Thramas Crusade

From 1d4chan
Thramas Crusade
Drk Angels Thramas.jpg
Date 007-009.M31
Scale Regional
Theatre Horus Heresy
Status Dark Angels victory
Belligerents
Night Lords Dark Angels
Commanders and Leaders
Konrad Curze,
Sevatar
Lion El'Jonson,
Corswain
Strength
100,000 Night Lords,
~200 Capital Ships, ~600 support craft.
3,000 White Scars (later defecting)
70,000 Dark Angels, ~300 Capital Ships, ~600 support craft.
Losses

Konrad Curze trapped on the Invincible Reason.
First Captain Sevatar captured.
Around 40,000 Night Lords killed. >72 capital ships destroyed or captured.
Legio Ulricon destroyed.
. Unknown number of mortal traitors killed.

Billions of citizens massacred. Around 10,000 Dark Angels killed. 3,000 White Scars
Outcome
The capture of Curze and the break-up of the Night Lords Legion into smaller independent warbands.
The Dark Angels would then split with the Lion joining Imperium Secundus while the bulk of the Legion would go on to engage the Death Guard.

The Thramas Crusade was a roughly three year campaign of the Horus Heresy led by the VIII Legion, the Night Lords, against the I Legion, the Dark Angels.

In order to distract the Dark Angels and keep them out of the war, Horus ordered his brother Konrad Curze to take his legion out to the Eastern Fringe and ruin everyone's day/night/life. So Curze fucked off and spent 2 years playing a hit-and-run game while slaughtering civilians all over the sector, with the Lion and Dark Angels hot on his heels.

007.M31: Initial Stages[edit]

The campaign started out easily enough for the Night Lords, as during the first few months of fighting there were no loyalist Astartes forces present. They had a great time practicing their particular skills against the mortal forces standing against them, and easily conquered the three key forge worlds that were the true prize of the campaign. With these three worlds under traitor control, Horus would be able to resupply his armies more easily.

During the first year of the war, the worst enemy that the Night Lords seemed to face were themselves: When out of immediate sight of their Primarch, different factions of the Night Lords Legion seemed to be forming, with their own aims and objectives. Some groups, including those led by Sevatar were at least "loyal" to the notion of remaining a legion and following their Primarch, pining for the glory days of the Great Crusade when they were taken seriously as a military force. These loyalists took the symbol of the Bloodied Hand in honour of Sevatar's devotion to Curze. Others either wished to reshape the legion in the image of the Nostraman criminal syndicates and gangs, or sought to grasp the freedom offered by Horus and wished to divest themselves of the burden of their Primarch. Many of these "disloyal" Night Lords took the Cross of Bone as their symbol of allegiance, refering to a Nostraman tradition of leadership challenge by murder-brawl. The arrangement was more complex than this and an individual's origin, whether Terran or Nostraman, rookie or veteran, was not an easy indicator of what faction, if any, that a Night Lord may have associated with.

At the beginning of the Thramas Crusade, these conflicts were mostly a hidden issue, with commanders quietly fighting behind the scenes. This would only get worse as the campaign progressed; discipline would eventually break down and newly formed chapters ended up fighting each other for spoils. Other times commanders would completely ignore their given objectives and strike off independently, doing whatever they felt like.

For the first two years of the conflict, the Cross of Bone would only grow in influence; with their Primarch mostly sidelined, and power ended up ceded to other commanders such as Nakrid Thole who seemed to be doing just fine in their campaigns of free-wheeling slaughter.

With the conquered territories close to worlds that were still pledged to the Night Lords, it looked like a complete victory for the VIII Legion, right up until a small number of sleek dark ships arrived in the Triplex system.

008.M31: The Dark Angels Arrive[edit]

The war in Thramas begins in earnest

The Lion, upon learning of the Night Lords treachery from Perturabo at Diamat, immediately departed for the Thramas sector with a small flotilla of 18 capital ships. Arriving first in the Triplex system, engaging the Night Lords at the edge of the system, the Lion's flotilla erased the enemy defense monitors before they had a chance to respond. The enemy command ship, the Shadow of Justice was left crippled and boarded by the Dreadwing who proceeded to virus bomb the crew leaving only the bridge staff alive, who were captured for interrogation.

At this point the Forge Worlds of the Triplex system began marshalling their forces at Triplex-Galatia and cautiously awaited the approach of this new opponent, which turned out to be a massive mistake. While the Firewing were torturing information out of the captured Night Lord commanders, the small flotilla of 18 ships grew to nearly one-hundred capital class vessels as nearby Dark Angel expeditions began to answer the call of their Primarch, reducing the Traitor advantage from 10-1 down to 2-1. The Dark Angels eradicated Triplex-Galatia, leaving only the orbital shipyards intact as a future loyalist staging post, while the larger Forge World of Triplex-Phall immediately surrendered rather than suffer the same fate.

