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Orphean War

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Orphean War
Necron aircraft engage Imperial tanks on Amarah
Date 991.M41 - present
Location Orpheus Sector
Outcome Stalemate, dissolution of Orpheus Sector
Imperium Necrons Forces of Chaos (since 998.M41)[4]
Marshal Karis Venner (KIA)
Chapter Master Asterion Moloc
Governor Calibron Laan
Reclusiarch Ivanus Enkomi
Inquisitor Numenoria[2b]
Overlord Xun'bakyr
Lord Ixatotekh
Lord Maktlan Kutlakh
Nemesor Tlazolt
Cryptek Toholk
See Order of Battle Maynarkh Dynasty Tenebrae[4]
Heavy military losses
Angels Revenant Chapter almost destroyed
Billions of civilians
Unknown, presumably moderate to heavy Unknown

The Orphean War[1] (also known as Orpheus War[2b] or Orpheus Crisis)[4] is a conflict being waged in the Orpheus Sector since 991.M41 between the forces of the Imperium and the Necron Maynarkh Dynasty.[1]


Early Actions

Striking suddenly and essentially without warning, the Necron forces of the sector struck not a single Imperial world but scores of planets and outposts, conducting total genocide of the local populace wherever they struck. The Adeptus Mechanicus world of Harrow Watch and the Frontier Worlds of Pallasite, Khatris, and Borrus had their populations erased seemingly instantly. On Libethra, the Fortress-Monastery of the Angels Revenant, contact was also quickly lost. Only at the Inquisitorial Fortress of Apollyon was the alarm first raised, allowing for the sector Battlefleet, Imperial Guard, and local PDF units to be mobilized. However, at this time, the Imperium was still unaware of who exactly they were facing. The Sector Commander, Calibron Laan, took the opportunity to strip away garrisons from other worlds and instead protect his domain of Amarah.[1a]

Though the Imperium expected more devastating attacks after the initial round of destruction, months went by without any sightings of the enemy. Lord Inquisitor Hiram Ntshona of the Ordo Malleus was firm in his belief, however, that the enemy was Daemonic in nature, not heretical or xenos. After many months of waiting, the enemy again made itself known in the form of a massive pulsing signal that overtook the sector, initially overloading the minds of Astropaths. In the signal were the sounds of agonizing screams, whispers in an unknown tongue, and most disturbing of all the phrase Maynarkh comes in Imperial Gothic. Even worse, it became known that Libethra, the Angels Revenant homeworld, had been reduced to a pile of ash. Soon, terror and panic gripped the entire sector in the face of this frightful message and the true scale of the mysterious foes initial strikes became known.[1a]

On Drucilla Majoris, a Hive World of six billion, all contact was soon lost and the powerful Ramilies Class Star Fort Fortress Tarris came under attack by a mysterious but malicious foe before it to ceased all contacts with the outside world. Through all this, Governor Laan refused to take aggressive action and instead waited in his bunker as millions of men and thousands of warships amassed around him, waiting. This Imperial inaction allowed the attackers to take systems around Amarah one-by-one until soon the entire Orpheus Sector had been cut in half.[1a]

The Battle of Amarah

Laan's inaction allowed the attackers, now identified as Necrons, to slowly choke off Amarah, but rather then making a swift move on the sector capital, the mysterious foe simply halted their advance. This allowed Laan to bring in reinforcements from out-of-sector as well as build up the defenses of Amarah itself. The forces on Amarah had grown to colossal proportions: over 19 million Imperial Guard, with ten times that number of PDF and militia. Foremost among the Imperial Guard forces were 2 million guardsmen of the Death Korps of Krieg, spearheaded by the 17th Line Korps under command of Marshal Karis Venner. In addition, several Space Marine Chapters had answered the Orphean call to arms, including the entirety of the Minotaurs and elements of the Marauders, Red Seraphs, and Nemesis Chapter, which were en-route. The naval armada around Amarah included hundreds of escort-class vessels, over sixty Imperial Navy Cruisers and Capital Ships (including seven Battleships), and four Space Marine Battle Barges. Seldom in the history of the Imperium had such a force been massed to defend a single star system.[1b] At some point after their entry into the war, the Minotaurs destroyed a Necron fortress on Thamyris.[2b]

