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The Assault on Apollonia

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The Assault on Apollonia
Date M33
Location Apollonia
Outcome Destruction of Apollonia; Athenaeum of Kallimakus in Ahriman's possession; extermination of traitor elements amonst Ahriman's warband; Loss of Ahriman's flagship (the Sycorax); Grey Knight Brother-Captain encased in a dreadnought.
Combatants
Prodigal Sons (Loyalists) Inquisition
Grey Knights
Commanders
Ahzek Ahriman
Sorcerer Lord Ignis
Lord Inquisitor Izdubar
Brother-Captain Cendrion
Strength
Half of the Prodigal Sons
The Sycorax, majority of command ships and half of the remaining fleet
A large Inquisition army
Dozens of elite Grey Knights
Apollonia blanks and other base defences
Losses/Survivors
Moderate Major Inquisition losses
Dozens of Grey Knight veterans
All blanks lost


The Assault on Apollonia was the culmination of Ahzek Ahriman's long search to possess the Athenaeum of Kallimakus.

Prologue

After Ahriman's most recent skirmish with the Inquisition on Vohal, he managed to capture an Inquisitor and, though psychic assaults upon the inquisitor's mind, locate the source of the fabled Athenaeum. In the hope of obtaining this artifact, Ahriman took his entire fleet to an Inquisitorial secret base on the moon of Apollonia.[1]

While Ahriman focused on obtaining the artifact, traitors amongst his warband started to conspire against him, their plan being to kill Ahriman and divide the fleet amongst themselves. The plan was orchestrated by Sanakht, who revealed that the Athenaeum chamber was guarded by blanks, which would nullify Ahriman's psychic powers, and Ahriman was unaware he was walking into a trap. Sanakht believed that, although his own psychic powers were no match for Ahriman's, he could defeat Ahriman in the null chamber with superior swordsmanship.[1]

Neither Ahriman nor Sanakht knew that the Inquisition, aware of Ahriman's approach, was assembling a large strike force to kill him once and for all, including several elite Grey Knights. Likewise, the Inquisition was unaware that a small pack of elite Space Wolf Grey Hunters had finally succeeded in tracking Ahriman's whereabouts. Ahriman was thus poised to walk directly into a trap on Apollonia, leaving his forces leaderless at the worst possible time.[1]

Assault on Apollonia

Ahriman deployed to Apollonia accompanied by a squad of Rubric Marines and Sanakht. As soon as he did so, the traitor elements of Ahriman's fleet opened fire on the loyalist elements, focusing on his flagship, the Sycorax. Soon after, the Inquisition fleet arrived, surprised that the Chaos fleet had turned on itself. Sensing an opportunity, the Inquisition deployed an elite squad to the surface of Apollonia.[1]

When Ahriman and Sanakt arrived at the entrance of the moon's library, they both felt the warp fade from them, and the Rubric Marines deactivated. Sanakht was about to strike at Ahriman, when Ahriman revealed that he had known of the plot all along, and planned to use it to eliminate disloyal elements from his warband. Sanakht was distracted by the arrival of the Inquisition forces, allowing Ahriman to open the door, shoot the blanks and overwhelm the Inquisition forces. Regaining the use of his powers, Ahriman further revealed that he had brought Sanakt with him because the Athenaemum required a vessel to transport it off the moon, and so Ahriman sacrificed Sanakht's soul, allowing the Athenaeum to possess his body.[1]

Ahriman began to feel tremors throughout the moon. He had expected this, knowing that the Athenaeum had held much of the moon's structural integrity together. Ahriman teleported himself and Sanakht's body aboard the fleet's new flagship, since the Sycorax had been all but destroyed.[1]

At this point, the Space Wolves arrived, but in the chaos were unable to tell friend from foe, or if there even were any friends present. In the confusion, the Wolves attacked an Inquisition ship, believing it to be under Ahriman's control, and the Inquisition crew, mistaking the Wolves, in their savage appearance, for creatures of the warp, fought back. Ahriman escaped the battle with his prize, while the moon of Apollonia collapsed, and the remaining ships tore each other apart.[1]

Canon Conflicts

According to Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), Ahriman captured the Athenaeum after a month-long siege of Apollonia, while in Ahriman: Sorcerer, the invasion of the vault takes only a short time.[2]

Sources