The Shape of the Nightmare to Come [50K]
This is my 50k speculative background piece. I could only post the first few parts of my twenty-plus part full background document, due to the BL forums going down. Hope this is good enough for now. I'll update it when BL returns:
It is the 51st Millenium, and the war continues.
There was no great conflagration or calamitous final battle.
Across the vastness of the galaxy, the Imperium died. Not with a bang, but with a whimper. The galactic empire of humanity crumbled, its enemies too many, too great and too terrible to imagine. The great conflict of Octavius had no victory, a war without end. In the fiery chasm of strife, the locust and the green holocaust fused, as beast looked upon barbarian and both saw the other as kin. The new entity spread with a speed undreamt of by Ork or Tyranid. War and hunger melded into a singular desire to ravage, rape and remake all in the image of the new devourer.
The Devourer’s hybrid nightmares were regenerative, and spore-born, combining into a grand horror, which murdered the galaxy, leaving naught but fragments as it left.
Metallic sentinels of unflinching dread rose up on some worlds, leaving them safe from the new devourer waaaggghh, but instead made them slaves to the silver sentinels, and fodder for their glowing metal gods.
The Eldar who had held on to life for so long, slowly winked out of existence one craftworld at a time. Eventually, even the rumbling hearts of the avatars fell silent. For a time... In the dead craftworlds, something slithers through the infinity circuit to this day. Unfortunately, the great god of the dead, Ynnead, is trapped within this infinity circuit, howling its mournful song into the darkness, eternally hungry in its desire to wreak vengeance on She Who Thirsts.
The Tau, naïve in their hope of unity, expanded into a realm of corpses and ash. Every world they came across was dead. The hard and unpleasant task of terraforming each world turned the Tau into bitter, self-righteous beings. They were disgusted at the actions of their predecessors, and vowed not understand their fellow races, but to purge them. Only the Tau could be trusted with worlds. They decided that all others must be cast out. Watching, their patron laughed his sardonic laugh as his puppets twisted into terrors.
The Golden Throne finally failed. No-one knew for certain what happened to the Emperor. For once the throne fell, no vox or astropathic transmissions ever came from Terra again as warp storms engulfed the planet. The shattered remains of humanity had neither the power nor the will to return. All that is known is that the astronomicon died with the death of Terra, spluttering to nothing over the course of five hundred years. Eventually, the Imperium, coherency lost by the splitting of its forces against the new devourer, and the sudden surge in warp storms, was shattered like glass. Chaotic cults stampeded through humanity, like electrical surges in an ancient power grid.
The Inquisition with the death of the Emperor, finally lost its façade of unity, and most died, killed by the more powerful within its once hallowed ranks. The greatest Inquisitor Lords seized whole systems, becoming feudal Kings and Regents. Uniting scattered mobs of their deadly follows around them in order to wrestle power from Local Governors.
The church also shattered, becoming nothing more than a series of minor sectarian cults. All save Ophelia. The Sororitas withdrew from as many worlds as they could, and gathered around Ophelia and nearby systems. Ophelia became a vile charnel house for the Eccliesiarch, who had been driven insane by all he had seen. He gathered his Canonesses, Abbesses and Witchhunters together and put billions to the torch. Any system within range of short warp jumps (as navigators could no long take long jumps, due to the warp storms) of Ophelia were terrorized by the Imperial Church, who searched desperately for someone to blame for this nightmare.
It was said that in those days, a hundred thousand Petty Imperiums were created from the carved up corpse of the Imperium of Man. Each claimed legitimacy and claiming to be led by a leader chosen by the Emperor as he finally died. Some even claimed to be the Emperor reborn. Humanity, so scared in their huddled masses, believed this heresy without question, too afraid to imagine a universe without their father and protector.
The Space marines fared little better Most chapters utterly disintegrated as their forces fighting individual missions across the galaxy, found they could not return to their Chapter Masters. In the darkness, alone, many marines chose the only path they knew: War. They became rogues and near bandits, pillaging Imperial world ‘for the war effort’ as they would say in justification for their actions. It was said White Scar war bands and Raven Guard war bands were the worst, as they were so swift and ruthless in their pillaging.
