The Dulan Campaign was a conflict between the Imperium and the Dulanians, a technologically advanced human civilisation.[1a] It is most famous for the involvement of the Space Wolves and Dark Angels, culminating in the famous incident of the Lion and the Wolf that began the tradition of honour duels that continues into the 41st Millennium.
The Dulan Campaign was begun by the Imperial Army, but after a series of heavy defeats for front-line divisions at the hands of the advanced Faash, the Space Wolves Legion were assigned to finish the campaign. In the early months, even they struggled to deal with the archaeotech employed by the enemy, taking some time to perfect the new tactics they rapidly adopted to counter the threat.[1a]
Ynniu Void Battle
Jorin Bloodhowl and his 13th Great Company hunted the Faash down across multiple systems, destroying a number of heavily fortified bastion stations. The speed of the enemy's ships, powered by elaborate fusion technology, made them impossible to catch in a straight pursuit, allowing many of the Faash to escape to the empire's throneworld of Dulan. In order to discover Dulan's location, Jorin staged an ambush by leaving six sub-warp interceptors on low power at the edge of the Ynniu System, where they were able to ram and board a Dulanian hunter-killer vessel seeking to escape the fall of the bastion above Ynniu III. Jorin led a boarding party and was able to disable the warp drive by rupturing a promethium line, but two of his company fell to the Curse of the Wulfen during the battle.[1a]
Leman Russ arrived in-system, ahead of his scheduled rendezvous with Jorin at Verillis, bringing Ogvai Ogvai Helmschrot and the 3rd Great Company with him. He revealed that Lion El'Jonson had been on the same trail as them for two months, though he had had next to no contact with his brother. Russ insisted that the Space Wolves must be the first to reach Dulan to assuage the naysayers in the Imperial court who had arranged for the First Legion to become involved. The Iron Priest Kloja was able to extract Dulan's location from the remains of the Faash ship, and the Space Wolves set out to beat the First there.[1a]
Dulan Void Battle
The Dark Angels reached Dulan first, its location identified by Lion El'Jonson from signs in the old annals. The fleet's capital class vessels held back, firing from a distance while escorts were sacrificed at close range to prevent the Faash from closing in with their shorter-ranged interference weapons. One of the largest battleships was boarded by ten squads of Dark Angels from the Blade of Numarc, intending to turn its weapons on the orbital defence halo. Before they were able, however, the Space Wolves arrived.[1b]
Jorin Bloodhowl, refusing to answer hails until he had blooded the Aesrumnír, destroyed the Faash battleship and the Dark Angels aboard. The Blade of Numarc turned her guns on the Aesrumnír, and would have crippled her if Russ had not ordered the Nidhoggur to intercept the second lance strike. In the middle of the battle, the four largest Imperial ships - the Aesrumnír, Blade of Numarc, Nidhoggur and Invincible Reason, had their weapons trained on each other. Russ spoke with the Lion, agreeing to come before his brother himself after the battle.[1b]
The Space Wolves fleet concentrated their fire on the halo's command station in order to overload the shields and launch a boarding action. Landing the better part of both Great Companies, they seized the halo and turned its guns against the Faash fleet. The Dark Angels were free to engage at closer distance, and the two Legion fleets destroyed the remaining Faash ships - although a handful of shuttles were able to flee from the halo to the planet's surface. Ulbrandr Crowhame informed Jorin that the numbers of the dead and living did not add up, leading them to suspect some warriors of Dekk-Tra were aboard the shuttles that escaped to the surface.[1b]
Russ met his brother aboard the Invincible Reason accompanied by Grimnir Blackblood and Ulbrandr, begging the Lion's pardon in front of several hundred Dark Angels - but whispering a warning that he would tear the Lion's throat out with his teeth if he ever fired on his sons again.[1b]
Siege of Dulan
The Lion's plan for the invasion was to target the Tyrant Dulath's Crimson Fortress. Master Moriaen and the Sixth Order would establish a defensive perimeter to the east, Master Gahael and the Second Order would strike at the generators in the north to disable to fortress' shields, and the Lion would accompany Master Alajos and the Ninth Order to take the lesser citadels to the west and cut off reinforcements. Russ and the Space Wolves were to turn the original plan of a siege into a rapid strike, storming the Crimson Fortress.[1b]
After a prolonged orbital bombardment, the Legions launched their assault. All was going to plan until Kloja picked up a signal from the armour of one of the missing Space Wolves, leading Jorin to take Bulveye and three packs to abandon the main attack in order to find him. Russ ordered Ogvai to hold back the final push until he brought his errant jarl to heel.[1c]
