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Scouring of Gilden's Star

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Scouring of Gilden's Star
Gilden's Star region
Conflict Horus Heresy
Date 010.M31
Location Gilden's Star System
Outcome Pyrrhic Loyalist Victory
Strategic Traitor victory
Imperium Traitors
Archein Alcetas Castael(MIA)
Dominion Lyncus(KIA)
Dominion Irael(MIA)
Arch-Erelim Vortius(MIA)
Warden Averael(MIA)
Dawnbreaker Champion Magon(KIA)
Centurion Ezaar(KIA)
Exemplar Menthir(KIA)
Dark Apostle Zaxos
Blood Angels force
6 warships
Word Bearers force
Nearly all killed Nearly all killed

The Scouring of Gilden's Star, also known as the Gilden's Star Campaign, was a Horus Heresy battle between the Blood Angels and the Word Bearers Space Marine Legions.[1]


The campaign's openings moves began in 010.M31, when the Dark Apostle Zaxos decided to conquer the Imperial Gilden's Star System, due to its resources and large population. Before he struck, the Dark Apostle sent forth his cultist infiltrators, fanatics and demagogues to embed themselves within the system's warlike military aristocracy. Their honeyed words worked upon Nobles who had come to resent the constant demands the Imperium requested of their worlds. By the time Zaxos arrived with his Word Bearers, the rulers of the Gilden's Star's worlds willingly handed them over to him. Soon the Dark Apostle began sacrificing some of the System's population to the Chaos Gods, while also fully corrupting others to serve the Word Bearers. However, a Loyalist garrison on the Capital World of Gilden Prime was able to send out a warning of what had occurred, before all contact with the System was lost.[1]

The first Imperials to receive the warning were a nearby Blood Angels strike force led by Archein Alcetas Castael. He became incensed upon learning of the system's fall to Heresy, as it was his Legion that had brought its worlds into Compliance during the Great Crusade. He decided to reconquer Gilden's Star, not only to bring retribution for its betrayal, but also to show the Blood Angels were not dead, as had been suspected at that time during the Horus Heresy. The systems resources and location would also give Castael an ideal staging ground to relive the siege that was currently surrounding his homeworld, Baal. With his decision made, the Archein had his fleet of six warships and their escort vessels make way for Gilden's Star, carrying with it elements from six different Companies.[1]

Initial Strike

Unaware that the Word Bearers were behind the system's betrayal, Castael attacked Gilden Prime upon the Blood Angels' arrival. The strike force's fleet, led by his flagship, Judicator, then proceeded to destroy the world's defenses, before deploying en masse to its surface. As he could ill afford a prolonged battle there with his limited forces, Castael split the Blood Angels into groups, in an attempt to quickly seize Gilden Prime.[1]

One such group was led by his favoured Lieutenant, Dominion Lyncus, and was charged with claiming Gilden Prime's capital city, Rosencrantz. The group contained numerous war engines as well as hardened veterans, some of whom who had served the Blood Angels since before the Legion had been reunited with its Primarch, Sanguinius. When the group reached the capital, however, they were greeted by a city that had been turned into an abattoir, decorated with flayed bodies and torn skin. They proceeded further in and then found a banner made of skin, which was branded with the Blood Angels' emblem upon it. The veil to the Warp had been weakened in the area, however, and when Lyncus' group neared the banner, they were suddenly attacked by Daemons. The numerous hordes began to overwhelm them, but Lyncus' efforts to lead his forces were cut off, as his communication equipment suddenly became jammed. This effected the entirety of the Blood Angels forces and also prevented them from contacting their fleet in orbit. Soon afterwards, the Word Bearers made their presence known over the Blood Angels' communication lines, before they activated an Atomic Bomb which completely destroyed Rosencrantz and Lyncus' group.[1]


This signalled the Word Bearers' ambush and the Dark Apostle Zaxos led the attack on the surprised Blood Angels on Gilden Prime. He also ordered his hidden warships to launch an attack upon Castael's fleet in orbit. Because their communications were jammed, the Archein was not aware of the full extant of the attack and could do little but command his forces that were near him. The other groups were forced to fight on their own as well and with this disadvantage, the Word Bearers and the corrupted population of the Capital World, began to overwhelm the Blood Angels. The Traitor Legion's Procurators also aided the attack, with Daemons that had been summoned forth by desecrating the bodies of dead or wounded Blood Angels. Despite fighting ferociously, and dealing the Traitor Legion severe losses, Castael's forces were quickly slaughtered and soon only the Archein and a small number of Blood Angels near him still lived.[1]

