Imperium of Mankind
Imperial Victory, Cerean sea reconquered.
- "Horrible? I suppose that conflict was probably horrible from a Guardsman's point of view, but it was an exciting time to be a Witchhunter. Traitors, heretics, Tech-Heresy, mutants, those that consort with Xenos and Apostate Psykers, under normal circumstances us poor Hereticus Inquisitors would have to break our backs hunting them down. Revoin made it easy for Witchhunters. He took all of these deviants organized them, and declared open war! The purges after that conflict must have been glorious!"
- —An Ordo Hereticus Scholar
The Cerean Crucible was a conflict between the Imperium of man and the Cerean Brotherhood that lasted from 835.M39 to 888.M39. The conflict came into effect when the worlds of the Cerean Sea, an area within the Ultima Segmentum, tried to depart from the Imperium under the guidance of Lancere Revoin. This large scale rebellion cost the Imperium much and the scars of have not entirely healed in the region.
Before the RebellionEdit
The rebellion was sparked by the ambitions for power of one man, Lancere Revoin. Revoin was the Planetary Governor of Margentia, one of the most prominent worlds within the Cerean Sea. Despite the power and wealth his position afforded him, Revoin's vanity and hunger for power could not be satisfied with dominion over just one world. Revoin wanted an empire, and he was determined to take one by any means necessary.
Revoin began to persuade the other planets of the Cerean Sea to join his cause. During this time many secret meetings went on as Revoin persuaded powerful officials with the Cerean Sea into supporting him. He secured his new allies by a number of means. Examples of this all the worlds of Barimka, where Revoin secretly supported a powerful noble's coup d'etat, Haverone where he took the Planetary Governor's entire family hostage and forced him to step down to make way for a replacement that supported Revoin. He gained the support of Rangor Malatron, the world of Allormega and a large portion of the adeptus Mechanicus in the Cerean Sea by promising them the right to practice their arts unrestricted. In this way Revoin bribed, intimidated, blackmailed and assassinated his way to secretly controlling practically the entire Cerean Sea. With the foundations of his future empire started Revoin began preparations for the conflict with the Imperium that would unavoidably follow his rebellion.
He started making the planets under his control coverty raise and train troops for the coming conflict. He also began to trade goods and services with various Xeno factions. This included numerous forms of technology, ships, strange alien crops and much more. He also began to hire xenos mercenaries to bolster the fighting capabilities of his armies. While he recruited a wide variety of these Xeno mercenaries, the lion's share was composed of the war-loving Qwolac, and the profiteering Isgrada. During the war these two races would be almost as common as the rest of Brotherhood's forces on the battlefield.
Further preparations that Revoin had carried out were the formation of a force of loyal (brainwashed) Psykers that would support his troops during the battle, convincing the mutants and Abhumans of the Cerean Sea to join his cause, and buying the loyalty of nearly every high ranking Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy officers in the Cerean Sea. Most importantly Revoin made sure the Galvatek started work on their special projects for the crucible. This new, and highly immoral technology would be the biggest contributing factor to the Brotherhood's success.
For the most part the Brotherhood was able to keep all of these preparations a secret from the Imperium. There were a few close calls despite their best efforts. On a few occasions the Inquisition picked up wiffs of foul play. Luckily the Brotherhood as a whole was well prepared, and was able to effectively play these off as isolated incidents instead of a large consapiracy. The closest that things ever got to fully exposing the Brotherhood's plans was when an Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor named Harlan Brine caught the trail of a Magos that was high up in the Galvateks ranks on the planet Hevlon.
The Magos in question was running a facility that was researching the Brotherhood's Goliath project. The Goliath project was the Brotherhood's primary super-soldier initiative, and was meant to be the Brotherhood's answer for combating the Imperium's fearsome Astartes. The Magos was thus privy to an important part of the Brotherhood's plans, and if the Inquisition managed to interrogate him it could reveal the plan ahead of schedule.
Harlan managed to capture the Magos, and get a little intel out of him. However a Regent task force was deployed. This task force destroyed the majority of the evidence before it was revealed, and assassinated the Magos in question. They made it look like an accident. Harlan was convinced that his short-lived captive had been part of a larger conspiracy. He attempted to get more support among his peers among the Ordo Hereticus, but as far as the rest of the Inquisition was concerned Hevlon had been an isolate incident. Time would prove them wrong. The incident spooked the Brotherhood's command elements, and as a result Revoin moved up their plans.
