Friday, February 28, 2020

Hexis skirmishes continue

After dusting themselves off from their previous loss, the Sisters of Quartz continued to scout Hexis with some renewed motivation for the planet. After some time they encountered a small camp of Adeptus Mechanicus boasting about their prowess and the might of one particular warrior, Ivan. Being a relatively arrogant troupe themselves, the Sisters decided to test the so-called strength of this tech priest against their own skill and flooded the camp in an ambush attack, destroying stocks of supplies with surgical precision and slaying Ivan and a number of his comrades in a lethal dance of pistol shots and stab wounds. It did not take long for the news of defeat to reach back to the tech priests’ superiors, and another team was dispatched to run through the area and take out as many of the Harlequins as possible. However, riding the high of their previous victory the Sisters tore through the foe once again, their resilience keeping them fighting and dancing until the battle was once again won..

Advance continues on Mordecai

The next phase of the advance on Mordecai was taken on by the Astra Militarum. With the chaos lines breached, the astartes were withdrawn and the ranks of the Novgorod Guard began pushing forward into enemy territory. The latest offensive was launched to the north west, in order to take advantage of the strategic situation gained by the Dark Angels and Imperial Fists. Here the wide plains were ideal for vehicles, and the Valdorgrad 411th motorised rifle regiment led the assault into the rear of the chaos defences, while the Last of Sycorax defended their flank opposite the highland region where the xenos infested the rugged terrain.
The Imperial assault north was surprisingly swift, for the guard, and the mobility of the imperial regiment prooved decisive in preventing the Emerald Serpent's repeated attempts to break into the now surrounded pocket of chaos troops. In a savage battle, both commanders of the respective armies were killed in heavy fighting, but the Valdorgrad held on, sealing the fate of the chaos armies to the north of the Imperial landing zone.
Kutuzov had now secured his northern flank, but did not have only good news as 02.020 came to a close. While the Imperium were advancing north, the Genestealer Cults careered down the hillsides and smashed into the forces protecting Kutuzov's flank. The result was a bloody massacre of the Last of Sycorax, and Kutuzov found his entire advance exposed. However, the cult of the four wheeled emperor showed no interest in pursuing the shattered guard regiment, instead consolidating their positions in the highlands.

More raids on Tau by the eldar

Following the raids on Lucardium, despite protests to the Kel Sandros Craftworld, the Tau found themselves on the receiving end of further assaults from Aeldari forces. This time, Parius, a smaller but none-the-less important Tau base in the Perseus Deeps, was raided by a combined force of drukhari and wraithguard. This faction appeared to be taking its own approach to dealing with the myriad threats in this region, and was disregarding the pact between the Aeldari and the Tau Empire.
The eldar forces caused havoc on Parius before withdrawing, once again showing how undready the Tau were to a sudden and unannounced attack from an unexpected quarter. In response, the Tau further increased their military presence, although this necessarily meant weakening their positions elsewhere. The Tau alliance with the Kel Sandros held, although this was mostly due to the fact that the Tau had no way of seeking or effecting any kind of retalliation on their sometime xenos allies.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Space Marines outflank northern defences on Mordecai Secundus

