Battle of Lion's Gate
The Battle of Lion's Gate, also known as the Sack of the Lion's Gate[2b], The Lion's Gate Incursion or informally as the Second Battle of Terra was the second major assault on Terra since the formation of the Imperium. Taking place ten thousand years after the first siege, the sudden but brief invasion by Chaos took place immediately after the Thirteenth Black Crusade.
Following the destruction of Cadia in the Thirteenth Black Crusade and resurrection of Roboute Guilliman in the Ultramar Campaign, the Great Rift was born. This new catastrophic tear in reality divided much of the Imperium and rendered Warp Travel and Astropathic communication near-impossible in an event known as The Blackness. From the Great Rift poured the Forces of Chaos, and many worlds were consumed. Terra, birthplace of humanity and capital of the Imperium, would also feel the wrath of the newly invigorated Gods of Chaos. With the light of the Astronomican dimmed from The Blackness, Warp Storms could now form directly over Terra itself.
Madness soon erupted across Terra's surface, with all but the Imperial Palace and other key locations falling to mass rioting and mayhem. The halting of interstellar shipping saw many districts in Terra's overcrowded cities starve, while many more were overcome with the dark energies that now flowed through the planet in lieu of the light of the Astronomican. Rising up, the masses of Terra were driven mad by despair and corruption and converted cathedrals into shrines to the Ruinous Powers. The Arbites and Imperial Guard forces on Terra were unable to deal with the instability. Not even strike teams of Custodes and Imperial Fists that ventured outside the Walls of the Palace could stem the tide. Seeing what was coming, the de facto Imperial Commander, Captain-General Trajann Valoris, gathered the disparate Sisters of Silence and requested aid from Titan.[2a]
The Chaos God Khorne, heedless of the plans of his brother-gods and hungry to prove his own superiority, struck at Terra. Chaos Cultists and their maddened throngs that had taken over swathes of Terra's Hive-cities conducted mass sacrifices of Guardsmen, offering their hearts to the Blood God. Warp Storms opened over Terra's skies from which poured eighty-eight Daemonic cohorts. The Daemonic horde immediately moved on the Imperial Palace, assaulting the Lion's Gate. The defenses of the Palace were still formidable despite their 10,000 years of inactivity, yet these alone could not halt the Daemonic tide. Though Captain-General Trajann Valoris led close to four thousand of the Adeptus Custodes into the battle alongside a contingent of Grey Knights[2c], more than half of their number were killed by the Daemons[2b]. The Lion's Gate would have likely fallen had it not been for the newly resurrected Roboute Guilliman, now Lord Commander of the Imperium. Fresh from the fight against Magnus the Red at the Battle of Luna, Guilliman led a counterattack of Primaris Space Marines, standard Space Marines, Custodes, and Sisters of Silence from Luna that broke the Chaos advance before it could reach the Eternity Gate. Khorne was so enraged when he heard of his failure that the eight Bloodthirsters that led the assault were completely obliterated.
While the Battle of Lion's Gate was a clear Imperial victory, it nonetheless shook the High Lords, who realized that Terra could no longer be considered unassailable. Many Imperial leaders, Guilliman included, believed that the sudden and reckless Chaos assault on Terra was a ploy to keep the attention of the Imperial leadership on their throneworld in order to prevent the coming of the subsequent Indomitus Crusade.[2c]
- 1: Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition Rulebook, pg. 50
- 2: Watchers of the Throne: The Emperor's Legion (Novel)
- 3: Codex: Adeptus Custodes (8th Edition), pgs. 18-19