Saturday, December 29, 2018
While the major powers continued to build up their forces on Hexis, Vlokarion took the opportunity to trial his new webway "grid" in the Hadron Expanse. Utilising the new secret bases, the Crimson Blade kabal executed a lightning raid on an imperial supply convoy while it was on a stop-over at Dnatha. The dark eldar targeted one ship, identifying the small transport as hosting key imperial personell including a commissar and two generals of senior rank. Intended to form part of Konev's command staff all three were captured after Vlokarion's troops stormed the imperial vessel and massacred those inside. The Druchari were then able to escape with their prisoners before the distress message even reached neighbouring vessels.
The loss of Konev's command staff effectively ruined the Imperial planned offensive, as the information could now no longer be considered safe. In addition, the Imperium required a new general staff to be sent to Hexis, and the ability of the dark eldar to strike the middle of a convoy apparently at will made many in the imperium nervous about their supply lines.
While the forces of chaos made gains on the ground around the city of Praxis, the central areas were still held by the Imperium. Despite being besieged, the Imperial forces were still regularly supplied from the air, and from teleportation drops after astartes forces had deployed teleport homers within the imperial perimeter. Although the imperium could not deliver heavy equipment to the enclave, the defenders had no need of it anyway, the rubble and ruins making large scale use of tanks and titans impractical.
The Sky Lords had replaced the Carcharadons as the astartes "on watch" in Praxis, using Thunderhawks to deliver small squads of Space Marine forces to the city centre. Among the almost hive like structures the Sky Lords now stood amongst guard and fanatical zealots, prepared to defend the Device chamber to the last. The Iron Warriors however were beginning to make moves on the centre of Praxis. Gradually their infiltrations became more aggressive and the Sky Lords were sent to track down the traitors. This they did and on 2912.018M42 a bitter firefight between the loyalist astartes and their fallen brethren erupted in the centre of the ruined city. The Sky Lords came off worse in the engagement, but were able to capture an Iron Warrior marine. The loyalists too had a marine captured, but it was the Iron Warrior marine who let slip (under severe duress) that Stahl planned a major infiltration against the location of the device room. The axis of advance was immediately bombarded from Imperial lines, informing the Iron Warriors that they had lost all element of surprise. The advance on the device room was cancelled.
Further west, the Sky Lords attempted to track down an element of the tau force which had been plaguing the imperial forces on the Haknur Plateau. The area was contested, but any move by the Imperium to assault Akrash pass was always intercepted and driven back by unseen enemies, with missiles and railgun fire streaking out of the desert dust seemingly from nowhere. Realising that Stealth Suits must be active in the region, General Konev directed tha Sky Lords to send in a "kill team", to hunt down and kill the covert units the alliance were using to spy on them. The Sky Lords did this, but found the Stealth Suits of "Shadowstrike" extremely difficult to locate, hit and then actually kill. Even when engaged in close combat the stealth suits would simply use their jet packs to disengage. The astartes Kill Teams were withdrawn, allowing the Alliance to gain the upper hand in the Haknur Plateau region.
As 018M42 drew to a close, the siege of Destino 1 continued. Inquisitor Hathek had been unable to convince Sector fleet commander Bova Magnus to send a significant naval force to Destino. Magnus was unwilling to risk a fleet engagement with the Mallem Cybixxum with the imperial forces already stretched across the sector. It was the safe option, but since the loss of Admiral Jellicoe at Glaurung many felt the imperial fleet had lost its bottle.
The Imperial defenders at Destino, now convinced the Archmagos was a heretic, were not willing to give up their fortified base on the innermost planet. If Cybixx wanted the system, he would need to pay the price, or destroy the world. However the Novgorod commander soon found out that the Grey Knights were still fighting for Cybixx, when they launched their own assault on 2812.018M42.
Inquisitor Rex knew full well of Cybixx’s heresy, but for now the defeat of the imperium at Destino suited his aims. If Cybixx claimed the system he would control the Foramen Minoris. This he would then fail to destroy as per his orders from Lord Inquisitor Vorushko, revealing himself as a traitor to all. Hathek and Vorushko would be in agreement with the Grey Knights, and finally the inquisition war would come to an end, and Luthor and Magnus would not deny three inquisitors the means to destroy the Archmagos’ pocket empire.
