Battle of Numarc
The Warp-visions of Sorcerers aided Crimson Slaughter Chaos Lord Kranon’s search for the Dark Angels recruiting world best suited for attack. On the ice-covered planet of Numarc, the Dark Angels had built the fortress of New Redemption. Although the star system was heavily populated, Numarc was furthest from the sun – a frozen world where the small human population fought the elements and ferocious beasts to survive. Those harsh conditions made for excellent recruits, where the Dark Angels could select the best warriors from the savage wastelands and turn them into new Space Marines. It was also a location that the Crimson Slaughter could raid and get away from before the full might of the Imperium could be roused against them.
Kranon knew there was trouble with the plan the moment the Crimson Slaughter attack fleet materialized out of Warp. Klaxons blared to warn of nearby enemy vessels. In orbit above Numarc were four Dark Angels spacecraft. Further warnings announced spreads of torpedoes were already rocketing towards them. It would have been prudent for Kranon to re-engage the Warp engines, for with his fleet already spotted the element of surprise was gone. Even if they won the space battle, the Defence Lasers on Numarc would be fully primed, making planetfall a deadly proposition. Dark Angels reinforcements might already be on the way. Yet not for nothing was Kranon called the Relentless. He commanded the fleet forward; already the gun decks were blazing away at the distant targets.
There were six ships in the Crimson Slaughter fleet, but two of them were primarily transports. The largest of the vessels was the flagship Red Honour, but perhaps the most dangerous was the heavily shielded Scimitar, which mounted a brutal prowblade for ramming. Although several of their torpedoes struck home, the Dark Angels ships were not prepared to stand before the oncoming foe. With all haste, they were already maneuvering to put the planet Numarc between themselves and the fast approaching Chaos fleet. This played into Kranon’s hands, for it was not a space battle he had intended. He wished to drive off the enemy fleet, denying them orbital support while he landed his own ground forces. They must hit hard, ideally completing their mission before the opposing fleet could re-engage. It would not take them long to discern what the Crimson Slaughter were aiming for – an assault on the stronghold of New Redemption. The Chaos fleet was not powerful enough nor did it have a large enough numerical advantage to fight a battle while deploying or extracting troops.
As planned, the speedy escort-class Ironwasp was the first to enter Numarc’s orbit. As the smallest and fastest of Kranon’s attack craft, it stood the best chance of avoiding fire from the planet. The three warbands it carried were soon planetbound. It was their task to silence the three gunbases that covered this section of the hemisphere. As there was scant time, Kranon ordered the next wave in straight away. The transports Helbound and Deathbringer entered orbit and immediately jettisoned their transport and assault craft before the steady beams of defence laser fire began to pierce the thick atmosphere and lance upwards from the planet. Nephilim Jetfighters scrambled to intercept the incoming assault craft. They were not expecting metallic, winged monstrosities to drop out of the cloud banks. The Heldrakes struck, their six-barrelled Hades Autocannons spitting death, sending half of the Dark Angels air support spinning downwards on fiery contrails. In the fierce dogfight that followed, the remaining ships were likewise dispatched, sent to crash below by rending claws or scythe-sharp wings. A few landing craft were caught by crisscrossing beams of ground fire – blasted apart by macro cannons or pierced by defence lasers. Already, however, the ground-fire was slackening as each of the orbital gun platforms came under attack by Crimson Slaughter forces. Enough of the assault boats had landed that the angel-winged tower of New Redemption was soon surrounded. From out of screaming snow squalls emerged squads of red-armoured renegades, scuttling Defilers and roaring Helbrutes. There was no subtlety to the attack – for there was no time. The Crimson Slaughter had come to take what was stored within the well defended stronghold, and they needed to do so before the Dark Angels fleet returned.
For their part, the stalwart Dark Angels knew that if they could hold out long enough, their distress calls would be answered with reinforcements. With robes whipping in the freezing winds, they deployed to the outer trenches and prepared to hold off the invaders. Explosions blossomed on the snow plains, sending up geysers of ice shards. Great Forgefiends reared out of the storm. They never halted their firing, but as they advanced they stitched the loyalist battlelines with shot, flames lingering like tracers in the wake of their furious salvoes. Above the din could be heard the battlecry of the Khorne Berzerkers – the same chant that had heralded untold massacres for ten millennia.
The Dark Angels’ only hope was to deplete their attackers’ numbers before they could close. The snow squalls and incoming fire made it difficult to aim, but the Space Marines had equipment and training to counter such adversity. What they were not prepared for, however, was the spectral wave of phantasmal forces that washed over them, throwing off the shots of even the most disciplined. Too soon and too fast the red wave of death reached them – it swept over defence lines and moved ever towards the inner citadel. A last counter-attack of half-trained Scouts and armoured vehicles was crushed in turn by pain-maddened Helbrutes. With its great pincer arms, a Defiler ripped open the sealed doorway into the stronghold’s inner cloisters. While squads rushed in to plunder the halls, Sorcerers and Dark Apostles stalked amongst the dead, callously extracting gene-seed from their fallen foes. As the other warbands had destroyed all three of the defence lasers, the Crimson Slaughter fleet easily entered orbit to extract the Crimson Slaughter when their looting was complete. On Numarc, not a single Dark Angel remained alive.