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The Betrayal at Grief

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Betrayal At Grief
Conflict Badab War
Date 906.M41
Location Shedim,Grief System
Outcome Inconclusive
Combatants
Loyalist Forces Secessionist Forces
Commanders
Verant Ortys (d)
Sevrin Loth
Lufgt Huron
Sartaq (d)


The Betrayal at Grief was the battle that resulted from a breakdown of negotiations between the Secessionist forces led by the Tyrant of Badab Lufgt Huron and Chapter Master Sartaq of the Mantis Warriors and the Loyalist forces led by Chapter Master Verant Ortys of the Red Scorpions.[1]

Prelude

Following the ascension of Lufgt Huron to planetary-governor of Badab, Huron proclaimed himself governor of the Entire Badab system. After taking control of the entire Badab system, the self-proclaimed "Tyrant of Badab" then began to withhold the gene-seed tithe from the Adeptus Mechanicus. Determined to control the Entire Maelstrom Zone, Huron began to hoard planetary tithes and block trade within the sector.[1]

The Conflict Begins

On request of the Karthan Satrap, the Fire Hawks began investigating the disappearance of Karthan shipping in the region. On one such investigation, the Fire Hawks cruiser Red Harbinger entered the Golgothan Wastes. This region of space was under the control of the Mantis Warriors, a Chapter allied with the Tyrant. The Red Harbinger was surrounded by a Mantis Warriors fleet and crippled. Insulted by this, the Fire Hawks deployed most of their fleet along with six companies to meet this new threat. The Marines Errant also answered the Fire Hawks call for reinforcements. As time went on, the conflict escalated to open warfare between five Space Marine Chapters and other Imperial forces. Not being able to ignore this conflict, the High Lords of Terra demanded the Tyrant's surrender. After being refused, the High Lords demanded the arrest of the Tyrant as well as all of the Secessionist chapters.[1]

The Betrayal

With something of an impasse reached in the war, it was the Secessionists who unexpectedly broke the standoff with a remarkable proposal. Lufgt Huron personally sent emissaries to the Loyalists, offering a temporary ceasefire and honourable parlay with the Loyalist commander Verant Ortys in order to avoid further bloodshed between those who should be "...loyal brothers" as his mouthpiece put it. Despited Legate Inquisitor Frain's strong objections, Ortys agreed to the meeting, trusting to Huron's word as a fellow Chapter Master to keep the truth, but Ortys was equally avowed by his intention to remain iron in his resolve to carry out the judgement of the High Lords.[1]

Arrangements were made for face-to-face contact between the Tyrant and the Magister Militurn on an abandoned way-station in orbit around the gas giant Shedim in the outer reaches of the uninhabited Grief system. What was to happen next remains a point of contention and stubborn enigma to this day.[1]

The station itself, one a naval supply depot built into an asteroid mass, and abandoned due to solar flare activity some centuries before, maintained a remnant atmosphere but was otherwise dead. As arragned, each party approached the way station in a single unescorted strike cruiser, each leader and their honour guard was deposited on the asteroid by Thunderhawk, their respective strike cruisers pulling away outside of weapons range, as the two parties met in a great cargo vault at the heart of the disused station. From what records were later recovered, it was plain that matters immediately became volaitile and acrimonious. Lufgt Huron acted and spoke as if it was Ortys and those that stood with him, not Huron and the Secessionists who had contravened Imperial law. Present in Huron's part was also Chapter Master Sartaq of the Mantis Warriors, who swiftly accused the Fire Hawks Chapter of perpetuating wanton crimes of genocide against civilian populations loyal to the Imperium, demanding that their master Lazaerek be brought to trial by combat for his crimes. Lufgt Huron himself in imperious mood, commenced a ranting diatribe against his enemies and their perceived insults, going so far as to suggest that Ortys himself should bow down before him and fight under the Tyrant's banner against those who would turn the Astartes into "...no more than lickspittle slaves to their own petty greed." Verant Ortys for his part stood firm, and re-iterated the Legate writ of authority and the unassailable right of summons. As the talks became heated an adjournment was called for, and both parties withdrew to separate compartments on the station to confer with their fellows. It is at this point Loyalist communications to their strike cruiser were cut off.[1]