On 3970992.M41, the Battle of Amarah suddenly began with a massive gravitational flux unleashed on Amarah's star, causing violent solar flares. These flares instantly incinerated everything on the day-side of the planet as vox and auger traffic went dead. Even the orbiting Sentinel-4 Orbital Defense Station burst into flames. It was then that the Necrons unleashed their wrath.[1b] The planet was quickly assaulted by a massive Black Fleet of alien vessels, systematically destroying the remaining battlestations in orbit. Missile Silos and Defence Lasers had little time to retaliate, for the Necrons had already landed in force. Necron Warriors and their constructs advanced on the Hives of Amarah as Scarab constructs burst from the sewers of the planet's star port. The largest hive on Amarah, New Vassburg, was bombed from the air with anti-matter bombs by Necron Doom Scythes and Night Shrouds. Military outposts were also targeted by the Necrons, foremost among them the fortress of Bastion Militaris, which became besieged by a phalanx of war machines. The mighty fortress proved no match for its attackers, and a million Guardsmen were wiped from existence.[1b]

Despite being taken by surprise and outmatched, the defenders of Amarah fought back hard against the invaders by withdrawing away from open battlefields and into wide concourses. Using lines of Leman Russ Battle Tanks supported by artillery batteries of Basilisks and Manticores, the Tekran Imperial Guard defenders of places such as Callowsheen were able to decimate lines of incoming Necron Warriors. Initially, not even the Necrons' self-repair systems and mechanical endurance stood up to these repeated bombardments, but the Imperial Guard forces were forced to fire at such a high rate for so long that ammunition began to run sparse and guns began to overheat. Soon the Meltaguns of Guardsmen began to explode from repeated firings, incinerating all those nearby as the Necrons employed Canoptek Acanthrites to rain terror from above and outflank the Imperial firing lines. The tanks and self-propelled artillery, bunched close together, could not maneuver out of the way of these airborne Necron constructs' attacks. Soon a slaughter erupted, and a hasty counter-attack against the Necrons by Tekran Commando units failed in the face of huge anthropod-like constructs. Only a single Tekran Guardsmen survived the slaughter, and he was later himself executed for cowardice.[1b]

In the days that followed the initial assault, Amarah had been blasted into burning ruins and its primary hives had fallen to the invaders. The Necrons took no prisoners and offered no quarter, massacring all they came across. Imperial resistance, however, was not completely spent, and the Death Korps of Krieg units were still fresh as they had only recently arrived on-world. The Krieg 17th Line Korps mustered on the ruins of the Karalsa plains, and the guardsmen used their skill in defense to take advantage of underground utility tunnels and warehouses to establish crisscrossing fields of fire. When the Necron assault finally came, the Krieg troops survived almost unscathed in the initial air attacks then emerged from their shelters unharmed and engaged the incoming phalanxes of Necron infantry with a grim tenacity. Marshal Venner led the effort, and his two hundred thousand Guardsmen backed by scratch-built attack craft dispersed into smaller groups, each taking control of an improvised assault point and forcing the Necrons into narrow bottlenecks of ruins. The Krieg defenders were able to deny the Necrons their advantage in air superiority and long-range firepower, but Venner knew it was only a matter of time before his forces were to be isolated and destroyed. Faced with this prospect, Venner chose a quick and glorious death and ordered all of his Guardsmen to charge into oncoming ranks of Necron infantry and a Monolith. Venner became determined that he would take these massive pyramid-constructs with him into oblivion and had all of his tanks, aircraft, and artillery focus their fire on them. Guardsmen forces were decimated as they charged the Necron lines across open battlefield, but the Death Korps maintained order thanks to their stubborn discipline. Soon, the sheer numbers of Krieg troops overwhelmed the numerically inferior Necron ranks, and concentrated Imperial firepower succeeded in destroying a Monolith. Their mission complete, the Krieg fought to the last.[1b]

