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Farsight Expedition

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Farsight Expedition
OrkArt7th.jpg
Orks battle the forces of Commander Farsight
Conflict Spheres of Expansion
Date ~750s.M41
Location Eastern Fringe
Outcome Tau victory
Combatants
Tau Empire Ork Empire of Alsanta
Commanders
Commander Farsight Warboss Grog Ironteef(KIA)
Strength
Farsight Enclaves Waaagh!
Losses/Survivors
Heavy Heavy

The Farsight Expedition was a campaign launched by the Tau Empire. It was launched in the aftermath of the Damocles Gulf Crusade, which saw the Tau rattled by self-doubts after encountering the mighty Imperium on its borders. However thanks to the wisdom and motivational words of Aun'va, Aun'Wei, then Ethereal Supreme, agreed to launch another campaign. This was in part motivated by the realization that without another sphere of expansion, cracks would form in the foundation of the carefully orchestrated Tau belief system and thus threaten the Empire as a whole.[1]

Overview

Beginnings

Commander Farsight was chosen as the commander of the expedition, and an enormous fleet was gathered by the Ethereal Council to make sure it did not fail and further damage the Empire's spirits. The initial round of fighting saw Farsight reclaim worlds captured by the Imperium during the Damocles War, and found that Mankind has since become distracted by the arrival of the Tyranids. After capturing a series of planets on the far side of the Damocles Gulf, Farsight encountered a significant Ork Fleet, so large that it resembled an asteroid belt. Controversially, Farsight decided that he would engage the Orks over concluding the reconquest of lost worlds in the Damocles Gulf. It was the first time a Tau of any rank had disobeyed an order by the Ethereal Council.[2]

Farsight formulated a meticulous plan to exterminate the Ork fleet alongside Air Caste Admiral Kor'O'Li'Mau'Teng, devastating the Greenskin fleet in the Vorac asteroid belt. However despite the Ork fleet fleeing, Farsight insisted on pursuing and eliminating every last Greenskin, perhaps as a way to vindicate his failure in the Arkunasha War years earlier. Farsight chased the Orks across the Vorac Belt, eventually encountering the flagship of Grog Ironteef, the Warchief of Alsanta. Ironteef split his fleet and moved one to Arthas Moloch and the other to the nearby Tau-held world of Atari Voi. Farsight landed on Atari Vo with the intention of defending it and rallying his forces, but Ironteef unleashed an asteroid shower on the planets cities that killed millions of Tau lives. An Ork land invasion soon began, spearheaded by salvaged Tau weaponry. Farsight was only saved by the intervention of an Air Caste defense fleet and the Greenskins fell back to the impact craters caused by their asteroids. Farsight led his forces into the craters, falling into a Greenskin ambush in the process that saw his troops decimated. Demoralized by the defeat, Farsight acted only as an adviser for the rest of the battle. Fortunately for the Tau, the planet's forces were eventually able to isolate and destroy the Orks, though a fleet under Warchief Grog managed to retreat.[2]

Siege of the Enclaves

However it soon became clear that Farsight had again underestimated the cunning of Warchief Grog. The Orks struck at the undefended worlds he had already captured earlier in the Expedition, and Farsight arrived at his base of operations on Vior'los to find the region in a full-scale war. Much like before, asteroids had been used as weapons and had devastated the Tau. In a fit of disgust rage over the multiple embarrassments the Greenskins had inflicted upon him, Farsight went into his personal Battlesuit and disappeared for the next several months, meditating on the ocean bed of Vior'los on how to defeat the Greenskins.[1]

