Monday, November 12, 2012

The trials of Chaos

The final blow on Carnage fell on 1011.012M42 when the necrons made their final push towards the last remaining chaos held settlement. By this time the Claws of Lorek and Iron Warriors had abandonned the world, and it fell to the Death Guard, a relatively minor faction in the Perseus Deeps to hold out for as long as possible as the last important items of equipment and favoured devotees of the dark gods were shipped hurridly off world.

The Death Guard defended admirably, forcing the necrons to advance along corridors of fire they had carefully prepared, and the aliens found them a tougher opponent than many they had so far faced. The blessings of Nurgle kept the necrons at bay for a while, but eventually superior firepower overwhelmed the traitor legion and the last settlement on the world fell. For the remaining half a million cultists and the general population of the minor world of Carnage, a new horror began, the endless servitude and slavery enforced on them by the Harakhty dynasty as Carnage became another outpost in the ever expanding necron empire.

Meanwhile the assault on Grimlock by Veers had not made much progress since the initial reconnaissance landings several weeks earlier. Problems with logistics had slowed the transfer of reinforcements to a trickle, and the initial landing perimeter had barely expanded since the Corellian Guard had established the primary invasion base. The Red Angels had pulled out, so now Veers was forced to wait while the supply chain slowly swung into force.

Much of the problem was the distances involved. The loss of Tarsis Major and Nemesis in the Rim Worlds made it hazardous to resupply from Caitlen Station in the Zadoc subsector. Troop convoys were forced to go the long way round from Corticant and Farport, a journey of weeks rather than days, and the main concentration of forces Veers had allocated to the renewed invasion was still mustering on Bastien. In addition the Iron Warriors had fortified Grimlock and chose to remain behind their defences, making the world a much tougher nut to crack than had been anticipated.

The Space Wolves intervened on 1211.012M42 on their own initiative. Seeing an opportunity to hasten the demise of chaos a significant force of Astartes launched an assault on several defensive installations around the planet, with the main focus being to inhibit as much as possible the Iron Warriors capability to threaten further invasion forces. This inevitably led to violent clashes as the Space Wolves descended on the heavily guarded fortress installations.

The main objective of the Space Wolves, the massive defence laser silos of Khandagar, saw the heaviest fighting. As soon as the genetically enhanced warriors of the imperium had landed, the Iron Warriors launched a swift counter attack, led by Warsmith Stahl himself and his elite guard. This proved a difficult test for the Space Wolves, but one they ultimately passed. Despite fighting heroically in front of their hastily constructed temporary defences, some of the victory gained by the Imperium was down to sheer luck, or possibly the whim of the dark gods. In the heat of the battle, as Stahl ploughed forward like an unstoppable leviathan, something in his biological and technological upgrades, of which he had many, went seriously wrong. The space marines and traitors alike were witness to the bizarre spectacle of the warsmith careering around the battlefield like a maddened grox, thrashing wildly at anything and anyone in his path.

If the sight of their warsmith going out of control affected the Iron Warriors in any way, they didn't display any hesitation in continuing the assault. However, the Space Wolves made the most of the opportunity, refusing to give ground and holding on long enough to complete their mission. Having destroyed the laser silos Grimlock now stood defenceless for a renewed imperial assault. Stahl was last seen thrashing and twitching on the floor, but the imperium doubted the warsmith had suffered a terminal injury.

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