A sizable raiding party of Death Guard, supported by heretical cultists, laid waste to thousands of hectares of prime agricultural land in the Lorca Basin over the past week, destroying new crops desperately needed to offset a growing food shortage across the planet.
A hastily deployed Imperial force, consisting of the 4th Battalion of the 44th PDF Regiment, attempted to defend the prime farmland but was defeated and thrown back with heavy casualties, according to unofficial reports of a battle 15 kilometers east of the town of Antiem.—Imperial Voxcast, planet of Dozaria, 3 918 740.M41.
+ Pattoa Flatlands +
+ Planet of Dozaria +
+ 6 905 740.M41 +
The flat farmland of the Lorca Basin stretched out for kilometers in all directions, an idyllic and pastoral scene of orchards, crop fields, and trees planted in line to serve as a windbreak. The air was fresh, the sun shined, and the leaves of nearby trees rustled with the day’s light breeze.
It was a day that Colonel Elias Manikas normally would feel blessed to experience. But not today.
What ruined the day was visible on the horizon. The sky was dark with swarms of Rot Flies, and a greenish miasma hovered over the ground—a filth that was moving closer with every minute.
The Death Guard was approaching.
* * *
The Chaos Lord Ghaz Tak strode through the middle of a wheat field, his small army marching behind him. No one dared speak. They existed to do their lord’s will. They waited for his orders.
Around him, the wheat stalks could be seen to wither as the Chaos Lord passed by. Every one of his men carried the same blessings of Nurgle, and those blessings were being gifted to all living things in range—whether by the diseased vapor that surrounded the Death Guard or by the Rot Flies that circled around the small army, spreading pestilence to everything they touched.
That was why Ghaz Tak was here. To bring plague to this bountiful agricultural region—what the Imperials called the Pattoa Flats—and to destroy the crops that the False Emperor’s lackeys needed to maintain their war effort.
In the distance, he could see the Imperial defense line. Several companies of Infantry were deployed in a line of woods, supported by a single Lemon Russ Battle Tank and a pair of Armored Sentinels. No doubt there were a few surprises hidden out of sight, but those would be of no consequence.
Ghaz Tak turned to his lieutenants. “The loyalists are stretched too thin. We’ll focus on their right flank, break it, then roll up the line. Send the Vindicator and Bloat Drones forward . . . just to lock the center and left flank companies in place.”
* * *
Standing at the edge of the woods in front of the Death Guard, Confessor Guidonis Bernard—defender of the faith, and now a warrior of the God-Emperor—watched with outrage as two traitor armored transports and a horde of heretical cultists disappeared into a cornfield about 200 meters to his right.
“Look, my breathren!” he shouted to the mass of men behind him. “The heretics seek to hide in the corn. Such is their cowardice, unwilling to face the lasguns of our brave troops as we defend this world. We will show them courage. Advance!”
As one, the 2nd Conscript Company, 4th Battalion, 44th Dozarian PDF Regiment broke from cover and marched into the open meadow before them.
One hundred meters behind this brave advance, Manikas cursed under his breath. He was watching the battle unfold from a slight rise, and his monocular was now focused directly at the unauthorized advance of his center.
“Damned priest!” he said, then shouted for a runner. “Get someone down there and order 2nd Company to get the hell back where they’re supposed to be.”
* * *
All was going according to plan, Ghaz Tak thought. Although the Imperial battle tank had killed scores of cultists with accurate cannon fire, his two Rhinos were untouched. Behind his vehicle, despite the transport’s thick armor and the roar of its engines, he could make out the roar of the Helbrute, Odacius.
Ghaz Tak chuckled. Odacius had been an ambitious upstart, and his punishment was to be interned in a dreadnought designed to torment him.. After six months trapped in his coffin, the Space Marine was stark raving mad, and as he advanced on the Imperials, he was screaming a litany of hate through vox speakers attached to the dreadnought’s shoulders.
Surely the horrific screams of the maddened wretch could be heard by the frightened Imperial troops before him.
To Ghaz Tak’s right, the second Rhino slowed, and out from its rear hatch disembarked a squad of Plague Marines, accompanied by the sorcerer Necrosius.
“Keep moving forward!” Ghaz Tak ordered the driver of his own Rhino. “We’ll stay inside until we’re right atop the Imperials.”
It was a sound decision. Only seconds later, a cannon shell landed amidst the Plague Marines. Flame, smoke, and dirt engulfed the scene for half a minute. When the air finally began to clear, Ghaz Tak glanced through a rear vision port and saw the Rhino was still advancing.
Of the Plague Marines, there were only corpses. But Necrosius still stood.
The loss of his Plague Marines was unfortunate, the Chaos Lord thought. But the sorcerer would manage to cause some mischief.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.
Categories: Dozaria Campaign