Sunday, May 15, 2022

Rifts of Hecate roundup

 


Rifts of Hecate: Imperial Knights deploy in force

With the Imperial expedition to Lodax now coming under attack from necron, ork and eldar forces, General Maximus took charge and ordered a full lance of Knights from House Taranis to the system. In addition a second force of knights was sent to Mezria VI, where the Imperium were under attack from both orks and tyranid forces.

On Mezria the arrival of the knight heavy firepower made an immediate difference as they led an assault into tyranid infested territory. The alien beasts fought savagely however, and the knights of House Taranis were made to pay dearly for their headlong charge into hostile ground. The knights lost their venerable commander, while the tyranids were thrown into disarray. The offensive had been a success, as the xenos had been pushed back from imperial controlled land, allowing the foot soldiers of mankind to continue building a solid base with defences, but the cost had been high.

On Lodax, the Knights were barely deployed in system before finding themselves under surprise attack from the Kel Sandros Eldar. The craftworld which had been mostly passive over the previous years now moved in force along with other eldar, with one simple goal. Eradicate all factions from Lodax and ensure the necrons were kept in their slumber.

The eldar moved swiftly to target the Cerastus pattern night, which they had identified as a real threat in the engagement, first sending a mighty avatar into combat with the imperial war enging. Machine spirit clashed with ancient eldar sentience, causing the very ground to shake, but the Lancer shocked the Aeldari by shrugging off the blows from a god of war, before despatching the alien spirit entity almost in one sweep. There was a brief pause as the collective psyche of the Kel Sandros Eldar reeled at the sheer insult of what had just happened, but quickly moved to correct the situation. Fire Dragons stepped up unleashing a concentrated and disciplined hail of lethal fire into the knight, overloading its void shields in seconds and reducing the otherwise invulnerable walking death machine into worthless slag.

Having dealt with the Cerastus pattern knight, the eldar were now in a more favourable position, able to outmanoeuvre the lumbering walkers and cutting their supply lines. The battle raged for some time, but the eldar were not raiding, but ensuring they gained control over the entire world. At some cost, the Kel Sandros Eldar defeated the Knights of House Taranis, taking more ground away from the Imperium and forcing them back to an ever decreasing perimeter.


Friday, May 13, 2022

Rifts of Hecate Strategic Situation

 


Eldar assault Imperium on Lodax Prime

The eldar had been watching the events in the Lodax system and were not content with the removal of the Imperium from Lodax II. They knew that the orks could be dealt with later, but that for now the Imperium still posed the greater threat. Not only were the Mon-Keigh poking around the sleeping ancient enemy, threatening to bring a new necron offensive onto the whole sector, they were also credibly capable of learning important and forbidden secrets of the ancient race in a way the orks could not.

The eldar arranged a council meeting with a number of Craftworlds and the decision was made. Lodax I would be invaded, secured and taken from the Imperium, and the whole system would be declared forbidden for all lesser races, on pain of death. The eldar had intervened before, but this would be their largest deployment for many years.

Knowing the problems they had with artillery previously, the Eldar brought with them a mobile webway gate in the form of a storm serpent. This reduced the eldar casualties by allowing the eldar to deliver a formation of banshees right into the heart of The Imperial Guard firebase, severely disrupting the imperial defence almost immediately after the attack had begun. As the Imperium scrambled to reorganise their defences, the eldar secured key objectives and - as planned - dug in. This was unexpected and as the eldar force withdrew from the main imperial battelfield only then did the imperial commander realise the true intent of this eldar attack. This hadn't been a raid, this was an invasion.

Imperium abandon Lodax Secundus

The Adeptus Mechanicus expedition to Lodax II, while being of interest to the Inquisition, was led by and patronised by the forge world of Ryza. It was these Mechanicum forces that with the loss of their Cadian support, and the redeployment of astartes and Novgorod regiments by the new crusade general, stood alone against the necron threat they were trying to gain information on. This may have been possible, but unfortunately the Imperium were not the only faction interested in the spoils to be found on Lodax II.

The orks of the Blood Fang tribe were less interested in the detailed and arcane knowledge of the necrons. To them, scrap was scrap, all equally useful and desirable, and to be found aplenty on Lodax II. They had arrived on the world some weeks prior but now were able to deploy a stompa against the Adeptus Mechanicus forces, who they merely considered "in the way" of their looting expedition. Plus the Ryza forge world also had good scrap.