So the astartes of the Ordo Malleus launches their assault on the primary defence shield generator. Here they found the defenders almost fanatical in their zeal, as Novgorod infantry and imperial cultists threw themselves at the Grey Knights. It was with some regret that the Space Marines were savagely mown down by superior firepower, but there was no way to explain to them the greater plan. Their sacrifice was necessary to defeat Cybixx.
The brutal battle became a blood bath, as the Novgorod exacted a high price for the defence shield positions. However, after several hours of protracted fighting the massacre of the imperial guard was complete, and the Grey Knights destroyed the defensive installation before withdrawing. Rex continued to keep faith with his plan, although some of his lieutenants now questioned the continuing ruse.
Since their arrival at Hexis the Tau had slowly been building up their forces. Swiftstar's fleet had delivered several Hunter Cadres and the Tau forces by the end of 018M42 were as large as the Federal forces had been prior to their disengagement. With more Tau forces on their way to the system, and with the Imperium also sending a naval task force to Lysis, the forces of chaos felt they needed to act quickly to gain an advantage, as their own supply lines were in no way capabile of matching those of the Alliance or Imperium, at least not yet.
The Iron Warriors, still in command at Hexis since the arrival of Stahl, launched their own assault against the newer tau forces in the north of Praxis, finding the going difficult at first in the more open ruins in the north of the sector. The weather was cold and a frost had hardened the ground, and the battle largely took place amongst the ruins of an earlier battle, the crashed remnants of a Thunderhawk gunship reminding both sides that Hexis was a three way war.
The forces of Chaos under Lycurgus Stahl did not want to contend with the Alliance as a serious threat in the system once more, not least because of the rumours of Roboute Guilliman dispatching elements of the Indomnitus Crusade from Ultramar to heavily reinforce overstretched Imperial forces and guarantee a stable warp route for the Imperium.
The key engagement took place as the Tau attempted to resupply their by now beseiged forces by air. The xenos had air superiority, but the Iron Warriors' ground forces encircled the Tau and as the airdrop was delivered, tightened the noose.
Lord Bezhok, Nicator and Eznath were dispatched to ensure the supplies did not reach their intended destination. From the outset the Iron Warriors were at a disadvantage, the supplies were being dropped in from high orbit by the Air Caste with the Tau being far more suited for the task of retrieval. Bezhok, decided to approach the problem with brute force, bringing his best trained Thorakitai and Daemonic War-engines refitted by Warpsmith Tkalčec.
The Tau, reacted immediately to the threat of the Iron Warriors, catching them off guard. The Tau Ghost Keel outflanked the Iron Warrior line while the Tau forces collectively took aim. Marker lights made a mockery of the hasty defences and foxholes that the Traitor force made, targetting the armour of the Iron Warriors as plasma, Pulse and Ion charges pulsed across the battlefield. When the dust cleared the resilient Defiler was only wounded and like quicksilver those wounds closed. The wind was with the Iron Warriors as the supplies began to drift away from the Tau, the Thorakitai took aim and obliterated the pathfinder forward positions, the squad disappearing in a deafening hail of autogun fire. Both Nicator and Eznath, along with the Defiler, intercepted the Ghost Keel, psychic scrapcode shorting out the shield drones and personal defence field as the Defiler charged, the Ghost Keel darted away and just survived. The damaged jets worked best they could to escape the Defiler, not enough though just enough to dodge the worst of the Defilers Battlecannon and Autocannon fire. Finally having enough of the Defiler failing in its “one job”, Nicator drew his Bolt pistol and put a round through the cockpit of the Ghost Keel blowing the pilots head clean off.
In the main battle line, the Tau were forced back and boxed in against the ferocious charge of the Iron Warriors, the relentless autogun fire pushing back lighter units while the threat of the rampaging Maulerfiend threatened the more heavily armoured battle suits. Things went from bad to worse as Obliterator reinforcements tore into reality, and decimated the Crisis Team, worse was to come, as the Maulerfiend managed to catch the enemy commander off guard, pinning the Shas 'O with its claws and ripping him to pieces. For the remaining Tau, they knew they had not hope at recovering the supplies and so, rather than waste further lives, the remaining forces retreated, leaving Northern Praxis and the supplies to the Iron Warriors.
Unable to prevent the chaos forces from intercepting the drop, the Tau had no alternative but to abandon their positions in Valkaim. Now the alliance had no territory inside the city proper, and the imperium found themselves cut off by chaos forces, who were gradually encircling the city centre.
