|The Signus Cluster Campaign|
|Theatre||The Signus Cluster|
|Status||Blood Angels victory|
|Commanders and Leaders|
|Primarch Sanguinius||Kyriss the Perverse, Ka'Bandha, Bloodthirster of Khorne|
|~120,000 Blood Angels, Imperial fleet, Space Wolves contingent, Custodes detachment, Mechanicum allies||Uncounted daemons and human cultists|
|Between Mild to Moderate losses among Blood Angels Legionnaires but awoke their dormant Red Thirst. Severe losses among mortal auxiliaries and support elements. All Space Wolves KIA.||All daemons slain or banished to the Warp. All mortal combatants killed. Erebus' face.|
|The Blood Angels win, though at cost. The Red Thirst becomes active in all Blood Angels. The forces of Chaos were denied their stronghold, the whole of the Signus Cluster is scoured, declared mortis perdita, and left to rot for eternity. The Blood Angels seal all records away to be eternally guarded by Crimson Paladins.|
The Signus Cluster campaign was the IX Legion's first taste of the galaxy-spanning clusterfuck formally known as the Horus Heresy. Hilariously, it is also a prime example of Chaos getting in its own way, as nobody on Team Horus could agree on whether they were trying to corrupt Sanguinius or just kill him, and wound up doing neither.
With his big rebellion against the Emperor getting underway, Horus wanted to take Sanguinius off the board permanently, knowing that he was both one of the Imperium's greatest assets and a potential rival should he be corrupted by the Ruinous Powers. Unfortunately, no one else on Team Horus could agree on a course of action. The Warmaster wanted his brother dead, but Erebus and the Chaos gods wanted to bag another primarch for their side. The only thing any of them could agree on was that they wanted the Blood Angels to give in to their innate bloodthirst and fall to Chaos. To this end, Horus decided to lure the Blood Angels to the Signus Cluster, a recently settled system out on the ass-end of the Imperium, with a calculated lie. Years earlier, while the two primarchs were on campaign together against some xenos, Horus had accidentally witnessed Sanguinius mercy-killing one of his sons who had fallen victim to the Red Thirst. After getting over his initial bout of "WTF did I just see?", Horus had promised to help his brother find a cure.
Remembering all this, Horus sent some Word Bearers and an astropath to tell Sanguinius that the same dickwad xenos they'd fought together previously had invaded the Cluster. He also mentioned that said dickwads might have some technology that could help with the Blood Angels' little "problem". Sanguinius promptly rounded up the entire IX Legion and took off for Signus, though not before a Space Wolves pack turned up and attached themselves to the fleet because of certain events that had recently occurred. Unbeknownst to them, Chaos was turning Signus into an immense booby trap for the IX Legion. Led by a Davinite priest, the Warmaster's troops began summoning daemons and transforming the entire cluster into a screaming hellhole with all kinds of horrors lying in wait for the unsuspecting Blood Angels.
The Opening Stages
When the Blood Angels’ fleet arrived in Signus, a bizarre veil descended over the Cluster, cutting them off from outside contact. Puzzled, they set off to find out what the hell was going on. Every world they scanned had been scoured of life. Dozens of ships drifted in the vacuum, unresponsive to hails. When the Blood Angels boarded these hulks, they discovered that the crews and passengers had all been reduced to boneless sacks of skin. The first planet they investigated exploded into Chaos runes when they got too close. The second planet turned out to be overrun with giant trash golems that nearly wiped out the squad sent to investigate it, and then started flinging chunks of itself at the legion’s fleet. Sanguinius, who was becoming increasingly irritated by all this unmanly warp fuckery, had his fleet drop an Exterminatus on that world. They stopped at the next planet, an agri-world called Scoltrum, long enough to look for survivors. They found that the planet was overrun with daemons (which they thought were some kind of aberrant xenos) but were able to recover a few survivors including a lady named Tillyan Niobe, who was a blank, unknown to her. While all this was going on, the Word Bearers had sacrificed their astropath to summon Ka’Bandha the Bloodthirster, whom Horus tasked with killing Sanguinius.
Meanwhile, the non-Astartes in the fleet were going increasingly nutty thanks to all the Chaos bullshit going on around them, and the legion's ex-Librarians were suffering from really intense psychic visions of a screaming angel drenched in blood. When they got close enough to Signus Prime, things went to hell in very short order. Something unleashed a psychic shriek that staggered even the Space Marines and caused every mortal in the fleet to completely lose whatever was left of their shit and start killing themselves and everyone else. A Keeper of Secrets named Kyriss the Perverse used the frames of some broken servitors to manifest on the bridge of Red Tear, Sanguinius' flagship, and start mocking him, and then a horde of Chaos-corrupted ships popped out of a nearby asteroid belt and began engaging the Blood Angels. This ended with the fleet admiral snapping, murdering her entire bridge crew, and setting the flagship to crash into Signus Prime. All the rest of the Blood Angels on board wanted to GTFO, but Sanguinius ordered them to hold fast and rode his ship down like a boss until it plowed into the corrupted soil of Signus.