The orks attacked the mechanicum forces in a headlong assault. The fighting was bloody as the worshippers of the Omnissiah fought furiously to keep their mission on Lodax alive, with one particularly angry Dunecrawler invoking the spirit of the machine god itself as it bathed its enemies with sterilising holy rays, scattering their atoms to the wind. the orks lost their warlord, but were seemingly un-phased as the greeenskins continued to send in more and more forces. Realising the situation was untenable the Magos Dominus withdrew, calling on general Maximus for reinforcements. The remaining Adeptus Mechanicus forces pulled back to Lodax I, allowing the orks to pick over the spoils of the battlefield.


Rifts of Hecate activity early 05.042M42

In the Rifts of Hecate the worlds in the centre of the region now became incredibly important strategically, as all factions became aware of the importance of controlling the Hecate Gap. This set up a complicated dynamic within the Rifts, as the tyranids, necrons and ork forces were looking for ways out of the Rifts, while the tau, chaos, imperial and eldar forces were extremely committed to that not coming to pass. 

On Mezria VI the Imperium were struggling with two xenos problems, the orks and the tyranids, but the deployment of the Deathwatch in small kill teams yielded much useful intelligence regarding the latter, determining that amongst the indigenous sparse population, the genestealers had been infiltrating for many decades. A series of missions hunting down these cult cells was initiated.

Meanwhile the Space Wolves, who only had a small force in the Rifts of Hecate were given general Maximus's blessing to carry the war to the forces of chaos. Overall the Imperium had avoided clashing with this enemy, as the interests of both had not yet come into direct conflict. However with the increasing importance of controlling the Hecate Gap, Maximus could no longer ignore the threat of a chaos base at Calthingum, and on 0805.022M42 the small force of Space Wolves landed on the chaos controlled world, fighting off the Iron Warriors to establish a bridgehead.

The decision to start moving against chaos by the Imperium soon seemed rash however. Though the Space Wolf force was small, resources being allocated to Calthingum were now necessarily not available for the emerging and escalating conflict at Lodax. Here the Imperium held Lodax I, but with no significant defences, and on 1002.022M42 the imperial expedition to the necron tomb world on Lodax II suffered a serious setback. The Ordo Xenos, quietly directing the operation from behind the scenes, had underestimated the interest and capability of the Ichortek Dynasty, and a sudden surprise assault shattered the Cadian regiment sent to protect the imperial perimeter. This was a serious setback as it now left the Adeptus Mechanicus on Lodax II with no supporting forces, and the investigation of tomb complexes was suspended.


Dark Angels strike back on Mordecai

Following the chaos offensive in the southern sector of the Mordecai Secundus Front, general Kutuzov agreed with his war council to stiffen the defences around the Sathugar mines. The Dark Angels meanwhile agreed to undertake an assault against the Emerald Serpent, as the forces of chaos were now uncomfortably close to where Kutuzov desired to fortify, threatening to disrupt the defensive operation.

the Dark Angels were more than happy to get to grips with the elite Thousand Sons within the Emerald Serpent armies, and their opening salvo proved particularly devastating as they charged south from imperial fortified areas. The traitor astartes attempted to use the power of the warp to hold back the loyalist advance, but the winds of fate were not with them, and gradually the rubric marines were cut down in the face of withering firepower. Finally the Dark Angels delivered a charge that broke the chaos lines, forcing the Emerald Serpent to withdraw to more defensible positions. The threat of interference removed, Kutuzov's men began building their new trench system.



Thursday, May 05, 2022

New chaos offensive on Mordecai

On Mordecai the start of 05.022M42 saw the first movement on the front lines of the southern sector, or in fact anywhere along the front lines in some time, as a force of chaos knights crashed into imperial lines between the Sarkar traps and lake Pargenath, a small strip of basalt plain separating the two lava seas and forming a vital strategic route between chaos held Nazurgal and the Sathugar ore mines.