The Black Templars retained the most of their original fervour, and merely continued their crusades. They became full worshippers of the God-Emperor and High Marshall Dorstros declared a new and great crusade: to destroy every human that did not submit to them, and purging everything and everyone else. Their fervour blinded them to their own heresies, as more and leaderless marines desperate for orders tagged alongside the Black Templars’ crusade. Millions of rag tag former guard and massive mobs of flagellating Imperial Cultists quickly joined the crusades' march across the stars. Soon, their depleted numbers (depleted during the wars with the new devourer) had nearly reached two thousand, representing the second largest single group of Imperial marines still in existence (second only to Grand Sicarium). Yet, no matter how large their crusade got, the Tempalrs were naught but a band of raving fanatics
Ultramar was renamed Grand Sicarium, under their new ruler, Cato Sicarius. His realm became a holy site for the other Ultramarine successors. Their fractured remnants gathering around Ultramar like a swarm of flies. Sicarius declared himself High SPESS MURHEEN king, decreeing that those under his protection should worship him as the god he was. Sicarius became the ruler of his own little empire, his angelic marines and ordinary humans under his decree became his worshippers. Upon Macragge itself, the fortress of obsidian was crafted; the heads of Agemman and Calgar were stuck upon great steel pikes. A grim demonstration of Sicarius’ desire to rule all. Ultramar became a darker place in those centuries.
Those forgeworlds still intact either fell to chaotic or Dragon-cult invasions. Some were ransacked by rival warbands desperate for tech priest slaves to help them work their stolen technologies. These slaves became bartered like currency amongst the various larger ‘Petty Imperiums’ as they became known now. Some forge worlds simply sealed themselves off from reality entirely, their Fabricators for once preferring ignorance over knowledge of what lay beyond.
Chaos became a raging torrent in these dark millennia, rising to Strife-Era levels of corruption. Worlds were dragged into the warp as whole planets were over-run by psykers, madmen, and monstrous space marines. The chaos Legions became virtually indistinguishable from rabid bands of former loyalists. Some groups slaughtered in the name of dark gods, others just slaughtered.
Abaddon seized massive swathes of space around the eye, being careful to avoid the new devourer, as it blundered around him. Dodging like a skilled swimmer giving a swarm of predatory fish a wide berth, he avoided them. Abaddon and his 78th Crusade, plunged into the solar system. It is there that legend tells of the war of two spheres. Here, Abaddon faced the army of the Dragon transcendent, a vast army of fallen mechanicus and those same silver sentinels that already plagued thousands of worlds.
The confrontation was epic in scale. Warped spawned magic, and daemonic machinery and weaponry, battled weapons of unimaginable power, and the vast serried ranks of Necrons and pariah, which covered nearly every solid Solar world like a silver carpet. In the end, Abaddon was forced to merely surround the ort cloud. The Dragon had ensured the solar system was his.
His, save for a single orb of diamond hard stubbornness: Titan. It stood, a stony fortress, its doors sealed from the necrons by admantium and heavy cannons, its soul sealed from Abaddon by the cold steel cage of faith encaging the hearts of the Grey Knights and Custodian Guard still trapped upon the world. All other humans on the world had perished a thousand years previously, yet the ancient warriors stood firm, a shadow of the Imperium’s previous glory.
In the turbulent energies of the warp, the Chaos gods also suffered. For upon the end of the Emperor, something else stirred. Birthed upon the death of Him on Terra, the Starchild suckled upon the raged religious lunacy of the dying Imperium, consuming every soul remaining upon terra in its birth pangs. This is what killed the astronimicon. Ophelia became a focus for this dark zeal. At the dawn of the 50th millennium, the Starchild became the Star Father, and the warp became a battleground. For a brief instance (or perhaps and eternity in the warp, none can tell for sure) the Star Father became dominant over the chaos foes. Then, with the sickening inevitability of the great game of chaos, the Star Father became one amongst the five, an order god amongst chaos gods.
Where they spread chaos, He spread oppression. Where their daemons were feral nightmares that rended souls, His daemons were faceless automata, enslaving the souls of humans into servitude. Star Father daemon worlds sprung up in the eye and across the galaxy in the closing thousand years of this dark age. They were balls of featureless gold, with golden faceless daemons and billions of mindless, empty humans. The inhabitants of these worlds shuffled across the surface for no particular reason until they simply died of starvation, or fatigue
It is the 51st Millennium and I cannot wake up from this nightmare! I cannot wake up!
(now, onto more specific stuff):
Additional Background detail, section 1: Cadia, Abaddon and the Western Chaos Imperium.
