Friday, November 30, 2018

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Charcaradons assault imperial cult

Following the imperial encirclement of Praxis, a little more information became available about the band of cultists that had joined the imperial invasion. They had arrived on freighters, cargo ships and other assorted craft following the Novgorod regiments, but now had banded together saying they had answered Archconfessor Petarious's call. Who this was and what this meant was unclear to most, but for some members of Konev’s council their behaviour and even existence was becoming a concern. The Novgorod general played down the religious fanatics, praising their religious zeal and commenting that those with faith often follow the call to arms behind Novgorod forces. Critical looks from his other commanders not from his home world soon silenced further comment. Private meetings between some astartes then started to give Konev himself cause for concern. Then the Carcharadons arrived. 

Thought destroyed by the Cicatrix Maledictum, the arrival of a squad of “Space Sharks” at Hexis at first panicked the imperial commanders, who feared a reopening of the Crusade war in the Hadron Expanse. However, without contacting anyone within the imperial hierarchy, the Carcharadons immediately attacked and defeated the Imperial Cult in the middle of Praxis, slaying many before handing the territory over to Konev’s regular army. They simply reported to Konev that the fanatic “disease” had been cleared. Konev said nothing, but realised that the astartes may have considered these forces as Ecclesiarchy forces, breaking Imperial Law, and now had divisions in his own camp to deal with once more. 

Imperium surround Praxis city

With the Grey Knights having secured Konev’s right flank the planned imperial push could begin in the centre of the imperial lines between the cities of Menthoteph and Praxis. Konev had identified a weakness between the are known as old town and Grishtar Gate. Here the chaos line was only 30km deep, with the imperium on either side. Even better for the imperium it wasn’t the elite chaos forces holding the line, but the orks who had been bribed into service by the chaos pact, as the combined force on Hexis was now known as. 

The Last of Sycorax, despite having taken severe casualties in the first battles for the planet, had been reinforced. Now they were in the front line again as their regiments and super heavy vehicles lead the push against Russtoof’s green tide. 

The orks however were far from a pushover. A determined counter attack by the greenskins’ warlord almost broke through the imperial lines, killing the Sycorax colonel and threatening the whole advance. Eventually however the giant alien was pulled down, breaking the ork horde, and by 2911.018M42 the imperial advance was underway again. The orks, their leader dead, scattered, allowing Konev’s regiments to link up at the Haknur plateau, encircling the city of Praxis. 

General Konev had surrounded the chaos and alliance forces, but the noose had not yet tightened around either. The chaos pact in particular still had supplies shipped in to the centre of Praxis via Stahl’s device, while shipments were still made to the chaos zones in the wilderness, despite the attempts of Barham’s fleet to cordon off the system. Despite the success of the guard push, in reality Konev knew the encirclement now put the imperial forces at risk, as only 20k separated the two chaos forces. 

Meanwhile in the north the Cult of the Emperor, or Imperial Cult, often just called the Ecclesiarchy, launched their own offensive against the chaos forces near the centre of Praxis. This rag tag fanatical force mostly kept to itself, except for occasional firebrand speeches or public self flagellation and was totally uncommanded and out of the control of General Konev. Their assault was deemed advantageous however, as they blasted a path for the imperium into the heart of Praxis itself, defeating a rather surprised Death Guard patrol. At the imperial HQ however, many began to question this mysterious cult. 

Grey Knights take Valkaim

As 11.018M42 drew to a close the war on Hexis had dragged on for much longer than the competing powers had hoped. The forces of chaos still controlled the device chamber while the ongoing war in the ruins raged around them. With the alliance losing ground against chaos, imperial command began to worry about encirclement by chaos, so put their own offensive plans into place. While the Guard concentrated their forces for an offensive to encircle Praxis from the east, the Grey Knights led an expedition into the northern region of Valkaim. 

In the ancient ruins the astartes soon found resistance in the shape of the eldar. This time the eldar were not from the Kel Sandros craftworld, indicating that the alliance had managed to add more members to their cause. However the grey knights saw only xenos, and assaulted them immediately. An exceptionally violent battle erupted in the north of the city, and the Ordo Malleus forces found themselves severely tested. Eventually the Imperial force overcame the xenos, defeating the eldar and once again forcing the alliance to give ground. 

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Stahl fends of Howling Griffons

In space, sound did not travel beyond the confines of a ship. Nevertheless, when making stealth approaches a silence fell over the whole ship and crew, who only spoke in hushed tones. Some would think this was due to the inevitable tension before war, but this was not the case. Boasts, celebrations and oaths were cast in fury and fire before war in the Howling Griffons, but never during stealth approaches. It truly did not make sense, but Brother Captain Lord Jeremy recalled the stories of ocean submersibles from humanity's past, when the water would carry the slightest sound to give away their position to their enemies.

“We are nearly in position, Lord Captain.” The serf kept a respectful distance and their head bowed, it was a sacred duty to attend one of the Knights of the Proud Eyrie.

