Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Fall of the Purokar League: Arriving at Winskrieg

Hello all and welcome to our long awaited invasion of the Purokar League. 

This is the start of our Great Crusade and hopefully you will join us in our forthcoming battle reports which will hopefully appear weekly from here on out. Today we set the scene after Delegatus Kohler managed to get the missive to the Imperium in our prologue. To read these battle reports just click on the Great Crusade tab, scroll down to "The fall of the Purokar League" campaign and click the link there to get you caught up with the story so far. 

In the lifeless void on the outer reaches of the Karrus Sector a small light flickered into life as an imperial drone cycled into existence. Its archaic design from the old age of technology proved its timeless worth, as the smooth vinear of real space began to ripple and then break apart into a maelstrom of colour and clawing sensation. Through it passed the monstrously unmistakable form of the Fist of Iron, The capital ship of Ferrus Manus himself, its every angle bristling with violent potential. Wreathed in lightning and swathes of turbulent colour the rest of his dark and ominous splinter fleet broke into real space, the immaterium protesting as its volatile bridge to reality collapsed behind the last of the ships. The X Legion fleet then left  the mandaville point and after a short trip at sub-light, arrived at the planet Winskrieg and it's naval base.

Aveinus Kaane paced the length of his storm bird's troop compartment, his mind a turbulent sea of emotions and ideas that he could not keep under control. He wasn’t used to this, he was used to leading his squad of cold, unflinching warriors into the heart of battle. It was there he excelled and there that he felt at… peace. Aveinus brushed his train of thought aside as the illogical nature of it troubled him just as much as his current situation. However, he knew he could not delay himself any longer and his Meduson temper flared as he punched the button for the storm birds landing ramp. It began to descend on hissing gyros as the visibly relieved form of his now first sergeant, Alexander Maximin came into view. 'I was beginning to think you were never going to come out captain,' said Alexander with a slight smile creasing his pale features. 'I will punch you in the face sergeant, I’m quite sure I’m officially allowed to do that now,' retorted Aveinus his features still rigidly serious. Alexander saw through to his captains’ dry humour as his smile grew further, he saluted his friend as he begrudgingly made his way from the embarkation deck of the Fist of Iron, towards his primarchs inner most sanctum.
Aveinus made his way through the maze of burnished iron corridors of the Fist of Iron and past the ships bustling starship's serfs and legion menials, each of them either pausing to salute him or desperately trying to move out of his way as he marched to the Iron Forge. He paid them no notice as his thoughts still struggled to deal with the significance of his next few hours. He was to meet with his primarch, a being he admired and feared in equal measure. Yes he had fought by his side, desperately driving himself ever onwards to prove his metal and skill in battle, but it was always his late captain that gave the primarch advice when asked and absorbed criticism when the 15th needed to give ever more in service of their legion. He knew of course the Iron Hands always gave every ounce of strength for their primarch and the Emperor, however, any kind of weakness was intolerable to the Iron Tenth and this was unfortunately the root of his troubled mind. He knew he was not scared of any xenos, he was just scared to show any kind of weakness and thereby letting his father and legion down.
Aveinus approached the Iron Forge, its huge arched doorway almost a temple dedicated to the gods of Iron and its mastery. By no means beautiful the design of the Iron Forge was made of straight lines and hard edges as the walls glistened with condensation and the distant clang of hammers came as a comforting sound to Aveinus, as he thought of the forging of his own weapons. The primarchs elite praetorians outlined the perimeter, acknowledging each of them in turn he either received nods of respect or the blank expression of their battle helms. Two stood sentinel by the Anvilarium’s entrance and he knew the importance of being allowed to entrance to the primarchs inner most sanctum, where only his closest brothers and confidants were permitted to enter. Aveinus glanced at the heavily augmented head of one of the Morlock Terminators and wondered if the war that was raging inside his skull would cease if he would just augment himself like many more of his brothers were choosing to do. In a burst of light the doors to the anvilarium opened.

