Battle of Rai

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Fabricediallodescends.jpgThis article is about a battle in the /tg/ Heresy project, a fan re-working of the Warhammer 40k universe.
The Battle of Rai
Puzzlewood.jpg
Date M31
Scale Planetary
Theatre Rai
Status Imperial Victory
Belligerents
Loyalist Legions Life Bringers
Commanders and Leaders
Gaspard Lumey
Antoine Antonelle
Fabrice Diallo
Cardinal Merik
Cardinal Obitus
Parris Rolfis
Johannes Vrach
Wilmut Sachs
Nikephoros Galen
Tribulus Bercilak
Ewen Jolyon
Strength
The Entombed
Void Angels
Scale Bearers
Plague Marines
Green Men
Losses
- -
Outcome
Life Bringers defeated
Green Men betrayed their Legion

The Battle of Rai was one of the most important armed engagements of the Scouring. It was intended by Johannes Vrach, the mad Primarch of the Life Bringers, as a death trap for the Entombed, the Void Angels and the Scale Bearers whohave been pursuing them since their frantic escape from Terra. Thankfully, the Loyalists managed to prevail in spite of all odds, soundly defeating the Traitors and prompting their battered Legion to split in two. Johannes Vrach himself managed to escape the justice, as did many of his lackeys who still plague the Imperium with their existence to this day.

Background[edit]

Johannes Vrach was lost in contemplation. Although he had very high hopes for Hektor, the failure of his rebellion was essentially just a minor setback for the Life Bringers. Their true mission, the complete eradication of disease in all of its forms, had not yet been compromised, and the Primarch had the full intention of resuming it as soon as he had a base of operations. After some deliberation, he chose Rai, his homeworld. It had to be purged of all life due to a dangerous xenovirus buried on it, but now the Primarch had the means of restoring life to it and a Legion of warriors immune to all disease at his disposal, so he decided it was about time to come home.

Much to Vrach's chagrin, the Loyalist Legions turned out to be much more vengeful than he had hoped. As his fleet rushed to Rai, Loyalist forces were hot on his heels, led by the irrepressible Entombed. Sons of Golgothos swore never to rest until the last Life Bringer is dead and buried, and they had every intention to turn Rai into their graveyard. Irked by the importunate perseverance of the Entombed, Vrach decided that they had to be wiped out once and for all before the benevolent work of his Legion could resume in peace. With this intention, he ordered his Genetors to turn the whole planet of Rai into one enormous biological weapon that would grind the bothersome Entombed to dust that they were so fond of. As much as they resented this order, Wilmut Sachs and Nikephoros Galen had to work together on the fortification of Rai, each one trying to top his bitter rival's wicked ingenuity.

Lacking the time or equipment to actually build the fortifications, the Life Bringers chose a different approach and decided to grow them instead. In preparation for the siege, they genetically forged special zygotes and planted them in strategically important locations of Rai. Within the space of several days, these zygotes grew into imposing forts, mighty walls and formidable towers. Instead of rockrete, these monstrous living structures were made from pulsing necrotic flesh; instead of steel reinforcement, they were supported by massive endoskeletons. Throbbing veins filled with gangrenous ichor ran through them, and their outer walls were reinforced with thick chitinous armour. These fortifications were not simply alive, they were semi-sentient and capable of regeneration, making them even more effective than conventional forts.

Vrach's plan was fairly simple. In order to force his adversaries to land rather than razing his planet from the orbit, he installed shielded batteries of anti-void weapons within his castles of flesh. Heavy shielding made these installations nearly immune to the concentrated fire of the Loyalist fleet, making the planet's orbit suicidally dangerous for any Loyalist ship to enter. This dirty trick forced the Entombed and the Void Angels to deploy troops on the planet's surface in order to destroy the installations, allowing for the orbital bombing. This was exactly what Vrach had in mind, for he intended to slaughter the enemy soldiers on the surface, where even the nature itself was on his side.

The Battle of Rai was fought on two battlefields at once, on the surface of the accursed jungle world as well as in the heavens above it. The combined naval forces of Void Angels and the Entombed strove to destroy Valetudinarium, Johannes Vrach's pestilent void stronghold, while their ground forces fought the Life Bringers in the planet's poisonous thickets. The main assault was preceded by a brief reconnaissance operation by the Scale Bearers third company, the aim of which was to scout the landing sites for their allies.