In those dark, early years of the ten thousand years of pain, before hope had completely died, the forces of the Despoiler made their move. As the whole galaxy convulsed in pain and terror, and the Imperium was gutted by the new devourer’s rampages, Abaddon and his 20th Crusade finally, irrevocably, defeated the Imperial blockade around the Eye of Terror. At last, Cadia fell to his forces. Beasts, daemons, madmen and monstrous marines swarmed over every world in the systems surrounding the tear in reality. Though pockets of resistance held out for far longer than expected, each Imperial bastion, Inquisitorial fortress and Space Marine chapter were overcome in those centuries of woe.
The Imperium was finally overreaching itself, and Abaddon punished them for their laxity, carving out a domain spanning nearly an entire segmentum. Yet, of all the myriad worlds Abaddon conquered, none was more precious to him than the great Bastion itself: Cadia.
Cadia was a symbol of his ultimate triumph over the High Lords, and his defiance of their feeble attempts to contain him. Though initially the world burned in slaughter and barbarism, eventually, Abaddon forged the planet into something else entirely. He repaired the ravaged Kasrs, their formidable fortifications admired by Abaddon. He had learned to grimly respect Cadia, as it had thwarted him again and again for millennia before. He remade Cadia into a dark and twisted reflection of its former glory. The Despoiler wished to show to all that while chaos was a destroyer and unmaker of things, it could also represent glory.
Vast banners and triumphal arches were built by countless toiling, broken slaves. Statues to great horned daemon princes and chaos space marines lined boulevards and avenues. Aquila remained in view everywhere, but each was carefully defaced with the sign of the eight pointed star in place of the twin heads of the eagle.
Though most Cadians had been murdered n the first weeks of the invasion, some survived. Fallen Kasrkin and traitor guardsmen, numbering in their hundreds only, were kept alive by Abaddon. He promised them such wondrous gifts and power, but demanded that they create him a force like the Cadians. Thus, the twisted inhabitants of New Cadia were forcibly made to learn the way of war, from the ancient remnants of the original Traitor Cadians. Within a century, Abaddon had crafted a new force within his empire. These new ‘dark Cadians’, named themselves simply ‘The Despoiled’. They were elite, brutal, and utterly loyal to the Despoiler, who they worshipped as the voice of the chaos gods themselves.
Inevitably, following the defeat of the Imperials, the chaotic alliance fractured, as each of the Legions and chaotic war bands fought amongst themselves, each Lord or daemon prince desiring dominance over the other equally arrogant and selfish rulers of their rival war bands. Abaddon was no different, and he joined in the fighting, seeking to consolidate his realm of chaotic madness, into a new Dark Imperium. Many of his rivals (Angron and Perturabo in particular) were disgusted that Abaddon wanted to bring order to the blessed chaos of their current situation. They forged an alliance, and declared war upon Abaddon’s Dark Imperium. This declaration was a miscalculation on the two Primarchs’ part. This forced chaos warbands to choose sides.
The Word Bearers, for the most part, joined Abaddon almost immediately, as their visions of a Dark Imperium fitted with his to a certain extent. This brought a considerable number of marines under Abaddon‘s control, and the Word Bearers also brought with them truly phenomenally huge hordes of slave-soldiers and cultists. The Black Legion of course sided with Abaddon, as they were to benefit most from his ascendancy to overall rule of the chaotic realm. The other Legions, utterly decentralised by thousands of years of distrust and civil war, were formed into war bands, attached to no one ruler in particular. They flitted between the Angron/Perturabo camp and Abaddon’s camp almost annually during the conflict, though the majority of war bands followed Abaddon at any given time. Also, where most of the human vassal forces controlled by the Angron/Perturabo alliance were simply rabbles of mutants and cultist scum militia, Abaddon had crafted a vast force of ‘The Despoiled’, who’s numbers swelled massively by more and more traitor guardsmen recruits, from either Cadia herself, or other traitorous guard units, desperate for some military discipline once more.
In naval terms, the Primarch forces seemed outmatched once more. Abaddon’s navy was one third larger than that of Perturabo and Angron’s, as he (being Mortal) was free to command and cease more of the fallen Imperial vessels beyond the eye, than those Primarchs, still reliant upon the Eye to sustain them. In addition, the Despoiler still counted the Planetkiller and the remaining Blackstone fortress under his control.