He'd studied the tactical significance of their sallying into the crucible of war; the traitors were about to capitalise upon their earlier victories and cut off Imperial forces. Only those of a truly noble spirit like the Griffons could stop the Heretical Monsters. The Brother Captain activated his Company Vox.

“We ready ourselves for War, our Oath - the destruction of the armour of villainy.

We sally forth into the jaws of death, unbroken, unbowed we Knights of Mancora shall claim Victory.

With the song of Death to the Heretic and Traitor, our litany of Loyalty.

For Guilliman, son of the Emperor! For the Founding Father!”



Warpsmith Dimas, though stripped of most of his emotions through cybernetics, was still in a foul mood. He had vociferously argued with Tkalčec that it was heavy armour that best suited the assault on Federal Fortress, not a horde of infantry as Bezhok had allowed. “The Astartes would likely rebel if they did not get the opportunity to fight at the Warsmiths side” Tkalčec had countered, clearly relaying that idiot Bezhok's fears; who cared if the flesh were upset? Only victory mattered, flesh could be regrown, replaced if defective. 

A change in both the air and the Immaterium brought Dimas to the present; he was escorting a column of war constructs of the 144th,, intent on punching through the Imperial defences with a clear line to their fortress, a key weakness only the Iron Warriors could exploit. Moving ill-supported was a bad plan. Such terrain left them open to attack, everyone knew it. But they had been left with little choice and what's more the more “Flesh” Iron Warriors did not seem to care – emotional foolishness. Rising pressure registered in his War Constructs who started to scream against their constraints. Only Ancient Kolar remained calm, binaric canting to Dimas that they were about to be attacked from above by XIII Legion. Kolar still lived in the rebellion and did not distinguish between the thin blooded “Chapters”. Seeing now the descending drop pods, Dimas' fears were well founded as his coded data burst for reinforcements made no attempt to hide his venom.

“Prepare defensive position Gamma-30T5” intoned Dimas to his War Constructs, who started  unnatural squealing and bellowing of warhorns in excitement at the prospect of carnage, which they would have - if they survived.



Following the brutal and overwhelming assault against the Federacy, the Iron Warriors of Stahl's 144th Grand Battalion were forced to rapidly redeploy forces to ensure no other forces could take advantage. Stahl had gambled on the success of his attack against the Federacy and, while it had succeeded in obliterating their defence, the stalwart defence of the Librians ensured the necron key remained out of Chaos hands. Others were keenly watching the unfolding events and in late 11.018M42 the Howling Griffons intervened to exploit the weaknesses in the Iron Warriors' defences.

With so many Legion Astartes deployed against the Federacy, it had fallen to Iron Warriors' various machine and daemonic constructs to plug gaps. Warpsmith Dimas, one of the three Iron Warrior Smiths on Hexis, led a heavily armoured walker force to crush the North Western city front between Marateph and Grathos, Grathos being in Imperial hands but poorly defended against heavy armour. Escorting Dimas was Experiment MVI, a “constructed” Daemon Prince of Warsmith Stahl's. The Howling Griffons had, through long range augers and more traditional infiltrating 10th Company, identified the armour column as a key weakness in the Iron Warrior deployments and one which, if destroyed, would leave the Iron Warriors' defences disastrously open. Stahl's impetus to acquire the key had had left him and his forces vulnerable.


In the middle of the night on Hexis, the Strike Cruiser, Inviolable Honour, used Hexis' Moon and radiation flares from its sun to mask its planetary approach. Undetected till the last moment, the Strike Cruiser unleashed a force of Howling Griffons under Command of Primaris Brother Captain Sir Jeremy. Seeing the drop ships, the Iron Warriors immediately formed defensive positions. The Inviolable Honour unleashed a fierce planetary bombardment into the city to cover the Griffons' deployment. The combined Lance and Macro Batteries eliminated the infantry support of the armoured column, leaving the Walkers vulnerable.


The low visibility of the early morning prevented the Howling Griffons' Hellblasters from acquiring an effective fire pattern on the Iron Warrior Decimator. The Reivers also failed to capitalise on their surprise attack as Ancient Kolar, a Contemptor Dreadnought from the Heresy, cut one Reiver down with his Butcher Cannon. Warpsmith Dimas, realising the hopelessness of his defensive position, ordered the column to break and make their escape, repairing damage to Fire Support XV on the move. Under covering fire from the column, Experiment MVI propelled Ancient Kolar forward with warp energies into the Howling Griffons, who made short work of the Griffon mobile Cavalry support and moved on to confront Brother Captain Sir Jeremy. Sir Jeremy for his part raised his sword in a chivalric salute to his Brothers before upper cutting Ancient Kolar across his carapace, sparks showing from his body before he steadied himself once more.


Now the smoke, ash and after flare of the orbital bombardment had cleared, the Hellblasters had no issue acquiring their target. Having sworn an oath to destroy the armour of the traitor, the Primaris Marines unleashed shot after shot into the Hellbrutes Karath the Fallen and Tong, destroying Karath. One of the Primaris, Brother Corin, lost his right arm at the shoulder to venting plasma, however with his last ounce of breath he bellowed his oath and speared Tong with a single plasma blast, sending the Hellbrute's monstrous form slumping to the ground. The Reivers, led by Ser Dagonet, took the lead and managed to isolate Warpsmith Dimas, riddling him with auto-bolt rounds. Despite the injuries the Warpsmith still stood, but Ser Bedwere's Intercessors unleashed fire  into the ruins that Dimas had taken cover in; the wall collapsed under under bolt round detonations and crushed the Warpsmith.