Stages of the battle[edit]

The naval clash[edit]

While the most dramatic events of the battle unfolded on the surface of Rai, the planet's system saw one of the tightest naval engagements of the Scouring. The Life Bringers had always put a great emphasis on their fleet, and now nearly the entirety of their ships were cramped into the small space around the planet, poised to protect it from any Loyalist ships that would dare come too close. Their clear numerical advantage was somewhat diminished by the fact that most of their void ships had been converted into mobile hospitals or laboratories on the orders of Johannes Vrach, severely reducing their combat capacities. But the fleet masters of the Life Bringers were more than content to use these ships as simple cannon fodder, blocking all approaches to Rai and to Vrach's flagship Valetudinarium with them.

The traitors fleet was opposed by a flotilla of the Void Angels, personally led by their Primarch Gaspard Lumey, and the remnants of the Entombed naval forces, terribly battered after a series of engagements on the way to Rai. In spite of their modest numbers, the orphaned children of Golgothos were more than willing to perish in a suicide attack, if only that would allow them to board Valetudinarium. Once there, they planned to storm their way to the command bridge and capture Johannes Vrach alive to punish him properly for his sins against the Imperium. While he never disclosed the details of his intended punishment, nobody amongst the Entombed had a shadow of doubt in Cardinal Merik's sadistic imagination. Admittedly never the greatest of tacticians, he delegated the command over the fleet to Cardinal Obitus, while he himself planned to land on the planet's surface as soon as a chance would present itself.

The Void Angels never considered actually boarding Valetudinarium: their aim was to destroy the enemy flagship by concentrated fire as soon as it was in the range of their weapons. Although he would never admit it, Gaspard Lumey still felt somewhat nostalgic about his past friendship with Vrach and wanted to do him one last favour by killing him swiftly and mercifully. He certainly had no intention of letting the half-mad Entombed lay their hands on the person who he used to be so close to. In a bid to reach Valetudinarium before his allies, he planned a risky flanking manoeuvre that would break the enemy ranks and allow for a straight shot to the flagship.

Both these plans were thwarted by the skilful actions of the Life Bringer fleetmasters. What was supposed to be a quick and overwhelming strike slowly turned into a painfully slow crawl, the punishing fire from enemy ships and defence stations exacting a heavy toll for every small advance. The Entombed seemingly didn't care for the casualties, sending more and more of their ships to the slaughter. While Lumey was somewhat content to see that their strategy failed, he was also worried that their reckless actions would put his own fleet in jeopardy. All of his attempts to coordinate their actions with Cardinal Obitus crashed against an impenetrable wall of burning zealotry and fanaticism. Trying to reason with the hell-bent Cardinal was almost physically painful to the rational Primarch, and he eventually abandoned these attempts, choosing to act on the assumption that the Entombed are going to be obliterated. Ironically, the impending demise of his allies gave Lumey relief, while the upcoming execution of Vrach, a traitor, caused him a great deal of pain.

The stalemate ended unexpectedly when a large group of green-painted Life Bringer ships abandoned their positions and switched from defence to a suicidal attack on the Void Angels, the apparent goal of which was Endurance, the personal Strike Cruiser of Antoine Antonelle. Lumey managed to react quickly to this change in enemy tactics and used it to his full advantage. His fastest ships immediately rushed into the hole in enemy ranks left by the green ships and widened it, allowing for the rest of the fleet to join in on the attack. Meanwhile, Endurance was eventually brought down along with many other great ships that were attempting to protect it. Much to Lumey's relief, Antonelle managed to escape from the doomed vessel and landed on Rai to personally lead the Void Angel forces on the ground.

The chaotic and uncoordinated actions of the Life Bringer fleet after the Endurance incident allowed both Loyalist Legions to make a lot of progress. Nevertheless, the victory still seemed out of reach when the green ships acted strangely again. After picking up several Companies of the Life Bringers from the surface, they suddenly abandoned the battle and deserted from the Rai system by activating their warp drives. Now the Loyalists had both the tactical and the numerical advantage, and Lumey was fully prepared to race his allies to Valetudinarium to decide the fate of Johannes Vrach. Alas, both he and Obitus were once again bested by the Traitor Primarch, who pulled one last dirty trick from his sleeve at the last moment.

