As dawn broke over the manufactorum, Ivar Ragnarsson surveyed his surroundings. He was a long way from Asaheim now, it had been sixty years since he’d left and Ivar felt a sense of longing for its great glaciers, deep impenetrable forests and unforgiving climate. To a lesser man, missing such things would seem unnatural but these were unnatural times and the mission with which the venerable battle leader had been entrusted, was one of the utmost secrecy, no records would be written, no saga’s sung, no trophies conferred. Ivar was on this world to do the Emperor’s work and he would gladly sacrifice himself in honourable battle to deliver his master’s will.
The objective, he had been told, was one of dire import. Sanctus Binary, a forgeworld with numerous manufactorum as old as the Great Wolf himself had a proud history of service to the Emperors legions, providing hundreds of billions of weapons, armaments, ammunitions, transports and engineering support to the imperial cause. In the latter part of M35 after the rediscovery of Kimdaria, Sanctus Binary was afforded the mandate to forge great war machines of terrible destructive power with the blueprints provided by none other than Belisarius Cawl himself. These machines were researched, developed and perfected over hundreds of years and indeed many of the Imperium’s finest victories could be traced back to the great machines honed and built on Sanctus Binary. These machines gained notoriety for their brutality at close arms and before long came to the attention of one of the Great Houses, recently rediscovered. Heralded from that point to today the machines built on Sanctus Binary were known by another name, they were to join the Knights of House Mortan.
During the great rift however, Santus Binary had been cut off from the Imperium and had been assumed lost. This was until reports surfaced that heretics of the chaos god Khorne had sent an invasion fleet to claim the forgeworld in the name of all that is evil and began producing foul, warp-tainted machinery of appalling savagery, laying waste to imperial worlds in the segmentum. This could not be allowed to pass and in M41 the Blood Angels under the command of Captain Faustus and his brazen 3rd Company supported by XXX Corps “The Red Eagles” conducted a coordinated counter-assault and liberated the world of its chaos taint, utterly destroying the corrupted knights of chaos and their followers. The reports of total chaos control had been grossly exaggerated, likely another foul machination of chaos that had corrupted imperial vox links. The Blood Angels had been drawn in to deploying a significant force to Sanctus Binary while a secondary Khornate host had entered realspace in the Segmentum Ultima, three weeks from Baal Secundus. The remnants of the 3rd Company had immediately re-deployed, leaving Sanctus Binary derelict but with its forges largely intact.
The Wolf Priests briefing had provided Ivar with great detail on the modern history of Sanctus Binary but was remarkably scant on detail on what his brotherhood were likely to be facing in the present. Aerial thermal reconnaissance had detected a significant deployment of personnel and machinery some 40 levels below ground. On the ground scouting, a forte of the Space Wolves, revealed several entrances to a series of subterranean hangars, largely unguarded. Ivar was confident of his route in to the cavernous spaces of the underbelly of this planet. Surprise would be the key, speed would be crucial.
Ivar’s company had reinforcements however and these were not reinforcements in which Ivar had ever dealt. Ivar could sense the nervousness in his brothers, they knew what was coming. An unknown enemy, unknown terrain, no clear exfiltration and no clear battle plan. This was not an ideal situation and all Ivar could do was deploy with the all the skill and tact he had learned through many decades in covert warfare. There was however, absolutely nothing tactful or covert about the three Imperial Knights Ivar had at his disposal seconded to his company by the Adeptus Mechanicus. His Wolf Priest had advised, in all expectation, that given the available resources on Sanctus Binary that there would likely be armoured resistance, in some form. It was inconceivable that anything could stand against the might of the machines that stood roughly 500 yards away, their sheer size, the thickness of their armour, the terrifying size of their cannons. It was also inconceivable however that machines of that size could in any way form part of a covert battle plan. That being said, Ivar was less than a kilometre now from the entrance designated codename ‘Berek’ and as of yet, they remained undetected.
Ivar took a look to his left and saw the great company banner fluttering in the morning breeze. The banner, made from the hide of black forest great-wolf bore the sigil of his father’s great company, the Blackwolves. As was tradition Ivar drew his great axe in his right hand, the weapon known as Gungnir – or in the common tongue ‘Unbreakable Oath’. Ivar ran his hand across the tough skin of the banner, taking the corner in his hand; one of the few natural reminders of the plains of Asaheim. Home.
