Sunday, December 22, 2019

Iron Warriors brush of daemonic attack

Despite the recent attack by the Death Guard, the Iron Warriors of Warsmith Stahl still refused to leave their fortresses, content to hoard their resources, munitions and military assets to themselves.
Having not only offended the disciples of Nurgle, the god Slaanesh now demanded Stahl fight, but as before, Stahl refused.

Outraged at being denied, Slaanesh sent its daemonic host to teach to stubborn Warsmith the error of his ways. On 2112.019M42 a host of Slaaneshi daemons ambushed Stahl and his bodyguard. Clearing the distance between the two forces rapidly the Daemons chittered and giggled as they threatened the mortals, in response, Stahl ordered his warriors acquire firing solutions while marching the slaves forward to block the daemonic charge. The Iron Warriors and their mortal slaves opened fire with Chaincannon, autogun and boltgun obliterating the Seekers and Fiends in a hail of shell and Daemonic gore.

The remaining Daemons struck the mortals in a single wave and literal fountain of gore erupted from the Iron Warriors mortal slaves. The mortal slaves died screaming, the few survivors desperately trying to flee but Stahl simply activated the slaves explosive collars, killing them and some of the Daemonettes. The Daemons dominated the battlefield and it looked for a moment like they would reach Stah, but rather than falter the Iron Warriors charged forward to meet them. Daemon were cut down in concentrated overlapping fire, Terminators, ordered to reinforce the position, teleported into the centre of the battlefield and added their weight of fire to the slaughter. Stahl himself charge the Daemon Prince leading the host and tore the heart out, capturing its soul.

Just as rapidly as it started, the ambush was over, the Slaanesh Daemons wiped out for the loss of expendable mortal slaves.

Over the coming days and weeks, reports began to come out of Minos and Enceladus. Daemon forges burned hot and troop transports ferried Astartes from their fortresses. Whatever had stirred them, the Iron Warriors were, once again, marching to war. The question was, who was the source of their ire this time?

Stahl sighed as he placed the Warp flask containing the heart of the Daemon Prince alongside the squealing flask of Marcus of the Emerald Serpent.

“Will they ever let us be?” the Warsmith asked to no one in particular.

At that moment the door to his sanctum whirred open as Norros entered with the data Stahl had ordered retrieved.

“The Dark Mechanicum concur with you Lord, it can be done”

Stahl closed his eyes, for a moment feeling the full weight of 10,000 years of ceaseless war and insane entities that called themselves gods. They had left the Eye for hatred, revenge, for freedom, but only found the insanity of a universe that worshipped a corpse that equalled the insanity of the Eye. They would all burn. Everyone that had crossed the IV would burn in the fires of his vengeance. He opened his eyes and glowered at his subordinate.

“Muster the Grand Battalion Norros. Iron Within”

“Iron Without Warsmith”.

Kel Sandros unable to prevent Hussaria advance

The strategic situation for the Alliance had continued to deteriorate. Still reeling from the loss of Palantir the Tau and Federacy had been unable to prevent the Imperium counter-invading Hussaria and establishing a beachhead. Keen to capitalise on their surging fortunes the Imperium declared a holy crusade to retake those planets that had fallen under the sway of 'the heretic and the xenos'.

This further setback did little to shore up the confidence of Kel Sandros' ruling council where support for the Alliance project was rapidly waning. The prevailing mood was that it would be folly to continue to spend Aeldari lives in support of allies that had repeatedly squandered every advantage provided to them. This was further compounded by the galactic situation as a whole. Those that argued that the Rhana Dandra was imminent and that the focus should be on winning it rather than delaying it were gaining increasing traction in council debates.

In desperation those still behind the Alliance sent a warhost to Hussaria in an attempt to stop the rot. Their hope was that a clear victory would give the Alliance time to recover and counter-attack, keeping alive the dream of stabilising the region and allowing the Tau Empire to gradually supplant the Imperium.

The warhost rapidly deployed to the planet's surface and moved to head off a determined advance spearheaded by elite human soldiers. Well equipped and reeking strangely of stale incense and self-righteousness these female warriors attacked the Eldar without hesitation, singing angry dirges as they advanced relentlessly forwards. The battle was closely fought with casualties high on both sides but the Eldar gradually found themselves unable to maintain sufficient dominance of the area of engagement. Tarquil was forced to admit that this was not the clear cut victory he had hoped for and that it would be better to withdraw now and preserve his forces rather than continue to engage the humans in a battle of attrition they must ultimately lose. Events on Hussaria would only serve to re-enforce the positions of those that argued for a far more desperate path.

Emerald Serpent raze Hobbiton

General Percival, overall commander of Imperial forces in the Hadron Expanse, had retaken the Palantir system from the Alliance after heavy fighting in 11.019M42. Just weeks later, a massive fleet was detected making the translation to realspace in the outer reaches, but this was not the Alliance counter attacking. Instead, a huge chaos fleet was making its way towards the most important world in the system, Hobbiton.

Why the Emerald Serpent chose now to invade was a mystery, but the forces at the Serpent's disposal easily outmatched Percival's meagre resources. Konev and his forces were still at Hexis, now a useless scrap of a world, with all his attendant fleets and supporting logistics, while Palantir could only muster a company of Space Marines and a single Knight Lance. The Imperium had however a reserve force for just such a surprise attack, although they had expected the assault to come from the Tau system of Echo Reach. Caught rather off guard by the offensive from Boltarean, the chaos forces had landed in force on Hobbiton before the reserves could arrive, wiping out the small Imperial garrison. Once again, Hobbiton was under occupation.

The Imperial counter attack came in late 12.019M342, with the arrival of a Legio Titanicus Warhound Titan, several lances of House Corvus, and three companies of the Sky Lords chapter of space marines, led by chapter master Potitus himself. Landing to the west of the chaos positions around Hobbiton's only major city settlement, the loyalist force prepared to assault the Emerald Serpent forces at dawn the following day, while the Imperial Fleet, smaller than that of the heretics, was forced to abandon their position in support above the world. This Potitus knew would mean an orbital strike would be out of the question, and intelligence had suggested that once again the enemy were fielding a terrifying warlord titan.

The attack on Hobbiton began on 1812.019M42, with the land raiders and repulsors of the Sky Lords fanning out in front of the longer ranged knight and titan forces, while the ominous shape of the chaos warlord titan loomed out of the mist. On the imperial right flank, daemons appeared, led by the apparition of tzeentch primarch and arch traitor Magnus the Red, but his form was quickly banished back to the warp. Knight forces exchanged fire, as the Aether Striders, fighting for the Emerald Serpent, were focussed by Potitus' men and the imperial Warhound. One by one the giant walkers died to the imperial firepower, and the loyalist advance appeared to be making good ground. Casualties remained light, despite the havoc wrought by the warlord titan every time it fired its main weaponry.

However, the power of the warlord titan could not be undone. As the imperial forces reached their objectives and decimated the smaller chaos war engines, so did Astralis Invictus reach its enemy, pounding its mighty armoured fist and crushing many astartes under its feet. Land Raiders were tossed into the air by the power of the titan, and despite chapter master Potitus now ordering all available weaponry to fire at the titan, the mighty war engine's void shields flared as they deflected much of the ordnance harmlessly away. Astralis Invictus then looked slowly down at the diminutive figure belowing commands at the imperial forces. With one enormous sweep the giant power fist smashed down, crushing Potitus and his retinue, leaving nothing but a smear of blue and red behind.

The loss of the chapter master stunned the remaining imperial forces, who began to retreat to their landing zone. The imperial warhound - "Warspite" - covered the imperial retreat, but despite damaging the warlord, there was no way the smaller titan could ever hope to win a duel with Astralis Invictus. The faster imperial force managed to outpace the giant lumbering enemy titan however, and much of what was left of the invasion force managed to escape certain death at the hands of the heretic god machine.