Mind Breakers vs. Scale Bearers[edit]

The Void Angels and the Entombed were not alone on Rai: a third Loyalist Legion was present. A small force of Scale Bearers led by Captain Parris Rolfis followed the two Legions in their pursuit of the Life Bringers, lending their help wherever they could. While Rolfis was somewhat dissatisfied with the role of an errand boy for the two Legions, he never complained to anyone, for he took his duty very seriously. Besides, the Scale Bearers empathised with the Entombed, as both Legions knew the pain of losing their Primarch during the onset of the Heresy. Their force included no battleships, so they couldn't take part in the naval clash over Rai; instead, at the request of Gaspard Lumey, they were sent to the surface ahead of the main forces to scout out the landing sites and dispatch any enemy forces that may be preparing an ambush. With a heavy heart, Rolfis ordered his men and their Sors to board the transports that would take them to the plague jungles of Rai.

The Scale Bearers were not randomly chosen for the scouting role. They needed to quickly comb a large area of thick jungle where no vehicle could pass, especially not the bikes typically used for such purposes. However, the sons of Tiran possessed an alternative to bikes that worked perfectly in jungle conditions: their Sor mounts. Nimble and fleet of foot, these reptiles felt at home in the feverish thickets planted by Nikephoros Galen. The Sors hadn't been in regular use before the Heresy broke out, and remained rare even afterwards. This made the decision to deploy them in sufficient numbers for this scouting operation extremely difficult for Rolfis, but the Entombed insisted on the importance of this mission. After holding a brief council with the other commanders under his leadership, he made the difficult decision to meet the demands of their allies and dedicated a lot of the surviving reptilian mounts to the operation.

Although the Scale Bearers encountered no enemies at all during their first hours scouting the jungle, they had the uncomfortable feeling of being watched throughout, like if the trees themselves had eyes. Ironically, this was absolutely correct, as the mutated trees created by Galen's twisted genius did indeed have sensory organs and closely monitored every step of the intruders, sending all the data they gathered to the commanding officers of the Life Bringers via the neural network of their roots. Galen and Sachs watched the movement of their foes with interest, waiting for a perfect moment to strike. Finally, the Scale Bearers all congregated in one large clearing, allowing to finish them all off in a single decisive strike that would dampen the morals of the rest of the Loyalists. Much to his contentment, Captain Ewen Jolyon was dispatched to destroy the intruders.

Captain Jolly, as Jolyon was habitually known amongst his battle brothers, was a genius psychologist who honed the art of psychological conditioning and hypnosis to perfection. So skilful was he at his craft that he could put entire enemy units to sleep during combat engagements, but he had something far more sinister in mind for the Scale Bearers than a couple of nightmares. When his forces suddenly came upon Rolfis's men from the thick of the jungle, the Scale Bearers initially didn't know what to expect from their strange weapons. Instead of the usual bolters or heavy weapons they were armed with hypnoprojectors - diabolical apparatuses of Jolyon's design that combined infrasound emitters and stroboscopic lights to directly control and alter the subconscious of their targets. The first barrage of the hypnoprojectors seemingly had no effect, and Rolfis ordered his men to charge, only to notice that the Sors no longer obeyed them. Only when the reptiles started throwing their riders off and trampling them did the Scale Bearers realise what the Life Bringers actually did. Instead of the Space Marines, Jolyon targeted their loyal mounts, who were far more susceptible to hypnosis due to their primitive brains.

A lot of the Scale Bearers perished on the spot, not expecting a betrayal from their reptilian friends. Many of those who survived hesitated raising the chainsword against their mounts and died to their dripping fangs. Rolfis's voice trembled when he ordered his men to slay their Sors, as these beasts were as close as family to them. Pushing through pain, the Scale Bearers reluctantly turned their weapons against their best friends. Jolyon and his clique were watching with wicked glee from afar, preferring to let the Sors finish their masters. But they underestimated the combat prowess of the sons of Tiran - after a heated battle, all of the reptiles lay on the ground dying, finally free from the mad psychologist's spell. With their mounts dead, the Scale Bearers finally turned their attention to the Life Bringers. But Jolyon was a spineless coward, and, instead of accepting a fair fight, he preferred to retreat with his men back into the jungle, thinking frantically of another way to deal with the Loyalists.