The war was a long and bloody one, like most of the wars chaos ever fights are. Abaddon’s forces initially reeled from the violent assault of the two Primarch’s furious forces. Attempting to mimick Horus’ lightning swift assault upon Terra, Angron sent his forces directly for New Cadia, smashing aside blockades and ravaging worlds in his way. Abaddon though, was no fool. He had helped Horus formulate this very strategy, and predicted that Angron would be foolish enough to try it. His navy was seemingly absent, when Angron’s forces made planet fall upon New Cadia. However, they had been waiting. His vast fleet struck at the berserker Primarch’s supply vessels. Unaware of the sudden danger, they were decimated. Stranded upon New Cadia, Angron nevertheless reaped a massive toll upon the planet. Yet, weakened by the pylons, and the waves upon waves of human blanks Abaddon forced to charge at the berserker, he eventually succumbed, defeated by a group of the Black Legions highest ranked chosen, combined perfectly with a well timed orbital strike, which banished Angron from Cadia.
Angron‘s seemingly foolish charge into Abaddon‘s den, however, had been a mere distraction to give Perturabo time to complete his great work. With the aid of several Dark Mechanicus clans, and a sacrifice of a billion souls to the Soul Forge, the daemon Primarch had completed the Goliath Engine.
A vast construction of demonic iron, coiling semi-organic machinery, cursed runes, injected obliterator virus and other hateful devices and technologies were combined perfectly in the titanic vessel. Supplanting even the pLanet Killer in its scale, the demonic machine soon thundered from Perturabo‘s forge docks, at the head of the largest fleet the dameon could gather around him. Such was the dark powers crafted within the vessel, it allowed Perturabo to command his battle fleet personally, even beyond the eye‘s nourishing anarchy. Over the ravaged Nurgle daemon world of Thrashing Puxshar, where a billion souls rotted eternally, the two vast forces, one serving anarchy and disintegration, the other merely chaos clashed. Despite the size of Abaddon’s fleet, Perturabo was a Primarch, and his naval skill was formidable. One of the Blackstone fortresses succumbed to the Goliath Engine’s massive weapons, crashing into the stagnant daemon world beneath them.
A thousand battleships and cruisers clashed together in the sprawling melee in the void. Dameonic gunships duelled multi-tiered ex-Imperial vessels, and legion cruisers smashed into other, equally chaotic vessels. Space inside the swirling madness of eye was further filled with the myriad exchanges of devastating firepower flung between the disparate fleets. At the height of the battle, the planet Killer and the goliath Engine clshed. Broadsides, torpedoes, daemonic fire, putrid tendrils of utter warp-stuff: all were cast against the other, in a brutal and blistering engagement. Abaddon’s flagship even managed to fire it’s most deadly of guns upon the Goliath, but to no avail. In the eye, the ship was immortal, the living machinery of the ship dragging itself together after each exchange.
Seemingly bested, the planet killer fled before the might of the Goliath Engine. Perturabo, eager for final crushing victory, roared off in pursuit. He caught the extremely damaged Planet Killer, fleeing in the void between worlds, in the Illirax system. Confident of victory, the Primarch engaged the Planet killer, and the few escorts that had fled with Abaddon. However, when it seemed victory was finally certain, the tables turned once again. Exiting from the warp a month previously, the Terminus Est and attendant fleet of disgusting Nurglitch vessels had lingered in the Illirax system, on the request of Abaddon. Upon exiting the warp, the Goliath soon came under attack from its eastern quadrant, as an entire fleet descended upon it. Later known as the battle of bile and iron, Perturabo’s Goliath Engine was outmatched. Abaddon had skilfully drawn him away from the eye’s daemonic sustenance, and weakened the vessel. No longer was it immortal. However, it was still formidable, and Typhus lost many vessels in the resulting battle.
As the engine burned and collapsed around him, Perturabo raged, and determined to finish it once and for all. The death of Abaddon would end the war instantly. He ordered his surviving Iron Warriors to teleport with him, onto the planet Killer, and engage Abaddon in single combat.
However, unlike Horus, Abaddon was no fool. The Teleport failed miserably, as Abaddon’s shields remained firmly up. Perturabo was flung back into the Goliath engine, in time to witness the Planet Killer’s doomsday cannon fire once. The warp cannon smashed through the crippled machine, and detonated its daemonic heart. Screaming in impotent rage, Perturabo was banished back to the warp.
Soon after the battle, Typhus withdrew to the Eye, taking his fleet with him. When inquired as to why Typhus had aided Abaddon, he cryptically responded:
“flowers bloom, flowers rot. Rot is nothing without order to decay.”