Ivar raised his hammer and signalled the advance. “Time to go to work” he uttered to himself.
“Passing Codename Berek” Ivar uttered to his vox operator. “Stay close to me – relay that to station”.
Ivar and his close company of infantry descended in the dark and inhospitable void of the subterranean passage. His company did not fear the dark, they had other senses they could call upon to forewarn them of any impending danger. The tunnels grew wider and wound down many levels and as they sloped in to the terrain the sounds from within the hangers grew louder, the ground underneath their feed started to vibrate. It became a deafening cacophony of what sounded like a mass-conveyor system, or a mechanised-assembly, either way it was construction on an industrial scale. It did occur to Ivar, now that they were close to the hangar entrance, that provided this noise continued the Knights could follow in close behind with little chance of discovery. Ivar gave the order for the vox controller to relay that to the surface and sure enough after a signal delay, the order was confirmed.
Progress was quickened as a light source roughly 1000 yards away revealed the hangar entrance. Ivar took his vox operator and two of his Wolf Guard on a scouting mission to recon the entrance. The hangar itself was old, archaic almost but afforded plenty of cover in which to infiltrate the area. Best of all was a clear elevated firing platform, an old adamantium processing mill with a blown out at rear but what appears to be relatively stable upper levels still in tact. It would certainly do for Ulrik and his Long Fang teams, the hardened terminator would appreciate the sight lines this position afforded. It would also work for Ivar for visibility of the whole hanger but we would not risk discovery so early in the deployment. Something in here was being manufactured and he would find out what that was.
Ivar took himself and the vox operator to the base of the building and ascended the building, using any footholds he could find. Climbing was a natural means of evasion on the great plains and Ivar was a master. Skilfully, he elevated himself silently to a natural vantage point and took out his visocular. Over the ore depositories and beyond the assembly line was a giant shape, a great lumbering war machine of gargantuan proportions silhouetted against the bright manufactorum centre lights that radiated across the hangar. The great machine was obviously in a state of repair, with its face plate suspended from an assembly hook awaiting fitting. The machine looked to be an imperial from the insignia, the great crest of the eagle visible against the darkness. Ivar breathed a palpable sigh of relief, he was about to take his visocular down and order the withdrawal when he noticed something else that caused him to pause. Infantry were also present in the hangar, infantry that he’d never seen before but….no it couldn’t be. Ivar identified the colours, white armour, purple right arm, gold detail. He’d heard of the existence of this chapter but had never placed much faith in rumour and concluded he will vox this back to command before further action. Ivar withdrew back to the hanger entrance and rounded the corner to re-join his comrades.
The Imperial Knights had by now joined the main force and were positioned behind the main infantry spearhead in the hangar tunnel. The noise remained profound and it created a significant communication issue, 40 levels below ground the vox link was highly unlikely to work, it was hard enough speaking and understanding someone two yards away, let alone communicating a battle plan to a group at once. Ivar sent the vox operator back up the tunnel to find a signal and to communicate their reconnaissance.
It was some time before he returned.
“Sir, there was some interference but the order is to attack” said Erik
Ivar looked at Erik quizzically, he looked pale, strangely out of character for the extremely agile and athletic initiate.
“You relayed the information exactly as I dictated?” pressed Ivar.
“I did Sir”
“Who are we dealing with here soldier? What are their loyalties?” asked Ivar, getting more impatient.
“Sir, I am advised that they are the Sons of the Phoenix and their loyalities are…well”
“Well what?….” “Out with it initiate” Ivar was brimming with irritation.
“Unknown Sir, we are ordered to clear them out, kill or capture order sir, there was no doubt in it” offered Erik.
“Who did you verify the order with?” affirmed Ivar.
“Inquisitor Darke” Sir, he’s aboard the Herald.
“Valhalla take me. That’s good enough Erik. Lads, follow me”
Erik slumped against the hangar wall, shivering.
“Right behind you Sir”.