In orbit, the Imperial Navy attempted a counter-attack but it failed in the face of the superior Necron warships. Not even Battleships and Battlecruisers could prevail in the face of the monstrous power of two Necron Tomb Ships, though several smaller Scythe Class Harvest Ships were destroyed by Imperial forces in the engagement. Nonetheless, the Imperial forces continued their attack, now unleashing the entirety of the Minotaurs Chapter Fleet of three Battle Barges and eight Strike Cruisers led by Chapter Master Asterion Moloc himself. Despite taking heavy losses, the Minotaurs ships were able to get close enough to the Tomb Ships to launch Caestus Assault Rams, allowing them to board the Necron vessels. Onboard the alien craft, the Space Marine Terminators faced horrific casualties from its defenders but nonetheless were determined to destroy the Tomb Ship from within. Just before being annihilated by a force of Triarch Praetorians, the Terminators were able to send a signal to their Battle Barges that allowed for an additional thirty Terminator Veterans and two Contemptor Dreadnoughts led by Moloc himself to teleport on board. Battling to the ship's control chamber, Moloc did battle with the Tomb Ship's Necron Overlord.

The machine overlord slew all in his path and even defeated the Dreadnought Geryon, but the distraction posed by the duel allowed Moloc to plunge his relic-weapon deep into the Necron Lord's back. Soon the ship's hull gave way from all the combat, and both Moloc and the Necron Overlord were sucked into the void of space. Outside, the dying Minotaur Battle Barge Fedelitas Lambda plunged itself into the Tomb Ship, gravely damaging it and forcing it to flee from battle. With the rout of one of their capital ships, the rest of the Necron fleet broke off and retreated. With the fleeing of the Necron fleet, the attackers on the ground vanished with them. The Battle of Amarah was over, but it was a hollow victory as the planet had been completely devastated[1b]


After the Battle of Amarah, any surviving defenders (of which there were few) were evacuated from the planet as quickly as possible and pulled back to the outer worlds of Laymon and Calama to regroup while whatever surviving civilian population remained was left to their own fate. As of 995.M41, the Orphean War had reached a point of stalemate. Imperial Forces remaining in the Amarah and Hydroghast systems have been cut off, and the current rate of attrition losses have reached 60%. Taking advantage of the carnage, the Chemarium System fell under the control of the Ruinous Powers and the Chaos forces have begun to engage both Imperial and Necron positions.[1b]

Necron forces have launched renewed probing attacks against Myre and Amraphel, and these acts combined with the atrocious losses already sustained by the Imperial defenders have led Segmentum Command to believe that the Orpheus Sector can not be saved without a massive Crusade-level campaign that could not be organized for a minimum of thirty years. Faced with this prospect, Imperial strategists have recommended Exterminatus as the only tenable solution.[1b]

In 998.M41, the Tenebrae Chaos Space Marine warband (known to always appear in times of crisis to sow further discord and madness) intervened in the Orphean War to further its own plans.[4]

In 999.M41, over eighty years into their century-long penitent crusade, the Executioners arrived at the war-torn Orpheus Sector. There they discovered a slew of planets decimated by war, and swear revenge for the fallen brothers of other Chapters.[2a] In the aftermath of the Great Rift's creation, the Indomitus Crusade was launched and a Torchbearer Fleet also sent to the Orpheus Sector. There, they discovered that some Angels Revenant had actually survived on their homeworld, hidden beneath the surface in underground caverns. The Imperials then purged the remaining Necrons on Libethra, and reinforced the Angels Revenant with Primaris Space Marines.[3]

Imperial Order of Battle