TIMELINE OF EVENTS
Up to Page 32 of Thread 1
DISCOVERY ORDER OF THE PRIMARCHS
1) =][= REDACTED =][=
2) Lorgar 'Cleftjaw'
3) Lanista Corax / Ferrus Mordrax
4) Fulgrim Dragonslayer
6) Principio & Etiamnus
7) Jonson the Palatine
9) Perturabo the Hypaspistai
10) Anubis the Ensarhaddon
11) Leman Barbedor
12) Rogal Dorn the Haunted
13) Konrad Dominus
14) Magnus the Red-Maned King
15) Roboute Barabbas
17) =][= REDACTED =][=
18) Lasartine Bron
- Emperor, accompanied by his Custodes
- Lanista Corax and the Chainsworn
- Konrad Dominus and the Executioners
- Fulgrim Dragonslayer and the Emperor’s Children
- Sanguinius and the Angels
The Orks at Ullanor are immense, bolstered by hordes gathered to them from many worlds nearby. The Emperor is attacked by their Warboss, a mighty and fell beast large enough to wrestle a small Titan to the ground. The great Ork seizes the Emperor by the throat and lops off an arm as he chokes Humanity’s greatest to death. Though Corax of the Chainsworn is nearest, both he and Konrad reach the fight at the same time, but too late. Fulgrim the Dragonslayer leads a sally to recover the Emperor’s fallen form; however, however he is in a near death state. He is rushed to Terra and seated upon the Golden Throne, modified to keep the Emperor alive. Among the distraught is Konrad Dominus, who blames himself for the Emperor’s fall. However, none are as conflicted as Lanista Corax, who will forever remember that moment when the Emperor stretched out a bloodied hand to him, and the sight of an all-powerful being brought low paralyzed him.
Jonson, Sanguinius, Corax, Perturabo, Konrad, Fulgrim, Anubis and Bron.
Legions Present without their Primarchs:
Imperial Hounds, Red Corsairs, Sons of Barabbas.
Following the Ullanor Crusade and the Emperor’s fall, many Primarchs and Legions gather in the ashes of the battle to discuss the Imperium’s future. Lanista Corax, Primarch of the Chainsworn, declares himself Warmaster, the Emperor’s proxy in the execution of the Great Crusade, with the support of many, but not all, of his brother Primarchs. With the support far from unanimous, the rank of Warmaster is an unofficial one, and Corax’s authority stretches only to those who accept it. Chief among those who refuse his authority is Jonson, who himself had vied for a position of similar power.
Fulgrim, Anubis and Magnus withdraw from the Great Crusade. Though their Legions remain at large, fighting their battles, the three dedicate their time and effort to the recovery of the Emperor and the defense of Terra.
NIGHT OF THE AXE
Angron’s approach during the Great Crusade was to preserve as many civilizations as possible. While endearing him to the people and improving the transition from independent to Imperial, some retained their defiance. As these worlds were left to their own devices and rule, this defiance came to a head when a religious group that had refused to be stamped out, called the Jyhodh, took over a series of systems and rebelled against the Emperor. Though separated greatly by space, these systems and peoples retained much of their former identities, refusing to let go of their names. The Interex, the Auretian Technocracy and the Diasporex, to name but a few. Though the Jyhodh were religious in nature, most of the systems that joined them in rebellion did not do so out of spiritual fervor, but more that they were seizing the opportunity afforded them.
So soon after the fall of the Emperor at Ullanor, the Imperial Legions vow to make an example. The Imperial Hounds and Red Corsairs arrive first and blunt the rebel fleets. Their efforts are stunted by a lack of coordination, a fact which is exacerbated when the Executioners arrive and immediately proceed to burn secessionist worlds. This creates particular a point of contention with the Celestial Lions, joining the conflict around the same time as the Executioners. Jonson and the First Legion arrive soon after, and attempts to enforce order among the Legions, however the Palatine’s efforts are less than successful.
When Corax arrives with his Legion and the Minotaurs in tow, another attempt at stabilizing authority is made, and another point of contention between Jonson and Corax. The Legions more or less divide themselves over whose orders they are willing to follow, with the likes of Barbedor and Mordax following the lead of Corax, and Konrad Dominus following Jonson.
Events come to a head when Angron is unable to let the insult the Executioners provide slide. In the ashes of a world set aflame by the Executioners, Angron confronts his brother. Heated words are exchanged, however the entire affair degenerates rapidly out of control when Konrad Dominus attacks Angron ferociously.
The two Legions go for each others’ throats as the Primarchs wage terrible war upon each other. The duel finally ends when Konrad Dominus, atop the bloody monarch of Macragge, realizes that what was left of the worlds’ military had emerged to meet the Executioners alongside the Lions. The fighting ends, and Konrad leaves the world in disgust for his brother’s weakness. Angron, in turn, vows to never compromise what he stands for out of fear of what he might become.
