The Screaming Vortex is one of two massive Warp Storms which separate the Calixis Sector of the Imperium from the Koronus Expanse . Within the storm, several worlds are known to the Chaos renegades who reside in the region.
The history of the Screaming Vortex is lost to legend and myth, but a popular legend has been propagated by the denizens of the Vortex throughout its history: before it was formed, the sector now dominated by the Screaming Vortex was thought to be a nest of Eldar worlds until the Fall of the Eldar. As the Eye of Terror erupted, the Screaming Vortex was formed as one of several secondary warp storms. Uniquely, the Vortex resonates with the tormented voices of the slain original residents, audible to any psykers outside the Vortex, and to all within, hence its name; when the storm wanes, the voices grow louder and more desperate.
The Screaming Vortex encompasses an area much larger than the original grouping of worlds it formed around, swallowing many additional systems and even pulling additional systems into itself via realspace disruption. It also has varied in size throughout its past, the world of Saint Annard's Penance was thought to be held within the Vortex for a time, though it currently sits in Imperial hands at the edge of the Malfian Sub-Sector. As with many Warpstorms, relative time and space within the Screaming Vortex are highly mutable as the laws of physics are constantly warped by the influence of the Immaterium. The Imperium remains largely ignorant of the interior of the Vortex, and the various powers within are largely preoccupied trying to dominate one another or otherwise surviv; but if they were to unite even for a short time, they would make a powerful force against the Imperium. Because of the difficulty of traversing the Vortex, and the tides of the storm constantly shift the relative positions of planetary systems therein, conquest is a difficult proposition, and a given warlord will have considerable difficulty conquering more than a handful of worlds at a time or for a meaningful length of time. Aside from small-scale wars and developing war materiel, slavery and piracy are major enterprises within the Vortex.
While the astrography of the Screaming Vortex makes it very difficult to map and explore, it has many well known worlds that are in a relatively stable position within portions of the Vortex, that it can be broadly divided into three zones: the Gloaming Worlds, the Inner Ring, and the Lower Vortex, with several other small, yet important locations aside.
The 13th Station of Passage
A hidden splinter route from the Maw formed by the Maw and the Screaming Vortex disrupting each other, the 13th Station of Passage is the safest and most stable, and thus the most frequented pathway into the Calixis Sector and Koronus Expanse, and back into the Screaming Vortex. Though it requires an acts of obeisance and sacrifice, testified by the debris field of frozen corpses orbiting the passage. Reputedly discovered by the Haarlock or Winterscale Rogue Trader lines, though there's no corroborating evidence for either.
The Gloaming Worlds
The worlds on the outer section of the vortex are known as the Gloaming Worlds. The most daring Navigators who would look into the Vortex would glimpse only a few of these worlds. They include:
- Arbuthno: A minor world, with little details available
- Dwimmer: Minor world.
- Guleph: A grim, Nurgle-worshiping world with a bitter rivalry with Ghibelline.
- Ghibelline: A decadent, Slaanesh-worshiping world with a bitter rivalry with Guleph.
- Hindrance: A minor world
- Sturm and Drang: Minor twin worlds.
- Xurunt: A Feral world of primitive savages and massive beasts.
- Q'Sal: An arcane world ruled by Sorceror Technocrats.
- Berin and Asphodel: Twin worlds populated by Ork and Kroot tribes, respectively.
- The Hollows: A forge world trapped in perpetual civil war and mined nearly to total exhaustion.
- The Writhing World: A world covered with enormous, maggot-like lifeforms.
- Kurse: A ruined, radioactive world, famed for its orbiting gladiator pits.
- Malignia: A jungle world filled with bizarre and deadly life.
- Sacgrave: A small, ruined world saturated with the Warp, and formerly the seat of the pirate lord Margrave until the Eldar drove the world to ruin and Margrave into hiding.
- The Kasserkratch: Margrave's flagship, until he fled Sacgrave and the ship was lost in the Vortex, it's final resting place the subject of interest to many legends and treasure hunters.
- The Anathema: A tiny, mysterious anomaly that keeps the influence of the Vortex at bay.
- Messia: A deadly desert world where the inhabitants mine promethium and try to survive the mutant-infested wastelands.
- The Cat's Cradle: An archipelago of asteroids ruled over by daemons and psykers, who can shape this section of space to their will, often to amazing effects.
- Pillars of Eternity: A frozen world populated by primitive tribes of mutants that worship Tzeentch. Also a Necron Tomb World of questionable dormancy.
- Exile: Minor world at the fringes of the Screaming Vortex, little details available.
- Scoured Lands: Minor world, little details available.
- The Wailing Eternity: Minor world, little details available.
- Kymerus: Minor world, little details available.
- Redemption: Minor world at the extreme edge of the Screaming Vortex, little details available.
Also called the Giant's Stride, the region known as Harrowed Space is one of several dangerous warp currents that exist within the Vortex. Many try to use it to navigate the throughout the different tiers of the Vortex, possibly even out of it, most journeys are ill-fated from the start.
The Tyrant Star
The Tyrant Star is an enigmatic object, or possibly an entity, that appears as a perfectly eclipsed sun, often overtaking a planet's parent star, and is an omen, or rather a bringer of impending evil. It occasionally plagues the worlds of the Screaming Vortex and the Calixis sector. Strange and deadly happenings occur when it appears in the sky, often leading to the deaths of millions as it appears. The Inquisitors of the Calixis Sector believe it to be linked to Chaos, though the most learned seers and scholars of the damned of the Screaming Vortex struggle to understand the nature of the Tyrant Star.
The Ragged Helix
The region known as the Ragged Helix is the line of demarcation into the Inner Ring, where the relative stability of the Gloaming Worlds gives way to the heavy influence of the warp within the Inner Ring. The Ragged Helix is a chain of asteroids that hold their own atmospheres, and impossibly connected by bridges. It's not determined whether this occurs due to forgotten xenos technology within the area, or due to the influence of the Warp. It's home to numerous workshops and shipyards of many techpriests of the Dark Mechanicus. More infamously, the Ragged Helix is home to the Pirate Princes that plague the Screaming Vortex.
The Inner Ring
- Aphexis: a half-dead world of eternal twilight.
- Melancholia: a world where building is impossible due to some unnatural law.
- Mire: a world of swamps.
- Mammon: a world entirely populated by warlike cultists devoted to their belief in the Imperial Creed.
- Furia: an ocean world where the debris of wars across the galaxy regularly washes up.
The Lower Vortex
All the worlds at the deepest point of the screaming vortex are Daemon Worlds:
- Crucible: a world which re-shapes according to the Chaos God whose forces currently hold sway.
- Contrition: a world of daemonic cities.
- The Frozen Heart: The eye of the storm, and reputed to be where the dynamo which fuels the warp storm is located.