Further south the major push was conducted by the Emerald Serpent, fielding an all Tzeentch worshipping force dominated by daemon princes, Thousand Sons and a shard of Magnus. Magnus did not last long however, the tau of commander Skyfall picking off the daemon primarch with sustained and frightening amounts of concentrated firepower. The tau had their own problems however, as necron forces had been found apparently wandering aimlessly in the region, their systems not fully functional in terms of command and control. Nevertheless the "defenders" of Praxis were an awkward problem which both sides needed to deal with, the necrons even delaying the Emerald Serpent advance for some hours.
The chaos advance appeared to have stalled, but gradually despite the overwhelming firepower advantage enjyoyed by the tau, the city ruins gave the marine forces much needed protection from the worst of the tau weaponry, and their daemon princes force the tau to retreat ever further. Some tau were even forced into close combat situations, and by 0101.019M42 the tau were withdrawing across southern Praxis. Once again the original federal base was taken by chaos, and the southern gate of Hakhor was secured by the traitors. The chaos forces were advancing strongly and now controlled more almost half the important objectives on Hexis, but they still remained without the device chamber, or the means to activate it.
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
The forces of Chaos and the “Pact”
The forces of chaos can be broadly grouped into three. Stahl and his Iron Warriors, the Emerald Serpent, and smaller factions, broadly allied in common cause. This I shall term the chaos pact. Whether such a pact exists in actuality is not known, but recently the traitorous forces have been acting as a coherent force. In addition to their own forces, some orks have been seen acting with chaos, although the alliance is believed to be one of convenience.
Although powerful locally, such as at the Tarlius system and indeed at Hexis, the forces of chaos currently lack sufficient strategic supply lines and fleet presence across the sector, and the diversionary invasion of Mordecai has resulted in chaos fleets effectively being pinned down near their bases. However, Boltarean is a stronghold of chaos forces in the Hadron Expanse, and the risk remains that the heretics will use this as a springboard for attacks that would erode imperial strategic strength across the sector. Obviously a new Foramen linking the Expanse to the Enceladus subsector would be catastrophic for the imperium.
++REF: /STAHL//EMERALD SERPENT//DEATH GUARD//ORKS
It is with great disappointment that I must confirm that Archmagos Licussian Cybixx is a traitor to the imperium. Investigations have demonstrated the use of Xenos knowledge and technology in his latest battlestation, and he has defied the order for peace you gave to him in person. Whatever his motives, they are his own, and I believe he has no intention to honour the agreement to destroy the Foramen Minoris at Vandrax. Instead, I have good reason to think he means to control it. For what end is yet unclear.
I have reliable reports that the Archmagos is seeking an alliance with the eldar and drukhari, as neither have acted against him at Destino. The Grey Knights continue to act in Cybixx’s interests, although I am not sure whether or not lord inquisitor Hector Rex is aware of the Archmagos’ heresy. Meanwhile the fool Hathek continues to “manage” the imperial campaign in the Foramen and Perseus Deeps. We can only hope he holds on to Destino Prime.
Although Hathek opposes the traitor, he will also not carry out the destruction of the Foramen a Minoris, unless he is forced. Perhaps for now we should “await events” in the Foramen without giving aid to either side. Should the Foramen fall to Cybixx, this would be a severe threat to the Imperium, and sanctioning exterminatus would at such a time be a viable strategy. We must however distance ourself from Cybixx, before Hathek claims your lordship was aware of the Mechanicum heresy, and decides to renew his pointless vendetta against you.
The alliance of the Federacy, Tau Empire and Aeldari forces remains a credible threat across the sector, although in general they are only a minor nuisance in the Foramen. However at Hexis and the Hadron Expanse they have established a significant foothold around the Echo Cluster. Imperial forces have succeeded in driving them back at Dnatha, but further assaults have been prevented by the urgent situation at Hexis.
The Federacy proved relatively simple to “dissuade” at Hexis, and the secessionists have fled the system. However now significant tau and eldar forces have arrived, which threaten to overrun East Praxis and secure the necron device for themselves. Should they succeed, a new Foramen directly to the tau empire would see imperial forces hard pressed in the Hadron Expanse, with the awful potential of catastrophic losses all the way to the Perseus Deeps. This must be stopped at all costs.
