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Arks of Omen Campaign

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Arks of Omen Campaign
A Chaos Balefleet moves
Conflict Long War
Date Early M42
Location Galaxy-wide
Outcome Ongoing
Imperium Forces of Chaos Various unaligned Xenos

Dark Eldar
Leagues of Votann
Fleetmaster Trincus Abconcis (KIA)
Inquisitor Lord Torquemada Coteaz
Inquisitor Glori Emagna (KIA)
Chapter Master Nymarn (KIA)
Chapter Master Yosharo DuGal
Brother-Captain Drystann Cromm (KIA)
Captain Albaar
Chaplain Julianos
Captain Hibogen Khan
Groupmaster Kelmer (KIA)
Canoness Verity Kade (MIA)
Canoness Felicita (Corrupted)
Admiral Ignacious Pell (KIA)
Groupmaster Persepha Xeng
Groupmaster Ira Threnodar (KIA)
Groupmaster Josiah Bolsett III
Groupmaster Zavadan Mael
Warmaster Ezekyle Abaddon
Daemon Primarch Angron
Lord Invocatus
Lord Karakka Bloodfist
Daemon Prince Dreagh'or (Banished)
Sorcerer Lord Xorphas
Captain Falkus Kibre
Warsmith Czagra
Lord Apophari Quen
Lord Gulthorg
Sorcerer Lord Hasomet
Lord Thavak
Scourgemaster Ulghata
Dark Magos Persephora Hexxen
Lady Maeve
Necron Lord Somatatek
Warboss Skullkrakka
Warboss Grymzag
See Order of Battle See Order of Battle See Order of Battle

The Arks of Omen Campaign is a major galaxy-wide offensive recently launched by Abaddon the Despoiler and his armies. Its purpose is to complete a mysterious weapon known as The Key which has the power to destroy the Imperium.[1a]



The campaign began as part of the greater War of Beasts, when Black Legion forces led by Warpsmith Vask engaged in the Vigilus warzone raided the Mechanicum artificial moon of Pergamatros. After launching a data-assault upon the moons power and control systems which revealed the hidden moons location, the Black Legion vessel Unrepentant appeared in the system. Despite formidable defenses including Defense Lasers, Skitarii, and a maniple of Reaver Titans of the Legio Maledictus, Vask and the Dark Mechanicus Magos Persephora Hexxen led overwhelming forces which swept aside their foes. Dark Magos Juregg was able to penetrate the moons data-vaults, hoping to gather data for the Despoiler’s favor. However unknown to the Magos, the data-tome he brought back to the Vengeful Spirit was part of a greater plan by the Daemon Vashtorr.[1a]

Months later, as Abaddon oversaw the continued repairs to his flagship the Vengeful Spirit, the data-tome proved to be a portal that allowed Vashtorr to manifest on the bridge directly in the presence of The Despoiler. Upon meeting, Vashtorr presented Abaddon with a prophecy of a burning sky and stars blazing bright enough to drown out the darkness. He was candid with The Despoiler, declaring that while the ruler of the Forge of Souls, he was unsatisfied with his status and wished to become a fifth Chaos God in his own right. Vashtorr believed this could be achieved if he could fulfill this prophecy, and offered an alliance with Abaddon. The Despoiler was unimpressed, and Vashtorr bid that they move together on the nearby world of Magdalor to demonstrate the value of an alliance where the next fragment of the mysterious “Key” lay.[1a]

Part 1: Abaddon Strikes

Revelation on Magdalor

Magdalor was the homeworld of the troubled Iron Angels Space Marines. Despite their replenished gene-seed stock and numbers, they nonetheless sported a formidable fleet and committed themselves to fight to the end upon the arrival of the Vengeful Spirit in their system. As battles erupted across space between the Iron Angels and Traitor armadas, several hundred Iron Angels manned the formidable defenses of their Fortress-Monastery known as the Angels’ Crown. Black Legion and Cultist forces landed on the surface of Magdalor while the Despoiler, Falkus Kibre, and his Bringers of Despair launched a teleportation assault into the heart of the Angels’ Crown. After defeating three Iron Angels Librarians, it became clear that the Iron Angels resistance was ultimately doomed as their forces were overwhelmed by the traitor onslaught.[1b]

