Monday, January 26, 2015

New alliance force raids Libria IV

An almighty shock came to Abrahams' HQ, now based on Libria IV, on 1201.015M42. Reports of a small but well equipped force of traitor legionaries on the last fully loyalist world in the Librian system were at first ignored or scoffed at, but soon vid pict reports clearly showed Iron Warriors vehicles and warriors stalking the upland plain region of the world. Abrahams didn’t panic however, and moved up his Librian reserve forces from the capital Porthaven, including a Baneblade super heavy tank. Fortunately for Abrahams the planet had now become the staging post for the limited reinforcements he was receiving, and an entire regiment of Prozan Cavalry made themselves available as a strategic reserve.

The Librians soon made contact with the Iron Warriors, who appeared well equipped and remarkably lacking in the marks of chaos and daemon engines so often employed by the Warmaster Stahl. These Iron Warriors almost looked like their own astartes. Nevertheless they were the enemy and hostile. Over the next few days the Librians managed to hold on long enough for the Prozan Cavalry to arrive by airborne assault. This was fortunate, as the Iron Warriors had detected and planned for the Librian offensive, and had sprung an ambush of their own. Only the highly mobile airborne elements of the Prozan guard prevented the imperial force from being annihilated. The Iron Warriors had their own problems, as bad weather to the north delayed the arrival of their own airborne reserve, allowing the imperial guard to capture key objectives and the high ground overlooking the northern plateau – and the Iron Warriors’ beachhead. The marines evacuated their small patrol on 2601.015M42, but were successful in destroying the loyalist Baneblade. More intriguing was the message they left.

The data block left by the Iron Warriors was immediately seized by the Inquisition, and Hathek himself was informed. The contents were analysed and copied for the Inquisitor Lord, who would present them to the sector governor on his arrival at Vastrid. The contents were sensational and blasphemous.

The Iron Warriors introduced themselves as loyal to their Warsmith, named Apollo, and that they had been trapped in a warpstorm following their escape from those of their brethren who had turned on the Emperor along with the traitor Horus. For them, only a few years had passed in the maelstrom of the warp, while in real space, ten thousand years had elapsed. Just like Admiral Haskell, the refugees had disappeared from history, only to find a very different Imperium on their return.

Apollo and his Iron Warriors had found the Imperial Creed unpalatable, the worship of the Emperor being that which turned Lorgar and his Word Bearers away from the Imperial truth. Unable to find a place in the Imperium, the renegades had skirmished with the forces of chaos in the Perseus Deeps, before finding respite on Myrentas II. It was there they met the Federacy, and learnt of Admiral Haskell. After much negotiation Apollo decided his force would fight for the only human empire who still retained the old ways and the Imperial Truth. Although they were less than happy at the Federacy’s alliance with the tau and eldar, they understood and accepted the reasons behind the decision. Now part of the Iron Warriors’ force had come to Libria in order that their small force might aid the liberation of over a billion souls.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Alliance removed from Libria V

Following the failed attempt to capture the capital of Libria V, the crusade forces changed take. They realised the best way to take the capital would be to threaten the loyalist forces on two fronts, but to do that the alliance forces, a mixture of tau and rebel Librian units, would have to be annihilated. For now Crusade intelligence indicated the eldar had reduced their involvement following their defeat in the Perseus Deeps, and it was time to strike a decisive blow.

The Sisters of Battle, now backed up somewhat dubiously by three regiments of Vannaheim Guard, were at the speartip of the operation which saw Crusade forces move down from North Springley to the capital of the Alliance in Jutesburg. The Adeptus Mechanicus provided a Titan for the operation, a warhound, which would prove to be the undoing of the tau defence of the city. Meanwhile the Sky Lords & Charcaradons performed spoiling attacks against the rebel forces in the Acronia Valley, hampering the ability of the Crusade to react to the Adeptus Sororitas offensive.

