Saturday, October 31, 2020

Battles of “Hell” begin

The harsh landscape of the world was unforgiving and cruel. Despite the advanced technologies and divinations of the various races, many of the forces found themselves without all of the supplies they had originally intended to bring. Whether due to the freak storms that dashed aircraft from the Sky, or freak Warp anomalies that shunted reality and dislocated items and units, all the factions vying for victory upon this world came to the same conclusion: supplies must be gathered and resources collected if we are to survive on this Hellish world.

As the Jade Fangs of the Thousand Sons prepared one of their profane rituals to summon forth equipment and units from the aether, they were ambushed by a patrol of Space Marines bearing the markings of the Hammers of the Emperor. With little chance to safely disconnect themselves from the ritual, the marines attacked without mercy and cut down the traitor legion where it stood.

Elsewhere across the main continent of Hell, other forces of the Imperium fought bloody battles with the relentless tides of Mor'khaten's Will. Upon finding a hidden tomb complex entrance using their auspex from the Dark Age of Technology, the warriors of the Dark Angel’s 5th company engaged in a running battle as plundered the entrance to the tomb for secrets. Whatever their true agenda was, it was near impossible to tell, the Astartes seemed pleased with results.

Where the newly awakened Necrons of Mor'khaten's Will were found to be easy pickings for the Dark Angels, the same could not be said for the already reanimated Necrons of The Forbidden Archives, when they met the Ynnari in a chance encounter. The Rhana Dandra forces of the Aeldari were caught by surprise when their foe, thought eons dead re-emerged. Though a close battle was wages between the two forces, the sheer unwillingness to lay dead prevented the Ynnari from continuing the fight and withdrew to safer ground.

Perhaps the most startling of engagements within the initial conflict of LV-426 was between the Splinter Fleet of Hive Fleet R’Lyeh and the Genestealer Cult of The Four-Wheeled Emperor. Though to an outsider, these forces would appear to be cut from the same cloth, the actions that each faction took could not be further from the truth. With a ferocity that bordered on the maniacal, the two tyranid factions stuck each other until only the forces of Genestealer Cult remained. Their bloodlust sated for the moment; they began the gruelling task of tearing into the biomass of the dead tyranids.

The last engagement during the first few hours of the Crusade was made when the Grey Knights known as The Precision were slogging through the quagmire of one of the planets many swaps. So focused on hunting the foul legions of the warp, that they were caught unaware as the raiders of Blast-Pit Brides descended. Unleashing razor-sharp blades and using cruel instruments of death, the Drukhari Wyches were unimpeded by the quagmire as they danced from tree to tree, cutting at the blessed forces of the Imperium. Only when their lust for pain had been sated, did the Drukhari forces withdraw, leaving behind bloody ruins that were once noble Astartes.

Whilst many factions fought furiously to survive, the Emperors Children known as The Last Gasp came across no other competing forces. Whether this was the will of Slaanesh, or some more insidious influence, it was impossible to tell…

Monday, October 26, 2020

Journey to “hell”

The planet’s official designation by Imperial Scholars was LV-426. To the various factions landing upon the surface, its name was Hell. LV-426 was a world, previously inhabited by Humans but was cut off by Warp Storms during the Age of Strife. Now, with the emergence of the Cicatrix Maledictum, has the planet become accessible once again. Initial scans of the planet would reveal little to no signs of intelligent life. Large seismic activity and freak super-storms ravaged the landscape. It was a planet of little respite, and even less joy.In late 020.M42, a call was received by several differing races of the galaxy. Some heard a cry for help. Others, a warning to stay away. But a very select few, heard of the promise of a great relic of a lost age. The signal was picked up by no fewer than 11 factions. Imperial, Heretical and Xenos factions all received the information and began to make all haste towards Hell. 

The first to arrive on the planet was The Jade Fangs of the Thousand Son’s Emerald Serpent Cult, making planet fall through the breaches separating the Warp from Reality. Second to arrive were The Rhana Dandra of the Aeldari, accessing the planet by hidden, long forgotten Webway portals. Third, was the Dark Angel’s 5th Company aboard the Strike Cruiser Unyielding, flying through the storm covered atmosphere by the skill of their Thunder Hawk pilots. Next, were the Necron of The Forbidden Archives from the Nephrekh Dynasty. Whilst some believe that they had always been on the planet and simply arose from a Tomb beneath the surface, others speculate that the withdrawal of the Warp Storm was merely the heralding of their arrival. 