The event was a powder keg for more than just the Celestial Lions and Executioners. In light of the conflict, Jonson comes to the conclusion that their current lack of leadership is causing far too much harm to the Great Crusade. The Palatine relinquishes all claim to the title of Warmaster, and urges his brothers to accept Corax’s command. Galvanized by the recent events, Corax is formally declared Warmaster of the Imperial armed forces in the Emperor’s absences.
Under Corax’s leadership, the rebellious worlds of Jyhodh are put down and reassimilated with the Imperium, with more amenable leaders installed.
There remained some dissent towards Corax’s reign as Warmaster, notably the overly aggressive and all too often unleashed Minotaurs. Prominent among them are the Imperial Hounds, Celestial Lions and Iron Hoplites. Thought he First Legion willingly and quietly follows the Warmaster’s lead, soon telltale evidence creeps up that proves perhaps an ulterior motive. Resources continue to enter the Palatine’s worlds at a steady pace, however exports of all kinds have dwindled to an all-time low. Coupled with rumors of the First Legion expanding its numbers at a great rate, Corax believes his old rival may be building power for a second go.
Anubis of Prospero, the Onyx Prince, searches through retainers of ancient knowledge for the means to improve the Emperor’s condition and, with great hope, return him to his former strength. Though untested, a potential cure is uncovered, the knowledge of which Anubis victoriously broadcasts to his brothers. The Warmaster, for reasons unknown, determines to not let this stand, and so activates agents deep in the Palace to sabotage the Golden Throne. These agents are highly trained, skilled and had operated under deep cover for some time.
Malcador, master of the shadows, is assassinated for his efforts. However, this sets in motion events that lead to Arik Taranis, the last Thunder Warrior, to uncover the plot and bring it to the attention of Fulgrim, who remained on Terra following the Emperor’s fall.
Though tenuous, the sabotage is linked to Corax, who perhaps feels threatened by the potential recovery of the Emperor. It is a bitter pill for him to swallow, as Fulgrim was the first to declare for Corax as the Warmaster. However, later events force him to accept this terrible truth.
THE WARMASTER’S GAMBIT
As a means to redirect dissent against his authority, Corax declares the likes of Lorgar, Jonson, Perturabo and Angron as usurpring rebels to his legitimate authority, and therefore the authority of the Emperor. The Warmaster proclaims the need to rescue the Emperor from Fulgrim, Magnus and Anubis, denouncing their efforts to cure the Emperor as insidious experimentations. The Warmaster orders Rogal Dorn, Ferrus Mordax, and their respective Legions, to rampage across those worlds with connection to the Palatine.
Perturabo, Konrad, Leman and Lorgar move to confront Corax on Vilamus. However, Leman reveals his allegiance when he ambushes Lorgar at their intended muster point at Boros Gate. Perturabo and Konrad find themselves alone at Vilamus, facing down the three Legions, including the Warmaster’s own. The Iron Hoplites and Executioners hold their own honorably and Vilamus is the site many scenes of legendary heroism. However, they are heavily outnumbered by three bigger Legions, and their fate becomes increasingly clear. When the Warmaster, flanked by the rabid Mordax and morbid Dorn, faces off against the Hypaspistai in deadly combat, the battle’s end seems near.
Hope is rekindled in the unlikeliest of places, as the fire-blackened mauls of the Haunted strike the back of the Iron Devourer, crushing many of Ferrus Mordax’s copious bionic enhancements. Enraged, the lord of the Minotaurs turns upon Rogal Dorn as the guns and bludgeons of the Blackened Fists change targets to the Chainsworn and Minotaurs. The Haunted and the Iron Devourer collapse into a feuding heap as the two tear into each other without abandon or care for defense. This brief respite allows the Iron Hoplites and Executioners to rally, recover their lords and make for orbit, escaping the death trap.
On the surface, the Warmaster rages over the corpses of his Primarch lieutenants as his Chainsworn and Minotaurs kill the remaining Blackened Fists. The VII Legion ended that day, though rumors abounded that some survivors may have left Vilamus with the Iron Hoplites. In the wake of the battle on Vilamus and at Boros Gate, the dissent against Corax becomes open rebellion.
With his attempt to shatter the Legions most opposed to him presently thwarted, Corax orders Lupercal to assault the Palatinate, promising additional support later, now that his attentions are needed elsewhere. The Iron Hoplites are battered, their numbers few. As a means to recover losses, Perturabo turns to the Ordo Dracul of the Mechanicum for aid. That aid does come in the form mechanical replacements of deceased Legionnaires, however the Cognitae were vocal in their disdain for such tampering with mysteries better left to the murky depths of the Dark Age of Technology.
THE SHAPE OF TIMES TO COME
With his trap at Vilamus gone awry and Terra rising against him, Corax evolves a new grand strategy. The Carrion King’s plan is based on a simple tenet: “Divide et impera.” Jonson, Fulgrim, Angron, Magnus, Principio and Etiamnus will stand and die alone, with none to aid the other. To that end, the Sol system is cordoned off and blockaded both conventionally and by Warp Storms brought into existence by the Angels. Though Mars and Terra are mighty bastions, without the influx of supplies they quickly become starved and desperate. The cordon is never air-tight, but several years into the war the Warmaster’s talons are clenched tightly around the Throneworld.
