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Silence reigned supreme within the four walls of the Conclavium Angelus, the ancient and most secretive gathering place of the inner most circle of the unforgiven. It weighed on the minds of those gathered like the adamantine blast door which stood guard at its entrance. The thick oval table in the centre, almost as old as the great crusade itself, stood host to the most experienced and determined members of all the unforgiven chapters. Its deep magenta colour stood as a reminder of the blood and sacrifice that was such an integral part of the history of the unforgiven chapters. For the second time in millennia, virtually all the heads of the unforgiven chapters were once again gathered in this venerated hall. The sombre mood and deep thoughts of those present a testament to the losses of the recent conflict and the absence of comrades who were not so long ago present at the first gathering of angels. Their armour was no longer smooth and polished. That the leaders of these chapters led their men from the frontline was amply evident from the battle scars on their bodies as well as their armour. Weapons of men and of daemon, made of wizardry and of science gone mad, had all made their mark on their protective suits. Yet they had endured the assaults and led their forces to victory after victory tempered only by the loss of comrades and the destruction of their war machines. Now they gathered once more to heed the call of their supreme grandmaster. They traversed the dangers of the warp storms and of real space to once more return to their home of old. They expected dire news and steadied themselves to endure missions near impossible. They said their thanks to the emperor and praised their primarchs, and they waited.

Azrael sat with an impassionate expression at the head of the long oval table. He had borne the heavy burden of being the supreme grandmaster of the Dark Angels and the uncrowned leader of the unforgiven through a long period of imperial history. The recent conflict was unlike any previously experienced, and he alone had borne the burden of the unforgiven in making the critical and costly decisions. High command is indeed a lonely position. He looked around the table acknowledging each of the superhuman men seated at their assigned places. Giants of humanity, the commanders of the unforgiven space marine chapters, they had led their men to battle unflinchingly obeying his overall command. They had achieved major victories, stood in the path of harm, bled for the Imperium and lost close brothers in arms. Yet unlike the battles being waged every where else in the sector, their own activities were mostly unknown to the imperial command. Imperial forces were usually unaware of the arrival, intervention or the departure of the unforgiven forces. The effects of the battle strategy of the unforgiven forces were therefore being attributed to strategic mistakes by the despoiler, to emperor's divine blessings or to simple luck. It did not matter, as the unforgiven were never one to be swayed or even bothered by the opinions of others as long as they knew that they served the greater good of the Imperium and that of their primarch.

Azrael continued to lock each commander seated at the table in his eyesight, one by one, acknowledging their presence and saluting their efforts with nary a spoken word. It was an eerie coincidence that this gathering, the second during the thirteenth black crusade also coincided with the destruction of the second imperial world within the sector. This time it was not the work of imperial strategy, like that of St Josmane's Hope. It was a deliberate and callously planned destruction of one of the populated worlds of the Cadian system. Macharia had died at the hands of the planet killer, just as the unforgiven leaders gathered in the Conclavium Angelus. The death agony and rampant terror of billions had been amplified by the warp storms and had been felt by even those not gifted with psychic abilities. The emotional, tactical and strategic implications of that event had just hit home to those around the oval table. Two entire companies, one each from the Angels of Vigilance and Retribution had been all but decimated while attempting to disengage from Macharia. Their rearguard action had allowed the evacuation of millions of essential civilians and technical personnel from the doomed planet. The fifth company of the Angels of Retribution had refused to retreat despite certain death and the fourth company of the Angels of Vigilance had been caught in the destructive weaponry of the Planet Killer as their thunderhawks desperately raced to gain altitude. The grievous losses taken by the younger unforgiven chapters were felt deeply even by their older comrades.

"Brothers of the unforgiven! I am grateful to you for heeding the call for this gathering. The Lion has indeed watched over you during your perilous journeys to attend this meeting. The situation is as grave as it could ever be, and we must act decisively if the despoiler is to be stopped." Azrael was as direct to the point as ever, his voice as steady and as sharp as the obsidian sword of office he carried.

"Macharia has died by the vengeance of the despoiler. Our hearts are heavy for the loss of our battle brothers. Yet, this is neither the time for grief, nor solace. It is the time for decisive action. Whatever is said of our actions, we have learned much and achieved even more. The events of recent times and our knowledge gained so far all lead towards two major conclusions!"

Everyone was paying absolute attention, not a word spoken, as a strategic display once again activated itself over the oval table. Azrael continued "We know of the twisted strategy of some of the fallen, especially that of Dragien, that somehow involves the Tower of Angels and the eyet of terror. That we must continue to relentlessly pursue and unfold. To that end the the third company of the Dark Angels have deployed on Kasr Sonnen alongside out battle brothers from the 11th great company of the Spacewolves." He let the words sink in for a moment. "I have just returned from Cadia itself and conferred with Grimnar. Kasr Sonnen will be hit soon and it must not fall. Amongst the enemy there is another one whom we seek, and must capture at all costs. That is our primary task at present."

"Belial would have all the fun with the Spacewolves" a wide grin appeared on the face of Grandmaster Thammuz, chapter master of the Angels of Redemption. A giant of a man, loud, brash, outspoken and ever ready for battle, he was quite an unlikely character to hold office within the halls of the angels. "I trust Belial to uphold our honour." He continued, referring to the honour fight and blood feud between the two legions.

"There will be no more blood feud" A palpable silence descended within the room as Azrael raised his right hand, displaying the rapidly healing incision, indicating the blood oath. "I have sworn on behalf of the unforgiven that our feud be over until the despoiler is defeated and so has Grimnar. Such is the gravity of the situation that we face right now."

As silent minutes passed the gathered angels assimilated the words so spoken. It was Grandmaster Valerius, the quiet humble and unflinchingly brave chapter master of the Angels of Absolution who broke the reverie. "Supreme grandmaster Azrael, we respect your decision and none gathered here would seek to question it. We had decided to station the Tower of Angels within reach of Cadia despite the dangers we had suspected. As the planet killer is likely to approach Cadia, may we assume that is where you would wish the Tower to be?" the quiet wisdom in his voice ringing through to everyone present.

"I could not expect anything less from you, wise Valerius." Azrael smiled wryly, he had known Valerius for centuries and had always admired the quiet demeanour and wise assessment his mind was capable of producing. "As we all know, Cadia is the key. Its pylons somehow have a limiting effect on the eye of terror and thus help stabilise the size of the Cadian gate. Destroy them and the effects could be catastrophic, leading to the expansion of the gate and the eye to such an extent that we may never be able to control the egress of the despoiler's forces. Kasr Sonnen guards the sunward side of the Cadian space and is the only avenue for relief. Its reduction would weaken Cadia immeasurably and that is why the lion and the wolf must stand together. Kasr Sonnen must not fall!."
Doctrinae Unforgiven
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EPIC Strategy
Gathering of Angels
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Chronicled By ( Shadow Guard )
This section provides the narrative history of the events that took place during the Gathering of Angels campaign conducted by the Inner Circle, during Abaddon's Thirteenth Black Crusade. This is in no way the official GW version nor is it in anyway an attempt to infringe on their IP. There are many versions of imperial history buried within the sands of time and this is but just one of them. Read on if you dare!
GoA Volume I: Revelation
GoA Volume II: Nest of Vipers
GoA Volume IV: Battle for Caliban
GoA Volume III: The Grand Circle
GoA Appendices
GoA Volume V: Desperate Hours