After having crushed the last serious resistance, Abaddon set about sacking the Fortress-Monastery but discovered scenes of carnage and Daemonic corruption deep within its walls. Someone had already torn out the heart of the Angels’ Crown, and soon enough Abaddon met the shackled Daemons and mutant engines of Vashtorr’s own host. Here, the Iron Angels Chapter Master Nymarn and the last of the 1st Company were staging a final stand. However, thanks to Vashtorr, horrifying monstrosities erupted from the machineries of the Apothecarion and Reclusiam as Abaddon himself struck down Nymarn. After the battle, Vashtorr’s forces ignored all but a tall marble pillar floating in a suspensor field. Dubbed the Oathing Stone by the Iron Angels, Abaddon was initially unimpressed with the pillar but after hours of closed meeting with Vashtorr was informed of its true nature. After learning of its true purpose as a fragment of The Key, Abaddon let out a great laugh and became committed to working with Vashtorr.[1b]

Over the next several months, the Black Legion began to corral and mutate enormous Space Hulks under the direction of Vashtorr. Having spent many days and heavy casualties clearing these constructs of various foes, Vashtorr used his techno-sorcery to corrupt the Hulks even further. Various Chaos Champions either commanded by or allied to Abaddon were placed in charge of these reborn Space Hulks, which soon became known as the Arks of Omen, and their purpose was to assail worlds throughout the galaxy to secure further fragments of The Key. Each Ark was commanded by a Champion of Chaos, either one of Abaddon’s own subordinates or an allied Chaos Lord that had pledged fealty to The Despoiler.[1b]

Abaddon invades Magdalor[1b]

The Arks Unleashed

Even as Vashtorr labored to construct additional Arks, Abaddon unleashed those he had already built upon the galaxy. More than a dozen Arks made up this initial onslaught, each accompanied by a flotilla of Chaos vessels in dark contrast to the fleets of the Indomitus Crusade. Notable assaults launched in this first wave were conducted against the ice moons of Korbrach and the industrial sprawls of Vaingloria. After weeks on bloody siege on the Shrine World of Lume IV, Iron Warriors Warsmith Czagra, commander of the Ark of Omen Ogre, tore open the world’s innermost reliquarium to secure a Key-Fragment which took the form of an ancient fire-blackened cogitator bank held in a stasis field. On Hassp, Alpha Legion agents penetrated an ancient dig-site to secure a key-fragment that appeared to be a meteorite embedded in the planet’s bedrock. Upon recovery of a Key-Fragment, they were presented before the Warp Portal aboard each Ark and claimed by Abaddon and Vashtorr.[1c] On Aggamedes, the Ark Bloodmaw and its escorts began a month-long conflict against the maniples of Graia] that saw entire planets depopulated. Amidst the Rasputar Cluster, the Bane of Life plunged into an ongoing war between the Leagues of Votann of the Kronus Hegemony and the Orks of Waaagh! Skullkrakka. At the Serpessa Nebulae, Flensemaster Thavak of the Night Lords found his Balefleet beset at every turn by Eldar of Ulthwe and Dark Eldar of the Kabal of the Iron Thorn.[1b][1c]

By the time the second wave of Arks of Omen was launched, the corrupted Hulks were now present across every Imperium segmentum and many major war zones. Sometimes they ignored Imperial holdings altogether, targeting worlds inhabited by Orks, Tyranids, or even other heretic factions to claim their prize. Had it not been for the presence of the Arks themselves, Imperial authorities would not have placed these incidents as part of a larger pattern. Famed Lord Inquisitor Coteaz of the Ordo Malleus received word from the Eldar of the larger Chaos plan. The Inquisition responded accordingly with investigation teams to the Balefleets true purpose, and while several Arks were boarded and purged at great cost during Imperial counter-attacks, many more continued to wreak havoc upon the galaxy. [1b]

Cortosa III

One of the most notable Chaos assaults took place on the Fortress World of Cortosa III. Garrisoned by over 200 Imperial Guard Regiments, at the heart of its Fortum Primus was a martial museum which held a key-fragment in the shape of a sword. However, thanks to its Psyker seers, the high command of the world had foreseen the Chaos assault even before it arrived and thus when the Ark Ogre arrived in-system, it faced not only Imperial Guard but also a Sisters of Battle convent and Black Templars force. Due to the Arks advanced navigational systems, It was able to bypass these loyalist reinforcements and rapidly assault Cortosa III itself. The assault was led by the Sons of Rot under Gulthorg the Blighted, who sought not only to acquire the key fragment for Abaddon but also secure the planet in Nurgle’s name.[1c]

