|Kralos Prime and Kralos Secundus. Kralos System. M41. Outskirts of Ultima Segmentum|
The Kralos Incursion took place in unsettling circumstances for the Lamenters. It had only been a few scant Terran months since they had returned to full strength and they were now supposedly almost over seven decades into their crusade of penitence for their actions during the Badab War. Even with so much time past the Chapter was haunted by its actions. In some ways they felt vinidicated of their role and in others shameful for their actions. In the eyes of the greater Imperium however and the worlds they visited and assisted they were still Space Marines, in fact the Lamenters were little known to the worlds they rescued or threats they fought until they arrived as saviours. For the citizens of the Imperium, Imperial Governors, Fleet Commanders, Generals and Sector Commanders they were a gift from the Throne itself... marines willing to assist them against the Xenos threat which had reared its head.
Kralos Prime was a verdant world lush with tropical vegetation. It had been settled some time in the distant past and its own history spoke of a world being discovered by a group the local population referred to as the "Exalted Ones". However human habitation had always been scant on the planet. Whatever purpose the original colony had served during the Golden Age was now long forgotten. The world was now a agricultural basket for itself and provided enough food to feed 2000 regiments of the Ultima Segmentum every two Terran cycles. The world had a modest PDF, its most notable feature a unit of early Sentinel Imperial Army Walkers which were stamped with Necromunda design logo's dating back to the days of the Imperial Army and days of the Legion. A single small Hive City rose from the emerald equatorial continent, surrounded by a black grey sea teeming with fish and wild sea creatures. Kralos Prime was ruled by the Council, a loose confederation of the wealthiest land owners who's families held power over the miles of growing crops, which were then harvested and then sent on the Tithe Ships which arrived every few years. It was against this backdrop, that Kralos Prime was about to face its first serious military action in over 4,000 years.
A Dark Eldar raiding party had started attacking outlying settlements some decades previously and as time wore on the attacks became more and more prevalent. The local PDF was far too slow and laborious to respond to the urgent distress calls of the hamlets and villages which dotted the landscape. When the PDF arrived they usually only were left to intimidate the smoking ruins into submission of Imperial control. The attackers left without a trace and without sufficient resources and lack of political will to investigate minor upheavals they went largely unreported to the greater Imperium.
However in 994.M41 a Dark Eldar Lord known only as "Winter" led a coven of smaller cabals in a fully fledged assault on the Hive Spire itself. The PDF put up a sporadic if somewhat limited resistance but within a few hours, the major geo-thermal power plant and the Prefecture Palace were in the raider's hands. It was only a handful of the cities Adeptus Arbites who mounted any sort of serious resistance to the enemy and they soon barricaded themselves into their own halls and planned a response. Winter had come to Kralos, and a cold harvest was about to be sown.
Winter's plans for the population of Kralos were simple, he was not interested in slaves or slaughter but in the gaining of prestige from his peers. He at once sent invitations to all the leading Dark Eldar Cabal Masters far and wide, delivering them on human skin that had been torn from the backs of young men who pleased his eye. He then had the boys deliver the messages in absolute agony.
"You are invited to the Winter Daze" was how the invitations began, and within the week many Cabals had responded and as word grew even more Lords took an interest in this "Daze" event. Whispers of the entire Hive being sacrificed in one glorious moment were common and attracted even the most depraved of all Dark Eldar to attend the event.
When then Dark Eldar began to arrive for the event, it became apparent that the entire Spire would prove rich sport for everyone. At its heart in the Prefecture Palace, Winter welcomed his guests before giving them a masquerade mask made cut perfectly off a human, their facial muscles still twitching slightly as they put them on for the "Daze". As the last of the guests arrived Winter announced an entire season of "Daze" and opened the Prefecture Palace gates and invited the Dark Lords attending to take their fill of the city as his gift.
|5th Company forces during the assault on the Halls of Judgement (Nightvision Sight)|
It was against this backdrop that a half strangled cry in the warp from an Astropath, secretly captured by the cities Arbites as the Prefecture Palace and Council halls fell was heard by a Lamenter Librarian as they scoured the warp for where their crusade would take them and what worlds were in need of assistance from the Chapter.
The Lamenters arrived in force in 955.M41. By then the cities population had been reduced to a little under five percent of its former total. Dark Eldar web ways sprang up periodically as bored Dark Eldar arrived to hunt the remaining population or turn their hand at a chance to attack the still embattled Adeptus Arbites Justice Hall. Winter sat at its centre, receiving the growing thanks of his peers and with that the Lamenter Strike Cruiser "Clarions Call" entered orbit.