Tyranid and necron activity has been noted in the Hadron Expanse, but the threat from hive fleet Nemesis seems to have receded at least for the time being, and it appears the ancient necron dynasties are not the danger we feared. Millions of necrons exist across the sector, but their forces appear neither fully active nor unified in their purpose. The Charnovokh and Harakhty dynasties are practically quiescent, while the Ha'tek and Bahotek dynasties local to the Expanse are almost all still in their alien hibernation state. Vigilance is required, but for now these other races are not the main issue at hand.
Finally, word has reached me that a Blackstone fortress has been discovered by the alliance near the rifts of Hecate. This situation should be monitored, as the power of such an artefact on the wrong hands would be disastrous. May we pray to Him that the giant xenos construct remains forever dormant.
I shall keep my recommendations as your servant appropriately brief, as I am sure your wisdom is better applied to the facts than mine, however I believe we must:
- Ensure Hexis is secured for the Imperium and the device activated as soon as possible in our favour.
- Maintain the supply lines through the Zadoc subsector and Perseus Deeps.
- Avoid direct confrontation with Cybixx unless Hathek loses Destino
- Avoid further expansion until the issue at Hexis is resolved.
Hathek of course remains powerful, and will no doubt have the ear of Titus Luthor and Bova Magnus. I also recommend that you send an advisor to Vastrid, in order to prevent the old inquisitor from making and more ill judged decisions.
Monday, December 24, 2018
++TELEPATHIC DUCT: Nyan Erebia
+++++++++AUTHOR: Agent Parnevus
+++++++++SUBJECT: Aleph Sector
+++++++++THOUGHT: Ruthlessness is the kindness of the wise
My Lord Vorushko,
As requested here is a summary of the most pressing concerns in the Aleph Sector as we approach 019M42.
Aleph Sector: strategic situation
Imperial dispositions in the sector are strong, though tenuous. The Vastrid and Valitane subsectors appear to be secure, and the Imperium continues to make gains in the Hadron Expanse, bringing more worlds of the Imperium Nihilis back to the emperors light. The Perseus Deeps remains embattled, but supply lines from the imperial hub through the Foramen Majorie continue to serve as a vital lifeline.
The Zadoc subsector is all but lost, save for the facility at Caitlen station and two systems in the Mabb Nebula. Supply lines require great use of the imperial fleet, as there is no safe fully controlled passage through the Deeps to the Expanse. The key system of Paradorn remains the lynchpin of imperial control of the wider sector.
>>ATTACHED SECTOR DATA DOWNLOAD<<
Strategically the imperium appears strong, but the fleets are spread thinly and the warriors of mankind are engaged on several fronts. Worse, there are traitors in our midst. In the next sections I shall deliver an abridged summary of the key artefacts, theatres of war and the main threats to human dominion of the sector.
Aleph Sector: Artefacts of power
There are several artefacts of great power already known within the Aleph Sector, and some that are unknown except to a select few.
First and most importantly are the necron devices. As you already know, these devices are capable of a measure of control over the warp. There are five of these devices, all created by the Bahotek and Harakhty dynasties when the galaxy was young. Part of an experiment to reduce the necron's need for the webway, the devices are cylindrical jet black constructions on which can be seen faint veins of irridescant green. The surface of each monolith, which is approximately the size of a small shuttle, is impossibly smooth and perfectly cylindrical, manufactured to a level of precision unheard of to the imperium of man. It's surface is also harder than all known materials and attempting to destroy the device results in the necron artefact simply disappearing only to reappear somewhere else. Once activated however, the devices can be controlled to emit jets of energy into the warp, pushing it away from realspace in a corridor, causing the Foramen across the Cicatrix Maledictum.
One such device exists at Corticant under the constant vigilance of the astartes and adeptus mechanicus, holding open the Foramen Majoris and Foramen Minoris. These are the primary openings allowing the Imperium to continue to communicate with their worlds in the Perseus Deeps and nearby Imperium Nihilis, opened thanks to your foresight and will.
A second device is active at Einmyrria, switched on by the tau after the eldar of Kel Sandros located the key and the means to activate it. Eldar, being psychic, cannot approach the device itself, as any psyker coming within twenty feet is instantly killed and their soul sucked into the device. This is the reason for the device's other name - the "soul hole".
The third device or original "soul hole" is partially active and under the control of Warsmith Stahl. Discovered by the chaos daemon prince "Moonface" the device was used to transport troops across the galaxy after being figured out by Moonface's patron god [REDACTED]. Stahl now controls this device and uses it to avoid always needing a fleet, although even the mechanicum under the Iron Warrior's leader have no real idea how it works.