After capturing the Abrax mines, General Kutusov felt a little more secure in his position, both privately and referring to the invasion of Mordecai Secundus in general. Kutusov couldn't complain about lack of astartes support, and this fact was underlined when in mid 02.020M42, two new chapter companies arrived in the system. The Ultramarines and Dark Angels made themselves available for the Mordecai operation, and increasingly the Imperial General was finding his voice carry less and less weight in planning meetings at high command, as the space marines took more of the initiative.
Kutuzov was able to influence the astartes' next move however, as he pointed out that the Imperium was still fighting the invasion on three fronts. To the south, the Emerald Serpent, Iron Warriors and Death Guard posed a real threat, but to the north, despite its strategic insignificance, the Imperium did not have a secure flank. Here, roving Slaanesh bands and Death Guard forces meant that a significant portion of the Imperial reserve had to be held against the threat from this direction. In the west, the high ground was still dominated by the xenos cults, although these seemed just as intent on fighting the forces of chaos, and it was to the north that Kutuzov looked for support in his operational planning.
The Ultramarines and Dark Angels recognised the general's strategic abilities as he explained his concerns to them, and his ability to influence the super humans of the Emperor was a key asset in the prosecution of the campaign. Convinced, the two new arrivals co-planned a new operation, to strike deep into chaos territory and lay the foundations of a subsequent operation to lock down the imperial northern front.
Kutusov was shown the plans as a courtesy, and he had some misgivings. The astartes plan proposed a narrow strike north, to the east of the chaos positions, driving all the way to the barren and inhospitable wastelands in the Mordecai Secundus polar regions. Once complete, it was up to Kutusov's forces to secure the shorter strike to the west, closing off the chaos pocket which could then be mopped up.
The Imperial general was not immediately convinced. He counter proposed that the western end of the pocket should be closed first, as this was the shorter advance. The astartes plan, Kutusov felt, would create a narrow salient which would be vulnerable to a chaos counter attack. If successful, it would be the imperial forces cut off in the north and the operation would end in total failure. Kutuzov was careful not to say "no" to the astartes, and proposed that once the western end of the chaos pocket was secured, a slower more measured advance could cut off the east. However, in the end Kutuzov was over-ruled. The space marines wanted a bold strike and pointed out that a slow advance would allow the chaos armies to the north to extricate themselves, while the Imperial General was accutely aware that his superiors wanted progress on Mordecai Secundus.
The operation conducted by the astartes was a total success. Not expecting the advance north, the Death Guard were caught by surprise. Their hastily organised counter offensive, despite being led by an apparition of Mortarion himself, lacked long range firepower, and the Dark Angels simply used the open terrain of the northern plains to their advantage. The destruction of the Death Guard was complete, and allowed the Ultramarines to move through the Dark Angels' position to attack the Slaanesh warbands in the extreme north.
The Ultramarines faced a more difficult challenge, as the forces of the Prince of chaos proved swift and numerous, able to close the distance with the Ultramarines despite their significant firepower. However, the astartes has the edge on equipment, and gradually the Slaaneshi forces were whittled down, while the super human warriors proved difficult to put down permanently. By 2502_042M42 the astartes advance had reached the extreme north, and there was now only a narrow pocket in the west connecting the northern chaos forces to the rest of the traitor armies.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Imperium claim the device on Corticant

Throughout its interventions Kel Sandros had always been careful to limit its involvement, preferring to engage in lightening fast strikes aimed at rebalancing critical nodes within the complex web of fates. With a surgical strike the flow of events could be directed down threads more favourable to the Eldar's objectives before the warhosts once more withdrew and allowed the bulk on the fighting to be carried out through proxies and pawns. For a single Craftworld to attempt to orchestrate events on a galactic scale it was the only viable option.

Occasionally the council of Kel Sandros would find itself with no option but to fight its own wars and such a theatre was on Corticant. Although they could call upon the support of their Alliance partners the Aeldari would have to bear the brunt of the fighting themselves and it was critical to maintain control of the device chamber before the lumbering meatgrinder of humanity's massed armies. Left with no other choice the Aeldari looked towards the forest of whispers and the legions of their warriors long dead to aid them in the coming battle.

As the massed ranks of the Imperial Guard ground towards the excavation site the slender, haunting forms of ghost warriors strode out of the billowing sand storms to engage them. Charging through the stinging storm and screaming devotions to their corpse emperor hordes of religious fanatics were cut down by their silent enemy. The elegant alien constructs seemed largely untroubled by incoming fire, as if protected by the raging dust storm or perhaps more eldritch means.

But by engaging in such a manner the Eldar were fighting on the Imperium's terms. With cold detachment the commander of the Novgarod regiments allowed his fraternis militia to charge headlong into the enemy so that they might be pinned in place whilst disciplined ranks of Novgarod  Guard followed up behind. But it was the armoured support that did the real damage, pre sighted onto the positions of their own men they callously fired into the fray with little care for who they hit. The militia were already doomed, joyously giving their lives for the master of mankind, but one by one the ghost warriors fell as their armoured carapaces were smashed apart by heavy munitions. Unable to fight through the horde of bodies to the armoured units inflicting the real damage the Aledari were forced to retreat and abandon the excavation site to Imperial hands.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Skirmishes on Hexis

