Story:The Shape Of The Nightmare To Come 50k section16

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Section 16: The Blackheart's Reign: The Eastern Chaos ImperiumEdit

Though the Eastern Chaos Imperium is referred to as 'eastern', this is only in relation to the Segmentum Solar and Obscurus. Though Huron's own Imperium of Chaos is located within the Ultima Segmentum, it is focused around the Maelstrom, the second greatest warp/real space in the galaxy, located towards the centre of the great galactic spiral. For it was from this realm of madness that the Blackheart, the Tyrant of Badab, renewed his desire to rule an Empire all of his own, as his foes in the Imperium were cast down by the screaming anarchy brought about by the failing of the guiding light of humanity.

As the New Devourer was violently birthed in the churning war in Octavius, Huron Blackheart listened to the whispering warnings of daemons and devils, who told him of this coming menace. As more and more Imperial vessels were drawn off to combat this sudden dread force, he struck, attacking and seizing all the warp capable vessels he could plunder, before fleeing into the Maelstrom once more. There, as the New Devourer slew whole civilisations, he and his minions, drawing together all his resources, consolidated their place within the realm of madness, defeating and enslaving all the rival chaotic war bands within the warp interface, and demanding they join his Red Corsairs, just like all the other chaotic marines within.

The wars within were brutal, bloody, and bitter. Alien monsters, mutants and twisted chaotic daemons fought for all sides during these numerous internal wars. Eventually, with the defeat and destruction of the vast possessed space hulk Mordrecar, Huron was at last master of the Maelstrom. When the New Devourer had left, and the Astronomicon had died, he surged forth from the hellstorm. His fleets found conquering remarkably easy, as the Imperial defence fleets and naval forces remained in terrible disarray following the initial shock of every astropath and warp route being destroyed.

Brutal bands of Red Corsairs, their armour painted crudely with paint mixed with human blood to cover and insult their former chapters' colours, brutalised isolated worlds for light-years around the warp storm. Their tyrannical assaults would begin with the bombing and bombardment of the capitals of each world. If they still refused to give into Corsair demands, the crazed marines would make planetfall, and begin killing at random in the streets, hunting terrified civilians through the rubbled avenues of their former abodes. Ex Space Wolves, Sons of Guilliman, the Brothers of the Hound, the Black Horns, the Beasts of Ravage, and innumerable other marines from innumerable other renegade chapters, all joined in with the slaughter and mayhem, daubed in the crude red paint, a symbol of the nominal allegiance to Huron Blackheart. Governors were taken hostage, or simple broken into gory pieces, just for the sick laughs of the chaos space marine butchers. Eventually, every world they encountered gave them what they wanted: riches and resources. In fact, these raids against the seven hundred or so worlds around the Red Corsairs' domains became almost a sort of tithe. Only, much like an Imperial force, the Red Corsairs protected these worlds from external threats, such as ravenous aliens, or rival Post-Imperial warlords. The people of these planets were the Corsairs', to do with how they wanted.

Massive numbers of grubby, cowardly human filth tended to follow the Corsairs around during their wars and murderous excesses, hoping to catch the eye of their superhuman betters. These human scum ranged from ex-pirates, convict soldiers, released from servitude, and murderers and dissidents, narrowly dodging the gibbet on their own worlds. Often, particularly cunning or brutal human renegades would be granted the equipment of the planet's slaughtered PDF, by their Red Corsair masters. The craven hordes of Huron swelled enormously during the early centuries of the period.

Eventually, after centuries of complete anarchy and chaos, the opponents of Huron finally began to form Petty Imperiums and military forces of their own, and sought to topple Huron, and pick his lands clean, subsuming them into their own ambitiously growing empires.