The fourth device is currently in our possession and in stasis. The fifth and final device is on Hexis in the Lysis system. The activation of the fifth device is certainly possible, although currently we are not in possession of a necron key. The Mechanicum have thus far been unable to find an alternate method of activating the xenos technology.
Once activated, the powerful artefact will create a channel of calm in the empyrean, undoing the Cicatrix and forming a stable passage across the great rift. However, the direction and form of the channel can be directed by whoever activated the device, leading to three possible outcomes, assuming the device was activated in situ.
The resulting channel will exit on the other side of the rift in three possible stable configurations. The first will link the Lysis system directly to the warp lane to Ultramar, bypassing the Tau empire altogether. The second will provide a direct link to the Hadron Expanse from the Tau empire, while the third will connect the new worlds of the Expanse to the chaos held Enceladus subsector. It does not need my commentary to explain the importance of delivering the right result on Hexis.
We have also learned of the “shards of chaos” thanks to your agents’ investigations. These artefacts of great power are each aligned to one of the heinous powers, and together they represent an awesome power to control - or be controlled by - the dark gods. However we are also alarmed to learn that it appears the chaos faction of the “Emerald Serpent” are seeking out these artefacts. Destruction of these shards is of paramount importance, regardless of collateral cost.
Aleph Sector: Key theatres of war
The key theatres of war in the Aleph Sector remain centred around control of the limited stable passageways through the Cicatrix Maledictum. The primary area of co cern is the Foramen Interdictum, comprising of the majoris and Minoris lanes. The Minoris is currently under the control of Archmagos Cybixx, but do not rejoice. I fear his intentions are to betray you once his forces have taken Destino.
Meanwhile the system of Tarlius remains under Stahl’s control. Chaos are in command of one end of the Foramen Majoris, although the imperium maintain command of the Paradorn end, and the initial landings at Mordecai have taken some of the pressure off the imperium. Convoys remain viable, for now, but the threat of chaos interception remains, and at some point Stahl’s domain will need dealing with.
>>ATTACHED REGION DATA DOWNLOAD /FORAMEN/<<
The Hadron Expanse has become a viable concern since the calming of the Hadron rift. So far despite the intentions of the so called Alliance and the traitorous forces, the imperium has established a solid presence in the Expanse, not only taking the systems of Arawath and Hussaria, but defending Palantir and taking Dnatha from the alliance.
Forces must be kept on alert in the Expanse. We have made a good start at expanding the imperium, but threats remain on all sides. I propose a call for a crusade to keep the onward momentum. In addition, intercepted messages from the heretics in the Federacy suggest another Blackstone Fortress May have been located.
>>ATTACHED REGION DATA DOWNLOAD /HADRON EXPANSE/<<
The key battle zone in the Hadron Expanse remains the Lysis system and the planet of Hexis where the fifth device is in situ. The imperium have control of much of the planet, but the ruins remain contested by a strong chaos force and a resurgent alliance.
>>ATTACHED PLANETARY DATA DOWNLOAD /HEXIS/<<
In the second part of my report, I will return to the key threats and the motivations of our enemies.
Full Global Modifiers:
General modifier rules:
You can push modifiers in your favour in a number of ways.
For 1000-2000 point games:
Winning a game clears a negative modifier OR puts a +1 in the column against your opponent (up to a maximum of +3).
You can just conduct a non territory taking raid and double the modifier effects. So if you win you remove 2 negative modifiers from your own faction.
Secondly every time you destroy in game any of the following, you inflict a -1 modifier on your opponent (maximum -3 per game of any size)
- You kill the enemy's warlord
- You kill a named character
- You destroy a Lord of War that is greater than 25% of the points or power value
There is no lower limit on how low modifiers can go.
Space: Winning a gothic game at 1500 gives +2 to you in space, -2 on your enemy.
Saturday, December 22, 2018
The Archon known as Vlokarion, leader of the Crimson Blade kabal, has become extremely powerful and influential in Commoragh following his plundering of the near Hadron Expanse. The dark eldar had attacked wherever necron artefacts were discovered, and had stolen every valuable piece of the alien archeotech. This had prevented the arcane technology from falling into the hands of the lesser races, and Vlokarion had been richly rewarded for his efforts. New areas of the web way had been rediscovered collocated with the Expanse, and the Crimson Blade had made sure of their influence and declared the Hadron Expanse their own private hunting grounds, establishing three webway fortresses from which to launch raids.
