Nobledark Imperium Drafts

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This page is part of the Nobledark Imperium, a fan re-working of the Warhammer 40,000 Universe. See the Nobledark Imperium Introduction and Main Page for more information on the alternate universe

It is the 41st millennium. For more than a hundred centuries the Eternal Emperor and Empress have been joined in their holy union. He is the last relic of a lost age when hope and wisdom ruled the galaxy, still clinging to his purpose of forging a better future, and she is the last remnant of an ancient pantheon, a mother watching over dying children brought low by their own hubris. Together, they are the Masters and Guardians of Mankind and Eldar, the keepers of the Last Alliance, the embodiments of the Imperium to which a hundred sapient species swear their fealty.

At the core of the Imperium is Humanity, its teeming multitudes ever resilient, stubbornly carving out a future amongst the hostile stars. The greatest of Man’s allies are the Eldar, ancient and wise, their shared bond forged in battle and sealed in blood millennia ago. Since then, others have been judged worthy to join in the light of the Imperium, to stand with Men and Eldar as fellows: the industrious Demiurge, enigmatic Tau, countless strains of Abhumans, and many more.

Yet for all the Imperium’s numbers, it is barely enough to stave off the forces that would tear it down. United under savage Beasts, the Orkish hordes throw themselves at the great edifice of the Imperium. The Necrons are awakening to a changed galaxy, and seeth at the primitives who would dare harbor their greatest foes the Eldar. From the galactic east, the Tyranids have made landfall and sweep over countless worlds in their hungering tide. In the shadows lurk the Dark Eldar, reveling in the carnage of a galaxy at war. And from the Immaterium, the Chaos Gods brood and plot their eternal vengeance, served by the twisted Chaos Eldar.

To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold trillions. It is to live in the last bastion of civilization as the darkness draws near. These are the tales of those times. Forget the stories of peace and harmony, for they are fables of a gentler time, when the world still made sense. Remember the stories of struggle and defiance, full of brotherhood and sacrifice, for those are the ones that really matter. Peace is a distant dream growing ever fainter, and there is only war as Men and Eldar hold the line for the promise that has been whispered through the generations, from father to son, from mother to child: that there is good left in the world, and that is worth fighting for.


To-do List[edit]

  • Finish Primarchs
  • Establish timeline and events, and how similar they are to canon 40k
    • Origins of Warlord/Steward/Emperor, and his own timeline
    • Unification of Terra
    • Great Crusade
    • Rescue of Isha
    • War of the Beast (replacing Horus Heresy)
    • Armageddon?
    • Tyranids? Have they fully arrived yet
    • Other SMs? Only the original legions, or others? Chapters?
  • When is present day?
  • Repercussions of Imperium/Eldar alliance?
  • add new canon from gathering storm and 8th e

The Imperium: Then[edit]

"Of course we are at war. Why on Old Earth's green soil would you believe we are not at war. We are in what is essentially a siege position, with an unfortifiable border stretching an entire 360 degrees for several light years in every conceivable direction. Our enemy has no concept of "rest" or "armistice" and can pop up at any time, on any side, in any position within the massive amounts of space between the mud marbles that we call the worlds of the Imperium. The Imperium is always going to be at war. Why would you ever believe otherwise?"
- Primarch Rogal Dorn, showing his usual level of tact

A Brief History of the Early Days[edit]

Maps of Old Earth, circa M30


The Nightmare of Old Earth:

Of all the national entities that existed when the Warlord emerged on Old Earth, none is perhaps as infamous as the Empire of Ursh. The Tyrant of Gredbriton consorted with the Ruinous Powers and used horrific chemical weaponry, but few others in Gredbriton actually worshipped Chaos and thus his ability to do widespread damage was limited. The Pan-Pacific Empire was an absolute nightmare to its own people, but seemed largely unconcerned with the world outside its borders. The Yndonesian Bloc was a brutalistic theocracy, but also tended to be rather isolationist. The Merican junta was an expansionistic, nationalistic military state, but at the very least it did not treat its citizens as disposable, if only to protect the investment, and the people there had at least some standard of living. Ursh, by contrast, shared all of these negative features with its contemporary empires and suffered none of the limitations. The Empire of Ursh was a major influence in the histories of numerous other Unification-era countries, including Terrawatt-Uralia, Duscht Jemanic, Bania, the former components of the Everlasting Tharkian Empire (including Macedonia and Achaemenidia), the Nord Afrik conclaves, the Afrique League, Merika, Ind, Sibar, Sino-Japan, and the Khanate. In many ways, the Unification of Earth can be directly tied to the rise and fall of the Empire of Ursh.

The Empire of Ursh was originally founded in northeastern Azia, on the banks of the Amyur River. Despite containing fertile riverlands, this area was never an important center of industry and agriculture during the Dark Age of Technology, and so was spared from some of the worst of the horrors of the Old Night. The ancestors of the people who would come to form the Empire of Ursh came from such ancient, long-forgotten countries as Russia or China, but they nation they ended up founding would become a completely different entity altogether. The first ruler of Ursh was a rather eccentric man named Kalagann the Great, who in spite (or more likely because) of his eccentricity, was able to unite the various pocket kingdoms, city states, and villages around the Amyur River into an actual nation-state. Early historians often described Kalagann as nothing more than a prelude to the infamous cruelty of the Despots, but later historians have found that there was nothing to suggest that Kalagann was as evil as his successors. Indeed, Kalagann seemed to be genuinely concerned for the welfare of his people, and there is no evidence that Ursh had yet been corrupted by the Ruinous Powers. Ursh was one of the first nation-states to rebuild from the metaphorical and literal fallout of the rebellion of the Men of Iron and the beginning of the Age of Strife, and for a while it seemed like Ursh was going to be the pinnacle of civilization on Earth, an illustration that society could rebuild from the Age of Strife. However, a few years after Kalagann’s death, it all started to go wrong.

As they expanded from their initial cradle of neo-civilization, the Urshii found themselves surrounded on three sides by tribal hunter-gatherers (Sibar), steppe nomads (the steppe nomads of the future Khanate), and subsistence farmers that seemed to have no aspirations of greater empire (Sino-Japan). Over time, the Urshii began to see themselves as the sole remaining carriers of the torch of civilization that stretched all the way back to ancient Sumeria, and as “enlightened” people it was their job to shepherd the rest of the uncivilized masses back into the light. Urshii art and architecture was heavily influenced by this concept, being consciously modeled after imperial China or ancient Mesopotamia, two of the great cradles of civilization, despite Ursh itself have very little direct connection with either. These included a lot of ziggurats, which were seen as stairways to the heavens and often the site of important, and often unsavory, political or religious functions. The rulers of Ursh, the infamous Despots, believed that they had been given the divine mandate to bring civilization back to the people of Earth, granted to them by the four great heavenly powers, which were represented by the four directional winds. These four gods were, of course, the Ruinous Powers, who just loved to subvert and co-opt local cultural and religious beliefs for their own purposes. The Despots were educated from birth that they were god-kings, and that they and they alone knew what was best for Ursh and humanity. This, along with the systematic dehumanization of the serfs and non-Urshii, was one of the reasons for the infamous brutality of the Despots of Ursh. In their view, questioning the Despots or making a request was tantamount to saying the "god-kings" didn't know what they were doing.

Despite seeing the usefulness of advanced weapons of war, the Empire of Ursh was downright backwards technologically when compared to the other major empires of that time such as Merika, Hy Braseal, and the Pan-Pacific Empire. Indeed, one of the major reasons the Empire of Ursh invaded the Afrique League and the Nord Afrik conclaves in M28, one of the largest military engagements on Earth prior to the Unification Wars themselves, was primarily for technology to use against their larger neighbors. Instead, the Urshii preferred to look inwards, focusing more on religion and the occult rather than technological advancement. To the Urshii, technology was only useful if it could further aid them in their goal of conquest.

The Empire of Ursh had the largest fleet of any pre-Unification power with over twelve ships, but these ships were so derelict as to be borderline space hulks and could not even leave low Earth orbit. Indeed, because these ships were so decrepit and spread over such a wide area of territory they were used more for denying the orbital high ground than to actually fight. Records indicate that when a ship was too damaged to fly or an enemy ship was actually shot down the Urshii would swarm over the wreckage like scavengers on a Void Whale carcass, salvaging the ship's weapons to attach to ground vehicles to turn them into overbuilt weapons platforms. This was about the limits of Urshii technological aptitude.

Ursh was perhaps best known for its army, which despite its limited technology was the terror of Old Earth for many years. At the center of the army were the Nobleborn, elite warriors who were born of the upper class and given the best weapons and training the Urshii could afford. However, there were never enough Nobleborn to make a full-scale army large enough to take on Ursh's neighbors, even with Ursh's massive population. Additionally, although the Nobleborn made good shock troops, they had little tactical flexibility and could not perform specialist roles. Therefore, the Urshii often supplemented the Nobleborn core of their army with various auxiliaries, drawn from the numerous enslaved people and vassal states around the empire. Ursh primarily controlled its auxiliaries through mutual fear. The Red Engines feared the steppe nomads, who feared the Tupelov Lancers, who in turn feared the Roma, and so on and so forth. All feared the wrath of the Despot of Ursh.

Urshii society could be divided into three major groups. On the one hand, there were the various vassals and conquered peoples, who were seen as less than human and treated poorly. On the other, there were the serfs, who despite being Ursh-born were not “chosen”, and therefore also considered to be subhuman and treated poorly. And finally, there was an upper class, composed of a combination of the military, scientific, religious, mystic, and cultural elite. One of the only good things one could say about the Empire of Ursh is that they valued personal ability when they saw it, though admission into the nobility was only available to those who were both skilled and truly indoctrinated in the Urshii philosophy and religion. Urshii high courts were often a web of treachery and deceit, with nobles plotting against each other for power. The Despots encouraged this behavior, particularly among the Urshii lords of far-off conquered territories, as it kept them fighting among themselves for the Despot’s favor rather than deciding to secede and form their own petty empires.

After the fall of Ursh, this class system was thoroughly dismantled, though few of the nobility actually survived. Most of the nobility had been so indoctrinated in the superiority of Ursh and their gods that they would rather charge unarmed at a group of soldiers outnumbering them a hundred to one than accept defeat at the hands of “lesser peoples”. It was this attitude that led to the Urshii insurgency in Sibar, which was a thorn in the side of the Imperium for nearly twenty years after the fall of Ursh itself. The various freed vassals and serfs, on the other hand, were in some ways brought together by the shared experiences of the horrors of the tyrants, leading to the use of the term “Children of Ursh” to refer to those who had suffered at the hands of the Despots.

The Khanate[edit]

See The Pastoral Worlds

The Great Crusade[edit]

The Fable of Djerba[edit]

Today the world of Djerba in the Segmentum Solar is not particularly notable. But it’s Crusade-era history is well-known. Like many worlds during the Age of Strife, the original population included a significant number of people who were touched by the Warp, which increasing manifested itself as the Age of Strife went on. Unfortunately, like many worlds during the Age of Strife, including Barbarus, the psykers on Djerba went mad with power and set themselves up as god-kings over the common people. On Djerba, these psykers called themselves Cognoscynths.

The psychic abilities of the people of Djerba primarily manifested as a form of mind control. Cognoscynths could invade and control the mind of an ordinary person on a whim, rewriting memories, suppressing morality and self-preservation, and forcing any who could not surpass their willpower and psychic might to be their slaves. Before long, although the surface of Djerba was nominally made up of numerous warring nation-states, the leadership of these nations were little more than puppets to the Cognoscynths. The Cognoscynths erected their City of Sight above Djerba, from which they controlled the people below like marionettes on strings. They forced the people below them to go to war for their amusement, laughing as man slaughtered man at their whim.

According to legend, the Imperium sent three emissaries to the Cognoscynths. The first was the Scholar, a giant clad in red, who came bearing words of warning. He had come to Djerba hearing rumors of a society where outcasts such as he could co-exist in peace with normal men without fear of persecution. What he saw disheartened him. Here was a society which embodies the worst nightmare of the most closed-minded and hateful of mankind, who feared the witch and hated the psyker.

The Cognoscynths psychically commanded him to bow. The Scholar said no. In that moment, the Cognoscynths realized that they were to the man before them as hills were before a mountain. With rage burning in his one eye, the Scholar said he would give the Cognoscynths one warning. Dismantle their oppressive society and free the ordinary men and women they had enslaved, or face the consequences. For if they did not he would to return with his liege, and his liege was not as forgiving as he.

The second was the Shepherd, clad in gold, who brought words of doom. The Cognoscynths had ignored the warning of the Scholar, and had not changed their ways since he had left. The Shepherd was the Scholar’s liege, and came before the Cognoscynths much as the Scholar had. He said that he had seen the world the Cognoscynths had wrought. The Cognoscynths had been judged, and found wanting. Once more, the Cognoscynths were enraged at being judged by an outsider, and attempted to psychically compel him to bow. They failed. Whereas the Scholar had been a mountain, the Shepherd was like a monolith of adamantium, only gold instead of grey.

Their prodigious psychic powers failing them, the Cognoscynths turned to words. They scoffed at the idea of the Shepherd bringing judgement upon them. For all of his power, the Shepherd was just one man. Even if he brought the Scholar, the two did not have the power to command them on their own. The Cognoscynths were each powerful psykers, who could command armies of their own. Whereas any army the Shepard could bring would fall under the control of their powers and turn on their fellows. What could the Shepard do to them?

“I will bring your empire down with a single soldier,” said the Shepherd, then left.

The third Emissary was the Slayer, clad only in black. She brought no words, only death. Where she walked, men went mad, the witch-touched tearing their eyes out and clawing at their skin whereas the mundane became ill and collapsed from severe vertigo. None could seemingly touch her. Even the Cognoscynths were not immune. The Slayer only killed two-thirds of the Cognoscynths, by the time she turned her attention to the remainder they were already dead, the last choking on his own blood.

The people of Djerba were freed both in body and mind, and with freed fists celebrated their liberators. But to this day, the Imperium still remembers the lesson of the Cognoscynths, even if only as a cautionary tale, as best exemplified by the colors of Djerba. Red, gold, and black.

The Rangdan Xenocides and the Slaugth[edit]

The Rangdan Xenocides were by far the most costly conflict ever fought during the Great Crusade. The campaign included the involvement of three Space Marine legions (the Dark Angels, Space Wolves, and the Ultramarines), several Titan legions, and significant numbers of the Solar Auxilla; needed the assistance of the Eldar to gain a foothold; and required the direct intervention of the Steward himself to finally turn the tide.

The opposing forces of the Rangdan Xenocides were the Slaugth. The Slaugth were colonial organisms resembling masses of maggots (though pedantic AdBio members would point out they also showed similarities to Terran leeches and earthworms) linked together in a mucosal sheath into a humanoid shape. The constant psychic contact between the individual worms in the colony, combined with the completely horrific and alien mindset of the Slaugth by the standards of nearly every other race in the galaxy, made them revolting to directly touch with psychic powers. Psychic contact with a Slaugth was not like the mental communion of matter and anti-matter of a blank, but described more like sticking one’s arms up to the shoulder in maggots. “Only a daemon would want a Slaugth’s soul”, an old Crusade-era saying goes.

The Slaugth themselves had an entirely self-centered mindset and only cared about themselves and their individual desires, lacking even the empathy requisite for sadism, they would with great and terrible apathy degrade and consume the whole of the universe. Although they were able to scrape together some semblance of social order, the Slaugth saw everyone and everything, even members of their own kind, as little more than tools or philosophical zombies set in the universe to fulfill their whims. For the most part, the most prominent of those was hunger. Although the Slaugth were naturally detritivores and could survive on any flesh, they most preferred to feed on brains (the larger and more complex, the better), and had developed a system to feed this gluttony. Humans, eldar, and other sapients were farmed like cattle, their brains extracted, and the waste meats fed back to the livestock and Slaugth bio-constructs like Osseivores. The Slaugth did not eat the brains of other sapients solely for their nutritional value. Absorbing nutriends from a brain would cause an individual Slaugth worm to be overwhelmed by neurotransmitters, producing a euphoric effect similar to a chemical high.

Indeed, just about the only reason the Slaugth didn’t readily turn on each other is that Slaugth couldn’t really eat other Slaugth. If one Slaugth colony tried to eat another Slaugth, the two would simply merge into a single giant Slaugth colony twice as large and twice as hungry as its constituents. Even if a Slaugth did manage to completely kill all the component individuals of a fellow Slaugth colony before eating it, Slaugth flesh simply tasted foul to their own kind. And this is assuming that a Slaugth could kill another Slaugth in the first place. Being composed of hundreds if not thousands of individual organisms, Slaugth lacked vital organs or a centralized nervous system and were notably hard to kill. For this reason, Slaugth tended to prefer necrotic weaponry, which rotted the tissues of their foes from the inside-out and was one of the few ways (aside from fire, plasma, or radiation) to make sure another Slaugth was reliably dead. The fact that it also worked well on the bio-constructs that Slaugth technology was largely based around just made it even more attractive.

Given this entirely self-centered mindset, it is difficult to imagine how a species like the Slaugth could have ever developed a civilization, let alone space travel. However, what little historical records remain show the Slaugth arose long after the end of the Old Ones in the War in Heaven and long before humanity developed widespread genetic engineering or spread out into the stars. Current hypotheses suggest that the Old Eldar Empire, or at least someone like them, was responsible for the uplift of the Slaugth from what were essentially fire and tool-using ant colonies into a starfaring species, as well as their adoption of a humanoid form.

By the time the Imperium encountered the Rangda, the Slaugth were being ruled by an Iron Mind. A minor Iron Mind, to be sure, but even a minor Iron Mind was still dangerous. The Slaugth and the Iron Mind had formed a kind of symbiosis, or as close to one as the Slaugth were capable of. The Iron Mind handled the long term planning of the Rangdan Empire, which the Slaugth naturally didn’t have the wherewithal or inclination to run, and the Slaugth indulged it in its god complex and protected its physical body while its artificial soul ran with daemons in the Warp. When the Imperium fought the Slaugth the Iron Mind was able to coordinate the movement of its forces with uncanny accuracy. Companies would advance only to be met with forces that already predicted their arrival. However, when the Imperium finally made a beachhead on Rangda, the Steward took to the field and struck down the Iron Mind with an ancient archaeotech device of unknown purpose from the vaults of Ganymede. With the Iron Mind destroyed, the cohesion of the Slaugth was broken, and the remaining factions were run down and killed by the Imperium and Eldar.

It was during the Rangdan Xenocides that the Dark Angels, who were previously tied for the status of “most numerous legion” with the Ultramarines, became the largest standing legion by a wide margin. Although the Ultramarines were well-trained and highly-skilled, the Slaugth were an outside context problem for them and they suffered grievous casualties. Still others became infested through some unknown means and had to be mercy killed, their eyes begging for death and their limbs moved to butcher their comrades in the name of their xenos master. By contrast, the Dark Angels had been traveling the void and dealing with anomalous phenomena for far longer, and knew how to deal with the unexpected. While the Ultramarines immediately moved to free the Slaugth chattel, the Dark Angels held back and waited. Although this seemed callous at the time, the Dark Angels knew that the Slaugth would use the prisoners as bait for an ambush, and that by focusing their efforts on the Slaugth or restricting any rescue operations to the cover of darkness they could save a lot more prisoners than otherwise possible. The rise of the Dark Angels as the undisputable largest legion set the stage for Luther’s actions during the War of the Beast, and made the betrayal of the Fallen that much more devastating.

Imperial and Eldar forces rescued numerous humans and Eldar from Rangda and the surrounding worlds of the Slaugth Empire. Eldar rescuees, due to the longer generational gaps, were not as mentally damaged and were herded off to the nearest Craftworlds where they could be given some semblance of a normal life. Although these slaves were physically normal, mentally, it would be more accurate to describe them as livestock than anything else. They had spent at least a few thousand years being bred for servile, docile natures and to be just strong enough to not need looking after much but too weak to pose any sort of threat. The Imperium tried to uplift them in a similar manner to the ogryn, but had variable success. In the end, the human survivors of Rangda were largely adopted by the various Legions. They were docile but they were dutiful, they also had inhuman patience and didn't get bored by repetitive tasks. Their tainted bloodline has by 999.M41 faded away though many in the Imperium, even some Space Marines, could claim to have at least one ancestor in the "serf families" as they became known.

Today across most of the galaxy the Slaugth are considered to be harmless boogeymen, an extinct xenos species whose only modern function is to scare children into eating their vegetables. There are others who know better. Not every Slaugth was killed in the aftermath of the Rangdan Xenocides. Some escaped the destruction of their species, hiding amongst the flesh of the dead in places beneath notice. Today the Slaugth exist in the shadows, multiplying in the places out of sight ready to emerge wherever weakness or rot presents itself. Slaugth have been sighted in the xenos districts of Low Commorragh, trading technological abominations to the Dark Eldar in exchange for slaves. Some have even suggested that the abundance of Slaugth in the Calixis Sector is not a coincidence, speaking in hushed tones of bargains struck between the maggot men and the separatist Emperor Severan of the Severan Dominate.

The surviving Slaugth seem surprisingly unconcerned with the loss of their empire. They resent it, but they are not devastated by it in the way that a human, eldar, or tau would be. Indeed, the Slaugth seem to see the destruction of their empire and near-extinction of their species as “not their problem”. And given that the Slaugth are colonial organisms, who can reproduce asexually or with minor contact with other colonies, it could be argued that the death of the rest of their race really was “not their problem”. Indeed, the empire at Rangda was in effect the normal Slaugth modus operandi on a large scale. The similarities are evident; a large number of thralls and bio-constructs lorded over by a Slaugth elite, resembling a feedlot or a parasitic infestation more than what one would think of as civilization. It’s possible that while the Slaugth might on some level desire retribution for the destruction of their empire, given their mindset they might just consider vengeance another flavor of eating.

The Ullanor Crusade[edit]

Editor's Note: Needs to be edited with changes discussed in Thread 62, put here to avoid it getting lost since it is mostly done

The Prelude to the War of the Beast:

Imperial historians generally consider the Ullanor campaign to be the last major military action of the Great Crusade and a harbinger that set the stage for of the War of the Beast shortly thereafter. However, to those who participated in the crusade itself, there was little to suggest the Ullanor campaign would be of such significance. Ullanor was seen as one of the last major pockets of significant military resistance in the galaxy, but at the time of the Ullanor crusade peoples’ minds were beginning to shift away from exploration, warfare, and conquest and more towards consolidation and rebuilding. Most of the major threats to the Imperium during the Great Crusade were seen as dealt with. The Slaugth were believed to be extinct. The Yu’Vath were seen as crippled, though not completely eliminated. Guilliman’s fear of a “counter-Imperium” located somewhere in the galaxy seemed to have never been realized. The map of the Milky Way had not been completely been filled in, but there was less and less of an area for any such an empire to hide. However, few would claim the Great Crusade was nearly over. Many planets were still in the process of reconstruction, a process that was expected to take several centuries given the extent of the damage from the Old Night.

The empire at Ullanor was discovered quite unexpectedly by the Imperial Fists as part of their unification of the neighboring Osroene Sector near the border between the Segmentum Obscurus and the Segmentum Ultima. The people of the sector had reported numerous Ork raids over the years, most of which had been beaten back at great cost. They said the raids had become more intense over time, but had little more information on where the Orks were coming from or why the raids were so frequent beyond their general direction of attack. Similar sectors had reported the same thing, to the point that one Imperial map made shortly before the Ullanor Crusade has the Ullanor Sector rather cheekily labelled in High Gothic as “Hic Sunt Orcorum”. The Imperial Fists made a short Warp jump, expecting to find little more than a pirate base formed by a particularly successful Freebooter. When they saw the actual source of the raids, they immediately turned around and sent an astropathic message to Old Earth for backup.

What the Imperial Fists reported from Ullanor was shocking. Normally Ork camps resembled nothing more than the camps of a simple warband writ large. Nothing more advanced than a series of tents and ramshackle huts, and nothing more permanent than some Mekboy quarters and da Drops. Not Ullanor. Ullanor had been united by a rather ambitious warboss, who had decided to build his influence over the sector slowly than let his reign be a simple flash in the pan. Instead of a simple scrap-ridden wasteland and encampment, the planet had been criss-crossed by a series of Ork-made bunkers, crude and spartan but nevertheless planned in terms of their placement. These buildings were but crude fortifications compared to the permanent structures erected by the Orks at places like Gorkograd on Prax. However, at the time of the Ullanor Crusade, it was an unpleasant surprise.

The increasing Freeboota attacks on the neighboring systems weren’t simply raiding parties. They were the signs of an empire ready to expand.

The threat posed by Ullanor was clear, even to the Steward. Having nearly been choked to death by a similar Warboss after a hasty and ill-advised personal assault on the hollowed-out world of Gorro, the Steward knew full well of what a Warboss of that caliber was capable of. Such was the threat posed by the empire at Ullanor that five primarchs and their respective Space Marine legions were called in to deal with the threat: Rogal Dorn and the Imperial Fists, Fulgrim and Terra’s Sons, Mortarion and the Death Guard, Jaghatai Khan and the White Scars, and Horus Lupercal and the Void Wolves. Each had their own role in the campaign. Mortarion’s troops were to form the backbone of the army, a fighting force of such fortitude that they could weather anything the Orks could throw at them. Terra’s Sons were to act as shock troops, striking at points of particularly hard resistance and cutting down the ‘ardest Boyz. Rogal Dorn’s job was to tear down any Ork fortifications and prevent the Orks from using the terrain against them. Jaghatai was to chase down any survivors to prevent them from regrouping, as well as contest the mechanized cavalry game with any Ork bikers. Horus was to hold the orbital high ground and use the Void Wolves to board and clear out any ork ships in orbit.

The Imperial Crusade had hoped to simply pick off the warboss and see his nascent empire implode. However, the Warboss at Ullanor, Urlakk Urg, was clever. Instead of exposing himself to danger by leading his army from the front, he kept himself hidden, where Imperial assets could not simply pick him off. In order to keep morale up, he used the bunker system spanning Ullanor to appear where he needed to be in the thick of the fighting to show his Nobz he hadn’t lost his stomach, then taking advantage of the chaos of battle to avoid being sniped. Further complicating the matter was the fact that Urlakk Urg didn’t always give his orders in person, instead creating a system of messengers to carry his orders for him when he had to be elsewhere.

In the end, it fell to the primarch Horus to end the threat of Urlakk Urg. Taking his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit, Horus opened a channel to recievers on all frequencies and began insulting the Warlord. For two hours Horus taunted Urlakk Urg, claiming he was cowering in his bunker like a pansy instead of fighting where everyone could see him and suggesting that rather than an ork perhaps he was merely a particularly overweight and foul-tempered gretchin. Urg tried to resist for as long as he could, recognizing correctly that it was a trap, but eventually his temper got the better of him. Eventually, Urg broke down, sending a message back to Horus incensed that he would say such things from behind the safety of a starship and claiming he wouldn’t be so glib if the two were meeting face to face. Horus, having finally figured out which bunker Urlakk Urg was hiding in, responded by slagging Urg’s bunker from orbit with a Rok-Buster torpedo.