To that end, Lord Gulthorg deployed the Plaguecrows and Vermin Guard with dealing with the Imperial fleet in the system while he, the Sons of Rot, his Morbidax Traitor Guard Regiments, Dark Mechanicus vivisectors, and the Chaos Knights of House Gnaw launched an assault on Cortosa itself. After ferociously contested landings, fighting erupted across the Munifica Maxima, the fortified mountain range of Absolutis Colossi, and the training Plains of the Expans Martial. Viral weapons reduced thousands of loyalists to a bubbling slime, out of which daemons of Vashtorr emerged. However, a huge loyalist armored spearhead swept between the towers of the Arcadia Ballistus and into the Expans Martial, throwing back House Gnaw Knights. At the same time, a vicious orbital battle erupted as the Imperial reinforcements attempted to punch through the Traitor blockade. Costly boarding actions saw vessels on both sides scattered and destroyed.[1c]

In the end, the Imperial defenders unity proved to be the traitors undoing, at least as far as the Sons of Rot were concerned. As rival Chaos warbands fought on their own, Gulthorg was forced abandon command of the ground war and return with many of his own Sons of Rot to garrison his Ark against Imperial assaults. This was the moment Alpha Legion forces concealed within the traitors had waited for, and they hijacked vox channels which caused a portion of the traitor host to abandon their positions and throw themselves Fortum Primus. The frenzied assault succeeded in penetrating the fortress and securing the Key-Fragment, but traitor positions across the greater system fell apart.[1c]


By the second wave, it was becoming clear these Chaos assaults were part of a greater strategic coordination and not isolated Space Hulk raids. Despite this, it was still difficult for the foes of Chaos to understand what Abaddon’s goal was or where his Arks would appear next. As the Arks drove deeper into the furthest reaches of the void, they attracted the attention of alien horrors such as the Kalavassi and Enslavers, who managed to damage the Ark Blackened Tower. The Ark Sobbing God soon found itself boarded by swarms of Hive Fleet Kraken, forcing Scourgemaster Ulghata and his surviving forces to retreat deep into their vessel and resist the invaders.[1d]

Despite these setbacks, the Arks continued on their mission. On the Tomb World of Vol, the Ark Beast in Scarlet caught the slumbering Szarekhan Dynasty Necrons unawares and tore the key-fragment from them before departing. Unbeknownst to the Thousand Sons Sorcerer Lord Hasomet however, the slain Necron Lord Somatatek was promptly resurrected and outraged by the dishonorable attack., He gathered a fleet of his own and set out to bring vengeance down upon the Beast in Scarlet.[1d]

At the Onalpa System, the Ark of Omen Colossus translated into local space. Boasting a huge compliment of Traitor Titans, the Balefleet scattered the defenders as Dark Magi and their servants descended upon the rich worlds of Onalpa to sate their greed. This proved an opening which allowed the Ultramarines under Chaplain Julianos to board the ‘’Colossus’’. While nearly every Ultramarine of the boarding party was lost, they succeeded into causing an engine meltdown to destroy it. Meanwhile, Eldar Corsairs of the Diamond Talon boarded the Ark Devourer of Hope, crippling its command center.[1d]

Another Balefleet under Lady Maeve of House Grendyl arrived in the Polyhadra System expecting to claim their prize from local Orks. Instead, they found a thriving enclave of the Greater Thurian League. Squat Kin had long since sliced apart the world Maeve sought, the key-fragment having since been moved into the Galactic Core. Before she could disengage and pursue her prize however, she sought to punish the Squats for what they had done. Soon, a savage battle erupted. Other Xenos forces actively sought out the Balefleets to destroy them, such as Craftworlds Ulthwe, Saim-Hann, Yme-Loc, and their allies including Harlequins, Dark Eldar, Corsairs, and Exodites.[1d]

Meanwhile, the Inquisitor Coteaz was continuing his investigation into what the Eldar had warned him of. He and other Inquisitors requisitioned large resources to intercept and if possible, destroy the Arks wherever they may appear. The Inquisition succeeded in having the Iron Hands under Captain Albaar board the Morbidius as well as the mysterious destruction of the Reaper’s Shadow. As the Ark Night Terror bore down on the Agri-Worlds of the Saganas Belt deep in Imperium Nihilus, its Regent Dante led a counterattack. However, when they arrived, they found the Balefleet wrecked, the corpses of dead Astartes withered in bolter rounds and withered in sulphureous residue. [1d]

Ironically, many of the Arks were assailed by their fellow Traitor Astartes, either to foil Abaddon’s plans for their own agenda or simply to capture one of the vessels. Such was the case of an Ark which meant missing in Red Corsairs territory within The Maelstrom. For their part, the Word Bearers broke the bindings placed upon the Ark Neverlight, unleashing a tide of Daemonic entities that consumed the attackers, defenders, and nearby Mining World of Karmyne. After the Ark Dirge Discordant was scuttled by Khornate forces at the Chyron System while in search for a more significant key fragment, Abaddon took to the field directly to shatter the host. He then took his forces to Chyron Tertius, resolved to claim the fragment. In the ensuing battle against Imperial Guard The Despoiler succeeded in smashing aside the Cadians and claiming the fragment.[1d]