Deprived of both leaders, the Perturabo/Angron Alliance soon collapsed, and the more unified forces of the Chaos Imperium triumphed, driving their foes into the deepest depths of the Eye. Following this victory, Abaddon expanded his dark Imperium, into an empire of hundreds upon hundreds of worlds around New Cadia. Oddly, many worlds submitted to his rule instantly, even worlds who despised chaos, and still worshipped the Emperor. In such a time of horrendous anarchy, any order is craved by the civilised. Ironically, in the Segmentum Obscuris, the only thing resembling order was Abaddon’s Dark Imperium. Former Imperial Worlds hid their signs of worship to the Emperor, and openly welcomed the Despoiled regiments, who swiftly took over the main PDF centres. Often, there was little to no opposition to this. This was not a religious matter. This was intensely secular. Each Governor knew that to survive in the millennium of pain, was to be part of something bigger.
Additional Background detail, section 2: The Situation in the East: Tau Empire.
The Eastern fringe. Ever a realm barely touched by Imperial influence, initially it was the least effected by the fall of the Imperium (except that, no petty Imperiums ever formed from the ashes of Imperial rule in the eastern fringe). The area merely became marginally more anarchic and barbarous. However, the devastation of Kraken, and later hive fleet Talos, ravaged the fringe horrendously. Soon after, the next wave of Ork/Tyranid hybrids surged from the west, murdering thousands of worlds. A hundred dozen civilisations were wiped out, and when the various hordes of monsters left, the fringe was utterly fragmented, and countless worlds were left as nothing but rocks.
Of course, as with most genocides and disasters, history and life did not disappear. Some races, even empires, managed to evade destruction, either through guile, luck or sheer blood-mindedness. The Largest of the surviving Empires was the Tau Empire. In fact, because the Tau did not rely upon the ‘deep’ Warp for travel, the crippling warp storms throughout the galaxy did little to hamper them. With little opposition, the Tau embarked upon multiple expansions, on multiple fronts. Their optimism and hope seemed frankly surreal to the crippled, dying civilisations around them. However, this idealism and hope soon faded, just like everyone else’s. Everywhere they tried to bring into the greater Good were dead. The Tau expanded into their inheritance. They were, however, inheriting the universe of ash. Ash and cold misery.
Sometime around M43, during the eighteenth and nineteenth sphere expansions, Tau policy began to subtly change. The Ethereals no longer recommended offering civilisations the chance to join the greater good. It was decided, at the Aun Council of 234. M43 (presided over by Aun’Va himself), that the other races of the galaxy were hopelessly barbarous. The other races allowed their worlds to die, they made war with each other, even when in the wake of such an atrocity, unity would be the best option. In short, they must be forced into submission, and their people ruled over by the only beings capable of logical, spiritual thought: the Ethereals.
By 003. M44, a dozen decades into the hundredth sphere expansion, the Tau Empire stretched from the dead worlds of Ichar, to the barren howling worlds. In total, it spanned roughly two dozen sectors, and comprised just over a thousand worlds. Perhaps 55% of these worlds were dead, and in the slow, agonising process of Terraforming (involving constant bombardments with bio engineered-algae and various Pechoid plant accelerants , which nonetheless took millennia to make worlds fully habitable). The Tau had become slightly more pro-Tau, and anti-xenos during this period. Fori nstance, client races were forbidden from electing leaders of the various Sept systems, and were confined to the poorest locations upon worlds. This was a Tau Empire, and the Tau wanted everyone to understand this. The other races were inferior, as they had ruined paradise with their wars.
Communication was slow, but regular in this expanded Tau Empire. Without astropaths, they relied on the billions of communication drones and messenger boats, which pulsed near constantly between Septs, only leaving the ‘shallow’ warp when delivering messages. Tau technology advanced along with its borders. Their ships were more heavily armed and protected than ever before. Limited cloning nad genetic technology allowed greater medical care, with each Tau having access to multiple cloned blood samples, limbs, and even eyes. Drone technology gained greater and greater sophistication, and the first entirely drone-controlled battle computer was released in 103. M44. Pulse weaponry became more reliable and effective, and gunships and battle suits of unprecedented quality were invented during this period. In the Segmentum Tempestus, the Tau are the central power
Yet, for all it’s unity and promise, the Tau empire could not maintain a completely centralised Empire, despite their best efforts. Space was too vast, and their vessels too slow. Some Septs were barely visited by the central authorities, while others had vast Aun control set upon them. However, most continued to follow the Greater Good according to Aun’Va and the orthodox council of the Ethereals. There were, however, two major exceptions.