Aveinus failed to take in the stark beauty of the anvilarium and the magnificent pieces of weaponry that were mounted like works of art around the room that even Fulgrim himself would marvel at. Aveinus’ gaze was so firmly fixed on the demi-god watching him expectantly from behind his stone desk, that he only just managed to register another figure standing beside his genesire. Iron Father Jebez Aug inclined his head in greeting as he approached his Primarch. Aveinus calmed himself as best as he could, but the nagging feeling that he didn’t deserve to be stood here gnawed at his thoughts. 'Kaane, what is the status of our rendezvous?' asked Ferrus as he placed his huge liquid silver arms onto the table in front of him. 
'Lord,' replied Aveinus straightening his back and finally clearing his head. 'Delegatus Kohler has a war room established on Starfort Neveon, he is expecting us and will personally greet you upon our arrival.'
'So he made it out. How did he escape?' Ferrus asked, his curiosity piqued. Aveinus composed himself and began to explain what he had been relayed in a data squirt, about the current status of the Karrus Sector and Kohler’s hard fought escape from the system. 
Ferrus considered this for a second. 'He fought well to get this message to us,' Ferrus stood, 'let's just hope the intelligence he has escaped with is better than his skills in diplomacy.' Aveinus watched as his genesire walked around the table to stand in front of him, unsure whether to respond to the comment. 'Tell me Kaane, are we the only fleet to respond to Kohler's call for reinforcement?' He questioned in the tone of a leader asking if there would be any other forces arriving for which he would assuredly have full command of.
'Your Brother Mortarion has just translated in system with three Companies; the first, fith and seventh as well as a War Maniple of Legio Mortis, he is two days behind us.' Ferrus’ silver eyes seemed to find his most recent revelation amusing. 'Trust Mortarion to arrive at a war zone which most deserves the Imperium's retribution.' Ferrus let out a deep chuckle and shook his head. 'To think, they might actually deserve it,' he bade Aveinus to continue with a hand gesture.
'Two Excertus Imperialis Expeditionary fleets; the 1557th and the 3198th have also arrived and are orbiting Winskrieg, we are getting force dispositions now, they will be with you momentarily. We also have a Dark Angel force lead by Chapter Master Castiel Druas. He has a combined force of eight thousand Legionnaires under his command, as well as eighty thousand Excertus Imperialis, his fleet is a few hours behind us. That is all that have responded to Kohler's missive.' Ferrus thought on this information, clearly starting the planning stage of the invasion in earnest.
'Have the Purokar League issued any statement?' Asked Jebez. Aveinus briefly wondered if Ferrus would see questioning across him as an affront, but his Lord gave no sign and endorsed the question with his silence. 
'Nothing as yet Iron Father.' He responded. Jebez Aug was of Aveinus’s own Sorrgol Clan and had spent a modest amount of time with the learned Legionnaire in the forges after his promotion.
'Thank you Kaane. Have the fleet begin docking procedures at once. I will have this Purokar League tempered and reforged, as Iron,' with that his audience was over. 

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The muster point could be seen through the viewscreen, approaching slowly with all the silent menace of stormclouds waiting to unleash their fury. 
'Lord Castiel, we make dock in one hundred and sixteen minutes,' came the mechanical voice of a servitor. Without taking his eyes from the incredible sight, he nodded gently. Smiling, he turned to the bridge captain, Georg Lywin.
'Lets see if we can't shave some time off of that. I wouldn't want to keep my uncle waiting.' Turning back to the viewport he continued 'I have no doubt they have been monitoring us since we broke warp. I would enjoy exceeding their estimations of us.'
