Deathwatch- Dawn of a New Millenium
History of the Achilus Crusade
Recent History of Jericho Reach Achilus Crusade
755.M41— The Warp Gate Opens
The gate in the great warp storms on the periphery of the Calixis Sector is discovered by the Imperial Navy Frigate Spear of Tarsus. Sensing something causing a localised area of calm in the great warp storm, the ship’s navigator drops the Spear of Tarsus out of the Warp. At the centre of this sea of ethereal calm is a vast Warp Gate of xenos design. The gate is found to be active and becomes the immediate focus of the attentions of the Ordo Xenos, Deathwatch, and savants of the Adeptus Mechanicus devoted to the rare study of such arcane machinery. Preliminary investigations reveal (to not inconsiderable surprise) a static warp conduit leading to the deadspace region bordering the Jericho Reach on the other side of the Imperium.
756.M41— The Gathering of the Ascension
On the eve of the Feast of the Emperor’s Ascension, four Inquisitors and two hundred brothers of the Deathwatch arrive to the fortress at the same time. All claim to have received a coded message that called them to attend at the Watch Fortress. The source of the message is unknown.
In the days after the Feast of Ascension, the Watch Fortress becomes a battleground of mistrust and murder, as a shapeshifting assassin of unknown origin stalks the corridors and vaults of the Watch Fortress. The assassin is caught and slain after a seventeen-hour manhunt, but only after the death of two of the four Inquisitors, nine acolytes, and twenty-three Space Marines.
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777-Present.M41— The Achilus Crusade
With the discovery of the stable Warp Gate, the possibility of using it to launch a crusade into the Jericho Reach and reclaim this formerly great realm for the Imperium quickly finds favour with the High Lords of Terra. A plan hatched under the command of Lord Militant Achilus to undertake this singular military campaign, and under his command were mustered forces ranging from the Imperial Guard, the Adeptus Astartes and Adepta Sororitas, and scores of Imperial Navy warships to enact the Imperium’s will. The High Lords were mindful, however, that the existence of the gate and what it portended offered dire peril as well as possibility, and decreed that the crusade was to be launched from a staging point far from the territory it intended to conquer, and under a shroud of the deepest secrecy, with the complicity of the masters of both the Calixis Sector and the Departmento Munitorium.
The Crusade would prove to be a bloody, grinding conflict fraught with reversals of fortune and beset by enemies both unexpected and nightmarish.
As for the Lord Militant, he would not live to see out its first decade.
786.M41— The Banner Has Fallen
The death of Lord Militant Achilus occurs when the Proclamation of Wrath suffers a catastrophic Geller Field failure. Afterwards, Solomon Tetrarchus ascends to the position of Lord Militant commanding the crusade into the Jericho Reach.
786.M41— The Council of Ashes
Lord Militant Tetrachus summons all senior command staff to the fortress world of Alphos. Also present are senior members of many of the Chapters of Adeptus Astartes present in the crusade at that time, as well as members of the Ecclesiarchy, Mechanicus, and Inquisition. The gathering is a grand war council at the commencement of which fifty senior officers formerly favoured by the late Lord Militant are withdrawn from command or shifted into more junior roles. A council of new advisors and officer elite is formed and begins a dramatic reorganization of crusade forces and strategy.
785.M41— The Greyhell Front
The Canis Salient is launched against the Tau controlled domains of the Velk’han Sept in the Black Reef area of the Jericho Reach, reinforcing armies already fi ghting against the highly organised and sophisticated alien forces across the so-called Greyhell Front previously dispatched by Lord Militant Achilus. The fi ghting is particularly bitter. Lord Commander Ebongrave, the Imperial Salient Commander, gains a swift reputation for barbarous and unorthodox tactics.
786.M41— Against The Tides of Hell
The Acheros Salient is launched towards the centre of the Jericho Reach, there to give battle to the degenerate worshippers of Chaos and their foul allies, and retake the core worlds of what was once the Jericho Sector. The resistance they meet is unexpectedly high, particularly in the daemon-haunted Cellebos Warzone and casualties incurred by the Imperial forces are massive, blocking the salient’s progress into a bloody war of attrition.
