and on 1910.012M42 they came under sustained attack from the invasion forces. The Harakhty dynasty assaulted their hated eldar foe, saving the northern and eastern settlements, at least for now. However the eldar reeled at the onslaught, and after a dogged defence, were forced to withdraw after taking terrible casualties. With the fall of Y'osh'toki, the forces of the alliance were now at risk of being cut in two, woth Y'mada isolated in the west. Only K'Los Base stood in the way of the necron advance making a decisive step forward.

War on Hylas: Berkeley falls

By mid 10.012M42 General Gault was requesting as much as he could get on Hylas. A string of military defeats had seen the orks take much of the south of the planet, and the Imperial zone of control consisted of isolated settlements while the orks had taken the densely populated region of Beng and Hallen.

Berkley was clearly the next target, but the overall commander of the subsector, General Brooke, had more to worry about. Imperial intelligence suggested Thrugnik was about to join the ork Waagh! on Hylas, as his forces had been detected on Kallack, the major ork world in the Mabb Nebula.

Before Brooke had time to worry however, the Blood Angels signalled that they would take care of the threat Thrugnik posed personally. Without giving reasons for their intervention, the Blood Angels attacked the new ork forces so swiftly it was obvious they must have been shadowing the orks for some time.

Brooke wasn't too bothered about the reasons for the attack. Reports suggested Thrugnik's forces had taken serious damage at the hands of the Blood Angels and were, at least for the time being, not a factor for consideration in the war on Hylas.

Shortly after this intervention by the Astartes, Brooke received unwelcome news at his headquarters on Zadoc. On 2110.012M42 the orks under warlord Uzfang had smashed Gault's halt line between the Sump Sea and the Hylas plateau, destroying the fortifications east of Berkeley and threatening to overwhelm the defences of the city. Alarmed, Brooke requested aid from the Raven Guard, who had been nominally attached to the war in the Zadoc subsector since their arrivial earlier in the year.

The Raven Guard interevened immediately, landing in force around the imperial settlement, dropping into the heat of the battle which was now raging in the city's suburbs. Unfortunately for the imperium, the Raven Guard drop pod insertions were inaccurate and unco-ordinated, landing troops far to far from the battle and killing at least once squad outright. Suspicions abounded in Eden's Landing, Gault's HQ, that the orks had designed a new form of technology capable of interfering with Astartes drops, but they didn't dare express this to the captain of the Raven Guard, who was now in an even blacker mood than normal upon his return.

The astartes raid had been a disaster, and Gault had no choice but to withdraw from the city. The orks had overcome his halt line with ease, and now the wide expansive plains of Birego and West Coast lay before the advancing green tide in the west.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Veers reignites imperial crusades, setting sights on Grimlock


Grimlock is second planet in its system, orbiting a M8 red dwarf star at the edge of the Perseus Deeps. Once an Imperial agri world, its two main continents were covered in lush rolling plains and plantations. An idyllic world, its summers long and winters short. Its fall to Chaos is not catalogued in any of the local sector records, its demise overshadowed by the uprising on the surrounding worlds. Overstretched Imperial forces never responded to the psychic distress calls or the fleeing trade ships that escaped the doomed planet. Grimlock was largely ignored throughout the Aleph Sector Wars until Crusader-General Mallius Maximus Veers of the Corellian Storm Guard lead his Crusade Fleet to liberate the system.

As the Crusade Fleet entered the system, long-range auspex scans revealed the horrific mutilation that had scarred the planet's surface. The rolling plains, fields and plantations were now fortified battle positions, a cankerous growth of earthworks, trench-lines, bunkers and plascrete fortifications. The liberation fleet had arrived, but was it too late for the planet's salvation?

The Liberation of Grimlock: Order of Battle

The Blessed Forces of the God-Emperor of Mankind

Legiones Astartes 

Raven Guard: Shadow Captain Corvane Valar 5th Shadow Company 
Red Angels 
Blood Martyrs

Imperial Guard
Corellian Storm Guard: Crusader-General Mallius Maximus Veers, Knight Commander of Corellia 
1st Armoured Division , 1st Reconnaissance Division, 5th Mechanised Division, 13th Infantry Division, 25th Infantry Division, 8th Special Forces Operational Detachment 
Librian Guard: Colonel Hackett 
10th Infantry Company, 15th Mechanised Company 

Ordo Malleus Inquisitional Task Forces: Classified 

Grey Knights: Classified

Officio Assassinorum Agents: Classified

Crusader-General Veers had designated the western fortification network as the landing zone for the liberation force. Here the defensive lines were sparse and hastily erected. Astartes of the traitor legion Iron Warriors were still overseeing the construction when the first planetary assault commenced.