'Aye,' replied the captain. 'It shall be done by your word.' Castiel nodded, his enhanced eyes taking in the unfolding scene and reviewing the space stations datalogs. Winskrieg the planet was called, a cored out world where the majority of the minerals found once beneath the surface, now orbited the system in the guise of several massive star forts and star ports. It was now used as an advanced muster station, and matériel cache for operations in the galactic north east, and had been established as the gate to the Karrus sector in the last decade. The sheer size and scope of the structures was incredible. Reports indicated that almost two full legions, a vast battalion of a third as well as two other large expeditionary fleets had come in response to Kohler's call to war. Castiel's fleet had only just pulled down their void scaffolds from a short deep space refitting, when they had received the missive. They were feeling vengeful after the conclusion of their recent xenos extermination campaign, which had sadly claimed the life of his commander, and their former Chapter Master, which had earned him promotion to his new rank. This, Castiel's first test was to be under the direct scrutiny of two primarch's and the distant gaze of two more. He would not fail. He was first legion and that meant he had an example to set. None of that politicking bothered him, caring more for the pride in his own performance and that of his knights, but none the less, judging eyes would fall on him during this campaign. Ferrus Manus, the Gorgon, had been the first to acknowledge Kohler's call. The primarch of the Iron Hands was a supreme lord of war and Castiel was looking forward to witnessing the Medusan's fury again. The Death Guard were also to be present, their fleet was set to arrive in a couple of days, with Mortarion present. It was believed that all would defer leadership to Ferrus Manus, such was his indomitable character. Castiel had never met Mortarion but knew enough of his reputation to believe this last detail would not sit well with him. Castiel could only imagine the power struggle that would go on between the demi god brothers. He shivered, but he could not tell why. The most surprising aspect of the coalition was that Perturabo himself had not turned up to regain the honour of his sons. Something very pressing must have kept the primarch away. 
'Please communicate an open broadcast to the ship. All senior personnel are to attend primary docking bay and prepare for greeting protocols.' He smiled to Georg 'The bridge is your's Captain Lywin.'

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Fitting. That was a good word to describe the room they had requisitioned. It was spacious and vaulted. One wall was part amphitheater which looked out upon the stars as if to view a Zero-G ballet or star fighter demonstration. Lorencz Kohler chose it mainly for the reason that at the time of the commencement of the war council, star fort Neveon will have the stars of the Purokar League squarely in the centre of the glasteel viewport, as if to frame the goals of the deployment. He would stare at the constellations that made up the Purokar League night after night wishing they were arriving to exact a measure of the retribution he needed upon the deceitful empire. He wished he was with his Grand Battalion again. He wished it was he and his Legion which were leading the attack, but they were deployed fighting the Orkoid fortress worlds of Ga'Kan Gut Plugga'. He knew the Lord of Iron would have heard his missive and pondered upon the ramifications of that, but chose not to dwell on it for too long. It was never a good thing to be the target of Perturabo's displeasure. 
Tonight he did not stare, he paced relentlessly. He knew it was nerves.
'You need to sort yourself out. Sit your arse down and have a drink of that pissing pretentious wine you have managed to pull out of thin air,' said Nârek Dreygur, his confident and cocky voice never sounded anything but that of a loud husky whisper. It complimented his low born demeanour very well and helped him earn the respect of his Company, something which the nobles of Olympia, such as he, struggled with. 
Lorencz turned to look at the Captain as he paused his pacing, 'you know I can't do that and I'm pretty sure if you were about to host one of the Emperor's sons off the back of a failed compliance you also would be trying to show a morsel of decency by keeping the cork in the bottle until at least the moment they walked in the room,' he scowled, before turning away to look back out of the glasteel viewport, 'regardless of how louche you want to be perceived.'
The comment received a snort of amusement from Nârek, 'true enough, but I'd just win their favour with my charm.' Nârek said as he sat back in his chair. Lorencz began to check again through the digital reports and briefings he had prepared for the gathering again, for now what seemed like the hundredth time. He would not be found wanting. 
Kohler's newly appointed Equerry Hurruck arrived through the auditorium's grand doors.
'Delegatus Kohler,' he addressed Lorencz with a salute, 'Lord Manus has arrived and has requested an audience with you.' 
He stood taller at this. He had ensured he was prepared a full day before the Primarch's arrival, just in case the Sire of the Iron Hands arrived and immediately wanted to begin the planning of the operation. Still, knowing he was about to host one of the Emperor's sons was incredibly daunting. 
'Inform Lord Manus that I await his presence at the war room,' Lorencz said as he gestured to the chamber with an off hand. Hurruck nodded his understanding and left the room with a salute. 
Kohler knew that he did not need to ask his other Captains to join them yet, and was under the impression that after he briefed Lord Manus fully, that he would take a back seat in all future proceedings. 