With the Forge Worlds of Triplex secure, more Dark Angels started pouring into the warzone. While at the same time, the Night Lords, now knowing who they were facing, started invoking their Midnight Treaties calling forth what mutants, criminals, and tech-heretics from hidden worlds that had been spared during the Great Crusade when the Imperium would otherwise have burned them, giving the Traitors access to legions of willing fodder and sufficient materiel to prosecute war for a very long time. Thus, what followed was one of the most bloody and violent campaigns of the Heresy.

For the most part, the Night Lords opted to play to their strengths; although they had greater manpower, the Dark Angels had the larger fleet. Knowing they couldn't win a stand-up fight against the Dark Angels, they executed ambushes and lightning assaults across the sector, never lingering too long in one place; Essentially they were running in, kicking a kitten to death (or at least crippling it so it lives the rest of its miserable existence suffering), and then running away shouting in childish glee "you can't get us, you can't get us". As stupid as this sounds, it actually worked extremely well, and the Dark Angels were forced to play an exceptionally annoying game of sector wide hide-and-seek.

At this point, the Battle of Calth had already occurred, and now the Ruinstorm had descended upon the Eastern Fringe, effectively trapping all combatants in their arena. With the Astronomican obscured and the warp now in a turbulent state, the only means of navigation was by relay beacon, which were likened to candles next to the star of the Astronomican. These beacons allowed for risky short ranged travel, and the Dark Angels assumed that the Night Lords had tacitly agreed not to strike at them for fear of stranding friend and foe on both sides alike, though in reality this may not truly have been the case, as the traitors seemed to be helped by favourable warp currents and were able to perform what had previously been considered impossible feats, such as closely shadowing other ships in warp transit.

During the campaign, the Night Lords encountered a force of White Scars. These White Scars were considered veterans of the Crusade but had only ever heard rumours of the First Legion, and given their earlier reputation, these rumours weren't exactly flattering. The Scars believed the Dark Angels to be a bunch of vain glory hounds, so it wasn't hard for the Night Lords to convince them that they were the loyal ones and the Angels had turned traitor. The Scars aided the Night Lords until it finally dawned on them that the guys who were literally wearing the skins of their enemies might not be telling them the truth. Just goes to show how effectively the Dark Angels had removed themselves from the minds of the Imperium at large, and how incredibly unreliable information during the Heresy was.

In payment of their debts at the battle of the planet Thramas itself, the White Scars sacrificed their remaining numbers in order to destroy several key generators on a Warp capable Forge-Moon.

Savage Weapons[edit]

After one year of fighting and getting nowhere, Curze offered a parley to the Lion on the world of Tsagualsa. They each brought their honor guard to the meeting: Sevatar and Shang for Curze, Corswain and Alajos for the Lion. The talks ended in battle as Curze revealed to the Lion that while they had fought for two years in the dark whilst the galaxy burned, he had foreseen that future generations would look to the legacy of the Lion with doubt; because of the delay caused by this campaign, the Lion's name and deeds would be forever tarnished by suspicion and mistrust. Where was the Lion, people would ask? Could he have been waiting to see who was victorious before declaring for a side? Somewhat oddly, he also flat out told the Lion that he was deliberately wasting the Dark Angels' time and that the whole thing was a strategic trap to keep the Lion occupied; it was this revelation that made him completely change his strategy for the second year of the campaign.

The Lion would never be trusted ever again (the audience is meant to believe hunting an entire traitor legion and its Primarch going on a murder spree would cause them not to be trusted; yes, we know, GW doesn’t understand people and it's not like records of the campaign wouldn’t exist on worlds fought over by the two legions, exonerating the Dark Angels).

The Lion, not giving a shit about how he looked in the future, because ("loyalty is its own reward"), apologised to his brother before impaling him through the gut with the Lion Sword. The meeting instantly devolved into an all-out brawl. As the brothers fought, so too did their honour guard; this would prove to be the first time the two brothers had matched blades, as the Lion mentioned that they had never sparred before. The Lion's skill with a blade proved to be the better as he continued to inflict injuries upon his brother. Curze was not the Lion's martial equal, but was able to avoid any detrimental injuries. Eventually Curze finally just spear-tackled him, sending them both crashing to the ground. Curze ended up with the advantage in the brawl, and he started smashing the Lion's head into the ground while choking him.

As these two demigods fought in the dust of some forgotten world, their hands around each other's throats, Curze continued to rant and rave, claiming that the Lion should just die, and that the future would be far more kind to him if he did so (which amusingly enough was actually true). Sevatar and his companion fought Alajos two on one before removing his head from his shoulders (the last time Sev and Alajos had fought, Sev had removed the skin from his face) as he tried to hold them both off before reinforcements could arrive.