Despite the loss of the Dimas, their infantry support, and the Hellbrutes Tong and Karath, the column pressed forward with the whole line breaking into a charge directly at Brother Captain Sir Jeremy. Momentarily distracted, Ancient Kolar managed to grab the Captain with his Dreadnought fist slamming him again and again into the ground, killing him. Powered by death and absorbing the soul of the Captain, the rent in Kolar's armour healed. Fire Support XV levelled both its Butcher Cannons at the Hellblasters, raking their defensive positions and cutting down a number who further wounded the Decimator as they fell. In response to the charging beasts, the Intercessors of Ser Bedivere, Lieutenant Ser Palomides and Ancient Ser Tegyr charged. Bolt round after bolt round blasted into the injured Decimator, driving it to its knees as Ser Bedivere reversed his longsword and drove the point through its skull, slaying the daemonic machine.


The remains of the Iron Warriors' column was in a bad condition; with Griffons closing on all sides the battle hung in the balance. Enraged, Experiment MVI lunged forward spearing both Ser Palomides and Ser Tagyr on its claws and bisecting both. Kalor, the only true Iron Warrior left standing, butchered Ser Bedivere and his Intercessors in combat and cut down the Hellblasters with his Butcher Cannon. The power of blood, death and fleeing souls further empowered Kalor's rampage. Both Experiment MVI and Ancient Kalor escaped, leaving the Howling Griffons to collect their dead and injured.

The remaining armoured column and the already present forces of the Iron Warriors smashed through the weakened Imperial defences, taking both Hegrist and Grathos. However, if not for the intervention of the Howling Griffons, the situation would have been far worse. The Howling Griffons came within a hair's breadth of breaking the Iron Warriors forces completely.




Scout Squire Maelwys had missed the battle, the Codex Astartes was clear in its application of Scout squads in such engagements; outflank and pick off officers. This role however had been given to Ser Dagonet's “Reivers”. It irked all the young Scouts - the Codex Astartes was the greatest tome ever written on warfare, as near perfect as any treatise could be, but Lord Guilliman had returned, and his “Primaris” units had swept away many of the doctrines of the Primarch's own Codex. He still had to study it of course, even those parts seemingly falling to obsolescence, his newly enhanced brain memorised much of it and the contradictions with the Primaris annoyed him. Maelwys' Codex assigned duty was now reconnaissance and intelligence, something the “Reivers” were ill-suited to. Maelwys may have been too proud to admit it but he hated the Primaris, especially the Reivers. Reivers were neither the Knights of the sky that his village elders spoke of nor Codex approved soldiers, they were murderers and terror troops. It rankled him - the proud traditions of the Griffons were sullied by such tactics. He had sworn he wouldn't accept the extra organs, even at his young age his mind was made up.

His squad had fanned out, sweeping the area under the watchful eye of Ser Yuber, picking through the ruins in Marateph behind enemy lines where the ambush had taken place. Difwich had ranged ahead, taking up a covering position far forward with his sniper rifle. At times the solitude of a sniper sounded nice... Minor shifts in the ruins and debris caught Maelwys' attention, and he snapped his bolter towards the sound. Moving cautiously, Maelwys moved towards the sound in a manner the Codex demanded. “Awareness, Discipline, Precision”, Maelwys repeated to himself, his favourite volumes and mantra. Before he could react, before even his vision could focus, a snake of steel shot up from the debris shearing  Maelwys' bolter in two. Without hesitation he went to draw his knife but a second and third snake shot up; the fanged maw of the second clasped his forearm and crushed the carapace, while the third, its snout ending in a drill, darted precisely through his lung, shunting the breath from him and preventing him from giving a shout of warning. Warpsmith Dimas' biomechanical eyes glowed as his repair systems finally brought him back online. His half broken body rose from his rockcrete tomb; with a mind impulse his Mechanidrils slammed the Griffon Scout head first into the wall behind Dimas, utterly crushing his skull. The Warpsmith's flickering display came to life: 43.22092% functional. He needed to return to safety, he thought, as his Mechanidrills were already extracting the Scout's Geneseed organs and storing them for analysis. Behzok and  Tkalčec would pay for his humiliation.

Sisters of Quartz savaged by Emerald Serpent

In the raging battles of Hexis, the Sisters of Quartz had certainly been inconsistent. Their forces were inexperienced, yet eager, and a passion for preventing the activation of the necron device was both a blessing and a curse. The Rose Quartz and Amethyt divisions had been fighting in elite teams for some time, throwing themselves at almost any foe within reach. Whilst this had lead to progress, their harlequin arrogance more often than not got the better of them, and any progress made was soon lost as they pushed too far and were defeated by the more experienced powers clashing on the planet.