Farsight soon returned at command of his forces, suddenly appearing in a battle between the Air Caste and Ork aircraft on Tinek'la. He immediately ordered every Air Caste pilot override their consoles and release their propellant gases, forming a wall of volatile emissions that he ignited with his Plasma Rifle. A great rolling flame roiled across the skies, and the Tau rode the wave of thermals to safety while the Ork aircraft were incinerated. Later on the Ocean World of Salash'hei, Farsight used Earth Caste engineers to construct seismic nodes on the ocean bed which created a tsunami that swept away the Ork fleet on the surface. On Lub'Grahl, Farsight broke the siege of Tau spire-nodes by having his fleet enter low orbit and use their mag-lifts to move the spire-nodes. He then activated his seismic technology to cause a massive landslide that destroyed the Greenskin army. The spire-nodes were lowered back down on the new layer of earth, and the planets cities were functional within a week. Lastly, Farsight returned to Vior'los and broke the Ork invasion by using artificial firestorms to sterilize the environment and wipe out the Orks. After these series of defeats, Grog Ironteef was isolated and bested in single combat by Farsight. However the Ork threat did not end with Ironteef, and over the next ten years Farsight secured his holdings over the region and battled the Orks.[2]

The Molochite Tragedy

Arthas Moloch was the latest in a long string of Ork-held worlds Farsight was bent on conquering. However on this world, things began to go bizarrely. At an eight-pillared temple dubbed the Great Star Dais by the Air Caste, a disc of multi-colored light began to move into the sky as millions of Orks on the planets surface battled the Tau. The disc erupted in a gout of energy, revealing a swarm of horned crimson aliens that ripped the Orks to pieces with black swords. After finishing with the greenskins, the creatures moved onto the Tau, blasting them with streams of multi-colored flames that mutated all it touched into stone, water, or statues of screaming bones.[2]

Horrified, Farsight ordered a retreat as a rip in the fabric of reality formed at the location of the floating disc. Ignoring pleas by his commanders to flee, Farsight stared into this portal and within it saw a trillion terrible deaths. The experience changed O'shovah forever, he realized that he was observing a threat far greater than any the Tau had seen before. Suffering a mental breakdown, Farsight collapsed into unconsciousness.[2]

When Farsight awoke, he found the situation on Arthas Moloch had become critical. Fortunately for the Tau, the Greenskins were hurling themselves at the fearsome creatures appearing at the Great Star Dais, distracting them. Farsight immediately ordered an end to the evacuation of the planet, instead ordering that whatever the Tau had awoken here would be dealt with. Farsight immediately launched a counterattack at the Great Star Dais, facing three great wing beasts with brass axes speaking in a hideous language that even hurt to hear, though the shouts of "Blood for the Blood God!" were recognized. The Tau took heavy casualties, but the worst loss came when two Ethereals Aun'Los and Aun'Diemn were discovered dead. Mass disorder broke out through the Tau ranks, and Farsight struggled with not only the approaching enemy but also maintaining discipline in his ranks. Ordering that all three active Tau battlegroups converge on his position, Farsight rearranged his battle plan in an instant.[2]

Farsight had one unit battle the remaining Orks around the Great Star Dais while a force of Battlesuits engaged these terrifying new enemies at the crackling disc itself, while a third group would bring Farsight hexagrammatic medallions discovered at the temple. Above all else Farsight ordered that no blood could be spilt at the Dais, he had come to understand that blood at the temple was somehow powering these creatures. If a soldier was hit, he would withdraw immediately from the Dais. Farsight then ordered that Flamer-armed Battlesuits wash their flames upon the Dais, drying up any remaining blood. This drove the beasts into a frenzy, and they soon dove at Farsight himself.[2]

As the creatures charged towards Farsight, O'Shovah took up a mysterious blade he had discovered at the Dais. Attaching the gathered medallions to his blade, Farsight was able to unleash a blast of energy that closed the portal and caused every one of the vile creatures to disappear.[2]

Aftermath

Farsight's forces had lost all of their Ethereal leaders in the battle, and O'Shovah suspected that some malevolent force had deliberately done this. More still, the memories of what he saw within the portal continued to haunt O'Shovah. Nonetheless, Farsight returned to his holdings but began to suspect that the Ethereals may have known about whatever this terrifying new force was and were keeping it a dark secret.[2]

Alarmed by the loss of their Ethereals, Tau High Command ordered Farsight to return. However he refused this order to rejoin, and instead led the remnants of his forces in pursuit of answers, eventually establishing the Farsight Enclaves by 760.M41.[1]

Sources