However, it was during the battle on Chyron Tertius that Abaddon was informed by Vashtorr that Angron had been spotted on the world of Malakbael, a location of an important Key-Fragment. The Red Angel was battling Indomitus Crusade Fleet Quartus, and Vashtorr notified Abaddon that he wished to travel to Malakbael himself to deal with the situation.[1d]

Part 2: Angron

Porents and Preparations

Much to the misfortune of the Imperium, Angron had recently returned to the Materium aboard the Conqueror. Around the Daemon Primarch gathered a force which included noted World Eaters Chaos Lords such as Kossolax and Karakka Bloodfist as well as other Chaos Space Marine warbands and even Xenos mercenaries. The reborn Red Angel made way for Malakbael in search of a beacon which had been tormenting him with its psychic light, known as the Choral Engine. The engine had recently been aiding Indomitus Crusade Fleet Quartus in a string of victories, but to the forces of Chaos it was anathema much like the light of the Astronomican.[3a]

Even before discovering the Red Angel had returned, the Grey Knights under 4th Brotherhood Brother-Captain Drystann Cromm dispatched the Strike Cruiser Unrelenting to the Malak System to investigate Warp anomalies. There, Cromm met with Fleetmaster Trincus Abconcis and they discussed the nature of the Choral Engine. Cromm next traveled to the surface of Malakbael and questioned Inquisitor Glori Emagna, quickly surmising that a vast traitor host would soon be drawn to its light. He quickly notified the Imperials at the Malak System to ready themselves for war. Afterwards, he would discover the true origin of the Choral Engine.[3a]

In the aftermath of Cromm's visit, Abcondis ordered many Battlegroups send whatever reinforcements that could be spared back to Malakbael to strengthen its defenses. Soon enough, Admiral Ignacious Pell arrived with three task forces from Battle Group Betaris while Groupmaster Zavadan Mael arrived with four task forces of Battle Group Dominus. Canoness Verity Kade of the Order of the Argent Shroud arrived aboard the Dauntless Class Light Cruiser Mercy in Death. Groupmaster Persepha Xeng and her ancient Nemesis Class Fleet Carrier Bountiful Hate came at the head of five task forces from Battle Group Jovia. Groupmaster Josiah Bolsett III of Battle Group Kilox arrived, leading two full task forces. Even Space Marines in the form of the Yosharo DuGal arrived under Chapter Master Yosharo DuGal himself.[3a]

The forces of Battle Group Alphae were deployed throughout the Malak System, which Abcondis aboard his flagship Honour of Terra hung in orbit over Malakbael itself along with two task forces worth of warships. Other taskforces were assigned to guard Malakra and Malakshet which Task Force X under Groupmaster Ira Threnodar was broken into smaller squadrons to conduct patrols. Battle Group Forthrax was assigned to watch the Malakandrias asteroid belt known as the Barren Reach. Around the Choral Engine itself, the Imperials erected a great bastion known as the Fortress of Light. Soon enough, the forces of the Malak system were colossal and its defenses were beyond imposing.[3a]

However after a full week of waiting, there was still no sign of the invaders and many including Fleetmaster Abcondis grew doubtful that an attack of coming, and became frustrated that these great resources could be better used elsewhere. Thus he was almost relieved when on the seventh hour of the eight day that a large Chaos fleet burst from the Warp at the edges of the Malak System.[3a]

Battle of the Malak

Angron leads his fleet against the Malak System[3b]

At the head of the Chaos fleet large enough to conquer an entire Sector was the Ark of Omen Stygian Heart. They included not only conventional vessels by also ship-sized Daemon Engines. The Chaos forces made straight for Malakbael, ignoring all other worlds in the system for now. Such a force would have initially created great panic for the Imperials, but Abcondis and the rest of his staff were well-prepared. He immediately ordered Groupmasters Threnodar and Xeng to lead their forces to intercept while ordering defense fleets over Malakvar, Malakshet, and Malakbael to act as a second wave.[3b]

