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Invasion of Ultramar

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"The destiny of The Lost Child cleaves into the future like a fiery speartip. His destiny is woven into the tapestry of a great hero's death, the fall of a star, and the rise of an evil thought long dead."
A sorceress in service to Huron Blackheart, on New Badab.[4]






Invasion of Ultramar
UltramarMap.jpg
Ultramar
Date 854999.M41
Location Ultramar System
Outcome Imperial Victory
Combatants
Ironwarlogo.gif Bloodborn Ultramarines Symbol.png Ultramarines
Commanders
Warsmith Honsou
M'kar the Reborn (d)
Kaarja Salombar (d)
Votheer Tark
Chapter Master Marneus Calgar
Chief Librarian Varro Tigurius
Master of Sanctity Ortan Cassius
First Captain Severus Agemman
Captain Cato Sicarius
Captain Fabian
Captain Uriel Ventris
Captain Galenus
Captain Epathus
Captain Ixion
Sergeant Antaro Chronus
Magos Vianco Locard
Inquisitor Namira Suzaku
Shadow Captain Aethon Shaan
Strength
17,000 Entire Ultramarines Chapter
Ultramar Defence Auxilia
Raven Guard Assault Squad
Skitarii
Losses/Survivors
Defeated 397 Ultramarines;
Unknown Casualties to the Defense Auxilia and Skitarii


The Invasion of Ultramar took place in 854999.M41[1], when the Chaos warband known as the Bloodborn invaded the stellar empire of Ultramar, headed by the Iron Warriors Warsmith Honsou and the Daemon Prince M'kar, both of whom had sworn revenge against the Ultramarines. The invasion occurred roughly concurrently with Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade[1], but Honsou did not consider himself part of the Despoiler's cause; he reflected that the Iron Warriors contingent of the Bloodborn was much larger than any that had been employed during the Despoiler's Black Crusades.[2i]

Prelude

-Ultramar? Now I know you're crazy. That fight's suicide.
-Maybe. But maybe not, and if it's not a fight worth making, then this galaxy has run out of things to live for.
Mercenary Hain Pettar and Warsmith Honsou, on New Badab [4]

After being exiled from their Chapter, Uriel Ventris and Pasanius Lysane were abducted by the Omphalos Daemonium and taken to the Iron Warriors' homeworld of Medrengard, where they clashed with Honsou, eventually causing the destruction of his fortress of Khalan-Ghol. Honsou survived, gathering the remnants of his Grand Company about him and swearing revenge against Ventris[3], who was later reinstated to the Ultramarines with Pasanius.[2b]

Knowing that Ultramar was no easy target, Honsou gathered a new army at the Skull Harvest on New Badab. As a prize for his victory, Huron Blackheart gifted him with several warships, in addition to the various warbands whose allegiance Honsou had won.[4]

Honsou threw down the gauntlet to Ventris by destroying Tarsis Ultra, knowing from The Newborn that Ventris had led the Ultramarines' Fourth Company in a desperate fight to save that world from a sliver of Hive Fleet Leviathan.[2b][5]

Honsou's final ally/weapon was M'kar, a Daemon Prince who had been imprisoned by Marneus Calgar and bore an undying hatred for the Ultramarines. Honsou located M'kar with the help of Abaddon's damned seer, Moriana, imprisoned aboard the star fort Indomitable, itself a formidable weapon for his invasion. After storming the Indomitable and freeing the Daemon, Honsou was ready.[2a][6]

The Battle

The Invasion Begins

The invasion opened with the Bloodborn fleet, led by the Indomitable, appearing suddenly over Tarentus. The star-fort's weapons destroyed the planet's orbital defenses in short order, and the planetside units of the Ultramar Defence Auxilia prepared to repel a ground assault.[2a]

However, instead of a conventional assault, Honsou stood back and allowed M'kar to summon a force of daemons to attack the cities of Tarentus from within, slaughtering the planet's population. Tarentus itself was of little importance to the Bloodborn's objectives, but instead was a deliberate provocation to the Ultramarines.[2a]

Marneus Calgar immediately convened a council of war in the Fortress of Hera, including each Company Captain, Inquisitor Namira Suzaku of the Ordo Malleus, Magos Vianco Locard, straight from the destruction on Tarsis Ultra, and Shadow Captain Aethon Shaan of the Raven Guard's Fourth Company, who had been sent by the Ravens' Chapter Master to assist the Ultramarines and, in particular, capture the renegade Ardaric Vaanes, Honsou's lieutenant.[2b]