'I want to be there Nârek,' Lorencz said to the Captain after Hurruck had left the chamber, 'I want to be there when those bitches have to face the Imperium's vengeance. I want them to realise that their folly had brought their civilisation to a meaningless war, where the outcome was always inevitable.'
Nârek sat forward in his chair once more. 'They will Lorencz, after we tear down their walls and take the Lyfinium Palace on Purokar Prime, they will realise the shit awful mistake they have made bringing the wrath of two Legions to their door.' 
'I have to be there. I have to see the look in their eyes when they face judgement. Eight years I sat there and pandered to their lies. Eight years missing out on glory, for what? to have our offers of compliance and unification thrown back in my face.' Kohler resisted the urge to spit the acidic bile which rose in his throat. 
'We-' Nârek started to say as the doors to the chamber opened without ceremony, and in strode the Gorgon. 
He was clad for war as were the four Legionnaires which accompanied him. His silver arms reflected the light from the lume strips above and ripples of light danced over the officers by his side. He was at least two heads taller than the tallest in his retinue, with the large mechanical servo harness compacted on his back pack making him bulkier still. He was magnificent and the two Iron Warriors dropped to a knee in deference.
'Lord Manus,' Delegatus Kohler forced himself to remember protocol, 'welcome to star fort Neveon.'
'Delegatus Kohler. I thank you for your welcome. I am here to take charge of the Purokar League compliance. From this moment, by the authority given to me by my father, all resources, personnel and auxiliaries deployed to this war zone are to be under my command. Primarch Mortarion, Chapter Master Druas and yourself as the highest ranking IV Legion representative will also answer directly to me. I formerly ask you to pledge the entirety of your Legion's resources, currently deployed to this war zone, to be under my command until such a time that I deem the compliance complete.' Lord Manus came to a stop before him just as he finished the declaration, 'is that understood?'
'I so pledge,' Lorencz oathed. 
'Then rise Delegatus and tell me about how these two lords of the Purokar league kept you blind for eight whole years.

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The First Captain sat proud on his flagship's Bridge. Proud at the fact that he commanded one of the most powerful vessels in the whole Imperium, and many of those before him knew it. He cast his eyes out at the star port Neveon and it's many suckling runt ships that sought re-supply and refuelling. He saw Cobra class Destroyers and Thunderbolt frigates at the upper circles, their smaller forms crammed in like Leeches on a fat belly. He saw Cruisers; Hades, Lunar and Crusade variants in the majority, chewing on the outstretched armatures of the largest docks. He recognised a handful of Silver Olympia and Hellfire Class cruisers and allowed himself a wry smile, it had been a while since he had fought with the IV Legion, they always brought the biggest guns. 
A vessel passed him low to starboard and he turned his attention to it as it came into view; it was a large vessel which was renowned through the Legions and where it's shadow fell so to soon would the reaper's scythe. The craft's scheme was like that of the rest of the XIV Legion's ships, a prow of lustrous green with a hull the colour of white-grey ceramite. What differed with this craft was the flaming brazier that perched atop it's beam and blazed brightly in space. He watched the flagship pass for a moment and took in the Gloriana pattern Battle Barge's immense majesty and wondered with idle curiosity if Mortarion was aboard that ship or elsewhere in the fleet, not for the Primarch was the company of his kin nor the constant drilling of his Legion, he preferred the Shadows. His eyes took in the Brazier again and for the smallest of instants he thought he caught the scent of Agent-Magenta and Foramacide. He shook his head and turned his gaze back to the docks.
He casually keyed several runes on his throne's keypad and the display before him lit up with ship names and signifiers, load-outs and service reports inlaid from Neveon's Noosphere. He scanned the names and assimilated the data quickly. The Dominator, Hulang's Lament, Iron Fire but none compared to the brutal Fist of Iron, flagship of Lord Manus. The Death Guard were last to arrive to the star port, the X Legion fleet had arrived two days earlier and had eagerly started to refuel and prepare materiel for the upcoming engagement. 