The assault itself lasted just over a week. The first decisive clash took place at Jutesberg, where Librian rebels and the tau attempted depserately to prevent the Crusade army from breaking through to the Daralon Valley. The main engagement took place along a narrow valley, and the Sisters of Battle quickly took key objectives despite suffering heavy casualties. The crusade forces then weathered a spirited counter attack led by Librian and tau forces, but mistrust between the rebels and the tau critically delayed the deployment of the Librian reserves, and by the time the alliance reserve had been committed, the Sisters of Battle had dug in and had ordered in their own reserves. Jutesberg fell on 0301.015M42, cutting off the remaining alliance forces on Libria V from their only functioning spaceport.

The Alliance immediately made plans to counter-attack from the west. In the Daralon Valley Skyfall could still count on a large hunter cadre, and several rebel regiments were available for the operation. However, as the combined force closed in on Jutesberg the mighty Warhound Felis Rex tore into the alliance troops with its two double barrelled turbo lasers. The crusade preferentially targetted the tau, reducing the alliance's firepower and leaving the imperial force exposed. Even so the battle was tight and for three days the two sides hotly contested the suburbs of the city. Gradually the alliance was forced to commit more and more troops, and a daring raid behind the warhound by elite crisis teams was carried out, although it failed to fell the mighty war engine.

The crusade were losing troops aswell, but the Warhound was able to plug the gaps in the line and the Adeptus Sororitas proved to be a stubborn foe. By 1101.015M42 the alliance commanders realised they could not retake Jutesberg without external help, without abandoning their positions against the loyalists. Their situation was hopeless, and between 1101.015M42 and 2001.015M42 the tau made a well executed withdrawal from the planets via the mountains of Timberhill. The arriving Mantas were defended by Barracudas and Federal navy fighters, but neither the loyalists nor the crusade attempted to interdict the evacuation. Some rebel forces were also extracted, but the majority now faced the wrath of the crusade as they swept in from the Acronia Valley, taking Daralon and joining up with the Sororitas at Jutesberg.

The alliance had been removed from Libria V but remained in system. However the tau had sustained serious losses in the failed campaign on the world, and the eldar were in no state to carry the fight to the imperium. Inquisitor Vorushko now had the upper hand in the Librian war.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Veers raid on Mordecai goes badly wrong

As 015M42 began the optimism in the imperial camp in the Perseus Deeps was almost palpable. The chaos invasion of Bastien had been repulsed, Aethor had been saved from the eldar and the necrons had once again apparently gone into slumber. This optimisim, backed up by reinforcements from Vannaheim, Novgorod and the Adeptus Sororitas order of the crimson veil, spurred General Veers into immediate action. Securing a sizeable battlefleet from the imperial navy Veers hastilly planned the operation to continue the fight against chaos.

On 1001.014M42 a sizeable force arrived at the Mordecai system. Veers planned once again to secure a bridgehead on the outermost planet of Mordecai, as a staging post for a later invasion of the rest of the system. He'd tried before in early 013M42, until the necron threat forced the imperium to abandon the venture. Now seemed the perfect time to restart the campaign. With the supression of Mordecai, Kendrenec would be vulnerable, allowing the imperium to clear the Perseus Deeps entirely of chaos.

The initial appearance of the imperial fleet was not met by Tragaen, Thok or the Word Bearers. The chaos forces were either taken by surprise or were content to allow the imperial force to land their forces. This Veers did on 12.015M42, unloading several imperial guard regiments and the Sisters of battle onto the agri world of Mordecai Tersius.

Initially the landings were unopposed, but soon the advancing imperial regiments encountered chaos forces, including the Iron Warriors astartes. The presence of marines worried Veers as this indicated the forces of chaos had been expecting their arrival. Initial skirmishes had seen the Iron Warriors driven off or destroyed, but on 1401.015M42 a massive chaos counter attack was thrust against the imperial bridgehead.

The ferocity of the chaos counter offensive was only matched by the sheer size of the chaos forces involved. The Iron Warriors turned out in strength, supported by vast numbers of traitor guardsmen, confirming the imperial suspicion that the invasion of Mordecai tersius had been known about in advance. Even the combined force of the Adeptus Sororitas and five regiments of imperial guard could not hold the bridgehead perimeter. After less than a day the bridgehead was being evacuated and the imperial fleet withdrawing into deep space while Veers considered his next step.