Having considered Hexis a lost cause, the small troupe of The Sisters of Quartz that remained on the planet had laid low for quite some time. However, now bored of watching lesser races bicker over the ruined landscape, they decided to see what they could find and, more importantly, what they could conquer.
The first force they came across was a gang of Orks who outnumbered them by nearly double. The Sisters were apprehensive, aware that one misstep would result in their demise at the hands of the physically overpowering creatures, but if the enemy was out for blood, they would be too.
The ensuing battle was tense, the two squads trading blows at equal rates, though the acrobatics and mind games of the Eldar finally proved too strong and the Orks that were not slain eventually fled.
The Sisters pressed forward and soon found themselves at a base belonging to the Tau. Riding high on the arrogance from their recent victory they immediately ambushed the centre of the complex, intent on holding their position and taking out any challengers as they approached. The Tau, however, had brought drones that unfortunately for the Sisters matched them in agility, and outmatched them in firepower. The harlequins didn’t last very long in the following shootout as a few crucial miscalculations resulted in their defeat and their pride diminished as quickly as it had risen.
Meanwhile, as the necron threat re-emerged in the ruins of the shattered plains of Hexis, the orks, who were somewhat "at a loose end" now their chaos overlords had given up on any meaningful attempt to conquer the strategically diminished system, were looking for fights. Mostly these had been confined to local flare ups between groups of orks and the imperial defenders, but in 02.020M42 the orks finally encountered the necron threat in the southern ruins of Praxis, dealing them a nasty shock as the small bands of greenskins were easily massacred by the emerging ancient xenos. Whether this represented a serious necron uprising, given the weakening of the other forces on Hexis, still remained to be seen.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Breakout on Mordecai Secundus

After many months of buildup and planning, the Imperium in mid 02.020M42 finally had enough strength to launch a major offensive on Mordecai Secundus, aiming to capture the Abrax mines which had been on the target list for the first week of the invasion. Stronger than expected defences, a greater number of enemy forces and a plague of diseases had so far stymied the armies of General Kutuzov, but with the arrival of fresh Knights and astartes forces, the long awaited operation Victor was given the go ahead.
On the chaos side, the military build up in front of their lines was obvious, and the Emerald Serpent prepared their own forces, marshalling a large host of Questor Traitoris, traitor guard of the Darantine regiment, and the might of Astralis Invictus, the Warlord titan which had now been redeployed to Mordecai for this latest engagement.
Battle was joined almost immediately as the Imperial offensive began, and the next weeks saw the most vicious fighting on Mordecai Secundus to date. Everywhere Astralis Invictus was encountered, the warlord titan made its presence felt, blasting or smashing elite imperial units, with the Imperium struggling to contain such a destructive war assets. However, the titan could not be everywhere, and the firepower of the Imperial army was as a whole more telling. Vast armies of chimera borne Darantine squads were blown apart as they advanced to retake objectives, although their suicidal sacrifice did delay the Imperial advance.
The battles raged around the mining complexes and reached a climax on 1602.020M42, as a chaos counter attack led by Astralis Invictus threatened to break the Imperial forward momentum. Kutuzov now deployed his reserves with the personal approval of the Imperial Fists senior commander, who elected to lead the defence of the southern mining complexes, taken just hours earlier. The astartes commander led the defence personally, taking out much of the attacking chaos armoured elements, but the deep striking terminator forces suffered serious issues. The Space Wolves managed to deliver their much needed firepower on target and on time, eliminating an enemy Hellhammer before being annihilated by the chaos titan. However, the Imperial Fists elite armoured warriors suffered difficulties with their vox transmissions, blunting the effectiveness of their deployment. In a last gasp effort, the Imperial knight "Eagle Heart" attempted to single handedly retake a key position, but was dismissively blasted from existance by the warlord titan.
Despite this, the Imperial defence of the southern mining complex held, allowing Kutuziv enough time to move his slower Imperial Guard regiments up to the front lines. As the Imperial basilisks began to find their range on the chaos positions, the traitor forces along with the mighty Astralis Invictus withdrew. The Imperium had captured the Abrax Mining complex, finally, by 1802.020M42, but the battle had not been a rout, and the Emerald Serpent had retained much of its fighting capacity, including the warlord titan. Operation Victor had been a success for Kutuzov, but not a war winning engangement.

