Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Moonface Catechism

Originally believed to be an Iron Warrior possessed by a particularly strong Daemonic entity, almost nothing about the creature called Moonface is known. From what Imperial information suggests, Moonface rose in prominence in the ranks of the Iron Warriors in the Aleph system. After earning himself a place as advisor to the Iron Warrior's Warsmith Gallowfen, Moonface then slew the commander and assumed command himself.

His first act was to order a full scale assault on the Imperial system capital, Cerberex. The reason for invasion is not fully known, other than it was used by Moonface to forge what is known as The Catechism - an awakening of traitor marine forces and cultists. By a series of chanted mantras and subliminal clues, both somehow transmitted directly to the brain, those affected are slowly turned under Moonface's influence.

Unlike Gallowfen's policy of using only pure Iron Warrior forces, Moonface calls all to his ranks using The Catechism. In fact, one of the first uses of the Catechism was to gather all the disparate Chaos forces in the Aleph sector together. The process appears to only affect those who are already in league with the dark powers, certainly there have been no reports of Imperial forces being turned to the Catechism. In addition the process is most effective on those who do not currently have a strong belief system.

Those traitor marines that have been turned tend to be small broken warbands or recently turned traitors. The larger legions in the area appear unaffected. The full process behind the Catechism is unknown, Imperial Scholars can only spin wild theories about how it may work. One thing is for sure though, the rate at which new traitor warbands are swayed to the Moonface cause is growing, and the Imperium must stand eternally ready against this dangerous threat.

Nightlords “defend” Tynaderous from the green tide

Lord Raziel, having conquered Typhon decided to establish a foothold on the world of Tynaderous. The Nightlords had previously raided the planet on several occasions to gain supplies and weapons to arm their supporters on Typhon and so were familiar with the geography of the planet. More importantly to Raziel was its proximity to the space route that connected Zadoc to Tarsis Major and the Nightlord commander hoped that by seizing planets along this route he could seriously weaken imperial control and eventually cut off part of the imperium by controlling this space route.

The previous Nightlord raids had attracted a small Imperial Guard and Tau presence to the planet and so he understood that taking the planet would be no simple feat. To prepare for an assault on the planet Lord Raziel decided to establish a clandestine base of support amongst anti imperial sympathisers on the plaent and even within the planets defence force itself before engaging in a direct assault. Raziel waited for an appropriate opportunity to present itself and found it when Ork forces from neighbouring planets landed on Tynaderous. Whilst the Imperial and Tau forces argued amongst themselves over who had claim to the planet the Orks attacked outlying defenceless human settlements easily overrunning them. Not out of compassion but through political calculation Lord Raziel decided to act and personally led a small force of Nightlords to end the Orks rampage.

The nightlords arrived on the planet undetected in small ships and whilst scouting for the Ork forces ran straight into the main body of the Ork army. The Ork force had the strength of weight of numbers and in both infantry and vehicles and attempted to assault the Nightlord force in a three-pronged assault. The Nightlords deployed close to one another in two lines. At first the Nightlord’s shooting seemed largely ineffective against the multitude of Orks who easily soaked up the shooting with their numbers and the jinking of their warbikes. The Ork’s returned fire as they advanced managing to destroy the turret of the nightlords predator and one of the rhinos along with a few chaos marines. A mek with a Shokk attack gun had the misfortune of his weapon deciding to propel him rather than its ammunition across the battlefield at the enemy havocs where in the ensuing combat the havocs managed to cut-down the Ork to pieces. At close range the Nightlords found their shooting more successful where the numerous flamers fried many Orks and the chaos havocs turned their attention to the right flank where along with some raptors they managed to immobilise several Ork walkers. The Ork warboss and his retinue was largely unaffected by this though and slaughtered many Chaos marines in the centre and was only taken down when Lord Raziel and his raptor retinue along with his drugged up assault veterans charged into the engaged Ork warboss to assist the few survivors. The left flank of the Ork army had been largely untouched by the Nightlords and threatened to overrun the centre but finally the havocs found a weak spot in the Ork dreadnought that led the Ork mob and exploded it killing many in the surrounding Ork mob. The rest of the unsupported Orks were savagely gunned down by in the open by concentrated marine and predator fire.