“And that, gentlemen, is how you do it. Now, let’s go apply some fungicide.”
-- Primarch Horus Lupercal, after hearing Urg’s response to his message

At the apparent death of their Warlord, the Orks began to lose morale and the tide began to turn in favor of the Imperium. On a local scale the Orks recovered quickly from the loss, with the various lesser Warbosses taking over where Urg had left off, but without Urg to hold them together the different Warbosses could no longer act as one, and as a result were picked apart piecemeal by the Imperium. Many Warbosses spent their last moments engaged in a war on two fronts, both fighting the advancing forces of the Imperium as well as their fellow orks for control over the WAAAGH!

The Imperium celebrated at the destruction of Ullanor. Some rumors say that Ullanor was turned into a world dedicated to the Imperial triumph there, though the Steward would be quick to point out that this was not the case, as removing the Orkish spores from Ullanor alone would have taken more time than elapsed between the Triumph at Ullanor and the War of the Beast. Ullanor was worth more as a productive world than a self-congratulatory glory shrine anyway. Nevertheless, a celebration was held on Ullanor the likes of which had not been seen before. Eleven of the nineteen primarchs showed up, the five who had served at Ullanor who were awarded additional honors in recognition of their service as well as Lorgar, Magnus the Red, Angron, Sanguinius, Guilliman, and Perturabo, as well as numerous chapters of their various legions, regiments of the Imperial Army, representatives of the Titan legions and the Adeptus Mechanicus, and more. An invitation was even extended to the eldar, though only the inscrutable Eldrad showed up, and much of what he did on that day was unknown.

Unfortunately, their celebration proved premature. Although Horus’ patented strategy of sniping the enemy leadership with extreme prejudice and cleaning up whatever disorganized remnants were left after the chain of command was disrupted had worked numerous times before on the battlefield, here it had failed. After Horus’ bombardment Urg was still alive, though wounded, beneath the rubble. Blood dripping from his wounds, Urg made his way to a device in his chambers, a Mekboy contraption the Orks had taken to call a tellyporta, which transported him to a nearly airless rock in the middle of nowhere before the Imperials began sorting through the rubble. This world had been Urg’s backup plan in case the Orks at Ullanor were defeated and had to come around for another go, but it had now become his place of exile. Urg bellowed in rage, furious at the Imperium for taking his empire, furious at the git that defeated him through such deceptive and underhanded means, and furious at Gork and Mork for allowing such a thing to ever happen. This rage brought Urg to the attention of four other beings who shared Urg’s hatred of the Imperium and had a very vested interest in seeing it destroyed.

The War of the Beast[edit]

Raid of Cthonia[edit]

The Raid of Cthonia was not a strategically important battle in the War of the Beast, but it has long stood as an eerie portent in the annals of imperial history, and may be remembered with hate in the clash of some future war. During the Great Crusade the system spanning ruin had been garrisoned by detachments of both the Imperial navy and army, as well as a contingent of Mechanicus intent on the study of the ancient hub system, and a special Custodes unit nominally present to ensure the safety of the treasures of human heritage. At the time of the Dark Eldar engagement, Cthonia was far from the main theaters of battle, and much of its naval and infantry guard had been ordered into the defense of Old Earth. The raid is notable as the largest single incursion the Dark Eldar have ever made into realspace, and the only time the great tyrant Asdrubael Vect is known to have walked an imperial world. As the siege of Old Earth reached its terrible climax the Cthonian system was set upon by a force of corsairs and Kabalites, first seeming a particularly fierce attack of opportunity, but with the appearance of Crone and Upper Commorragh command ships, then Vect’s own, it became apparent the scale of the assault.

While significant fortifications had been established on one of the system's rocky inner planets and the foundations and initial foundries of a new forge laid on another in hopes of staging exploration through the system the forces that remained to man them were few. Navy and Mechanicus ships scrambled to secure their orbits against the tide of corsairs. The imperial officers could do little but watch through their telescopes as the Crone and Commoraghi command ships maneuvered to the crest of the golden circlet and made to secure the broken ring set around the Cthonian star.

Of the Imperial forces present the techpriests were the best armed and in the greatest number, but they received the greater part of the Dark Eldar's attention. The guns of explorator ships and newly scavenged archaeotech illuminated the space around Cthonia III, but even as the darting corsair ships burned in orbit they made for the surface. The orbit of Cthonia rapidly became a dynamic hell of boarding actions and lance fire as incubi and skitarii ripped into each other in fierce engagements that were soon mirrored on the planet's surface. The Commoraghi forces on Cthonia made to plunder the forge of its magos and higher acolytes, while those around Chthonia IV tried to cripple the Imperial military force. The predominantly Voidborn battlegroup successfully held against corsair opening salvos, the remaining imperial army forces on Cthonia IV supported their meagre naval force with surface based lance and torpedo installations and polar weapons platforms. As the third day of fighting on and around Cthonia III dragged to a close the remaining Mechanicus forces retreated first to their ships in orbit, then to their sister world. As they broke from the fray the attacking Dark Eldar made for the crest and their command ships.

The dark battleships of the attacking force's Crone sorcerers and mighty archaeons were moored among the gleaming discharge towers and control domes of the crest facility, the forces of the haemonculus and balesingers they brought with them engrossed in the wonders they were dissecting. Assets drawn from Vect's own fleets and forces manned the shredding guns set up in the installation's spires and the cutters ready to intercept any counterattack meant to dislodge his expedition. In the years that followed Inquisitorial investigators and their illuminate superiors judged that his forces had access to facilities that were integral to the creation and engineering of souls, facilities that housed the stacks of Dark Age Abominable Intelligence that trawled the deep warp, and others that prepared blank bodies for life. The extent of his Haemonculi and sorcerers gained from this endeavor could not be known, and the Magos of Cthonia III was never found.

As the bloodied forces of the Mechanicus and Imperium regrouped at Cthonia IV under the protection of its surface armaments they made to contact the wider imperium and the Custodes garrison. Attempts to call for aid brought dismay, the latest news was that Sanguinius was dead and the Eternity Gate breached, and no reinforcements could be spared. In spite of this blow it was found that the Custodes still held the focal complex and central repository, and hoped to hold it longer still even as their barricades breached. It took two more days to prepare a meaningful attack force to challenge the Dark Eldar assembled at the crest, and for that time the focal complex and its golden defenders held by power glaive and sword even as they fell back from lab to lab, and dove back into lost chambers to face down witches and horrors that strove to pry forth their lord's very fundament.

The defending Custodes were all but overrun, but enough stood to continue to disrupt the invading Dark Eldar. In later stories of the battle it is said that Vect entered the complex guarded by mandrakes and his personal retainers, intent on ensuring the successful looting and study of this piece of imperial history, and was engaged at some distance by a Custodian wielding a rocket launcher. The remains of the Custodes unit was forced to its final fallback position in the central operating chambers, as well as a handful of holdouts fighting on across the massive complex. Vect was still in the complex when the remaining Imperial and Mechanicus ships entered combat with the corsairs and set course to charge the moored command ships. While some of the Imperial vessels were intercepted, others picked off by the corsairs before they could get the commanding crone ships in range, much of the counterattacking force got in among the enemy fleet, some ramming and others firing their guns until they no longer could.

The great tyrant's personal hasty retreat spared him and his ship. The corsairs fled soon after the first Imperial ships detonated their drives, their Mechanicus crews devoted to the sanctity of the Omnissiah and hatred for such things as haemonculi. The crone ships burned among the emission spires, their blasted wrecks were pinned to command domes by the broken prows of imperial ships. The ships that remained after the initial charge ran down the fleeing pirates until they slipped into the webway, or else entered the crest and threw themselves into the destruction of the straggling Dark Eldar. Even as the remaining Voidborn and Imperial army forces relieved the Custodes unit from their charred and melted fortification there was little celebration. To their best knowledge the Imperium had fallen, whatever their victory was worth, and they braced for the worst. It took another day to establish contact with the Imperial navy, which confirmed the opposite.

Battle of Mount Afonso[edit]

See Drach'nyen

Battle of Necromunda[edit]

The Battle of Necromunda was a major conflict during the War of the Beast, where the Imperial Fist fought to control both the planet and space around the hive-world itself. As a technologically advanced Survivor civilization, Necromunda was a major munition manufactorum that directly supplied munitions to the front lines and Terra itself. As the Beast made a beeline for Terra to recapture Isha and kill the Steward, in order to make the upcoming Battle of Terra easier other Orks and Crone Eldar worked together to cut off the entire Sol-Sector from the rest of the Imperium. When a blockade couldn't be establish the Chaos forces switched from cutting supply lines to outright attacking the production of supplies itself. The ever opportunistic Dark Eldar joined along for the ride with the Chaos forces to make the Imperial shipping lanes a living hell to operate within Segmentum Solar.

The sights of a big WAAAGH! had the poor planet of Necromunda as the next prey after already destroying several Imperial worlds when they bypassed Terra. Still rich in mineral and other resources the hive-clusters on the surface would be devastated in the fighting in the orbit as debris from Imperial Navy wrecks, Ork Rokks, and twisted Crone corpses rained down upon the planet. Due to people living in such tightly packed conditions, tens of thousands of civilians died just in the first week of fighting over the planet. The Imperial Fist sent a detachment of 40,000 Space Marines under First Captain Sigismund to defend the planet at all cost, but an unknown amount of ships got lost in transit due to Warp interference that was probably conjured by the Crone Eldar. When Sigismund arrived over the planet, the Imperial Navy was in a stalemate with Chaos ships where neither side could attack without being destroyed in a single battle. Unfortunately, the Ork ships orbiting Necromunda had mostly crashed onto the surface to begin invading the planet. Sigismund would report that Imperial Fist ships are arriving over the planet at random times yet there were enough Battle Barge to kill the Chaos fleet. The Battle Barges combined with the Imperial Cruisers attacked to finally crush the remaining Chaos fleet, ending the battle in orbit.

However, the damage was already done for Necromunda as the majority of the invading Orks had already crash-landed into or near the hive-clusters. Sigismund ordered all available Imperial Fists to land and defend the manufactorums at all cost. The hive cities were turned to fortresses (more than usual), in that the Orks paid five Boyz for every one Space Marine. However, even this was not enough when the Orks outnumbered the Imperial Fist ten to one. What was more frightening was that the invaders were making fast progress as well. Thousands of Imperial Fist were lost within the first few days of fighting in the hives. Sigismund was not shocked with the losses but rather had expected them knowing how the battles in the War of the Beast worked. What he did feel was worried by the fact that as this battle of attrition continued, the Imperial Fist will lose the world being bleed dry.

The streets were filled with trenches, the spires were kill-zones, and rooms were bunkers. Hallways were blocked off with the bodies of fallen Imperial Fists with armor still on them. Hive gangers had resorted to cannibalism while the rest of the civilians fled away from the hives. The desperate and pure hopelessness of fighting in the hives led to many, including Sigismund, to fall under the sway of the Plague Father. The wishes of eternal life and reviving fallen brothers to help the defense of Necromunda were granted under a demonic pact with the First Captain's blood. The words "I offer all those presently under my command" had damned all 40,000 (living and dead) Imperial Fist, along with the mortal crew of the Battle Barges, to serve Nurgle.

The fallen Imperial Fist were brought back, along with some being granted immunity to pain and being able to fight while still missing all limbs but one arm. Now the Orks had to kill every Space Marine twice and each Marine could take twice as many wounds. The blessed Imperial Fist shot the Orks in the front as the revived brothers shot from behind, the Orks had walked into a trap of their own making. In the ending stages of hunting down the last Orks, an unknown Space Marine clearly blessed with illnesses shouted "For the Imperium!" before slicing an Ork with his Lighting Claws.

The Battle of Necromunda was won but neither for the Imperials nor the Beast. The real victors were the Chaos Space Marines. True the Imperium still held the planet and the Ork WAAHG! was crushed, but this was done for the price of almost 40,000 Imperial Fists turning to Chaos and forever being lost to the Imperium. Those on the planet that sought the Dark Gods’ help did so when they were forced to either flee and lose the planet or have a heroic last stand and then lose the planet. Well, one must remember that Sigismund was told to "Hold Necromunda at all cost" even at the price of any lives and damnation.

The traitor Imperial Fist would quickly and quietly depart from the sub-sector on their Battle Barges before the news broke out, then announcing to their mortal crew that they would now fight the Imperium. The traitors would rename themselves the "Rotten Fist" as a joke about how the Imperium would be rotting in the future. Their motto is still "For the Imperium" as some odd form of love for the Imperium or a reference to how they fell to Chaos due to defending the Imperium.

Rotten Fist marines during the War of the Beast were sighted fighting Orks and Imperial forces but not the Crone Eldar. After the Battle of Terra, the Rotten Fist along with other Chaos Space Marines were hunted down by Loyalist Space Marines. The Rotten Fist would flee to The Maelstrom, escaping into the Warp.

Be'lakor and the Alpha Legion[edit]

Every legion at a role to play in the War of the Beast, even if that role wasn’t immediately obvious. Such was the case with the Alpha Legion. When war broke out, the Hydra continued its work in the shadows, though they weren’t too happy about it. It was not the job of the Alpha Legion to fight on the front lines. It was their job to find the source of the threat, the man behind the man, and stop the problem at its root. Urlakk Urg was the obvious threat to the Imperium, but there was clearly more going on. One did not just go from being a former warboss with no empire to his name to head of a galaxy-spanning WAAAGH! in less than six standard years. Chaos was clearly a factor, but beyond the four Ruinous Powers there were other players behind the scenes vying for power, ones the Imperium did not even know about yet.

The Alpha Legion was first put onto the scent of one of these players after the end of the Nurthene Campaign, which had ended in disaster when the natives, who considered autoguns and tanks to be the cutting edge of warfare, had unexpectedly gotten their hands on Chaotic Exterminatus-class weaponry and the means to fleshcraft nightmarish golems in the image of their animalistic gods. Despite stymying assets of the Imperial Army, Astartes, and even a Titan legion, the Nurthene insurgents known as the Echvehnurth could only slow, not stop, the Imperial advance, and in a grand act of salting the earth the Echvehnurth activated a Chaotic weapon known as a Black Cube. The Black Cube stripped Nurth of all life and left it an uninhabitable, primordial wasteland, killing all upon it but at the same time denying it to the Imperium and inflicting heavy casualties.

The Alpha Legion were perplexed by this turn of events. Never before had their intelligence apparatus failed them so. It is possible they would have continued to be perplexed had they not heard from their contact with the Cabal, John Grammaticus. Alpharius and Omegon had heard from Grammaticus and the Cabal several times before, the two organizations having shared useful intel, but this time all Grammaticus had was a single cryptic line courtesy of the mysterious Gahet.

“Go to Eolith. The answers you seek will be there.”

As fellow espionists themselves, the primarchs of the Alpha Legion were at first unsure of whether or not to believe Grammaticus, but ultimately decide to investigate it for themselves. They didn’t fully trust the Cabal, but the Cabal’s goals were straightforward and their information had been reliable in the past. Additionally, even if the Cabal’s weren’t telling the whole truth, that didn’t mean what they said was incorrect. An expeditionary force was dispatched to investigate the Cabal’s claims, consisting of several cells of Alpha Legionnaires as well as reinforcement by the Geno Five-Two Chilliad. The Chilliad’s knack for pinpoint coordination and tactical adaptability had impressed the Legion’s twin primarchs, and meshed well with their own combat sensibilities. What’s more, the Chilliad knew how to keep a secret. The Chilliad and Alpha Legion had worked together several times in the past, and when the Alpha Legion was in need of more traditional military assistance the Chiliad was normally who they thought of. However, Uxor Honen Mu was not at the head of this expedition, having stepped down following her loss of cept many years ago at the beginning of the Great Crusade. Instead, the Imperial army detachment was commanded by Teng Namantjira, the commander who had overseen the Nurthene disaster. Namantjira’s record had been spotless until Nurth, and the commander was eager to discover whether some external force had caused his offensive to fail.

Their destination was a world which the Imperium had cataloged and ignored during a routine survey as 42 Hydra Tertius, but the source knew as Eolith. Eolith was a strange world. At first glance it seemed utterly out of the ordinary, but closer inspection revealed otherwise. Surveys of the planet found plateaus with perfectly sheer faces and straight lines buried in silt under the ocean’s continental shelf, resembling starship landing pads. Nature does not build in straight lines. The rest of the planet was also more abnormal than it appeared, basins were exposed hundreds of meters below sea level, while the planet’s core suggested a lack of rotation that made it hard to imagine how the planet could sustain a breathable atmosphere or magnetosphere. Indeed, in other respects the planet was almost too ordinary, having an atmosphere that was almost identical to Earth’s, albeit with more neon and oxygen and less argon and nitrogen in the atmosphere, and a gravity 1.5 times that of Earth, despite its diameter suggesting it should have had a gravity twice that. At the north pole of the planet found an unusual energy signature, suggestive of a continuously open portal into the eldar Webway, but the records the Imperium had gained on the labyrinthine dimension from the eldar never indicated that any such portal existed here.

Given such an anomaly, the first place to look seemed obvious. Taking half of the forces of the Chilliad with them, the Alpha Legion descended upon the basin at the planet’s northern pole. There, sitting in a basin that was supposed to be three hundred meters below sea level, was what looked like an open Webway gate, albeit one that didn’t look like it was made from wraithbone, but instead an eerie black stone that resembled obsidian, but seemed to reflect no light. The members of the Chiliad were commanded to secure the margins of the basin, while the Alpha Legionaires would act as the tip of the spear and enter the portal first. Nobody wanted an enemy force potentially attacking them from behind, and if there was something nasty on the other side better the Astartes go first.

Upon entering the portal the Alpha Legion found themselves in a shrine dedicated to a being older than recorded history and an evil older than man. The reliquary was lined with numerous paraphernalia and artifacts atop singular pedestals, fossilized statues of a horned and winged being carved out of fossilized bone, five thousand year old scrolls from the Age of Strife made from tanned human skin and written in blood, horn fragments that seemed to be both material and immaterial at the same time, all illuminated in an eerie half-light that seemed to come from spotlights that did not exist. More recent items were also present, grisly trophies from the Massacre of Teuthowald, the Battle of Pydinia and the Nurthene Campaign, all Imperial defeats or losses that had seemed to have no real culprit, at least until now. The halls were lined with cyclopean blocks of stone, inscribed with writing and hieroglyphs that no one had ever seen before.

At the very back was the centerpiece of the shrine, a massive mural several stories high. One of the Alpha Legion, a Katholian, immediately made the holy symbol of Quolious for protection upon seeing it. It depicted a single entity surrounded by flames, vaguely reptilian in countenance, with forward curved horns and three eyes, shrouded by a pair of leathery wings. One of the Alpha Legionnaires remarked that it vaguely resembled depictions of the devil in their home planet’s religion. The face of the being was hard to read due to the lighting in the room, but the shadows gave the impression of a vengeful god with power over life and death. Strange beings were on their knees surrounding the creature, supplicating it for mercy but seemingly receiving none. The beings were abstract and almost devoid of detail, akin to ancient Grecian black pottery, but the Alpha Legion recognized some that looked disturbingly similar to simplified humans or eldar.

The Alpha Legion may not have been able to read the stone carvings, but the text on the scrolls was decipherable, resembling an extinct dialect spoken on a world the Word Bearers had reluctantly purged for being violently insane and too extensively tainted by Chaos. It spoke extensively of the writer’s lord, a being it referred to as “Be’lakor” and called “The First Prince of Chaos”. To the Alpha Legion, it seemed clear the writings spoke of a Daemon Prince, but one on a scale in which the Imperium had never seen before, and which the Imperium knew nothing about. Having seen the scale of the den of iniquity they had found themselves in, the Alpha Legionaires turned to each other and grimly nodded to one another. The Steward had to know about this. The Alpha Legion set about meticulously documenting the scene, taking vid-picts of every artifact and helmet cam footage of the entire sordid shrine. Even if they didn’t know the meaning of every symbol, that did not mean someone else might.

Then, the Alpha Legionnaire Mathias Herzog made a fatal mistake.

He reached out and touched the stone mural.

At once the shrine reacted to the Alpha Legionnaires presence, much like an immune system suddenly recognizing the presence of an invader. The chamber began to shudder and contract, wretched artifacts rattling and falling off of their pedestals. The Alpha Legion made for the exit at once. But where their trip into the portal had been uneventful, now all the sudden the space within the pocket dimension was like quicksand, actively fighting their attempts to try and escape, the short space to the exit seeming to telescope endlessly. The Alpha Legionnaires could see what was going on outside the portal but were helpless to do anything about it. All they could do was watch what happened next.

It was not just the dark shrine that had reacted to the Alpha Legion’s presence. As the Alpha Legion struggled to escape, the planet itself seemed to break apart, whatever force was holding it together seemingly relinquishing its ownership. The planet’s atmosphere vented itself into space as if realizing it wasn’t supposed to be there, whereas whatever artificial force was holding the oceans the way they were suddenly dissipated leaving the oceans to slosh around the planet as intended by the laws of gravity once more. Including into the basin below sea level where the portal had been.

The Alpha Legion tried to make it through the portal to warn the Chilliad of the oncoming flood, having been aware of the planet’s self-destruction before they were, but were unable to escape from their own predicament in time. Nor could the ships in orbit provide any assistance. As rescue craft descended towards the planet, space-time seemed to ooze around them, slowing their descent to a crawl as they pushed their engines to the limit trying to reach the surface before the planet fell apart. They didn’t make it in time to save the Chilliad forces on the ground. The lucky ones died when the ocean reclaimed the basin. The unlucky ones asphyxiated when the atmosphere dissipated. When the Alpha Legion emerged from the portal, protected from the changed planet by their power armor, they did so at the bottom of the ocean and surrounded by the bodies of their dead comrades.

It wasn’t until the return trip from Eolith that the Alpha Legion noticed something else was amiss. At first it was relatively minor. Shadows out of the corner of one’s eye, strange flickering of the lights when people occasionally entered a room, nothing unusual to see on an old void ship. Then people started to get the feeling they were being watched, and some claimed to see the silhouette of a humanoid figure standing in the doorway in their peripheral vision that disappeared when they turned to look. Then people started having “accidents”. Then they just started to disappear.

The Alpha Legion quickly noticed that the people who were dying were not random, but were all people who had entered the portal on Eolith. At the same time, the shadowy phantoms became bolder, no longer disappearing when people turned their gaze and bearing a striking resemblance to the statue the Alpha Legion had seen on Eolith. When Mathias Herzog turned up dead, not vanished like all the others but his flayed body simply appearing in the middle of the mess hall between a brief flicker of the lights, it seemed clear what was happening. Be’lakor, the being referenced in the shrine on Eolith, had discovered their trespassing and was now following them.

As the days went on more people continued to die, first the last of the Alpha Legionnaires who had survived the portal on Eolith and then all who they had told what they saw. Be'lakor seemed to know exactly who had learned the secret on Eolith and who had not. People started to survive just long enough to describe what was happening to them. Be’lakor was no longer content to hover over people’s shoulder menacingly, but was now coming after his victims with a slow, predatory walk. Victims would burst into rooms, begging for help from phantoms only they could see, only for their would be rescuers to die in turn. But the Alpha Legion was determined. They had to get the information out there, no matter the cost.

And so began the ultimate game of cat and mouse. No matter how far they ran, and how fast, it always seemed like Be’lakor was just two steps behind them. Nothing the Alpha Legion could do seemed to stop it. Be’lakor was implacable, unstoppable, more like a villain from a slasher movie than anything else. All the Alpha Legionnaires could do was keep the intel alive, passing the information on to as many operatives as possible in the form of encryptions and secret codes hopefully below the daemon's notice, and then buy as much time as they could before inevitably dying. Then their comrades would pick up the information, and the hunt would begin anew.

When Be’lakor did catch them, he either killed them on the spot or took what information he needed out of them to continue his hunt, relying on torture techniques honed over millions of years of cruelty. However, Be’lakor’s strategy was starting to exhibit a major flaw. He had spent so much time toying with the Alpha Legionnaires, punishing them for daring to trespass on the hallowed ground of the Old Ones, that the Alpha Legion were getting further and further ahead. First by minutes, then by hours, then by days. A told secret tends to spread exponentially, and before long the Alpha Legion were reporting their findings to the highest levels of the Imperial military. The secret was out, and the truth had become so widely disseminated there was no way Be’lakor could ever cover it back up again. Be’lakor was informed of this fact by one Alpha Legionnaire, who cheekily called himself "Alpharius", though he almost certainly was not. Be’lakor had started to become worried after he noticed that cleaning up this little operation was taking longer than expected, but after hearing those fears confirmed, Be’lakor’s rage was explosive and immediate. The Alpha Legion could not say to have won the battle, having lost too many men over the course of the operation to claim the most pyrrhic of victories, but then neither had Be’lakor. The Imperium still does not know the whole story, believing Be’lakor to be an impossibly ancient Daemon Prince rather than his true nature, but they know he exists. And that is enough.

The loss of fully half the Chilliad and the Alpha Legion’s helplessness to do anything to stop the death of their long-term allies is thought to have been another contributing factor to the Alpha Legion helping the Chilliad disappear after the War of the Beast. The Alpha Legion and its primarchs had done their share of horrible things throughout the years, often to people who did not deserve it. But that does not mean they were incapable of caring about others. After all, if they did not care, how could they call themselves human?

Second Battle over Elysia[edit]

The 2nd Battle over Elysia took place when the Chaos fleets tried to keep the blockade of Segmentum Solar after the Battle of Phaeton started. Battlefleet Solar was effectively crippled in a few days as fighting on Phaeton started, the fleet was killed over the skies of Terra. The Chaos fleets stationed themselves around Terra in different sub-sectors to block the supply lines. Battlefleet Pacificus launched a series of small offensives including diversionary attacks in the galactic west, drawing away concentrated defenders from weaker sub-sectors to allow the real attacks to clear supply lines. Battlefleet Ultima along with what's left of Battlefleet Solar gathered to the galactic east of Segmentum Solar's bordering sub-sectors to prepare for war. The Imperial ships in the meantime were conducting hit-and-run attacks all along the bordering sub-sectors. Cronefleet L'Oquis assembled every CE and Ork ships it could get together to hunt down and snuff out the raiding ships coming in from Ultima Segmentum.

The raiding ships fled to the randevu point over Catachan and brought with them news of the chasing Cronefleet. The acting admiral of Battlefleet Solar ordered all ships at the point or heading towards Catachan to divert to Elysia. All of Battlefleet Solar and some of Ultima rushed to meet over Elysia while the bulk of Battlefleet Ultima was moving back to the galactic west. CEs had already teleported inside some of the raider ships to plant tracking beacons on them before leaving unseen. The ships over Elysia rushed to resupply themselves with whatever they can get their hands on until they were unexpectedly attacked by Cronefleet O'Oquis. The battle started with Imperial ships keeping distance while Ork ships tried to close in. CE ships did enter their firing range to launch voidcraft before the Orks could and the Imperials couldn't retreat by then. Many of the human cruisers slugged it out with the CE before the Orks could get a chance to board their ships. The Orks tried ramming the Imperials many times to mostly miss or worst, damage CE ships by mistake. Eldar ships had chased off the rearguard of the Cronefleet while everybody else was fighting in the main battle. Some CE ships from the rear advancing into the main battle were fired upon by other CE ships due to misidentification and were thought to be Craftworlder ships. When the human ships had taken considerable losses Cronefleet L'Oquis tried to withdraw but was blocked by Eldar ships in their rear.

