Age Of Despair
It is around the middle of the 42nd Millennium when the Golden Throne finally fails. We do not know when for certain because, well, we simply do not know. Within mere months anarchy had spread through the Imperium of Man like a cancer. News of the Emperor's death struck every citizen to the core. Trade came to a standstill as hope was drowned in a wave of panic. Whole systems tore themselves apart as billions decreed the End Times.
-The Imperium's fate.
For the vast majority of the human race, the death of their God-Emperor caused the death of their way of life. Within years the Imperium had ceased to exist.
The Sol system became a maelstrom of violence and anarchy above that of anywhere else in the former Empire of Man.
Terra was again laid to waste, its scarred, tortured lands again put to the torch as vast armies marched against each other as civil war ripped across the capital planet. Only in the inner sanctums of the Emperor's Halls did order prevail, as the Adeptus Custodes guarded the Emperor's remains with their lives. In league with the remainder of the Imperial Fists, the golden warriors would eventually reunite Terra, finally achieving victory in centuries ahead.
The famous shipyards of Jupiter became home to a million different empires, each one claiming hegemony over the vast swathes of humanity. It would be many centuries until one ruler reclaimed the territories that once helped launch the Crusade.
Even Titan, bastion of the feared Grey Knights was not spared. Millions of refugees sought to come to the holy marines sanctuary. The leader of the Grey Knights at the time, whose name is lost to historical records, ordered his warriors to seal themselves shut to the war-ravaged refugees. Hostile force was commanded to be used by the unnamed Supreme Grand Master. Millions of innocents died at the hand's of the cold Knights. This caused many of the silver brethren to become disillusioned and bitter at such savagery. Such resentment eventually turned into open anger and the Grey Knights tore themselves apart in a tragic civil war. Less than thirty marines remained after the century-long strife, many of which left the cursed moon in shame and regret, intent on leaving such horrors behind. When exhausted refugees finally broke into the sealed vaults of Titan all they found were a handful of crazed marines, reduced to shreds of their former selves.
On the war-torn plains of Cadia, news reached the Imperial Guard quickly of the Emperor's demise. However, although many lost faith in humanity, the defenders of Cadia held out against the Legions of Ezekyle Abaddon for another five centuries, even as the great Imperium crumbled, such was the determination of the Cadians.
Such scenes were replayed on many of the Imperium's former bastion worlds. As the foundations of the Empire of Man crashed around it, these Fortress Worlds managed to cling on to hope and order. More often than not however, the hopelessness and panic tore these once proud worlds apart, further diminishing the glow of man.
One such notable Fortress World which managed to keep the traditions of the Imperium alive was Morlond. Morlond, located in the Segmentum Pacificus, was able to fend off rogue guard, traitors, alien hordes and stifle civil war leading to dominance over the nearby worlds and reclaim them under the flag of Mankind.
The Imperial Guard, which was the solid defense upon which the Imperium was built upon, was divided by the death of their liege. Thousands of regiments simply frayed and collapsed, fighting among themselves for the scraps of land and territories they were sworn to defend. Billions died as wars were fought over food and water and ammunition. Century-long wars were fought over forgotten rivalries and petty disputes. This all led to the gradual destruction of the most numerous force man has ever amassed.
Millions more guardsmen horded together and simply plundered their way through former Imperial space, leaderless and without morals. Many times in the millennia between then and current times, these vast hordes of killers met head on in their plundering pathways, and battles not seen since the Great Crusade waged as trillions of former brothers wiped each other out.
Billions of these warriors gave themselves over to the Dark Gods. Slannesh, Khorne, Nurgle and Tzeentch recreated the Great Game with these cursed regiments, an orgy of death occuring as they clashed.
Few regiments were able to keep from sliding into chaos in the immediate aftermath of the Emperor's death. Those that did were known as Regulators. Vast armies of policers, moving through former Imperial space attempting to recreate order in an insane galaxy.
Other regiments settled on worlds at the edge of civilization, building up power blocks and creating pockets of order.
Most were wiped out, destroyed and forgotten.
Will do more tomorrow. Kinda nicked this idea of a guy on this, cant remember his name, awesome story though, thought id do my own wee twinge to it. hope you enjoy. im lookin to ecompass the whole 40k galaxy, as it crumbles