Captain Naxos of the 5th Company immediately dispatched drop pods supported by Stormraven gunships to relieve the Adeptus Arbites who had secretly managed to keep the sole Astropath alive calling for assistance. Naxos and his honor guard along with elements of the 1st and 5th companies descended on the Prefecture Palace in a bid to cut the head from the snake itself.
Although the Lamenter records do not indicate all of the actions of the Kralos Incursion, over 300 Lamenters and another 2,000 Ordo Xenos Inquistorial Storm Troopers descended upon the Hive and began to cleanzse it of Xenos filth. The Drop Pod relief force relieved the Arbite Halls of Judgement within the hour and a counter strike force of helions that had appeared from the dark webway had been destroyed with the loss of no battle brothers. A seemingly Emperor Blessed event, Naxos addressed his forces, calling on them to cleanse the scum and filth of the Eldar Xenos from the world of the Emperor. The fighting around the Halls of Justice was done in near total darkness, the thick black clouds built up from the burning fires of ash that had once been the population made it appear as if night was choking the Spire and surrounding countryside.The Dark Eldar has burned the population as they killed and had finished with them over time.
Naxos and his honor guard directly assaulted the Prefecture Palace to face Winter and his bodyguard.
Naxos decided on an armoured strike force, consisting of several of the Razorbacks and Rhinos that made up his forces. to smash their way into the Palace. When Naxos's force crushed the Dark Eldar resistance at the outskirts of the palace by laying down carpet fire from the Razorbacks it was then up to a single squad of terminators of the 1st Company and Naxos and his honor guard to deliver the killing blow to Winter and his most loyal followers. Captain Naxos only issued one order in a clear voice before drawing his power maul as he climbed the Prefecture marble steps. "Suffer not the Xenos to live, kill them all!"
The fighting in the palace lasted over thirty hours between Naxos and his squads fighting off and attacking the superior numbered Dark Eldar forces arrayed against them. Winter himself took to the field and slew fourteen stormtroopers before he found the Lamenter Captain at the heart of the attack upon his domain. Three sacred suits of terminator armour were damaged in the ensuing battle, losses that the Chapter felt all too keenly in the years to come. But it was the battle between Naxos and Winter which is most often discussed in the Chapter Histories.
The battle between the two leaders was witnessed by Sergeant Terranos of the then 2nd Company who later recounted the battle for the Chapter's book of Counted Sorrows. (A tome that records all the heros of the Lamenters and their deeds, written in the blood of the witness.) Terranos recounts the battle tallking of how the power armor that Naxos was wearing saved his life from the sharp needle blades of the Dark Eldar yet the Captain was unable to land a telling blow with his maul that would have crushed the foul Lord. The two fought for over an hour before eventually Naxos realising his strength was failing him allowed the Dark Eldar to land a telling blow to his chest. It gave the Captain one last chance to strike which he did, crushing the Dark Eldars skull with his maul before slowly sinking to his knees as warped poisions flowed into his wounds.
Within the hour of Winter's fall the Lamenters had recaptured the City and had expelled the last of the Dark Eldar. However Naxos never recovered from his wounds and as the reports of the fleeing Dark Eldar were recieved in growing numbers over the Vox system his body began to break down at the celluar level opening large welts and purple bruises as his skin split and his artieries started to collapse. With a final breath as his lungs filled with his own blood, even with his superhuman resilience Naxos ordered the planet to be secured and requested aid from the Departmento Munitorium for a new garrison to be sent to the planet. The Departmento would eventually send five regiments of Imperial Guardsman to look after the valuable Agri world, and secure it against further Xenos attack.
The Lamenters had proven that their rebuilding was a success, but the loss of a Captain in any circumstances is a grim one. The Cloister bell in the Strike Cruisers Chapel tolled five times to mark his passing. The watching Ordo Xenos Inquisitor Draco himself who had directed the Storm Trooper strike force from Orbit was said to have laid a single laurel wreath on the polished yellow amethyst coffin in remembrance of the fallen Captain. The command of the 5th company passed to Veteran Sergeant Fernec who stoically reminded the Lamenters of the Strike Force that Naxos had died in battle honorably against a foe that used foul methods against the brave Captain.
|Lamenters Razorback attached to Strike Force Naxos. 955.M41 Prefecture Palace Assault.|
Within four terran years the world of Kralos would have returned to 25% efficiency and within the decade to 90% of its former output. What is not recorded is the loss of life from Starvation of the 23rd Retan and 16th Tallarn Regiments of the Imperial Guard, who waited in vain for their supplies to arrive at their own warzones. A fact only discovered some 15 years later when an Adpetus Scribe updated the quartermaster records for the Segmentun Adeptus Astrates support reports.