Thursday, October 06, 2016

Operation Sledgehammer: Prelude to battle

Following on from the failed attempt to secure Libria II Inquisitor Vorushko called a meeting of her Crusade council. The Raven Guard refused to attend, stating only that they did not want to participate in any actions which could lead to more conflict with their "brothers", referring to their battle against the Space Wolves chapter. However, Vorushko realised she badly needed to shore up her Astartes support for the crusade. It was clear now that Inquisitor Hathek and the loyalist faction had secured the ongoing support of the Ultramarines and Space Wolf chapters of space marines, and she had intercepted a worrying transmission which indicated the Dark Angels had similarly sent forces to the system.

Vorushko could count on the support of the Sky Lords, a young chapter keen to prove themselves in the service of the emperor, but the Minotaurs and Apocalypse riders had withdrawn without communication, and the Carcharadons had notified Vorushko that following their encounter with the Space Wolves, who they did not believe were traitors, the chapter would no longer be participating in the "crusade". This was now an internal Inquisitorial affair and had nothing to do with them.

Lacking such powerful Astartes support, Vorushko had managed to secure additional forces however. Upon her request, she had managed to add several regiments of Vannaheim and now Cadian guard to her armed forces, and a small detachment of Grey Knights, fearful (incorrectly) that the "insurgence" on Libria was chaotic in origin, had joined her side. With these new forces at her disposal, Vorushko decided to invade Libria II.

Libria II is a desert world with eight major large cities, dispersed around the planet at the sites of the best ore deposits. Marshall Zhukov of the Novgorod Guard was appointed in overall command of the defence of the world, and unbeknown to the crusade he recieved significant reinforcements prior to the invasion. For a start the Ultramarines and Space Wolves had agreed Vorushko was in the wrong, and that Libria needed to be defended from the crusade, even if that meant fighting their own astartes brethren. They had tried communicating with the crusade astartes, and this had yielded the removal of the Raven Guard, Carcharadons, Apocalypse Riders and Minotaurs, at least apparently. In addition to the astartes Zhukov was able to deploy Lycaon and Novgorod forces to many of the major cities, where he knew the crusade would attempt to land and launch lightning strikes. Then on the eve of the invasion, the Dark Angels arrived, pledging their support and declaring the Sky Lords a rogue chapter.

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