Eldar raid Tau bases

Despite the alliance between the Tau Empire and the Aeldari being seen as an absolute by external observers, and even the Tau themselves, the representation to the Tau by the farseers of the Kel Sandros craftworld had done much to give weight to the myth that the eldar race was united in its purpose and methods. The truth, as with everything in Aeldari society, was far more complex. The rise of Y'nead and the Y'nnari had further fractured the eldar race into groups who, while they shared the ultimate goal of the destruction of chaos, shared vastly different visions of how this should be brought about.
The latest evidence for this misalignment came in 02.020M42 when an eldar wraithost and druchari warriors attacked tau bases across the Perseus Deeps without warning. The most savage attack fell upon Lucardium, where the Tau managed to wipe out the attacking force, but suffered severe damage to their infrastructure in the process. The attack caused a great deal of anguish in the Tau high command who demanded an explanation from their eldar "allies", but none was forthcoming, only a cryptic message that described the incident as "regretable". In response, the Tau increased their military presence on their bases in the Perseus Deeps, a result the Aeldari attack was almost likely anticipating, and counting on for the battles to come.

Necron threat rising on Hexis

For many weeks following the destruction of the necron device the war on Hexis had become almost dormant. The Imperium and Chaos forces had stopped all meaningful attempts to dislodge one another, as the chaos forces were now mainly holed up in the city of Praxis itself, while the Imperium under General Konev held sway over much of the ruined and now worthless barren landscape of the planet's northern plains. Konev was stripped of much of his war assets, and now commanded only a fraction of the army he could once call upon, as his commander, General Percival, reorganised his forces in the Hadron Expanse. Now all imperial effort was focussed on the defence of Corticant in the Perseus Deeps, and the invasion of Mordecai.
In mid 02.020M42 however, Konev's army came under assault from a significant force of necrons. The "front" against the necrons was weakly defended by imperial forces as there was no reason to expect a necron advance, especially as the device was no longer active. However the imperium had failed to understand the motivations behind the partially awoken aliens, who were resolute if not fully rational in their drive to rid their homeworld, no matter how destroyed, of the alien taint that they merely considered an infestation.
The initial appearance of the necrons caused panic amongst Konev's troops, but a small force of Imperial Fists agreed to take the matter in hand and stabilise the situation. Unfortunately the small group of marines woefully underestimated the necron threat and found themselves on the defensive almost immediately. Soon after deploying the Fists were forced to retreat, and the Imperium had to trade land for time before the necron advance peetered out. Fortunately, the land was worthless.

Chaos unable to eradicate genestealer threat

While the battle between the Imperium and Chaos continued to rage on Mordecai Secundus, the threat from the genestealer cults was never far away, as the battle raging between the major powers effectively gave the xenos cult free reign over the Mekken Plateau. In early 02.020M42 this led to a local uprising in a host of small settlements in the shadow of this high ground, threatening the left flank of chaos positions against the Imperial invaders, and the Emerald Serpent was forced to take action.
The Emerald Serpent sent in an elite force of Thousand Sons to deal with the genestealer cult uprising, and a furious battle erupted around a major intersection leading to the plateau itself. Here the cultists made their stand, and despite facing millenia old warriors and an experienced military machine, the cultists were able to prevent the chaos forces from pushing into their heartlands. The battle did stop further disruption to chaos supply lines leading to the imperial front, but the genestealer worshippers now held sway over a significant portion of the highland region.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Current Theatre Maps


Mordecai Secundus

Imperial Fists turned back by Kel Sandros

Although an imperfect tool the Imperium had been proving far more effective than the T'au and Federacy in the fight against Chaos and for that reason the Eldar were reluctantly resigned to the realities of the situation within the Aleph sector. To that end the Aeldari were content to allow the Foramen to remain open in order to supply the Imperial war machine, at least for the time being. But the hearts of men are weak and easily corrupted and signs of xenos genetic contamination were already evident within the human forces on Corticant. For this reason the Eldar were determined to maintain control of the device holding the Foramen open so they might have a way of limiting the Mon Keigh's indiscriminate aggression should it later be directed in ways not to their liking. For years an uneasy truce had held between the two races on Corticant but now that was shattered and a new equilibrium could only be reached once the planet lay entirely within the control of either Eldar of humanity.

In response to Farseer Tarquil's visions of the future a Kel Sandros warhost had deployed to an abandoned mining outpost in the planet's sparsely inhabited north. There he had foreseen that a force of Astartes clad in yellow plate would come in search of psychic anomalies that betrayed the presence of webway portals, portals that would in some way become vital to the outcome of this campaign. There, cloaked in the frequent squalls of acidic rain that were the legacy of the brutal Mon Keigh's rape of this planets ecosystem, the Eldar waited patiently in ambush.