Following the battle the Nightlords made contact with humans from the planet’s population where they were given offer they couldn’t refuse by lord Raziel. Following the slow agonising public execution of one pious naive imperial priest Raziel found the remaining locals to be unanimous in their support for the Nightlords and highly cooperative. He gave them orders to establish sleeper cells and to infiltrate all positions of imperial command and ordered some squads of his marines to remain hidden on the planet. In return he gave aid to those wounded by the Ork forces and weapons to be used for defence against the Xenos and to rid the Imperium from Tynaderous when the time for revolution would come. Before the Nightlords left they recovered their dead and made a huge pile of the Ork bodies and surrounded the mound with the destroyed Ork vehicles. This was soon discovered by Imperial forces and Tau who couldn’t account for who had killed the Orks, the only crew clues were two lines of graffiti left on the Ork vehicles one reading, “AVE DOMINUS NOX!” and the other, “Where is your Imperium to defend you?” The imperial commanders tried to hush the discovery up but amongst the undisciplined guard the rumours managed to flow back to the planets population where many began to worry at the truth in the statement…

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Danelloth: Daemonhunters can’t break out

Meanwhile by 2208.008M42 the situation on Danelloth was still desperate for the Imperial forces holed up in the sprawling mining Complex PKS-112. This was the only territory still held by Imperial forces, and the Imperial Guard commander desperately needed to retake the spaceport. Responding to the request for aid the Daemonhunters under Inquisitor Ignatious arrived swiftly.

The elite Inquisitorial forces launched themselves into a ferocious assault against Nazghat’s Orks around the spaceport. The Orks responded the only way they knew how and a vicious fight erupted just three miles from the Daemonhunters’ objective.
The Daemonhunters however proved to be more brave and fearless than tactically aware, and an early mistake cost them dearly. The Inquisitor got his forces too close to the Orks and close combat ensued as soon as the Orks realised they could charge. This turned a possible victory over the Orks into an inconclusive draw, and the situation on Danelloth remained unchanged.

War comes to Daedalon

While the Imperium reacted to the Chaos threat on Typhon and Priam, they were unable to prevent Tau forces from landing on the Adeptus Mechanicus world of Daedalon. The forest world had been used as a research world for millennia, but was the obvious target for the Tau expansion from their bases in the Perseus Deeps.

The tech adepts on Daedalon warned the Imperium the Tau were coming, but the Imperium could not react in time and elected to take a “wait and see” approach. In the end it was a small scout Hunter Cadre which landed on the planet, rather than a full scale invasion force.

Much to the Tau’s horror and surprise however the forests of Daedalon had already been infiltrated with the vanguard scouting elements of Hive fleet Triton, as it naturally stood in the path of the Tyranids’ progression through the galaxy. The Tyranid forces were not numerous, and it came as a surprise to the Adeptus Mechanicus aswell, but it was the Tau who had disturbed them and the Tau who found themselves assaulted, then overrun by the alien menace.

Reeling from the attack by the Tyranids the Tau could have been expected to fold when the Chaos forces of the Death Guard Legion landed on the world near their own base. However, the Tau showed remarkable resilience and took the fight to the enemy. Trapping the Death Guard in an area of swampy forest, the Tau used their superior technology in the terrain well, picking off the Death Guard until they had sustained a serious number of casualties. Realising this raid wasn’t going to be profitable for the Chaos invasion of the Rim Worlds the Death Guard retreated into their assault ships and disappeared. The Tau counted the cost of another battle.

Chaos discovered on Priam

Priam, a small outpost specialising in luxury goods had long been suspected of underground Chaos worship, but the time and effort required o root out the evil had never been a priority to find. That was until the fall of Typhon. The loss of this small world glavanised Imperial forces into action.