The Enclaves, Tau colonies cut off from the Empire by warp anomalies in late M41, became all the more isolated from the Tau in the 42nd millennium, as the anomaly became a raging warp storm. It was not until M43, that news of the enclaves was heard, and the enclaves had changed markedly. Without the Ethereals, the enclaves became a realm dominated by the fire caste. The greater good, as a concept, had been rejected by these Tau. Only grim resolve and a strong arm allowed survival in a hostile galaxy. The caste system was virtually abolished, and inter-caste inter mingling was not outlawed. Only the fire caste, the new military elite, remained aloof of caste interbreeding. However, though not enforced, the caste system remained in spirit, as each caste intrinsically distrusted the other. Even more strangely, the farsight enclaves now operated under a sort of decentralised vassal system. Territories upon Enclave worlds were carved up between the new high caste-within-a-caste, the Shas’Kasar. Each of these powerful warlords had acquired battle suits, and each of these Kasar maintained their own little fiefdom. They maintained many fire caste soldiers as their vassals. Each of these fiefs sheltered other caste members, on the assumption they would provide a tax to their lords, in exchange for protection. The Shas’Kasar, in turn owed allegiance to the Shas’O’Shovah’Kasar, the overall grand Kasar of the enclaves. For many centuries this rank was held by Farsight himself. However, after his death, this rank passed to his sons, and became, in effect, hereditary (though, through the centuries, the position of Grand Kasar has been disputed, and the line of succession is a tangled web, far too complex to go into here). Upon the passing of a grand Kasar, the ceremonial armour of Farsight is granted to them, and they are anointed Grand Kasar, by kissing the hilt of the Dawnblade, the symbol of Enclave liberty (a blade no longer drawn by Enclave Tau, but instead enshrined within Farsight’s tomb upon the world of Fio-Mon’Tarra.
To survive, the Enclaves abandoned the concept of refining their technology. Instead, they relied on trade between rival empires and between merchants and the like. Thus, the Enclaves became a melting pot of differing technologies, all utilised by the Kasar in order to survive. Though not as technologically advanced as their Tau neighbours, the Enclaves have large numbers of fire caste warriors, and a willingness to use other races’ equipment should the need arise. For instance, there are several occasions where enclave troopers have been seen wielding lasguns, carapace armour, Daconial nano-crystalline armour, digital weapons, or other such gear, in conjunction with Tau technology, in some strange hybridisation of technologies. So far, it has kept them relatively powerful, and resistant to sporadic Tau Empire assaults.
The second subversive element came into being much later. By M43, the Empire was in full expansive operations. However, it took several centuries until the process of colonisation and organisation of water caste administration could be implemented fully on every Sept world and system. One such neglected Sept colony was one of the furthest a field. Located on the northern border of Tau expansion across the fringe, To’Kaan sept was colonised late on. Though a verdant world, the Aun could only spare a single exploration fleet to colonise and inhabit . To bolster numbers in the colonial army, many Gue’Vesa auxiliary troops were utilised. To’Kaan was subdued by this combined force, though the battle was difficult, due to the fanatical resolve of the native warrior Hu’Sta, a human tribal culture that made excellent use of captured Tau equipment during the year long invasion. Aun’Kais, the commanding ethereal on the expedition, was so impressed with the Hu’Sta’s abilities, he offered them roles within the occupying Tau force. Though the Tau fire caste were sceptical of these uncultured warriors, the Gue’Vesa took to them very well, instructing them on the philosophies of the greater Good, and training them in the use of Tau equipment (even though the Hu’sta had utilised much of the Tau equipment already, during the war). In turn, the HU’Sta explained how they worshipped the great white serpent, and also taught the Gue’Vesa some of their ambush techniques and unique battle tactics.
As the colony became less and less visited by the Tau central authority, Aun’Kais became more and more reliant upon his various Gue’Vesa subjects to fend off threats to his colony’s security. Though the expedition was well staffed by Water, Earth and Air Caste, the Fire Caste sent had been a smaller umber to begin with. The wars against the Hu’Sta depleted them further, and over the centuries, the fire warriors became less and less viable as a firing force, as their numbers weren ot being replaced as well as their Gue’Vesa-He’Sta allies could. The Gue’O of the He’Sta contingent, Baldan Rar, got closer to Aun’Kais than any other commander. The two often consulted one another upon tactics and strategies. Aun’Kais would often got advice from Baldan on how to keep the majority-human population of the Sept colony appeased, and in turn, Aun’Kais would entrust more and more duties. The Hu’Sta converted to the philosophy of the greater good rather well, incorporating their serpent god into the myriad meanings of the greater good.