The Battle of Signus Prime
After their abrupt landing on Signus Prime, the Blood Angels started securing their position on the planet. In short order, they found out where all the hundreds of thousands of missing bones had gone: the daemons had used them to build a gigantic palace known as the Cathedral of the Mark. Sanguinius ordered his sons to tool up and prepare for some ass-kicking. As the legion stormed the Cathedral, they were met with wave after wave of human cultists and lesser daemons led by the Bloodthirster Ka'Bandha, who taunted Sanguinius by telling him that Horus had betrayed him and that he planned to turn him and his entire legion to the service of the Blood God. Sanguinius responded by kicking Ka'Bandha's ass up and down the battlefield until the Greater Daemon got in a lucky shot with his whip that crushed the primarch’s legs. Ka’Bandha then unleashed a psychic mindfucking weapon called the Ragefire that instantly killed five hundred Blood Angels. The psychic backlash sent Sanguinius into a coma and triggered the onset of the Red Thirst in every single Blood Angel. This was precisely the wrong move to make and it resulted in a massive case of not as planned for Team Chaos, who realized to their horror that they'd bitten off far more than they could chew; a horror that only increased as the Blood Angels became so colossally, jaw-droppingly, batshit ANGRY that they proceeded to rip and tear through literally (not figuratively) everything in their way, and even some things not in their way at all, but instead off to the side, as was the case with the poor Space Wolf tagalongs who had the misfortune to run afoul of the future first chapter master of the Flesh Tearers and his 5th Company. An interesting aside to note here is that though they clearly seem to have lost their capacity (or perhaps just their patience) for higher levels of thought while fully immersed in the Red Thirst, the Blood Angels did not devolve into a dumb, aimless, fuckangry moshpit such as happens to the World Eaters once the latter is lost to the Butcher's Nails, and perhaps as had been expected by Team Chaos.
First Captain Raldoron and Apothecary Meros gathered a small team of Blood Angels who'd maintained control of their faculties, grabbed Niobe the blank, and attacked the Cathedral while making use her anti-psyker aura to shield themselves from the Ragefire's effects, while several of the legion's former Librarians chucked the Edict of Nikaea out the window and used their psychic abilities to snap their primarch out of his coma. Sanguinius immediately grabbed his sword, took off for the Cathedral, and kicked in the windows just as the Blood Angels assault team arrived. He proceeded to break open a massive can of whoop-ass on Ka'Bandha and Kyriss. Pinning the Greater Daemon of Slaanesh to a wall with his sword, he beat the shit out of Ka’Bandha UNARMED, noosed him with his own whip, then tore off the Bloodthirster's wings and tossed him into a warp portal, though not before dropping one of the most kickass one-liners in all of Warhammer canon. Before he could finish the job, Kyriss offered him a deal: if Sanguinius were to take the Ragefire into himself and become a servant of Chaos, then the Blood Angels would be cured of the Red Thirst for good. A dubious assurance from a wholly untrustworthy source at the best of times, Sanguinius was nevertheless all set to do it, but Meros refused to let his gene-father make such a sacrifice. Instead, he jumped into the Ragefire after extracting his own gene-seed, becoming a daemonhost known as the Red Angel. Kyriss promptly had a bitchfit about how this was all Not As Planned, whereupon an annoyed Sanguinius shut him/her/it/that up with a quick head-chop.
The IX Legion had won the Signus campaign, but it wasn't a clean victory. Hundreds of Blood Angels had been killed in the battle, the legion’s fleet had lost a lot of its mortal crews and several of its best ships were heavily damaged, and what's more, the 5th Company had to live with the shame of knowing that they'd murdered some of their fellow loyal brother legionaries in their Thirst-induced rage. Sanguinius was so disgusted by the whole thing that he had his Astartes clean up every last trace of their presence in the system down to the bolter shells, then parked some warning beacons around the Cluster and ordered his fleet to set course for Terra to answer the summons of Rogal Dorn. They wound up getting lost in a huge warp storm, bigger than anything they had ever seen before. Eventually, their Navigators spied some kind of light in the Warp and made a beeline for it, and thus they stumbled upon Imperium Secundus...
The loss at Signus was the first major setback of the Heresy for the Traitors. Sanguinius and the IX Legion had been hurt, but they remained uncorrupted and would continue to fight for the Imperium. Horus was pissed, Erebus was pissed, the Chaos gods were pissed, and Ka’Bandha was supremely butthurt about the whole thing; a butthurt that would last forever more. Erebus made the mistake of going to Horus’ flagship and throwing a tantrum at the Warmaster about how he'd fucked up the Chaos gods' plan. Horus reacted about as calmly as a Chaos-corrupted primarch could be expected to: he skinned the douchebag's big, stupid face off with a fuckmothering ATHAME and reminded Erebus that he was in charge of the Heresy, not some bitch-ass warp gribblies.