The loss of the Sors was the last straw for Rolfis. He was fed up with being ordered around by the crazed Entombed and heartless Void Angels, while his heart was with the rest of his Legion. He longed to fight the Iron Rangers and avenge the murder of his Primarch, but instead he was stuck on this world, doomed to die in a war that was not his. After consulting with his lieutenants, who apparently shared his sentiment, Rolfis ordered his troops to withdraw and leave the Rai system. Their allies didn't take kindly to this decision. While Lumey was disgusted by it and called Rolfis a coward, Cardinal Merik was truly enraged even by his personal standards. In a bout of uncontrollable fury, he accused Rolfis of siding with the traitors and ordered his ships to shoot down the Scale Bearer transports before they reached the orbit, but thankfully a lag in his chain of command prevented this from happening.

Plague Marines vs. The Entombed[edit]

In preparation for the battle Wilmut Sachs unleashed untold horrors upon Rai. He crafted the Sea of Woe, which was filled not with water, but with countless colonies of pestiferous bacteria. Its shores were stalked by megamoebae, pathogenic germs the size of a Land Speeder that constantly oozed diseased slime. More conventional plagues were also created in anticipation of the Entombed, such as Red Scythe that turned the erythrocytes in the blood of its victim into miniature needles, thus turning his blood vessels into barbed wire, or Strongman's Bane that caused all of the muscles in the body of the diseased to contort to their maximum extent until they ripped his body apart. High Genetor's Plague Marines fortified strategically important positions with walls made from corpses of plague victims glued together with pus. Ever jovial, they spent their time awaiting the arrival of the Entombed sitting around methane bonfires gargling cheerful limericks about terminal diseases.

The fun ended very quickly when the first crypt-shaped drop pods of the Entombed crashed into the pestilent mud of Rai, releasing countless enraged dreadnoughts upon the minions of Sachs. Their leader, the saturnine Cardinal Merik, was obsessed with vengeance for his fallen Primarch to the point of lunacy. Driven to a frothing frenzy by self-flagellation and the Cardinal's fulminating demagogy, the Entombed hit the ranks of the Plague Marines like a tidal wave, shaking off any damage they received in process. The Loyalists ignored mortal wounds, lost limbs and concussions, fighting until the last drop of blood left their veins. Some even continued to rabidly lash out with their chainswords for several minutes after their heads had been sliced off by a corrupted Apothecary's bonesaw. The Plague Marines were pushed back by this irresistible force, but they knew that the time was on their side: no force in the Galaxy could keep up such an exhausting assault for long.

After several hours of ceaseless fighting, it finally appeared that the Loyalists were running out of steam and their offensive was grinding to a halt. With gleeful cackling, Sachs ordered his forces to regroup and begin a counter-offensive, priming to smash the pestersome foe to a pulp. Alas, it appeared that he merely fell into a trap prepared for him by Cardinal Merik. Before his orders were even delivered to the soldiers, the Entombed suddenly pulled back, and from their midst in there rolled an imposing pitch-black Land Raider encrusted with reliquaries. Merik himself rose up from the opened hatch, a strange artefact of clearly Xenos origins clutched firmly in his fist. Although Sachs had no way of knowing the proper name of the peculiar relic or its intended purpose, he could feel the godlike alien power oozing from it, too potent to be contained by ancient technosorcery, and this feeling made him afraid for the first time in a long while. It's been long since he had lost his fear of death, pain didn't bother him and his soul was far too black to fear moral suffering; and yet, the contents of the mysterious artefact Merik held in his hands made High Genetor tremble with terror.