The first of these usurpers was the Emperor Dotor, and his attendant Imperium, which attacked from the north. A fleet of seven hundred fully armed naval vessels, employed by the wealthy Imperial-impostor Dotor, entered Huron Blackheart's territories brazenly. They had the finest vessels, requisitioned from a naval dock in the Gothic sector, which bordered the Dotorian Imperium, and had elite soldiers, drawn from numerous Guard units taken in by Dotor's minions. This fleet easily entered his borders, and took many of Huron's worlds without so much as a fight. Each world was brutalised and terrified. They had no PDF, their own forces butchered and confiscated long ago by Huron. In fact, the only symbol of Huron's ownership of the worlds in question were the billions upon billions of stakes, which lined every city on every world, each with a skewered foe rotting upon them. You see, Blackheart was not an Imperialist in the traditional sense. He didn't want colonies, he just wanted spoils, and his various fleets were constantly mobile, moving around his empire constantly, their cruel gaze searching out anyone who challenged their master's will. Thus, Huron's extensive fleets merely watched, and waited, looking for their time to strike Dotor's forces on their own terms.

On the planet of Helis, Huron sprung his trap. He landed a small group of his Corsairs on the planet, taking the planetary capital, before he split his fleet into three, and sent one fleet into the asteroid fields, another around the far side of the system's sun, and his own fleet elements around the dark side of the planet.

When Dotor's fleet arrived, they were instantly taunted via vox, by the Corsairs on the planet's surface. The imperial forces unleashed a barrage of orbital devastation upon the world, but this merely killed billions of normal humans, while the Corsairs were securely dug in. Once the bombardment stopped, the mocking transmissions began again, with one of the marines below claiming to be Huron himself (even though he was obviously not).

Then, the smallest fleet element, from the asteroid field, engaged the Imperial Fleet, and were easily driven away, losing two ships. The Dotorians, in their foolish arrogance, thought that was the full extent of Huron's forces. The admiral thought himself secure in orbit, and sent down his soldiers, to cleanse the world of chaos filth. However, the Corsairs made themselves difficult to dislodge. The streets ran red with blood, as brutal street by street fighting erupted. The crimson maniacs launched random assaults from all angles and locations, making the enemy army's job of extermination all the harder. The Dotorians were forced to unleash more and more of their forces onto the ground. After a full two weeks of relentless carnage, the Corsairs on the world were almost all dead. However, all the Dotorian ground force was too. It was then that Huron struck. On the dark side of the world, he unleashed exterminatus on the planet. As dusk fell, it brought with it a more profound darkness, and the life eater swept across the enemy forces, and the entire world in turn. In one swoop, they were all vanquished.

Then, plunging from hiding behind the radiation of the sun, Huron's second fleet struck, taking the reeling Dotorians by surprise. The vastly larger and more powerful Imperial vessels, were overcome mainly by boarding parties. Particularly effective were the psychotically suicidal mercenary space marines of the Purge. They entered battleships and fought their way deep inside the ships, before unleashing chemical and biological weapons inside. Through the cramped environs, the plagues and viruses spread swiftly, killing everyone onboard, including the purge marines themselves.

The few remaining warships which had repelled boarders, were subsequently vanquished by Huron's final, largest fleet, led by himself, and consisting of all his captured battleships and battle barges.

That day, he had defeated the entire Dotorian expedition, and, what is more, had stolen most of their vessels too.

This pattern played out many more times. Each time an Imperium or enemy fleet invaded, he would defeat them, and capture the surviving fleets, thus making him stronger for the next campaign. Thus, while repelling invaders, he often counter-invaded, stealing resources from his enemies, and making their planets fear the legend of the Blackheart.

At some point, as he consolidated his now rather large, sprawling empire, founded upon fear, a potential ally made himself known to Huron.

In 327.M44, a vessel bearing the dark and sinister runes of chaos, as well as the image of a great aquila, defiled, was intercepted on the western borders of the Eastern Chaos Imperium. This vessel, claiming to bear a message for Huron, was taken directly to Huron's latest base of operations, the fortress of J'baal.

Formerly a Ramillies Class Star Fort, the colossal vessel was twisted and reshaped by chaos. As the emissaries arrived, the fortress was still under construction. Huron, gaining much favour from the entities of the warp, had acquired the services of many daemons and devilish spirits, which worked on converting and enhancing the ruined old fortress, which had been abandoned long ago. Using Dark Mechanicus, soul forge daemonic entities, and captured slaves which had aided Abaddon in constructing the Planet Killer, Huron was building something dark and powerful within the decrepit heart of the fortress.

