Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Hadron Expanse recent actions


Mordecai: Imperium retake Fort Diligence

Following the establishment of a front line at Abrax lake on Mordecai Secundus, the next logical step for Kutuzov was to retake the ruined complex of Fort Diligence. Standing on a vital strip of hardened basalt between multiple lava lakes, the complex was vital to the taking of the Abrax mines, and no meaningful assault on the mining area could take place until it had been secured. Unfortunately for the Imperium the move on Diligence was also obvious to the chaos forces, and the Emerald Serpent had already moved strong forces to its location. Worse, since the loss of the Nexus Arrangement, the Emerald Serpent was once again being directly influenced by Magnus the Red himself, as he used the power of Astralis to project manifestations of himself in multiple locations, heading up armies across the subsector. Kutuzov expected such a manifestation at Fort Diligence, and he was not disappointed.

Mass artillery fire signalled the start of the Novgorod infantry assault across the barren plains in front of the fortification complex, as shells rained down on the chaos positions for several hours. As the barrage rose to a crescendo, the powers of the warp launched a daemonic strike on the imperial batteries, but by then the Novogorod had already begun their relentless advance. On the left flank the Novgorod easily dealt with the lesser daemons and cultists opposing them, but on the right, larger daemonic warp entities stalled the infantry advance. The artillery kept firing however, frustrating Magnus and forcing him to move personally against them. This however left his own forces without his aid as the grinding infantry advance of the imperial fguard slowly began to crumble the resistance on their right. Eventually, slowly, the daemons were brought down, leaving Magnus alone and unsupported against the imperial army.

The daemon primarch, frustrated once more fled back to his daemon hold on Astralis, with its portal to the Planet of the Sorcerers. Without the Emerald Serpent daemonic entities to lead them, the remaining cultist army was easily brushed aside by superior imperial guard forces, and by 1612.020M42 Fort Diligence was once more in Imperial hands. General Kutuzov began once more planning the assault on the Abrax mining complex.


Aeldari secure Nexus Arrangement

The search for the Nexus Arrangement had gone unnoticed by the forces of chaos, and it had been by Aeldari design. Through their manipulation of the warp their powerful psychic energies had been concentrated on shielding all knowledge of the necron artefact from prying eyes, although they had been unable to deflect the Imperium, and the Necrons were bound to uncover what they were up to. Not until 1012.020M42 did Magnus the Red become aware of the eldar plans, and the deliberate psychic deception angered the daemon primarch. Yet, there was still an opportunity. Through his unrivalled mastery of the empyrean, Magnus and his sorcerers' had seen through the alien veils with which they had attempted to shroud their true intent, and their plans were now transparent to him.

Acting swiftly the daemon prince personally led a force of Thousand Sons across space and time, straight to the system of Cruthynia, breaking the very fabric of realspace and crashing upon the Ynnari and Harlequin forces on the surface of the barren world, supported by Ahriman and the Changeling himself. It was Magnus however, who was deceived. Magnus' pride had allowed him to believe he had uncovered the eldar plans all by himself and through his intellect, but it was a deflection. The Aeldari knew that when the Nexus Arrangement was unearthed, its mere presence would send a ripple through the warp, attracting the forces of chaos. Now, they had lured Magnus into a trap of their choosing, and in the battle that followed, despite losing their commander, the Thousand Sons, Magnus and Ahriman were all thrown back into the warp, the spirit of Magnus once again ejected from the mortal realm to brood angrily on the planet of the sorcerer's, and it's mirror, the daemon world Astralis.

With the chaos forces distracted, the Ynnari carefully unearthed the ancient necron artefact and managed to steal it away into the webway before the necrons or Imperium had time to stop them. The Arrangement was safe in Aeldari hands, and the Ynnari now revealed to their Craftworld and Harlequin allies what use they would have for it. The pursuit of the necron device had not merely been to deny its use to the enemy, but for a greater purpose. There were still two necron devices needed by Yvraine, and the Arrangement now gave her followers the means to extract it, without the world upon which it stood immediately falling into the warp.