The news of the defeat on Hobbiton and the lost of the Sky Lords' chapter master came as a shock to general Percival, and he fully expected the Emerald Serpent to go on to conquer the rest of the system in short order. They had overwhelming forces in space and on the ground, and nothing now stood between the chaos army and taking both Dale and Bree. However, the chaos forces simply remained on Hobbiton. Why Percival did not know, but he used the time to organise a relief force from Konev's army at Hexis, and planned a counter invasion for 020M42.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Massive raid lays waste to Parthenope

While the Imperium were still grinding their way forward on Mordecai Secundus, they were taken somewhat off balance by a massive raid conducted by the Emerald Serpent in early 12.019M42. The raiding force appeared without warning above Parthenop, depositing a large force of chaos marines, and traitor knights and Titan forces between the cities of Centosar and Dalisac. It was obvious that the target was the massive and secret library of Parthenope, which the Emerald Serpent had attacked in force only a year before. That time they only employed a regiment of Darrantine Guard. In 12.109M42 the force was overwhelming, and looked likely to overrun much of the Imperial world.

Fortunately the Imperium had a rapid reaction force at the ready. Just two days later, a massive force of Imperial Guard and the astartes of the Space Wolves chapter arrived to oppose the chaos force, which was now laying seige to the ancient library fortress. On the plains of Parthenope the Imperium felt sure they would crush even this mighty force, as they had the numbers. However, as they began their counter attack to relieve the library, they suddenly realised the Emerald Serpent were not alone.

Having signed a pact to share the knowledge of the Parthenope library, the Emerald Serpent had been joined by the Necron Harakhty Dynasty, and now the two sides were evenly matched. As the armies prepared to do battle on the dusty plains, the outcome was far from certain. The Imperial force immediately called for more assistance, but any reinforcements would take days to arrive. Until then, the guard, Space Wolf, Knight and titan force would need to take the fight to the enemy and break the siege before the forces of chaos breached the fortress' walls.

The Imperium attacked with aggression, but despite disciplined fire from the guard, the chaos terminators remained in their positions on a rise overlooking the battlefield, seemingly impervious to mass firepower, Meanwhile, the mighty Warlord Titan "Astralis Invictus", fighting on the side of the traitors, took a terrible toll on the loyalists, annihilating their Warhound Titan and despatching four knights.

Despite the unwavering faith and bravery of the Space Wolves, who sold their blood dearly, the imperial force was unable to break through the chaos stranglehold on the library. A single Knight Gallant did manage to break through to the Warlord Titan, but was ineffectual, meeting the same fate as his comrades. The Space Wolves made their presence felt, wiping out three daemon princes and crushing the chaos sorceror in the space of scant minutes, and even though the Shard of Magnus the Red was sent back to the warp by none other than Bjorn the Fell-Handed, the Emerald Serpent held the line easily, breaking into the Library of Parthenope and ransacking its contents.

Just days later, as the Imperial reinforcements arrived in the Parthenope system, the chaos force reembarked onto their waiting ships, after also laying waste to the nearest imperial settlements. The Emerald Serpent and the Necrons had what they came for, and the library of Parthenope stood as a lonely cratered ruin amongst the dead of both sides. Why the chaos faction had chosen this moment to launch such as massive raid against the library remained unkown, but now the forces of chaos had secrets and knowledge with which to inflict serious harm on the Imperium.

Genestealer uprising in the Deeps

In 12.019M42 the Alliance suffered dual reverses. At the same time as the system of Hussaria was re-invaded by the Imperium, a massive genestealer uprising on Lucardium in the Perseus Deeps suddenly rocked the Tau Empire. Sensing weakness, the genestealer cults had been planning their overthrow of the tau for many months, but the eldar hoped to head them off.

Having received visions of imminent xenos action, the eldar farseers drew up their forces, intercepting the cults before they had chance to assault the unsuspecting tau. However, the cult was stronger and better equipped than the eldar had anticipated, and the eldar ambush was shrugged off. The Genestealers then went on to attack and take several outlying tau settlements, routing one tau army as they moved ever inward to the central city and spaceport on the small tau colony. The cult of the four wheeled emperor had now been detected on Lucardium, Morecai and at least two other worlds in the Perseus Deeps, and a general uprising was now expected.

Imperium progress on Mordecai

With the chaos fleet vanquished in the Perseus Deeps, and the genestealer threat taken care of in the west, General Kutuzov resumed his main offensive east. The strategic assets that needed to be taken to turn the tide on Mordecai Secundus were the mines and cities, but the city of Festergax Primus and the Abrax mines first required two of the chaos defences to be taken out. First, the mighty Fortres at Abruphus would need to be neutralised, and second, the chaos defences running east to west across Kutuzov's axis of advance, their "red wall" would need to be breached and overcome.

Once again the astartes would be needed against such well defended assets. On the north, Fort Abruphus was attacked by the Hammers of the Emperor, who took the fight to the defenders, facing the Emerald Serpent and Ahriman for the first time in the Moredecai campaign. The Emerald Serpent once again showed that they would leave the Death Guard to do the main fighting, but their sorcerous tower did not prove unassailable, with the loyalist astartes smashing apart the Serpent's army defending the fortress, rendering it useless.

Further south and west the main attack went in, led by the Imperial Fists and the Salamanders. The Fists encountered stiff resistance all along the chaos defences, but with much sacrifice and losses on both sides, Captain Gregor was able to lead his yellow liveried warriors to victory, breaching the chaos wall and moving the Imperial forces forward.

On the west flank, the Salamanders had an easier time, but still had to deal with stubborn Death Guard resistance along the chaos defensive line. However, the defences crumbled from east to west as the news of the loss of Fort Abruphus filtered along the front lines. By 1712.019M42 the way stood open for the Imperium to drive into the northern mining heartlands of the planet, potentially accelerating the process of victory for Kutuzov and the Emperor's loyal followers.

Hussaria re-invaded

Following on from the success at Paradorn, the Imperium was resurgent in the Hadron Expanse, and keen to catch the Alliance on the back foot. Just weeks later, the Imperial fleet returned to the system of Hussaria, now garrisoned by units of Federal Guard.

The Hammers of the Emperor led a frontal assault on the capital Orebro, intending to take the city and rapidly advance to sever the lines of communication of the defenders before the Alliance could react. The assault however encountered much stiffer Federal resistance than was expected, and the battle around and for Orebro raged for days, with both sides taking horrendous casualties. Both sides lost their commanders in the struggle, but eventually the super-human astates warriors secured the city and established a secure perimeter. The Imperium had returned to Hussaria.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Foramen Ignotum collapses

On 1012.019M42 the reason for fighting over Hexis, the necron device powering the Foramen Ignotum, abruptly stopped working. The consequences were immediate, as the stable channel that sliced through the Cicatrix Maledictum collapsed, plunging any vessel in the channel into the madness of the warp. Thousands were killed, as were hundreds more on Hexis, as the ground above the device chamber, where many were working on analysing the energy flux from the device, or stationed nearby to protect the inner city, gave way. The earth shook for many minutes, with a force that was felt in general Konev's HQ. When the shaking stopped, the centre of Praxis had disappeared into rubble, and the energy signatures from the device had shut off completely.

Shock soon turned to recrimination in the Imperial HQ. How had this happened? Who had disabled the very artefact the Imperium had shed so much blood to control? Sadly, General Konev already knew. Days before, an Inquisition party had arrived, bearing orders from Inquisitor Vorushko, to "investigate" the device for the good of mankind. Konev had no choice but to acquiesce to their orders, and while the Grey Knights secured the device chamber, the small party made its way secretly to the device chamber and there, somehow shut down the artefact.