Several days have passed when the Cronefleet first engaged the Imperial fleet over Elysia. The Imperial forces had clearly taken more losses than the Cronefleet near the ending stages of the battle. When the rest of Battlefleet Ultima arrived over Elysia, the Imperial fleet was much smaller while the Cronefleet had bloodied their noses. The admiral of Battlefleet Ultima assumed command of all ships over Elysia then ordered Battlefleet Solar to retreat. As Battlefleet Solar was disengaging, the rest of Battlefleet Ultima rushed to reach firing range. The Cronefleet was almost destroyed when giving chase to the retreating Imperial ships as Battlefleet Ultima shot them to pieces. The 2nd Battle over Elysia reached a mythical status. The destruction of so many Crone ships in that one battle and ineffectiveness of the blockade in the galactic west caused a change in strategy for the Chaos navy in the WotB. Chaos fleets were now to fulfill a supporting role in the invasion of supply producing Imperial worlds rather than block Imperial supply lines. What was left of Cronefleet L'Oquis supported a WAAAHG! that already burned 2 worlds then supported the destruction of another world. Only 3 or 4 cruisers of Cronefleet L'Oquis survived the war to return home after almost all of the fleet was burned by Imperial Fist Battle Barges over Necromunda.

Appearance of Attack Planet Ullanor, the Sacrifice of Ollanius Pius, and the Appearance of the Ork Diplomats[edit]

See Ork Diplomacy

The Siege of Terra[edit]

See Arik Taranis, Sanguinius, and Eldrad

Reclamation of Old Earth and the Formation of the Ork Empires of Charadon, Octarius, and Bork[edit]

See Ork Empires of Charadon, Octarius, and Bork

Remembering Old Earth[edit]

"When I first saw Old Earth for the first time, I was reminded of an Exodite world more than anything else. It was so rustic. The people talked about rediscovering mono-molecular structures and anti-gravity, as if these were groundbreaking innovations. I was shocked, how could this be the capital of the same empire whose ships dominated the stars, and whose warriors helped the Eldar to free me from my captivity. And yet, the people there seemed so proud. Proud that they had clawed their way out of the dirt and the darkness. Their society had only just begun to rebuild itself from the horrors of their Fall, and yet they looked back on the little they had accomplished so far, and felt optimistic about the future."
-Grand Empress Isha, on her first impressions of Old Earth

For the average Imperial citizen outside of Segmentum Solar, the ancient nations of Old Earth from the Unification Wars are long forgotten. Those who are history buffs or lived in the Sol system itself might know these old Terran states. Having been born at the end of the Age of Strife, the primarchs knew full well that many countries had come and gone before theirs, particularly after the War of the Beast caused so much destruction that the entirety of survivors on Old Earth could have comfortable fit into the continent of Europe. After the War of the Beast, many of the primarchs labored to preserve as much of they could of their country’s history and customs, so that their people would not be forgotten. This is not to say that they were the only people to write of their nations, many did so as a way of working out their grief and to try to preserve some vestige of their culture after the War of the Beast. But the nineteen of them were the Emperor’s primarchs, and when they spoke people tended to listen.

The Emperor himself of wrote a little bit of what daily life was like in Terrawatt, when it became clear to him that his old home was gone and not coming back. However, in later years, some scholars have privately criticized this account as having been overly mythologized. Between his accounts and the drier, more methodical logs of Malcador, it is possible to get a reasonable approximation of what pre-Unification life was like in the Terrawatt Clan. Given his eidetic memory as a Man of Gold, it is likely the Emperor remembers more about Unification-era Earth than what he has put down on paper, but between his duties as head of state and the feelings such memories would dredge up it is unlikely they will ever be written down.

Of the primarchs themselves, starting with Horus, he chronicled the entire rise of the Imperium from the start of unification for the migrant fleets of Sol to the end of the War of The Beast. Some have criticized Horus' Chronical after his death when a few historians noticed the lack of historical accuracy when writing about the Great Crusade. The best records by the primarchs of life on Old Earth pre-Unification come from Fulgrim, Guilliman, and Vulkan. Fulgrim managed to write a lengthy autobiography after his Legion was reduced to just shy of three companies in the Iron Cage. Going into great detail about his everyday life, readers are able to especially immerse themselves in his childhood of living in Merika to an eerie amount of degree. Everything after the childhood section of the book is known for being historically inaccurate and turning into the self-gratifying propaganda of later parts in his life. In addition to his general writings and thought experiments, Guilliman had his entire family history saved to an audio recording then transcribed to a book. The genealogy writes about members from this nobility starting at the end of the Age of Strife till the end of the Great Crusade. Vulkan often referred to the Afrique League (and its history both before and after the Warlord) in passing in the many writings he published over his long, long life, including one book entirely devoted to the topic and several different essays on many subjects, ranging from philosophy and theology, economics to warfare. These provide some of the best glimpses we have into life in the Afrique League.

Surprisingly, Jaghatai Khan wrote extensively on his life, mostly poetry about what life was like under the Despot of Ursh and how it got so much better after he threw off the yoke of his oppressors. He also wrote poetry about his wife and the simpler lives of his people after the Khanate was established to remind him why he does what he does. Unfortunately, most of it was written in Neo-Mongolian, which meant it was only legible to Pastoral Worlders, and even then only just (being about as similar to modern Pastoral Worlder languages as Old English was to 21st century English). Dorn’s writings, much like the man himself, were straightforward, rather spartan, and only ever discussed a single subject. The nature of the Calbi military of that era would be remembered if nothing else. Although he did not survive the War of the Beast, Sanguinius mentioned his old homeland in his Meditations, where he collected his visions and wrote on topics like philosophy and ethics. As part of that, he had a very detailed and honest description of pre-Unification Duscht Jemanic, as he was a firm believer of history and examining mistakes to avoid repeating them.The Lion actually wrote a little bit about Franj, in part to work out the grief of losing his old home and in part to spite Luther for trying to sully Franj’s name. However, the most famous work attributed to the Lion may not have been actually written by him. The book was done in a clunky style as if written by Lion and the finished product was found in his quarters on his writing desk but at that time Lion was in the main medi-bay of The Rock living off of IV drips. It was Holguin, Master of the Deathwing, who found the book when it became clear that Lion was not going to wake up any day soon and someone had to tidy up Lion's room. Holguin never admitted to writing the book. Dark Angel folk belief has it that Cypher did it for no easily describable reason.

Other primarchs either would not or could not write about their home countries. Although Magnus the Red was concerned with preserving knowledge and history and wrote extensively on warpcraft and daemonology, he wrote very little on his life as a subject of Ursh. As far as he was concerned before the Imperium he had no home nation, only jailers. About the closest he ever came was when he contributed to the writing of The Chronicles of Ursh, mostly chronicling how horrible Ursh was. Historians have sometimes doubted his more outrageous claims, but in almost every case they have turned out to be true. Angron, in his better days, refused to write down his experiences in the Nord Afrik conclaves, even going so far as to claim “being subjugated by the Imperium was the best thing that could have happened to the country. If it became so far forgotten it was as if it never existed so much the better.” Nevertheless, a great deal of insight can be gained into from Angron’s poetry. The earliest pieces offer harrowing glimpses into the society of the Nord Afrik conclaves in its dying years. Interspersed are more cheerful things about his children or sorrowful things about his biological family. Angron’s’ poetry was not good by any means but that was because he was a warrior rather than a poet for a living. However, as the years pass the poetry became worse. The subject matter gets better for the most part but the style, vocabulary, rhythm, punctuation, spelling and legibility of the hand written notes start to decline noticeably. Not long before War of the Beast he apparently just gave up on it.

Perturabo probably would have written about Macedonia and the Great and Everlasting Tharkian Empire if he was asked during the Great Crusade, but afterwards he refused to do so. To him, it was just one more way he failed his people, and writing about his people for posterity felt like writing an obituary rather than a historical record. Corax did not have a happy life before the Imperium. Trying to write about his life reminded him of his old family, and it hurt to think of that subject. Like Magnus, the closest he came was advising those who wrote The Chronicles of Ursh. Ferrus Manus did not write anything about Orioc as he saw no difference between the Antarctic Mechanicus and the Mechanicus as a whole, and as the Mechanicus was perfect and enduring and already drowning in data there was no need to. Curze just plain did not want to talk about it. Mortarion also did not. He would not sully the name of Gredbriton by associating himself with it too hard. Leman Russ was not much of a writer, although others in his employ were.

Lorgar was well-known for writing and talking extensively on things he did not like, but he was first and foremost a warrior-chaplain. He was more concerned about the good of the people now than the problems of the long past. However writings on the Yndonesian Bloc do survive, most notably from Lorgar’s father Archbishop Kor Phaeron. Alpharius and Omegon ████████ █████████ █████████████{Historical document confiscated by order of the Inquisition. Ave Hydra, Hydra Dominatus.}███ ███████ ███████ █ ███████ ████████ ███████████ █████████ ███████

Sadly, despite all their efforts, the primarchs largely failed in this endeavor. The customs and cultures of the nation-states of Old Earth in M41 are about as well remembered as the provinces of the old Roman Empire were by the third millennium, essentially trivia only of interest to historians. The only nation-state that is well-remembered with any degree of accuracy is Ursh, and that was more as a cautionary tale to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past than for historical posterity. Ursh is best remembered in the galactic midlands, the Imperial worlds too far from Old Earth to actually know Earth's history without a degree, but close enough that legends of the primarchs are still pretty popular. Still, the legends that get told a lot are the ones about king Oscar and his primarchs fighting heroic battles against the old Chaos king and his Habnervars (local low Gothic dialect, some kind of horrible monster) or how captain Horus took so long tricking the Chaos Gods over and over that he was almost late to fight the great grot. Sure, the old story teller could regale you with the tale of how Guilliman went to school for a long time and got married to a nice lady, all of this in Franj, or he could make some shit up off the top of his head about what Fulgrim found in the Rockies, but nobody ever asks.

When the nation-states are remembered, they are primarily remembered in a semi-mythologized fashion based on their role in the Unification, typecast as heroes and villains instead of being remembered for the people who actually lived there. The White Scars spit on the memory of Ursh and its people, forgetting that for many of them their great-great grandmother was an Urshii serf who was just as oppressed by the old regime. The people of the Imperium sneer at the Yndonesian Bloc and its brutal theocracy, forgetting that Lorgar, one of the Imperium's greatest humanitarians, came from its ranks. Franj is often remembered as being the motivation of betrayal for Luther, the arch-traitor, forgetting all the people in Franj who were horrified by Luther's ideals and would ultimately end up paying for his mistakes.

Black Crusades[edit]

EDITOR'S NOTE: These events should not be considered the only things to have happened during the various Black Crusades. The Black Crusades are massive undertakings, composed of numerous warbands whose commanders often don't have the same goals in mind. Events like the Burning of Prospero or the Gothic War are merely one front in the larger Black Crusade. Case in point Lady Malys' first battle versus the Steward happened during the First Black Crusade, which is better known for events that happened on Cadia and the Gate Worlds.

First Black Crusade[edit]

Despite there being eleven more events of the same name, the first Black Crusade was a watershed event in the history of the Imperium, if for nothing else than it established the relationship between Chaos and the Imperium for the next several millennia. After the events of the War of the Beast, Chaos regrouped and spent the next few centuries rebuilding and licking its wounds. Despite the events of the War of the Beast, Chaos had essentially made it to the Imperium’s door the first time around, several of the primarchs (e.g., Sanguinius, Angron, Horus) had died during or since, and Chaos could replace its losses (orks, daemons) much more easily and rapidly than the Imperium could replace theirs.

Chaos expected the Imperium to be permanently crippled, and the Imperium responded with a fist to their collective faces.

Making matters worse for the forces of Chaos was the unanticipated presence of the Eldar, who had started helping human forces in larger numbers in the years since the WotB. It took some time before the forces of Chaos realized they were sticking their hand into a cheese grater and pulled back to reformulate their strategy. This was far from the end of the first Black Crusade, and there were still significant losses for the Imperium (Dorn, Abbadon) but by the end of it the relationship between Chaos and the Imperium was clear. The Imperium was no flash in the pan that would crumple after one serious battle. If Chaos wanted to win, it would have to fight every inch of the way to get there. Later Black Crusades took this lesson in mind, and have become all the more dangerous for it.

Second Black Crusade[edit]

Alpha Legion operatives and the Inquisition had been intercepting an increase in encrypted orders for Chaos cultists near the Eye of Terror for a few years prior to the Second Black Crusade. Composed of complex geometric shapes drawn in blood, the messages were complete non-sense for any unintended recipient without the properly established telepathic link and informants leaking the enemy intelligence to the Inquisition can make little to no understanding of the orders. After the help of some unknown double agent within the Imperial Army, the Imperium had received enough information to act as they found out these cults had been sabotaging and spying on the defenses of Cadia for years. Planning to smash this so-called "Second Black Crusade" right at the entrance of the Eye of Terror, the Imperial Navy called for massive numbers of reinforcements to rally over Vigilantum, the naval training world near Cadia inside the system. The assembling grand armada was halved as those ships were destroyed in transit by the Warp storm "Hollowing Hull" created by Chaos. Indeed, in retrospect, the information leading to the massive loss of ships from the Warp Storm seems to have been a plant from the Croneworlders in the first place. The rest of the armada trickled into the system to be isolated then be hunted down as small pockets of resistance formed to fight the Cronefleets as they retreated in the 'Battle over Vigilantum'. Although the Cronefleets had trouble trying to take Cadia as the Imperial Guard still held the planet, they were able to simply circumnavigate around it to attack other sub-sectors while blockading the world. The purpose of this Black Crusade was not to raze Terra like the last time but to test the Imperium in their reaction and experiment if fleets from the Eye can bypass the Cadian Gate. For the first few months of the campaign, the Imperial Navy had to smuggle in troops to the front as the Battlefleets had been scattered by the Warp storm. Unable to effectively operate as a coherent whole prevented the Battlefleets from conducting any offensive operations until the end of the Black Crusade.

Third Black Crusade[edit]

Lady Malys promised Daemon Prince Tallomin the slaughter of millions of warriors if he and some daemons killed the population of Cadia. Starting in 005.M33, the 3rd Black Crusade started with the attack on Cadia, the Crone Eldar avoid fighting on the planet as they collected the millions slain by daemons. Barging with Ork clans for "great fights with the humies" and some shiny hats, Lady Malys was able to launch a campaign of extermination on some surrounding sub-sectors while the fighting on Cadia stall. Marines in Omega armor arrived onto Caida in time to rush to the defense of Kasrs the fortress city. Tricking the local Guardsmen that they were "Vanguard for more Inquisitorial required troops" the marines managed to grind the daemons to halt on multiple fronts.

Unknown to the Imperials, Orkz, or Tallomin however, the entire Black Crusade was a distraction to allow the first phase of the Long War to finish. Lady Malys had planned to kill hundreds of millions to collect their corpses to be used in dark rituals. The Warpcraft invoked would allow certain individuals to raise the dead with just a hand wave or cause outbreaks of the Rot with their mind. Chanting Nurgle's prayers in forbidden tongues while crushing millions of bodies to become fertilizer then flushing it down into the ground or sewer system was done on many worlds. The arrive of the Grey Knights prompted Lady Malys to order her human agents with being gifted such power over the dead, to share their Warpcraft or knowledge to a parasitic immortal race already infiltrating Imperial society. Magnus along with the Thousand Sons, Space Wolves, and Gray Knights arrived on Cadia to finally force Tallomin's daemons to flee. The Omega Marines were long gone from Cadia. Lady Malys learned how to trick the Imperials into giving false priorities like if they held Cadia the Black Crusade would retreat. She indeed ordered a fighting retreat after the daemons were driven from Cadia but her objectives were complete.

Fourth Black Crusade[edit]

Malys sent a huge Cronefleet to pillage and steal arcane knowledge from Prospero. That was until Ahriman along with his sorcerers, in the loosest term, preserved the planet by teleporting it to a pocket dimension. Those on the planet exist in a limbo state between the Warp and realspace with no real predictable way of entering or exiting it.

Seventh Black Crusade[edit]

Chaos began a series of conflicts that targeted Space Marines for extracting their geneseeds, which Fabius Bile organized it for preventing the degradation of The Fallen geneseeds while production and experimentation of the New Men continued. Running many battles to draw out the elite of the elite from the Imperial Army using false intelligence gathered by Orders Securitas, they had double-agents or used psyker/hypnosis leak information to seemingly hunt down the Chaos fleet rampaging.

Twelfth Black Crusade (001.M41-???)[edit]

The Destruction of Macharia

Macharia is a Hive World in the Segmentum Obscurus that has the dubious distinction of being the closest Hive World to the Cadian Gate and the Eye of Terror. Normally the conditions surrounding the Eye of Terror and the inhabitants that live within it are too harsh to allow a hive world to exist (indeed, no Hive World could exist within the Cadian System itself or else it would be a target of opportunity for Crone Eldar raiders), but being slightly “downwind” of the Cadian Gate in a neighboring sector Macharia is just far enough away from the Eye to allow a Hive World to exist. Macharia is significantly more fortify than your average Hive World, but it is a Hive World nonetheless. Together the three systems of Cadia, Agripinaa, and Macharia are considered the crown jewels of the region surrounding the Cadian Gate, a trinity of worlds that acts as the Imperium’s first bastion against any Chaos incursion.

The surface of Macharia has seen hordes of plague zombies raised by wight kings, roving bands of Khornate Crone Eldar berserkers, and attacks by the imposing, deadly Fallen, just like any other system neighboring the Cadian Gate region. During the 12th Black Crusade, after the repeated failure of Cadia to hold back the Chaos death fleet, the imperial navy fell back and drew a secondary battle line at Macharia, hoping to halt the Chaos invasion there. The surface of Macharia was fortified to the greatest degree possible and Imperial warships buzzed about the planets of the system like angry hornets. Before long the Chaos war fleet entered the system, headed by the dark chaplain Erebus and his flagship the Chariot of the Gods, a.k.a. the Planet Killer. The Imperial military had their doubts about the ability to hold Macharia, but they were determined to take as many of the Chaos invaders down with them. Macharia was a Hive World, and nobody expected the planet could be taken with anything less than protracted, bloody struggle.

Then the Chariot of the Gods ominously shifted configuration before opening fire and unceremoniously reduced Macharia to rubble with a single shot. The beam set fire to the planet’s atmosphere, blew through much of the upper mantle and core, and sent continent-sized chunks hurtling through space. The few ships that survived the sudden conflagration and the resulting debris cloud could not stand up to the Chaos war fleet, having no planet to use as cover and no place to which they could retreat for fuel and repairs, and were quickly swept away. The Last Battle of Macharia, which had been predicted to have taken months or even years, was over within a few days, and there was nothing to stop Chaos forces from moving further into the Milky Way.

The only good news for the Imperium is that the forces of chaos were just too surprised by this turn of events as the Imperium was. Chaos had also expected a long, protracted siege in order to take Macharia, and in fact Erebus was giving a motivational sermon to his troops in preparation for such a battle when the Planet Killer unexpectedly activated and fired on Macharia without orders. Nobody on board the Chariot of the Gods has any idea what caused the ship to activate or how to repeat that shot. Erebus has begun taking to bothering Be’lakor, the “last of the first race to discover the Primordial Truth” in the hopes of getting him to tell Erebus how to unlock the Planet Killer’s secrets. Despite being amused by Erebus’ groveling and his rightful deference, Be’lakor has no intention of sharing such information.

The Gothic War

Following a lead based on ancient Eldar Empire records where the Eldar refuse to utter the true name of aliens who they fought. It was said that the aliens could use technology that rendered Eldar technology almost useless. Malys devised a plan on studying then using the artifacts scattered throughout the Gothic Sector to mass produce and integrate these weapons onto Crone ships. Slowly and secretly Chaos built up a force to bypass Cadia then swallow the Gothic Sector where they summoned a Warp storm to isolate the sector. This was done after several Cronefleets were in position and a diversionary attack started on Cadia.

One such artifact was the Eye of Night which is said to drive machines mad by emitting beams of light that could hit kilometers away. Using sleeper cells, the Cadian garrison force on a planet with the vault holding it, they leaked the location then started a rebellion when a Cronefleet blockaded the world. Ornsworld, the homeworld of the Ratlings, was depopulated when the Warp Hunter warband landed to kill off the tiny garrison force while Crone Eldar witches began excavating the planet for the Eye of Night. Warp Hunters who loved the sadistic extermination of the planet after they refused to surrender, went out of their way to personally make sure "Let no livestock, pet, or citizen live in those settlements" for the Ratling towns. Attempting to reverse engineer the ancient xenos technology with psyker witches and hereteks. They were interrupted in the middle of their experimentation by an Imperial Guard force, led by Ordo Xenos, who reclaimed the artifact after many losses. Battlefleet Gothic was able to clear the Chaos blockade of Onsworld long enough for the Inquisition to smuggle the Eye of Night back to Sol, after multiple failed efforts to destroy the artifact back on planetside. The Imperial Army is unsure if the research on the technology has ever left the world.

At the same time as the Fallen Marine assault on Ornsworld began, the forces of Chaos arrived on the Imperial world of Purgatory to extract another artifact from the weak defenses of the Adaptus Mechanicus. The Hand of Darkness was an artifact that could disintegrate anything it touches when powered by the Warp. The Black Crusade came to study then copy how such a technology can exist by violently extracting it from the Imperials. Although there were a few Cadian regiments present to protect the vault holding the Hand of Darkness, they could only delay the capture. With a change of plans on the fly, the Crone Eldar planning the operation forced the human Battlegroups on the planet to protect the artifact to ship it off-world rather than go off looting. Battlefleet Agripinaa tried to intercept and prevent the evacuation of the Crone Eldar off-world to no avail as the Cronefleet proved too powerful while defending the void space over the planet. The Hand of Darkness was never seen again outside of the Eye of Terror as the Crone Eldar covet the weapon to study then copy the technology which the Imperium never recovered.

Post-War of the Beast/Pre-Age of Apostasy (M32-M35)[edit]

The Throne Before the Emperor[edit]

EDITOR'S NOTE: Need to add history of Golden Throne itself, where it came from and what Emperor did with it.

It is a little known fact, even among the historians of Old Earth, that before the events of the War of the Beast the Steward was privately planning to crown Sanguinius as Emperor at the end of the Great Crusade. All of the other primarchs had flaws that disqualified them from the position, and the Steward had not encountered any other humans who seemed up to the task. Lion, Ferrus Manus, and Mortarion all lacked the necessary charisma, and Ferrus was more loyal to the Mechanicum than anything else. Perturabo, Angron, and Curze were all psychologically unstable. Magnus was too approving of the use of the Warp for anyone’s comfort. Horus the Steward considered too ambitious and disagreed with ideologically. Alpharius and Omegon were too shifty and he suspected they were hiding something. Corax, Khan, and Russ were all good leaders and loyal to the Imperium, but they were “front-line” leaders for whom the day-to-day tasks that would be required of them as Emperor would have driven them mad. They also would have been torn between the duties to the Imperium and their loyalties towards their own people, and would have been seen as a niche pick. Lorgar would have turned the Imperium into a theocracy. Vulkan was beloved, but had similar problems to Lorgar and his coronation would likely have alienated the eldar. Guilliman was too much of a perfectionist. Dorn was too harsh and blunt to function in politics. Fulgrim would have turned the Imperium into a self-aggrandizing horror show praising his own ego.

Sanguinius was the right combination of humble, charismatic, beloved, a capable bureaucrat, and perhaps just as importantly he had a similar vision for humanity as the Steward. Sanguinius was not a perfect choice, for example he hated Conrad Kurze and Mortarion and had his own personal flaws, but finding someone else who fit that criterion and was still qualified for the job in the teeming masses of humanity was probably an impossible task. Sanguinius was also well-liked enough that his coronation would not have driven any more of a wedge between the various primarchs than already existed. Even Horus would have supported putting Sanguinius on the throne, because it supported his pro-transhuman political narrative. It's kind of hard to argue for the purity of human form when your Emperor of Mankind has gigantic angel wings.

When Sanguinius died at the Battle of Eternity Gate the Steward was too shaken over the loss to even try thinking of another substitute (especially given that none of the other primarchs fit the bill) and wouldn't really start looking again for several millenia. At the same time, the primarchs as a whole mutually agreed in private that none of them were worthy candidates for the Golden Throne. By that point, many of the primarchs had their own personal black marks and those that didn’t felt guilty over not being able to prevent Sanguinus’ death. It was one of the only thing they ever agreed upon. Lion’s confidence was shattered by the betrayal of his brother Luther. Corax was devastated by the events of Azoth and what his self-percieved hubris had wrought upon his own legion. Russ felt he had no right to rule after what had been done at his command to the people of Fenris. Even Horus, ever ambitious, thought twice, having been shaken by the fact that the Chaos Gods had tried to tempt him and how it was his gamble that had almost led to the death of the Imperium.

In the years between the Battle of Terra and the Age of Apostasy, there were many who aspired to be crowned Emperor. Imperial history is littered with pretenders from throughout the Imperium that nominated themselves in aspiration to the throne and failed in whatever task the Steward gave to prove themselves. These legends are particularly popular farther out from Old Earth where they took on a folkloric and mythological aspect, equal parts folk legend and morality tale, that demonstrates a peculiar truth of the Imperium. Despite the laws on faith and presence of traditional religions, the century spanning, generation transcending politics of the high Imperial court have an undeniable quality of momentousness and immortality that have made the resulting tales akin to civil scripture.

Then, of course, came Vandire. Despite all the muttered curses and epithets posthumously directed at Vandire after the Imperial Civil War, there were actually no signs of the monster he would become. Vandire was known for his humility and kindness, and was a brilliant administrator, one of the best the Adeptus Administratum had ever seen, What’s more this charisma and talent were real, not just skin deep masking some deep pre-existing psychological problems. He was also well-liked by the eldar, having treated them fairly when the Administratum dealt with the Craftworlds and Exodite worlds, which made him a favorable choice from their point of view. Ironically, Vandire probably could have become an Emperor so great that Oscar would pale in comparison (which is what Oscar wanted) but he wasted his potential obsessing over what others thought of him than doing his job and letting his actions speak for themselves. What drove Vandire to madness was the pressure of running an entire galaxy and living up to the Steward’s example, and the fact that he believed that people were only listening to him because the Steward told them to.

After the Age of Apostasy and the ensuing Imperial Civil War, there was really only one acceptable candidate for Emperor: Oscar. For humanity this was obvious, Oscar was a hero to almost every world in the Imperium and everyone knew he would rule well and not abuse his power. He had six thousand years of history backing him up on this point. Inquisitor Sebastian Thor articulated this to Oscar very clearly in addition to the succession crisis issue when they argued over who got the Throne. The Steward pointed out that Thor had organized a galaxy-wide rebellion with little more than words, but Thor retorted that he was a firebrand, not a leader. Oscar had stopped a civil war just by showing up. Oscar insisted that humanity be free to choose its own leader, and to his surprise they had turned around and chosen him.

For the eldar the Steward was also the only acceptable candidate, but for reasons that are less obvious. To the eldar, Vandire was definitive proof that baseline humanity could not be trusted with power (the fact that the eldar were just as divided by the civil war and certain Craftworlds sent Vandire eldar bodyguards being quietly swept under the rug). Additionally, the short lifespan of humans compared to eldar means you would have Emperors turning over all the time, which would be ridiculous for consistency (by eldar standards) in Imperial policy. Oscar was a known quantity, and even though the safety of humanity was his first and foremost concern, his actions showed that he would treat the eldar fairly. He was also biologically immortal, which quelled any such worries about a succession crisis. Additionally, he was married to Isha, so putting Oscar on the throne basically meant putting Oscar and Isha on the throne, meaning eldar interests would always be represented in Imperial politics.