Vlokarion was not satisfied with this however, and wanted the entire Aleph Sector for his own. To further this aim his agents met in secret with those of Cybixx. The drukhari considered the Mechanicum almost comical, but their logic was unquestionable. Cybixx wanted the Foramen Minoris but was unable to claim it on his own. Vlokarion wanted more influence and bases to launch his plundering raids. The two leaders had convergent aims, at least for now.
A secret deal was struck, but all it meant in reality was that Vlokarion would take advantage of Cybixx’s actions. The first of these came as the Mechanicum forces launched their failed invasion of Destino. While the loyalists were engaged defending their perimeter, Vlokarion’s forces suddenly appeared, launching a brutal assault on the Lycannon guard, defending the inner Tersius installation. The raid was a success, and the dark eldar razed the Tersius base to the ground, taking valuable prisoners and equipment back to Commoragh. The failure of Cybixx to complete his side of the bargain was unfortunate, but it was up to the Archmagos to secure the system, and then allow Vlokarion his base, should Cybixx wish to remain immune from his attacks.
The arrival of the Grey Knights in aid of Cybixx’s cause had significantly strengthened the Arch Magos’ plans to finally invade Destino 1, the last bastion of “loyalist” resistance in the system. If he took this world, then his control over Destino and the Foramen Minoris world be complete. Telling the Grey Knights that this was all in Vorushko’s plan, Cybixx had managed to keep the Ordo Malleus onside for now, but Hector Rex had started to have serious misgivings about the Mechanicum and had already begun his own investigations. For now though, the astartes did not intervene in the invasion of Destino 1, on either side.
Cybixx targeted two sites for the invasion, once again managing to acquire the support of guard regiments from the Last of Sycorax, as not all the formations had been taken back under the control of the loyalists. This would lead to the tarnishing of the Last of Sycorax, who would always be seen as untrustworthy from this point on.
Cybixx’s main assault was directed at the Primus base, defended by the Novgorod Guard. The invasion however went badly, and the Novgorod threw back the attacking Mechanicum forces, leading to a change of axis of attack by Cybixx. Now the Magos Dominus wheeled his forces around the barren western flank of imperial settlement, this time leading an assault on the secundus installation, while he threw his Sycorax forces at the Primus base, pinning down the Novgorod and preventing them from intervening in his second assault.
The Sycorax units, despite fielding their customary super heavy tanks, were brutally dealt with by the Novgorod, who annihilated their opposing guard regiments. They were however unable to reinforce the position at Secundus, which now bore the brunt of Cybixx’s assault.
Inquisitor Hathek, still directing events at Destino, had expected such a move however, and had secretly landed three regiments of crack Lycannon guard regiments on the world, intending to defend Destino 1 from a he machinations of the Archmagos, who he now rightly considered a traitor to the imperium. The Lycannon were deployed around the Secundus settlement and immediately counter attacked Cybixx’s armies, catching them in the open and unprepared for such strong resistance. Despite putting up a valiant fight, the Mechanicum forces were unable to penetrate the imperial defence perimeter, and by the third day of the invasion the loyalist defences still held, while Cybixx’s forces had already suffered a casualty rate nearing 40%. Irritated by the clear failure of the invasion, Cybixx’s logic dictated a withdrawal while he came up with another way of dealing with this “last bastion”. He now knew he lacked the ground resources needed to take the world, despite the overwhelming power he enjoyed thanks to the Mallem Cybbixxum.
The arrival of new tau forces on Hexis had not gone unnoticed by the imperium, but attempts to locate and eradicate them initially proved difficult. The new xenos units seemed difficult to pin down and general Konev had very little information on them. Then on 1912.018M42 sporadic firefights developed in northern Praxis indicating the presence of new forces infiltrating the imperial positions.
Realising the danger of being cut off in the centre of the ruined city, Konev requested help from the astartes. The mission - to find the tau and eliminate their leaders, specifically the tau commander. Konev hoped that a surgical strike against the new tau would disrupt their operations and secure the imperial hold on Praxis centre.
The Sky Lords selected their elite forces for the raid, their scouts having located the tau leader and his bodyguard in the ruinous Valkaim quarter of Praxis. Their terminators homed in on the tau commander, devastating the xenos bodyguard. The tau commander himself was assaulted by the Sky Lords’ scouts, but his armour held against the astartes attacks. Surrounded by astartes forces, the leader of the tau seemed doomed, but suddenly the xenos warrior ignited powerful jet engines and rose swiftly into the sky.