The power of the war engines quickly overwhelmed the Imperial Guard defences, and the Order of the Bloody Rose - a chapter of the Adeptus Soritas, left their Fortress of Celestine to deal with this new threat. Unfortunately for the Sisters of Battle, the power of the enemy Knights overwhelmed them, and the counter attack overwhelmed them, inflicting a serious tactical defeat on the Imperium and opening up a gateway towards the now undefended mining complexes that had seen so much fighting.

General Kutuzov, recently informed of his new commanders, now had to plan once again operations to shore up his lines, and he desperately needed something to address the worsening strategic situation on Mordecai Secundus. The initial invasion of Mordecai Secundus back in 10.019M42 was supposed to have delivered victory in 6 months. 31 months later and the Imperium barely held one third of the planet - and Mordecai Primaris was still the largest world in the system.



Crimson Fists land on Calthingum

While the fighting on Lodax continued to intensify, and the tyranids arrived on Mezria VI, the overall commander of imperial forces in the Rifts of Hecate, newly appointed general Maximus, had not yet established full control over the units he was at least nominally in command of. As an imperial general, he could not order the astartes to bend to his will, but he was making attempts to establish a war council. While appointed as "Crusade General" - nominally a senior role, Justinian Flavius Maximus was under no illusions that his posting was to get him as far away from the sector HQ as possible. He now felt, quite correctly, that the Inquisition were suspicious of him thanks to the closeness of his relationship with ex-sector commander Titus Luthor, and Maximus was under no illusions that his commander had been taken out, rather than "retired". Maximus had not even been allocated any direct forces, and had spent the first weeks of his new deployment trying to work out just what forces were at his disposal, or even in the region.

He was therefore, taken by surprise, but not shocked to learn that a demi-company of Crimson Fists had arrived at Calthingum, an emerging chaos base, and annihilated a small force of Thousand Sons they discovered there. Fielding entirely Primaris astartes, Maximus was keen to get into contact with the Fists, who had now established a small base of operations on the world. The Imperium needed a strategic focus and soon, rather than sending their forces on disparate and uncoordinated operations.


Confused fighting at Lodax

The situation on Lodax continued to deteriorate as 05.022M42 began. The eldar, extremely unhappy at the increasing encroachment of the lesser races on forbidden territory, launched another offensive against the Imperium. This time the eldar attacked in greater strength, and came up against the Novgorod Guard who had built up a sizeable force on the planer, including several units of heavy artillery. The imperial artillery hammered the eldar as they attacked, but the xenos used their superior speed to avoid the larger concentrations of imperial troops, and captured key objectives.

The Guard forces were obliged to retreat, lest they be surrounded, allowing the eldar to claim victory and prevent the Imperium from accessing several necron tomb complexes, but the situation became even more confused as lead elements of the emerging greenskin Waagh! turned up only a few days later. A terrifyingly confusing engagement then ensued, with the necrons also emerging from their tombs and attacking the invaders. The Guard found themselves temporarily "allied" with the orks, as both eldar and necron forces - mortal enemies - seemingly worked together on the primary goal of getting the inferior interlopers away from the ancient tomb complexes.

It wasn't enough however, and the Imperium and orks made gains after an epic struggle. A necron warlord was crushed under the mighty foot of an ork Stompa, while the eldar warhost melted away back into the webway. In all of this the Imperium discovered that these necrons were yet another dynasty, the Ichortek, adding to the imperial knowledge of the complexity of this ancient empire.

Sunday, May 01, 2022

+++Imperial Sector Edict+++


+++DATE 0105_022M42 

+++REF INQ/ALEPH/001

+++BY SERVITOR 331.11

+++TO ALL IMPERIAL AGENTS

+++RE BY ORDER OF THE HOLY INQUISITION

+++THOUGHT: EXCUSES ARE THE REFUGE OF THE WEAK

+++MESSAGE: THE FOLLOWING CHANGES TO IMPERIAL COMMAND STRUCTURE TO TAKE EFFECT IMMEDIATELY

+++TITUS LUTHOR SECTOR COMMANDER RETIRED ILL HEALTH. CARDINAL VALENTINA SHUMADZ APPIONTED SECTOR COMMANDER AND CARDINAL

+++ADMIRAL BOVA MAGNUS RETIRED ILL HEALTH. ADMIRAL JELLICOE FOUND AND APPIONTED SECTOR ADMIRAL

+++GENERAL BARAN PRICE PROMOTED LORD GENERAL ALL IMPERIAL GUARD FORCES ALEPH SECTOR

+++GENERAL JUSTINIAN FLAVIUS MAXIMUS APPOINTED CRUSADE GENERAL (HADRON EXPANSE - RIFTS OF HECATE)