The Crystal Empress had been overseeing the operation from afar, and was growing concerned at the progress her soldiers, and the Alliance as a whole, were finding themselves in. Instead of a strong Alliance foothold on the planet, Chaos controlled a large amount of the territory around the device, the Imperium were suddenly also a threat, and both had defeated the Sisters on multiple occasions. The harlequin agenda was no longer to gain territory with the thought of emerging as their own power who could keep the device firmly closed, but rather just cling to survival and ensure the lesser races didn't open it and wreak havoc.

Kill teams were no longer enough, the Empress realised; the forces needed to unite and they needed to be reinforced. Utilising the webway portal newly opened by their allies, the Crystal Empress herself emerged, flanked by her Solitaire, Jester, a small unit of the Sapphire Skyweavers and more soldiers of Amethyst and Rose. The areas they were interested in claiming were small, she thought; these troops would be enough, they would be ready.

Combat did not take its time in finding the Sisters, manifesting itself through the appearance of the Emerald Serpent; a Daemon Prince and his horde of plaguewalkers. The harlequin force had barely secured their formation before it became apparent that this battle was unlikely to end in victory. Both the jetbikers and the Solitaire rushed in, confident in their abilities, but were soon isolated from their comrades and lost to the demonic horde. The remaining Sisters banded together in a desparate seeking of strength, but the Empress and her Jester were forced to watch from above as the horde, despite losing some soldiers to the deadly acrobatics of the harlequins, overwhelmed them one by one.

Still too proud to flee, the two that remained jumped from their watching post to the ground and charged the Prince, attempting to take down as many walkers as they could in their wake. Some psychic potential in the Empress did eventually awaken, causing some damage to the Prince, but her luck had run out - she was hoisted in the air by the demon and cast aside to the jagged city ruins, her Jester soon to follow. The Emerald Serpent demons were left with relatively minor casualties, but the territory of the new Alliance bases that had been fought over with great difficulty.

Ashamed, those who managed to escape back into the webway had learned a harsh lesson on the nature of larger battles on Hexis, and that elite combat skills did not counteract sheer numbers. The Empress was distraught at the harm she had caused her sisters and daughters and ordered a formal retreat - there would be no battles larger than the previous elite kill teams to be fought by the Sisters of Quartz until a strategical overhaul took place.

Hexis movements

Harsh conditions on Hexis

The situation on Hexis by the end of 11.018M42 was difficult for all factions. Much of the planet was unoccupied, covered in shifting sands and blasted by howling winds around the equator. Further north and south the environment was less severe, but even near the ruined mega cities of Praxis and Menthoteph, temperatures swung daily from searingly hot to far below freezing. The atmosphere of Hexis, thin and dry, was unable to hold on to the heat generated by fifteen hours of sweltering sunlight, and in the long night the temperature would drop so low that the air commonly froze out all its water vapour as frost. 

During the day temperatures reaching 55C baked the invaders, but the air was so dry that respiratory difficulties affected most of not all unprotected troops. At least with no native flora or fauna the risk of infection from indigenous species was zero. Even the ground itself was hostile to the invaders. Lacking ground water the surface consisted of uneven and punishing sand crystals, or extremely hard igneous rock. Both surfaces punished vehicles and men alike. 

The imperium had created a hydronic base and airstrip to the north of Praxis, out of range enemy artillery and able to support regular troop and equipment shipments. Water had to be shipped in, as there were no local supplies. The chaos base centred around the shifting sands and Stahl’s device, and in many ways was larger and better defended than the imperial base. Ork and reaver gangs regularly covered the base in dust from their vehicles careering around in manic sand races, while the base itself was accompanied by the wailing and moaning of thousands of indentured slaves who kept the base running. Every day hundreds would die of exhaustion and neglect, but their callous chaos overlords regarded their plight with indifference, so long as the base kept running. 

Conditions in the smaller federal base were better, but the main alliance base had by the end of 11.018M42 fallen to chaos and been corrupted by the ruinous powers. The second base in the city of Hexis was made up of more temporary structures, utilising what shelter and space the ruins of the Hakhor district could provide. This mostly consisted of a small strip, capable of accepting shuttles and orca transports, and dispersed temporary garrison buildings. Tau and federal technology enabled the alliance to make the most of the planet’s scant resources and the eldar webway portal allowed the xenos to come and go as they pleased. Despite this, the 50,000 or so alliance troops had to live under the constant threat of attack or bombardment, and air cover sorties were run almost constantly by the federal and tau air forces. 