Such was the size of the Imperial fleet that thousands of Torpedoes struck the Chaos armada simultaneously. Despite taking great damage, the Chaos vessels fought with great skill and ferocity and inflicted similar losses on the Imperials. Their every action seemed calculated to push near Malakbael while also buying time, as if they were waiting for something. However, a boarding attack by the Void Tridents against a Red Corsairs Desecrator Class Battleship and the destruction of a Repulsive Class Grand Cruiser succeeded in seemingly turning the tide. Abcondis grew more confident, and began to feel as if he should have called the Grey Knights warning alarmist. It was then that everything changed for the Imperials, in a matter of seconds no less. The disaster began when Astropaths on Malakbael plugged into the Choral Engine began to scream. Then the divining mirrors of the Grey Knights broke apart. Soon enough, a second traitor fleet far greater in size than the first began to arrive in-system. Looming over it all was the Conqueror, atop which perched Angron himself.[3b]

Perhaps unusually lucid for the rageful avatar of Khorne, Angron carefully divided his fleet into three thrusts like a trident. The first prong formed around the Ark of Omen Clarion Dire and and tore away towards Malakra, a feint to force the world's defenders to dig in. It was then instructed to use Malakra's gravity well to slingshot themselves recklessly through the enemy lines towards Malakbael. The second prong, led by the World Eaters Battle Barge Exsanguinator, climbed rapidly above the galactic plane to bare down on the fringes of the Malakandrias asteroid belt to assault Malakbael's defenses head-on. Angron the Conqueror led the third prong, arcing close to the star Malak itself before powering up from below the galactic plane to give a killing thrust at Malakbael itself. For their part, the Imperials responded quickly but were beset by both panic and grim determination. Angron's war cry had reached the ears of every soul within the System, and all knew the Red Angel had come for slaughter. Commissars had to put down maddened riots aboard both vessels and planetside. Yet for every ship or bastion that fell into panic, there was another that retained discipline and order. For many within Fleet Quartus, this was not the first time they had fought the forces of Chaos. Abcondis himself faced the new threat with a surprising enthusiastic readiness.[3b]

After quickly reforming his lines, Abcondis ordered Groupmaster Threnodar to abandon her pursuit of the damaged Stygian Heart and return to him. However many other Imperial fleets and garrions in the system were undermanned to meet a threat of this scale, and amongst the first casualties was Task Force VI of Battle Group Forthrax. While they had initially joined with the Void Talons under Captain Ugoshi to conduct hit-and-run attacks from the asteroid belt against the fleet of the Exsanguinator, they were quickly overwhelmed by the size of the enemy force. The Void Talons failed in their attempts to board World Eaters vessels, being pushed back by frenzied counterattacks. Captain Ughosi himself was slain in one such fight, and in the end only some ships of the Daemon Prince Dreagh'or took the bait to move into the asteroid belt to be destroyed. After the Exsanguinator destroyed the Void Talons strike cruiser Noble Blade, Task Force VI fragmented.[3b]

Meanwhile on the far side of the Malak System, the Clarion Dire and its escorts under Lord Karakka Bloodfist bore down upon the Jungle World of Malakra with suicidal speed. Commanding from the Mars Class Battlecruiser Cry of Wrath, Admiral Ignacious Pell ordered his forces to blunt the enemy assault despite knowing his own assets were insufficient for such a task. Two task forces had been dispatched to battle the Stygian Heart, and he now ordered them return with all haste. At the same time, Sisters of Battle under Canoness Kade arrived over the Ice World of Malakshet, eager to join the fight. She stripped three full task forces from Malakshet, leaving only a handful of formations to garrison the planet then made for Malakra. Fortunately for the Imperials, the recalled task forces arrived just minutes before the Chaos fleet did. Pell ordered all ships open fire as the Chaos armada simply rushed towards Malakra, seemingly on a collision course.[3b]

Skirting close to its atmosphere and deliberately allowing themselves to fall into Malakra's gravity well, the Khornate ships were able to swing themselves on their axis and veer straight into the scattered Imperial formation. Some failed in the risky maneuver and crashed into Malakra with catastrophic result for all involved, while others simply collided with Imperial ships. What followed was a great slaughter as the Clarion Dire slingshoted itself through the Imperial lines and on towards Malakbael. In their wake, they left a mauled Imperial flotilla still trying to put itself back together and pursue. Only a timely teleportation assault by the Ultramarines of the Strike Cruiser Prandium prevented Pell himself from being killed by a World Eaters boarding party. Furious and dismayed, Pell sent word to Canoness Kade that she should make for Malakbael.[3b]

