Sunday, October 31, 2021
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Sunday, October 24, 2021
On Mordecai Secundus following operation Sarkar, general Kutuzov was keen to shore up his right flank following the chaos counter attack into the northern Sathugar mines. Lacking Imperial Guard in this sector, the Dark Angels agreed to step in and attempt to cut off the salient the chaos advance had created.
Launching their elite forces against the Thousand Sons, the Dark Angels soon got into a vicious engagement on the rocky shores of the lava lake that dominated the area. Their Ravenwing and Deathwing units led the charge, and in a few hours the traitor astartes had been severely mauled, allowing imperial forces to cut off the salient and retake the mining complexes once more. This was a significant victory, but further south, the Thousand Sons, using their warp technology and the daemonworld of Astralis to reposition their forces, had launched a new offensive of their own.
The chaos siege of Ur'Ghar had only recently been lifted, allowing the Grey Knights to reposition and forces of the Imperial Guard and the Adeptus Mechanicus to take positions in the city. Defending the narrow corridor between the settlement itself and the rest of the imperial sector were the Adeptus Sororitas, operating out of their fortified complex fort Celestine. The tzeentch worshipping astartes now attacked in strength, and a savage battle took place across the blasted landscape of lava plains, as both sides stubbornly refused to give up easily.
After many hours of fighting, the traitor forces had managed to hold on to key objectives, and gradually the Sisters of Battle were forced back towards their defences around Fort Celestine. Once again the city of Ur'Ghar was surrounded, only now there were no elite astartes forces defending it.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Monday, October 18, 2021
While the main action on Mordecai Secundus was taking place further south, the Dark Angels decided of their own volition to sort out the Eastern Front. It had only been mere weeks since the forces of chaos had overrun part of the Abrax mines complex, and while the chaos forces on this front did not pose a significant risk to Fort Vengeance or imperial HQ (thanks largely to the deep imperial fortifications in the area), the loss of the mining complex was of strategic significance.
The Dark Angels drew up a focussed and limited plan to retake the mines, launching their assault simultaneously with operation Sarkar to minimise the threat of rapid redeployment by the enemy. Using their most elite troops, including their Deathwing and Ravenwing elements, the loyalist astartes were able to grab key objectives then weather the counter attack by the Thousand Sons. Although only a "side show" to operation Sarkar, the reclamation of the Abrax mines was nonetheless a welcome boost for the imperial campaign on the planet.
While general Kutuzov put in place operation Sarkar in the south, this necessarily came at a cost. In the central sector the imperial front line had to be weakened as imperial guard units were sent south for the offensive. To guard against chaos taking advantage of this situation the Ultramarines and Angels of Vengeance were deployed in the vicinity to rapidly counter any chaos offensive in the area.
The forces of chaos did not take long in making the most of Kutuzov's redeployment as a force of Thousand Sons and Death Guard began to rapidly advance on the city of Festergax Primus. Led by the Thousand Sons, with the slower Death Guard following behind, the chaos forces broke through the imperial lines with ease and now Kutuzov's counter strategy came into play.
The Angels of Vengeance, new to the theatre, took on the Thousand Sons. This however went badly, and the relatively inexperienced astartes chapter were all but brushed aside by the worshippers of Tzeentch. Further south-east, the House of Eschar faction of Death Guard moved inexorably forward, countered by the Ultramarines. Initially the engagement was evenly balanced, but the resilience of the Death Guard forces began to take its toll. Unable to take down enough of the nurgle forces, the Ultramarines were slowly enveloped then ground down by the Death Guard, with the intervention of the Blightlord terminators key to unhinging the Ultramarine left flank. Unable to respond to the appearance of the terminators, the ultramarines were gradually taken out, resulting in a massacre which severely dented the chapter's fighting capability on Mordecai.
By 2010.021M42 the forces of chaos had advanced significantly towards the city of Festergax, but the biggest risk was that Kutuzov's southern right flank now lay exposed and vulnerable.
Friday, October 15, 2021
A lone company of Marines by the name Varsity were the first lifeforms they encountered. An easy mission, the Sisters felt – their nimble frames could dance in, plunder or destroy their supplies, and dispatch them swiftly before their clunky armoured bodies could raise their guns in response.
And that is how the battle started: a pair of Sapphire bikers reduced a tank to ashes before it could land a single shot, as another unit ploughed through Varsity infantry. However, this success turned to arrogance that later proved their downfall. The Solitaire leapt onto another tank, staring directly into the window… and then failed to shatter the glass. The tank fell back, unscathed, to reveal a line of men with flamers waiting eagerly behind. She never stood a chance.