Inquisitor Ignatious organised a small task force including Daemonhunters and Sisters of Battle to investigate Priam. What they found immediately alarmed them. Decadent cults, strange iconography and a complete disregard for human decency. It seemed that a good portion of the population had gone over to the worship of Slaanech, while others had embraced Nurgle. The Inquisitor’s representative on the world immediately executed the governor and occupied the capital.

A few days later on 2106.008M42 Chaos forces, led by forces previously associated with the Moonface Catechism, were spotted in the wetlands to the north of the capital. The Daemonhunters immediately attacked, using their Adeptus Sororitas allies to support their attack.

The battle became a bloody affair which ebbed and flowed over the sprawling marshland during the next few days. The Daemonhunters were successful, pushing the Chaos forces back and doing considerable damage in the process. The Adeptus Sororitas however were less successful and suffered badly at the hands of the Traitor Marines. Realising they could not annihilate the Chaos forces without support the Imperial forces retreated to the planetary capital and built up their defences while requesting regiments of Imperial Guard or Astartes reinforcements.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Typhon Falls Under Night Lords’ Control

Typhon had long been a cause for concern to the Imperium. Though nominally a small Imperial world its proximity to Grimlock, a Chaos stronghold in the Perseus Deeps, and its relative distance from the major warp lanes of the Zadoc subsector, made the Imperium’s hold over the planet tenuous at best.Typhon’s five million souls were ruled over by a hereditary monarchy with the planet mostly dealing in fringe trade while the bulk of the planet’s populace farmed the arid soil of the world.

Truth be told the Imperium wasn’t much interested in Typhon, except for the fact that deep below the planet’s crust there was vast mineral wealth to be exploited, at least at some point. However in 008M42 the Imperial authorities had more to worry about than 5 million souls on the very edge of Imperial space.

This lack of observation caused the Imperium to miss opportunity after opportunity to avoid catastrophe on Typhon. In early 008M42 traders spoke of anti-Imperial cults and strange blasphemous graffiti on the walls of the shabby buildings in the planet’s many small towns. In 04.008M42 contact with the planet was lost altogether, but no-one paid much attention.Certainly no-one linked it with events going on in the Mabb nebula.

In fact the Night Lords had been on the planet for years, laying low and fostering anti-Imperial sentiment. Many cults worshipped the Chaos Marines as demigods following their arrival in 004M42 following their defeat on Aleph 4. However it was the arrival of Raziel which accelerated things. He and his new arrivals raided the Shadow Worlds of the Mabb nebula, gaining intelligence and supplies to bolster their position on Typhon. The raid on Tyndareous had filled their small band of ships’ holds to breaking point with gold, weaponry and mineral ore. In 06.008M42, the Night Lords, aided by some 30,000 armed militia cultists, toppled the ruling Monarchy of Typhon and declared themselves rulers of the planet.

The news reached Zadoc on 2006.008M42 and sent a shockwave of unease through the Imperial high command. A planet had fallen to Chaos and they had barely noticed, let alone reacted in time. Though a relatively small world, Typhon now presented a real threat, forming a base for Chaotic activity much closer to Tarsis Major and putting the other Rim Worlds under threat. For now however, Imperial high command on Zadoc was at a loss as to how to respond. The Night Lords certainly had the initiative.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tyndareous: Elan Ro Defeated by Night Lords

After the Chaos assault on Tyndareous the Imperial and Tau forces maintained the truce they had established. Lengthy debates then began as both sides attempted to get the other to withdraw from the planet while remaining themselves. During this time the planetary rulers became more and more scarce, not wishing to be seen allying with either side lest they beput in an unfavourable light with their eventual overlords. In the end the decision was made not by the Tau or Imperium, but by the Night Lords.

Clearly the Traitor Legion had unfinished business on Tyndareous and their forces fell upon the planet with a furious and violent assault. Apparently by chance, they landed nearer Elan Ro's camp, rather than nearer the drop area of Captain Spiggot, and the Tau were forced to deal with the traitors.

The Imperium also prepared to intervene, lest it look like the Tau were the ones defending the locals. However, the Tau forces were faster and more manoeuvrable and arrived on the scene much quicker than the lumbering Imperial forces.

