This was The Great Crusade
's second event of 2010, after 'Path of the Traitor' in March. We had an excellent turnout, including:
Alex - Ork invasion force
Apologist - Imperial Army reserves
Hero of Istvaan - Imperial Fists with Rogal Dorn and Sigismund
Lucius - Blood Angels with Sanguinius
Martin - Raven Guard Raptor force
Rayziel - Fallen Dark Angels with Luther
ShroudFilm - World Eaters with Angron
The Buzz - World Eaters
The Green Menace - Ork invasion force
Vinnie - White Scars with Jubal Khan
Wolf Lord Mjolnir - Space Wolves with Leman Russ
The principle aim of the weekend (apart from being another TGC social!) was to try out the rules and army lists for the Tempus Fugitives' next Age of the Emperor
event in May... but as always we ran a special pre-Heresy storyline event over both days too.
==========The Fall of LunaThe Horus Heresy nears its bitter conclusion.
Legions of Astartes led by the traitorous Warmaster Horus Lupercal have waged a terrible war against the Imperial loyalists and pushed on towards Terra and the throne of the Emperor of Mankind. Thousands of systems have followed suit and declared independence from the Imperium or joined the traitors, and countless xenos warlords have risen up once again to prey upon humanity.
It seems as though the Great Crusade has been all for nought.
Now the Warmaster manoeuvres his forces into position to lay siege to Terra in the hope that he can draw out his father in single combat, proving to all that he alone should rule over mankind in the Emperor's place. The loyalist Astartes are spread throughout the galaxy in a vain attempt to engage the traitors, leaving only the Imperial Fists, Blood Angels and White Scars to lead the defence and marshall the last of the Imperial Army still loyal to their masters.
Only Luna stands in Horus' way.
For centuries the moon has been home to the shipyards of the Imperial Fleet, and if there is to be any hope of turning aside the Warmaster's advance before his warriors can land on Terran soil, the counter-strike must come from the Imperial forces still stationed on Luna. The Blood Angels' primarch Sanguinius heads for the moon's orbit aboard his flagship the
Red Tear to orchestrate the mobilisation...
=========='The Fall of Luna' Part 1: The Red Angel and the Blood Angel
Drask barely noticed the tearing pressure of Gladiator
's re-entry to realspace, even as his young and boisterous scouts whooped and hollered around him. He barely registered the warning klaxons sounding as the ship detected the unsafe proximity of a dozen Imperial vessels as they scattered before the traitors. He only had eyes for the great swirling orb which hung majectically against the blackness of space through the great transparisteel portal.Terra.
He had fought in a hundred desperate battles before he had even left the planet of his birth, and now he had returned. At the beginning of all this madness, he had not even dared to believe that he would ever again see the blue oceans or the great mountain ranges. When he had left Terra as part of the War Hounds legion heading out on the Great Crusade, he could never have imagined that this would be the manner of his return - there was no excitement or relief at his homecoming, only an uneasy feeling that the worst was yet to come.
The brace alarm sounded, and in a heartbeat the ship was rocked by two colossal detonations and Drask was pitched headlong to the deck along with a handful of his men. Through the portal, the blade-like prow of a battlecruiser cut across the profile of the planet ahead, fore-mounted cannons blazing a fusillade of destruction across their flank as another World Eaters vessel emerged from the Warp behind them.
A juddering vibration came through the superstructure, and intensified as the Gladiator
began to list amid a cloud of debris. Drask knew enough of ship-to-ship combat to guess that her back had been broken by the attack, and that soon they would have to abandon ship. Sure enough, Captain Vorhan's voice came over the vox:
"Brothers, our ship is lost. Proceed to the boarding torpedos - let us find ourselves a new one!"
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The gunnery officers of the Crimson Spectre
kept up their brutal salvos which scored great furrows along the hull of the traitor vessels ahead, venting atmosphere and tiny panicked bodies out into the void. From the strategium of the Red Tear
, the Blood Angels primarch Sanguinius watched as his fleet smote ruin upon the World Eaters. He no longer felt any remorse over the slaying of his brothers' Astartes legions, as once he had when this whole foul business had begun. That time was past.