The Second and Ninth Orders of the Dark Angels had seized their targets, but the Sixth were coming under more pressure than expected. Hearing that the Space Wolves attack had stalled at the penultimate level, the Lion mused that with the shields controlled by Master Gahael a teleport strike could bring the battle to a swift end.[1c]
Jorin found his missing warrior caged in a cathedral having succumbed to the Curse of the Wulfen. A pict broadcast of the Wulfen was transmitted to forces across the battlefield before the recording devices could be destroyed. On the verge of being overwhelmed by the Scarabine warriors, Jorin broke the Wulfen from its cage and set it loose on the enemy even as Russ arrived. When the enemy were slain, Russ confronted his jarl for keeping the secret from him, confessing he had been warned of what might happen by the Sigillite, but would not countenance any cure as it was the wolf that made his Legion strong.[1c]
When the Lion saw the Wulfen transmission, he immediately ordered the records erased. Having given his brother time and been unable to make contact, he decided to enact the teleport strike into the Tyrant's throne room with his Paladins. Met by the Tyrant alone, he offered Durath a final chance to surrender to the Imperium before decapitating him with a single stroke of the Lion Sword.[1c]
The Lion and the Wolf
Russ was enraged when he heard that the Lion had launched his teleport strike, leaving Jorin to burn the dead while he and the Einherjar took a stormbird to the Crimson Citadel. Furious at the sight of the Tyrant's head in the Lion's hand after he swore Russ would be allowed to claim what he saw as his rightful prey, the Wolf King punched the Lion in the chest. Surrounded by a circle of Paladins and the Einherjar each cheering on their father, the two primarchs crossed swords.[1c]
The primarchs fought across the throne room and down the hall, briefly brawling after the Lion disarmed Russ of Krakenmaw until he seized the axe Urthand from Alajos. The two fell from a parapet, each losing their weapon in the fall to leave them fighting unarmed on a balcony protruding from the fortress while the battle with the Faash continued below them. Bloodied and exhausted, Russ found himself laughing at the absurdity of the situation, all the more when the Lion asked if he yielded. The Lion struck his laughing brother a single blow that knocked him out.[1c]
The Lion was gone when Russ woke. He later said that if he had not left, he believed he would have killed Russ.[1d]
The Compliance of Dulan[1d] was commemorated in a fresco in the Imperial Palace which survived the Battle of Terra. The Lion and Russ met by it when they arrived in the aftermath, and the Lion challenged Russ to finish their duel, this time to the death. When Russ made no move to defend himself, the Lion plunged the Lion Sword into his chest,[1d] but turned the blade at the last moment to ensure the blow was not fatal. This set aside the bad blood between the primarchs, and Russ wore black in mourning when he heard the Lion had died.[1e]
Ten millennia later, the Dark Angels and Space Wolves still nominate champions to participate in honour duels whenever the two Chapters serve side by side, though the details have drifted in the re-telling.
As the Space Wolves reckon it, the feud began when El'Jonson broke ranks and led a sudden strike on the Crimson Fortress, leaving their flank unprotected. Many warriors were slain in the counter-attack as the Space Wolves bore the brunt of the fighting before the fortress as the Dark Angels charged forward to claim all the glory.
According to the Dark Angels, Russ swore he would cut Durath's head off after the tyrant offered him personal insult, and demanded that the Dark Angels stand down. El'Jonson refused to set aside meticulous plans days in the making, instead launching his own attack and claiming the tyrant's head. It is claimed Russ' only contribution to the fight was to howl in frustration.
Both accounts agree that it was Russ who struck the first blow of a fight that lasted a day and a night before Russ, quick to both anger and mirth, broke out in laughter. El'Jonson, slow both to anger and forgiveness, considered the first blow treacherous and struck his brother unconscious. When Russ awoke, he found El'Jonson had left, deeming honour satisfied.
Notable Honour Duels
- ~009.M31 - Lion El'Jonson and Faffnr Bludbroder - the Lion fights as his own champion in Imperium Secundus.
- M31 - Otho and Haldor Twinfang - Haldor fights using Wyrdfast, the axe taken from Alajos by Russ.[1e]
- 960.M41 - Harrad and Ragnar Blackmane - Harrad draws first blood, but is killed by an enraged Ragnar. Affronted by this dishonour, another Dark Angel, Sorael, challenges Ragnar to a duel to the death, but the arrival of a Night Lords fleet in the system forced both sides to flee before the second duel could be fought.[5a]
- 999.M41 - Sorael and Ragnar Blackmane - fought on Cadia during the 13th Black Crusade. Although intended to be a duel to the death, Ragnar spares Sorael's life after taking his arm.[5b]
- 1: Leman Russ: The Great Wolf (Novel)
- 2: Codex: Space Wolves - Wulfen Edition, pg. 20
- 3: Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pg. 9
- 4: The Unremembered Empire (Novel), Chapter 10
- 5: Ragnar Blackmane (Novel)