While he still had eight full task forces around Malakbael, the rest of the system was woefully underprepared to meet the Chaos threat. He finally ascended to Groupmaster Threnodar, allowing her and Xeng to lead the might of their system patrol force on an intercept course with the Conqueror. With almost seven task forces at their command, the two Groupmasters rallied from their battle against the Stygian Heart and launched a mighty counterattack. Their vessels included not only those of the Imperial Navy, but also those of the White Scars, Imperial Fists, Howling Griffons, and Basilikon Astra. Carnage erupted as the two great fleets met. While the World Eaters still had the numeric advantage, the Imperials had the advantage in discipline. Soon enough the Imperials were able to take advantage of the Worlds ships tendency to fight like lone feral dogs to isolate and destroy them in piecemeal. Three major vessels were destroyed in such a fashion. At the same time, the Imperial Fists Codicier Vorn Dylas led a boarding action of the World Eaters ship Bloodied Fang and turned its Lance batteries on its unsuspecting escorts. Hibogen Khan led his White Scars in a rapid that crippled two Chaos Strike Cruisers. Meanwhile, Groupmaster Threnodar herself led a formation of three Imperial Battleships - including her own Resplendent - to kill the Conqueror.[3b]

As the three Battleships converged on the Conqueror, the flagship suddenly powered forward and unleashed a vicious salvo which damaged the Oberon Class Battleship Veracity and forced the already damaged Blade of Aquilant to abandon its attack run. Then it used its Ursus Claws to ensnare the Resplendent and drag it in close. It was at this moment that the Red Angel himself took flight, tearing through the hull of the Conqueror and into the void of space before plunging towards the Resplendant. Despite nearly being torn in half by a Lance blast, Angron plowed through a Imperial Navy Frigate attempting to free the Resplendent and continued his dive towards the vessel. Angron was repeatedly blown to bits by Imperial fire, but rematerialized within seconds and eventually was able to materialize on the bridge of the Resplendent. Groupmaster Threnodar died with honor as the crippling of her ship turned the tide of the wider battle in favor of the World Eaters. Soon enough four Imperial capital ships were lost as well as the White Scars Battle Barge Steed of Kumblai. Seeing this new development, Xeng ordered a retreat as the World Eaters led a frenzied pursuit.[3b]

By now, the Exsanguinator and its fleet had attacked the defenses around Malakbael itself as Fleetmaster Abcondis sent Task Forces Alphae II and Irasmus VII out on a flanking arcs while Groupmaster Bolsett led a screening force up to meet the front. The strategy worked in encircling elements of the traitor host and inflicting heavy casualties, forcing Lord Dreagh'or to lose momentum but failing to halt the attack entirely. As Imperial orbital defenses hammered the World Eaters, the Exsanguinator thundered on. However just then the Grey Knights Strike Cruiser Unrelenting leapt into the fray alongside Abcondis' own flagship and Chapter Master DuGal. The Imperials may have prevailed in this sudden attack had it not been for Angron, who had by now scattered the last of Xeng's ships and was plunging into the battle over Malakbael. In his wake followed the rest of the World Eaters and was met by DuGal's forces while Abcondis sought to deal with the Exsanguinator. What followed was a bloody stalemate as Angron himself plunged into the atmosphere of Malakbael and towards the Choral Engine.[3b]

Meanwhile, Canoness Kade finally met the Clarion Dire in battle, swinging alongside the enemy spearhead and engaging in a running battle that wrought carnage on both sides. Kade led a last-ditch boarding assault aboard the Ark of Omen, leading not only Sisters of Battle but also Space Marines. However soon enough all contact with these brave invaders were lost, and none ever discovered their fate. One clue may lay with the fact that the Clarion Dire plunged suddenly into the Warp just before it was to reach Malakbael.[3b]


Angron quickly arrived over the central dome of the Choral Engine, with some small part of him perhaps wishing that its energies may finally destroy him for good. Enduring a punishing salvo by the Imperial defenses, Angron managed to reach the Fortress of Light and slaughtered all he came across. Slaying Space Marines and downing Valkyries, Angron fought his way into the citadels missile silos and caused a catastrophic chain reaction that annihilated all within. Angron continued to fight his way deep into the interior of the fortress, the energy of the Choral Engine and his own Butchers Nails mixing together in a discord of agony upon his mind. Breaking down the gates to the fortress' inner sanctum, Angron was determined to destroy the Choral Engine forever.[3c]