Skirmishes across the Hadron Expanse

While the Imperium and Aeldari battled the elements and the slowly awakening Necron forces on Cruthynia, the other factions active in the Hadron Expanse were not idle. The Death Guard, taking advantage of the much weakened forces of general Konev on Hexis, launched a major raid from their base on the planet's major moon. Devoid of natural atmosphere, the moon provided a secure base of operations for the Death Guard, and for months they had been laying the foundations of a significant military installation. Now the space port was complete, offensive operations against the planet below could begin. Attacking without warning, the plague marines moved relentlessly against Konev's forces, and the Adeptus Custodes, still in place on Hexis until they could be reassigned to a more valuable warzone, were unable to prevent the traitor forces from ransacking Konev's already meagre supplies. Having stripped the complex bare, the Death Guard returned to the moon,. With the Imperium unable to counter the chaos military build up, it seemed inevitable that the the traitor legions would attack the main planet in force at some point in the future.

The Drukhari meanwhile, freed from their obligations to the Ynnari and the Alliance, decided it was time once more to make the Hadron Expanse a profitable venture. Having secured a number of bases in the webway close to the subsector, the dark eldar struct first against the Tau Empire, which had been largely inactive for over a year. Believing this to be a sign of weakness, the forces of Commoragh were somewhat taken by surprise when their raiding force was met by a swift response from Malkaor's hunter cadres. Far from inactive, the Tau had been building up their strength, and Echo Reach was now a military installation of some significance. Clearly the Tau were planning something big, and soon. The Drukhari managed to extricate themselves from the precipitous situation, but not before they had suffered serious casualties for next to no gain.

Monday, December 07, 2020

Carchardons surprise eldar, but are counter attacked at Cruthynia

Following the defeat of the Guard forces at the northern tomb city of Cruthynia Prime, designated Ankht from translations by imperial scholars, the Ordo Xenos sent an urgent message to all imperial forces in the region. The Nexus Arrangement was found. It resided underneath the city and the order was given to take and hold Ankht at all costs.

Reacting quickly, and realising the Imperial Guard were in no position to undertake a new offensive, the Carcharadon chapter of space marines took it upon themselves to take and hold the city, dropping directly from orbit after having detected aeldari forces in an unusually vulnerable position within the ruins. Led by harlequin forces, it was clear the xenos knew where the Arrangement was, and were working to retrieve it.

The initial drop by the space marines was devastating. An uncharacteristic lapse of judgement by the aeldari had left their forces exposed to attack, and the Carcharadons struck without mercy. The battle was over almost in the first few minutes, as the eldar force was slaughtered. Having taken the position however, the astartes now had to hold it.

The response was not long in coming. Recovering from their initial surprise the eldar knew the counter attack had to be undertaken immediately, before the Hammers of the Emperor could reinforce the positions now occupied by the Carcharadons. This time the harlequin force made no mistakes, although the stubbornness of the astartes guaranteed a bloody melee as they were reluctant to yield their hard won ground. Accepting casualties, for the cause was vital, the aeldari pushed on regardless, and by 1012.020M42 the Carcharadon positions had been completely overrun, with almost half a company of marines wiped out. The eldar suffered heavy casualties as well, but were now within reach of securing the Nexus Arrangement. Having located it, they now only had to escape out of the city back to the webway.

Percival's task force arrives at Cruthynia

After several months, the task force sent by general Percival to investigate the ruins of Cruthynia for the suspected powerful necron artefact known as the Nexus Arrangement, finally arrived in system. The fleet consisted of an imperial naval battlegroup, and established that there were no threats from spacefaring assets in the system, and proceeded without incident to the newly established base in the northern polar regions of Cruthynia Prime that the astartes had created for them.