Air superiority lay with the alliance, despite their having the smallest ground force on Hexis. Chaos did not have an organised fleet in the system and could only reinforce sporadically, while although admiral Barham had some aerial capability, he needed most of his attack craft for the protection of the fleet. The alliance, with a heavily air oriented fleet and the webway portal, were able to spare federal and tau aircraft for patrols while eldar strike wings could react at a moment’s notice. For now the skies over Hexis belonged to the alliance. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Hexis: Estimated current forces

The Alliance

  • alliance council
  • General Kuwalski of the Federacy 
  • 1 hunter cadre of Malkaor 
  • 4 regiments Librian Guard (colonel Robert Bowman)
  • 1 division Tallaxian engineers 
  • 2 squadrons Federal Air Force 
  • 1 battalion Hartak Mountain rangers 
  • Sisters of Quartz 
  • Kel Sandros Eldar units

Overall ground forces: 50,000 troops 

  • Federal fleet - Fleet Admiral Josselin Eberhardt

Forces of the Chaos pact

  • Warsmith Stahl
  • Garzoth the Immovable of the Death Guard 1st Grand Company
  • Several war bands Alpha Legion
  • Several war bands Black Legion 
  • Iron Warriors squad Horozhka 
  • Iron warriors legion Stahl
  • Emerald Serpent warbands 
  • 5 regiments darrantine Guard 
  • 3 lances heretic knights 
  • Various cultist warbands and daemons 
  • 50,000-100,000 orks various clans 

Overall ground forces: approx 500,000 troops 

  • several pirate fleets and traitor astartes vessels 

Forces of the Imperium

  • Imperial HQ. General Konev
  • Demi company Howling Griffons 
  • 1 squad Hammers of the Emperor
  • Demi company Sky Lords 
  • Grey Knights company 
  • The imperial cult (numbers unknown)
  • 3 regiments Last of Sycorax
  • 5 regiments Novgorod Guard
  • 5 regiments Lycannon Guard 
  • Praetorian 42nd regiment (Major-General Bloodnok MC VC OBE and bar)
  • 3 House Stroganoff Lances
  • 3 House Eagleclaw lances
  • 1 House Corvus Lance 
  • Adeptus mechanicus war cohort 
  • 3 titans of Legio Dominus 
Overall ground forces: 220,000 men 
  • battlegroup Barham

  • Ha'tek dynasty lead by Lord Baal. First Prime Teal'c (forces unknown)
Others: suspected genestealer infestation 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Hexis latest

Combined alliance teams push into Charion

The districts of Kaeleth and Charion now became the focus of alliance attention as 11.018M42 drew to a close. These districts in the west of central Praxis represented mile after mile of ruined streets, buildings ziggurats and other crumbling structures. The area was vast, over 75 imperial miles from the central core of the city to the ruined suburbs where the Tau had set up a temporary base. These areas were currently used by the alliance to join together their disparate forces, but the alliance now wished to consolidate their hold on Praxis and begin construction of a new landing strip, capable of supplying an army of several hundred thousand in the quest for the device.


To secure Charion, the alliance put out several patrol groups of harlequins and Hartak rangers in the north, with the tau and Librian forces patrolling the "border" with chaos. For now the chaos lines seemed quiescent, but the patrols in northern Charion soon found trouble in the form of the Imperial Cult and their Grey Knights allies once again.


Having secured Menthoteph for the Imperium, the Grey Knights pursued the Harlequins back to Praxis, and now with cultists adding to their number, the imperial force engaged the alliance patrols in a series of chaotic and confusing engagements. The Cultists in particular attacked with frenzied zeal, while the harlequins of the Rose division of the Sisters of Quartz danced their combat moves around them. Eventually however, imperial faith and numbers overcame the Sisters' combat proficiency, and the alliance began to take casualties. 


The squats of Hartak then moved in, exchanging fire with the Grey Knights and taking a number of human prisoners for interrogation. Despite accurate return fire from the astartes, the squat armour proved to be unyielding, and the imperial force was unable to rescue its cultists nor drive off the alliance force. Withdrawing, the Grey Knights and remaining cultists knew that any chance of surprising the alliance had been lost, and that Charion would have to be allowed to fall into the hands of the xenos and traitors, for now. The alliance had won an important engagement, and work on the new landing strip began in earnest.


Kel Sandros intervene at Praxis

The arrival of the Kel Sandros eldar at the alliance positions in Praxis was not their first excursion to the planet, but the eldar of farseer Tarquil only appeared when they considered it necessary and did not hold ground. The federal and tau forces has not been able to control or retrieve the device by themselves, so the ancient farseer decides once more to commit to the battlefield. This time however his forces were small surgical teams, sent in to achieve carefully selected objective. 

One of the objectives of Tarquil’s small recon team sent into Hexis, was the control of a location in the central ruins. The Federacy and tau forces would be stationed to garrison the newly won ground, but it would be the Kel Sandros who took it. A quick analysis of the strategic situation showed that an attack against the forces of chaos would be far too risky at this juncture, but the imperium were vulnerable. Regular front line units had been replaced by fanatics simply known as “the imperial cult”. A group of corpse-god obsessed religious maniacs now controlled the only entrance to the inner device chamber not controlled by chaos. 

On 2011.018M42 the eldar attacked the imperial cultists. After a fierce battle the humans were forced to withdraw handing control of the north of Praxis centre to the alliance. Their forces were as yet still split up, but once again they had a path open before them to get at the device itself. 