His eyes assessed the grand vessel and he tried to take in every bit of detail he could discern from this distance. He keyed in another string of commands into his throne, the viewport overlaid an enhanced sub-screen close up of this colossus of the void. Ferrus had been busy on this vessel since he had last been gifted with it's presence. The prow weapon systems had clearly been enhanced, as well as a grand total of thirteen more sensor arrays. He coded in a series of commands knowing that the survey auguries and passive scanners would be logging some interesting morsels of information regarding their specification and purpose for him to digest later at his leisure. 
'An impressive ship' came a wheezing voice over his left shoulder, sending a chill down Typhon's spine, when his Primarch wanted to remain hidden, no level of augmented hearing or motion scrying device could detect him. 'My brother; never content, always improving or tinkering.'
'I bet you two drafts of Agent Yellow that not one scrap or plate of that vessel is the ship that first left the ship yards, by that reasoning could you even call it a Gloriana any more?,' Typhon said getting to his feet, his Cataphractii plate grinding and thrumming as he turned to his Primarch, 'also Lord, when are you going to stop with these theatrics?'
Mortarion looked down at him from beneath his hooded face, 'when you start discovering me.' His lined lips curled back showing a row of stained white teeth and it took Typhon a second to realise it was a smile. 
Typhon snorted at this and scratched his beard, knowing that to look for him whilst he wished to remain hidden would be a pointless exercise. He noticed out of the corner of his eyes the two Legionnaires in Terminator plate standing either side the entrance to his bridge, Mortarion's Deathshroud, even they were skilled at remaining silent. He still had no idea who were the chosen Legionnaires inside. He remembered how he had asked his Gene Lord the names of his new guardians the last time he had encountered them, "their name is death" he had responded and ended all discussions there. He stopped himself speculating at their identity again and turned back to the docking operations before them. 
He let silence hang for a few moments between them as the bridge crew went hurriedly about their business, he heard the tap-schtonk tap-schtonk of the giant manreaper as Mortarion moved around to his side. Seven steps, always seven, Typhon had only recently started noticing the pattern in the Primarchs' movements too. He had asked why his Lord had chosen seven or variations and modifiers of the number seven in his Legion re structuring but had received no truly satisfying response. He had pondered on it on numerous occasions, did Mortarion share in the old Terran belief that the number was of good luck? He settled again on superstition, which begged more questions; did he also think that other old Terran numbers bore similar blessings or curses? He smiled, eight was widely believed to be a number of good fortune, and remembered with mild amusement that Konrad Curze had been found on a planet rich in Adamantium, one of the most precious minerals in the Imperium. 
Mortarion finished his measured steps and towered over Typhon by his side.  
'So we are to follow Lord Ferrus' orders in this Campaign?' Typhon questioned. 
'Yes my son.' Mortarion wheezed. 
'Lord, we should be at another battle front where our methods are more appreciated.' Typhon savoured the last word. 
'You think so?' asked Mortarion, 'It is true that many of my brothers think our tactics too heavy handed and costly, "What's the point in subduing a civilisation if they can't live on the world you subdue?" 
'A poor admonishment by that bureaucrat,' Typhon responded not taking his eyes off the Star port they approached, 'Roboute conquers nothing but pretty civilised worlds, whilst the Death Guard will keep getting dirty in the Xenos hives, Deatworlds and backwaters.'
'Would the true sons of Barbarus want it any other way?,' Mortarion rasped as he placed a huge hand on Typhon's pauldron, 'let us see if my brother will endorse the Fourteenth's way of war to the fullest in this campaign. After all, examples must be made sometimes.'
'Yes my Lord,' Typhon spoke turning to a bridge officer, 'ready a Sokar and inform Battle Captain Garro, Captain Holgoarg and Princeps Kalamoss that we are heading to star port Neveon, they are to meet us there in twenty minutes. Let us see what Lord Manus wants of the Death Guard.'