The Tau arrived at the small settlement of Flack to find the Night Lords systematically destroying the place and terrorising the inhabitants.Immediately the Tau of Elan Ro threw themselves into the attack, and for awhile it looked like they had the measure of the Night Lords. The Chaos Terminators teleported near the centre of town but were cut down by the swift arrival of crisis suits.

Meanwhile the Night Lords' infantry soon found themselves without transport as the Tau heavy weaponry took its toll, but once again Elan Ro underestimated his foe and the Marines soon had their revenge when they reached the Tau battle line. Once in combat the Tau were slaughtered and forced to abandon the citizens of Flack to their fate.

Several hours later the Chaos Marines once again left the planet having devastated the Imperial settlement. Now Imperial and Tau authorities clashed once again over how best to deal with the situation and gain intelligence. Fear and suspicion was still rife, and the standoff paralysed the defences of Tyndareous, leaving them vulnerable to further assault.

Bothorion: Tyranids Beaten By Orks

Following their disastrous route by Hive Fleet Megalodon, the remaining Orks on the planet of Bothorion managed to organise themselves and cobble together enough hardware to launch an assault on the Tyranids which were fanning out in all directions, assessing the planet's biomass.

The assault, at least partially successful forced the Tyranids to back off from the Ork held territory, buying them some breathing space while they considered their options. Meanwhile, the human population cowered in their settlements and attempted to erect fortifications, hoping that Imperial forces would at last come to their aid.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Danelloth: Blood Martyrs Lose Primary Habs

The perilous position of the Imperium on Danelloth led to the Commander of the Imperial Guard calling for more aid. That aid was forthcoming relatively quickly, in the shape of the Blood Martyr’s 4th company, who arrived on 1106.008M42 aboard the strike cruiser Torment. The Chaplain of the company then prepared an assault force to take the fight to the Orks.

The assault began well, with withering terminator fire destroying the Orks’ command squad, but if the Space Marines had thought the Orks would disengage once their leader was killed, they were sadly mistaken. Orks live for fighting, and the green tide continued to advance on the Blood Martyrs’ positions.

Unfortunately for the Marines, their heavy tank support could not find the weak spots in the Ork contraptions and much time was wasted repeatedly shooting at the roughly constructed Ork vehicles. This meant more Orks than desired reached the Imperial battle lines and despite a heroic assault lead by the Chaplain and his assault squad, the Marines were eventually overwhelmed.

The greenskin horde, their bloodlust fully risen, then fell upon the Imperial positions in the Primary Hab zone, forcing Lethbridge-Stewart’s troops to fall back to the last remaining Imperial defence, mining complex PKS-112. Danelloth was all but conquered by the Ork waagh! Now the Imperium had to decide their next move. Defend to the last or abandon the mining settlement?

Coronus: Night Lords Raid Dark Angels

Without warning the Night Lords appeared in the Coronus system on 1306.008M42. This time however, the Dark Angels’ base with its superior technology, picked up the small Chaos vessels as they approached the planet of Coronus itself. The commander of the 4th Company then set up a trap for the traitor marines.

The Night Lords tooke the bait, attacking what appeared to be an unsupported squad of Marines. However, once the battle was joined five members of the Deathwing turned up, and heavy supporting tanks appeared from behind a copse of trees. The plan was going well, but the Dark Angels found that it wasn’t going to be that simple to defeat the Night Lords.

The initial ambush successfully wiped out the spearhead of the Night Lords attack, including their commander, but the hatred of the Imperium still burned brightly in the Night Lords’ souls and they did not quit the field. In reply the Chaos Marines poured withering fire into the Deathwing, eliminating them, and moved a squad of their Marines into the copse, charging a squad of Marines loyal to the Emperor.

Behind the shielding trees the Night Lords found a further fifteen Dark Angels, who threw themselves into the melee which had developed in the thick woodland. The battle became savage, as the Night Lords refused to break in the face of superior numbers. The encounter ebbed and flowed and was going in the Imperium’s favour, until an obliterator arrived, turning the tide and forcing all but one brave Marine to flee the combat.

