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Aexe Cardinal is a planet located in the Sabbat Worlds in the Segmentum Pacificus. It was one of the few worlds to remain unconquered when the Chaos forces under Archon Nadzybar launched their campaign of conquest from the Sanguinary Worlds, but the Shadik Republic in the planetary north came under Chaos control and dragged the planet's Imperium-loyalist nations into a long and nihilistic war. During the crusade to retake the Sabbat Worlds, Aexe Cardinal received Imperial reinforcements in the form of the Tanith First-and-Only, but their efforts on behalf of the loyalist nations were countered by Blood Pact forces who reinforced the Shadik Republic, and the stalemate continued.
Imperial rule of Aexe Cardinal is defended by the Aexe Alliance, a coalition of loyalist nations lead by Aexegary. The Aexe Alliance is highly conservative, shackled by command which is restricted to the nobility and stubborn adherence to outmoded tactics and strategy. Forty years of constant warfare has ravaged Aexe Cardinal's environment and population, reducing large areas to toxic wasteland and sapping supplies of food and material. The Alliance has few armoured vehicles, and cavalry forces ride large flightless birds called struthids. Prior to the Tanith 1st's arrival, Aexe Alliance troopers had never seen a lasgun.
The Shadik Republic is a Chaos-corrupted nation in Aexe Cardinal's planetary north. Just as technologically restricted as their loyalist foes, Shadik troops wield basic weapons and employ specialists with stick bombs as shock-troops. Because of their corruption, no Imperial observer has seen past the Shadik front lines in forty years, and so reliable intelligence is almost non-existent.