“Terror is a weapon. Never forget that my children. Go forth and spread war and terror across the stars, to worlds without number.“—Konrad Cruze, Primarch of the VIIIth Legion.
Orbital Station Magora
Port Helborg System
The automatic doors slid shut behind the newcomer with the quiet sound of rumbling gears. She stood in a vast chamber, scarcely lit save for two levitating servo skulls that held glow torches above a figure sitting behind a desk cluttered with parchments.
“Did anyone see you?” asked the figure sitting behind the desk, not lifting his head from above the documents he was signing one after another.
The newcomer paced slowly towards the light, and her silhouette became slightly more visible in the gloom. She wore a synskin covered with chameleon chemicals to hide her form in the any surroundings and, even though she was now in the open space of the chamber, her outline seemed to fade into the gloom. This, of course, was the standard issue equipment of her shrine—the revered shrine of the Callidus assassins.
“What do you think?” she answered with a obvious smirk. She stopped a few meters before the desk.
The sitting figure paused from his labors and raised his head. Stoic and harsh eyes, the color of deepest blue, pierced the intruder.
“I do not appreciate your tone, operative Sandriel,” the figure said. “Now speak of your assignment and the progress you have made. I have very little patience and much work to attend to . . . as you may very well observe for yourself.”
“Very well, Lord Inquisitor Threnton,” the assassin replied. “My mission aboard the Edge of Truth to undertake reconnaissance in the Varrenshall subsystem was a success. As the initial intel gathered by Rogue Trader Florton suggested, the system is overrun with enemies of the Throne.”
“I managed,” she continued, “to infiltrate the work gangs of one planetoid’s mining facilities and interrogated not only a few dozen miners but also members of the higher echelons of the traitor force. During my year of deployment, I learned that, indeed, the self-styled Covenant of the Bloodied Cog are, in fact, the former overlords of the forge world Tsagathoa.”
“Five decades ago,” she continued, “they were brought to the brink of destruction by a daemonic invasion, at a time when the borders of the Heart of Darkness expanded and engulfed their world. Some members of the Cult Machanicum, to save themselves from the endless flow of Warp spawn, decided it would be beneficial to ally themselves with one of the powers of the Warp. Thus, the Archmagos and some of his Tech Priests swore their souls to Chaos and summoned a Night Lords war band known as the Litany of Disorder . . . .”
“Yes, I know of them—and of their past atrocities,” Threnton interrupted. “They are led by the accursed Chaos Lord Thurservor, whom my order has condemned as Excommunicate Traitoris ten millennia ago during the Horus Heresy. His sentence of death is long overdue . . . but, please, do continue.”
“The Covenant managed to destroy the daemon forces of Nurgle with the help of the Night Lords, but by then, the expanding Heart of Darkness had cut off the Varrenshall Subsector from the Imperium,” the assassin continued.
“Now, however, things have become more complicated: I managed to isolate and capture one of the Traitor Astartes on Varrenshall, who was deployed to oversee the constant flow of mining operations. I interrogated him, using the full spectrum of drugs at my disposal, and it turns out that the severance of the warp routes to the Corvus Cluster—and the daemonic intrusion of the forge world—were, in fact, initiated by the Night Lords unbeknownst to the Covenant.”
“This, the Warp-damned traitor told me, was a scheme prepared by two of Thurservor’s lieutenants, both sorcerers of Chaos: Sadron Haqq and Maldrek the Wolfbane.”
The Inquisitor’s eyes narrowed. “So, the Wolfbane also is here. We need to keep this information away from the Vlka Fenryka, as they might abandon their current deployment near Media III in pursuit of their hated enemy. I know for a fact that the Wolfbane is responsible for several dozen bloody raids against the Space Wolves and has caused terrible casualties to the Sons of Russ . . . not to mention the brutal mutilations against any captured prisoners.”
“I can confirm one sighting of him,” Sandriel offered. “It was at a great distance in Varrenshall’s capital city of Rozrog.”
“But there’s more. Not only did the Night Lords trick the Covenant of the Bloodied Cog into calling for their aid, they also made the heretical Tech Priests pay for their services with great amounts of ammunition and other supplies. To see this agreement enforced, the Litany of Disrorder took control of Varrenshall and made sure that a constant supply of the planet’s ore reaches Tsagathoa.”
The assassin smiled before continuing. “Yet not everything has gone according to Thurservor’s plan. First, with the ritual concluded by Sadron Hagg and Maldrek, the warp routes to the subsection were severed, but this result also stirred up a long-silent Genestealer Cult on the planet—and the subsequent civil unrest prevented supplies from reaching Tsagathoa for many years. Although the Night Lords managed to eradicate the cult completely, the fighting stalled their plans for longer then they would have liked. Also, a recent invasion by the greenskins has not helped, either.”
“It looks as if the Litany of Disorder wanted to get their warband resupplied and ready for war, but war found them first—before Tsagathoa could fully fulfill its side of their pact.”
“Tell me of the greenskins, Sandriel,” Threnton said.
“Very well, my Lord. They are believed to have achieved what the Rogue Trader managed to do—find an alternative way through the Warp tides to the Varrenshall Subsector. They’ve launched a full-blown invasion of two planets: Varrenshall and Arthys IV. The orks are led by a previously unknown leader who calls himself Warlord Gorefist. He has managed to gather a sizable army of the Bad Moons clan, with smaller complements of Deathskulls and Freebooterz.
“As we speak,” she added, “the ork are storming the Night Lords’ positions, although their initial invasion of Varrenshall proved to be poorly organized.”
“That’s hardly surprising,” Threnton said.
“Yes, indeed, but once they managed to secure a beachhead, the orks deployed vast numbers of ground troops, and they now are locked in a stalemate with the Night Lords for control of the major cities of the planet—or rather control of the ruins of those cities. It is hard to predict which side will gain the upper hand, but the Night Lords should not be underestimated.”
“When they realized the magnitude of the invasion, reinforcements led by another of Thurservor’s lieutenants, Sekroth, were dispatched from their headquarters on Tsagathoa, and full-scare war engulfs the system.”
The inquisitor’s features hardened at the news. He allowed the silence to dwell for quite some time before concluding.
“You did well, Sandriel. You receive new orders. You are to eliminate all senior officers of the archenemy’s forces on Varrenshall and, to do so, you will return there without delay. I appreciate your sacrifice and may the Emperor guide your hand.”
Sandriel bowed her head and left the chamber without a word. The assassin would fall to the dark powers of Sadron Hagg’s sorcery months later. She would end her life on a spike, in excruciating pain for weeks, at one of the unholy shrines that the Night Lords established in the ruined cathedral of Varrenshall’s capital city.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.