CORSAIRS VS. THE HOUNDS
The Red Corsairs and Imperial Hounds were to be granted a grand gift by the Mechanicum. Two Kingships, a new class of ships that both dwarfed and overpowered all others, even the mainstay Glorianas, had been built, with another nearing completion, in the great ports of the Boros Gate. As a confluence of many Warp routes, the port was built there to provide maintenance, refit and resupply of Imperial fleets utilizing the Gate as a muster. The first two were to be gifted to the two naval-based Legions. As war broke out among the stars, the gifts became necessary weapons to command the space between worlds. However, the Red Corsairs had already sworn their allegiance to the Warmaster, and declared their loyalty be ambushing the Imperial Hounds at the docks. The two Legions present in near full force, the devastation was immediate and horrifying in scope. Lorgar disappears in the chaos of battle, and the Hounds are forced to flee. Though their Kingship is destroyed, the Hounds take with them the incomplete ship. Later, it is built to the Hounds’ more exacting standards and reclassified as a Queenship. Though the Hounds were not present at the Shattering, their decimation at the hands of the Corsairs qualifies them as one of the Shattered Legions.
The actual battle begins with an immense mixed xenos raid from unknown origins that strikes the Gate. While the Imperial Hounds hold the Orks at bay, the Red Corsairs arrive and unleash hell upon the Imperial Hounds’ flanks, revealing their treachery. The myriad xenos breeds were lent to the Red Corsairs by the Minotaurs, who had implanted the Butcher’s Nails into their alien flesh and utilized them as suicide shock troops.
Later, it is discovered that the female warrior societies within the Imperial Hounds had recovered Lorgar, who was returned to his Legion.
THE WORM IN THE APPLE
Led by the Fabricator General, the Ordo Dracul are those who chafed under the restrictions the Emperor and later Corax laid upon them. Opposing them are the Cognitae, a sizeable but lesser faction that sees wisdom in these guidelines. Many of their more conservative leaders believe, in fact, that more should restrictions should be laid upon them.
ASSAULT ON THE PALATINATE
Corax’s whispers of Jonson’s infidelity falls on open ears with Lupercal, who assaults the Palatinate with absolute fervor. However, the First Legion is not above fighting dirty, and for a period of time the two Legions are locked in stalemates, neither side able to get the advantage over the other. Lupercal is mercurial, inciting unrest and anarchy across the Palatine’s worlds, while the First Legion coldly and brutally puts down any rebellions against the Palatine , the lumbering war machine hot on the Wolf’s tail.
The arrival of Adra’Melek and the Infernal Guard proves a game changer. The burning madmen of the XIV set the Palatinate aflame from end to end. Though their arrival forces the First Legion onto the backfoot,the lack of coordination between the Astral Wolves and Infernal Guard creates friction between them. As the battles rage on, the Infernal Guard become increasingly indiscriminate in their slaughters, at times going well out of their way to set a population on fire, even when doing so placed the Astral Wolves in compromising positions. When the Infernal Guard Legion’s rampages escaped the Palatinate, spreading across worlds never once under Jonson’s command, Lupercal realized that his morbid, burned brother had gone mad, and was of no tactical use to him. When his brother attacked worlds long since under Lupercal’s control, however, the nihilistic Wolf himself went mad with anger. Confronting Adra’Melek, Lupercal demanded an answer. Melek responded with words that would be repeated from Infernal Guard lips forevermore, turning his scythe upon his brother and ally. The two dueled in the ashes and although Lupercal was a consummate and unpredictable warrior, Melek was gripped by some infernal madness and strength. Lupercal’s head was scythed from his body, his death marking the crescendo of bloodshed that surrounded the pair as their sons tore into each other. With the power of such a sacrifice, Melek was reforged by a power within the Warp into something new, something terrifying. The first Daemon Primarch had ascended, and the Blood God was pleased.
Those Astral Wolves that had not participated in the battle extricated themselves from the Palatinate, disavowing their pledges of loyalty to all and splintering across. However, the majority of the Astral Wolves remain within the Warmaster’s camp. Guided by an unseen hand, Sanguinius arrives to gather the blood-crazed Infernal Guard and their master. They will be needed for the Warmaster’s coming assault on Terra, and there is much that the Angels of Colchis can teach them of the thirst for blood.
PROSPERO MUST BURN
Corax demands the cure Anubis is said to have, and orders the Sons of Barabbas to retrieve it. As Roboute Barabbas is of the belief that Corax has been a more suitable ruler of the Imperium than the Emperor ever was, the Sons of Barabbas do leave for Prospero. However, they go not to retrieve the cure, but to destroy it. When the Sons of Barabbas arrive, however, they have been somehow changed on a fundamental level, appearing more ancient than any Marine had a right to be, after only a couple centuries of life at max. The corroded hulks that were once the ships of the XIII are packed to bursting with fanatic serf-thralls, beastmen tribes and entire clans of plagued ogryn. In the aftermath, Barabbas captures Anubis and proceeds to Rime of the Ancient Mariner the heck out of him. Anubis is taken to Cthonia, one of Barabbas’ many prison worlds, where he is held captive.