The Sky Lords could only watch as the tau commander fled the scene, although their accompanying stormhawk interceptor was able to follow the fleeing tau as he swept over the ruined landscape, but soon tau forces began to converge on his position, shooting down the astartes flyer and rescuing their leader. The main astartes force now began to come under sustained attack from isolated tau units. But as the tau converged, it was the space marines that became separated, as their heavily armoured troops while durable, could not match the tau for speed and manoeuvrability. Unable to complete their mission, the Sky Lords conducted a fighting retreat back to the outskirts of Praxis, losing several terminators in the process. The imperial forces in Praxis city were now surrounded by enemy forces for the first time.
How the Tau had deployed their forces onto Hexis undetected was a mystery, perhaps deployed from orbiting stealth ships or even guided through the Eldar webway. In either case the first the Imperium and Chaos command knew of the newcomers arrival was when their forward most detachments found their paths crossed by cadres of Tau troops. As the Imperium's Sky Lords battled in the north of Praxis the Death Guard allied to Stahl's cause confronted a formation of fire warriors and stealth troops that barred their progress.
Contemptuous of the weakling xenos the Death Guard terminators plodded forward into a storm of pulse fire and superheated fusion blasts. Most of the damage they simply shrugged off but over time their losses slowly mounted even as the their elusive foes proved frustratingly hard to pin down and eliminate.
Despite the mounting losses they were inflicting the Tau knew they were no match for the Death Guard in close quarters and wisely maintained their distance. Keeping the unstoppable terminators at arms length might have been the sensible strategy but it surrendered the field to the forces of chaos who achieved their objectives one after the other, ignoring the cost in dead.
Even the infamous resilience of the Death Guard has its limits. Eventually their losses built to the point they could no longer form a viable battle line and Tau battlesuits began to penetrate the perimeter. As the trickle became a flood the Death Guard found their situation reversed, pinned down amidst ruins as the Tau flooded through the city and pounded their positions with unrelenting fire power.
The Death Guard would not be shifted and the conflict finally ended in a drawn out stalemate with neither side able to make progress. Both sides withdrew to prepared positions and consolidated their own backlines in preparation for future bouts. Meanwhile the Tau fleet made orbit and began the bulk transfer of larger formations and heavy equipment to the surface of Hexis.
Thursday, December 13, 2018
The Grey Knights attacked the imperial held installations on Destino IV, swiftly overpowering the imperial guard garrison. The guard themselves called for aid, and the ultramarines responded, surprised but not entirely shocked by the invasion by the inquisition astartes. The loyalist space marines briefly made their objections to the astartes, but before they got a response the Grey Knights attacked. In a vicious engagement on the barren planet, the perilous nature of the warp in the Foramen claimed several Ordo malleus lives, as they lost control of their psychic powers. Despite these setbacks the Grey Knights overcame the Ultramarines positions and forced the loyalists to withdraw, surrendering the world to Cybixx and his “crusade”.
Inquisitor Hathek and sector commander Titus Luthor were appalled at the space marine chapters killing one another, and grew concerned over what would happen when the Lord of Ultramar found out, which he surely would. However, both the Ultramarines and Grey Knights rebuffed attempts from Luthor to mediate, while the Ordo Malleus demanded Hathek face trial by their own inquisitor Hector Rex. The situation engineered by Cybixx was rapidly spiralling out of control.
To counter this growing threat general Konev agreed to allowing the Imperial Cult militia free reign in the east near Menthoteph. With the catacombs still in necron hands or too dangerous to traverse, the general benefitted from the irregular forces’ presence in Menthoteph despite the strategic value of the second city being far less than the cost of its defence.
The Cult proved their worth in late 12.018M42 with two important victories. First, the Sisters of Quartz were caught trying to infiltrate imperial lines and swiftly dealt with by purging fire. Later, the imperial cult discovered yet more Tyranid infestation of the lower levels of the city, and gleefully set about purging the xenos from the ruins. The imperial cult were certainly probing their worth on Hexis, a point Konev was increasingly unashamed to mention even to the astartes who made no apologies for their distaste for the irregulars.
Sunday, December 09, 2018
Unlike the fractious Chaos and Ork alliance, the Imperium had set heavy defences in the region with an Armoured Company of the Luna Guard supported by infantry and a Baneblade. Fortunately the Iron Warriors had caught the Luna Guard on return from patrol and had the jump on them. The Iron Warriors, knowing they were heavily outgunned, rushed the armoured column before they could bring their guns to bear, destroying half their Hellhound support and tying up several tanks with more of Stahl's daemonic experiments.
