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Commorragh Raid

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Commorragh Raid
Date M35
Location Commorragh, Webway
Outcome Imperial withdrawl, strategic victory for Asdrubael Vect
Combatants
Imperium Dark Eldar
Commanders
Unknown Xelian(KIA)
Commorragh Nobility
Strength
Salamanders
Howling Griffons
Silver Skulls
Commorragh Kabals
Losses/Survivors
heavy very heavy
half of Commorragh nobility killed


The Commorragh Raid occurred in M35 and was one of the few known Imperial incursions into the Dark Eldar city of Commorragh, located deep in the Webway. Unknown to either side, the entire series of events was manipulated by the Dark Eldar Archon of the Kabal of the Black Heart Asdrubael Vect in his rise to power as Supreme Overlord of Commorragh. It was one of the most tumultuous events in the Dark City's history.[1a]

Prelude

Asdrubael Vect, seeking to eliminate the ruling nobility of Commorragh so he may rule the Dark City himself, set a plan into motion that began in the Desaderian Gulf. From the Desaderian Gulf, Dark Eldar pirates had long used a nearby Webway Portal to raid Imperial shipping. Vect's first step was to incrase raiding against Imperial shipping in the Gulf ten-fold and strike at major Imperial Guard outposts in the area. The campaign saw the Kabal of the Black Heart grow rich in plunder and Vect continued to provoke the Imperium.[1a]

Reacting to the increased Dark Eldar raiding in the Gulf, a Strike Cruiser belonging to the Salamanders Space Marine Chapter, Forgehammer, was sent to investigate. Ambushed by Dark Eldar ships, the Forgehammer was crippled by haywire bombs and transported to Commorragh itself by Vect's Kabal of the Black Heart. However, Lord Xelian, a rival Archon in Commorragh and part of the ruling nobility, confiscated the disabled Forgehammer for himself and was determined to claim the prizes within. However unknown to Lord Xelian, Salamander Librarian Hestion was sending out a psychic distress beacon to the rest of his chapter from within the captured Strike Cruiser.[1b]

Though the Dark Eldar found it easy to enter the Forgehammer, they were met with stiff resistance once inside. Xelian was quick to realize that he had underestimated his quarry. Changing tack, he returned the salvage rights of the vessel to Vect's Kabal of the Black Heart, ostensibly appearing generous but in truth intending to seize the Astartes once they had been taken captive. On the sixteenth day of the siege, the skies above Commorragh burst open. The Salamanders had received Librarian Hestion's distress call and used the psychic beacon to find their way to the Dark City itself. So began a bloody day for the Dark City. Moreover the Salamanders had not come alone, accompanying their Battle Barge were Strike Cruisers from the Howling Griffons and Silver Skulls.[1b]

Commorragh in Flames

The Salamanders Battle Barge plowed straight into the spire where Xelian stood, crushing both it and him in an instant. But the Dark Eldar reacted swiftly, deploying small raiding craft, Razorwing Jetfighters, and Voidraven Bombers and opening fire with ground-based electrical spires. Amid the heavy fighting in the air, the Space Marines used drop pods to drive deep into the heart of the Dark City and steal the initiative from the Dark Eldar. Dark Eldar splinter weaponry, designed to maim foes so they may be captured, proved ineffective against the hardened power armor of the Space Marines. However the Space Marines found themselves increasingly attacked on all sides by the deadly denizens of the Dark City, including Mandrakes, Archons and their Incubi, Scourges, Wyches, Warp Beasts, and Hellions.[1c]

Despite being engulfed in a melee of terrifying proportions, the hundred-strong Space Marines held firm, establishing a perimeter as entire sections of High Commorragh burned in the fighting. But as the battle eventually devolved into a war of attrition, it became clear the Space Marines would not be able to hold out indefinitely against the massive numbers of foes arrayed against them.[1c]

Meanwhile, in the skies above the battlefield the Space Marines worked tirelessly to free Forgehammer from its electrical spire prison. As the Astartes attempted to free the ship faltered in the face of Ravager gunship attacks, Terminators of the Salamanders 1st Company teleported directly into the hull of the Forgehammer and opened fire with the ship's missile launchers, bringing down the spires and triggering a massive chain explosion throughout the area that destroyed nine further Spires. Now free, the Forgehammer joined the Astartes fleet fighting above.[1c]

Far below, the Space Marines had become completely surrounded. But with the Forgehammer free, the bulk of the Space Marines battling in the Dark City managed to teleport away back onto their waiting ships in a blaze of light. Those that had been cut off from the main assault gave their lives to buy their brethren time to evacuate. The last waves of Dark Eldar aircraft attempted to bring down the Forgehammer once more but were brought down by volleys of fire from the Salamanders Battle Barge Vulkan's Wrath. The Astartes fleet passed through the still-yawning Webway portal above Commorragh and escaped into real space.[1c]

Aftermath

The aftermath of the Imperial raid would change Commorragh forever. Nearly all of the noble houses of the Dark City had been destroyed in the assault, and a power vaccuum emerged that was only filled by Asdrubael Vect and his Kabal of the Black Heart. In the years that followed Vect ensured that the Kabals would be supreme over the old aristocracy of the noble houses. So it was that the Kabal of the Black Heart rose to ascendancy in place of the old nobility, and Vect's stranglehold upon the Dark City began in earnest.[1c]

Sources