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Nathaniel Garro's Thunderhawk was the first XIV Legion vessel to arrive at star port Neveon's primary shuttle bay. He watched through the cockpit window as his craft settled onto the landing apron. His eyes took in the assembly gathered to greet his Legion, there were four Iron Hands as well as a portly Naval official dressed in full regalia, all were dwarfed though by the immensity of the huge form of Primach Ferrus Manus. Nathaniel prepared himself inwardly for meeting another Primarch, it was never something which any human or trans-human could fully adjust themselves to though. Even being in the presence of his own aloof Liege Lord required a great deal of preparation. 
His thoughts were interrupted as a second Thunderhawk and a Sokar entered the large hangar bay to his right, their giant forms landing with little practiced finesse, instead brutishly relying on the landing gears hydraulics to absorb the landing. 
Nathaniel smiled to himself. Even the Legion pilots expressed their Legion's way of war in their flying. 
'Thank you Korvak,' Nathaniel said to the pilot, 'please lower the ramp as soon as the Sokar does and remain here until you are instructed otherwise.' 
'Aye Battle Captain' was the gruff response he received as he disappeared out of the cockpit and into the main hold. There Priceps Kalamoss stood in a cloak of black and red with a jawless brass skull mask donned over his head, he acknowledged the Princeps with a nod. 
'Another war zone beckons us Battle Captain Garro,' the skull grinned. 
'That it does Princeps,' Garro responded as he turned away to face the ramp. 
'The tread of Bloodmire will be felt across the sub sectors, we bring the fury of Mars to the upstart Iron Empire of the Puroti,' Kalamoss intoned as he came to stand by his side as he prepared himself. 
The door hissed open and the noise and smells of the star port flooded in. He started down just before the teeth hit the deck, with Kalamoss a few steps behind. To his right Mortarion exited the Sokar, his dirty brass armour draped with an off white cape, which flapped slightly in the recycled air systems. Censers dangled from rusting chains accross his torso and waist as he rapped Silence along with his long steps. On also came First Captain Typhon and Captain Holgoarg to his side. 
'Mortarion,' came the deep thunderous voice of Ferrus in greeting as Mortarion got to within ten metres of where he stood. 
'Brother,' came Mortarion's response as he stopped a few metres away from him. Their kinship was clearly not a close one, 'I see we arrive to prosecute the same conflict.'
'So it seems,' grumbled the Gorgon and Nathaniel was taken aback by the slight hint of guile behind the comment, 'please allow me to introduce Captain Kaane and Iron Father Aug of the X Legion as well as Chapter Master Druas and Captain Calcus of the I Legion,' only then did Nathaniel notice the insignia on the pauldron of the third and fourth Legionnaires marking them out as a Dark Angels.
'Allow me to introduce Battle Captain Garro, Captain Holgoarg and my First Captain Typhon, as well as Princeps Senioris Kalamoss of Mortis.' Mortarion rasped. They all nodded in turn. 
'Come then Mortarion,' said Ferrus as he turned to leave, 'let us get straight to planning how we can show the Purokar League the error of their ways.'
'As you wish brother,' Mortarion responded and they fell in step behind the Lord of the Iron Tenth. 

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'Good turn out, think they heard about your wine bottles?' Asked Nârek at his left shoulder as they took in the quickly filling room. 
'If only your tactical acumen was as sharp as your wit,' Lorencz responded receiving a short mirthless chuckle from his compatriot. He looked around the room at the gathered officials in their myriad dress uniforms. Lord Marshal Warrickstein stood in his ebony armour, a long white plaited beard bisecting his golden curiass. The man talked to his lieutenants and adjutants which were looking equally as well dressed, gathered on the balcony behind him. Lorencz doubted the Lord Marshal's plate had seen as much as a scratch of damage in the general's long and illustrious career in the Imperial army. He looked to the flight commanders talking amongst themselves, obviously keen and hoping that their squadrons will be seconded to the invasion force, to help break up the dreariness of star port garrison duties.  
The doors opened again and the form of two giants followed by a small coterie of their most trusted Captains walked into the room. All attention turned to these individuals, one in polished black and the other in battered and dirty white and brass, they could not look more different if they tried. 
Primarch Ferrus Manus strode to the main pulpit and placed his silver hands on the railings, immediately letting the room know that he was in charge just through his actions. 