Grey Knights face off against Harlequins

The loss of the Federal base on Hexis put the alliance at a significant disadvantage against the forces of chaos and Imperium. Alliance forces were still present on the world, but the eldar had lost access to their main webway portal in the mountains, and the forces were split. The Council for Hexis now met to discuss the way forward. The federal forces were mostly contained in Hakhor section of the city, while the tau had encamped to the east of the city of Praxis. The eldar remained mostly scattered into small bands, with the harlequins of the Sisters of Quartz isolated in the Menthoteph city.


The Sisters made several attempts to break out of the labarynthine ruins of Menthoteph, but always found themselves opposed by imperial forces, most notably the Grey Knights. At first the eldar - especially the Amethyst division of the Sisters of Quartz, who found themselves the victim of withering crossfire from the astartes. The Rose Division however managed a successful breakout, abandoning their positions in Menthoteph and successfully returning to alliance held territory. Their return was timely, as the Kel Sandros eldar had just appeared through a webway portal not even the Harlequins were aware of. The eldar, federacy and tau now began to decide their next steps, though the Kel Sandros were keen to highlight their disappointment with the performance of alliance forces, particularly Kuwalski's federal troops.


Kuwalski however was critical of the eldar's lack of coordinated direction, and was keen to point out the arrival of the Hartak Mountain rangers. The eldar regarded the squats with contempt, and overall the alliance forces were still inferior in strength to the Imperium and Chaos armies now entrenched on Hexis. The entire federal and tau forces numbered less than 50,000, while estimates of the chaos forces alone were of the order of half a million troops, albeit of variable quality.


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Hexis and sector round up

By late 11.018M42 the major factions of the sector were embroiled in a titanic ground war on the deserted and barren world of Hexis. Underneath the surface of the city one of the ancient necron “devices” had been found. An artefact of extraordinary power, able to shut down the warp and create a passage through the Cicatrix - or even more. Some had already considered the power of having one, or even two of these devices, as they could create a portal through the warp linking distant places instantaneously. 

The forces of chaos held the device room and had a consolidated hold on the planet, but lacked a significant space fleet in the Lysis system. Their supply relied on Stahl’s arcane device, and the pacts made with daemonic entities. The imperium had control of more territory, and a secure supply line, as admiral Barham’s fleet was now dedicated to the task of protecting the imperial in Saigon force. The imperium had a foothold in Praxis, but had neither the device nor the key, essential for the activation of the dormant device. 

The alliance still held on to the key, now in the possession of the eldar. On Hexis however, the tau  had few forces while general Kuwalski’s federal guard had suffered greatly in battles for control of territory. The eldar, while still able to project force, could not match the imperium and barely the forces of chaos, while in space the federal fleet stood in a stand off against the imperial fleet. 

Further afield in the sector, the crusade had lost their key sponsor, and Cybixx had begun to turn the remaining crusade forces toward his own ends. Without the strength of Vorushko however, Cybixx found it difficult to fight an effective war against Hathek, who know had de facto control over all forces on the “light” side of the Great Rift. 

Titus Luthor and acting head of the imperial fleet - Admiral Hughes - had put in significant effort in securing imperial supply lines. With Stahl and the major chaos warlords focussing on Hexis, the enormous expanse of the imperium now showed it’s benefit, as the vast resources of the empire of mankind spent their time making travel across the sector safer and more reliable. Meanwhile the eldar and chaos forces spent their time in punitive raids against each others’ assets, ensuring that by the end of 11.018M42 the imperium held the strategic advantage over their enemies. If the device at Hexis could be secured, the Imperium would be free to sweep across the Perseus Deeps and The Zadoc subsector, perhaps even to the point of retaking the key systems of Libria and Zadoc. 

Hexis Current Map

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Crusade lose Destino 6

While the major focus of fighting in the sector shifted to the Hadron Expanse and the Lysis system, the Crusade, now fully under the control tech priest Dominus Cybixx, still had unfinished business at Destino. The adeptus mechanicus had hoped that the focus elsewhere would allow the new crusade to easily overcome the defences if Destino. This was not the case however. Inquisitor Hathek had decided to vigorously defend the Destino system while Vorushko had called most of her forces to the Expanse. This left Cybixx under gunned on the ground, despite having unquestioned space superiority thanks to the giant space station now in the system. 

Lacking forces, the adeptus mechanicus managed to intercept a troop convoy bound for Destino, convincing or coercing the colonel of the Last of Sycorax to fight on behalf of the crusade. What lies were told is unknown, but the guard regiment equipped with super heavy tanks duly deployed on Destino 6, where Hathek had begun plans for invasion. Despite the crusade having the Mallem Cybixxum, the space station was slow and difficult to manoeuvre, and small troop transports could easily evade the lumbering behemoth. Hathek wanted to force Cybixx into using the weapon on ground forces, as conducting a genocide would add weight to his claim that the mechanicum were in fact tech heretics. 