In space, Abcondis continued to wage a valiant defense as Admiral Pell managed to gain the upper hand against the fleet of the Clarion Dire. However the Conqueror had now arrived and was battling in orbit over Malakbael's upper atmosphere as the Void Talons, Imperial Fists, and Howling Griffons attempted to stop them. By now Abcondis had learned of Angron's rampage inside the Fortress of Light and considered the gravest threat to his defense. He ordered the Honour of Terra to come about and rally the largest remaining vessels in a path towards the Conqueror and its invasion flotilla. The maneuver drew the attention of dozens of smaller Chaos vessels, with some plunging towards Abcondis' fleet while others sought to secure a secondary drop zone in order to land Titans. However the World Eaters were able to use Dreadclaws to board the Honour of Terra. Despite counterattacks by Voidsmen, Ultramarines under Lieutenant Scipion, and Kastelan Robots, the Imperials were quickly overwhelmed when Kharn the Betrayer and his Butcherhorde entered the Imperial flagship. Lieutenant Scipion informed Abcondis that if he wished to live, he would have to abandon ship. Abcondis issued an order for all combat-capable crew to abandon the fight in orbit and redeploy on the surface to take part in the defense of the Choral Engine. While hoping to turn around the situation on the ground, he also sought to hold out until naval reinforcements from Admiral Pell could turn the tide in space.[3c]

Back on Malakbael's surface, Imperial ground forces fought on as best they could. These consisted of Knights of House Terryn, Sisters of Battle from the Order of Our Martyred Lady, and Imperial Guard Regiments of the Death Korps of Krieg and Ulathu Artillery. They desperately attempted to hold back Traitor Titans at great cost, with the Dark Mechanicum engines slaughtering thousands for each loss of their own. About their feet, twisted Skitarii and Servitors snatched up loyalists for experimentation. Outnumbered Krieg platoons did all they could to hold the Hereteks back, often dying to the last man in the process. In Malakbael's southern hemisphere, the great spaceport-city of Hallowed Helm burned at the hands of Lord Invocatus. Despite the best efforts of the Sons of Medusa and Imperial Fists, the traitor orbital bombardment had wreaked great destruction as World Eaters tanks and Daemon Engines came in Invocatus' wake. Invocatus ploughed through the Imperial formations, refusing to get bogged down in the Imperial Fists fortified poisitions by simply outflanking them. All across the world, sacred sites such as the Sanctum of the God-Emperor Resplendent, the temple of Mount Ephnari, and the Library of the Star Pilgrims became bloody battlefields. Not even the arrival of Abcondis' reinforcements from space was enough to turn the tide[3c].

Abcondis and the Honour of Terra led a spearhead of warships in a desperate low-orbit attack run against the Conqueror, blowing apart multiple traitor vessels in his path even as his own flagship was a battlefield at the hands of Kharn the Betrayer. As the ships wrestled at close range in the upper atmosphere, the Machine Spirit of the Conqueror rebelled. Unwilling to be slain, the spirit triggered its Warp Engines and crash-translated into the Empyrean. By this time Kharn and his forces had finally reached Abcondis' bridge, and his last transmission was that of gunfire and screams.[3c]

Soon enough, the slaughter on Malakbael allowed Khornate Daemons to finally fully manifest on Malakbael's surface. This caused a general disaster for the Imperial Guard Regiments that soon turned into a general rout despite the Choral Engine's light eventually forcing the creatures back into the Warp. Nowhere was the bloodshed more horrific than within the Fortress of Light, where Angron was able to summon eight Bloodthirsters to his side alongside Skull Cannons, Bloodletters, Bloodcrushers, and even a Lord of Skulls. This terrifying host quickly swept aside the last of the Imperial defenses inside the citadel's outer ring and reached the gatehouse to the inner sanctum. Angron and his Bloodthirster honour guard slaughtered the final Imperial Fists standing his way to reach the Choral Engine itself.[3c]

Meanwhile aboard the Exsanguinator, Brother-Captain Cromm and his Grey Knights continued their boarding assault. The Grey Knights managed to fight their way to the bridge of the vessel, confronting the Daemon Prince Dreagh'or. The battle there was savage and cost Cromm many brothers, but they succeeded in bashing Dreag'hor back into the Warp. Robbed of its link to its master, the Exsanguinator began to die. While the loss of the vessel was a major blow to Chaos forces, Cromm cursed the time and resources it had cost. Cromm then set about to teleporting to Malakbael's surface in order to confront Angron.[3c]

As the battle raged, the Stygian Heart had limped away under orders by Apophari Quen, who sought to ascertain what action should be taken. It was then that Vashtorr the Arkifane materialized aboard the damaged Ark.[3c]


It was then that Inquisitor Emagna's voice erupted over the Vox, issuing scorn to the traitors as she had her tech-adepts disable the last failsafes over the barely-understood Choral Engine. Convinced that the light of the Emperor shined through the engine and could turn back the host, she amplified the power of the Choral Engine and let out a massive psychic shock wave. The blast caused Angron to tumble down from the air in agony and scour the Daemons from existence. Subsequent shockwaves followed, each decimating the traitor hosts but also causing mortals to hear the psychic screams of the Psykers slaved to the engine in their own minds. The raw power triggered heacaches, visions, strange voices, and other bizarre phenomena. Yet despite all of this, Emagna's plan seemed to be working. Robbed of their Daemonic allies and with their Cultist and Traitor Guard slaves shaken, the World Eaters momentum fell apart. Of the Daemons, only Angron and his eight Bloodthirsters remained and even they were wracked with pain. Regardless of this, they continued their frenzied advance towards the Choral Engine.[3c]