The Luna Guard, reckoning there was simply no hope of killing the veritable horde of human Thorakitai before they were amongst the column, focussed their fire upon the closest Daemon Prince and the Lascannon Havoc squads, punching several Astartes from their feet with overwhelming firepower and forcing a retreat. This did not however deal with the immediate threat to Stahl’s advance, as Obliterator support tore into reality at a high vantage point, heavily damaging the Baneblade. Thorakitai, Daemon Princes and Sorcerers of the Iron Warriors charged, bellowing the Unbreakable litany as they did so. The Luna Guard infantry were simply buried under an avalanche of bodies, though the Platoon Commander managed to hold off the mad clone warriors of the Thorakitai for several seconds before being beaten to death with rifle butts.
Psychic might ripped apart the Baneblade super heavy tank, causing it to dramatically explode, bisecting the Primaris Psyker and severely injuring the Sorcerer Eznath the Unveiled. The Luna Guard column was quickly overrun, with humans and Daemons swarming over vehices while the Havocs and Obliterators cut through tanks with impunity. A single Hellhound managed to escape fleeing to the Haknur Plateau and leaving Girishtar Gate solidly in Stahl's hands.
The war at Destino had remained quiet for weeks as Archmagos Dominus Cybixx investigated the ruins of Hexis. With that plan interrupted by the eldar Cybixx returned in a specially modified Adeptus Mechanicus cutter, a small vessel able to traverse the warp much faster than conventional spacecraft. This meant he was able to return and lead the next phase of events at the Destino system, which he wanted to conquer before Vorushko and her allies found out his true intentions.
Cybixx’s armies had suffered setbacks in his absence. Inquisitor Hathek has left the task of defending Destino to the Imperial Guard while he investigated whether or not the Archmagos was a heretic, although the adeptus mechanicus were generally unwilling to give information to the inquisition, even the implacable opponents of Cybixx. The Sycorax guard had briefly been turned to the cause of the “crusade”, but following their defeat to the Novgorod, the Last of Sycorax had swiftly been put into play defending Destino from Cybixx’s forces, stationed on the heavily defended planet of Destino III.
Despite the world’s ground defences against invasion, the Archmagos singled it out as a key strategic target. Using his battle station to silence the heavy imperial guns, Cybixx then launched his elite forces into a ground invasion, taking on the Last of Sycorax and their heavy tanks in two major engagements near to key imperial loyalist installations.
In the first battle, kataphron destroyers quickly destroyed the heavy tanks, leading to a one sided engagement that quickly saw the Mechanicum destroy the loyalist positions. This victory was swiftly followed by another, with the electropriests leading the vanguard, their resilience to incoming fire causing great difficulties for the imperial guard. Unable to deal with Cybixx’s technologically superior forces, the planet quickly surrendered, adding the world to the emerging Mechanicum empire in the Foramen Interdictum. The Archmagos didn’t have things all his own way however, as resistance cells related to the imperial cult that often followed Novgorod regiments into war zones, began raiding the Mechanicum invaders, becoming a thorn in the side of Cybixx’s empire building.
The eldar forces however were more than capable of defending themselves. The fast moving eldar force swiftly turned the tables on the attacking chaos forces, using their speed and agility to outflank them. Ahriman, leading the attack, was once again bested and his forces scattered. The eldar completed their expansion, increasing alliance territory by a third and enveloping the western half of Praxis city. With the imperium now coming under attack from the south as well, it was the empire of mankind that suffered the most from the engagement in the western desert, as the eldar now looked to replace the imperium as the key opponents to the forces of chaos on Hexis.
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
The resulting channel would exit on the other side of the rift in three possible stable configurations. The first would link the Lysis system directly to the warp lane to Ultramar, bypassing the Tau empire altogether. The second would provide a direct link to the Hadron Expanse from the Tau empire, while the third would connect the new worlds of the Expanse to the chaos held Enceladus subsector.
Clearly these three options each favoured one of the main powers fighting on Hexis, but the creation of the Foramen Ignotum world still not be sufficient to exploit the new strategic reality. As with the Foramen Interdictum control of both ends of the channel, at the points where ships would have to gather before making the jump, would be of primary importance once the new passage was created.