Corswain then performed a heroic intervention, stabbing Curze through the spine, wrapping a chain around his neck and riding him like a bucking bronco (the author's intent was to demonstrate the difference in attitudes and priorities between the two legions). This resulted in Curze getting up off the Lion, who regained his feet but seemingly had been seemingly injured badly enough in the brawl to not be able to finish off the now-twice impaled Curze. Reinforcements would arrive from both Legions and the bloodied and injured primarchs were dragged away, screaming abuse at each other.

009.M31: Closing Stages[edit]

Devils and Angels

After the shit-show of the talks, the Lion reorganized his forces. Choosing to pull back from less defended worlds, taking what ammunition and manpower he could, while relocating the civilians to more fortified locations elsewhere. What he could not hold, he would put to the torch; effectively doing much of the Traitors work for them. Yet this plan worked, during this period of the crusade only one world fell to the traitors, which was Thramas itself, and only when the Lion had quit the battlefield for a short duration; and Thramas was only lost for seven days until the Dark Angels returned to reclaim it.

Where the Lion had disappeared to you ask? Well, he decided to engage both the Death Guard and Iron Hands over ownership of a warp device known as Tuchulcha which could allow instantaneous travel between two points and give the owner a tremendous edge in maneuverability. Winning, the Dark Angels could now successfully ambush the Night Lords fleet and kinda just fuck up their mojo in general.

Sheol IX[edit]

However, the Lion knew that this advantage was fairly useless against the Night Lords as they existed as a scattered force throughout the Warzone. He needed them in one place to really take advantage of his new toy. So the Lion waited months before finally springing the trap, laying the groundwork by concentrating his Legion into a single massive fleet and leaving much of the warzone to the command of the mortal armies and local warlords. The Dark Angels would patiently wait until the Night Lords had regrouped into a single force.

To accomplish this the Lion "leaked" some information to his allies in the Mechanicum, causing them to practically abandon their position at Sheol IX in order to throw themselves, unsupported, against a renegade Titan Legion. This sacrifice of his allies created a gap in the Loyalist line that would be too enticing for the Night Lords to ignore. So when the Night Lords committed their full might to assault Sheol IX, the Dark Angels jumped among them and caught them with their pants down, with the majority of the Night Lords stuck on the surface and with their unprepared fleet trapped at anchor.

At least half of their ships turned and fled at the initial stage of the ambush, leaving their forces still disembarked on the planet below. The remaining half stayed to put up a fight, but of those, half again were captured by the Dark Angels.

Once again the two Primarchs fought, this time with the Lion putting Curze into a coma and leaving a power vacuum in the Legion.

Fractured Legion[edit]

Curze's comatose state gave the members of the Cross of Bone faction the opportunity to seize control, with many headstrong commanders gleefully going their own way after being let off the leash and pursued their own goals. However, without the approval and support of their Primarch, they overextended themselves dangerously. In the closing few months of the Thramas Crusade fractured forces were cut off and caught in battles that they simply could not win, and many high ranking commanders were slain.

With the "disloyal" sons in disarray, Sevatar and his "loyalists" then took their own opportunity. Sevatar summoned what survivors he could and gathered them in the Qetesh system. Whereupon Sevatar enacted a minor war for control of the legion, purging most of the Captains who didn't agree with him, effectively ending the faction war there and then. He then declared that they had fought enough of Horus' wars for him and needed to break free.

His intention was to split the remainder of the Legion into six Grand Companies and go their separate ways, effectively breaking the Legion into a raiding force where they could rape and pillage to their hearts' content. But even while Sevatar did this, the Dark Angels managed to track him down and launch yet another ambush. Sevatar launched a counterattack and led the Atramentar (his Terminator elite) aboard the Dark Angels fleet. The First Captain managed to help Curze to recover from his coma and the awakened Night Haunter met with the Lion and fought yet again. What happened next, in Sev's words, was a pathetic display of a last stand. The Night Lords were now deep within enemy territory and completely surrounded. As the Dark Angels tightened the circle Curze took one look around, realised the game was up, abruptly performed the fastest heel turn you have ever seen and fled, abandoning his sons to their fate.

Aftermath[edit]

It is clear that Tsagualsa was the turning point in the war: if Curze had not paused to goad his brother, the Lion would have likely still been contained for the duration of the Horus Heresy. It was also the point where Konrad Curze lost much of his authority and the Cross of Bone faction were in the ascendance, causing all manner of fuck-ups later on.

Ultimately, the Night Lords were separated from their Primarch and broken as a Legion. They had lost nearly 40,000 men by the end of the battle of Sheol IX, and this number does not include those members of the Cross of Bone culled by Sevatar in the wake of the campaign, and then lost even more when the Dark Angels again ambushed them at Qetesh.