Corellian Special Forces were the first to land on the planet, assaulting the few air defence installations that survived the initial orbital bombardment. Guardsmen of the 5th Force Recon Regiment claimed the first objective of the day, securing the massive northern flak tower complex in a brutal lightning assault, the few Iron Warriors and hordes of slave workers dying under the strafing runs of Vendettas and volleys of Lasgun fire. A rushed counter-attack by cultists and militia of the Covenant of Damnation failed to contain the assault force, Leman Russ battle tanks of the 4th Armoured Regiment stopping them under a hail of battle cannon shells.

Astartes of the Red Angels chapter supported the main landing force, but failed in their objectives to secure the eastern trench line, outnumbered by another desperate breakout of the Covenant of Damnation. Unable to advance through the waves of cultists the Red Angels held their position awaiting reinforcement.

Battles in the Mabb Nebula

While General Veers concentrated on the invasion of Grimlock. General Brooke was concentrating on the Mabb Nebula. Battlegroup Beattie had been assigned to Veers’ crusade, but Brooke still had Craddock’s battlegroup, led by the battleship Vanguard. Craddock was charged with clearing the warp lanes in the Mabb Nebula to prepare the way for reinforcements to be sent to Hylas, and to build up forces to provide a launch pad for the “clearing of the Shadow Worlds”. All previous agreements with the tau were forgotten. Brooke meant to accomplish what Alexander had singularly failed to do, bringing the strategically important worlds in the nebula back under the control of Mankind.

The expedition started well. Unable to resist a good scrap, a force of ork ships loyal to Uzfang and Krumpguts faced down the imperial battlegroup in the outer reaches of the Hylas system on 1210.012M42. The battle which followed was confused and tactical rather than brutal and close fought, as Craddock was unwilling to charge headlong into the orks all guns blazing. Instead after long range nova cannon fire his fleet turned to starboard, raking the orks with his ships’ broadsides.

Craddock achieved a victory, destroying two ork “kroozers”, crippling another and severely damaging a large ork vessel equivalent to an imperial battleship. The orks then quit the battlefield, but Craddock had taken significant damaged. The cruisers Indefatigable and Invincible had been badly damaged, and Irresistable suffered a terminal plasma drive overload.

Brooke was underwhelmed by the results, but the warp lane to Hylas had, for now, been opened. However Craddock had more problems only a week later, when his fleet was intercepted by a tau force en route to New Cerberex.

The tau were clearly alarmed by the presence of a full imperial battlegroup in the nebula, and had shown up in force. Craddock’s two crippled vessels had returned to Hylas Reach naval base for repairs, but the rest of the fleet had continued on to rendezvous with several regiments of Imperial Guard stationed at New Cerberex. The tau intended to stop them.

Craddock and the Tau fleet approached each other in the dangerous environment near to a volatile red dwarf in an uninhabited system. Neither Craddock nor the tau admiral intended this, but the result was a confused battle in a region of space full of solar flares and confusing radiation bursts.

Despite their superiority in ordnance, the deciding factor in the battle was gunnery. In the initial pass the tau fleet fired all their forward gunnery and proved the more accurate fleet, while the imperium, turning once again to starboard, found it difficult to land telling blows on the alien fleet.

The imperial vessels did manage to reduce on vessel, the protector class Sentinel to a hulk, and inflicted serious damage to Deliverance, but suffered greater losses. Vanguard remained undamaged, while the Agincourt, Redoubtable and Black Prince were destroyed, leading to accusations that Craddock “failed to engage the enemy forcibly”. Cressy was crippled and the remaining imperial ships were forced to disengage, and only the confusion of the stellar environment allowed the imperium to later take the hulks in tow. Craddock returned to Hylas Reach, the rendezvous with forces on New Cerberex canceled for the time being. General Brooke would be kept waiting, at least for now.

Nemesis continues destruction of Zadoc subsector

It didn't take long for the creatures of Nemesis to finally defeat the resistance of chaos on New Sparta, although it has to be said, they lasted longer and put up a stiffer defence than those of the Imperium on Rhesius. Since 07.012M42 the tyranids on New Sparta had been content to leave the chaos forces behind their defences while rampaging across the uninhabited regions of the world, gathering biomass almost uncontested.

