Monday, May 25, 2015

Libria III: Dark eldar mercenaries show their hand

While Pendragon's fleet was conducting its surprise attack on the federacy at Libria III, Admiral Somerville was left behind to patrol the jump point and protect the rest of the imperial fleet from being ambushed itself. His force was centred around the fast battleship Lion, sister to the experimental Tiger which had blown up so spectacularly against admiral Thok.

Tiger led a battlegroup which included an apocalypse class cruiser and a dictator, as well as escort support. While on patrol, Somerville encountered anomalous sensor readings on a number of occasions, and on 3005.015M42 moved to investigate. Proceeding with caution the rear admiral was not surprised to find the strange readings materialise into four dark eldar cruisers, which closed with the imperial battlegroup at speed.

The ensuing engagement was indecisive. The dark eldar vessels found it difficult to penetrate the imperial armour and shielding, and Lion's speed and long range gunnery quickly crippled three of the xenos cruisers. At the same time the aliens found that while the imperial cruisers were almost immune to their attacks, the sword class frigates appeared vulnerable. Somerville lost all five of his escorts in the battle, but was able to group his cruisers together for mutual protection. The dark eldar declined the offer of battle and withdrew to lick their wounds.

Meanwhile on the ground with the federal fleet driven off, the alliance looked to their mobile eldar allies to carry the fight to the enemy, using the webway to quickly deploy overwhleming force. A previously unutilised dark eldar kabal were seen in the vanguard of the new alliance offensive in the Cartal mountains. This extra force proved decisive and once again the crusade armies were driven out of the highlands and back to their narrow coastal strip, with the adeptus sororitas taking the brunt of the casualties.

In Comorragh meanwhile, the archon of the Shattered Silence, which had provided much of the dark eldar support to the alliance was beginning to consider his position in the venture. His kabal had gained much wealth and power from the arrangement, but now increasing demands were being made of his mercenary force, and with other kabals now competing for alliance "contracts", the ability of the Shattered Silence to negotiate high prices for their services was being undermined. With immediate effect the Shattered Silence declared they would no longer provide forces for alliance needs, depriving the alliance of one of their most flexible formations.

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