The Sisters were separated, spread thin in an attempt to take too much at once, and a gruelling back-and-forth of blows ensued. Varsity reinforcements dropped in mid-battle to pick off the wounded Death Jester clinging to one of the supply crates. The Rose Quartz division held another site desperately as a Dreadnaught smashed through them, and even the Sapphire bikers began to buckle under the firepower of the Marines.
Despite the considerable losses, things were looking hopeful for the Eldar until a single shot rang out that mortally wounded the Empress. Utterly thrown, the remaining Sisters conducted a final rush, causing as much harm as they could before they were forced to retreat, unsuccessful.
Sunday, October 10, 2021
The arrival of the Dragon's Sons chapter of space marines had not entirely been welcomed by all imperial forces across the sector. Unlike many other chapters of astartes the Dragon's Sons had not made any representations to the imperial high command on Mordecai and had simply deployed where they felt necessary. The information on them was almost impossible to find, and the other space marine chapters simply refused to talk about them.
General Kutuzov, already having experienced the attitudes of the Carcharadons and the Forgotten Sons' was concerned, but while this new chapter aided his conquest of Mordecai he was content not to push the matter. Further field however, the imperial high command was more concerned as reports of strange actions came in from the Hadron Expanse, where apparently a company of Dragon's Sons had also deployed.
Sector commander Titus Luthor was already borderline paranoid by this point. Inquisitor's Huron and Vorushko had disappeared, the Forgotten Son's had arrived, started attacking Imperial assets as a "warning" then vanished, and he had only recently been made aware that Lord Inquisitor Hathek had now disappeared, leaving a cryptic message that false agents of the Inquisition, backed by rogue astartes chapters, now had him and his high command as a target.
While increasing his own personal security and issuing edicts that no Inquisitor should be obeyed without his express approval (already an order in excess of his remit or power), Luthor's paranoia reached new heights as reports came in of the Dragon's Sons simultaneously battling against necron forces and a company of Dark Angels in the far reaches of the Hadron Expanse. This - Luthor could not make sense of, and the Dark Angels once again abjectly refused to comment. The Sons were victorious, but what the engagement was about, and why the Dark Angels were involved alongside the necrons (or even if this was reliable intelligence), was unknown to Luthor and extremely unnerving.
The war on Mordecai Secundus had been going on for years with no side prepared to give any ground. The mining world was key to the supply of the system's major world of Mordecai Primaris, the Imperium's ultimate goal. With the arcane technology available to them on Mordecai Primaris, it was likely that the Imperium would be able to establish a direct warp link between the Perseus Deeps and the Vastrid subsector, something badly needed for the prosecution of the Imperium's campaigns in the Imperium Nihilis.
The forces of chaos were more than keen to avoid this happening, and the Mordecai system had been critical to the continued chaos presence in the Deeps. Along with Kendrenec, these two worlds were the strongest of the chaos holdings in the region, as they had lost Bastien and Parthenope and previous campaigns, and Calliden, a previous stronghold, had been ravaged by the Harakhty dynasty of necrons, prior to their unexpected re-hibernation in 016M42.
The other worlds in the Perseus Deeps were of lesser value, and the loss of Mordecai would bisect chaos power in the region, cutting off the Rim Worlds from their power base in the Cicatrix Maledictum. In order to prevent the Imperium from gaining Mordecai, the Emerald Serpent - dedicated to the God Tzeentch and with the patronage of Magnus the Red and the Thousand Sons, had summoned the daemon world Astralis into the system. This gave the forces of chaos relief from the imperial naval blockade without having to risk their own fleets, as supplies and forces could be moved around via the arcane energy of the warp, but this was to no avail if the crucial mining complexes themselves fell into imperial hands.
Set against this background the forces of the Emerald Serpent and their elite legion astartes were always found deployed near the crucial strategic assets, and as the Hammers of the Emperor prepared to strike at the remaining chaos presence in the Sathugar mines, the Thousand Sons managed to launch their own unexpected attack in the north, against the Abrax mines. This northern sector had been quiet for months, but using the power of Astralis the Emerald Serpent quickly mustered and army and launched an offensive on 1010.021M42 against the Adeptus Mechanicus defences.
Relatively inexperienced with the battle tactics of the Thousand Sons, the Mechanicum force fought well, but were unable to prevent the forces of chaos from overrunning the northern mines. In the south however, the veteran Hammers of the Emperor struck almost simultaneously, overwhelming the chaos armies in the southern sector and reclaiming the remaining Sathugar mining complexes. By the end of 1310.021M42 both sides had managed to gain and lose sections of these critical mines.