During the council, Lord Calgar was forced to confess that he had not destroyed M'kar in the battle aboard the Indomitable, as had been told to the rest of the chapter; he had only been able to imprison the daemon's essence inside the Indomitable warp core. The revelation that their Chapter Master had concealed the truth from his brothers shook many of the Captains in attendance to their core; Captain Galenus was especially grieved that fully half of his Company had been slaughtered aboard the Indomitable.[2b]

The Ultramarines' initial response was to send a strike force to Tarentus, composed of Ventris's Fourth Company aboard the Strike Cruiser Vae Victus. With the help of Captain Shaan's squad, the Ultramarines' scouts infiltrated the capital city of Axum and shut down the defenses fairly easily, but the whole planet was a trap, intended for Ventris. As soon as the Fourth touched down, they were embroiled in close combat with a horde of Khorne Berzerkers, while one of the Bloodborn ships hiding at a distance from the planet launched orbital torpedoes. Only a premonition by Uriel that made him call for retreat allowed most of the Company to escape the explosion that destroyed Axum.[2c]

Division

The Indomitable and a substantial portion of the Bloodborn fleet next overran Talassar, in much the same manner that it had overrun Tarentus. Knowing that the Ultramarines would expect the Bloodborn to continue attacking Ultramar's worlds one at a time, Honsou split their forces: Kaarja Salombar took her Corsairs and the Skulltakers to Espandor and Votheer Tark took his forces to Quintarn. The Indomitable remained in orbit over Talassar, M'kar waiting for his archenemy, Calgar, to come to him.[1][2d]

Honsou took his Grand Company, Dark Mechanicus Magos Etolph Cycerin's machines, and the Blade dancers to Calth, with special instructions to destroy the Tomb of Ventanus, the Saviour of Calth.[2g]

Based on Chief Librarian Tigurius's psychic premonitions, Calgar divided the Ultramarines to deal with each enemy force.[2e]

Espandor

Captain Cato Sicarius and the Ultramarines 2nd Company were dispatched to Espandor (much to his displeasure, since his wish was to accompany Calgar and the 1st Company to Talassar, Sicarius's home planet).[2e][2f]

While the 2nd Company was more than a match for the Bloodborn, Kaarja Salombar's constant moving from one camp to another made it difficult to mount a decapitation strike, Sicarius's favoured tactic.[2f][2g] To put a stop to this, Sicarius deployed his three senior Sergeants to various occupied cities to locate Salombar.[2i] It would be Sergeant Scipio Vorolanus and his Tactical Squad, the "Thunderbolts" who would find Salombar in Corinth, after infiltrating the city disguised as Chaos Space Marines.[2n][2o] Sending the signal to Sicarius, the rest of the 2nd Company arrived, and Captain Sicarius personally battled Kaarja Salombar, finally decapitating her with help from Vorolanus.[2p][2q][2r]

Calth

Fittingly, it would be Uriel Ventris and the 4th Company who responded to the defense of Calth, along with Captain's Shaan's elite squad, the Skitarii of Magos Locard, and Inquisitor Suzaku and her retinue.[2e]

Thanks to the memories possessed by The Newborn, Magos Cycerin was able to overwhelm Calth's orbital defenses with scrapcode, and the Bloodborn managed to make planetfall.[2g][2h] While the Ultramarines lost Ultima Primus, that was expected, and the Ultramar forces fell back to Guilliman's Gate, the primary entrance to the subterranean levels where the bulk of Calth's population lived.[2i] However, using the Newborn's knowledge, the Iron Warriors were able to open Guilliman's Gate and defeat the Ultramar forces, cutting off contact with Sergeant Learchus and his forces.[2j] Fortunately, the Ultramarines were able to capture Ardaric Vaanes, a former Captain of the Raven Guard and one of Honsou's lieutenants.[2k] Falling back to Four Valley's Gorge, the Ultramar forces were on the verge of defeat and in danger of losing control of Locard's Praetorians to Cycerin, when Captain Shaan and his Raven Guards managed to destroy the Black Basilica, the Bloodborn's captured mobile fortress (suggested to be a converted Squat Leviathan), killing Cycerin and cutting off their immediate leadership.[2m]