The Inquisition did not explain what or why they had carried out the act, but the collapse of the Foramen, they said, was "necessary" for the good of mankind and the Imperium. The inquisiton then left as quickly as they had arrived, leaving a war torn planet and the inert remains of a now useless alien device, buried under a mile of rock.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Novgorod Guard defeat Genestealers on Mordecai

The constant threat from the xenos on Mordecai could no longer be ignored, so in early 12.019M42 General Kutuzov ordered a general attack in the direction of the last known position of the genestealer cults. The Novgorod regiments formed up and began their movement to the north west, only told that their enemy were "heretic cultists". It did not matter to the rank and file whether the heretics were xenos or chaos worshippers, all needed to be purged, but Kutuzov's senior officers did receive a briefing beforehand from the Ordos Xenos, informing them of the new "cult's" tactics and likely equipment.

The attack fared well, and soon the Novgorod had established a strong perimeter, expanding the bridgehead to the north west and encountering little in the way of organised resistance. There were no chaos forces here, as the rugged foothills of the Mekken plateau were of next to no strategic value. However, the threat to Kutuzov's rear could not be ignored if he was to carry out his main assault on the Abraz complex later in the month, an operation which saw the continued build up of Knight, astartes and Titan forces, waiting for the order to attack.

The Novgorod were counter attacked less than a week into the operation, as bikers and other irregular forces once again careened into the imperial lines. The guard however continued their disciplined advance, overmatching their enemy in firepower and proving implacable in their advance. By 1212.019M42 much of the northern plains for over 200km north of Kutuzov's HQ had been cleared of the xenos threat, allowing the imperial general to plan his new phase of operations against his main foe.

Hexis: skirmishes continue

Despite the victories for the Imperium across Hexis, and the securing of the Device chamber, skirmishes between multiple factions continued in the narrow corridors and tunnels beneath the cities of Praxis and Menthoteph. Several skirmishes in the ruined cities saw the dark eldar, or Drukhari enter the fray, as the lure of battle and the varied specimens available for capture to sell on in the slave markets of Commoragh proved too much of a temptation.

The Drukhari raids were moderately successful, and the Mechanicum forces found themselves assailed by Xenos attack, while the tyranids of hive fleet R'lyeh also found themselves mere sport for the debased aliens. This stirring of the tunnels under Praxis caused the loss of several sections of the city under investigation by the Adeptus Mechanicus, as the tyranids began to infest more of the ruins. This however was of little concern to General Konev. As far as he could see the main war on Hexis was all but over, and the enemy would surely be crushed by new reinforcements setting off from Macragge.

Fleet battles at Mordecai

After the success of Admiral Stark in defeating the Emerald Serpent the imperial fleet knew the threat from the chaos fleet remained very real. Since the Mordecai invasion had begun, it had become clear that the Emerald Serpent fleet had grown hugely, and that it now posed a significant ongoing threat. To counter this, Admiral Gorshkov's fleet was added to the Mordecai expedition, stripping the Foramen of some of its defences, but the overall fleet commander felt the risks worthwuhile.

Gorshkov's fleet first encountered their chaos opponents in earlt 12.019M42 with a series of engagements. First, two battlegroups both heavy in attack craft and carriers met each other in the outer reaches. The engagement lasted for several hours, with huges battles in the space between the two fleets between the respective attack craft air wings, but the battle itself was indecisive. Both sides lost one of their carriers, but neither side was able to inflict serious damage on the other.

The tone of the battle changed in the second week of 12.019M42 as Gorshkov investigated anomalous energy readings from beyond the comet cloud of the system. Thinking this was the Emerald Serpent bringing in reinforcements the admiral was shocked to find a chaos battlegroup containing a terrifying capital vessel. Somehow the Emerald Serpent had managed to lay their hands on or build a "planet killer" class vessel, similar to the Gotterdamerung in Thok's fleet, and now the enormous juggernaut was bearing down on Gorshkov's vessels.

Gorshkov was not about to face this monster vessel, and he quickly turned his fleet around. In the process he managed to hulk a devastation class cruiser, but the initial engagement or "run to the south" was effectively and inconclusive affair. However, Gorshkov quickly surmised that the slower planet killer would not be able to pursue his fleeing ships, but that the chaos fleet would be unable to resist taking the bait and engage in a stern chase.

Predictably the chaos vessels obliged, and close to Mordecai Tersius Gorshkov turned about, facing an enemy fleet on now much more favourable terms. In this second engagement the imperial fleet scored a significant victory as the Emerald Serpent walked into Gorshkov's trap. Five chaos capital vessels were lost, including a despoiler class battleship. Gorshkov had secured yet another glorious victory for the Imperium, but it now seemed likely that the chaos forces could make good their losses. For now the fleet action at Mordecai had decisively given the Imperium the initiative, in space and on the ground.

Death Guard fail to force Iron Warriors hand

Since the Imperial “Operation Thunderbolt” in 07.019M42 the forces of Warsmith Stahl had disappeared. Returning to their fortress worlds Warsmith Lycurgus Stahl has ignored all requests for aide from Chaos forces, even other Iron Warrior warbands.

“Let them suffer and wallow in their manifold failures, I shall have no part in it” was rumoured to be Stahl words upon quitting Mordecai.

Most of the rival warbands were satisfied to be rid of the unpredictable Warsmith, who was often as likely to attack his allies in “punishment” for perceived failures as take the war to the Imperium.

Not all were willing to accept this state of affairs however.

The Death Guard had been facing the brunt of the fighting against the Imperium since the 144th’s absence, and had suffered the brunt of the casualties. Unwilling to tolerate Stahl’s arrogance, or his hoarding of resources that could go towards the war effort, the Death Guard sent a parley force to the Iron Warriors fortress on 0712.019M42.

Deploying a show of force the the Death Guard demanded the Iron Warriors “do their part” or face the consequences. The Iron Warriors made clear their opinions of the Death Guard threat by immediately opening fire with all guns available, destroying half their Plagueburst Crawlers, damaging the rest and slaughtering their Poxwalkers.

The Death Guard rallied quickly and advanced on the Iron Warriors, cutting down the forward squad with an aim to encircle the main force. Slave Workers of the Iron Warriors were forced forward as the heavy weapons of Havoc squads lay down constant hail of Chaincannon and Lascannon fire, shredding infantry and armour alike. Worse for the Death Guard, the Iron Warriors had voxed command and Stahl had personally responded with a cohort Obliterators and Terminator bodyguards, who destroyed all on the flank and were then bearing down of the Emissary of the Death guard.

The Death Guard were resilient, reinforcing their own position with Blightlords, they slaughtered yet more Iron Warriors and the remaining Foetid Bloat Drones showed supernatural resilience beyond insanity.

Yet, for all this, for mounting casualties, the Iron Warriors simply reloaded, herded their cannon fodder forward, while chanting Iron Within! Iron Without!. The Death Guard Emissary tried to rescue the situation and cut down several Iron Warrior Terminators trying to get to Stahl; Stahl in return ruthlessly cut him down along with his bodyguards.

The Death Guard were spent, and retreated with the dead and dying they could retrieve.
Rumours are abound in the forces of Chaos that this action by Death Guard has roused Stahl and his warriors from their solitude. Whether they come to attack the hated Imperium, the Xenos, or the forces of Chaos themselves for the temerity of approaching Stahl, remains to be seen.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Imperium suffers reverse at Mordecai

On Mordecai, General Kutuzov continued to use astartes forces as shock troops as he sought to break the chaos lines towards the strategically vital Abrax mines. In late 11.019M42 the Hammers of the Emperor launched a new offensive into the territory defended by the Death Guard "Host of Eschar", aiming to break through the chaos lines in order for Novgorod and Lycaon armoured columns to execute a strategic breakthrough.

The initial advance saw the Hammers take up strong positions overlooking the Death Guard, and the astartes poured fire into their enemy as the shambling horde of poxwalkers heralded the approach of the main nurgle force. At first, the astartes held their own and appeared to be inflicting a greater cost on the enemy as the Host of Eschar counter attacked the imperial positions.

The nurgle forces had actually taken the astartes by surprised with the ferocity of their attack, and their employment of a despoiler class knight proved to be a difficult opponent for the space marine force. Precious time was lost taking down the war engine, allowing the traitor astartes to close, and crucially ensuring the Hammers of the Emperor were unable to put sufficient fire into the nurgle war engines. This would prove costly.