The Rebellion Begins (835-838.M39)Edit
Near the beginning of 835.M39 the Administratum noticed that the Tithes from most of the planets in the Cerean Sea were no longer being paid properly. Upon investigating they came to the conclusion that laxity in supervision and enforcement had caused the planets there to entertain the delusion of independence. Not realizing the full scope of what they were dealing with they sent a small force to enforce compliance within the Cerean Sea, and restore order. Clearly the Imperium had no clue of the coming storm that was soon to hit.
The Compliance force made it into the Cerean Sea, and began contacting the planets that had slacked with their Tithes. At first the planetary governments of this world played along, and feigned fear of Imperial retribution. This was merely a ruse to allow their forces to get into position. Once they had the Compliance force suddenly found themselves under attack by an organized enemy that had them outmaneuvered and outgunned. The force was quickly wiped out with the exception of a single ship.
This ship received a transmission from the other side. The transmission was a recorded message from Revoin himself. Revoin declared the Cerean Sea independent from the Imperium, and now under the sovreignty of the newly formed Cerean Brotherhood. The message also bid the captain of the ship to make all haste in reporting what had happened to his superiors, and essentially dared the Imperium to try and take the Cerean Sea back. The Captain of the final Imperial ship left to report to the rest of the Imperium of what had transpired. This officially marked the Beginning of the Cerean Crucible.
- "Here me now Imperial dog! I am Lancere Revoin, former Planetary Governmor of the planet Margentia, and now ruler of the whole Cerean Sea! If you are hearing this message then you have seen what we are capable of, and are the last survivor. The peoples and governments of these worlds have grown tired of toiling under the blind leadership of the Imperium. From this day forward the Cerean Sea separates itself from the Imperium to form a new state. The glorious Cerean Brotherhood! Go now dog of the Imperium. Report what you have seen to your masters! If they have sense they will acknowledge our new freedom, and we will let bygones be bygones. However if they are as foolhardy as I expect then you will be back to try and conquer us. Try all you want! Such a labor will end only with your own suffering! Long Live the Cerean Brotherhood!"
- —Lancere Revoin's message to the Imperium after the opening shots of the conflict.
Now informed of the threat the Imperium took action. They gathered the necessary Imperial Guard, and Imperial Navy resources, and in 836.M39 they sent the force in to deal with the obstinate Brotherhood, and deliver the wrath of the Emperor. The Battlegroup entered Brotherhood space, and began to engage the enemy. They had only just begun to gain some momentum when treachery crushed their efforts.
It had turned out that Revoin had anticipated this. He had numerous high ranking Guard, Navy and Departmento Munitorum officials in his pocket before the war had ever started. He arranged for these turncoats to be among the forces initially deployed against him through those he had bought in the Munitorum. Once the fighting was underway these traitors turned their guns upon their comrades. Most notably Admiral Victor Harne betrayed, and killed his superior, Lord Admiral Ezerik Balfer, removing the head of the Imperial Navy in the task force.
The Imperial forces were crushed, but not completely. The remaining Imperial forces managed to hold their ground on a few planets near the edge of the Cerean Sea, just barely holding out against the Brotherhood's superior forces. They sent reports of their situation back to the Deparmento Munitorum, who in turn reported the status of the conflict to the High Lords of Terra.
Now the High lords of Terra started to take the threat seriously. Not only had this Brotherhood easily defeated two separate forces that had been sent to deal with them, they had even turned high ranking Imperial officials towards their cause. Up until this point the Imperium had viewed the secession of the Cerean Brotherhood as just another foolish attempt at autonomy by unrealistic dreamers, or greedy despots. With the second defeat at the hands of the Brotherhood forces, the High Lords saw this was in fact a well planned and organized rebellion that could have serious consequences in the future. Taking the kid gloves off, the High Lord of Terra ordered more force into the the theatre, and requested Astartes, Mechanicus and Inquisition support. They ordered a detailed investigation into those that were the masterminds behind the revolt, Revoin in particular. This time around the Brotherhood would face the true wrath of the Imperium. This was unfortunately what Revoin had been counting on.
The Departmento Munitorum sent the forces into the battlefield, this time they were careful with their selection. The Commissariat and Inquisition went to considerable efforts to make sure that the force would not be compromised as the previous one had. The Imperial Guard and Navy recieved new commanders.