787.M41— The Crusade Conquers
The Orpheus Salient is launched to reclaim worlds lying along the rimward portion of the Reach. Here, progress is relatively rapid and successful, with scores of worlds returned to Imperial control.
788.M41— The Loss of the Margin Crusade
Elsewhere in the Imperium, contact is finally lost with forces of the troubled Margin Crusade. From this point on, the Margin Crusade exists as a lie, and is used to garner greater tithes and musters of troops and materiel for the Achilus Crusade from the distant Scarus, Ixaniad, and Calixis Sectors via the Warp Gate to replace heavy and ongoing losses.
789.M41— The Return of Castobel to the Imperial Fold
Battlegroup Santos reaches the Castobel system and finds that it has stayed loyal to the Imperium through four Millennia of shadow and isolation. A hundred-day festival of celebration is declared. At its end, the first regiment of tithed Imperial Guard (the 1st Castobel Reborn) are lifted off the planet. The 1st Reborn will be the first in a series of regiments tithed from the planet.
789.M41— The Seriphos Sanction
Covert operations by the Deathwatch disrupt diplomatic talks between the technologically advanced but renegade human world of Seriphos Secundus and the emissaries of the Tau. Deathwatch Kill-teams assassinate both Tau Ethereal Caste dignitaries and representatives of the Seriphon Unity, plunging the two factions—renegade human and xenos—into open warfare.
789.M41— The Liberation of Colhep
Battlegroup Venicus, together with a company of Storm Wardens Space Marines, breaks the alien enslavement of the Colhep systems. A daring in-system translation from the warp and surgical strikes against key enemy holdings in overwhelming force return the human population to Imperial rule in a single week of fighting.
805.M41— The Conquest of Eleusis
Warp storms abate around the Eleusis system. Crusade forces find the once sacred world has fallen the worship of false gods under the tyranny of a priest caste called the Charnel Oracles. It is cleansed of their dark taint by the forces of Battlegroup Argo under the personal command of General Curas in a brutal extermination campaign against the blood-glutted abominations that much of the planet’s population have devolved into. After their priests are isolated and slain, the mutants, despite their monstrous distortions of body and inhuman savagery, lack the intelligence or cohesion to mount an organised defence, thus freeing the scattered few who have remained fully human from their torment. Following the swift and merciless victory, a thousand-day re-hallowing and sanctification of the world begins by the faithful servants of the Ecclesiarchy.
805.M41— The Destruction of the Crimson Harvest
A vast space hulk designated the Crimson Harvest and forged from the fused and twisted remains of xenos star vessels and artefacts of unknown origin appears on the edge of the Hadex Anomaly. Ships bearing the blasphemous sigils of Chaos take fl ight from the dark forge of Samech and make their way to rendezvous with the craft,sparking a deadly series of running battles between the servants of the Ruinous Powers and attack ships from the Crusade forces operating in the Acheros Salient and the Deathwatch. The Deathwatch Kill-team under Brother Sergeant Hurak of the Iron Hands sacrifices itself in order to plunge the Crimson Harvest into the heart of a dying star, thus denying the pawns of Chaos their prize.
807.M41— The Conquest of Vanir
The war against the secessionist systems of the self-proclaimed Kingdom of Vanir is broken by a daring strike at the hive world of Vanir by Orpheus Salient Crusade forces.
810.M41— The Lament of Goln
Six Deathwatch Kill-teams under Lexicanum Raphael break the attack by the forces of Chaos on the recently conquered world of Goln. The Deathwatch attack crippled the Chaos Leadership in the progress of recovering a psyactive xenos artefact from the host’s commanding cabal. Fearing that they will be overwhelmed by a second counterattack, General Saiden, the commander of Crusade forces in Goln, orders the Kill-teams to redeploy against the remaining Chaos forces. The Deathwatch forces withdraw without acknowledging the General’s ‘order.’ Goln falls three days later to a second Chaos assault.