As the battle progressed the nurgle force started taking losses, but the war of attrition was being won by the Death Guard. Astartes were gradually taken down by incessant fire from the enemy plagueburst crawlers, and the constant rain of pox riddled biological artillery drove even the space marines to despair. A lord of Contagion appeared in the rear of the astartes positions, and managed to fend off an entire squad of astartes while in the centre, despite taking down the leaders of Death Guard advance, the artillery kept on coming, and eventually the Hammers had nothing with which to respond.

The defeat of the Hammers of the Emperor then caused a general counter attack to develop along Kutuzov's eastern flank, and by 2911.019M42 the imperial general found himself on the back foot, having lost nearly 100 miles of territory in two weeks to a resurgent enemy force. The imperium still held the strategic system advantage, but the war on Mordecai Secundus was effectively stalled.

Genestealer cults in heavy fighting on Hexis

Of late the atmosphere within Kel Sandros' ruling council had become fractious, even by Aeldari standards. The T'au Empire had failed to capitalise on the advantages bought for them in Aeldari blood and a resurgent Imperium pushed back at the many threats that assailed it. Some argued that a change in the Craftworld's fundamental strategy was needed, that the end times and the Rhana Dandra were almost at hand and that no time remained in which to bring about the destruction of mankind and thus save the material universe from inevitable consumption by the warp.

Beneath crystal domes unlit by the light of any star seers consulted their runes and attempted to divine a stable path through the roiling tumult of future threads. To their frustration they obtained only brief and contradictory flashes of the future. An Imperial Inquisitor, sworn enemy of their people who might by necessity be friend, the Craftworld's dead united in a silent chorus and a fierce warrior promising salvation that danced with balletic grace amidst fire and destruction. But all these threads terminated in blackness, as if an impenetrable shadow cloaked all possible futures.

Tarquil feared what this might mean, fears only heightened by the reports reaching him from scouts and agents throughout the Aleph subsector warning of the rise of alien worshipping cults and a fresh Tyranid menace on the planet of Hexis. More information was needed, and if the gaze of Kel Sandros' seers was blinded it would have to be obtained by more mundane means.

Attempts to establish new webway portals on Hexis had been thwarted by the very Tyranid menace they sought to investigate, as if it understood it was being observed and moved to oppose the Eldar. Compelled by dire necessity a task force deployed out of the existing webway portals, now deep inside chaos territory, and made its way through the ever shifting ebb of war under cover of darkness and psychic cloaking, guided by the eyes of its scouts and the precognition of its seers.

On reaching the barren wastelands of the Tyranid infested zone the Eldar began hunting for suitable genetic samples, only to realise that they were the ones being hunted. Warbands of corrupted humans ambushed them from the rocky terrain,staging hit and run attacks on foot or on crude dirt bikes before retreating back to the shadows. The Eldar countered with rapid manoeuvre and focused aggression, surrounding and annihilating groups of attackers that over extended.

The fighting was close but the Eldar were unable to secure dominance over the area of engagement as further attacks materialised from areas they had only just secured. Unsure of the strength of the foe they faced and unwilling to risk attracting the attention of Imperial and Chaos forces that periodically surveilled every inch of the planet the war host was forced to withdraw.

Their efforts had not been entirely been in vain. The corrupted humans had been positively identified as Genestealer hybrids, their forms grotesquely mutated with extra arms and elongated muzzles. The Eldar had even secured a slain Patriarch for genetic testing. But they had failed to gain a proper assessment of the strength and intentions of the Tyranid threat, or to establish new permanent webway portals within the Tyranid infected zones.

Palantir secured for imperium

The end of the Alliance campaign against Palantir came in late 11.019M42, with a surprise attack from the Grey Knights. The tau force defending the last major space port open to alliance forces were savagely attacked by the astartes, in a move which caught the xenos entirely unprepared. Not expecting an assault from yet another faction of humanities finest, the tau forces were outmatched and overrun, while the Kel Sandros Aledari, fighting the alien genestealers on Hexis, did not have the military resources to be in two places at once.

The defeat of the tau on Dale left the small Federal alliance force stranded on the world, so the federal air force led a daring rescue mission to retrieve their compatriots from the surface. Using a light cruiser to approach the world, squadrons of Thunderbolts loyal to the "one true King Leto of Cerberex", broke through the atmosphere to escort the transports sent in to execute their mission. They were met in combat by the Librian XXVIII air wing, a "loyal" faction if the now federal system, but this did not appear to cause any confusion in the air. The loyalists fought the sepratists hard, but the federal air force's firing accuracy and weapon potency was superior, leading to a crushing victory for the alliance and the rescue of their military agents. Palanti however, was back in the hands of the Imperium.

Grey Knights take device room on Hexis

While the fighting above ground continued, the underground fighting in the tunnels of Praxis saw no let up in 11.019M42. These battles, in tight corridors and conducted by elite forces on both sides, the Heretek mechanicum battled the Grey Knights for control of the device room. In order to prevent the orks from funnelling into the device chamber, the imperial navy conducted raids against the ork positions in the southern regions of the ruins of Praxis, led for the first time by fighters loyal to the "one true king Boris" of Cerberex, deposed and exiled following the fall of Cerberex to the Federacy in 008M42.

The air raids against the orks successfully distracted the grenskins, defeating the ork air force and impeding their ability to intervene as the Grey Knights took the vital objectives under the city chamber by chamber from the Dark Mechanicum. Eventually, after bitter fighting, the Grey Knights secured the device room on 2411.019M42 although the keenly psychic astartes were unable themselves to enter the chamber. After the entrance was secured for the Imperium, the loyalist mechanicum were able to reach the device, and change its polarity. The Foramen Ignotum shifted, stranding several chaos transports in the madness of the Cicatrix Maledictum, and a passageway once again opened between Hexis and the Imperial bastion at Maccragge

Friday, November 22, 2019

Genestealers seen off by Astartes

Having defeated chaos on the plains of Hexis, the Imperium were still coming under regular attack from genestealer and tyranid forces, and much of north east Praxis was still under the control of the Xenos, meaning that functionally Konev's armies were split in two. The main contingent based out of north Praxis, was still separated from the Imperial armies in Menthoteph and the southern plains by an area controlled by cults and the emerging tyranid threat.

To rectify this, the Hammers of the Emperor moved in force against the Genestealer irregular forces holding the region of Grathos, separating the two imperial fronts. The Hammers moved in armoured columns into the ruins of Grathos, and were immediately attacked by organised resistance from the Xenos cultists. Savage close quarter fighting ensued, but the stalwart defence of their positions by the astartes ensured that as 11.019M42 came to the end the Imperium had reconnected their supply lines, holding open a narrow corridor between north and south.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Cult of the four wheeled emperor named

In late 11.019M42 the emergence of the genestealer cult on Mordecai Secundus began to have a significant impact on both sides involved in the ground campaign. The genestealer cults were up until this point believed to be a minor annoyance, poked out of hiding by the arrival of the Imperium, but on 1911.019M42 an organised band appeared out of the wastelands and attack the Death Guard near to the front lines on the western slopes of the Mekken plateau. The fighting was intense, and before the highly mobile xenos forces withdrew, they had badly mauled the Death Guard defenders.

Although this latest action resulted in a victory over chaos forces, Kutuzov spent no time rejoicing. These were not new allies, but a second force he now had to contend with, as well as evidence of an existential threat to the Imperium in the sector. Information was now badly needed. How prevalent was this "cult of the four wheeled emperor", and how long had it lain dormant in the squalid settlements and dilapidated factories of the Death Guard dominated planet? Was this a sign of a new rising tyranid threat in the region?