The melee ended with just one loyal Dark Angel standing over the fallen bodies of his comrades and the broken remains of the traitor Marines squad. It had been a costly encounter. While the vicious combat had raged in the woods, the Dark Angels’ Librarian had been taken in combat, leaving the central plain of the battlefield to the Night Lords’ terminators. Only some desparate shooting forced the Chaos force back and prevented a further assault on the Dark Angels’ base.

After several hours the Dark Angels realised the Night Lords were leaving, returning to their drop area. They were in no shape to pursue and let the Chaos Marines leave, tending to their wounded and counting their dead. The battle had been costly, too costly, for such a small force of Marines. Even so the designs of the Night Lords had been thwarted, for now.

Zadoc Sector Activity: Typhon Falls

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Night Lords in the Aleph Sector

Lord Raziel for most of his 10,000 year existence was a captain of the 7th Night Lords grand company. He now fights as an independent chaos lord in the Aleph Sector seeking to topple the control of the imperium and tau over human worlds and to build his own empire of mankind. To understand his story and appearance in the Aleph Sector, one must know the history of the Night Lords.

The combat doctrine of the legion was once to use terror as a weapon for the pursuit of higher goals. Examples were made of those who defied the Night Lords, collective punishments and horrific massacres set an example to the enemies of the Night Lords and through terror whole star systems bowed to their will rather than take up arms. Terror induced order and was enough in itself to avoid conflict and bloodshed. Even during and after the Horus Heresy the Night Lords kept true to their vision of an Imperium of man untainted by hypocrisy, religious fanaticism and superstition. However this did not last, for ever since the assassination of the Night Lord’s primarch Konrad Curze, the legion has dissolved into madness and nihilism, finding no goal or purpose to fight for save the pursuit of fear and sadism in itself. The use of terror has now become the goal of the legion and thus has bred its own war logic. The legion that once despised fanaticism of all kinds is now commanded by a Demon Prince named Acerbus and who openly dedicates himself and his followers to the service of the chaos gods.

The Night Lord’s primarch knew the legion was flawed, that there were many who would not have the willpower to distinguish between the use and pursuit of terror. Thus Konrad Curze chose the Night Lord with greatest willpower resolve and vision Zso Sahaal as his heir before he let the imperial assassin kill him. Unfortunately for the legion Zso Sahaal was trapped in stasis for 10,000 years and thus unable to avert the legion from its downfall. Captain Raziel was one of the few in the legion that understood the doctrines of the Night Haunter and had the strength to resist the slide into madness and sadism. Only a captain though and outnumbered by officers and marines infatuated with sowing fear and suffering amongst their victims he could only keep silent and followed the orders of the demon prince Acerbus for ten thousand years as his legion deteriorated, his undying hatred of the imperium the only thing keeping him from despair.

As the legion settled within the Eye of Terror, Captain Raziel was able to build up strength and reputation in the legion leading countless successful raids on imperial shipping and defeating imperial guard and space marine forces around the Cadian gate on several occasions. His command of marines increased yet his victories were always unappreciated by the legion who preferred launching genocidal attacks on hive worlds to facing formidable opponents. Raziel never felt the satisfaction of his chaos crazed brothers at these minor victories knowing full well that in the grand scheme of things they amounted to little and would never be able to crush the imperium.

Depression from this futility and the effects of prolonged exposure to the warp began to fray his mind over the centuries. Raziel would enter long trances in the timeless existence of the Eye of Terror totally isolated in his stronghold chambers from the rest of his army. During one such trance he fell into a long coma and when he awoke found his body had warped so that vampiric wings emerged from his spine. Increasingly he felt a predatory lust for blood and to stalk and he knew that despite his endurance the exposure to the warp was breaking down his resistance to the flaw in his gene-seed and that soon he would become indistinguishable from the others in his legion. It was fortunate for what humanity was left in Raziel that soon after his wings evolved a message was detected in the warp of the return of Zso Sahaal on the distant hive world of Equixus. The legion departed to the world and upon arriving Acerbus ordered the Night Lords to attack the undefened hive world. No one was spared. Acerbus greeted Zso Sahaal who was disgusted and horrified by the legions descent into depravity and accused of Acerbus of betraying everything their primarch stood for. Acerbus merely laughed at Sahaal and tried to kill him to officially become the heir to Konrad Cruze but Sahaal escaped his attack and fled the planet.