Ivar led his battle-ready contingent to the hangar entrance. “We will break for cover towards the mill and set up a defensive position there, I will continue to move forward with Ake’s squad up the middle and assume an advanced position where I can scout ahead. I will direct from there with hand signals so take this and see that we are well covered brother. The standard bearer took the scope and retreated to join the two Long Fangs squads at the rear. “No shots fired until I give the order, we still have the initiative”.
“Shields! For Russ and for the Allfather!!”
And just like that, in a cruel twist of fate and as if someone had just flicked a switch, the noise in the hangar dimmed.
Eternal War – The Four Pillars
List 1 – Fingers
List 2 – Champs
Wolf Guard Battle Leader
Wulfen x7 (TH/SS)
Wolf Guard x5 (TH/SS)
Long Fangs x5
Long Fangs x5
Ivar led his company from the hanger entrance to the cover of the half-destroyed ore mill. The gods had seen fit to test him, that was certain, and the shouts of alarm in the distance ahead of him meant only one thing. The enemy had been alerted to their presence, the element of surprise had been cruelly torn from their grasp and they would be made to pay for it. Ivar could clearly see the shapes of mobilising armour ahead, two massive hulks resplendent in the reds and yellows of a glorious house brought low by khornate heretics. One knight bearing an enormous circular saw made straight for them and moved faster than Ivar could believe possible for something of its size. It was headed around to the left flank and had to be met with force. The other, wielding fearsome ranged weapons, slowly began to traverse its left arm, now right in the firing line of the Long Fang packs that hadn’t yet made cover from the hanger entrance. The cannon opened fire, the roar was deafening and a rain of huge shells hit Arvik Longstride’s pack like a meteor storm utterly obliterating them where they stood in a cloud of red mist and charred corpses. Luckily, Ake and his fire team had made cover and were out of sight of the lumbering behemoth. Enraged, Ivar vox linked back to the Knights.
“Codename Breakthrough. Destroy anything you see” – that was the only directive needed. The Knights burst through the hanger wall, one Knight broke out to the left and the other two in the centre.
The smaller Knight on the left was immediately met with a volley of fire from the Redemptor dreadnought and it was badly damaged, jarring its guns in place and unable to traverse it returned fire in to a unit of aggressors sat on an elevated position, in cover and utterly destroyed them. The Long Fangs opened fire at the ranged Knight at the back of the battlefield hitting it in the lower carapace causing only superficial damage, as did the other smaller Knight.
Ivar surveyed the situation. It was time. He had to unleash his finest killers, his most dangerous hunters and in this theatre, this prize was utterly lethal. Ivar was a born leader and such was indoctrinated in demonstrating by example. He would accompany his great lost brothers in their glorious final hour as they broke cover and charged fearlessly in to the great machine bearing down on them. Such a foe would offer them glory in death as they had never had in life. The Wulfen were ready and bearing hammers forged in the ice fires of the Fang would prove a match for any opponent but this was no ordinary opponent. And so they ran, with a bestial swiftness not possessed by any in the ranks of the Space Wolves, with a thirst unmatched even in the most youthful of Blood Claws. They met the Knight head on and jumped, clawed and propelled themselves up the great carapace armour clambering like a feral swarm over the ceramite plating and began relentlessly hammering at the weakest joints. One of the Wulfen must have hit a fuel linkage, or a power cell, Ivar couldn’t see from his position but the Knight fell quickly under the relentless assault.
Phil: First Strike (Long Fangs), 2 Points (Objectives), 1pt (Kills)
Ross: First Strike (Aggressors), 2 Points (Objectives), 2pts (Kills)
Turn 2 – Summary
Having destroyed the Knight, the Wulfen were left in no-mans land, exposed to a deadly crossfire arc between the Crusader and the infantry squads in cover. The Wulfen bore the brunt of the enemy fire for this turn, killing 5 of the 7 models. Two survived, passed morale and charged the Redemptor dread which was then destroyed after one Wulfen was killed. The Wolf Guard entered the fray but failed the charge and were left holding an objective. The Long Fangs killed the last of an intercessor squad holding an objective in Phils’ deployment zone.