The effect of this was that when Nemesis finally assaulted the chaos lines in mid-10.012M42, the Covenant of Damnation facing them were totally overwhelmed. The final attack was made with almost unparalleled ferocity, with wave after wave of the alien creatures swarming over the defenders, consuming entire regiments which attempted to stand in their path.

Thos who could, fled. Chaos effectively gave up resisting on 1810.012M42, when the last vessel able to slipped past the incoming hive fleet as the great hive mind began zeroing in on its latest prey. All others perished as the alien intelligence strip the planet of its organic resources. Another Rim world had been destroyed.

Meanwhile the tyranids were facing a more stubborn foe on Fort Sparcos. Here on the desert fortress world, deproved of vast resources of lush biomass, the tyranids found themselves having to take account of their losses. But the planet needed to be claimed, as without doing so, Nemesis would be vulnerable. So the tyranids played a game of strategy with the orks as they looked for weaknesses. Eventually their goading and testing of the ork lines paid of, as a horde led by orks loyal to Uzfang sprung from their bunkers on 1410.012M42, launching an all out attack on their alien invaders.

Nemesis had been waiting for them, and eagerly counter attacked. Savage fighting followed, but the orks came off worse. By 1610.012M42 the attacking orks had been wiped out, and the tyranids of hive fleet Nemesis had edged closer to their target, the fortress itself.

Necron gains in the Deeps

Following their invasion of Carnage the necrons wasted no time in following up their initial assault, launching a devastating advance across the plains of the world.

Three separate advances caught the forces of chaos badly unprepared, but the Claws of Lorek made a stand in the broken country at the rocks of Surkh, hoping to prevent the unstoppable alien advance across one of the last bastiens of chaos in the Deeps.

Lorek was desperate to halt the necrons before they made inroads into the important settlements near the great marshlands, but their efforts resulted in predictable and costly defeat. Lorek’s armies were smashed and Karez-e Khārī fell on 1610.012M42. Meanwhile in the east Mamagul’khvar was captured by the necrons on the same day, leaving chaos forces with only Geskōṉ and Kōṟaw as major settlements under their own control.

The failure of Lorek to halt the necrons did not prevent his forces from attempting to wrestle mastery of chaos forces from the grip of the Iron Warriors however. In a vicious battle on Mordecai the Iron Warriors found themselves under attack by the Claws of Lorek, who had become alarmed at reports and rumours suggesting their leader was about to come to “terms” with the Harakhty dynasty. The uprising was quashed by the Iron Warriors, and fortification of Bastien and Mordecai was stepped up. Either the rumours had been unfounded, or the violent actions by the Claws, despite their lack of success, had convinced the Iron Warriors to dig in and resist the necrons for as long as possible.

Meanwhile on the tau world of Parataea the Alliance suffered a setback, as necron forces burst out northern hills of the world where they had built up their forces in secret over several months. The necrons surprised Shadowstrike’s forces, overwhelming the tau defences near T'Varsh. The tau settlement was taken, and the necrons moved closer to victory on yet another world, although the alliance fought bitterly for every yard of ground.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Tour of the Aleph Sector

Harakhty Dynasty current warzones

War on Hylas

In early 10.012M42 General Gault contacted his superior, Brooke, to demand more troops to prevent the orks from conquering a world which had only recently been liberated. Since 005M42 Hylas had been subjected to invasion by the forces of chaos, orks and the tau, and Gault, a veteran of war with the greenskins, was determined not to let the latest incursion steal Hylas back. He found himself ill equipped however, and when warboss Snazgubbins threw in his lot with Na'Porkleon and Uzfang, the defence of the world seemed doomed. However on 0610.012M42 the first imperial reinforcements arrived.

Gault now found his two Librian and one Zadocian Guard regiments bolstered by the arrival of the fully equipped Praetorian 42nd regiment, who had been refitting on New Cerberex following the evacuation of Tarsis. In addition, responding to calls for help, the Red Angels and Space Wolves both sent half a company of astartes warriors.

The Praetorians immediately began doing what they do best, building a line of fortifications from the swamps west of Collingwood to the Eden Sea. This they knew was the only route into East Hallen for the orks, and so did warlord Na'Porkleon. Before they were finished, the orks sent a huge force of well equipped boyz to overrun the defences. In a battle that lasted two days the orks found themselves in difficulties from the start. Accurate artillery fire took its toll on the ork Lootas on foot, and although the greenskins enjoyed air superiority and at least one battlewagon was able to get to the Praetorian lines, the ork attack was beaten off by the guardsmen, who counter attacked using hellhounds and flamer squads. Some mega-armoured nobz took a little more time to deal with and inflicted considereable casualties, but the Praetorian line held, much to the irritation of Na'Porkleon.