Lord General Havor Beltran would lead the Imperial Guard. Beltran had an impeccable record for fighting heretics and traitors. However there was some reluctance to trust Beltran with the forces headed to the Cerean Sea. This was due to the fact that Beltran's homeworld was Emerlan, a planet located in the Cerean Sea, thus his loyalty was called into question. However on investigation the Inquisition did not find a potential traitor. To the contrary Beltran was Hellbent on saving his home from the Traitorous Brotherhood. For Beltran defeating the Cerean Brotherhood was not a matter of duty, but one of honour. Given his record, and the fact that he was familiar with the Cerean Sea the Departmento finally relented and put him in charge of the Guard forces.
The New Lord Admiral of the Imperial Navy had similar problems with trust. Formerly Captain Maria Colvex of the Lunar class Cruiser, Javelin of Contempt. The trepidation in this case came from the fact that Colvex had served under Victor Harne, who was now the leader of the Brotherhood Navy, before he had turned traitor. However Colvex had been intrumental in keeping the navy forces together after the betrayal, and it was due to her experience and skill that the Imperial Forces had not been routed. The decision to promote her was helped by the fact that there were few alternative commanders in the nearby area. High command decided to temporarily promote her until a replacement could be found, but Colvex did so well in her role that the promotion soon became permanent.
With the influx of Imperial Guard and Navy forces came others as well. The Brazen Centurions put forward five companies, the Argent Arrows entered their entire Chapter into the war, as the did Solar Sentinels and Sanguine Wings.The Iron Angels devoted six companies to the battle, and the Birds of Prey sent seven companies to the fray. As well as the Astartes four preceptories of Sisters of battle joined the fray, and a number of Titan Legions, including Legio Thanatos.
With new leaders, far greater forces than before and the support of the Inquisition, Astartes and the Mechanicus the new forces slammed into the conflict with brutal force. They easily set up a number of beachheads within the rim of the Cerean Crucible, and then continued to push onward. As they went they conquered world after world, and gained momentum. It was looking as though the war would end soon with the rate at which the Imperial Forces were winning, and the strategists believed that conquering the rest of the Cerean Brotherhood would take at most five years.
It was at this point, when the Imperial Forces were at the height of their momentum and morale that Revoin showed his hand, and unleashed his trap.
A Violent Turn (339-344.M39)Edit
Since his run in with the Galvatek prior to the war Inquisitor Harlan Bran's hands had been far from idle. Despite the the fact that the rest of the Inquisition had dismissed his theories, he had known that the conspiracy went deeper. He continued to investigate covert activity within the Cerean Sea, and as he did his suspicions grew deeper. Some of his theories had been justified when the Cerean Brotherhood rebelled. However he found his peers and superiors still did not take what he had to say seriously. His investigations had lead him to believe that the Brotherhood forces, and even the agents they had within the Imperial military were just the tip of the iceberg, and that Revoin had something far more insidious up his sleeves. The upper brass did not take these warnings seriously. The war had went well since the second redeployment, and they were convinced that they had seen all that the Brotherhood had to offer. They were sorely mistaken.
The first signs of the changing of the tides was on the planet Kalatra. The Imperial Guard and Space Marines had been pushing back the Brotherhood forces the entire time. They were on the brink of victory when their foes recieved unorthodox assistance. suddenly the Brotherhood Army had inhuman, thinking machines among their ranks. This would be the first encounter that the Imperium had with the foul Children of the Forge, autonomous machines that had been created by the twisted mind of Rangor Malatron. With the machines assisting them the Brotherhood's counterattack was devastating. Only a portion of the Imperial forces managed to withdraw and avoid annihilation.
Soon after this other, previously unencountered threats emerged all along the Imperial lines. On Mirabellos the Imperial forces came into conflict with the Lazarian Legion. This sect of Hereteks used their expertise with the forbidden technology known as Anima Mori to raise the dead, whether they were fallen enemies or allies to fight the horrified Imperials. The psychological factor alone was enough to shatter Imperial lines and morale. The casualty reports on Mirabellos were grotesque and would only became worse when the death obsessed Hereteks entered the fray. Other early engagements ended with simple slaughter of all Imperial forces.
The Galvatek put their foul technologies to work in crushing the Imperial forces with deadly new weapons, and experimental equipment. Often this radical new technology had been developed using forbidden scientific arts and even incorporated foul Xeno tech as well. The Galvatek provided the technological edge to allow the Cerean Brotherhood to challenge the Imperium.