The Dark Angels had taken merely a fraction of that number, with no more than 10,000 slain in total. The Night Lords also lost a significant number of their capital ships over Sheol IX, with around fifty being purposefully crippled and later captured by the Dark Angels with the intention of adding them to the loyalists strength.

By demolishing a Traitor Legion, the Lion had won a significant tactical victory for the Imperium, but the delay was part of Horus plan all along. The Night Lords primary aim in waging the Thramas Crusade had not been to keep the Traitors supplied or for the acquisition of territory. It was instead to keep the Dark Angels and the Lion away from Terra as humanly possible. When Horus launched his assault on the Imperial Palace, he didn't want the Lion anywhere near his area of operations, and so had been counting on Curze and the Night Lords to keep him occupied. At the end of the Thramas Crusade, the Lion had been occupied for nearly two years and was now trapped on the wrong side of the Ruinstorm, along with the Ultramarines and Blood Angels Legions who had been similarly set aside. What is more is that the destruction left in his wake and the savage barbs of Curze wounded the Lion's ego significantly, which would lead him to other problems further down the line, particular in his dealings with his brothers during Imperium Secundus.

Whether Horus had factored on losing the Night Lords to achieve this goal is another matter entirely, as the breaking of the Night Lords and removal of their Primarch was perhaps the single largest loss of assets the traitors suffered in the entire Horus Heresy prior to the Siege of Terra.

Additionally, Horus and his co-conspirators made the mistake of underestimating the Dark Angels remaining forces, as while the Lion was occupied, the greater bulk of his legion were spread throughout the galaxy putting up an unexpectedly strong resistance, having spent much of their history operating independently of their Primarch. These forces denied the Traitors an easy victory early in the war. Horus had succeeded in keeping the Lion out of the war, but had failed to keep the First Legion from the fight.

"Horus' first gambit had failed. Terra remained outside his grasp and the First Legion stood ready to show him the terrible cost of his ambition"

– The close of the Thramas Crusade, Horus Heresy: book 9
Timeline of Warhammer 40,000
The Times of Old Wars of Secession - War in Heaven (60.000.000 BC) - Fall of the Eldar (M30)
Pre-Heresy Age of Terra (M1-M15) - Dark Age of Technology (M15-M25) - Cybernetic Revolt (M23-M25) - Age of Strife (M25-M30)
Great Crusade (Late M30-005.M31) Unification Wars - The Last Church - Rangdan Xenocides - Interex - Gardinaal - Faash - Council of Nikaea
Horus Heresy (005.M31-014.M31) Battle of Isstvan III - The Burning of Prospero - Battle of the Alaxxes Nebula - Drop Site Massacre - Thramas Crusade
The Battle of Phall - Battle of Calth - Signus Campaign - Imperium Secundus - Battle of Trisolian - Siege of Terra
Time of Rebirth (015.M31-M32) The Great Scouring (~015.M31) - Start of The Long War (M31) - The Legion Wars (M31) - The Battle of Skalathrax (M31)
The Battle of Harmony (M31) - Creation of the Codex Astartes (M31) - Second Founding (021.M31) - Battle of Thessala (121.M31)
The Forging (M32-M34) The War of The Beast (544.M32-546.M32) - The Beheading (546.M32) - The War of the False Primarch (780.M33-860.M33)
Nova Terra Interregnum (M34-M36) 21st Founding (M36)
Age of Apostasy (M36) Plague of Unbelief (310.M36)
Age of Redemption (M37-Early M38) Abyssal Crusade (321.M37-121.M38)
The Waning (Early M38- Early M41) Gothic War (143-151.M41) - The Macharian Crusade (392-399.M41) - The Macharian Heresy (400-470.M41)
Wars for Armageddon (444.M41, 941.M41 and 991.M41) - Damocles Crusade (742.M41)
Time of Ending (Early M41-999.M41) The Vaxi Atrocity (731.M41) - First Tyrannic War (745-746.M41) - Sabbat Worlds Crusade (755.M41-780.M41) - Siege of Vraks (813.M41-830.M41)
Massacre at Sanctuary 101 (897.M41) - Badab War (901-912.M41) - The Vaxhallian Genocide (926.M41) - Second Tyrannic War (990.M41-993.M41)
Orphean War (991.M41-Ongoing) - Third Tyrannic War (997.M41-999.M41) - Taros Campaign (998.M41) - Fall of Shadowbrink (998.M41)
Octarius War (999.M41-Ongoing) - Conquest of Uttu Prime (Late M41) - Devastation of Baal (999.M41) - 13th Black Crusade (999.M41-M42)
Age of the Dark Imperium (000.M42-Ongoing) Ultima Founding (999.M41-012.M42) - Indomitus Crusade (999.M41-Ongoing, first phase ended on 012.M42)
War of Beasts (001.M42-025.M42) - Plague Wars (~012.M42) - Psychic Awakening (M42)