Raziel witnessed this encounter and realised that in Zso Sahaal there was still hope for his legion to redeem itself from the clutches of chaos. He quietly left the council of the Night Lord commanders that followed the success of the Equixus genocide and quickly gathered his company. Raziel briefly considered trying to overthrow Acerbus and restoring the legion’s command to Sahaal but was smart enough to realise his powerbase was small and weak and that he would could not solely kill Acerbus unaided. He spoke to his officers about the need for the legion to revert back to the teachings of their Primarch and the need to fight the imperium rather than preying upon the weak inconsequential civilian targets that the legion had become fixiated with. The vast majority of his aspiring champions and sorcerers agreed and renounced their allegiance to Acerbus and swore it to Sahaal and Raziel instead. Those few that didn’t were quickly killed by their brothers hands. With his small warband Raziel fled Equixus before the remaining Night lords became aware of his actions.

Raziel knew Acerbus would come after him and so he ordered his men to sabotage the engines of the Night Lord’s fleet before leaving. Even with this act though Raziel knew he wasn’t safe from Acerbus and realised the need to get as far away from the Night Lords lair in the Eye of Terror. He also knew that if the legion were to free itself of the taint of chaos proximity to the warp would make this impossible.

Therefore Raziel ordered his fleet to set a course eastward. As the legion ventured towards the eastern fringes they came across rumours from captured traders that the Rim world planet Typhon in the Zadoc subsector, Aleph Sector had once been occupied by a Night Lord warband. Hoping to add what remained of the Night Lords to his command, Raziel landed on Typhon and decided that the planet was sufficiently placed to establish a base for the empire he envisaged to create.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Tyndareous: Chaos defeat “alliance”

The Imperial authorities were alarmed by the sudden re-appearance of the Night Lords, and attempted to keep the information secret, denying Bothorion any immediate aid. Their plan to cover up the Chaos incursion however was about to come unstuck.

Zadoc had always had trouble with the small outpost of Tyndareous, not least because they had, at some point, expressed interest in joining the UFP. An Imperial Battlecruiser in orbit over the capital, Slade and a swift change of ruler had silenced such heretical thoughts, but once the Imperial presence had been removed the Tyndarians were once again back to their old ways. They even began trading with the Tau. Unwilling to crusade against a reasonably profitable minor outpost of half a million, high command on Zadoc turned an exasperated blind eye.T

Then on 0706.008M42 an unwelcome communication arrived from the troublesome colony. According to the governor, Chaos forces had landed on the planet and were ransacking outlying manufacturing facilities, and loading their precious cargo onto their own ships.

This incursion, coupled with the recent sighting, was too much for the Imperium to ignore. Fortunately the Illustrious was not the only Imperial capital ship in the shadow worlds. Immediately, Redoubtable was dispatched, with a regiment of Librian Grenadiers, to the beleaguered planet.

Tyndareous however had not expected the Imperium to react so quickly, and had also appealed to their erstwhile allies the Tau. Just like the Imperium, the Tau were appalled at the Chaos forces sullying a promising ally, and sent a small task force to aid their friends. Elan Ro, the naive veteran of Melberg, was put in command.

Both forces arrived in the system at the same time, and only some level-headedness on the part of Captain Wilks on the Redoubtable prevented a terrible firefight.
Risking the wrath of the Commisariat the leaders of the Imperial task force agreed to meet with the Tau and agree terms of “co-operation”. Realising the greater threat lay with the Chaos forces on the planet a peace accord was agreed for the time being.

Elan Ro and his counterpart, Colonel Spiggot, deployed their forces around the capital before moving in force towards the area where the Chaos forces were last sighted. Upon arriving at the location intelligence reported Night Lords as well as units identified as belonging to the Death Guard. It was worse than the Imperial commanders had feared.