Fifth to arrive in Realspace was Definitely not the RA, but instead a cult of Genestealers, followers of The Four Wheeled Emperor, piloting a small warp-traveling craft emerged within the system. Whether they had been drawn here by the will of the Hive Mind, or simply arrived by chance, it was impossible to say. Following the translation from the Warp of Dark Angel’s 5th Company was another Strike Cruiser, this time bearing the marks of the Hammers of the Emperor. With their ability to change their tactics almost overnight, it has been impossible to determine whom this Space Marine Chapter’s original Sire was. Despite being both from the Imperium, the two Space Marine Chapters eyed each other up with suspicion, as each believed only they should have known about this planet’s existence. 

Seventh to make themselves known on the Planet were the Necrons of Mor'khaten's Will, a subsect of the Heqetokh Dynasty. With two Necron factions making themselves known on the planet, the question of what relics could be hidden away, begins to emerge. Eighth to arrive on LV-426 were the Blast-pit Brides of the Drukhari Wyches. Using a set of Webway portals, unused in eons, the Dark Eldar screamed onto the planet, ready to butcher and enslave all those in their path. 

Ninth to arrive on the planet was a sect of the Emperor’s Children know simply as The Last Gasp. Using a profane ritual, they arrived on the planet’s surface without warning, ready to please their Dark Master. With the Thousand Son’s and the Aeldari finding an interest with the planet of LV-426, it should have been no surprise that not long after, the Grey Knights appears above the planet. Using cloaking technology thought lost during the Dark Age of Technology, The precision deployed to the planet, ready to deal out The Emperor’s Wrath. Last to arrive was a force, the few without psychic powers knew was coming. A shadow across the warp was the only tell-tale sign of the approach of a splinter fleet of Hive Fleet R'lyeh. What had drawn them to the planet was unknown. Was it the Genestealers, or something else, that had drawn them closer?

With all the different factions now on the planet, the first objective was to secure supplies…

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Necrons reanimate on Cruthynia

While general Percival's imperial task force remained en route to the system of Cruthynia, the astartes, with their faster ships and flexible formations, had already begun starting to investigate the system. In mid 10.020M42 the Imperial Fists and Space Wolves chapters each arrived at company strength, intending to establish forward bases on the two major worlds of the system nearest the largest tomb complexes. The Imperial Fists moved to Cruthynia Prime, while the Space Wolves attempted a recon mission on Cruthynia Secundus.
Both astartes chapters were taken by surprise by unexpectedly strong resistance in the form of necron armies. Instead of finding the tomb worlds in hibernation, it came as a shock to find the lords of the Ha'Tek and Heqetokh dynasties fully awake and in command of significant armed forces. Already the necron dynasties had begun rebuilding their former domains and work was moving at pace to bring the tomb worlds back to their original strength.
The Imperial Fists attempted to hold on to a perimeter in a protracted engagement against the necrons on Cruthynia Prime, but after a long struggle even the masters of seigecraft were unable to hold their positions against superior xenos forces. With their incomplete base untenable, the astartes were forced to withdraw. The recon mission by the Space Wolves faced a similar fate, as their attempt to investigate the largest tomb complex was prevented by a strong necron army. Unable to even get close to the now re-activated tombs, the Space Wolves were also forced to abandon their mission and return to their fleet vessels after taking heavy casualties.
The news of a fully awakened necron threat threw Percival's task force into dismay. Concerns over the strength and makeup of the force were raised, and the fleet paused while fresh troops and equipment were added to the expedition. The question now was whether the necron threat could even be contained at Cruthynia, let alone the Imperium's ability to find and hold onto the Nexus Arrangement.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Skarreth dynasty hunts the Nexus Arrangement

Neferkara The Collector gazed in disdain at the vermin swarming amidst the once proud ruins of his people. They belonged to one of the many opportunistic young species that had risen up to lay claim to the galaxy in the Necrontyrs absence, but these had chosen to replace much of their biological flesh with machine components. Neferkara mused that such an inadequate attempt at imitation of his own race could be considered a form of flattery, as if this species recognised the superiority of the Necrons and hoped that in aping them they might attain some small measure of their purity and greatness. It did not matter. They arrogantly presumed to take what was not theirs. They would be destroyed and their deaths would serve as a lesson to the rest of their kind.

