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The ghostly stillness of the Sonnen night enveloped the landscape in an all consuming blanket of darkness. Not a flicker of light was visible as far as the eyes could see. The darkness was complete and unforgiving. The stars themselves obscured by the thick layers of smoke and debris strewn cloud that was the inevitable result of a prolonged conflict of the kind that was being waged at the present time. It enveloped the citadels and fortifications of the world just as effectively as it did the forests and plains. This was a fortress world on full military alert and primed for total war. There were no illusions amongst the populace about the war being waged across the heavens. There was no hope amongst them that their world might be spared the brutality of total war. They had trained all their lives within this fortress world and now they faced their foes with determination. The world was dotted with fortress cities, each one a marvel of modern science and military genius. Each city was a self contained citadel able to support its population while conducting a solid defence, while mobile formations would venture out to conduct aggressive offensive operation. Each city was ringed by consecutive defence line, each line defended by a separate regiment, which prevented the betrayal or cowardice of one from compromising a sector of the perimeter. Betrayal and cowardice were alien to the population of Kasr Sonnen, for in the long ten thousand year history of the Imperium no regiment from the world of Sonnen had ever betrayed their faith in the emperor or turned tail in the face of the enemy.

Kasr Badden was one of the major fortress cities of Kasr Sonnen. Like all major cities in that world it was self sustained in almost everything from power to production facilities. There was little beauty and aesthetic value in the sprawling metropolitan, which was nothing more than a gargantuan production facility. One factor that made it a city of extreme strategic value was that it was also the home to the largest and most modern spaceport on that world. That fact alone had garnered it the attention of the major elements of two full imperial guard regiments to its defence. The Detrosian XXVIII "Death Hounds" were a mechanised regiment supplied with ample armour and artillery. Renowned for their fast sweeping mechanized tactics with vast formations of Leman Russ tanks and Chimera carriers, they were assigned the guardianship of the inner defence ring and entrusted with maintaining a ready reserve of mobile formations to sally forth and spearhead any counter attack against invading forces. Martial pride similar to the holy orders of crusading knights in old terra was the hallmark of this particular imperial guard regiment. The middle and outer defence rings were the responsibility of the Venturi-Argosi LV regiment, from the twin worlds of Venturi and Argosi. The mainly foot borne regiment was one in a long line of regiments from their twin worlds which continued to deliver a constant stream of non-descript but hardy regiments. The officer command was neither particularly creative nor flexible and the troops generally found suitable for static defence duties or a general plodding advance. They were the ideal troops to soak up the effects of the initial onslaught of a crazed invader. The central districts of the fortress city including the space port and production facilities were under the purview o the city's planetary defence militia upon whom the judges of the Adeptus Arbites kept a very close observation. The defence of the city was divided in to eight demi-quadrants. The commander of each had complete and unmitigated command of all three defence rings within his purview. This allowed a dynamic defence in depth while the central city command would maintain overall command as well as that of the city itself. The high command of each regiment was located with the central city command to facilitate interaction between the hundreds of sub units.

The various elements of each regiment allocated to the demi-quadrants incessantly practiced falling back from one defence line to the next and counter assaulting to regain the lost ground. They understood the concept that a dynamic defence was the only practical method of a successful defence. Despite the wide differences in origin, fighting tactics and general concept of life, the two regiments had exercised for months together and had developed a close working relationship, each realising that they needed the other to support them on the road to victory. They were backed up by some of the most formidable defence emplacements on that world. Each defence ring was made up of innumerable fortifications, automated weapons sites and kill zones filled with booby traps which could with stand a prolonged aerial bombardment. There were self contained miniature fortresses and bunkers connected by covered communications trenches. Interlocking fields of fire lay in wait for the unsuspecting enemy. Layered mine fields containing mixed varieties of the deadly devices including time delayed mines would channel the advancing enemy in to waiting fire traps. Layered defence with widely deployed counter assault teams would slow down and throw back the hordes. Pre-planned artillery kill zones would wreak havoc amongst the follow on forces. Any attacking force would suffer casualties in the tens of thousands in a single engagement only to face the powerful counter stroke of the mobile reserves. Such impressive defence lines are usually the source of much noise, even in the depth of the Sonnen nights. The clatter of life and the flickers of intermittent light that were usually present despite the strict implementation of black out rules by the military authority seemed to be absent this night.

The slow measured crunch of ceramite armour on the soggy wet ground was the only sound to be heard for miles. Distinctive foot steps, they advertised the passage of a warrior advancing with supreme confidence. The lone figure slowly approached the first line of ringed defences surrounding Kasr Badden. There was no sense of urgency or disquiet in the movement of the figure. It moved with the confidence of a person who knew that there was no danger. Every step was measured in its stride, no mine nor trap activating to harm it. No challenge was issued from the ever vigilante sentries and no storm of fire greeted it from the automated defence turrets. The figure reached the barricades that protected the first defence line, and without pausing to reflect or changing its pace continued forth, barricades and razor wire being crushed under the heavy march of the ceramite boots. Less than an hour later the lone figure emerged at the rear of the third ring of defences, having continued its lone deathly pace through the entire demi-quadrant which resembled an airless moon. The oppressive silence remained unbroken. Not a single defender could be seen, the trenches and fortifications bore all the signs of a frantic withdrawal. The lone figure stood for a moment and looked at the flat rolling land that stood before it. Almost one hundred terran miles stood between the inner defence ring and the outskirts of the city itself. The outer suburbs of the city themselves formed another ring of steel, originally housing the counter assault forces and city militia. The flat rolling land between the two formed a vast space that allowed rapid lateral movement to the vast array of armoured might coiled in reserve, but also formed a killing zone where an advancing enemy could be blown to shreds by concentrated artillery fire. At this point the lone figure stood still and allowed itself a few moments to reflect, a luxury it hadn't enjoyed for a very long time.

The figure stood still like a statue made of stone. To the casual observer who might have been insane enough to be there and risk a glance, the ceramite armour of deep night blue would have meant little. In places, where the battle scars had scrapped away the deep blue paint, flashes of purple could be seen, relics of a previous era. A closer look would have revealed that the ceramite greaves that arose above the boots were a twisted parody of their former selves. Hastily added iconography writhed life like near the knee guards. Symbols of destruction adorned the chest plates of the armoured giant, some of which were crafted elegantly while others indicated a more heavy handed approach. The shoulder pads rose automatically as his head swivelled left and right, to allow unobstructed vision while shielding the back of the head. On the shoulder pads were the insignia of his origin, the multi faceted head of the beast of terran mythology, the hydra. The helmet remained locked in place, unholy horns protruding through the head piece in such a way that there was no distinction between the living and the dead anymore. The armour itself seemed to have a life of its own while the being inside resembled the cold hard hand of death itself.  Memories flashed by rapidly as he stood like a statue. These were memories of a lifetime of righteous conquests, of glorious battle and unmitigated carnage. He remembered worlds conquered, planets devastated and entire civilizations subjugated in the name of his gods and his father. He flourished in the memories of those moments when his brothers had turned on him and his fellow warriors. He rejoiced in the recollections of the battles and massacres where he led his men to victory after bloody victory against his erstwhile brothers, outmanoeuvring his opponents, deceiving them, entrapping them and waging war on all fronts until they were utterly destroyed. Such was the kind of total war that was waged by the Alpha Legion. A painful grimace momentarily flickered across his face as he remembered the grim day on the world of Eskrador.
Doctrinae Unforgiven
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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