Upon the death of Aun’Kais, a dispute broke out amidst the remaining subordinate Ethereals. Several of them recommended them selves for the role of Overall colonial leader. There was an important distinction between the two main groups that built up amongst the Ethereals. There were the Traditionalists, who argued that, upon becoming supreme Sept Aun, that the Fire Caste should be put in overall command of defence once more. The other group were pro-Gue groups, who believed the Gue’Vesa had been doing a perfectly fine job of defending the realm. In the end, through honour duels, personal and public elections, and outright intrigue, the pro-Gue groups got their wish, and Baldan remained overall military commander. Oddly for the traditionalists, Baldan’s supporters were not just from the Gue’Vesa and the general Gue population, but also from the majority of the Earth and Water Castes also. The successor to the Aunship of the Sept fell to Aun’J’Karra. As it would transpire, this ethereal was rather weak as a leader, and was virtually a puppet for Baldan and his successors.
By the time more regular contact had been established by the Tau empire with To’Kaan, in 335.M46, it was barely recognisable as a tau sept world. Humans and Tau were almost equals, with the Tau filling in most non-military roles, while the militant ‘Gue Caste’ sat on the council of castes, and fought at the fore front of most assaults, with the only fire caste remaining piloting the battle suits mostly (due tot heu unique designs of the battle suits, tailored ast hey were, for Tau alone). Chief Commander Moonheart of the Tau Imperial forces, even requested permission to invade To’Kaan, and ’cleanse’ it of its perceived subversion of the greater good. Aun’Va however, vetoed this plan, and decided to instead recognise the right of To’Kaan, the nick-named ’human colony’, as being part of the Empire. This was mainly because the Hu’Sta had so completely converted to the greater good, only their brutal tribal clubs (wielded n battle by every Hu’Sta Gue’Vesa) remained of their old culture. The Gue'vesa contingent were there to stay, and would evntually become a key ally in the long war against the Thexian elite and their allies(which will be documented at a later date).
Additional Background detail, section 3: The ‘Petty Imperiums’ (Part One)
With the collapse of the Astronomicon and the fall of Terra, the Imperium, as previously noted, shattered utterly. From M43 onwards, even the concept of a united human Empire became nearly impossible, as local powers and selfish megalomaniacs took their moments to strike. No longer was there an Imperium. That monolithic concept had died in the fires of anarchy. From now on, there were merely hundreds of petty Imperiums and kingdoms. Some were the size of sectors, others merely consisting of a single world or system. Some oft hese Imperiums claimed authority from Terra, and tried to unify, others abandoned the Imperium, declaring themselves avatars for Him, or even trying to supplant him entirely. Some maintained the xenophobic stance of the old Imperium, while others grew lax or simply ignored the teachings of the church. Some, such as Ophelia, took their fervour too far.
We must also remember that many, many Imperial worlds simply collapsed, as warp storms cut them off from essential supplies. This was particularly a problem for many hive worlds, who simply starved to death within a couple of years, as their agri worlds severed links with them, through warp storms, or through mad warlords stealing the supplies before they got there.
It would take years to explain every Imperium created at this time, and every situation that they entailed. However, I shall endeavour to depict the largest and most influential petty Imperiums created (along with monickers created to differentiate between them. In reality, each of the petty Imperiums merely called themselves ‘The Imperium’, as they refused to admit the legitimacy of their rivals) :
1) The ‘Rogue Trader’ Imperium/
The most eastern of the petty Imperiums, the Imperium of Gerhed Lussor is possibly the most changed of the Imperiums. During the first few decades of utter chaos following the astronomicon’s collapse, the extremely successful Rogue Trader, Lussor, was forced to break warp in the System of Corrin, along with his large, well stocked (and well armed) ‘trading fleet’. Lussor was a shrewd and learned man, and the death of all his astropaths told him that the Imperium was no more. He wasted o time with incredulity or shock, but instead set to work.