The Magos of the Adeptus Mechanicus had been cautious at first in probing the outer chambers of the massive tomb complex, wary of awakening the slumbering legions of Necrons that undoubtedly lay within. As they pushed ever further into the ruins they began to realise that the stasis fields and canoptek workers that would have maintained the buried city had failed many millennia past leaving the sleeping Necrons helpless to the ravages of time and neglect. Eagerly they began looting the sealed chambers and pawing over the bounty of xenos artefacts and knowledge that was now theirs for the taking.

When their doom finally appeared it came not from within the complex as they had initially expected, but from its outskirts. Phalanxes of Necron warriors marched in from the south, but their movements were erratic and disjointed. They appeared to flicker in and out of reality as if somehow out of phase with the material universe, sometimes walking through solid objects or appearing suddenly closer if the onlooker glanced away or blinked for but an instant.

The Skitarii wasted no time and immediately launched an attack, recognising that their sacrifice was necessary to enable the senior magos to escape with their trove of relics and data. They struck hard and the first ranks of Necrons fell, only to claw their way back up moments later as severed limbs and heads squirmed across the ground and reattached themselves. At the head of the alien attackers rode a mighty lord upon a bizarre chariot composed of black marble inlaid with gold and gemstones. Each time he raised his scythe another Skitarii was cut down. Suddenly the massed ranks of Necrons vanished as if they had never been there, leaving the Skitarii momentarily alone. The reprieve was short lived as the horde of xenos blinked into existence again behind them and unleashed a fusillade of gauss fire that disintegrated armoured warriors and ripped the heart of the Skitarii ranks.

Confusion reigned but the xenos seemed more interested in pursuing their own agenda than finishing off their foe. Warriors began retrieving the artefacts that had been taken, ignoring incoming fire and attempts to dismember them with power axes, heedless of their losses and in seem cases literally walking through the Skitarii as if they weren't there. With a thrum of power the ancient gateway in the centre of the complex reignited, responding to the orders of its true masters and massed ranks of xenos began the march through the activated doleman gate.

Only one task remained. Neferkara charged his command barge into the heart of the remaining human warriors and cut down their leader in single combat. Once he returned to the Forbidden Archives with the priceless relics and artefacts he had liberated he would have his slaves engrave a fantastic mural depicting this triumph and exalting his name so that all might gaze upon it and know of his glory.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Aleph Sector 10.020M42