As the Sons’ primary objective was solely the capture of Anubis, the destruction of Prospero and the Solar Tigers is less extensive than it otherwise may have been. However, the attack leaves a virulent strain of disease that converts human and animal populations into plagued beastmen. Though the tireless efforts of the Solar Tigers has restrained the disease and whole centuries at a time have passed without it resurfacing, after ten thousand years Prospero remains afflicted.
Konrad Dominus and the Executioners, alongside the leaderless Solar Tigers, assault the fortress world of Cthonia, assisted by a loyalist within the XIII’s ranks. The Tigers believe it a rescue, however Konrad intends the execution of his brother in order to prevent a vision showing a daemonic Anubis breaking Imperial lines from occurring. Releasing hordes of the enemies of Barabbas from their imprisonment, the world was embroiled in a war more total and cruel than any of the criminal overlords of old could have ever conceived. Eventually, the Loyalists free Anubis and leave Cthonia to the fire.
A SOUL IN TWAIN
The Warmaster needed more Legions on his side, though few were left that had not already declared allegiance to one side or another. While sending Bron to Caliban, he sends Sanguinius to Olympia to gain for his cause the loyalty of the Ouroboros Legion and their twin Primarchs. However, like Barabbas, Sanguinius had other plans. A trap was set in Signus, where the Ouroboros Legion was not meant to be reforged but broken. The Angel of Colchis approached Principio alone, whispering lies. Principio became convinced that the Warmaster had decreed he and his Legion unfit, to be destroyed without thought. However, Sanguinius told Principio that it was Etiamnus who is the cause of the Warmaster’s disdain and that, with Etiamnus gone, he would welcome the XX with open arms. All he need do is lead his brother to Signus, and let the trap set for them be sprung.
It was a lie easily accepted, for Principio had always looked up to Corax, the only Primarch to have ever complimented his talents not just for war. Principio gains his brother’s support on a campaign into the Signus system, where conflicting reports of some strange invasion was taking place, potentially xenos in nature. The Ouroboros Legion is divided evenly between the two, and the halves strike at Signus from different ends. What they find at Signus is no xenos threat, but something different, something new. What reigns supreme there can only be described as daemonic, a word that had lost all meaning in the Emperor’s light, but was gaining resurgence across the galaxy. Etiamnus and his half fought valiantly, carving a path through to Signus Prime. There, Principio waited for him.
However, rather than finding his brother arrived as he did, having fought through the hordes and crushing it between them, Etiamnus finds his brother . . . changed. Principio’s half of the Legion are fresh, having fought only a little since entering Signus. There were no piles of the dead behind them, but rather the corrupt, twisted creaters cavorted and capered in their ranks.
No words were spoken, though tears freely flowed. Principio wept, for he knew he must kill his only true brother if he was to become anything more than he was, and Etiamnus for he knew how far his brother had fallen, and that only with death could he be freed from living damnation.
The two halves of the Ouroboros Legion left Signus bloodied and in many ways broken, but unbowed. Though Principio led his half still, Etiamnus had fallen on Signus Prime, though no body was recovered.
THE INNER CIRCLE CRUMBLES
The White Scars had approached Magnus bearing the white, and the Orders of the Sword had refused. The Warmaster could not let such insult pass, and the punishment came in the form of the Angels. The Black Angel himself came to Caliban, when the fires of armageddon rained down.With the bulk of the Legion not far from Caliban, the IX Legion had to move quickly. Sanguinius had a plan, one that would see the Orders of the Sword returned to the path they had strayed from, that the fates had decreed for them. Only the young recruits of the Legion were stationed at Caliban when the devastation struck, and though their defiance was commendable there was little they could do.
The forests of Caliban burned as Sanguinius began a ritual of terrible import. As the Warp broiled just under the surface, the Orders of the Sword were suddenly afflicted by a terrible curse, a curse Magnus and the few surviving Terran Legionnaires had thought, had hoped, gone forever. As the seer-knights of Caliban contorted out of shape, their stoic defenses turned feeble, Magnus rushed to meet Sanguinius and thwart the disaster.
The Ghost Fox and the Black Angel dueled in the ashes, the burning blade of Sanguinius, once gripped by the hands of a living god, meeting the icy glare of Magnus’ immense claymore, a gift of Fenris from better days. Though a giant even among his brothers, Magnus was outclassed by Sanguinius, who had only ever been bested once, by Angron when he had been overcome with one of his rages. The Red-Maned King held his own, feeling the ritual burn away at the barriers put in place within himself. His psychic might increased as the battle raged, and in desperation was used to its fullest.
It was not enough to stop the Angel of Death. The colossal lord of Caliban was brought to his knees, much of his armor lopped off and his body bleeding and burned from a thousand cuts. As his single, multi-colored eye looked out onto a scene of horror and carnage, his sons twisting in agony as the change overcame them, the burning edge of Sanguinius’ sword sliced through Magnus’ thick neck.
