Saturday, October 06, 2018

Alliance defeated at Dnatha

Having secured their immediate aims in the Aleph subsector the Eldar of Kel Sandros had once more faded back into the webway, content to watch the squabbles of lessor races from a distance. The conditions for Tau and Federal expansion were in place, secured with Eldar blood and Tarquil was determined that no more would be spent. For now it was enough to have tipped the balance of probabilities, Alliances forces would have to pay the price for conquest in their own dead.

That conquest had been lack luster and Tarquil had watched in frustration as the Imperium became resurgent. The Alliance had made progress, but it was far less than could have been hoped. Now Eldar agents had uncovered an Imperial task force moving to secure the Tau holding of Dnatha. Although seemingly an unimportant world in itself the Alliance position in the Hadron expanse was becoming increasingly tenuous. The troop movements had been discovered with insufficient time for the Tau to reposition their own forces, burdened as they were with long supply routes and technologically primitive methods of space travel. Reluctantly Tarquil realised he must commit the warhost or stand by and watch another Tau setback to the Imperium.

The Imperial task force was strongly supported by the knightly household of Stroganoff. To defeat such mighty, if inelegant, warmachines with minimal casualties would require finesse and guile. To this end the Eldar waited until the task force's strength was split and then baited the lead element into an all out attack with a display of weakness. Sighting the tiny warhost in the ruins ahead the Knights of Stroganoff immediately launched themselves forward without thought of the consequences.

As the lead knights outpaced their supporting infantry the Eldar sprung their trap, the warhost revealing its full strength as it raced from cloaked positions within the concealing terrain. Within seconds the first knight fell in a storm of fire. Without pause or hesitation the warhost wheeled as one and focused its fire on the second knight. As power fields flickered and failed the second knight fell, but the threads of fate that spelt its doom also spelt the doom of the Eldar. As its legs buckled the primitive power core breached and exploded, detonating in a massive mushroom cloud that killed in a stroke many times more Eldar than had been lost to enemy fire until that point.

Worst was to come as a third knight finally arrived to support its now destroyed brothers. As it focused the full power of its melta broadside against a damaged Fire Prism the energies harnessed within the grav tanks crystal matrix broke lose. Failsafes kicked in but failed to contain the cascading energy and it exploded, ripping the heart from the Eldar warhost.

Battered but unbroken the remaining warriors focused their fire on the last knight. As its systems failed its commander activated the ancient machines self destruct in a final act of spite. The titanic explosion robbed the warhost of the last of its strength. Although only poorly equipped human infantry remained the Eldar no longer had the forces left to exterminate them. Horrified at the bloodshed Tarquil could only reflect on the bitter irony that it was the primitive and unreliable nature of the Mon-keighs technology that had granted them victory. Determined that no more Eldar blood should be spilt in defence of this alien backwater Tarquil issued the order to withdraw. They would have to find another way to bolster the Tau's wavering strength in the Hadron expanse.

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