The concept of humour was utterly alien to Merik - he was infamous for killing several people for attempting to joke. And yet, he laughed as he pressed a glyph on the alien artefact's surface and threw it to the ground before the ranks of the Life Bringers. Seconds after the cursed obsidian box touched the ground, it exploded in a beam of star energy, releasing its aeons-old prisoner. The titanic figure that rose up from the explosion was wrapped in a torn shroud that seemed to be weaved from the primordial darkness of the frigid abyss between the stars; its bony hands held a scythe composed of pure negative energy, and the eyes that gleamed from beneath its hood shone with malice unknowable to mortals. This godlike creature was none other than a Shard of the Nightbringer, an ancient star god whose cruelty and madness prompted his own flock to shatter and imprison him millions of years ago. After letting out a bellow of rage that sounded like an explosion of a distant supernova, the Shard descended upon the Plague Marines.

At last, the Cardinal's simple plan became clear. He used the initial assault to make a good dent in the fortifications of the Plague Marines, fought his way into their midst, and then released the shard of the alien god to deal with the hated foe. Naturally, Merik realised full well that after dispatching the Life Bringers the Nightbringer would turn on the Entombed who had no means to control him, but he was fully prepared to die at the hands of the vengeful deity knowing that his Primarch had finally been avenged. Meanwhile, the Shard was slaughtering the Plague Marines by the score: their signature chemical and biological weapons proved utterly useless against a creature of sentient metal. While his soldiers were being massacred, Sachs watched coldly and made notes, trying to calculate the best possible response to this new threat. Finally, he got a brilliant idea. Instead of sending his last remaining reserves against the creature, he ordered his artillery specialists to blast them with the most potent chemical projectiles they had left. As the first projectiles hit the unsuspecting soldiers, Sachs started reading litanies to Nurgle, asking him to accept this modest sacrifice and send one of his servants to deal with the Nightbringer. The Master of Plague was so impressed with Sachs's perfidy that he sent one of his most powerful Great Unclean Ones to assist him - Nilethagh, the lord of all venereal diseases.

As Nilethagh crossed his corroded sword with the Nighbringer's entropy scythe, the Plague Marines were finally free again to finish off the Entombed. But Merik's men were unwilling to give up, and put up a fight that would've made Golgothos proud. As a greater daemon and a star god were furiously fencing in the background, the Space Marines were caught up in one last fight to the death. Even after the massive casualties inflicted upon the Life Bringers by the Shard, they still greatly outnumbered their adversaries, and the fate of the Entombed appeared to be sealed at last. When Sachs was preparing to finish what Vrach had started when he unleashed his genophage virus upon the children of Golgothos, his right flank was smashed by a strike force of the Void Angels who were supposed to be fighting Galen's Green Men. Whatever was the reason behind their sudden arrival, Sachs quickly realised that he had no chance of winning this battle and began frantically thinking of ways to escape.

Once again, he was assisted by his pestilent deity. As Nilethagh finally defeated the Shard of the Nightbringer, reducing him to a pool of liquid metal, he finally turned his attention to the mortals fighting at his feet. Always eager for a fight, he disembowelled himself with his sword, letting out the hordes of Nurglings living inside his belly. While the Loyalists were too busy dealing with the daemonic infestation, Sachs and the remaining Plague Marines quickly boarded their shuttles and joined with the rest of the Life Bringer fleet on the orbit. It was the time to flee again.

Green Men vs. Void Angels[edit]

While Wilmit Sachs took on the Entombed, Nikephoros Galen was tasked with stopping the numerically superior Void Angels. His opponent's advantage did not bother him very much, though, for he was sure that the planet's malicious flora would even out the odds. While reconstructing Rai's biosphere, Galen connected the roots of all the plants into an enormous neural network spanning the planet's entire surface. This essentially turned the whole world into a colossal organic computer programmed to destroy any intruders.

From their first moments on Rai, the Void Angels felt as though the planet itself was attacking them: the tall grass was ensnaring their feet, explosive fruits were falling down on their heads, unseen predators lurking in the canopy picked out their battle brothers one by one. Even before their first encounter with the enemy forces, they had already sustained minor casualties. The first skirmishes also proved disastrous, as the Green Men were much more adept at jungle warfare than their adversaries. Aiming at finishing the weakened enemy, Vertumnus Alraun conducted a blasphemous ritual that infused the trees in the battle zone with spirits of the Warp. When the trees pulled their roots out of the ground and started attacking the Void Angels, crushing them with their mighty branches and tearing their vehicles apart with their roots, their field commanders wisely decided that this was quite enough for the first skirmish. Under heavy enemy fire, they retreated to their fortified landing site and began awaiting orders from their commander, Antoine Antonelle.