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Admiral Stark chases down chaos fleet

If general Kutuzov was finding the going hard on the ground in the Mordecai campaign, one imperial commander who was enjoying unparalleled success was admiral Stark. Not content with his overwhelming victory against the Emerald Serpent and its allies, the aggressive admiral, clearly with an eye on promotion to overall commander of the Aleph Sector fleet, launched a pursuit action against the remnants of the chaos fleet.

Gathering up whatever intact ships he could, the imperial admiral set about finding the badly damaged chaos fleet, eventually bringing a smaller division to battle on 1711.019M42. The action that followed led to the loss of two more chaos capital ships, both devastation class, but Stark was unable to gain a second decisive victory, and lost six of his viper class escorts in the second action. Although the imperial fleet now dominated the system, Stark decided not to push his luck any further for the time being, as his fleet was now badly lacking in ammunition and barely had enough escorts to guard his flank and rear from a surprise assault from the ships that still lay under the guns of the mighty Mordecai fortress.

Death Guard in heavy fighting

The heavy fighting continued on Mordecai Secundus throughout 11.019M42 as it became obvious to Kutuzov that the invasion of the smaller remaining chaos world was still going to be a tough challenge. Several weeks into the campaign, the Imperial army had still not taken Festergax Primus, the Abrax mines or fort Abruphus, all targets for the first week of the invasion. Ever since landing the chaos forces, in particular the Death Guard forces, had put up stubborn and unyielding resistance, and their defences were far stronger than had been hoped.

The astartes were once again looked upon to provide the shock troops to break the enemy lines, with the Ashen Sons and the Grey Knights conducting surprise assaults on the chaos positions. The Grey Knights achieved their objectives, smashing apart a plague marine cohort and its support units and managing to further expand the Imperial bridgehead north and east of the landing zone.

Further south, the Ashen Sons were less successful. In an operation intended to break open the Death Guard defences protecting the Abrax mines, the astartes chapter faced heavy resistance from the traitor legion. and the attack at first stalled, then was driven back by superior forces. The Ashen Sons were badly mauled in the encounter and the Imperium had gained no strategic advantage. As 12.019M42 approached, senior commanders began to wonder whether the campaign on Mordecai Secundus was going to turn into another long drawn out affair.

Heavy fighting at Palantir

The war in the Hadron Expanse outside of the Lysis system raged on in 11.019M42, with General Percival's army finally getting the upper hand against the alliance forces. First, new Novgorod forces were deployed to the system, and immediately made an impact, devastating the Tau forces on Bree, and securing the planet's spaceport and defences for the Imperium once more. The increased Imperial Guard presence in the system allowed the Hammers of the Emperor to take up a more reactive position, never staying still long enough for the Tau forces to bring them to battle. This paid dividends at first, and the astartes began plans to attack Dale, the last alliance held world. However they were about to fall into a trap.

As soon as the space marines made landfall on Dale, they did not find the tau waiting for them. Instead they were ambushed by the Kel Sandros eldar, whose intervention for a second time showed their resolution to the alliance cause. In previous engagements, the astartes had brushed aside the xenos raiders, but this time the aeldari attacked with precision and ferocity. The landing force was soon on the defensive, and several squads of the Hammers of the Emperor were wiped out as the Imperium frantically raced to re-embark their invasion force. Dale remained in the hands of the alliance, and the ever changing fortunes of both sides at Palantir continued to frustrate either side's attempts to bring the campaign to a conclusion.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Genestealers uncovered on Mordecai

The Grey Knights had kept their knowledge of the genestealer presence to themselves and the inquisition. However the xenos infestation became more widely known amongst Kutuzov’s army when on 1211.019M42 a cultist force came into contact with Lycannon forces on the west of the imperial sector.

The battle developed immediately as the loyalist forces assumed the irregular army they were facing was part of the chaos pantheon. Only later, after the battle had been won, did the imperial guard realise they were facing something different. The information was passed back to Kutuzov who contacted his superiors for guidance. The Grey Knights did not reveal they already knew of the Tyranid threat.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Mordecai Secundus 1211_019M42

Intercepted message from Mordecai Secundus

+++Incoming Transmission++++
+++++Ident Confirmed ++++
++++Agent Cynack+++++
+++++Mordecai Secundus +++++++

Great and Benevolent Lord Inquisitor Hathek.
As per my most sacred duties that you have bequeathed to me, I have maintained vigil over the operations upon that most BLASPHEMOUS of places Mordecai Secundus.

Primary operations are covered in the main reports submitted to your most holy office, however, I wish to appraise you of an unusual development outside of expected operations.

On 0911.019M42 picket stations around Mordecai Secundus received a transmission from incoming Astartes vessels demanding they move aside and clear area x-3549431 y-68461 planet side. While the ident codes were valid and fully up to date neither the Chapter nor the vessel data pulsed identification. The picket vessels allowed the Astartes Strike Cruiser to pass after said vessel began firing warning shots at the picket vessels! An aside sire: I naturally I have had the crews of the offending picket vessels flagellated and mind scrubbed for Arco implantation for such gross laxity in duties! Rules are rules as the God-Emperor decreed!

Aerial shots and Pict Servos captured the Astartes in question, well that is to say tried when the when the Astartes in question did not shoot at them to avoid identification. The Astartes were in crossed Magenta and Teal livery. The coordinates in question placed them in range of the Death Guard traitors under the local command of a Heretic Astartes known only as the “Bloat-Bringer”.

From pict captures, the Astartes were clearly targeting the traitor leaders carrying significant sniper arsenal.BIt appears that the Astartes successfully encircled the Death Guard and were exterminating the commanders, killing the “Bloat-Bringer” with 3 placed sniper shots through the skull, ending the blasphemous creatures miserable existence.

Low drop Interceptors (that shot another pict skull during drop!) completed the encirclement of Death Guard forces. However, whoever had taken command in the wake of the Bloat Bingers death was far more capable than that creature, using the Death Guard armour to physically block the kill box and advance of the mysterious Primaris Astartes.

Once the mobility and misdirection of the Primaris was curtailed, the resilience of the Death Guard prevented the creation of the kill box that the Primaris were attempting, who were in turn pushed back by the traitors.

As casualties mounted the Primaris Astartes retreated, leaving the battlefield to the Death Guard, but not before bombarding the site from strike cruiser.

Sire the bombardment was odd as it appeared they were targeting areas of their own fallen rather than bombarding the Death Guard directly. Furthermore, the Death Guard, rather than being hurled into confusion by the loss of their commanders have become bolder, seemingly led by a far more aggressive and competent creature than the Bloat-Bringer. What this means for the overall campaign is unknown. My Lord Inquisitor I am concerned for what these Astartes intend

Your most humble servant
Thought: Victory needs no explanation; Defeat allows none.

++++++++++++++++Message ends++++++++++++++++++

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Emerald Serpent fail to halt imperial advance

With the Emerald Serpent Forces now pinned in place by the Hammers of the Emperor to their east, and the Lycannon Guard nearing down on them from the north west, the chaos forces loyal to Magnus the Red needed to act quickly in order save themselves from being surrounded on the plains of northern Mordecai Secundus.

The Emerald Serpent chose to attack rather than withdraw, which turned out to be a costly error. Their forces found the Lycannon and house Eagleclaw to be both numerous and well equipped, and the battle of the north plains was ultimately a solid victory for the imperium. With the Emerald Serpent defeated, Kutuzov’s army was able to establish a new front line that outflanked the chaos defences, while more than doubling his zone of control on the planet. Now the imperial general began his plans to move south towards the strategically significant locations on the world.

Mordecai Secundus: Astartes secure flanks

While the Lycannon Guard and the knights pushed west, the job of the astartes was to pin the main line defenders near to the beachhead so they were unable to respond to the main assault. To further sow confusion in the chaos lines, the space marines took on this task. This suggested that the outflanking manoeuvre by the guard was merely a diversion, as the chaos defenders would be expecting the space marines to lead the main assault.