+++LORD BLANE OF HOUSE CLARKE APPIONTED PLANETARY GOVERNOR VASTRID

+++OTHER APPOINTMENTS RELEVANT TO VASTRID HAVE BEEN MADE AND NOTIFIED

+++MAY THE EMPEROR GUIDE YOUR HAND

+++BY THE ORDER OF THE INQUISITION

+++MESSAGE ENDS+++

Ergura's Fall and Haven discovered in the Hecate Gap

With multiple factions now vying for the various worlds of the Rifts of Hecate and the discovery of Orks, Tyranids and Necron forces already in situ, the attention of all the races started to turn to the Hecate Gap as 05.022M42 began. Winning worlds in the Rifts had been the aims of chaos, the Imperium and Tau, but now the realisation began to set in that if the Rift worlds fell, the Hecate Gap was not just a gateway into the region, but a way out as well.

With some urgency the Tau and Imperium in particular began to look for suitable bases in the Hecate Gap itself. Here two uninhabited worlds were identified as places to start building on and fortifying, just in case the worst were to happen and either the tyranids or emerging ork threat were to gain control of, or consume the Rifts, then use the Hecate Gap to pour out into the Hadron Expanse and beyond. 



Tyranids reach Mezria VI

While a large and confused conflict was escalating in the Lodax system, the tyranid menace was continuing to pursue its own alien agenda. Having consumed Candic Minor the first small hive ships had already been constructed, or birthed, and the hive mind began sending out vanguard forces to link up with its pre-seeded spores on other worlds within the Rifts of Hecate. The next world to fall under the hive mind's influence was Mezria VI, where the Imperium and orks were already fighting for control of the world.

two distinct strains of the tyranid genome arrived on the world at the same time, named by the Imperium as Poseidon and R'Lyeh. The former was relatively new, and it came as a surprise to the Imperium that the two strains of the tyranid creatures immediately began fighting with one another. Initially this gave observers cause for hope. Perhaps the hive mind wasn't unified at all, and would fall into infighting as with other alien enemies such as the orks. However, as the warriors of Poseidon overcame their brethren in R'lyeh, the biomass of the latter was added to the former, leading to an even more evolved next generation of creatures. The tyranids had not been infighting to their detriment, but to determine the best combination of genetics to perfect their living weapons.

And so when Hive Fleet Poseidon fell upon the orks on Mezria VI, the Imperium looked on in horror and dread as the greenskin army that moved to meet the alien invaders was swiftly massacred by the xenos creatures. Carnifexes charged into a mighty Stompa, ripping it apart in mere minutes, while the rest of the orks were overwhelmed as their own charge faltered. Few greenskins escaped the massacre and the tyranids were now entrenched and staring down on the imperial garrisons as well.

Rifts of Hecate: Hard fighting on Lodax

The end of 04.022M42 saw the main action in the Rifts of Hecate focus on the system of Lodax. Two planets were of interest, and the Imperium had set up a base on the inner world, as the outer had clearly been a necron tombworld in aeons past. The Imperium were very interested in uncovering the secrets of Lodax II, but the Aeldari were equally determined to prevent any of the "lesser races" from uncovering any of the treasure of their mortal enemies, knowing also that to blunder around ancient necron tombs was also risking the full awakening, or full attention of the necron dynasties in the region.

Several eldar forces appeared on Lodax I almost simultaneously. The Ynnari took a company of Carcharadons by surprise, massacring them in short order and threatening the imperial presence on the world. At the same time, the Kel Sandros Eldar made their presence known, attacking a force of Dark Angels who were attempting to secure the area around the main imperial base. This engagement was a much tighter affair, with both sides giving no quarter. Eventually however the stubbornness and toughness of the astartes overcame the swiftness and ancient grace of he Aeldari, and despite suffering significant casualties, the eldar were driven off, ensuring the planned investigation of Lodax II would go ahead.