He knew that, in order to protect his assets in the wake of the collapse, he needed to form a base of operations, and to acquire territory and property. Corrin would have to do. He made planet fall on Corrin II, a populous hive world and the capital of the system, and discussed various ’protection’ deals for the planet, entering negotiations with the Lord Governor’s staff and government. His scribes and law-scholars, using complex litigation and jargon, managed to swindle Lussor into the governmental process, insinuating him into the essential position of Defense and culture chamberlain. Over the years, this role branched into other areas, like weapons manufacture and internal security, though he wisely kept the Adeptus Arbites on as enforcers, though now their role expanded to overall system security, rather than just enforcing of Imperial Law. Using his acquired wealth, andh is vast resources, he bought the southern Hive spire for himself, and built himself a lavish apartment complex, with extensive grounds.
His ambitions went further, however. When the elections fort he next governor came around, two decades later, Lussor was there, patronising a promising candidate for the role. The eventual governor picked was his man, and this gave him unprecedented power on the system. He integrated his fleet with the large fleets of monitors and system defence ships, before using them to secure other worlds in the system (such as the prison moon, orbiting Corrin V). Crucially, Lussor recognised the need for an effective fighting force, beyond he PDF, in order for him to secure territories beyond the Corrin system. Corrin was a toughly average system, except for the fact that, upon Corrin II, a vast Adeptus Mechanicus storage facility was located upon the western continent. Using the corrupted local law, he used his powers to order the storage yards searched. What he found there would alter the course of the ‘Rogue Trader’ Imperium’s history notably. Thousands upon thousands of Corvus pattern suits of SPESS MURHEEN power armour. He threatened to have the remaining Tech Priests upon the world destroyed, unless they adapted these suits for human soldiery. They, realising they were cut off from the rest of their brethren, accepted these terms. Pragmatically, Lussor realised he couldn’t make perfect human-sized power armour from the suits, so had them combined with elements of carapace armour, in order to mass produce them better.
However, he still needed bodies to fill. He did not want to deplete the PDF or their reserves, and refused to relinquish his own personal army for this task. Thus, he turned to the dregs of Corrin: the under-hivers of the hive worlds, and the convicts imprisoned upon Corrin V’s cold moon. He persuaded many thousands to volunteer, offering pardons, free food, and the prospect of drugs and violence to these hard-bitten killers, in exchange for service. These brutes were trained by the very best soldiers on Corrin, and even the one Astartes upon Lussor’s staff, Sergeant Procur of the White Scars. Their were equipped with the cheapest, oldest bolters Lussor could scrounge up (as they were theo nly one available). Even then, there weren’t really enough, so many of the armoured shock troops had ot make do with heavy calibre auto guns instead. Worried about loyalty, Lussor devised a cunning strategy. He gave the soldiers lots of combat-enhancing drugs and stimulants. This made them rather strong and fast, and had the added benefit of being rather addictive. These shock troops became dependant upon these drugs, and ensured their constant loyalty. Lussor, ever the rogue, presumptuously called them ‘Space Marines’.
Within a few hundred years, the Corrin system Imperium faced a major problem. The reserves of food were running dangerously low, after so many years cut off from any trade with the local agri world. Fortunately, the warp storms had somewhat cleared by this point, and Lussor took this opportunity with both hands. He ordered his fleets to the agri world as swiftly as they could. Led by Locur, he also dispatched his ‘space marines’ as well. Using a series of short warp jumps, the fleet only took a couple of months to reach the agri world (which normally only took a week to travel too before he collapse of the Emperor’s guiding light.)
Eventually, the made it to the agri world. Initially the world refused to submit to the ‘Imperium’, and so Locur led the space marines into battle. The sacking of the world took only a couple of weeks. The borderline psychotic and lethally efficient ‘space marines’ utterly bested the sparse and inexperienced PDF defenders. The planet was subdued, and trade resumed with Corrin within the year. This was to bet he first action amongst many that the ‘space marines’ of Corrin would undertake. Overt he next few decades, the petty Imperium swelled to over twenty five worlds. With this, the size of the Space Marine force expanded too, along with the auxiliary, non-power armoured Army that soon sprang up in their wake, which was used to garrison captured worlds. This empire under lussor was a profoundly poor one, but was nevertheless ingenious. Any scraps of technology, no matter how bizarre and incomplete, were used by Lussor’s captured Adepts, and made into things that could almost be called useful. Remote controlled bombs, converted land speeder chassis, poor-quality programmable robots, and various other bizarre pieces of technology. Everything found a use. He was also open in his recruitment, allowing mutants and scum into his ‘Imperial Army’, each with their own regiments.
Thus, a rogue became a ruler, and rebuilt his own little Imperium into something resembling civilisation.
Last edited by LordLucan; 12-10-09 at 11:40 PM.