Monday, October 04, 2021
While the war in the Lysis system occupied the majority of factions active in the Hadron Expanse, the Tau had long since disengaged from the bitter war for the system and the ruined landscape of the planet Hexis. The Tau had made significant progress in their "Hadron Expansion Sphere", helped in part by their alliance with the secessionist human Federacy, and their patronage by the Kel Sandros Eldar. For the last few years the Tau had established a strong base at Echo Reach, and taken the key worlds around the warp junction, including Hussaria and Dnatha. The Tau however, did not want to be constrained, and had turned their attention to the next phase of their expansion. The system of Tanis, while not as critical as Lysis (and Hexis), nonetheless was inhabitable, and stood at the gateway to the Rifts of Hecate, and crucially were the Tau able to control it, would serve to bottle surround the Vanir system and keep a check on the goings on at Hexis.
The expansion had been going fairly well, but in early 10.021M42 the Tau faced and unexpected attack from the greenskins following an ork warboss known as "Ludendorkk". Unaware of the reinvigoration of the orks on Hexis - and unaware that the increasing hostilities had been attracting greenskins from far and wide, the Tau did not expect the sudden invasion of one of the outer worlds of the system.
The Tau however had at their disposal a large array of weaponry and overwhelming firepower. Swathes of orks were cut down as they charged headlong into the Tau lines, and it seemed as if the greenskins would surely have to abort whatever mission they were on. To their horror however, the orks kept on coming, heedless of their losses, and it became apparent that the hunter cadre on the outer world may be lost unless the Tau commander took immediate action. Despite inflicting what should have been catastrophic losses on the greenskins, the Tau abandoned the outer world on 0510.042M42, and had to consider whether the expedition to Tanis was worth the effort. For now though, the Tau continued to construct their bases on the inner worlds of the system.
During 020 and 021M42 severe warp storms and an outbreak of a particularly virulent nurgle pathogen had caused serious disruption to the campaigns of the Aleph Sector. This was especially true of the Mordecai campaign where the forces of chaos were locked in a titanic struggle against the Imperium, led by General Kutuzov's imperial guard. The guard forces had suffered the most from the nurgle virus, but the forces of chaos had also struggled to contain the outbreak. In the latter half of 021M42 the warp storms abaited and the nurgle disease appeared to be under control, and both sides began funnelling reinforcements into the meatgrinder on Mordecai Secundus.
The mining world was key to the imperial conquest of the system, and in late 09.042M42 several new forces arrived to aid the war effort. A company of ultramarines and a significant force of Dragon's Sons astartes deployed in system, ready to launch themselves into missions against the enemies of the emperor, while the forces of chaos saw Fabius Bile and other chaos forces deploy via the Daemonworld of Astralis, giving the enemies of the Imperium a direct supply route Kutuzov could only dream of. Nevertheless, with a fully operational spaceport in orbit around Mordecai Tersius, and no fewer than three imperial naval battlegroups in the system, the Imperium controlled the space around Mordecai Secundus, and the strategic situation on the ground was finely balanced.
Southern SectorIn early 10.021M42 both sides began probing the front lines, looking for weaknesses. While the northern sector of the thousands of kilometre front line remained fairly quiet, battles erupted in the central and southern sectors. In the far south, near the beseiged city of Ur'Ghar, the Grey Knights launched a break out from the settlement directly into the heart of the Emerald Serpent and the Thousand Sons. Facing off against the elite of the enemy forces, the Grey Knights once again had to deal with the apparition of Magnus himself, as well as a daemon prince, a senior chaos sorceror and the animated warriors of Tzeentch themselves. The astartes were however optimised for dealing with just such a foe, and despite taking casualties, were able to overwhelm the Thousand Sons and breakthrough to the imperial lines to the west. The siege of Ur'Ghar had been lifted.
Slightly further west however, the Imperium faired less well, as the elite of the Thousand Sons pushed into the Sathugar mines, once again contesting the strategically vital resource complex. Defended by the newly deployed Dragon's Sons marines, the area was a wide front and difficult for the small numbers of astartes to hold onto. Rather than face being surrounded, the Sons withrew, allowing the forces of chaos to once again establish a foothold in the Sathugar complex.
Eventually, with their left flank smashed, the Death Guard, despite having slain the Dragon Son's commander and dealing heavy casualties to their hated foe, were forced to withdraw to stronger defences. Now the Imperium had created a salient on the west bank of the small lava sea north of the Sarkar Traps. From here it might be possible to encircle significant chaos forces, if a breakthrough could be achieved.