What happened next is likely not what the Black Angel had expected to happen. The Warp, already tumultuous due to the ritual, reached a fevered pitch as the soul of the galaxy’s second most powerful psyker was thrown into the mix. Such was its force that the ritual was suddenly struck by a cascading failure, causing the return of the flesh-change to begin to subside once more.
Growling with fury, Sanguinius began to restart the ritual when the bulk of the Orders of the Sword Legion, led by Luther, broke from the Warp and opened fire on the vessels of the Angels, while moving to disgorge Legionnaires on the surface. Caught unprepared, for the continued ritual would have begun affecting even those of the XV far from Caliban, the Angels were forced to gather their lord and brothers on the surface and leave.
THE SCARS HUNT THE LIONS OF MACRAGGE
The White Scars are ordered to keep the Celestial Lions, already a distant Legion on the fringes of Segmentum Ultima, from entering the greater war. However, the two Legions quickly find themselves evenly matched and proceed to engage in a series of feints and maneuvers rather than open battle. Bron believed he would have his brother at a disadvantage by holding one of his beloved worlds hostage, so he struck the world of Calth with great force, even utilizing powerful magicks to affect the sun, scouring the surface of Calth clear. However, it had the opposite impact as intended, as the Celestial Lions struck the White Scars with unparalleled fury in the wake of the assault. Forced to retreat, the White Scars once more returned the war into one of feints and maneuvers. Though the trap was a good one, they were unprepared for the Lions’ response. The next time, they would be prepared. However, this is far from a victory for the Celestial Lions. As the White Scars mainly utilized auxiliary or daemonic forces at Calth, the bulk of the Legion was away, hitting other worlds of Ultramar. Though the Celestial Lions have revealed their greatest strength, the White Scars see it for the weakness it truly is.
CORSAIRS VS. THE HOUNDS, ROUND 2
Leman Barbedor attempts to end the Imperial Hounds for good by assaulting their home world of Fenris. The Red Corsairs enter Fenrisian space in force and with overwhelming firepower they eliminate the extensive defenses of the great orbital stations that elevate the Fenrisian people from the harsh lands of their birth. The Red Corsairs hold the Fenrisian people hostage to force Lorgar to bear his throat to their knives. However, events spiral out of anyone’s control when the mortal Governor of Fenris, adoptive mother of the Cleftjaw, sacrifices herself to provide her son the means to strike a blow against the dreaded lord of the Corsairs. True to their word, the orbital stations are destroyed and plummet to the surface, the over-all destruction rendering Fenris lifeless, however the Red Corsairs are forced to flee under the biting guns of the Imperial Hounds, the source of their hesitation and pacification now rendered moot.
DEATH OF MARS
The Adeptus Mechanicum divides itself on the manner in which they involve themselves in the war. A group called the Cognitae adopt an extreme traditionalist stance in stark contrast to many within the Mechanicum who begin to develop and deploy prototype weapons. Though the details are a closely held secret, some thing is unleashed upon Mars that made a mockery of all attempts to thwart it. Mars is now a solid ball of silver metal, the remains of the Martian civilization standing as iron tombstones. One of the mighty hive-forges of Mars had been modified with powerful engines to push it into orbit. The incident occurred before they had been tested, however the enormity of the situation saw a rush to get it aloft. Though successful, the rate of ascent was too slow to escape the cataclysm. Encased in silver, the great forge bastion remains high in the Martian sky, resting atop a forest of conical metal pillars. It was as if Mars herself had reached upward to grab the fleeing techpriests, freezing them at the moment of contact. Among those who survived this disaster are the Cognitae, who flee to the galactic fringes, far from Imperium’s reach, vowing to destroy those who had destroyed Mars. Other survivors blame the Cognitae, stating that the reactionaries had unleashed something forbidden from the deepest tombs of the once red world.
SIEGE OF TERRA
The Iron Hoplites, Imperial Hounds, Solar Tigers and Executioners make multiple concerted efforts to break the stranglehold the Warmaster has over their birthworld, and manage to just barely break through before the newly arrived Infernal Guard and Sons of Barabbas could enter the foray. In light of this attack, the Warmaster determines that Terra must fall to him without any further delay, and orders an all-out assault on the Imperial Palace. Terra comes under assault from a dozen Legions. The Emperor’s Children stationed on Terra are reinforced by the Iron Hoplites, Imperial Hounds, Solar Tigers and Executioners. The Chainsworn and Minotaurs that had already been assaulting the inner worlds are joined by the Infernal Guard, Sons of Barabbas, White Scars and Angels.