Warlord Uzfang, in overall command, probably enjoyed the failure of Na'Porkleon in the east, ordering that "even bigga" fortifications be set up overlooking the Praetorians. This was duly done, but Gault realised the majority of Uzfang's forces were now sweeping west into Beng. Quickly the imperial general made a bold move, redeploying half the Praetorians to Berkeley and Benger, travelling right the way around the continent sized Flynn plateau to do so.

The redeployment was just in time, as the Space Wolves in Beng found themselves utterly out gunned and out fought by the orks, abandonning the city on 0810.012M42. General Gault ordered a counter attack, which the Praetorians duly carried out, but Uzfang's forces met them hed on, crushing much of the Imperial force on the plains outside Berkeley. The Praetorians retreated as best they could, a tiny force of Red Angels forming a rear guard in the city.

Uzfang's forces did not follow up their victory over the Praetorians however, and the city remained in Imperial hands for now. Realising the orks were not advancing, the Red Angels moved south with the intention of finding away around the ork horde's southern flank. If a weakness could be found, the Imperial Guard would be able to follow up a lightning assauly, potentially encircling Uzfang and seperating his forces from those of Na'Porkleon in the east.

Unfortunately for the Imperium, the Red Angels patrol ran straight into another advancing force of orks, this time belonging to Snazgubbins, who were positioned in Beng deliberately to counter such an imperial move. Displaying remarkable strategic awareness, the orks had foiled the imperial plan, and now charged headlong into the Red Angels scouting force. Immediately however the astartes scored the early success, killing the ork warboss in charge of the army with well aimed bolter fire, the greenskin and his two wheeled contraption he was riding disappearing in a ball of orange flame. If the astartes thought this would stop the ork charge however, they were mistaken. The orks, excited by the prospect of bloodshed and motivated by the obvious opportunity of leading the army, ploughed headlong into the Red Angels lines, causing carnage. The astartes held their line for some time, but eventually the orks overcame them, butchering all but a handful of the marines and driving deep into the region of Beng.

General Gault was now firmly on the defensive, with Berkeley now on the front line. He draw a halt line in the map, hoping that he could defend the north and east of the main continent of Hylas by building fortifications around the sump sea. Frenetic work began, but it was now a race against time before the orks regrouped and swung north.

Carnage invaded by Necrons

The next move for the expanding Harakhty dynasty came on 0110.012M42, when a large fleet of necron warships appeared in the Carnage system. The forces of chaos proved unwilling, or unable, to contest the might of the necron fleet, and so for the next few days the necrons moved in system, readying their forces for the invasion of the chaos world.

The forces of chaos on Carnage were initially slow to react to the threat of the impending necron invasion, but the unexpected arrival of the Rillietan faction of the eldar stirred the chaos forces into action. The eldar attacked the city of Shirin, the highest city on the world and the capital. Surprisingly it was a force bearing the mark of the Moonface Catechism which responded to the assault, marching towards the eldar presence broadcasting their strange cant across all frequencies.

As the sun set over the chaos world on 0310.012M42, the Catechism forces engaged the Rillietan. There are rumours the force was led by the strange creature Moonface himself, but these remain unconfirmed. Whether the great warlord was there or not, the result was a bitter stalemate which saw neither side the victor. Then on 0510.012M42 the necrons begain the invasion of the planet, landing between Shirin and Karasti. The eldar then promptly disappeared.

The Catechism forces, fully mobilised now to meet the necron threat, turned their forces against the aliens on 1010.012M42, intending to bring their foe to battle in the open plains that separated the great cities. Unfortunately the Harakhty dynasty were one step ahead, and using a webway portal that only they had knowledge of, were able to appear right in the path of the advancing army, taking the Catechism completely by surprise.

The initiative was now firmly with the necrons, and their assault halted the chaos advance in its tracks. While the Catechism fought the aliens at the foot of the Shiri mountains, they could do nothing to prevent the dall of Karasti. Having taken the city, the necrons simply fortified it, then reinforced their eastern flank, applying overwhelming force against the armies defending Shirin before the rest of the planet could effectively establish a joined up defence. Shirin itself fell on 1110.012M42, as the forces of chaos struggled to regroup in the face of their implacable enemy.