The First and Second Viskeon Wars[edit]

The Viskeon are an extinct xenos race native to a planet on the very southern edge of the Segmentum Ultima right near the border with the Segmentum Tempestus. An asexual ectothermic reptilian or amphibian-like species (though with some similarities to Earth starfish), the Viskeon were known for their extreme regenerative abilities. Although they normally reproduced by budding, Viskeon regenerative capabilities were so extreme that a Viskeon cleaved into large enough pieces could regrow into four or five individuals.

The Viskeons are notable in that despite being capable of interstellar travel their military capabilities seemed downright primitive by most species’ standards. Viskeon lived by a strict honor code, which glorified face-to-face melee combat and saw most projectile weapons (ranging from bows and arrows to stubbers and lasguns) as dishonorable. The only ranged weapons the Viskeons ever used were thrown javelins and bladed discuses, which they typically used as skirmishing tools before closing to melee combat. Of course, when your skin is thick enough to blunt the impact of anything short of a bolter and your body can easily heal from such injuries, the use of ranged weapons might not seem immediately intuitive.

The First Viskeon War happened roughly concurrent with the Fourth Black Crusade in M34. Spreading out in all directions from their homeworld on the southern edge of the galaxy, the Viskeon put several sectors in the Tempestus and Ultima Segmenta under siege. The Imperium, which had not known about the Viskeon and the few star systems they controlled, were caught off guard by the appearance of the Viskeon armada. They were used to attacks from Xenos Horribilis and Obscuras from the fringe, but not one this organized from a direction they didn’t expect.

All attempts at making contact and communicating with the Viskeon failed. They claimed they had been directed to attack the Imperium as part of a holy war demanded by their god, the Three-Eyed King. The Imperium initially struggled against the Viskeon, although they lacked ranged weaponry the Viskeon were able to regenerate from most glancing shots until they could close to melee combat (where they had the strength advantage over baseline humans and eldar) and killing them often made their numbers larger. Even shooting them with a bolter was a gamble, the resulting explosion could blow the Viskeon into small enough pieces that it wouldn’t regenerate, but it could also blow their limbs off and send them flying where one couldn’t see them, where they would regenerate into four more Viskeon.

However, as the Viskeon front line buckled, the weaknesses in their strategy became clear. The Viskeon had overextended themselves in order to attack multiple targets, hoping to overwhelm their opponents with shock tactics and surprise due to their smaller numbers, but this left them with few assets to reinforce holes in their formation. The Imperium also discovered the Viskeon’s ectothermic physiology and ruthlessly exploited it, hunting Viskeon down in the dead of night when they were at their most sluggish and least able to fight back. The Viskeon retreated back into the void from which they had come, and the Imperium were unable to track them down.

The Second Viskeon War happened roughly 800 years after the first, in M35. Once again the Viskeon set out from their unknown homeworld to wage war. The Viskeon moved out in a much tighter, directional formation instead of an omnidirectional campaign to prevent their front line from being overrun but surprisingly beyond this their military tactics had not changed to account for what they had learned in their first conflict with the Imperium. The Imperium, on the other hand, had learned from the encounter and adapted accordingly. This time, instead of Cadian Doctrine troops specializing in ranged lasgun and shuriken fire, the Imperium had brought in flamers and plasma weaponry to negate the Viskeon regeneration factor, with the Imperial defense spearheaded by the close-quarters, flamer specializing Salamanders, who had called for a Reformation of the Legion for this occasion.

The Second Viskeon War went much more in the Imperium’s favor, and this time the Imperium were able to dispatch forces after the Viskeon when the Viskeon forces routed rather than tending to their wounds. They tracked the Viskeon forces back to their home planets, a mere dozen in total, and burned them through a combination of orbital bombardment and ground operations. Today, the Viskeons survive only in the form of genetic samples collected by the Adeptus Biologis before their world was destroyed.

As the Adeptus Biologis and Imperial xenologists sifted through the rubble of the Viskeon worlds, trying to find an answer as to why a species would suddenly decide to attack an interstellar power they didn’t even know existed, they came upon a handful of startling discoveries. Based on Viskeon carvings and representational art of their god, the Three-Eyed King of the Viskeons was clearly the Warp entity known as Be’lakor, and from the remaining samples of Viskeon genetics and physiology they bear various marks of subtle but extreme artificial enhancement to produce their observed capabilities.

The Pale Wasting and the Thexian Trade Empire[edit]

The Thexian Trade Empire was an interstellar Xenos Independens empire located in the Ghoul Stars that controlled nearly sixty star systems at its height. The homeworld of the Thexians and capital of their empire were the Bloodmoons of Thex Prime, so named because of their intensely oxidized sediments causing them to appear bright red in color. When the Imperium first encountered the Thexians in the late years of the Great Crusade, they were shocked when Thexian ships sought them out and tried to open diplomatic channels and trade agreements with them. Previously during the Great Crusade, the vast majority of xenos races the Imperium had encountered had either tried to kill them on sight or had either come to a spoken or unspoken understanding to stay out of each other’s way. Even the Eldar, when they had sought out an alliance to free Isha some years earlier, had done so in a way the Imperium could understand, cautiously and half-heartedly out of fear that one side was going to break the other’s shaky trust. The fact that the Thexians had willingly approached them with apparently amicable intent baffled the Imperium.

In the end, the Imperium decided to neither declare war nor ally with the Thexians but kept them at arm’s length. The Thexians were considered not worth trying to wipe out for a variety of reasons. First, Thexian territory was considered less than ideal for human occupation. The Thexian Trade Empire was primarily located in the coreward front of the Ghoul Stars, areas which the Thexians had no problems inhabiting but humanity less so. The Ghoul Stars were also on the far side of the galaxy from the Segmentum Solar and were almost outside of the range of the Astronomican, making any attempts to hold them expensive and inefficient. Secondly, the Thexians made for a good buffer state. Much like the Eldar, Tarellians and later the Tau, the Thexians were much better neighbors than the vast majority of alternatives as they could actually be diplomatically reasoned with, unlike the vast majority of xenos races encountered during the Great Crusade. And finally, the Thexians quite frankly were not a threat to mankind. There was a heated disagreement over the existence of human populations on Thexian worlds, but the Thexians surprised the Imperium by being willing to relocate the majority of the human population on their worlds to Imperial territory, in exchange for trade agreements with the Imperium that is. If anything, the problem was the Thexians seemed too nice, which set off the Imperium’s sense of paranoia immensely.

However, the Thexians' friendliness covered up a more self-serving motivation. The Thexians, as a species, were motivated by a species-wide case of greed. The Thexians were an extremely long-lived species and reproduced very infrequently. Therefore, from an evolutionary perspective, greed made sense. Many species hoard resources for hibernation or periods of want, and if you live for thousands of years you can hoard quite a lot of resources, enough to let you survive even the longest lean periods until the next opportunity at reproduction came. The Thexians were so friendly and interested in trade because trade was one of the best ways for an individual to increase one’s holdings, and people were more willing to trade with a friendly face than a backstabbing or violent one. And the Thexians could afford to be friendly, for few unarmed or unaugmented beings could harm a Thexian in their true form. However, this did not mean the Thexians were soft. They were interested in amassing wealth and power, and when it suited them they were capable of oiliness that would make a Void Born proud. Nor were Thexians unambitious, power plays between Thexians were not uncommon, though they usually took the form of displays of subtle power behind the scenes or hostile takeovers of assets than open warfare.

The Thexians were a vaguely chiropteran species like the Khrave, though unlike the Khrave they did not spin webs and fed on flesh and blood rather than minds. The Thexians were a polymorphic race, capable of shifting into one of several different forms depending on their need. First and foremost was warform, a large, quadrupedal bat-like form capable of limited flight, covered in a leathery, squamous hide, and armed with fierce talons and massive fangs, which was believed to be the Thexian’s true form. There was flightform, a lighter-than-air shape somewhat similar to warform but with larger wings, a smaller body, and an almost ethereal appearance. There was thoughtform capable of emitting bolts of Warp lightning from its semi-corporeal shape. And perhaps most importantly among the myriad forms the Thexians were capable of taking was diplomacyform, their preferred shape when interacting with non-Thexian races, which resembled strangely androgynous humanoids that did not quite resemble either human or eldar.

Thexian society was organized into groups called aedes, feudal households comprised of a small ruling number of Thexian adults known as the Thexian Elite, their material wealth, other alien species that had sworn fealty to the Thexian Elite, and their immature offspring who had not amassed enough of a horde to become independent yet. Because they reproduced so slowly, less than 15% of the population of the Thexian Trade Empire was composed of Thexians, with the rest representing vassal populations of dozens of minor xenos species including some quasi-legal human populations that were missed by the resettlement or were the descendants of refugees into Thexian space.

Approximately during the latter half of M34, the Thexian Trade Empire became afflicted with a condition that became known as the Pale Wasting. The Pale Wasting exaggerated the normal Thexian tendency towards greed to extremes, to the point where it became an obsession. The Thexians began hoarding in earnest to attempt to sate this craving, throwing out all reason or subtlety, but no matter how much they hoarded they could never get enough. Eventually, the affliction developed into a physical craving for sustenance as well, turning their bodies growing gaunt and emaciated as they resorted to guzzling blood and shoving gore-filled chunks into their mouth in an effort to quell their bottomless hunger.

It is generally thought that the Pale Wasting was Chaotic in nature, given its corruptive effects and mental deterioration, though those that think so debate whether it was the work of Khorne (because of the hunger for blood and gore), Slaanesh (because of the excess), Nurgle (because it acted like a plague), Tzeentch (because of its strange nature) or all four Ruinous Powers together. If it was, it is possible the Pale Wasting could have been transmitted to the Thexians via the Loxotl, whom the Thexians had some contact with despite the warnings of the Imperium. However, it is not out of the possibility that the Pale Wasting was caused by contact with C’tan/Necron technology or some form of C’tan vampirism.

While humans and other xenos species were immune to the Pale Wasting, they could easily act as carriers transmitting the disease between the Thexian Elite. From there, the Pale Wasting could easily reverse the roles, corrupting the vassals underneath Thexian fealty through their connection to the Thexian Elite. When the Thexian Elite finally shrieked their declaration to go to war, millions of brainwashed thralls responded to their call. The result was all out war between the Thexians and their neighbors, resulting in a massive military response from the Imperium in which more than a dozen Adeptus Astartes chapters were wiped out in the fighting. In the end, as the corruption and Thexian Nightmare Engines wreaked havoc the Thexians and the Pale Wasting could only be stopped by mass-Exterminatus tactics and a scorched earth policy, leaving numerous Dead Worlds across the Ghoul Stars including the sixty or so worlds held by the Thexian Trade Empire.

A few Thexians survived, those immune to the Pale Wasting. Some fought alongside the Imperium, warforms tearing into infected kin with ferocity and thoughtforms banishing Thexian thralls with blasts of Warp lightning. Others fled the conflict, hitching rides on the starships of the Nicassar and hiding where they could. Today, through various quirks of history, most remaining Thexians can be found under the Imperial aegis, mostly as diplomats, traders, advisors, and occasionally members of government. Their numbers are spread so thin that members of the species can go without seeing another one of their kind for more than a century. Some have tried to live outside the Imperium, setting up small fiefdoms that are pale imitations of the aedes once seen throughout the Thexian Trade Empire A few corrupted Thexians afflicted with the Pale Wasting are also still in existence, but thankfully like their uncorrupted counterparts are rare.

The Pale Wasting had several long-term effects on galactic politics. Perhaps the greatest long-term effects of the Pale Wasting was that it helped set the stage for the Imperium to start admitting other races into the Imperium. When debate was raised over the possibility of admitting other races into the Imperium, the Thexians were a prime argument by those in favor of admission. The Thexians had been an advanced, relatively friendly xenos empire, and (in the minds of the pro-Admission advocates after nearly two thousand years of hindsight and nostalgia) the Imperium had left them out in the cold. Such a policy had not only let the Thexians get corrupted by the Pale Wasting, but created a massive interstellar threat that had cost the Imperium a significant amount of lives and resources to contain. If the Thexian Trade Empire were still alive today, they would have been classified Xenos Familiaris with little difficult and would have been easily admitted into the Imperium, so long as efforts were made to prevent Thexian ambition from subverting the functioning of the Imperium, and none of this would have happened.

The second impact of the Pale Wasting was perhaps more insidious. The Pale Wasting wiped out most of the conventional life in the Ghoul Stars, though it soon became a lawless hellhole filled with little respect for law and order or the conventional laws of physics. Although outside the light of the Astronomican, for many millennia the Space Marine chapters such as the Death Spectres stationed on the edge of the Ghoul Stars did a good job of defending the Imperium’s borders from any threat that might come from the Ghoul Stars. Unfortunately, the northeastern galaxy and the Ghoul Stars in particular had once been the heartland of the Necrontyr Star Empire nearly sixty six million years ago, and the mass extermination of life in the Ghoul Stars meant that there was little opposition and a sizeable buffer from any external power when the surface of many of these “Dead” Worlds cracked open and thousands of Necron warriors rose from beneath the earth in mechanical unlife.

Post-Age of Apostasy (M36-M40)[edit]

The Fall of Istvaan V[edit]

Editor's Note: Per writefag, dates can be shuffled around.

Istvaan V was a world of very little interest to the wider Imperium. The only feature it had of note were a series of mountainous fortifications dating back hundreds of thousands of years before the first humans arrived in the area, believed to be of ancient kinebrach construction; but whatever those defenses had been built to protect was long since gone. All that was left was a barely breathable atmosphere maintained by a meager biosphere of bacterial mats.

Still, as Istvaan III began its expansion out into space, they saw promise in their near neighbor, and began the centuries- long process of terraforming it. Slow successions of introduced pioneer species and careful geoengineering transformed Istvaan V from a borderline uninhabitable globe into a fertile agri- world, feeding colonies across the Istvaan system and beyond. For thousands of years Istvaan V enjoyed this gentle, quiet prosperity.

Then in 343.M36, it ended.

To this day nobody in the Imperium knows what led Nimina Demthring to take an interest in such an unassuming world. Some believe she heard of local legends claiming (inaccurately) that Isha herself had taken some level of interest in the terraforming of the world, and thought that the world would offer some opportunity to get closer to Isha in her sick and twisted way. Others think that the world held some deep secret beneath its fortresses, one the Imperial inhabitants remained ignorant of but that Nimina somehow discovered. Most people, however, assume that she simply saw a relatively soft target and went for it.

Whatever the cause, a fleet of ghastbone daemon-ships translated out of warp, trailing sprays of corrosive pus, glistening pipes bulging out of rents in the hull like entrails, and made an immediate beeline for Istvaan V.

Despite being outmatched, the System Defense Force rallied to its protection.

The opening engagement of the battle seemed to go astonishingly well for the defenders, with the attacking Crone fleet breaking off its attack after only a few volleys. Any celebration was short- lived, however, as the Nurglites' plan revealed itself. They had woven entropic curses into their weapons and ammunition, which were now going to work on the ships of the Istvaan SDF. Rust crept along the corridors like time- lapse photography of a growing fungus, causing vital systems to malfunction and decay. Meanwhile, the injuries inflicted in the brief struggle on the Croneworlders were slowly healing themselves, scabbing over with diseased growths of new ghastbone. It was obvious that they were simply going to wait for the defenders to be reduced to utter helplessness before they moved in for the kill.

It was obvious that the naval defense was no longer viable, and regretfully the decision was made to pull back. The still salvageable ships would withdraw behind the orbital defenses of Istvaan III. The hopelessly contaminated were left with skeleton crews to launch a final attack, to cover the retreat and try to do as much damage as possible. Charging into the teeth of the enemy gun- line in ships half broken down already, it could not be anything more than a suicide charge. When the dust cleared, although some damage had been done the way was clear for the ground attack to begin.

The people of Istvaan V withdrew into the ancient fortifications; although most of them had long since been repurposed for habitation or similar purposes, they were still formidable constructions, built with all the skill of kinebrach artisans from the height of their empire to stand up to almost any foe. They had sheltered the people of Istvaan V from everything from Ork Waaaghs to Dark Eldar raiders for millennia. They had endured before; they would endure again. Or so they hoped.

Nimina declined to launch a conventional invasion. Instead, she dropped a set of horrific protoplasmic creatures on the world, things cultivated within the depths of Nurgle's Gardens. The amorphous abominations rapidly began expanding, spreading their tendrils across hundreds of kilometers to consume the rich biosphere of the agri- world. The PDF launched their small stocks of atomic weapons, backed by waves of bombers filled with incendiaries, but for every tendril they burned away two more had already taken root. Empowered by sorcerous rituals enacted on the warships orbiting above, the creeping sludge simply grew too far and too fast to be contained. Despite every desperate effort, the tide of slime washed over the bastions, worming its way inside though even the tiniest gaps.

Thousands of desperate battles erupted in the winding corridors of the antediluvian fortresses as the people inside desperately tried to fight back, but it was like trying to hold back the ocean; there was simply too much and it was too fluid. It overwhelmed strongpoints and seeped through cracks in sealed doors. At the end, a few hundred thousand people managed to save themselves in the deepest layers by collapsing the access ways entirely, hoping that an Imperial rescue force would find some way to dig them out.

Then the Conservator fleet fired up its teleporters. An hour later, there were no survivors. Only the slime, coating the continents and filling the seas. The Nurglite force remained only a few more hours before departing, leaving behind only a single light cruiser which had been crippled by a suicidal ramming attack and was unable to make warp. And, of course, a murdered world. From start to finish the entire operation had taken just over 200 hours, and two billion souls were dead.

Just a day later an Imperial relief force translated in, too late. All that they could do was to exterminate the abominations that had been left behind, pounding the world until nothing was left but an airless desert of volcanic glass.

The people of the Istvaan system have neither forgiven nor forgotten.

The Kryptmann Line[edit]

See Inquisitor Kryptman

The Doom of Malan'tai[edit]

The Doom of Malan’tai represents an important lesson in eldar history. The battle and subsequent loss of this Craftworld demonstrated to the eldar just how easy it is for them to lose the very things they are fighting for, and just how pernicious a foe the Great Devourer is. Malan’tai was once a proud Craftworld, located on the eastern fringe. Malan’tai had close connections to Idharae and Iyanden, and so was firmly in the “eldar supremacy” camp of Imperial politics. The Craftworld had suffered from repeated attacks by orks early in its history, which had fostered an impressive dislike of all non-Eldar lifeforms among the inhabitants of Malan’tai and some of the most impressive gun batteries on a Craftworld this side of Il-Kaithe.

But that was all before Hive Fleet Behemoth. Through the visions of their seers, Malan’tai saw that the Exodite world of Tar-Etenil was going to come under attack by a splinter fleet of Hive Fleet Behemoth, and raced to the Exodites’ aid. However, when they arrived at the planet, they found that the tyranids had already managed to strip the planet clean, and that Malan’tai itself was now the next target of the Great Devourer. The hive ships blazed past the Malan’tai warships sent to defend Tar-Etenil, making a beeline for the Craftworld itself. Malan’tai barely managed to send out a distress call to Idharae and Iyanden before it was enveloped by the Shadow in the Warp.

For days, Malan’tai held out against the tyranid swarm, as mycetic spores pelted the surface of the Craftworld and gaunts and carnifexes stalked its halls. The elder struck back with all their strength, aspect warriors cutting through mobs of termagaunts and rippers while wraithguards grappled with larger bioforms. However, bit by bit, they gradually lost ground across the Craftworld, until they were eventually forced back into a small area surrounding the Craftworld’s Webway portal. However, it was at this point that a miraculous thing occurred. Reinforcements from Idharae and Iyanden came streaming through the Webway portal to the aid of Malan’tai, fresh troops who brought the tyranid advance to a halt and as they relieved the wearied defenders and then began to regain ground.

With reinforcements at their back, the eldar of Malan’tai began the arduous task of clearing the tyranids from their home, room by room and chamber by chamber. However, as the eldar began to push back against the tyranid invaders, the psychoactive power grid of the Craftworld slowly but surely began to dim and fail. It was at this point that the full scale of the tyranid infestation became clear. While the eldar had been fighting the tyranids on the surface, other tyranid bioforms had bored deep into the wraithbone structure of Malan’tai and tapped into the Craftworld’s infinity circuit, leeching energy from it like aphids on a plant. The eldar of Malan’tai had suffered the ultimate loss, the souls of their ancestors digested, turned into nothing more than nutriment to feed the hunger of the swarm.

The battle might not have been over, but the war had been lost. Even if the eldar did manage to take back the half-occupied Craftworld from the tyranids, the greatest thing of value on Malan’tai was gone. Despondent, the few survivors of Malan’tai gathered up every soul stone and any other item of importance they could find before jury-rigging a brief window to leave through the Craftworld’s Webway portal, but not before altering the course of Malan’tai to burn up in the nearest star. If their home was to burn, the tyranids would burn with it.

To add insult to injury, several unusual tyranid creatures were discovered during the Battle of Malan’tai. These creatures resembled a cross between a fetus and an electric eel, with grossly distended braincases extending behind their head plates. These creatures possessed devastating psyker powers, using them to float above the battlefield as if suspended in a field of unreality. Analysis of these creatures showed that eldar genetic code had gone into their construction. These creatures became known as zoanthropes.

The Rogue Trader's War[edit]

The Surat Incident, more popularly known as the Rogue Trader’s War, began when Leopold van Cortez, head of the van Cortez Rogue Trader dynasty “rediscovered” the Surat Subsector and claimed it as his own. The Surat Subsector was an area of the Segmentum Tempestus that was originally colonized by the Imperium in early M32, mostly consisting of typical human colonies but also several native species of Xenos Independens and even one of the first colony worlds of felinids outside of Carlos McConnell. However, the whole subsector was deemed lost when a Warp storm blew over the area and made navigation there untenable. The storm dissipated in M37, and Van Cortez was simply the first “modern” Imperial with a working starship to journey to and make a claim on the sector. However, he found that the Surat Subsector was not as uninhabited as the Imperium had thought, with most planets having reverting to Feral Worlds populated by the regressed descendants of the original colonists who had little if any knowledge of the Imperium.

Rogue Traders claiming far-flung planets as their own personal fiefdoms was nothing new in Imperial history. In some cases, the planet profitted with the Rogue Trader dynasty, growing with them as a bureaucratic and administrative hub to the point that their standing in the business world rivalled the megacorps of Kiavahr. In other cases, the planets were kept in the muck and exploited for all they are worth as a colonial market and source of cheap labor. The central Imperial government is not happy about this type of arrangement but is often unable to do anything about it, partly because the affairs of a single backwater planet are typically not important enough to reach the ears of high-ranking members of the Administratum and partly even if they do hear about it finding said planet is a difficult feat in and of itself.A single planet acting as an extralegal hideaway off the official stellar charts tends to be rather hard to find, even if you know what you are looking for.

Exactly how a Rogue Trader dynasty made use of particular planets depended on the dynasty in question. The von Cortez Dynasty made their fortune as planet speculators, finding uninhabited planets of value and then auctioning their coordinates off to an interested buyer for a significant finder’s fee. The Adeptus Mechanicus were always interested in a new location for a Forge World, the Administratum is always interested in potential new Agri-Worlds or land to sell off to Guard regiments that had completed their tour of duty, member states are always looking for uninhabited worlds on their border. The von Cortez dynasty acted as middlemen for these various powers and got filthy rich doing it. However, under Imperial law one couldn’t simply sell a planet if it already had humans, eldar, or Xenos Independens living on it. It would simply be…easier if those people were to simply disappear. The decisions of what to do with these kinds of planets should not be made by people with the kind of money to buy high-end military grade weaponry, the kind that the more cynical sort often call “budget Exterminatuses”.

Leopold’s grand plan backfired enormously when several of the Xenos Independens and human colonies, specifically those with enough a tech base to achieve space flight and Warp travel, survived the initial bombardment. Deciding to unite against a common foe, they retaliated against the Imperium by striking at major population centers, beginning what became known as the Rogue Trader’s War. Two Imperial guard regiments, six Howling Banshees and a brief visit by a company of Astartes later, the war ended with the near-complete eradication of the Surat Subsector’s native population. Having already been attacked without provocation, the inhabitants of the Surat Subsector refused to believe any offer of peace by the Imperium and in the end even turned to the Ruinous Powers for support, leading to their annihilation.

Unfortunately, while the Imperial military was very good at wiping out life on a planet, it was somewhat less good at figuring out what to do with them next. The Administratum, who usually handled such matters, were too far away to easily figure out what to do with the worlds of such a backwater region as the Surat Subsector, requiring some sort of planet broker in order to make things move along efficiently. On top of that, the Rogue Trader’s War left the Surat Subsector nice and uninhabited, just as Leopold had wanted it in the first place. It seemed as though Leopold would profit, at the Imperium’s expense no less.

Seven months after the end of the Rogue Trader’s War, Leopold was found dead at the hands of an Eversor assassin. The van Cortez family’s Writ of Trade was revoked and the majority of their assets were liquidated and distributed to the survivors and veterans of the Surat Subsector Incident. The surviving members of the family were left with almost nothing to their name but what they had with them, the notice informing them of such encouraging to find a “more ethical” line of work. The Administratum extended the possibility that one of the junior family members, upon demonstrating good character, could come forward and name themselves as the heir to the von Cortez dynasty’s remaining assets and seized heirlooms, though it would require making their identity publicly known as Leopold’s heir. Even though there were entire star-systems of people with scores to settle over what happened in Surat, there was no surer way to draw the remains of the house van Cortez out of their refuges, and many were served unexpected justice when they arrogantly tried the Imperium's scrutiny.

The War for Gollopo[edit]

The Imperium and the Tau did not often clash directly, prior to integration. A few flare-ups in the centuries after first contact, before the borders were finalized and diplomatic channels became well-established. Such clashes are not well remembered; both sides were usually half-hearted about the fighting, and after Integration the busy propagandists of the Administratum made sure such conflicts were consigned to the dustbin of history.

A few battles refused to be erased quietly. One such was the battle of Gollopo.

The world Gollopo itself was a human world, settled in the Dark Age of Technology and forgotten in the Age of Strife. It was re-discovered almost simultaneously by both Tau and Imperium explorers. It was in the grey zone between the Tau and Imperium zones of control and near a strategic warp lane, meaning it was highly desirable to both sides. And- this is where the trouble really began- it was divided into nearly a hundred independent states, all of which had long and often nasty histories with each other.

Both sides sent diplomatic teams. The debate over which superpower to join immediately polarized Gollopo's politics. Everyone believed that a nation without a protector would be carved apart by the ones that did, resulting in a mad rush for advantage. Long-standing alliance blocks broke up over the question; ancient enemies uneasily found themselves on the same side. When Prunzik started leaning towards the Tau, its long-time enemy Francha immediately started soliciting the Imperium, only to switch positions towards the Tau when Prunzik started leaning towards the Imperium. When the Inland Empire declared for the Imperium, its subject colonies along the North Shore immediately invited in the Tau in a bid for independence. The Sokhmar and Lankhmar immediately launched genocidal campaigns against each other in a desperate bid to settle their thousand-year grudge before either could secure the assistance of a galactic military.