Phil: 1 Points (Objectives), 1pt (Kills)
Ross: 2 Points (Objectives), 3pts (Kills)
Turn 3 – Summary
The last of the Wulfen and three of the five Wolf Guard were obliterated by the Knight. Phil’s Armiger destroyed my Armiger on the left hand side, leaving me with two Knights remaining, to his two. An incredible round of fire saw the Long Fangs obliterate Phils Armiger in one turn with some lucky rolls. My Crusader took a couple of intercessors with the gattling cannon and took more wounds off the enemy Crusader, leaving it on around 10 wounds remaining. I charged my one remaining Wolf Guard in to the remaining intercessor unit with two models and killed them both.
Phil: 2 Points (Objectives), 3pt (Kills)
Ross: 2 Points (Objectives), 1pts (Kills)
Turn 4 – Summary
Phil’s Knight moved towards my lines and fired everything in to my Crusader reducing it to 3 wounds, aided by some Phobos smite. He then charged my remaining Armiger and stomped it out. His infiltrators then plinked a couple of wounds off my Knight leaving it on 1 wound remaining! The one remaining Wolf Guard was killed by a mastercrafted bolt carbine round that pierced shield and armour. The Long Fangs then took aim at the Crusader and destroyed it with the Knight then taking aim at the infiltrator unit which had crept out from behind cover. I killed the Phobos librarian too.
Phil: 2 Points (Objectives), 2pt (Kills)
Ross: 2 Points (Objectives), 3pts (Kills)
“Hold your fire” shouted Ivar as he peered round the corner of a 25 foot ore smelt container. He could make out, through the thick smoke that shrouded the hanger, that there were but 7 or 8 infantrymen remaining in proximity. His order was directed at his own company, the Long Fangs squad and the Imperial Knight turned and locked in targets but held fast. At a moments notice, the remaining soldiers would be obliterated if they opened fire on him. Given that Ivar was, as of yet, unscathed and combined with the storm shield he possessed he doubted they possessed the necessary firepower now to kill him outright, so he was prepared to take that risk. Something had gnawed at Ivar throughout this brief conflict, that of the sudden and unexpected appearance of an Inquisitor on an Imperial battle cruiser that had led to this. Far be it for a Battle Brother to question the orders of the Ordo Hereticus, the order had seemed logical given the recently history of the forgeworld. Something wasn’t quite right though and Ivar couldn’t quite place why.
“Captain Taratek Renard of the Sons, ordering a stand down” came a voice through the fog of war. The voice was loud, resonant, commanding and his men, in perfect order lowered their weapons and retreated to cover.
“Captain, Battle Leader Ivar Ragnarsson of the 6th Legion, you are afforded parlais” responded Ivar. “Know this, if any of your men raise a weapon, they will be cut down”. Ivar raised his shield and stepped out from cover walking slowly but purposefully towards the Captain, never breaking visual contact.
“How should I address you?” asked Captain Renard. Ivar, now standing 10 feet from the Sons commander realised he was a good foot taller and was built like a terminator. The man was an intimidating presence and he looked resplendent in his ornate MKX armour.
“Ivar is fine. Captain, you and your men are under arrest under the charge of high treason. You will be accorded all the usual courtesies as befits your rank. What have you been doing here?” said Ivar confidently.
Captain Renard then did something Ivar did not expect, he laughed.
“Ivar, do you know why you are here, why you have done what you have done? You call us traitors without question yet you do not understand your orders. You say we are under arrest but you have little idea of the presence on this world. How long have you been here? A week. Two? I have been here two terran years and understand who and what we are fighting. You have done nothing here but set back an imperial insurgency that has been gaining momentum of late. Good men died here Ivar, at your hand, at the hand of the Emperor. Yo….”
“You can tell this all to the Inquisitor when you see him” Ivar interrupted. “It is not for me to question the orders of the Inquisi….”
“Darke” said Renard, now his turn to interrupt. The flash of recognition in Ivar’s eyes was all the confirmation he needed. “I should have known”.
Ivar was now more than curious as to what this man knew.
Captain Renard reached in to his cloak, slowly and purposefully so as to not provoke the guns trained on him. He took out a dataslate and handed it to Ivar.
“You are going to want to sit and listen to me, wolf, before you make your judgement”.
Knights/Space Wolves 19
SPACE WOLVES VICTORY
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