The invasion of Lodax II had already started, but the Ha'Tek dynasty had responded, attacking from their ancient tombs. In order to expand their perimeter of operations the general of Novgorod forces planned a traditional ground offensive, which they undertook with their usual lack of subtlety. The Ha'Tek dynasty organised a considerable counter attack as the Imperium approached important tomb complexes, and the Novgorod forces were forced to yield significant ground to absorb this assault. This resulted in high casualties amongst the infantry, but the Guard were able to keep their artillery intact, despite losing their tanks. Assisted by a small contingent of Hammers of the Emperor astartes, who were present directing an orbital bombardment from their strike cruiser, the imperial force did manage to hold their lines, while inflicting crippling casualties on the necron attackers.

By the end of 04.022M42 the necron counter attack had petered out, and the Imperium once again began to move slowly but inexorably towards their goals. They were not alone. While the Imperium conducted a traditional war of holding and expanding their territorial control, the Death Guard arrived with a pinpoint assault against the embattled necrons, defeating one of the Ha'tek dynasty's armies and quickly investigating one tomb, before leaving with their spoils. Well aware of the likelihood of Aeldari attack, the chaos forces declined for the moment to pursue a conquest strategy, and instead withdrew after their victory to strengthen their bases on Mendesum and Pyrrho Zeta.

Palantir cleared of Chaos forces

With the main fighting between the forces of chaos and the Imperium focussed on the major war in on Mordecai, and exploration of the Rifts of Hecate, little in the way of progress had been made in the Palantir system, which had been subjected to the arrival of first forces under the control of the Emerald Serpent, and latterly the predations of the Death Guard, who with the creation of Fecus Major sought to spread plague and sorrow amongst the inhabitants of the system.

However in late 04.022M42, on their way to join the now "crusade" in the Rifts, a force of Adeptus Custodes stopped off on their way to deal with the chaos incursion into the Palantir system. Upon landing on the world of Dale they found much of the world covered in pestilence, and the very surface of the planet had started to develop patches of mould and decay, as the influence of Fecus Major began to spread across the system.

While the main force of Custodes assaulted the Death Guard encampment on Dale, smaller forces of Guard were sent on skirmish missions. The forces of the Death Guard were thinly spread and not numerous, and the Imperium resolved to remove their enemy from the Emperor's soil before then purifying the population and the land itself. The greater purge of the nurgle filth would take longer, but the arrival of the Adeptus Custodes was successful in inflicting a significant defeat on the traitor astartes, breaking their grip over the system. Unable to respond to the lightning attacks made by the Emperor's finest warriors, the disciples of Mortarion abandoned the system for now, and the arrival of an imperial fleet saw the daemonworld of Fecus Major disappear from the skies over Dale and Hobbiton. Palantir was purged of chaos, although the whereabouts of the daemonworld were as yet unknown.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Rifts of Hecate update

In late 04.022M42 despite the emerging threat from the Tyranids, the other factions in the Rifts of Hecate continued to pursue their aims against one another. On Mendesum, the forces of chaos continued to build up their forces despite the unwanted attention from several raids. First the Drukhari attempted an opportunistic raid on chaos forces, but the Thousand Sons intervened, leading to an attritional battle the dark eldar most certainly did not desire. Utilising their almost invulnerable terminator forces, the battle saw both sides lose their commanding officer, before the Drukhari decided the raid was no longer worth the losses, and abandoned the endeavour.

Later on, the forces of the Imperium arrived. This was in fact an error. The Imperium were now under the unified command of newly appointed Crusade General Justinian Flavius Maximus, but the commanders of the astartes, mechanicum and Guard forces already engaged in the Rifts of Hecate had not accurately updated the General on the situation on the ground, and Maximus was still adhering to the old and now out of date battle plans. He sent in a regiment of Guard to establish control over what he believed to be a system with a small population of humans, completely oblivious to the fact the chaos forces had already been establishing their own bases there. The result was predictable as an Iron Warriors force quickly intercepted the imperial arrivals, massacring their infantry and forcing their armoured units to withdraw unsupported. The Iron Warriors almost had their sorcerer assassinated, but he escaped gravely injured.

