None should forget the near disastrous consequences of Angron’s uncontrollable rage. After infuriating Horus at Istvaan, Angron would continue to test the patience of his fellow secessionists. It is well documented that Angron’s fleet came close to initiating boarding actions with the Word Bearers flotilla at the outset of their campaign against The Five Hundred Worlds. Had it not been for Lorgar’s measured responses and the cool-headed courage of Angron’s lieutenants, then the Shadow Crusade would surely have been doomed from the start.
It is true that both legions remained far from amicable. Blows were struck, even blood drawn, yet this soon gave rise to a grudging respect between the legionnaires of both Primarchs.* Soon their strategies synergised, forming a formidable fighting force that would cleave through hundreds of worlds.
*It should be noted that outright battle never took place between the two legions in the prosecution of this campaign.
This is a lie.
On Culuxis XI, an agri-world on the fringes of The Five Hundred, the Word Bearers and World Eaters clashed.
The Ultramarines were swift to evacuate their personnel when the secessionist fleets entered the system, narrowly escaping to their orbiting strike cruisers and fleeing to a neighbouring system where a meaningful defence could perhaps be mustered.
The small world was left to its own defences, guarded only by tens of thousands of untested auxilia and a handful of oath sworn Ultramarines.
The World Eaters fell upon them from orbit, sending waves of drop pods into the midst of the defenders. Within hours, seven of the eight primary hives had fallen, their populations either put to the sword or streaming outwards in panicked tides, choking the roads with refugees. The Word Bearers landed several leagues beyond these population centres, preferring to advance methodically, crushing resistance, and zealously indoctrinating terrified civilians. Often they would stop to practise esoteric rites, erect shrines and perform sacrifices, all in aid of fuelling the growing Ruinstorm.
The world’s capital, Mal Reve, built long before by Culuxis’ first colonists, proved to be a formidable bastion, holding out longer than its neighbouring hives. Here, the World Eaters’ drop assault proved costly: Laser defence arrays lanced pods from the sky and hidden void shield generators denied the attackers viable landing zones. Every avenue was an ambush, every park a minefield and every plaza a kill zone. The auxilia here were well-drilled and, having received news of the massacres in seven of the other hives, resolved to fight to the last breath. Their master, Cato Bellicus, a Terran born Ultramarine beloved by the people, was both an inspiration and a tactical genius. Undeniably, the situation was hopeless for the defenders, but Cato determined to make the World Eaters bleed for every inch of ground they took.
Fast becoming frustrated, World Eater commanders requested the armour and heavy ordnance of the Word Bearers to come to their aid. Distracted by dark rituals, none was forthcoming, despite the vitriol and stream of curses that flooded the vox.
71 hours from the first drop on Mal Reve, the head of Cato Bellicus was taken. The resistance quickly collapsed and the defenders took to the streets, all notions of valour turned abruptly to desperate survival.
The hard fighting had caused the World Eaters’ nails to dig hard, taking hold in such a way that only continued combat, or potent sedatives, could calm the cerebral burn. Too few of their apothecaries had survived to administer the required dosages.
It was at this juncture that elements of the Word Bearers sent to support the assault on Mal Reve arrived on the fringes of the city.
A World Eater centurion, his battle plate streaked with gore and filth, advanced at the head of his forces to meet their allies. Through the rubble he came, over the buildings that had been collapsed on his brothers and across the strongpoints littered with Culuxian dead.
The Word Bearers stood before him now, their crimson armour unbloodied and weapons still cold. Parchment covered with the rhetoric of their father fluttered in the blood and cordite tinged wind. It was a sight that made the nails bite deeper.
Heartily gripping the vambrace of a trusted brother was a well practised battle greeting in both legions. Never though, had it ever been immediately followed by the severing of the gripped arm. A mixture of surprise and agony swept over the Word Bearer as he was head-butted and sent sprawling into a crater. The severed limb followed a moment afterwards, tossed contemptuously in by his attacker.
The World Eater’s laughter crackled down the vox for a few moments, before being drowned out by the crashing sound of bolter fire. Incredulous, the Word Bearers voxed their ships and readied themselves for what would surely follow…
High above, Angron opened his eyes. His expression was one of pained concentration as he fought to quell the tremors and ticks that sought to wrest control of his face. He spat a goblet of his tongue out and licked his bloody lips, tasting the acid metal of his own gene-enhanced blood. Despite the titanic doses of tetra-opiates that numbed his senses, they failed to drive him downward into dormancy. He had been listening to the vox…
“Prepare the Charybdis,” growled Angron, slowly rising from his throne of bronze…
This cortis contemptor was the first to join battle, striding from its wrecked drop pod to clash with its contemptor kin…
- Having wrecked the cortis, the XVII Legion contemptor talon turns to face a new threat – The Red Butchers deploy!
Torrents of lascannon fire lanced through the dawn air, only for the Charybdis to jink unscathed through to its destination. The Word Bearers trained their bolters on the pod, all hope of firing upon the occupants before the inevitable assault fading away…
“Gods! It’s Angron! ANGROOON!” The red-handed primarch sallies forth!
Overwatch fire is ineffective, felling just two of the madmen!
CRRRRUUUNCH! Angron smashes into the waiting gun line…
The tactical squads are annihilated in morass of flying limbs and reaving chainaxes! Two Word Bearers limp to the safety of their Proteus transport… Angron is only just getting started!
Meanwhile, the Mhara Gal, immobilised and bereft of its plasma cannon, howls impotent rage at the foe!
In the centre, bloody melee ensues as the red butchers continue their advance, carving through fifteen tactical marines and taking the head of the Word Bearers’ Chaplain…
The red butchers stride through the remains of two wrecked dreadnoughts, shrugging off wounds as they are bathed in a wall of fire!.
The two predators provide long-range fire. “Enemy Venator two hundred metres…fire!… foedeath,..confirmed!” The pair then train their lascannons on the Red Butchers in the open, bringing their rampage to an end…
Angron wrecks one Proteus…
…and another! A Medusa shell vaporises the remaining squad of assault marines…but it is too little, too late…
What a game! Thank you to Toby for an awesome time against his beautiful World Eaters army!
I particularly enjoyed how every tactical decision began with, “What would a World Eater do?”
This seemed to work rather well from where I was standing!
World Eaters 8 – Word Bearers 6.
Victory to Toby’s World Eaters
Played at BIG in Bristol. Check out this awesome hobby store at: http://www.bristolindependentgaming.co.uk/
Stand by for more Heresy action soon!
Over and Out!