The Hammers of the Emperor launched such an aggressive attack against the chaos defenders that they were totally fooled. In addition, the attack itself gained significant ground against their enemy, but the space marines were careful to maximise the destruction of enemy forces over the taking of territory. The Death Guard defenders were severely battered, but the Hammers also made sure that the chaos forces had no opportunity to regroup, while making sure they did not leave the range of their air and artillery cover. Overall the marines executed their task to perfection, and now the elite forces of the Emerald Serpent would face the imperial attack alone.

Lycannon and House Eagleclaw move westward

With the space around Mordecai Secundus firmly under imperial control general Kutuzov’s army no longer had to worry about interference from space, and the newly landed Lycannon Guard and the knights of house Eagleclaw began their advance.

Rather than tackle the heavily defended chaos lines to the south and east, Kutuzov ordered his army to move westward then south, in order to encircle the Emerald Serpent forces imperial intelligence suggested were deployed on the heights to the south west. If the Emerald Serpent could be dealt an early blow, the cohesion of the chaos defence may be compromised. In any event, a move west and south would greatly expand the area of Kutuzov’s control and firmly establish the invasion.

The first forces to contest the combined imperial force were Death Guard, but these were swept aside by the ferocity of the Lycannon attack and the overwhelming firepower of house Eagleclaw. However, as the imperial army pivoted south resistance became stiffer, as nurgle forces known as the Host of Eschar put up a solid defence which saw the Lycannon bog down. Suffering heavy casualties, the imperial guard were forced to rely on the heavy firepower of their knight support, but even these suffered casualties at the hands of a dogged defence. Only the Dominus class knight, an asset the Death Guard could not match in terms of firepower, saves the imperial advance. The failure of the nurgle forces to deal with this mighty war engine ensured the chaos defences were eventually cracked open, and by 1011.019M42 the chaos defenders north west of Kutuzov’s Landing zone were in danger of being encircled.

Fleet action over Mordecai Secundus

From the start of the invasion of Mordecai Secundus the chaos fleet had not interfered with the steady build up of troops on the innermost world of the system. This changed at the beginning of 11.019M42 as the forces of chaos masses a full three battlegroups, detecting that the imperial fleet at Mordecai was significantly weaker and could result in a major victory for the traitors. However, as the ranks of chaos capital ships made their way in system, their approach was detected, and from the other side of the system the Dark Angels fleet suddenly appeared.

This had always been admiral Stark’s plan. He knew that if he maintained obvious parity in strength to the chaos fleet they would not dare to leave the safety of their formidable space docks. Stark wanted to bring the chaos fleet to battle, so hatched a plot with the Dark Angels to feign weakness. Then when the chaos fleet were committed to the attack, the astartes fleet would spring the trap.

The imperial plan worked almost perfectly. Above Mordecai Secundus a furious fleet battle developed and the imperial fleet under Stark was characteristically aggressive. This led to some losses on the imperial side, with several escorts destroyed and two capital ships reduced to hulks. However, the chaos fleet was badly mauled, losing six capital class vessels, with most of them exploding catastrophically, irreparably damaging the traitor forces’ ability to contest the Mordecai invasion. The remaining chaos vessels limped back to the Mordecai docks, safe once again under the cover of the vast fixed fortress defences. However, Stark had won a crushing victory, which tipped the balance of the ground campaign well into the favour of the loyalist forces.

Chaos losses 
1 Despoiler class battleship
1 Styx class heavy cruiser
1 Hades class heavy cruiser
1 Devastation class cruiser
1 Murder class cruiser
1 Slaughter class cruiser

Imperial losses
1 dominator class cruiser
1 dauntless class light cruiser
Several escorts

Hexis: Tunnel fighting continues

As violent battles raged across the surface of Hexis, vicious fighting continued in the tunnels beneath. The Ashen Sons chapter of astartes, helped by the Adeptus Mechanicus had penetrated deep into the tunnel complex, moving around to the east and south of the chaos positions. The Mechanicum launched their attack on the device room first, and were able to briefly clear the way to the chamber itself, despite the frenzied defence of Orks, who were still active on Hexis as part of the "chaos pact".

The Ashen Sons were following up in order to secure the device chamber itself, but the green tide kept coming, flooding the chambers with orks and overwhelming the astartes in the close confines of the underground caverns. The imperium had come agonisingly close to retaking the device room, but had been held off, for now.

Further east, the Aeldari had returned to Hexis in order to secure a second webway portal on the planet, now that the original one had been overrun by Imperial forces. The Kel Sandros eldar wished the second portal to be somewhere anonymous, so began to scout out various potential locations. However on one of these scouting missions ran headlong into the Xenos of Hive fleet R'lyeh and were quickly driven off, suffering a number of casualties. For the time being efforts to establish another portal on Hexis were abandoned.

Chaos titans crushed by overwhelming force on Hexis

In early 11.019M42 the chaos forces finally responded in strength on Hexis, launching a massive counter attack in the south led for the first time by an entire traitor titan legion. Fielding a mighty Warlord class as well as several smaller titans, Konev's army was expected to buckle then collapse in the south, having been severely disrupted by the awakening of Hive Fleet R'Lyeh just weeks before. Konev however had spies, and he had known for some time that the chaos forces intended to unleash a full titan legion against him.

To counter the attack, Konev placed his own titan legion - Legio Dominus, to the south of his lines, waiting in ambush for the chaos assault to begin. When it did, his main line would fall back, while the titans punched north west, encircling the chaos attack. Once this move had been completed, a combined force of Imperial Guard, Knights and astartes was held in reserve to move forward and rush the titan attack.

The entire plan worked perfectly for Konev. In the south, Legio Dominus launched a very successful counter attack against the traitor legion, severely damaging or destroying several chaos engines for loss of none of their own. Meanwhile the central forces fell back, giving ground before the Warlord, a reaver and two warhounds came up against the Imperium's main defensive line. Initially the firepower of the titans wrought havoc amongst the imperial lines, destroying several knights and tanks with single volleys from their awesome weaponry, but these were acceptable casualties. As Konev's own titans swept around the chaos attack's rear, the Grey Knights dropped from orbit, engaging the enemy war machines at point blank range. At the same time, a new force of "irregulars" joined in the attack, launching their own highly mobile squads of bikers and infantry against the titans.

The irregular forces were in fact the genestealer cult that had risen in worship of their good "R'Lyeh", and were part of the tyranid menace that had overwhelmed Konev in the north. However this was all part of Konev's plan. In his initial retreat, the imperial general had deliberately retreated into locations he knew were sites of genestealer cult infestation, and he made it clear to his own forces that they should not engage the xenos worshippers. Now, as the cult released their purestrain monsters on the enemy titans, his wisdom became clear. The warlord was brought low by the combined efforts of the Grey Knights and the xenos cult, while the hive mind itself overwhelmed the Warlord's mind impulse units, causing the war engine to flail around and shoot its own brethren in its death throes. This aided in the destruction of the Reaver, and having lost one warhound early on to the entirety of Konev's battle line, the remaining Warhound fled the field.

Very few of the chaos titans escaped the battle, and on 0911.019M42 the chaos line shattered, and in the plains of the south Konev's army ruthlessly pursued their enemy, surrounding the remnants of the chaos forces on Hexis who now sheltered in the ruins of Praxis around the device chamber. This was a great victory for Konev, but the forces of chaos still held the device chamber, and the tyranid threat on the planet remained.

