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Battle of Saint Emiline's Hope

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The Battle of Saint Emiline's Hope took place in 452.M41.[1]

Overview

An Ork Waaagh! under the command of the Arch-Maniac of Calverna crashed into the Yerena System, destroying all that stood against it and sweeping towards the main populated planets at the system’s core. One planet on the Orks’ main axis of attack was the Adeptus Sororitas shrine world of Emiline's Hope, so named for the blessed saint who had given her life to recapture it from the forces of Chaos nearly a millennium previous. Realising that there was no way the paltry number of Sisters based on Emiline’s Hope could withstand the full force of the Orks, the Canoness Superior reluctantly ordered the planet’s evacuation. The Order of the Bleeding Heart had long been entrusted with the care of the Saint’s bones and reverently they placed her remains in sacred urns and began the journey to Caprium, the nearest spaceport to their abbey.[1]

But the Orks moved far swifter than anyone had believed possible and, en route to Caprium, the processional convoy bearing the saint’s bones was ambushed by Ork Kommandos as the Sisters stopped for morning prayers. Caught completely off-guard, the Sisters were mercilessly cut down and their Rhinos were looted by the Orks. As the Kommandos returned victorious to their encampment, they did not realise that they were being followed. A sole survivor of the attack, a young Celestian named Sister Martika had recovered consciousness beneath the corpses of her Sisters and had vowed to avenge her Order, trailing them back to their camp. As night fell, she stealthily infiltrated the camp, identified ‘Valiance’, the Rhino that contained the Saint’s remains, and made her way towards it, planting a number of grenade booby traps along the way. Sister Martika hauled open the crew door and hurled her last few grenades towards a nearby group of Warbuggies. The resulting explosion was more devastating than she could have hoped for, all seven of the buggies detonating in a string of roaring booms. The encampment erupted into chaos as the night was lit up by more explosions as the grenade traps exploded, set off by the confused Orks.[1]

Martika gunned the engines of the Rhino and drove it at top speed through the howling Orks, smashing aside their flimsy vehicles and crushing those not swift enough to avoid her. She broke through the outer edges of the camp and pushed the Rhino’s engine to the maximum, offering prayers to the Saint’s remains for forgiveness at their rough treatment as she made her escape to Caprium. Before long, the Orks were in pursuit, scores of red buggies and Trukks racing after her. Knowing that the Rhino could not outpace the faster Ork vehicles, Martika slewed from the road and began weaving her way through the forest, the beams of her Rhino’s headlights spearing through the darkness. She skilfully drove between the densely packed trees while many of the more reckless Ork drivers slammed into them, destroying their crude vehicles in giant fireballs. Eventually, the forest thinned and the Orks closed the gap, spraying the Rhino with gunfire even as Sister Martika voxed Caprium for aid. The vehicle stood firm against the shots, though the chase, having lasted the best part of the night, had exhausted almost all of the Rhino’s fuel. At close range, the Orks’ shooting took a far greater toll, punching smoking holes in the Rhino and thick, black smoke poured from the engine housing.[1]

But the Rhino would not fail in its duty and, even as the gears clashed and the engine spirit howled in anger, it continued to carry its charge towards Caprium. The Rhino finally cleared the edge of the trees, the walls of Caprium visible in the distance as two Ork Trukks pulled level with the Rhino. Martika sideswiped both, and sent them spinning out of control. More Ork vehicles began moving up to attack, when explosions suddenly ripped through them as the gunners on the walls of the spaceport began to fire. The ground thundered with the impact of the shelling, a storm of lethal shrapnel ripping apart the Ork Trukks with ease. Shell after shell blasted huge holes in the Ork pursuit and within seconds, it had been blasted to fragments and Martika’s Rhino lurched through the gates of the spaceport. Exhausted, but elated, the young Celestian staggered from the Rhino and gave thanks to its indomitable spirit before presenting the urns containing Saint Emiline to her Canoness. The Rhino itself was repaired and became Martika’s personal transport, carrying her into battle until the day of her death.[1]

Sources