Lorencz glanced past the hololith dais, over to Primarch Mortarion who stood at the main rail opposite to him by the main entrance. The room had fallen into expected silence. 
'Let us get the introductions out of the way. Greetings to all. I am Primarch Ferrus Manus, son of the Emperor and Lord of the Tenth Legion,' he gestured to his right and the introductions continued. 
'Captain Kaane, Clan Sorrogol,' and so it continued. 
'Iron Father Aug, Clan Sorrogol.'
'Lord Marshal Horden of the 3198th Expeditionary fleet.'
'Lord Marshal Warrickstein of the 1557th Expeditionary fleet.'
'Captain Dreygur, 133rd Grand Battalion 6th Company.'
'Delegatus Kohler, 133rd Grand Battalion 2nd Company.'
'Castellan Jorin, Lord of the Star port Neveon.'
'Flight Commander Lorrisa, 1st squadron of the Winskrieg Fighter Wing.'
'Flight Commander Alistark, 1st squadron, Winskrieg Bomber Wing.'
'Captains Holgoarg, 5th Captain. Death Guard.'
'Battle Captain Garro. 7th Captain of the Death Guard Legion.'
'Primarch Mortarion. Lord of the Death Guard Legion.'
'First Captain Typhon. Death Guard.'
'Princeps Senioris Kalamoss, Legio Mortis, Bloodmire Battle Maniple, Princeps of Warlord Titan Bone Garland.'
'Chapter Master Druas of the I Legion.'
'Captain Elegeir Calcus of the I Legion.'
'Captain Meduson. Iron Hands Legion. Clan Sorrogol.'
'Good. Now let us begin,' Ferrus said and keyed a button on his data terminal. A holographic representation of the Purokar League appeared in a sphere over the central console. Lorencz noticed it was the same star sphere he had mapped, but with subtle additional levels of detail here and there. 'This is the Purokar League. They assured us they would join the Imperium and led us to believe they were. This was a ploy to buy time over the past eight years to prepare themselves for war. All of this was done in the guise of preparing regiments for the Imperial Army, and manufacturing whole Taghmaatas of Battle Automata as tithes.' His silver eyes looked around the room with tempered anger, 'we are here to bring them to compliance.'
Ferrus pressed another button and several worlds were highlighted and overlaid with references. '
'We will be invading the primaris planets of the Karskan and the Puroti people. I believe that when these six planets fall, thirty seven percent of the Purokar League will offer terms immediately with another twenty percent to follow shortly thereafter.' A series of planets changed colour to accent his beliefs and Kohler found himself checking the systems himself, recalling the relationships he had formed with some and the debates he had had with others. Ferrus was incredibly astute in his summaries Lorencz realised as he thought of the lickspittle Dally Phyton from Juskan and the spineless Lord of the Hiveworld of Tarsk. Kohler wondered if Lord Ferrus would have come to these conclusions and beliefs just from the information in his reports alone, or whether his own intelligence officers had garnered some from espionage or scouting. 
'Mortarion will prosecute the Campaign through the Kuskar worlds, whilst I will take the Puroti worlds.' Ferrus announced to the room. 'Delegatus Kohler with all IV Legion assets, the 3198th Expeditionary Fleet and Battle Maniple Scarlet Portent will work alongside the X Legion in these actions.' He looked to each Commander in turn as he issued their assignment orders, Lorencz nodded in assent. 'Chapter Master Druas with the I Legion assets, Battle Maniple Bloodmire and the 1557th Expeditionary Fleet will assist the XIV Legion in the Kuskar compliance actions.' 
'It shall be done,' Chapter Master Druas clashed a gauntlet to his chest in agreement. 
'Very good Druas,' Ferrus responded before setting once more to his data terminal. 
Three planets in each Sub-Sector were illuminated. 
The star sphere focused on a single planet and Lorencz recognised it immediately as the Capital world of the Karskan Dynasty. 'Luruta, must fall. It is a civilised world. It has a sizeable force of the Kuskar Steel Guard with Puroti elements. Luruta's first moon; Derovale, will also need to be brought to compliance if you are wanting to be able to secure Luruta. It is a defence moon which acts as this Star system's Kuskar Steel Guard Fortress Primus. The moon also has numerous land to orbit defensive batteries to protect Luruta from starship to ground invasion/bombardment, and our information suggests that they are even capable of targeting the planet itself if so needed.' 