Lying in the Ultima Segmentum, straddling the Cicatrix Maledictum near the Eastern Fringe, the Aleph Sector is a critical location close to the Tau Empire and Ultramar. It is 020M42, and the imperium is beset by enemies on all sides.
For millennia the Aleph Sector was but a backwater in imperial affairs. Before the coming of the great rift the High Lords of Terra barely gave the sector a thought, allowing an entire subsector to secede from the Imperium and ally itself to the Tau Empire. But with the coming of the Cicatrix, all that changed…
The Aleph Sector today stands astride the Cicatrix Maledictum, with the Perseus Deeps, Zadoc subsector and the Hadron Expanse now in the Imperium Nihilis. Wars have raged over the stable passages known as "foramen" through the great rift, created by the ancient arcane necron artefacts simply known as "devices". Only one of passageways remains however, as the Ynnari have taken all but one of the devices, plunging the imperium on the wrong side of the rift into new desparation. Lead by sector commander Titus Luthor however, the Imperium are rebuilding their strength in the Imperium Nihilis, while the inquisition search for new ways to reconnect the Empire of Mankind.
Warzone: Mordecai - Perseus Deeps
The main warzone in the Aleph Sector is the ongoing bitter war between the forces of chaos, led by the Emerald Serpent from their daemon world of Astralis, and the Imperium. Mordecai, with its three major worlds is the site of a theatre scale war, as the armies of the imperium - led by General Kutuzov - try to expand their bridgehead on the magma plains of Mordecai Secundus. The outer planet, Mordecai Tersius, has already fallen to the imperium, but the system remains contested and the fortress world of Mordecai Primaris seems almost impregnable.
Warzone: The Hadron Expanse
At the Eastern Fringe of the Aleph Sector the Hadron Expanse is newly rediscovered territory for the imperium. As vast as the rest of the sector itself, the warp storms that once raged between the Expanse and the Aleph Sector were blown calm by the coming of the rift. Here the Imperium seeks to expand its territories, but so does the Tau Empire, in loose alliance with the Aeldari of the Kel Sandros Craftworld. In the Expanse however the once proud necron dynasties are waking up, and as well as territory there are other things to be found in the Expanse.
One such artefact is the necron Nexus Arrangement. So far only the ynnari, imperium and necron factions are aware of this powerful artefact, which is strong enough to cut whole systems off from the warp. Such power would be devastating in the wrong hands, and the Ynnari are focussed on securing it before it falls into the hands of the barbarian races. It is a race against time however, as more and more forces flock to the Cruthynia system.
Hexis, a barren ancient necron tombworld was once the site of a Necron device. Although this has now been stolen by the Ynnari and the strategic importance of the system is now much reduced, the bitter "forgotten war" between the forces of chaos, necrons, imperium, ork, eldar and tyranid forces continues, as the world still has secrets to give up.
Other minor warzones exist in the Hadron Expanse as no faction is dominant across the region. The tau are seeking to increase their territory, along with their Federacy allies. Chaos, ork and necron forces are seeking to do the same, and the imperial general Percival must simultaneously deal with all these threats while supplying forces to search for necron artefacts of great significance. Meanwhile sector commander Luthor continues to strip forces away from him to bolster the ongoing titanic struggle at Mordecai.

Dark Angels join hunt at Cruthynia

The White Scars were not the only force of astartes in the Cruthynia system. Having responded to a general astartes coded astropathic signal, a company of Dark Angels had travelled to the system. It wasn't a large force, comprising of only a strike cruiser and a handful of escorts, but a company of the emperor's finest represented a significant concentration of power to be added to the White Scars. The Imperium's forces were slowly mustering at Cruthynia, as Percival's task force finally disembarked from Arawath. The hunt fo the Nexus Arrangement was now in full swing.
The Dark Angels were drawn to the site of the previous battle between the Ynnari and the necrons. Landing in force the astartes set up a perimeter around one of the tomb complexes, as their tech marines led the investigation into the underground dormant alien facility. Just hours later, a necron army appeared, immediately attacking the interlopers. The lords of the Ha'Tek dynasty now realised their system was infested with the lesser races as well as their ancient foes, and the insult was deeply felt by the overlords of the necron race, despite their soulless existence.
A fierce and drawn out battle erupted amongst the ruins of the necron empire, as the Dark Angels fought stubbornly, taking the battle to their enemy and engaging them at close range. Casualties mounted on both sides, but neither force was willing to break off from the engagement. All the while the astartes tech priests continued to investigate the ancient ruins, finding vital clues to the location and nature of the artefact the races of the Aleph Sector were now searching for in earnest. Outside, the necrons were eventually overwhelmed, as the stubborness of the space marines proved too much for the limited reanimated forces of the necron race. The lords of Ha'Tek withdrew their forces, staring in silent rage as the human cattle race desectrated their sacred places.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Necrons awaken on Cruthynia

It was only a matter of time before the necrons awoke on Cruthynia. The Ynnari, aided by their aeldari allies, had been investigating the system for some time, determined to ascertain the location of the Nexus Arrangement before the other races of the Aleph Sector. Such an artefact of power could not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands, but their investigations had probed deeper and deeper into the underground tombs of the main planet, Cruthynia Prime. Once an important tombworld of the Ha'Tek dynasty, the Ynarri's presence did not go unnoticed for long.
Even the aeldari could not entirely protect themselves from the ever watchful automated systems of the necrons. In early 10.020M42, one investigation group unwittingly tripped these ancient monitoring systems. Across the planet, ancient reanimation systems began to enact aeons old algorythms, and the tomb worlds armies began returning to full wakefulness. On Cruthynia, the lord of the Ha'Tek dynasty awoke to the unwanted presence of their ancient foe on their world. Outraged by this, as soon as enough warriors had been mobilised, an army was sent to deal with the interlopers. The Ynnari protecting the expedition into the tombs was soon attacked by an organised and effective force of warriors and their war machines. Despite a spirited defence the aeldari were steadily pushed away from the tombs, and risked encirclement. The Ynarri expedition was abandoned as the investigating team fled back to the webway portal, followed by the battered remnants of the Ynarri army. For now th necrons had reclaimed their worlds, but as more warriors woke up, the Lords of Cruthynia realised the intentions of the Ynarri, and began searching for the Nexus Arrangement themselves.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