Honsou, however, had skipped the battle for Four Valley's Gorge, and headed to the Cavernas Draconi, where the Tomb of Ventanus was located.[2m] With Vaanes defecting to the Ultramarines, Ventris, his command squad, Pasanius's "Firebrands", Suzaku's retinue, and the Raven Guard made their way to the Tomb, which Uriel Ventris had discovered in his youth and which the Newborn knew of. While they were nearly overwhelmed by Honsou's force of Iron Warriors, the Imperial forces were suddenly saved by what appeared to be the Legion of the Damned and the ghost of Remus Ventanus. Refusing to admit defeat, Honsou triggered demolition charges, collapsing the cavern on them.[2n][2o][2p][2q]

With Honsou's disappearance, the Bloodborn became leaderless, and were suddenly caught between a surprise rear-attack by Learchus's forces and the defenders of Four Valley's Gorge, turning the battle for Calth into a rout.[2t] However, Honsou managed to escape.[2r][8]

Quintarn

While Calth and Espandor would see combat between champions, the battle for Quintarn would see a war of attrition between the 5th and 6th Companies fighting Votheer Tark. While Captains Epathus and Caito Galenus were the superior tacticians, Tark had an incredible ability to repurpose any machine into a warmachine, including hulks salvaged from the battlefield. The battle for Quintarn would devolve into an armoured battle, with Brother-Sergeant Antaro Chronus's Land Raiders giving their all for Quintarn. Only when three of Tark's captured agri-cities turned forge complexes were destroyed did the Ultramarines begin to gain an advantage. It was soon revealed that the venerable Scout Sergeant Torias Telion had brought a force of sixty Ultramarines Scouts with him, without informing Galenus or Epathus. Galenus wanted to censure Telion for failing to acknowledge the chain of command, but Epathus and Ortan Cassius, the Master of Sanctity, convinced him not to.[2l][7a][7b] This proved to be decisive; having destroyed three of Tark's forge-cities, Telion led a single squad of Scouts to destroy the largest and most important, located atop the Maidens of Nestor. Without the ability to replace his losses with impunity, Tark's forces were quickly outmatched and destroyed by the combined forces of the Ultramarines and the Quintarn Defence Auxilia.[7c]

Talassar

It would be at Talassar that the Bloodborn would finally lose their cohesion. Sensing the greatest life-threads at the planet, Chief Librarian Varro Tigurius had Marneus Calgar take the 1st Company under Captain Severus Agemman to liberate Talassar. They were surprised by the Indomitable, and the Battle Barge Caesar crash-landed into Talassar's oceans, though the Ultramarines and the majority of the crew managed to abandon ship and land on Talassar's sole continent.[2f][2h]

Making their way to Castra Tanaga, the Ultramarines found citizens of Talassar holed up inside the fortress.[2k] For the next month, Varro Tigurius used his powers to keep M'kar's army of daemons from breaching the walls, but the constant effort eventually drained him, allowing M'kar to finally take the field himself. [2l][2n][2r] Vowing revenge on Calgar and the Ultramarines, M'kar and his forces slaughtered nearly half the Ultramarines 1st company before reinforcements from the 2nd and 4th arrived.[2s][2t] Using the knowledge gained in the Tomb of Ventanus, Uriel Ventris pronounced M'kar's mortal name, Maloq Kartho. Disoriented, M'kar was unable to stop Ventris from tossing the Shard of Erebus, also retrieved from Ventanus's tomb, to Calgar. Plunging it into M'kar's throat, the Daemon Prince was banished to oblivion.[2t]

Above Talassar, a relief fleet, spearheaded by the Battle Barges Octavius and Severian, tore down the Indomitable's defenses and sent the star-fort crashing into the planet's sea.[2t]

Aftermath

When this war is over, there will be many wounds that must be healed, and not all of them can be treated in the Apothecarion. Suspicion and mistrust have taken root in our chapter, and we will need to purge ourselves of their poisonous taint.
Chaplain Ortan Cassius[7b]

It would be another six months before the Bloodborn's taint would be expunged from Ultramar, and they cost the Chapter 347 battle-brothers across the ten companies. This was the most devastating war Ultramar had suffered since Hive Fleet Behemoth invaded in 745.M41.[2t]

Even before the Invasion was over, Chaplain Ortan Cassius warned Sergeant Telion that the war would have repercussions that would take a long time to repair. Lord Calgar's revelation that he had lied about the fate of the Daemon Prince had shaken the faith of his captains, especially Galenus, who secretly blamed the loss of half his company on Calgar.[2b][7b]

Likewise, several of the Captains, particularly Sicarius, had opposed Uriel Ventris's reinstatement to the chapter, and the fact that Ventris's feud with Honsou had brought the Invasion to Ultramar was sure to cause dissension in the future.[2b]

Canon Conflicts

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