For weeks on end, Terra is transformed into a tapestry of hell. Whole continents are turned to glass, hive spires bloated with people are toppled, and the poisonous seas boil. Due in no small part to the collaborative efforts that went into fortifying the Palace, its outer walls are quickly breached by the Warmaster’s own. The entire world rises up in arms for one side or the other, as the war that had burned across the galaxy was given its purest form on a single battlefield. The Imperial Palace became a slaughter house for all involved, the indomitable walls, labyrinthine hallways, and cavernous spaces were filled with the dead, dying and fighting. Two prongs of assault speared the Palace through, shoving with fearless abandon through unending hordes. At the tip of the spear of Chainsworn was Corax himself, a titan of war rampaging through enemy Astartes like they were mortal children at the feet of the god-machines of Mars. Nothing could stand against him, broken bodies falling before him in waves.
Likewise aiming for the Throneroom was Anubis, bearing what could be their only chance at bringing the Emperor back to the game. Though Anubis’ pace is slower, Corax meets his first delay just outside the Throneroom. Fulgrim Dragonslayer and Konrad Dominus face off against the Warmaster, bloated with power from the Ruinous Powers, alongside heroes and legends of the Custodes, Mechanicum, even the venerable Thunder Warriors and warriors as old as time. The power of humanity, the power to dominate the stars, focused within a single room, and none of it stood a chance against the might of the Warmaster.
When Anubis stood poised, in his hands an instrument of mankind’s salvation or destruction, before the Emperor, the Warmaster strode alone from the bloodbath, the final marks of his injuries fading away as the blessings of his Brothers-To-Be repaired armor and reknitted flesh with every step.
“And then the battle. The lone defender of the Golden Throne plays his desperate trick.
The Warmaster's rage as the oceans of power flooding his every cell dissipate, his godhood lost.
Behind him, footsteps.
Bloody but unbowed, leaning on one another and their weapons for support, faces set in grim masks of resolution, they come.
Does he beg forgiveness? Does he weep, soul sick to his core? He does not. He chose this. He, Lanista Corax!
Far, far better to die trying to surpass one's limits than live in acceptance of mediocrity.
And so he draws his blades one more time...”
There is no duel. This is not the climactic clash of titans, killing themselves upon each other's blades. There is only one titan, and countless heroes who threw themselves upon him until they could finally, at the very end, drag him down to their level and end him. And so the Executioner’s axe embeds itself deep within the Warmaster, and a shining spear thrusts forth from his breast as Fulgrim gains the title Godslayer.
THE IMPERIUM TEETERS
Following the Heresy, as the Traitorous scum flee into the darker corners of the galaxy, the weakened, battered Imperium attempts to regain its worlds and rebuild. The Imperial forces approach the Palatinate, worlds that had suffered relatively little from the horrors of past years under Jonson’s command. Obstinate Imperial Commanders demand that Jonson open his borders once and realign themselves with the Imperium, under threat of war. The Imperium stands on the edge of obliteration if the stand-off degenerates into open warfare. Jonson refuses to do so unconditionally, and instead lists demands that must be met if he is to subjugate himself and his worlds to the Imperium once more. The demands are flat refused, and by all accounts and witnesses the two forces appear prepared to tear each other apart at a moment’s notice.
The Imperial forces are divided on their response to Jonson. Most notable are Konrad and Perturabo, who take opposing sides on whether or not to give in to Jonson’s demands. Ultimately, it is the arrival of Angron and his Celestial Lions that breaks the cease-fire, by counseling that the Imperium should listen to Jonson and that his demands are worth the unity.
These demands were many, and they have left an indelible mark upon the Imperium for millennia to follow. Most pronounced of these demands were the break-up of Legion might and the removal of the Primarchs from the power of the Emperor over the Imperium. Jonson would become the Imperium’s second Warmaster, a title of significantly less power than when Corax held the same. Other changes include Perturabo’s decommissioning of the mechanical constructs he utilized to rebuild his numbers, as Jonson saw them as too near to the Men of Iron that once tried to destroy mankind’s future as surely as Corax did.
In many ways the equal of the Lord Commander of the Imperium, Angron rises as the first among equals of the Imperial Council, a High Lord of Terra. The Imperium is effectively run between the two of them, each countering the other to prevent the rise of an all-powerful tyrant like Corax once more.
With Jonson in charge of what remains of the Imperial military, an effort is made to push those who had fought for the Warmaster out of the Imperium. At the forefront of these assaults were the Cohorts of the First Legion and Prides of the Celestial Lions. Though Legions like the Red Corsairs and Astral Wolves were quick to leave the Imperium when the Siege failed, the Sons of Barabbas entrenched themselves along their chain of Gaol-Garrisons and were concentrating on putting down religious revolts. Curioiusly, Barbarus is abandoned entirely to its fate. The Emperor’s Children, led by Fulgrim, rechristened the Godslayer, were integral in forcing the XIII out of their bunkers, though it came at great cost.
THE PALE RIDER RISES
Fulgrim and the Emperor’s Children fight upon a world corrupted by daemonic forces. The Sons of Barabbas arrive in force over the world. Fulgrim, expecting Barabbas to confront him, ends the duel against a Greater Daemon with haste to prepare for his brother. However, as Barabbas and Fulgrim face off against each other, the Sons unleash the Life-Eater Virus upon the world, rendering the entirety of the world lifeless. From the black goop and miasma that marked where Fulgrim and Barabbas were slain, a silver point breaks the surface. Rising higher, Fulgrim’s mighty spear becomes visible. However, it has been corrupted and tainted, its surface marred and rusted. Fulgrim’s hand is no longer upon its shaft, as the skeletal claw that grasps it belongs to Roboute Barabbas, ascended Daemon Primarch of Nurgle.