White Scars follow clues to the Nexus Arrangement

By 10.020M42 the Imperium had finally given a name to the system which they now suspected was the location of the powerful necron artefact known as the "Nexus Arrangement". Designated Cruthynia, a task force was being assembled by General Percival at Awarath. The plan was for this force to be sent to establish an Imperial presense in the system in order for Imperial agents to uncover the secrets of the ancient aliens. Due to Imperial bureaucracy however, this initiative would take time, and the White Scars went ahead to continue monitoring the system intending to disrupt any other forces from establishing a foothold and finding the Arrangement first.
Upon reaching the system the astartes force discovered that a small Tau mission had already arrived, and was in the process of constructing a forward base. Whether or not the Tau knew the importance of the system was unknown, but the White Scars did not wait to find out. Landing on the outer world, the space marines immediately attacked the Tau, using their superior speed and flexibility of forces to launch a swift assault. Noticing a slight opening in the enemy deployment, the bike mounted enhanced humans delivered a reckless charge. This action resulted in heavy losses for the White Scars as the entire Tau hunter cadre responded to the threat, but the close range fighting also significantly disrupted the Tau firing line, buying time for the rest of the White Scars force to close and get to grips with the xenos army. Off balance the Tau were overwhelmed, and the survivors of the action were scattered. The White Scars burned the Tau base to the ground, eliminating their presence for the system, while the space marine naval vessels searched for any tau vessels in the vicinity. Finding none, the astartes declared the system "clean", although they knew by now that the aeldari were still active in the system, and suspected that beneath the barren landscapes of the worlds of Cruthynia, necron forces slumbered in their hibernation.

Necrons claim Haknur Plateau on Hexis

On Hexis as 020M42 progressed, general Konev gradually found his command withering away. As the importance of the system had declined, his superior, general Percival, continued to strip forces away from the Hexis front. Some in Percival's staff argued for full withdrawal, but the Adeptus Mechanicus resisted strongly. They still had ongoing work analysing the ruins of Praxis and Menthoteph, and did not want the system abandonned. Many of the Novgorod staff, keenly aware of the sacrifices the men under Konev's command had already made, simply refused to consider a withdrawl on ideological grounds.

The weakened state of the Imperial defenders resulted in the necrons overwhelming the limited defences on the Haknur plateau, and Konev had to organise a hasty counter attack to retake the hills overlooking the Akrash pass. The Novogorod armour led the way with the cavalry, specially modified for the harsh conditions on the planet, following on behind. Sighting their enemy the imperial armour opened fire causing mass casualties, followed by a full cavalry charge. the guard expected to simply overrun the necron positions, but the ancient unliving xenos would not stay dead. Constantly renimating, the necron warriors mired the imperial assault into a war of attrition, hampering the Hussar's ability to take key objectives. Repeated assaults on the first Haknur ridge and eventually Konev decided the position did not warrant the continual loss of his forces. The necrons secured the Haknur plateau, bringing into question the feasibility of the imperial hold at Akrash Pass.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Sisters of Battle cripple chaos forces.