Another failure caused by the lack of communication in the Imperial high command saw an Adeptus Mechanicus Explorator fleet land on Garmenes almost totally unsupported by other imperial elements. The Tau, who had been building their own base on the world, reacted swiftly, unleashing a storm of accurate fire on the Mechanicum forces, and inflicting severe losses. Later analysis of the encounter suggested the Adeptus Mechanicus might have used a different strategy and established a foothold on the planet, but in the heat of the sudden unexpected battle, this option only came to light in hindsight. For now, the two imperial disasters woke General Maximus up to the disjointed and fractious nature of imperial forces in the Rifts of Hecate, and he ordered all new forces to Ferrosiun where he set up his HQ. The first order of the day was to establish the deployments of Imperial forces and create a Crusade war council. Then he would gather intelligence and draw up a battle plan for systematically gaining control over the worlds of the region.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Rifts of Hecate 2504_022M42

 


Hadron Expanse: Ynnari halt Tyranid advance

Although by late 04.022M42 Candic Major's rich biosphere had been consumed by the hive mind, now a union or mishmash of the genetic streams known as "Jormunandr" and "R'yleh", the tyranids were still not yet capable of full scale hive fleet operations. Though the other races were not fully aware of this, the tyranids in the Rifts of Hecate were in fact a vanguard force of multiple genetic lineages, and had "seeded" the worlds in order to create their mighty hive ships from the abundant resources the worlds presented to them.

The orks landed at Candic Major, now a lifeless husk, more by accident than design, but the response from the swarms of aliens now covering the barren planet was the same. the larger creatures of "R'lyeh" crashed into the orks as they emerged from their ramshackle landing craft - mostly converted asteroids - and after a furious fight overcame the ork invasion. This was welcome biomass, as the tyranids made good use of it, beginning work on what can only be described as a "bio-space station", a giant "mothership" which would become the literal mother to hive ships that were now being gestated in this biological abomination.

The Ynnari then entered the fray, alarmed by the repeated failure of the younger races to adequately deal with the emerging tyranid threat. The Aeldari coalition found more success, raiding the planet in several places and once again deliberately attacking key hive nodes to disrupt the progress of the creation of a new fully formed hive fleet. The raids were a success, but the Ynarri knew this would only ever be a delaying tactic. Unless the other races of the region tackled the xenos threat, there was a real risk of the area being consumed, and a new hive fleet flooding through the Hecate Gap, consuming the entire Hadron Expanse.

Mordecai: Dark Angels retake Sathugar Mines

Following the over-extension of the World Eaters in their reckless but savage attack on the Black Templars at the Sathugar Mines, the Dark Angels now moved in to fix the hole in Imperial defences they had created. Rather than attacking the pocket directly, the loyalist astartes moved swiftly to attack the units to the flanks of the World Eaters, along the more northern sector of the Central Front, defended by the Death Guard. the Dark Angels intended to strike the slow moving worshippers of Nurgle before the forces of chaos could move in to secure the salient the World Eaters had created, thus isolating the other traitor marines for mopping up operations.

The attack by the Dark Angels was a bloody slog, but the Death Guard were slowly but surely forced back, widening the gap between them and their allies in the Sathugar mines. By the end of 2504.022M42 the Dark Angels had managed to all but surround the World Eaters, though it came at the cost of their commanding officer, cut down by the Death Guard eventually. Nevertheless this sacrifice was not in vain, as the World Eaters, unsupplied and cut off thanks to the attack on the Death Guard, dispersed and slipped back to chaos territory under the cover of darkness. The Sathugar mines were once more in Imperial hands.

Astartes battle orks on Mezria VI

On Mezria VI both the orks and Imperium were gradually building up forces as the battle for the world became an all out war between the two opposing sides. By 04.022M42 the Bloodfang tribe had landed several greenskin armies, but the Imperium were still in the process of building up their forces. The main participants in this phase of the Mezria VI campaign were astartes chapters, and the Dark Angels and Hammers of the Emperor had sent almost a company each of the elite superhuman troops.

There wasn't exactly a "front line" on the planet as such, given the vast distances involved and the small size of the participating forces. Instead the orks persistently sent out roving patrol forces, which would then clash with whatever enemy they found. Initially this caused problems for the Imperium, as the Dark Angels were caught by surprise in the open on 2204.022M42. Barely any of the astartes survived, and it was a lesson for the Imperium. The strategy changed to using scouts and Adeptus Mechanicus scans of the surface to identify ork forces and their movements.