The star sphere blinked again and a new world was shown.
'This world is Kaaret, it is a small Kuskar Forge World, but big enough to supply lasrifles and Saturine pattern void armour to four hundred Kuskar Steel Guard a day.' Lorencz thought of Master-Smith Zaarn and the military objection he had shown to defy the Iron Warriors presence as terms and early negotiations were being made, until the Lithium Flower herself had convinced him of the merit of joining with the Imperium. Another deceit it appeared as now in hindsight. 
'The Hive and Fortress world of Morkath. This world is the parent world from which the Kuskar Steel Guard set out from to conquer the Sub-Sector. It is a fastidiously loyal, labyrinthine bastion world. It has no atmosphere on the surface whatsoever, forcing the civilisation to construct towering castellum-hives and underground settlements.' Ferrus looked at Lorencz, 'this world will never capitulate.' Lorencz knew this to be true. The denizens of this barren world were some of the most blunt and stubborn bastards he had ever met. He had even considered petitioning his Primarch to use the world as a recruitment base for the Iron Warriors due to their personality traits. He did not envy the Death Guard's long drawn out compliance of that world. 
'Then within the Puroti Iron Empire worlds, located in the Loranak Star System, we have the fascinating world of Lagic; a desert world with almost no gravity. Employed as the Purokar League's primary Naval base, vessels as large as Grand Cruisers can make landing upon the earth itself.' Lorencz remembered his excursion to this incredible world. The Iron Hope itself berthed itself against the planet in one of the most peculiar sights in his entire life. He remembered the steel walkways and tether lines which covered the surface like a spiderweb. Incredible structures which did not need any form of support, spearing high into the sky. A single jump would send a person careering into the void to not return for days. He and his Legion relied on their boots' maglocks constantly whilst on the planet. He watched giant keels get laid down in no time and even witnessed a single serf carry a cannon, easily the weight of three Leman Russ Battle Tanks, up a tower gantry similar to how a Terran ant would carry a leaf segment up a branch. Such a prize as the planet was, it was shackled by the Puroti by a circlet of adamantium called the Arla ring, it's lasers ceaselessly scrying the void whilst ranks of dormant automatons stand sentry in giant warehouses. 
The image blinked again and revealed an industry blighted orb. 'Forge World Qultar, capital world of the Puroti,' Ferrus introduced, 'a vast and very well equipped world. It has some very impressive defences, including the support of around one hundred and twenty Knights from it's third moon Ralidactra. The recently divided Legio Mortis War Maniple will be present against these Knights.'
Ferrus paused before unveiling the next target as though concerned for it's safety and security. The image changed again and was replaced by a world of the definition of symbiosis. Purokar Prime could only be the Legions' eventual goal, and here it floated before them. A world which was the perfect balance of governance, industry and civilisation. The world which brought unity between the Puroti and the Kuskar, and had birthed the league which had stood uncontested for millennia. 'Purokar Prime,' Ferrus let the name hang, 'the capital planet of the two sub-sectors and the last bastion of resistance of the Purokar League. A world I dearly want to add to the Imperium of man intact,' the Lord of the Iron Hands looked to Mortarion and let his words hang for an instant. 'Hopefully we can negotiate a surrender of the Purokar League before we make planetfall on this world.' The image disappeared. 
Ferrus stood taller and looked around at the commanders before him, 'you have your primary objectives. Reports and information gleamed by Delegatus Kohler about the sub-sectors is being made available to your vessels cogitators at this very moment. Any questions?'
Silence greeted him. 
'As so,' Ferrus finished. 'Fleets will disperse in two standard days from now. Ave Imperator.'
'Ave Imperator.' The room responded and the Gorgon left the council with his Iron Hands. Mortarion watched his brother file past him but there were no parting words between them as the Lord of the Iron Hands left the chamber.

Come back next week to see the first battle. 

Drake Seta