812.M41— The Shadow in the Warp
Communication between parts of the Crusade and re-conquered Reach is lost without warning. Particularly affected is the Orpheus Salient which disappears behind a crawling shadow of Warp interference.
814.M41— The Great Devourer
The Deathwatch warship Thunder’s Word enters the Freya system to investigate the silence of an Astropathic relay. It finds no trace of the relay and indeed no trace of any life in the Freya system. Preparing to leave the system, the Thunder’s Word encounters two Tyranid drone ships. Its hull scored and pitted with acid and its magazines nearly exhausted, the Thunder’s Word arrives at Watch Fortress Erioch bringing news that the Great Devourer has come to Jericho Reach.
814.M41— Death in the Void
The Deep Range Cruiser Admiral Ishmael goes missing after attempting to make contact with the lead elements of the Orpheus Salient. All across the northern (Rimward) portion of the Jericho Reach worlds are swallowed by darkness and horror, and the vaunted Battlegroup Argo is lost, presenting a severe blow to the crusade forces.
The name of the Tyranid attack into the Jericho Reach is officially designated as Hive Fleet Dagon, and identified as the greatest single extant threat to the crusade, and indeed the lives of every living being in the Jericho Reach. The Deathwatch remains fully engaged in facing this threat.
817.M41— The Spartan
The Omega Vault became increasingly active, and threats of a scale unprecedented in their scope, diversity and sheer portent stalked the stars and shadowed worlds of the Jericho Reach, leading many within the Inquisition to draw the conclusion that a great turning point in the fate of the region, perhaps the Imperium itself, was coming to pass in the Jericho Reach for good or ill.
The Watch continued, and the watchers stood ready. A Deathwatch killteam designated the Spartan was formed. The Spartan dug deep in to the front against the Tyranids and in doing so gained a great deal of renown and influence in the Reach. The Spartan used their success to foster a tense, but growing relationship with the Tau Empire.
817.M41— Saviours of Avalos
The Spartan destroy an Tyranid invasion force over the planet of Avalos. The planet was left in ruins and remained plagued by the xenos for decades to come; but Avalos survived.
Over the next few decades the people of Avalos rebuilt their planet. In the rebuilt capitol of Lordsholm a new cathedral was built and in the front of the Cathedral of the Deathwatch’s Guardians stands a monument with the likenesses of the Spartan’s Astartes.
818.M41— The Depths of Treachery
The Spartan received a request from the Canis Salient’s infamous Lord Commander Ebongrave. He believed that the Tau had been fomenting rebellion and sedition on the world of Spite. After recent attempts on his life, the Lord Commander was convinced that the Tau had sympathisers among the military and the populace. As a result, Ebongrave did not trust the local forces to root out the alien agitators. Those few men he did trust were tied up guarding their Lord Commander from assassination. Ebongrave’s heavy-handed rule had created an air of paranoia on Spite, where his allies were few and his enemies many. The information the Battle-Brothers needed was layered between civil unrest and military politics.
Eventually the Spartan discovered that with the help of a dangerous group of rebels, the Vengeance Sept, aliens of the Tau Empire had infiltrated the fortress world. The Tau’s goal was to unlock a mysterious portal called the Javar Ward beneath the city of Javar Prime. To do this, they needed to capture one of a small group of soldiers who were involved in a secret operation decades earlier. The Spartan was now in a race to reach the Tau before they could unleash whatever evil the Javar Ward contained.
The Spartan’s marines kept the seal from ever being opened. In the aftermath, the Kill-team began to piece together the unsettling truth: this operation was only part of a greater plan to awaken a lost xenos race. The immediate consequences would give the Tau a strong advantage in the Canis Salient, but the naive aliens were unaware that the greater consequences could spell disaster for the entire Reach.
Lord Ebongrave was was removed as the Lord Militant of the Canis Sector. Lord General Reila Vann replaced Ebongrave with the Kill-team’s support.
819.M41- The Assault on Javar Nil
The Battle-Brothers of the Spartan followed the Tau to Eleusis, a shrine world rebuilding after being cleansed of centuries of corruption. No one seemed to know much about the Kill-team’s objective, but there was no shortage of rival religious factions trying to use the Battle-Brothers to advance their own ends.