"My lord Sanguinius, the Gladiator
is crippled, and her engines read critical," reported the flagship's captain. "We are picking up multiple escape pod signatures - should we instruct the Hermia
to move in and help us intercept the survivors?"
Sanguinius paused for a moment. Survivors? Escape pods?
This did not sound like Angron's legion at all.
"Negative captain, engage and destroy all vessels."
Before the captain could protest, Sanguinius enlarged the tactical display to fill the view screen. The supposed escape pods were manoeuvering towards the nearest loyalist vessels, their velocities increasing as their engines burned up the last of their small fuel reserves. "Those are boarding torpedos. The Hermia
is already too close to evade them, and we are their next logical tar-"
Without warning, another rift in the fabric of realspace opened behind the Blood Angels' fleet. A bow wave of energy displacement pushed back the debris and nearby vessels as a great shadow loomed over them - two smaller traitor ships, with long pulsing tractors beams projecting from their prows to drag forth... something else. The captain's eyes widened in horror, and he blurted out his orders to the crew as the first of the World Eaters' torpedos breached the Hermia
Sanguinius looked on in utter disbelief. Who could know what foul pacts Horus had made with the powers of the Warp, and what unspeakable things he might yet summon to aid him in his heresy? But this was entirely different. Surely not. Surely Angron could not have stooped so low...
A great hulk of crudely welded superstructures and city-sized chunks of meteoric iron now twirled towards them, jagged kilometer-high symbols daubed over its surface and with a vast stylised fanged maw fashioned from whitewashed debris at its head. Angron had made some alliance with the xenos
- what he had promised them, or why they had accepted his offer, was all now irrelevant.
Angron had brought the Orks to Holy Terra.
+ + + + + +
Snatches of comm-chatter and the staccato bursts of bolter fire came over the vox, suggesting to Drask that the first of the torpedos had struck home and the boarding actions were already underway. He checked the magazine of his own weapon, and adjusted the straps of the bulky teleport homer on his back as he mentally calculated the angles at which he would be forced to lean as he left the torpedo shell in low gravity once they breached their target.
His squad were chanting some raucous war cry, building themselves up into a frenzy in preparation for the assault. All Astartes were trained in zero- or low-gravity combat techniques, and they would need to be quick if they were to seize the ship before the loyalists could pinpoint their location and depressurise the compartment.
A short alarm sounded, and all the lights inside the torpedo went out before a sudden lurching crash hurled them all forwards in their restraint harnesses. The sound of grinding metal-on-metal grew louder as their transport burrowed into the hull of its target and the razor-cogs soon spun in open atmosphere within the ship's interior. Within a heartbeat, the head of the torpedo levered open, revealing the darkness of a cargo hangar illuminated by fitful bursts of fire from the melee which already raged within.
Drask released his scouts from their harnesses with the flick of a switch at his elbow, and they fell upon the defenders - naval ratings in deep red tunics, and here and there the hulking armoured forms of Blood Angels Astartes in their crimson battle plate. The scouts frothed and flailed as they became accustomed to the near-weightlessness within the ship, but the force of their charge carried them right into the loyalists and the air filled with gunshots and the roar of chainaxes biting deep.
They would have to move quickly. The teleport homer weighed Drask down in spite of the low gravity, and he had yet to locate a suitable area to activate it. He ducked aside to a battered cogitator panel set into the bulkhead, and called up the schematics of the ship.
+ + + + + +
Sanguinius held out his arms to allow his robed menials to fasten his pauldrons, and listened intently to the vox-feeds being relayed from the fleet and from the surface of Luna below. The vanguard of the traitors' force had been halted before they could outmanoeuvre the Blood Angels and Imperial Fists vessels picketing the orbital shipyards, but already the World Eaters had managed to splinter through the defence laser network and make planetfall, along with their unlikely xenos allies.