The emissaries, seven hulking chaos marines, bearing the grim heraldry of Abaddon's Chaos Imperium, were led by an escort of several dozen Corsairs, the rag tag, brutal garb of the piratical Red Corsairs contrasting sharply with the hellishly burnished and detailed armour of the Black Legionnaires, which writhed with demonic un-life. The corsairs, on the other hand, were rogues and monsters, and cared nothing for their armour, and it showed, with broken sections of armour simply ripped away, and replaced by mail, or crude iron plates.

Eventually, the emissaries for Abaddon were brought before Huron himself. Few beings have ever entered his abode and lived. It is said strange trinkets and artefacts, from across the galaxy, are displayed within, testament to Huron's prolific skill for thievery and twisted obsession for the arcade and the valuable. Jars with malformed monsters, and small cages displaying mewling mutant freaks are said to line the smoky hall, which is filled constantly with smoking incense.

The emissaries came before the Blackheart, and brought him news from the Despoiler. Abaddon offered him the chance to join the Western Imperium, and in the process, crush the few petty Imperiums trapped between the two vast forces of infernal power. Huron did not wish to be subservient to Abaddon, who he considered his lesser. He offered a counter offer: that Abaddon could join his Imperium, as Huron's subservient, and, perhaps, learn how to truly run an Empire of Chaos.

The great horned leader of the emissaries, Lord Vadek Suul, upon hearing such a blatant challenge to Abaddon, cursed Huron for his cowardice and pathetic pride, before charging the Chaos Lord. Huron slew the Chaos Lord in a mere dozen blows, and his minions were seized by the massively-outnumbering Red corsairs, aided by the countless malformed beasts which filled Huron's court.

Ever since that day, annually, Huron has returned the emissaries, piece by piece, to Abaddon, to fully enunciate how much he disrespects his rival.

Though the palatable hate betwixt the two great powers stirred the warp in its intensity, neither side could truly capitalise upon their foe, or invade their rival. A dozen petty Imperium's lay between them, and in the process of sending a war fleet into their foe's territory, the fleet would have to fight the various petty Imperial forces, not to mention countless raiders and pirates, both human and xenos. Thus, the two Chaos Imperium's are the worst of enemies, yet neither side can absorb the other, or destroy their rival either.

Huron soon expanded in multiple directions, until it stretched from Molov in the north, to Badab in the south.

By 999.M44, Huron's Imperium was truly vast, encompassing almost a thousand worlds. His expansion, however, is checked in several places. To the south-west of his Imperium, the powerful Ryza-Catachan alliance has proven very effective. The vast ranks and crushing industry of Ryza, which had militarised the entire subsector directly surrounding it, combined with the unmatched skill and brutal war craft of the Catachans, allowed them to contest (and often secure) worlds from Red Corsair dominance. In the north-east lay the gates of Varl. The blockades around that area remained firm (at least until M51, and those dread days to come…). Even though Huron, if he truly desired, could have defeated the permanent battle fleets around that sector, Huron dared not do so. Not once the golden liar had unleashed the Ophilim-Kiasoz…

Despite these checks on his power, Huron remained a powerful warlord, ruling a (comparatively) massive area of the galaxy. Yet, each world was not directly ruled by him. His policies were callous, lethal, dangerous and brutal, but they were nevertheless oddly freeing, to a population bred upon centuries of Imperial oppression. The unspoken deal between the worlds conquered by him and his forces was thus. His fleets had access to any and all resources they needed, on any world within the Empire, and could come to claim it at any time, meaning the world must be in readiness to receive his ships at any time. In exchange, only the forces of Huron would pillage the worlds, and no other. The worlds would also never be destroyed by Huron, unless he needed to, or really really wanted to. This unofficial system became known as the 'hierarchy of pillage'. Though a brutal system, it allows unprecedented freedom upon all the worlds within the Imperium, to do whatever they want. Perverse and murderous cults were given pretty much free reign. Some worlds even maintained the religion of the old Imperium. However, their religion soon became twisted down the generations, and the Emperor became more a figure of hated oppression, and less of a force of protection. For, it was not the Angels of the Emperor which protected them, but instead the murderous devils of Huron's war bands.

The Shape of the Nightmare to Come: Section NavigationEdit

  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 16: The Blackheart's Reign: The Eastern Chaos Imperium

Continued in Warhammer 60K: Age of Dusk