Friday, March 25, 2022
Despite the aliens' success at Candic Minor, the hive mind of the tyranids knew that the more habitable systems they could devour, converting the scarce organic matter into living organisms ready for further conquest, the faster they would be able to completely exploit the Rifts of Hecate, defeating the armies that opposed them then moving on to the Hardon Expanse proper.
Their next target was Mendesum, but although they had managed to seed the world with enough spores to create a small army, the Death Guard also had designs on this world. The location was close to a warp rift and presented the ideal site away from the war between the Orks and Imperium, to set up a base and begin experimenting on new diseases with which to spread the love of Nurgle through the Imperium.
To the outsider, both the tyranids and the traitor astartes had similar goals - spreading their own biological infestations across the galaxy, but their agendas were therefore completely in opposition. A clash was inevitable and on 2403.0M42 a large Death Guard army faced the tyranid vanguard force in open battle. Brutal bloody fighting ensued with victory eventually going to the Death Guard. However, the worshippers of Nurgle decided to abandon Mendesum for now, expecting a renewed attack from the tyranids, instead setting up a base on Pyrrho Zeta.
Saturday, March 19, 2022
Unfortunately for the Tau, the tyranids had already infested the world and rapidly attacked the newcomers. Although the hive fleet itself remained undetected, it had become apparent to all the races in the Expanse now that a major infestation existed in the Rifts of Hecate, and the arrival opening of the Hecate Gap had spurred the alien hive mind on to devour resources quickly and craft a new hive fleet.
The Tau were overwhelmed and forced to withdraw, losing their commander and fleeing into deep space. Recognising the threat that the consumption of Candic Minor represented, the eldar now took action. They intended to overwhelm a small portion of the tyranid infestation near key hive nodes, disrupting their command and control and slowing down the consumption of the world. The tyranids however proved more alert to the threat than the eldar had bargained for, and easily defended their hive nodes. Battered, the remaining eldar retreated into the webway, leaving the tyranids to feast on the biomass of Candic Minor.
Tuesday, March 15, 2022
On Tanis Prime although neither the Tau nor Imperium were as yet willing to deploy large numbers of troops, the skirmishing between patrol forces continued into mid 03.022M42 as both sides sought to establish control over the world with minimum resources. In previous engagements the Sky Lords had managed to send a signal to their chapter before their squad was eliminated, indicating that the Tau may have greater numbers on the world than at first thought.
This message was intercepted by the Deathwatch chapter who had a number of motivations for sending - as they did - a squad of their finest marines to the Tanis system. First, their purpose was to stand as a shield between the Imperium and the alien races that would threaten the divine right of humanity to rule the stars. More specifically, the inquisition wanted to know the Tau intentions in the Hadron Expanse. They knew that the Tau were building a "Hadron Expansion Sphere", but the activity on Tanis, so far from their base at Echo Reach, indicated a desire to expand into the Rifts of Hecate. The inquisition wanted to know how many forces the tau were willing and able to commit, and whether they intended a full colonisation of the Tanis system, rather than just the construction of a forward base.
The Deathwatch would not be successful in finding this out for them however, as the Tau managed to conduct an ambush on the astartes as they began exploring the site where the Sky Lords had been eliminated. Underestimating their enemy, the Deathwatch put up a strong fight, but were eventually surrounded and killed by the superior firepower of the xenos force. The Tau intentions at Tanis remained for now unknown.
The initial raid went to plan as the harlequins added speed and agility to the already manoeuvrable eldar forces, and soon a number of outposts on Ferrosiun Secundus went silent. The Imperium however was not without a rapid reaction strike force, as a small force of Adeptus Custodes had been assigned to the crusade in the Rifts. The Custodes saw the expansion of imperial rule into the Rifts of Hecate as a continuation of the Crusade conducted after the coming of the Cicatrix Maledictum, and whether their presence had been obscured from the witch sight of the eldar farseer's or not, the intervention of the finest astartes appeared to take the xenos by surprise.
the arrival of the Custodes in the heart of the eldar forces quickly overpowered the alien army, with only their swooping hawks able to extricate themselves from the bloodbath. The eldar force was driven off or destroyed, and the imperial base on Ferrosiun was strengthened.