Elan Ro and Colonel Spiggot immediately threw themselves at the traitor legions with venom, but the Tau were over confident and overly aggressive. Unused to the robustness of Chaos Marines, Elan Ro’s fire warriors met an unfortunate end when they were assaulted by the Night Lords. The Dread Legion meanwhile counter attacked, sending their troops into battle carried in Rhinos and a Land Raider.

Their assault slammed into the Imperial lines, which barely held. In the end it was Spiggot’s tanks who prevented a massacre, cutting down the Marine forces when they left the shelter of the manufactorium.

The Tau too learned fast, using their skimmers to hem the Chaos forces in, and where the Dread Legion had attacked, though the fighting was bloody and violent, the Chaos Marines took heavy casualties, and they could not maintain their momentum. After a day of heavy fighting the Chaos forces had been forced back into the Manufactory complex, but as this had been a Tau/Imperial attack, the assault had been a failure. After another day and night with the Tau and Imperial forces looking on the traitor Marines suddenly left, their mysterious motives apparently fulfilled. Now all that had to be resolved was the Tau and Imperial presence on Tyndareous. Something would have to be done...

Bothorion: Night Lords raid

While the Tyranids were massacring the Orks they found the greenskins were not the only force on the planet. Much to the dismay of Imperial intelligence the Night Lords, thought to be destroyed after the battles for Aleph 4 some four years ago, made their presence felt in the Shadow Worlds. Neither Imperial intelligence nor the Tyranids knew why they had come to Bothorion, and the Tyranids certainly didn’t care.

While the Chaos force, small and compact, was conducting what appeared to be a search of an old abandoned human facility, the Tyranids attacked. Wave after wave of small gaunt creatures and genestealers charged towards the Chaos Marines, who had set up defensive positions in the ruins of the compound.

If the Chaos Marines were at all disturbed by the hordes of charging aliens, or the lumbering monstrous Carnifices, it wasn’t apparent. The Night Lords poured fire into the mass of aliens until they were within striking distance, then they pounced in a violent and crushing counter-assault.

Shocked by the violence of the counter-punch the Tyranids, who had lost almost all their initial assault wave, didn’t press the issue and allowed the Night Lords to complete their business. This they did before departing, their unknown mission apparently complete.

In the small Imperial settlement on the world the local authorities sent messages to the Imperial high command on Zadoc, begging them for aid. They had seen Orks and Night Lord Chaos Marines land on their planet without Imperial response, and it was becoming clear there was a significant Tyranid infestation. The small population of Bothorion awaited the response.

Bothorion: Remaining Orks massacred

While the Orks on Danelloth were inching towards victory, Nazghat’s forces on Bothorion fared far worse as the Tyranids, the vanguard of Hive Fleet Megalodon, launched themselves at the new biomass which had landed on a world which they intended for themselves.

The Tyranids moved in during the night and assaulted the Ork base on the planet, massacring them. Very few if any were able to get off the world before their base was overrun. The remaining survivors fled into the forests and hills, trying to avoid becoming more genetic material for the Hive Fleets.

Danelloth: Nazghat takes Spaceport

While the Dark Angels were consolidating their position the Imperial Guard were trying their best to work out just how they were going to exploit the Marines’ attack. With just three thousand battle ready soldiers and only half their fighting vehicles, the Librians were far from secure. The Ork warboss took the opportunity to exploit their weakness.

Nazghat launched a fresh assault on the spaceport, this time from the south, through the Librian chief supply depot. The battle began with a swarm of Orks concentrated around the vital supply dump. The Stormtroopers guarding the dump fired at the greenskins as long as they could before falling back when assaulted by the savage aliens.

Reserve units came quickly, with Hellhound tanks and Leman Russ causing destruction in the ORk ranks, but still they came on. The Sentinels ordered to support the defence of the depot were woeful in their shooting and badly handled. A duel between four Imperial walkers and the Ork machines known as Killa-Kans went badly, with all four lost with just one Ork machine knocked out.