As the situation deteriorated, both diplomatic teams summoned military reinforcements. And then more. And then more.

Things finally boiled over in the Saarland. A near-impotent buffer state between Prunzik and Francha, both its parliament and its population were almost evenly divided between pro-Tau and pro-Imperial factions... which also corresponded with long-standing pro-Francha and pro-Prunzik factions. Street fighting broke out, which soon descended into guerrilla war, with both Prunzik and Francha supporting their chosen sides. First with money, then with guns, then with 'observers' and 'advisors'... Finally, Francha declared that the Saarland was a failed state and sent an expeditionary force across the border to restore order. Lord General Six Serpent ordered the Imperial Guard to secure the pro-Imperial sections of the Saarland three days later, and Shas'O Vaina moved his cadres to intercept. The war was on.

The first clashes in the Saarland were dramatic, but ultimately inconclusive; the Imperial Guard was driven out of the Saarland by fast-moving Tau armor threatening to slice their columns into pieces, but Tau follow-up offensives were blocked by combined Prunzikan/Guard fortifications and careful deployment of the few Baneblades available.

These would be the largest direct clashes of Tau and Imperial forces; any hope that the fighting could be confined to the Saarland died within days, as every nation on Gollopo plunged into war, every ancient grievance and modern ambition subsumed into the clash of galactic powers. (Although a few were not quite sure what side they were fighting on; the Federated Oskarrian States switched sides four times over the course of the war.) Guard and Fire Caste forces were divided among multiple theaters, fighting closely alongside the native armies.

At the beginning, the Imperium held the advantage. Although less advanced than the off-worlders, the Golloponi armies could not simply be ignored. The Imperium had proven more effective at recruiting the local nations; their status as fellow humans, greater degree of local autonomy, and art-deco meshed better with Golloponi pride and aesthetic sense than the Tau's alien-ness, more invasive policies, and smoothly curving ceramics.

However, this advantage of numbers proved hard to leverage. The Tau could simply move and concentrate faster, and seized the operational initiative early. They kept the Imperium reacting to rapid-fire series of feints, diversions, raids, and genuine offensives, too off-balance to launch their own offensives. Morale began to decline, especially among the Imperium's local allies. To Golloponi sensibilities, the Tau war machines were frighteningly alien and incomprehensible, and local regiments were often routed by even a single Tau skimmer unless backed up by the Guard, while Tau-aligned forces were inspired to greater heights of courage by the alien powers of their allies.

As the war dragged on, the momentum began to swing in the other direction. The Imperial-aligned armies grew accustomed to facing down the Tau, and attrition began to take its toll. The Tau required spare parts and ammunition from a supply chain stretching all the way from the Tau Empire itself; with the low speed and relatively smaller size of Tau ships, they were simply unable to sustain the operational tempo they had set early on once their stockpiles were exhausted. On the other hand, the Golloponi early-industrial tech base required only minor upgrading to start supplying spares and ammunition for the Guard. And the Tech-priests accompanying the expedition were well-versed in the procedures for such upgrades.

While the Tau attempted to launch their own upgrade program, the Earth Caste engineers were less skilled in using limited resources; they knew how to make microchips, they knew how to train someone to make microchips, but they didn't know how to get to microchips starting from a coal-fired steel mill. The Mechanicus did.

By the middle of the second year, the Imperium was able to launch a grand offensive, rolling back previous Tau gains. Committing their remaining reserves, the Tau fought a series of holding actions, buying time to consolidate a series of defensive lines. It worked, and the offensive ground to a halt outside the core territories of the Tau alliance block.

With all room for subtlety gone, the war entered its bloodiest phase. The Tau did not have the reserves to launch any major offensives, especially once the Imperial block entrenched themselves in turn, but were able to shatter the spearheads of any offensive. Most of the dying was done by the Golloponi, as the Guard and Fire Caste husbanded their strength and looked for some decisive opportunity.

It never came. After three years and about twenty million deaths, the war was ended by a negotiated settlement. The nations that aligned themselves with the Imperium would become part of the Imperium; the nations that sided with the Tau would become part of the Tau Empire. Nations that had been split would either become neutral, their independence guaranteed by both sides, or be split into multiple nations, as determined by the locals themselves.

Most Tau-Imperium conflicts were prosecuted halfheartedly, neither side really wanting to fight one of the few other true civilizations among the stars. Gollopo was not. There has been some debate as to why, but ultimately it has been ascribed to the influence of the Golloponi themselves. They regarded the war as 'the End of History'; although things would certainly keep happening, the history of Gollopo and its nations would be subsumed without a trace into the history of the Imperium and/or the tau Empire. A footnote, remembered only as a place where these two giants once fought. Thus they fought with incredible fervor, as their last chance to make a mark on history as independent nations. That fervor came to 'infect' the off-world forces they were allied with, the two working increasingly close together as the war dragged on. They fought together, bled together, died together, and came to regard the war in the same light. Or so the thinking goes.

The Damocles Crusade[edit]

The Damocles Crusade occurred near the tail end of the Second Sphere of Expansion. At this point, neither the Tau nor the Imperium had much contact with each other; there had been some vague diplomatic contact, but distance had prevented the establishment of any sort of permanent embassy. As the Second Sphere began to run up against the Imperial borders, this began to change. Due to the Tau's lack of rapid interstellar communications, no central policy for contact could be imposed; each point of contact proceeded independently, according to the whims and instincts of the local commander. In most cases, this lead to a reasonably peaceful opening of relations. Things were different in the Damocles Gulf.

The Damocles Gulf was only lightly settled by the Imperium when the Tau started pushing into the region. However, many mercantile concerns had long-term plans for the colonization of the region, and were not happy to see the Tau butting in. The Tau pursued a highly aggressive colonization policy, settling colonies down in systems already claimed by the Imperium. This lead to a series of skirmishes with Rogue Traders, corporate paramilitaries, and colonial militias. These battles escalated over the course of about twenty years, until finally local authorities called to the wider Imperium for aid. A Crusade was declared, organized, and launched two years later, and the war was on.

There has been much speculation over why the Tau acted so aggressively within the Damocles Gulf. The Tau did not have a proper appreciation for the size of the Imperium at the time, but this did not prevent other commanders in other regions from pursuing peaceful relations. Part of it may have been simple time discrepancy; the lead-up to the Crusade took half a Tau lifetime. They may have simply perceived the provocations as coming further apart than the centuries-old human high command did.

It has also been thought that the Tau's policy in the Gulf was, indeed, deliberate central policy; the Ethereals on T'au deciding to test the Imperium in a region far removed from anywhere else. Such theories have never been firmly confirmed or denied; Tau records from the period are silent on their motivations, and further speculation has been discouraged since Integration.

The Tau had forewarning. There was also significant trade and diplomatic contact within Damocles Gulf, and a Crusade is hard to hide. They built fortifications, supply depots, surveillance networks. Laid in parts and munitions for long sieges. Prepared for the storm.

The Imperium began the war with a crucial advantage in communications and mobility. The Tau had no equivalent to astropathic communication and had to rely on courier ships for interstellar coordination- couriers that were slower than Imperial ships. The Tau were intellectually aware of this, but did not fully appreciate it; it would cost them. Likewise, the Imperium also underappreciated Tau abilities in several areas. The first phase of the war would reveal all these shortcomings.

Tau strategy centered around a series of border systems that had both human and Tau settlements. In preparation for the oncoming crusade, most civilians were evacuated from these settlements and preparations for a protracted guerilla war laid in. Meanwhile, mobile fleet assets were withdrawn to secret bases in central locations. The goal was to bog down the Crusade in protracted ground wars across multiple theaters, leaving it open to concentrated strikes by the fleet. Since the Tau forces in these systems were in immediate proximity to human colonies, they could not simply be ignored; the Crusade would have to split up and commit forces to each world.

The first part of this plan worked excellently. The Crusade was indeed badly bogged down on the border worlds. The Tau had seeded these regions with cloaked surveillance satellites and sensor networks, to give them comprehensive real-time intelligence of Imperial movements. Concealed supply depots and bases provided places for the Tau to rest and resupply in comfort; when they were discovered, extensive minefields, AA batteries, and drone screens provided enough time to evacuate men and equipment before the Imperium could destroy the location. Pathfinders and spotter drones called down devastatingly precise artillery barrages, while stealth-suit teams assassinated officers and destroyed ammo dumps.

The Imperial response to these tactics was... underwhelming. Long accustomed to enemies like Orks and chaos cultists, adaptation to Tau tactics was slow and confused. Even the Titans not immune, the Tau having developed several means of dealing with Titan-scale opponents in their long battles with the Orks. None were destroyed or even severely damaged, but the Mechanicus became increasingly cautious with them after several close calls. Only the Astartes and the few Biel-Tan Eldar forces consistently out-fought the Tau, and spread across half a dozen worlds, there were too few of them to turn the tide on their own.

The second part of the plan did not go nearly so well. The first Tau strike, on the world of Kindashar, drove off the outnumbered Imperial fleet with severe damage. Reinforcements, combined with precision orbital bombardment, forced the Guard regiments on the ground into an exclusively defensive posture. The Tau fleet then withdrew before an Imperial counter-attack could be mustered. Unfortunately for them, Eldar divinations and psychic interrogation of a handful of captured Tau spacers revealed the location of their hidden base. When the Tau fleet arrived, to their shock, they found the Crusade fleet already waiting for them.

The battle was short and decisive. Caught by surprise and out of combat formation, they were unable to maintain their range advantage and forced into a close-quarters fight. Coming right off the heels of a previous engagement with no chance to repair and resupply, the Tau fleet began to crack; once a trio of Eldar destroyers identified and destroyed the command ship, disorder became a near-rout, as the Tau fought to get back to the safety of FTL. Maybe half the Tau fleet survived, all heavily damaged. Many would not live to see a friendly port, as Imperial wolfpacks used their superior FTL speed to hunt down the scattered survivors.

With the Tau fleet destroyed or driven out of the Gulf, any hope of relief was gone. They continued to fight on, but it was a lost cause. The Crusade was reinforced by regiments more experienced in counter-guerilla tactics, and their experience quickly diffused among the rest of the force. With control of space assured, air superiority was quickly established by orbiting carriers. The hidden bases were hunted down and destroyed one by one. As the lack of resupply began to bite increasingly deeply, one by one the different cadres surrendered. The last to give in was Kindashar, which lasted five months after the annihilation of the Tau fleet.

Various other minor Tau colonies fell quickly, in most cases surrendering without a fight. It was at this point that the Crusade began to slowly fall apart. The Crusade had been launched fast enough that its strategic objectives had not been fully decided, and now that the immediate goal had been achieved the arguments resumed in full force. Some interests viewed what had already been accomplished as sufficient, particularly the Rogue Traders and parts of the military. Others, mainly the nobility and merchant houses, wanted to seize control of the entire Damocles Gulf, while a third faction wanted a punitive expedition deep into Tau space.

While it first appeared that the factions in favor of further offensives would win out, the intervention of water caste diplomats prevented that. Dispatched from the core septs of the Tau, they skillfully navigated the factional politics of Imperial high society, playing the differing groups off against each other with the judicious use of flattery and bribes. The process of peace was not instant, and there were several naval skirmishes as more aggressive Imperial captains scouted out Tau defenses, but- after nearly a year- a settlement was reached and the Crusade disbanded.

The immediate outcome of the war was a final settlement on who owned what in the Damocles Gulf. The Imperium got the better end of the deal, ending up with all of the border worlds and several of the colonies captured in the aftermath of the Imperium's naval victory. Tau in the transferred areas were resettled in Tau space, and the Tau retained a lessened presence in the Gulf.

In the long term, both sides gained valuable information about the other. In addition to the obvious military knowledge, the Tau learned a great deal about the inner workings of the Imperial apparatus, which would serve them well in future negotiation. Oddly enough, the Damocles Gulf would become a calm spot and major trade route in future Imperium-Tau relations; small numbers of Tau refused to leave colonies that had been traded to the Imperium, eventually forming a Tau/Imperial creole culture with disproportionate cultural influence, serving as a bridge between the two empires.

The Destruction of Lilarsus[edit]

For years, the Tau Empire has had problems with Dark Eldar. Every time the Tau Empire have had a problem, whether A.I. rebellion or tyranid invasion, the Dark Eldar are always there like the vultures they are ready to prey on the vulnerable and the helpless. The primary source of these problems is Archon Andross Klax of the Kabal of the Hand of Deft Spite. The Tau Empire is effectively “his” space, at least by the standards of Commorragh, and other Kabals had to treat with him if they wanted to privilege of raiding there.

The Tau were fed up with Klax. The bounty on his head was staggering. The Tau usually don’t believe in bounty hunting, feeling that if you do kill it should be for duty or defense or something a little more noble than simply selfish greed. With Klax they’ve just stopped caring, the Empire want him dead. Especially Aun’Va, who had to put up with Klax’s shit more than anyone else. Klax was enough to make Aun’Va wistful for the old days of the Mont’au, back when you wanted someone dead you raised an army to do it and told the troops to put the offender’s head on a stick to make sure they were gone.

In M39, after an invasion by a tendril of Hive Fleet Leviathan resulted in a series of pyrrhic victories that only ended with Imperial assistance, the Tau Empire was once again considering closer relations with the Imperium. This would have been a disaster for Klax, for whom Imperial support and resources would have meant an end to the easy raiding he had been enjoying for the last one and a half millennia. And so to preserve his hunting grounds Archon Klax hatched a cunning scheme.

In 876.M39, Klax created a false flag operation, making it seem like the Maiden World of Lilarsus was really a Dark Eldar world and Klax’s base of operations. The Kabal of the Hand of Deft Spite planted chemical evidence in the atmosphere, making it seem like the planet was experiencing substantial industrialization and spaceship traffic despite its primordial veneer. Surface observations would have shown the planet’s population was mostly Eldar, which would hopefully damn Lilarsus further in the eyes of the Tau. To someone who wasn’t familiar with how the Exodites worked, it looked like a textbook pirate hideout. The hope was that the Tau would attack Lilarsus and provoke a Tau-Imperium skirmish, souring relationships between the Imperium and the Tau. At best, it was hoped the act would spark the Tau-Imperium war both the Dark Eldar and their more debauched Crone World kin had always desired.

The Tau, already incensed with the Kabal of the Hand of Deft Spite for their raid on the Sept of Kel’Shan shortly after the tyranid invasion, took the bait. The Ethereals ordered Lilarsus burned to the ground in order to wipe out the space pirate and his cronies once and for all. The Tau attack took the form of nuking the population centers from orbit and letting the fallout from the airburst kill the rest. It was cheap, quick, and effective, especially since this was back in the days when the Tau were only just developing more extensive and expensive methods of Exterminatus for scouring tyranid-infested worlds to the bedrock. Thousands died. Fortunately, because the bombardment was focused on population centers not every Exodite died in the bombardment and the World Tree wasn’t compromised in the attack. This one of the few things that kept the situation from escalating faster than it already did.

It was only after the bombardment that the Tau realized that Lilarsus wasn’t a Dark Eldar world. The Tau tried to apologized to Lilarsus’ patron Craftworld of Iyanden and offered to help repair the damage they had done, but found their offers icily ignored. However, for Iyanden it wasn’t enough. Klax would pay in time, but the Tau had offered them an insult that couldn’t go unanswered. In the months following the bombardment of Lilarsus several Ethereals were subject to assassination attempts by Iyanden rangers, and the commander of the ill-fated expedition was found impaled on a wraithbone spear along with his command staff.

These assassinations in spite of the Tau’s offers of weregild enraged the Ethereal council, and the Tau Empire mobilized to go to war. The response of Craftworld Iyanden, who had the largest space navy of any Craftworld, was in effect “bring it”, and the eldar began to assemble their own retaliatory fleet. The two fleets intercepted each other in a dead star system to the galactic west of the Damocles Gulf. However, as the Eldar and Tau fleets squared off, suddenly an unknown fleet translated into the system and the Eldar and Tau’s ships stalled. The Tau didn’t know what to make of this. It wasn’t like their ships had been hit by an EMP, as life support systems and artificial gravity were still on and they didn’t even know what an EMP would do to Eldar ships, it was like their ships were being…physically restrained.

Up until this point, the Tau had comforted themselves by believing that the border skirmishes they had fought with the Imperium in the past were evidence that their great and mighty fleets were capable of holding off the aggressive and might of the "whole Imperial war machine". The more knowledgeable among the Ethereals and Fire Caste knew that it was merely the navy of the Segmentum Ultima, but they still figured that was a sizeable portion of the Imperium’s military might, and liked their odds in the event of a confrontation.

That was until the Tau got a good look at the Bucephalus and its hangers-on translating into the system. Those weren’t any Segmentum Ultima navy ships they had ever seen before. Hell, they hadn’t seen most of those ship classes before. And perhaps more importantly, this new fleet not only outnumbered but outgunned both the Tau fleet and Eldar fleet put together. If people started shooting this new fleet would annihilate both of them, only stopping to wipe the ship debris off its metaphorical boot. And then the face of Oscar, Last of the Golden Men, Emperor of the Throne, Servus Servorum Imperium, Emperor-Consort of the All-Mother and Defender of the Realms Uncounted appeared on the Tau’s communication array to request the presence of their leader at his next earliest convenience to discuss "recent events". The Tau were just as surprised at the appearance of the Emperor’s face on their screens as they were at the arrival of the Bucephalus, this being was clearly different from any gue’la they had ever seen. He told them they wouldn’t have to worry about Iyanden striking while they were distracted as his wife just told the other side to go home and tend their wounds and sure enough Iyanden, who seemed previously out for blood, was doing so without hesitation or complaint to the surprise of the Tau commanders.

It was be at that moment, that exact moment, that every Fire Caste present realized just how deep the pit they are standing over really is, and the Tau Empire realized that the “tall tales” of Por’O M’arc visiting the Imperial capital were more than just tall tales.

After three days of intense debating, a ceasefire was eventually reached and war was narrowly averted. Lilarsus ended up being garrisoned with Aspect Warrior and wraithguards from Iyanden to protect the world tree until the radioactive fallout subsided, along with several unarmed Crisis battlesuits from the Tau empire scrubbing radiation. Surprisingly enough, the presence of the latter was actually a request of the Tau Empire, Iyanden said the Tau didn't have to be there and quite frankly didn’t want the Tau anywhere near the planet, but the Tau insisted. Crisis battlesuits and other suits of their size class doubled as really good environmental hazard suits. Projections and farseer visions foresaw that most of Lilarsus would be uninhabitable for nearly 450 years, but with active cleanup of the radioactive fallout it could be cut down to nearly a third of that time. Maybe even quicker for major population centers. The faster it was cleaned up, the faster the Exodites could return to their home. In the minds of the Tau, it was their misjudgment that led to the bombing of Lilarsus, and therefore it was their duty to make amends. It was a matter of personal honor for them.

After the stand-off, Spiritseer-Admiral Iyanna Arienal, essentially the "face" of Iyanden's seer council, disappeared from the public eye for a few months. When asked where she had been after return her only answer was "with Yriel". Perhaps not coincidentally, Archon Klax was never heard from again.

The Second Damocles Gulf Campaign[edit]

The Second Damocles Gulf campaign is an important marker in Tau history, representing one of the largest battles in Tau history before the Tau joined the Imperium and one of the few instances in which Tau fought against Tau. After the rebuilding of the Tau Empire following the A.I. rebellion and the Fourth Sphere of Expansion, the political winds had shifted once again and the Ethereal council was once more considering the possibility of developing closer ties with the Imperium. Imperial culture had become well-known to the Tau in the millennium since the two empires had first met, and some Ethereals recognized the resonance between Imperial ideals and the Tau’va, as well as the potential of using inclusion into the Imperium as a vehicle to spread the Greater Good. However, these ideas created a political backlash and a series of counter-proposals across the Tau Empire. These proposals ranged from the reasonable, such as seeking to ally with the Imperium without fully joining, to the insane, such as a mass migration of pro- and anti-Imperium Tau across the empire to form separate pro- and anti-Imperial states.

Eventually things came to a head, with a contingent of traditionalists coming to believe that the ideologies of the Tau’va had already become too compromised by outside influence. Riots and violence erupted across the Tau Empire, eventually resulting in a sizeable minority of the Tau Empire including several Ethereals and high-ranking commanders including Commander Farsight leaving to form their own empire. The remaining Ethereals were outraged by this breach of Tau honor. Perhaps more importantly, the schism had led to the spilling of Tau blood by Tau hands, something that had not happened in history since the age of Mont’au and the days before the Tau as a whole had come to accept the Greater Good. This was something that could simply not go unpunished.

In response to the violence and aftereffects of the Schism, the Tau Empire raised a massive retaliatory strike force, headed by several Shas’O and at least three Ethereals. However, Farsight’s counterpart among the reformers, Commander Shadowsun, was not among their number. Although Shadowsun had fought against the reformers in the initial days of the schism, including with Farsight himself in the riots of T’au, she was not part of the retaliatory fleet, having been called away to the eastern front of the empire to defend against a splinter fleet of Hive Fleet Kraken. This may have been one of the reasons why the Damocles Gulf campaign went as badly as it did. Although the commanders were well-trained and their forces outnumbered the traditionalists by nearly six to one, they were still going up against the Tau Empire’s greatest living military strategist, and without a general of Farsight’s caliber on the side of the reformers the retaliatory strike may have been doomed to fail.

Perhaps the biggest mistake was following the traditionalists into the northwestern frontier of the Tau Empire, the area where Farsight had spent most of his military career. As a result, Commander Farsight and the traditionalists had a much better idea of the terrain than the reformers did, including the best places to defend or set ambushes. During the Damocles Gulf campaign, Farsight once again proved how he had earned his name, only fighting in areas where he could nullify the numerical advantage of the reformers, or flanking around the main body of the fleet to strike at supply lines and attempt to cut them off from the empire. When forced to fight in the open, he would often employ unorthodox tactics that caught the more conservative commanders of the reformers off guard, such as jumping his ships into “knife-fight” range so that enemy ships could not fire at them without firing on their own soldiers at the same time. Although victories by the traditionalists seemed to be randomly distributed across the Gulf, they would prove very important for future political events, for these victories were often concentrated around easily defensible points that would serve as the effective borders of the Farsight Enclaves.

The Second Damocles campaign was ultimately declared a failure by the Tau Empire. The Empire had the forces needed to wipe the separatists from the stars, but Farsight’s forces were too heavily entrenched beyond the Damocles Gulf and it would cost them at least ten reformers for every traditionalist, a proposition the Ethereals were not willing to entertain. Not to mention, repaying the traditionalists’ violence with more blood would only strengthen the separatists’ claims of being in the right. Instead, the Ethereals decided to play the long game, considering that after a few generations the majority of the traditionalists, including most importantly Farsight, would be long gone. Unfortunately, this has not been the case, as the traditionalists have somehow managed to create their own functioning system within the Farsight enclaves, but Farsight has somehow managed to stay alive for far longer than any Tau would be reasonably expected to live.

Sha'Galudd and the Nagi[edit]

Sometime near the end of the latest Sphere of Expansion, a Tau expeditionary force came across a world known as Sha’Galudd. This world had been known for some time, but it was only now that the Ethereal council decided the world was to be surveyed and settled. It was a lush world, not to the Tau’s climatic preferences but more than capable of supporting a colony. However, when the first settlers set foot on Sha’Galudd, they found the world was already home to another xenos species, the worm-like Nagi.

First contact between the Nagi and the Tau was surprisingly violent, even when compared to other races like the Kroot. However, before long the Nagi leaders came before the Ethereals of the expeditionary force in the interests of peace. They said that they had been unjustly persecuted by other xenos races into hiding on Sha’Galudd, and all they wanted to do was live in peace. They thought the Tau were these same invaders but had only just realized they were not, and now wanted to live in harmony with them. The xenos were even willing to cede most of the planet to the Tau, as they themselves needed little space to live. Within a few decades the world of Sha’Galudd was thriving, with many Nagi serving as advisors to the planet’s Ethereals. With the colony flourishing, the Ethereals of Sha’Galudd sent a message to the Ethereal Council of T’au, telling the homeworld of the good news.

At this time, the Tau had been formally inducted into the Imperium, and the Ethereal Council were taking full advantage of the Imperium’s records to try and learn as much as they could about the galaxy beyond. When they heard the news from Sha’Galudd, as well as a description of the xenos the expeditionary fleet had encountered, they immediately recognized what they were dealing with and dispatched a military fleet in response.

The aliens of the planet had introduced themselves to the as the Nagi. The rest of the galaxy knew them as the Slaugth.

The Tau acted quickly, deploying an entire contingent (Tio’ve) of Hunter Cadres to Sha’Galudd. The Ethereal Council privately hoped the situation could be solved without bloodshed, but when the contingent arrived they found themselves being fired upon by their own people. The Ethereals and much of the military of Sha’Galudd had been infested and subverted by the Slaugth, turning them into a veritable revenant army. The fighting was savage and brutal, much of it being room-to-room urban combat interspersed with attacks from Slaugth constructs created from Tau biomass. Nevertheless, despite the brutality of the fighting it was fortunate the contingent arrived when they did, for if they had arrived later it is likely that the entire planet would have been infected and turned into yet another infestation for the Slaugth.

The results of this battle, specifically how quickly and decisively the Ethereals dealt with the Slaugth, showed that although the Tau were still a young and ambitious race, they were quickly shedding their naivete and were more than willing to adapt to their surroundings.

The Happalachian Hill Race[edit]

When the Tau finally joined the Imperium proper, many of their Fire caste officers looked forward to the opportunity to show what they saw as the backward, stagnant forces of the Imperium the obvious superiority of the Tau's way of doing things. To their abject horror, the reintegration campaign of Happalachia gave them exactly what they'd been asking for.

Happalachia is a planet composed almost entirely of mountain ranges and thick forests, with oceans which could be more aptly described as valleys that have filled with water, or places where the mountains dip below sea-level, rather than deep,empty expanses most associate with the phrase. Despite being prone to seizmic activity, it is not a Death World, being almost tame by Imperial standards. If anything, the seizmic activity is a boon, responsible for the large deposits of metals and other natural resources that made the planet worth reclaiming. The real challenge of the planet, and perhaps the reason the humans inhabiting the world had not re-achieved spaceflight by the time the Imperium rediscovered them, is the terrain, which ranges from fortyfive-degree slopes to sheer cliffs to trees so thick they form a natural wall. It is perhaps for this reason that the Tau, with their flight-capable vehicles and battlesuits which could handle such treacherous land, were selected to assist in reclaiming the world and assisting the newly-formed PDF regiments with clearing out the Orks which had taken root. The locals proved more of a shock to the Tau than anything the Orks could possibly have thrown at them.

The humans living on Happalachia were fairly close to the standard human form, if a bit more variable in height and size than would be expected. They were prone to growing long, unkempt beards, with thick, black body hair and tanned leathery skin, and have been described as having a strong, bitter smell, though this may be a product of the alcoholic brews they are so fond of making. Even the Tau could label them as 'human' with but a single glance. The more glaring issues were regarding their society and organization- or seeming lack thereof.