Angelic Intervention

Just as they were about to be killed, however, a small force of Crimson Paladins appeared from the Blood Angels' fleet in orbit. The Exemplar leading them stated the Blood Angels' warships had been attacked by a Word Bearers fleet and had already lost several warships to the Traitors. The Judicator's Captain had sent the Paladins with a request for Castael to return to the fleet to save it or else their warships would be lost. The Archein agreed and took a Teleportation Beacon from the Exemplar, reaching his flagship shortly before the Blood Angels on Gilden Prime were killed. Despite his efforts, though, Castael's fleet began to overwhelmed as well and he ordered the Dawn's Vigil to escape the System and warn the Imperium about what had occurred there. Its commander refused to do so and instead rammed into the Word Bearers' flagship, Shard of Darkness, before firing its Nova Cannon. The resulting explosion not only destroyed both warships, but also most of the Word Bearers fleet as well. This caused the Traitor Legion's surviving leaders in the system to flee soon afterwards, leaving its Legionaries and Gilden's Star's population to fend for themselves.[1]

Bloody Revenge

The Blood Angels were not merciful to those left behind and began scouring the worlds of the Traitors' presence. Witnessing their Brothers being desecrated by the Procurators had awoken something dark within Castael and his surviving forces, which led them to bring Gilden's Star's worlds to ruin. Gilden Secundus and Gilden Quintus both felt their vengeance and, though Castael was declared missing during the Blood Angels' attack on Gilden Tertius, they continued on without him.[1]


By the time the Archein's strike force finally left the system, billions had been slain and word spread of the massacres the Blood Angels had carried out. This severely weakened the Imperium's cause during the Horus Heresy and the Gilden's Star's neighboring systems wavered in their support for it afterwards. Some of the system's worlds even completely withdrew from the Imperium and cut off all contact. It remains a point of contention among Imperial historigraphers on whether this had been Zaxos' true goal all along.[1]

As for Castael's strike force, the losses they suffered in the campaign left them severely weakened and prevented them from launching any major operations against Warmaster Horus' forces. Their victory also became a stain on the Blood Angels' history, which greatly shamed the Legion.[1]

See also


Battles of the Horus Heresy
005-006.M31 Battle of Isstvan IIIFirst Battle of ProsperoWar Within the WebwayBattle of the Somnus CitadelUnrest on CalibanSchism of MarsBattle of DiamatDrop Site MassacreBattle of the Rangda SystemFirst Battle of ParamarManachean WarSignus CampaignTreachery at Advex-MorsSiege of CthoniaBattle for Felweather Keep‎
007-008.M31 Battle of PhallBattle of RavendelveRuin of MaerdanBattle of the Alaxxes NebulaPale Stars CampaignBreaking of the Perfect FortressChondax CampaignSecond Battle of ProsperoFirst Siege of Hydra CordatusBattle of the Furious AbyssBattle of CalthBattle of ArmaturaBetrayal at IthracaDeath of CanopusShadow CrusadeCrusade of IronDoom of BorminaDefence of TyrosDefence of the Three PlanetsBattle of UlixisAmbush at EspandorBattle of Aquila AtollBattle of Drooth IIPercepton CampaignBattle of IydrisThramas CrusadeFall of Baztel IIIBattle of VannaheimSecond Battle of ParamarBattle of Constanix IIMezoan CampaignBattle of BodtBattle of DwellErellian SubjugationSiege of Baal
009-010.M31 Battle of MolechBreaking of AnvillusXana IncursionCarnage of MoroxSangraal CampaignBattle of ArissakBattle of PerditusBattle of SothaDrussen AtrocityScouring of Gilden's StarBattle of NyrconBattle of TallarnCataclysm of IronBattle of NocturneWar of DrakesBattle of PlutoSiege of InwitBurning of Ohmn-MatBitter War
011-014.M31 Reaving of the Xibana ReachesLorin Alpha CampaignSubjugation of TyrinthMalagant ConflictBattle of the Kalium GateBattle of CatallusAxandrian IncidentBattle of the Haddon SystemJarrazr IncursionBattle of TralsakTarren SuppressionBalthor Sigma InterventionBattle of AbsolomScouring of the Ollanz ClusterBattle of ZepathSecond Battle of ZaramundBattle of AnuariBattle of PyrrhanSecond Battle of DavinArgolian MassacresBattle of TrisolianBattle of YarantBattle of KradeBattle of DelugeBattle of Heta-GladiusBattle of the Aragna ChainBattle of KallethBattle of the Diavanos SystemBattle of DesperationBattle of Beta-GarmonWar for AgaropsDefence of RyzaBattle of ThagriaPassage of AngelsThassos IncidentBattle of Zhao-ArkhadSerpent's CoilSiege of BarbarusForicaan CampaignBattle of VezdellBurning of VrexorDawn of DesolationDeath of ChemosBattle of Luth TyreYdursk IncidentFall of TenzebarSolar WarRaid on LunaSiege of TerraGreat Scouring