The Hammers of the Emperor, unlike the Carcharadons, were more than willing to aid and work with the imperial guard who now began disembarking two regiments onto the planet. They were however, not above showing their contempt and disappointment at the paltry forces Percival had chosen to allocate to the endeavour.

Once the base had been secured and hardened against attack, the Novgorod Guard began offensive operations on 0712.020M42, moving south into an unexplored regions of the ruined necron city. Many of the guardsmen were visibly disturbed by the absolute silence of the world, save for a light breeze that would occasionally disturb the dust of the long dead world. Their resolve was bolstered however by the presence of the inquisitor Ivan Dostoevsky, who had come on the mission to uncover the secrets of the necrons and ensure they did not fall into the wrong hands. 

The silence was broken as soon as the guard moved cautiously into the larger of the tomb complexes that dotted the ancient city. Eldar forces suddenly appeared on both flanks, with the screeching of howling banshees audible for miles, while Wraith constructs appeared from nowhere to engage the slowly advancing infantry. The inquisitor handled the situation well, and at first the imperial guard held their ground and even managed to push further forward, especially on their right flank. On the left however, facing the awesome power of the Wraithguard, the Novgorod infantry suffered horrendous casualties and the entire flank collapsed. 

Dostoevsky intervened personally, identifying the enemy autarch, and launching himself at the enemy leader. However the skills of the aeldari outmatched him and the inquisitor was slain without uncovering the secrets he desired. After this the Novgorod resistance remained stubborn, but eventually with their inquisitor lost and no way to continue into the city, the battered guard army withdrew back to their bases in the polar regions. Meanwhile the eldar grew ever closer to discovering the Nexus Arrangement. It was here, underneath this tomb city, and they were determined not to be thwarted by the Imperium just as they had located their prize.

Novgorod Guard launch new offensive on Mordecai

On Mordecai Secundus the follow up to the Hammers of the Emperor victory against the Dark Mechanicus was a new offensive in the eastern portion of the imperial sector, once again targeting the all important Abrax and Sathugar mine complexes, pushing east towards the lava seas of the Kuneun Traps.

Lead by the Novgorod Hussars, general Kutuzov's army pushed implacably forward, meeting the bulk of the Dark Mechanicus forces on the outskirts of the now ruined mining complex. Fighting was intense, with the Hussars beginning the operation with a devastating artillery bombardment. Supported by valkyries providing close air support, the Hussars softened up the heretek forces before delivering a precisely timed cavalry charge, sweeping the enemy from the field.

By 1012.020M42 the imperial offensive had once again resumed its slow but relentless advance against the forces of chaos, reaching the outer reaches of the mines proper, and taking the northern shores of Abrax lava lake.

Necrons defeated by Astartes at Cruthynia

On Cruthynia the fight for the Nexus Arrangement continued into 12.020M42, with the Hammers of the Emperor astartes chapter once again launching an expedition onto the surface of Cruthynia. So far, every imperial attempt to establish a permanent base on the world had been resisted, so after a number of scans the Hammers analysed where the eldar had assaulted imperial forces in previous attempts, and ascertained that there was one area eldar activity had not been previously detected. Here, amongst the ruins of a long dead necron city, the Hammers made their initial scouting landfall.

Very quickly however, the astartes realised the necrons were far from long dead, as the armies of the Silent King reacted rapidly to the interlopers. An entire necron army, undetected from space, was in position and made a move directly onto the space marine landing grounds. 

The Hammers of the Emperor were prepared for such an eventuality however, as the scans had suggested that the area was too quiet, and the main strike force was called in to deal with the necron army. Dropping in via thunderhawk the elite forces of mankind landed right in the midst of the necron force, decapitating the leadership of the ancient xenos in one stroke. The necrons did not give up easily however, and converged on the newly arrived warriors of humanity. Gradually however, with unwavering stubborness and unyielding devotion to duty, the Hammers carved their way through the necrons, until only a pile of shattered mechanical detritus remained, before phasing out. Finally the Imperium had established a bridgehead on the world.