Tyranteous: Stalemate on Hollyden

By the start of 10.012M42 the heretical rebels on Tyranteous had been pushed back to the city limits of Hollydale thanks to repeated assaults by various astartes chapters. However very soon these marine companies began pulling out, starting with the Blood Martyrs on 3009.012M42, so that by 0710.012M42 the bulk of the besiegers of Hollydale were Imperial Guard units.

Inquisitor Hathek was confident that a few "exposures" to daemonic entities would be tolerable for the non-astartes units on Tyranteous, and that they would only need a "few" encounters with the daemons to remove the chaos taint from the planet. However on 0910.012M42, the largest daemon incursion yet occurred, smashing into a force of Corellian Storm Guard who had recently deployed on the world.

The Corellians had returned to the Aleph sector in 09.012M42, and Lord General Roover had dispersed them mainly under General Veers in the Perseus Deeps, but several regiments had been assigned to Brooke in the Zadoc Subsector. One regiment was deployed on Tyranteous to back up the forces there, but it was unprepared for the ferocity of the daemonic assault which it faced. The imperial forces tried to take up defensive positions, and the imperial navy was called in to provide air strikes, but by 1010.012M42 the imperial line had broken along a thirty mile section of the front, and cultists from Hollydale were pouring through the gao, threatening to cut off the Corellians and retake Holleyden.

Fortunately the Spaec Wolves of Erik Morkai were on hand to deal a counter blow. The Space Wolves had been using Tyranteous as a stopping off point in their assaults in the Mabb Nebula, and now the Claws of Lorek were implicated in the daemonic uprising on the agri-world, the astartes chapter increased their presence there. On 1210.012M42 the Space Wolves dropped from orbit while charging across land from Fernal Crossing. After vicious fighting they secured a corridor through which the Corellians were able to retreat, and then set about hunting down the daemons. Within hours the daemonhost had been obliterated back to the warp and the imperial cordon around Hollydale restored. General Brooke, now in overall command of the Zadoc subsector, was unhappy that once again the Space Marines had rescued the situtation, and promptly sacked the overall commander on the ground.

His replacement was Lord General Mikell Denham, once commander of the entire sector and originally Brooke's superior. Now the roles were reversed, and Denham was aware that failure to quickly remedy the situation on Tyranteous would be the end of his career.

Ares re-invaded

Ares remained eldar free for all of a week. The Dark Angels had failed to find the webway portal in the hills above Hephath Station, and on 0510.012M42 the eldar returned. This time the Shattered Silence dark eldar kabal led the assault, conducting a violent assualt on Hephath Station which effectively levelled the settlement, rendering it a heap of rubble, abandonned by its population in any case. General Veers had suspected the eldar would return and the Corellian Storm Guard had been garisonned on the world since their arrival in 09.012M42, but it was the Aurora Angels who moved the quickest to halt the eldar advance.

Unfortunately the astartes found themselves blundering into an alien trap as they moved up the valley. Fast moving dark eldar raiders tore into the space marine force, causing heavy casualties and forcing them to turn back. Worse was to come. While the Shattered Silence occupied the astartes force, a separate force of eldar corsairs moved around the rear of the imperial force, surrounding them. As the Aurora Angels retreated, they came into contact with the corsairs, and were soundly beaten. Only evacuation by air saved the remaining marines from total annihilation, and the abortive counter attack yielded the ruins of Hephath station once more to the Xenos.

The failure of the Aurora Angels frustrated General Veers. He appointed General Orkar Vassilevsky overall commander on Ares, and the wily old general set to work immediately building defences to protect Ares city. Vassilevsky planned for a war of attrition, hoping that he could convince the eldar their invasion was hopeless, while the inquisition searched for the webway portal which was allowing the eldar to come and go with impunity.

Vassilevsky had four Imperial Guard regiments at his command on Ares. The Corellian ?th, Librian 12th and 14th infantry regiments, and the Praetorian 9th. With the eldar now entrenched in Hephath and moving down the valley towards Ares City, the Corellians were sent in to bring the alien advance to a halt. In this they were successful, bringing to battle a force of Craftworld eldar, identifying yet another faction of the alien race working together on Ares.

Although the eldar were held again, their reappearance on Ares and the presence of a number of factions signalled the alien intent to take the world. However, the Imperium were equally determined to keep it.