Soon enough, the enraged but strangely invigorated Angron reached the inner sanctum of the Choral Engine. Angron were met by explosives placed by Emagna and an ambush by Tempestus Scions and 60 Grey Knights under Cromm. The Space Marines began a banishment ritual as the Tempestus Scions fell in agony before the presence of the Daemon. Grey Knight Terminators and 2 Dreadknights closed on Angron, and the Daemon Primarch finally fell to one knee. It was then that the first of Angron's Bloodthirster bodyguards arrived, forcing to shift the Dreadnoughts attention. Chaos erupted in the inner chamber and Inquisitor Emagna herself was beheaded by one of the creatures. Nonetheless, Cromm and his Paladins continued to close on Angron and complete their banishment ritual. The maddened Primarch threw itself at his attackers, and despite slaying multiple Paladins took a grievous blow from Cromm's own Nemesis Daemon Hammer. The Daemon suffered another blow but before the third could be delivered, dropped Samni'arius from his grip and grabbed the haft of Cromm's hammer. He then brought Spinegrinder down with meteroic force, carving the Brother-Captain in two. Finally cleared of obstacles, Angron moved on the Choral Engine and struck it with his axe.[3c]

In that moment, Angron's pure rage transformed himself into a supernatural conduit that connected both the Materium and Immaterium. As he struck, he channeled not only his own rage, but that of the Blood God itself. Khorne himself appeared in Angron's mind, invigorating him with the Blood God's own blade. In this moment the Choral Engine erupted in a great crimson explosion as Angron and his bloodthirsters were torn apart. Soon only Angron's incorpeal conciousness endured within the chamber. As Angron's physical form slowly regenerated, he saw Khorne's great murder-curse along with countless Daemons erupt from the wound left in reality where the Choral Engine had stood.[3c]

The destruction of the Choral Engine proved catastrophic for the Imperium. The blast tore Malakbael itself in two and sent a wave of madness that swept across the entire System, killing nearly everyone planetside in minutes. While small numbers of Space Marines were successfully evacuated, many orbiting ships were forcibly thrown into the Warp. Malakvar and even distant Malakshet suffered punishing debris storms from the death of Malakbael, and the incoming fleet of Admiral Pell was pelted with wreckage of the world and suffered grievous loses. Even so, the dead were arguably the lucky ones.[3d]

Within minutes of the death of Malakbael, madness took hold of whatever Imperial survivors were left. Loyalists began to fall into berserker madness, turning on one another and howling in rage to the Blood God. The effected could no longer speak or recognize friend from foe. As carnage erupted across the remains of Indomitus Crusade Fleet Quartus, seemingly random individuals were able to resist the madness but only fell at the hands of their former allies. Aboard his own flagship, Admiral Pell was eaten alive by his own rabid crew.[3d]

The Arkifane's Prize

It was into this madness that Arkifane appeared at the head of the Stygian Heart. He road like some infernal boatsman into the devastation, seemingly immune to its effects. He moved on the ruins of Malakbael, identifying the broken husk where the Choral Engine's geothermal syphon coil once existed. As he moved closer to the coil, now a great rune of Khorne, the Stygian Heart began to come apart but he formed bits of the vessel to create a staircase. Vashtorr moved forward to where the core of Malakbael once stood. Taking a dark mass of stone from the core of Malakbael, Arkifane then stepped through a Warp portal, having achieved what he had set out to do.[3d]

In the aftermath of the debacle at Malakbael, nearly all of Fleet Quartus had been lost. The wave of madness had spread through the fleets Navigators and Astropaths, corrupting 80% of Battlegroups Alphae, Betaris, Dominus, Forthrax, Irasmus, Jovia, and Kilox. Space Marines and Sisters of Battle fell as easily as Inquisitors, Priests, and common serfs. Only the Grey Knights, Sisters of Silence, and Custodes were truly immune. The disaster was exacerbated by the fact that the fragments of Fleet Quartus that remained began frenzied killing sprees across the Galaxy, cutting bloody paths all the way back to the Imperium Sanctus and being declared Excommunicate Traitoris. The disaster would have far-reaching consequences for years to come.[3d]

Part 3: The Siege of The Rock

Order of Battle