DISCIPLE OF THE CORPSE-GOD
As Jonson, now Lord Commander of the Imperium, reforms the Imperium in an attempt to prevent a future reoccurrence of the Heresy, news filters from Cadia of an immense force coming from the Eye of Terror, where most of the Traitor Legions had fled, led by a giant of a warrior who called himself the Warmaster. This successor to the Carrion King is a being of great power and charisma, bending even the Astral Wolves and the Daemon Primarchs to his will.
The Imperial Hounds, the nearest force available, are ordered to Cadia at all speed to hold the enemy at the Gates. Though successful, the Imperial Hounds lose their Primarch in the battle. The forces of Chaos are held long enough for Jonson to launch an immense counter attack that saw the enemy broken and fleeing once more into the Eye of Terror. Future would reveal this the first of many such outbreaks.
BLACK WATCH AND THE BRIDES OF THE EMPEROR
Two militant factions birthed by Jonson’s reforms following the Heresy. The Black Watch consists of those Marines who, for whatever reason, renounce all ties to their former identities. They are granted new names, their armor painted a solid black with no identifyin insignias, and the fervor they have for the Emperor of Mankind throws them headlong into whatever conflict presents itself. Only once have members of the Black Watch been granted ornamentation, an exception to the ironclade rule, allowing the bare few survivors of the defense of the Basilicae on Lesser Damatyn from Waaagh! Sunkilla to wear the Crux Signus of the Catheric Church. Rumors abound as to the formation of the Black Watch. Some say it is the survivors of the Blackened Fists, learning to survive with their Primarch gone. Others say it is from those within the Crusader Host whose loyalty to the Emperor stayed the Executioner’s blade. Whatever its origins, its numbers regularly replenishes itself as unknown Marines ‘take the black,’ though there have been times where the Black Watch officially ceased to exist. To ensure the spiritual purity of the Black Watch during the initial centuries of their Founding, the First Legion provided their own Chaplains. As such, the Black Watch has a very similar organization scheme as the Cohorts of the First Legion.
The Brides of the Emperor are a post-Heresy organization combining the talents of psykers and blanks, formed from what remains of the Silent Sisterhood. Pyskers became involved with the Sisterhood as a means to combat the daemons and other Warp-related dangers. The dual-pronged force proved particularly adept at dealing with their kind. To meet the foe physically, they are equipped with modified power armor, a bulky set necessary to match the infernal strength of traitor and daemon alike. Clone technology is explored as a means to keep the Brides numbers manageable, as blanks and psykers are an exceptionally rare mutation.
PROLIFERATION OF BELIEF
Following the Heresy, the intended atheistic nature of the Imperium began to wane.The Lectitio Divinatus, a widespread cult nurtured by the Sons of Barabbas prior to their corruption, worships the Emperor as a God. Rivaling it is the ancient religion of the Catherics, which gathered strength in the years immediately following the Heresy. Spiritual beliefs rooted in Prosperan teachings, called the Enumerations, have also gained momentum. For thousands of years, no other religious practice has gained widespread dominance like these three, however within the 41st Millennium, a splinter cult of the Lectitio Divinatus has begun to gain in power. Their belief is that the Emperor is not in fact a God yet, as His body remains living upon the Golden Throne. Only upon the death of His mortal body may His holy soul rise to Godhood. This belief has set them at odds with those not of their beliefs, and many worlds have suffered violent clashes between the ideologies. In the final year of the 41st Millennium, the first ever violent outbreak involving what the Ecclesiarch still insists is a splinter cult is reported from within the Imperial Palace.
Each religion has many holy and shrine worlds, but none are as hotly disputed between them as Ullanor. The Ecclesiarchy marks Ullanor as where the Emperor ascended to Godhood. The Catherics, on the other hand, consider the Emperor’s fate a sacrifice made for the sake of all humanity, and canonize him as a saint, adding him to the ranks of the Divine Population said to inhabit the afterlife. The Enumerations venerates the Emperor as an exceptionally gifted man, holy enough in his spiritual power without needing to deify or canonize him, and wish to bring expansive life back to the world in honor of his sacrifice. This has led to many conflicts on Ullanor for dominance, as all three religions vie for control over the plateau, the site of the Emperor’s fall.
Jonson, in his role as Lord Commander of the Imperium, recognized that to control the Navigators was to control the Imperium. The First Legion and its successors submit squads of their elite champions as bodyguard contingents for the noble houses of the Navigators. However, Angron catches wind of the practice and sets in motion the same process with his own sons. Soon, all of the Navigator Houses have bodyguard details from each of the Legions, with the notable exception of the Executioners. Prior to this, those of who bear the gene-seed of the First held mock Feasts of Blades to keep their skills honed and to while away the time. This practice continued, though the competitions shifted from the ritualized duels of the First Legion, becoming more brutal, bloody affairs, much to the derision of the sons of Jonson.