Three unknown vessels, two marked by auspex logs as likely to be Iconoclast pattern raiders and a third light cruiser sized vessel of unknown provenance, attacked from concealed positions deep within the thick atmosphere of the gas giant Shedim. The attackers assaulted the asteroid base before either Loyalist or Secessionist vessel could respond, raking the derelict way-station with weapons fire before boarding with a raiding party compromised of heretics, mutants and other renegades. In the confused battle that followed, it is known that the Loyalist delegation, including the reverend Red Scorpions Chapter Master, Lord Commander Verant Ortys was killed, and several members of Huron's party including Chapter Master Sartaq of the Mantis Warriors were also slain but exactly how this occurred remains unknown. During the resultant three-way space battle around the way-station, the Red Scorpion Chief Librarian Sevrin Loth led a desperate counter-assault on the station via assault ram and teleporter attack. At the height of the battle, the larger unknown vessel, badly stricken by fire from the Astral Claws strike cruiser, crashed into the way station and exploded, causing the asteroid to slowly break up in the cascade of debris. Despite this roiling destruction Sevrin Loth succeeded in recovering his fallen master's remains, the Red Scorpions clashing with both the raiders and Huron's Astral Claws within the disintegrating asteroid base before both sides broke free from the place to avoid certain death. Sevrin Loth had saved the honour of the Chapter against all odds and in doing so wrote an enduring legacy from himself despite the bitter blow the Red Scorpions had suffered. As for the Tyrant, he appears to have made his escape early on, and what hand he had in the death of Lord Commander Ortys or even Chapter Master Sartaq cannot be confirmed.[1]

Claim and counter-claim ensued in the aftermath of what soon became known among the Loyalists as "The Betrayal at Grief", with many blaming Huron's perfidy for the attack, claiming it as a rank treachery, while the Secessionists themselves lay the blame squarely at the door of the Inquisition as a plot to assassinate the Tyrant by covert means. Communiques sent by Legate Inquisitor Frain to his brethren within the Ordo Hereticus regarding the matter are even more open in conclusion, and do not rule out the intervention of third parties of malefic designs, parties who could do nothing but gain should the war continue and the whole region descend into bloodshed and anarchy. Nor does Frain rule out the possibility of a plot by Lufgt Huron whose primary target was not Lord Commander Verant Ortys, but rather his erstwhile ally Chapter Master Sartaq of the Mantis Warriors; Ortys' death merely serving to seal the assassination in a shroud of doubt for friend and foe alike. This assertion, as strange as it seems may carry the ring of truth, as evidence from the time has been uncovered of growing disquiet among the Mantis Warriors in their support for the Secession. Committed as the Mantis Warriors to protecting their fellow Maelstrom Wardens from outside aggression and defending with blood the sacred independence and rights of the Astartes, they still saw the direct judgement of the High Lords as something not to be disregarded, and rumors that had began to circle concerning the rule of the Astral Claws within their own domains had been the cause of disquiet among the Chapter for some time. Sartaq's death then, perhaps would serve to sure up the Chapter's resolve, particularly if it could be laid at the feet of an enemy Chapter, and so much better if that enemy would blame the Mantis Warriors for the death of their own.[1]

Aftermath

With the death of Verant Ortys, Carab Culln rose to the position of Chapter Master of the Red Scorpions. Instead of throwing the Loyalists into disarray, the Betrayal only strengthened their resolve to defeating the Secessionists. The arrival of the Howling Griffons and the Sons of Medusa chapters added to the Loyalist fighting forces in the Maelstrom. Instead of ending the war in one fell swoop, the Badab War would continue.[1]

Sources