The regiments the Tau liasoned with behaved more like animals than a proper fighting force, with half the troops simply not being present at any given day, either off working with their families, hunting, sleeping, or just gone without anyone knowing or seeming to care where they'd went. Their command structure was informal in the extreme, with command of a squad seeming to change hands regularly between whichever member was deemed "gud fer gittin'" the task at hand, with arguments and disputes of orders being so common that those who could be in charge and go unquestioned were rare and regarded as masterful leaders. Speaking of arguments, the Tau simply could not wrap their heads around the way these primitives handled disputes. Two of them would disagree on something, tempers would flare and yelling would grow in volume, then they would set upon each other like wild animals, biting and clawing and punching in a big ball of violence that more than once caused the Tau to assume they were trying to kill each other. And then suddenly it would stop, the first to get up would help pull the other to his feet, and moments later they'd be smiling through their missing teeth, joking and laughing with one arm around the man they'd just been fighting, the other holding a drink that would only halfway make it to their mouth because of the black eye they'd gotten. For those who grew up being taught that Tau-on-Tau violence was a grave sin, such flippant disregard for the fact that a buddy had just left teeth-marks in your arm was something they simply could not process.

Their gear was not much better; before the Imperium arrived, the majority of the firearms on the planet had been powder-based kinetic weapons, not even the kind with explosive rounds or mono-edged blades, but simple hunks of pointed metal fired at slow enough speeds that even the Guard's flak jackets could provide reliable protection against them. What vehicles they did have were lightly-armored civilian-grade cargo haulers, most of which were rusted and bearing oversized wheels and a shocking lack of even the most basic safety equipment, looking more like something the Orks would make than a reliable source of transport. Though proper lasguns had been distributed as part of the effort to bring them up to speed, many of them had taken to... 'modifying' their weapons, usually by attaching telescopic hunting scopes through a combination of screws and duct tape in a ramshackle and irreverent manner that would have any cogboy who saw their desecrations seize up and sputter, their cognizator implants overloading as they utterly fail to process the sheer volume of RRRREEEEEEEEE being demanded.

So great was the Tau's utter bafflement at the state of these troops that they recommended the entire force be either disbanded or left behind to obsensibly guard the population centers. The request was denied, for the Imperium needed the Orks culled, and so the Tau set out with their new wards, confident that they would all be dead within a week and the Tau would have to clean up. (Un)fortunately for them, they had only scratched the iceberg regarding these "good old boys."

The terrain lent itself well to the Tau's preference for engaging at range; Orks would shake their axes and blades futilely at the Fire Warriors picking them off from the other side of the gorge, and the charges they would make when in massed numbers would bog down as they slogged their way uphill into a storm of plasma fire. Despite the prior expectations, the natives proved equally effective against the Orks, in their own ways. For one thing, they were everywhere; no matter where the battlefield went, several of the PDF would show up with a dozen or more "cousins" to help out. They were also uncanny trackers, always being able to point out with fairly good accuracy where a pocket of Orks was hiding, likely to go, or had been, though it took the Tau several ambushes to stop dismissing the pointed "Dat way's gon' getcha busted up right good, ah tell yew what." More mind-bogglingly, to Tau and Ork alike, was their skill at laying ambushes themselves; more than one Ork attack had only just registered on the Tau before the forest exploded with gunfire, and often several screaming bearded men falling onto the Orks with knives and hatchets drawn. This is not to say that the natives could beat the Orks in Melee combat, and more that you do not need to beat the ork when you can simply unbalance him until he falls off the cliff. Usually the natives attempting this wore parachutes or stitched wing-gliders, cackling loudly as they drifted off out of view of the dumbstruck Tau, while the more daring took the riskier route of trying to jump back off the ork onto solid ground. It was when the Tau started stumbling into ork ambushes, only to be saved from their imminent death by highly accurate las-fire, that the brunt of the situation dawned on them.

The natives of Happalachia loved their guns; they were a means of gathering food, a protector of your family, and symbols of your personal worth all in one. From a young age they would learn marksmanship as a means of putting meat on the table, using the primitive powder-firearms that their forefathers had used for generations, learning to shoot reliably despite bullet drop, wind interference, and other factors. Now that they had access to lasguns, which negate most of these factors, they proved themselves to be uncannily accurate shots at ranges far beyond that expected of a lasgun. What this meant in practice was that the backwards, unshaven, uncouth, smelly backwoods hooligans on this backwater world were putting out a similar long-range performance to that of the Tau, which combined with their knowledge of the terrain meant they were killing Orks before the Tau realized they were there. They were being better marksmen than the Tau.

The thought was too much for the Tau to stomach. Desperate to prove that the Tau forces were undeniably superior to these hillbillys and preserve some semblance of dignity, the Tau leadership began enacting aggressive, almost-suicidal battle plans and strategies, determined to outperform the PDF by securing and holding more of the planet's surface and moving faster than the natives could, deploying forces they had previously held in reserve as "unnecessary," and generally taking it as a personal mission to prove that all their technology meant something.

The locals caught wind, and thought it sounded like fun, and what came next is now known as the Happalachian Hill Race.

The idea was simple; there were already a series of checkpoints, target areas, and objectives in place as a guideline for the reclamation. The Tau decided that if they could take, hold, and secure more of the objectives on their own, they would prove themselves the more effective fighting force, regardless of the individual performance of the natives. Unfortunately, those checkpoints and objectives had also been distributed to the PDF, so the Happalachians were also privy to the "rules" of the race.

What followed was several months of escalating competion, with the natives bringing in all their friends and neighbors, while the Tau brought in all their latest toys. Tweaking their targeting systems to better deal with the forest helped the Tau regain their edge in accuracy at range, but now the natives had numbers to even the scores. Warsuits flew over ravines and jumped over the treetops, while bolted-together technicals tore along cliff-faces, their passengers whooping and hollering as they shot at anything orkish-green that flew by. Eventually it escalated to the point that both sides were just short of open conflict.

The event is best preserved in a holopic captured by one of the Tau battlesuits. It depicts a gorge with a native Technical on one side, and a group of battlesuits in mid-flight on the other. The technical has one wheel over the edge, the others frantically digging for traction, as passengers shoot at unseen Orks while yelling at the Tau, with one individual hanging his bare buttocks out the window. The Tau are likewise firing at Orks on their side of the ravine, while one battlesuit has opened his helmet, apparently in order to yell back at the humans while making an extremely obscene gesture at them, a gesture also being displayed by two other battlesuits, though their users appear more focused on the Orks.

In the end, there was no clear winner of the race; the Tau covered more ground and ended up taking more objectives, but had trouble securing those objectives, as the increased speed had been paid for with less-thorough sweeps, while the natives proved skilled at eliminating all the Orks from an area and arriving in places quickly, they had trouble keeping up with the airborne elements of the Tau, especially when they started deploying from orbit to reach checkpoints faster. Though the "finish line" was reached, several areas fell and had to be retaken or secured, and things only seemed to get more complicated as a group of Biel-tan warriors warped in, too late to have a chance at winning but still looking to participate- and in the end had a very good showing. Most historians will say that the Tau won the race, as their technology once adapted greatly outpaced what the Happalachians could do, but for the Tau it was a bitter victory; though they had emerged on top, it had not been a decisive win, and many of their troops had lost some of their discipline and begun using the same uncouth, offensive mannerisms as they had been trying to prove themselves above. The Tau from the aforementioned holopic was identified and severely punished for such a public display of disrespectful behavior, but the truth is that several Tau had begun having similar exchanges towards the end of the race.

Shas'ui Sli'ker, the Tau fire warrior from the aforementioned Holopic, was reassigned to what amounted to a desk job in an attempt to make a public example of how crass behavior was unacceptable within the Tau military. He would later go on to write a short book intended to advise other Tau how best to prepare for different cultures, the importance of not underestimating your allies or foes, and the importance of listening to the councel of natives more familiar with the land than you, regardless of percieved ignorance. While the Ethereals deemed his work too dangerous to condone distributing it (his ideas on being willing to adopt aspects of local culture to build trust sounded too much like giving up what made the Tau the Tau), he was able to get published by human distributors, who found his work either comedically entertaining or useful for non-Tau who would interact with other cultures too. The work eventually became public knowledge among the Tau soldiery, who while they mostly found it a bit too radical, found it contained useful knowledge that has soothed relations more than once. The author himself eventually returned to Happalachia, living out his final days in what he called "the most beautiful land ever infested with hicks;" he was well-loved within the local community, and his passing was mourned greatly, with several statues being erected in his honor; one depicting him relaxing, set to look out over his favorite view, the other showing his more famous pose, placed in front of the Capitol, forever indicating exactly what he thinks of the locals, the planet, and the universe in general to the horizon.

Historians and military analysts alike have examined the events of the Happalachian Hill Race in search of explanations as to how a bunch of newly-discovered Men of Stone with inferior technology managed to challenge one of the most technologically-advanced races in the galaxy, much less challenge them in their field of expertise. Upon closer examination, several things became apparent. Firstly, the Happalachians, while marksmen of far higher caliber than the average guardsmen (though their unsactioned scope attachments may aid in that), are not, in fact, anywhere near as good as the average Tau. Tests performed in firing ranges and field excercises found that the Tau's accuracy and response time were far greater than that of the Happalachians, and effective at much further ranges than Happalachian lasguns could even reach, much less reliably hit. This, of course, raised the question of how these hillbillies were getting the drop on the Orks before the Tau. The answer lies in perhaps the two biggest contributing factors to the outcome; Terrain and Tactics.

While the Tau had come equipped with jumpsuits and drones and the means to easily cover the planet's mountainous terrain, on the planning level there had been a major failure to account for how advancing across a planet of mountains is different from advancing across a mountain range on a planet. A gorge easily crossed in a battlesuit could contain miles of tunnels, outcroppings, overhangs, and other places where Orks could hide within the trees or shrubbery. This meant that the intial Tau advance was very prone to accidentally overjumping patches of Orks, who would then attempt to ambush the Tau, and instead get bisected by the lasfire of the Natives.

This was the second failing in the Tau's campaign, their Tactics. Both Natives and Orks on Happalachia had adopted an inclination towards Ambush tactics, as massed engagements and charges were simply unfeasible on a fortyfive-degree slope. Some Orks would even bury themselves in the ground and wait for hours or days in order to jump an enemy, which meant that on the Tau's heat-sensors they would appear as little more than slightly warmer than usual plants. The local tactic for clearing Orks would generally involve one group acting as the "bait," driving around in one of their loud technicals, whooping and hollering and making as much noise as they could, with the rest of the locals aimed and waiting for the Orks to take the bait.

The Tau, by contrast, were not sneaky in the least about their approach, their roaring jumpjets, clanking battlesuits, and vehicle support making their advance very loud and very noticeable. To the Happalachians, this looked like the aliens volunteering for the most dangerous role in the hunt, and thus moved to do the obvious thing and be ready to intercept the inevitable ambush. In practical terms, this meant that engagements with the Orks happened with the Natives already prepared to fire, and the Orks at close ranges to the Tau, who are notoriously ill-suited for close quarters. The Tau, having failed to take the locals seriously enough to have learned or paid attention to the Happalachian's explanations on how to properly hunt Orks, mistook the native's well-intentioned support as intentional showboating, fraying tempers and leading to rash decisions and even more stubborn resistance to any sort of advice from the locals.

There were, of course, other factors; scouts who would go ahead and track groups of Orks, relaying their position through birdcalls and markings on trees; the spread-out nature of the native population, which lead to there usually being someone in the area who could point out pitfalls or add more firearms to the mix; the constant tree-cover making the Tau's vertical advantages significantly reduced; even flaws in the Tau targeting system in regards to such extreme slopes, which while not enough to render them helpless or ineffective, could slow their response time against Orks from multiple sharp angles just enough for the natives to fire first. However, the majority of these factors tend to stem from the Tau's third and perhaps biggest blunder; their attitude towards the natives.

The intention to prove themselves better had already colored the intitial interactions with Happalachians, and once the Tau saw the way the natives behaved, they almost immediately dismissed them as hopeless fools. This, of course, flies in the face of the fact that a population on a planet infested with Orks cannot survive without developing ways to effectively deal with their green neighbors, and that a population that thrives is likely very good at it. The miscommunication about the standard tactics against the Orks and subsequent losses of composure at percieved slights could well have been avoided had the Tau actually listened and not dismissed the (admittedly impolitely presented) guidance of the Happalachian advisors regarding the flaws in the Tau's plan of advance. In short, idealism and self-assumed superiority blinded the Tau, both on the Command and individual level, to their easily-corrected mistakes; a mistake that they would later take great pains to avoid making again, if only to avoid another such humiliation.

The aftermath of the Happalachian Hill Race was messy, both beauracratically and conventionally. The Orks had been heavily culled and contained to a few manageable areas, but the Tau had lost much more of their hardware in the process than had previously been anticipated due to their more aggressive tactics, though there were also several crate's worth of pulse rifles that had mysteriously gone missing from their supply headquarters, with rumors that they had been "scavenged" by the locals going unconfirmed, as any Happalachian with a Pulse rifle would claim to have scavenged it off of a dead Tau.

Of greater concern was the cultural impact; the Tau's self-assurance of superiority was badly shaken, as were their preconcieved notions on Humanity and the Eldar. Tau Supremacists would use the Happalachians as caricatures of Humanity as a whole, and proof that joining these delusional primitives was a mistake that would cost the Tau dearly. Their detractors would point out that the "primitives" had shown themselves capable of keeping up with and challenging the Tau, even with technology inferior by their own standards, and that if their forces had been more advanced the Tau may actually have lost. A more concrete effect was had in that broad, sweeping changes to their policies regarding cooperation with other forces, mostly aimed at staying professional and not having their troops lose their cool and start a competition, but also including steps to try and prepare and acclimate the average Tau to the inevitable Culture Shock that had hit them so hard in Happalachia. The regiments deployed to Happalachia went on to prove themselves more skilled at working with other forces than other Tau regiments, though whether this was due to having learned humility or simple relief at the relative normalcy of most other forces is a matter of debate.

For their part, the Happalachians seem to consider the Tau to be friends, if oddly stuck-up buddies who try to stay cool but can scrap with the best if pushed enough. This may be part of their odd form of conflict-resolution, where fighting or competing with another is a way of growing closer with them, as long as you aren't trying to kill them. Considering their abilities with firearms, blades, and hatchets, perhaps the distinction between fighting and killing is simply more well-defined than it is for others. The race itself is remembered fondly, and has become immortalized through an actual, proper race every five years, where contestants must cross the same objectives that were the original goals, with several alternate paths and a scoring system, that is open to all comers.

There are now several Happalachian scout regiments; while their skills have proved to be mostly localized (most of the universe is not mountain ranges), they are still an asset to the Imperium, if one who's equipment is so unstandardized as to make their logistics a nightmare; this has something to do with the fact that the Admech, upon seeing their unique approach to technology, tried to declare them all tech-heretics, and while this merely led to less-conventional tech-convents setting up shop instead due to the local resource deposits, it is still very difficult to legitimately sell Admech goods to the locals. Not that this stops people from doing so, just that they do so sneakily, and in small quantities at a time. This has the result of the Happalachian regiments being a bit of a wild card; no other scout regiment is quite as prevalent in their ability to pull out a plasma weapon or high-yield explosive they really shouldn't have at a time when it is most needed, though the opposite is also true of them failing to have some of the most basic resources an Imperial Guard regiment is expected to field.

One side-effect of the campaign was the Tau's later collaborations with Ultramar; the disciplined, regimented and well-equipped Ultramar Guard were a much more palatable and familiar face for the Tau, and while there were still initial issues with posturing and rivalry, there was also respect and appreciation of Ultramar's professionalism. For their part, the forces of Ultramar was more than willing to provide advice and guidelines for interacting with the less "conventional" forces of the Imperium, which likely influenced the reforms the Tau would implement regarding cooperation and acclimitization with Imperial forces. It is politely disregarded that much of this advice had been given before the campaign on Happalachia, with the only difference being that the Tau were now willing to listen.

In all, the campaign was a success for the Tau- however ungraceful it may have been. Their objective was completed far ahead of the initial projections, and the lessons were learned with a relatively forgiving people who would not hold grudges or resentment against the Tau for their behavior, unlike how worlds like Vostroya or Catachan may have developed centuries-long grudges against xenos who looked down on them. Instead, they now have eager and willing allies, whose Regiments have often been deployed to assist the Tau in times of need (In spite of frequent requests from the Tau to "please send anyone else;" the Imperium's armies are not unlimited, so you take whatever is available. This is most definitely not the clerks of the Administratum having a laugh at the Tau's expense.). The Tau have ultimately improved as a result of the lessons learned on that backwater planet, and despite the jokes made at their expense, it was a learning experience that ultimately helped them better integrate into the Imperium- if mostly by showing them how maddening the universe can be.

The Siege of Lusitan[edit]

The members of the Hubworld League have always been a proud and stubborn people, who would rather die than admit defeat. Despite being a brash, salt-of-the-earth type of people, they are brilliant innovators and engineers and can be single-minded when it comes to retribution. These traits are well-displayed by the events of the Siege of Lusitan.

Lusitan was once a prominent mining colony located in the galactic south of Hubworld territory. The planet was covered by large fissures and volcanic activity as a result of tidal flexing due to its proximity to its parent star, with some openings reaching all the way down to the deep mantle. As a result, it was rich in rare and valuable minerals that were normally only found deep beneath a planet's core. Therefore, the high gravity and mineral wealth of Lusitan made it a perfect colony for the Hubworld League.

When Leviathan, the third of the three great tyranid scouting fleets, emerged on the galactic scene, most people would have predicted that the hive fleet would have made galaxyfall in the galactic east, as Behemoth and Kraken did before it. However, this was not the case. Instead, Leviathan made a sudden swerve in its trajectory, seemingly to avoid a passing through a particular region of space, and made galaxyfall at a slight angle to the galactic plane in the Segmentum Tempestus. As a result, many planets that had been far away from the front lines of the first two Tyranic Wars were now under threat by the tyranid menace, including many worlds of the Hubworld League. This included Lusitan, as a small tendril of Leviathan broke off from the main hive fleet to directly besiege the small colony.

Lusitan was not a major Hubworlder settlement, but the planet was an important component in the Hubworld League’s economy, and so although the planet was not as well protected as a major world of the Hubworld League it was better defended than the majority of its colonies. As a result, the defenders of Lusitan were able to hold out against the initial waves of hormagaunts and termagaunts but began to lose ground when higher tyranid lifeforms such as carnifexes and tervigons started appearing. About the only good news was that the tyranids seemed unable to make use of organisms such as mawlocs and trygons, Lusitan’s crust being too thin and volatile for them to work efficiently. The Hubworlders fought like madmen, making the tyranids pay in blood for every inch they took, but unfortunately for the Hubworlders the tyranids always seemed to have blood to spare.

After three weeks of heavy fighting, the people of Lusitan received some unexpected good news. A relief fleet had arrived, travelling via sub-light speeds after warping in as close as they could get to Lusitan’s star system. The relief fleet was comprised of Hubworlders and Imperials from nearly a dozen different Imperial member states, spearheaded by a small force of Salamanders from nearby Nocturne led by Second Captain Hal’shan. However, the rescuers were surprised when they received a message from the Lusitanians telling them not to land on the planet’s surface. At first the rescue fleet just thought this was merely Hubworlder stubborness at work, and tried to force their way to the planet's surface, even after the Hubworlders began physically blockading their ships from landing. This only stopped after the leader of Lusitan, Governor Vardun, opened a private channel of communication to the flagship of the rescue effort and Hal’shan.

The exact words of that conversation remain unknown, but after it was over Hal’shan’s behavior changed completely, ordering all ships to cease attempts at landing and instead focus all efforts in helping the Hubworlders evacuate. Over the next several hours thousands of ships launched off from Lusitan’s surface, protected from the hive ships by the rescue fleet, and before long most of Lusitan’s population was in orbit. Following that, Hal’shan immediately ordered all ships to escort the Hubworlder vessels to the edges of the system, leaving what few people remained on Lusitan’s surface. At the time, this order was not popular, and several protested this decision, but Hal’shan responded that the Hubworlder ships were in danger and it was their duty to help the civilians evacuate first.

The only reason we know of what happened next was due to a few Salamanders who refused to leave the few Hubworlders left on Lusitan to die. Geological mapping of Lusitan's surface had indicated that compared to most planets the crust was unusually thin, and essentially held above the mantle by a series of caverns supported by a few key structural weak points. Destroying these points would cause the crust to collapse into the mantle, which in turn would cause the magma to rise and swamp the planet's entire land surface. This was Governor Vardun’s entire plan. Over the last few days, he had converted several mining charges into makeshift explosives scattered around the planet as Lusitan’s defenders had bought time with their lives. And now, with the majority of Lusitan’s people in orbit, he could execute this plan with a clear conscience.

The tyranids were simply too numerous to be removed through conventional means. The size of the tyranid thread on Lusitan had been severely underestimated, so even with the arrival of reinforcements the tyranids could only be discouraged, not defeated in a fair fight. At the same time, the tendril of Leviathan had to be stopped here, or else the entire Hubworld League would be under threat. Vardun had struggled with this dilemma for days, either sacrifice Lusitan for the sake of the greater good or hold out for the possibility of reinforcements and hope that his decision to preserve Lusitan hadn't been for nothing.

The rescue fleet had changed that. Now, no one had to die to remove the tyranids from Lusitan’s surface. Well, no one other than himself and his advisors, at any rate. If someone had to die, might as well be the ones who had come up with the plan in the first place. Vardun transmitted his last words of vengeance against the tyranids and then, without hesitation, threw the switch.

"Fry, you overgrown space roaches" - Last known words of Governor Vardun

The move, although militarily unorthodox, was a stunning success. Tyranids usually recouped their losses by consuming the biomass of their dead, but this time the bodies of their troops were buried under several stories of molten lava. The sudden simultaneous death of so many synapse creatures caused a brief disruption in the Shadow in the Warp, which allowed Imperial reinforcements to come in and slaughter the Hive Ships in orbit.

However, the victory had not come without terrible costs. For one, Governor Vardun and all the leaders of the Lusitan colony were dead. On top of that, the entire topology of the planet had been disturbed and its surface was covered in lava. It would be centuries, if not millennia, before the lava cooled and the planet stabilized enough for resettlement. The tyranids were gone, but the people of Lusitan now had no home to return to.

The Battle of Phora[edit]

When a tyranid splinter fleet from Leviathan came to the world of Phora I, it was a vicious and brutal fight. For months, battles raged in orbit and on the surface of the world, and the outcome hung in the balance. The scales began to tip against the Imperium as the war dragged on, and eventually they were forced into full retreat, with extermination surely to follow. Ultimately, however, the tyranids would not conquer the world, nor the Imperium pull some last minute miracle.

Instead, victory would go to the Necrons.

Completely unknown to the inhabitants of Phora, they had made their homes upon a necron tomb world. The battles raging above triggered the awakening protocols, and after spending a couple of months mustering their forces, the necrons sallied forth. The tyranids were the first to feel the force of the newly reawakened dynasty. As ever, the Necrons proved almost perfectly suited to do battle with the Great Devourer; their Gauss Flayers prevented the tyranids from reclaiming the biomass of their own dead, and resurrection protocols meant the Necrons would win the war of attrition. Soon enough, the tyranid footholds on Phora had been exterminated, leaving lifeless desert behind. The bioships remaining in orbit, emaciated from the effort of trying to reinforce their beachhead, fared no better once the Necrons reactivated their warfleet.

One threat destroyed, the Overlord turned his attention to the other. He was not inclined to totally exterminate the population, but tolerating an industrial civilization literally on his front lawn, posing a potential military threat, was simply out of the question. The ragged remnants of the PDF and Guard garrisons were smashed in swift and decisive battles, and the Necrons turned their attention to destroying any technology that could potentially be turned to war. Tens of thousands of humans were abducted over the course of this de-industrialization, for interrogation and experimentation.

Then the relief fleet arrived.

A tense standoff ensued. The Overlord had a good idea of the size and power of the Imperium from interrogation of captured humans, and had little desire to get in a fight with them. Especially not with an Imperial fleet potentially armed with cyclonic torpedoes already in the system. The Imperial commanders, for their part, had nothing like the forces needed to fight a tomb world, and the relief fleet did not in fact have cyclonic torpedoes. More Imperial reinforcements arrived, and more Necron warships were activated.

Thanks to some quick thinking, and with Nemesor Zandrekh acting as a go-between (much to the bemusement of the local Overlord), a deal was hashed out. The population of the world would be evacuated and resettled, and the Imperium would recognize Phora as a necron holding.

The deal done, the Imperium evacuated around a billion survivors from Phora. Just a year earlier there had been five billion inhabitants. It was not quite a victory, but also not quite a defeat.

The Octarius War[edit]

There are worlds that believe they have known war. Cadia, last bastion before the Eye. Krieg, named better than its discoverers knew. Armageddon, world of steel and flame. Mordia, stubborn and resolute.

Octarius laughs at them all. The capital of that relatively ancient Ork empire lies in ruin, the Overfiend astride the Waaaagh! laughs at them. Ever since Kryptmann unleashed his grand plan, Tyranid and Ork have fought relentlessly, unceasingly, across its surface. For over a thousand years. There is almost nowhere you can touch the original surface without digging; mounds of charred corpses, Tyranid growths, and ruined Ork war machines cover the surface too thickly. Strata after strata of fossilized war. To walk on the surface of Octarius is to walk on dead flesh. The sky is perpetually black, an ashen shroud composed of Tyranid spores, oily smoke from Ork engines and guns, dust kicked up by ceaseless orbital bombardment, and the vaporized particles of uncounted trillions of dead. The blackness is broken by a perpetual meteor shower, as broken fragments of millions of shattered ships and shredded naval organisms rain down on the surface from the unending war in orbit. Despite the fact that there is no sun and no stars, there is more than enough light; the eternal thunder of Ork guns lights up the horizon with a false dawn, reflecting off the clouds until it seems the sky is on fire. The ice caps have melted from the ambient heat of trillions of guns and trillions of bodies.

The seas are dyed with Ork blood and Tyranid ichor, and filled with ork warships and submarines so densely packed you could almost walk from one coast to another in battle with tyranid swimmers no less numerous. The skies are clogged with millions of flyers. The earth is honeycombed with endless tunnels, begun for shelter from orbital bombardment or in attempts to outflank a stubborn defense but long since turned into a theater of war on their own, grots and squigs and tyranid burrowers hunting each other through the darkness. Sometimes the diggings get too vast, too unstable, too convoluted, and vast sections of front drop into sudden sinkholes.

In orbit above, ships merge together and battle in the orbitals, amid a vast ring system created by the wreckage of a hundred thousand previous battles. Ork ships and tyranid bioforms clashing at point-blank range and closer, an endless maelstrom of boarding action and bombardments. Destroyed or damaged vessels frequently fall out of orbit to cataclysmic ends on the surface below- or, as both ork and tyranid know it, 'delivering reinforcements'.

Both sides deploy weapons and creations seen nowhere else, ork Meks pressed hard to keep pace with tyranid hyper-evolution. Vast armies of Mega-Gargants, in numbers not seen since the whole of the War of the Beast, clash with Bio-Titans of unprecedented size and ferocity. Tyranids sprout flame weapons in vast quantity, while Doks devise poisons that scythe down even tyranid biologies- for a time, until they adapt again. Unique squig breeds hunt down lictors with incredible ferocity, and fields of razor-worms devour entire ork columns in seconds.