Although the invaders were hard-pressed to make any kind of meaningful assault outside in the dusty vacuum, they had made great sweeping advances using their jump-packs to take advantage of the reduced gravity of Luna and seize control of the dome airlocks and allow hundreds of greenskins to swarm into the manufactoria and hab-blocks. Rogal Dorn reported that his legionnaires were marshalling the defences to allow the Mechanicum and fleet personnel to evacuate, but that the brutal roars of the berserk World Eaters and barbaric Orks were drawing ever closer to them and driving a stampede of terrified civilians before them in the slaughter.
After the second wave of boarding torpedos from the Merciless
had penetrated the fleet picket, the primarch had been forced to relent and send in his Astartes reserves to assist the naval troopers in repelling the invaders who even now stalked the corridors of his own flagship. The reports came only fitfully, speaking of brutal firefights in short stretches of cramped corridor never intended for combat, and he had had to deny desperate requests by his officers to vent the atmosphere from entire sections of the ship in order to space the unprotected World Eaters scouts who were digging themselves in and heading for the engineering decks at the stern.
"Captain," he spoke as he drew his shimmering powered blade. "I suspect that these scouts have not come simply to harass our warriors and feign interest in the other vessels in the fleet. They make all haste for the control centres, and they doubtless carry homing devices to signal back to their brethren in the Warp."
The captain nodded gravely, and gestured to the command staff within the strategium. "Aye, my lord. I shall leave them to your skilled swordarm and hope that you can halt them before they reach us here and turn us all into... grox fodder."
A blast rocked the ship, plunging the bridge into darkness and setting warning klaxons howling. Heavy bolter fire began to echo in the corridors beyond. So too did the screams of dying men.
The vox was cut by a piercing whine, and a frantic report from Sergeant Clonatus somewhere in the aft section:
'My lor- Throne! Get back, pull back! Keep your bolters firing! My lord, the World Eaters are teleporting reinforcements aboard! I count thirty-plus contacts on auspex- oh, Holy Terra! The Red Angel! Angron is here! Pull back! Bring up the heav-'
+ + + + + +
It was impossible to look away as Angron whirled through the Blood Angels defenders. His great chainaxe roared like a caged beast as it carved through armour, flesh and bone without resistance, drenching the walls and floor panels in gore. The primarch cursed and screamed like a man possessed, pledging each fresh kill to some unknown master and defying all those who had ever crossed him in an incomprehensible rage.
Drask turned a corner to see a squad of loyalist Astartes trying to ready their heavy weapons, willing to risk rupturing the hull of their own flagship if it meant they could slow Angron's bloody charge. Without thinking, he thumbed the auxiliary trigger of his combi-weapon and engulfed the Blood Angels in burning promethium from the underslung flamer unit, just catching a glimpse of the Space Marines' startled expressions before they vanished in the blaze.
The ship's systems detected the fire and engaged a series of sprinkler valves along the length of the corridor. As thin watery foam coated the bulkheads and girders, clouds of steam billowed up and fogged the air, and the resulting bloody slick made the floor even more treacherous.
Angron's bellowing rang in Drask's ears even as he tried to lead his scouts away from the primarch and his honour guard. He saw the terror on the faces of the naval troopers as they fled before them, but he felt something more akin to pity for the Astartes who rushed to engage rather than try to escape. They stood no chance.
At the end of a long gallery which looked down upon the embarkation decks filled with sabotaged Stormbirds and Thunderhawks, Drask ordered his men to breach the reinforced portal which would allow them access to the fore sections and the bridge. In the flash of the melta charge's detonation, he swore he could see a greater radiance shining beyond...
Fear and awe gripped him, and he and his squad almost fell to their knees without thinking. Flanked by exquisitely armoured Astartes with their weapons trained, stood a towering angel clad in golden plate and deep red silks, his broad wings spread in a majestic gesture of defiance.
The World Eaters would be permitted to go no further.