Shrouded in the stinging rain the war host waited for the yellow clad humans to reach point blank range before springing their ambush but the augmented sensors of the human's armour allowed them to spot the concealed rangers overlooking the kill zone and they immediately opened fire. Forced to spring their ambush early the Eldar retaliated, annihilating in moments the vanguard of the enemy force as Dark Reapers rained destruction into the kill zone and aspect warriors converged from all sides.

Despite the blow dealt to them the humans fought on, their hatred for the alien stoked to fever pitch by a chanting skull faced warrior as they raced forward into the firestorm without hesitation or fear. Soon Aeldari began to fall to the enemy counter attack and Tarquil watched in horror as the casualties mounted. Disgusted at the waste of life he strode forward and brought the hulking brutish warriors down with storms of writhing eldritch lightening to complement the thunder storm raging overhead. Soon every one of the humans lay dead on the field of battle but far too many Eldar would return to the halls of Morai-Heg for the victory to taste sweet.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Imperium send in reinforcements at Corticant

General Veers' appeal for aid did not go unheaded. By 0902.020M42 the Imperial forces on Corticant had been significantly strengthened. As well as more regiments of Novgorod Guard, Maximus diverted an entire naval battlegroup to the system. In addition, the Dark Angels and Hammers of the Emperor assigned their own company strength forces to defend the planet from the Aeldari threat.
the reinforcements were enough for Veers, ever the bold general, to go over to the offensive. Gaining support from the astartes the imperial forces massed on the eastern flank of the eldar held sector, with the imperial guard launching an overwhelming advance. Ironhaven quickly fell as the eldar struggled to hold back their vastly more numerous foe, and suffered from constant orbital bombardment from a Hammers of the Emperor strike cruiser.
While the Aeldari reeled from the hammerblows in the east, the Dark Angels launched a surgical strike against Bymarsh, the key settlement and road intersection to the north of the excavation site where the Necron device chamber lay. The astartes managed to take the eldar by surprise initially, but the counter attack from a combined wraithhost and drukhari army was particularly savage, as the enemy realised that Bymarsh was strategically vital to controlling the approaches to the device chamber. After hours of savage fighting, the Dark Angels just managed to cling on to their gains and hold onto the settlement, forcing the eldar to withdraw. Despite heavy losses, the offensive was going Veers' way, and the control of the strategic asset at the heart of Corticant now appeared to be within his grasp.

Mordecai: Progress at Abrax Mines

As 02.020M42 began, General Kutuzov was determined to make a breakthrough on Mordecai Secundus. The Imperial Guard were gradually recovering from the sickness that hat overtaken the main garrisons, and the Imperium could still count on support from the Grey Knights and the Hammers of the Emperor chapters of astartes. House Corvus' knights remained in reserve refitting and repairing, while Kutuzov began to plan the next phase of the offensive against the Abrax mines.
Even with astartes support, it was clear that a sweeping breakthrough would not be possible in 02.020M42. The chaos forces were well defended and numerous, and the fleets at the Mordecai docks prevented the Imperium from bringing overwhelming orbital support to bear. Kutuzov could however rely on the astartes strike cruisers for close support in any upcoming offensive.
The grey Knights opened the operation to take the Abrax mines, launching an assault agains the Death Guard to the north of Imperial positions. the battle was hard fought, and the Grey Knights only just managed to escape from superior nurgle forces after causing massive disruption to the chaos supply lines. Taking heavy casualties the astartes withdrew, but they had been successful in their mission. Kutuzov's main offensive could now begin without fear of a flank attack from the north.
The Novgorod Guard launched the new offensive towards the lava lakes of the eastern hemisphere on 0802.020M42, advancing on a wide front. The Emerald Serpent defenders were constantly harried by orbital bombardments from astartes strike cruisers, as the Imperial Guard relentlessly pushed forwards. By 1102.020M42 the chaos line had been bent back towards the coast of the lava sea, giving up almost two thirds of the mining installations on the coast. The chaos line wasn't broken, but they had suffered a heavy defeat. Kutuzov was mindful however of the over extension of his lines, and concious of the threat now posed by the chaos salient on his southern flank, and called off any further advance. The Abrax mines - targets for day one of the invasion, were finally falling into Imperial hands, some three months later.