Grey Knights raid Mordecai Secundus

In order to support Kutuzov's new invasion of Mordecai Secundus the Grey Knights posted a company to aid in the overall expedition. The astartes were particularly interested in the daemonic forces aiding the traitor world's defence, and reports of a highly mobile force of light infantry or even cavalry on the plains to the north of Kutuzov's landing zone drew the attention of these elite inquisition forces. Such fast and mobile forces were out of character for the chiefly nurgle defenders of the world, and the Grey Knights wondered if the denizens of Slaanesh had joined the cause.
The space marine forces dropped directly from orbit on the last known coordinates of these last forces, and were soon attacked not by daemonettes, but by irregular forces largely mounted on bikes and buggies. This was unexpected, but the Knights dealt with them just the same, crashing into their enemy and utterly annihilating them. After the engagement, samples and corpses of the dead were taken back to the Imperial base of operations, where they were passed to the Ordo Xenos. After a few hours of testing, it was confirmed that this was indeed a genestealer cult, with a genome similar to that of Nemesis, but which also had evidence of interbreeding with the R'lyeh tyranids of Hexis. The information was kept from Kutuzov, who was simply informed that a new "chaos cult" had been discovered as part of the pantheon on Mordecai. Meanwhile, the Ordo Xenos were contacted and requested to send a new inquisitor, since Lord Huron had disappeared.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Mordecai Secundus - Current Positions

Setbacks at Mordecai Secundus

The invasion of Mordecai Secundus had so far gone to plan from the Imperial point of view, and general Kutuzov was able to add to that success as the Grey Knights joined in, dropping and destroying enemy positions in the hills to the south west of the imperial landing zones. Cybbix had been massing forces here, and the disruption of the heretek's plans were critical in ensuring the safety of the landing zone. Kutuzov now had a secure base of operations and a perimeter large enough to prevent enemy artillery or raiding incursions. The build up of Imperial Guard forces now began in earnest, as well as the landing of several knight houses.
The next phase of operations saw the Imperial Fists launch an attack south towards the mines, which were still on Kutuzov's list of objectives to be taken within a month of the initial landing. However, although the Imperial fists scored some remarkable early successes agains the Death Guard, the imperial assault quickly found itself in difficulty. Crucial shots were missed, and the Death Guard were able to close to the range they preferred to operate at. The battlefield then became extremely bloody, and the Imperial Fists tried as best they could to hold onto their gains, but by 0511.019M42 the astartes had been repulsed from the chaos lines. It now became clear that the chaos commander on Mordecai Secundus was constructing several defensive lines and entrenchments, around the southern portion of the Imperial landing area. The enemy did not have the power to force the Imperium off the planet, but they had now made any prospect of quick progress by the Imperium an unlikely scenario. The war of attrition had begun.

Escalation At Palantir

The fighting in the Palantir system between the Alliance and the Imperium escalated in late 10.019M42, as both sides committed extra forces to the campaign. The Imperium, now under the direct command of General Percival, who had been admonished for his lak of action, recieved reinforcements in the shape of a Cadian regiment, in order to aid the Hammers of the Emperor, who were able to strike at Alliance targets, but unable to hold territory. Time and again the alliance had simply walked back in after suffering a defeat at the astartes hands.
On the alliance side, the small Tau expeditionary force was joined for the first time by the Kel Sandros eldar. Having realised that indirectly aiding the tau was not yielding results, the Aeldari now committed their forces in strength in order to bolster the tau forces. The Knight house loyal to the Federacy continued to garrison Dale and secure Alliance rule, at which time the Imperium chose to strike in force, at Hobbiton.
The invasion of Hobbiton was led by the Imperial Guard. Knowing the Tau forces were relatively small the battle for the capital of the world - the only settlement of real significance, was a finely balanced affair. The tau defended effectively, but were unable to stop the larger Guard force from overunning their positions and taking the city and spaceport, also known as "Hobbiton". Just as the Imperium were securing their newly won ground however, the eldar attacked, moving in from the north of the city where it was believed a webway portal was hidden. The Imperium had been waiting for this, and immediately the Hammers of the Emperor reacted as Percival had intended.
The battle between the astartes and the Kel Sandros was bloody and intense, but early on the Hammers of the Emperor established battlefield dominance and used their high mobility to good effect. The eldar fought furiously but were unable to break through the imperial cordon and so could not prevent the Imperial takeover of the world. Now the Alliance were back down to controlling only one of the three worlds in the Palantir system.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Bitter fighting in the tunnels under Hexis

With the chaos base on Hexis now in ruins, the Imperial forces on the planet now focussed their attention on the main objective, namely to capture the device room from chaos forces in the heavily fortified tunnel system underneath Praxis. This was no easy undertaking, and small teams of elite forces were needed to clear rooms and corridors one by one, and to force their chaos enemies out of the maze of passages and chambers that covered an area the size of a large city.
The Grey Knights had already cleared many of the tunnels under north Praxis, and now small teams of these elite astartes pushed deeper, soon encountering a robust response from the Death Guard. The nurgle devotees held off the imperial force for quite some time, as they used hideous poxwalkers to block tunnels and hold shut doors. Eventually however the Grey Knights were able to bring their formidable psychic powers to bear, even in the close proximity of the necron device. The Grey Knights suffered no casualties, and were able to force back the enemy to within a few kilometres of the device chamber, although this still meant more hard fighting ahead.
As the Grey Knights struggled with Death Guard forces, the Imperial Fists sent their own teams into the warren. First they encountered traitor mechanicum troops, specially skilled at tunnel fighting. However the Fists dealt with this initial encounter with relative ease. The Death Guard were a different proposition however, and the loyalist astartes had tremendous problems dealing with a security lock down in the underground chambers, meaning they were unable to gain easy access to several chambers. This allowed the Death Guard to outflank and compromise their positions, and the imperial force had to withdraw.
To the east of the device chamber the Sky Lords also encountered traitor mechanicum forces, but were able to use their overwhelming firepower to blast apart their enemies in the narrow underground passageways. The Mechanicum did manage to engage the Sky Lords' squad leader in combat, but the veteran astartes finished them off with his chainsword. By 0511.019M42 the imperial underground front line was within mere metres of the device chamber, but were still unable to launch a final assault.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Paradorn shrouded by Aeldari

The Empress of Quartz was frustrated. Despite growing the Sisters of Quartz to a more well-rounded size, training a fleet of vehicles and promoting another Shadowseer, the Princess of Quartz, to their ranks, they seemed to be struck down far too quickly by any enemy they faced. However, she refused to give up, and when an opportunity arose to attempt a takeover of the Chaos-controlled region on Paradorn, the Sisters volunteered.

A battalion of Emerald Serpent was the remaining force on the planet, and they were out collecting airdrops of supplies when the Eldar attacked. The battle that followed was a bitter fight for both these supplies and for blood, with every kill the Sisters made being swiftly retaliated by the overwhelming psychic capabilities of the Chaos foe. However, in the battle of wills the Eldar reigned supreme, as every woman pressed on despite their Troupe members falling around them; intimidated by this unrelenting advance and unpredictable nature of battle style, several Chaos guardsmen fled for their lives rather than facing the laughing faces of death that approached them. 

Those Emerald Serpent that did remain, however, once again seemed to take an advantage as they kept up with the pace of the Harlequins, dodging waves upon waves of close-combat attacks that to the Sisters were normally the difference between winning and losing a battle. As the Chaos forces prepared a final barrage of psychic power, however, the Empress and Princess began to show off their own abilities, denying several attacks and retaliating with their own. Whilst the Empress was then seriously wounded, the remaining handful of Sisters stayed determined and the desperation of such a close battle caused them to become refined. Suddenly they could dodge better, dance better, and most importantly hit better. In one final push they claimed both the supplies and the victory, the remaining Chaos succumbing or surrendering, allowing the Eldar to not only take the base, but shroud the planet, and the Paradorn system entirely.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Intercepted message from Dnatha Prime

+++Incoming Transmission++++
+++++Ident Confirmed ++++
++++Agent Mathious +++++

Lord Inquisitor Hathek.

I come with ill news. The recent pacification of Dnatha has been completed however it’s stabilisations of system has been Jeopardised. As per Amalthian practice set by yourself, the Ecclisiarchy had set to strengthen its hold over the planet. The Hammers of the Emperor, having agreeable religious doctrine to the Ecclesiarchy had been called to aide in the task of ensuring stable religious observance, as per your orders and had committed a small task force to the cause headed by a Captain Kask, a fanatical, if obstinate Captain. 