The Hammers of the Emperor took full advantage of this a few days later, identifying a large mob of orks which appeared to be centred around important orks that may be HQ or leader elements. The Hammers drove directly into the mass of greenskins, taking out these key targets, before withstanding the inevitable onslaught as the giant horde of angry orks charges the marines. The Hammers held on long enough to be evacuated, and their objectives had been met. As the Hammers of the Emperor withdrew to the relative safety of the almost complete imperial bases, the orks devolved into fighting with one another now that their leaders had been assassinated. The war on Mezria VI was not over however, as the greenskins roamed unchallenged across half the planet, though the construction of imperial bases was now well underway.

Candic Minor consumed

The eldar had managed to disrupt the consumption of the habitable world in the Candic Minor system by the tyranid threat in 03.022M42 but during 04.022M42 they were unable to spare the resources any further. Instead the eldar attempted to use subtle manipulation of the winds of fate, tipping off the Imperium to reports of an undiscovered STC on the planet in order to divert the vast resources of the Mon-Keigh to deal with the alien threat now bearing down on the entire Hadron Expanse.

The eldar ploy was successful, as the Adeptus Mechanicus, following up on any rumour of ancient human technology to be reclaimed, sent a small explorator fleet to the system. What the Aeldari were unable to do however, was decide the outcome of the inevitable showdown that followed. The Mechanicum found the world already stripped of its vegetation and swarming with tyranid creatures, and the shadow in the warp had already become significant. The followers of the Omnissiah did land on the world and attempted to set up a base of operations, but the hive mind reacted quickly, sending hordes of creatures against the interlopers, including some extremely tough large beasts. Unable to overcome the psychic fog that now enveloped the system, the weapons of the Adeptus Mechanicus were less than effective at dealing with the attack, and the attempt to investigate the world was abandoned. Candic Minor was completely consumed some days later.

World Eaters push on Sathugar mines

On Mordecai Secundus the ongoing war between the Imperium and the forces of chaos had lapsed into another attritional stalemate with little in the way of sweeping offensives by 04.022M42. The Imperial position was strong, though the forces of chaos, led at least de facto by the Emerald Serpent, had the superior logistics thanks to the presence of the daemon world of Astralis. In mid 04.022M42 the World Eaters arrived once more, keen to create havoc and destruction, though less intent on changing the strategic situation in favour of the chaos coalition on the planet, and more intent on causing destruction to the Black Templars who they had followed to the world.

The Templars took position upon their arrival in the Central Sector of the Mordecai Secundus front, nominally to defend against any incursion against the Sathugar mines, but more importantly to establish a base of operations from where they could conduct offensive operations against their hated ancient foes in the form of traitor astartes. They got their chance relatively swiftly, as the World Eaters wasted no time in preparation and launched an immediate aggressive attack on the front lines, barrelling through the imperial defences and heading straight for the newly arrived loyalist marines.

The result was carnage, as the World Eaters caught the Black Templars of guard, massacring a company and forcing the loyalists to abandon their base and retreat back to their strike cruiser. The strategic situation however was little changed. The forces of chaos had managed to breach Kutuzov's lines, but in their haste to get to grips with their hated enemy the traitors were now over-exposed and under supplied. Kutuzov met with his war council and hastily prepared a counter attack.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Rifts of Hecate 2004_022M42


Thousand Sons defeat Tau at Mendesum

The Tau had come late to the Rifts of Hecate. The base on Garmenes was under construction, but incomplete. Nevertheless the Tau moved in force in mid 04.022M42 towards other worlds. Skirting Calthingum and Pyrrho Zeta, identified as having significant chaos forces, and avoiding Mezria VI where an imperial fleet had been detected, the Tau landed on Mendesum with the intent of setting up another forward base deep into the Rifts.

The Thousand Sons however moved swiftly to counter this landing, as the system had already been identified as a possible location of important ancient scrolls, something the Emerald Serpent were keen to locate and utilise for their own strategic ends. Hitting the Tau hard and early would prevent the aliens from getting a foothold, so on 1504.022M42 a force of traitor astartes emerged from the warp over the lush world of Mendesum.