Cybixx declined to use his weapon, allowing the Novgorod Guard to land on Destino 6. Unfortunately the Last of Sycorax were unable to hold the veteran loyalists guard regiment and within days the Sycorax surrendered to the loyalists. Destino 6 held no particular strategic value, but without support or the deployment of Cybixx’s elite but in-expendable armed forces, he would be unable to overcome loyalist numbers at Destino.  

 by Novgorod Guard on the desert world of Destino 6

Faction progress on Hexis

Stahl takes Federal base, but fails to get the key

The arrival of Stahl did not go unnoticed by the Federacy. Tallaxian warp engineers detected the corrupted energies of Stahl’s device and correctly surmised that the next attack of the forces of chaos would strike against their base. The Federacy were in a weak position. Their base was surrounded by enemies and the alliance had lost their foothold in the centre of Praxis. Above the atmosphere the imperial and federal fleets were locked in a tense stand off, unable to directly intervene in the unfolding battles below. 

The forces of Stahl attacked on a wide front, driving into the federal positions with a wedge of cultists supported by marines. In the defence the federal forces lined up their infantry in and between the fortifications supported by tanks and artillery. A baneblade formed the middle of the defence line and that’s where the iron warriors aimed their main thrust. Beneath the surface the federal forces HQ held the key to the necron device in a secure underground compound. But was it secure enough. 

General Kuwalski was not present at the base. She remained in the city of Praxis itself with the federal strategic reserve. If the circumstances were dire enough Kuwalski could abandon her position in the city in order to defend the alliance base. 

At first the iron warriors’ attack was more than manageable for the federal defence, although the alliance fortifications took a pounding from the traitor astartes heavy weapons. Cultists swarmed forward under the influence of foul sorcery, but nearly all were cut down by the Librian defenders. Perhaps Kuwalski was worrying for nothing. Then unnatural energies tore a rent in reality itself, a portal appearing in front of the federal lines which disgorged a host of terminators and obliterators accompanying Stahl himself. The Warsmith had arrived. 

The arrival of Stahl’s elite forces destroyed the centre of the federal line with close range firepower. The baneblade was reduced to a hulk while the Librian artillery and tanks either exploded or burned at the onslaught of the iron warriors vanguard forces. Receiving news of the collapse of the federal defence Kuwalski pondered her options. Quickly she realised her strategic reserve would not be able to turn the tide of the chaos offensive and the base was lost. Instead the federal commander held her reserve back, effectively consigning the Librians at the base to a horrible death, and risking the necron key. 

The chaos vanguard eventually broke through the federal lines into the underground complex, but not before the Librians had delayed them for as long as possible.  Slowness on the part of Stahl’s retinue helped, but eventually the terminators and the Warsmith made it to the federal HQ. Aware and alarmed by Kuwalskis decision, the eldar quickly prepared a ritual to rescue the necron key, which the foolish humans had put at risk. Time was of the essence, and as Stahl himself moved into the Key room, he laughed as Federacy plasma guns blew up in the faces of their wielders. His ultimate victory at hand, Stahl permitted himself a second’s pause to gloat over his defeated enemies, as a terrified adept of the Federal HQ held the necron key with his back against the corner of the complex, with nowhere to run. It was a moment of hubris which cost the Warsmith dearly. Just as he revelled in his triumph a portal appeared shining before him. A shadowy figure briefly stepped out of the light, taking the adept and the necron key away and into the webway. The eldar ritual had succeeded just in time, and Stahl was left to rage in the ruins of the Federal base. 

Despite the last minute rescue of the necron key, the battle was not a victory. Far from it. Kuwalski has lost her base, half her total strength and her principle line of communication in the sacking of the complex, and chaos had come within a whisker if total victory. Now the alliance would need to regroup and rebuild before seriously considering taking the device for themselves. 

Necrons rising obliterated

The necron menace that slept under the surface of Hexis began to show its hand in late 11.018M42. The invaders had no idea of the extent of the necron catacombs beneath the planet, and the armies that sallied forth from hidden entrances to the north and south of Praxis represented but a small fraction of the total strength of the aliens. 

The first armies to arise and march out in force were of the Ha’Tek Dynasty, lead by first prime Teal’c. The necron lord led his first army out into the ruins to the south of Praxis, but he had underestimated - or was not aware of - the size of the chaos army that now had its base in the Shifting Sands. 

The arrival of Warsmith Stahl via his own arcane device had coincided with the arrival of the Emerald Serpent, who had given up on their conquest of the Echo Cluster. The daemonic brothers leading the faction did not want the final victory of chaos on Hexis to be claimed by Stahl, but upon arrival their first task was to prevent the armies of Teal’c from overrunning the chaos base. 

Led by the daemonic hordes the army of the Emerald Serpent charged into the necron lines, destroying their cohesion and forcing the remainder of the host to phase out, returning to their underground labyrinth. The Emerald Serpent has arrived at a fortuitous moment, as Stahl’s eyes were fixed on defeating the Federacy. They had ensured that the glory of chaos on Hexis would not be the Warsmith’s alone. 

In the north the first prime’s second army faired little better. Emerging from their northern gates the Grey Knights reacted swiftly, attaching the necrons and driving the xenos back to the walls of Praxis, consolidating the imperial hold over the northern part of the city. So far the necron rising had been little more than an inconvenience to the invading powers, and Teal’c now sought to rouse more of his hibernating forces before his enemies overran the planet completely. 