Correctly identifying the jungles as the source of the enemy's tactical advantage, Antonelle ordered them burned to the ground via promethium carpet bombings. However, this was easier said then done. Having anticipated this move, Tribulus Bercilak set up an impenetrable air blockade in the skies over the battle zone. The Void Angel pilots took this challenge as an opportunity to prove their superior aerial combat skills and initiated a full-on assault on the enemy airforce. For several hours, the heavens over Rai were filled with fire and explosions that made the sunlight seem dim in comparison. Eventually, the Void Angels emerged victorious out of this inferno, and their bombers unloaded their deadly cargo on the lush vegetation below, turning the lush jungles of Rai into a fiery Gehenna.

Seeing his beautiful creation reduced to ashes really upset Galen. Not even attempting to hold back tears, he made a vox announcement to his troops, promising gene modifications beyond imagination to whoever would bring the one responsible for this floricide to justice. But the Green Men were in little need for motivation: their hearts were already filled with fury, since they considered all plant life sacred. On Rai's orbit, a great deal of warships entrusted to Galen by Johannes Vrach perished in a suicidal attack on Antonelle's strike cruiser, Endurance. However, their efforts were not in vain, as their concentrated fire eventually managed to bring the great ship down. Although this foolish act put the whole of Life Bringers' fleet in great jeopardy, Galen considered it a sacrifice worth making.

Much to his fury, Antonelle managed to survive by escaping the doomed vessel at the last moment. The Equerry to the Primarch decided to make landing on the planet's surface to personally lead his troops to victory. Initially, his presence greatly boosted the morale of Void Angels, resulting in a series of successful skirmishes. Antonelle's forces moved deep into the enemy-controlled territory, seeking to destroy communications and turn the enemy retreat into a rout. Everything was going according to his plan, when suddenly the landscape around them exploded in great fountains of muck and plant litter, and enormous flower buds emerged from under the ground. These buds opened to reveal squads of Green Men that immediately charged the surprised Void Angels. The ensuing fight quickly turned into a slaughter. Antoine Antonelle was challenged to personal combat by Tribulus Bercilak, and, although he was without a doubt a superb swordfighter, his opponent was simply one of the best in the Galaxy. After several minutes of fencing, he was disarmed and thrown to the ground. With a sadistic grin on his lips, Bercilak emptied the entire cartridge of his Brambleseed gun into Antonelle's chest. Much to his disappointment, Antoine didn't flinch even as his chest was being torn open by vicious barbed wire-like vines.

Bercilak was hoping that Antonelle's gruesome demise would destroy the enemy morale and stem the tide of battle. In the short term, his calculations proved correct, and his troops started getting the upper hand against the Void Angels, crestfallen at the loss of their hero. Yet his great mistake lay in forgetting that Antonelle was hardly the only great enemy commander present on Rai on that day. Upon learning of his dear friend and mentor's death, Fabrice Diallo was at once filled with righteous fury, which he managed to share with his soldiers through his famous Colossus Has Fallen speech. Like a tsunami of ceramite, the Void Angels smashed the ranks of the Green Men, sending them fleeing. Neither Bercilak's tactical prowess nor Alraun's sorcery or Galen's biomancy could stop the furious sons of Lumey. Eventually, a realisation dawned on Galen that his forces stood a very real chance of being exterminated to a man in this hopeless battle. After some deliberation, he decided to betray his Primarch and escaped the planet, leaving the remaining Life Bringers to deal with two Loyalist Legions at once.

Vrach's escape[edit]

When Wilmut Sachs appeared before his Primarch to report of his crushing defeat by the Loyalists, he expected a bout of fury from his master. But anger was an emotion utterly alien to Johannes Vrach; instead, the Primarch was overtaken by a heart-wrenching depression. This was the second time he had lost his homeworld to hostile forces he failed to stop: first, an alien plague took it from him, and now the lapdogs of the False Emperor. But while he was powerless to retaliate against the ancient disease, he had the means to punish the Loyalists for robbing him of his home. With a melancholic gleam in his eyes, Johannes Vrach quietly ordered to put Plan Centimanus into motion. The hands of his Genetors trembled as they pressed the glyphs releasing the Centimanus plague upon the planet down below, for even the depraved servants of Vrach were still afraid of certain things.