The war extends to stranger battlefields as well. It is a war of ecologies, as ork and tyranid spores attempt to out-compete and strangle each other, a microscopic war of poisons over nutrient-rich corpse-strata.

It is a war of ontologies, a clash of welt-systems, as Ork WAAAGGHH and the Shadow In The Warp strain to overcome each other. It is a war on every possible level.

The war extends throughout the Octarius sector, and beyond; Octarius is simply where it is at its most intense. Vast fleets thrust and parry across light-years, vital systems changing hands dozens upon dozens of times. The sectors surrounding the Octarius sector are slowly ground down to nothing, as ork and tyranid raiding fleets venture further and further outward to fuel their respective war machines. The war expands, and expands, and expands.

Black Crusades split apart to avoid Octarius. Imperial seers try to divine its depths, to control it, to contain it, but are foiled by the psychic maelstrom formed by the clashing of WAAAGHH and Shadow. Khornate warbands and Deathwatch kill-teams vanish without trace.

The Octarius War has become a perpetual motion machine. The orks feed off the war, and the tyranids feed off the orks. Neither can accept defeat or countenance retreat. To withdraw for either combatant would be to forever mark them as something lesser, something inferior, and extermination would surely follow.

This has been going on for a thousand years. It cannot last forever; sooner or later, something will give. And it is uncertain what, if anything, will survive the conflagration when it does.

The Badab War[edit]

EDITOR'S NOTE: Needs to be added to with the changes discussed in thread 27.

Near the center of the Milky Way galaxy is the Maelstrom, a lightyears-wide patch of incrossable space and the biggest Warp Storm outside of the Eye of Terror. For obvious reasons, the Administratum recognized the potential threat the Maelstrom represented and stationed five Astartes chapters to guard it, as the Maelstrom Warders: the Brothers of the Anvil, the Wind Riders, the Charnel Guards, the Crystal Wyverns, and the Astral Claws. On paper, the five chapters were all equals amongst one another. In practice, however, the Astral Claws were the oldest and most experienced of the five chapters, and so the other chapters tended to defer to the Astral Claws for leadership.

At the turn of the 41st millennium, the Chapter Master of the Astral Claws was a man named Lugft Huron. Despite the presence of five Space Marine chapters, Huron felt the High Lords of Terra were not taking the Maelstrom as seriously as they should have. In contrast to the Eye of Terror, which was located on the edges of Imperial territory, the Maelstrom was located near the very heart of the Imperium, and so any Chaos incursions there would be much more unpredictable and much more likely to strike at something vital. And unlike the Eye of Terror, there were no equivalent to the Cadian Gates to funnel the movement of Chaos forces in and out of the Maelstrom. The Eye of Terror had the Black Legion, numerous Guard regiments, and all the forces Cadia and Ulthwé could bring to bear guarding its gates. And what did the Maelstrom have? Five chapters of Space Marines. Huron made these concerns known in a message to the Administratum and the High Lords of Terra.

Unfortunately, this request was made during the 12th Black Crusade, when the Imperium was understandably focused on more important things. The High Lords reportedly did send a message back to Huron saying they would consider his request when they had the opportunity, but it is unknown if Huron ever received it. Whatever the case, Huron took the apparent lack of concern about the Maelstrom and his situation personally. He claimed to the Astral Claws and the other Maelstrom Warders that the Imperium had abandoned them, and that it was their duty to secure the Maelstrom and the Badab Sector by any means necessary. To this end they carved out their own little petty empire in the Badab Sector, seizing control of the inhabited worlds for supplies and aspirants.

At first, the Imperium did not notice anything was wrong, being too busy taking stock of the losses from the 12th Black Crusade. However the Imperium quickly did notice the situation in Badab when ships from the Badab Sector started raiding Imperial Worlds in other sectors for materiel and aspirants. The Emperor in particular was outraged at the system Huron had set up, wherein the Astartes acted as a military aristocracy over the baseline citizens. In his mind the Astartes, like himself, were duty-bound to serve mankind, not lord over them.

The Badab War was a particularly bloody one. Numerous Imperial regiments were still on active duty due to the 12th Black Crusade, so Imperial forces simply poured into the Badab Sector. However, it was not that easy. Huron had rebuilt many of the buildings of the Badab Sector, including the infamous “Palace of Thorns” on Badab Primaris, in the expectation of facing a Chaos attack from the Maelstrom, only now he was facing a siege from the other direction. Nevertheless, the Imperium continued to steadily gain ground, and it was clear that the Imperium would not be merciful to the traitors. As a result, Huron found himself accepting the aid of an ally he never thought he’d side with: the Chaos Gods.

Accepting the aid of Chaos caused a brief resurgence by the Empire of Badab, making it even harder for the Imperium to proceed, but the Imperium still managed to press on. Eventually, the Imperium reached the heart of the Empire of Badab, but the five traitor chapters fled into the Maelstrom at the behest of the Chaos Gods. Imperial Forces tried to follow the traitor chapters into the Maelstrom, attempting to kill them before they could escape and join with Chaos forces, but the Ruinous Powers threw up a Warp Storm that prevented all efforts at pursuit. Once in the Warp, each of the Maelstrom Warders fell to a different Chaos Gods, the Brothers of the Anvil (now Deathmongers) to Khorne, the Wind Riders to Slaanesh, the Charnel Guards to Nurgle, and the Crystal Wyverns to Tzeentch, with Lugft Huron and his Astral Claws, now rechristened the Red Corsairs, following Chaos Undivided.

Today, the Red Corsairs and their following chapters act more like mercenaries than cultists, willing to support any major Chaos warband as long as the pay is good. Surprisingly, the five chapters still cooperate with one another as well as they did when they were loyal to the Imperium, despite worshipping different gods. To Huron's warband, ties of brotherhood between soldiers outweigh any loyalty to emperor or god. On the battlefield, this translates to each of the five chapters having their own tactical niche: the Khornate Deathmongers are the hard-hitting shock troops, the Slaaneshi Wind Riders act as fast attack scouts and mechanized cavalry, the Tzeenchian Crystal Wyverns provide intel and psyker support, the Nurglite Charnel Guards are sappers and siege specialists, and the Red Corsairs are the all rounders that act as the glue holding them all together. In essence, they are a little bit of each of the variable aspects of Chaos bound together in a single package, and their strengths tend to balance out each others weaknesses. Of course, despite working well together, they are not very numerous (only about five thousand strong) and they almost never commit their full force in any one area at any given time. Indeed, if there were more of them, they probably would not be as well-coordinated as they are in the first place. Additionally, their strength in combined arms is balanced out by the fact that they aren't well-liked or patronized by their respective gods due to not cultivating an active hatred of their brothers-in-arms who worship different (or even rival) gods.

The Red Corsairs’ mercenarial nature is one of the ways people like Malys and Be'lakor get their hands on Chaos Space Marines without having to deal with Luther and his ilk. As of 999.M41, Huron and the Red Corsairs have thrown in their lot with Lady Malys and her forces, having seen the writing on the wall.

The Bloodtide[edit]

For unknown reasons, Khorne has always had a strange fascination with nanotech. Perhaps it is because a nanite swarm is a weapon that flows like blood, or perhaps it is because the nanobots attack by entering the body and attacking the very flesh and blood itself. Regardless, Khornates often seem drawn to ancient nanotechnology, whether human or non-human in origin.

Nanotech weaponry was also popular with the corrupted Men of Iron during the Age of Strife, which formed the basis of abominations as omniphages. In 476.M41, a kill-team of about thirty Grey Knights led by Brother Ordan were on the trail of a Khornate cult looking for a nanotech weapon the cultists rather unimaginatively called the Bloodtide. After chasing the Khornates across several worlds via the Webway as the cultists pieced together the clues as to where the Bloodtide was hidden, the Grey Knights finally cornered the cultists on the on the world of Van Horne, the planet on which the Bloodtide had been buried.

When they emerged from the Webway Gate, the Grey Knights had initially hoped to join forces with Imperial military assets on the planet with and organize an impromptu quarantine and defense against the Bloodtide. However, the only Imperial forces present on the planet besides the Grey Knights were the PDF and a Commandery of about 250 Sisters of Battle, who were on the planet investigating reports of a separatist cell, necessitating a change of plans. Making contact with the Sisters, led by Preceptor Mariel, and the PDF, the Grey Knights explained (at least as much as they could) they were hunting a Chaotic weapon of mass destruction that they believed was going to be activated under one of the largest cities on the planet.

They told the Sisters and the PDF that they needed them to sound the evacuation order and work with the planet’s government to make preparations for the evacuation of the planet in the event of the worst case scenario. Meanwhile, the Grey Knights would enter the city and try and hunt down the cultists before they could activate the weapon. Preceptor Mariel wasn’t happy with the idea of being relegated to evacuation duty. She argued that it would make more sense for the PDF and Sisters to join the Grey Knights in hunting down the cult, and stop the disaster before it even began. Ordan responded it was either put out the call to evacuate and potentially only lose one city, or risk it and lose all the cities.

As the Grey Knights entered the outer districts of the city, they heard a horrific scream and were buffeted by what seemed like a wind of metallic dust. They were too late. The Bloodtide had been activated. The Grey Knights, being clad in fully sealed power armor were immune to the Bloodtide effects, but the people around them were not. The civilians did not die cleanly, screaming in agony and clawing at their bodies as blood oozed from every pore, bleeding far more blood than any human should be able to produce as their internal organs were turned to liquid by what amounted to synthetic ebola. As opposed to the omniphages, which were intended as a form of nanotech Exterminatus, an intentional “grey goo” scenario, the Bloodtide was meant to kill people in the most horrific way possible. It was a nanotech terror weapon.

It wasn’t until the Grey Knights had reached the inner parts of the city that Ordan had realized he had made a mistake. He had only expected to have to fight the warlord and his hangers on, thinking their activation of the Bloodtide and the subsequent carnage was meant to be an end in and of itself. However, he hadn’t expected the warlord to use that blood for something else. The warlord had offered the blood of the dead as a sacrifice to Khorne, and given that quite a lot of people had died in one of the most Khorne-pleasing manners possible the warlord had managed to summon a literal army of Khornate daemons, which could travel the planet much faster than the Bloodtide ever could. The timetable for the total devastation of the planet had just moved up.

The Bloodletters and Bloodthirsters arose from the blood as if crawling out of their own reflection. Normally most people would be cursing their decisions and their fate in this situation, but not Ordan and the members of the Brotherhood. They were Grey Knights. If they had to die, so be it, they would take as many of the daemons as they could with them. However, for all their bravery and defiance, they numbered little more than thirty, and did not have the numbers to take on the Khornate daemons, who simply dogpiled them. Ordan believed he was to meet his end when he was pinned by a Bloodmaster, when a melta blast from behind Ordan hit the daemon and melted its face to slag.

Looking up, Ordan saw the form of Preceptor Mariel and her Sisters firing into the horde of Khornate daemons. Ordan demanded to know why the Preceptor was there, and why they weren’t helping sound the order to evacuate the planet. Mariel responded with a cheeky response about how they had already handled it. Regardless of their disregard to stay back, the Sisters provided exactly what the Grey Knights needed right now, which was numbers. The best way to fix the situation right now was to charge forward to the Bloodtide as fast as possible, which the Grey Knights did, the Sisters following close behind to provide supporting fire and even the Grey Knights’ odds against the daemons. As their melta guns ran out of power, they switched to their flamers, and then those ran out of fuel, their bolters.

However, the Sisters were not immune to the Bloodtide’s effects. As the Grey Knights and Sisters pushed forward towards the center of the destruction, increasing numbers of Sisters fell, blood bursting from their pores as the nanotech breached the seals of their less advanced power armor and entered their bodies. The Sisters were more resistant to the Bloodtide than any unaugmented human, with some of their enhancements having been designed by Isha herself, and still they fell. Mariel herself managed to hold on until the Grey Knights made it to the Bloodtide itself before she collapsed. When the Grey Knights reached the center they found the Bloodthirster Ka’jagga’nath, who had been pleased by the slaughter wreaked by the now-dead cultists, and sought dominion over the Bloodtide itself. The Grey Knights protested this decision with warp fire and power swords, and after great sacrifice managed to banish the Bloodthirster. The Bloodtide, which had been bound to Ka’jagga’nath’s will when it had been activated, was disrupted by its banishment and returned to an inert form, waiting for a new master.

After the remaining Khornate daemons were purged and the city placed in quarantine, Ordan met with the planetary governor to briefly inform him of a heavily redacted version of the situation. In essence, a Chaotic weapon had been detonated in the city, the city was quarantined, and no one should be allowed to go near it. An experienced Inquisition team should arrive shortly to take the weapon to Ganymede, but the city was probably corrupted to the core and should be razed. The governor congratulated Ordan on their victory, only to receive an unexpected reply.

“You call this victory? Millions of Imperial citizens are dead. An entire Commandery of Securitas, some of the bravest and most selfless warriors I have ever had the privilege to fight alongside, are no longer with us. There are no victories in this universe, governor. Only scales of defeat.

The Battle of Montlúcon[edit]

Star Gods and Daemons

In 847 M41, the Nightbringer was rampaging through the backwater Imperial sector of Montlúcon, effectively unopposed; the PDF and Imperial Army forces stationed in the volume could do nothing in the face of such terrible might except flee or die. Worlds burned. Billions died, either beneath the Nightbringers' scythe or at the hands of its motley retinue; fresh- spawned Nosferatu, mad Maynarkhs, twitching Flayers, all devoid of any directive except to kill. It would take months to muster and dispatch a force capable of opposing the Nightbringer; months the worlds of Montlúcon did not have. But salvation would come from a most unlikely source.

The Bloodthirster Gharragroth decided that the Nightbringer's skull would make a truly great addition to the Skull Throne, and led his legion of thousands of lesser daemons into battle. The two monstrosities met on the world of New Cuarilia, the daemons rising from the blood and gore left behind by the Nightbringer's passage through the cities.

Perhaps they knew of the C'tan's vulnerability to the Warp, and expected a relatively easy battle. But the Nightbringer had become a very different creature than any of its peers, and the agony of the trillions it had killed had made its reflection in the warp sharp and deep. It wrapped all the fear and suffering it caused about itself like a cloak, striking supernatural terror even into the immortal. When the daemons faced it, for the first time in their millennial existences, they knew fear as a mortal was. Briefly they hesitated at the unfamiliar and unwelcome sensation; then they shook it off and charged.

When they closed, they found a foe that could not merely best them but destroy them. With every strike the Nightbringer not only tore at their material shells but devoured them, consuming their essences to fuel itself. With every daemon slain it grew a tiny bit faster, a tiny bit stronger, a tiny bit tougher; and all the while its cloak of terror wormed into their minds.

To be sure, the daemons did damage in turn, tearing great rents in its necrodermis body that spilled flaring starstuff and sealed over wrongly in gnarled lumps of tissue as the self- repair routines were corrupted by exposure to the stuff of the warp. But still the Nightbringer was winning.

Seeing the attack on the Nightbringer falter, Gharragroth commanded his legion to step aside so that he could engage the weakened C'Tan in single combat, and take all the glory for himself. For an hour the two titans were locked in battle, trading blows which would shatter superheavy tanks, tearing up the earth around them like an artillery barrage. In the end the Nightbringer proved the superior, tearing off Gharragroth's head and devouring the daemon, utterly unmaking a being which had existed for millions of years. The Bloodthirster had been an officer of Khorne's legions since their mutual birth in the Maelstrom, among the self-styled victors of the War in Heaven, and after millions of years meting it out with the blessing of King Khorne finally he tasted not mere defeat, but death upon the battlefield.

This proved too much for the survivors of the daemonic legion, and with the Nightbringer's mantle of fear still clawing at their minds, they broke and ran for the safety of the warp. Or rather, they tried to; Khorne was displeased by this display of cowardice, possibly the first time ever his daemons had fled before an opponent, and one he remembered to have triumphed over, striking down and maiming all the daemons which tried to escape as they returned to his realm. Turn and fight or die by my axe, he commanded. Your lives are all forfeit for this shameful display, but perhaps the one who brings me the head of the Nightbringer shall be spared my wrath.

So they turned, and fought, and died. And at the end of it that great daemonic legion lay dead upon the field and the Nightbringer was victorious. But only barely- the Corpus Magnum was close to falling again, covered in open wounds and twisted scars, the stuff of Chaos still contaminating its body in a hundred places slowly corroding it away. It was forced to flee into deep interstellar space, spending decades healing and purging the stuff of Chaos from its necrodermis flesh through the simple expedient of cutting it out. Thus was the remainder of the Montlúcon sector saved.

Since then, the Nightbringer has avoided further large battles with the daemonic, fearing that perhaps this time they might manage to fell and bind it once more. But at the same time its appetite has been whetted; it has found that as delicious as the souls of mortal beings are, daemons are a greater delicacy still. And it wonders; what would a god taste like?

The Chaos gods believe themselves immortal, but the Nightbringer knows that all things die. So it waits, and it plots, as its hunger and ambition grow.

Minor Historical Events[edit]

982.M31, An Awkward Reminder[edit]

Imperial military assets are put on guard by the sudden appearance of an ancient Webway gate in the Sol system out of the interstellar blackness. Both humans and eldar are confused as to the significance of this event, until the Harlequins find mention of an Old Empire project to launch an invasion of the Sol system via a Trojan horse webway gate. The gate appears to have been constructed on a planet over a hundred lightyears away at some point in late M24 and fired at the Sol system at a fraction of the speed of light, with the Old Empire military leadership expecting it to reach Sol some eight thousand years later, apparently not realizing how much the galaxy would change in the interim. This awkward realization suddenly turns to horror when the Imperium realizes that while the Old Eldar Empire may no longer be around to implement their plan, there is nothing stopping the Crone Eldar from doing the same, and the Ilios gate, as it is come to be known, is quickly shut down and moved elsewhere.

432.M32, A Lover’s Quarrel[edit]

“I sometimes try to reassure myself that we live in a sane, just, reasonable universe. Then I remember that we once lost a planet because some Crone bitch was going through relationship issues.”
-- Imperial Colonel Ismerelda Guerregia, circa 400.M33

The galaxy’s longest on-again, off-again relationship, that of Asdrubael Vect of Commorragh and Lady Aurelia Malys of the Crone Eldar of Shaa-Dome, ends unexpectedly when Malys receives a message from Vect telling her that their relationship is over. The relationship between the two had been deteriorating for some years prior to that, rumor has it due to Vect and Malys’ relationship becoming strained over Malys’ attempts to convert Vect to Chaos, but for Vect to abruptly declare their relationship over without warning stuns Malys and sends her into a rage. Only Vect would have the audacity to tell the Daemon Queen to her face “it’s not you, it’s him”.

In response to Vect’s message, Lady Malys rampages across Commorragh, determined to drag Vect out of his hole and confront him fact to face. She easily tracks down his refuge, a fortified bunker beneath one of his dwellings in Upper Commorragh. There was no way for Vect to hide, for as Vect’s former lover Malys knew exactly where Vect was likely to run (or, at least, so she thought) and few Dark Eldar were willing to stand between the Daemon Queen and the target of her wrath. In her emotionally compromised state, Malys’ normally razor-sharp mind is dulled with rage, failing to notice the ease at which she had managed to break into Vect’s hidden sanctum or the fact that resistance within Vect’s fortress was surprisingly lax. Malys finds Vect on his throne, surrounded by his harem of eldar and xenos slaves. When confronted, Vect is surprisingly remorseful of his actions, presenting Malys with a wrapped gift merely labeled “For my sweetheart”.

When Vect moves to open the gift, the containment field keeping its contents in stasis breaks down, unleashing the portable black hole held within. Malys only survives by slamming the door to Vect’s throne room behind her and allowing the black hole to consume the entire throne room before dissipating into Hawking radiation. In the moments before the box was opened, her rage had lifted enough for her to realize Vect would have never allowed her to get so close given recent events, as well as the fact that the being calling itself “Vect” had let slip numerous tells indicating that it was not her beloved Asdrubael. “Vect” was later found to be a slave surgically altered to resemble Vect and given access to the harem, having no idea it was meant to be a sacrificial lamb for Vect’s ex-lover or the nature of the “gift” Vect intended for her. Vect’s throne and entire harem are destroyed, a price Vect considers worth paying to keep Malys off his back. The actual Vect would not reappear until months later. Rumor has it he was on the other side of Commorragh enjoying a drink and watching the show unfold. No one in Commoragh was naive or foolish enough to actually believe him dead. Nevertheless, in the moment, Malys’ sheer rage at the situation, now compounded by the fact that Vect had the audacity to try and assassinate her, had yet to be sated.

An entire Imperial system burns at the hands of Crone Eldar in service to Lady Malys before Malys manages to calm down. It would be years before Malys and Vect were on speaking terms again. Although the ways in which their relationship has periodically ended have varied, sometimes with Vect dumping Malys, sometimes with Malys dumping Vect, sometimes the two mutually agreeing they need to see other people, the fallout from this breakup was particularly notable.

M33 (subjectively), the Melee of the Impossible Mountain[edit]

As the tides of the deep Warp continually shift, they lead to the rediscovery of Excalpurnia, the Impossible Mountain, in the Chaos Wastes, a location thought to be lost for a thousand years said to have a font of unimaginable power at its center. As word of this discovery spreads, the Impossible Mountain becomes a free-for-all, as daemons from all four gods battle each other for control of the source of power at its heart. Perhaps the most surprising participant in this contest is Be’lakor, intensely motivated by a desire to obtain any source of power not already claimed by one of the Big Four, tearing through Khornate, Slaaneshi, Nurglite, and Tzeentchian daemons alike to get his claws on the prize.

Eventually, only two real contenders are left for the prize, Be’lakor and Skalaban’thrax, a Bloodthirster of Khorne. In terms of raw power, Be’lakor and Skalaban’thrax are evenly matched, but Be’lakor knows the Bloodthirster outclasses him in stamina and martial prowess and, if allowed to, will simply outlast Be’lakor before landing the killing blow. Be’lakor wins the fight by tricking the Skalaban’thrax into charging him before shoving the Bloodthirster into a warp portal to Pluto, catching the Bloodthirster in a banishment loop until his will breaks and he forfeits the contest.

Although smug from his victory over the Bloodthirster, Be’lakor’s hopes are dashed when he realizes what the prize of the Impossible Mountain is: the daemon sword Drach’nyen, finally coming to light after being cast into the Warp by the last act of the kinebrach warsmith Ra-Ham-Be. Furthermore, Be'lakor in his rage recognizes the hand of the Architect of Fates in this turn of events, clouding his sight just enough to let him see an unclaimed well of power but not letting him see enough detail to realize it's a source of power he doesn't want. Recognizing Drach’nyen for the white elephant that it is, Be’lakor concedes defeat, allowing Drach’nyen to be taken by Ka’junhada, a minor Bloodletter of Khorne. Ka’junhada is found dead a (subjective) month later, his bloodlust not sufficient enough to quench the thirst of the daemon sword. And so Drach'nyen is set loose on the galaxy once more, albeit in a different form.

169.M35, The Malalian Heresy[edit]

A group of Crone Eldar discover the true nature of Malal as a fifth (technically second), independent Chaos god. Such a fact was not exactly uncommon knowledge among the Crone Eldar, however, the fact that the Crones in this case responded to this information by renouncing their allegiance to all other gods and worshipping Malal exclusively was quite unusual. It is thought that the eldar in this case were nihilistic “true” Nurglite Crone Eldar, which meant this discovery resonated with their worldview and they were already in the right mindset to act on this information rather than just dismiss it as most other Crones would. These Crone Eldar painted their faces white and black, preaching that Malal was the one true god (or at least, the god to be placed before all other gods) and that he was their savior through their destruction. The movement gained popularity, with billions flocking to their banner.

This notion was quite franky regarded as the highest levels of blasphemy to most levels of Crone society, albeit for different reasons behind the different sects. Khornates considered it blasphemy to place Khorne’s vizier above Khorne, Tzeentchians inherited their patron’s animus for the anti-god that had existed since the dawn of recorded history, and Chaos Undivided eldar considered it heretical to claim that any gods worthy of worship existed beyond the main four. Even Slaaneshi and Nurglite eldar joined in, Slaaneshis likely because they relished in the opportunity to bring anyone spite and Nurglites possibly because Nurgle feared retribution from a reformed Malal for what happened at the end of the War in Heaven (as well as the fact that Nimina and the Conservators were very vocal about how heretical the notion of worshipping someone other than Nurgle was compared to what would be expected of a Nurglite) As a result, persecution of this heresy garnered an abnormal amount of cooperation from followers of the big four.

The full force of the Crone Worlds and Shaa-Dome was brought down on the movement, but the fighting was not as easy as would be anticipated. Although greatly outnumbered, the individual Malal cultists seemed to have the strength of ten eldar, not to mention the assistance of the Malalic daemon prince Apep. At one point even Skarbrand was summoned and depopulated a continent-sized region of a layer of Shaa-Dome before being banished. In the end, it was the orthodoxy’s sheer numbers along with the summoning of daemons that turned the tide, Malal had not regained enough strength to form daemons yet whereas that daemons of the big four were so angered by the rebellion of the outcast god the Crones could summon them for a song. Hundreds of billions are killed in the resulting conflict before the surviving heretics are defeated and put to the sword.

???.M38, the Raid of Bor’kan[edit]

In an early encounter between the Tau Empire and the Dark Eldar, a raid by Archon Klax on the Sept world of Bor’kan takes thousands of Tau and Poctroon slaves. Sending a communication receivable by Tau technology, Klax offers to release the slaves in exchange for a significant amount of ransom. Still naïve to the ways of the Dark Eldar, the Tau Empire pays the sum, only for Klax to send another communication openly laughing at the Ethereal council’s actions and broadcasting the torture of dozens of prisoners. In response, Tau and Poctroon engineers spend several months building a 0.8 km unmanned projectile out of modified unused Poctroon designs for an interstellar sleeper ship and launch it at the apparent location of the transmission at one-third of the speed of light. Several years later the ship strikes the moon of a seemingly uninhabited gas giant several lightyears beyond Tau space with enough force to leave a crater in the planet’s surface kilometers deep still visible when the Tau colonize the system centuries later. Although the attack fails to kill Klax, it damages his operation enough that Klax is not heard from for several decades.

970.M41, Reactivation of Ouakronos[edit]

The Imperial world of Neo-Alexandria is invaded by Necrons of the Sarnekh Dynasty led by Thaszar the Invincible at the orders of the Silent King. Unbeknownst to its inhabitants, Neo-Alexandria is really the Necron World Engine Ouakronos, millions of years of asteroids and debris being drawn into its gravity well leaving it deceptively caked in kilometers of soil. Covered in rich regolith, the planet was terraformed by humans during the Dark Age of Technology, with none the wiser as to its true nature. While the Imperial military above engage the Necron forces, oblivious to their true goal, Thaszar descends below the planet’s surface and reactivates the World Engine. Great fissures open up across the planet, cyclopean engines jutting forth from the layers of earth, before Thaszar points Neo-Alexandria at Mandragora and engages its inertialess drive. Not being protected by external shielding or artificial gravity, the planet’s soil, atmosphere, and inhabitants are stripped away by the acceleration by the time Ouakronos arrives at its destination.

Imperial Governmental Structure[edit]

Emperor Oscar of the Glorious Imperium and its people uncounted, Consort of the All-Mother and her most favoured champion, last of the Golden Men, founder of the Imperium, bane of gods, unifier of all civilized peoples and Defender of the Realm. Not as gold-colored as most people think.