On 1910.019M42 an urgent transmission from Captain Kask was received, though heavily garbled with interference. Kask was calling for emergency reinforcements after coming under heavy fire.

By the time local PDF reinforcements could arrive, the Hammers were wiped out. No initial trace of which hostiles engaged the Hammers were found, no bodies, though there was plenty of evidence to show there were casualties on the attackers.
Logis Investigatari report the enemy had lured the Captain and his command staff into what my attached Militarum describe as a “kill box”, where the officers were clearly targeted by sniper fire from an elevated position, Biologis confirm mass reactive rounds originated from elevated positions from multiple vectors.

Early indicators are the weaponry of Ultima founding origin so unless the lauded Primaris can indeed fall we are at a loss as to what has happened.

Your servant
++++++message end++++++

+++Incoming Transmission ++++
+++++Ident Confirmed ++++
++++Agent Mathious +++++

Lord Inquisitor Hathek

Apologies for the second transmission on this matter but the tidings I bear are grave. I took the liberty of employing local Mechanicus agents to try and uncover the vid capture from the Astarte Auto senses of what the locals are now calling the “Massacre”, which, I confess, I cannot naysay.
Most recordings are corrupted beyond what one would expect. Someone tried to cover their tracks, but was clearly in a hurry. Even so, the Hammers of the Emperor for the most part could not ascertain a clear ident of the assailants. However what we can ascertain is the following:
These were definitely Primaris Marines
The Livery they bear, crossed Magenta and Teal armour not unlike the Howling Griffons does not correspond to any Ultima Founding Chapter.
They emblem may be a single sword con not unlike those common to the Dark Angel successors Chapters.

With your permission, I will attempt to ascertain through restricted records

Your Servant
+++++Message Ends++++++

++++Response: Activate Access Primus Selucio++++
+++++Authorisation: =][= Lord Inquisitor Hathek+++++
+++Incoming Transmission ++++
+++++Ident Confirmed ++++
++++Agent Mathious +++++

Lord Inquisitor Hathek

The Dnatha massacre, I thought I had ascertained the identity of the Primaris Marines that attacked the Hammers of the Emperor, but, even with your access codes sire, I am sorry sire. I cannot.

The Hammers of the Emperor are incensed, they are refusing further garrison duty, stating flatly they will not sit on their hands while heretics are at large, they have pulled all their garrison troops on each of the worlds they have presence. Sire, they are launching an attack. The Ecclesiarchy are demanding a “crusade” be launched. Sire this is bad. I can confirm, the Chapter exists, ident I could only find was a cryptic reference was connected to another Inquisitorial action 57 years ago. All other information is beyond my ability to access. I cannot even find the Chapter designation.

Sire, whoever attacked the Hammers of the Emperor, another Inquisitor was involved.
Please relay further instructions.

Your servant
+++++Message Ends++++++

Mordecai Secundus: Chaos counter attack

Up till now General Kutuzov’s invasion of Mordecai Tersius had been preceding smoothly. However on 2810.019M42 the imperial army suffered its first reversal. The Iron Warriors launched a counter attack from the south, probing the imperial defences and finding their left flank - held by the adeptus mechanicus, to be the weakest link in Kutuzov’s front line. 

Attacking on a broad front the Iron Warriors achieved tactical victory, pushing the imperial front line back towards their landing zones by up to 50km in places before the attack stalled. Kutuzov continued to land fresh forces for the next assault, as he learned that the commander of chaos forces on the world appeared to be the Death Guard. This was an ill omen, as his Departmento Munitorum assistants began to steadily increase the expected attrition rates and degradation factors for the front line troops. Far from a soft target, it appeared Mordecai Secundus would be as difficult to take as any major chaos world. However, it was his duty.

Mordecai Secundus: Imperial breakout.

Having secured the bridgehead on Mordecai, the Novgorod guard began arriving in force, expanding the imperial zone of control and slowly but deliberately moving south towards the Abrax mines, a key strategic objective of the early campaign. At first resistance was light, but soon the guard found themselves up against traitor astartes forces in the shape of the Iron Warriors. 

The sons of Perturabo on Mordecai Secundus were not however those commanded by Warsmith Stahl, and the planet had become a base of operations loyal to Captain Apollodorious, who did not share Stahl’s vision for the sector or galaxy. These iron warriors relied less heavily on daemon engines, and were accompanied by what appeared to be “regular” chaos army forces, who seemed similar in organisation to the imperial guard. In addition the traitor astartes forces seemed in organisation very similar to the iron warriors of the time of the heresy. 

The Novgorod Guard were able to gain the strategic initiative early on in the engagement as they surprised and disrupted the iron warriors’ attack. Using their super heavy tanks and discipline bolstered by commissars, the Novgorod steadily overwhelmed the Iron warriors, achieving a breakout and establishing an imperial zone of control over two hundred kilometres across.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Imperium launch invasion of Mordecai Secundus

After the rather unsuccessful invasion of Mordecai Secundus by the Imperial Guard, the element of surprise had been lost. General Kutuzov was given overall command of the invasion force in the Mordecai system, and given the backing of strong and powerful fleet assets freed up from the Tarlius campaign, now that was largely won. However, the chaos fleets had also redeployed and now a force of roughly equal numbers faced each other in the Mordecai system.
The chaos forces kept close to their primary base at Mordecai Secundus, while reinforcing theor ground troops on both the remaining worlds. Only the major world was protected by the space docks and system defences however, and the traitors were not about to throw away their advantage in a battle in space on equal terms. The imperium would be allowed to try to invade Mordecai Secundus, but would have to fight for it, hopefully exhausting themselves in the process. Then, if an invasion of Mordecai Primaris was attempted, the combined chaos fleets and the space defences would strike together to crush the invasion.
Mordecai Primaris was on Kutuzov's "later" list in any event. First he wanted to secure the innermost world, rich in resources, in order to further strangle the primary chaos base further away from the baleful glow of Mordecai's malevolent star. To do this, the initial invasion was conducted by the Imperial Fists, Novgorod Guard regiments, and the Adeptus Mechanicum. The battle for Mordecai Secundus, a hot and unforbidding mining world covered in magma seas, would be fought by all the arms of the Imperial military.
The Imperial Fists landed at the same time as the Novgorod Guard, moving out from the initial beachead in the northern plains, known as the "Northern Howl" due to the fierce winds whipped up by the temperature differential between the magma seas and the northern lattitudes. Their target was the closest military installations to the imperial zone, but it soon became clear that the entire planet was heavily defended as the Imperial Fists' scouts spotted a Death guard Army - part of the "Host of Eschar" moving up to challenge the loyalist astartes.
The Imperial Fists took up positions as the Death Guard approached, destroying some of the traitor daemon engines with well placed and disciplined volleys of fire. However the nurgle devotees proved difficult to put down permanently, and before them a host of poxwalkers added to the difficulty of quickly taking down the enemy army. Air support was provided by the Imperial Fists' Storm Ravens, but these found themselves quickly under fire.
As the battle progressed the Imperial Fists started to lose their early advantage. A lord of contagion suddenly appearing behind their lines caused disruption to the Imperial battle plans, while the nurgle astartes showed themselves well able to vigorously charge their opponents, despite their shambolic appearance. One Storm Raven began to hover close to the enemy in order to maximise its firepower, but in a show of outrageous bravado, one of the Death Guard's noxious blightbringers charged the hovering vehicle, throwing his plague bell into the engine intake of the aircraft, ensuring its destruction.
These setbacks infuriated the Imperial Fists' captain, who momentarily appeared to forget his objectives. Instead of ensuring the area was secured, the astartes began to take the fight to any remaining Death Guard, apparently overcome by their desire to get to grips with the traitors. Just in time, the Fists' commander realised his error, and quickly redeployed his forces to secure the high ground and critical assets in the area. Finally exhausted, the remaining chaos host withdrew, while the astartes reflected on how close to compromising the imperial perimeter the chaos forces had come.