+ + + + + +
Sanguinius almost let out a cry of dismay as his eyes fell upon his wayward brother, but he caught himself. Angron lumbered along the gallery towards him, a flock of eager young Astartes novitiates in his wake, dwarfed by his towering bulk as he hefted a colossal chainaxe twice the height of a man. If anything, the World Eaters primarch seemed to have grown
since Sanguinius had last seen him - he had shed a large portion of his ceremonial gladiator armour, and the veins at his neck and temples bulged around a face contorted by a seemingly eternal rage.There will be no reasoning with him now,
thought Sanguinius as he gestured to his honour guard. He has fallen too far into this madness
His new equerry gave the command, and the Blood Angels opened fire. The World Eaters scouts flung themselves forward in an attempt to evade the bolter rounds and wrong-foot their adversaries, but Angron merely strode into the blaze as though it were a light rain. His eyes burned as he glared at Sanguinius, and a fresh bestial cry rumbled up from inside him as he broke into a charge.
Angron's chainaxe met his brother's sword, the shriek of powered adamantium teeth howling down the energised blade loud enough to deafen a mortal. Sanguinius had anticipated the attack - Angron was so predictably blunt in his tactics, and of these two mythical angels only one truly had wings. As the chainaxe whirled for another strike, Sanguinius twisted on his pinions in mid-air and carved a deep gash over Angron's shaven scalp with the tip of his blade. Maybe it was the insult of the injury, or maybe Sanguinius had somehow disturbed the array of crude cranial implants which dotted the World Eater's skull, but Angron flailed around in the low gravity and tore at the hem of his brother's robe above him and cursed his name.
Like a mongrel dog driven mad by the sting of an insect, he howled and spat and hurled his weapon up at Sanguinius before leaping to grapple him. Angron's massive muscular arms wrapped around the Blood Angel's ribcage and the two primarchs came face to face, Sanguinius dropping his sword as Angron sank his ritually-sharpened teeth into his throat.
+ + + + + +
Drask pulled back from the intersection, the hail of fire from the Blood Angels too heavy to proceed any further. His face was spattered with the cinnabar droplets of Astartes blood - the blood of his own men from where they had been mown down as they tried in vain to reach the enemy in a close assault.We will not be able to take this ship,
he thought, and damn that fool Angron for making us try!
Even now, the primarch was locked in combat with Sanguinius of the Blood Angels legion, and while the other Astartes were enraptured by the sight, Drask knew that he had once again let his rage and his pride get the better of him and possibly wasted the surprise element of thier boarding action on the Red Tear
It seemed the story was the same on the other vessels which they had attacked - the vox was awash with the sounds of combat and death, and of pleas for reinforcement or extraction from those World Eaters who had survived the berserk rage of their doomed charges. They had spent all of their rage too quickly in the disorienting vacuum of space, and while the assault on Luna itself seemed to be rapidly turning into a massacre of the loyalist defenders, Drask wondered if that might be due in no small measure to the presence of their xenos allies.
He hurled a handful of frag grenades down the corridor, and under the cover of the detonations grabbed an insensible wounded scout from the deck and dragged him away to the nearest escape pod.
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Sanguinius' men heard his scream of pain as Angron tore at him with his teeth and claw-like nails, and raced to their primarch's aid. With no thought for their own lives, they bundled into the titanic melee, relying on their bulky armour and the weight of their own bodies to weigh Angron down and give Sanguinius the chance to scramble free. The angel spread his wings once more, and as Angron opened his bloody mouth to roar some new stream of obscenities at him, he punched the World Eater square in the jaw, his armoured gauntlet driving home like a warhammer and knocking the giant out cold.
As his honour guard put themselves between him and the World Eaters, Sanguinius stooped to retrieve his sword. His vision swam, and a drowsy numbness was creeping through his limbs. He could barely see, through the transparisteel portals on the embarkation deck, blossoms of fire erupting in the void as his gunners opened fire on the World Eaters as they retreated aboard their crippled vessels.
He glanced back to see a terrible new fracas erupting in the confines of the gallery as the World Eaters tried desperately to drag their unconscious primarch to the embarkation deck. Bodies clad in white and blue lay jumbled upon those clad in red, and a slaughterhouse stench hung in the air. He saw two World Eaters trying to heft the over-sized chainaxe which Angron had dropped, and another running and skidding towards them to help carry it away.
Without a word, his bodyguards bundled him through an open bulkhead, making for the primary medicae facility. Sanguinius knew that there was still much to be done if Luna was to be saved.