Saturday, March 12, 2022
Tuesday, March 08, 2022
While the Rifts of Hecate saw ever increasing activity and larger battles during the start of 022M42, the war in the Tanis System between the Tau and Imperium had reached somewhat of a stalemate. The Tau had established bases on the worlds of Tanis I, III, IV and V, but had recently suffered defeat in a raid to the eldar. The Imperium had made efforts to gain some of these less important worlds but had been unsuccessful, while their base on the outer ice world of Tanis VII remained fairly secure and a constant thorn in the side of Tau plans.
The main world in the system was however Tanis II. This world was habitable, if a little cold, with one large continent ripe for colonisation. It wasn't entirely uninhabited but the human population amounted to less than a million, scattered across the world and living a backward life in the shadow of the ruins of their former civilisation. The Imperium had little information on the planet, but it seemed as if Tanis II was once am imperial or pre-imperial world before some cataclysm befell them.
Neither the Tau or the Imperium were in a position to send regular forces onto the world without an immediate response from the other, leading to probable inconclusive and costly confrontations, potentially undermining their holds on the other worlds. Instead, both sides had begun to send in much smaller forces to scout, establish links with the human communities and gradually build up their forces.
The first engagement on Tanis II came on 05.022M42 as a tau stealth team came across a squad of Sky Lords astartes who were patrolling near one of the ruined settlements. the Sky Lords had sent several small squads to support the Librian Guard, who had gradually been building up their presence on the world. This scouting force, amounting to no more than an infantry regiment's worth of troops across the entire planet, was dispersed to key locations, and the Tau determined to take them out one by one.
The first engagement saw the stealth teams swiftly overcome the Sky Lords, who were taken by surprise by the powerful and accurate firepower of the Tau. Having dealt with the astartes, the Tau called in pathfinders as they could see two Imperial Guard squads moving in to investigate the situation. What followed was a confused and bloody firefight that saw neither side victorious, and as both withdrew to assess the situation it marked the opening salvo in a small war between relatively small armies, scattered across a vast planet. There would be no front lines and major military operations on Tanis II, as both sides tried to use their minimal resources to establish dominance over key objectives, to take control of the world without having to employ excessive forces. Tanis II simply wasn't worth it.
Tanis II (Physical)
A tyranid resurgence would pose a significant threat, while the prospect of a new Waagh! filled the ancient race with a sense of dread. If the Emerald Serpent achieved their aims or the forces of Nurgle uncovered new ways to spread plague, the outcome would be intolerable, and the march of the utterly infantile Mon-Keigh into the Rifts of Hecate also may have disastrous consequences. As the expeditions into the Rifts grew in strength the Ynnari decided they could not merely sit back and watch.
The eldar attacks appeared without warning against several foes in a simultaneous action that at first targetted the tyranids, the orks and even the Tau - their sometime allies - at Tanis. Ynnari and Harlequin forces fell upon the tyranids at Candic Major, destroying their warriors and taking out several key hive nodes, setting back the hive mind's progress on that world, while the Masque of the Morning Crescent battered the ork speed freak warband that had arrived at Mendesum - removing the greenskins from that world.
On Tanis, the Tau were shocked to be suddenly attacked by Ynnari forces, but the eldar had good reason. They did not desire the Tau to join in the exploration of the Rifts as there were secrets there they had decided were not appropriate for the younger race to learn, so they decided on "direct" pursuasion. The battle on Tanis V was hard fought, with losses on both sides, but the base of operations was razed to the ground, setting back Tau plans to send stronger forces to the Rifts of Hecate - as the eldar had hoped.
Questions were raised as to the priorities and aims of the eldar intervention by Ynnari and craftworld eldar alike, but while the leaders of the Ynnari sect did not reveal all their insights, the instructions were clear. Delay, disrupt and destroy, and above all do not let one faction establish dominance in the Rifts of Hecate.