Across the entirety of the Imperial lines the Guard and Space Marines now found themselves facing inhuman aggressors. The Brotherhood had employed monstrous Xeno mercenaries en masse. Where before the Imperial were merely dealing with trained human soldiers, they now faced Eldar Corsairs, Ork Freebooters and numerous large mercenary units from the Isgrada and Qwolac. To further add to their sin the Brotherhood deployed a mutant horde that referred to themselves as the Blood Kin.
Perhaps the most astonishing of all was that the Brotherhood had been rounding up Apostate Psykers, and had formed them into a group known as the Cavalier Arcana. This vile witch cult toyed with the forces of the Warp, creating new ways to wreak havoc on the Imperium, and pitting their Psychic powers against the Imperium's Sanctioned Psykers.
On the planet Klave the Imperium faced the Goliath Warriors for the first time. The Solar Sentinels, Birds of Prey and Sanguine Wings had dropped onto the battlefield and suddenly found themselves facing superhuman foes that could contest them. To make matters worse the Goliaths outnumbered them. Realizing the battle to be lost the Solar Sentinels and Birds of Prey prepared to retreat. However they suddenly received word from their fleet that they were under attack, and that it was none other than the Sanguine Wings that were the assailants. Suddenly the Sanguine Wings turned their Bolters upon their brothers, aiding the traitorous Brotherhood in a act of base treachery. The Sanguine Wings' Chapter Master, Prophyrous Glenther, personally slew the Solar Sentinel's Chapter Monarch, Callas Wirminern in single combat. Suddenly caught between two forces the Solar Sentinels Chapter was cut off and surrounded. Against two super human armies they were slowly cut down until tragically they were completely destroyed. The Birds of Prey suffered such horrific casualties that they were forced to withdraw from the conflict, and did not participate in the rest of the Crucible.
As morale was devastated, and the enemy continued to build up momentum the Imperial forces lost most of the planets that they had reconquered. Beltran and Colvex agreed that if they tried to hold their ground at that point it could mean the destruction of the Imperial Forces. Revoin had picked the perfect time to spring his trap. The tide of battle had turned too suddenly, and the surprise combined with the Imperial Force's rapidly decimated morale made the crippling Brotherhood assault all but unstoppable.
Choosing instead to follow the policy of maintaining resources through the use of strategic withdraw, the Imperial force were continually pushed back, with command elements biding their time, hoping that an opening would present itself. However this almost did not occur. The Imperial Forces kept retreating till they were almost pushed out of their beachhead. The strategy caused both Beltran and Colvex to receive heavy criticism from above, but ultimately it would vindicate them. Had they tried to stubbornly hold their own during these years their whole force would have been routed. The loss of these forces would have been a severe blow to the Imperium, as the time it would take to gather a whole new crusade together would be significant, and would give the Brotherhood time to consolidate their power.
Luckily aid did come. However it did not come from the High Lords of Terra, or the Administratum which were in a state of confusion over the rapid losses, and trying to reorganize. Rather it came unbidden from the heroic Adeptus Astartes. News of the dire straights that the Imperial Forces in the Cerean Sea were facing spread to nearby space and reached the ears of a number of Chapters.
The Sons of Baal heard news of the Sanguine Wings betrayal. The two chapters had been close in the past, and the Sons of Baal felt that the betrayal was more than could be tolerated, all the more so given the two Chapters were successors of Sanguinius, they promptly struck out for the Cerean Sea.
An Iron Angels force had been patrolling near the area when distress calls started coming. The force promptly reported the situation back to the rest of their chapter. The stoic Iron Angels not only sent aid, but immediately redeployed their whole Chapter to aid the beleaguered allies in the Cerean Sea by deploying the most bleak of battles.
The Revenant Tigers had been on route to quash a different rebellion on another world, but quickly changed course and headed for the Cerean Sea when news reached them.
Either by hearing rumors of the fight, receiving distress calls, or by being told of the struggle by other Space Marine Chapters a large number of Chapters heard of the fight, and without being asked by anyone made their way to stand beside the Imperium's defenders. These newcomers to the war were much needed. For a little over a year it was the Astartes that held the line. Against the relentless onslaught of the Cerean Brotherhood's attack the Super-humans bled to give the rest of the Imperial forces time to recover. Had it not been for them the war would have ended in defeat.
Their valor paid off. In spite of the devastating assualt of the Brotherhood the wall of Ceramite and Fury held. The Marines didn't succeed without sacrifice, but the time they bought allowed both the Forces in the Cerean Sea, and the Departmento Munitorum time to lick their wounds and reorganize themselves. Reinforcements were once more sent to the Cerean Sea to bolster the now depleted forces.