On Mordecai in late 09.020M42 the Sisters of Battle were once again able to deliver a crippling blow to the forces of chaos as the Emerald Serpent tried once again to force the breach in Kutusov's lines. The result was similar to the last attempt, as the Sisters of Battle once again reacted with a fierce counter attack of their own, hammering the chaos forces with their Exorcists and delivering their close combat specialists with Rhino transports. The result was another bloody defeat for the chaos forces, who had not expected the Imperium to expect the same move twice. Overthinking the situation once again, the lords of Tzeentch had fallen for their own elaborate plan and counter plan, while the Imperium simply reacted to actual events, rather than imagined enemy strategies.
The blow to chaos forces was significant, as while the strategic situation had remained in the traitor's favour, they had failed to make the most of it. Kutuzov still had a significant bridgehead on Mordecai Secundus, and by 0110.020M42 the strategic situation had changed. A third Space Station in the Perseus Deeps, this time at Parthenope, now meant the Imperial war effort had a much stronger supply situation. Bastien, Parthenope and Mordecai Tersius now provided a stable self sufficient supply network, capable of meeting the needs of Kutuzov's crusade force. With fresh reinforcements, munitions and food building up daily, the time for the Imperium to go on the offensive once more was now at hand.

Dark Eldar raid driven off by Ecclessiarchy

While the majority of the Sisters of Battle sent to the Aleph Sector were deployed on Mordecai, one element travelled to the Hadron Expanse to reinforce General Percival. Their skills were soon needed, as the Dark Eldar, presumably acting under the coordination of Archon Lord Vlokarion, began conducting systematic raids of Imperial systems. In truth, this was in order to distract the Imperium from the ongoing hunt for the Nexus Arrangement, but the unexpected arrival of the Adeptus Sororitas upset the Archon's plans entirely.
In late 09.020M42 one Dark Eldar attack on Awarath was met by a fierce counter move by the Sisters of Battle. The Repentia once again delivered a brutal strike, ravaging the left flank of the Drukhari force that had deployed to defend their raiders. Overwhelming firepower and faith helped the Sororitas to take out the xenos transports one by one, and the agility of the Drakhari apparently deserted one squad, who died to a man while trying to disembark from a destroyed Venom. The embarrassing event only added insult to injury as the Drukhari first lost their fighting cohesion, which then became a general rout to their webway portal, with the Sisters of Battle in hot pursuit.
Worse still for Vlokarion, his raiders had left behind crucial evidence of their plans. On the dead body of their leader, the Imperium were able to obtain vital intelligence, uncovering the fact that the Nexus Arrangement was indeed on the unclassified system where the Adeptus Mechanicus suspected. Taking this news to General Percival and the Inquisition, the Imperium began laying plans for a full scale invasion of the system. Whether they would be able to get their in time before the Ynnari discovered the artefact for themselves, remained unknown.

Sisters of Battle hold the line

Having breached Kutuzov's line in the south, the forces of chaos moved swiftly to expand the breach. The Dark Mechanicus had forced the break, but the Emerald Serpent now moved in force against the Imperial lines. Using their elite forces the Thousand Sons legion intended to pick off Kutuzov's reserves allowing their regular troops to move up and encircle the entirety of the Imperial left flank. This move would isolate fully one third of the Imperial forces and, it was hoped, bring to an end the Imperial invasion of Mordecai Secundus.
Kutuzov however had new allies. The Ecclesiarchy, declaring the war on Mordecai a crusade, had sent their own force of Adeptus Sororitas to the system, and this new elite force was ready in reserve for just such a move by the Emerald Serpent. As the Thousand Sons and their daemonic and beast allies moved forward, they were soon halted and forced to defend against a spirited counter attack from the Emperor's faithful. The chaos force defended themselves around a firebase of preditors and rubric marines, while the more mobile daemonic and tzangor forces spread out to meet the Sororitas attack. Initially the Excorcist artillery failed to have much impact on the traitor forces, but the Sisters of Battle moved forward in their Immolators, disembarked at point blank range and tore the chaos front line to shreds. Many of the faithful sisters fell, but the Repentia sacrificed themselves in the noble duty of the Emperor.
The disruption of this near suicidal attack gave the imperial force time to find their range, and now the Seraphim and Exorcists were able to draw line of sight to the chaos fire base, silencing the traitor predators and allowing the rest of the Sisters to take up critical positions on the battlefield. The Emerald Serpent responded by delivering a precision teleport drop by their terminators, but this was too little too late. The imperial counter attack had secured vital objectives and now gave Kutuzov's army a critical defensive advantage. The Emerald Serpent retreated to their start lines and the chaos breakthrough was prevented.