Through a combination of investigation, diplomacy, and a bit of violence, the Battle-Brothers identified the next target as Mount Sifr, the home of an insular group of Adepta Sororitas. Unfortunately, the Battle Sisters had vowed to allow no one on the mountain, even the Adeptus Astartes. To overcome this obstacle, the Battle-Brothers had to either entrench themselves deeper in religious politics, or defy the Battle Sisters and risk their wrath. The Spartan chose to do both. The Tau arrived shortly after the Spartan, and this time their presence was anything but covert. They launched a full assault on Mount Sifr. The Kill-team defended the mountain shrine complex to the prevent unwitting Tau returning any of the vile Ghanathaar to the Jericho Reach.
After their debriefing back on Watch Fortress Erioch, the Spartan had some time to recover their strength and analyse the findings of their most recent mission. During their time at the Watch Fortress, the Battle-Brothers of the Spartan were attacked in the heart of their domain and uncovered vital information and an unexpected ally.
Acting on the information they uncovered, the Kill-team made an assault on a fortress world held in the clutches of a dread Traitor Legion. There they destroyed another gateway of the
Ghanathaar before the Chaos warlord could unlock its secrets and free yet more of the vile xenos into the Jericho Reach. During their trials on the fortress world, the Battle-Brothers discovered the final, desperate attempt of the Ghanathaar and their Tau allies.
The Spartan Librarian Leonidies saw a vision of the future. If the Ghanathaar were to succeed in their endeavour, their numbers would swell into the thousands; they would become a force to
be reckoned with in the Jericho Reach, something the already beleaguered forces of the Imperium could hardly afford.
To stop the xenos once and for all, the Kill-team traveled deep into the Hadex Anomaly, a ferocious warp storm in the heart of the Jericho Reach. There, they boarded a Watch Station of the Deathwatch, long lost to time itself, and stopped the Ghanathaar from completing the ritual to shatter the remaining Javar Gates spread across the Galaxy.
821.M41— The Spite Accords
The Spartan Killteam returned to Spite to facilitate the removal of Lord Ebongrave from command of the Canis Salient. Ebongrave returned to his home world and his holdings in disgrace. Directly after the ceremonies on Spite the Spartan were sent along with an Inquisitorial delegation to broker a peace accord with the leadership of the Canis Salient’s Tau. The Spartan had gained a great deal of respect from Tau because of their even handed dealings with the Tau during the Ghanathaar. The Inquisitorial delegation and the Tau Ethereal enclave took nearly a decade to complete the non-aggression pact, but the Spite Accords effectively ended the Canis Salient.
821.M41- The Ebongrave Mutiny
Lord Ebongrave bucked against his dismissal from the crusade and the Spite Accords. With his personal forces and allies launched an assault on the summit ceremonies. Lord Ebongrave and mutineers justified the assault by only attacking the Tau vessels in the battle’s opening, but in short order the mutineers fought both Tau and Imperial forces.
Warmaster Tetrarchus and the Spartan protected the Tau leader and defeated Ebongrave. Tetrarchus was killed though as he had his vessel shield the Tau leaders’ flagship as Ebongrave himself attempted a coup de grace. The Spartan infiltrated Ebongrave’s flagship killing the former lord militant, his senior staff, allies, retainers, and the members of his house onboard the ship. It was bloody work, but it changed the Achilus Crusade and Human-Tau relations in a concrete way.
The Tau were grateful and impressed. The Tau were very agreeable in the future talks when dealing with Spartan and the Inquisitorial counterparts.
A new warmaster of the Achilus Crusade would have to be chosen.
Brother-Captain Kynar Half-Hand became the Ward-Master of the Storm Wardens. He renounced the accord with the Tau. The Sotrm Wardens assembled their full chapter and their allies for a new crusade. Orks had begun raiding worlds along the edge of the Calixis Sector and the Storm Wardens’ homeworld of Sacris. The Storm Wardens pulled out of the Achilus Crusade and recalled their brothers in Deathwatch to defend their holdings versus the greenskins.