Friday, February 07, 2020

Stahl continues his vendetta against his “allies”

Emerald Serpent, your profligate endeavours have come to nothing; your foolishness cost us in strength, all for your deluded gambits for naught but the whims of your insane master. You will suffer for your weakness, you will be a demonstration to your ‘god’ that I will not tolerate its games” - Intercepted Transmission from the Warsmith Lycurgus Stahl to the Emerald Serpent, Mordecai, 10550602.20M42

++For months, the Emerald Serpent has shown little interest in the invasions against long held chaos strongholds by the Imperium, sending only token forces while they have pursued their own agenda. Again and again the forces of chaos have expected the Emerald Serpent to hold, only to have them fail, putting the bulk of their forces elsewhere in the Aleph Sector, seemingly at the whims of Tzeentch.++

++It has long been known that Lycurcus Stahl blamed the Emerald Serpent for recent losses, particularly at Hexis, Tarlius and Mordecai Tersius. It appears that Stahl once again has sought revenge for the failures of his “allies”.++

++Inquisition interpretation of events.++

In the late morning of 0602.20M42 the transmission above was broadcast, wide frequency to the command points of the Emerald Serpent on Mordecai. The majority of Emerald Serpent forces were away, seeking their own agenda and consequently the Sorcerers were caught completely off guard when the attack came.

Helldrakes screamed through the sky continually broadcasting Stahl’s anger while a massive horde of Daemon engines scuttled toward the Emerald Serpent lines at an alarming speed. One Maulerfiend pulled ahead of the pack, determined to keep pace with the supersonic Helldrakes, who collectively crashed into rubrics, tearing them to pieces. Another Iron Warrior warband unknown in Aleph were with the Thousand Sons, to which the Heldrakes immediately melted half with their baleflamers.

Having gathered their senses from this sudden and unpredictable act of wanton violence the Thousand Sons responded by weaving the warp in the air, the cabal of sorcerers dismantling the first Helldrake on the atomic level. A second squad of Rubrics redeployed through warp trickery to create overlapping fields of fire against the Engine horde approaching. The horde kept pace, gouts of baleful fire curuscating over the Thousand Sons and renegade Iron Warriors, killing several. Emerald Serpent reinforcements; Obliterators and Sekmet Terminators tore into reality, having stepped from whatever scheme the Emerald Serpent were enacting. The Obliterators sought to earn their name, but Iron Warriors against Iron Warriors is always a bloody affair, and while one Maulerfiend was torn to pieces the Iron Warriors of the 144th charged them with hatred one can only reserve for an erstwhile brother.

In the rearguard of Iron Warrior lines, the High Sorcerer stepped from the shadows of the warp, along with a phalanx of Rubrics, opening fire on the 144ths human slaves. The Iron Warrior Havocs, having used the slaves as human shields, opened fire with their chain cannons, emptying their ammunition into the rubrics shredding more than half, the remaining crushed as the entire ruins collapsed from the devastating fusilade. The High Sorcerer summoned his brothers within his cable, three terminator clad sorcerers teleporting in and between the 4 they eliminated the Havocs and the remaining mortal slaves. Believing himself safe, the High Sorcerer retreated behind the collapsed ruin, only for the warp to flicker and from above with a roar the Iron Warrior Daemon Prince bound to Stahl’s will dive bombed into him crushing the High Sorcerer. The Defiler and the Dark Apostle charged the cable of sorcerers, the defiler catching one in it’s claws before hurling him the length of the battlefield like a mortal would throw an egg, the sorcerers broken body making a comparable mess on impact. In the Emerald Serpent lines the Obliterators, Renegade Iron Warrior Lord and Daemon prince were shredded by massed daemon engines. The day belonged to Stahl’s Iron Warriors, but whether this would help, or hinder the defence of Mordecai was anyone's guess.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Hard fighting on Mordecai yields no breakthrough

Progress on Mordecai remained slow for the forces of the Imperium, and a number among High Command had begun to express concern that the war would descend into a quagmire on a planetary scale. Determined to break the deadlock, the Hammers of the Emperor sought to smash through the strongest defences and facilitate a breakthrough. The Hammers set out in force to attack the eastern defences of Chaos, but to their surprise, the Iron Warriors forces were defending the region instead of sulking in their fortresses off world like High Command believed.

The Scouts of the Hammers caught the Iron Warriors off-guard, striking suddenly and killing a number of Thorakitai mortal slave-soldiers. Multiple Lascannon beams lanced out from distant ruins, slicing through the Iron Warriors Daemon Engines and Plasma Cannons cut down a forward squad of Legionaries who strayed too far from defensive positions.
The Iron Warriors quickly recovered and slaughtered the Scouts while hurling their Daemon Engines through the ruins and into the Loyalist Vindicators, while Lascannon Havoc teams - feared throughout the Aleph sector for their skill against armour, hobbled a Rhino transporting Sternguard veterans despite defensive smoke being deployed.

