Over the seven years of this narrative campaign, we’ve seen a large number of heroes—and villains—make a name for themselves.
As is inevitable in an era of constant war, a number have fallen. They are the honored—or cursed—dead (or worse than dead).
As the end of 741.M41 approaches, I thought it a good time to reflect on the fallen—and to highlight their deeds.—TheGM
Lt. Colonel Murad Hamzah
As commander of the 17th Battalion, 14th Morkai PDF regiment, Lt. Colonel Murad Hamzah was ordered to the Thar Desert Basin on the desert planet of Morkai.
Rebel mutants controlled the city ruins, and planetary leaders wanted a forward base built. From there, a sizable PDF army would assault the city and destroy the rebels.
Assuming the rebels were a small, disorganized force, Hamzah advanced with insufficient forces and soon found himself facing a disciplined, effective army.
Fighting broke out in the latter half of 740.M41 and, to the shock of the planetary government, the mutants defeated Hamzah and his command time after time. As casualties mounted and morale plummeted, Hamzah was forced to surrender most of the desert basin to the rebel force.
In his final battle, the mutants broke through Imperial lines, and Hamzah was struck down by a huge, six-armed mutant. The morale of the battalion broke, and his men fled the battlefield.
Despite criticism of his battlefield prowess, Hamza was a loyal and dedicated soldier. He was awarded the Medallion of Bravery for a “lifetime of service to the God-Emperor.”
Imperial authorities first learned of this ork Freebooter (space pirate) in 727.M41, when his ship, Da Butcher, attacked an orbital research facility in the outskirts of the Brimlock System.
For years afterward, the Freebooter raided Imperial worlds and even boarded a Space Wolf strike cruiser (although he was repulsed by its Astartes crew).
But Stompafist’s moment of glory—and his ironic death—came at the end of a masterfully fought battle against an entire Imperial Navy flotilla in 735.M41 in the Sculptor System.
At this time, Stompafist was attempting to launch a raid on the moon of Hegira. An entire flotilla of Imperial warships attempted to intercept the wily ork leader, but Stompafist managed to destroy a cruiser, two frigates, and three destroyers single-handed. It was an astonishing victory.
It also was Pyrrhic victory, as a lucky lance shot by the single surviving destroyer of the flotilla struck the ork ship’s bridge.
Da Butcher quickly destroyed this last, impudent challenger and achieved total victory. But at a cost: The lance strike had killed the dangerously talented Stompafist.
The story of Valerus is a warning to all Astartes within the Knights of Altar Space Marine Chapter.
An aggressive and impatient warrior, Valerus often was criticized for his impetuous and self-centered approach to battle. But he served nobly and with great courage, so his faults were long tolerated.
Yet he ultimately fell from grace. On the world of Hyberia II, where the Knights of Altair were campaigning against a Tau seizure of the planet, Valerus was ordered to defend a forward repair base while his brothers engaged in a fierce offensive against the xenos.
This assignment wounded the pride of the now-promoted sergeant, who allowed bitterness and a sense of grievance to distract him from his duties. As a result, he failed to spot the approach of an attacking xeno force, and his tactical squad was taken by surprise.
Although Valerus fought with commendable courage, several of his brothers were lost in the attack—and High Marshal Inoculus, commander of the Knights, found the brother-sergeant’s lack of vigilance a betrayal of his fallen brothers.
In 726.M41, Valerus was condemned, lobotomized, and transformed into a servitor. Now, he continues to serve his Chapter and serves as a constant reminder to all of the importance of putting duty above one’s own pride.
Colonel Elis Manikas
Colonel Elis Manikas was instrumental in defeating a Death Guard campaign to destroy the strategically important agricultural region, the Lorca Valley, on the war-torn world of Dozaria.
Over a five-month campaign in late 740 and early 741.M41, the commander of the 44th Dozarian PDF Regiment fought three major and five smaller battles in an attempt to fend off traitor Astartes and heretical cultists.
His command was greatly hampered by disease—caused by the miasma that surrounded the Death Guard—and his command lost almost every battle and was forced to retreat time and time again.
By the end of the campaign, nearly 70 percent of Manikas’ command had been lost to battle or to virulent biological and warp-tainted plagues.
Imperial forces finally repulsed the Death Guard advance on the outskirts of the town of Pollock, the last Imperial bulwark protecting the agriculturally rich region. In the battle, the Death Guard leader, Ghaz Tek, was critically wounded, and the Death Guard withdrew and moved south to less-well-defended territory.
Alas, Manikas also fell. Having suffered through the campaign from diseases that anti-viral treatments could not stem, the colonel died just days after his final victory.
Manikas was awarded the Honorifica Imperialist, 2nd Class, posthumously.
Commissar-Lieutenant Adrius Evander
Only two years after receiving his commission from the Officio Prefectus, Commissar-Lieutenant Adrius Evander was assigned to accompany a special patrol to explore a suspected Warp phenomenon near the Barad Mine on Hegira.
In 738.M41, the patrol marched 100 kilometers into ork-held territory to a small valley where orbital satellites reported the existence of irregular flashing lights, eruptions of Warp energy, and lightning storms that drew strange and unsettling symbols in the sky.
By all accounts, those who entered the valley suffered headaches, nose bleeds,and hallucinations. Some guardsmen suffered fatal seizures, and some even when insane and attacked their comrades-in-arms. A Primaris Psyker who accompanied the patrol burst into flames.
The patrol retreated with heavy losses and were quarantined upon their return. After being debriefed, all survivors were deemed warp-tainted, and they—including Evander—were executed.
Evander was awarded a commendation, posthumously.
One of the most prominent ork warlords on Al’gel II, Klawtoof earned notoriety for his effective defense of the main continent after the Tau invaded the planet.
During a Tau offensive in 738.M41, the ork warlord gathered 10,000 greenskin warriors and counterattacked the 3rd Hunter Cadre. This attack was quickly stymied by the Tau officer leading the cadre, Commander Lok’ta, who employed the classic Kauyon tactic: advancing aggressively, then going on the defense and baiting the orks to charge forward.
Tau firing lines devastated the ork horde and, after a week of fighting, Commander Lok’ta went back on the offensive and challenged Kawtoof in personal combat.
Yet even in melee, Lok’ta employed the Kauyon tactic. Clearly outmatched by Klawtoof, Lok’ta conducted hit-and-run attacks that drew the giant ork toward Tau forces. At a pre-arrranged point, the Tau leader used his jetpack to distance himself from the warlord, who was brought low by massive volleys of well-hidden Fire Warriors.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.