Genestealer cult discovered in Menthoteph

In late 11.018M42 the imperium still only had a tenuous hold on the outskirts of Praxis, but had found that a set of catacombs underneath the city led to Menthoteph. Having failed to deal with the chaos forces in the city ruins, the Grey Knights now turned their attention to the ruins of Menthoteph, where the imperium had already established a foothold. Their investigations of the ruins turned up an unexpected discovery, that genestealers of the foul Tyranid xenos strain were still present on Hexis, and the astartes began the important task of clearing the aliens. Despite their vicious assaults and tending claws, the xenos infestation was overcome, and the Grey Knights secured the centre of Menthoteph - only a small area still patrolled by the eldar now held out against the imperium. Below, the dark catacombs were still held by the awakening necrons, but through those a new path to the device room would be available for the all conquering imperium. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Warsmith Stahl travels to Hexis

Bezhok paced back and forth in the command bunker, he did not appreciate being kept waiting. All local commanders of the small Iron Warriors force had assembled at the request of “Honourable” Horozhka – anyone else would have been refused, but the Sergeant had enough respect to call him the old moniker, and had advanced far into the Necron tomb on Hexis, so they had taken him at his word.

In the distance, the sound of human and alien gunfire echoed, numerous firefights, skirmishes and battles raged, and even titans had clashed in the desolate plains. Loose debris fell in a fine dust as another of the heavy ordinance boomed away at some distant target.


Nicator was late, again, but the others were here. Eznath the unveiled, once an apothecary alongside Stahl, was working on a techno daemonic device with his mechanadrils, Gregor and Dazkhov were bickering over a hololith, each arguing their point as to the key weaknesses in the enemy dispositions. Their arguments seemed to conclude “not enough troops”. Zoran and Šalić sat in opposite corners from each another as usual. The heavy weapons commanders never saw eye to eye and being in too close proximity would lead to blood. The smiths kept their own counsel, Bezhok, despite being in overall command at this time only knew the name of Tkalčec, the others’ names had been unnecessary. Lastly, there was Razko, self styled  “The Duellist”, he fancied himself a swordsman. Most scoffed at such frippery, but he also had an excellent understanding of fire patterns and it irked Bezhok that he would waste his mind and time on swordsmanship.

Honourable Horozhka finally entered, flanked by Nicator; in the IV, nobody truly liked or trusted one another, but the two were what came closest to friends among the bitter fraternity.

“So did you find it?” Bezhok asked Horozhka without preamble.

“Yes Lord, the Aeldari clowns were guarding it, they've reformed their alliance with the Federal Humans and Tau, the Chamber to the device is secure for now”.

“I have of course informed the Warsmith of the success”  Nicator chimed in before Bezhok could respond, no doubt the slimy bastard had taken the opportunity to laud his own efforts.

“Make preparations to secure-”

“Sorry sire. But it is not possible to 'secure' anything, the inner chamber holding the device is sealed and the Federal mortals hold the key in their fortress. Naturally I informed the Warsmith of this also”, again Nicator jibed whenever he could, he would have clearly blamed this oversight on Bezhok to Stahl.

Horozka stepped forward to the Hololith, Gregor and Dazkov respectfully taking a step back to allow the veteran room, with a hiss of air the seals on Horozhka's helm released and he removed it. It was said that Stahl had brought many of the 144th back from death and this was how he ensured their loyalty like few others, in none was it so obvious than Horozhka. In the defence of Krade, while in the 45th Grand Company, Horozhka had taken a bolt round to the throat, blowing apart his jaw, a large portion of his skull, right collar bone and shoulder. Through some miracle it had not prevented blood flow to his brain and so his comatose, largely dead body was shipped to Enceladus. That was the Heresy, now Horozhka's lower right face, jaw and neck were a pattern of pale, off colour flesh, blackened veins and small bionics, his right eye most unsettling with it's unnatural green glow that was not from a normal bionic. Treated by any normal Apothecary, Horozhka should have died 10,000 years ago, but he had been a patient of Stahl. 

Horozhka turned to the others as he brought up the display of the Federal fortress.

“Warsmith Lycurgus Stahl relayed these orders – take this fortress, make all moves to annihilate the Federals and secure the key by 16001711.018.M42 local time”.

There was an awkward silence in the room.

Razko was the first to speak “Stahl knows we don't have the ordinance to take the Fortress in that time, it's suicide”. Tkalčec blurted in binary **There is only 25% chance of success, assuming sacrificing all other fronts, including the chamber**, blurts of binary buzzed back and forth from the three Warpsmiths who were clearly arguing.

Nicator raised his voice “Honourable Horozhka did not relay the last point of the Warsmiths response”.

“And what's that?!” Bezhok said with far more venom than intended. 

“He is coming”.

The collected Legionaries gave worried glances at one another, all other petty arguments draining away, as well as the blood from their faces.

“Gather everything” ordered Bezhok “We must be ready for the Warsmiths arrival, Iron Within”.

“Iron Without” came the unified response.