Most surprising of all was the increase in Mechanicus involvement. While the Mechanicus had merely deployed their usual support for a war of this scale, the five "Nightmare Years" as the Imperial forces would soon call them had caught their interest, or more specifically the Galvatek had. The Galvatek represented an unusually large number of traitors within the Mechanicus, and they had openly spit upon the sacred laws of the Priesthood of Mars. Lead by Archmagos Maximus Oltaph, an influx of Skitarii, Titans, Legio Cyberntica, Secutors and Ordinatus came into the conflict. For these forces the Brotherhood was a secondary concern. Oltaph was there to bring the wrath of the Machine God down upon the heads of Malatron and his Hereteks.
The rest of the Imperial Forces couldn't care less about this. Any increase in firepower was welcome regardless motives. The Imperium had lost the ground they had gained, and the Brotherhood was no longer fighting with kid gloves. They had considerable ground to make up, and both Beltran and Colvex knew that the Brotherhood would make taking it much more brutal the second time around.
The War ContinuesEdit
With new forces, and a lot of ground to recover the Imperial command elements were prepared to started in earnest. Lord Admiral Colvex startedthe couterattack with a daring maneuver. She leaked information, and moved her forces in a way that told Brotherhood intelligence that she was trying to take the Miyorad Cluster, a very strategically important area of space within the Brotherhood's frontier. Naturally the Brotherhood moved their forces so that they were prepared to counter the offensive.
However this was no more than a feint. Colvex was actually after an area of far less strategically important worlds. These worlds were of little consequence to the Brotherhood's war machine, and thus were not heavily defended. Furthermore with the successful deception they were even less prepared for an attack. Many within Imperial Command felt that this was a waste of manpower, and would gain the Imperium too little to be of worth, but Colvex was not so short sighted.
The Argenti Offensive, as it would be called, quickly took a swathe of lightly defended worlds. The new worlds increased the size of the Imperium's formerly limited beach head by a considerable amount. Thankfully the brotherhood was slow to react to this unusual strategy. This gave the Imperial forces time to fortify their captured planets. With the amount of space controlled by the Imperium increased by a significant degree the Brotherhood could no longer concentrate their forces on a small area. Now the Brotherhood would be spread along a much larger line. However this was only the first step in Colvex's strategy.
Eventually the Brotherhood did respond to the Imperium's strategy, and sent forces to reclaim their captured worlds. Colvex responded by not fighting. At least not in the way the Brotherhood anticipated. With the exception of a few heavily reinforced worlds the Imperial Navy forces chose to retreat when faces with significant aggression. These ships would then redeploy to conduct skirmishes and ambushes against the Brotherhood Navy, or link up with Imperial Navy forces in need of extra support.
Thus the Navy played a constant game of tag with their enemy. Meanwhile the Brotherhood faced a secondary threat on the planets they recaptured. The Imperial Guard left insurgent troops to harass the Brotherhood occupiers. These troops fought in a guerilla style, and they riled the population up against the Brotherhood. Coordinated by Lord General Beltran these forces proved to be very effective against the Brotherhood's occupying forces. They were even more successful given that the Brotherhood Navy was off chasing Colvex's forces, and thus the Brotherhood Army had limited naval support.
Siege of SentrivousEdit
Loss of EvertoilEdit
Siege of the Kytan BeltEdit
The Hammer FallsEdit
Sacking of AllomergaEdit
Breaking the Black ChainEdit
Siege of MargentiaEdit
- Lord General Havor Beltran
- Lord Admiral Maria Colvex
- Archmagos Maximus Oltaph
- Inquisitor Lord Harlan Brine
- Cadian Shock Troops
- Catachan Jungle Fighters
- Tallarn Desert Raiders
- Harakoni Warhawks
- Alcroan Sell-Swords
- Miridan Blood Vicars
- Fo'mai Warriors
- Neninite Voidborne
- Warian Regiments
- Azuran Storm Troopers
- Argent Arrows
- Brazen Centurions
- Iron Angels
- Sons of Baal
- Imperial Sentinels
- Birds of Prey
- Prophetic Forgiven
- Revenant Tigers
- Regal Fists
- Star Templars
Cerean Brotherhood ArmyEdit
- New Steel Regiments
- Children of the Forge
- 95 Foundry Units
- 12 Titan Cells
- Lazarian Legion
- Terminus Teams
Brotherhood Titan LegiosEdit
- Legio Cataphractos
- Legio Tyrannicus
- Legio Ultran