AGENTES EN REBUS
Those Who Are Active In Matters, operate as the Inquisition analogue, minus the quasi-religious license to burn worlds. More of a galactic intelligence agency.
The Imperial Army remains a unified force between ground and navy elements, however its size is never what it once was during the Great Crusade. Smaller, but more elite. As the power of the High Lords and other aristocratic rulers was increased by association through Angron, so too did their military might. After millennia, the bulk of the Imperium’s armed forces were the levies of the nobility and the militant members of the Three Faiths. Many Rogue Trader Dynasties are founded in the centuries following the Siege of Terra, to replace those lost when the Red Corsairs turned upon the Imperium. Each Dynasty has an immense, if typically anachronistic army of Household Troops that they are bound by law to provide the Imperial Army whenever demanded. Chief among the worlds that continue to provide regiments to the Imperial Army is Cadia, Catachan and Elysia. With many battles across the Imperium requiring not simply skill or ability, but overwhelming numbers, the Imperial Army has the right to conscript as many as deemed necessary for the purpose of any particular campaign. Often the Planetary Defense Forces are the first to be conscripted in this manner, however many of the larger campaigns have been known to strip worlds whole of their populations. Only Astartes or Shrine Worlds are immune to being the site of a press ganging due to long-standing privilege, and to avoid the insanity of an internecine war.
ORDER OF THE DRAGON
What remains of the Adeptus Mechanicum blame the bitter stagnation of the Cognitae for the fate of Mars. The most militant minded of the remnants organize themselves into the Ordo Dracul, an idealistic, militant group that hunts for innovation of all kinds. As a means to prevent destabilization and a return to the fractured days when they and the Cognitae battled on the once red sands of Mars, the leaders of the Ordo Dracul are plugged into a single gestalt mind, to better become better acquainted with the ephemeral mind of their Machine-God. It is said that this practice is what led to the single-minded assault led upon the iron ball of Mars by the Silent King of the Necrons in the 41st Millennium.
The Eldar witness the fall of Man, and within it they see the galaxy fall with them. Rather than accept such a fate, the remaining Craftworlds begin to band together in outlying areas of the galaxy, ensuring the survival of at least their own species, and whatever of the galaxy they can keep safe from Mankind. Notable protectorates include the Ghoul Stars, whose haunted worlds are patrolled by warriors of the dead, and the Eastern Sphere, where the more militant minded Eldar safeguard lesser xenos.
The threat that these worlds represent to the Imperium is very real, but not fully understood or explored by it. These regions are marked by cartographers as regions of extreme risk, to be avoided at all cost.
However, the Eldar Protectorates are not invulnerable to harm. Within the Eastern Sphere, a xenos species that had been rescued from Mankind while at the cusp of sentience has grown rapidly over the centuries under the supervision of the Eldar. Infuriatingly for these Eldar, the species has recently begun to reject Eldar control, going so far as to commit guerilla attacks upon them and incite unrest among the other species, all in the name of their Greater Good.
This species, called the tau, are rigidly structured socially into castes, all thoroughly under the thumb of the politically powerful Ethereals.
The Fire Caste once had a large population, however the terrible vagaries of war have left them with nothing but young recruits. Though their fewer numbers and smaller bodies means that the Fire Warriors are capable of being fielded entirely battlesuits. They are young, and therefore brash, cocky and convinced of Tau superiority.
The bulk of Tau society is the Earth Caste, sometimes referred to insultingly as the Bone Caste, both because of their reverse-engineered Eldar Wraithbone constructs and their morbid recyclical use of the dead. They are comprised of technicians, medical personnel, cooks and so on. However, to keep up with the demands of their constant war for independence, they also comprise the bulk of the line infantry and conventional forces. These so-called Ash Warriors are vital part of the Tau war effort, although sneered at by the Fire Caste for lacking the power granted by battlesuits. However, perhaps due to their more varied educational backgrounds, Imperial commanders have often found the Earth Caste forces to be much more tactically adept than their comparatively glory hungry and hot-headed Fire brethren. However, more than simple firepower and brute force is necessary for the war effort.
The Air Caste has a sizable cadre of spies and scouts, and it is believed that they make heavy use of non-Tau agents, with confirmed reports of human children being taken in raids being acquired and raised by the Air Caste to serve as infiltrators and covert operatives.
To lead the Tau in battle, they have fabricated a new Caste, populated by the products of genetic tampering and breeding. These Tau prodigies and savants, shaped by cybernetics, gene-therapy, perception and cognition enhancing drugs, and other augmentative means, are masters at commanding armies and fleets, at the cost of a dramatically shortened lifespan. As a means to offset the rapid decay of the Water Caste tacticians and stragetists, those showing the most skill and aptitudes are placed in stasis, to be brought out only when needed for particular campaigns.
Edited by Cormac Airt, 12 April 2014 - 05:05 PM.