The Tau were taken by surprise by the sudden intervention of the elite forces of the Emerald Serpent, and struggled to fend off the relentless advance by the Rubric Marines. After a bloody firefight the Tau abandoned their positions and withdrew from Mendesum. Increasingly the Tau were being shut out of the exploration of the Rifts of Hecate, and the forces of chaos were creating a significant hub of systems in the eastern part of the region.

Ravenguard defeat orks at Mezria VI

On Mezria VI both the orks and Imperium had established small forward bases. The world itself had no population, but was strewn with ruins across the surface of the world from a previous civilisation now lost to the mists of time. The entire world was shrouded in a sickly green fog, lending a dystopian feeling to an already barren world, but the planet was inhabitable, rich in resources and in a strategically central position in the Rifts.

The inevitable clash between the two forces started in early 04.022M42 as an ork patrol ran into a unit of Ravenguard astartes. Both sides then poured more and more forces into an escalating engagement, which soon became a maelstrom of fast moving firefights and skirmishes. The astartes dominated the engagement, and routed the orks, establishing the imperial base and forcing the orks onto the back foot. The war on Mezria was however far from decided.

Imperial Expansion in the Rifts of Hecate

As 04.022M42 progressed a series of small skirmishes took place across the Rifts of Hecate typifying the engagements in the Hadron Expanse. Unlike the wars of the Perseus Deeps and other more populous subsectors, battles in the Rifts were often small and lonely affairs. By this time even the Imperium only had a few regiments and a handful of astartes companies assigned to the campaign arena, and most of those were concentrated at the main imperial base on Ferrosiun, and a small army had been established on clearing Helos Majoris of the tyranid infestation.

The Sisters of Battle lent a hand in the clearing of tyranid and genestealer cults on Helos Majoris as the Imperium began to bring their religion to the sparse human population of the world. In early 04.022M42 small bands of Sororitas would accompany the Imperial Guard on patrols, keen to show the population of the planet that they were here to save them and bring them under the righteous rule of the Emperor of Mankind.

By mis 04.022M42, several skirmishes against remnant genestealer cults had pushed the xenos back into the rugged terrain of the western hemisphere, and the Sisters pursued them with righteous fire, burning them out of the caves and other hiding places. By the end of the month, the planet would be declared clean, and Helos Majoris was added to the list of imperial worlds.

Further into the Rifts, an expeditionary force had reached the Lodax system. A contingent of Knights from House Corvus had been assigned to the investigation of Lodax and the establishment of a forward base. The Sisters of Battle went ahead of this force, scouting out the twin inhabitable worlds of the system. On Lodax Prime they found nothing, not even life above the microbial substrate that covered the ground, but there were signs of previous habitation by humans, now long since fallen into ruin. On Lodax Secundus, a mars like world of deserts and dust, the Sisters of Battle encountered vast tomb complexes, and were beaten off by small bands of necron warriors that had reanimated to defend their sleeping brothers.

Identifying the necrons as from the Ha'Tek dynasty, the Sisters pressed on with their investigations of further tomb complexes, only to be ambushed and driven off this time by the eldar, who seemed very keen on preventing the Mon-Keigh from blundering into the necron tombs and waking the entire tombworld up. The eldar succeeded in convincing the Adeptus Sororitas from investigating further, but the necrons had already been awoken.

The Ha'Tek dynasty, enraged by the arrival of the lesser races in their domain, sent a significant force against the invaders on Lodax Prime, and attacked the forces of the Imperium as they continued with the construction of a forward base. House Corvus however were ready and willing to engage the necrons, and unleashed their vast firepower on the necron army. The engagement was very one sided, as the xenos struggled to deal with the power of the imperial war engines. House Corvus' Knight Errants charged the necron lines, tearing apart the aliens in close combat, while the mighty Castellan supported by Helverins pummelled their enemies with seemingly unlimited ordnance. Even the intervention of a monolith made no difference, though the Knights were forced to accept some losses before annihilating the necron threat.

By mid 04.022M42 the Imperial base on Lodax Prime had been established, but the tombworld on Lodax Secundus remained the domain of the Ha'tek dynasty, and the activity within the tomb complex showed an increase as more of the xenos emerged from their long slumber.