As the containment tanks on Rai released the terrible virus, the tortured wails of billions of souls filled the minds of everyone within the vicinity of the planet. What has been a lush jungle world has quickly become a giant ball of writhing red biomass, an unholy mix of living concrete, metal and demonic flesh rapidly growing gigantic tendrils which lashed and grabbed unfortunate ships in orbit while the pained screams of the entire planet echoed across the Warp. At the command centre of the Imperial forces, Gaspard Lumey frantically contacted the fleet, straining his voice to the limit to be heard over the deafening wails. The Life Bringers were fleeing, yet the unnatural abomination on Rai was an even greater threat, infecting every starship its tendrils touched and turning it into more of itself, another screaming demonic monstrosity rushing towards the Emperor's servants, firing its weapons at everything in range and corrupting more ships in turn.

It was a relief to hear most of the Loyalists managed to teleport away from ground zero and escaped the gruesome fate of the majority of warships caught too close to the planet, but the battle was not yet won. With perfectly coordinated efforts under Lumey's command, the Void Angels and Imperial Navy routed and destroyed the terrifyingly deadly, but thankfully mindless infected vessels. Only when the Void Angels subjected Rai to extensive orbital bombings and completely annihilated the writhing monstrosity on its surface did the endless screams finally stop and the battle end in victory. This mission has claimed the lives of many, a sizeable number of Void Angel ships have met their end at the hands of the insane Chaos space marines and the corrupting tendrils of their unexpected creation. At last, the battle of Rai was won, but the victory was pyrrhic at best - the Imperial forces were battered to the point where they could barely continue fighting in the Scouring, and most of the Life Bringers managed to avoid justice.

Aftermath[edit]

Due to the skilful actions of his fleetmasters, Johannes Vrach managed to escape from Rai along with much of his remaining fleet. Left with no other place to go, he entered the Eye of Terror, where Nurgle finally rewarded him for his loyalty by granting him Daemonhood. Wilmut Sachs took over the Life Bringers as their de-facto leader, which prompted a further fragmentation of the Legion.

Galen's foul betrayal marked the origin of the Green Men as a separate warband. Like many independent warlords, he set course for the Eye of Terror, where he carved out a sizeable domain for himself. His most notorious achievement was the Great Sowing - the first massive Chaos incursion from the Eye of Terror which is generally considered to be the precursor to the first Black Crusade.

His failure to finish off the Life Bringers when he had a chance finally drove Cardinal Merik over the edge, turning him completely insane. The reverence his soldiers felt for him left replacing him on grounds of insanity out of question, and the mad Cardinal remained the Master of the Legion until the Second Founding. Under his leadership, the Entombed have massacred several innocent Imperial worlds suspected of collaboration with the Life Bringers, and only their stellar reputation as the heroes of the Scouring prevented a thorough investigation by the recently formed Inquisition.

The Scale Bearers lost a lot of their Heavy Sors in this battle, contributing to the extinction of these mighty beasts. Perhaps even more importantly, their premature withdrawal earned them the contempt of the other two Loyalist Legions present at Rai. Cardinal Merik in particular was truly infuriated at this perceived betrayal, openly accusing the Scale Bearers of collaborating with the Life Bringers. Frustrated by Vrach's escape, he was on the lookout for a scapegoat to blame for his fiasco, and the Scale Bearers came in very handy. This was the beginning of the great feud between the two Legions that persists to this day.

To this day, the Void Angels have not forgotten the heroic death of Antoine Antonelle. A lot of their iconography depicts a Void Angel trampling a slain treeman. Bercilak in particular is universally reviled by all of the members of the Legion and its successor chapters, and his execution is considered a holy duty.

The Plague World of Rai was cleansed by several viral bombings, destroying all life on it but keeping many ancient structures intact. The Imperial authorities who carried out the cleansing speculated that the world was spared a full scale Exterminatus because of the ancient Xenos catacombs on it that posed certain interest for the Imperium.