The Imperium is vast and covers a little over a million inhabited worlds of humans and xenos and the styles of governance of these worlds varies greatly from one planet to another. Represented under the ever watchful Aquila can be found meritocracies, stratocracies, bureaucracies, plutocracies, oligarchies, theocracies, monarchies, aristocracies, democracies and many others. All of these are local systems usually confined to a single solar system or planet or even a nations on those planets.

The Imperium itself is an autocracy under the rule of the Emperor who operates mostly via benevolent indifference. As a general rule the Imperium does not care what you do so long as you pay the tithe and don't rock the boat.

The only time when the Imperium does care is when one of it's few rules is broken to a degree that they can't pretend to not see it any more. The rules being:

  1. Pay the tithe
  2. Don't worship the gods of Chaos
  3. Don't worship the Emperor
  4. No militarized religious institutions
  5. No open warfare between member worlds of the Imperium

So long as these few rules are followed the Imperium does not care. If those rules are broken or the boat is excessively rocked the Imperium suddenly does care and that is terrible because it has no sense of proportional escalation and will confiscate your planet.

Although the Emperor officially rules in practice the Royal Couple spend most of their time touring the Imperium overseeing and inspecting. The day to day running of the Imperium is done by the High Lords of the Imperium who reside on the Holy Planet of Old Earth, know as Terra to the Mechanicum and affiliated institutions.

The High Lords of the Imperium are:

The Imperial Aquila, with the twin heads of the Eagle and the Phoenix, symbolizing the union between humankind and Eldar. This is merely the most common variant, with the colors and even to some degree the shape of the Aquila varying based on organization and world.

The High Lords of the Imperium were originally set up during the days of the Unification of Old Earth as the task of ruling was becoming too time consuming even for the superhuman Warlord, as he was known at the time. The Warlord's long term hope was that they would eventually be able to replace him entirely and he could step down as the temporary immortal ruler of the masses. His short term goal was to get a bit of free time to learn how to socialize.

As the years wore on it became obvious that humanity on the galactic scale would always need one man of supreme competence to set precedents for the High Lords to follow. The rank of Emperor was created but not occupied by the Warlord who instead became the Steward and would wait for such an individual to arise. In his mind humanity should be ruled by humanity, not be an artificial construct of a failed and half forgotten Empire.

After Goge Vandire was appointed Emperor, screwed everything up and was promptly executed the Steward was bullied by Inquisitor Sebastian Thor and the demands of the masses into taking the role of Emperor. He was not particularly happy about this and at first refused until Inquisitor Thor pointed out that by the end of the day one of them would be sitting on that gaudy old chair and out of the two of them one of them would die of old age eventually and then another civil war this time of succession would almost certainly ensue.

With the exception of the position of the Inquisitorial Representative (which is a ten-year rotating position to make sure the High Lords have the best expert for whatever crisis is facing the Imperium on hand and no one Inquisitor gains too much power), the High Lords of Terra are all human. This is because Eldar live for thousands of years and no one wants to be stuck with one person in the same position for thousands of years. Of course, this doesn’t stop every High Lord and numerous officials beneath them having at least one Seer on their payroll giving advice and wisdom. This benefits the Eldar as well, as it allows them to influence Imperial government without putting themselves directly in the crosshairs. The idea of non-human, non-Eldar High Lords has never come up, seeing as the Imperium has only been officially admitting other species for the last 4,000 years and other species make up only about 1% of the Imperium’s total population. Though given the Tau’s current political ambitions it’s likely that this point is going to be brought up in the near future.

Xenos Classifications[edit]

As the Great Crusade made its way across the stars, back before the Eldar joined and the Imperium was merely the Imperium of Man, the nascent Imperium encountered numerous forms of sentient alien life. Some were non-aggressive towards humanity but merely wished to be left alone, something the Steward was more than willing to oblige. The point of the Great Crusade was to strengthen and unite humanity, not start a hundred petty wars that could weaken humanity in the future via a death of a thousand cuts. Other races, like the Kinebrach or the Eldar of Colchis, were interested in interacting with humanity on peaceful terms, either coexisting as equals or acting as trading partners. The Steward allowed this with some reservation, though he probably told the Xenos in no uncertain terms if he ever found out they were antagonizing or abusing humanity his response would be swift and vengeful. And still others, such as the Nephilem and the Laer, were just so destructive and antagonistic that they simply could not coexist with humanity and had to be destroyed. Any Xenos that would enslave or prey upon proud humanity, and as it often happened other meeker sentients alongside them, would be put to the sword.

It is these types of interactions that led to the modern Xenos classifications that we know today. Today, the Ordo Xenos of the Inquisition recognizes three major types of sentient alien life:

Xenos Familiaris – Literally “familiar Xenos” in this case. Used to refer to any Xenos species that is a member of the Imperium. Eldar, Tau, Tarellans, and Demiurg are all representatives of this category. Ironically enough humans also fall into this category if used by a non-human Imperial citizen, as the term essentially means “species that are not my own that are part of the Imperium” as opposed to a human-specific term.

Xenos Independens – Xenos races that are rational enough that they can negotiate with the Imperium, but for whatever reason are not part of it. Some engage in heavily restricted trade with the Imperium (usually through Rogue Traders, as the Imperium likes to use free trade with the rest of the Imperium as a selling point for minor races to join). Others are aloof and territorial and may have even fought minor skirmishes with the Imperium, but are generally smart enough to sue for peace before things escalate beyond the point of no return. The Q’orl and the Jokaero represent the aggressive and affiliative extremes of this category, respectively. Ordo Xenos Inquisitors like to monitor Xenos Independens like a hawk, as they are ideal tools for Chaos to subvert and use against the Imperium. Most modern Xenos Familiaris (with the exception of humans, eldar, kinebrach, and a few others) were treated as Xenos Independens prior to M36, when the Demiurg were inducted as the first official non-human, non-eldar member state of the Imperium. Interestingly, the Necron Star Empire was in this category at one point when the Imperium thought they could be negotiated with until the Silent King started getting unreasonable.

Xenos Horrificus – Hostile xenos. Xenos that are aggressive, destructive, cannot be negotiated with, or have express aims to make total war upon the Imperium, and therefore should be eradicated whenever possible. A declaration of Xeno Horrificus is essentially an all-out biological declaration of war on the species. Orks, tyranids, Crone Eldar, Rak’gol, Slaugh, and Barghesi, among others, all fall into this category.

There is also a fourth category recognized, though not commonly used, by the Order Xenos to refer to Xenos that the Imperium knows little to nothing about: Xenos Obscuras. Most of the time this classification is used to refer to long-dead races that are of little to no threat to the Imperium, though sometimes it will turn out the species is not as dead as everyone once thought. This doesn't stop entertainment media from using it to explain Inquisitorial heroes finding knowledge of rarely-glimpsed xenos of rumor. If the Inquisition decides that rumors of a xenos species have enough truth to warrant a classification, it is listed as Independens (Pending) or Horrificus (Pending).

Although some Imperial citizens mistake abhumans for Xenos, there is actually a very clear line between the two. If an organism is an Earth-based lifeform originally descended from humanity, it is an abhuman, no matter what it looks like. Anything else is a Xenos, with few possible edge cases concerning ancient extraction of biological samples form earth species by Xenos later developing on other worlds.

Xenos Familiaris Xenos Independens Xenos Horrificus
Humanity (including abhumans)
Eldar (Craftworld and Exodite)
Tau (joined M39)
Demiurg (joined M36)1
Watchers in the Dark (joined M36)2
Kinebrach (joined M36)3
Tarellians (joined M38)
Nicassar (date unknown, M36-37?)
Kroot (joined M39)4
Poctroon (joined M39)5
Vespid (joined M39)5
Saruthi (the Sane)
Croneworld Eldar
Dark Eldar
Saruthi (the Broken)

† - Considered extinct by the Imperium
1 - First non-human, non-eldar species to officially join the Imperium. Offered alliance in recognition of the great help they gave the Imperium during the Age of Apostasy and the Imperial Civil War
2 - Were allied with the Dark Angels as early as the Great Crusade, officially didn't exist until Imperium began admitting other species in M36
3 - Were a protectorate of the Interex until M36, at which point they obtained separate representation
4 - Originally allied with the Tau, carried over when the Tau joined the Imperium. The Kroot technically don't see themselves as part of the Imperium, rather the Imperium are "preferred clients", but given they dislike Chaos as much as the rest of the Imperium does and the Necrons and tyranids don't hire mercenaries the difference is almost academic.
5 - Originally allies of the Tau Empire, still associated by proxy
6 - Technically a union of multiple species, including humans. Treated as distinct because it's unclear what species, if any, is in charge.
7 - Formed a Xenos Independens empire called the Thexian Trade Empire with relatively good relations with the Imperium until its destruction in M34 due to the Pale Wasting. Inducted as Xenos Familiaris when surviving representatives were found.
8 - Were Independens until M40 and the war sparked by the return of the Silent King, still some exceptions like the Gidrim (Nemesor Zahndrekh) and Solemnace (Trazyn the Infinite) Dynasties who are mostly Independens.
9 - Declared extinct multiple times

Member States[edit]

Most of the worlds encountered by the Imperium during the Great Crusade had greatly devolved during the Age of Strife, and ended up having to be directly administered by the Imperial Government and the Administratum. However, several national entities, including other technologically advanced Survivor civilizations, the Eldar Craftworlds, and several other species of xenos joined the Imperium whilst being interstellar powers in their own right. In these cases, these entities joined as semi-autonomous member states, granting them almost complete political and industrial autonomy in exchange for following the Imperium's few universal rules.

For more information see Member States

Forces of The Imperium[edit]

See Nobledark Imperium Imperial Forces

Imperial Society and Culture[edit]

See Nobledark Imperium Imperial Society and Culture

Notable People[edit]

See Nobledark Imperium Notable People

The Primarchs[edit]

See Nobledark Imperium Primarchs

The Galactic Pantheon[edit]

The Emperor of Mankind - "Is not a god" according to his own words when asked. Nevertheless, even if the Emperor is not a god, he is undoubtedly the most powerful champion of humankind, and the Men of Gold were by far the closest thing humankind ever made to Warp Gods. Though he is not a god, he is the mightiest of mortals and more powerful than many purely supernatural entities, similar to Hercules among the old legends of ancient Greece on Old Earth. There are rumors that the Emperor has grown even more powerful, or more skilled, with age, though for the safety of the Imperium the Emperor has never been put on the front lines where these rumors have been put to the test.

Isha - Embodied in the Eldar Macha, the all-mother and Eternal Empress of the Imperial dominion. Millennia ago she was the fertility goddess of the Eldar pantheon, she opposed Khaine and in the fall did all she could to save the Eldar people, though she was herself taken captive by Nurgle. Through theses valiant efforts and the rule of ages hence the Matron goddess is said to have gained a regality and might that surpasses her old self. She is much occupied by the maintenance of spiritual health at the widest level for the imperium, vying against Slaanesh for whatever fragments of Eldar souls she can salvage, and affording the Imperium's peoples a dominion within the realm of souls somewhat more hospitable than the wilds of the warp.

Cegorach - The laughing god of the Eldar, also survivor of the fall, now endless jester of the galactic court and master of the Dark Carnival. An involved player of the Great Game, he is supposedly an invaluable asset to the Imperium in the intrigues of immortal beings. To all the worlds of the Imperium he is a figure of myth and folktale, and any real deed is indistinguishable from pure fabrication.

The Void Dragon - At some point this being was a self-aware expression of nested complexity, or perhaps a very long bolt of lightning, but in the millions of years since then it has gained first an indomitable body of living femto-machines, and now a significant warp presence. It is curious, and eccentric, and it wants to experiment with the warp on a grand scale. It seems to have some appreciation of beings more finite and fragile than it, but it is infinite and hard, and it remains to be seen what god it wishes to be. It it also the Omnissiah, and it is fond of its cult, and finds it a perfect instrument.

The Nightbringer - This one wishes to be death. It has slain countless species, for ages, across light-years of space and centuries of time. It has done so by stellar radiation and by scythe, and it found that as it killed it's legend and spite proceeded it, until it's own lifeless visage was so known and feared that it cast the Nightbringer its own perfect double in the warp. The great murderer withstood even the full and unilateral hatred of the Necron Star Empire and came away not in shards, but as a great battered undead husk and accompanying splinters. Now awakened, the reaper wishes to regain his mighty warp presence and to restore his form. To this end he embeds lesser shards in mortal hosts, saddled with mortal personas to better domineer them to his will, and sets them to sow death in his image.

The Deceiver - As consumate a player of games as Cegorach, the liesmith, avatar of duplicity, reveled in the peak of the Necron empire's golden age, happy among the chrome aristocrats and toasted as the diplomat of living gods. He is reviled by the Necrons now, and shattered beyond assembly, but the presence of this being persists despite itself. Its incoherent shards still long for subtlety, for veils of words, and find themselves in the flesh of mortals of high stature as best they can. What plot the Deceiver pursues is unknown, perhaps unknowable, but its shards are of a conspiratorial and avaricious sort, with no favor among the living.

Gork & Mork - The supreme brutes might be thought unchanged in the eons of their long lives. Not so, for unlike the weaklings of Materium, with each blow to the head they become more cleverer.

Tzeentch - Created alongside Malal, he was an early warp god of boundless creativity, writing new rules of sorcery and new beings of thought into existence as quickly as Malal could deny them. In the original duality, formed from and shaped by the Old Ones, the warp and sorcery were ultimately manageable and illuminating forces. In subsequent eons this order has changed, Tzeentch has changed, and sorcery has become a bleak art of insane rituals and hateful acts. Where once he sung a song of creation, he is now a delirious, deceptive crow of plots. Tzeentch maintains power bases across the galaxy, as he has since time immemorial, but the true might of his cult is in the twisting redoubts of the Webway and the Warp, in colleges and orders of fell and maddening arts.

Malal - Originally the 'destroyer' of the Warp, be he denial or the thought of mortality, Malal swept up the multifarious gibbering creations of Tzeentch and met them with their nullifying opposites, or talked them apart with what they weren't. He was supplanted by Khorne after the War in Heaven, and it seemed like impassioned, honorable, involved destruction would better suit the minds of the galaxy than Malal's own nihilistic void of denial.

Nurgle - In the spring of the galaxy Nurgle was created between Tzeentch and Malal, to me maintainer, shaper, and preserver, until such time as Malal might rightly end a story or thought or thing. In the wake of the War in Heaven, as the triumvirate adjusted to the new galactic order, Nurgle began the slow slide into malignance that also afflicted Tzeentch. Nurgle still ultimately serves his role as preserver, but where once in his garden he strove to safeguard against Khorne and temper Tzeentch he now maintains a landfill. His servants can be found on caustic wasteland planets and in the gutters of rookeries, but the foremost among them are the attendants of Isha, seeking to return her to the garden 'for her own safety', and the Astartes of Sisigmund.

Khorne - Born in the heat of the War in Heaven, he may be the psychic reverberation of that bloody event, but it has been posited that he coalesced on the battlefield around some great weapon of the Old Ones, prototype to Eldar and Ork alike. His relationship to Khaine is unclear, but they were alike in aspect, and he has taken up much of the old Eldar empire's military caste in his immortal service. He has much love for the Great Game, and it was in the wake of Nurgle's horrible loss that Khorne championed the usurpation of the Orks. The Blood God is the great power in the warp as of the 41st millennium, commanding the fiercest core of Crone Eldar and Fallen warbands and retaining his Ork auxiliaries with greatest ease. His catalyzing role in the War of the Beast, drawing Slaanesh's lust for Isha and Tzeentch's will for change to push Nurgle's corruption en-masse of the orks, such that he might incite them to a direct and purposeful war, has emboldened him to name himself lord of the Immaterium. The Blood God arrays his armies before the Skull Throne in him immaterial domain, and there they drill, and march, and war, and stage interminable invasions of the real. Khorne is said to retain Malal, in some form, as advisor, or weapon, but the diminished god's status in the court of murder is unknown.

Slaanesh - The Prince of Pleasure was originally conceived to be the god of joy, and of beauty, but its birth, the fall of the eldar, demonstrated the already fallen nature of the eldar empire. The prince now rules the Brass Palace in the warp, attended by daemons and horrors, and for a long while it eagerly feasted on the souls of the eldar. The great mistress of Shah-Dome has since turned to more complex, extended, and varied predilections. While young and weak as a warp presence, Slaanesh maintains a vast physical empire and cult within the eye of terror, intent on shaping the state of the materium for greater power within the warp. The dark prince and its cabal of faithful cenobites wish to see Slaanesh as master of the warp, with all other gods bound before its throne. The Slaaneshi cult is particularly interested in fulfilling the domination of the eldar pantheon, hoping to angle its personal enmity with the unified empire into a claim to arch-deamonhood and luciferian mastery of all temptation.

Khaine – (UNFINISHED) Still shattered into a million pieces like in canon. Needs a blurb.

The Outsider – See The Outsider (Temporary placeholder)

The Swarmlord - More of a primordial force of nature than an actual deity, though perhaps it is only natural for mortal minds to immediately jump to the deific when confronted with a warp presence of such magnitude. The Hive Mind is both the summed consciousness of every tyranid organism within the swarm as well as its commander. It’s thought process is alien and incomprehensible by mortal standards. At the very least, its goals are clear: the consumption of every living thing in the galaxy.

Ynnead – There are whispers of something going on in the warp. Echoes seen by farseers communing with the Infinity Circuits and World Spirits like the thunderhead of a great storm. Some say there appears to be some strange congruence between the portents of this phenomenon and the Starchild Prophecies All that is known is the name of this being and that it is not here yet. Everything else is up in the air.

Notable Planets[edit]

See Nobledark Imperium Notable Planets

The Craftworlds[edit]

See Craftworlds of The Nobledark Imperium

The Forces of Chaos[edit]

The Forces of Chaos[edit]

See The Fallen

The Crone World Eldar[edit]

See The Crone World Eldar

Chaos Guard[edit]

See Chaos Guard

Da Orkz[edit]

See Da Orkz

Necron Star Empire[edit]

See Necron Star Empire

Dark Eldar[edit]

See Dark Eldar


See Tyranids


See Nobledark Imperium Writing


M25 - Fall of the Eldar/Beginning of the Age of Strife. The hedonism of the Old Eldar Empire gives birth to Slaanesh, which wipes out 90% of the eldar population in a single night. Iron Minds (A.I. that controlled most of the Men of Iron) and Men of Gold are driven mad by the backlash, effectively destroying the Great and Bountiful Human Dominion. Warp storms make interstellar travel nearly impossible. Societies, human and alien alike, are either wiped out, driven insane, or reduced to Mad Max levels of technology and anarchy. Five thousand years of hell ensues.

Mid to Late M29 - Warlord arises on Old Earth. Divides nations of Earth into two lists. On one side are the ones worth inclusion to the Imperium and on the other the ones that need to be destroyed and their lands divided amongst more worthy men.

Begins global unification using diplomatic means when possible and brute force when not possible.

Late M29/Early M30 - First use of early model Thunder Warriors

Early to mid M30 - Refinement of Thunder Warriors.

Old Earth unified (Except for Hy Brasil). Warlord sets up the Throne of Earth and refuses to sit in it instead becoming the Steward of the Empty Throne. The Throne stands waiting for a worthy individual to become Emperor.

Steward looks towards the sky and is inspired to take the Unification to the other planets of Sol. Appoints 20 generals the title of Primarch to be his leaders among generals.

Sol is unified in a sequence of assimilations, partnerships and short brutal wars of conquest.

Steward sets up High Lords of Terra to run the day to day affairs of the Imperium. Long term goal is to make the Imperium self-governing and then fade away again. Short term goal is to get be able to spend all evening in the pub.

Warp storms subside enough for large scale warp travel to become viable.

Steward looks to the stars and the dream of Unification burns again. Great Crusade starts, lasts slightly longer than in canon (300-500 years, as opposed to 200), because Steward wants whole and functional worlds brought into the Imperium, not broken vassals.

During Great Crusade Steward is contacted by Eldrad "got in a fist fight with Skarbrand and won" Ulthran. The two of them concoct a fiendish plan to break in to Nurgle's mansion and steal Isha back. Eldar send a band of the most fearsome ninja clowns as well as the Phoenix Lords to-be and the Imperium sends its most brutal nutters. Steward leads the expedition. Isha is rescued.

Isha is rescued. Imperium earns the eternal hate of the Chaos Gods. Eldar petition Stewards for inclusion into Imperium. Steward agrees in exchange for Webway access. Eldar are reluctant due to potential damage to webway. Compromise is reached that Inquisition can have unlimited access and the Eldar will upgrade the Astronomican.

Chaos Gods direct the Crone World Eldar to manipulate the orks into unifying under the banner of a warboss know as The Beast. The Beast and all his Boyz are directed towards Old Earth and other key worlds of the Imperium. Dark Eldar join forces with the Crone Worlders for the promise of plunder and slaves.

546.M31 - Beast and his forces finally make it to Sol, and the Battle of Terra and the Siege of Sol begins.

Primarch Sanguinius dies in the ruins of the Eternity Gate of the Imperial Palace.

Steward about to be pummeled into fine red paste by The Beast. Eldred Ulthran smashes through the wall and joins in the Beast-beating festivities and he and the Steward beat The Beast is a savage brawl.

As payment for saving his life the Steward owes a favour to Eldrad. Eldrad immediately call that favour in and demands that the Steward marry Isha so that the union of Human and Eldar can never be broken.

Imperium recovers over time. Most of the Primarchs die off in battle or simply by time. The title is never given to another; relic of a past age. The title of "Warmaster", occasionally used by the steward in the Great Crusade, does eventually get applied to a number of subsequent commanders considered to be later-day Primarchs.

Chaos forces usually from the Eye of Terror periodically form Black Crusades to try and topple the Imperium. Imperium stays strong.

M32-M35 - Imperial "Golden Age". Highs not as high as later but lows are not as shitty because you have "only" Orks and Chaos to worry about (Necrons and tyranids not being a thing yet) and there are no constant political upheavals from Age of Apostasy, Tau, etc. Just before the beginning of this period the Imperium has rebuilt enough to reclaim much of the territory it lost during the War of the Beast but was unable to reassert control over. One notable intrigue is the Genestealer war, where among many heroes a young Adept Vandire distinguished himself in organizing the fight against the strange conspiracy.

Eventually at about the turning point of M35 and M36 a great man by the name of Goge Vandire arises to be the head of the Administratum. Steward believes that he has found a worthy man to sit upon the Empty Throne of Earth. Emperor Vandire is an asset to the Imperium. The Steward steps back to give space to Vandire's rising star and gladly fades into the shadows of some distant world, and disappears for some time.

After a lifetime and more, pickled in juveanat and cracking under the weight of a galactic government designed to hinge around his position, Goge Vandire goes nuts.

Inquisitor Sebastian Thor raises rebellion against him and causes the Great Civil War. Steward is rediscovered with the Avatar of Isha sitting at the bar of a tropical beach resort on some backwater nowhere planet. Apparently having been on that beach for the last ~150 years.

After 10 years of devastating war Goge Vandire is slain and Sebastian Thor bullies the Steward into sitting on the Throne of Earth and becoming Emperor. Three of the old Primarchs, Vulkan, Magnus, and Ferrus Manus, survive long enough to be present at the ceremony.

Due to substantial Demiurg assistance in the war the new Emperor permits the space traveling craftsmen membership to the Imperium, to the grumbling of the eldar. Imperium becomes open to the idea of accepting other "lesser" peoples into the fold.

Late M36 - First scouting fleets of the Tyranids are sailing through the Imperium. Connection with gene-stealers is made. Scouting fleets eventually slain and it is believed for a time that they are defeated.

Mid M37 - Hive Fleets have arrived (Behemoth in M37, Kraken about 900.M38, and Leviathan some time in M39). A few are slain eventually and at great cost over the next handful of centuries. Most shatter into splinter fleets and terrorize huge swathes of the Galaxy for a long, long time.

At about the M38 mark the Necrons start to rise from their half-death into mechanical unlife. Up till the end of the Dark Millennium there is a gradual and unstoppable increase in Necron activity.

Mid M38 - Tau expeditionary forces encountered for first time. Contact made. Fledgling Tau Empire is unaware of the scale of the wars across the galaxy or the vastness of the Imperium. Refuses all efforts at inclusion.

Late M38 - Tau have a serious Artificial Intelligence rebellion after ignoring the repeated warnings of the Mechanicus. Dark Eldar take advantage of this time of weakness to use their failing Empire as slave raiding grounds despite the Tau themselves being "bland". Still refuse inclusion to Imperium when offered.

Mid M39 - Tau have recovered their old Empire bounds and are once more expanding their borders. Historians note passing similarities to the expansion of early Imperium.

Mid M39 - Ethereal Council of the Eastern Fringe is once more pressing for closer relations with the greater Imperium. Fire Warrior general by name of Farsight believes that too much of the ideologies of the Greater Good have already been compromised by outside influences. Demands return to old ways.

Political turmoil and minor skirmishes that the Tau believe are real wars erupt across the eastern fringe. Largely the Imperium fails to notice. Or care.

Farsight and friends carve out their own Enclave and defy the Imperium. Ethereals furious at this breach of Tau honour. General Shadowsun swears a blood oath against Farsight.

Mid to Late M39 - Series of crippling wars with the Hive Fleets and pyrrhic victories leaves the Tau once more vulnerable to Dark Eldar raids, and raid they do. They finally accept the offer of inclusion to the Imperium.

M40 - Necrons awakening increases. Silent King spotted. Silent King tries to rebuild old Necrontyr Star Empire. Silent King wishes to find a way to reverse the biotransference. New rebellions against The Silent King erupt on both scores.

Some of the more minor and "eccentric" Necron Lords seek refuge in the Imperium. Emperor eventually agrees on the logic that it's better to have them in here pissing out than out there pissing in. Necron Lords, inhumanly powerful and prideful as they are, swear to obey their new liege so long as he never actually orders them to do anything.

Eldar are livid at the inclusion of the Necrons. Some craftworlds consider trying to leave the Imperium.

Necron Star Empire gets along with the Imperium at first. Then the Silent King makes a demand of one trillion subjects from the Imperium as tribute. Imperium is outraged and a short, brief war erupts between the Imperium and Necron Star Empire before eventually fizzling out into the current cold war that has continued to the "present".

Early M41 - On the turn of the millennium in M41 Lady Malys, the Daemon Queen, announces her marriage to her long-time on-again, off-again lover Asdrubael Vect and the subsequent union of the Dark and Crone Eldar, and declares the 12th Black Crusade as a wedding present to herself. 12th Black Crusade is the bloodiest one yet and sets the stage for many future conflicts (e.g., Badab War). Mass social unrest and exodus from Commorragh as many of the younger Dark Eldar not trapped in a sunken cost fallacy feel that allying with Chaos crosses a line.

Mid M41 - Brain Boys spotted. Any talk of abandoning ship stops abruptly. Nobody wants to jump off the boat, no matter how many vermin are in it, when the alternative is sharks.

Late M41 - The Hive Fleets were just a vanguard. The Tyranids are assaulting the entire eastern galactic edge in such numbers that they blot out the stars.

Miscellaneous Notes[edit]

See Nobledark Imperium Notes

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