Ork bikers were crucial in the attack, surviving the attention of Hellhound tanks and outflanking the Imperial positions. Their reckless assault forced the Imperial Commander to concentrate on them, allowing Ork foot troops to move into the depot.

Casualties were high on both sides but the Imperial forces lost their positions and were forced to withdraw. This made the spaceport untenable and the Imperial Guard abandoned it, for the moment, moving into the densely packed terrain of the Hab district.

With the loss of the spaceport the Imperial position on Denelloth became difficult, and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart signalled that more forces would need t be sent to the world, or it would be lost to the green tide. The carrier Illustrious immediately began the journey in away from the planet to collect more troops. For now Lethbridge-Stewarts men were on their own.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Danelloth: Librians hold the spaceport

On 3005.008M42 Nazghat threw his main force against the defenders of the Danelloth spaceport. Some four and a half thousand Librian troopers faced over one hundred thousand Orks who attacked recklessly and violently.Nazghat was there in person, leading the charge.

The spaceport suffered horrendous damage with 70% of the port infrastructure destroyed in the heavy fighting. The battle was bloody, but the Librians gave ground where they could, and fought to the last man where they could not. Despite wave after wave of massed infantry attacks the Orks quickly lost much of their anti-tank equipment meaning the highly mechanised Librian forces retained enough Leman Russ battle tanks and Hellhound flame-tanks to keep the Orks from breaking through.

By nightfall the Orks’ attacks were becoming sporadic and it was clear that Nazghat's attack to take the space port had failed. Estimates put the casualties at some 15-20,000 Orks, and bodies and broken equipment littered the ruined streets of the port.

The Imperial losses were lower, but also heavy. Some 4,500 Librians had been killed or wounded in the 12th Infantry, effectively halving the regiment in one battle. They had also lost 60% of their tanks and artillery pieces but had held on. Over 80% of the Ork vehicles had been wrecked.

After the battle the Librians under Brigadier Sir Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart were relieved to get some valuable rest, as their positions were taken up by the Librian 14th regiment, which had been held largely in reserve. Meanwhile the authorities on Denelloth pleaded for more troops. Despite clinging on to their landing zone, the Orks still held much of the planet.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Danelloth: Dark Angels breakout

With the landing fields safe and the Ork push halted Captain Angelus seized the initiative and ordered Operation Cerberus, with the aim of blitzing a hole through the Ork defences. Landing at the primary air fields in their thunderhawk gunships the sight of immaculate, green armoured warriors marching with rigid martial perfection down the boarding ramps inspired awe and resentment amongst the watching Imperial Guardsmen in equal measure. When it became apparent that just 30 marines would take part in the mechanised assault the theatre commander reportedly exploded, throwing a comms device at one of his aids in a fit of fury. Nevertheless, a company of mechanised infantry were ordered ready to exploit any break through.

With perfect timing the Strike Cruiser Dark Dominion opened fire from low orbit, annihilating areas of the Orks extensive defence network and blasting greenskins out of their fox holes. Before they could recover elements of the Dark Angels 1st Company, the infamous Deathwing, teleported into the midst of the Ork lines with one aim in mind: the assassination of the Ork Warboss! In a blizzard of high explosive bolter rounds and fierce close quarter fighting they cut down the warbosses body guard and near fatally wounded the Warboss before the last heroic terminator was incapacitated.But the distraction had worked- with minimal casualties the primary mechanised assault had smashed through the defence lines, killing all the defenders with accurate bolter fire and rains of promethium warheads. The crippled warboss hardly had time to raise his weapons before he was cut down by the assault marines dropping into his position.

But the canny Nazghull had not been idle. The arrival of extensive Ork reinforcements equipped with heavy weaponry blunted the Dark Angels attack.With little long ranged support with which to reply and much open ground tocover the assault began to take significant casualties. Recognising that no further gains could be made, Captain Angelus ordered his force to consolidate their position within the mining settlement and await relief by the Librian mechanised units. The first defensive line had been broken but the assault was only a limited success. A further attack would be needed to break the Orks!