For over an hour defensive smoke and chaff caused tracer rounds to criss cross ineffectually, inflicting only light casualties. It was the Iron Warriors that finally took the initiative to close the distance, bringing their heavy mid range weapons to bear. Obliterators tore their way into reality as one of the Havoc squads wielding Reaper Chaincannons deployed from their Rhino transport. The Havocs lit up the ruins containing the three Devastator squads, slaying them all in a blinding hail of fire that left little of the ruin standing, along with most of a squad of Sternguard. At the same time, the Obliterators made good on their name, destroying the Hammers armoured support utterly.

Undaunted, the Hammers commanders, including the Chapter Master and Master of Sanctity counter attacked. The heroes of the Chapter tore through the Iron Warriors lines, cutting down the Obliterators, Havoc squad and Commander leading the Iron Warriors. If this was expected to break the traitors the Hammers were mistaken; in customary fashion the Iron Warriors calmly deployed more guns, levelling Lascannons, Chaincannons, bolters and baleflamers at the heroes. The Master of Sanctity was speared through with two Lascannons beams and the Epistolary was beaten to death by a mob of hate filled Legionaries. The Chapter Master of the Hammers impressively withstood round after round of Chaincannon fire, his stormshield shorting out from the effort, only to be speared through by the Vex Machinator Warpsmith leading the Daemon Engines packs. 

By late in the evening of 0302.020M42, corpses littered the centre of the battlefield. The Iron Warriors seemed satisfied with the carnage and withdrew, having butchered most of the Hammers force, along with losing a significant portion of their own defenders. Worse for the Hammers, the fate of the Chapter Master and Master of Sanctity of the Hammers remained unknown. For the Iron Warriors, it was believed that Šalić, one of the Lieutenants of Commander Gerghaz from the Western front of Hexis, led the Iron Warriors. However his presence, and his apparent death both remained unconfirmed. His presence, if it were true, meant that Stahl may have redirected his forces away from Hexis and towards Mordecai. Did Stahl suddenly care about the planet? Or was this simply another opportunity to wreak vengeance on the Imperium and their “allies” in the Chaos forces?

Xenos activity on Corticant increases

The Hammers of the Emperor, by failing to deal the eldar on Corticant a quick and crushing victory, had instead awoken the eldar to an emergent threat to their control over events in the Aleph Sector. The imperium could not be allowed to take the device on Corticant which was the key to the strategic situation in this part of the galaxy. While the human empire may be needed in the final showdown against chaos, the Kel Sandros craftworld and its allies resolved to make sure it was the Aeldari race that would steer the path to final victory. 

The eldar knew the elite Grey Knights could not be everywhere at once, so began a two pronged assault via the tactically important valleys which controlled access to imperial held territory. 

Along the Iron road in the east, the eldar met little resistance, until their scouts reported “irregular human forces” ahead of them. Suspecting something was amiss, the eldar deployed a full strength war host to the eastern sector, finding to their dismay that the “army” standing in their way was not imperial at all. Yelling and whooping while riding around on buggies and bikes the Cult of the wheeled emperor - part of the growing genestealer infestation of the sector, had obviously decided that the time for their uprising was at hand. 

Realising that Tyranid control of the necron device posed an even greater threat, the war host was diverted to crush the irregular army careening in front of the Aeldari wraithhost, but the fight itself proved difficult. The speed and unpredictable fighting style of the enemy was totally at odds with the millennia old martial doctrine of the eldar, and they soon found themselves in the midst of an ambush. However, the wraith guard, supported by a towering wraithknight, proved difficult for the light forces of the genestealer cult to deal with, and despite taking heavy casualties the cultists were gradually worn down, then broken, allowing the eldar to secure the vital territory around the Iron Road. 

In the west however, imperial scouts detected the eldar advance, and the Grey Knights swiftly deployed to counter the alien advance. After a brutal battle south of Lochford the eldar were forced to withdraw, although the strategic position on Corticant still hung in the balance, and  General Veers, commander of the Perseus Deeps, urged Lord Commander Maximus to divert more forces to Corticant before his garrison was overwhelmed.